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THE DHAMMAPADA: THE WAY OF THE BUDDHA, VOL. 5
Chapter 7: You are the source
Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Dhammapada The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 5
MISCHIEF IS YOURS.
SORROW IS YOURS.
BUT VIRTUE ALSO IS YOURS.
YOU ARE THE SOURCE
OF ALL PURITY AND ALL IMPURITY.
NO ONE PURIFIES ANOTHER.
NEVER NEGLECT YOUR WORK
HOWEVER GREAT HIS NEED.
YOUR WORK IS TO DISCOVER YOUR WORK
AND THEN WITH ALL YOUR HEART
TO GIVE YOURSELF TO IT.
Man can either be in hell or in heaven -- it is his choice. Hell and heaven are not geographical; they are not places outside you but spaces within you -- and both alternatives exist in each individual. Man is like a ladder: you can go up, you can go down; it is the same ladder. Just change the direction and you start moving upwards. It is the same energy that becomes hell and that becomes heaven. Just a deep understanding is needed of your energies, of your possibilities, of your potential.
Heaven or hell are not when you die: they are possibilities right now. In this very moment one can be in hell or heaven -- and you may be in hell and your neighbor may be in heaven. And one moment you will be in hell and another moment you will be in heaven. Just observe closely: the climate goes on changing around you. Sometimes it is very cloudy and everything looks dark and dismal, and sometimes it is so sunny, and so beautiful, so joyous.
But the mistake, the greatest mistake a man can commit, is to think that the climate is created by outside forces. It is not created by outside forces; it is your inner decision, your inner will. It is your choice. It happens on the outside, but it arises from the deepest core of your being. It needs very alert watchfulness to see this point. Once you have seen it you need not live in hell at all. Why should you choose hell once this is understood -- that it is your choice?
But for centuries man has been trying to find excuses, rationalizations, pseudo causes, outside himself, for a certain reason: it feels very bad that you are the creator of all your miseries. First the miseries are there, and second, the very idea that "I am the creator of all these miseries" hurts even more than the miseries themselves. To avoid this hurt, to avoid this wound, to avoid this great responsibility, man has been finding a thousand and one ways.
In the past we created the idea of God: that HE determines, that everything is preordained, predetermined, that a child is born absolutely determined. God determines what he is going to be; he is not free, he has no freedom. If there is no freedom, there can be no responsibility; if there is freedom, then there is responsibility. They come together, they are inseparable. Man was ready to gain his freedom, but he was very much afraid to accept the responsibility. Even at the cost of losing freedom he wanted to be absolutely without responsibility. At least he could say, "It is not my will that I am suffering. What can I do? I am helpless! God has preordained it." Or fate, KISMET....
And the religions which don't believe in God and don't believe in fate either, they had to find some other explanations, but it is the same thing. They have found the theory of reincarnation, the theory of karma: your past lives determine your present life. Again you are helpless! Now nothing can be done about your past lives; there is no possibility of changing them. You cannot undo them, so one has to simply accept whatsoever is the case. If you are miserable, you are miserable -- accept it.
It is because of this acceptance that the East has remained poor, starved, ill. If you accept that whatsoever is happening is happening because of your past karmas, then it has to happen; there is no way to avoid it. Even utterly stupid ideas arose out of it, and they look very logical if you accept the basic premise.
In India there is a Jaina sect, Terapanth; Acharya Tulsi is its head. This Jaina sect says that if somebody falls in a well, don't help him to get out. You will be surprised -- how can one say this? You are standing there, the man is crying, shouting for help, but this sect says, "Don't help him, because he is suffering for his past karma. Don't interfere. If you interfere and pull him out he will have to fall in again, so you will not have really been a help. On the contrary, you will have delayed the process which would have been completed by now. And by interfering in his life and his karma YOU are creating a certain karma for yourself, because to interfere in somebody's life, to disturb his process, his growth, is a sin."
Hence the followers of this sect don't help anybody in any way. To help is a sin, to serve is a sin. It looks very absurd, but if you accept their premise then it is not absurd. The premise accepted, it appears the logical conclusion of it.
Absurd philosophies have arisen, just for one single reason: how to avoid responsibility? Throw it on somebody else's shoulders! It may be God, fate, the theory of karma, or, if you are not religious, if you are a materialistic person, then you can throw it on history, as Hegel did -- history is responsible. It is again the same game -- just the name changes, the label changes. It is no longer the past, now it is called history -- not individual karma but the karma of society is decisive; the individual is helpless. In fact, according to Hegel the individual is a fiction; only the society exists and history is the determining factor.
And millions and millions of years have passed! How can you fight with it? What can you do about it? You are utterly helpless! All that can be done is: accept it, be part of it. Whatsoever is the case -- misery or bliss -- you are not responsible. How can you be responsible for the whole history -- from the very beginning, if there was any beginning?
Karl Marx says it is not history but the economic structure of the society. Sigmund Freud says it is not the economic structure of the society but the unconscious structure of your psyche -- unconscious! You cannot do anything about it, it is beyond you. You are conscious and it is unconscious; there is no bridge. You are utterly unaware of it. The enemy goes on functioning from such dark corners inside you and there is no possibility of bringing any light to it. At the most we can analyze, understand the situation, and be adjusted to it.
All these philosophies, psychologies, sociologies, are inventions of man to avoid one single phenomenon: the phenomenon of responsibility.
