There lived a famous Zen master named Tozan. The Gods wanted to see him but they couldn’t because he was just an emptiness. They would enter into him from any side, they would pass through him but they just could not see him. He was a nowhere-ness, a- nothingness, so empty of himself.
The Gods were very curious to see this man who had become empty of himself and they couldn’t wait anymore. So they played a trick. They went to the kitchen as Tozan was coming from his morning walk. They grabbed a handful of rice and wheat and threw it onto his path.
In a Zen monastery that is extremely disrespectful to rice and wheat grains. In fact, in the practice of Zen, everything that has existed should be respected because everything is divine. Nothing should be wasted and one must remain careful and alert about the same.
When Tozan came back, he could not believe what he saw. Which disciple had done it? Who could be so disrespectful and careless?
The idea arose in him. And suddenly there was a self and the Gods could see him. The emptiness had ceased to exist. Suddenly an idea had crystallised, an attitude, a mind had come. For a moment a cloud appeared in the blue sky and the Gods could see Tozan.
Then the cloud disappeared because the idea disappeared.
Here is what Osho, who likes this story very much, has to stay about this story:
“Whenever there is an idea, you are, and then a cloud arises. And there is not only one cloud. There are so many ideas in you, millions of clouds which continuously haunt you, covering you in layers and layers of cloud. Your inner sky is completely hidden. You can’t even have a glimpse of it.
Even a small idea like ‘Who has been so careless?’ — it was nothing special, nothing much to worry about. It was just a curious ‘Who has been so careless?’ but it was enough!
If you see the morning sun and you say ‘How beautiful’ — enough! It is just a small fragment but it creates an inner pressure in you, and that’s why you immediately want to say to somebody ‘Look, how beautiful the morning is!’
That is a release. The pressure has been inside and when you talk it is cathartic; you release it. You feel good, you have said it. If you cannot find anybody, it will haunt you more.
Our mind is continuously overflooded with ideas, emotions, sentiments.
By and by relax, be empty. Just go as an emptiness.”