Possessing nothing, wanting nothing

Fri, 29 April 1980 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 12
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
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These are the last golden sutras of THE DHAMMAPADA:



Why does man want to possess? It is one of the most fundamental things to be understood. Unless you understand why there is a constant hankering to possess more and more things, money, power, you will not be able to get rid of this insanity of possessiveness. Man wants to possess because he has not known who he is; he is unaware of his inner kingdom. He thinks he is a beggar, hence he begs.

Desires are beggars. The more you desire, the more you prove that you are unaware of your own treasures. That very unawareness leads you into the desert of possessiveness.

It is a desert because you will not attain to anything. You may possess the whole world, still you will remain the same hollow person, empty, your life meaningless, your vision clouded, your heart dead, your soul unborn.

Man wants to possess because he feels tacitly that something is missing. What exactly is missing he is not able to decipher, but something is missing - that much is felt by everybody - so rush and fill the gap. Naturally we start imitating others.

Children are imitators; the only way they learn things is by imitating their parents and the people who surround them. They are all running after money, after power, prestige, respectability. Naturally the child thinks these are the things that have to be attained, achieved. "Whatsoever the cost, I have to risk all. And life is short; hence I have to focus my energies in a concentrated way. I have to move in one particular direction with my totality. I have to be money-mad if I really want to possess money, because I am not the only one who is running after it; millions of people are running after it. It is going to be a great struggle and only those who are cunning, clever, crafty, are going to win the race." So be cunning, be crafty, but anyhow you have to win the race. You have to prove yourself, that you are somebody, that your life was not in vain.

The child learns all this in a very unconscious way from the atmosphere into which he is born. And whatsoever the society is, the game is the same. Somewhere it is money that is more important. If you are born in America, money is more important; that brings power. If you are born in Soviet Russia, then money is not so important; then political power is real money, real gold. You have to be high in the hierarchy of the Communist Party, but the game is the same. If you are born in a so-called religious country like India, then you have to become a great saint, you have to defeat all the other saints. It is the same game now played in the name of religion. You have to be the greatest ascetic, the most famous; you have to leave everybody far behind.

Look deep down: it is one single game being played in so-called religious countries, in capitalist countries and in communist countries. Whatsoever the format, the structure, the game is the same. The game is the game of the ego.

And we are tremendously interested in fulfilling our ego, but it cannot be fulfilled. It is impossible to fulfill it - because in the first place the ego is a nonentity. It is not real, it is fictitious. If you have real hunger there is a way to satisfy it, but if your hunger is unreal there is no way to satisfy it. If you have a real disease it can be cured, but if you are a hypochondriac and you invent diseases which exist nowhere, nobody can cure you. It is impossible to cure you - there is nothing to cure. And if somehow you are convinced that one disease has been cured, you have the same old mind and it will invent another disease. It will go on inventing.

Ego is your invention. The hunger of the ego is your invention. You have to keep yourself occupied because you feel in a state of embarrassment. You are not even aware of who you are - how can you be at ease? You feel a deep unease, it is always there. To hide it you keep yourself occupied with money, with power, with religion, with politics.

These are all escapes. You can find any escape - there are many alternatives available - but you keep yourself occupied so that there is no need to become so conscious of your inner trembling.

Whenever you have time, whenever you are unoccupied, suddenly the inner hollowness starts opening up and you become afraid. It is like an abyss, you are afraid you may slip into it. Hang onto something, invent something if there is nothing else to hang on to.

That's why people are even ready to cling to their misery; nobody is ready to drop his misery easily. That's my experience of working with thousands of people. All their problems can be reduced to one problem, that they cling to their misery. It is very difficult for them to drop their miseries because their miseries keep them occupied.

Their miseries help them to avoid themselves and their inner hollowness, emptiness, meaninglessness. Their miseries are nothing but a way to escape. Of course those miseries are hurting; hence they talk about how to get rid of them, but they cannot drop them because dropping them means they will be left empty.

So they are in a double bind: they don't want to be miserable and yet they cannot drop their miseries. Miseries are not clinging to you, remember - you are clinging to your miseries.

You can drop your miseries only when some inner meaning starts flowering in you.

Miseries can be dropped only when meditation starts blooming in you because then you start enjoying your emptiness, it is no longer empty. Emptiness itself starts having a positive fragrance; it isn't negative anymore. That's the whole magic of meditation: it transforms your emptiness into a positive fulfillment, into something overwhelming.

