Once I was staying in Varanasi. A professor of the Hindu university came to see me. He asked me, "Do you believe in hell?"
I said, "I don't need to believe in hell, because hell IS. Belief is needed when you don't see something as existent. Hell is so existential, hell is so much, so much present, there is no need to believe in it."
He said, "Where is it?"
I told him, "You live in it! You are born in it, you breathe in it, you will die in it - if you don't make great effort to get out of it."
Man is oblivious of the hell because he is born in it. It is all over the place; he is surrounded by it. Like a fish in the ocean, man lives in hell. The fish also never becomes aware of the ocean unless she is thrown out of the ocean by some accident or is caught by someone. Once separated from the ocean, for the first time the fish comes to know that she has been in the ocean all along.
Unless you know something of paradise you will never become aware that you have been living in hell - not only living in hell but creating it, helping it to be there, feeding it, strengthening it. You are its creator and you live in the world you create, and you can't live in any other world. The only place to live is the place that you create around yourself. And that which you create around yourself first has to exist at the center of your being; only then can it become the circumference.
The hell exists first at the center of your being, then it spreads, becomes a circumference.
First it exists in you, as you, then it becomes your relationship, your world.
Hell is not something geographical; it is something psychological. Hell is another name of a diseased mind, of a mind in anguish, turmoil, of a mind suffering nightmares, of a mind living basically in unconsciousness. The unconscious mind is what hell is all about, and the conscious mind is going beyond the hell.
Don't believe in the old children's stories that hell is somewhere else; that too is a strategy of the mind to postpone. The mind always tries to postpone; it uses all methods, ways, and means to postpone things. It says, "Yes, hell is deep down below the earth, far far away. You need not worry - it happens only after death. Right now, there is no question about it, no need to waste time about it. At the time of death, you can decide where to go. If you remember God you will go into heaven, if you don't remember God you will go into hell."
And then you are living as if hell is somewhere else. It is herenow. ALL is herenow, hell and heaven both.
A buddha lives in heaven. He walks along with you, he sits amidst you. He lives on this earth, in this very body, but for him it is a totally different experience. This very body the buddha, this very earth the lotus paradise - that is HIS experience. That is the experience of all the buddhas, of all the awakened ones.
But for you it is just a dream, a fiction, a mythology. For you: this very body the hell, this very earth the fire of hell. You can't see the lotus paradise - you don't have the eyes to see it. Those eyes have to be created; those eyes are not given by birth. Only the potential is there; you have to grow them, you have to endeavor to achieve them, you have to become them. The seed is there but you have to find the right soil. And the basic strategy of the mind is to keep you deluded, to tell you that hell and heaven are all beyond, somewhere else.
The function of the master is to bring you here and now again and again. The mind tries to slip. There are two possibilities for the mind to get away from the herenow: either to move in the past, in the memories - the golden past and those golden days of Rama and Krishna, those beautiful days - or to move into the future, into some utopia, when there will be a classless society on the earth or there will be a paradise somewhere far away beyond the clouds. But it keeps you away from the present moment. And the present moment is the only reality there is; there is no other moment. It is always present.
The past is no more, the future not yet. Whatsoever is, is the present. And mind takes you away from it in a thousand and one ways. It is always going on trips. The mind can only exist either in the past or in the future; the mind cannot exist in the present. Let this sink deep in your heart: the mind cannot exist in the present. If you are utterly herenow, the mind disappears and with the disappearance of the mind, there is no hell.
The disappearance of the mind is what paradise is: to live in the present, without the mind. It does not mean to live in the present absentmindedly. When I say "without the mind" I don't mean absentmindedly - just the contrary! To live consciously is to live without mind, to live without thoughts, but with great alertness. And you can live with great alertness only when thoughts have been dropped, because the energy involved in the thoughts is released, is available. You become overflowing with energy. Then you have a tremendous vitality, intensity, passion. Your life is not lukewarm; your life is such a flame that just to be for a single moment is enough. A single moment of that conscious intensity is longer than eternity itself.
These sutras of Buddha are simple but immensely helpful for the seeker.
Mind will tell you continuously, "Postpone it. There is always tomorrow. Why be in such a hurry? You can do it tomorrow." And the tomorrow never comes. The person who postpones any good act for tomorrow is postponing it forever; he will never be able to do it. If you postpone it today, you are learning a habit of postponing. Today you say, "Tomorrow." You are creating a pattern of life, a style of life. Tomorrow will come as today again and the habit will say, "We will do it tomorrow."
