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

Chapter 7: Forgetfulness, the only sin

 

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

 

DO NOT LET PLEASURE DISTRACT YOU
FROM MEDITATION, FROM THE WAY.

FREE YOURSELF FROM PLEASURE AND PAIN.
FOR IN CRAVING PLEASURE OR IN NURSING PAIN
THERE IS ONLY SORROW.

LIKE NOTHING LEST YOU LOSE IT,
LEST IT BRING YOU GRIEF AND FEAR.
GO BEYOND LIKES AND DISLIKES.

FROM PASSION AND DESIRE,
SENSUOUSNESS AND LUST,
ARISE GRIEF AND FEAR.
FREE YOURSELF FROM ATTACHMENT.

HE IS PURE, AND SEES.
HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH, AND LIVES IT.
HE DOES HIS OWN WORK,
SO HE IS ADMIRED AND LOVED.

WITH A DETERMINED MIND AND UNDESIRING HEART
HE LONGS FOR FREEDOM.
HE IS CALLED UDDHAMSOTO --
"HE WHO GOES UPSTREAM."

WHEN A TRAVELER AT LAST COMES HOME
FROM A FAR JOURNEY,
WITH WHAT GLADNESS
HIS FAMILY AND HIS FRIENDS RECEIVE HIM!

EVEN SO SHALL YOUR GOOD DEEDS
WELCOME YOU LIKE FRIENDS
AND WITH WHAT REJOICING
WHEN YOU PASS FROM THIS LIFE TO THE NEXT!

inmate at the insane asylum was being examined for possible release. The first question the examining doctor asked him was, "What are you going to do when you leave this institution?"
"I am gonna get me a slingshot," said the patient, "and I am gonna come back here and break every goddamn window in the place!"
After six more months of treatment, the patient was again brought before the examining doctor for possible dismissal, and the same question was put to him.
"Well, I am going to get a job," the patient replied.
"Fine," said the doctor. "Then what?"
"I am going to rent an apartment."
"Very good."
"Then I am going to meet a beautiful girl."
"Excellent."
"I am going to take the beautiful girl up to my apartment and I am going to pull up her skirt."
"Normal, perfectly normal."
"Then I am gonna steal her garter, make a slingshot out of it and come back here and break every goddamn window in the place!"

Man moves almost in the same circles. Man as he is, is not sane, cannot be called sane. But because insanity is so widespread, it is so normal that we don't become aware of it.... Once YOU become awakened then you are surprised how people are living, what they are doing to themselves and to others. Their whole life is nothing but sheer madness. Somebody is mad after money, somebody is mad after power, somebody is mad after fame -- and all these things are futile.
Death comes, and the whole edifice that you have built with such labor collapses. Death comes and takes you away, and all that you have created has been in vain.
The sane person is one who creates something which even death cannot destroy. Let this be the definition of the sane: one who knows something of immortality, deathlessness, eternity -- he is sane, he is a buddha. To be a buddha simply means to be sane. One who is not aware of immortality and lives in time and thinks only in terms of this world is insane. He is not aware of himself, how can he be sane?
We have not yet been able to create a sane society for the simple reason that we have not been able to create many buddhas. The more buddhas there are in the world, the more is the possibility of humanity rising to higher altitudes of being, understanding, love, compassion. Otherwise you go on moving from one nightmare into another.

A big businessman was praying in the synagogue, pleading to God to help him get a fifty-thousand-dollar deal. Just then a very poor man entered and began praying to God for two dollars.
Angrily the big businessman pulled out two dollar bills, pushed them over to the poor fellow and whispered to him, "Here, take them and get out of here, you fool. Just stop distracting him from my business!"

The poor and the rich, the ignorant and the knowledgeable, the famous and the anonymous, are all in the same boat. Whether you ask God for two dollars or fifty thousand dollars does not make any difference. To go to God desiring is not to go to him at all, because it is only nondesiring that becomes a bridge. To desire is to create a wall between you and the total.
The moment you desire something you are saying that "I am wiser than the whole." You are saying that "You don't know what has to be done and I have come to advise you." You are telling the whole that "The way things are is not right: they should be according to me."
Prayer is just the opposite of desire. Prayer means, "The way things are is absolutely perfect, they are as they should be. Hence, I have nothing except a deep gratitude." Real prayer is bowing to existence in tremendous thankfulness because whatsoever is, the way it is, is the most perfect way it can ever be. A prayerful heart knows that the universe is perfect each moment; it is moving from perfection to more perfection.
The world is not moving from imperfection to perfection, remember: it is moving from perfection to more perfection. That's the understanding of the prayerful heart. But we are full of desires.
And if you go to the synagogue and the church and the temple you will find the same people, with the same mind, with no difference at all. They function with the same mind in the marketplace, they go to the temple with the same mind. And how can you go to the temple with a mind that functions perfectly well in the marketplace? The marketplace is an insane asylum! You will have to learn a different language. But people go on repeating the same kind of stupidity. You cannot even shake them, shock them, out of their sleep, because they become very angry.

Mulla Nasruddin was complaining of seeing striped camels whenever he tried to sleep.
"Have you ever seen a psychiatrist?" I asked him.
"No, never," he said, "just striped camels."

People go on living in their own small worlds, their own ideas, prejudices. They go on functioning in every situation in the same way. In the temple also, they speak the language they speak in the marketplace. In love also, they are always businesslike.

I asked Mulla Nasruddin, "Nasruddin, I hear you just had an accident?"
He said, "Yes, it was pretty bad, but I collected twenty thousand rupees, and my wife who was in the accident with me, got five thousand rupees."
I asked him, "Did she get hurt?"
Nasruddin laughed and said, "No, but I had the presence of mind to kick her in the face during the confusion!"