Emptiness becomes silence, emptiness becomes peace, and emptiness becomes divine, it becomes godliness.

There is no greater magic than meditation. To transform the negative into the positive, to transform darkness into light, that is the miracle of meditation. To transform a trembling person into a fearless soul, to transform a person who was clinging to every stupid thing into a nonclinger, into a nonpossessor, that is what happens through meditation.

Buddha used to call meditation a great sword, it cuts your problems at the very root. It makes you aware that you need not be afraid of your inner abyss. It is beautiful, it is blissful. You have not experienced its bliss and beauty because you have never gone into it, you have always been escaping. You have not tasted of it; it is nectar, it is not poison. But how are you going to know without tasting it? You are running away from something which can become your life's fulfillment. You are running away from something which is the only thing worth achieving. You are running away from yourself.

POSSESSING NOTHING, WANTING NOTHING.... Buddha says that's where meditation brings the master. He is no longer interested in possessing and he is no longer desiring anything. All desires have left him because he has found the ultimate beyond which there is nothing else. He has found the inexhaustible treasure of joy, of bliss, of ecstasy. What else can he desire? He has found a mine of diamonds; now he cannot go on collecting colored stones and seashells on the seabeach. Now that whole activity is stupid - not that he renounces it.

That is one of the most significant things to be remembered: the real sannyasin never renounces anything, he simply understands his own inner world - its beauty, its benediction, its blissfulness. And understanding it, great renunciation happens of its own accord. All that is futile slips out of his hands, he cannot cling to it anymore. He becomes nonpossessive. Nothing is so important to cling to anymore. Everything of this world becomes just a toy to play with, good for those who are not yet grown up - but a meditator has become adult.

Only a meditator becomes adult. Otherwise, your chronological age may be seventy, eighty or ninety, it does not matter - you are only an old child... ninety years old but still immature because still interested in toys, still carrying your teddy bears, still interested in possessing more and more toys. Children can be forgiven, but you cannot be forgiven. Only a meditator comes of age; for the first time he becomes mature, grown-up. All childishness disappears from him.

And the beauty is, when all childishness disappears from you, you again become childlike but on a different plane. No childishness but absolutely childlike - the same purity, the same innocence, the same wonder, the same awe. Again existence becomes a mystery. But it is not that you are childish - you are childlike. It is a totally different phenomenon. Childishness is immaturity; to have a childlike purity is maturity. They are polar opposites.

POSSESSING NOTHING, WANTING NOTHING... the master is at home. He is no longer running after shadows, he is not running at all. Just now to say to you that you are also buddhas will look absurd; at least to you it will look absurd. You will listen, you love me and you will try to understand what I am saying, but deep down you will not be convinced that you are buddhas.

That's why we have been finding every possible rationalization to prove to ourselves that buddhas are a totally different race. Every country has tried to prove to its own heart's content that "Buddha belongs to some other plane of existence, Christ belongs to some other plane of existence. They are amongst us, but they are totally different from us. They are strangers, they are outsiders. Whatsoever they say is true, but it is not applicable to us, it has no relevance to our world. We live in an ordinary world and they come from some extraordinary existence - from the beyond."

Every country, every race has convinced itself that Moses, Krishna, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed are not ordinary people. In some way or other we have been trying to prove that they are extraordinary. Not that we are much interested in their being extraordinary, we are simply interested in one thing: if they are extraordinary then we need not worry. Then we can go on the way we are going, we need not change. We can simply remain the same, as we are. To avoid a radical change we create these great rationalizations.

I say unto you that they are all as ordinary as you are - or as extraordinary as you are.

No difference at all. Just a very small difference which is not a difference really: you are asleep and they are awake. You can be awakened, you can wake up - unless you decide not to wake up. But right now it is difficult for you to understand that you are buddhas.

The function of the master is to remind you that you may be believing that you are slaves, but you are not - that is only your belief. You are masters. The function of the master is to remind you, to go on reminding you again and again that you are buddhas.

If you are behaving like fools that is your choice. You have the freedom to behave like fools, but you also have the freedom to transform your being totally, to become as centered as a Buddha.

Looking at yourself it will be difficult to believe, looking at your life it will be difficult for you yourself to believe that you can ever be mature, that you can ever be a master, that you can ever say about yourself: POSSESSING NOTHING, WANTING NOTHING.