A real religious person is born the moment you accept your responsibility for yourself, the moment you say, "Whatsoever I am is my choice -- not of the past but of the present. It is my choice of this moment, and if I want to change it I am absolutely free to change it. Nobody can hinder me -- no social force, no state, no history, no economics, no unconscious, can hinder me. If I am determined to change it, I can change it."
Yes, in the beginning the responsibility looks like a heavy, heavy weight; it feels good to throw the responsibility on somebody else. At least you can enjoy this much, that "I am not responsible." You can enjoy that you are just a victim, helpless. In the beginning to accept responsibility for yourself totally, unconditionally, IS heavy. It creates despair, anguish, anxiety, but only in the beginning. Once it is accepted, slowly slowly you become aware of the great potential and the great freedom that it brings.
If I am responsible for my misery, that also means, automatically, that I am responsible for my bliss. If I am responsible for my misery, I can stop it immediately. Let me repeat the word 'immediately' -- not even for a single moment does one have to wait. It is not a question of changing your past lives, it is not a question of changing the whole society, it is not a question of bringing the dictatorship of the proletariat, and it is not a question of going into years and years of psychoanalysis. It is a simple question of accepting the responsibility that "Whosoever I am, I have created my climate, my being."
Man is born only as a potential. He can become a thorn for himself and for others, he can also become a flower for himself and for others. And remember, whatsoever you are for others you are for yourself too, and whatsoever you are for yourself you are for others too. If you are a flower to yourself, your fragrance is bound to be released; it will reach others. If you are a thorn to yourself, how can you be a flower to others?
This is one of the greatest contributions of Gautama the Buddha to the world: he makes the individual absolutely, categorically, irrevocably responsible. Very courageous people accepted it, only rare individuals accepted it. Cowards always want to escape from responsibility.
The people who followed Buddha became disciples and devotees. The people for whom Buddha became the master were a rare kind of people: really courageous, ready to risk all, ready to accept the anguish of being reborn... because this is a rebirth! Dropping all these philosophies which make somebody else, XYZ, responsible for your being -- it is a rebirth. Accepting the whole responsibility of your being, whatsoever you are -- good, bad, sinner, saint -- means you have taken a great quantum leap. But soon the responsibility turns into freedom. Such a great liberation happens through it!
The same type of people are gathering around me again. I am not here for cowards. Cowards have many other places in the world, many people to help them -- to help them to remain cowards forever. I exist here only for the courageous, the adventurous: people who are ready to risk and risk all, people who are ready to get involved, committed, people who are ready to stake everything for liberation, for transformation, for attaining the ultimate truth.
The sutras of today are very pregnant, small statements. That's exactly what a sutra means. A sutra means an essential statement, with no elaboration, with no explanation, with no decoration -- just the bare, naked core of it. It was needed in those days, because people had to remember these sutras. Hence they had to be very condensed, they had to be telegraphic, so people could remember for centuries, because they would go from one generation to another just as part of people's memories. Books were not in existence, printing had not come into existence. People had to remember; hence the device of the sutra. A sutra means a maxim, just the very essential core, but if you remember it you can always decode it.
And that's what I am doing here: decoding these sutras for you.
A man had three daughters. One day a friend came to see him and during the conversation asked what the daughters' names were.
The father said that the eldest was called S.C., the middle one, M.C., and the youngest, D.C.
"What does all that mean?" the friend asked.
The father replied, "The eldest, S.C., was born out of 'sheer curiosity'; the middle one, M.C., by 'mutual consent'; and the youngest, D.C., by 'damn carelessness'."
Just watch your life -- more or less it is damn carelessness, it is D.C.! Whatsoever you are, you are accidentally, like driftwood. You have not chosen to be whatsoever you are; you have not taken a conscious decision about it, you have not willed it so. You have just been at the mercy of the winds. Just look at your whole life, how things have been happening to you. Just accidents!
A woman meets you and you fall in love, because she has a beautiful nose. Now the nose is determining your life! Or she has blond hair or a beautiful shape. Just watch what is determining your behavior, your future! Now, the color of her hair or the way the woman walks or the way she sings or the color of her eyes -- are these the things that can determine your love? -- because your love is going to change your life! But that's how things happen.
Since the invention of the car things have changed, because the area of accidents has become very big. Otherwise people used to fall in love in their own neighborhood; now the range is bigger. Now young people have their own cars: within hours they can reach hundreds of miles away. In the past, people used to fall in love within the neighborhood -- somebody living next door or somebody living in the same house. The car has changed the whole pattern of people's lives, their love affairs!
Now, what kind of humanity is this which is determined by such superficial things? But that's how it is, and it is better to see it as it is.
People have become more intelligent -- if not intelligent, at least more intellectual, more educated, more cultured, more sophisticated -- but their basic style of life is still the same: unconscious, accidental. People don't live out of their essence, they simply depend on accidental circumstances. And not only the little people, but the people you think are geniuses, even they behave in very stupid ways.
The twentieth-century physicist, Niels Bohr, made great contributions to the world when he detailed the structure and function of atoms, and laid the groundwork for the theory of quantum mechanics. He was a scientist's scientist.
One day an American colleague visited Bohr in his Danish homeland. The American found a good luck charm above the desk -- an up-ended horseshoe hanging on the wall.
"Surely you don't believe the horseshoe will bring you good luck, do you, Professor Bohr?" asked the astonished visitor. "After all, we are level-headed scientists!"
"I believe no such thing, my good friend, not at all. I am scarcely likely to believe in such foolish nonsense," the Scandinavian reassured him. "However, I am told that a horseshoe will bring you good luck whether you believe in it or not."