I have heard an ancient parable:
A man worshipped God for many many years, and one day God appeared to him.
He asked only for one thing. He said, "Give me something - that's why I have been worshipping you - something which can fulfill all my wishes. Whatsoever I ask should be fulfilled, immediately."
God gave him a seashell, a beautiful seashell, and he said, 'You ask anything from this seashell and immediately, instantly, it will be fulfilled."
He tried - it was so. He was immensely happy. He asked for a big palace and it was there. He asked for beautiful women and they were there, and he asked for good food and it was there. Since that day he lived in absolute luxury.
But one day everything got disturbed. A sannyasin, a wandering monk, stayed with the man. The wandering monk said to him, "I have heard about your secret, but that is nothing. I have also worshipped God, far longer than you, and you are a householder, I am a monk - of course he was more gracious to me. He has also given me a big seashell. Look at this seashell. This is double the size of your seashell."
It was. And the monk said, "Whatsoever you ask, the seashell gives you double. If you ask for one palace it makes two palaces for you. It always gives you double."
Man's greed is such that the man became greedy. Now one seashell was enough; he could have asked twice or thrice, there was no problem. But a greedy man is blind - greed IS blind. He became infatuated.
He told the monk, "You are a monk, you have renounced the world, give your seashell to me and you can have my small seashell. For your purposes that is enough. I am a householder."
So the seashells were exchanged. Early in the morning, after taking the bath, the man worshipped and asked the seashell to give him one lakh rupees. The seashell said, "Why one lakh? I can give you two lakhs!"
The man was immensely happy. He said, "Good, give me two lakhs."
The seashell said, "Why two lakhs? I can give you four lakhs."
Now the man was a little puzzled, disturbed. He said, "Okay, give me four lakhs."
The seashell said, "I will give you eight lakhs."
And so on, so forth it went on - but nothing was given! Promises and promises... and whatsoever he asked, the promise was doubled. He rushed to catch hold of the monk because in the morning, early morning, he was to leave. He had already left....
This is a beautiful parable. That's how mind functions: the seashell of the monk - tricky.
It always goes on giving you great promises, but tomorrow, not today. And tomorrow never comes. And, slowly slowly, hoping becomes your very life, just hoping and waiting. And death comes... and no hope is ever fulfilled.
Mind is very much afraid of doing good. Why is mind afraid of doing good? For two reasons. One: to do good is nonnourishing to the mind; mind is nourished by doing evil, by doing bad. For example, if you say no, mind is strengthened; if you say yes, mind is not strengthened. Hence mind is never interested in saying yes to anything.
Mind is basically atheistic. It enjoys saying no; no is its power. Negativity is its food; it eats negativity. Positivity is its death.
Try to say no and you start feeling powerful. Whenever you say no, whenever you can manage to say no, you feel powerful. Whenever you have to say yes you feel humiliated, as if something has been done against yourself. To say a total yes is to destroy the mind totally, and to remain in a total no is to remain in the mind, in the ego.
The ego is another name of the mind. The ego is the center of the mind; nonego is the center of your being. At the very core of being there is no idea of "I"; but in the center of the mind, I, I, I.... The only noise that goes on is that of the ego. The more you say no, the more you can feel your ego. "No" defines your ego.
Watch - and you will see the facticity of what I am saying. I am not propounding any theory; it is a simple statement of a fact of life. Observe - it is not a question of believing or not believing - observe and you will know. Say yes, feel yes, and suddenly there is no ego.
The greatest good is saying yes to existence and life. That's what religion is. And the greatest no is saying no to God, to life, to existence; that gives you great power, but power to the ego.
In fact, the ego is so cunning, the mind is so clever, that even religious people are deceived by it. Religious people go on saying no to life. They try to say yes to God, but the mind persuades them, "How can you say yes to God unless and until you have said no to life? Say no to life!"
That's how the idea of renunciation arose: "Say no to your wife, your husband, your children. Say no to your family, say no to your society, say no to the world. Turn your back towards the world and escape into the Himalayas. Only then can you say yes to God."
The cunning mind goes on deceiving even the so-called religious. Even the so-called saints and mahatmas are nothing but playthings in the hands of the ego. Ego is very subtle, very cunning; clever are its ways. Unless you are very intelligent you will not be able to get out of its clutches. You will get out from one point and it will catch hold of you from another point. You will throw it from the front door, it will come from the back door.
