Yesterday, I was giving you a general outline of the foundations of the Zen feeling for naturalness in art and life by describing the fundamental principles of the Taoist philosophy and then of the Zen discipline itself. And we saw that the roots of the idea of spontaneous living. Make this conception or rather doesn’t accept such a conception as a doing something much more subtle than might ordinarily be imagined. A lot of people think that the spontaneous or completely natural life as it’s understood by these Far Eastern philosophers is to act according to women. There was for example a great Zen monk of lived shortly after 1000 A.D. who had a very peculiar way of painting he had long hair. And he would get very drunk on rice wine, and he had so his hair in ink and sloshing all over the paper. Then he would do a Rorschach test on it. And decide what kind of a landscape it actually was. And then put in the finishing touches. And suddenly, out of this apparent mess a great landscape would be evoked. For the whole art of the thing and then putting in the finishing touches. And also, that is a very curious thing. If a person who is untrained in painting makes a mess with the brush, it’s liable to be just immense. Whereas if a person who has the feeling of painting in them for a long time and they make a mess with the brush or just do anything, it looks interesting. And that’s why, if you try to copy the best. People in modern abstract, nonobjective painting you find it’s very difficult thing to do. Because there is more to spontaneity than caprice and disorder. And I want to try and explain what that is. I mean wouldn’t it be great if we could live absolutely on the spur of the moment. Not make any particular plans, not feel that…well, you might make plans because you can make plans spontaneously but. Not to worry about whether you had made the right decision whether your being good or bad selfish or unselfish, and not to hesitate in anything you see. In one of the great applications of Zen as I pointed out was to the art of fencing. And when you learn fencing…you see, you have to learn to be spontaneous because here of all places it is true that he who hesitates is lost. If you are engaged in combat you see, and you stop to think what sort of a defense or attack you ought to make of the enemies got you. So, the way they teach people spontaneity in fencing is very interesting.
When you first start into fencing school you of course live with the teacher he has a kind of. And a but you’re given a janitorial job you clean up you wash dishes you put bedding away and things like that but while you’re going about your daily business the master surprises you with a practice sawed which is made of four strips of bamboo, rather loosely tied together. And he hits you with this, surprisingly and suddenly, from nowhere. And you’re expected to defend yourself with anything available with the bedding, with the broom, with the pots and pans the just anything to defend. But the student never knows when the attack is coming or where or what direction it’s coming from and he begins to get tense. And he begins to go around everywhere on the sort of alert you see watching, watching, which direction is coming from and if he goes down a certain passage feeling that the master’s probably lurking around that corner and he’s all set to go for him and that he gets that practice sawed he suddenly gets hit from behind. So eventually. He gives up. There’s absolutely no way of preparing for the attack and so he does wonders around feeling well if it is going to hit. And then he is ready to begin fencing because if you prepare for an attack from a space a specific direction and it comes from some other direction you have to withdraw from the direction in which you would expect it and send your energy in another direction and that takes time so what you do is you go around with a mind of no expectation that is called mushin, or monin. This is a very important Zen expression of motion it all means an empty mind. And this mu, know. The rub the in this. No Shin. You could also call it no heart, because the character shin means both heart and mind but it doesn’t quite the same as our word heartless as we use it and it doesn’t the same as the word mindless as we use it meaning stupid. To be in a state of mushin is to have a mind like a mirror. And all of this the taoist sage Chuang Tzu said the perfect man employs his mind as a mirror it grasps nothing it refuses nothing it receives but does not keep. And when anything comes in front of the mirror it reflects it instantly. The mirror doesn’t wait to reflect it but they also say. When the moon rises. All bodies of water instantly reflect the moon I mean they they don’t they don’t bother with physics about the speed of light or anything like that is irrelevant. To say when you clap your hands the sound issues immediately it doesn’t can stop to consider whether it will issue. And so sparks from the flint when it struck, they issue instantly. But to do this you can’t try to be quick. So you have a Zen master corners you with a funny situation and he puts you in a quandary expecting spontaneous action from you, don’t try to hurry. I know I watch the Zuki wait a whole minute before answering. But he doesn’t hesitate. He’s not entirely embarrassed by this wait. And he can answer with silence just as well as with a formal response. The point is, do something.
