Chapter 3: A Grand Approach to Reality
In the days when Yakusan was still actively instructing his disciples, Rikoh - the governor of Ho-shu and also a great Confucian - went to visit Yakusan, whom he greatly admired. Yakusan was looking at a sutra when the attendant monk showed Rikoh into the master’s room. Yakusan did not look up on the governor’s arrival, but appeared absorbed in what he was reading. After a few moments, Rikoh, who had a hot temper, could not stand it anymore.
He grumbled, “It’s better to hear the name
than to see your face,” and stood up to leave.
Immediately Yakusan said, “Why do you respect the ear and look down on the eye?”
Rikoh pressed his hands together and bowed down. He then asked, “Could you please tell me what Tao is?”
Yakusan immediately pointed up and then down with his hand and asked, “Do you understand?”
Rikoh said, “I don’t understand.”
Yakusan shouted, “Clouds are in the sky; water is in the well!”
Rikoh suddenly realized and felt great joy. And with his contentment, he bowed down to Yakusan and presented this poem to him:
“Achieved form, it looks like a form of the crane.
Under the thousands of pine trees, the way of the two poles.
I come and ask Tao: no wasteful argument.
Clouds are in the sky; water is in the well.”
Friends, the two greatest enemies of man and life are religions and the military. They have both the same orientation: life-negation.
Religions teach people to renounce life, it is a sin to rejoice in it. In an indirect way they are teaching people to be life-destructive. They are enhancing a consolation that after life, after death, you will have all the pleasures of paradise.
The military is also life-negative. Its whole function is to prepare for death. You can see the relationship: the military prepares to destroy people, and religion consoles them, “Don’t be worried. The real life begins after death.” Hence they have a subtle conspiracy, which is not so obvious to ordinary people.
Religions - all the religions are included - have done their best to destroy people’s love, their life, their laughter. They have poisoned everything on the planet. If you are miserable, it is not your fault; you are programmed by the religions to be miserable. If you are criminals, suicidal, murderers, rapists, you are not responsible at all. You have been programmed to do all these things - but in such a way that unless you have the vision of a buddha, you will not be able to figure it out.
For example, to forcibly make man monogamous is to destroy his whole joy of being with women, women’s joy of being with men. A husband soon becomes a commodity, a wife soon becomes a lifelong purchased prostitute. You use each other, and to use any human being is against the dignity of humanity.
You can use things, but you cannot use human beings. And what are husbands doing? What are wives doing? And who is responsible for this? Who has created the prostitutes? To save marriage, millions of women live in the ugliest manner: by selling their bodies. It is religion.
Who has taken away your laughter, your smiling faces? Who has made you look so sad, in such despair and misery and anguish?
Sigmund Freud was right when he said that religion has been teaching against sex. It could not manage to make people against sex, but it has succeeded at least in poisoning sex. While making love you feel guilty - and how can you rejoice when you feel guilty? If you are committing a sin you cannot rejoice. Unless love is a virtue, your birthright, it is poisoned.
Just as Sigmund Freud is right, so is Karl Marx when he says that religions are the opium of the people. They keep people drugged, drugged in fictions: in God, in heaven, in the greed for paradise and its pleasures, in the fear and paranoia of hell.