A great Japanese warrior named Nobunaga decided to attack the enemy although he had only one-tenth the number of men the opposition commanded. He knew that he would win, but his soldiers were in doubt.
On the way he stopped at a Shinto shrine and told his men: “After I visit the shrine I will toss a coin. If heads comes, we will win; if tails, we lose. Destiny holds us in her hand.”
Nobunaga entered the shrine and offered silent prayer. He came forth and tossed a coin. Heads appeared. His soldiers were so eager to fight that they won their battle easily.
“No one can change the hand of destiny,” his attendant told him after the battle.
“Indeed not,” said Nobunaga, showing a coin which had been doubled, with heads facing either way.
This is one of the fundamentals of Zen – that all is a mind construct, that whatsoever we know is nothing but a mind-projection. That the so-called reality is not really real. It appears real because we believe that it is real – it is belief that creates reality. At the source of all so-called realities is nothing but your belief. If you believe, it is so. If you don’t believe, it is no more so.
Zen says the mind is the sansar, the world, and the mind is nirvana too. It is all a mind-game. And remember, Zen says it is all a mind-game – with no exception. Even your God is the ultimate mind-game, the meta-game. This is where Zen is very superior to other religions.
Other religions say the world is a mind-game, but they don’t say moksha is a mind-game. Other religions say the material world, the world of money and power and prestige, is a mind-game – but they don’t say that God, heaven, virtue, are mind-games. It is here that Zen is the ultimate religion. It says all is a mind-game. “All” is all – whatsoever Zen says, it means. Mind includes everything that you can know, mind includes everything that you can experience, mind includes everything that is possible.
Then is there any way to know the real which is not a mind game? There is a way, arid that is to drop the mind itself. When the mind is dropped, the reality is there. While the mind persists, it goes on creating its own reality. And that reality which is there when mind is dropped cannot be expressed through the mind.
That’s why Zen is absolutely silent about God. Not that God is not – but the God that we can talk about will be a mind-game, it will be our projection. Meera projects Krishna, Theresa projects Christ, Ramakrishna projects Mother Kali – but these are all projections. Beautiful projections. Obviously, when Meera is seeing Krishna playing on his flute it is a beautiful dream – but it is a dream, Zen says. It is imagination. You can put so much in it that it can become more real than you. But this reality is created by you, it is invented by you.