New in Yoga and Zen

New

A new disciple joined the group, who did not seem to have the usual set of virtues and vices. He somehow managed to be both arrogant and cringing, over-blunt and hypocritical, lazy and yet fussy over trivialities, timid and then suddenly reckless.

The head disciple remarked to the teacher, T don’t know how we are going to make anything out of him.’

That evening the teacher was taking his evening walk with the head disciple and two others, and the teacher prolonged the walk till late into the night. Finally they returned by way of the house of a famous university professor, known for his aggressiveness and irascibility, and who was also a heavy drinker. He had just published a book on some intricate points in the philosophy of Chandrakirti.

It was a hot summer evening, and they saw that the professor, as usual in the summer, had his bed on the verandah. He was asleep, breathing heavily, but muttering in his dreams. ‘Listen,’ said the teacher softly, ‘what is he saying?’ They held their breath and listened, but it was only disjointed words and nonsensical phrases, mixed up with the name Chandrakirti and some technical philosophical terms.

‘Why,’ said the teacher to the head disciple, ‘he is talking absolute nonsense. You could easily expose his errors – you were saying the other day that you doubted that he was always right.’

Then he called loudly, ‘Professor, professor! My disciple here wants to debate with you on Chandrakirti.’

The professor rolled over and sat up unsteadily, feeling for his slippers. ‘Whassat? . . . I’ll debate him!’ and he shouted for some coffee to the sleeping household.

But the disciple had fled.

Next day the teacher said to him: ‘You didn’t wait for the professor, though he was talking quite idiotically, because you knew that within him was the famous scholar, just over-shadowed for the moment. You weren’t simple-minded enough to think that those ravings of his were his real nature. What you said about the new disciple was too simple-minded. When he sits down to meditate, there is a god in full splendour meditating there. His problem is to realize it, and we shall help him to do that. It is not a question of making anything out of him.’

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