Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I come to help God

On his death-bed Master Kodo Sawaki told Taisen Deshimaru to take Zen Buddhism to Europe. When Master Deshimaru arrived in France - a Catholic country for many centuries - he was asked why he had come. He said "I come to help God! I come to help Christ!". What does this mean? Was Master Deshimaru actually a Christian? And why did God need help?

Master Rinzai is supposed to have said, "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." True religion is beyond form. Deshimaru did not have a belief in a personal god as far as I know. But the dharma can be expressed to suit the audience, using different languages: Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, secular or scientific.

Master Sawaki felt that spirituality in Europe was ailing. Nietzsche had famously declared that 'God is dead'. Existentialist philosophy was dominated by angst. Deshimaru arrived to help - not to revive traditional Christianity but to offer a fresh perspective.

Zen is beyond theism and atheism. Not 'beyond' as in 'superior' in the sense of a value judgement, but in the sense that what it points too has no attachments or boundaries. True religion is beyond religion - the true God is beyond God.

There is no God.
And He is everything.

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