But now there were no other dogs, so the question of preaching was not there. Neither was there any witness that he was barking against his own wisdom. So he walked and barked as much as he could, because it was a lifelong repressed feeling. Nobody had ever heard such barking; he went almost crazy. All the dogs of the city who were hiding here and there slowly, slowly gathered by his side. And when they saw that their philosopher himself was barking there was an explosion: thousands of dogs were barking. And for the first time the philosopher felt his humbleness – that he too is a dog, and he was unnecessarily harassing others and harassing himself.
The religions have done the same to man: they have harassed themselves and their followers into all kinds of self-torture, into all kinds of unnaturalness. They have given them the greed to be great saints. They have given them the greed that they will be a beloved of God if they follow certain principles. Nobody follows! All people have back doors in their lives.
At the front door you will meet one person, and at the back door you will meet somebody else – at the back door he will be more natural. At the front door or in the sitting room the person is a gentleman, or a lady, hiding everything natural. But Zen wants you to be natural and not split; the front door and back door should not be two doors.
You should have only one face, your own original face. And you should be grateful that nature has given you a tremendous opportunity to be creative, to be loving, to be silent, to be able to know the ultimate source of life. Nothing more can be asked. And everything is so easy if you simply drop your egoistic idea of being special.
Self-importance means, for example, that you get angry and upset when you hear your neighbor criticize you, and only dislike and maltreat the person. Also, when you hear your neighbor praise you, you think well of that person, and act nicely; this too is because of self-importance.
A man of simplicity will neither feel gratified by anybody’s praise nor will feel angry at anybody’s anger. Those are their problems – why are you unnecessarily taking them? Somebody is angry, he is burning in his own anger, in his own fire – why do you immediately jump in? Somebody is praising you and you immediately accept it knowing perfectly well that nobody is going to praise you unless he has some purpose. The moment somebody says to you, “You are so beautiful, so intelligent,” beware! That person wants to exploit you in some way or other. Otherwise who has time to praise you – and why?
So whenever somebody says to you, “You are so beautiful,” immediately say, “Shut up! It is my problem, not your problem.”
Neither accept praise nor accept anger, and just remain attuned to your simplicity.