Man is free, but free for what? If there is no God and man is free, that will simply mean man is now capable of doing anything – good or bad. There is nobody to judge him, nobody to forgive him. This freedom will be simply licentiousness. There comes the other side: you remove God and you leave man utterly empty. Of course, you declare his freedom, but to what purpose? How is he going to use his freedom creatively, responsibly? How is he going to prevent freedom being reduced to licentiousness?
Friedrich Nietzsche was not aware of any meditations. That is the other side of the coin. Man is free, and his freedom can only be a joy and a blessing to him if he is rooted in meditation. Remove God – that is perfectly okay, he has been the greatest danger to human freedom – but also give man some meaning and significance, some creativity, some receptivity, some path to find his eternal existence. Zen is the other side of the coin.
Zen does not have any God. That’s its beauty. But it has a tremendous science to transform your consciousness, to bring so much awareness to you that you cannot commit evil. It is not a commandment from outside; it comes from your innermost being. Once you know your center of being, once you know you are one with the cosmos – and the cosmos has never been created, it has been there always and always, and will be there always and always, from eternity to eternity – once you know your luminous being, your hidden Gautam Buddha, it is impossible to do anything wrong, it is impossible to do anything evil, it is impossible to do any sin.
Friedrich Nietzsche became almost insane in the last phase of his life. He was hospitalized, kept in a mad asylum. Nobody bothered about what happened to such a great giant. Although he concluded, “God is dead,” it is a negative conclusion. He became empty, his freedom was meaningless. There was no joy in it because it was only freedom from God. But for what? Freedom has two sides: from and for. The other side was missing. That drove him insane.
Emptiness always drives people insane: you need some grounding, you need some centering, you need some relationship with existence. God being dead, all your relationship with existence is finished. God being dead, you are left alone without roots. A tree cannot live without roots, neither can you.
God was non-existential, but it was a good consolation. It used to fill people’s interior, although it was a lie. But even a lie, repeated thousands and thousands of times for millennia, becomes almost a truth. God has been a great consolation to people in their fear, in their dread, in their awareness of old age and death and the beyond – the unknown darkness. God has been a tremendous consolation, although it was a lie. Lies can console you; you have to understand this. In fact lies are more sweet than the truth.
Gautam Buddha is reported to have said: “Truth is bitter in the beginning, sweet in the end, and lies are sweet in the beginning, bitter in the end” – when they are exposed. Then comes a tremendous bitterness – that you have been deceived by all your parents, by all your teachers, by all your priests, by all your so-called leaders. You have been continuously deceived. That frustration brings a great distrust in everybody. “Nobody is worthy of trust.” It creates a vacuum.