Now, a man like Niels Bohr, one of the geniuses of this century, still behaving in the same way, the same unconscious way as the common people have always been behaving! It seems education makes no difference, science makes no difference, civilization makes no difference. Man goes on living and repeating the old patterns.
And the greatest and the oldest pattern is: not to accept responsibility for yourself. And avoiding responsibility is avoiding the birth of your soul. And you can always find excuses to avoid that birth... because every birth is going to be painful, and the greater the birth, the greater the pain.
People shirk their responsibility, they shrink away from their responsibility. Whenever a point comes to respond spontaneously, they are at a loss. They search in their memories, in their past, how to react. And remember: reaction is not response. Reaction means you are repeating an old pattern. You are not aware of the present situation, you are not responding to it. You are responding to some other situation which is no longer there.
Life goes on changing and your patterns become fixed, because mind is a machine. The mind cannot change by itself. Unless you become very conscious and start using your mind consciously, the mind goes on giving you ready-made formulas. They may have been effective in some other situations, but they are not relevant forever -- because life is never the same even for two consecutive moments.
A responsible person is one who is alert, watchful, and never acts out of his past but acts out of his present awareness. Otherwise you will always be out-of-date. That's how people are -- always out-of-date. They go on giving answers to questions which are not being asked. They go on doing things which are a sheer wastage of time and energy -- because the situation does not demand them.
Now man has become scientifically very capable, but psychologically he is not mature enough. And the technology and all its powers in the hands of immature people is very dangerous. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are going to be repeated again and again. It is like giving a small child a naked sword to play with: either he is going to harm himself or somebody else. It is bound to happen; the harm is almost inevitable.
And that's what has happened to the modern world. Scientifically we have a great technology which can change the whole face of the earth and finally the whole face of the universe, but psychologically we are immature. Psychologically we are centuries behind -- there is a gap of centuries between our science and our minds!
Ponder over Niels Bohr's reaction again. He says, "I have been told that it is going to be a blessing whether you believe in it or not." He is living a superstitious life!
Yes, it is okay for a primitive man, but for Niels Bohr, one of the most sophisticated minds, who has contributed greatly to modern knowledge, who is in the same category as Albert Einstein, Eddington, Edison, and others... a man of great intellect, functioning like a small child, a primitive man, functioning very childishly!
And let me remind you again: just as there is a great difference between reaction and response, so there is a great difference between being childlike and being childish. Don't be childish. Yes, childlike innocence is beautiful, but childish superstitiousness is ugly.
And remember what kind of excuses you go on finding for your life, because if you go on finding excuses for the way your life is, it is going to remain the way it is. It will never be changed, because nobody else can do it for you.
The streetwalker tried to peddle her wares to a man on Park Avenue.
"I won't for three reasons," he replied. "I promised my wife, and I also promised my mother, that I would not fool around with strange women."
"What's your third excuse?" asked the prostitute.
"I just had a piece!" he said.
Just look at your irrational reasons -- stupid, if you are a little more observant; otherwise they look alright.
MISCHIEF IS YOURS.
The first thing to note: Buddha does not call it sin, he calls it mischief -- mistake, error, but not sin. In fact, in Buddha's vision there is nothing like sin. To call something a sin is to condemn it, and not only is it condemning the act, it is condemning the person too. The word 'sin' is very loaded. Buddha uses the word 'mischief' -- the change is great. If you call it a sin, then you have to be punished for it. Then you are a sinner, then you will have to suffer sometime in the future.
The future was created by the priests, for a certain reason. In life we see many sinners flourishing: they are famous, they are powerful, they are rich. In fact, to be a president or to be a prime minister of a country, you have to be very immoral. You have to commit all kinds of immoral things, only then can you reach the highest post. It is not easy to reach there: you have to compete, by wrong means or right means.
In politics there is nothing wrong or right: everything is right which gives you results. Use all kinds of ladders to reach the highest post, and once you have reached, nobody is going to remember what you have done on the way. Once you are in power, people simply forget all about what you have done to them. Not only that -- you can rewrite the whole history! That's what Joseph Stalin did, Adolf Hitler did.
Joseph Stalin wrote the whole history of the Russian Revolution again: all the names that he was against were dropped. Trotsky, who was a far more prominent figure in the revolution than Stalin, was totally dropped; he was even removed from pictures. Stalin was in power for a long period: he changed the whole history, he made a new history -- invented!
Once he died, the same was done to him by Khrushchev -- he changed the history again. Even Stalin's body which was preserved like Lenin's was removed from its place, because his body was lying next to Lenin's. HE had only changed pictures and words! Khrushchev removed Stalin's body. People spat on his dead body. It was removed to a far corner, a place where nobody would ever go.
I have heard that somebody had suggested, "Why don't you send it to Israel?"
Khrushchev said, "I am afraid, because it is said that once a man was resurrected there after three days. I can send his body anywhere, but not to Israel. Who knows -- if he comes back...? Just the idea!" ... Because for thirty years Khrushchev was just wagging his tail before Stalin. For thirty years he was just like a dog, not more than that! After Stalin's death, when he became powerful, he took revenge.
Somebody asked him at a conference, "If you are so much against Stalin, why didn't you assert it when he was alive? For thirty years you were with him -- there is not even a single case on record that you argued with him or said anything against him or even discussed anything. You were always a yes-sayer. How do you explain it, your thirty years' association with Stalin? If he was wrong, then you were wrong!" Somebody shouted this from the back of the conference hall.
