Going just with his flute and a bottle of wine
I HAVE CARRIED THIS SUTRA YOU SPOKE ON IN POONA WITH ME FOR MANY YEARS. IT READS:
THE BUDDHA SAID,
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE GOOD MAN THAN TO FEED ONE HUNDRED BAD MEN.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE WHO OBSERVES THE FIVE PRECEPTS OF BUDDHA THAN TO FEED ONE THOUSAND GOOD MEN.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE SROTAPANNA THAN TO FEED TEN THOUSAND OF THOSE WHO OBSERVE THE FIVE PRECEPTS OF BUDDHA.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE SKRIDAGAMIN THAN TO FEED ONE MILLION OF SROTAPANNAS.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE ANAGAMIN THAN TO FEED TEN MILLIONS OF SKRIDAGAMINS.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE ARHAT THAN TO FEED ONE HUNDRED MILLIONS OF ANAGAMINS.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE PRATYAK BUDDHA THAN TO FEED ONE BILLION OF ARHATS.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE OF THE BUDDHAS EITHER OF THE PRESENT OR OF THE PAST OR OF THE FUTURE THAN TO FEED TEN BILLIONS OF PRATYAK BUDDHAS.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE WHO IS ABOVE KNOWLEDGE, ONE-SIDEDNESS, DISCIPLINE, AND ENLIGHTENMENT THAN TO FEED ONE HUNDRED BILLIONS OF BUDDHAS OF PAST, PRESENT, OR FUTURE.
IT SAYS SO MUCH ABOUT YOUR HEIGHT AND OUR DARKNESS, AND HAS PRODUCED TWO FEELINGS IN ME: THE BLESSING AND JOY OF BEING IN YOUR MAGNIFICENCE, AND THE ARDUOUSNESS OF HOW FAR WE HAVE TO TRAVEL JUST TO HAVE A TASTE OF YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS.
WOULD YOU PLEASE SPEAK ON THIS AGAIN?
One of the most fundamental things to be understood is that the distances are only dream phenomenon, they do not exist in reality. One may be asleep very lightly, one may be asleep very deeply, one may be almost in a coma.
There are distances... If you want to wake them up, then the first, who is in a very light sleep, half awake, half asleep, can be awakened soon; but every one of them can be awakened. It is only a question of the intensity of the effort needed to awaken from the outside, and the intensity needed to be awake from the inside.
You all must have felt moments of nightmare when you want to wake up but you cannot move. And then, in a minute, you wake up. It looks so strange that just a moment before it looked impossible even to open your eyes or move your hands, and after just one minute you are fully awake.
The distance between me and you is only a dream distance, so there is no need to feel any sadness, no need to feel that it is going to be a very arduous and long journey. It is a very simple and very natural phenomenon. If you can relax -- and nothing can be easier than relaxation -- things will start happening on their own.
About the sutra of Gautam Buddha... it is symbolic. Feeding somebody means nursing somebody, respecting somebody, loving somebody, doing something for somebody -- out of compassion, kindness, or love, or respect. So food has not to be taken literally.
The sutra says: IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE GOOD MAN THAN TO FEED ONE HUNDRED BAD MEN. Who is the good man? The good man is one who spontaneously acts in the right way. Remember the word `spontaneously'. The good man is not one who makes efforts to act in a certain way that is accepted by the society in which he is born as good... it may not be good. There are hundreds of societies in the world, hundreds of civilizations have existed, and there is not a single thing that has not been either praised as good by someone or condemned as bad by somebody else.
Now, to be naked the Jainas will say is a good act -- it shows that the man has renounced the world completely. But to be naked according to any other society will be considered bad, even sick. According to Sigmund Freud, the naked man simply wants to show his naked body to others; it is a very perverted, precarious, satisfying sexuality -- it is perversion. And he has given a certain name to this sickness: exhibitionism.
So it is not a question to be decided by the outside morality. The decision has to be according to your spontaneity. Whatever you do out of your heart -- so it is not a reaction but a response -- that act is good.
Buddha says, IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE GOOD MAN -- because it is very difficult even to find a good man, a man of spontaneity, a man whose actions arise out of his heart -- THAN TO FEED ONE HUNDRED BAD MEN. As far as the bad man is concerned, everybody who is acting in sleep, unconsciously, is bad. The bad and good are not concerned with the act; they are concerned with the consciousness through which they have been done. Spontaneous consciousness, a little alertness, or unconsciousness... the act may be perhaps the same, but its quality changes by the touch of the man who is doing it.
