Chapter 56: Discovering Emptiness
In subtle ways, indirect ways, your past memories will force you to think - and if you think, you have come back. If you can remain silent in that moment, if you are not tempted by the mechanism of your memory and mind.. This is really the Satan - your own mind which tempts you. Whenever you are falling empty, the mind tempts you and creates something to think about - and if you start thinking, you are back.
It is said that when one of the great masters, Bodhidharma, went to China, many disciples gathered around him. He was the first Zen master. One disciple, who was to become his chief disciple, came to him and said, “Now I have become totally empty.”
Bodhidharma slapped him immediately and said, “Now go and throw this emptiness also! Now you are filled with emptiness - throw this also. Only then will you be really empty.”
You understand? You can be filled by the idea of emptiness. Then it will hover on you, it will become a cloud. He said, “Throw this emptiness also, and then come to me.” If you say you are empty, you are not empty. Now this word empty has become meaningful and you are filled with it. The same I say to you - throw this emptiness also.
You have talked about transformation and mutation of man’s mind, of man’s unconscious into super-conscious, and you have said that spirituality is an existential experimentation. But last night you said that the ego is a false entity and it has no substance and reality to it. Then does it mean that the whole spiritual experimentation is an existential transformation of the ego which is non-existential?
No. The spiritual transformation is not the transformation of the ego; it is the dissolution of it. You are not going to transform the ego, because howsoever transformed, the ego will remain the ego. It may become superior, more refined, more cultured, but the ego will remain the ego. And more cultured; it becomes more poisonous. The more subtle, the more you will be in its grip, because you will not be able to be aware of it. You are not even aware of such a gross ego. When it becomes subtle you will not be aware of it; there will be no possibility.
There are ways to refine the ego, but those ways are not of spirituality. Morality exists on those methods. And that is the difference between morality and religion. Morality exists on methods of refining the ego; morality exists on respectability. So we say to a person, “Don’t do this. If you do this, your respect is at stake. Don’t do this. What will others think about you? Don’t do this. You will not be honored. Do this and everyone will honor you.”