Khrushchev stood silent for a single moment, then he said, "Just please stand up and say who you are!" Nobody stood up, and he said, "Now do you see? This is my answer! You cannot stand and say your name before me; that was the same situation with me in those days. I can kill you -- he could have killed me!"
And the same was done to Khrushchev.
That's how it has been going on. In power politics you don't think of right or wrong means. In politics there is nothing right, nothing wrong: whatsoever succeeds is right and whatsoever fails is wrong. And the situation is the same in the marketplace. If you succeed in accumulating money, you are right.
The priests became aware of the problem. The problem was: sinners succeed in life -- then how to explain it? If sinners are to be punished, what kind of punishment is this? In fact, the saints seem to be punished and the sinners seem to be rewarded. How to explain this? The future life was the only way to escape the problem.
The priests invented this idea that hell and heaven are after life. In this life the sinner can succeed, but in the next he will have to suffer, after death he will have to suffer. And the saint may suffer in this life, but after death he will be rewarded: he will be taken to paradise. Now, nobody knows anything about the next life, whether it is or is not. Nobody has ever come back from there; nobody has ever reported what it is like, what is happening there. But it was a good device; it helped priests to console people.
Buddha never uses the word 'sin', because it is condemnatory. He has such a deep respect for humanity! No other master has ever shown such respect for humanity as Buddha. And it is difficult to show respect for humanity, really difficult, because humanity behaves in such stupid ways. Only an enlightened master can still show respect for humanity, in spite of all that humanity goes on doing.
Buddha uses the word 'mischief'; it does not condemn you. It simply says that you have chosen a wrong way. And he says: MISCHIEF IS YOURS. It is not predetermined by God, by fate, or by anybody else -- it is YOURS. And the sorrow that follows mischief -- or, more accurately, the sorrow that simultaneously happens with mischief, is also yours. There is no god who punishes you, there is no need, because if there is a god -- again an invention of the priests -- if there is a god as a judge... judges can be bribed.
And the priests have been telling people, "Pray to God, praise the Lord, and you will be forgiven." What is praise? It is a kind of bribery!
Hence, in a country like India where people have been praising God for centuries, bribery is very simple. Nobody thinks it is wrong -- it is something religious! If even God can be bribed, what about the poor policeman! If even God can be bribed and persuaded to do things in your favor, what about the poor magistrate? And if God is not wrong, why should the magistrate be thought wrong?
In the East, bribery is not thought wrong; it is a Western concept that bribery is wrong. In the East it is just a simple thing, it has always been done. The priests are nothing but agents between you and God: they take bribes from you, and on your behalf they plead with God. Of course, in things like bribery, agents were needed because to give a bribe directly you will feel afraid. The person may not feel right; he may be offended, his sense of dignity may be offended. He may feel hurt, thinking, "What do you think of me? That you can purchase me?" Or, even if he wants to take it, he may say no, he may deny it. He may say, "I never take any bribes." His sense of pious ego may take possession of his being. An agent is needed, a go-between who knows both the parties so you need not encounter the person directly. Everywhere agents are needed.
Priests have been agents between man and God. "You commit sin? Don't be worried," priests say. "Just give the right amount of bribes and you will be forgiven. And God is very compassionate." If you don't bribe, then of course you have to suffer.
Buddha removed God completely. He removed God because he wanted to remove the priest. Unless God is removed the priest cannot be removed; he is just a shadow of God, a by-product. God is his invention! Hence the whole priesthood of India was against Buddha, because he was destroying their very trade, he was revealing their very trade secret, he was cutting their very roots.
And India has the longest, the oldest priesthood in the world: the brahmins. For ten thousand years they have been exploiting people. They have lived on exploitation, they have not done anything else. They have not toiled, they have not worked. Their whole function has been just to act as a go-between.
Buddha was really cutting the very roots of the priesthood, the whole establishment that goes with it, and the exploitation in the name of religion. He says:
MISCHIEF IS YOURS.
SORROW IS YOURS.
There is no God to give you punishment, each act of mischief intrinsically brings sorrow to you. If you put your hand in the fire you will be burned. Not that a judge is needed to declare that now you have to be punished by the decree of God or the decree of the judge; you have to be punished because you have put your hand in the fire. There is no need for anybody to declare any judgment. The moment you put your hand in the fire you are burned -- immediately, instantly! In Buddha's vision, the action brings its own result; no judge is needed.
"How did this accident happen?" asked the doctor.
"Well," explained the patient, "I was making love to my girl on the living-room rug when, all of a sudden, the chandelier came crashing down on us."
"Fortunately you have only sustained some minor lacerations on your buttocks," the doctor said. "I think you are a very lucky man."
"You said it, Doc," explained the man. "A minute sooner and it could have fractured my skull!"
It all depends on you! MISCHIEF IS YOURS. SORROW IS YOURS.
BUT VIRTUE ALSO IS YOURS.
So don't be sad. In fact, feel joyous. Buddha is giving you total freedom... you can choose. If you are in love with sorrow, that's your choice. Then don't complain. You have chosen it yourself; enjoy it if you want to enjoy it. It is all up to you.
The bride returned from her honeymoon and was relating her experience to her best friend. "And how was the first night?" her friend asked in anticipation.
"Oh, it was horrible!" said the bride. "All night -- up and down, in and out, up and down, in and out. Never get a room next to the elevator!"
Your whole life is your choice: you can be in hell, you can be in heaven. And heaven and hell are not far away from each other. In fact, there is not even a fence between the two, there is no division; they merge and melt into each other. You can easily move from one space to the other.
