Chapter 2: Let the Christian Ship Drown
But because it is an experience - in Zen they don’t even use the word experience, they use the word experiencing, because the experience is not something dead and complete. It is a river flowing, flowing, alive, moving. The word experience indicates that it has become complete. Anything that becomes complete becomes dead, and Zen is the most alive thing in the world; hence it cannot be said that it is an experience. We have to invent a word, experiencing; instead of river, rivering. That gives the clear-cut idea that a river is not static, it is moving - on the way, always on the way, moving eternally, falling into the ocean, rising into the clouds, falling in the rain on the mountains, and again into the river.moving in a circle of tremendous aliveness, never stopping anywhere.
There is no full stop in Zen, and all our words - experience, knowledge, understanding - give the illusion of a full stop. We have to change our nouns into verbs - verbs come closer to life. We use the word life, but we should use the word living - that comes closer. Moment to moment, living. Life seems to be something dead; it has already completed its course, has come to an end, to the graveyard.
Zen is certainly a mystique. In fact, it is the only mystique there is. But it is not being said, it is kept a secret so that you don’t go inside your being with a certain idea. You go absolutely clean and fresh. You will find the mystery, the immense mystery of life, but Zen’s absolute approach is not to give you any idea what you are going to find. The reason is very scientific.
If you have an idea what you are going to find - which all the religions give you - the mind has the capacity to create a hallucination of the idea. Then the idea becomes a reality to you. Christians experience Christ, Buddhists experience Buddha, Hindus experience Krishna. It never happens to a Hindu that Christ comes, it never happens to a Christian that Mohammed comes. Strange. Mohammed comes only to those who believe in Mohammed.
Once in a while it would be good for these people to enter into somebody else’s experience. In fact, it would be absolutely right to convert. If Christ appears to a Hindu, the Hindu will become Christian; if Krishna appears to a Christian, the Christian will turn to the Hare Krishna, Hare Rama movement. But it never happens! It cannot happen because you are carrying a certain idea, so fixed that your whole mind starts creating a dream.
The mind has the capacity of dreaming, hallucinating, imagining. If you are constantly working on one single idea, sooner or later it becomes such a fixed program that when you look in silence you find suddenly Christ arising. That fulfills your idea. It is a vicious circle. Because you experience Christ arising in your mind, your belief in Christ becomes stronger.
Now it is no longer just a belief, you have experienced it also. Because it becomes stronger, there is more possibility of Christ coming closer to you. Every time Christ appears to you, he will be more solid, more alive, closer. And every time he appears, you are getting feedback for your belief system, it is becoming stronger and more fanatical. Soon you will be almost insane. You will start talking to Christ - and not only will you start talking, but he will answer.
Anybody watching you will see that you are doing both the things: you are asking the question and you are answering the question. Anybody watching you will be able to see that you are just behaving in an insane way. You are not talking to anybody but yourself. But you have gone so deep in the hallucination, with such strength and continuous feedback, that you believe it is Christ who is talking.