Chapter 1: God Is a Puppeteer
I have heard about one atheist, a very famous atheist. He died, and his wife tried to bring the best clothes, the best shoes, before he was put into a coffin - the best tie, the costliest possible. She wanted to give him a good farewell, a good send-off. He was dressed as he had never dressed in his whole life.
And then friends came, and neighbors came. And one woman said, “Wow! He’s all dressed up and nowhere to go!” - because he was an atheist: he did not believe in God, he did not believe in heaven, he did not believe in hell. Nowhere to go, and completely well-dressed!
But this is the situation any negative philosophy is going to leave the whole of mankind in: well-dressed, ready to go, but nowhere to go! This situation creates insanity.
It was not an accident that Friedrich Nietzsche became insane, it was the outcome of his negative philosophy. Hence, I am calling this series, God is Dead, Now Zen is the Only Living Truth.
I absolutely agree with Friedrich Nietzsche as far as God is concerned, but I want to complete his statement, which he could not do. He was not an awakened being, he was not an enlightened being.
Gautam Buddha also does not have a God, neither does Mahavira have a God, but they never went mad. All the Zen masters and all the great Tao masters - Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu - nobody went mad, and they don’t have any God, they don’t have any hell or heaven. What is the difference? Why didn’t Gautam Buddha go mad? And it is not only Gautam Buddha. In twenty-five centuries hundreds of his people have become enlightened, and they don’t even talk about God. They don’t even say that there is no God, because there is no point.
They are not atheists. I am not an atheist, neither am I a theist. God simply is not there, so there is no question of atheism or theism.
But I am not mad. You are my witnesses. It does not create a vacuum in me, on the contrary, there being no God, I have gained the dignity of an individual who is free - free to become a buddha. That is the ultimate goal of freedom. Unless your freedom becomes your very flowering of awareness, and the experience of freedom leads you into eternity - leads you into the roots, into the cosmos and existence - you are going to be mad. Your life will be meaningless, with no significance. Whatever you do, does not matter.