Chapter 1: Always on the Rocks
Zen painting is not done in the Western way. In the Western painting you will find that the painter goes on improving; on one coat of paint there will be another coat of paint and still another coat of paint, and he goes on improving and touching up and doing things. Zen painters cannot do that, that is impossible. They use a certain kind of paper, rice-paper, on which you can make only one stroke. You cannot correct it, you have to leave it as it is. The paper is so thin that if you try to correct it the whole thing will be lost. Why is rice-paper being used? So that the mind has nothing to do - the mind is constantly trying to improve, to make things better. It has to be from the heart, a single stroke. If your heart is full of it, it will come right. But you cannot correct it, correction comes from the mind.
Zen painting is never corrected; if you correct it your correction will always show that you are not a master. It has to come out of your meditativeness, your silence. Your feeling of the moment is spread on the rice-paper.
Art is just in the middle, equidistant from science and religion. It can be both. It can be scientific art, as it is in the West - that’s what you mean, Ananda Prabhu. It can be religious art - you don’t know anything about that yet, because before you can know anything about it you will have to know what meditation is.
Meditation is not a state of concentration, it is not a state of mind at all. It is a state of total mindlessness - and not a state of sleep either. No mind, no sleep; no mind, but total awareness. Out of that awareness you bring a different quality to music, to painting, to poetry - and out of that meditativeness you can bring a totally different quality to science too. But before that can happen we will need large numbers of meditative people around the earth.
That’s what my work is. That’s what I am trying to do here: to create meditators, that is the first requirement. If we want to bring a new world vision where science and religion can meet, we will have to create the foundation first; only then can the temple be raised on it. Meditation has to be the foundation.
So don’t try to reconcile things, just become more meditative. In your meditation is reconciliation, because in your meditation you become able to see that the contradictions are only apparent, that the contraries are only enemies on the surface, but deep down they are friends. It is like two friends playing chess; on the surface they are enemies, but deep down they are friends. That’s why they are playing chess - they are friends; but because they are playing chess they are pretending to be enemies.
This is the leela of existence, the play of existence. God has divided himself into two, because that is the only way to play hide-and-seek. It is a very beautiful play if you understand it as play. Don’t take it too seriously because then you will not be able to see the playfulness of it.
You ask me: “Why is it so difficult to be meditative and a scientist?” It is not. To be meditative is difficult for everybody; it is not only a question for the scientist. You are a scientist. But it is the same difficulty as a businessman will feel, it is the same difficulty as the carpenter will feel. It is not only new to the scientist. Maybe quantitatively it is a little more difficult, because his whole mind knows only one way of functioning, that of concentration. He knows only one way, how to use the mind by focusing it on a certain object. And meditation means remaining unfocussed, just remaining open, open for everything.