QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH ZEN TAO
Q: Did the Master Jesus travel to Persia and India during his lifetime? Did he actually die on the cross two thousand years ago? So many stories are circulating now, which challenge the accepted view of his life and death. If these stories are indeed true, then, why does the Bible not relate them? Can you tell us about these events? Is the Bible incorrect?
ZT: Why do you want to know of such facts?
Q: Out of curiosity, I guess.
ZT: The truth of the matter is that most people usually want to know of such facts to support their own understanding, their own belief, of what they think happened such a long time ago. They are not motivated by a genuine desire to establish the truth. They simply want to find evidence to support their own ideas. Now no matter what I say, unless there is physical evidence to support my statement, no one is going to believe me any more than they would believe anyone else who puts forward an unsupported theory. Moreover, even if I was to challenge the accepted story of Jesus's life, what difference would it make. Would you change your faith because of it? Would you change your lifestyle one iota because of it? Religious people would probably dismiss my words as blasphemy. The reality of human life is that people believe what they want to believe.
Having said that, though, it is fairly obvious that the events of Jesus's life as they are described in the Bible are not entirely accurate, if only because they were written many years after his death and were based on oral reports. Remember that in those days they did not have the benefit of tape recorders! What is significant, though, is not what is included in the Bible but is what has been deliberately left out of the Bible. For example, very little is revealed about Jesus during his formative years. However I can tell you that as a young man Jesus did travel through the area that you now call the Middle East, studying in the esoteric schools of wisdom there and that he also spent several years in India, living in ashrams, sitting at the feet of great Masters where he learned many of the spiritual powers and understandings that he demonstrated during his short ministry. Jesus went to the East as a seeker and returned as a realised being, capable of performing the miracles that are faithfully recorded in the Bible. As such, just as the yogis of India can change their states of consciousness, can leave and enter their bodies at will, can be buried underground for a month or more without suffering any harm, so Jesus could have died on the cross and could have resuscitated himself afterwards to appear before the chosen few. The important question to ask here is, surely, why did he only appear to the chosen few? Why did he not appear in the Temple at Jerusalem and confound his persecutors? Why has no other great spiritual leader publicly returned from the dead? I would suggest that the answer lies in the fact that such a manifestation would destroy the value and purpose of the great drama of physical life. Such a drama only has value if people believe in it, if they truly believe that what they are observing is real.
The important aspect of Jesus's life is not his birth or his death but is his life, what he taught and demonstrated and, in particular, the sacrifices that he made throughout his life, not just on the cross. A Master with his powers, to know the future, to transform matter, to control the elements, could at any time have avoided his death at Jerusalem, but he chose deliberately not to do so. He submitted himself to the will of God and fulfilled his destiny. In doing so he gave the ultimate demonstration of non-violence which, if it was practised by his followers today, would transform Humanity in the twinkling of an eye. Jesus grounded and taught the principle of divine love. He urged people to love one another. He taught that they should not to love the world and the things of the world but that they should love God with all their hearts, with every atom of their beings. So rather than concentrating on the messenger, a being who died two thousand years ago, concentrate on his message, a message which should live today in the hearts and minds of every human being.
Q: People here in England are busy celebrating the Winter Solstice but back home in my country, New Zealand, it is the time of the Summer Solstice and, as such, although I have been here for several weeks now, I have been having some difficulty in making a strong contact with the energy of the land in this country. Is there any advice that you can give me as to how to establish stronger links with this land?
ZT: At present this planet's environment is controlled by the ecliptic, the apparent annual path of the sun over the Earth's surface. This gives you the equinoxes and the solstices and defines your seasons. So it is readily apparent that the two hemispheres of your planet have differing and distinct cycles of evolution. Now, obviously, if you are an inhabitant of the southern hemisphere then your body is attuned to the cycle of that hemisphere in just the same way as it is attuned to, say, night and day. However with the advent of airline travel it is possible to be on the other side of the world in a matter of hours rather than of months as in the days of old. Therefore it is inevitable that your physical body is affected, because the atoms of your body are dancing to a different tune. That is why you are finding it difficult to attune to the energies of the north and, indeed, unless you were to live in this hemisphere for at least seven years you would continue to experience such difficulty.
