Three friends were walking along a road. Evening was just falling and the sun was setting when they become aware of a monk standing on a nearby hill. They started talking about the monk, wondering what he was doing there. One of them said, ‘He must be waiting for his friends. He must have gone for a walk from his hermitage and his friends are left behind, so he is waiting for them to come.’
The other denied that and said, ‘This is not right, because if a person waits for someone, sometimes he will look backwards. But he is not looking backwards at all. So my assumption is this — that he is not waiting for anyone. Rather, he must have lost his cow. Evening is coming near, and the sun is setting, and soon it will be dark, so he is looking for his cow. He is standing there on the hilltop, and looking for where the cow is in the forest.’
The third one said, ‘This cannot be right, because he is standing so silently, not moving at all, and it seems that he is not looking at all; his eyes are closed. He must be in prayer. He is not looking for any lost cow or waiting for some friends who have been left behind.;’
They couldn’t decide. They argued and argued and then they said, ‘We must go to the top of the hill and ask the man himself what he is doing.’
So they reached the monk. The first one said, ‘Are you waiting for your friends who are left behind to come?’
The monk opened his eyes and said, ‘I am not waiting for anyone. And I have neither friends nor enemies to wait for.’ He closed his eyes again.
The other one said, ‘Then I must be right. Are you looking for your cow which is lost in the forest?’
He said, ‘No, I am not looking for anyone — for any cow or anyone. I am not interested in anything except myself.’
So the third one said, ‘Then certainly, definitely, you are doing some prayer or some meditation.’
The monk opened his eyes and said, ‘I am not doing anything at all. I am just being here. I am just being here, not doing anything at all. I am just being here.’
This is what Buddhists say meditation is. If you do something, it is not meditation — you have moved far away. If you pray, it is not meditation — you have started chattering. If you use some word, it is not prayer, it is not meditation — the mind has entered in. That man said the right thing.
He said, ‘I am just being here, not doing anything.’