Prepare the way for God so that he can reach you. You cannot find Him. You can only wait, in deep trust, so that he can find you.
That’s how Chiyono was missing: she was searching, seeking, she was much too involved in this inquiry. But this inquiry will also feed your ego, that “I am a seeker,” that “I am no ordinary man,” that “I am spiritual,” that “I am religious,” that “I am holy.” And if that attitude of “holier than thou” arises, you are lost forever. That is the greatest sin you can commit in your life, the greatest fall. If the idea arises in you that, “I am holier than others” that “I am a saint and others are sinners,” that “Look at my virtuous life,” if you become righteous you are lost, because this righteous ego will be the most subtle ego and it will be very difficult for you to drop it. It is easier to drop iron chains. But if you can have golden chains studded with diamonds, it will become more and more difficult to drop them because they will not look like chains, they will look like valuable ornaments.
It is easy to get out of a dirty prison cell, but if it is a palace, who wants to get out of it? Really one wants to get into it, not out of it. The sinner is closer to God than the saint, because the sinner wants to get out of his bondage and the saint is enjoying an ego-trip.
Chiyono was a nun. She must have been enjoying subtle, righteous attitudes – knowledgeability, virtue – her renunciation was great. It is said that she was one of the most beautiful women, so beautiful that when she went to one monastery they refused her, because to have such a beautiful woman in the monastery would create trouble for the monks. Then she had to disfigure her face to enter into another monastery. She must have been a very beautiful woman, but just think…she disfigured her face, made it ugly, but deep down she must have been thinking, “Look at my renunciation. I was one of the most beautiful women, I have disfigured my face – nobody has done this before, or since. Look at my renunciation, look at my detachment from the body: I don’t care a bit about beauty, I am bent upon finding enlightenment, whatsoever the cost.” And she continued missing.
But one full-moon night it happened. It happened out of the blue, suddenly. It always happens out of the blue, it always happens suddenly. But I am not saying that it could have happened to anybody else – it happened to Chiyono. All that she had done had not caused it, but all that she had done had caused one thing in her: the understanding that whatsoever you do you fail, that man cannot succeed.
She must have come to a state of utter hopelessness. That hopelessness can be felt only when you have done all that you can do. And when that hopelessness comes, hope has arrived – because in that hopelessness the ego is shattered to the ground. One no longer claims.