Now, even in an accident the mind goes on doing its thing!
All the buddhas have been trying to pull you out of your mind. The way is simple. In these sutras Buddha is talking about the way to get out of this stupid mind.

DO NOT LET PLEASURE DISTRACT YOU
FROM MEDITATION, FROM THE WAY.

Pleasure is a momentary titillation of the body. It is not joy, it is not bliss. Pleasure is getting intoxicated for the moment with the physical, getting identified with the physical.
When you become identified with the body and when you start listening to the body and its instincts, a certain kind of titillation, a momentary state of intoxication, arises in you. The intoxication is created within your own body chemistry.
One can take drugs from the outside, get intoxicated and forget all the worries, anxieties, burdens, and responsibilities of the world. One can completely forget the world; it is too much sometimes, it is too heavy. And just slipping out through alcohol, mescaline, marijuana, LSD, gives you a sense of pleasure. It is not real pleasure; it is only absence of pain.
Let this be understood clearly: what you call pleasure is only a state of intoxication where you become so unconscious that you can't be aware of the pain. This can happen by taking some drug from the outside; this can also happen by releasing some drugs in your inner body chemistry. That's what happens when you are sexually intoxicated: your body secretes its own drugs. It is not much different.
Your body is also outside of you. You are not your body, you are consciousness inside your body; your body is only a resting place, a house. One day you enter into it and one day you will have to leave it: a caravanserai, an overnight stay. You are not your body... your pilgrimage is eternal. But being in the body one can become identified, one can start thinking, "I am the body." And this is happening more today than ever before.
For centuries man has been aware that he is not the body, but within these two, three centuries, a scientific approach about everything has destroyed that long, long-cherished understanding. Science is a good method to know about matter, but it is absolutely impotent as far as the world of consciousness is concerned. Because science can only know matter it is bound to deny consciousness; it is beyond its grasp.
If you are trying to see light through your ears you will not be able to see it, and the ears will say, "There is no light." If you try to listen to music through your eyes you will not be able to listen, because your very method excludes it. Eyes can't hear music, ears can't see light, your hands cannot smell, your nose cannot taste. Every sense has its own limitation. It is perfectly valid within its own circumference; beyond it, it is utterly irrelevant.
Such is the case with science and such is the case with religion. In the past, religion denied -- absolutely denied -- the existence of the body, matter and the world. The mystics used to call the world illusory, MAYA, a dream. That is one extreme -- I am not in support of it. That is going beyond the religious approach, saying something which does not come into its vision. Now the same thing is being done by science, the same extreme: that consciousness is an illusion and the body is the only truth.
As I see it, both attitudes are half-truths -- and half-truths are far worse than absolute lies: because of that half-truthfulness they can deceive many many people. For thousands of years man was deceived by one half-truth: that consciousness, God, Brahman, is the only reality, and everything else is just dream stuff. Now the pendulum has turned entirely to the other extreme. Science says: Consciousness is illusion, body is the only reality. Both are fallacies.
The whole truth is: the body has its own reality, and consciousness has its own reality. And the miracle is, the mystery is, that these two separate realities are together, that these two separate realities are functioning in deep synchronicity. This is the mystery: matter dancing in tune with consciousness, consciousness dancing in tune with matter. This mystery I call God, this mystery I call truth, the whole truth.
But if one has to choose between two fallacies -- the religious fallacy and the scientific fallacy -- if there is no other way and you have to choose one out of these two, then I will say: choose the religious fallacy, because at least it will take you to the other shore, to eternity.
But for three centuries we have decided to choose the scientific fallacy, which makes you more and more confined to the body. And when you are confined to the body, then "Eat, drink and be merry," becomes the very goal. Just think of yourself as a being whose whole life is nothing but "Eat, drink and be merry." It will be meaningless, it will be without any significance, it will be utterly mediocre. It will not have any ecstasy. Yes, there will be pleasures when you get lost into the body chemistry and there will be pains when you have to come out of that forgetfulness. So you will go on moving between pain and pleasure.
Pleasure is getting lost, getting unconscious into the body; and pain is again becoming aware of the nonbody reality, again becoming aware of the world that surrounds you. So pleasure means forgetfulness and pain means remembrance. Have you observed that you remember only when there is pain? If you have a headache you become aware of the head, otherwise who thinks of the head? Only a headache makes you remember the head. If your shoe pinches, then you become aware of the feet; if the shoe is not pinching, you remain unaware of the feet. When your stomach is disturbed, you become aware of the stomach. When everything is going well, smoothly, you don't become aware.
Pain brings awareness; awareness makes you aware of pain. Losing awareness gives you a false idea that there is no pain anymore. And many people have found many ways of how to become unconscious; those are all ways of getting drugged. You have found many anesthesias -- chemical, physical, religious -- yes, religious too.
If a person goes on chanting a certain mantra -- what you have come to know as Transcendental Meditation -- it is a drug, psychologically produced. If you repeat a certain word again and again and again it goes on hitting your psychic sources and the continuous repetition creates a state of unconsciousness. It becomes like a lullaby; you start falling into deep sleep. It is soothing, it is restful, but it is not meditation. It is just the opposite of meditation; it is a psychological drug.
Buddha says: DO NOT LET PLEASURE DISTRACT YOU FROM MEDITATION, FROM THE WAY. Beware that pleasure can distract you: it can distract you from meditation and it can distract you from the way. And what is meditation in Buddha's vision? Meditation is awareness, so anything that makes you unaware is a distraction; where it comes from does not matter. Whether you create it inside yourself by chanting a mantra or by ingesting some drug, by smoking, by injecting... how you manage it does not matter. If it distracts you from awareness... it may create beautiful dreams, but you are no longer conscious. You may feel the world becoming golden, the trees are greener, the roses are rosier, and everything seems to be tremendously beautiful, psychedelic -- but YOU are unconscious, you are no longer in your consciousness. This is the distraction.
A buddha is against drugs... or if I am against drugs, it is only for this reason. It is not because it is against the so-called morality, it is not because it is against the priests and the puritans, it is not because tradition says so. Buddhas are against drugs not because drugs are sin but only because they take you away from yourself, they distract you.
You will be surprised to know that the root which the word 'sin' comes from means forgetfulness -- the root means forgetfulness. If you can remind yourself that to forget is to sin, then you will have a very right approach: then to remember is virtue. George Gurdjieff used to call it self-remembering. Buddha calls it SAMMASATI -- right mindfulness. Krishnamurti calls it awareness. But all these words mean only one thing: Don't be distracted from your innermost core; remain rooted there, remain consciously there.
DO NOT LET PLEASURE DISTRACT YOU FROM MEDITATION, FROM THE WAY.
And meditation IS the way: there is no other way to God, there is no other way to truth. Truth is not something ready-made. Truth is something that you have to discover by becoming more and more aware. And you have to discover it not somewhere else, but within your own being. You are truth covered by unconsciousness, covered by forgetfulness, so anything that distracts, anything that takes you away from yourself, is irreligious, is unspiritual.

