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Dhammapada-Buddhism-Buddha

THE DHAMMAPADA: THE WAY OF THE BUDDHA, VOL. 6

Chapter 3: A slave in your own house

 

Energy Enhancement         Enlightened Texts         Dhammapada         The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 6

 

MASTER YOURSELF ACCORDING TO THE LAW.
THIS IS THE SIMPLE TEACHING OF THE AWAKENED.

THE RAIN COULD TURN TO GOLD
AND STILL YOUR THIRST WOULD NOT BE SLAKED.
DESIRE IS UNQUENCHABLE
OR IT ENDS IN TEARS, EVEN IN HEAVEN.

HE WHO WISHES TO AWAKE
CONSUMES HIS DESIRES
JOYFULLY.

IN HIS FEAR A MAN MAY SHELTER
IN MOUNTAINS OR IN FORESTS,
IN GROVES OF SACRED TREES OR IN SHRINES.
BUT HOW CAN HE HIDE THERE FROM HIS SORROW?

HE WHO SHELTERS IN THE WAY
AND TRAVELS WITH THOSE WHO FOLLOW IT
COMES TO SEE THE FOUR GREAT TRUTHS.

CONCERNING SORROW,
THE BEGINNING OF SORROW,
THE EIGHTFOLD WAY,
AND THE END OF SORROW.

THEN AT LAST HE IS SAFE.
HE HAS SHAKEN OFF SORROW.
HE IS FREE.

THE AWAKENED ARE FEW AND HARD TO FIND.
HAPPY IS THE HOUSE WHERE A MAN AWAKES.

BLESSED IS HIS BIRTH.
BLESSED IS THE TEACHING OF THE WAY.
BLESSED IS THE UNDERSTANDING AMONG THOSE
WHO FOLLOW IT,
AND BLESSED IS THEIR DETERMINATION.

AND BLESSED ARE THEY WHO REVERE
THE MAN WHO AWAKES AND FOLLOWS THE WAY.

THEY ARE FREE FROM FEAR.
THEY ARE FREE.

THEY HAVE CROSSED OVER THE RIVER OF SORROW.

MASTER YOURSELF ACCORDING TO THE LAW.
THIS IS THE SIMPLE TEACHING OF THE AWAKENED.

Man can either be interested in domination and mastering others, or he can be interested in mastering his own self. The first category is the category of the fools, but they make the major part of history: Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadirshah, Alexander, Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler, Mao.... History is full of the names of the first category. It is a wrong kind of history to teach.
The right kind of history will teach about the buddhas: those who have tried and conquered themselves. It is far more arduous to conquer oneself. It needs far more integrity, awareness, strength, will, trust, surrender. It requires all the great qualities of consciousness. It basically requires consciousness. One can master oneself only if one is absolutely alert; otherwise you remain dominated by your desires.
You are a slave in your own house. One desire pulls you towards the south, another towards the north, and you are at the mercy of those blind desires. You are always falling apart. It is difficult even to manage to remain together: so many desires, so many attractions, so many objects alluring you. And you are simply in an insane state, running hither and thither, not knowing why, not knowing whether it is worth it at all.
But man is born unconsciously, although he has the potential to become conscious. And the potential will remain only a potential unless you work hard to actualize it. One is born with an intrinsic capacity to conquer oneself, but your whole energy becomes extrovert. Living with people who are extrovert, ambitious, desiring this and that, the child also starts imitating. He learns from others -- from his parents, teachers, priests, politicians -- and these are all in the same boat. Somebody is after money, somebody is after power, somebody is after fame, but nobody seems to be interested in one's own self. Nobody seems to be ready to go on that great pilgrimage of self-discovery.
Buddha says: MASTER YOURSELF.... If you are at all interested in mastery -- and who is not interested? -- then become interested in self-mastery. Don't waste your time in trying to dominate others. The effort to dominate others creates political conflict; the whole world is full of it. Even in personal relationships politics enters and destroys them. Even when you love a woman or a man, the mind starts its cunning ways to dominate, to possess, to destroy the freedom of the other... because you are afraid. You are afraid that if YOU don't dominate, the other is going to dominate you.
And for all those who want to dominate others, Machiavelli is the teacher. In India also a similar type of man has existed; his name was Chanakya. He preceded Machiavelli by thousands of years. Both men are the foundations of the extrovert mind; they have laid the foundations. And their first foundation is: the best way to defend yourself is to attack. Hence, before the other attacks you, attack the other. Before your wife starts dominating you, you dominate her, or before your husband starts dominating you, you dominate him.

A young man was going to get married. He asked his father, "Is there any advice for me?" And the father whispered something into his ear. The young man laughed and said, "I will take care of it."
He went to the town to get married. As the couple were coming back to the village, the horse who was carrying them from the town stopped. The young man was very angry. He said to the horse, "This is the first time -- I can forgive you, but remember, I can forgive you only two times."
The horse moved, but again he stopped at another place and wouldn't budge. The young man said, "This is the second time -- now be alert!"
And when the horse stopped for the third time, the young man got down, took his pistol and shot the horse immediately then and there. The horse fell down.
The wife could not believe her eyes -- what cruelty! She said, "What are you doing?"
He said, "This is the first time.... Remember, you have only two more chances."
And from that day, it is said, his wife always followed him. What else to do?

