Rinzai once went to visit one of Ungan’s disciples, Anzan. On that occasion he asked Anzan: “What is the white cow of the dewy ground?”
Anzan responded by saying: “Moo! Moo!”
Rinzai commented: “You are dumb!”
Anzan said, “How about you?”
Rinzai observed, “You animal!”
On one occasion Rinzai asked a nun, “Well-come or ill-come?”
The nun shouted.
“Go on, go on, speak!” cried Rinzai, taking up his stick. Again the nun shouted. Rinzai hit her.
On another occasion Rinzai asked Lo’pu, “Up to now it has been the custom for some men to use the stick and others to give a shout. Which comes closer to the heart of the recipient?”
“Neither,” responded Lo’pu.
“What does come close?” asked Rinzai.
Lo’pu shouted. The master hit him.
Maneesha, the deeper I look into Zen, the more things become crystal clear. One thing is its absolute uniqueness in the world of religions.
In comparison to Zen, all the religions look like entertainment. Formal rituals, social conditionings – Zen goes through them like a sword cutting all the ropes that bind you. It has no ritual, it has no mantra, it has no way of sacrificing anything to anyone. The very basis of sacrifice, God himself, is missing in Zen.
Without God you cannot create rituals, sacrifices. Without God all your religions will look absolutely meaningless. If God is removed, what will become of Hinduism and Islam and Christianity? With the removal of a hypothesis the whole edifice of those religions falls completely to the ground. It is a single hypothesis, and a hypothesis is not a reality. A hypothesis is only man’s projection.
It is true man wants some security, it is true that man wants some safety. He is insecure in this vast universe, too small and too alone, too helpless. And there is always death: any moment it can knock at your doors.
Out of all these insecurities, anxieties, fears, has arisen the hypothesis of God. People cling to it, because without it their lives will become such an anxiety, they will go insane. Taking God away from them, you are taking their very sanity, their very intelligence, their mind, their whole conditioning of millions of years.
According to me, unless you are able to throw away the hypothesis of God and heaven and hell, all projections, you cannot be an authentic seeker. You have to drop all that which has made the so-called religions around the world. Their base is the same; they may create much theology around the hypothesis, they may fight with each other over their theologies, but essentially they are all the same.
Their gods may have different faces, but the god is there. Their hell and heaven may have different climates, but they are there. They go on arguing about that which is imaginary, and they think that this argumentation, which they have continued for centuries, is of some importance. In fact, it is an effort to deviate man’s mind: fight over the non-essentials so nobody raises the question…nobody has the time to ask about the essentials.