FREE YOURSELF FROM PLEASURE AND PAIN.

You will be surprised... because who wants pain? Nobody wants it -- at least apparently, nobody wants pain. But that is not true. There are two kinds of people: those who want pleasure or those who want pain. Those who want pleasure are called the worldly, and those who start wanting pain, they are called the otherworldly, the saints, the ascetics, the holy people. Pain becomes their pleasure; they start enjoying torturing themselves.
The whole history of humanity is full of these stupid people, and they have been worshipped. Who has been worshipping them? -- the people who desire pleasure! For them, these people look as if they are from some other world, because they desire pleasure and these people escape from pleasure. On the contrary they inflict pain upon themselves: they go on fasting, they go on sitting naked when it is ice-cold or they may sit by the side of a fire when the sun is already showering fire all over the place. These masochists, these self-torturers, are pathological.
Ninety-nine point nine percent of your saints are simply pathological -- and because of these pathological people religion has remained ill; it has not been possible to make religion healthy. Buddhas have been trying, but up to now they have failed, because nobody listens to them.
Man's mind has a strategy: it moves to its opposite very easily. You are running after money, then one day you see the whole stupidity of it and you start escaping from money. Now this is again remaining obsessed with the same money; money still remains the center of your focus. First you were moving towards it, now you are moving away from it, but it is your reference; your whole life still has that context. You still think in terms of money -- how much you have or how much you have renounced, but you go on counting.

Once a man came to Ramakrishna with a bag full of golden coins. He poured those golden coins onto the feet of Ramakrishna. There were many people sitting around; they were all surprised by how much money this man had brought, and he was pouring it onto the feet of Ramakrishna. What devotion!
But Ramakrishna was not happy. He said, "You are pouring it in such a way that it seems you want to impress people. You are performing! Fill the bag again with the money and go to the Ganges" -- and the Ganges was just behind Ramakrishna's temple -- "and throw all the money into the Ganges. You have given it to me, I give it to the Ganges."
The man was very much puzzled, worried -- throwing so many gold coins into the Ganges! And he had come with great expectations that Ramakrishna would say, "You are a great religious man. What renunciation! How pure you are, how holy!" ... And Ramakrishna has not taken any note. On the contrary, he says, "Go and throw all this rubbish into the Ganges." He did not want to do it, but now he could not say no to Ramakrishna. And once he has offered, how could he say no? So reluctantly he went to the Ganges.
Hours passed and he was not back. Ramakrishna asked, "Where is he?" Ramakrishna went to see. The man had gathered a big crowd. On the bank on a rock, first he would toss a coin, make much noise, look at the coin, and then throw it into the Ganges. And many people would jump into the Ganges to find the coin. He was making a great show of it. Hundreds of people had gathered and he was counting, "One, two, three, four...."
Ramakrishna went there and said, "You fool! When one collects money one counts, but when one is throwing it into the Ganges what is the point of counting? For two and half hours you have been doing it. Why waste your time? Throw the whole bag! What is the point of counting?"

But this is how human mind functions: even if it renounces it counts. It is the same mind which was accumulating; now it is renouncing. One is after power, prestige, then one day one escapes to the mountains as far away from the capital as one can go. But the capital remains the point of reference.
Hence Buddha says: FREE YOURSELF FROM PLEASURE AND PAIN -- both. He is not saying, "Free yourself from pleasure," because if he says only that then he knows perfectly well -- he is perfectly alert about you -- you will choose pain, and you will be in the same trap again from the back door; because pleasure is of the body and pain is of the body. Whether you enjoy eating or you enjoy fasting it makes no difference -- eating and fasting are both physical activities. There are people who enjoy eating and there are people who enjoy fasting, but both are rooted in the physical. They have not yet raised their eyes towards the beyond. Hence to remind you, he says: FREE YOURSELF FROM PLEASURE AND PAIN....

FOR IN CRAVING PLEASURE OR IN NURSING PAIN
THERE IS ONLY SORROW.