You are always wanting. People are so ridiculous that if they become convinced about wanting nothing, then they start wanting this state of wanting nothing. But it is the same game; now the desire has come from the back door.

I have heard:

After Beethoven finished his joyous Fourth Symphony he went through a dry period.

Inspiration left him, his imagination went blank and he could compose no new music.

This was too much for his restless energy and he fell to drinking at the local taverns where he often wound up in bar fights or went off with whores.

One night, after losing a bar fight and being rejected by the cheapest whore in town, Beethoven sat spending his last pennies on cheap wine. As he was the last customer in the empty tavern, the bartender came over to him and said, "Hey, buddy, you are always causing trouble around here. What do you do for a living anyway?"

Beethoven looked up, his face bruised, his lip bleeding, and said through clenched teeth, "I am a composer."

The bartender said, "You, a composer?! Ha-ha-ha - Ha!"

That's how the Fifth Symphony was born!

Looking at you it is very difficult to believe that you are buddhas - bruised face, bleeding lips, even rejected by the cheapest whore, drinking cheap wine. Who will believe that you are a buddha? But I believe it! And not only do I believe it. I know it.

Just something is needed to trigger it. Just something is needed to wake you up.

Beethoven went home and again the inspiration was back, again the sources were flowing.

The master cannot do anything directly, but he can push you, pull you in indirect ways, to help you to see the point. Once seen it becomes yours and unless it becomes yours it is of no use, it is of no meaning, it has no validity.

You are so unaware of yourself. That's why you are running after money, power, prestige. Become a little more aware of who you are. Give a little more attention to yourself.

Lukowski went to the bank to cash a cheque. Since Lukowski had no account at the bank, the clerk asked if he could identify himself.

"Say," asked Lukowski, "is there a mirror around here?"

"Yes," said the teller, "on the post beside you."

Lukowski glanced in the mirror and heaved a sigh of relief. "Yeah," he said, "it is me alright."

That is how you recognize yourself, always looking in the mirror. The mirrors differ.

You look in the eyes of other people; if they think you are a good man, you think you are a good man. If they think you are beautiful, you think you are beautiful. If they think you are intelligent, you think you are intelligent. All that you know about yourself is collected from others - others who don't even know themselves.

This is a very strange world: you are asking people, "Who are you?" and they don't know themselves, and you depend on what they say about you - you depend on it.

You go on collecting information. That's why it hurts when somebody says you are a fool. Why does it hurt? Let him say that you are a fool; just by his saying it you don't become a fool. But why does it hurt then? It hurts because all that you know about yourself depends on public opinion. Now that opinion comes from the same source - from the outside - from where you have been collecting the opinion that you are very intelligent. Now you are in a contradiction, that's why you are upset, disturbed. Now he has created a contradiction. Now he has created trouble for you, he has created a dilemma. Now you are again confused, you don't know who you are.

A Sufi parable:

A Sufi stayed in a caravanserai but there was no empty room available. So the manager said, "You will have to share the room with somebody else."

The Sufi said, "That is going to create trouble because when I am alone in my room, in the morning when I wake up I know perfectly well it is me, but when there are two persons in the morning, how am I going to decide who is who?"

While this strange conversation was going on, the man with whom the Sufi was to share the room was also listening to the whole thing. He had a great idea. The manager said, "That seems to be a relevant point" - because the manager had come across these mad Sufis many times: "They are always saying strange things. Now what is this thing he is talking about?"

But the Sufi was saying something really significant: how do you know in the morning who is who? When there are two persons and there has been a gap of the whole night's sleep, how to gather again that "I am myself"?

The manager said, "I have come across many Sufis and slowly slowly, I have learned many things about them. Do one thing: take this rope with you and when you go to sleep tie this rope around your feet so when in the morning you see the rope around your feet you will know it is you."

The Sufi said, "That seems to be sensible."

In the night, in the middle of the night, when the Sufi was snoring, the other man took away the rope just to play some mischief, tied the rope around his own feet and went to sleep. And in the morning there was havoc! The Sufi woke up; the other man was still sleeping. He shook him and he said, "Now I know you are the Sufi, but then who am I?

I am perfectly certain you are the Sufi - the rope is there - but the problem is, now who am I? And I had told this foolish manager that some trouble is bound to arise; now this trouble has arisen."

This Sufi parable is significant, it is about you. That's how you know who you are. Yes, not so visibly; but invisibly how do you recognize yourself? - in the mirror or in the mirror of other people's eyes, in the mirror of their opinions?

