If you go to the temple every day, or to church every Sunday, and you feel ego is strengthened, don’t go to church – stop; don’t go to the temple, it is not helping you, it is a poison. If you feel by going to church that you are religious, you are something extraordinary, greater, purer than others, holier-than-thou, if this attitude comes to you, holier-than-thou, then drop it, because this attitude is the only sin in the world that exists. All else is child’s play. This is the only sin – this attitude of holier-than-thou.
Do only that which doesn’t strengthen your ego, and sooner or later you will become enlightened, because when the ego is not, if even for a single moment it leaves you – suddenly the eyes open and you have seen it. Once seen, it is never forgotten. Once glimpsed, it becomes such a powerful magnet in your life that it goes on drawing you nearer and nearer to the center of the world. Sooner or later you will be merged into it.
But the ego resists, the ego resists surrender. It resists love, it resists prayer, it resists meditation, it resists God. Ego is a resistance, a fight against the whole; that’s why it is a sin. And ego is always interested in impressing people. The more you can impress people, the more ego gets food. This is a fact. If you cannot impress anybody, the supports are withdrawn and the ego starts trembling. It has no base in reality, it depends on others’ opinions.
Now try to enter this anecdote: The Brash Student.
This is a contradiction, because a student cannot be brash, and if he is, he cannot be a student. A student cannot be impudent, he cannot be rude, he cannot be an egoist. If he is he cannot be a student, because to be a student means to be receptive, to be ready to learn. And what is readiness to learn? Readiness to learn means: I know that I am ignorant. If I know that I know, how can I learn? The doors are closed, I am not ready to learn; really, I am ready to teach.
It happened once in a Zen monastery: a man came; he wanted to be initiated. The master said, “We have two categories of initiates here. I have five hundred inmates in the ashram, in the monastery, and we have two categories: one is that of disciple, and one that of master. So which category would you like to join?”
The man was absolutely new, he even felt a little hesitation. He said, “If it is possible then I would like to be initiated as a master.”
The master was just joking. He was just joking – and wanted to look to the deeper unconscious.
Everybody would like to be a master, and even if you become a disciple you become one only as a means, just as a means to become a master: you have to pass through it, it is a compulsion; otherwise how can you become a master? So you have to be a disciple, but the search of the ego is to be the master. The ego would like to teach, not to learn, and even if you learn it is learning with the idea of how to get ready to teach.