Buddha is saying that taking care of one hundred sleepy men, unconscious, not knowing who they are, not knowing why they are, not knowing where they are going, for what they are going, they are just part of the crowd, they are not yet men, they are sheep...
Buddha says it is better to be respectful to the spontaneous, alert man.
I have to emphasize the word `respect', because ordinarily it simply means honor. But the root meaning of the word `respect' is `re-spect' -- a man whom you would like to see again and again; a man who somehow touches your heart, has a magnetic impact on you, so that you want to look at him again and again.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE WHO OBSERVES THE FIVE PRECEPTS OF BUDDHA THAN TO FEED ONE THOUSAND GOOD MEN. Buddha is simply giving you the vast expanse of consciousness, its responses, and how you have to behave -- because your behavior is going to be a transformation to you. The five precepts of Buddha are in a way very simple, if they are done exactly according to Buddha's teaching; otherwise they become self-torture. And he says, IT IS BETTER TO RESPECT ONE WHO OBSERVES THE FIVE PRECEPTS OF BUDDHA THAN TO FEED ONE THOUSAND GOOD MEN.
The good man acts spontaneously, but the man with five precepts has a certain responsibility with his spontaneity, has a certain goal with his spontaneity, has a certain very clear-cut vision with his spontaneity. He knows what he is doing, why he is doing it and he knows what is going to be the result of it. He is acting very consciously. The five precepts are simple, but awareness has to be the base of it... and it has to be, because Buddha is saying, IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE WHO OBSERVES THE FIVE PRECEPTS OF BUDDHA THAN TO FEED ONE THOUSAND GOOD MEN. One thousand good men, with all their spontaneity, he is comparing with one man.
The five precepts: The first is nonviolence; whatever the situation, he should not act in a violent way. His response should always be nonviolent, because we are part of one existence. Whomsoever you are hurting, you are hurting yourself in the long run. Today you may not realize it, but one day when you will become more aware, then you will say, "My God! This wound was inflicted by me -- upon myself." You had hurt somebody else thinking that people are different. Nobody is different.
This whole existence is one cosmic unity.
Out of this understanding comes nonviolence.
The second is non-possessiveness. If the whole existence is one, and if the existence goes on taking care of trees, of animals, of mountains, of oceans -- from the smallest blade of grass to the biggest star -- then it will take care of you too. Why be possessive?
Possessiveness shows simply one thing: that you can't trust existence; you have to arrange separate security for yourself, safety for yourself. You cannot trust existence.
Non-possessiveness is basically trust in existence.
There is no need to possess, because the whole is already ours.
The third is non-stealing. If it is one cosmos, to steal is simply as foolish as... I have heard that one pick-pocket sometimes used to have difficulty in finding people, to pick their pockets. But he was so habituated, and it was so difficult for him to accept the fact that he had not been able to do anything today, that he would pick his own pocket! People can deceive themselves that way.
I have heard about one man who went in the evening to the fisherman's shop and said, "I want that fish. You throw it, and I will catch it."
The man said, "What is the need of throwing it? I can give it to you."
He said, "No, you have to throw it and I will catch it -- because I never want to lie. And when I go home my wife is going to ask, `Where have you been?'" I have been catching fish, but I could not catch any. And this one I will have certainly caught. I have not purchased it; you have thrown it and I have caught it. So I can say with a straight face, `This is my catch -- a beautiful fish.' But I cannot lie. That's why you have to throw it, and I have to catch it."
In fact that is what we are doing. It is all ours and we are in subtle ways stealing. It does not mean that you have to steal money or you have to steal things; you can steal thoughts, you can steal words. And all your knowledge is stolen. It is not something that you have discovered, it is something you have picked up -- from here, from there. And then, without thinking twice, with a straight face, you say to the world, "This is my opinion." It is not your opinion! You are not even aware of yourself -- what opinion can you have? So all this is part of stealing.
The fourth is no-taste. It became a torture, but it was not meant so. A man of the sensibilities of Gautam Buddha cannot make it a self-torture. His idea of no-taste was simply not to hanker after taste. Food is for nourishment of the body; taste is secondary -- don't make it primary. And secondly, his disciples were all monks; they had to beg. And he was a very careful man. He never wanted his people to become a burden on the society. If they start asking, "We want this, we want that... please prepare this dish for tomorrow when I come to beg," then they will be heavy and burdensome.
