Osho makes it clear that the West’s comprehension of Zen is still largely intellectual rather than recognizing the penetrating experiential truth that Zen points to – which extends far, far beyond the mind.
“It is time, ripe time for a Zen manifesto.
The Western intelligentsia have become acquainted with Zen, have also fallen in love with Zen, but they are still trying to approach Zen from the mind. They have not yet come to the understanding that Zen has nothing to do with mind.
Its tremendous job is to get you out of the prison of mind. It is not an intellectual philosophy; it is not a philosophy at all. Nor is it a religion, because it has no fictions and no lies, no consolations. It is a lion’s roar. And the greatest thing that Zen has brought into the world is freedom from oneself.”
Chapter 11: Sammasati – the Last Word
Just think for a moment: When you were not born, was there any anxiety, any worry, any angst? You were not there, there was no problem. You are the problem, the beginning of the problem, and then as you grow, more and more problems come. But before your birth, was there any problem?
Zen masters continuously ask the newcomers, “Where have you been before your father was born?” – an absurd question, but of immense significance. They are asking you, “If you were not, there was no problem. So what is the worry?” If your death becomes the ultimate death and all boundaries disappear, you will not be there, but the existence will be there. The dance will be there, the dancer will not be there. The song will be there, but the singer will not be there.
This is only possible to experience by falling deeper, beyond the mind, to the very depth of your being, to the very source of life from where your life is flowing. Suddenly you realize the image of yourself was arbitrary. You are imageless, you are infinite. You were living in a cage. The moment you realize your sources are infinite, suddenly the cage disappears and you can open your wings into the blue sky and disappear. This disappearance is anatta, this disappearance is freedom from oneself. But this is possible not through intellect, it is possible only through meditation. Zen is another name for meditation.