Only a buddha is unaffected by others' opinions because he really knows who he is. He needs no arbitrary method, no ropes, no mirrors, no information from anybody else; he knows himself directly. He has an intuitive feeling about his own being, but you don't have any intuitive feeling about your own being.

You say you are a Christian. This is a rope your parents have put around your neck - not even around your feet, around your neck! And you are dying because you go on getting bigger and the rope was tied when you were a small child; it is becoming tighter every day. A few people are dying as Christians, a few as Hindus, a few as Mohammedans, and everybody has a rope around his neck.

How do you know you are a Christian? You never encountered Christ. If you had not been told that you were a Christian there is no possibility that you would have ever loved Christ or ever thought about him. No Jaina ever thinks about Christ, no Jew ever bothers about Christ, although Christ was born a Jew, lived as a Jew, died as a Jew. But it is the same. No Christian ever bothers about Mahavira. Who cares about Mahavira?

Even if you come across a statue of Mahavira you may look at it as a beautiful piece of art, an antique, or you may be a little puzzled why this man is standing naked.

In one of the hotels in Bombay... just a few days ago the hotel opened. It belonged to a Jaina family so they placed a statue of Mahavira naked, a marble statue, a beautiful statue, in the compound of the hotel, in a beautiful spot surrounded by plants and fountains. Immediately it became a great attraction for the tourists. And the Jaina family was very happy, thinking, "We are spreading the message of Mahavira." But the tourists were not interested in Mahavira or in his message; they were only interested in his nakedness. They were taking photographs.

The manager asked, "Why are you so interested in this statue? Are you interested in Jaina philosophy?"

They said, "What Jaina philosophy? We don't know anything about Jaina philosophy, we don't even know who this man is. All that we know is that he is standing naked and we are interested in nudity."

Once this was known, the Jaina community was very much against it: "This is insulting to Mahavira. Remove the statue." First they were very happy, now they are against.

Now they know perfectly well why people are taking photographs and why tourists are coming to the statue: for the simple reason that it is a statue of a naked, beautiful body - - and Mahavira has a beautiful body.

In fact, only a man like Mahavira who has such a beautiful body should be allowed to be naked, nobody else; that should be a condition. I have seen many Jaina monks - they are so disgusting! They should be forced to wear clothes because to look at them is nauseating! They are eyesores.

No Christian is interested in Mahavira, no Jaina is interested in Christ, no Mohammedan is interested in Buddha, no Buddhist is interested in Mohammed. You are interested only in the rope that was tied around your neck when you were a child.

You are still carrying it, it has become your identity.

Who are you? If you write it down, then you will write your name which has been given by others - you were born without a name. And you will write your degrees which have been conferred by others - you were born without any degrees. If you write down the whole description of yourself you will be surprised: there is nothing that depends on your own experience, all is dependent on others. This is not self- knowledge, this is self-deception.

Unless you drop this whole deception and start discovering yourself from ABC you will never be able to know this beautiful experience of: POSSESSING NOTHING, WANTING NOTHING. This continuous wanting of something is simply to stuff your inner emptiness. And this constant hankering to be on top is nothing but a projection of a deep feeling of inferiority. All the politicians suffer from inferiority complexes; all the Alexanders and the Napoleons and the Hitlers and the Stalins, without any exception, they suffer from deep inferiority complexes. Somewhere deep down they know that they are nothing; they have to cover this nothingness with something beautiful. They know they are like a wound, they have to cover the wound with beautiful flowers.

A politician was very much in love with his dog. One day he went to the market to buy some dog biscuits.

He entered a shop and shouted, "Have you got biscuits for dogs?"

The shopkeeper calmly replied, "Do you want to eat them here or do you want to take them home?"

Politicians fight like dogs. They are dogs, and they have to be, because it is a very difficult struggle that they have to go through. They have to be very stubborn and stupid, doggedly stupid and doggedly stubborn, only then is there a possibility that some day they may reach the top. Of course, they will not find anything there, but they will go on smiling because now it is meaningless to say, "I have not found anything here." People will laugh. People will say, "We knew it from the very beginning - there is nothing." That's how people are. They always say, "We knew it from the very beginning. We told you before that you were a fool trying to climb an empty ladder - on the last rung you would not find anything." So one who has reached the last rung has to go on smiling as if he has achieved something, just in order not to show his idiocy; that he has been an idiot, that he has wasted his whole life.