This has been the way down the ages: either the husband dominates or the wife. In ninety-nine percent of the cases the wife dominates, because the husband is trying to dominate in the outside world, in the marketplace. He comes home so tired, he comes home so frustrated, he has no desire, will or power to fight with the woman. And the woman has been waiting the whole day, accumulating. Her energies are fresh and she has nowhere to go to dominate anybody else; only the husband is her dominion.
Man has imprisoned woman in the house at a great cost, because he has taken away all other possibilities of going on ego trips. Now only one outlet is left -- he himself -- and he is suffering a lot. In fact, the Women's Liberation movement is not only woman's liberation; if it really happens, it will be far more MAN'S liberation. Hence I don't see any intelligent man against it; all intelligent men are for it, because they know if the woman really becomes free they will be free too. It is going to be freedom for both.
It is one of the laws of life: either you both can be free or you both will be slaves. It is not possible that one should be the master and the other should be the slave. The law is that the master is always a slave of his own slave, because his mastery also depends on the slave. Without the slave he will not be a master at all.
The child finds all these people around, running in the same direction. The child is vulnerable, open, ready to be impressed. It is very difficult for the child to find a Buddha, to find a Jesus. He always finds these stupid people living their lives in absolute unawareness. He starts imitating them. By the time he is of age he is already structured, programmed, conditioned.
Unless you make a great effort to get out of this conditioning you will not be free. Unless you make a great, concentrated, determined decision that you have to get out of it -- even if life itself needs to be staked you are ready to stake your life for the freedom from all kinds of conditionings -- there is not much possibility. But you can make the decision.
This is what sannyas is: a determination, a decision, a commitment -- a commitment to yourself, a gift to yourself.
MASTER YOURSELF... because mastering yourself you enter into the kingdom of God, you enter into the real world of peace and bliss. You enter into your own treasures -- they are inexhaustible. You come to know for the first time the richness of your being, the beauty of your being and the ecstasy of your being.
MASTER YOURSELF ACCORDING TO THE LAW. Now, there is a possibility you may misunderstand Buddha, because "according to the law" in the eyes of Christians and Jews and Mohammedans means according to the law prescribed in their books: the Ten Commandments, the Koran, the Bible. That is not the meaning of Buddha. "According to the law" does not mean the law of the state or the law given by the priests. "According to the law" for Buddha means according to the ultimate law of life and existence.
There is a tremendous harmony -- anybody just a little bit sensitive, intelligent, can feel it -- life is a harmonious whole. It is not a chaos, it is a cosmos. Why is it not a chaos? -- because a law runs through and through it like a thread in a garland. That thread is invisible, you see only the flowers, but that thread is keeping them together. Existence is a garland; there is a thread, a SUTRA -- sutra means thread -- a very thin thread, almost invisible, running through the whole existence, that makes it a cosmos instead of a chaos.
"According to the law" in the words of Buddha means: Be in harmony with nature, existence. Don't fight with it, don't go against it. Don't try to go upstream, to flow upstream. To be in a let-go with existence is to follow the law. AES DHAMMO SANANTANO -- this is the inexhaustible law: that if you relax, if you allow the law to take you over, to possess you, you will be overflooded with it. You need not go on an ego trip. The river is already flowing to the ocean -- you simply flow with the river. No need to swim either -- float, and you will reach the ocean.
MASTER YOURSELF ACCORDING TO THE LAW. Buddha makes that condition, because the danger is that in trying to master yourself you may use the same strategy that you have been using in mastering others. That's what so many monks have done in the past: just as they fight with others they start fighting with themselves, but the fight continues. The object changes, the enemy changes, but the fight continues.
And they fall into a far deeper mess, because when you fight with yourself you have to divide yourself in two, you have to become two parties. You have to condemn some part of your being as the enemy. It may be sex, it may be your body, it may be your mind, anything, but you have to divide yourself in two: the higher and the lower, the heavenly and the earthly, the material and the spiritual, the body and the soul... and then you start fighting. Then YOU are the soul, and fight the body. Again you have become an extrovert.
In fact, the introvert cannot fight; there is no possibility, because there is no other. With whom are you going to fight and who is going to fight, and for what? You alone are left; when you move inwards only your consciousness is there. There is no reason, no possibility to fight. And any effort to fight with yourself is bound to create a split in you -- and that's what has happened to the whole of humanity.
The whole humanity has been reduced to a state of neurosis; it is schizophrenia. Everybody is split. And your so-called religious people are responsible for this great calamity. Man is not functioning as a whole, not as an integrated whole; he functions as a divided, split personality. That's why it is so difficult to trust man: one moment he says one thing, another moment just the opposite -- because one moment he may be talking from one side of his being -- his soul side -- another moment he may be talking from the other side -- the body side.
Howsoever you divide yourself, in reality you remain indivisible. You are not body and soul; you are bodysoul, you are psychosomatic, you are one individual, indivisible entity. Hence Buddha reminds you: don't start fighting with yourself in order to become a master.
That's what so many stupid people down the ages have been doing: fasting; torturing themselves; lying down on a bed of thorns; wounding their bodies; destroying their eyes; cutting off their sexual organs. Millions of people have done such stupid things. Studying them, they seem to be unbelievable.
In Russia there was a cult, a Christian cult, whose fundamental ritual was to cut off their sexual organs. Thousands of people used to do it. The women would cut off their breasts, the men would cut off their genital organs. And each year there was a particular day when they would gather by the thousands, and it would be done in mass madness. One person would do it, another would follow, and then there would be a frenzy. And thousands would start cutting off their sexual organs and the blood would be all over the place. They were just mad people, but they were worshipped.
Now there was a problem for the cult: how to increase their numbers. So they would purchase or steal children. That was the only way; otherwise they would never have a great religion with millions of followers. No religion wants to use methods of birth control for the simple reason that that reduces their numbers. Catholics are against it, Mohammedans are against it, Hindus are against it. Everybody is against birth control for the simple reason that it will reduce their numbers -- and numbers are power. The more people follow your church, the more powerful you are. This is part of politics, power politics. They are not concerned about the future of humanity, they are not concerned with the misery of people, they are not concerned with poverty.
To give birth to a child now is almost a crime, because the world is already overpopulated. Half of humanity is starving, and by the end of this century the starvation is going to be so acute, so intolerable, that the earth is going to become a mad planet. Either suicide or murder will be the only possible ways for people to exist, and both are wrong.
And the Catholic pope and the Hindu shankaracharya and the Hindu priests, these will be the responsible persons, because they are all against birth control. They talk beautifully, they rationalize beautifully, that they are against birth control because birth control is against nature. If birth control is against nature then the pope of the Vatican should be against medicine, because that too is against nature. If a person is dying of cancer, let him die, don't give him medicine. On that point the pope is absolutely silent. In fact, Christians go on opening new hospitals.
If birth is natural, then death is natural. If you have disturbed the balance by preventing people from dying, then you have to accept the other part of it also. Allow people to die naturally; then let them give birth to as many children as they can. Then there will be no imbalance; nature balances itself.
Just fifty years ago in India, out of ten children nine were going to die within two years, only one was going to survive. Now just the opposite is the case: nine are going to survive, only one is going to die. How has it happened within fifty years' time? Modern medicine has done the miracle; it has changed the whole balance. If you accept medicine and if you accept the hospitals and if you accept that people have to be saved from cancer and tuberculosis, then you have to use birth control. Otherwise how can the population be kept within normal, bearable limits?
Those Russian sects were always in difficulty -- where to get new people? And it was difficult to get converts because of their practices; so the only way was to purchase children from poor people or steal them. Both were practiced, stealing and purchasing -- human beings!
And these kinds of practices have been followed almost all over the world. There have been people who have destroyed their eyes, because eyes distract you towards beauty. They create sexuality, so destroy the eyes. But can you destroy sexuality by destroying your eyes? Do you think sexuality exists in the eyes? Do you think blind people don't have any sexuality? In fact, even if you cut off your sexual organs you cannot destroy sexuality, because sexuality exists somewhere deep down in your skull.
The sex center is not really the sex organ; that is its outermost part. Its innermost core is in the brain -- there is a center in the brain. Once that center is triggered, the sexual organ starts becoming alive, but the triggering has to happen first in the brain. That's why you can have beautiful sexual dreams, you can have an orgasm in your dreams -- just the mind! That's why pornography is possible; sex organs cannot understand pornography, it is the brain. Now they have found the exact center where it is, and if it is touched by an electrode you immediately go into a sexual orgasm -- immediately!
The people who are working -- the behaviorists -- they are going to give man, sooner or later, a small, matchbox-sized thing you can keep in your pocket; nobody will ever be able to see it. You can just put your hand inside your pocket and push the button and you can have a sexual orgasm walking on the road. And even in India nobody can prevent you then! The police cannot, because nobody will be able to know why you are looking so happy, why there is such a great smile on your face!
But the danger is... and the danger is great; the behaviorists have become aware of it. They have been experimenting with rats. They had made a small machine, electrodes fixed in the head of the rats, and the rats were taught if they want a sexual orgasm they have to push a button. Those rats went berserk! They pushed the buttons so many times -- sixty thousand times one rat did it! He continued; he would not eat, he would not drink, he forgot everything, until he fell dead. He was so tired, but the joy was such... he risked all!
The eyes don't have sexuality, neither do the sexual organs have it; it is somewhere in the mind.

