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Chapter 5: Killing the Buddha

Sato-Kaiseki was very much disturbed
by the implications
of Copernicus’ heliocentric theory,
which, of course, was inconsistent
with the old Buddhist cosmology
in which Mount Sumeru
occupies the center of the universe.
He reasoned that if the Buddhist view of the cosmos
were proved false, the triple world,
and the twenty-five forms of existence
would be reduced to nonsense -
resulting in the negation of Buddhism itself.
Immediately he set about writing a book
in defense of the Mount Sumeru position,
sparing himself no effort as a champion of Buddhism.

When he had finished the work
he took it at once to Master Ekido
and presented it to him triumphantly.

After leafing through only the first few pages
the master thrust the book back,
and shaking his head, said,
“How stupid!
Don’t you realize that the basic aim of Buddhism
is to shatter the triple world
and the twenty-five forms of existence?
Why stick to such utterly worthless things
and treasure Mount Sumeru?
Blockhead!”

Dumbfounded,
Kaiseki shoved the book under his arm
and quickly went home.

Metaphysics is nonsense, but even then it must be serving some object, otherwise it would not have existed so long. Man finds himself helpless in a strange world, unfamiliar - not only unknown, but unknowable also. This darkness, this cloud of unknowing, disturbs the human mind tremendously. Somehow he has to console himself. Somehow he has to create knowledge.

Even if that knowledge is not true knowledge, it will give an appearance that you are grounded. It will give an appearance that you are not absolutely helpless. You can pretend through it that you are not a stranger in this world - a chance, a coincidence - but a master. At least you can play with words and do whatsoever you like with words and can create a false illusion of your power.

This is what metaphysics has always been doing. It gives you a sense of power where in fact no power exists in you. It gives you an illusion of knowledge where no knowledge really exists.

The very word God becomes substantial. Just by using the word God, you feel as if you are doing something, as if you are relating to existence; as if you are not alone, a helpless child on the earth, but a father is taking care of you in heaven, continuously watching, worrying about you, about your welfare.

This is a very childish attitude - but man is helpless. And there are very few men who really become mature. Men remain childish. And remember the difference between childishness and the innocence of children. To be childish is to be stuck somewhere. To be like children is to be simply innocent, flowing, with no blocks in your being.

Man remains childish. The psychological age remains nearabout twelve; it never goes beyond that. You may become sixty, seventy, eighty - your physical body goes on moving in time - but your mind is stuck somewhere nearabout ten or twelve at the most.

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