There is no need to struggle really, life is spacious enough. If we drop these foolish ideas of hierarchy, of who is on the top and who is the first and who is the president and who is the prime minister... if we drop these stupid ideas of hierarchy, if we simply start living whatsoever we are, wherever we are, life can be infinitely rich because the whole energy available can transform this earth into a paradise.

Noah was closing the gate of the ark ready to leave when the elephant appeared on the horizon running like mad.

"Come on," encouraged Noah, "faster!"

The elephant walked the last few steps into the ark. At that moment the mosquito who also was late rushed in, stumbling upon the elephant's ass - sting!

The elephant turned back in anger and said, "Don't push, please. There is plenty of room for everybody!"

Even elephants understand there is plenty of room for everybody - and just a mosquito! There is enough room for you if there is enough room for an elephant - don't push. But these political mosquitoes, they go on pushing like mad; their whole life depends on pushing. Go on pushing till you reach the end - and then there is nothing.

There has never been anything, but we are brought up, educated, conditioned, to be ambitious, to be egoists. Yes, people drop desiring and wanting only when they are almost on their deathbeds, but then it is too late.

The old idea of sannyas was that you should become a sannyasin after seventy-five years. Buddha changed it; he brought a revolution into the very concept of sannyas.

Hence India has never been able to forgive him. Even now India has not forgiven him, although he was born in India. He was the best flowering of Indian genius, no other person can be compared to him. In the whole history of the Indian subcontinent he is the brightest star, but India rejected him. There were many reasons to reject him; one of the most important was that he destroyed the old idea of sannyas.

The old idea of sannyas was, when you are too old to live, when life itself is slipping out of your fingers, then renounce. Buddha said, "What is the point of renouncing then?

Life is renouncing you. Now why are you trying to deceive yourself? You deceived yourself your whole life - do you still want to deceive yourself?" Buddha said, "If you want to renounce life, renounce it when desires are very young, when possessiveness is very strong, when your whole being is ambitious. THAT is the moment. If you cannot do it then, you have missed one life."

Mrs. Silver and Mrs. Gold were gossiping over the back fence as they hung out the wash.

"My husband, ah, such a faithful man!" boasted Mrs. Silver. "He never even looks at another woman."

"The same with my husband," said Mrs. Gold. "He never chases after women either. He is too fine, too decent - too old!"



When you try to possess, your power becomes invested in meaningless things. When you desire, your power becomes desires and desires are infinite. Each desire becomes a leakage of your power. When all possessiveness and all desires have been understood as futile, and dropped, you become a reservoir of power. And to be a reservoir of power is the only experience that gives you the feeling that God is - because God is power.

When you also experience power within yourself, overflowing, abundant power, you know God is. If you are empty, with no power, tired, wasted in your desires, no proof that God exists can help. All those proofs are for impotent people.

The real person needs no proof for God. He comes to know God from the experience of inner power, from his own inner glow.




And when you are full of power, death disappears. Death appears only because you are so powerless. Death appears only because your desires are exploiting your power, they are sucking your power. Desires are suckers, parasites; they leave you empty. When you are overflowing with energy there is no death. That experience of overflowing power makes you absolutely certain without any doubt that you cannot die. The body will go, the mind will go, but this power that you have felt is going to remain. It is going to expand; there is no way to destroy it. If you yourself don't waste it in desires, death cannot take it away from you.

And when there is no death there is no fear. All fear is death-oriented, all fear is the shadow of death. When you don't possess anything you are fearless, when you don't desire anything you are fearless. Nobody can take anything away from you because you don't possess anything. Nobody can hinder you because you don't have any desire.

Nobody can obstruct your path, nobody is your enemy. The whole of existence suddenly becomes friendly.

And when there is power, fearlessness, wisdom arises. Wisdom means your capacity to see the truth. You become a seer. Not that you know the Koran, the Gita or the Bible, but that now you know the inner scripture of consciousness itself. You know the inner christ, you know the inner krishna. You know that as Mohammed was receiving messages from God you are also receiving messages from God; you are no less than any Mohammed. You are also a prophet and a messenger, you are also a messiah. When you are full of power you become receptive.

God can connect with you only when you have power. Right now you are powerless; there is no possibility of any communion between you and God. Power can only be connected with power. Powerlessness cannot be connected with power. Only the same can meet the same. You have to be something of the divine in your own right; then only do you earn, do you deserve that God should communicate with you.