Yes, people go on doing both. There are people who go on wounding themselves.
You will be surprised to know that there was a Christian sect, thought to be very ascetic and pious, whose followers would wear belts with nails in them. The nails would go on wounding their bodies continuously. These people would wear shoes and inside the shoes there would be nails, and they would keep their feet always bleeding. They were thought to be great ascetics. People would count how many nails this saint had in his shoes; the more nails you had, the greater you were.
There have been Christian saints whose only prayer was to whip themselves early in the morning, and thousands would gather to see them whipping themselves. Their entire bodies would bleed. And when thousands are watching you whipping yourself, of course you will do the best you can, the most you can. People would faint; but until they fainted they would go on hitting themselves. And these people were thought to be spiritual people!
These are the people who are against me because I am teaching you a healthy religion, a religion which does not believe in any nonsense.
If you crave pleasure you will be in sorrow; if you nurse pain you will be in sorrow. And to be in sorrow is to be irreligious. Hence Buddha says again and again: Joy is the quality of the really spiritual man. Jesus says: Rejoice! Neither pain nor pleasure, but joy. Joy is something spiritual; it does not come from your body. One can be joyous even when the body is ill, one can rejoice even while dying. Joy is something inner. Pain and pleasure are both body-oriented; joy is being-oriented.

LIKE NOTHING LEST YOU LOSE IT,
LEST IT BRING YOU GRIEF AND FEAR.
GO BEYOND LIKES AND DISLIKES.

Likes and dislikes simply say that you think yourself separate from existence. A man who has dropped his ego has no likes and no dislikes. Then whatsoever is the case he rejoices in it. If he finds himself in poverty he rejoices in poverty, because there are beauties, a few beauties, which can be found only in poverty. If this man finds himself rich he rejoices in richness, because there are a few beautiful things which can be found only when you are rich. If this man finds himself young and healthy he rejoices in it, because a few things are possible only when you are young. And this man rejoices in old age too, because there are a few things which only old age can impart to you. One thing is certain: that he has no preferences, he does not hanker that this should be such and such. He makes no conditions on existence. He lives unconditionally, rejoicing in whatsoever happens.
To carry likes and dislikes is to carry prejudices, and everybody goes on carrying prejudices. That's why nothing ever makes you contented.
Even Buddha's father was not happy. He was unhappy because his son had moved on a wrong path; meditation to him was a wrong thing. He was desiring that his son become a great emperor; that was his deep ambition. Buddha was his only son, and one day Buddha escaped. I have every suspicion that the reason for his escape must have been his father. When you have only one son and then too, he is born when you are very old.... Buddha's father was very old when he was born. That was the last chance; one or two years more and there would have been no son at all. And his mother died immediately upon giving birth to Buddha; she was also getting old and this birth must have been too much.
Buddhists have made a beautiful story out of it. They say that whenever a buddha is born his mother is bound to die. That's how people create stupid stories. There have been many buddhas. Mahavira's mother did not die, but if you ask the Buddhists they will say, "That simply proves that Mahavira is not a buddha." Jesus' mother did not die, Lao Tzu's mother did not die -- but to the prejudiced mind that simply proves that these were not buddhas. Whenever there is a buddha the mother has to die; that has become the definition.
The real reason was: the mother was old, the father was old; this was the last chance. And they had lived a very miserable life because they had no son. And they had created a big kingdom: "Now to whom is this kingdom going to belong?" And when you have a child in your old age you cling to the child too much. The father must have been too possessive: that's MY feeling of why Buddha had to escape. The father must have been the cause, he must have been too much of a bondage. He had made great palaces for Buddha and he wouldn't allow him to leave them. He had made every arrangement in the palaces, all kinds of pleasures. In fact he made too many arrangements and Buddha got fed up very quickly; he was only twenty-nine when he left the palace.
People usually become fed up by the end of their lives; it takes time to experience life. Buddha's father managed to provide him with all possible pleasures. Beautiful women -- all the beautiful women in his kingdom were brought to the palaces to serve Buddha. The best wine, the most beautiful women, marble palaces, musicians, poets, dancers... a continuous merry-go-round. Twenty-four hours a day Buddha was drowned in pleasures. Anybody who has any intelligence would escape. It became too tiring, it became too boring, it became such an ugly scene. He was fed up with it, so he escaped.
Buddha's father was angry, very wounded. He wanted him to become a king and he became a buddha. He was not happy. In his own mind, to be a king was a greater thing than to be a buddha. To have more money and more fame -- worldly fame -- was more important to him than to be a meditator and attain to samadhi. These words must have looked like nonsense to him; he must have been a down-to-earth materialist.
But this is not only so with Buddha; people are never contented with anything. If your son turns out to be a thief you are angry, if he turns out to be a buddha you are angry. It seems it is not possible for you to be happy. If your wife is too faithful you are fed up, if your wife is not faithful you are angry. If your husband is absolutely obedient you are finished with him; if your husband is continuously quarreling, fighting, you are finished with him, too. It seems man's mind has such likes and dislikes that it is impossible for him to be in a contented state.

An old woman died and went to heaven. When she arrived there Saint Peter asked her where she would like to stay. She said, "I would like to be near the Virgin Mary."
So Saint Peter put her into the same apartment house as the Virgin Mary. One day she walked over to the Virgin Mary and said, "There is one thing I have always wanted to say to you."
Mary said, "Yes, what is it?"
The old woman said, "It must have been wonderful to have given birth to a man who is proclaimed a god throughout the world!"
Mary said, "Well, I would have liked it better if he had been a doctor."

Yes, that's how man is -- nothing seems to satisfy. Nothing ever seems to give you joy, because you are already carrying some likes and dislikes -- and existence has no obligation to fulfill them. It has never promised to fulfill your likes and dislikes.
If you really want to be blissful you have to drop likes and dislikes. Then you have to learn a different language to commune with existence. Whatsoever happens, enjoy it. Don't bring your likes and dislikes. Your life can be a continuous dance, a celebration; otherwise you will live in hell.
LIKE NOTHING LEST YOU LOSE IT, LEST IT BRING YOU GRIEF AND FEAR. One thing: if you like something and you get it, there is bound to be great fear -- the fear of losing it. And nothing is permanent in this life; everything that you have is bound to be lost. So the fear arises, and when you lose it you are in deep grief.

