Chapter 10: All Going Is Going Astray

Question 5



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Question 5


The question is from Yoga Anando.

No. Sin means missing the mark. Zen means there is no mark to miss. There is nothing, no target. There is no destiny. It is all beautiful purposelessness. It is all beautiful meaninglessness. It is a song. It has no meaning. It has a rhythm, but no meaning. It has tremendous beauty in it, but no logic. And it is not a syllogism; there is no conclusion. It is an unconcluded existence, and it remains always unconcluded.

We are always in the middle. There has been no source, and there is no goal.

Sin exactly means missing the mark. That's why Zen people don't talk about sin. Christians talk about sin, because they think God has to be achieved, heaven has to be achieved, there is some goal. If you miss that goal, that is what is called sin; sin means missing the goal. Zen people don't talk about sin. The word "sin" exists not for them, because there is no goal to miss. You are already at it! The arrow has reached, the arrow has always been there, not for a single moment has it been otherwise. Zen is so profound. It gives you utter freedom to be. It does not yoke you to some ideology and doesn't yoke you into some guilt.

The moment you talk about sin, guilt arises. The moment you start thinking you are missing the mark, tension arises, anxiety arises, anguish arises: "So how not to miss?" Then there is great trembling, and then the fear you may go on missing. Who knows? -- for so long you have been missing. So who knows, you may go on missing. You may go astray.

Christianity talks in terms of duality. You are separate from God, so you can miss him, you can move in a wrong direction, you can go astray. Zen is nondual. It says you are in God, you cannot go astray. See the beauty of it. See the great declaration. See the declaration of freedom -- utter freedom.

Freedom from the goal is utter freedom because the goal keeps you tied together in a direction. Zen has no direction. When you have a direction to move in, you will have to choose where to go. And the fear will always remain, whether you are going in the right direction or not. Who knows? -- even your leader may be wrong. The one who is leading you may himself be misguided or may be a cheat. Who knows? And if you come close to your priest and your leader, you will become more suspicious.

Gurdjieff used to say that if you want to get rid of religion, live near the priests. Then you will get rid of religion because you will see they are trembling as much as you are trembling. Their public faces are different, their private faces are different. Live close to a priest, and you will be surprised. He is as much in the dark as anybody else. He just pretends. He is as blind as anybody else, but he goes to the masses and pretends to the blind people that "I have eyes."

And all religions depend on priests. Why don't the priests say the truth? They cannot, because their whole trade depends on one secret, that they have to go on pretending that they have eyes. That pretension is very basic to the trade of the priest.

And one priest may fight against another priest -- the Hindu priest may say something against Christianity and the Christian priest may say something about Hinduism -- but they never say anything against priesthood. Never.

I have heard a beautiful anecdote. Meditate over it.

The little island in the South Pacific was in an uproar when the American missionary visited the chief of the tribe. "What is the commotion?" demanded the missionary.

"There is a white baby born in the village," replied the savage, "and you know we don't like no man messing around with our women. Since you is the only white man on the island they is fixing to fry you alive."

The missionary was in a state of nervous collapse when he spied a flock of sheep on the hillside behind the village. Turning to the chief he cried, "Look there on the hillside, chief, you see that flock of white sheep?"

"I sure do," replied the chief.

"Well," said the missionary. "Do you see the black sheep in the middle of the flock?"

"I see it," responded the chief.

"There is no other black sheep and there never has been, has there?"



The chief beckoned the missionary aside and whispered in his ear, "You not tell, me not tell."

This is how it goes on. They have to protect each other. They may fight about dogmas, they may fight about principles, philosophies, that is all okay. But they never say anything against the priesthood. The Shankaracharya of Puri will be as much in favour of the priesthood as the Vatican Pope. There will be no problem about that, no conflict about that. If priesthood is at stake, they will all fight for it.

