Osho - Zen is paradoxical because Zen is not a philosophy
Question - Why is Zen Paradoxical?
Osho - because life is paradoxical and Zen is a simple mirror-reflection of life. Zen is not a
philosophy. Philosophies are never paradoxical, philosophies are very logical -- because philosophies are mind-constructions. Man makes them. They are manufactured by man. They are manmade, tailored, logically arranged, comfortably arranged so that you can believe in them. All those parts which go against the construction have been dropped, rooted out, thrown away. Philosophies don't reflect life as such; they are chosen from life. They are not raw, they are cultured constructions.
Zen is paradoxical because Zen is not a philosophy. Zen is not concerned about what life is, Zen is concerned that whatsoever is should be reflected as it is. One should not choose, because the moment you choose it becomes untrue. Choice brings untruth. Don't choose, remain choiceless -- and you remain true.
But that's what you do: you fall in love with a woman and you start choosing. Soon you will be in trouble. You don't see the woman as she is, you only see that which is good and you overlook all which is not good. There are a thousand and one things in her -- a few are good, a few are bad, that's how people are made. God never makes goodie-goodies -- they would be very dull and dead, they wouldn't have any backbone, they would be bloodless. He makes alive people. And each person has something that you like and something that you don't like -- because he has not been tailored especially for you, he has not been made for you, he has not come out of an assembly line in a factory. He is unique. He is himself and she is herself.
When you fall in love with a woman, you start choosing. You overlook many things. Yes, sometimes you feel she gets angry but you overlook it, you don't take any notice of it. You just see the goddess, you don't see the witch. The witch is there. No goddess can exist without a witch otherwise the goddess would not be worth anything. She will be too good to be enjoyed, too good to be loved. And you don't want to worship a woman, you want to love a woman. You want a woman to be human not a goddess.
But that's what you do. You pretend, you don't see any negative factors. You start choosing. You create an image of the woman which is false, which is not true. Sooner or later you will start feeling frustrated because sooner or later the reality of the woman will go against the image that you have created. And then you start feeling as if you have been cheated and deceived, as if this woman has knowingly deceived you. Nobody has deceived you. You yourself are the writer of your whole drama. You have managed to deceive yourself because you started choosing. You did not see the woman as she was, in the way a mirror reflects her. Yes, there were beautiful things but there were ugly things too -- because beauty never exists without ugliness and ugliness never exists without beauty. They exist together. They are two aspects of the same coin.
Sometimes the woman was really sweet and sometimes she was really bitter. If you had looked at both it would have been difficult for you because this was paradoxical, this didn't fit in with your Aristotelian logic, this seemed illogical -- how could a woman be both? Sometimes she loved you and sometimes she hated you; in fact, the deeper her love is, the deeper her hate goes too. Sometimes she was ready to die for you and sometimes she was ready to kill you too. A woman is a ferocious energy, Just as man is.
But you make a fairy tale. You choose a few parts and you drop a few parts and you create an image. That image is not going to last. Once the honeymoon is over, reality will start asserting itself. Reality cannot be defeated by your imagination and by your
dreaming, reality has to be taken care of sooner or later. Yes, you can postpone it for the time being but not forever. And when the reality asserts itself....
It will assert itself in day-to-day life. When you meet a woman once a day on the beach she is totally a different animal. You are a different kind of animal too. Meeting for one hour, she is prepared for it, she is ready for it, she has rehearsed for it, she has been standing before the mirror for hours for it. You will not find the same woman if you start living with her twenty-four hours a day; it will be impossible for her to be so ready and rehearsed. By and by she will start forgetting about you. She will get ready only when you are going to the movie, otherwise she will not bother.
Then you will see something else which was never there before. Then small things of life, trivia, assert themselves. Over small things she starts arguing -- and you start arguing too. Over small things there is anger and nagging and fighting -- you never saw these things on the beach. On the beach you saw the full moon and the waves. On the beach the woman did not argue with you; whatever she said you said yes, whatsoever you said she said yes. You were so ready to say yes that no was not possible at that moment. But the no cannot wait forever, it will come up, it will surface. The moment no surfaces, y our image starts falling into fragments. Then you think that the woman has done some wrong to you.
