Meditation is just emptying out all that is rubbish in you, all that is borrowed, all that has been fed into you, and making you again an innocent child who knows nothing. If one can come to this state of not knowing, in this spaciousness of not knowing, something spontaneously starts growing within. It does not come from outside, it comes from the innermost life sources, from your very roots. It brings beautiful flowers. That’s why it is possible for a Jesus or a Kabir or a Raidas – people who are uneducated, uncultured. Jesus is the son of a carpenter, Kabir is an orphan – nobody knows whether he is a Hindu or a Mohammedan; he remained his whole life a poor weaver. Raidas is a shoemaker. All three came from the world’s most exploited people, the most humiliated, almost reduced into a subhuman species. But they have wisdom. They know nothing of scriptures, but each of their words is pure twenty-four karat gold. Each of their breaths brings the divine into the world. Each of their heartbeats is the heartbeat of the universe itself. They know without knowledge; they understand directly without any mediators.
One great Christian missionary who was trying to convert the Japanese people to Christianity went to a great Zen master. He collected information about the man – he was well known far and wide; even the emperor of Japan used to come to touch his feet.
The missionary was puzzled because the Zen master was uneducated, a villager. He thought, “It is a great opportunity to convert this Zen master into a Christian. It won’t be difficult; he cannot argue, he knows nothing of logic, he knows nothing of theology, he has not heard anything about philosophy – he cannot resist, he cannot oppose me. I just have to go to him and read a few words of Jesus.”
He had chosen the most beautiful part, the Sermon on the Mount. He started asking the permission of the Zen master, “I also have a master and I would like you to listen to a few of his words; I want to know your opinion about it.”
He had read only two or three lines and the Zen master said, “Stop! Whoever has said these lines will become enlightened in the next life. Don’t waste my time and don’t waste your time.” The missionary was simply shocked; he had never thought that this would be the response.
The Zen master said, “Don’t look shocked, I am being very compassionate. It is not absolutely certain that in the next life he will become enlightened. I am simply consoling you. Most probably he will become…he is a bodhisattva, but it is a question of time; no one can predict when a bodhisattva will become a buddha.”
The difference is that a bodhisattva means in essence, a buddha, in potentiality a buddha, but not in actuality; just the seed is there. So the possibility is there any day – the seed finds the right soil and the spring comes, and the sprouts start growing out of the seed – but nobody can predict when.
As the missionary was returning, very angry, barely repressing his violent mood – the Zen master said, “Listen, a bodhisattva is nothing special; everybody is a bodhisattva. Everybody is, in essence, a buddha; it is only a question of time. When you realize your essence, you become a buddha. You are also a bodhisattva. The essence of wisdom is lying dormant in every being; you bring it with yourself, it is your self-nature.”