One great philosopher, Maulingaputta, had come, and he was asking great philosophical questions, of course. Buddha listened – he was very famous, he was well-known all over the country. He had not come alone, he had come with five hundred of his own disciples. They were sitting behind him. Buddha listened patiently. For one hour he was asking this question and that – very complicated questions, complex questions, subtle questions. hen he said, ”I have asked so many questions, but you have not answered.” Buddha said, ”My way of answering is that you will have to wait for two years with me These are the questions you have asked of many people. Have you asked them or not before asking me?”
Maulingaputta said, ”That’s true. I have asked Mahavira and he immediately answered. I have asked Sanjay Vilethiputta” – he was another famous teacher of those days-”and he immediately answered. I have asked Ajit Keshkambli” – he was a very skeptical philosopher”and he was very much interested in my questions. And I have asked so many others. We have been traveling all over the country.”
Buddha said, ”You have asked so many people and they have all answered, but have you got the answers? If you have got the answers, then why waste my time?”
Maulingaputta said, ”They have answered, but I have not got the answers yet. My questions remain the same untouched. Their answers have not satisfied me.”
Then Buddha said, ”I can also answer right now as they have answered – it will not satisfy you either. Now you have to decide. If you really are interested then risk two years’ time and sit silently by my side.”
Maulingaputta waited for two years, but before he said, ”Yes, I am ready to wait,” one of Buddha’s great disciples, Manjushri, started laughing. Maulingaputta said, ”Why is this man laughing like mad?”
Buddha said, ”He is not mad – he is my first disciple who has become enlightened. And I know why he is laughing – you can ask him yourself.”
Maulingaputta asked Manjushri, ”Why are you laughing?”
He said, ”I am laughing because this Gautam Buddha is tricky! He tricked me the same way. Listening to what he is saying to you I remembered my own journey to him. Twenty years have passed; suddenly I remembered – I had completely forgotten – that these were my questions too. It is as if history is repeating itself. And it is strange that I came with five hundred disciples of my own just as you have come, and I asked Buddha and the same reply was given to me: Wait for two years.’ I waited for two years, and I am laughing! I would like to say this to you as a warning: if you want to ask this man, ask right now, because after two years you will not ask and he will not answer.”
Buddha said, ”I will be ready to answer, but if you yourself refuse to ask, what can I do? My promise will stand – I am a man of my word.”
And the story happened the same way that Manjushri had predicted. Two years passed-. Maulingaputta had completely forgotten, because who remembers time when one is with a man like Buddha?
You remember time only when you are miserable; when you are blissful, time is forgotten. Time depends…. If you are very miserable then one hour appears as if many days have passed. If you are blissful, then many days appear as if just a few moments have passed. And if you are totally blissful then time stops, then time disappears, evaporates; then there is no time anymore. Then you simply live beyond time.
Two years passed. Maulingaputta had forgotten, but Buddha reminded him. Suddenly one day he said, ”Maulingaputta, two years have passed. It is time now that you should ask your questions. And I am ready to answer.”
And Maulingaputta laughed. Buddha said, ”You are laughing like mad! What has happened? Do you remember Manjushri’s laughter that day?”
Maulingaputta said, ”My questions have fallen. I have nothing to ask. I have become utterly silent. You have not answered and yet you have answered.”
This is the true answer. The real Master kills your questions in such a subtle way that you never become aware of it; without any bloodshed he goes on destroying your questions. Slowly slowly, by and by, you become aware of the absurdity of all your questions. Slowly slowly you become aware of the utter mystery of life. Life is not a problem and it cannot be reduced to questions and there is no answer for it. It is a mystery, unanswerable, insoluble. You have to live it, you have to taste it, you have to experience it. And it is experienced in silence.
~Osho – Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen