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Chapter 1: Meditation: The Breath of the Soul

It can be heard only with a deep love for truth. It can be heard only by those who are real inquirers, not just curious, not just spectators, not just philosophers, but who are really ready to go through a radical transformation - who are ready to die and be reborn. It is only for those few people who have guts and courage, because it is not like Christianity, a Sunday religion - that each Sunday you go to the church and your paradise is assured. It is not like Mohammedanism, that you pray five times, go on repeating like a parrot the same words, which are not your words, which are not spontaneous to you, which have been imposed on you by others - you may not even know their meaning.

It is such a stupid world! Mohammedans pray in Arabic, which they don’t understand; Hindus pray in Sanskrit, which they don’t understand; and now Buddhists pray in Pali, which they don’t understand - for the simple reason that priests have been very much insistent on keeping the dead language because those prayers are very poor if they are translated into your language, which you understand. You will be at a loss - you will not be able to see what there is to pray in them; they will lose all the mystery. The mystery is because you don’t understand them. Hence Latin, Greek, Arabic, Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit - dead languages which nobody understands anymore. Priests go on insisting that prayers should be in those dead languages.

You are saying something the meaning of which is not known to you. What kind of prayer is this? To whom are you addressing it? You don’t know anything about God. And what you are saying is not arising out of your heart, you are just being a gramophone record - “His Master’s Voice.”

Zen is not interested in such compromises. It wants you to really wake up. And it is hard work, a thankless job. A Zen master has chosen something for which nobody is going to thank him. Everybody will feel sabotaged by him and everybody will feel hurt by him. Everybody will feel, “He is disturbing my sleep.” Only very few people, who are real inquirers, who are ready to risk all, will be able to understand, because Zen says your whole life has to be transformed, not just a part of your life.

When you are in the temple, in the mosque, in the synagogue, you become religious, and when you are outside of it you are irreligious, just the old self. Then your being in the temple is a pretension. It divides you, it creates a schizophrenic humanity, it creates people who have split minds. If you go and see them praying in the mosques, in the temples, you will say, “How beautiful they are!” And the same people in the marketplace become so ugly. And the same people will kill each other with such cruelty you could not have conceived of it! If you had seen them praying in the mosque, in the church, you would not have believed that they would butcher each other so cruelly, so mechanically.

Christians have killed thousands of Mohammedans, Mohammedans have killed thousands of Christians, Hindus have killed Mohammedans, Mohammedans have killed Hindus, Hindus have killed Buddhists, and so on and so forth. All these religions have been enemies of each other. They talk of love, but that is only mere talk; the reality is totally different. And why is it so? - because their prayer is false.

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