And people have tried all kinds of things, but nothing succeeds. People have tried alcohol and drugs and people have tried prayers, religious rituals -- nothing works. Maybe for a moment, or for a few hours, mescaline or LSD can take you away from your present misery, but in fact they don't take you away -- they simply make you unaware of it.
Only one thing has been successful and that is becoming more conscious, accepting that it is your responsibility; if you are in misery, then looking at it and finding out how you have chosen it and why you have chosen it. And seeing that it is your choice is enough: if you still want the advantages that come with it....
Yes, there are a few advantages; that's why people choose misery. Nobody wants misery, but there are a few advantages that come with misery. Everybody wants bliss, but there are a few disadvantages -- at least they look like disadvantages from your standpoint. That's why people want bliss but don't choose it, people don't want misery but choose it.
Misery gives you a sense of the ego. Misery separates you from existence, defines you. Bliss is a merger, a melting. Your definitions disappear, your ego is found no more. So those who want to feel "I am," they have to choose misery, there is no other way. The 'I' feeds on misery; you may not like misery but you like the ego, and that is the subtle motive for choosing misery. You like bliss, but you don't want to melt.
It happens many times: people come to me and they say.... And the same was happening with Buddha: many times he was asked the same question -- and maybe it is the same people who asked him and now they are asking me! He was asked many times, "You say bliss will be there when we have disappeared. But if we are not there, what is the point of attaining bliss? If I am not there to enjoy it, what is the point?"
The same people come to me and ask, "If I disappear, then I don't see the point. Even if there is bliss, if I am not, who is going to experience it?" And logically it appears that their argument is valid -- but only logically, not existentially.
Bliss is not an experience. It is not that there is bliss and you are experiencing it. When you disappear YOU are bliss; there is no need for anybody to experience it -- you become it. You vacate... and bliss starts arising in you. You are blocking it, you are the only barrier.
You have to look deeply into it; only then will Buddha's sutra be clear to you.
MISCHIEF IS YOURS. SORROW IS YOURS. BUT VIRTUE ALSO IS YOURS. AND PURITY. And what does he mean by purity? Is not virtue purity? No; hence he has to mention it separately. Purity means a state which is beyond both good and bad, misery and bliss -- beyond both.
There is a transcendent state; it is peace. Buddha calls it nirvana: cessation of all states, good and bad both, day and night both. One simply IS: that is purity. No experience, nothing is happening, no content, a pure subjectivity, an eternal silence: that is purity.
MISCHIEF IS YOURS. SORROW IS YOURS. Virtue is yours, bliss is yours, and beyond all is purity, buddhahood, awakening, transcendence. That is also yours.
YOU ARE THE SOURCE
OF ALL PURITY AND ALL IMPURITY.
This is his continuous insistence, that: YOU ARE THE SOURCE.... He wants you to be reminded again and again that: YOU ARE THE SOURCE.... You come into the world as a pure potential, a multidimensional potential. You can become anything. You can be a sinner, you can be a saint. You can be Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, or you can be a Buddha or a Jesus. You bring all kinds of potential with you; you can choose whatsoever you want to be. You are not born ready-made; you come only as an infinite possibility, opportunity.
An occasion to grow, that's what life is -- a space to grow. But you can grow in many ways, diametrically opposite ways. Adolf Hitler can become Gautama the Buddha; Gautam Siddhartha could have become Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler is not born as Adolf Hitler.
We are born tabula rasa, a clean slate; nothing is written on it. It is later on that we start writing. Then one becomes the Bhagavadgita, the Bible, the Talmud, the Upanishads, and another becomes a book of pornography. And it is the same clean paper on which pornography is printed and on which the Bhagavadgita is printed, and it is the same ink that is used for both and it is the same press too. But vast differences! How vast is the difference between Adolf Hitler and Gautam Buddha! And both came with the same opportunity, but the choice was different.
Remind yourself again and again that: YOU ARE THE SOURCE OF ALL PURITY AND ALL IMPURITY. Once this is accepted, a great authenticity arises in you.
Frederick II of Prussia, also known as Frederick the Great, instituted social reforms and improvements throughout his country. One day he unexpectedly visited a prison to inspect the facilities. The head jailer was dismayed to be asked to show the king through the jail itself to see the conditions personally.
As Frederick proceeded through the jail, the convicted men came running up to him, pleading innocence and begging for pardons. The king listened to all, and walked on. He became surrounded by men claiming they were not guilty.
One man, however, stayed in his corner. The king was surprised. "You there!" he called. "Why are you here?"
"Robbery, Your Majesty," stated the prisoner.
"And are you guilty?" asked Frederick.
"Entirely guilty, Your Majesty. I richly deserve my punishment."
The king parted the throng with his walking-stick and pointed it at the jailer. "Warden," he said, "release this guilty wretch at once. I will not have him here in jail where by example he will corrupt all the splendid, innocent people who occupy it."
The moment you take responsibility totally, it is a great redemption, it is freedom. You are suddenly out of the jail -- just by taking the responsibility. It is difficult to accept, very difficult, hard to accept, that "I am responsible"; it hurts the ego. But there is no other way.
NO ONE PURIFIES ANOTHER.
This is the way Buddha drops the whole priesthood. If nobody can purify you, if nobody can purify another, then the whole function of the priesthood disappears.
The greatest priesthood in the world now is the Catholic priesthood. And do you see the reason why? -- because for twenty centuries they have been claiming that salvation is through Jesus. That is the basic root of the Catholic priesthood; it depends on it. If somehow it can be proved that Jesus cannot be the salvation of anybody else, then the whole Catholic church will become irrelevant.