GO BEYOND LIKES AND DISLIKES.

FROM PASSION AND DESIRE,
SENSUOUSNESS AND LUST,
ARISE GRIEF AND FEAR.
FREE YOURSELF FROM ATTACHMENT.

Why do people live in such misery? -- for the simple reason that they cling to things. The moment you cling you are creating misery for yourself, because nothing is going to be permanent here. Life is a river; it goes on moving, changing. You can't even predict the next moment. So if you cling to something and the next moment you find it slipping out of your hands, you will be in great pain, great misery.
And the irony is: if you don't lose it and it remains with you, fulfilling your desire, then too, one day you are going to be very fed up... because the mind always requires the new to remain distracted. The mind is always searching for novelty, for something new. You love a woman, but still, once in a while an ordinary woman, who may not even be as beautiful as your own woman, attracts you. You seem puzzled: "Why does it happen?" Just that the mind always wants something new.
The mind cannot remain with one thing for long, so if you lose it you are in grief, if you don't lose it you are in grief. Either way grief happens.
Buddha says: FREE YOURSELF FROM ATTACHMENT.

Nadine, a pretty maid, was alone in the apartment where she worked and decided to lie down and rest for a while on the couch. After a few minutes, there was a knock on the door.
"Who is there?" she asked.
"The grocer," was the reply.
"What do you have for me?"
"Some staples."
"Leave them in the hall, will you?"
A few minutes later there was another knock. "Yes?" she asked.
"It is the egg man."
"Oh, what do you have for me?"
"Four dozen eggs."
"Please leave them with the groceries."
A few minutes after, still another knock. "Now what is it?"
"The superintendent."
"What do you have for me?"
"I've got an urge."
"Well, come in then. That won't keep."

And there are urges and urges; you are exploding with urges, desires. You don't have one desire, you have many desires. Not only that you have many desires, you have contradictory desires. If one is fulfilled, the other, which is its contradiction, remains unfulfilled and you are in misery. If the other is fulfilled, then something else remains unfulfilled.

A politician came to see me; he wanted peace of mind. I said, "Then get out of politics."
He said, "That is difficult. I am just coming closer and closer to be the chief minister of my state. For twenty years I have worked hard. Now I am the education minister and within two or three years I will be the chief minister -- I am the next man in the cabinet, so I cannot leave politics now."
Then I said, "Drop this idea of peace of mind, because being a politician, it is impossible to have peace of mind."
He said, "In fact, that's why I need it, that's why I have come to you, because it is becoming so much of a burden on me that I am falling apart. I am afraid that before I become the chief minister I may go mad. That's why I have come to you. Help me, teach me some method so I can be a little more peaceful, at ease, relaxed. But I cannot leave politics."
Now, this man wants two contradictory things together: he wants peace and he is ambitious. It is impossible. If you are ambitious, then your mind is bound to remain restless. If you want peace, then the first requirement is to drop all ambition. Unless you drop ambition you cannot be at ease, at peace, you cannot be relaxed. He could see the contradiction, but he said, "I will think it over."
I said, "If you can see the contradiction right now, what you are going to think about it? Your thinking is not going to make any difference."

It has made one difference: he has stopped coming to me. Since then I have not seen him. I have heard now that he goes to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, because Mahesh Yogi says both can be fulfilled together. The more meditative you become, the more is the possibility of fulfilling your ambitions. Now this is utter nonsense. The more meditative you become, the less ambitious you will be. There is no question of fulfilling ambitions; ambition will start disappearing from your consciousness.
But if you look around your mind you will find many contradictory things -- one part going to the south, another to the north. It is a miracle how you go on managing yourself. Otherwise a part of you will be in Tokyo, a part in Timbuktu -- you will be all over the earth in fragments! It is really a miracle how you go on managing to keep yourself together. It is really only apparently together; deep down you are divided and split.
Buddha says: If you really want to transform your being into a peaceful consciousness, into serenity, into bliss, then you will have to GO BEYOND LIKES AND DISLIKES. FROM PASSION AND DESIRE, SENSUOUSNESS AND LUST, ARISE GRIEF AND FEAR. FREE YOURSELF FROM ATTACHMENT.
A few distinctions have to be made: when Buddha says "sensuousness" he does not mean sensitivity. In fact, a sensuous person is a gross person; the sensitive person is subtle. Sensitiveness is beautiful, sensuousness is ugly. Love is beautiful, lust is ugly. Love is sensitivity, lust is sensuousness. Love gives what you have, lust tries to snatch away something from the other. The sensuous person exploits the other, and the sensitive person shares himself with the other.
Be sensitive but don't be sensuous. Be loving but get out of lust. Lust and sensuousness are animal; love and sensitivity are human.
And there is still a world above the human -- the divine -- where even sensitiveness, love, and all these things disappear. There remains only one thing: a witnessing consciousness. That is the state of buddhahood, christhood. One becomes just a pure mirror of existence. Then stars are reflected and the flowers are reflected. Then you see God in his original face -- this whole existence is his original face. This mirrorlike consciousness, this witnessing self, is the goal.
Buddha says: In this state, HE IS PURE.... The seeker becomes pure.

HE IS PURE AND SEES.
HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH, AND LIVES IT.
HE DOES HIS OWN WORK,
SO HE IS ADMIRED AND LOVED.