He made it a rule: don't ask from just one house. Your one meal -- and the Buddhist monk was to eat only one meal -- your one meal has to come from five houses. He was simply trying to spread the burden, otherwise... he was moving with ten thousand bhikkhus, his disciples, wherever he was going, and it would have been really troublesome if the thousand bhikkhus had come into a small town -- which may not have had the population of ten thousand -- and they started asking for their preferences. The poor people of the town would be in a difficulty.
Buddha's whole effort about no-taste was that you should never be unwelcome wherever you go. People should know that out of compassion you go to five houses -- just for a single meal. He denied more than one meal. It looks to us that it is asceticism, that it is self-torture. Even in the poorest countries, people need at least two meals. In richer countries like America people are eating five times, or as many times as they go and visit the fridge... the whole day. It is not a question of times.
There are thirty million people in America today who are dying because of over-eating.
They know that this over-eating is killing them, but they cannot stop it. It is just like being an alcoholic; they have become so addicted, that they need something. If they have nothing then at least they chew gum, so their mouth goes on and on. In a way it is good; otherwise they would talk -- yakkety yak, yakkety yak -- because somehow they have to go on using their mouth. Their talking is just a substitute. Chewing gum keeps them silent at least!
Buddha's insight is really deep, because modern experiments, particularly by the psychologist Delgado, have proved it beyond doubt that with one meal per day man's life can be doubled. The more you eat the less you will live; the less you eat the longer you will live. He was trying one experiment... for thousands of times he tried, then he gave his conclusion.
He had two rows of white rats. One row was given as much food as they wanted -- American way. The food was always available; they could eat as much as they want. And the second row, the way of the bhikku, had just one meal -- nourishing, complete for the body. And thousands of times the experiment was tried and always the American style rats died half way. The Buddhist bhikkhus lived double the time of the Americans.
So there Buddha had a deep insight: eat one time and don't hanker for taste; otherwise you would like to eat many times.
It is known about Nero that he used to eat so many times that he had to keep four doctors with him; so when he eats they will help him vomit everything, so he can eat again. Just madness... but he was simply hankering for taste. And that was the only way; otherwise you cannot go on eating the whole day. He was eating from the morning till night when he went to bed -- he was either eating or vomiting. And the doctors' only purpose was to help him vomit easily so he could eat again.
Buddha's insight is right. It is not self-torture. It is simply a profound insight into health, longevity -- and perhaps sooner or later science will like everybody to eat only once. Of course the food should be sufficient, should have all that is needed by the body, but only once. It looks to us a little difficult, but it is only a question of habit. In Africa there are many tribes who have never eaten -- for thousands of years -- more than once a day. They were simply surprised when Christian missionaries reached Africa. They could not believe it: they start with tea in bed, then breakfast, then lunch, then coffee break, then supper, then dinner... and snacks here and there. They could not believe it, "What are these people doing? Are they living or simply eating?" -- because they had eaten only once, and they were far more healthy and they lived longer.
They are still eating once. Their bodies are more proportionate, they live longer, they run faster -- just like animals, like deer they can run. And their bodies have just the proportion that people are trying to get in thousands of gymnasiums around the world.
They have it without any effort, just by a single meal.
Non-violence, non-possessiveness, non-stealing, no-taste... and the fifth precept is compassion.
We live in passion -- our lives are passionate. Passion is always a turmoil: ups and downs, one day good, another day bad, day follows night... In the same way the life of passion is continuously going into pleasure, into pain -- and they are balancing each other.
Compassion is not to live passionately, but to live calmly, quietly, silently. Compassion can be without ups and downs -- a deep serenity. Whatever happens on the outside does not matter, but the center of your being remains still, undisturbed.
So Buddha says, IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE WHO OBSERVES THE FIVE PRECEPTS OF BUDDHA THAN TO FEED ONE THOUSAND GOOD MEN.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE SROTAPANNA THAN TO FEED TEN THOUSAND OF THOSE WHO OBSERVE THE FIVE PRECEPTS OF BUDDHA.
Srotapanna is a very beautiful word. It means "who has stepped into the stream."
Literally, srot means "the source"; Srotapanna means "who has stepped into the stream which leads to the source." He is no longer standing on the bank. The man who follows the five precepts may be still standing on the bank.
Before a srotapanna, Buddha says, TEN THOUSAND OF THOSE WHO FOLLOW THE FIVE PRECEPTS OF BUDDHA... One srotapanna is weightier, more valuable. He has risked the journey. He has moved from the bank into the river; he is ready to go to the source. He has taken the most courageous step a man has to take, ever in his life.
