Chapter 1: The Significance of Zen
India can give birth to dhyan. For millennia the whole Indian consciousness has been traveling on the path of dhyan - how to drop all thinking and how to be rooted in pure consciousness. With Buddha the seed came into existence. Many times before also, before Gautam Buddha, the seed came into existence, but it couldn’t find the right soil so it disappeared. And if the seed is given to the Indian consciousness it will disappear, because the Indian consciousness will move more and more inwards, and the seed will become smaller and smaller and smaller, until a moment comes when it becomes invisible. A centripetal force makes things smaller, smaller, smaller - atomic - until suddenly they disappear. Many times before Gautam Buddha the seed was born - and to become a dhyani, to become a great meditator. In fact he is one of the last of a long series. He himself remembers twenty-four buddhas before him. Then there were twenty-four Jaina tirthankaras, and they all were meditators. They did nothing else, they simply meditated, meditated, meditated, and came to a point where only they were, and everything else disappeared, evaporated.
The seed was born with Parasnath, with Mahavira, Neminath, and others, but then it remained with the Indian consciousness. The Indian consciousness can give birth to a seed, but cannot become the right soil for it. It goes on working in the same direction and the seed becomes smaller and smaller, molecular, atomic and disappears. That’s how it happened with the Upanishads; that’s how it happened with the Vedas; that’s how it happened with Mahavira and all others.
With Buddha it was also going to happen. Bodhidharma saved him. If the seed had been left with the Indian consciousness it would have dissolve. It would never have sprouted, because a different type of soil is needed for sprouting - a very balanced soil. Introversion is a very deep imbalance, it is an extreme.
Bodhidharma escaped with the seed to China. He did one of the greatest things in the history of consciousness: he found the right soil for the seed that Buddha had given to the world.
Buddha himself is reported to have said: My religion will not exist for more than 500 years, then it will disappear. He was aware that it always happened that way. The Indian consciousness goes on grinding it into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces, then a moment comes when it becomes so small that it becomes invisible. It is simply no longer part of this world; it disappears into the sky.
Bodhidharma’s experiment was great. He looked all around the world and observed deeply for a place where this seed could grow.
China is a very balanced country, not like India, not like Japan. The golden mean is the path there. Confucian ideology is to remain always in the middle: neither be introvert, nor be extrovert; neither think too much of this world, nor too much of that world - just remain in the middle. China has not given birth to a religion, just morality. No religion has been born there; the Chinese consciousness cannot give birth to a religion. It cannot create a seed. All the religions that exist in China have been imported, they have all come from the outside; Buddhism, Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Christianity - they have all come from the outside. China is a good soil but it cannot originate any religion, because to originate a religion one has to move into the inner world. To give birth to a religion one has to be like a feminine body, a womb.