Chapter 2: Sowing Seed
Dharma is not religion. In fact if you go to the roots of the words, religion means that which binds you, and dharma means that which frees you. They are absolutely contrary to each other. Dharma simply means your intrinsic nature. It is not written in scriptures and nobody can tell you what your dharma is. You have to find it yourself. This is a great dignity, conferred on the individual by existence, that you don’t have to live on borrowed knowledge. The living source of life is just flowing close by. Why not drink it and be quenched?
Ma Tzu says, after understanding the meaning of the dharma, that.he felt as if he were drinking the most exquisite nectar. The deeper you go in your meditations, the closer you will come to the eternal stream of your life sources. It is pure nectar, because it declares your immortality, it declares your eternity. It declares that death is a fiction; it has never happened and will never happen to anyone. One only changes the house; one gets into another form or maybe into the formless existence.
Ma Tzu’s statement that.he felt as if he were drinking the most exquisite nectar shows his tremendous understanding. He is very new in meditation, he is so young. But age has nothing to do with your realization. It is not that when you get old, you will be able to become a buddha easily. On the contrary, the older you become the more difficult it becomes for you to drop your lifelong habits, concepts, ideologies.
Just two years ago Pope the Polack was in India and he was surprised to see that the very poor and the orphans who have been converted to Christianity were doing the same in their churches as they had been doing before: burning incense, bringing flowers for Jesus Christ. He could not believe what the priests were doing, because these people were doing exactly what they used to do in their temples. Instead of Krishna, now Christ is there, everything else is the same.
But the priests told him that they had to make a few considerations, a few compromises. These people cannot understand a religion without incense, without flowers. And the pope conceded that for Indian Christians it is okay.
As you become old, it becomes very difficult to change your ideology, your lifelong belief. It becomes hardened. The old man becomes hard, and in the same way everything around him becomes hard. The best situation in which to grow into your potential is childhood. Next to it is your youth. Most probably the childhood will be spoilt by the parents, by the priests.
The authentic religion has to depend on youth, because youth has a certain rebelliousness natural to it. A young man can rebel against the whole past without any guilt. He can clean his heart of all the old dead scriptures and statues, and the challenge of the unknown stirs his heart. He wants to accept the greatest challenge, and this is the greatest challenge in life - to allow your seed to open to the unknown skies, to the winds, the sun, the rain; one never knows what is going to happen.