Chapter 11: Collecting Pebbles on the Seashore of Life
This seems to be a very dangerous teaching: it means you don’t have any freedom, it means you don’t have any privacy. And God is like a universal peeping-tom; He’s always there at the keyhole, you cannot escape from him. His very presence is destructive; his presence means that man has no freedom.
Neitzsche’s declaration that “God is dead and now man is free,” has a Buddhist tone to it. That’s what Buddha has said: God is not and there is freedom. Freedom means: you are not created by anybody and you are not dominated by anybody and you are not manipulated by anybody. To Buddha, freedom is God. Try to understand it. It is difficult, because Buddha uses such terminology that it becomes very difficult for childish minds to understand. The childish mind can always understand that there is a God dominating you, looking after you: compassionate, kind, great - the Father, the Mother. These are childish ways to understand the truth.
Buddha says: There is no God, and freedom is absolute. That absolute freedom is Buddha’s God. Freedom is God. Freedom is divine. So first he takes away all outer beliefs. There is no need to believe in a God. The belief itself will become the barrier.
Just the other night a sannyasin came from England, and she was very nervous, trembling, shaking. And she said, “I am very much afraid, because I cannot yet believe in you.” I said, “Who expects you to believe in me?” She was afraid because she thought that she doubts. The ordinary religions have taught people that you become religious only when you believe. If you don’t believe, you are irreligious. The West is completely unaware of a great religion that has existed in the East which does not require any belief. In fact, it says belief is a barrier. A religion without belief is very difficult for a Christian or a Mohammedan and a Jew to conceive. It was even difficult for Hindus and Jainas to conceive.
Buddha is a great revolution, a very radical outlook. He says: All beliefs are dangerous. You should not believe, you should see.
I told the sannyasin, “Don’t be worried; doubt is perfectly okay. Doubt is better than belief. Doubt can never hinder you; doubt remains open. Belief is a closing of the mind - then the aperture is closed, then you don’t look.” In fact, a man who believes becomes afraid to look. Maybe the truth is against his belief. Then what to do? - he closes his eyes. It is easier to protect one’s belief with closed eyes than with open eyes. Who knows? - the truth may not coincide with your belief, the truth may shatter your belief, the truth may be against your belief. It may not be Christian, it may not be Hindu, it may not be Mohammedan. Then what will you do? So it is better to remain with closed eyes.
A man with belief becomes afraid: he does not seek and he does not inquire and he does not search. He never explores. He remains stuck with his belief. He holds his belief to his heart; this is out of fear.
Religion is not out of fear - at least real religion is not out of fear. At least, it should not be out of fear. Real religion is fearlessness. Buddha says: With a God, how can you be fearless?