Read an Excerpt
Excerpt from Chapter 1
Gosa Hoyen used to say, “When people ask me what Zen is like I tell them this story:Noticing that his father was growing old, the son of a burglar asked his father to teach him the trade so that he could carry on the family business after his father had retired. The father agreed, and that night they broke into a house together.Opening a large chest the father told his son to go in and pick out the clothing. As soon as the boy was inside, the father locked the chest and then made a lot of noise so that the whole house was aroused. Then he slipped quietly away.Locked inside the chest the boy was angry, terrified, and puzzled as to how he was going to get out. Then an idea flashed to him – he made a noise like a cat.The family told a maid to take a candle and examine the chest. When the lid was unlocked the boy jumped out, blew out the candle, pushed his way past the astonished maid, and ran out. The people ran after him.Noticing a well by the side of the road the boy threw in a large stone, then hid in the darkness. The pursuers gathered around the well trying to see the burglar drowning himself.When the boy got home he was very angry at his father and he tried to tell him the story. But the father said, ‘Don’t bother to tell me the details. You are here – you have learned the art.’”
Being is one, the world is many, and between the two is the divided mind, the dual mind. It is just like a big tree, an ancient oak: the trunk is lone, then the tree divides into two main branches, the main bifurcation from which a thousand and one bifurcations of branches grow.
The being is just like the trunk of the tree: one, non-dual. The mind is the first bifurcation where the tree divides into two, becomes dual, becomes dialectical: thesis and antithesis, man and woman, yin and yang, day and night, God and the Devil, Yoga and Zen.
All the dualities of the world are basically in the duality of the mind, and below the duality is oneness of being. If you slip below, underneath the duality, you will find one – call it God, call it nirvana or whatsoever you like. If you go higher through the duality, you come to the many million-fold world.
This is one of the most basic insights to be understood: that mind is not one. Hence whatsoever you see through the mind becomes two. It is just like a white ray entering a prism: it is immediately divided into seven colors and the rainbow is created. Before it entered the prism it was one; through the prism it is divided and the white color disap¬pears into seven colors of the rainbow.
The world is a rainbow, the mind is a prism, and the being is the white ray.
Modern research has come to a very significant fact, one of the most significant achieved in this century, and that is that you don’t have one mind, you have two minds. Your brain is divided into two hemispheres: the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere. The right hemisphere is joined with the left hand, and the left hemisphere is joined with the right hand – crosswise. The right hemisphere is intuitive, illogical, irrational, poetic, platonic, imaginative, romantic, mythical, religious; the left hemisphere is logical, rational, mathematical, Aristotelian, scientific, calculative. These two hemispheres are constantly in conflict. The basic politics of the world is within you, the greatest politics of the world is within you. You may not be aware of it but once you become aware, the real thing to be done is somewhere between these two minds.
The left hand is concerned with the right hemisphere that is intuition, imagination, myth, poetry, religion. The left hand is very much condemned. The society is of those who are right-handed; right-handed means left hemisphere. Ten percent of children are born left-handed but they are forced to be right-handed. Children who are born left-handed are basically irrational, intuitive, non-mathematical, non-Euclidian. They are dangerous to the society; the society forces them in every way to become right-handed. It is not just a question of hands, it is a question of inner politics: the left-handed child functions through the right hemisphere. That, society cannot allow, it is dangerous; he has to be stopped before things go too far.
It is suspected that in the beginning the proportion must have been fifty-fifty: left-handed children fifty percent and right-handed children fifty percent. But the right-handed party has ruled so long that by and by the proportion has fallen to ten percent and ninety percent. Even amongst you here, many will be left-handed but you may not be aware of it. You may be writing with the right hand and do your work with the right hand, but in your childhood you may have been forced to be right-handed. This is a trick, because once you become right-handed your left hemisphere starts functioning. The left hemisphere is reason, the right hemisphere is beyond reason. Its functioning is not math¬ematical – it functions in flashes, it is intuitive, very graceful, but irrational.
The left-handed minority is the most oppressed minority in the world, even more than the negroes, even more than the poor people. Now if you understand this division you can understand many things. The bourgeoisie and the proletariat: the proletariat is always functioning through the right hemisphere of the brain; poor people are more intuitive. Go to primitive people – they are more intuitive. The poorer the person, the less intellectual. And that may be the cause of his being poor. Because he is less intellectual he cannot compete in the world of reason: he is less articulate as far as language is concerned, reason is concerned, calculation is concerned; he is almost a fool. That may be the cause of his being poor.And the rich person is functioning through the left hemisphere of the brain: he is more calculative, arithmetical in everything; cunning, clever, logical, planning. That may be the reason why he is rich.