Before we enter into the world of Zen, some things are needed to be understood about the mind. One thing: mind functions because of your cooperation. You can stop it if you withdraw your cooperation. Without withdrawing your cooperation you cannot stop it. So the whole method of Zen is how to withdraw the cooperation. Many people try to stop the mind without withdrawing the cooperation – then you will go crazy, then you will do something absurd, impossible. On one hand you go on pouring energy into the mind and on the other hand you go on trying to stop it.
It is as if you are driving a car and you go on pushing the accelerator and at the same time you go on pushing the brake as well. You will destroy the whole mechanism; you are doing two contradictory things together.
Zen is not in favor of stopping the mind directly, it is in favor of withdrawing your cooperation from the mind in a subtle way. As more energy is withdrawn from the mind it starts falling on its own accord and a moment comes when the mind simply disappears – because it is you who are supporting it; it is you who are maintaining it; it is you who unknowingly, continuously, goes on pouring energy into it. Through your desires, through your discriminations, through your choices, through your likes and dislikes, you go on pouring energy into it.
So Zen says, if you really want the mind to stop…. There is no other way for Zen to come to know the truth unless the mind stops. Because if the mind goes on functioning, it is a projector. Then the reality functions as a screen and you go on projecting your mind onto it, you go on seeing that which you want to see, you go on hearing what you want to hear. You never see reality as it is, you never see that which is, you corrupt reality. Mind is a great corrupter.
So mind, the projector, has to be stopped. Then suddenly the reality appears as it is, because nothing is projected onto it. You are sitting in a movie house, you just see a white screen, and then the projector starts. Then the screen disappears and you see the film, a great story unfolding. You forget completely the screen, the whiteness, the purity of it, the virginity of it – everything is forgotten. You are lost in a dreamworld. Then the projector stops and suddenly you realize there has been nothing. The screen has been empty. It was just a game of shadows – you were befooled, you were deceived.
In India we call the world maya, illusion. It means: it is not that there is no truth in it, but the truth is hidden. The truth is hidden like a white screen in a movie house and you have projected your desires and your dreams on top of it and have forgotten completely what reality is.
Zen says stop the projector, put it off, and you will be able to know what is. And to know that which is, is freedom; to know that which is, is to be liberated; to know that which is, is to be enlightened.
So mind is the barrier. And mind is a continuous repetition. Because you have never watched it, you are not aware of it. Nothing new ever happens in the mind; it is always the rotten, old. Nothing new can ever happen in the mind because it is a mechanism. The mechanism can only go on playing the same thing again and again – it is like a gramophone record.