Buddha was someone who had mastered adaptation: in the course of forty-nine years, in more than three hundred and sixty assemblies where he taught the dharma, he guided people according to their individual faculties.
Ta Hui’s statement is true. Buddha does not believe in the collective mind, he believes in individual consciousness. Perhaps he is the first man to declare that the very existence of God deprives man of his individuality. His reason for denying God is not theological – he is not an atheist. His denial of God is to declare that individual consciousness is the highest growth in existence: nobody is above it.
All the religions think that God created the world – he created man, he created woman and everything that is in the world. To Buddha it is a very insulting, humiliating idea. If God can create, he can uncreate at any moment; you are just puppets in the hands of a puppeteer. Then all talk of individuality and freedom and enlightenment is just futile. God has to be removed as a hypothesis because he is the greatest hindrance to your individuality.
Nietzsche recognized it, after twenty-five centuries, in a different context, but the realization is the same. He said, “God is dead and now man is free!” If God is still alive man cannot be free – how can you be free?
The very idea of all the religions that god created man out of mud…that’s the meaning of humus, from which comes the word human. That is also the meaning of Adam – Adam means mud. God made Adam out of mud and then breathed life into him. It is almost like creating a toy. What freedom, what individuality, what liberation exists for a puppet?
Buddha dropped the hypothesis of God twenty-five centuries before it was a great, rebellious idea. Nietzsche was only a thinker, he could not influence many people. But Buddha dropped God in favor of man’s consciousness, so that it can grow unhindered, so that his privacy is sacred and nobody can enter into it. The religions say that God is watching you every moment. In the sight of God you don’t have any privacy.
I have heard about a nun who used to take a bath in her bathroom with closed doors, but always keeping her clothes on. Other nuns became a little suspicious, “Is she a little crazy or what?” So they asked her, “What is the matter? The doors are closed, you can remove your clothes.”
She said, “But, God is omniscient. He looks every moment in every place. Are you suggesting to me to be naked before God?” But the poor woman did not understand that if God’s eyes can penetrate walls they can penetrate clothes, they can penetrate your skeleton.