Your saints look on sinners as unfortunate. They feel sorry for them because they think that the sinners are bound for hell and they are going to heaven. Both are in hell.
Hell is divided in two parts – let me tell you the truth! In one part saints live, in the other part, sinners. Sinners live a little more uncomfortable life – a third-class prison you can call it. In India there used to be class divisions during the British Raj: third class for the criminals and first class for the political leaders – for Mahatma Gandhi and Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, etcetera. Just like that, in hell there are two divisions: one is for sinners, the other is for saints.
Saints are provided with a little comfort. They have already suffered too much in being saintly, hence they have to be compensated. The sinners have enjoyed too much, hence a little suffering will bring balance, but there is not much difference. Whenever you choose you are in a bondage.
Zen teaches choiceless awareness: neither this nor that, neti-neti. It teaches you absolute negation. And that is the meaning of zazen: doing nothing, neither singing a film song nor saying a prayer, just sitting silently, doing nothing.
The moment you do something the mind becomes powerful, because the mind is the doer. And the moment you are a doer, the ego comes back. The ego is a doer. When you are in a state of non-doing, the mind has to cease, the ego has to disappear.
Non-doing is the death of the mind and the ego: that is the meaning of zazen.
By zazen we can obtain directly the ultimate truth.
And there is no need to wait, there is no need to grow gradually; one can know the truth directly. Nothing else is needed; one can know the ultimate truth immediately. It is a quantum leap from the mind to the no-mind.
Learn the art of just sitting silently, doing nothing…the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.
Zen is a method of sudden enlightenment, not of gradual enlightenment. There is no question of gradual enlightenment, there is no question of degrees. Either you have it or you don’t have it. And Zen says: Take the jump, be courageous, and have it in its totality. And it is possible right now. It is possible only now. Either now or never.
The scholars like to teach others but have no deep convictions themselves.