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The Sudden Death of Ekido’s Disciple

Be alert. Each moment has to be taken as if this were the last moment. And there is every possibility this may be the last moment! So use it totally. Squeeze the juices out of it totally. In that very totality you will be alert.


The Japanese master Ekido was a severe teacher and his pupils feared him.

One day, while striking the time of day on the temple gong, one of his pupils missed a beat because he was watching a beautiful girl who was passing the gates.

Unknown to the pupil, Ekido was standing behind him. Ekido struck the pupil with his staff, and the shock stopped the heart of the pupil, and he died.

Look at this story and you may think that the Master killed his disciple. That is not the thing. The disciple was going to die anyhow; it was the moment for his death. The Master knew it; he simply used the moment of death for the disciple’s enlightenment. This is not said in the story, but this is how the thing happened; otherwise why was the Master standing behind him? Had he not anything more significant to do? But at that moment there was nothing more significant, because this disciple was going to die and this death had to be used.

The story is beautiful and very significant. The disciple saw a beautiful girl passing and his whole consciousness was lost. His whole being became a desire — he wanted to follow this girl, to possess this girl. He was alert just a moment before, now he was not alert.

He was beating the gong fully alert. This is part of meditation in a Zen monastery — whatsoever you do, do it with awareness. Whatsoever you do, be there in it as a light, and everything is revealed. So this disciple at the moment of death was going to be alert and aware, and the mind did the last thing, its final resort — a beautiful girl appeared!

At this moment, when the disciple missed awareness, the Master hit him hard on the head. The Master is seeing the invisible death reaching, and he hits just to make the disciple alert. The Master was waiting behind. Masters are always waiting behind disciples, whether physically or non-physically — and this is one of the greatest moments, when a person is going to die. The Master hit him hard, his body fell down, but inside he became alert. The desire disappeared. Everything dropped with the body, shattered; he became alert. In that alertness, he died. And if you can join alertness and death you have become enlightened.


* - excerpt from “Osho Transformation Taro”.


Updated on 25-11-2019

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