The future of humanity will go closer and closer to the approach of Zen, because the meeting of the East and West is possible only through something like Zen, which is earthly and yet unearthly. The West is very earthly, the East is very unearthly. Who is going to become the bridge? Buddha cannot be the bridge; he is so essentially Eastern, the very flavor of the East, the very fragrance of the East, uncompromising. Lao Tzu cannot be the bridge; he is too earthly. China has always been very earthly. China is more part of the Western psyche than of the Eastern psyche.
It is not an accident that China is the first country in the East to turn communist, to become materialist, to believe in a godless philosophy, to believe that man is only matter and nothing else. This is not just accidental. China has been earthly for almost five thousand years; it is very Western. Hence Lao Tzu cannot become the bridge; he is more like Zorba the Greek. Buddha is so unearthly you cannot even catch hold of him – how can he become the bridge?
When I look all around, Zen seems to be the only possibility, because in Zen, Buddha and Lao Tzu have become one. The meeting has already happened. The seed is there, the seed of that great bridge which can make East and West one. Zen is going to be the meeting-point. It has a great future – a great past and a great future.
And the miracle is that Zen is neither interested in the past nor in the future. Its total interest is in the present. Maybe that’s why the miracle is possible, because the past and the future are bridged by the present.
The present is not part of time. Have you ever thought about it? How long is the present? The past has a duration, the future has a duration. What is the duration of the present? How long does it last? Between the past and the future can you measure the present? It is immeasurable; it is almost not. It is not time at all: it is the penetration of eternity into time.
And Zen lives in the present. The whole teaching is: how to be in the present, how to get out of the past which is no more and how not to get involved in the future which is not yet, and just to be rooted, centered, in that which is.
The whole approach of Zen is of immediacy, but because of that it can bridge the past and the future. It can bridge many things: it can bridge the past and the future, it can bridge the East and the West, it can bridge body and soul. It can bridge the unbridgeable worlds: this world and that, the mundane and the sacred.
Before we enter into this small anecdote it will be good to understand a few things. The first: the masters do not tell the truth. Even if they want to they cannot; it is impossible. Then what is their function? What do they go on doing? They cannot tell the truth, but they can call forth the truth which is fast asleep in you. They can provoke it, they can challenge it. They can shake you up, they can wake you up. They cannot give you God, truth, Nirvana, because in the first place you already have it all with you. You are born with it. It is innate, it is intrinsic. It is your very nature. So anybody who pretends to give you the truth is simply exploiting your stupidity, your gullibility. He is cunning – cunning and utterly ignorant too. He knows nothing; not even a glimpse of truth has happened to him. He is a pseudo master.