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Wisdom And Understanding

Second Question



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The second question:

Question 2


THEY DON'T BOTHER. Lao Tzu does not bother, because he says: Just to be ordinary is to be enlightened. It is not something special that one has to achieve, it is not an achievement, it is not something that one has to reach. It is you -- in your absolute ordinariness it flowers. To be extraordinary is the disease of the ego.

The ego always wants to be extraordinary, someone special, unique, incomparable -- that is the hankering desire of the ego. If you can become a Rockefeller, good; if you can become a Hitler, good; or if you cannot become a Rockefeller or a Hitler, then renounce the world and think of becoming a Buddha. But become someone, someone special, a historic phenomenon.

Lao Tzu is not bothered about enlightenment and all that nonsense. He says: Just be ordinary. Eat when you feel hungry, drink when you feel thirsty and go to sleep when sleep comes. Just be as natural as the whole existence, and suddenly there is everything in all its glory. Nothing is needed.

To be ordinary is the most extraordinary state of being because the ego dissolves. The ego is subtle. You get rid of it in one direction, it comes from another. You push it out from one door, go inside the room and it is sitting on the throne -- it has entered from another door. Before you even come in it is already there.

I had a friend who had a small cat, a very beautiful cat. He asked me what name he should give to the cat. I called the cat "Ego" because the ego is very cunning and a cat of course is cunning. There is nothing like a cat for cunningness. So he named his cat "Ego."

But by and by he got fed up. He was a lonely man, a bachelor with no wife, no children, and he wanted always to be alone but the cat was a continuous disturbance. He would be sleeping and she would jump on his chest. And she would come in with bloodmarks on her paws and destroy a whole chair-seat or his clothes, because she was continuously hunting mice. So she was a trouble to him, and for a bachelor who had never cared for anybody, she was too much of a wife. He asked me what to do. This Ego had become a trouble. So I told him, "Ego is always a trouble. You go and throw it out."

He said, "But she knows all the ways of the town. She will come back."

I told him, "You go to the forest."

So he went to the forest so that the cat could not find the way home. He went in and in -- and then lost the way! Then there was only one thing to do: he let the cat go, followed her, and came back home. That was the only way, there was nobody else to ask. The cat came back as certain as an arrow, not even hesitating for a single moment which way to follow.

So I told him, "Your cat has the quality of the ego perfectly. You cannot throw it out easily. Wherever you go to throw it, when you come home, it is already there. Or sometimes you may get lost and then you will have to follow it, because only it knows the way."

The ego is very wise -- wise in its cunningness. Lao Tzu does not give the ego any foothold, any ground to stand on, so he does not talk about enlightenment. So if you meet Lao Tzu don't ask him, "Do you believe in sudden enlightenment or in gradual enlightenment?" He will not answer you. He will laugh at you: What foolishness! There is no need for any enlightenment. That word doesn't occur for Lao Tzu, it is not part of his vocabulary.

He is very simple. He says: Just be ordinary. Why this hankering to be extraordinary, to be someone? And if you cannot be someone in the world then become enlightened at least. But why? Why can't you be satisfied and content with yourself as you are? If you ask me, to be content with oneself as one is is enlightenment. It is nothing special, as yogis have made it sound: kundalini rising, light showing, inner experiences, angels and God and this and that. This is all nonsense if you understand it. Enlightenment is nothing of this sort.

All these things -- kundalini and the light and God and angels and heaven and hell -- are part of the magician's bag. You want them -- he immediately produces, supplies them. You create the demand and the magician supplies the things to you. You want something special, he gives it to you. He exploits you. He lives on your absurd desires.

Lao Tzu is absolutely simple. He has no bag. He says: Why not just be? What is wrong? What is wrong in that which you are? Why make an effort? And who will make the effort? You will make the effort. Your effort cannot go beyond you, and whatsoever you do, you will do. How can it go beyond you? How can it be transcendental? By your own efforts how can you transcend? It is not possible; you are trying to do the impossible. You can go on jumping for thousands of lives and nothing will be attained.

Accept yourself. That is the only reality there is, that is the only possibility there is. Accept yourself as you are and suddenly everything is transformed. Acceptance is the word for Lao Tzu, not enlightenment -- total acceptance, whatsoever the case is. Nothing else is possible.

This is how things are. This is how you have happened into this vast universe. This vast universe wanted you to be like this -- now you accept.

There are only two choices available: either you reject yourself or you accept yourself. If you reject then there are again two possibilities open: you reject in a wordly way or you reject in an other-worldly way. If you reject yourself in a worldly way it means that you would like to be more beautiful than you are, you would like to be more strong than you are, you would like to be more rich than you are, you would like to have a bigger house than you have. This is to reject in a worldly way. If you reject yourself in an other-worldly way, the religious way, it means that you would like to attain satori, samadhi, enlightenment, nirvana; you would like to become a Buddha; you would like to possess God; you would like to live in infinite bliss. This is how you reject in a religious way. These are both rejections and both are wrong. For Lao Tzu both are equally absurd.

Your marketplace is a marketplace; your temple is also part of it. Your this-worldly desires are worldly desires; your other-worldly desires are also desires and worldly. In fact there cannot be any other-worldly desire. Desire itself is this-worldly. Desire means this world.

I would like to tell you an anecdote.

It happened in a Sufi's life. A great mystic, living silently by himself, one day was suddenly awakened by a messenger from God.

The messenger said, "Your prayers have been accepted. Now the Supreme Being, the Creator, is very happy with you. You can ask, and whatsoever you desire will be fulfilled. You ask and immediately it will be fulfilled.''

The mystic was a little puzzled and he said, "You came a little late. When I needed things, when I had many desires, you never came. Now I have no desires, I have accepted myself, I am totally at ease, at home. Now I don't bother even whether God exists or not, I don't pray to him. I pray because it feels good. I have stopped thinking about him at all. My prayer is not addressed to anybody anymore; I simply pray as I breathe. It's so beautiful whether God exists or not is irrelevant. You came a little late. Now I have no desire."

But the angel said, "This will be an offense against God. When he says you can ask, you have to ask."

The man was puzzled, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "But what to ask? Can you suggest anything? -- because I have accepted everything and I am so fulfilled. At the most you go and tell God that I'm grateful. Give my thanks to him. Everything is as it should be. Nothing is lacking, everything is perfect. I am happy, blissful, and I don't know anything about the next moment. This moment is all, I am fulfilled. You go and give my thanks."

But the angel was stubborn. He said, "No, you will have to ask something -- just as a mannerism. Be a little understanding."

Then the man said, "If you insist, then ask God to keep me as desireless as I am. Give me only one thing -- desirelessness... "

... or acceptability, they both mean the same thing.

Desire means rejection of something -- you would like to be something else; desirelessness means acceptance -- you are happy as things are. In fact, things are irrelevant, you are happy. You are happy, that's the point. Lao Tzu says: Be content as you are, nothing else is needed -- and then suddenly everything happens. In deep acceptance the ego disappears.

Ego exists through rejection: whenever you reject something ego exists. Whenever you say no ego is strengthened, but whenever you say yes, a total yes to existence, that is the greatest meditation you can enter into. In all other meditations you can enter but you will have to come out. This is the only meditation in which you enter and you cannot come out, because once you enter you are no more. Nobody can come out of it.


Next: Chapter 10, Wisdom And Understanding, Third Question


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Chapter 10






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