That morning in the River Jordan when John the Baptist initiated Jesus, he killed Jesus utterly. Jesus disappeared. And in that moment of nothingness, a buddha – what Buddha calls shunyata, emptiness…. The heavens opened and the spirit of God like a dove descended on Jesus, lighted on him.
This is just symbolic: Jesus died, God was enthroned. This is what in Zen they call a special transmission, outside the scriptures. No knowledge was given by John the Baptist to Jesus, no scripture was conveyed – not even a single word was uttered. No dependence on words or letters, just a direct pointing to the soul of man: seeing into one’s nature – an attainment of buddhahood. This is what happened that day.
Christians have missed the point: it was not knowledge that was transferred from John the Baptist to Jesus, it was a vision. It was not verbal, it was existential. It was more like knowing than knowledge. Eyes were transferred: a new way of seeing the world and being in the world was transferred, a special transmission outside the scriptures. That’s why Jesus immediately felt one with God, but cut off from Jews. Jews are “the people of the book.” The Bible doesn’t mean anything else; it simply means “the book.” Jews are the people of the book – the people who have believed in the scriptures tremendously, who have loved and relied on the scriptures for centuries.
Jesus became one with God, but immediately was cut off from his own tradition. Then he tried in a thousand and one ways to remain part of the community, but it was impossible. He could not be part of the scriptures, could not be part of the tradition. Something of the beyond entered in him and when God enters, all scriptures become useless. When you yourself have come to know, all knowledge is rubbish.
That was the struggle between Jesus and the rabbis. They had knowledge, Jesus had knowing – and they never meet. The man of knowing is rebellious: the man of knowing has his own eyes; he says whatsoever he sees. The man of knowledge is blind: he carries the scripture, he never looks around; he just goes on repeating the scripture. The man of knowledge is mechanical, he has no personal contact with reality.
Just a few days before I was reading about a very high-powered New York psychiatrist. He was talking to one of his new patients and he told the patient, “I am very busy, in fact too busy. It will be good if you can help me. The first interview is always one-sided: you will be telling me all that you want to tell me. If I can get it down and look at it, and study it later on at my own convenience, it will be a great help. So here is the tape recorder. I will leave the tape recorder – put the machine on and talk to the tape recorder. Whatsoever you have to say…. Say all that you would like to say to me and then later on I will listen to it.” The psychiatrist asked, “Are you willing?”
The man said, “Of course. It is perfectly alright.”