I have heard an ancient parable:
It seems that when the creator was making the world, he called man aside and bestowed upon him twenty years of normal sex life. Man was horrified: "Only twenty years?" But the creator did not budge. That was all he would give him.
Then he called the monkey and gave him twenty years.
"But I don't need twenty years," the monkey protested. "Ten is plenty!"
Man spoke up and said, "Can I have the other ten years?"
The monkey graciously agreed.
Then he called the lion and gave him twenty years. The lion too needed only ten. Again man said, "Can I have the other ten years?"
The lion roared, "Of course."
Then came the donkey. He was given twenty years, but like the others, ten years was enough for him. Man asked for the spare ten years and got them.
This explains why man has twenty years of normal sex life, ten years monkeying around, ten years of lion about it, and ten years of making an ass of himself.

Man seems to be the most stupid animal out of all of these. They say, "Ten is more than enough." Man seems to be the most in the grip of desire: more and more.... Whatsoever he has is not enough, is never enough. This creates his sorrow, this makes him a slave. The "more" is your master. To be aware of the trap that is created by this constant desire for more is to take a very necessary step towards self-mastery.

"Something the matter?" asked the bartender of the young, well-dressed customer who sat staring sullenly into his drink.
"Two months ago my grandfather died and left me eighty-five thousand dollars," said the man.
"That does not sound like anything to be upset about," said the bartender, polishing a glass. "It should happen to me!"
"Yeah," said the sour young man, "but last month an uncle on my mother's side passed away. He left me hundred and fifty thousand dollars."
"So why are you sitting there looking so unhappy?" asked the bartender.
"So far this month, not a cent!"

You cannot be satisfied by anything, because the mind is always asking for more. And the desire for more creates sorrow, makes you a slave. And the desire for more does not allow you to live according to the universal law. You start fighting for more. Whether it is something outward or inward does not matter; if you are fighting for something more you are going against the law of nature.
Trust nature, be relaxed with it. It takes care. It is always providing you with whatsoever is really needed, and if it does not provide you, that means it is not really needed.
Buddha says: MASTER YOURSELF ACCORDING TO THE LAW. THIS IS THE SIMPLE TEACHING OF THE AWAKENED. One thing to be noted: Buddha always says this, "of the awakened." He does not say, "This is the teaching of Gautama the Buddha." He simply says, "of the awakened" -- whosoever is awakened. He does not make it a personal statement, he makes it a universal thing: Whosoever is awakened, this is going to be his teaching. And this is very rare, this is unique. Awakening can happen to anybody: it has happened to Jesus, it has happened to Lao Tzu, it has happened to Basho -- it can happen to anybody. Buddha is saying that whosoever is awakened, this is going to be his teaching.
MASTER YOURSELF ACCORDING TO THE LAW. THIS IS THE SIMPLE TEACHING OF THE AWAKENED. He is absolutely nonpersonal, there is no person. He is only a presence, a vehicle of the universal law, speaking not on his own behalf but on God's behalf, allowing himself to be used by God as a medium.