When two young Americans one of the studies then. They were taken by a Japanese monk to interview the master and act as interpreter. And one of them had had some practice and you know knew a bit about it and so after they had had tea together and just discussed formalities the master said in a very easy way well what do you gentlemen know about Zen. And one of these students threw his fan which he happened unfolded the families still folded up he threw it straight at the Masters face. The master slightly moved to one side and the fan doing research and went right through the paper wall. And the master laughed like a child. That’s the sort of game they get him. Once a master was going around through the forest with a group of students and he picked up a tree branch and noticed that one might pick up a tree branch and suddenly he turned to one of his students and said What is it? And he hesitated to hit it with a branch. And so another student was there and he told him which he said What is it he said give it to me I want to see it I’ll tell you so the Master tossed the branch to him and he took it and put the money.
Now you may think dollars is kind of a rough stuff. But let me give you another story which is on a rather different level. And a certain then priest was having dinner at a big party and the party was being served by a geisha girl who was so elegant and so skilful in serving that he suspected she might have had some Zen training and so he decided to try her out. And he nodded to her and she immediately came to his place and sat down in front of his little low table. See everybody was would be seated probably in front of low tables all around the room and the geisha servants and people move up and down in the middle. And so she came down and sat down in front of him and bowed and he said I would like to give you a present. And she said I would be most honored. Now on the table there is there are. Which are little braces with charcoal and and you move the charcoal around with iron chopsticks he took a piece of charcoal out and I’m chopsticks an offered it to her. She had long long sleeves on acumen No I’m not she did was this she wound them all round our hands took the charcoal made it look up and went to the kitchen disposed of the charcoal changed her robe which had holes burned all the mobs all the way through the sleeves and came back. And she sat down in front of the master and bowed. And he said and she said to him I would like to give you a present he said, I would be most honored. And so she picked up the hunch up sticks and handed em the charcoal and he pulled out a cigarette and said that’s just what I wanted, and lit the cigarette. Now here’s a lesson. The master’s spontaneity and being ready for that situation was the kind of quick thinking that a good comedian, who wouldn’t completely unprepared way can make all sorts of jokes and turn any situation into a jest of some kind. That are of all sorts of people who do that. People who are experts and kind of like Dorothy Parker. In that sort of repartee, but here it’s been developed in a very fundamental way and to a very high degree.
Now the way in which it’s developed you see requires a protected situation, because because if we all started to act on the spur of the moment without the slightest consideration or deliberation.[to cat] No. No, no c’mon kitty, shoe. If we all started to act on pure women everybody would think we were crazy. And that people would avoid us and call the police and things like that but what they do is this. They start you doing this in the context of a discipline situation where there are very rigid rules for most of the time but there are certain instance at which all those rules go hand. And you’re in a community which understands the game. Because the point is this when you start acting spontaneously. You’re not used to doing it and therefore your response is an unintelligent, and inappropriate. But when you become used to doing this and when it becomes second nature to you. To act in the state of motion. No mind or no deliberation, then your behavior has matured. And you find that you’re accustomed to that respond quite appropriately as the Zen Master did in lighting his cigarette from the charcoal. So also, in learning the art of swordsmanship, when he has given up defending himself. When he…when he has given up defending himself and preparing his mind for attack then he has got a narrow mind. And this is also likened to a vessel of water like a wooden barrel. When you make a hole in the barrel the water instantly flows out of the hole because the water is always available to come out. It doesn’t have to choose. And so you could also say that motion is what Krishnamurti calls choiceless ness. And because you see choice in this sense. Is not quite the same thing as decision choice means dithering. You know there are some people who before they start to write something down they they wiggle their pens a little. Pen delivers over the paper and then they start to write. And so in the same way, a lot of people in the constantly in the life situation they did that because that dithering is anxiety. To be are not to be that is the question Well there is no question about to be are not to be seen because to be are not to be go together as we saw there arise mutually.
