Chapter 2: A Formless Fragrance
That’s why many times you will find contradictions in my statements - because I cannot change anything. Existence is contradictory because existence is a paradox. It contains the polar opposites: it is darkness and light, summer and winter, life and death. Sometimes it speaks as life and sometimes as death, and sometimes it comes as summer and sometimes as winter - what can I do?
If I interfere, I will misrepresent. If I try to be consistent then I will be false. I can be true only if I will remain available to all the contradictions that existence contains.
This chair is certainly empty. And the day you are able to see this chair empty, this body empty, this being empty, you will have seen me, you will have contacted me. That is the real moment when the disciple meets the master. It is a dissolution, a disappearance: the dewdrop slipping into the ocean, or the ocean slipping into the dewdrop. It is the same! - the master disappearing into the disciple and the disciple disappearing into the master. And then there prevails a profound silence.
It is not a dialogue. That’s where Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism, have reached higher pinnacles than Christianity, Judaism, Islam - because Islam, Judaism, Christianity, remain clinging somehow to the idea of a dialogue. But a dialogue presupposes duality, two-ness. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, are religions of prayer. Prayer presupposes that there is a God separate from you, that you can address him.
Hence Martin Buber’s book became very famous - I and Thou. That is the essence of prayer. But “I” and “thou”. A duality is needed for a dialogue. And howsoever beautiful the dialogue may be, it is still a division, a split; it is not yet union. The river has not entered the ocean. Maybe it has come very close, just on the verge, but it is holding back.
Buddhism is not the religion of prayer, it is the religion of meditation. And that’s the difference between prayer and meditation: prayer is a dialogue, meditation is a silence. Prayer has to be addressed to somebody - real, unreal, but it has to be addressed to somebody. Meditation is not an address at all; one has simply to fall into silence, one has simply to disappear into nothingness. When one is not, meditation is.
And Buddha is meditation - that is his flavor. These ten days we remained silent, we remained in meditation. The real thing has been said. Those who have not heard the real thing, now for them I will be speaking.
The meditation that prevailed for ten days was with a difference - and that is the difference between Buddha’s and my approach - a little difference, but of tremendous import. And that has to be understood by you, because I am not a mere commentator on Buddha. I am not only echoing him, I am not simply a mirror to reflect him; I am a response, not a reflection. I am not a scholar, I am not going to make a scholarly analysis of his statements - I am a poet!