THE RAIN COULD TURN TO GOLD
AND STILL YOUR THIRST WOULD NOT BE SLAKED.
DESIRE IS UNQUENCHABLE
OR IT ENDS IN TEARS, EVEN IN HEAVEN.

DESIRE IS UNQUENCHABLE. Why? -- because desire means desire for more; how can you quench it? By the time you have arrived it asks for more. You wanted ten thousand rupees; by the time you have ten thousand, the desire has moved ahead of you -- it is asking for one hundred thousand. By the time you achieve that, the desire has moved. It always moves ahead of you; the distance between you and your desire always remains the same.
The distance between a beggar and his desire, and the distance between Alexander the Great and his desire is the same. Both are poor in the same way. Alexander may have much, that does not make much difference -- he is not satisfied with what he has.
It is said that Diogenes once said to Alexander the Great, "Have you ever thought about one thing? -- meditate over it: you want to conquer the whole world, but are you aware that once you have conquered the whole world, then what? There is no other world. Then what will you do?"
And it is said, just by Diogenes saying it, Alexander became very sad, and he said, "Please don't mention such sad things -- let me first conquer the whole world, then we will see. But don't talk about such sad things to me; it makes me feel very sad."
He had not conquered the whole world yet, but the very idea that if you conquer the whole world, then what are you going to do? There is no other world, and you will feel stuck. The mind will ask for more.
The mind lives through more, and the more cannot be fulfilled; that is impossible. IT ENDS IN TEARS. Every desire ends in frustration, because every expectation is the beginning of frustration. Why does every desire end in frustration? There are only two alternatives: either you achieve your object of desire or you don't achieve it, but in both cases it will end in tears. If you achieve it you will see the utter futility of it all.
The rich man sees the futility of his riches -- how much he has labored, and how much he has worked for it! And now, whatsoever he has attained is absolutely useless, it fulfills nothing. You can have two houses or three houses, one in the city, one in the hills, one on the seashore, but you are the same person, as empty as before. You can live in a palace, but how can you change your inner meaninglessness? You will be as meaningless in a palace as you are in a hut.
In fact, you will be more meaningless in a palace, because while you are in a hut you can still hope that one day when you have managed to get into a palace, everything will be okay. You can hope, but the man who IS in the palace, he has no hope, he feels utterly hopeless. And he cannot say it to others either, because that will be stupid of him. People will think that you worked hard....
Just think of Alexander the Great: he devoted his whole life to conquering the world. And when he had conquered it, if he had said to the world that "It was useless. I wasted my time and my life," people would have thought he was stupid. Could he not see it before?

There is an ancient story in India:
A henpecked husband asked somebody, "What to do? My wife is so dominating."
The friend suggested, "You should not have allowed it from the very beginning, but now it is difficult. Still it is not too late. Today you get drunk so that you can have courage. Then go and shout and knock on the door and enter into the house and throw things and let her feel that you are a man. And beat her, give her a good beating! Settle it once and for all."
So the man got drunk, although he was afraid that, "These things seem to be impossible -- I cannot do it. But maybe the drink will help."
He drank and he felt really great, puffed up, but as he approached the house, slowly slowly he became sober; the effect of the alcohol was disappearing. The fear was arising, but he kept himself courageous by repeating, "The man is a wise man, and at least if I can do it once it will be finished forever. And it is worth doing it."
So he knocked on the door, shouted, entered inside, started throwing things.
His wife was very angry. She was so angry she cut off the nose of the man with a knife. Now without a nose it was very difficult to live in the town, so the man escaped from the town in the night -- that same night he escaped. But wherever he would go, people would ask, "What happened to your nose?"
So he became a SADHU, he became a monk, he renounced the world. He said he had renounced the world, the wife and all. And he had to find a rationalization for his nose, so he said, "This is the latest technique of attaining, of realizing God. The moment you cut off your nose... it is the nose that is the barrier!" And he philosophized about the nose and he said, "The nose represents the ego." And it is right -- the nose represents the ego. You can see the ego on the nose; nowhere else it is so apparent!
So he convinced a few people. And the method seemed so simple -- just cutting off the nose and you get the ultimate truth and the bliss -- and he used to look so blissful. He pretended, but what else to do? -- without a nose he had to save face somehow! And without a nose it is difficult, but he laughed, danced, and he was always ecstatic.
A few foolish people became ready to cut off their noses, so he would take one person into the forest, cut off his nose, and would ask him, "Can you see God?"
The man would say, "I can't see anything, and my nose is gone."
And the man would say, "Neither can I see, but now it is better that you don't tell anyone, because your nose is gone just the same way as mine is gone. Be part of the conspiracy now. "Tell others... become ecstatic and tell others that you have attained to God."
What else was there to do now? The nose couldn't be put back; in those days there was no plastic surgery possible. This seemed to be the only rational way. So the man would go dancing in the town and would tell others, "That man is the greatest master -- I have seen God. What an experience! I am so blissful and the bliss goes on showering on me! Twenty-four hours I am ecstatic and God is with me." And he would talk of great things. And Indians are very much capable of talking of great things; for centuries they have talked and talked and talked.
A few more people became interested, and slowly slowly he had a gathering. The more people were with him without noses, the more his theory was gaining ground. Even the king became interested: "If there is such a simple method" -- almost like Transcendental Meditation! -- "Why not try?" But the prime minister was a little doubtful, skeptical. He said, "You wait, don't be in a hurry. Let me first inquire."
So he got hold of this man, gave him a good beating, and told him, "Tell the truth, otherwise we will kill you!"
So he had to tell the truth: "It is because my wife had cut off my nose, and what else could I do? I had to find some way to save my face, and this seemed to be the most simple, attractive way. And I am perfectly happy now: I have a following, my needs are taken care of, and you will be surprised -- even my wife who knows perfectly well that she had cut off my nose, she has come to see me the other day and asked me, 'What is the matter?' And I said, 'Although you had cut off my nose... but the moment my nose dropped I saw God!' And she is contemplating becoming a follower and I am just waiting for her. I want to cut off her nose! Let me cut off her nose, then you can kill me or whatsoever you want to do to me. Let me take revenge first!"
And what a spiritual way to take revenge!