This example is not only about man and woman, this has been the whole story of philosophy. Each philosophy does it. Each philosophy chooses a few things from reality and tries to remain oblivious of other things. Because of this, each philosophy has loopholes, each philosophy has leakages, each philosophy can be criticised -- and has to be criticised. Those who believe in it may pretend not to see the loopholes, but those who don't believe in it see only the loopholes -- they choose from the other end. Each philosophy has been criticised and the criticism has not been wrong. It is as true as the propounder's idea about it.
And it does not happen only in philosophy, it happens in science too. We create a certain theory and then there is the honeymoon with the theory. For a few years things go perfectly well. Then reality asserts itself. Reality brings up a few things and the theory gets into difficulty because we had excluded a few facts. Those facts will protest, they will sabotage your theory, they will assert themselves. In the eighteenth century science was absolutely certain, now it is certain no more. Now a new theory has come: the theory of uncertainty.
Just a hundred and fifty years ago Immanuel Kant came across this fact in Germany. He said that reason is very limited; it sees only a certain part of reality and starts believing 'that this is the whole. This has been the trouble. Sooner or later we discover further realities and the old whole is in conflict with the new vision. Immanuel Kant attempted to show that there were ineluctable limits to reason, that reason is very limited. But nobody seems to have heard, nobody has cared about Immanuel Kant. Nobody cares much about philosophers.
But science in this century has at last caught up with Kant. Now Heinsenberg, in physics, and Godel, in mathematics, have shown ineluctable limits to human reason. They open up to us a glimpse of a nature which is irrational and paradoxical to the very core. Whatsoever we have been saying about nature has all gone wrong. All principles go wrong because nature is not synonymous with reason, nature is bigger than reason. And Zen is not a philosophy; Zen is a mirror, it is a reflection of that which is. As it is, Zen says the same. It does not bring any man-made philosophy into it, it has no choice, it does not add, it does not delete. That's why Zen is paradoxical -- because life is paradoxical. You just see and you will understand.
You love a man and you hate the same man too. Now, our mind says this is not good, we should not do it. So you pretend that you don't do it. But it is not possible. If you really want to drop the hate part, you will have to drop the love part too -- but then both disappear and indifference arises. This paradoxicality is in the very nature itself -- day and night, summer and winter, God and Devil are together.
Zen says that if you say that God is good then a problem arises: then from where does the bad come, from where does the evil come? That's what religions have done -- Christianity, Islam, Judaism, have separated God and Devil. The evil comes from Devil and all good comes from God. God means the good. But from where does this Devil come? Then they are in trouble and then finally they have to concede that God created the Devil too -- but what is the point in going in such a roundabout way? If the Devil is also created by God then God remains the sole signature on existence, then God remains the sole author. So whatsoever is happening is happening through him -- and he is paradoxical. That's what Zen says. God is paradoxical, as paradoxical as existence itself. God is nothing but another name for existence, for the totality of existence.
Once you understand this paradoxicality, a great silence arises in you. Then there is no choice -- there is no point in it -- then things are together. You cannot become a saint because if you want to become a saint you will have to deny your devil; you will have to cut yourself into two parts. You will have to force your devil somewhere into your belly and the devil will remain there and will go on sabotaging your sainthood.
Zen brings great health to humanity. It says you are both. Accept both. Don't deny, don't choose; accept both. In that acceptance there is a transcendence, in that very acceptance you are neither a saint nor a devil. That is what a holy man is -- neither good nor bad, or both. And when a person is both, knowingly both, those opposites cancel each other. Just try to understand this; it is one of the most fundamental keys. When you accept both the good and the bad and you don't choose, the bad and good cancel out each other, the negative and the positive cancel out each other. Suddenly there is silence, there is neither good nor bad; there is only existence, with no judgement. Zen is non-judgemental, it is non-condemning, it is non-evaluating. It gives you utter freedom to be.
Source - Osho Book "Zen The Path of Paradox Vol 1"