When Buddha declared these ultimate truths in India, there were many religions in India. They all went against him. Not only Hindus, Jainas were against him. Not only Jainas, Ajeevekas were against him. And so many others. Why? Whenever a real man is there, all priests will be against him because the real man will bring the message to you that you are being led by blind people: they don't know; you don't know. The blind are leading the blind.

Zen says there is no need to be led by anybody, because there is nowhere to go. This is Cutting the very root of priesthood. Look at it. This is destroying priesthood totally. Zen does not say that one priest is right and another is wrong. If it is said that way, then priesthood is still protected. Zen says there is nowhere to go.

A man came to Nansen and asked, "What do you say? Is Zen the right way to achieve God?" Nansen said, "Zen is not a way at all, it is not a path, because a path leads somewhere. We don't lead. A path reaches somewhere. We don't lead you anywhere. We simply throw you to where you are. We simply throw you back to yourself."

If it is a path, then leaders will be there. If something has to be done, then you will find people mediating between you and God, between you and reality. Nothing has to be done, so nobody has to show and guide you. You alone are enough.

Zen is not "hitting the mark". Zen is knowing that there is no mark and nowhere to hit, that you are the target, and the arrow has always been in the target.

You must have heard the great Tibetan mantra "AUM MANE PADME HUM. " It has many meanings. One meaning is "Look! The arrow is already in the target." AUM is just a shout, so that you can look; it is almost "See!" "Look!" -- "Aum! mane padme hum." Literally it means "jewel in the lotus""mane padme hum". Jewel in the lotus. Literally it means "Look! The jewel is already in the lotus." Metaphorically it means "Look! The arrow has already reached the target."

You are at home already, so it is not "hitting the mark," because "hitting the mark" will again be the same thing. Then you will ask, "How to hit it?" Then one has to learn archery, then one has to go through discipline, and then the whole priesthood comes in from the back door.

I have heard:

One summer's day when a man in a rowing boat caught a cramp and fell into the water -- it was an ornamental lake -- arms and legs wildly flailing, he screamed, "Help, Help! I can't swim!" Finally a bystander shouted back, "Stand up, you bloody fool!" The drowning man did so -- and found that the water just came up to his waist.

But he was thinking he was drowning. The water just came up to his waist.

You are not drowning. Just stand up!

I have heard another story. A traveler lost his track one night in the hills. It was a dark night, and he was very much afraid. The hills were very tricky and dangerous and the track was very narrow, and he was afraid he could miss a step and could disappear forever in the valley. He could fall into any abyss; they were all around. So he was just creeping on his hands. Still he fell, he slipped. He caught hold in time of the roots of a tree. Now, he was very much afraid. He tried hard somehow to get out of that hole he was hanging in, but he could not. And it was getting colder and colder and his hands started becoming frozen, and now he was certain that it was a question of minutes. Once the hands are too cold, he would not be able to hold onto the roots, and he would die. That became certain. Now there was no way to escape.

He started crying and weeping, and he started praying, and he had never been a theist, but in such moments nobody bothers about principles. He started saying to God, "Save me," this and that, and "I will not do this sin or that sin, and I will be straight now; I will not drink and I will not smoke," and all sorts of things he was promising. But no help came, and by and by his hands started slipping, and a moment came when he thought, "Now it is finished." And he fell.

And to his surprise, he was standing on his feet. There was no abyss there; it was just plain ground. For hours he was hanging between life and death.

Once you stop planning, you will suddenly be on plain ground. Once you stop thinking about the target and how to hit it, you will be at home. Zen says drop all ways, because all ways lead astray, because to God there is no need of any way. He is there in your heart. It is he who is listening to me, it is he who is talking to you. It is he who is breathing in you, it is he who is beating in your heart. God is not far away. God is not even outside. God is the innermost core of you.

So drop this sin-oriented idea of hitting or missing. Both are in the same category; both will create anxiety.

My whole effort here is to make you free of anxiety, free of guilt. Free of guilt, free of anxiety, you are a saint, because you are innocent then, you are a child again. You are born again.


Next: Chapter 10: All Going Is Going Astray, Question 6


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