You go on following others, although you see them living in misery. You go on following the powerful, the rich, the wealthy, although you see their faces are sad, their eyes are dull. They don't seem to be intelligent either; they don't have any grace, any joy, any beauty.
If you succeed you will be in pain, because your success will bring the truth home: that your whole life has been sacrificed for nothing. Or if you fail you will be frustrated, because you will see that you have failed, that you are not worthy, that you have no worth. You will become self-condemnatory.
Buddha is right. He says: IT ENDS IN TEARS. Every desire, whether fulfilled or not fulfilled, ends in tears. And no desire simply ends; before it ends it gives birth to other desires. So it remains a continuum: one goes on from one desire to another desire, life after life.

HE WHO WISHES TO AWAKE
CONSUMES HIS DESIRES
JOYFULLY.

Either you will be consumed by your desires or you have to consume your desires. And what does Buddha mean by saying, "Consume your desires"? He simply means: witness, watch. The whole affair is stupid.
The intelligent person lives joyfully, contentedly, whatsoever situation he is in, whatsoever he has got. He lives joyfully, thankfully, gratefully. You can take his possessions away from him but you cannot take his joy, because he knows how to live joyfully.
His joy is not dependent on anything, on any outer cause. His joy is his inner understanding: the understanding that from the outside one has never achieved joy, that from desires one has always come to tears. Seeing this nature of desire, his desire has disappeared; he lives without desire. And to live without desire is to live in contentment, it is to live without any hankering for more. Then whatsoever is, is more than enough.
Either you live in desire or you live in gratitude: remember this. The man who lives in desire cannot be grateful to God, he can only be complaining and complaining; he will always have some grudge against God. But the man who has no desires has only gratitude. Even that which is given to him is more -- more than he ever deserved. He is always thankful; in that thankfulness is beauty and benediction.

IN HIS FEAR A MAN MAY SHELTER
IN MOUNTAINS OR IN FORESTS,
IN GROVES OF SACRED TREES OR IN SHRINES.
BUT HOW CAN HE HIDE THERE FROM HIS SORROW?

You can escape to the caves, to the mountains, to the forests, but how can you escape from yourself? No escape is possible from yourself.
The only way out is to be transformed, to become awakened. To watch, to see, to witness your desires, slowly slowly brings awakening. HE WHO SHELTERS IN THE WAY.... So don't go anywhere else. There is no other shelter except dhamma, except the way.

HE WHO SHELTERS IN THE WAY
AND TRAVELS WITH THOSE WHO FOLLOW IT
COMES TO SEE THE FOUR GREAT TRUTHS.

Buddha says, without giving any adjective to it, simply "the way." That's exactly the meaning of tao -- "the way." It is neither Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Christian nor Buddhist; it is simply "the way." Take shelter in "the way."
DHAMMAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI -- I take shelter in the law, in the way. That's how those who were desirous of becoming initiates of Buddha used to pray to him. Three shelters: take shelter in the awakened master, take shelter in his commune, and take shelter in the law, the dhamma, the way. BUDDHAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI -- that is the first shelter -- I take shelter in the awakened one.
SANGHAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI -- I take shelter in the commune of the awakened one. And DHAMMAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI -- I take shelter in the law, in the way, in the ultimate harmony of existence. These three shelters are immensely important.
The sutra says: HE WHO SHELTERS IN THE WAY AND TRAVELS WITH THOSE WHO FOLLOW IT.... Religion is something which cannot be taught but can only be caught. It is like an infection: you cannot teach it, but if you live with people who have already caught it, it is contagious. Then you will become slowly slowly attuned to it.
It is said in one of the ancient Taoist scriptures that if even a pebble is thrown into a heap of diamonds, sooner or later the pebble will become a diamond. It is true: not about the pebbles -- it is true about man.
If you are part of a commune where many people are moving towards the sun or moving towards the source of light, love, joy, how long can you lag behind? Sooner or later the spirit of the commune is going to overpower you, to overflood you.
If you listen to good music and you start feeling it deep down inside of you, a kind of synchronicity arises. If you see a dancer dancing you feel your feet are ready to dance; something has been transferred to your feet. It is not visible, it is not measurable, it is not material, but some vibe... you have caught the vibe; you would like to stand up and dance.
The same happens in the commune of a buddha. The presence of the buddha is a tremendously powerful magnet. It attracts all those who are courageous, it attracts all those who are real seekers, it attracts all those who are authentic human beings. And then a commune slowly slowly is created. If you become part of a commune you start moving with the commune into unknown territory. It is easier to move in the unknown territory when you find so many people going towards that ultimate goal.
HE WHO SHELTERS IN THE WAY AND TRAVELS WITH THOSE WHO FOLLOW IT COMES TO SEE THE FOUR GREAT TRUTHS.