The church is relevant, the pope is relevant, only because of the claim in the name of Jesus that "Jesus purifies," that "Jesus saves." And the pope represents Jesus: he is the representative of Jesus on earth, of God on earth. God is invisible; Jesus is no longer on the earth, but he has left his representatives and they have direct connections -- they can dial at any moment. They can recommend you or they can put your name on the blacklist.
Buddha says: NO ONE PURIFIES ANOTHER. You have done mischief to yourself -- now only you can undo it. Why bring somebody else into it? If Jesus has not been the cause of your mischiefs, how can he be the cause of saving you from those mischiefs?
Buddha says: buddhas can only point the way -- but you have to walk. They can't walk for you; nobody can carry you to paradise. You are men, you are not sheep! But the Christian idea is that Jesus is the shepherd and you are the sheep. And the Christian idea is that the more lost you are, the better are the chances that Jesus will carry you on his shoulders to the ultimate home.
This is all invention! Jesus can only save himself, and by saving himself he can show you the path to saving yourself, but he cannot save you.
This is where Buddha stands out from all other religions. He was really very very aware not to give any chance to any kind of priesthood to arise behind him -- because priests are the greatest enemies of religion. And the priests are not bridges between you and God; on the contrary, they are the walls.
An elderly Jewish gentleman climbed into a railway carriage and soon struck up a conversation with the other passenger in the compartment, who explained that he was a Catholic country priest.
"And after being a country priest, vot you become in your church?" asked the Jew.
"Well, it is just possible I could be moved into a town parish."
"And after zat?"
"Oh, no! I will never be placed higher than that."
"But if you are very good in your job vot you can become?" persisted the Jew.
"Well, I could become a monsignor."
"And after zat?"
"If I was very, very lucky I could become a bishop."
"And after zat?"
"Well, a cardinal in Rome."
"So vot next?"
"From the cardinals the pope is elected."
"Oh, the pope. Vot after him?"
"What! There is no higher than the pope. He is God's priest on earth!"
"So vot about Jesus Christ?"
"No, that's blasphemy! No one can become Christ!"
"Oh!" said the Jew, "'cos vun of our fellows made it."
It is not blasphemy -- everyone can become a christ, because christ is a state of consciousness; it has nothing to do with Jesus. Christ is equivalent to buddha. Buddha has nothing to do with Gautam Siddhartha -- anybody can become a buddha. Whosoever becomes awakened is a buddha and whosoever is awakened, is crowned by the glory of awakening, is christ. Christ means the crowned one. One who has come home and is crowned with the glory of becoming one with God is a christ.
YOU can be a christ.
There have been many christs before Jesus Christ and there will be many more. In fact, ultimately, each individual has to reach to the state of christhood. It is not blasphemy -- but the priest has to call it a blasphemy. He cannot allow you to become a christ, because if you become a christ, the priest is not needed anymore. Even the idea that you can become the christ means you have gone far away from the clutches of the priesthood. The very idea is dangerous to the priesthood; that's why it is blasphemy.
But Buddha says: NO ONE PURIFIES ANOTHER.
NEVER NEGLECT YOUR WORK....
Hence, don't depend on anybody else saving you -- only your own work on yourself can.
NEVER NEGLECT YOUR WORK.... It is arduous to transform yourself from wrong patterns to right patterns, and from right patterns to transcendence. It is a great, arduous pilgrimage, it is an uphill task. Don't go on believing and deceiving yourself that somebody is going to come: the messiah will come and will deliver you from your sins and from your bondage. This is just a hope, a wish-fulfillment. And people have been waiting for the messiah and the messiah never comes.
Not that there have not been messiahs -- there have been: a Buddha, a Krishna, a Zarathustra, a Jesus, a Mohammed, a Moses. These are all christs, all buddhas! But nobody can purify you -- unless you take the decision, unless you become committed to transforming yourself.
Don't wait for any shortcut -- you can't cheat existence. Nobody can carry you on his shoulders; you have to go to the ultimate peak on your own. NEVER NEGLECT YOUR WORK....
HOWEVER GREAT HIS NEED.
And Buddha says: There are needy people all around. There are ill people, there are poor people, there are paralyzed people and blind and deaf and lame. If you start serving all these people you will forget the real work. That's what has happened to the Christian missionary. He runs the school, the hospital, he serves the poor people, and of course he is very much respected for that, but he is neglecting the real work.
Buddha is not saying don't serve anybody; he is saying don't serve at the cost of your work. If you can serve people without disturbing your real work on yourself, it's okay; by the side you can do it. But in fact it is not possible -- you don't have that much energy. First you have to pour your whole energy, total energy, into self-growth.
Once you have become a grown-up, mature, alert, aware, then you can serve people and only then -- because then you will have something to share: love, compassion. Then you will have something to really help them: understanding, wisdom. Right now what can you do? Right now you yourself are in such a mess that if you serve somebody you are bound to create more mess for him.
And that's what the missionaries have been doing to the world -- they create more mischief, more mess. They think they are doing great work, holy work -- it is not possible! Unless you are holy your work cannot be holy. Actions are not decided by actions themselves but by the source from where they arise.
Buddha says: NEVER NEGLECT YOUR WORK.... Buddha is saying exactly what I say to you. I say to you: First be selfish, utterly selfish. That is one of the criticisms of my work: people criticize me because I am making people selfish. I am telling them to meditate, to grow, and forget all about the world. And the world is in trouble: there are poor people and there are miserable people, and great public servants are needed. And I am teaching people just to sit silently and meditate, or dance and rejoice.
