Chapter 29: Faith
So they both went on the horses for a good morning ride, and the king was waiting and waiting. It was a beautiful morning, but he was not there to enjoy the morning; only the young man was enjoying. Finally the king said, “Now this river is the boundary of my empire. Beyond the river I cannot go; that belongs to someone with whom we have been enemies for centuries. We have ridden miles, and now it is time enough. It is getting hot, the middle of the day.”
The man said, “Yes, my answer is - this is your robe, this is your horse” - and getting off his horse, he took off the robe. He said, “I am going to the other side of the river, because I don’t have any enemies. This robe was never mine, and this horse was never mine. Just one small question: Are you coming with me or not?”
The king said, “How can I come with you? I have to look after the kingdom. My whole life’s work, struggle, fight, ambition is behind me in the kingdom. How can I go with you?”
The man said, “That is the difference. I can go - I don’t have anything in the palace, I don’t have anything to lose, nothing belongs to me. As long as it was available, I enjoyed the suchness of it. Now I will enjoy the wild trees, the river, the sun.”
The king, as if awakened from a nightmare, could see again that he had been mistaken. That man had not been deceiving him; he was authentically a man of realization. He said, “I beg your pardon. I touch your feet. Don’t go, otherwise I will never be able to forgive myself.”
The young man said, “To me there is no problem. I can come back, but you will still start doubting, so it is better that you let me go. I will be just standing by the other side of the bank under that beautiful tree. Whenever you want to come you can come - at least to the other shore - and see me. I have no problem in coming back, but I am not coming back because I don’t want to disturb your nights and days, and create tensions and worries.”
The more he became reluctant, the more the king started feeling sorry and sad, guilty about what he had done. But the young monk said, “You could not understand me because you don’t understand the experience of suchness: wherever you are, you are in a deep love relationship with everything that is. You don’t have to change anybody, you don’t have to change anything, you don’t have to change yourself. Everything is as it should be; it is the most perfect world.
“This is my faith, this is not my belief. It is not that I believe it is so, it is that I experience it is so.”
So faith in the world of Gautam Buddha and his disciples has a totally different dimension, a different significance. It is not belief. Belief is always in a concept - a God, a heaven, a hell, a certain theology, a certain system of ideas. Belief is of the mind and faith is of your whole being. Belief is borrowed, faith is your own immediate experience. You can believe in God, but you cannot have faith in God. You can have faith in the trees, but you cannot believe in the trees.
Faith is existential, experiential.