Chapter 1: Hey! Wait a Minute
Zen destroys that psychology from the very root. Zen has no condemnation for anything. It has only understanding: it says try to understand things as they are. Try to understand man as he is - don’t impose an ideal, don’t say how he should be. The moment you say how man should be, you become blind to the reality that he is.
The “should” becomes a barrier. Then you can’t see the real, then you can’t see that which is - your “should” becomes too heavy. You have an ideal, a perfectionist ideal, and every man falls below it, naturally. Then every man is condemned.
And those egoistic people who can manage somehow to force themselves into these ideals - at least superficially, at least outwardly - they become great saints. They are nothing but great egoists. And if you look into their eyes, just one flavor you will find: holier-than-thou. They are the chosen few, they are the chosen people of God. And they are here to condemn you and to transform you.
Zen is not interested in anybody’s transformation. And it transforms - that is the paradox. It is not concerned with how you should be, it is only concerned with what you are. See into it, see into it with loving, caring eyes. Try to understand what it is. And out of this understanding, a transformation comes. And the transformation is natural - you have not to do it, it simply happens on its own accord.
Zen transforms, but it doesn’t talk about transformation. It changes, but it is not concerned with change. It brings more beatitude to man than anything else, but it is not concerned with it at all. It comes as a grace, as a gift. It follows understanding. That is the beauty of Zen, it is unconditionally value-free. Valuation is the disease of the mind - that’s what Zen says. Nothing is good and nothing is bad, things are just as they are. Everything is as it is.
In Zen a totally new dimension opens, the dimension of effortless transformation. The dimension of transformation that comes naturally, by clearer eyes, by clarity. By seeing into the nature of things more directly, without any hindrance of prejudices.
The moment you say a man is good, you have stopped looking at him. You have labeled him already; you have pigeon-holed him, you have categorized him. The moment you say “this man is bad” how can you look into his eyes now any more? You have decided offhand, you are finished with this man. This man is no more a mystery. You have solved the mystery: you have written on it “this is bad,” “this is good.” Now you will be behaving with these labels, and not the realities.
The good man can turn into bad, the bad man can turn into good. It is happening every moment - in the morning the man was good, by the evening he is bad, by the night he is again good. But now you will behave according to the labeling. You will not be talking to the man himself, you will be talking to your own label, to your own image.