The Hindu temple is called mandir. The boundary wall represents the mind, and if you go inside, at the center there is the statue of God. The Jaina temple is called chaityalaya for the same reason. If you can pass totally through chitta, the layers of mind, you will reach to consciousness which is the center of the temple.
In Japan there is only one temple which represents more precisely than any other temple the reality of mind and no-mind, mind and consciousness. It has only walls. Inside it is empty; there is no statue of Buddha, there is nothing. You simply go inside and sit in silence. It has been asked why this is so, but even the priests cannot say why, because they have forgotten the symbology. It has nothing to do with the temple, it has something to do with human mind.
For five hundred years after Gautam Buddha’s death, in no temple was there any statue of Gautam Buddha. Instead, on the wall inside the temple the bodhi tree was engraved in the marble. And underneath the tree where Buddha had sat and become enlightened it was empty. It was a strange symbolism but very significant: by the tree they have indicated the place where Gautam Buddha became enlightened; but when he became enlightened there was no Gautam Buddha. It was empty, it was nothingness, it was just silence. Those temples were beautiful, but they have all disappeared, been destroyed.
I have seen one temple in India…it is difficult to comprehend how they have made it. It has no foundation. It is a huge temple – a round temple, very high, maybe fifty feet high – and it has no foundation. You can take a thread, pass it underneath the wall, and then move around the whole temple. And you will find that the wall has no foundation anywhere, no connection with the earth!
I asked the priest, “What is the meaning of it?” and they told a stupid story. And I said, “This is not the meaning. You are saying something which will appeal only to idiots – that this is a temple from heaven and two parties of gods….” In Jainism and Buddhism there is no God, but anybody who is in heaven is called a god, so there is a plurality of gods. “Two parties of gods were fighting for the temple and the temple slipped from their hands and fell on the earth. That’s why it has no foundation.”
I said, “This is such a stupid story. In the first place you don’t understand where heaven is, and if it is somewhere beyond the stars this temple would have burned on the way – it is such a small thing.” Every night we see thousands of stars falling, but no stars are really falling because stars are very big – these are just big stones which are wandering in space.
Whenever a star is created or a planet is created…. It is liquid but it goes on turning on its axis. And because it is liquid, and moving, many parts of it are thrown away.
The moon was taken out of the earth in the same way; it used to be part of the earth. And it is because of the moon that we have such big oceans. These oceans are the places from where the liquid earth has dropped out. Thousands of small pieces have fallen into space and they have moved and moved until they came into some gravitational field.