Zen: The Master’s Name

MagnoliasIn Tibet, there is a beautiful story about Marpa. It may not be factual, but it is tremendously significant.

I don’t care much about facts. My emphasis is on the significance and the truth, which is a totally different thing.

Marpa heard about a master. He was searching and he went to the master, he surrendered to the master, he trusted totally. And he asked the master, “What am I supposed to do now?”

The master said, “Once you have surrendered to me, you are not supposed to do anything. Just believe in me. My name is the only secret mantra for you. Whenever you are in difficulty, just remember my name and everything will be all right.”

Marpa touched his feet. And he tried it immediately — he was such a simple man. He walked on the river. Other disciples who had been with the master for years could not believe it — he was walking on the water!

They reported to the master that, “That man, you have not understood him. He is no ordinary man, he is walking on water!”

The master said, “What?”

They all ran towards the river and Marpa was walking on the water, singing songs, dancing. When he came to the shore, the master asked, “What is the secret?”

He said, “What is the secret? It is the same secret that you have given to me — your name. I remembered you. I said, `Master, allow me to walk on water’ and it happened.”

The master could not believe that his name…. He himself could not walk on water. But perhaps… he had never tried.

But it would be better to check a few more things before he tries. So he said to Marpa, “Can you jump from that hill?”

Marpa said, “Whatever you say.” He went up on the hill and jumped, and they were all standing in the valley waiting — just pieces of Marpa will be there! Even if they can find pieces of him, that will be enough — the hill was very high.

But Marpa came down smiling, sitting in a lotus posture. He came just under a tree in the valley, and sat down. They all surrounded him. They looked at him — not even a scratch.

The master said, “This is something. You used my name?”

He said, “It was your name.”

The master said, “This is enough, now I am going to try,” and the first step in the water, he sank.

Marpa could not believe it when he sank. His disciples jumped in and somehow pulled him out. He was half dead. The water was taken out of his lungs… somehow he survived.

And Marpa said, “What is the matter?”

The master said, “You just forgive me. I am no master, I am just a pretender.”

But Marpa said, “If you are a pretender, then how did your name work?”

The pretender said, “My name has not worked. It is your trust. It does not matter who you trust — it is the trust, the love, the totality of it. I don’t trust myself. I don’t trust anybody. I cheat everybody — how can I trust? And I am always afraid to be cheated by others, because I am cheating others. Trust is impossible for me. You are an innocent man, you trusted me. It is because of your trust that the miracles have happened.”

Whether the story is true or not does not matter.

One thing is certain, that your misery is caused by your mistakes and your bliss is caused by your trust, by your love.

OSHO

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About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest is acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays.
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4 Responses to Zen: The Master’s Name

  1. You’ll get no argument from me.

    Like

  2. Maxi says:

    Oh Padmini, I love this story. Anyone who reads this will love it, true or not.
    blessings ~ maxi

    Like

  3. theoldfossil says:

    I also love this story and believe it. It is marvelous and, I believe, quite true. Perhaps factual or not, as you say, does not matter.

    Like

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