The student Doko came to the master and said,
“In what state of mind should I seek the truth?”
The master replied, “There is no mind, so you cannot put it in any state, and there is no truth, so you cannot seek it.”
Doko said, “If there is no mind and no truth, why do all these
students gather before you every day to study?”
The master looked around and said, “I don’t see anyone.”
The inquirer asked, “Then who are you teaching?”
“I have no tongue, so how can I teach?” replied the master.
Then Doko said sadly, “I cannot follow you; I cannot understand.”
The master said, “I don’t understand myself.”
Life is such a mystery, no one can understand it, and one who claims that he understands it is simply ignorant. He is not aware of what he is saying, of what nonsense he is talking. If you are wise, this will be the first realization: life cannot be understood. Understanding is impossible. Only this much can be understood – that understanding is impossible. That is what this beautiful Zen anecdote says.
The master says, “I don’t understand it myself.” If you go and ask the enlightened ones this will be the answer. But if you go and ask the unenlightened ones they will give you many answers, they will propose many doctrines; they will try to solve the mystery which cannot be solved. It is not a riddle. A riddle can be solved, a mystery is unsolvable by its very nature – there is no way to solve it.
Socrates said, “When I was young, I thought I knew much. When I became old, ripe in wisdom, I came to understand that I know nothing.”
It is reported of one of the Sufi masters, Junnaid, that he was working with a new young man. The young man was not aware of Junnaid’s inner wisdom, and Junnaid lived such an ordinary life that it needed very penetrating eyes to realize that you were near a buddha. He worked like an ordinary laborer, and only those who had eyes would recognize him. To recognize Buddha is very easy – he is sitting under a bodhi tree, luminous; to recognize Junnaid is very difficult – he was working like a laborer, not sitting under a bodhi tree. He was in every way absolutely ordinary.
One young man was working with him, and that young man was continually showing his knowledge, so whatsoever Junnaid would do he would say, “This is wrong. This can be done in this way, it will be better” – he knew about everything.
Finally Junnaid laughed and said, “Young man, I am not young enough to know so much.” This is really something. He said, “I am not young enough to know so much.” Only a young man can be so foolish, so in-experienced.
Socrates is right when he says, “When I was young I knew too much. When I became ripened, experienced, I came to realize only one thing – that I am absolutely ignorant.”
Life is a mystery; that means it cannot be solved. And when all efforts to solve it prove futile, the mystery dawns upon you. Then the doors are open; then you are invited. As a knower, nobody enters the divine; as a child, ignorant, not knowing at all, the mystery embraces you. With a knowing mind you are clever, not innocent. Innocence is the door.