The false will drop

himalaya1

Whenever anyone asked him about Zen,

the great master Gutei would quietly raise one finger into the air.

A boy in the village began to imitate this behaviour.

Whenever he heard people talking about Gutei’s teachings,

he would interrupt the discussion and raise his finger.

Gutei heard about boy’s mischief.

When he saw him in the street, he seized him and cut off his finger.

The boy cried and began to run off,

but Gutei called out to him.

When the boy turned to look,

Gutei raised his finger into the air.

At that moment the boy became enlightened.

Acharya Prashant: Very fond of saying cute things when asked questions about Zen. Raising his finger and stuff. What does the master do? He cuts off the raised finger. And he screams and runs away, the master calls him back and when he comes back, what does the master do?

Listeners (in unison): Raise his finger in air.

AP: And in that instant, the boy is immediately…?

Listeners (in unison): Enlightened.

AP: What’s this about?

A couple of things first: Gurus, monks, teachers, have been conventionally known to be very compassionate people. So it shocks us a little that a teacher cuts off a boy’s finger. Right? The anecdote just illustrates that for the teacher, it is not your body that counts. The teacher would not be shaken even a little if you tell him that you are tired or that there is pain in your stomach. The teacher will say, “So what? Your body doesn’t matter, come over! Its about something far bigger than the body.”

Even if you have to compromise on your health, still come over. The teacher will not allow you to escape! For the teacher, cutting off the boy’s finger was a very obvious thing, if cutting off the finger would lead to the boy gaining some wisdom. The teacher says, “Its such a beautiful deed. It is not at all bad for the boy if he can give a finger, sacrifice a finger and be wise in return. It’s okay.” And it’s not only about a finger, even giving your right hand, is no big deal. Even laying down your life, is no big deal because what you are getting is much-much bigger than life, it is immortality. Your finger is just a token payment, it’s not even a full payment.

“Alright, give me your finger.”

“Fine.”

That is one thing about the Koan. The second thing, what does the master mean by raising ‘his’ finger? What does the master mean by raising his own finger?

Listeners (in unison): That there is only one reality.

AP: And that One is personified in the form of the Guru, the teacher. If the student tries to emulate that One, he is trying to create an alternate, a duplicate Truth. And that is sacrilege. That cannot be tolerated. After he comes back to Guru, he says, “Listen, if the finger were to be raised, if the finger were to indicate One, that finger has to be a single finger belonging to the Teacher. By cutting off your finger, I am only cutting off the false finger. I am only cutting off that which was trying to compete with the Truth. By raising this finger, I am telling you that only the Truth prevails. That which is false, gets cut off.”

And surely, the student is a deserving student. He immediately gets, in an instant, without thinking, without interpreting, he immediately gets the import of what the teacher is saying. And that’s what is meant by saying that he gets immediately enlightened. Hmm?

The raised finger of the Guru is the one Truth, the one Truth that bears no comparison, no second, no alternative.Yes?



 -Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Zen: The false will drop



Connect to Acharya Prashant: 

1. Advait Learning Camps (ALC): Advait Learning Camps are monthly 4-day retreats under the guidance of Acharya prashant in the Himalayas. To participate in the camps, ContactSh. Anshu Sharma: +91-8376055661 or Sh. Kundan Singh: +91-9999102998 

2. Course in Realization (CIR): Course in Realization is a seven-day scriptures based learning program led by Acharya Prashant. To join, either physically or online, contact:  Sh. Apaar: +91-9818591240

3. Month of AwakeninG (MAG): Attend Satsangs from Home! MAG is an online series of discourses on handpicked topics by Acharya Prashant on practical and relevant topics like Love, Fear, Achievement etc. To join the online discourses, contact: Sushri Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

4. Meet the Master (MTM): Meet the Master is an opportunity to meet and seek detailed guidance from Acharya Prashant, either in person or online. Contact: Sushri Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

5. Blessings from Beyond:

Weekends with Acharya Prashant brings you the unique opportunity for a 2 day 2 night stay with the Master every month. It involves two mystical days of dynamic activities, explorations of the self, sports, meditative reading, deep reflections, midnight walks and more.

Contact Ms. Anu Batra:+91-9555554772

Venue: Advait Bodhsthal, Greater Noida, India.

6.Triyog:

Daily morning 2 hour Yog feast for your total well-being. Comprising of Hatha Yog, Bhakti Yog and Gyan Yog.

Contact: Shri Kundan Singh: +91-9999102998

Venue: Advait Bodhsthal, Greater Noida, India.

To join any of the above programs, send your specified application to:

requests@prashantadvait.com 


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