CONCERNING SORROW,
THE BEGINNING OF SORROW,
THE EIGHTFOLD WAY,
AND THE END OF SORROW.

The whole teaching of Buddha can be divided into four parts. The four noble truths he calls ARYA SATYA -- noble truths. The first is that unexamined life is sorrow, unenlightened life is sorrow. That is the most fundamental truth, Buddha says. Those who follow the way, they become aware of it: that life can be lived in two ways, either consciously or unconsciously. If you live unconsciously you will live in sorrow, you will be at the mercy of blind instincts.

A wealthy American widow had a fantasy about marrying a man who had never had any previous sexual experience with a woman.
She made contact with a discreet, international detective agency, and within six months they found an Australian gentleman who seemed to be perfectly suited for the widow.
On the wedding night the widow was trembling with excitement as she completed her toilette and entered the bedroom to greet her husband. To her amazement, he had piled all of the furniture, including the bed, into the living room.
"Why did you get rid of the furniture?" she blurted in disbelief.
"Well," drawled her new spouse, "I have never slept with a woman before, but if it is anything like those kangaroos, we will need all the space we can get."

People go on living through fantasies, absurd fantasies. You look at your own fantasies and they will all be ridiculous. But you never see your own fantasies as ridiculous; it is easier to see others' fantasies as ridiculous.
Watch your own fantasies. What do you want out of your life? What you are living for? What is your program, your schedule on this earth? Why do you want to still be alive tomorrow? Just look at your fantasies. If you are given only seven days to live, how are you going to fulfill those seven days? With what? Write down your fantasies, don't be cunning and don't be clever -- be utterly true. And you will find all your fantasies ridiculous. But this is how people are living.
This life, Buddha says, is nothing but sorrow. He agrees with Socrates. Socrates says: An unexamined life is not worth living. And Buddha says: An unexamined life is nothing but sorrow. That is the first noble truth.
And the second noble truth one becomes aware of if one follows the way is: THE BEGINNING OF SORROW... the cause of sorrow. The cause is desire -- desire for more. First one experiences that his whole life is full of sorrow, then one becomes aware that the cause is desire. Those who have escaped from the wheel of desire are not in sorrow, they are utterly blissful. But those who are caught in the wheel are crushed by so many desires.
The first truth is: life is sorrow. The second truth: the cause of sorrow is desire, desire for more. And the third truth is the eightfold way. Buddha says that his whole approach of transforming your being can be divided into eight steps; that is called the eightfold way. And all those steps are nothing but different dimensions of a single phenomenon: right mindfulness, SAMMASATI. Whatsoever you are doing, do it absolutely consciously, alertly, do it with awareness. Those eight steps are nothing but applications of awareness into different aspects of life.
For example: if you are eating, Buddha says, eat with full awareness -- SAMYAK AHAR. Then whatsoever you eat is right -- just be aware. Now see the difference: other religions say, "Eat this, eat that. Don't eat this, don't eat that." Buddha never says what to eat, what not to eat. He says, "Whatsoever you are eating, eat with full awareness. And if your awareness says no, then don't eat it." Can you eat meat with awareness? It is impossible; you can eat meat only with unawareness.
In Africa a few days ago, one African dictator, Bokasso, who was trying to be another Napoleon, had been dethroned. The most strange thing that came to light was that in his house, in his freezer, human flesh was found. He was a man-eater.
Just think of a man eating another man's meat. Is it possible in consciousness? The whole thing is so disgusting! It is said that children were stolen just to prepare food for Bokasso. Of course, small children have delicious meat. Hundreds of children had disappeared and nobody could have ever thought that this man, who used to call himself emperor, was the cause behind the whole thing.
But so is the case when you eat animal meat, not much difference in it. The animals also have life just as you have. They are our brothers and our sisters.
Buddha never says what to eat, what not to eat; he never goes into details. And that's my approach too: just be aware.
And likewise he uses this method of awareness for other things in life: SAMYAK VYAYAM -- right effort. Don't make too much effort and don't make too little either. Right effort for everything, a balanced effort, effort which does not disturb your tranquility. Life is like walking on a tightrope: right effort is needed and awareness so that you cannot fall. Each moment there is danger: if you lean too much towards the left you will fall. Finding yourself leaning too much to the left you have to lean towards the right to keep balance. And when you lean towards the right a moment comes, you start feeling that now you will fall towards the right; then you start leaning towards the left just to balance. This is right effort: keeping balanced.
All those eight steps are nothing but applications of a single thing -- awareness. Buddha calls it right mindfulness. Don't do anything unconsciously.
And the fourth: AND THE END OF SORROW -- nirvana, cessation of sorrow. The man who follows the path finds four things: life is sorrow, the cause of sorrow is desire, the method to get rid of sorrow is the eightfold path, rooted basically, essentially, in the phenomenon of awareness. And the fourth: that if you follow awareness you will attain to the cessation of sorrow, you will attain to nirvana. Buddha says: These are the four noble truths.

THEN AT LAST HE IS SAFE.

And one who has moved through all these four and attained to the fourth, he is at last safe.

HE HAS SHAKEN OFF SORROW.
HE IS FREE.

