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HEY, BUDDHA: ”Does God Exist?”

One morning a man asked Buddha, “I am an atheist, I do not believe in God. What do you say about God?” Buddha said, “God exists, and God exists more than you exist.” His disciples were shocked, particularly Ananda, who was always just by his side.

That very day, in the afternoon, another man came and said, “I am a believer, a theist. I believe in the existence of God. What do you say about God?” Buddha said, “There is no God, and there has never been any. God does not exist at all.”

In the evening a third man came. Only Ananda was present. The man touched the feet of Gautama Buddha, sat there, and said, “I don’t know anything about God. Will you help me a little?” Buddha closed his eyes, and sat silently.

Ananda was even more puzzled, because that man also closed his eyes and sat silently. One hour passed, and then the man opened his eyes and said, “How can I thank you? I don’t have any words. You have answered my question.” With tears in his eyes of joy and gratitude he touched the feet of Buddha, kissed the feet of Buddha, and went away.

Now Ananda was going mad! He was waiting for this moment, when there was nobody else. He closed the doors and said, “This is too much. You will drive us insane! To one man you say God exists. On the same day you say to another man that God does not exist. And on the same day, to the third man, you don’t answer, you simply sit in silence–and he receives the answer and with tears of gratitude he kisses your feet. What is going on? Where do we stand? What is our philosophy?”

Gautama Buddha said, “Relax, it is time to go to sleep. And remember, none of the questions were yours. Why did you hear the answers? Can’t you be a little more alert, that I am answering the question of this particular man in a particular context? You are not that man. Neither is the question yours, nor is the answer for you. Why should you bother? It has nothing to do with you. And as far as I am concerned, I have been absolutely consistent all three times.”

— OSHO, The Osho Upanishad – Chapter 22: A Journey Without End

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