In the first place, Rinzai is a great master and cannot commit this mistake. This must be the translator. He must have said, “Disciples of today,” not “students.” Students go to the universities, to the schools, to the colleges, not to the monasteries. Students have a totally different interest, exactly opposite to the area of Zen. They accumulate knowledge. Zen wants you to drop all knowledge so that you can become utterly pure and innocent, so that you can say with tremendous beauty, “I don’t know.”
Not knowing, just being, and all the mysteries of existence open their doors to you. To the knowledgeable they are closed, to the innocent they are open. He could not have said, Students of today; he cannot use that phrase. I am absolutely certain because I know Rinzai, and whatever else he is saying is absolutely right.
And it is not that in his time disciples…fail to achieve their ends. Anybody who has an end to achieve is bound to fail. In the world of Zen there is nothing to achieve. Whatever has to happen has already happened, you have just to discover it. It is not an achievement. It is not a goal somewhere far away, that you have to travel to that place. It is just in your very being, in your very silence. You don’t have to achieve it. It is a miracle that you have forgotten it…in what ways you have forgotten yourself.
All your religions and all your educational systems – the whole society is bent upon distracting every small child from his original being, making him something other than what he is. We have not been able to create a world up to now where a person is accepted as he is, without any conditions. Not only that, we have created such conditioning that the person himself does not accept his originality. He is doubtful about it, uncertain about it, hesitant about it. It is better to repeat a sutra from Gautam Buddha, because that cannot be wrong. To be original is dangerous – you can be wrong. But a person who cannot risk being wrong can never be right.
Rinzai’s complaint is:
What is their fault? It lies in not having faith in themselves.
That faith has been taken away by the parents, by the teachers, by the professors, by the priests – they all have imposed the idea, “Have faith in Jesus Christ.” No Christian is being told to have faith in himself, but is told to have faith in Jesus Christ, to have faith in his representatives.
Just now a research book has been published, explaining that the pope is the world’s greatest Mafia leader. More heroin, more opium, more drugs are sold through the Vatican than through any other place. All the money that comes to the Vatican bank – the pope’s bank – is heroin money. But his is a special situation. That tiny area in the middle of Rome is an independent, sovereign country, and the pope is the head of the state as well as the head of the religion. The police are his, the Vatican armies are his, and they are all involved in transactions which are illegal anywhere.