Man is not destroyed by other small things — marijuana, LSD, etcetera — he is destroyed by something far deeper. Ambition is the most poisonous thing. We are unconscious. So, unless we become very aware of our inner poisons we will not be able to transform our beings from darkness into light. We will remain dark holes — and we have the capacity to become eternal light.
The whole point is to understand that the future is not. The future is created by the ambitious mind. The future is not part of time. It is part of ambition. Because ambition needs space to move. You cannot fulfill ambition now. You can fulfill life now, but not ambition. Ambition is against life, antilife.
What is the root of your misery? The root is your ambition, desiring. One wants to be this and that, one wants to possess this and that, one wants to be somebody, one wants to be significant.
The moment you have put your mind aside – mind means ambition, the ego trip of being this and that – the moment you have put the whole mind aside, a great light explodes in you and you are enlightened. This is satori. It does not come from the outside: you are not delivered by somebody else, you are delivered by your own being, by your own nature.
The man of Zen is absolutely conscious — no greed, no anger, no jealousy, no ambition. These are all intoxicants, these are all drugs: they go on keeping you sleepy. It is a miracle how you manage your life with so many poisons running in your bloodstream, in your very being. That is the only difference; otherwise, from the outside, you will not know.
What is the point of becoming ambitious? Ambition means I have to be superior, I have to prove that I am superior to others. Now for this you have to lose your intelligence, you have to become stupid. That’s why politicians are utterly stupid people, they can’t be otherwise. They are all bananas, and rotten bananas at that!
Ambition starts in such a way that you never become aware what poison it contains in it. The bottle of ambition contains pure poison, but the label is not that of poison: the label says it is pure nectar.
Both meet in you — time and eternity. Now it is for you to decide. If you move in ambition, you will move in time; and death exists in time. If you move in desire, you will move in time; and death exists in time. If you hanker for the ego, you will move in time. Death, ego, desire, ambition, they all are part of the horizontal line. If you start digging in the moment and move vertically, you become a nonego, you become desireless, you become nonambitious. But suddenly you are aflame with life, you are an intense energy of life. God has taken possession of you. Move vertically, and all miserliness disappears.
All your educational systems and all your cultural beliefs, force you to be ambitious, to be somebody. But to be somebody means creating anxieties in a silent pool, ripples and waves. The greater the ambition, the more tidal is the wave of anxiety. You can become almost insane desiring. Trying to be somebody, you are trying the impossible, because basically you are nobody. Zen has an absolutely unique perception into the nothingness of everyone. It does not teach you any ambition, it does not teach you to be someone else. It simply wants you to know that in the deepest part of your being you are still nothing, you are still carrying the original purity which is not even contaminated by an idea of “I.”
Why should you want to become somebody else? Why? This competition, this ambition, brings ego in. This comparison is egoistic. ‘Somebody is wise so I should become wise.’ Why? Let somebody be wise, that is his destiny. What is wrong in being the way you are? Then there is variety and there is richness in life because of the variety.
What is politics? Politics is ambition, politics is ego, politics is aggression, politics is violence, politics is an ego-trip. How can a religious person be political? He can pretend that he is religious but he cannot be religious. And how can a political person be religious? He can pretend that he is religious but he cannot be religious. These two thugs cannot go together because to be religious one has to drop ambition. And if you drop ambition politics disappears. To be religious one has to drop the ego, and when you drop the ego, politics is dropped. A religious person has to be without any ego whatsoever.
That’s what always happens to ambition. When you are nearing to the end, suddenly you recognize that one thing is very basically missing — somebody is still ahead of you. And ambition is very violent. Even if it is your Master, you can kill him. Ambition is violence. An ambitious man can never ke non-violent. An ambitious man can never love. Not even his own Master is safe! An ambitious man is a dangerous man. Ambition is poison. It poisons you.
Let it be remembered always: you cannot become non-violent if there is still ambition — any kind of ambition will never allow you compassion. How can you be compassionate if there is ambition? You have still to fight, still to make your way.
Zen has a different approach. It says: Be in the life — life is not wrong. If something is wrong it is wrong in your vision. Your eyes are clouded, your mirror of consciousness is dusty. Clean it! Create more clarity. If competitiveness disappears, you are in the world and yet you are not in the world. If ambition disappears, then there is no world left. But how the ambition and the competition can disappear? We go on creating new ways. Somebody is trying to have more money than you and somebody else is trying to be more virtuous than you. What is the difference? Somebody is trying to be more knowledgeable than you, somebody else is trying to have more character than you. It is the same desire, the same dreaming, the same sleepiness. And people go on and on in their dreaming. Their dreams change, but they never wake up.