In Buddhism people believe that if they worship the Buddha, bow to His statue, light some incense, and offer some fruit and flowers, then they are safe and are taking refuge in the Buddha. I think that this is the most mistaken concept, because there is no doubt that the statues represent the past Buddha, but not the present. And the past Buddha cannot help us in any way except that He left behind some theory for us to follow and to examine. And some of us go to the church, get baptised, and get some cake, and we think that we are safe from the hell fires! Anyhow, I am glad that people do that because the symbolism of truth at least is well kept. Why am I glad? Because it shows how innocent people are, how easy to believe, how naive. We are so innocent, so pure of heart.
So I am glad that the Buddhist people go to the temple and offer fruit to wooden statues, and I am glad that the Catholic believers go to church and repeat some of the ancient experiences thinking that they are safe. At least they show their purity and innocence. But innocence and purity cannot help us much if in this lifetime, we cannot see the Buddha or experience God ourselves. It is like someone just installed a telephone in your house without wire connections, and told you 'here is your phone, it looks like everyone else's telephone and that is it.' But what happens! You are just talking to yourself only. The connection is not there and the other end cannot receive anything. If we believe that in talking on one end of the phone, with no answer on the other side, that it is alright, if we get no response from Him, then it is even more innocent.
Before, I was that innocent. Every day I went to church or temple and believed that this was all there was to it. But then after some time, I grew up and felt empty, and I thought that God doesn't respond to anything and doesn't care if I pour my heart out. The Buddha doesn't dry my tears and answer my sincerest prayers and questions. He just sits there and smiles, every day like this. I cried, bowed and threw myself at His feet and He didn't move one inch! So then I became frustrated and then I became angry. (laughter) I thought how can you be so impolite! But it wasn't the Buddha that was so impolite, it was me who was so naive.
So after some time, I realised that maybe the dead Buddha couldn't help me much, and I had to find a living one, a living Buddha inside me. Therefore, I started to look for Masters, methods and a real way to find enlightenment, not just bowing to a lifeless statue. So one day I found it after a lot of struggle, discipline, and effort. I have found what the Buddha had found. I have found what Jesus had found, what Lao-tzu, Confucius, Plato and Socrates had found. And these things I am willing to give to you free of any conditions or bondage. It is all free of charge, because what I discovered you already have. It is yours, not mine. It is not that I will give you anything. I will only help you to open it and show you where it is. Then you will find happiness and all sorrow will disappear. It is just like the Bible says:
All the scriptures emphasise that we find our own enlightenment, and all our sins will be washed away. It is as simple as the sun coming out and dispelling all the darkness. Otherwise, we have what the Bible calls the sins from our own ancestors, or what in Buddhism is called endless karma from previous lives, and we can never wash it off by our own mind efforts. We could not do it by charity or good deeds alone, or by bowing to the statue of Jesus or Buddha. We must do it in the correct way, using the light of God, the inborn heaven to dispel hell's darkness. Jesus also said, Whatever I do today you will do even greater in the future. This means that He and we are equal. He didn't say, 'I alone can do all these miracles. You will never ever be able to do it.' No, He said, 'Whatever I can do you can do also.' That is a great liberal attitude, and Buddha also said, I have become Buddha and you will also become Buddha. If we follow the correct method, just like with a scientific method, everyone does the same thing and gets the same result.