Excerpted from: Rinzai: Master of the Irrational, #3
"The man of truth is bound to contradict many superstitions which have been hanging around you for centuries, and as time has passed they have become more precious. The man of truth, the man of experience, of enlightenment, is bound to contradict many of your so-called religious leaders.
"Rinzai is saying, 'If anything Buddha says' even Buddha, and he is a follower of Buddha 'even if Buddha says something which does not conform with my experience, I am going to contradict him.'
"This has been Zen's tradition, a very living tradition. They will worship Buddha, they will offer songs and flowers to Buddha's statue, but as far as their experience is concerned, if Buddha goes against it, then they don't care. They trust their own consciousness, and if it comes to this point, they will have to contradict even Gautam Buddha.
"This, ordinary people cannot understand. They think that either you worship Buddha, or you don't. But Rinzai is saying that you can love even though you may not agree.
"Buddha is a personality really worth loving. No other man of that grandeur has walked on the earth but that does not mean that he is infallible. He committed many mistakes, and the man of experience will expose him although he follows him and loves him, respects him, has tremendous gratitude. That does not mean that anything that is not right should be overlooked.
"Rinzai is saying, 'It is only the great master who dares to disparage the buddhas and patriarchs. From olden days our predecessors never had people anywhere who believed in them.'
"Zen does not want anybody to be a believer. Either experience or just go home. Except experience, no belief is going to help.
"So those who have followed Zen masters were not followers, they were fellow travelers. They were rejoicing in the master's enlightenment. They were drinking as much of his wisdom as possible, and they were finding the path so that they could also experience the same lightning experience which dissolves all questions, all answers, and leaves you simply innocent, centered eternity in your hands. But they were not followers, and this is very difficult for the ordinary masses to understand.
"One Hindu monk was traveling with me in the train some thirty years ago and he was very well known in North India. He asked me, 'How many followers have you got?'
"I said, 'No, I don't have any followers.'
"He said, 'You don't have any followers? Then in what way do people think that you are a master?'
"I said, 'Mastery has nothing to do with followers; otherwise the more followers you have the greater master you are. Then nobody can compete with the pope. He has six hundred million Catholics: he is the greatest master.'
"I told him, 'I have fellow travelers. I have friends.... Friendship is giving respect to a person, dignity to a person. Following humiliates.'
"Never be a follower, because that means you are just a shadow, just moving in the footprints of somebody else, not trying to find your own path and your own being. Followers are weaklings.
"A man of courage finds his own path. He can rejoice in the enlightenment of someone. He can love someone to the extent that he can call him his master, but the master can never call him a follower, only a friend who is just a little behind a few steps more and he will also become a buddha. To reduce him to a follower is very insulting and humiliating. But all the religions have done that; they have reduced the whole humanity into slaves." Osho