Buddha said, “I will answer, but you will have to fulfill a requirement. For one year you will have to be with me in total silence, then I will answer – not before it. Right now I can answer but you will not receive the answers because you are not ready, and whatsoever I say you will misinterpret because you have too many interpretations crowding your mind. Whatsoever I say will have to pass through your mind. For one year you just be silent so that you can drop the knowledge. When you are empty, whatsoever you want to ask I will answer, I promise you.”
While he was saying this, another of Buddha’s disciples, Sariputta, sitting under a tree, started laughing – a mad laughter. Maulingaputta must have felt embarrassed. He said, “What is the matter? Why are you laughing?”
He said, “I am not laughing about you, I am laughing about myself. One year has passed. This man deceived me also. I had come with many questions and he said, “Wait for one year,” and I waited. Now I am laughing because now those questions have disappeared. He goes on asking, “Now, bring those questions!” but I cannot bring those questions. They have disappeared. So, Maulingaputta, if you really want your questions to be answered, ask now, don’t wait for one year. This man is deceptive.”
Buddha introduced many people, millions of people, to the inner world, but in a very rational way. This is simple – that first you have to become a receiver, first you have to attain to silence, then communion is possible, not before it.
Buddha never used to answer any metaphysical questions. He was always ready to answer any question about methods, but he was never ready to answer any question about metaphysics. This is his scientific approach. Science believes in method. Science never answers the why, it always answers the how.
If you ask a scientist, “Why is the world there?” he will say, “I don’t know – but I can answer how the world is there.” If you ask him, “Why is the water there?” he cannot answer, he will just shrug his shoulders. But he can say how the water is there; how much oxygen, how much hydrogen makes the water happen. He can give you the method, the how, the mechanism. He can show you how to make water, but he cannot show you why.
Buddha never asks any why questions, but that doesn’t mean that he is an atheist. His approach is very different from other atheists Theists require you to believe, to have faith, to trust. Buddha says, “How can one believe? You are asking the impossible.” Listen to his argument.
He says if somebody is doubtful, how can he believe? If the doubt has arisen already, how can he believe? He may repress the doubt, he may enforce the belief, but deep down like a worm the doubt will go on lurking and eating his heart. Sooner or later the belief is bound to collapse, because it is unfounded; there is no foundation to it. In the foundation there is doubt, and on the foundation of doubt you have raised the whole structure of your belief. Have you watched it? Whenever you believe, deep down there is doubt. What type of belief is this?