The bank seems to be so safe, and you can make it so cozy. And stepping into an unknown stream -- no one knows where it is going; it is certainly going into the unknown, and perhaps ultimately into the unknowable... The man who has the courage to step in, that srotapanna is better to feed -- just one srotapanna -- than to feed ten thousand of those who observe the five precepts of Buddha.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE SKRIDAGAMIN THAN TO FEED ONE MILLION OF SROTAPANNAS. One million of srotapannas are nothing in comparison with one skridagamin: one who has reached the source. One million srotapannas may have stepped -- but they may remain stuck there. Their first step may be their last step, because the journey is going to become more and more mysterious , more and more unknowable, more and more beyond their minds and beyond their control.
So many will step, but only a few will go to the very end. One who reaches to the end, the skridagamin, he is equal to one million of srotapannas.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE ANAGAMIN THAN TO FEED TEN MILLIONS OF SKRIDAGAMINS. Those who have reached the source are not necessarily going to stay there. They may come back. Anagamin means "who is not going to look back" -- coming back is out of question.
The skridagamin may have gone for strange reasons -- maybe his ego: he is a strong person; when the weaker ones are stepping down or stopping, he will go to the very end, but he has all the desires in him -- which can be fulfilled, or at least you can hope for them to be fulfilled, only on the bank. He will come back. He cannot remain there at the source.
Only one who remains at the source and does not come back, anagamin... These words are from the same root. Gamin means "going." The English word go comes from the same root as the Pali word gamin. Anagamin means "one who is not going back." IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE ANAGAMIN THAN TO FEED TEN MILLIONS OF SKRIDAGAMINS.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE ARHAT THAN TO FEED ONE HUNDRED MILLIONS OF ANAGAMINS. Now things are a little more subtle. Arhat means "the victorious." Now there is nothing for him to achieve; he has come home. The anagamin has come to the source. He is not going back, but there are weaknesses in him which do not allow him to be totally victorious. He has reached the place from where victory is possible. He is not going back -- but he is not going ahead either.
An arhat is one who goes ahead of the anagamin. The anagamin becomes so happy with the source that he has reached that he feels that this is all there is; he has arrived -- and that's an illusion. There is much more. The arhat is not satisfied -- although it is very pleasant, nice. But he has not come on this journey, on this pilgrimage to reach a pleasant state. He wants truth, and he is ready to lose all pleasures -- even this spiritual pleasure of being at the source. His search is for truth, not for pleasure. IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE ARHAT THAN TO FEED ONE HUNDRED MILLIONS OF ANAGAMINS.
IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE PRATYAK BUDDHA THAN TO FEED ONE BILLION OF ARHATS.
Pratyak buddha means "a man who has attained enlightenment." The arhat is victorious but he is not illuminated. There is still darkness at the very center of his being. A pratyak buddha is one whose whole darkness has disappeared; he is simply light. The arhat has discovered the truth; the pratyak buddha has become it.
You have to understand the difference. One has discovered it, but it is still there and he is separate from it. The pratyak buddha has become it. There is no question of victory, because there are not two; hence the difference. You can see: IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE PRATYAK BUDDHA THAN TO FEED ONE BILLION OF ARHATAS. The distance goes on becoming bigger and bigger and bigger. IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE OF THE BUDDHAS, EITHER OF THE PRESENT OR OF THE PAST OR OF THE FUTURE THAN TO FEED TEN BILLIONS OF PRATYAK BUDDHAS.
What is the difference between pratyak buddhas and buddhas? The pratyak buddha is one who has become enlightened, but he never becomes a master. He has experienced it, but he cannot explain it. Neither is he interested in anybody else, or in sharing his experience with anybody else. He has the same status as a buddha, but the difference is that the buddha wants to share it, and the pratyak buddha simply keeps it within himself. He has become the truth, but his great achievement is confined only to himself. A buddha works hard, against all kinds of oppositions, difficulties, to reach people, to reach those who are on the path but are in darkness.
The story about Gautam Buddha is that when he reached the gates of nirvana he stood there, his back towards the gates. The gates were opened, and the guards wanted him to enter. They were ready to welcome him -- because centuries pass and then once in a while those gates open. And they were immensely happy that someone has again become a buddha.
But Buddha refused. The story is symbolic. He says, "Unless every living being passes by me into nirvana, I am going to stay here. I will be the last. I cannot go alone, I have to take everybody with me. "They are struggling in pain and misery, and do you think I should enjoy nirvana and its tremendous blissfulness? It is not possible. I will wait. You can wait; but waiting here I will try to help those struggling souls, stumbling in darkness, groping in darkness. Unless I am satisfied that everybody has passed in, I will not come in and close the doors."
