“I want a birthday cake,” he said, “with ‘Happy Birthday’ written across the top. When could it be ready?”
“I can give it to you in twenty minutes, sir,” answered the attendant.
When the philosopher returned twenty minutes later, the cake was ready. He looked long and carefully at it, took a step back to examine it more closely, then said, “Look, I really wanted it to be more decorative. Lots of color and icing-sugar swirls. And see here, instead of ‘Happy Birthday’ write ‘One Thousand Happinesses!”
“Okay,” said the confectioner, a little disappointed. “Come again in another half an hour and I’ll have it ready.”
Half an hour later the philosopher returned. The cake was ready and he examined it very closely. He stopped and thought for a while, then said, “Will you do this for me? Put even more flowers and swirls around the cake, and perhaps you could compose a longer message for the top – something like ‘Congratulations! Lots of Love.’ Would you do all that?”
The confectioner agreed and made all the modifications. A little time later the philosopher returned, scrutinized the cake and exclaimed, “Oh! Oh, yes! Now it is beautiful!”
“Can I wrap it for you, sir?” asked the confectioner, relieved.
“Oh no, thank you, that’s not needed. I’ll eat it here.”
The philosophers, the theologians, the logicians are the most stupid people in the world! And it is unfortunate, very unfortunate, that a man like Dionysius has to speak in the words of Christian philosophy, theology and logic. A Zen master would have said the same thing in a very different way, very clearly, without using so many unnecessary words and without using the name of God at all.
Dionysius is in a difficulty: he wants to talk like a Zen master – he knows nothing of Zen but he has the same insight, the same experience – he wants to say things straight, he wants to call a spade a spade, but it is very difficult. If you want to survive in a Christian world, in a Mohammedan world, in a Judaic world, then you have to use their language. So he has to go round and round. He says exactly that which he wants to say but has to use vague words, camouflages, facades, to protect himself. And I think he did well, because it was more necessary to survive and give the message that he had found within himself than to be a martyr.
Thousands of people have been burnt by Christians. The people who talk about love, the people who talk about peace, the people who think that Jesus came into the world to give the message of love, brotherhood – they have killed more people than anybody else. And all their bloodshed was only a question of words – words became so important.