Chapter 5: Killing the Buddha
One thing: metaphysics.words like God, nirvana, enlightenment, almost become things. You start believing in words. If somebody suddenly shouts “Fire!” a fear arises in you; you start running. You can create a nuisance in any theater at night. When the lights are put off, suddenly shout “Fire! Fire!” and people will start running.
The very word fire creates the illusion as if there is fire and life is in danger. The very word lemon.think about it, meditate on it, and saliva starts flowing in your mouth. The very word lemon? It has nothing in it. But man has become addicted to words.
There is a school of linguists called The General Semantics Group, founded by Alfred Korzybski. They have a little song; it is relevant. Their song is:
Oh, the word is not the thing,
the word is not the thing.
Hi ho the derry-o,
the word is not the thing.
That is their essential teaching.
Of course, you cannot be burned by the word fire, and you cannot get wet from the word water. But the word God, the word religion, the word Christ, the word Buddha - how many people have sacrificed their lives for these words?
Somebody insults Christianity - what is he doing? Christianity is a word - but Christians are offended; there is going to be bloodshed. Humanity has been fighting and fighting for words - country, liberty, socialism, the flag - and millions of people have died. Words have become more significant than life itself. This is a sort of madness.
So metaphysics is not only nonsense, it is also madness - of course, with a method. It is very methodological. Metaphysicians go on building skyscrapers of words - the Tower of Babel. They go on building it. And once you are caught in the words, the reality recedes farther away from you. You start living behind a wall of words. And a wall of words is stronger than any wall. Even a wall of stones, rocks, is not so strong.
The strength of words lies in their being transparent: you can go on looking through them and you will never become aware that you are looking through words. They are almost invisible, transparent - like pure glass. You can stand near a window. If the glass is really pure, you will not become aware of the glass. You will think that the window is open and you are seeing the sky and the trees and the sun rising, and you will never become aware that there is glass between you and the reality. Metaphysics is a glass. It goes on hiding reality from you, and it goes on distorting reality.
People cling to words because they don’t know what reality is. So they start believing in words - it is a make-believe. At least it gives a sense that you know. When you use the word God, suddenly you feel as if you know godliness. You don’t know anything about godliness, you only know the word God. That too you have only heard, but it has become your foundation rock.