Buddha is certainly one of the most insightful men. He does not stop at himself. Anybody would have stopped there -- it is a natural tendency to put oneself at the highest point and then stop.
He says, IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE WHO IS ABOVE KNOWLEDGE, ONE- SIDEDNESS, DISCIPLINE, AND ENLIGHTENMENT THAN TO FEED ONE HUNDRED BILLIONS OF BUDDHAS, OF PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE.
The last category is tremendously significant, because it will be the category which will be misunderstood the most. One who is above knowledge -- he will not be consistent, he will be self-contradictory. One who is above one-sidedness, who cannot favor one side of the truth, one aspect of the truth -- at the risk of being contradictory he will support all the aspects of truth. He will support the opposites, and naturally he will look illogical, he will look absurd. One who is above discipline -- who has no discipline, who lives moment to moment, who has no certain order to follow -- he does not follow anything. Each moment decides what he is going to do.
You cannot categorize such a man. You cannot call him good, you cannot call him bad; you cannot call him religious, you cannot call him irreligious, because he follows no discipline. And not only discipline, but he transcends enlightenment.
Enlightenment is the ultimate experience, but still it is an experience... the highest, but still part and parcel of all other experiences: they may be lower, this may be the highest.
Finally one transcends it too. One simply forgets about it. It becomes one's nature.
In the beginning, when you reach from your ignorance into enlightenment, it is such a difference that you are immensely gratified. But now ignorance is gone. Enlightenment slowly, slowly loses the excitement it had in the beginning. It is no longer ecstasy, it is simply your nature. And nobody remembers one's nature.
This is the ultimate category Buddha manages to talk about: beyond knowledge, beyond discipline, beyond enlightenment. This kind of man will be opposed by all, this kind of man will be condemned by all. This kind of man is bound to stand alone against the whole world, for the simple reason that all that they value, he has transcended.
In Japan there is a beautiful series of pictures depicting the whole range of the pilgrimage to the truth. In the beginning -- the name of the Zen painter who made it is not known -- it had ten pictures. But even the Zen masters suppressed the tenth picture, and for centuries it was known only as having nine pictures. It was only later on that it was discovered in some old scripts that the original had ten pictures, and the description of the tenth is the description Buddha is giving of the last.
It is a series of pictures: A man loses his bull. In one picture, he looks all around and he cannot see it. There are mountains, there are trees, there is a lake and the man is standing there looking all around -- and the bull is not anywhere to be seen. In the second picture he finds the footmarks of the bull. He cannot see the bull yet, but footmarks are there and he follows the footmarks.
In the third he sees just the back of the bull, who is standing under a tree. In the fourth he finds the bull. In the fifth he tries hard to catch hold of it; it is a bull -- it is difficult, he is really powerful. But in the seventh he manages. In the eighth he rides on the bull. The bull won't allow it, and tries this way and that to throw him off. In the ninth he reaches home with the bull.
The tenth was repressed even by the people who can be said to be the most meditative, to be the most alert in the whole world. Perhaps they were afraid that the tenth picture may confuse people or may help them to go astray, because in the tenth -- he has got the bull, and the bull is in the shed, tied up -- in the tenth he takes a bottle of wine and a flute and goes back near the lake. He is going just with his flute and a bottle of wine. Now this picture was repressed, destroyed; it has been recovered now. But this is the picture of the last state. Now there is no discipline: he can drink wine, he can play the flute.
The bull is the self, your inner reality. Finding it represents nirvana. At the ninth, logically it should stop. But existence is not logical, and who will know better then Gautam Buddha that it is not logical? The tenth goes beyond all logic, all comprehension.
Even enlightenment is dropped. The man becomes absolutely ordinary, without any discipline -- a hobo with a bottle of wine to enjoy under a tree, and playing the flute -- utterly ordinary.
But his ordinariness is not the ordinariness we are aware of; his ordinariness is something most extraordinary. But he is going to be misunderstood, he is going to be condemned.
Now, who is going to accept him as a master? Who going to accept him as a buddha?
But Gautam Buddha has put him above himself. He says, IT IS BETTER TO FEED ONE WHO IS ABOVE KNOWLEDGE, ONE-SIDEDNESS, DISCIPLINE, AND ENLIGHTENMENT, THAN TO FEED ONE HUNDRED BILLIONS OF BUDDHAS OF PAST, PRESENT, OR FUTURE.
This sutra shows the beauty of the man, his grandeur, his greatness.