When he saw the dead man, he inquired of his charioteer, “What has happened to this man?”
The charioteer said, “I am not allowed – in fact, the whole city has been told that you are passing by this road, so no old man, no sick man, no dead man, should be allowed on this path. How he has entered…but I cannot be untruthful, he is dead.”
And the second question immediately was, “Is the same going to happen to me?”
And the charioteer said, “I don’t want to say it, but the truth is, it happens to all. Nobody is an exception.”
And just then he saw a sannyasin in orange robes. He asked, “What kind of man is this, and what kind of uniform…?”
The charioteer said to him, “This man is in search of the eternal. He has become aware that this life is momentary, made of the same stuff as dreams are made of. Hence he has started a search to see whether there is something inside him which will survive even death, or if there is nothing. He is an inquirer.”
Gautam Buddha was going to inaugurate the annual festival of youth. He told the charioteer, “Take me back home. I am no longer interested in the festival. I have been cheated. For twenty-nine years I have not been allowed to know the truth.”
That very night he escaped from the house. And because he was bored and fed up, those who followed him after his enlightenment obviously thought that sex was dangerous because it keeps you attached to the world. Naturally those who followed Gautam Buddha became escapists.
For Buddha it was right, it was not an escape; it was simply getting out of the prison. But for others, it was not getting out of the prison. They had not even lived in the prison, they did not know the prison, they had not explored the prison. It had not come to their consciousness that it was a bondage. They simply followed Gautam Buddha. For them, sex became repressive, pleasure became contaminated.
But fortunately, Bodhidharma took Gautam Buddha’s message to China. That was a different climate. Tao was the climate in China, and Tao is very life affirmative. So in China, a new development happened: the meeting of Bodhidharma and Tao, a totally new concept.
Zen is not just Buddhism; in fact, the orthodox Buddhists don’t accept Zen even as Buddhism, and they are right. Zen is a crossbreed between Gautam Buddha’s insight and Lao Tzu’s realization, the meeting of Buddha’s approach, his meditation, and Tao’s naturalness.