He becomes wise, exalted - exalted by existence itself. Society may not respect you, society may condemn you, society may crucify you, but who cares about society?

Society is man-made. Existence itself exalts the man of wisdom - the man who has known himself, the man who has experienced God, the man who can say authoritatively, "I know God, not through the scriptures but through my own experience," existence exalts him.

It is said that when Buddha became enlightened trees bloomed out of season. When Mahavira became enlightened gods descended from heaven and showered flowers on him. These are just metaphors, remember, not historical facts, but they indicate something. Whenever a man becomes a buddha, whenever a man becomes enlightened, the whole of existence exalts him, the whole of existence bows down to him. He has come home. The whole of existence welcomes him.

And why does the whole existence exalt him? - because existence itself is exalted through him. One of its members has reached the ultimate peak of awakening; through him the whole existence has moved a little ahead in evolution. Just cancel a dozen names from the history of humanity - Lao Tzu, Moses, Abraham, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, Christ, Kabir, Nanak... just a dozen names, cancel them, and where will mankind be? You would all have been Reverend Bananas or Reverend Tomatoes, Reverend Potatoes, but not human beings at all. You may know, you may not know; you may be aware, you may not be aware, but these few people have contributed immensely to the growth of human consciousness. Without Buddha and Mahavira and Krishna and Christ, humanity would be still hanging in the trees, just like American tourists!

They came a few days ago and they were making much noise on the roof. You knew them as monkeys, but you could not see them because they were on the roof. I can see through the roof! I immediately recognized them - these are American tourists on their way to Goa, just paying their homage for a moment here and then gone. You would have all been American tourists!

These few people have released so much consciousness into the world. With each buddha, with each person becoming enlightened, humanity goes a little ahead, a step ahead. Hence the whole universe exalts him.

HE HAS VANQUISHED ALL THINGS. Buddha means by "all things" the world of the mind; not that he has vanquished all the things which are really there. You don't live in reality, you live in your projections.

"The water is absolutely divine this morning," enthused the pretty lass as she came out on the beach. "It is full of men!"

It is your projection. You live in a world of your own ideas.

"My wife deserted me," moaned the unhappy husband. "She took the car and ran off with a traveling salesman."

"Why, that is terrible!" exclaimed his friend, aghast. "Your brand new car!"

Everybody lives in his own world of ideas.

Buddha says: HE HAS VANQUISHED ALL THINGS. Now there is no world of ideas, he has vanquished the mind. Once the mind disappears you can see things as they are in reality. Otherwise you never see them as they are, you see them according to your ideas. You always look through your own projections; those projections are subtle, but they color everything. You always look through your own prejudices; those prejudices are so close to you that you are not aware that they are there. It is as if on the panes of your window a layer of dust has gathered.

I have heard:

One old woman was looking out of a window and she said to the small boy playing outside, who must have been her grandson, "Bobby, today the morning seems to be very cloudy."

And the boy said, "Grandma, the day is perfectly fine as it always is. There are no clouds, it is just that on our window much dust has gathered."

But the old woman is not aware, may not be able to see; her eyes are weakening. She is not able to see that the panes are dusty and she thinks the morning is cloudy.

Your window panes are dusty, but when they are so close to your eyes you become unaware of them; they are colored, hence the whole world looks colored.

Buddha says: When you are full of power and all desires and all possessiveness have disappeared from you, that means your mind has died, ceased to exist. Now you can see things as they are. HE SEES BY VIRTUE OF HIS PURITY. Now everything is pure.

He does not see through any screen, he sees through purity. Now he regains the wonder of childhood again, the same awe, the same mystery.


And this is the end. When the mind ends, the journey ends. Now there will be no birth anymore and no death anymore. You have been born millions of times and you have died millions of times. What have you been doing all this time, all along? Nothing in fact, just playing the same games again and again and forgetting the lessons again. It seems man never learns a thing. Each time he dies he forgets all the lessons of that life.

Next time, next birth, he starts from ABC again.

It happened:

A great king asked to be initiated by Buddha and became a BHIKKHU, became his sannyasin. But he was just a junior sannyasin; there were elders who had meditated for thirty years, forty years. So where Buddha was staying in a caravanserai, the younger sannyasins - not younger according to age, younger according to the time of initiation.... This king was old and he was a great king, but in the world of Buddha those things don't count, neither the age nor the money nor the kingdom. He was the most junior because just that day he had taken sannyas, so he had to sleep in the porch because there was no other place.

