Chapter 2: Zen Is like Wild Flowers
Once, Kyozan’s master asked him, “The Nirvana Sutra has about forty chapters of the Buddha’s teaching. How many of these are devil teachings?”
“All of them,” replied Kyozan.
The master commented: “From now on, nobody will be able to do what he likes with you.”
Then Kyozan asked: “From now on, what should be my mode of life?”
His master responded, “I admire your just eye; I am not concerned about the practical side of the matter.”
Once Kyozan was asked by a monk, “Can you explain the law body?”
“I can’t,” said Kyozan, “but there is one who can.”
The monk then said, “Where is the one who can explain it?”
By way of response, Kyozan pulled forward the pillow.
Kyozan’s master, on hearing of this interchange, said, “Kyozan is using the blade of the sword.”
Maneesha, Zen is both a religion and a revolution against religion; this makes people confused. But the thing is not confusing. The so-called religions have become fossilized - they no more breathe, they no more sing, they no more dance. They have become a hidden organized politics.
Against all these things Zen is a revolution, and by this revolution Zen thinks religion can be purified, raised to the highest stars of its possibilities. Hence the strangeness of Zen. It is a religion but not like any other. Even the Buddhists do not accept Zen as authentic Buddhism.
The moment an experience becomes an explanation, a philosophy, a theology, it loses life. It may catch many people in its fold but these will be the people who want religion at a very cheap price.
Religion needs you to risk all, nothing less will do. Hence the organized religions - Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Jainaism, Buddhism - they are not only giving you a false idea of religiousness, they are also preventing you from searching for the right one. When you think that you have the right one already in your hands, there is no need to search for it.
I agree with Karl Marx on this point, when he says: “Religions are the opium of the people.” They have consoled.for centuries. They have not done any creative work for consciousness, nor have they enriched the earth, its beauty and its productivity. On the contrary they have taught people to renounce the world - and this is the only world we know.
Somebody of the caliber of Gautam Buddha was absolutely needed in his time to declare a constant war against those who have a negative attitude towards life. They only count the thorns in a rosebush and, amongst so many thorns, naturally they forget the beautiful roses. Looking positively, affirmatively, looking with love they should first count the flowers; they should become engulfed by the perfume of the flowers.
And then those thorns would appear in a totally different context. Those thorns would appear as bodyguards, as protective armor around the rose; that is their function. The same life juice that becomes the rose becomes the thorn. At their source they come from the same roots; they cannot be enemies. But all the religions were afraid of one thing: that religion may become a changing, moving, alive river. The fear was that if religion remains a flowing river.who knows, people may change tomorrow.
Mahavira closes the door on anything else being added. He is the twenty-fourth tirthankara. That is the last number; now nothing can be added to Jainaism. It is a very tricky game.