He is saying, “I have been seeking and searching for God for countless lives. It was all in vain, it was futile. I could not find any God, because in fact God is not a person and you cannot find him. God is not a ‘he.’”
Now there is great controversy whether God is a he or a she. He is neither. And if you insist that we have to choose between these two words, he and she, I will suggest that she is far better because she contains he, but he does not contain she. But in truth God is not a person at all, hence the question of whether he is he or she, is irrelevant.
God is a quality, not an object. God is not God but godliness – and godliness has to be found first within yourself. Unless you have a taste of it in your own being you will not be able to see it anywhere else. Once you have tasted it, once you have become drunk on the divine, then you will see it in the trees – in the green of the trees, in the red of the trees, in the gold of the trees. You will see it in the sun, in the moon, in the stars. You will be able to see it in the animals, birds, people, rivers, mountains. The whole existence will reflect your understanding, will become a mirror to you. You will be able to see your own face everywhere. We can see only that which we are, we cannot see that which we are not.
This is Buddha’s great contribution: he dropped prayer, he dropped the idea of God, and he gave a new approach – that new approach is meditation.
He says: Vainly I sought the builder of my house through countless lives. I could not find him… Not because something was lacking in his effort, not because his effort was partial and not total, no. He was not that kind of man. His effort was so total that it could not have been more total. It was because of his total effort that he came to this great understanding, that he came to this great realization.
He went to all kinds of teachers and whatsoever a teacher told him to do, he did with such passion, intensity, that no teacher was ever able to find any fault with him. Whatever task was given to him, he always fulfilled it. And it happened with so many teachers that finally they said to him, “This is all that we know, and we cannot say that you have not followed us. You have followed so totally that there is no question about your sincerity and your search, but more than this we don’t know. You will have to go and find some other master – this is all that we know. We are sorry that we could not help you more. And if any time you can find something more than this, remember us, and if we are still alive, convey your new realization to us.”