Chapter 1: Now Sit Down and Listen
A Hindu cannot see God. How can a Hindu see God? Just by being a Hindu he is creating a hindrance. How can a Mohammedan see God? Just being a Mohammedan he is creating a wall between himself and God. At least when you go to God don’t carry labels, categories. At least when you go to God, go nude and naked. Go just as a human being, just as pure being, a mirror ready to reflect.ready to reflect whatsoever is the case. Don’t go on projecting an idea.
The Hindu looks for the Hindu God, the Christian looks for the Christian God. And when you are looking for a God you are carrying an idea inside you. And any idea inside does not allow you to fall into dhyan, samadhi, meditation. All ideas have to be dropped. The mind has to cease for God to be. When you are not, God is.
A master teaches you how to become absent. His presence by and by teaches you to become absent. Have you not observed one tremendously important phenomenon? - that God’s way of being present in the world is his absence. He is not present by being present. God is present by being absent. That is his way of being present in the world. You cannot pinpoint: here is God. And wherever you can pinpoint, he is not. He is everywhere and nowhere. You cannot locate, you cannot say “in the north, or in the south, or in this temple, or in that mosque” - you cannot pinpoint God. If you pinpoint, it will be something else, not God - a statue, a scripture, a tradition, a morality, but not religion, not God. God is everywhere! His way of presence is to be absent, and this is what a master teaches you. His presence is also a way of being absent.
A master has disappeared, he is no more - there is only utter nothingness in him. If you go inside a master, you will find the same thing that was found by the angel in the parable. That man sitting in the mango grove had become a Buddha.
Buddha is not a proper name. It has nothing to do with Gautam Siddhartha. Gautam Siddhartha is one of the Buddhas. Christ is a Buddha too; so is Mahavira, so is Krishna, so is Nanak, so is Kabir, so is Rabiya, so is Meera, so is Mohammed.
One day a Zen master came into the garden, and one monk was cleaning old leaves, dead leaves from the garden. The Zen master asked the monk, who was his disciple, “What are you doing?”
The disciple said, “Sir, cleaning.”
And the master asked a very strange question: “Cleaning? Are you doing it before Buddha or after Buddha?”
Now Buddha is already ancient - twenty-five centuries have passed, this question is utter nonsense. But Zen masters enjoy nonsense very much. Zen is the sense of non-sense. If it had been asked of you, you would have been puzzled. But the disciple knew his master. He had lived with him, he knew what kind of questions he used to ask. Each question is a situation, each question is a hint - the more absurd, the more potential, because you cannot answer it through the mind. Now mind will simply feel boggled down. “You are cleaning,” the master says, “but tell me: before Buddha or after Buddha?”
And the disciple laughed, and he said, “Both, sir - before and after.”
The master patted him and said, “Right.” He went away.