Chapter 5: There Can Be No Regret
That’s why Taoists don’t believe that God created the world, that God created man, that God created souls. If God had created souls then they were caused and one day they would disappear - howsoever far that day might be is not material. If the world were caused and man had been created, then one day the world would be uncreated and man would be uncreated. Taoists say “That which is eternal, uncaused, uncreated” - they don’t have a creator. In fact, nobody has ever reached that peak, that sublime peak, of understanding as have the Taoists. All other religions look juvenile. The Taoist maturity is so tremendous, is of such splendor, is of such depth and height, that no other religion can be compared to it; they all look like kindergarten schools - made specially for children. Made specially for children, that’s why God is “the father,” children cannot be independent, they need a father. If your real father has disappeared then you still need an imaginary father in heaven to control you: you are not mature enough, you cannot be on your own, you have to lean on somebody or other.
Taoists have no concept of God - not that they are godless, they are the most godly - but they don’t have a concept of God; existence is enough. There is no creator, there is no creation, there is eternity. This has always been so, this will always be so. Once you have come in contact with this eternal continuity inside your being, the substratum, then there is nothing to be miserable about.
You are eternal, you are immortal, there is no death for you because there has never been any birth. You are uncreated, you cannot be destroyed. Whatsoever the outer circumstances, your inner light goes on burning bright and the song continues.
Confucius, who was on a journey to Wei, saw him in the distance. Turning to his disciples he said, “That old man should be worth talking to. Someone should go and find out what he has to say.”
Confucius was always in search of knowledge. He was always in search of somebody who could say something to him; he was always ready to borrow knowledge. That’s how the intellectual functions: all that he has is borrowed; he never looks within, he goes on looking outside - “If somebody has it, then I should go and inquire.” The intellectual is imitative, mechanical, parrot-like; for the intellectual, knowledge is something that has to be learned. He never looks within his own being, he never looks into his own inner consciousness; he never tries to understand the knower. He is after knowledge - and there is the difference. The Taoist is not after knowledge, but he wants to know: Who is this knower? What is this knowing? He wants to know the source of this knowing, where this consciousness is arising from.
You are here, you are listening to me. Now, you can be either a Confucian or a Taoist because these are the only two standpoints possible. If you are listening to me and you become more and more interested in what I am saying and start collecting it, then you are a Confucian. But if while you are here listening to me - feeling my presence, looking into my eyes - you become aware of the consciousness that is within you, the attention that is within you and you become intrigued by what it is and a deep inquiry arises: Who am I.? Not that you have to repeat the words ‘Who am I?’ but a deep inquiry, a quest arises; a passion to know: Who is this consciousness in me? What is this consciousness in me? What is its nature? What is its quality? Where does it come from? Where is it going.? If this passion to know your consciousness arises, you are a Taoist. And only a Taoist is a religious person.