The Zen Master Gutei made a practice of raising his finger whenever he explained a question about Zen.
A very young disciple began to imitate him, and whenever anyone asked the disciple what his master had been preaching about, the boy would raise his finger.
Gutei got to hear about this, and when he came upon the boy as he was doing it one day, he seized the boy, whipped out a knife, cut off his finger, and threw it away.
As the boy ran off howling Gutei shouted, “Stop!”
The boy stopped, turned round, and looked at his master through his tears. Gutei was holding up his own finger.
The boy went to hold up his finger, and when he realized it wasn’t there he bowed.
In that instant he became enlightened.
This is a very strange story, and there is every possibility that you will misunderstand it, because the most difficult thing to understand in life is the behavior of an enlightened person.
You have your own values, and you always look through those values. An enlightened person is in a totally different dimension, where he lives without values, where he lives without any criteria, where he lives without any morality, where he simply lives without the ego, because all values belong to the ego. An enlightened person simply lives. He is not manipulating his life, he is a white cloud floating. He has nowhere to go, nothing to achieve. Nothing is good for him and nothing is bad. He does not know any God, he does not know any Devil. He knows only life, and life in its totality is beautiful.
God is also ugly because it is a part, not the whole. The Devil is also ugly because that too is again a part and not the whole. God is not alive, the Devil is also dead, because life exists as a rhythm between the two – the good and the bad, God and the Devil. Life exists between these two poles. Life cannot exist with one polarity. These are the two banks between which the river of life flows.
An enlightened person has come to know this. He is neither against anything nor for anything. He responds moment to moment, without any judgment on his part. That’s why it is very difficult. An enlightened person always appears more or less like a madman. So the first thing to be understood is: don’t evaluate an enlightened person through your values – very difficult, because what else can you do?
I have heard that once a very great painter asked a doctor friend to come and look at one of the paintings he had just finished. The painter was thinking that this was the greatest creation he had ever attempted, this was the peak of his whole art. So, naturally, he wanted his doctor friend to come and look at it.