After Gautam Buddha’s death the first thing the monks were concerned about was to collect all the incidents, sayings, parables, for the future centuries – but they could not agree with each other. Amongst them were one hundred enlightened monks and even they were not ready to agree with each other. The ultimate outcome was thirty-two schools, and then branches and sub-branches…and Buddhism became a vast tree of much foliage.
So don’t think that rival monasteries are enemies to each other. The word rival will give you a wrong impression. Rival monasteries are simply saying that “This is the way we have found the truth.” They are not denying that your way is right or wrong; they are not saying anything about your way. And it was a great educational method: masters even used to send their disciples to the rival masters, simply for the sake that “You should know that truth has other aspects too; I have no monopoly over it.”
This is a very different and very compassionate effort. Ordinarily in the world the Christian will not send his disciples to learn from a Mohammedan Sufi, or a Buddhist monk. It is already accepted that “We have got the truth. If anybody else proclaims he has got the truth, he is wrong.” Christianity and Hinduism, Mohammedanism and Judaism, have fallen very low. You can proclaim your truth but you cannot claim monopoly over truth, and everybody is claiming the monopoly.
The Christian can accept that Buddha may have realized truth, “but our way is far better, far shorter.” He is simply conceding because he wants a coexistence in the world. Coexistence accepts the rival but does not allow the rival the same superiority as he goes on carrying in his own heart: others are also good, but not so good.
Zen has taken from the very beginning a very different approach, more human, more existential, more truthful. Zen does not want the truth to adjust with itself; it wants itself to be adjusted to truth. The man of Zen is ready to give everything – all his conditionings, all his scriptures, all his statues he is ready to throw. And he is aware that truth is such a big phenomenon that nobody can claim its totality.
We are accustomed to Aristotelian logic – which is a very poor logic, because it allows only yes or no. It is simple, clear. If somebody asks you, “What do you think about God?” either you say, “Yes, God is,” or you say, “No, God is not.” Alas, reality is not so simple.
Gautam Buddha’s logic has four divisions, not two. If you ask Buddha about God, his logic is fourfold. He will say, “Yes, God is”; “No, God is not”; “Yes and no both,” and the fourth, anirvachana, avyakhya – that which cannot be said.
Now this will look very confusing; you will not be able to get any right direction where to go. Yes or no or both, or that which cannot be said…
Mahavira went even further. His logic is the ultimost – sevenfold logic. Yes, no, both, that which cannot be said – these four are accepted by Buddha. Mahavira goes a little deeper: yes and that which cannot be said; no and that which cannot be said, and the seventh, just the unsayable.