If God existed, he would have been murdered long ago. Man could not have tolerated him; he was an enemy. It is good that he does not exist, so you can go on praying … Just think ….
There is a story, a very ancient story ….
Once God used to live just in the marketplace, but the whole day, even in the night people were knocking on the doors and complaining about everything: “This is not the right kind of world you have created. Why is there so much sickness? If you are the creator, then why do you create bodies which are sick? Why is there old age, and why is there death?”
So people tortured him so much, the old story says, that he called a council of his angels and asked them, “I will either die out of this constant torture, or I will have to commit suicide! Can you tell me what I should do? These people don’t leave me for a single moment and their demands are such that I cannot fulfill them. One woman comes and she says, ‘Tomorrow, remember, no rain because I am trying to dry my wheat.’ And another man says, 'Tomorrow I absolutely need rain because I am sowing my seeds.’ Now what am I to do?
"And there are millions of people shouting and angry because their desire has not been fulfilled, their prayer has not been heard.”
So the angels thought. One angel said, “It is good if you move to Everest, the highest peak of the Himalayas.”
God said, “You don’t know it but I am omniscient, I know everything – past, present, future. Soon there will be a man who will reach to the highest peak of the Himalayas.
And once one man has found me, there will be buses and airplanes, and all kinds of vehicles. And they will make roads and hotels, and again there will be the marketplace.
You don’t understand: it will only be just a little peace for a short time. That won’t do. I will have to change my place again.”
So somebody suggested, “Why don’t you move to the moon?”
He said, “You don’t understand because you don’t know the future – just after Everest they are going to go to the moon. So I will have to change again. Show me something from where I have not to change!”
Then an old angel came close to him and whispered in his ear, “The only place man may never think of is within his own heart. You just sit there …”
He has disappeared from everywhere. Perhaps you can encounter something of divineness in your own being. In your own life you may find something which is godly.
You will not find God as a person, you will find a quality, a fragrance, a presence; a certain air, a certain energy which is not yours, which belongs to the cosmos.
Stendhal is perfectly right: “God’s only excuse is that he does not exist.” That is saving him; otherwise there was no safety, no security.
Friedrich Nietzsche in his, THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA, comes to a point where Zarathustra is coming down from his mountain cave where he has lived many, many years. And he finds on the way an old hermit’s hut, and the hermit is praying to God.
Early in the morning, as the sun is rising, the hermit is praying.
And Zarathustra murmurs to himself, “Is it possible that this old hermit has not heard that God is dead?”
When Zarathustra goes down he tells the crowd, “Have you heard the news that God is dead?” They all start laughing.
They say, “You must be insane. Living in a cave for many, many years alone, has made you a crackpot.”
Nietzsche himself became mad in the last phase of his life, because he declared really good news but he could not manage to find something to replace God. He could not find the celebration of life, he could not find the experience of the living stream within you.
He remained in a vacuum – in a vacuum you are going to be mad.
More people go mad in the West than in the East. More people commit suicide in the West than in the East. More people murder in the West than in the East. It should be otherwise – the East is so poor that people should commit suicide, should go mad … but they don’t. What is happening?
The Western mind has come to know God is not there – an immense vacuum. And man cannot live without meaning, man cannot live without significance, man cannot live without joy. If God is dead, man has become absolutely empty, and man cannot live in emptiness.
He needs juices of life flowing through him. He needs to blossom into beautiful lotuses.
He needs to sing songs, he needs to play music. He needs all the blessings that existence makes available to you.
The Western man is more educated, is more rich, hence his bodily needs are almost fulfilled. He looks at the sky and finds the sky is empty – there is no God. This understanding that there is no God, rather than becoming good news to the Western man has become bad news. He feels accidental, unnecessary – there is no reason why he should be here.
The East knows three religions which don’t have any God – Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism – three religions which are not centered on God. And these three religions seem to be saner than the religions which have come out of Judaism – Judaism, Christianity, Mohammedanism. These three Eastern religions seem to be more sane, because from the very beginning there is no God. So they don’t have to look upward in the sky, they have to look inward. That is the only place where they have to explore for truth.
Prayer is not the way; meditation is the way.
And those who have come to the ultimate experience of meditation – a Gautam Buddha, a Bodhidharma, a Mahakashyapa, a Mahavira, a Lao Tzu, a Chuang Tzu, a Ma Tzu, a Sekito … they all don’t even talk about God. That which does not exist – what is the point even to say that he does not exist? It is simply out of the question to discuss God, to discuss heaven and hell.
Hence I want you to understand that Zen has come as a flowering out of the meeting of Gautam Buddha and Lao Tzu. It is the meeting of Dhamma and Tao. It is a crossbreed of Bodhidharma and Chuang Tzu. These two religions have reached to the highest peak, and they are unorganized religions. Where they have become organized they are dead. For example, in Tibet it became organized, it became dead. In Sri Lanka it became organized, it became dead.
Wherever religion becomes organized it becomes dead because it is immediately a desire for power, a desire to dominate. It becomes politics instead of religion.
Organization destroys the individual, sacrifices the individual, and the individual is the only one who can know the highest peaks of consciousness and the depths of consciousness.
Out of the meeting of Gautam Buddha and Lao Tzu, Zen is born. Zen is neither Buddhism, nor is it Tao; it is both, just as you are both your mother and your father. You are neither – something of your father, something of your mother is flowing in you.
Zen has come to the highest point of expression. It has become almost synonymous with eternal life. Adam and Eve could not eat the fruit of the eternal life, they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. They had only eaten the fruit of knowledge. But Zen gives you the other tree, the tree of eternal life.
God is no where.
Life is now here.
And Zen is the master key to open the doors of the mystery of life.