It is because of this fact that psychoanalysis is very cautious about religion, because the religious person behaves just like the neurotic. And there are many psychoanalysts who think that religion is nothing but a mass neurosis, and they have a point: the extrovert religion is a mass neurosis.
But psychoanalysts have not yet become aware of Buddha. Buddha will give them a new insight into religion, into true religion. There is no prayer, no God. Meditation is not a dialogue or even a monologue, meditation is pure silence.
People ask me, “What should the object of meditation be?” They are asking a wrong question, but I can understand why they are asking it. They have lived in the religions of prayer and prayer cannot be without somebody there to pray to. Prayer needs an object of worship, prayer is a dependence. The worshipper is not independent, he is dependent on the object of his worship and he is also afraid.
The meditator has no object. Meditation does not mean to meditate upon something. The English word meditation gives a wrong connotation. In English there is no word to translate the Buddhist word dhyana. In fact, in no other language in the world is there a word which is absolutely synonymous with dhyana. It is because of this fact that when Buddhism reached China they could not translate it into Chinese, hence dhyana became ch’an – it is the same word. The Sanskrit word is dhyana, but Buddha used Pali, another language, the language that was understood by the people amongst whom he lived. In Pali, dhyana becomes jhana; from jhana, in Chinese it became ch’an, and from ch’an, in Japanese it became Zen. Chinese had no equivalent, the Japanese had no equivalent. In fact, no other language has any equivalent because no other language has given birth to a man like Buddha. And without a buddha it is impossible to give this new meaning, this new vision, this new dimension.
In English, meditation means meditating upon something. But then it is thinking, at the most contemplation – it is not meditation. Meditation means being meditative, silent, peaceful, with no thoughts in the mind, a consciousness without content. That is the true meaning of meditation: a pure consciousness, a mirror reflecting nothing. When a mirror is not reflecting anything, it is meditation.
Buddha turned the whole religious quest from metaphysics into a great psychology because he asked, “What are the causes of my life and my death?” He is not concerned with the universe. He says, “We should start from the beginning, and anything that has a real significance in life has to be concerned with me myself. Who am I and why am I? What are the causes that go on creating me?”
His first sutra is:
“Vainly I sought the builder of my house
through countless lives.