Monday, May 4, 2009

The hallucination caused by quantity

Sawaki Roshi: Because modern religious groups develop on a large scale, many people eventually think that these institutions represent true religion. A large number of believers does not make a religion true. If large numbers are good, the number of ordinary people in the world is immense. People often try to do things by forming groups and outnumbering the opposition. But they make themselves stupid in this way. Forming a party is a good example of group paralysis. To stop being in group paralysis and to become the self which is only the self, is the practice of zazen.

Uchiyama Roshi: No matter how many coal cinders there are, they are just coal cinders. But if a huge amount appears before them, people will be impressed by the volume and think it's significant. People mistake quantity for quality. Some people, understanding mob psychology and taking advantage of it might say, "Let's form a group, organize, build a huge temple and become rich and powerful."

True religion does not cater to human desires for money, fame social position, or health. To lead a life based on religious insight is to deeply examine the universal human ideal, realize it within oneself, and live it moment by moment. If something mistakenly referred to as religion spreads everywhere by flattering the desires of the masses, it shouldn't be called a world religion. We must see it as a heresy prevailing over the whole world like an epidemic. A religion that honestly examines the universal human ideal and shows human beings how to realize it can be called a world religion, even if only one, or half a person devotes his life to it.