Kahlil Gibran has a story: In a big city there were many dogs, and one dog was a philosopher. Rarely does such a disease happen to dogs, but once in a while, for a change, there are exceptions. He continuously preached from morning till night to every dog, "Because of your barking our whole doghood loses its dignity; otherwise we are the highest animals in the world. Just stop barking unnecessarily."
The dogs were always very thankful for his advice, but said, "What to do? A strange urge arises — seeing a postman, or a sannyasin, or a policeman, anybody in uniform." Dogs are very much against uniforms. They seem to be very free thinkers. They don't want people to be in a crowd, they want everybody to be individual, themselves.
Everybody respected the philosopher dog. He was thought to be the wisest ever born of their species. He never barked. But one night, a dark night, the other dogs decided, "He has been preaching for years and nobody listens; it makes us so ashamed. At least to give him peace, one night we should try to stop barking — just for one night. It is going to be difficult, but we will hide in dark corners of streets, in dark groves and keep control. It is only a question of a few hours and in the morning we will be free to bark."
The philosopher went around and he could not meet any dog.
He could not believe: "Where have all the dogs disappeared to?" And there was such a silence and nobody for him to teach, and suddenly a great urge to bark arose in him. Now he knew why he was not barking — because from morning to night, all his energy was involved in teaching; there was no time nor energy to bark. And in front of everybody else how could he bark — against his own philosophy?
But now there were no other dogs, so the question of preaching was not there. Neither was there any witness that he was barking against his own wisdom. So he walked and barked as much as he could, because it was a lifelong repressed feeling. Nobody had ever heard such barking; he went almost crazy. All the dogs of the city who were hiding here and there slowly, slowly gathered by his side.
And when they saw that their philosopher himself was barking there was an explosion: thousands of dogs were barking. And for the first time the philosopher felt his humbleness — that he too is a dog, and he was unnecessarily harassing others and harassing himself.
The religions have done the same to man: they have harassed themselves and their followers into all kinds of self-torture, into all kinds of unnaturalness. They have given them the greed to be great saints. They have given them the greed that they will be a beloved of God if they follow certain principles. Nobody follows! All people have back doors in their lives.
At the front door you will meet one person, and at the back door you will meet somebody else — at the back door he will be more natural. At the front door or in the sitting room the person is a gentleman, or a lady, hiding everything natural. But Zen wants you to be natural and not split; the front door and back door should not be two doors.
You should have only one face, your own original face. And you should be grateful that nature has given you a tremendous opportunity to be creative, to be loving, to be silent, to be able to know the ultimate source of life. Nothing more can be asked. And everything is so easy if you simply drop your egoistic idea of being special.