So many people today travel all over the planet because air travel is available at a relatively low cost, but they do not realise that there are penalties to be paid for such travelling. For example, if you move a flower in your garden, if you uproot it and move it only fifty feet from where it was, it will immediately register its unhappiness with that move. Why is that the case? It is because you are placing it in a different position relative to the Earth's magnetic fields and it will need time to adjust. Sometimes a flower never adjusts. Similarly, when you move your roots, when you travel from one hemisphere to the other you are placing a very sensitive body in a completely different magnetic field. Obviously you have the ability to adapt and to attune to the new energies present but it takes time and I am talking now in terms of months not days. This process can be speeded up by a conscious attunement to the situation and by a conscious communication with your body because, of course, you are not your body. Your body is an instrument of your spirit but as with all things in life it will respond better to co-operation rather than coercion. So my advice, before you travel, is to ask yourself if it is really necessary to make the journey, will the holiday really be a holiday, especially if you are seeking rest and recuperation. In one sense your holiday journey is a bit like your spiritual journey. You can spend much time and energy looking for God all around you before you realise that that you only have to be still and look within to find Him.
Q: I know that I have to attune to the God within me but what is the best way of doing this? I sometimes feel that I am getting nowhere fast, no matter how hard I try.
ZT: Simply by following the path that your heart, which is the seat of spirit, not your head, reveals to you. You are all unique human beings, you are all at differing points of spiritual evolution, you are all subject to different karmic patterns, yet within each one of you is a small part of God which links you to the greater formless and nameless God, Infinite Spirit. Attunement is not a difficult thing to do. It is not something that only a yogi can do. It is not something that requires hours and hours of practice, of spiritual initiation. It is your birthright. It is your sincerity and commitment to the process of attunement that guarantees its success. Let me recommend a simple practice to you. The next time you are faced with a challenge or a problem, not a little one like whether to have salt or pepper on your meal, but a real problem to which you don't know the answer, imagine that God is sitting on your shoulder as you decide on a course of action. Then, after you have made your decision, put it to one side and ask yourself if the God that is sitting on your shoulder would approve of that decision. If you can honestly say that He would, then, proceed with that course of action because it would be right for you, but if you feel that He would disapprove, that He would act differently, then reconsider your course of action. Now this little ritual is simply a beginning towards the process of having that God watching and commenting on all your, thoughts, words and deeds, to having that God present in your life every waking minute of the day. God is with you when you wake up. God is with you when you go to sleep. God is with you throughout the day as you work and play. When is God not with you? Never! The end of attunement is to become one with God.
Q: There are so many different ways of worshipping God and new religions and cults seem to be appearing every day. It seems to me that people seem to be forgetting that they can go directly to God, that they don't have to go through an intermediary such as a church, a priest, a guru, or even Jesus himself. Am I wrong in thinking this way, that priests don't help you to see God, that they simply block your view of God?
ZT: Whilst most people are aware of what I will call the force of God within them, their divine spirit, only a few of them are aware of the implication of that divine link. Even fewer are aware of how that link can be used, of the true reality of their existence, of the spiritual path that they are walking, of the many lives that they have lived just to get to that point in consciousness. For such people the direct link with the Godhead is impossible and that is why they need and seek the help of an intermediary. For them it is a right and appropriate step. They will find the God within them by using their religion, their church, their priest, their guru, their saviour, as a stepping-stone to achieve that aim. It is a necessary step on their evolutionary path and should not be decried. They need the comfort and the structure of a religion or a church in order to survive in a world that they cannot understand. They need to believe that their religion knows a way, if not the way, to human salvation. Organised religion has been a comfort to many during the last 2000 years, the Age of Pisces, but the New Age that is beginning to unfold now is demanding change, a step upward in consciousness. That is why many people are now rejecting the path of orthodox religion and are seeking alternatives more appropriate to their point of spiritual consciousness. But these alternatives too are only stepping stones and eventually everyone will come to the realisation that there is only one God but that that God can be approached by many paths. It is rather like walking from the circumference of a circle towards the centre. The closer you get to the centre the closer the radii or paths get until they all become one in the centre. Every individual is walking a unique path to the Godhead, a path that was created by the Godhead. Whilst you might not understand why you are walking that path, recognise that it is your path and do not be seduced into walking another person's path. Above all, respect the paths that other people are walking. Do not feel that you have to save them from what you think is a false path. Your only concern should be your path and it is by walking your path more effectively that you will best help the whole Human Race.
Q: So every religion has a purpose even if we cannot see it?
ZT: Yes. I would say that the true purpose of a religion is not to teach you of God but is to lead you into an awareness of God.
