Chapter 3: Either Experience or Just Go Home
Now, it was against the statements of the Bible, and the Bible is the word of God, and God can never commit a mistake. What to say about God - even the pope is infallible, and he is a very faraway relative to God; he does not commit, cannot commit any mistake. And particularly when God himself has made the world - he knows better than Galileo whether the sun is moving around the earth or the earth is moving around the sun.
Galileo was old, almost on his deathbed. He was dragged to the pope’s court and he was forced to change the statement. He tried to persuade the court, saying that, “I am also a Christian; I am not an atheist. I believe in God, I believe in Jesus - but this is a scientific fact and a small fact which has nothing to do with religion.”
The pope said, “It has much to do with religion. If one thing is wrong in the Bible, then people can start thinking, ‘Who knows, other things may be wrong also.’ We cannot allow anything to be wrong in the Bible. It is the very truth. You have to change it; otherwise face death.”
Galileo said, “Death I am facing anyway, but just for your joy I will change the statement. But remember, I will have to make a footnote..”
The pope did not ask what footnote; he said, “You just change the statement and whatever footnote you want to write, write it.”
Galileo did a great job. He changed the statement, and underneath in the footnote he said, “Whatever I say, it makes no sense. The earth still goes around the sun. Who am I to decide?”
Now, the fear of all these kinds of primitive minds - their gods, their greed of heaven, their fear of hell - is being imposed continuously on the child. It is continued in the educational systems. No educational system exists in the world at this moment which can be called creating rebels, not creating slaves. The world is full of slaves.
You will be able to understand Zen and Rinzai, their tremendous effort to bring the rebel into the world, to create a religion which is also rebellion. Of course, every rebellion has to be against the past.
The common masses think that the more ancient a scripture is, the truer. They fight, their scholars continuously argue that “our scriptures are more ancient,” and they don’t understand a simple thing: that the more ancient a scripture is, the more primitive it is going to be, the more fallible, and more stupid, because man’s consciousness has been continuously growing - objectively in science, subjectively in energy fields like Zen.
This statement will shock the priests and the so-called religious people, but it is absolutely true.
Rinzai says on one occasion,
“Followers of the way, you seize upon words from the mouths of old masters and take them to be the true way, saying, ‘These good masters are wonderful, and I, simple-minded fellow that I am, don’t dare measure such old worthies.’”