Chapter 44: Become Again an Innocent Child
The true master, or the true wise man, takes away all that is false in you - and your wisdom is false, your knowledge is false. You know nothing of life, you know nothing of godliness, all that you know are mere words without any content, hollow, rotten; but just because they have been handed to you by your parents, by your teachers, by your priests, you have been preserving them as if they are great treasures. In fact, they are the burdens that don’t allow you to fly in freedom in the open sky of existence.
The master takes away everything that is false in you - and what is not false in you? Your whole personality is given by the society. You came into the world innocent, full of wonder, knowing nothing but longing to know everything. The society has filled your mind with all kinds of knowledge. And one thing has to be remembered here: knowledge is significant when it grows within you; it becomes poisonous and dangerous and murderous when it is forced upon you.
All that you know - have a look at it. Has it grown within you? Or has it been forced upon you? Is it a conditioning from the outside, or just an overflowing of your own being, of your own spring of life?
You don’t know anything about your own being. Hence the true wise man takes away all your wisdom and leaves you again in the same space as you were born - in wonder, knowing nothing. From there your authentic journey can start.
I am reminded of one of the great mystics, Bodhidharma. Nearabout fourteen hundred years ago he went to China. He had been invited by Emperor Wu of China; the emperor had even come to the boundaries of his empire - and his empire was perhaps the greatest empire of those days - to receive Bodhidharma. He touched his feet, but the questions that he asked prevented Bodhidharma from entering his empire.
His questions were not irrelevant; all so-called religious people ask them, and all so-called religious saints answer them. The emperor had asked, “I have made thousands of temples for Gautam Buddha, and I have thousands of scholars continually translating words of Gautam Buddha into Chinese. I have opened many monasteries, and the whole of China is now under the great influence of Gautam Buddha. What will be my reward for all this?”
Bodhidharma stared at the emperor and said, “You will fall in hell.”
The emperor said, “Have I done anything wrong?”
Bodhidharma said, “Whatever you have done is right, but if doing it in itself is not your reward then you have missed the whole point. Making a beautiful temple, a beautiful statue of Buddha - if that is not your reward and you want something else then you are doing business, it is not religion. In religion, the very action in itself is either reward or punishment.
“I know you have opened your vast treasures for the spread of the message of Gautam Buddha, but you are waiting to have greater treasures in future life, in paradise as a reward - you are bargaining with existence. I am not a businessman. You have invited the wrong person.”
The emperor said, “But I have invited many monks and they always said, ‘Great will be your reward because great is your virtue.’”