Remember always the goal: the goal is to become a pure witness. By purity Buddha never means moral purity; by purity he means childlike innocence. There is a great difference between moral purity and childlike innocence. Moral purity is cunning, clever. It is not really purity, it is something imposed. It has a motivation. The moral person is trying to attain to heaven, to otherworldly joys; he wants to become immortal. The moral person is not desireless: his object of desire has changed and he is ready to sacrifice everything for his new object of desire. He imposes purity upon himself, but that purity is not even skin-deep. Deep down he is cunning, manipulating. In fact, he is trying to manipulate God according to his desires.
The moral person is so knowledgeable; he is too deep in the scriptures. He is not wise but only knowledgeable. He knows nothing -- because for knowing you need a childlike innocence, for knowing you need great wonder and awe. For knowing you need to drop all concepts, ideologies, scriptures. Only then will your eyes be utterly empty, nude, and when your eyes are nude they can see.
The knowledgeable person THINKS that he knows because he has heard or read beautiful words; but his knowledge is utterly superficial, borrowed. It has no roots in his being; it is in fact stupid. People cannot see that his knowledge is nothing but stupidity masquerading as knowledge, because people are as blind as he is. But when he comes to a buddha, the buddha can see that what he is saying is not his own.

Once I was invited to a religious conference -- many saints were invited there. One Jaina monk spoke before me. He talked about the soul, freedom from all attachment, and the attainment of bliss, moksha, nirvana. All that he spoke of was beautiful, but I was sitting behind him and I could see through and through that that man was just a parrot. He was repeating scriptures, he knew nothing, but he was very much respected by the Jainas.
When he had finished I whispered in his ears that, "I have to tell you, even if it hurts, that whatsoever you have said is all borrowed, it is all stupid. You don't know a thing. You have never meditated, you have never tasted any bliss. You have never known what enlightenment is, but you were describing it beautifully, you were defining it beautifully. You are a clever person, but beware: this cleverness is not going to become the boat to the other shore."
He was shocked. In the afternoon a man came to me from him and said, "He wants to meet you, but in absolute privacy."
I said, "Why in privacy? I have got my people, he has got his people, and they both would like to listen to what transpires between the two of us. Let it be a public thing!"
But he insisted. Still, at least two hundred people had gathered, but he said, "I want absolute privacy." So we went into a room; he locked the door, started crying.
I said, "Why are you crying?"
He said, "You are the first person who has been so frank and truthful towards me. I cannot accept what you have said before the people because they respect me. You will destroy my whole life's attainment -- this is my attainment. But before you I can confess that you are right -- I have been simply repeating. Now what should I do?"
I said, "The first thing is, come out and confess before the people that 'You have been respecting a wrong person.'"
He said, "That is too much -- I cannot do that."
"Then," I said, "get lost! If you cannot drop your ego, then I cannot be of any help to you because that is the first requirement."
He said, "I will think it over."
He is still thinking... twenty years have passed! In these twenty years I have sent people many times to inquire, "Have you come to any conclusion yet or not?" Last time when I sent a man to him he told the man, "Tell him, don't torture me -- for twenty years he has been torturing me. I know he is right, but at this age" -- now he is almost seventy -- "I cannot risk my reputation. I have to continue this life; next life maybe I will listen to his advice."
But I know that next life also he will not listen. I will not be there; somebody else may be there, but he will not listen.

A little girl answered the knock on the door of the farmhouse. The caller, a rather troubled-looking, middle-aged man, asked to see her father.
"If you have come about the bull," she said, "he is fifty dollars. We have the papers and everything and he is guaranteed."
"Young lady," the man said, "I want to see your father."
"If that is too much," the little girl replied, "we got another bull for twenty-five dollars, and he is guaranteed too, but he does not have any papers."
"Young lady," the man repeated, "I want to see your father!"
"If that is too much," said the little girl, "we got another bull for only ten dollars, but he is not guaranteed."
"I am not here for the bull," said the man angrily. "I want to talk about your brother, Elmer. He has gotten my daughter in trouble!"
"Ah, I am sorry," said the little girl. "You will have to see Pa about that, because I don't know what he charges for Elmer."

The little girl is simply repeating what she has heard. The father charges fifty for one bull, twenty-five for another, ten for another. She does not know exactly what he charges for... what is going on, but she has heard. She is simply repeating.
And this is how your knowledgeable people are. They have heard about God, they have not seen. They have heard about truth, they have not experienced. They have heard about love, they have not lived. They can talk and they can argue and they can prove themselves great scholars -- but they are stupid people. Beware of them -- they are not pure. They can even impose a certain discipline upon themselves out of this borrowed knowledge, but their idea of purity will also be something foolish.
Somebody will eat only vegetarian food; that will be his idea of purity. Somebody will not even eat all vegetables but only fruits -- he will be a fruitarian -- and fruits only when they become ripe and fall on their own so no harm is done to the tree. Now he will think that he is really pure. Somebody will think that just drinking milk is the purest thing.
In India milk is thought to be the purest food, SATTVIC, the most pure. Now that is strange, because milk is animal food. It is like eggs, it comes out of the animal's body. And certainly it is not for you -- it is for the kids of the animal. And it is dangerous too, because the cow gives milk for HER kid, and her kid is going to become a bull! Now in India people think that if you drink milk you will attain celibacy. That is utter foolishness -- you will become a bull! How can you attain celibacy? Milk is the most sexual food possible.
But people can go to extremes. I have come across a few people who are trying to live only on water.

