Chapter 4: The Sutra Is Long, the Night Is Short
Never think for a moment that what I am saying about Zen has been said by the Zen masters themselves. I am constantly improving, improvising. With me religion is not something static. It is an evolutionary process. It grows like a tree, hundreds of feet high, it moves like a river, thousands of miles; not for a single moment does the movement stop. Since eternity rivers have been moving and moving and moving.
I am not a pond; and when you go to Japan you will find ponds. I make every effort to make the ponds flow like a river. A pond knows nothing but death; it is dying every moment, the water is evaporating. Soon there will be just mud left.
A river is always alive, singing and dancing, and moving into the unknown territories without any map, without any guidance, without a guide - just trusting in existence. It knows that the ocean has to be somewhere. “If the thirst for the ocean is in me, that is enough proof, enough evidence that somewhere the ocean is waiting for me. He has called me, otherwise why this thirst, why this longing to meet with the unlimited?” Your thirst is a proof, an argument, a valid evidence.
With me, nothing is static. That creates a puzzle in many static minds, because whatever I have said yesterday was yesterday. Today I am absolutely fresh and new. Even I don’t know what I am going to say to you. When you hear it, I will also hear it.
You get puzzled, confused: “The other day you were saying this, and today you have changed completely.” I go on improving on devices, I go on improving on parables, on stories, so you will find the same story told in different ways in my literature. Sometimes I take a different standpoint, sometimes I look at it from a different angle. Sometimes I drop something out of it - it does not fit the moment. Sometimes I add something which I have never said before. And it is easy for me because I don’t remember what I have said before; otherwise it would be difficult, even for me! But it is not. The past is past, that which is gone is gone.
I am just here to respond to your thirst.
I don’t care whether it is consistent with my past statements. I am still alive. Only dead people are consistent because they cannot change anything, they are in their graves.
If a person remains consistent while living, that means at some moment of time he died. He is living a posthumous life, a ghost life. He is no more a reality; reality has stopped at a certain point.
Hippies used to say, “Don’t believe anyone who is more than thirty years old.” I can see a certain truth in it. As a person becomes more experienced in the world, he becomes more and more cunning.
The world is cunning. You have to face a cunning world, and the only way is to be more cunning than the others. You have to compete with all kinds of ugly people. You have to be hard, you cannot remain nice, compassionate. As one becomes more and more experienced in the world, he is more and more corrupted, he loses his innocence; he has died.