The monk said, “That means you agree with me. Then please bring one more, because you already have too many and the night is long and it is too cold. And you have understood that it is just wood – there are no bones, and Buddha cannot be without bones. Just pick up one more.”
But the priest was mad. He said, “I will not let you stay inside for a single moment more. Get out of the temple!”
While he was pushing him out, the monk said, “Listen, you are worshipping dead buddhas and you are throwing out a living buddha. You will repent for it.”
Only a Zen master could have done that. No Christian bishop, or cardinal, or even a pope can burn Jesus Christ’s wooden statue. He knows it is wooden but he cannot gather courage to burn it. No Hindu can do it. Nobody in the whole world.
Zen has gone far beyond where Buddha left it. If he comes back, he will rejoice. But these scholars cannot understand that this is the ultimate growth. Now there is nothing more than Zen. There is no possibility I can conceive of that can go beyond it. It has left everything possible behind; now only the essential has remained – pure consciousness. Now it has nothing to do with Buddhism, nothing to do with Taoism. It is yours if you do it, whoever you may be: man, woman, black, white, it doesn’t matter.
What I am teaching is exactly pure Zen, without using the word Zen – because, although it has gone beyond, still old associations and connotations linger with it. It is still called “Zen Buddhism.” There are still Zen temples where Gautam Buddha’s statue is worshipped.
The greatest Zen masters have gone completely beyond all of these rituals, but there are so many categories. That’s why I am not using the word Zen; otherwise, exactly what I am teaching is pure consciousness, and how to enter into it, and how to be it.
One of the most beautiful things that happens around you is how we function as a group. Unlike many other groups of people perhaps, when we can see various of us having some beautiful quality, changing, coming closer to what you are talking about, we rejoice in it as much as if it were happening to us as individuals, because we recognize that what is happening to them will benefit all of us. I can recall you mentioning the phenomenon of group consciousness only in passing. Is it related to the collective unconscious?
Would you speak to us a little more about group consciousness and how we can best utilize it here in our situation with you?
I have described to you that below your consciousness there are three layers of unconsciousness, becoming more and more unconscious. The lowest is cosmic unconsciousness, just as it is in a rock.