And so, Kitty I don’t think you’re feeling very comfortable. Take care of it I don’t want to get mixed up in the paper. So then in, the situation of the zen community. So. Safeguards are set up. In place within which. You can learn how to act without deliberation which is you see in a sense going back to the State of the. Now it doesn’t mean that you give up thinking. It doesn’t mean that you become an anti-intellectual. You all can also learn and this is part of the later phases of Zen training. How to think spontaneously. How to deliberate spontaneously. The saying is you see stand or walk as you will but whatever you do don’t wobble. So this is our difficulty because the human mind is a feedback system. Feedback as a peculiar susceptibility to nervousness. There was a young man who said though it seems that I know that I know what I would like to see is the I that knows me when I know that I know that I know. Say now, in this way we think about thinking. We worry about worrying. And then, when that really gets bad you worry because you worry about worrying. Now that is it analogous exactly to the kinds of vibration that are set up in certain mechanical systems. For example, if you…I did this trick on television once. I had the camera Man Turn the camera on the monitor. The monitor is the television set in the studio where you see what your doing. And so on this show I said Now I’m going to show you a picture of anxiety. Don’t worry about your sets, this is not going to be anything wrong with the offset so don’t turn it off now said Mr camera man would you please turn the camera on the monitor. He does that and what does he do? He’s taking a picture of taking a picture. All in the same system. And as you do that the system starts going on young young man and an ad like that you see, it then makes a sense of kind of oscillation. And you see on the screen all these jagged lines dancing across. Now that’s what’s meant to see by hesitation, attachment, blocking all that kind of thing which the Zen discipline is designed to overcome. And because the human being is such a peculiarly beautifully organized nervous system and has this tremendously subtle cortex which is capable of all kinds of thinking about thinking. And you could turn yourself on in the most extraordinary ways by for example getting earphones which repeat what you say just a fraction of a second after you say it back to you they delay it and you can get an answer or scope tied up with your own heartbeats, and get feedback through in this way so that you suddenly begin to see yourself behaving. And it completely balls you up because you wait for yourself to go on but then he realizes you doing it but you can’t wait on your heartbeat you can wait on what you say. And you’ll get the sensation of going faster and faster and faster and faster until you just have to close the whole thing off. Or you’ll go crazy.
So that’s what we’re doing, and our civilization and our social institutions reflect this in hundred of ways. And this would be true of any civilization because also relies ation is based on the development of consciousness and feedback that is to say, the property of self-control. Being self-conscious looking at what you have done. And then being able to criticize it and correct it. But who criticize it is the critic reliable when you criticize yourself. Who will criticize the critic. You see or to put it in the other way christus custodial ipsos custodes who will guard the guards themselves who will take care of the policeman. Who will govern the president? And that is the big problem. And when we get tied up in the problems the Chinese got tied up in it because they were simply of very high order of civilization so did the Japanese There has to be a break. Somebody has to start throwing things. Otherwise everybody will go insane. So,, Zen functions in that culture as a way of liberation. From the tangle of being too civilized now you see in Japanese culture, people are tremendously concerned with propriety with good manners. And with keeping up with the Joneses. One of the funniest things in the world is to watch Japanese people having a bowing contest. With a very frequent thing when friends meet or take leave they go. And they bow and they bow and they were behind the ticket back and forth, and see who gets the last one in because I’m more polite than you! And the worries about when somebody comes you know you would visit a family always bring a gift. And they start wearing is this gift suitable What is it anything as good as the gift they last gave us and is it right for the occasion have we thought about it enough is there some symbolism in this give that connects with this person the name of their birth they are something that that and think about the things ad terminum. And thus they cultivate in the ordinary culture. Has a great deal of social nervousness in it people giggle you often see girls who giggle and cover their mouths to try to say I’m not really giggling. All sorts of funny things happen because of this immense social awareness and nervousness.
