Zen: Religion without god

I’ve been dipping into the words of the wild and woolly genius, Osho:

“God is not something above humanity, God is something hidden within humanity. Man is carrying God in himself as a potentiality.”

“So there is no concept of God in Zen. If you want, you can say that it is not even a religion – because how can there be a religion without the concept of God? Certainly those who have been brought up as Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus, Jews, cannot conceive of what sort of religion Zen is. If there is no God then it becomes atheism – it is not. It is theism to the very core, but without a God.

This is the first fundamental to be understoood. Let it sink deep within you, then things will become clear.

Zen says that God is not extrinsic to religion, it is intrinsic. It is not there, it is here. In fact, there is no “there” for Zen. All is here. God is not then, God is now – and there is no other time. There is no other space, no other time. This moment is all. In this moment the whole existence converges, in this moment all is available. If you cannot see it, that does not mean that it is not available – it simply means you don’t have the vision to see it. God has not to be searched for; you have only to open your eyes. God is already the case.

Prayer is irrelevant in Zen – to whom to pray? There is no God sitting there somewhere in the heavens and controlling life and existence. there is no controller. Life is moving in a harmony, of its own accord. There is nobody outside it giving commandments. ”

“It is an established truth: There is no God. Man is responsible for himself and for the world he lives in. If there is suffering, you are responsible; there is nobody else to look to. You cannot throw off your responsibility. If the world is ugly and is in pain, we are responsible; there is nobody else. If we are not growing we cannot throw the responsibility on someone else’s shoulders. We have to take the responsibility.

“When there is no God you are thrown back on yourself. Growth happens. You have to grow. You have to take hold of your life, you have to take the reins in your own hands. Now you are the master. You have to be more alert and more aware because for whatsoever is going to happen, you will be responsible. This gives great responsibility. One starts becoming more alert, more aware. One starts living in a totally different way. One becomes more watchful. One becomes a witness.”

(from: ‘Zen – The Path of Paradox’)


About Lisa

I live in South Africa with my husband and two small children, doing things, thinking about things and sometimes writing about them.
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