The following week they hit the local Catholic church. “Make way for the Lord!” The parishioners tore out their hair and shrieked up to heaven in paroxysms of divine ecstasy. That morning they made over a hundred dollars.
The following week, just for a laugh, they tried the synagogue. The first hippie entered crying, “Make way for the Lord!” and the second lumbered in with his load.
The old rabbi turned to his neighbor and whispered, “Moishe, get the hammer and nails out. He is back!”
To be a fool is safer. To be a Jesus is dangerous. To be a buddha is to live in insecurity. It is going against the crowd, and the crowd is vast; it is going against the current. Hence your experience of centuries tells you, “Remain a fool. Pretend that you are not foolish.” That is part of foolishness. The moment a person stops pretending, he starts becoming wise.
The beginning of wisdom is to know that you are a fool – and then you are not a fool at all; you have stopped being a fool. It is very rare to accept the fact that “I am a fool.”
They say that if a madman knows that he is mad, he is no longer mad; sanity has come back. But no madman ever agrees that he is mad; he thinks he is the sanest man in the world. Everybody else may be mad, he is not. That is also part of remaining foolish. The foolish person pretends in every possible way. He will pretend that he knows what he knows not. He will pretend he is somebody he is not. His life becomes an acting. His life becomes a superficial show. He is always in a kind of exhibition; he becomes a showcase. He has many faces. He wears masks and he forgets his original face completely.
Hence, the Zen Buddhists say: Unless you discover your original face you will not know who you are and you will not know what this reality is all about, and you will not know the blessing and the benediction of being alive.
Discover the original face. Your original face is lost in so many masks. You have been pretending to others and, slowly, slowly you have become convinced of your own pretensions.
Now that Jack and Irma were rich they decided to add a little culture to their hitherto shallow lives. At their first opportunity they went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and took a guided tour of the exhibits.
“Say, this is a fine bust of Michelangelo,” said Jack admiringly.
“That is not Michelangelo,” explained the guide. “That is Leonardo da Vinci.”
“Jack,” she hissed, “why do you have to open your big mouth when you don’t know a single thing about the New Testament?”