That was one of the greatest contributions of Gautam the Buddha. He has not been understood yet, but now his time has come. He came a little too early – twenty-five centuries before his time – but he speaks like a contemporary. Jesus speaks the old language, the language which children can understand. And so is the case with many others – with Moses, with Mohammed. But Buddha speaks the language of maturity. He says there is no meaning in life and there is no need for any meaning. Drop the hankering and don’t try to fill this vacuum. This vacuum is good, it is healthy. Abide in this emptiness, rejoice in this emptiness. Don’t go on stuffing it with unnecessary things. It has a purity – this emptiness which is being felt now by many more people than it was ever felt before. Only once in a while has a man like Buddha felt that all ideals are false, imaginary, inventions – toys to play with, to keep children engaged so they don’t create mischief.
Temples, churches, mosques, gurudwaras, these are places to keep children engaged so they don’t create any trouble, so they don’t create any mischief. These are sedatives so that you go on sleeping; these are sleeping pills, tranquilizers which help you to remain nonviolent, to remain nondestructive, to remain peacefully sleepy; otherwise there is danger. You cannot be trusted. You cannot be allowed freedom.
These are your bondages. These are prisons which you think of as temples; they are not temples. And the gods you worship are not gods. They are just playthings to keep you occupied, to keep you afraid, to keep you frightened, to keep you greedy. They don’t transform you; their whole function is to serve the status quo, to serve the vested interests of the society.
Buddha says: “The inner emptiness is so beautiful, don’t stuff it with junk, leave it as it is.” And that’s what meditation is all about. That’s what Zen is. It means living out of emptiness, asking nothing from life, living moment to moment for no other reason, just enjoying being alive. It is more than you can ask for. What more meaning do you need? Is breathing not enough? Is this chirping of the birds not enough? Is the green and the red and the gold of the trees not enough? Is this vast existence with all its splendor not enough? Do you want some meaning?
The moon rises above the river.
On the bank the wind plays softly in the pines
all night long, pure and calm.
What is the meaning of that serenity?
Look on the Buddha’s precepts of nature.
Winter and autumn mists,
dew, clouds, spring mists
are the true robe which covers our body.
What is the meaning of that serenity? There is no meaning at all, but let me remind you again, I am not saying life is meaningless. You are so much obsessed with meaning that the moment I say there is no meaning, immediately you conclude the opposite. Immediately something inside you says, “So there is no meaning in life, that means life is meaningless?” I am not saying life is meaningless, I am simply saying meaning is absolutely irrelevant. Life is more than meaning, far more. Machines have meaning, flowers don’t have meaning; meaning means utility. A car has meaning because it serves a certain purpose. A railway train has meaning, an airplane has meaning; they are utilitarian. But what is the meaning of a beautiful sunset and the clouds turning all the colors of the rainbow? What is the meaning of it? What is the meaning of a rainbow?