But that is not the point; the point is just to make people afraid. Fear and greed have been the base of many religions. And they have not been helpful; they have destroyed. They have not appealed to the courageous, they have appealed only to the cowards – and when a cowardly person becomes religious the religion is bogus. Because a cowardly person cannot become religious; only a courageous person can become religious – religion needs great courage.
It is a jump into the unknown. It is a jump into the uncharted sea, with no maps. It is dropping the past and moving into the future, it is going into insecurity. It cannot be out of cowardice.
And in your temples and in your mosques, in your churches, cowards have gathered together. They are trembling with fear. And they are full of greed – afloat in greed, aflame with greed, agog with greed. These greedy and cowardly people cannot be religious. The basis of religion is to drop all fear and to drop all greed, and to move into the unknown. God is the unknown, the hidden. He is hidden here – in the trees, in the rocks, in you, in me. But to enter into that hidden reality, that occult, one needs great courage – it is going into a dark night without any light.
A Zen master was saying good-bye to one of his disciples, and the night was very dark. And the disciple was a little bit afraid, scared, because he had to pass a jungle of at least ten miles. And it was wild. And wild animals were there, and it was night – and a dark night with no moon. And it was getting late, almost half the night had passed. Talking to the master, he had completely forgotten.
Seeing him a little afraid, the master says, “You look a little afraid, so I will give you a lamp.” He puts a small paper lamp into his hand, lights the lamp. The disciple thanks him, goes down the steps, and the master calls him and says, “Stop!” And the master comes close and blows the flame out. And he says, “A real master gives courage; he does not help cowardice. Go into the dark, be your own light. And remember, nobody else’s light will be of any help; you will have to attain to your own light. Be a flame to your own being. Go into the dark, be courageous.”
He says a real master never helps any cowardice. In a small act, by blowing the flame out, the master gives a great message: Religion is only for the courageous.
Those who followed Jesus, they were courageous people. They were not many, they were very few – you could have counted them on your fingers. Those who followed Buddha were courageous people. Christians are not courageous, Buddhists are not courageous.
Those who are with me are courageous people. Once I am gone, your children and your children’s children may pay their respect to me, but they will not be courageous.
Religion exists only when there is an alive master to live it for you. When the master is gone then religion becomes dead. Cowardly people gather together around a dead religion; then there is no fear. They worship the scripture, they worship the word, they worship the statue – all dead things.