Chapter 9: Symbols of the Tiredness of Man
The Zen teaching is nothing but the teaching of how to take that one step, how to jump into nothingness. That nothingness is what nirvana is, that nothingness is what God is. That chaos is not only chaos - that is only one side of the board. From the other side that chaos is immense creativity. It is only out of chaos that stars are born. It is only out of chaos that creation happens. Chaos is one aspect of the same energy. Chaos is potential creativity. Nothingness is the other side of allness.
Zen is a single seer the journey of one single step. You can call it the last step or you can call it the first step, it doesn’t matter. It: is the first and it is the last - the alpha and the omega. The whole teaching of Zen consists of only one thing: how to take a jump into nothingness; how to come to the very end of your mind - which is the end of the world; how to stand there on the cliff facing the abyss and not get frightened; how to gather courage and take the last jump. It is death. It is committing suicide. But only out of suicide is there spiritual growth and only out of being crucified is there resurrection.
If you understand well, then the symbol, the Christian symbol, of the cross can have immense meaning. Jesus is on the cross - and that is the cliff. In the last moment he also becomes afraid like this man. At the last moment he looks at the sky and says, “What are you doing to me? Have you forsaken me?” A human trembling, a great anguish, facing death, facing annihilation.
But he gathers courage. He understands what he is going to do. He was trying to escape into the world, he was trying to escape into the mind. His mind started functioning - “What are you doing to me?” It is a complaint against God. “Have you forsaken me?” It seems that something is going against the expectations of Jesus. He understood it. He was a man of tremendous intelligence. He looked into it. He must have laughed at his own stupidity. What has he said to God?
And in a single moment the transformation.. He relaxed and he said, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.” He relaxed. This is the step. He died and was born anew - a new consciousness, a new being.
When you die in the mind you are born into consciousness. When you die in the body you are born into the universal body. When you die as the ego you are born as a God, as the God. When you die in your small territory, you simply become spread all over existence - you become existence itself
Now this step has to be understood and I would like to repeat : the end of the mind is the end of the world - because Zen says the mind is the world. Ordinarily we cultivate eke mind, we strengthen the mind, we make it more and more capable, skillful, efficient. That’s what we go on doing in the schools, colleges and the universities. That’s what we mean by education, by learning.
Zen is a kind of uneducation. Zen is a kind of unlearning. It teaches you how to drop that which you have learned, how to become unskillful again, how to become a child again, how to start existing without mind again, how to be here without any mind.