To be free of sorrow is to be free. If you remain in sorrow you are not free. If you remain sad, howsoever great a saint you may be, you are not free; you are still far away from the goal.
And our so-called saints are very sad-looking people. People think the sadder they are, the greater they are. They are not free from sorrow, in fact they are more in sorrow than the ordinary, worldly people. The worldly people sometimes laugh too, enjoy too, dance too, sing too, but the so-called saint looks at these laughing, singing, dancing people with condemnation. He thinks them just superficial. Their laughter is not laughter to him, their joy is not joy to him. He has a great condemnation of all this, because he has renounced all these things without understanding, without going through these four noble truths. He has simply renounced; he has followed a tradition, a convention, of renunciation. He is an escapist. He has to condemn all laughter, because he cannot laugh. He has become dry, dry like a rock; he cannot bloom into flowers. He has to condemn all springs and he has to condemn all rosebushes. And he finds ways and means to condemn you.
If you go to a so-called saint, he looks at you as if you are not a human being. He looks at you as doomed, as doomed to hell, bound towards hell, already falling into the bottomless pit of hell. He looks at you with condemnation, with pity. But pity is not compassion, and condemnation simply shows that he has not known anything at all.
He is just the same type of person as you are, only standing on his head. You are greedy for money, he is afraid of money. You are related to money through greed, he is related to it through fear. But both are related to money, both are obsessed with money.
It is said that if you take money to Vinoba Bhave he immediately closes his eyes -- he can't see money. Now this looks ridiculous -- there must be great fear. Just a ten-rupee note... why should you be so afraid of it that you have to close your eyes? But because he closes his eyes -- he never touches money, he does not want to see money -- he is revered as a great saint. But this fear of money, this antagonism, is a kind of relationship. He is not free of money, otherwise why close his eyes? And a ten-rupee note is nothing but a piece of paper. You don't close your eyes when you look at other pieces of paper -- why give so much importance to this piece of paper? There must be greed deep down which is standing on its head.
There are people who are running after women or after men, and then there are people who are running away from men or away from women. But both are obsessed with the other sex. This obsession does not show understanding. Understanding brings you freedom from all obsessions -- of fear, of greed. The real understanding simply makes you free from all kinds of desires and anti-desires. It makes you free of the world and the other world too. It simply makes you free.

THE AWAKENED ARE FEW AND HARD TO FIND.
HAPPY IS THE HOUSE WHERE A MAN AWAKES.

Buddha repeats this again and again, and it is worth repeating so that you become alert about the phenomenon; it is very rare -- THE AWAKENED ARE FEW AND HARD TO FIND. Yes, you will find many pseudo people pretending; and it is very difficult to judge who is pseudo and who is real. But a few things can be remembered. The pseudo will always be against the world; he has replaced fear with greed. The pseudo will always be an escapist. The pseudo will be always sad, he cannot laugh; laughter seems too mundane, almost sacrilegious to him.
The really awakened is neither for the world nor against the world. He lives in the world and is absolutely free of it. He lives in the world but the world does not live in him. He is in the world but not of it. He is never an escapist. Once you become awakened there is nowhere to escape, there is no need either; in fact, there is nobody TO escape.
The unawakened, the pseudo person, who is pretending to be a master or a buddha, is bound to create a division between God and the world, and he will tell you to renounce the world if you want to get to God. In fact, that is the same as: Cut off your nose if you want to see God.
Neither the nose prevents you from seeing God nor can the world prevent you from seeing God. In fact, if you have poor eyes the nose will help you -- otherwise where are you going to put your specs? Without a nose it will be very difficult! The nose is not a hindrance, it can be a help sometimes. Neither is the world a hindrance. It is a help, a challenge, a sharpening of your intelligence, an opportunity to grow, to be mature, to be alert.
The world is full of pitfalls, but those pitfalls are helpful because they keep you alert. If there are no pitfalls you will tend to fall asleep; when there is great danger you are bound to be awake.