Q: Do you have anything to say about the feminine principle of God, for example, Mother Mary. So much of religion today is patriarchal and very oppressive to women.
ZT: On several occasions I have explained that the parable of the Christmas story predates the birth of the Master Jesus by thousands of years. I have said that the Christ was born out of the creative energy of the Lord of the Sun and the Goddess of the Earth. So we can see that it needed both masculine and feminine, both positive and negative, not in physical form, but in energy form, to bring forth the creativity of the Christ child. Moreover the Goddess of the Earth plays an essential role in human evolution because it is upon her body, the Earth, that Man lives and moves and has his being and learns his lessons. It is as a result of her grace that Man is allowed to abuse the Earth in pursuit of his own spiritual quest. Man has yet to appreciate that the Earth, just like his physical body, is given to him in a sacred trust, which should be respected, or else great karma will be created. In truth, though, everything in creation is feminine, only the Creator is masculine, and I am talking here of creative energies not of human sexuality, in just the same way that the all the planets of your solar system are feminine whilst the sun alone is masculine. Do not get concerned about male and female gender, that is only the form, and is not representative of the energy behind it. The form is finite. The energy is not.
Nevertheless, over the years, the Christian religion, reflecting the culture in which it was created, has been patriarchal in its doctrine. With only a very few exceptions women have been suppressed and feminine creativity and sexuality have been perceived as a threat rather than as a blessing. Whilst acknowledging the birth of its Saviour through a woman, the Christian religion also made it clear that it was a virgin birth not a normal birth. This, in time, led to the creation of the cult of the virgin Mary, and the creation and the worship of the perfect asexual female being. Earlier religions had worshipped the Goddess, Gaia or Mother Earth, but because this form of worship was not acceptable to Christian theology so the worship of the Goddess was converted into the worship of the virgin Mother Mary. At another time I have said that the virgin principle applies not just to woman but to man as well. To be a virgin is to be celibate in thought, word and deed, is to rise above the demands of the physical body and attachments to the physical form, is to be in relationship only with God, is to be married to God, remembering that you are all feminine and God alone is masculine. We can therefore see Mother Mary as being a symbol of the Goddess and of all her virtues and characteristics. Recognise that you are only able to experience life on the Earth thanks to both God and Goddess. Whilst your spirit is linked to God, your body is linked to the Goddess, and when you die your spirit returns to God but your body returns to the Goddess.
There is a great vogue in the world today for women's liberation. I would not want you to be misled by this. It is both right and proper that women should enjoy the same rights and freedoms as men. Undoubtedly women have been suppressed religiously for generation after generation. They have been prevented from playing the role that God intended for them and so it is only natural that they should struggle to achieve equality with men in this respect. They should not, however, strive to be like men, to behave like men. A woman's role in life is very different to that of a man. Without women there would be no creation. Without children there would be no future. Mary's primary role was as the mother of Jesus. Her nurturing and educating of Jesus is not mentioned in the Bible, nevertheless, it played an important part in the development of Jesus's character. It is to be regretted that so many women in the world today abandon this vital role for the sake of pursuing a career. Raising and educating a child is a career, is the most important career in the whole world. It is important, therefore, that women bring forth their divine attributes and qualities and ground them in the world. Of course not every woman is destined to be a wife and a mother. Destiny chooses different roles for many women. What is important, though, is that they do not become like men, that they suppress the very qualities that they were born to exhibit. The feminine energy is different yet complementary to the male energy. Women are naturally wise, intuitive, prophetic, compassionate, caring, nurturing and communicative. They are homemakers and educators. That is why the Creator bestowed on them the great gift of motherhood. As I look around the world today I see that many women are trying to fulfil themselves by imitating man, by leading the life of a man. This is most wrong. Women must follow their hearts and must seek and manifest their own divine qualities. Only then will they be worshipped as the Goddess.
Q: What will happen if women fail to do this?
ZT: Human society will become unbalanced and a generation of children will arise who will not have been mothered properly. You can already see signs of this in the world today. Woman has to climb back once more onto her pedestal, to become the Goddess and to be respected as such. Man has to be taught to recognise and to respect that wisdom. Woman will not climb back on to her pedestal and become the Goddess by attacking and suppressing Man as an act of retaliation for what he has done to Her. Woman has always been synonymous with wisdom, even in the earliest myths and legends. It is that wisdom that is lacking on the Earth today. When Woman grounds her divine powers and becomes once more the wise woman of the tribe then truly peace and prosperity will return to this Earth.