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Chapter 4: Apologies

There are two types of religion. One is of the mind - it is dead. That religion is known as theology. There is another type of religion - the real, the spontaneous. It is not theological, it is mystical. And remember, Hindus have one theology, Mohammedans a different one, Christians again another, but religion, the mystical religion, is the same; it cannot be different.

Buddha and Jesus and Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu, they are the same because they are not theologians. They are not talking from the head, they are simply pouring from their heart. They are not logicians, they are poets. They are not saying something from the scriptures, they are not trained for it, they are simply responding to a necessity in you. Their words are not ready-made, their manners not fixed, their behavior not planned.

Now we will enter Chuang Tzu’s sutra:

If a man steps on a stranger’s foot
in the marketplace,
he makes a polite apology
and offers an explanation:
“This place is so crowded.”

Apology is needed because there is no relationship, the other is a stranger. Explanation is needed because there is no love. If there is love then there is no need for an explanation, the other will understand. If there is love, there is no need for apology, the other will understand - love always understands.

So there is no higher morality than love, there cannot be. Love is the highest law, but if it is not there then substitutes are needed. Stepping on a stranger’s foot in the marketplace, apology is needed, and an explanation also:

“This place is so crowded.”

In reference to this, one thing has to be understood. In the West even a husband will offer an apology, a wife will offer an explanation. It means that love has disappeared. It means that everybody has become a stranger, that there is no home, that every place has become a marketplace. In the East it is impossible to conceive of this, but Westerners think that Easterners are rude. A husband will never give an explanation - no need, because we are not strangers and the other can understand. When the other cannot understand, only then apology is needed. And if love cannot understand, what good is apology going to do?

If the world becomes a home, all apologies will disappear, all explanations will disappear. You give explanations because you are not certain about the other. Explanation is a trick to avoid conflict, apology is a device to avoid conflict. But the conflict is there, and you are afraid of it.

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