The elderly Lo Zu was sitting on a huge fallen log next to a beautiful pond that was not far from the village. A much younger man, who was an atheist, came by and said to him, “Many people in the area say that you are a great wise man, a holy man, but if there is no God, then you are not a holy man, you are nothing.”
Lo Zu invited the man to sit next to him on the large, fallen log, which he did. Then Lo Zu, said (while smiling), “We two can agree on one thing; I am nothing.”
“Then there is no God,” the man pronounced with confidence.
Lo Zu then said, “‘God’, for most everyone, is an image (or series of images) that they have learned. (They will insist that it is something much more than absorbed images.) To these images, they associate power, dominance, kindly (special) protection, fatherliness, and unlimited knowledge. However, these images (and their associative emotions) are self-protrusions of thought/thinking.”
“And so not anything real?” asked the man.
Lo Zu then said, “The sign on the road, just outside of town, that has the name of the town upon it, is not the town. If someone steals the sign, they are not stealing the town. If someone wants to visit the town, they do not crawl up the sign. Additionally, to really be sure that the town is there, one must visit the town.”
“I see what you are getting at,” said the man. “So, you are suggesting that one, such as you, can visit God.”
“Not really,” said Lo Zu. “If one, through supposed will and choice, decides to visit ‘God,’ one is visiting one’s own learned images, one’s own learned thoughts and strong emotions associated with such thoughts. Such a ‘visiting’ is usually a self-deluding form of acquisition that involves greed.”
“So there is no real God,” the man insisted.
“Jumping to conclusions,” Lo Zu suggested, “may be as foolish as worshipping mere self-fabricated symbols, mere signs. A strong belief that there is no God may be as superficial and primitive as a strong belief that there is a God. Holistic perception inquires (without accumulated patterns) into what might be sacred; it inquires with a passion that surpasses beliefs of any kind (and actually finds out).”
“So what are you saying?” the visitor queried.
Lo Zu replied, “I am saying that I will not encourage you to worship or to cling to any symbols of power, any symbols of divinity. Worshiping self-created or learned images, that one projects (from what one absorbed from others), is similar to worshipping parts of oneself. It may be that the true answer has to come to you. (It cannot merely be visited, like an ordinary town.) The true answer is probably rather unapproachable, but that may be a real key; conclusions, accumulated images, and greed cannot expose it. It is beyond foolish grasping. The internal images of self are nothing when foolishness ceases. When all of the windows are open and the room is not filled with garbage… only then can the breeze, perhaps, flow through.”
With that, Lo Zu stood up and began walking with his meandering cane and said, “We must go; we see someone carrying a heavy burden and we will help them with it, to a certain point. You can come along also… unless you prefer to remain stuck where you are.”