The king could not sleep; it was difficult, and one can understand his difficulty. He had never slept in such a place. And you know Indian mosquitoes... and the king had never experienced mosquitoes. And the ground was hard and the bhikkhus use no pillows, just their hands, their arms. He tossed and turned but he could not go to sleep.

In the middle of the night he thought, "What have I done? This seems to be stupid! I should be sleeping in my palace, I had everything. This seems to be pointless.

Tomorrow morning the first thing I am going to do is to ask permission of the master:

'Please excuse me. I cannot tolerate such unnecessary misery. I am going back to my palace.'" But in the middle of the night Buddha came out and he said, "Why wait for the morning? If you want to drop sannyas, drop it right now! Why suffer the whole night?"

The king was amazed. He had not said it to anybody - there was nobody else, he was alone in the porch. He said, "But how did you come to know? It was just a thought in me."

Buddha said, "If your thoughts disappear you can start seeing others' thoughts because others' thoughts are then like things. It is because of your thoughts that you cannot see others' thoughts. You are so covered with your own thoughts that there is no space for others' thoughts. But you please go!"

The man said, "Now I cannot go. How can I leave such a master?"

Buddha said, "But my suggestion is still this, because you will again think of leaving.

You had better leave. Only one thing I have to remind you of: you took sannyas in your past life too - and the same difficulty was there, and you renounced sannyas. Now the same difficulty has arisen and it will arise again and again. You have not learned anything from your past life."

As Buddha was saying this, the man suddenly felt a tremendous upsurge of the memories of the past life. He could see, he could remember that yes, this had happened.

The whole situation was the same. The master was different, the serai was different, the mosquitoes must have been different, but the king was the same person and the difficulty was the same.

The king said, "That's enough, now I am not going to leave; I am going to stick to it.

Now whatsoever happens.... I have lived in palaces many times and I have not gained anything so I am not going to waste this life anymore."

And he became enlightened one day. He persisted; a great perseverance must have been needed.


What have you been doing all your past lives? You have been just a driftwood at the mercy of the winds, no sense of direction. You have not achieved any integrity. Don't waste THIS life; make something out of it, create something out of it.

Bailey, a violin player from New York, finally found a job in a small restaurant orchestra. But on his first night of work he played so terribly that the other musicians decided to fire him on the spot.

Bailey explained to them that he could really play much better, but he had been traveling for two months and had not been able to even touch his instrument.

Tomorrow he would practice the whole day to get back in shape.

The second day of work came and he sounded just as bad. Now he was really going to get fired, but he explained to the others that his wife had been nagging him the whole day so that he had been unable to play even one note. Now this was something that the other musicians had much understanding for, so they gave him another chance. Bailey said that tomorrow his wife would go to her mother's so he could practice the whole day.

But the third day Bailey sounded so bad that now even the waiters complained. That was it - he did get fired.

Just as he was about to leave one of the other musicians walked up to him and said, "Excuse me, but just out of curiosity, do you really make a living as a musician?"

"Yes," replied Bailey.

"Oh, but where do you work?"

"Well, three nights here and three nights there," answered Bailey.

And that's what you have been doing for many nights: three nights here and three nights there, somehow earning your livelihood, somehow just trying to hold yourself together. But for what purpose? What have you achieved? What has been the gain?

Certainly you have passed time, but life is such a valuable phenomenon, it is not just to pass through. It is an opportunity to grow, to be.


... The master transcends. BEYOND THE SORROW OF HELL, BEYOND THE GREAT JOY OF HEAVEN.... He is no longer interested in pain and pleasure. Remember, if you seek pleasure you are bound to suffer pain in the same amount; they always come in the same proportion. If you have so much pleasure you will have to suffer so much pain; that is unavoidable. This is a fundamental law of life, life keeps a balance. The more pleasure you have, the more you will have to suffer pain.

Hell and heaven are not geographical places but psychological experiences. And they are not separate either, they are two sides of the same coin. If you have one, the other is there just waiting for the right opportunity to assert itself.

The man of understanding, the man of awareness, the man who has gone deep into meditation, into no-mind, becomes aware of this whole phenomenon; he drops the whole coin. He is neither interested in hell nor in heaven. He is neither worried about hell nor desirous of heaven, because he knows if you desire heaven you will suffer in hell.

