Tzu-hsia asked the Master:
“What sort of man is Yen Hui?”
“For kindness he is a better man than I am.”
“What about Tzu-kung?”
“For eloquence he is a better man than I am.”
“For courage he is a better man than I am.”
“For dignity he is a better man than I am.”
Tzu-hsia rose from his mat and asked:
“Then why do these four serve you?”
“Sit down, I will tell you. Yen hui can be kind but cannot check the impulse when it will do no good. Tzu-kung can be eloquent but cannot hold his tongue. Tzu-lu can be brave but cannot be cautious. Tzu-chang can be dignified but cannot unbend in company. Even if I could have the virtues of the four men all together I should be unwilling to exchange them for my own. That is why they serve me without misgiving.”
The greatest enemy of religion is not materialism but morality. Why? Because morality tries to impose spirituality it is a conditioning and religion can flower only from the within, it cannot be imposed from the without. Hence morality creates an illusion of false religion.
Morality is a pretender, morality is a pseudo-religion. It gives you respectability but it does not give you understanding. It gives you a great ego trip but it cannot give you humility. It makes you feel superior but it doesn’t help inner growth. And the man who feels superior cannot grow. He is stuck with the ego.
Morality is a sort of decoration of the ego. Yes, through morality you can cultivate great virtues, but you will never be virtuous. Through morality you can become very talented in certain directions but those talents will remain unconscious. Morality cannot bring awareness because morality is not based on enlightenment.
The essential has to come from the inner, the essential has to grow like a tree, the essential is alive. The non-essential is imposed from the outside.
Before we enter this beautiful parable four things have to be very clearly understood. First, there are two kinds of unity in life. One unity is mechanical – for example, a car. A car has a certain unity, a functional unity, but it is assembled, it comes out of an assembly line. You cannot assemble a tree, you cannot assemble a baby. They also have a sort of unity – but it is totally different. Their unity is organic. A car is mechanical, a baby is organic. A machine is mechanical, a tree is organic. You cannot put a tree together, it grows. It grows out of its own inner center. At the most you can help – or hinder – but you cannot put a tree together.
You can put a car together, you can assemble a car – hence a car has no soul, no self, no center. It is a superficial unity. And the car cannot grow, it cannot give birth to new baby cars.
The tree grows and can give birth to millions of trees. And the tree has a center, it is run by its innermost center. When fall comes and the old leaves drop, who brings the new leaves? From where do they come? They evolve from the innermost core of the tree.
If a mechanical part of the car is missing you will have to replace it. The car cannot evolve it itself. It depends on you; it has no soul, it has no inner discipline of its own. If you cut off a branch of a tree another branch is supplied by the center, but if you destroy a machine nothing will come from the center…there is none, there is no center.