It is thought that all that is old is gold. This is not always the case. It may be just gold plated, simply polished to look like gold.
Truth has nothing to do with being old or new. In fact it is always the new, because consciousness is continuously growing and finding more and more space and new mysteries.
The same attitude existed with scientists in the early days of science’s growth, three hundred years ago, when it started growing as a separate world from religion. They had still the mind of the fanatic and they started using the same mind about scientific truths – that these truths are eternal.
It is only in this century, with Albert Einstein, that it became clear that not even scientific truths are eternal. Those truths only show our limitations. If we have better eyes and better instruments we will be able to see much more, which will destroy the principles.
Now the situation is such that science is growing with such vastness, such speed, that you cannot write a big volume on scientific research, because by the time your big volume will be finished it will be out of date. So science has to depend now on papers, periodicals. The moment you find something you have immediately to publish it in scientific journals or papers, because the next month nobody knows – somebody may find something else and make you out of date.
Rinzai is saying, “People think anything that has come from the mouths of old masters…” In the first place you cannot decide who is the master unless you encounter him. Old masters may be just fiction, just an idea that has been implanted in you and has gone so deep in your consciousness that you don’t question it.
Millions of people are worshipping such superstitious things, and they don’t ask a question. If you raise a question you will be dragged to the court: you have hurt somebody’s religious feeling. Truth is not important, but some idiot’s religious feeling. That idiot cannot be religious in the first place; how can he have religious feeling?
But the masses go on carrying the dead. Now there is no way to prove it, no evidence that these people were enlightened, that what they have said is true. They may have been just poets, they may have been just good writers, they may have been good philosophers, clever and articulate. But because the person is not present, it is very difficult to see his aura, it is very difficult to feel his presence.
It is very difficult, if the master is dead, to find out in his words anything living. The words are alive when they are just coming fresh from the empty heart of the master, and their life is very short. Just for a moment, if you are receptive, they may enter into your being. If you start thinking about them, by that time they will be dead. It is an immediate transmission.
So the old masters…just because they are old and worshipped by many people for many centuries, does not make any sense.