But that's what Buddha was saying. That's what the awakened people have always been saying to the world. First become enlightened, be full of light, then do whatsoever happens through that light. If service comes easy to you, good. If you want to teach people, good. If you want to help the ill, the old, good. But right now you yourself are blind, you yourself are in a dark night of the soul. What can you do with your service? What are you going to give to people? You don't have anything -- you are empty, hollow.
NEVER NEGLECT YOUR WORK FOR ANOTHER'S, HOWEVER GREAT HIS NEED. Listen to Buddha's words: However great his need, never neglect your own work. There is something very fundamental involved in it: you can help others only if you have helped yourself first.
Once I was sitting on the bank of a river and a man started drowning. He shouted for help. I ran, but by the time I reached close to the river to jump, another man who was closer, just near the bank, had already jumped. So I stopped myself; there was no need. But then the other man started drowning -- I had to save both!
I asked the second man, "Why did you jump if you don't know how to swim?"
He said, "I completely forgot! The moment I heard him shout, 'Save me!' -- I completely forgot that I don't know how to swim. I simply jumped, it was a mechanical response."
This is not the way to help! I said, "If I had not been here, you both would have drowned! There was every possibility of the other person reaching the shore alone, without you.... Because you don't know how to swim and you would have caught hold of the other person and you both would have depended on each other, there is more possibility that you both would have drowned. And you created unnecessary trouble for me -- first I had to save you, because you were closer to the bank, and that man had to wait a little longer."
But this is happening in life every day: you start helping others without ever becoming aware that you yourself are in need.
Be altruistic only when your own self is fulfilled. Selfishness and unselfishness are not opposite to each other. A really selfish person is bound to become unselfish one day, because the really selfish person is one who comes to discover his inner self. A really selfish person cannot be interested in money, cannot be interested in power, cannot be interested in prestige. If he is really selfish, his first interest will be: "Who am I?" The people who are interested in money and power and prestige don't know real selfishness.
I also teach you real, authentic selfishness, because my own observation is: out of it arises altruistic love. They are not opposite. When one is fulfilled, one starts overflowing with compassion.
YOUR WORK IS TO DISCOVER YOUR WORK....
And the first thing is -- the first step of your work is -- to discover your work.
AND THEN WITH ALL YOUR HEART
TO GIVE YOURSELF TO IT.
What does Buddha mean when he says: YOUR WORK IS TO DISCOVER YOUR WORK...? A very mysterious statement, but only apparently so; otherwise simple, logical.
There are two kinds of people in the world. Just as biologically there are males and females, so spiritually there are also males and females. The biological male may not be spiritually a male, remember. There is no inevitability of them coinciding; sometimes they coincide, sometimes not. A biological female is not necessarily a spiritual female.
A man may find that deep within himself he is more feminine than masculine: more soft, more vulnerable, more receptive, more like a womb: less aggressive, less active. A woman may find deep down that she is not receptive, she is aggressive.
Just as there are males and females biologically and spiritually, so the spiritual path can be divided into two: the male path and the female path, the yin and the yang. This is the basic division. The whole of nature is divided into two: the negative and the positive, matter and mind, the earth and the sky. The whole of nature depends on this dialectic, on this duality -- and we are part of it right now. When you become enlightened you will go beyond it -- then there is no dialectic, then there is no duality, then you attain to one -- but before you attain to one you will have to find out what work is going to suit you.
I call these two types of work: love and meditation. Love is the feminine way and meditation is the masculine way. Meditation means the capacity to be absolutely alone, and love means the capacity to be absolutely together. Love means rejoicing relatedness; meditation means rejoicing solitude, aloneness. Both do the same work, because on both the paths the ego disappears. If you are really in love you have to drop your ego; otherwise love will not be possible. If you want to go deep into meditation you will have to leave the ego behind; otherwise you will not be alone. The ego will be there and the duality will remain: the being and the ego, consciousness and mind.
You will have to drop the mind if you want to go into meditation, and you will have to drop the mind if you want to go into love.
So the basic mechanism is the same, but the directions are different. The meditator goes inwards; he is introvert, he seeks interiority. And the lover goes outwards; he is extrovert, he seeks the being of the other. In love, the other becomes the mirror in which you find your face, your original face. In meditation, you need not have any mirror; you simply go into yourself and you find yourself, your reflection is not needed. These are the two basic types of work.
Buddha says: YOUR WORK IS TO DISCOVER YOUR WORK. The first thing is to discover exactly what type of person you are. Mahavira, Buddha, Lao Tzu, these are meditation types, meditative people. But Jesus, Chaitanya, Kabir, these are love types; they need a dialogue with existence. In meditation there is no prayer because there is no other; in prayer there is a dialogue of I and thou.
Whether God exists or not is irrelevant. Patanjali has said God is only a device for the love type, the person who cannot find himself without creating a mirror; then God is just the greatest mirror you can create. Whether God exists or not is not the point at all. Patanjali says it is a device: a device for prayer. The real thing is prayer, not God, remember it: the real thing is prayer, not God. The real thing is love, not the beloved.
If you can love, if you can pray, it doesn't matter whether God exists or not, whether your prayer is heard or not. Praying itself is transforming; heard, not heard, is beside the point. In deep prayer you dissolve your ego. But for prayer you need an excuse: whom to pray to? You need an excuse; hence God, the hypothesis of God. It is a hypothesis, remember; it is not really there.