Now as Zen breaks that up. Only it does it in a way that is as high artistry to it. So you see, in let’s just take the aesthetic domain for the moment and you remember I was discussing yesterday one tivo. And you remember two. In the whole history of ceramics the Chinese developed some of the most elegant work imaginable. You are probably aware I don’t see a specimen of the great work of the Sung and Korean Potters. Very often done in a jade like green the most gorgeous texture. It looked practically as if it was carved out of Jade. Well that led on you see to the the Piat techniques of the Ming Dynasty with translucent porcelain, white clay. The most subtle design of all, and that style went also to Japan. And the very very rich people you read about here in say books like the tail of Genji, and you see a film of you must see it touche in Goa. This story of the forty seven Ronin. The lovely things they had around their houses were unbelievable. The lacquer, the boxes in pure gold. Oh, you know it was delicious stuff. About then, it was just like having too much. And ice cream and feeling mean young. Cooked archive am you know that French book who made everything look like an Oriental powers.
Now what happened? The people who practice Zen suddenly got an eye. For the beauty of the ordinary. There are two reasons for this. One was that they became fascinated with what happened spontaneously. What pattern a brush would make when handled roughly and the airlines were shown. They also because their practiced zazen, which is sitting quietly, not thinking of anything. Special but having a completely open mind. That puts you into a state where you get much better eyes and ears the new Ordinarily I have. And you start really seeing things. So you know that famous Haiku poem the old pond of frog jumps in, plop. And Japanese that plop is means the sound of the water. And there’s a nother poem. Just like it in the dark forest a very drops. The sound of the water. But somebody suddenly realised you see, just the sound of the water it is marvelous. That’s all. Or , they what we found that they were kept getting in very very cheap Korean rice bowls. The poorest cheapest kind of a presence to eat out of. And suddenly it struck one of the zen masters that that was an incomparably beautiful object. Nobody had seen this before. They also had the simplest wooden ladles. Bamboo and then a stick in it for use in the kitchen and one day somebody noticed that this ordinary everyday kitchen utensil was just lovely. And so in the same way, they found that it was quite a satisfactory, to listen to the kettle boiling as to listen to an elaborate concert. So what did they do. They started Throop. Typically a man called Senyo Rikyu to give part is. A very small get a few guests in shacks little or huts. In the garden made of. Very primitive materials such as a mud walls. And where they would go and sit and out of the simplest utensils, carefully chosen by a superb artist, they would simply sit and enjoy the uncomplicated life. And so was born the tea ceremony. Now, look at that you see in the historical context that’s terribly important it was they going back to the primitive. After people were sick of too much civilization. And yet, it was going on to the primitive rather than back. Because the people who selected all those things, they knew they knew the whole tradition of their civilization and their culture. They want barbarians. Once upon a time and then, you see when this became the rage. Rick you became. Attached to the court. The Shogun had tea with the Rikyu. Everybody started getting digging tea ceremony. And in due course, the whole thing became awful. Because what’s happened today is this. Tea ceremony is essentially something to enjoy. And there are a few men left who know how to the ceremony. And it’s an extremely congenial choir get together. For easy conversation simple and an ostentatious manners and really lovely things to look at.
