Chapter 1: You Are Always on the Funeral Pyre
Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, are the religions below the age of ten. They fulfill whatsoever are your needs; they are not too much worried about the truth. They are more worried about you, they are more worried how to console you.
The situation is such: the mother has died and the child is crying and weeping, and you have to console the child. So you tell lies. You pretend that the mother has not died: “She has gone for a visit to the neighbors - she will be coming. Don’t be worried, she will be just coming.” or: “She has gone for a long journey. It will take a few days but she will I be back.” Or: “She has gone to visit God - nothing to be worried about. She is still alive: maybe she has left the body, but the soul lives forever.”
Buddha is the most shattering individual in the whole history of humanity. His whole effort is to drop all props. He does not say to believe in anything. He is an unbeliever and his religion is that of un-belief. He does not say, “Believe.” He says, “Doubt.”
Now, you have heard about religions which say believe. You have never heard about a religion which says doubt. Doubt is the very methodology - doubt to the very core, doubt to the very end, doubt to the very last. And when you have doubted everything, and you have dropped everything out of doubt, then reality arises in your vision. It has nothing to do with your beliefs about God. It is nothing like your so-called God. Then arises reality: absolutely unfamiliar and unknown. But that possibility exists only when all the beliefs have been dropped and the mind has come to a state of maturity, understanding, acceptance that “Whatsoever is is, and we don’t desire otherwise. If there is no God, there is no God, and we don’t have any desire to project a God. If there is no God, then we accept it.”
This is what maturity is: to accept the fact and not to create a fiction around it; to accept the reality as it is, without trying to sweeten it, without trying to decorate it, without trying to make it more acceptable to your heart. If it is shattering, it is shattering. If it is shocking, it is shocking. If the truth kills, then one is ready to be killed.
Buddha is merciless. And nobody has ever opened the door of reality so deeply, so profoundly as he has done. He does not allow you any childish desires. He says: Become more aware, become more conscious, become more courageous. Don’t go on hiding behind beliefs and masks and theologies. Take hold of your life into your own hands. Burn bright your inner light and see whatsoever is. And once you have become courageous enough to accept it, it is a benediction. No belief is needed.
That is Buddha’s first step towards reality: all belief-systems are poisonous; all belief-systems are barriers.