A great Zen story:
A prince came to a Zen master; he wanted to learn meditation. He was in a hurry too, because his father was old and his father had sent him to this Zen master to learn meditation, because the father said, "In my life I have wasted much time unnecessarily, and only later on I became aware that the only worthwhile, only meaningful thing in life is meditation. So don't waste your time," he told his son, the prince. "You go to this master and learn meditation before I leave my body. I will be happier leaving my body if you have learned meditation. I cannot give you anything else. This whole kingdom is worthless; this is not your true heritage. I will not be happy giving you only this kingdom; I will be happy if I can help you to meditate."
So the prince came to the Zen master and he said, "I am in a hurry. My father is old, he can die any moment."
The master said, "The first principle of meditation is not to be in a hurry. Impatience won't do. Get lost, get out! Never come here again! Try to find some pseudo master who will give you a mantra to chant and will console you with 'Go on chanting fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen in the evening and you will become enlightened.'
"But if you want to be here, forget time, because meditation is a search for eternity. And forget all about your old father -- nobody ever dies, believe me. One day you will see that what I am saying is true. Neither anybody ever gets old nor ever dies. Don't be worried. I know your father, because he has learned meditation from me. He is not going to die -- his body may die. But you will have to forget all about your father and your kingdom if you want to learn meditation. It needs one-pointed devotion."
The master was such, his impact was such, the young man decided to stay.
Three years passed. The master never said a single word about meditation. The young man served the master in every possible way, waited and waited, and he was afraid to mention the subject because he might say, "Get lost -- you are in a hurry!" So he could not say even that.
But three years is too much. Finally one day he said in the morning -- the master was sitting under a tree taking a sunbath -- he said, "Sir, three years have passed. Are you aware? And you have not even told me what to do, what is meditation."
The master looked at him and said, "So you are still in a hurry! Okay, today I will start teaching you meditation."
And he started teaching in a very strange way. The young man was cleaning the floor of the temple and the master would come from the back and hit him hard with a wooden sword -- really hard he would hit him! The young man would be reading the Buddhist sutras, and he would come from behind. And he was such a silent man that you would not even be able to hear his footsteps. And suddenly, out of nowhere, the hit -- the wooden sword would descend on him.
The young man thought, "What kind of meditation is this?" In seven days he was feeling so tired and wounded and scratched. He asked, "What are you doing? You go on hitting me!"
The master said, "This is my way of teaching. Be alert, be very conscious, so before I hit you, you can dodge -- that's the only way."
There was no other escape, so the young man had to be very alert. He was reading the book but he was alert, conscious. Slowly slowly, within two, three weeks, he started hearing the footsteps of the master -- and his walk was almost like a cat's. When the cat goes to catch the rat she walks so silently. The master was really an old cat!
But the young man became alert enough; he started hearing his footsteps. Within three months the master was unable to hit him even a single time. Twenty-four hours a day he would try, but the young man would dodge and jump, whatsoever he was doing.
Then the master said, "The first lesson is over. Now begins the second lesson: now be alert in your sleep. Leave your doors open, because I may come any time."
Now this was a harder thing! Initially he would come and hit him hard. The old man did not need much sleep either; two hours was enough for him. And this was a young man, he needed eight hours sleep, and the whole night it was a struggle. Many times he would come and hit him, but the young man was now certain that if the first lesson had been of such value... he became so alert and so peaceful that he was no longer inquiring, "What are you doing? This is nonsense!"
The master himself said, "Don't be worried. Just keep alert even in your sleep. And the harder I hit you, the better, because then you will be really alert. The situation has to be created."
Within three months he would jump from his sleep. He would immediately open his eyes and say, "Wait! There is no need -- I am alert."
After three months the master said, "You have passed the second lesson. Now the third and the last."
The young man said, "What can be the third, because there are only two states -- waking, sleep. Now what are you going to do?"
He said, "Now I will hit with a real sword -- that is the third lesson."
It is one thing to be hit by a wooden sword -- you know that at the most you may be hurt but you cannot be killed. And he brought out a real sword. He took it out of the sheath, and the young man thought, "This is the end -- I am finished! This is a dangerous game. Now he can hit with a real sword. Even if I miss once I have missed forever!"
But he did not miss even once. When the danger is such, you rise to face that danger. After three months, not even a single time had the master been able to hit him with the real sword. The master said, "Your third lesson is complete -- you have become a meditator. Now tomorrow morning you can leave. You can go and tell your father that I am absolutely contented with you."
The next morning he would leave. It is evening; the sun is setting. The master is reading a sutra under a tree in the last rays of the sunlight. And the young man thinks -- he is sitting somewhere back -- "Before I leave" -- the idea had come to him many times -- "one time I have to hit this old man! Now this is the last day; tomorrow morning I will leave."
So he prepares. He takes a wooden sword, hides behind a tree. The master says, "Stop!" He does not look at him at all. "Come here! I am an old man, and such desires are not good -- the desire to hit your own master!"
The young man is puzzled. He says, "But I have not said anything."
The master says, "One day when you become really alert, even that which is not said is heard. Just as one day you were not hearing my footsteps and one day you became aware and started hearing them; just like one day you were not able to hear my footsteps in your sleep... but the day came when you started hearing my footsteps, even in your sleep -- exactly like that, one day you will know. When the mind is absolutely silent you can hear words that have not been spoken. You can read unexpressed thoughts. You can read intentions. You can read feelings. Not that you make any effort -- you become a mirror, you reflect."

Rare and few are the buddhas to find. And Buddha says: HAPPY IS THE HOUSE WHERE A MAN AWAKES. By "the house" he means the body. Happy is the body where a man awakes, where the flame of awareness has arisen. You become a temple.

BLESSED IS HIS BIRTH.
BLESSED IS THE TEACHING OF THE WAY.
BLESSED IS THE UNDERSTANDING AMONG THOSE
WHO FOLLOW IT.
AND BLESSED IS THEIR DETERMINATION.

AND BLESSED ARE THEY WHO REVERE
THE MAN WHO AWAKES AND FOLLOWS THE WAY.

THEY ARE FREE FROM FEAR.
THEY ARE FREE.

THEY HAVE CROSSED OVER THE RIVER OF SORROW.

To meet a buddha is rare. To take refuge in a buddha is even more rare. To follow, to live out the teachings of a buddha is even more rare. Hence Buddha says: BLESSED IS HIS BIRTH. BLESSED IS THE TEACHING OF THE WAY. A man who one day becomes a buddha, even his birth is blessed. His coming into the world is a blessing to the world, to himself and to others too. BLESSED IS THE TEACHING OF THE WAY. And then spontaneously he starts teaching; it is a sharing. He has come home and he starts calling others who are still wandering in the darkness.
BLESSED IS THE UNDERSTANDING AMONG THOSE WHO FOLLOW IT. And not only the buddha is blessed: blessed are those too who follow it. AND BLESSED IS THEIR DETERMINATION. And blessed is the commitment, the involvement of following the way, the dhamma.
AND BLESSED ARE THEY WHO REVERE THE MAN WHO AWAKES AND FOLLOWS THE WAY. THEY ARE FREE FROM FEAR. THEY ARE FREE.
To be free from fear is to be free. To be free from fear you need to be free from desire. Desire keeps you afraid. Desire keeps you always wavering: "Whether it is going to happen or not? Whether I am going to make it this time or not?" If you succeed you are afraid -- somebody will take it away from you. If you succeed in accumulating riches you are worried, afraid: you can be robbed, they can be stolen. If you don't succeed you are constantly in fear that "I am not of any worth." You fall in your own eyes, you are trembling. To be free from desire is to be free from fear.
Then one lives in the moment; neither the past is one's concern nor the future. How can there be any fear? And Buddha defines freedom as freedom from fear.
THEY HAVE CROSSED OVER THE RIVER OF SORROW. Life unexamined, unobserved, unenlightened, is nothing but a river of sorrow -- and we are all drowning in it. There is only one boat to get to the other shore. The name of the boat is awareness.
Enough for today.


Next: Chapter 4: This too will pass, Question 1

 


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