Three men went for a morning walk. They saw a Buddhist monk standing on the hill, and having nothing to do they just started discussing what that fellow was doing. One said, ”As far as I can see from here, he is expecting somebody and waiting for him. Perhaps a friend is left behind and he is waiting, expecting him.”
The second man said, ”Looking at him I cannot agree with you because when somebody is waiting for a friend who is left behind, once in a while he will look back to see whether he has come yet or not, and how long he will have to wait. But this man never looks back he is just standing there. I don’t think he is expecting anybody. My feeling is that these Buddhist monks have cows.”
The second man said, ”My feeling is that his cow is lost somewhere, must have gone to graze, and he is just searching for the cow.”
The third man said, ”I cannot agree because when somebody searches for a cow he need not just stand like a statue. You have to move around, you have to go and look from this side and that side. He does not even move his face from side to side. What to say about his face – even his eyes are half-closed.
They were coming closer to the man, so they could see him more clearly. Then the third man said, ”I don’t think you are right; I think he is meditating. But how are we to decide who is right?”
They said, ”There is no problem. We are just coming close to him, we can ask him.”
The first man asked the monk, ”Are you expecting a friend who is left behind, waiting for him?”
The Buddhist monk opened his eyes and said, ”Expecting? I never expect anything. Expecting anything is against my religion.”
The man said, ”My God! Forget expecting; just tell me – are you waiting?”
He said, ”My religion teaches that you cannot be certain even of the next second. How can I wait? Where is the time to wait? I am not waiting.”
The man said, ”Forget to expect, waiting – I don’t know your language. Just tell me, have you left some friend behind?”
He said, ”Again the same thing. I don’t have any friends in the world, I don’t have any enemy in the world – because they both come together. You cannot sort out one and leave the other. Can’t you see that I am a Buddhist monk? I don’t have any enemy, I don’t have any friend. And you please get lost, don’t disturb me.”
The second man thought, ”Now there is hope for me.” He said, ”This I had told him already, that ’You are talking nonsense. He is not waiting, not expecting – he is a Buddhist monk; he has no friends, no enemies.’ You are right. My feeling is that your cow is lost.”
The monk said, ”You are even more stupid than the first man. My cow? A Buddhist monk possesses nothing. And why should I look for somebody else’s cow? I don’t possess any cow.”
The man looked really embarrassed, what to do?
The third man thought, ”Now, the only possibility is what I have said.” He said, ”I can see that you are meditating.”
The monk said, ”Nonsense! Meditation is not some activity. One does not meditate, one is meditation. To tell you the truth so that all you fellows don’t get confused, I am simply doing nothing.
Standing here, doing nothing – is it objectionable?” They said, ”No, it is not objectionable, it just does not make sense to us – standing here, doing nothing.”
”But,” he said, ”this is what meditation is: Sitting and doing nothing – not with your body, not with your mind.