Chapter 7: Live One Day As a Buddha
I have heard about a rabbi and a bishop. They lived next to each other and both were very competitive. They had to be, to convince their congregations: “Who is greater?” One day the rabbi looked over the fence, and could not believe what he saw. The bishop was pouring water on a Cadillac.
He said, “What are you doing?”
The bishop said, “I am giving the Christian ceremony to my new Cadillac - baptism. You don’t know about these things.”
The rabbi was very humiliated. The next day he found a Rolls Royce. It was a question, not only of himself but of his religion. When the bishop was in his garden he came out with some garden shears and started cutting the exhaust pipe. The bishop was shocked. He said, “What are you doing? A new Rolls Royce and you are destroying it.”
The rabbi said, “You don’t understand these things. This is called circumcision. From now on this Rolls Royce is Jewish.”
That’s what we are doing even to human beings. We don’t allow a child to be himself. And that is causing all the misery in the world: that nobody is himself. Everybody is imitating somebody else, everybody has become a carbon copy of somebody else, everybody is almost like a broken record that has been used for centuries. Nobody has newness, freshness - one’s own originality. Remember, when you see a child, that he is as inexpressible as you. When you see a pine tree, don’t forget it.
This is what Dogen means.practicing real religion; remembering in every action, thought, silence, always, that it is inexpressible, it is mysterious; that we are living in a miracle world. All our explanations are just consolations. Nothing is explained, either by science or by religion. For thousands of years religion has tried to befool people by giving them explanations about the creation of the world, about God - how he created the world in six days, how he has taken away the paradise of man and woman. Unless you are very torturous towards yourself you will never be allowed back into the garden. And people believed it, people have lived according to it.
Different religions have been propagating different superstitions. Now slowly, slowly science has come to take the place of religion. But do you know that every scientific explanation is momentary? What it says today it may not say tomorrow. Every research goes on deeper, and old explanations become out of date. Old medicines which were thought to be helping people are found to have been harming people. But as long as the superstitions continued everybody believed, even the doctors believed.