Once I came across a man who was trying to live only on water. He was dying, not living, but one can live for at least three months on water too, because one has enough emergency flesh accumulated in the body so one can go on eating it for three months. In fact to live just on water is to eat your own meat, because every day one pound of your weight will disappear. "Where has it gone?" I asked the man. "Who has eaten it?"
He was very much disturbed. He said, "You are the first man who is disturbing me -- because everybody says that this is the best, the most sattvic, the most pure food -- water, and Ganges water, not ordinary water."
Now, the water of the Ganges is the most impure in India, because people throw dead bodies in the Ganges -- and in no other river -- because if you throw a body in the Ganges, the person to whom the body belonged goes directly to heaven. So the Ganges carries all kinds of germs, dead bodies; they may have died from cancer, tuberculosis, this and that.
And he said, "I am drinking only Ganges water, and you are making me very afraid. You are saying that, 'You are eating your own meat.' Now I will not be at rest at all."
I said, "What can I do? -- you are eating it! Otherwise, where does your weight disappear to?"

But these are the ideas people go on carrying. Purity becomes something very foolish. Either you change your eating habits and you think you have become pure, or you change your clothes and you start living in rags and you think you have become pure. You leave your house and start living in a cave and you think you have become pure. Or you take an early bath and think you are pure, or you take four, five baths every day and that is your purity, or you don't sleep and that is your purity.... But these are all ideas you gather from others. You can impose them on yourself and you will be worshipped, but this is not what Buddha means.
When he says: HE IS PURE, he means he is innocent, he is not knowledgeable. He is functioning from the state of not-knowing. He is not bookish, he does not live according to the books.

Mr. Goldberg, a prosperous furrier, sent his daughter to Europe to get some culture and maybe meet a rich fellow.
A few months later she wrote and asked papa to send her a book on etiquette.
"Real fine people she is meeting," he thought to himself.
Five months later she wrote for another book on etiquette.
"Princes she is going with," said Goldberg and jumped for joy.
After two years Becky came home. Mr. Goldberg met her at the pier and was taken aback when she appeared with a child in her arms.
"Whose baby?" he asked.
"Mine," she replied.
"And the father?"
She shook her head. "I don't know, Papa."
Goldberg wept in despair. "Two books on etiquette you got and you don't even know to ask, 'With whom have I the pleasure?'"

Books can't help; even two books on etiquette won't make you cultured. A thousand books on spirituality and you will not become spiritual. It is not a question of becoming more informed. It is a question of transformation, not of information.
HE IS PURE, AND SEES. When you are innocent you have eyes to see the truth as it is, because you don't have any idea to distort. You have no prejudice, no like, no dislike. You are neither Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Christian. You are simply a consciousness, full of wonder, great inquiry. There is exploration; you reflect reality. In innocence reality is reflected and seen.
HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH.... And when you know, you cannot do otherwise. HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH... whatsoever the cost. Even if you are to be killed for saying the truth; you would rather be killed but you will not stop speaking the truth.

Socrates was told by the judges that if he could stop talking about truth he could be forgiven, but then he had to make a promise to the court that he would never talk about truth.
Socrates said, "I would rather die than stop talking about truth."
The judges were puzzled. They said, "But why? Life is so precious."
Socrates said, "Not more precious than truth. If I cannot speak the truth, then there is no point in living at all. I live to convey the truth. My life is only a means to spread whatsoever I have come to know. If I cannot do that, then there is no point in living -- please kill me. And I cannot make that promise for one more reason: even if I want to stop I cannot. I will go on saying what I see. I will go on living it. I can't do otherwise. Knowing the truth is being it."

HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH, AND LIVES IT. HE DOES HIS OWN WORK, SO HE IS ADMIRED AND LOVED.
What is his work? His work is to shout. His work is to call you out of your sleep. His work is to wake people up. Yes, those who understand him will admire and love him. And there will be many who will not understand him; they will condemn him, they will even kill him. But Buddha takes no account of those. He is simply taking account of those few rare souls who will be able to understand what he is saying and what he is living. And in fact only those few people MEAN anything. Only they are worth counting; the crowd is not worth counting at all.

WITH A DETERMINED MIND AND UNDESIRING HEART
HE LONGS FOR FREEDOM.
HE IS CALLED UDDHAMSOTO --
"HE WHO GOES UPSTREAM."

UDDHAMSOTO is a beautiful word that Buddha uses many times. UDDHAM means great endeavor; SOTO means the source. The English word 'source' comes from the same root as soto. The Sanskrit word is SHROT; from shrot comes the English word 'source' and the Pali word 'soto'. Buddha speaks Pali; he is using soto. Uddhamsoto means a man who is trying, with all his being, to reach to the source, to the very source of being. His whole effort is to know the ultimate, the very ground of existence, because that is where truth is, God is, nirvana is.
Great effort is needed, laziness won't do -- and people are really lazy. Because people are lazy, that's why priests could exploit them for centuries -- and they are going to exploit you if you continue to remain lazy. Because people are lazy they leave it to the priests: "You do the prayer, you do the worship for us on our behalf. We will pay you, but you do it on our behalf." They know that their priests are as blind as they are, as lazy as they are. They have not worked upon their beings.
Work is arduous. Many chunks have to be cut out of you and dropped; only then can you come to your original face. It is almost like a sculptor carving a statue out of a marble rock; with chisel and hammer in his hands he goes on cutting the rock, taking out all unnecessary pieces. Slowly slowly, the formless rock starts attaining a form, the ordinary rock starts becoming something extraordinary, beautiful. A Buddha can be found in it, a Christ can be found in it, a Krishna can be found in it. But before you can find a buddha in the rock much has to be destroyed. Unless you are ready to do great work upon yourself it is not going to happen. You cannot rely on agents.
Your priests, your bishops, your popes, are all agents -- agents between you and God. You don't know God, and the agents go on saying, "Don't be worried -- we know. We will convey your messages." They don't know either; they are simply exploiting your ignorance.
But people are lazy. Laziness is one of the problems.