I was present at a tea ceremony celebrated by is a Zen monk who happens to be an American. And he is a man who has done a lot of mountaineering. And he has therefore with him at all times the sort of equipment that you take on camping in the mountains because he does a lot of climbing in Japan. And I said to him one sure this afternoon with their nice to have a tea ceremony and you did it once before here and it was so pleasant would do so that again said Yes by on before he had served tea ceremony in the style that Zen monks do it which is rather simple and direct and much more comfortable than all these well educated ladies were on tittering about it and on tiptoe nervous I’m hoping they won’t make a mistake and all that kind of thing is that dreadful. So he suddenly came in with a small Primus stove. Set that down then he had an old paint part. Which had inside it and aluminum Ugh he said that down. He then proceeded to take the aluminum market out pour water into the paint part and set that on the prime a stove but he ritually pumped up the primus stove he did everything in the style of tea ceremony but this was a dirty old Primus stove. And suddenly the thing began to flame like the god food Oh and. He mixed the tea in the traditional way with the whisk had all the perfect and lovely mammals handing us the aluminum cup. And we got into along with we it’s a custom after the tea ceremony after drunk to pass all the utensils around for inspection and this is exactly what happened and we found that the aluminum Cup had the one nine hundred forty five stabbed on it which after it’s. We got into a discussion about styles of aluminum copper speck the fact you thought you. And it was the funniest thing but it was a complete make over of the tea ceremony into the modern idiom. Of course the tea drunk in tea ceremony is that powdered green tea. Which you don’t steep like you may garden rooty you whisk it in mixed with a small amount of hot water into a froth and it’s called Liquid Jade. And it’s a bit of an acquired taste for most westerners. It tastes a little bit like a mixture of Matcha tea and Guinness. But when you get to know it it’s very invigorating and very awakening and if you make up a strong mixture of it it’s a good thing to use if you want to stay awake all night and do work. And so you see, the legend was that Zen monks started this interest in tea because they needed it to kids stay awake during the practice of meditation and it said that Bodhidharma, whom I drew for you yesterday and he’s always drawn with eyes that are wide open why because he hasn’t got any eyelids. Once, when he was meditating he fell asleep and he was furious and cut his eyelids off and as they dropped on the ground up came the first he plants that’s why they have leaves shaped like eyelids and are all to be drunk ever thereafter staying awake so the plant of but isn’t that teeny is the Buddhists drink just like wine is the Christian drink coffee is the Islamic drink and milk the Hindu drink. My religion as it’s as it’s drink. So then, around this kind of appreciation, born of stillness, and the delight in seeing how nature takes its course. Came the entire cult of Zen art with its special kind of activity. Its special ceramics its special calligraphic styles and its special gardens which are the controlled accident.
Now you see, as I showed you yesterday on that other tea bowl, this is a water jar. And. They leak they like to leave the bottom on glazed. You can really see that it’s that way. But look you see how the Glazers been allowed to run. This that we would call not need at all. And you watch somebody make one of these. And I have watched a man just pick up the plate and as he applies the design of the glaze he just goes whoosh with the brush. And lets it drop on it. And it’s done. There’s another Man who blazes by wood smoke, and in his kiln you may put about eleven hundred pieces. And he wraps them in straw. And wherever the straw touches it leaves a splash of orange color against the purple background. Now you see, the straw arranges itself according to the nature of straw. It doesn’t follow strict human direction. And the fascination is when they open up that kiln and bring the things out they look eagerly to see what is the straw down. So, this principle of letting glaze run. To see what will happen is wu-wei, this is noninterference. This is mushin also no purpose or it can also be translated know a specific intent. And now of course you see, sometimes this doesn’t work. And the master picks it up and says. That’s not very interesting and rejected. What are the canons of taste which decide whether he will accept one of these accidents or reject it? Because here an additional principle of control enters say in the practice of calligraphy. A man may sit down with a huge pile of paper in front of him. And do a piece after piece after piece and if it isn’t. Right he throws it away. So he eventually makes a selection comes out there’s a famous story of a Zen master who was doing calligraphy and he had a very smart monk standing beside him who was his assistant and the monk said to each one as he did it you can do better than that oh now, oh come now you know much better than that this master got more and more furious but the monk had to go out to the bento to the toilet or mount and he thought quite what he’s afraid. He did it and the Monk came back I looked and he said a masterpiece. I mean.
So there’s this element of selection you see now what what determines that’s. How do you know? Another example of this there was a tea caddy. Porcelain tea caddy not possible but clay. And when Senyo Rikyu was having tea ceremony he saw this tea caddy and made no comment on it and the owner. Was Dead disappointed that he smashed it. But one of his friends picked the broken pieces out of the trash can. And took them to a mender, and he said Look mend this with gold. And he put it there for gold cement and put this caddy back together and so it had all over its surface spidery lines of gold. And when Rikyu saw that he was just enchanted, and it became one of the most valuable caddies in the Japanese collections. Spidery lines of go following it just apparently a chance marks of a smash. There was a competition at the Art Institute in the University of Chicago in which there was a sculpture class and the competition was that each student was given a cubic foot of plaster of Paris. And they said now do something with it. Well the prize was won by a woman who looked at this cube and said it has no character. It doesn’t want to be anything. So she flung it on the floor and smashed it all up. And she made dents in it and banged off the corners and but cracks a bit and things and she looked at again she said, Ah, now I know what it wants to be. And so she followed the grain in it as it were made by all these cracks and produced this marvelous piece of sculpture. You have in this area a very ingenious sculptor but I am Donal Hord who is a master at following the grain in wood and actually making the grain the grain seems to suggest to him the muscles in the flow of the kind of body that he’s making. Or that’s the thing.