This is something tremendously beautiful - remember it. The so-called religious people are all desirous of heaven and the heavenly joys; they are not religious at all. And these are the people who will suffer in heaven... in hell. Wherever they are it is not going to make much difference because if you desire one, the other follows it like a shadow.

I have heard about a man.... In Hindu mythology it is said that in heaven there are KALPAVRIKSHAS. A kalpavriksha means a wish-fulfilling tree. You sit underneath the tree and whatsoever your wishes are they are fulfilled immediately. You wish and they are fulfilled instantly. Even instant coffee takes a little time, it is not so instant, but under a kalpavriksha there is no time gap between the desire and its fulfillment; you have not even desired and it is fulfilled.

One man, a very religious man, reached heaven. He was tired - the long journey from earth to heaven. The first tree that he came across he sat underneath. Tired he was, weary from the journey, and the tree was cool, shady. He rested underneath the tree.

Suddenly he felt hungry. Immediately beautiful food appeared. He was so hungry he did not even bother from where this food had appeared. He ate to his heart's content.

Then he thought, "If there was something to drink...." Immediately a cold drink - maybe Coca-Cola! - appeared. He was very happy and he thought, "Now I would like to rest a little bit, but the ground is so uneven. If there was some bed available somewhere...." Suddenly out of nowhere a beautiful bed - he had never seen one like it in his life. He fell asleep; he was so tired that there was no question of becoming curious. But when he woke up the sun was just coming down, was going to set. Now he was refreshed, well, nourished. He became a little suspicious: "What is the matter? I desired food, food appeared. I desired drinks and drinks appeared. I desired the bed and the bed appeared. It seems this tree is haunted by ghosts! My God! Are there ghosts?" he thought.

And suddenly ghosts appeared, so terrible, big monsters, just ready to jump upon him.

He said, "I am finished! These people are not going to leave me!" And, of course, he was finished; they did not leave him, because whatsoever you wish.... They jumped upon him, tore him to pieces and ate him up then and there, raw!

The religious person, the so-called religious person, is not going to find peace even in heaven because his whole desire for heaven is basically wrong. The desire for pleasure is wrong because it contains the other side, pain. You cannot divide them, they are indivisibly one.

This is one of the greatest contributions of Buddha: that he helped religious consciousness to go beyond heaven and hell. Otherwise Judaism, Christianity, Mohammedanism, Hinduism, they are all confined to the world of heaven and hell.

Their ultimate desire is how to attain to heavenly joys. Buddha says the ultimate is how to drop all desire, even that of heaven, because only when all desire disappears are you in a state of absolute freedom. He calls it nirvana. When the mind ceases then you yourself are bliss. But it happens not because of desiring, it happens only when the state of desirelessness has been achieved. When desires have left you, in that space, bliss starts growing in you.


Of course there is no longer anywhere to go - he has come home.



... One with himself and one with the whole. You are many, you are a crowd. The master is one, he is not a crowd. You are not one, you are many selves. So one moment you are one thing, another moment you are another thing. You go on changing. Just watch your mind - every moment you go on changing, because one self says do this, then another self comes and says don't do this, then another self comes and says do something else. And you have many selves - you are multipsychic. You don't have one mind, you have many minds. And you are being tortured by all these minds, pulled into different directions.

The master has no mind, hence he becomes one. With no desire, with no possessions, with no desire even for heaven, he is bound to become one. He becomes integrated. He is really individual, literally individual. The word 'individual' means one who is indivisible. You are not individuals, you are only persons, personalities - and that too not one. You have many personalities, many faces, you wear many masks. The master has no masks, no faces; he has only one face - his original face. He is simply natural. He has no mind; hence he is one.

And the miracle happens: when you are one with yourself, when you are one within yourself, you become one with the whole. And that is the ultimate state. Call it nirvana, call it kingdom of God, call it God-realization, or whatsoever name you want to give it - - it is nameless. But this has been the real goal of all the seekers of truth.

Let this be your only goal. Prepare for it. I hope these beautiful sutras of Buddha will help you tremendously. Meditate over them. They are not philosophy; they are just statements of inner truths, statements of his experience. And they are also statements of my experience. Whatsoever I am saying here is not just a commentary on Buddha's sutras; Buddha's sutras are just an excuse. I am saying something which is my own experience. I would like you to be able to say one day this is your experience too. It is possible. You all have the potential of being a buddha. Don't settle for anything less than that. Shake yourself and wake up!

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