Zorba The Buddha

Third Question



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The third question

Question 3



DO YOU SEE ANYBODY NUDE HERE? Are you utterly blind? I teach truth -- truth is bound to be nude. Truth cannot hide itself. I don't teach nudity: I certainly teach nude souls. And your clothes sometimes become a hindrance; they hide, they become defences.

Once in a while, whenever the opportunity is possible and nobody is disturbed by your being nude, be nude. I am not telling you to go nude in the marketplace, but whenever the opportunity arrives and whenever you can be nude in the sun and in the wind and in the rain, be. Just by dropping the clothes you will feel a tremendous liberation -- because your clothes are representative of your civilization, of your conditionings.

Your clothes are not just clothes -- they are hiding you from everybody else's eyes. And it is good sometimes to be with the birds and with the animals and with the trees, just as they are, utterly nude. I am not saying go to your office nude or sit in your shop nude. But I certainly say to you that if once in a while you cannot be nude and natural, you will miss something of immense value.

But why has the question arisen in you? You should ask God why he creates nude people. He does not send you with clothes. He has not learnt yet that man is afraid of being nude.

Miss Winklethrop was a sweet old lady, but marriage had passed her by and she lived alone except for her friends the fishes. All over the house in bowls and tanks, they flipped and swished and glittered in and out of the rocks and weed. Even the bathtub was alive with hundreds of her delicate friends.

One day, the vicar came to call and, upon seeing the exotic bathtub, he exclaimed, "But, Miss Winklethrop, what do you do when you want a bath?"

She coloured slightly and said, "Oh, Vicar, it is all right. I blindfold them!"

I have heard about a nun who used to take her baths with her clothes on. Somebody asked her, "What is the matter with you?"

She said, "It is simple. I have heard that God goes on looking at you wherever you go -- and I can't be nude before God."

If you can't be nude even before God, then what kind of ugliness are you carrying within yourself?

But please don't misunderstand me. I am not telling you to be nude twenty-four hours a day; that will be an extreme. Mahavira did that -- he lived nude twenty-four hours a day for forty years. I don't teach that kind of extremism -- because when it is cold, don't be nude. And when you are functioning in the society where clothes are respected, don't be nude. But I cannot tell you to take your bath with clothes on -- that is another extreme.

I teach simplicity and I teach the golden mean. But you must be hearing something else. You must have seen some nude pictures from the ashram. A few people come here and they look all around... particularly Indians because they are very much interested in nude bodies. They have not seen -- they are poor people -- they have not seen the beauty of a nude body, the beautiful contours of a nude body. They are too much obsessed. They come here, they look all around, and they feel a little frustrated because they don't see anybody nude.

You must have come with that idea. Yes, nudity sometimes happens in the therapy groups, because therapy groups are meant to destroy all your hypocrisy. And dropping your clothes is a great step in dropping your hypocrisy. Dropping your clothes is a great step in accepting your body as it is.

Why are you so much afraid of dropping your clothes?

Many people have ugly bodies. And the reason why they have ugly bodies is because they have never allowed their bodies natural growth. And clothes are a good strategy to hide your ugly bodies behind. People are afraid of being nude because they know their bodies don't look good. They don't accept their bodies.

Dropping your clothes sometimes gives you a great acceptance of your body. And dropping your clothes will help you to have a beautiful body too -- because then you will start contemplating about it. You have not even seen your own body in total nudity, so you are not aware of what you are doing with your body -- that you are eating too much or that you are not eating enough, that your ways of life are unhealthy.

It is perfectly good to be nude -- perfectly good to be nude with friends, perfectly good to be nude in your family with your children, because if small children know the bodies of their parents from the very beginning they will never become obsessed. They will never become obsessed with anybody's body; they will have a totally different kind of approach. They KNOW what bodies are -- they have known their mother, they have known their father, their brothers. But even that is impossible.

In deep love relationships one should be nude! -- with friends, with family. Once in a while it is tremendously helpful; it brings you closer to nature.

But when I say these things you are there with your minds to interpret. You don't listen to what I say -- you have your prejudices and you go on listening through your prejudices. You are deaf. Your prejudices and your old ideas are clamouring in your mind.

Three nuns were walking along the street and one was describing with her hands the tremendous grapefruit she'd seen in Florida.

The second one, also with her hands, described the huge bananas she'd seen in Jamaica.

The third nun, a little deaf, asked, "Father who?"

I say one thing, I talk about the grapefruit, and you ask, "Father who?" Your mind is full of garbage. Although you call that garbage very sacred, maybe -- but cowdung is cow-dung. Whether you call it holy cowdung or not does not matter. Your minds are full of cowdung.

And it is because of these minds that you cannot understand me, what I am saying. What I am saying is very simple! If you drop your prejudices, if you put your ideas a little bit aside and you listen silently, the truth of what I am saying will be self-evident.

The whole of nature is nude except man. And by your clothes you have become disconnected from nature. It is of tremendous significance sometimes to be nude on the beach and to lie down in the sand under the sun, and feel the sand with your whole body and the sun with your whole body. Sometimes it is utterly beautiful to dance nude under the stars, so that you can again feel the cosmic rhythm that surrounds you, the cosmic vibe.

But we have made a totally plastic world. We are surrounded not by God's nature but by man-made clothes. We live not with trees but great huge ugly cement structures. We move not on the naked earth but on coal-tar roads, cement roads.

We have created a world around ourselves and we have cut ourselves off from nature. We have become uprooted -- and this uprootedness is one of the basic causes of your misery. Become rooted again into the soil.

The future of humanity will depend on it. We should bring nature BACK into our lives. When you are sitting by the side of a river, it is a totally different phenomenon from when you are sitting by a swimming pool. The swimming pool has no life in it, it has no flow, it is dull, it is dead. When you are in the mountains it is a totally different world.

It will be easier for you to understand Pythagoras and Buddha and Zorba and me if you go to the mountains, to the rivers, to the trees. But the trees won't understand your clothes -- the trees will laugh at you.

I have heard about a great Zen Master. The emperor of Japan went to see him -- he had heard that the Master lived totally nude. The emperor thought maybe he had no clothes, so he prepared, ordered the best clothes possible. He took beautiful velvet clothes and gowns studded with diamonds as a present to the naked fakir.

The Master started laughing. He said, "Thank you for your present, but you will have to take it back."

The emperor said, "Why?"

The Master said, "You know, I am the only human being here. All my friends are trees and birds and animals -- they will laugh at me, they will think I have gone mad. They are all nude, they understand nudity. They won't understand these beautiful clothes, they won't understand these diamonds, they won't understand at all. And if I wear these clothes they will not only laugh at me and they will not only ridicule me -- they will start going away from me. We will lose contact. You please take your clothes back."

If you live in the mountains and if the weather allows you, be nude. And that will give you a tremendously new thrill. A new life will surge up in you.

In a better world, we will learn more and more to be nude. Clothes should be used for comfort, not for any other reason. Clothes should be used for convenience, not for any other reason. Clothes have no morality in them!


Next: Chapter 2, Zorba The Buddha, Fourth Question


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Chapter 2





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