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    Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing

    Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing


    Zen: The Koan of Life
    27 December 1980 am in Buddha Hall

    The first question

    Question 1



    Zen is not a religion, it is living life in its totality, herenow. Religions are always postponing life: they
    are giving you beautiful illusions about life somewhere in the future, far away, beyond death. That
    is a strategy to divert and distract you from the realities of life. That is pure cowardice. It is also a
    rationalization so that you can be consoled: ’If life is miserable today there is nothing to be worried
    about, tomorrow everything is going to be well. In fact, to suffer life today is a preparation for enjoying
    life tomorrow, so the more you suffer the better. There is no reason to complain, no reason to rebel,
    no reason to revolt against all those things which are causing misery.’

    Religion protects the establishment and the vested interests. It is a very subtle strategy – so subtle
    that for thousands of years man has lived under its weight without ever becoming aware of what
    is being done to him. Karl Marx is almost right: that religion is nothing but opium for the people.
    It keeps you drugged, it keeps you hoping, waiting – and the tomorrow never comes. Desiring,
    fantasizing about life after death is a sheer waste of time, energy, and also it keeps you stupid. Life
    is herenow – there is no other life. Life knows no past, no future, it knows only the presentZen is of tremendous importance. It is the greatest flowering of human consciousness yet achieved
    and it is one of the fundamental revolutions: it cuts the very roots of the so-called religious structure
    of the mind. It is not religion, it is pure religiousness. It is not religion in the sense of being Hindu,
    Mohammedan, Christian, Buddhist. Hence to call Zen ’Zen Buddhism’ is wrong: it has nothing to do
    with Buddhism at all. It is not oriented in the past, it is not inspired by the past – it has no goal in the
    future either – it is living your life passionately, intensely, ecstatically this very moment.

    The very idea of this very moment is shattering to the mind because mind lives in the past and the
    future. And Zen is a tremendous blow to the mind: it cuts it in a single blow, it destroys it, it takes
    you beyond immediately. Zen is a device of sudden enlightenment.

    Mind wants to be slow, gradual, it wants to move carefully, cautiously, guardedly, thinking about the
    pros and cons. Zen is a jump into the very thick of life. And life surrounds you within and without.
    Just as a fish is in the ocean you are in life. Don’t wait for the next moment, live it now. Zen is a
    challenge, a risk, a gamble: putting everything at stake for the moment.

    The religious people cannot understand it – I mean the so-called religious. And the world is full of
    them: there are Christians, and there are Hindus, Mohammedans, Jews, Buddhists, and Jainas –
    these people cannot understand Zen at all. Unless you get rid of all these ideologies you will not
    understand what Zen is.

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