This absolute stillness of the mind is exactly no–mind or mindlessness. It is not control, it is not discipline; it is not that you are putting all your pressure on your mind and keeping it silent. No, it is simply not there. The house is empty. There is nobody to control and there is nobody to be controlled. All concerns for control have disappeared into a simple watchfulness. This watchfulness is expansive. Once you have tasted it a little, it goes on expanding to the very limits of the universe.
When old habits suddenly arise, don't use your mind to repress them. At just such a time, it's like a snowflake on a red–hot stove.
He is reminding you that even when you are moving on the path of watchfulness, sometimes old habits may revive. But don't be concerned; they are like snowflakes on a red–hot stove, they will disappear of their own accord. You simply watch. Don't get concerned, don't get disturbed, don't be worried.
Sometimes there will be anger, sometimes there will be a desire, sometimes there will be an ambition, but they cannot disturb your watchfulness. They will come and they will go without leaving a trace on your mirror–like purity. But you have only to remember one thing: not to start fighting with them, smashing them, destroying them, throwing them away. It comes very naturally to the mind that if something wrong is happening, jump on it and destroy it. This is the only thing you have to be aware of, because this is what never allows a man to get beyond the mind. Old habits will come – and old habits are very old, many, many lives old. Your awareness is very fresh and very new; your mechanicalness is ancient, so it is very natural that it will come back.
Somebody insults you – you don't have to be angry, but suddenly you find anger arising. It is not an effort, it is just an old habit, an old reaction. Don't fight with it, don't try to smile and hide it. Just watch it, and it will come and it will go.... Like a snowflake on a red–hot stove.
For those with a discerning eye and a familiar hand, one leap and they leap clear. Only then do they know lazy Jung's saying: right when using mind, there's no mental activity. If a man has learned the art of watchfulness he can use his mind too, and still he has no mental activity.
I am talking to you, and I am using my mind because there is no other way.
mind is the only way to convey any message in words; that is the only mechanism available. But my mind is absolutely silent, there is no mental activity: I'm not thinking what I'm going to say, and I'm not thinking what I have said. I'm simply responding to Ta Hui spontaneously without bringing myself into it.
It is as if you go into the mountains and you shout and the mountains echo: the mountains are not doing any mental activity, they are simply echoing. When I am talking on Ta Hui, I am just a mountain echoing.
Right when using mind, there's no mental activity. Crooked talk defiled with names and forms, straight talk without complications. Without mind but functioning.... This is a strange experience, when you can use mind without any mental activity.... Without mind but functioning, always functioning but non–existent.
I was from my very childhood in love with silence.
As long as I could manage I would just sit silently. Naturally my family used to think that I was going to be good for nothing – and they were right. I certainly proved good for nothing, but I don't repent it.
It came to such a point that sometimes I would be sitting and my mother would come to me and say something like, "There seems to be nobody in the whole house. I need somebody to go to the market to fetch some vegetables." I was sitting in front of her, and I would say, "If I see somebody I will tell...."
It was accepted that my presence meant nothing; whether I was there or not, it did not matter. Once or twice they tried and then they found that "it is better to leave him out, and not take any notice of him" – because in the morning they would send me to fetch vegetables, and in the evening I would come to ask, "I have forgotten for what you had sent me, and now the market is closed..." In villages the vegetable markets close by the evening, and the villagers go back to their villages.
My mother said, "It is not your fault, it is our fault. The whole day we have been waiting, but in the first place we should not have asked you. Where have you been?"
I said, "As I went out of the house, just close by there was a very beautiful bodhi tree" – the kind of tree under which Gautam Buddha became awakened. The tree got the name bodhi tree – or in English, bo tree – because of Gautam Buddha. One does not know what it used to be called before Gautam Buddha; it must have had some name, but after Buddha it became associated with his name.
There was a beautiful bodhi tree, and it was so tempting for me.
There used to be always such silence, such coolness underneath it, nobody to disturb me, that I could not pass it without sitting under it for some time. And those moments of peace, I think sometimes may have stretched the whole day.
After just a few disappointments they thought, "It is better not to bother him." And I was immensely happy that they had accepted the fact that I am almost non–existent. It gave me tremendous freedom. Nobody expected anything from me. When nobody expects anything from you, you fall into a silence.... The world has accepted you; now there is no expectation from you.
When sometimes I was late coming home, they used to search for me in two places. One was the bodhi tree – and because they started searching for me under the bodhi tree, I started climbing the tree and sitting in the top of it. They would come and they would look around and say, "He does not seem to be here."
And I myself would nod; I said, "Yes, that's true. I'm not here."
But I was soon discovered, because somebody saw me climbing and told them, "He has been deceiving you. He is always here, most of the time sitting in the tree" – so I had to go a little further.
There used to be a Mohammedan cemetery....