Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse (Entry 2)
Kamala,” said Siddhartha and straightened up to his full height, “when I came to you into your grove, I did the first step. It was my resolution to learn love from this most beautiful woman. From that moment on when I had made this resolution, I also knew that I would carry it our. I knew that your would help me, at your first glance at the entrance of the grove I already knew it.”
what if I hadn't been willing?”
“You were willing. Look, Kamala, when you throw a rock into the water, it will speed on the fastest course to the bottom. This is how it is when Siddhartha has a goal, a resolution. Siddhartha does nothing, he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he passes through the things of the world like a rock through water, without doing anything, without stirring, he is drawn, he lets himself fall. His goal attracts him, because he doesn't let anything enter his soul which might oppose the goal. This is what Siddhartha has learned among the Samanas. This is what fools call magic and of which they think it would be effected by means of the daemons. Nothing is effected by daemons, there are no daemons. Everyone can perform maginc, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast.”
Kamala listened to him. She loved his voice, she loved the look from his eyes.
This is how Hesse addresses one of the contradictions of zen – how does one embrace non-action and yet keep on living?
Siddhartha meets Kamala as a young man and immediately knows that he will learn
the art of love from her. There is no doing or trying on his part – he just acts. There are a few things that have to happen before she will accept him, of course, as he comes to her an unshaven beggar, but he makes no plans or preparations. The necessary opportunities arise without effort.
Stephen Mitchell says this in his notes in the Tao te Ching. “The master's actions are effortless because they are appropriate responses. There are no decisions, no questions of good and evil.”
I am learning to think, learning to wait, learning to fast . . .