You Have A Staff And Yet You Don’t Have A Staff – A Zen Buddhist Spiritual Story by Osho

ZEN MASTER: “I have here a staff, and yet I don't have a staff. How would you explain that?”

Jewish novice: “I wouldn't!”

Master: “Now, don't be impertinent! It is incumbent on you – if you really wish to attain enlightenment as you claim – to make every possible effort to answer this.”

Novice: “All right, I guess that looked at one way you have a staff; looked at another way you don't.”

Master: “No, that is not what I mean at all! I mean that looked at exactly the SAME way, I have a staff and I don't have a staff. Now how do you explain that?”

Novice: “I give up!”

Master: “But you SHOULDN'T give up! You should strain every ounce of your being to unravel this.”

Novice: “I won't argue with you as to whether I should give up. The existential fact simply is that I do give up.”

Master: “But don't you wish to attain enlightenment?”

Novice: “If attaining enlightenment means considering such damn-fool questions, then to hell with it! I am sorry to disappoint you, but goodbye!”


Novice: “And so I return to you, oh master, in a state of absolute contrition. For twelve years now I have been wandering about feeling terrible for my cowardice and impatience. I now realize that I can't keep running away from life. Sooner or later I have to face the ultimate problems of the universe. So now I am ready to steel myself and try to work in earnest on the problem you gave me.

Master: “What problem was that?”

Novice: “You said that you have a staff and yet you don't have a staff. How do I explain that?”

Master: “Is that what I really said? Why how silly of me!”

As told by Osho in ‘Take it easy'