Your efforts to penetrate into your own original nature must be as tireless as the pursuit of an indispensable thing; your attitude toward the verbal teachings of the buddhas and patriarchs must be as hostile as that toward a deadly enemy.
This can be said only by a great master, a buddha himself. He is saying that Your attitude towards the verbal teachings of the buddhas and the great masters must be as hostile as that toward a deadly enemy. The implication is that you should not believe in the word, but look for the experience. The word may be coming from the greatest master, but still, it is a word. And howsoever Buddha may have found himself, his nourishment is not going to be your nourishment. If he has quenched his thirst, all that he can say is, “Water has helped me to quench my thirst.” You can go on repeating “H20” as a mantra but your thirst will not be quenched.
Zen says: Think of all the great words and great teachings as your deadly enemy. Avoid them, because you have to find your own source.
You have not to be a follower, an imitator. You have to be an original individual; you have to find your innermost core on your own, with no guide, no guiding scriptures.
It is a dark night, but with the intense fire of inquiry, you are bound to come to the sunrise. Everybody who has burned with intense inquiry has found the sunrise. Others only believe. Those who believe are not religious, they are simply avoiding the great adventure of religion by believing.
In Zen, he who does not bring strong doubt to bear upon the koans is a dissolute, knavish good-for-nothing. Therefore it is said: “Underlying great doubt there is great satori; where there is thorough questioning there will be a thorough-going experience of awakening.”
This is a unique quality of Zen. It says that hidden behind a great doubt is your satori, your enlightenment.
What exactly is doubt? Doubt means eliminating anything that is borrowed. It is not saying that something is not true, it says that “It is not my truth. And unless something is my truth, I am not going to discontinue my search.”
Doubt means a great love for truth, which never compromises for any cheap beliefs which are available in the marketplace, in every temple, in every church, in every synagogue. All the religions are telling you just to believe and you will be saved. This is pure nonsense, because millions of people have believed and nobody seems to be saved.