The first question:
An empty chair
A silent hall
An introduction to Buddha –
Yes, that’s the only way to introduce Buddha to you. Silence is the only language he can be expressed in. Words are too profane, too inadequate, too limited. Only an empty space, utterly silent, can represent the being of a buddha.
There is a temple in Japan, absolutely empty; not even a statue of Buddha is in the temple, and it is known as a temple dedicated to Buddha. When visitors come and they ask, “Where is the Buddha? The temple is dedicated to him…” the priest laughs and he says, “This empty space, this silence – this is Buddha!”
Stones cannot represent him, statues cannot represent him. Buddha is not a stone, not a statue. Buddha is not a form – Buddha is a formless fragrance. Hence, it was not just accidental that ten days’ silence preceded these talks on Buddha. That silence was the only possible preface.
You are right: “An empty chair…” Yes, only an empty chair can represent him. This chair is empty, and this man talking to you is empty. It is an empty space pouring itself into you. There is nobody within, just a silence.
Because you cannot understand silence, it has to be translated into language. It is because of your limitation that I have to speak; otherwise there is no need. Truth cannot be said, has never been said, will never be said. All scriptures talk about truth, go on talking about it, about and about, but no scripture has yet been capable of expressing it – neither the Vedas, nor the Bible, nor the Koran – because it is impossible in the very nature of things to express it.
It cannot be said – it can only be shown. It cannot be logically proved, but love can prove it. Where logic fails, love succeeds. Where language fails, silence succeeds.
I cannot prove it, but the absence of the “I” within me can become an absolute proof for it. If you want to understand Buddha, really, you will have to come closer and closer to this silence that I am, you will have to become more and more intimate, available, vulnerable to this nobody who is talking to you.
I am not a person. The person died long ago. It is a presence – an absence and a presence. I am absent as a person, as an individual; I am present as a vehicle, a passage, a hollow bamboo. It can become a flute – only the hollow bamboo can become a flute.
I have given myself to the whole. Now whatsoever the will of the whole… If he wants to speak through me, I am available; if he does not want to speak through me, I am available. His will is the only will now. I have no will of my own.