So, when a master decides whether the accident came off. What he wants is this. He wants the thing. To be the perfect harmony. Of Man and nature. Of order and randomness. Now this is a curious thing in the human mind. When we play games, we get most fascination out of those games which satisfactorily combine skill and chance. Games like bridge. Poker have a sort of admirable combination of these two elements, and we can go on playing those games again and again and again because you don’t feel completely at the mercy of chance as you do with dice, unless you cheat. And you don’t feel completely at the mercy of skill as you do with chess. Or specially with a game like three-dimensional chess. So there’s a sort of up to the middle where order and randomness go together. Well that’s what this man is looking for. He’s looking for the optimal combination, you see, the things the artwork like a Persian miniatures or the jewelry of Cellini. And Chinese porcelain is too much skill. Too much order. It’s like those houses you go into where you dare put an ash in the tray, because everything is so clean and everything is so tidy you don’t touch it. One prefers a house you see that looks a little lived in it is more genial more comfortable somehow invites you to sit down and even put your feet on the table. Whereas on the other extreme, some kind of pad where everything is covered and filthy clothes are thrown in the corner and…you know, people are all paint all over them and so on. That’s the that’s the other extreme we don’t want that. But that’s that curious thing in the middle.
Now, the most difficult thing is to hold to the Middle. It’s like walking a tightrope and that’s why the path of Buddhism is called the razors edge. Because you see what happens. When this all this kind of work. In the course of history became fashionable. People began to affectation these styles. For example when Seshu The Great Master painter worked he would sometimes take a handful of straw. And paint with that instead of a brush in order to get the sort of rough effect that he wanted. But later on, there came people who could take an ordinary paint brush and so exactly ink that brush, that it would give precisely the messy effect that they had in mind. They would also be able to ink a brush in such a way and this is terribly decadent they could dab grapes on the vine, and have dark ink where the shadow was supposed to be. And no into tall where the highlight was supposed to be as when they started getting mixed up with Western ideas about shadows and perspective. They didn’t have that earlier. But they were so skilled in the handling of the ink, that they would do this sort of thing and they would imitate you see all the the so-called rough and natural effects of the greats and artists. And so, today in Japan a younger generation of artists has decided it’s time to break all that up. If you imagine for example haiku parties, the writing of haiku poetry by show who is the great seventeenth century master of haiku said get a three foot child to write haiku. Because they’re the sort of direct guileless things that children would say. But now that a magazine devoted to haiku poetry, wherein every issue there will be ten thousand haikus, written by people all over the country and they get so stilted and so affected that one which one had never heard of haiku. The same thing is starting over here. And you should see the entries we get in these haiku competitions that Japan Airlines and other people sponsor. But it all after a while becomes dated, stilted, and so somewhere again the new thing has to break out. Which is always coming up but there’s no formula you see for fixing it so that you can do it again and again and again, because the moment you start doing it again and again and again it isn’t it anymore that the the real thing has escaped. You remember, some time ago, there was a passion for having wrought iron fish does the outline of the fish some artist originate you know put this fish together and look great but then you suddenly found them in every gift shop and dime store and they look perfectly terrible. So this is the mysterious thing, where not only in the arts, but in life styles in everything. When you start saying what is the technique for getting this thing and people say well this is it. It’s gone. Same in education. Same in music. The moment you start teaching something, what are you what question you are asking? How could we…is there some method whereby in our schools we could produce from the music department every graduation ceremony three music for musicians of the stature of Bach or Mozart? Now if we knew how to do that, that nowledge would prevent us from being surprised by the work of these people because we would know how it’s done. And when you know how something is done it doesn’t surprise you. That’s why there’s a Zen poem that says if you ask where the flowers come from even the god of spring doesn’t now. Suddenly the God of spring would be supposed to know where the flowers come from but the truth of the matter is it doesn’t.
