Chapter 4: The Dead Man’s Answer
Religious men have always been saying, “We are absurd! We belong not to the world which is of sense, we belong to something which is beyond.” And the beyond is bound to be nonsense. What sense can you make out of religion? If you can make any sense out of religion, you have missed. Then you are in the world of theology, philosophy, systems, but you can never touch that purity which is always beyond reason.
Tertullian is right, he is true. He says, “I believe because God is absurd.” Belief means belief in the absurd. You need not believe in this world that surrounds you - it is there; nobody needs to believe in it. How can you disbelieve it? It is so much there, so present; everything proves it is there. Somebody can throw a stone at you and it is proved, because you will be bleeding. You have been hit; the stone is there.
But God cannot hit you like a stone. You cannot even touch him. There is no way. How to smell him? How to see him? And still you believe. Belief means always believing in the absurd.
But what happens when somebody is capable of believing in the absurd? He is out of his reason. Suddenly the circle stops, the wheel stops, because you are not feeding it any more. Argument stops, thinking stops. Suddenly you are out of it, as if you have been awakened out of your sleep. And the greatest sleep is of reason, because reason creates such beautiful dreams, and so real that everyone is deceived by them.
Once you are awake and out of the vicious circle, God is there, nothing else exists. Then there is no need to believe. Then you know. But before that knowing happens, faith will be needed. And all those philosophers who have been trying for centuries to prove that God is, they are not religious, they are not serving God; they are doing a great disservice. Because when you give proof, you make God also a part of the mind. And when somebody believes because God is a proved fact, he cannot get out of the reason.
So all religious people, all the masters, have devised ways to bring you out of the reason. Zen has its own particular technique, and that technique is known as a koan. A koan is an absurd puzzle. You cannot solve it. Howsoever you try, your effort is irrelevant. “Harder and harder,” the master will go on saying, “you are not trying hard enough.” And he is deceiving you, because whatsoever you do will never be hard enough to solve the problem - because the problem is unsolvable! It doesn’t depend whether you work hard at it or not. But if you do it with your totality, suddenly you will become aware of the absurdity - never before. Suddenly you will start laughing. The whole thing was nonsense. And if you can laugh the mad laugh that comes when reason is not functioning..