Chapter 5: When We Attain Reality
Buddha never uses the word God because it creates problems; he uses the word nirvana. Nirvana means cessation: just as you blow out a candle and the candle has disappeared, the candle has ceased to be, meaning disappears, meaninglessness disappears. And with the longing for meaning, something in you disappears. What is it? Who is desiring that there should be meaning in life? That desire creates the ego, that creates a process of egoing. The more you search, the more you rush for meaning, the more the ego arises. And when you die, only that ego fails.
Man is not a useless passion. Ego is. But if you are identified with the ego, then, of course, it looks as if you are useless.
Buddha says, and the Zen masters go on resounding it, he says, “There is no meaning, and there is no meaninglessness either. All is as it is.” Don’t ask for meaning, otherwise you will miss it. Just don’t look for meaning otherwise you will create despair for yourself. Forget all about meaning. The rose is perfectly beautiful without any meaning, and so is the sun, and so are the people. The moment you raise the question of meaning, slowly, slowly you will get more and more trapped into a kind of madness. And when you will not find meaning, and you have put your whole life at stake, naturally, one feels frustrated, anguish arises.
The myth of Sisyphus is significant. It was written in Greece. If it had been written by a Zen Buddhist he would have given it a totally different flavor. He would not have bothered about the rock slipping back into the valley, he would have enjoyed the whole trip to the top and back to the valley. It is beautiful; flowers are blooming by the side, the birds are singing, and the fresh morning air.one is ecstatic. And Sisyphus is singing a song - a shodoka - a song of enlightenment. He would have defeated the gods if he had been a man of Zen. The gods would have cried and wept, because they had punished him, and he is enjoying. He would have enjoyed the trees by the side of the road, and the rocks, and the rock itself that he was carrying - the texture of it.
And if it were a morning like this.and the raindrops, and the smell of the freshly wet earth, he would have sung a beautiful song, he would have shouted a few haikus, he would have said, “This is it!” he would have danced with the rock, around the rock. He would have enjoyed it. And when from the top the rock slips back, the sound of it.. And again a new thrill, and the adventure of going down into the valley and bringing the rock up again, and all that beautiful journey. Then the whole perspective changes.
But the Greek mind was a logical mind; they created logic in the world, they are the source of all logic. It looks like a condemnation, Sisyphus is condemned; you can’t see any meaning in it. What will be the meaning? When Sisyphus reaches to the top and is awarded a Nobel Prize, then do you think there will be meaning in it? That will be another rock to carry. What meaning will there be? And the question will remain relevant: What is the meaning of getting a Nobel Prize? What do you think - if he reaches to the top and becomes a millionaire, will that be the meaning? Or he becomes world famous.. Sisyphus has reached to the top, and he is talked about in all the newspapers, and his picture is on the front page of all the great newspapers of the world - will that be meaning? What meaning? Can you think of any meaning that will be real meaning?