There is no person like God sitting somewhere above in the sky listening to everybody's prayer. If there was such a person he would have gone mad long ago -- so many many people, millions of people on the earth.... And now scientists say there are at least fifty thousand earths in the universe, all populated. Now millions and millions of prayers are arising every day, and God is one. Poor God! And so many worshippers!
When I used to travel in this country -- for fifteen years I was traveling and traveling, twenty-one days per month traveling -- I was in a difficulty. The greatest difficulty was the Indian attitude towards saints. They would come and they would massage your feet, and I was tired of those massages!
Once it happened I was coming from Udaipur. The train was stopping at some station; it must have been twelve o'clock at night. After a seven-day camp I was feeling very tired, and a man entered into my compartment and started massaging my feet. I said, "You will do a great service to me if you stop all this nonsense. Simply get out of the room!"
He said, "You go to sleep, don't prevent me! I have been waiting for the whole year so that when the train comes here to my station and you come back from your Udaipur camp, I could massage your feet, I could serve you."
I said, "How long is this train going to stay here?"
He said, "Don't be worried! It stays here for two hours, because from here the engine changes and the route changes, so you can go to sleep."
I said, "How can I go to sleep?"
And he was really doing such hard work -- something like Rolfing! I asked him, "Where did you learn Rolfing?"
He said, "I have waited for one year!"
I said, "That I understand." So he was taking revenge!
Finally I got tired, so tired that I had to call the police to remove that man. Now he was very angry. He said, "No saint has ever done this!"
I said, "I am not a saint!"
But that is not the point: first he projects the saint, then he can serve him. He really wants to serve some holy man; whether the holy man is holy or not is not the point.
I said, "I am even ready to be a sinner if you will leave me alone!"
Just think of God! That day I started thinking of God, what must be happening to him. The praying... millions of people praying. And there are millions of people already in heaven -- they must be doing Rolfing on him! He must be constantly escaping, running away.
I have heard:
In the beginning God used to live on M.G. Road in Poona, but then people started troubling him too much. Day and night they would knock on his door -- complaints and complaints: "Do this, do that. Tomorrow we need rains," somebody would say. And then somebody else would come; he would say, "Tomorrow no rains, because I am doing my laundry tomorrow."
He started feeling that he would go crazy! He asked his advisors. They said, "You can move to the Himalayas."
He said, "That is not going to help very much, because I can see into the future: soon..." because in the world of God time goes fast. For us it is centuries, for God it is moments.
Just the other day I was reading a story. A male dinosaur was in great love with a female dinosaur. For ten thousand years he waited to say to her, "I love you." Then for ten thousand years he courted her. Then for ten thousand years he said all the sweet things that lovers say to their beloveds. This way thirty thousand years passed. And then one day he said, "Darling, it is time: should we make love?"
And do you know what the female dinosaur said? She said, "I am having my decade!"
If this is so in the world of dinosaurs, what to say about God? Time scales are different.
God said, "You don't know -- soon a man named Hillary, helped by another man, Tenzing, will reach Everest. And once one man reaches there, then it is finished! Then buses will soon be coming and helicopters and airplanes, and hotels will open up and restaurants and I will again be on M.G. Road! That won't help."
Somebody suggested, "Then why don't you move to the moon?"
He said, "That is not going to help either. Just a few years more" -- that means a few moments more -- "and another man will walk on the moon. And if they find any trace of me anywhere, the whole world will rush towards me."
Then one advisor came close to him, whispered something in his ear, and God became really happy and said, "This is right!"
The man whispered, "Then why don't you hide in man himself?"
God said, "That's right! There, it is very very rare that people look. Once in a while, few and far between -- a Buddha, a Jesus will look in. Otherwise nobody looks in. And the people who look in are not dangerous. The deeper they go inwards, the more peaceful they become. By the time they reach to the center they have lost all language, so they can't complain and they can't pray! By the time they reach me they will melt into me and I will melt into them."
And since then God has been residing in man. This is a secret I should not have told you. At least do me one favor -- don't tell it to anybody else!
YOUR WORK IS TO DISCOVER YOUR WORK. The first thing is to decide whether you feel joy being alone. For example, Chetana is sitting here. Vivek always asks me, "Chetana remains alone and she looks so happy. What is the secret?" She is a meditative type! Vivek is unable to understand that one can live totally alone. Now Chetana's whole work is doing my laundry; that is her meditation. She never goes out, not even to eat in the canteen. She brings her food... as if not interested in anybody at all.
If you can enjoy this aloneness, then your path is meditation. But if you feel that whenever you relate with people, when you are with people, you feel joy, cheerfulness, bouncing, you feel more alive, then certainly love is your path.
Watch, and you will find it is not very difficult to decide what your path is. Once you have found your work, then Buddha says: WITH ALL YOUR HEART TO GIVE YOURSELF TO IT. Then don't wait a single moment and don't withhold any energy from it. Get involved totally, absolutely -- because transformation is possible only when you are boiling at the one-hundred-degree point, not lukewarm. Being lukewarm won't do; you have to boil at a hundred degrees. You have to be totally in your work. First find out, take time.
The function of the master is to help you to find out what your real work is, what your type is. If you cannot find out, take the help of a master. Take the help of the master to find out what exactly is meditation and love. He will show you the path, but then you have to follow and you have to follow totally. You cannot follow it in fragments, in parts; you have to go utterly into it. Then transformation is possible instantly. In a single moment one can become a buddha or a christ.
And remember, it is only you who can do this miracle, nobody else can do it for you.
Enough for today.
Next: Chapter 8: A little taste of buddhahood, Question 1
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