And so in the same way, if you ask the Lord God. How do you create the universe? He said I have no special method. And this, this is known in Zen as a very difficult this is the most difficult virtue to attain. So many of these things begin with mobile. Buji, it means nothing special. It means no business. No artificiality. In American, current, real cool. So buji is where something doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. But it is absolutely different. From being modest. A buji person may be immodest in the sense that if he knows he can do something where leader says he can. He doesn’t go at all sorts of blushing violet techniques. Buji, you see is this mysterious quality of nothing special no special method. Because if there is that may repeat if we do know the method and we know it infallibly. It ceases to be interesting. There are no surprises left. And the moment the element of surprise is gone. The zest of life has gone. That you see is why it’s very difficult to teach Zen to yourself. Because you can’t easily surprise yourself. The essence you see of this kind of spontaneity is response to a surprise so the Master you don’t know what he’s going to do and he surprises you it’s like trying to cure hiccups. Very difficult to kill yourself because when you patches on the back you know when you’re going to do it so you’re already for it but somebody else comes up and slams you on the back and that’s a surprise and what you needed was a surprise. Or it’s like jokes. What makes you laugh about a joke is the element of surprise in it. That’s why jokes aren’t funny after they’ve been explained. So in the same way, all these Zen stories. If explained, have no effect. They’re intended to produce what I would call metaphysical laughter. But this has to be a surprise. And so, as to be surprised…well there’s no way of. Premeditating it. So we’ll see if you read for example there’s a book out here called Zen by are you going to have a go who started archery many of you probably read this book by Herrigel. He had to learn to pull the bowstring in the manner of the Japanese Archer and let it go, but not on purpose. Is to have to let it go without thinking first I let it go. And then let go. He had to let it go. Not on purpose. Now that really bug Harreigel. How do you do something not on purpose Pashley If you’re aiming at a target. Well the whole point is if you think before you shoot it too late. The targets moved. That’s why we have a thing like beginner’s luck. You see if you simply point at something like that if your finger was a gun I would probably have hit the light switch. And so you get a person who is naive about a gun will pick a gun up and bang and the thing will be will drop did. I or never forget the first time I ever used a slingshot. Yes friend of mine was with me and he was aiming away and not missing and I did pick it up again and it hit and I couldn’t do it again. You get a certain naturalness there.
So, there was a master by the name of Ikyu who was a great leg puller. And he had in front of his house a very now pine tree. One of those things contorted and I love this kind of thing and he put a notice up by said I Ikyu, will pay one hundred yen, which was a fair amount of money in those days, to anyone who can see this tree straight. Well soon there was a whole crowd of people around that tree line on the ground they twisting their necks and looking at every Also. There’s absolutely no way of seeing the tree with a straight trunk. But if you had a friend who was a priest of another sect and a smart boy went over to see this friend and said what about this mistake use tree oxer the output is perfectly simple he said You go and tell him the answer to seeing the tree straight is to look straight at it. So first found went over to Ikyu, and said I claim that it was he said he looked straight at it and if you looked in a funny way and said he was fucked out the Hundred Year and gave it to him I think you’ll be talking to Rozin down the street.
Now in that way, just look straight at it. In otherwise, here’s the bowstring let go of it don’t. All this thimble-tambling, nimble-nambling, babbling jumble humble about. The right technique of letting go of it let go of it damn it. But that’s very difficult. Because if as say to you now everybody let’s be unselfconscious. And so finally, in desperation, you at last Learn to let go of the thing. Which was what you were supposed to do all the time. And then, one is as again as a child. This is original innocence. So, this is the meaning of the person who was asked what do you do here in the Zen institution, he said we eat when hungry and we sleep when tired. But he said that’s been just like everybody else they all do that he said they do not. When they eat they don’t eat. But they think of all sorts of extraneous matters and they tire they don’t sleep they dream all kinds of dreams. So let’s have an intermission, and then we can have a discussion.