Manuel was the new man on the railroad crew, so naturally he got the worst jobs around the camp. Among the he-men laborers, the most hated job was that of the camp cook.
During the first day on the job, Manuel complained bitterly about the horrible food only to be informed that whoever complained about the food had to be the cook. Manuel argued long and loud but the foreman would not yield: Manuel would have to cook until somebody else complained.
The next day Manuel got a brilliant idea. After washing the breakfast dishes he went off to the prairie and soon located exactly what he sought -- a freshly deposited pasture pastry, a steaming green moose turd. Carefully Manuel collected the fragments, putting the fragrant treasure in a large box he had brought along for the purpose, and returned to the camp cookshack. He carefully prepared a large pie crust, inserted the moose turd, and baked the pie until it was a golden brown.
That night he gleefully served the tender pastry as his piece de resistance, and waited for the complaints to start. The faces of the crew were delightfully twisted as the diners choked down the delicate offering.
Finally one man rose to his feet, his face a twisted mass of disgust. "My God!" he roared at Manuel. "That is moose turd pie! It sure is good, though!"

Man is so lazy that he will go on as he is rather than working and trying to change -- trying to bring some changes in his circumstances. It is easier to remain contented, to remain insensitive, to go on pulling, somehow existing. But it is not life. And what is true about the outer circumstances is far more true about the inner, because the outer circumstances don't need so much effort to be changed but the inner lethargy is centuries old. The unconsciousness is so primitive, its roots are so deep, that it needs a total determination on your part, a tremendous determination, a commitment, a deep involvement. You have to risk all. Unless that happens it is impossible to change yourself, you will remain the same. You can go on reading, you can go on accumulating knowledge, you can go from one teacher to another teacher, but deep down you will not change. This is not the way to change.
The way to change is: WITH A DETERMINED MIND AND UNDESIRING HEART HE LONGS FOR FREEDOM.
HE IS CALLED UDDHAMSOTO -- "HE WHO GOES UPSTREAM." It is almost going upstream, because not to follow the crowd, not to follow the tradition, not to follow the scripture, not to follow the religion you are born in, the church you are born in, is going against the stream. Great effort is needed; otherwise ordinarily it seems easier, more comfortable and convenient to follow the crowd -- whatsoever they are doing, you go on doing. They will not give you trouble, but remember, you are simply destroying a great opportunity. And this life is going to disappear soon. Why not bring all your energies to such a point of integration where you can take a quantum leap from the known to the unknown, from time to eternity?
Unless you are determined... and that's what sannyas is all about: a determination, a commitment, to transform oneself, not holding back anything. I cannot change you unless you are totally determined to be changed. You cannot throw the responsibility on me. I am here to help, but I can help only those who are really committed, who are not halfheartedly here.

Fred was admitted to a madhouse because he always felt he was a mouse and was totally paranoid about cats.
After years and years of treatment he was finally declared normal again and the doctor said, "So you know now that you are not a mouse -- you are a human being like me and there is no need to be afraid of cats."
Fred agreed and was released. But as he stepped out of the gates he saw a cat walking on the opposite side of the road. He totally freaked and ran back inside in total shock.
The doctor said, "But Fred, I thought that it was clear to you that you are not a mouse."
Fred replied, "Doctor, you know I am not a mouse, I know I am not a mouse. But how the hell do I know that the cat knows?"

Nobody can help you from the outside. Yes, you can be convinced, but deep down you will remain the same. You can be silenced through arguments, but arguments cannot change you. You will have to bring all your energies to a single point, to an absolute determination, that "This life I am going to make it. I am ready to do whatsoever is required. I will not shirk any responsibility. I will not shrink from any responsibility. I will not find any excuses, rationalizations. I will not be a victim anymore of the old mind."
Once this determination is total, transformation immediately starts happening. In fact to be totally determined is almost half the journey.
Buddha says:

WHEN A TRAVELER AT LAST COMES HOME
FROM A FAR JOURNEY,
WITH WHAT GLADNESS
HIS FAMILY AND HIS FRIENDS RECEIVE HIM!

I am creating a family here, a family of friends. The day any of you will burst forth into a flame, the whole family will rejoice. And it is not only that this small commune of sannyasins will rejoice; the whole existence participates in rejoicing. Whenever a man becomes a buddha, the trees, the rivers, the mountains, the stars, all rejoice, because at least one of us has reached home.
And Buddha says:

EVEN SO SHALL YOUR GOOD DEEDS
WELCOME YOU LIKE FRIENDS
AND WITH WHAT REJOICING
WHEN YOU PASS FROM THIS LIFE TO THE NEXT!

And whatsoever you have done to transform yourself -- he calls it "the good deed" -- that is real virtue. Whatsoever you have done to transform yourself, that is your treasure. And you will be surprised that when you reach to the other shore, the beyond, your treasure will be awaiting you there, to rejoice, to receive, to welcome you.
Either you can collect money, power, prestige -- which will be left on this shore -- or you can accumulate a totally different kind of treasure: of meditation, of love, of bliss, of understanding, of awareness, of godliness. If you attain to this treasure, you will be surprised: when you reach to the other shore, when you go beyond this body, when death happens to this body, you will be received by all the treasures that you have accumulated. They will all rejoice.
Buddha means that there is a treasure that goes with you to the ultimate, and there is a momentary treasure which is left behind. Those who are wise accumulate that which will be theirs forever, and those who are foolish accumulate the momentary, which will be taken away from you -- which is going to be taken away by death.
Remember, each moment, what you are accumulating. Is it going to be taken away by death? Then it is not worth bothering about. If it is not going to be taken away by death, then even life can be sacrificed for it -- because one day or another life is going to disappear. Before life disappears, use the opportunity to find that which never dies.
Become an uddhamsoto. Find the source of existence, of your own being, of all that is. That source is God, that source is nirvana.

Enough for today.


Next: Chapter 8: Everything is possible, Question 1

 


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