The so-called saint feels greatly satisfied as far as the ego is concerned: he is a saint, he is holy; "holier-than-thou" is written all over his face. You will not find greater egoists anywhere than you will find in the monasteries. The popes and the SHANKARACHARYAS, the priests, those who have renounced everything, naturally they feel great, egoistic. They have renounced the world - what have YOU done? They have renounced money, power, prestige. But all this renunciation is nothing but a very clever game of the mind.
The truly religious person is one who says yes to life because life is God's, who says yes to the earth because the earth is part of heaven, who says yes to the body because the body is only a shelter for the soul. And a beautiful shelter it is, a beautiful home it is, a beautiful servant it is. The really religious person knows how to say yes to all. His yes brings transcendence, his yes brings egolessness, his yes brings a state of no-mind.
Look at it from another angle: if you say no, mind has immediately much to do. If you say no, you will have to find arguments to support your no. No means arguments, no means logic. The more you say no, the more you have to be argumentative. If you say yes, there is no need for any argument. Yes is a full stop; no is only a beginning of a logical process. The person who says no becomes more and more argumentative. The person who knows how to say yes to life, love, existence, becomes less and less argumentative.
And to be less and less argumentative is to be more harmonious; to be more and more argumentative is to be more and more quarrelsome, violent. Argument simply means your mind is in a discord; no argument means the mind has attained a deep harmony.
And out of that deep harmony is good; out of inner discord is evil. You do bad because you are divided. Whenever you are undivided, good starts happening through you; not that you have to do it - it starts happening.
Buddha says: BE QUICK TO DO GOOD.
Why "be quick" - do it immediately? Mind will say, "Tomorrow. Wait. Let us think about it." And thinking never comes to any conclusion, remember; thinking has never come to any conclusion. Ten thousand years of philosophizing and there is not a single conclusion in philosophy. They have not arrived at any truth; they are still continuing.
The same arguments go on being repeated in different forms and different ways, and philosophy goes on moving in a vicious circle. The philosopher remains inconclusive, and to remain inconclusive your whole life means not to live at all.
Life is possible only out of decisiveness, out of commitment, involvement; otherwise you are always a spectator, you never participate in anything. How can you participate unless logically you prove to yourself, to your heart's content, that this is so?
It is said about Immanuel Kant, a great philosopher, that a woman had asked him that she would be immensely happy if he would accept her as his wife. She had to gather much courage to ask this, because Immanuel Kant was not a romantic person at all, very unromantic, absolutely unromantic. His life was not a life of spontaneity; he is an example of a mechanical life. His whole life he followed a certain routine religiously.
At ten o'clock in the night he would go to bed; that means exactly ten, not one minute before, not one minute after. His servant... he had only one servant. Who else would agree to live with such a person? - only a servant. His family deserted him; he was so mechanical, such a drain, such a drag on the whole family. The servant used to simply tell him the time - not "Now go to sleep"; he would simply come and declare, "It is ten o'clock," and that was it. He would jump immediately into his bed. Even if there were visitors, he would not even say goodbye to them. He would go into the bed, under his blanket, and the servant would declare to the visitors, "Now you go please. He has gone to sleep."
At exactly five o'clock he had to be dragged out of the bed. Sometimes it was too cold and he was too tired, but the routine had to be followed - even if he was ill, the routine had to be followed. The servant was told that maybe sometimes he will feel weak, tempted to sleep a little longer, but he is not to listen. He has to be dragged out, even against his will. Even if he is saying, "No, I want to sleep," the servant has to pull him out. It sometimes used to be a fight, a quarrel. The servant had to beat him to bring him out of the bed - that was his duty.
The woman must have been rare! - but you can always find crazy people everywhere.
She must have been crazy to fall in love with this man. This man was not a man but a machine. And do you know what Immanuel Kant did? He listened to her and he said, "I will think it over." And he thought for three years! - all the pros and all the cons. He wrote a long long treatise, what are the advantages of being married and what are the disadvantages. And finally he arrived at a very poor conclusion, almost not a conclusion at all. There was one point more in favor, and that was the point that by being married you will know what marriage is - good or bad - that you will know.
That much is more in favor.
So he went, knocked on the woman's door. The father opened the door and asked, "Why have you come?"
He said, "I have decided, because one point more is in favor. There are three hundred points in all: three hundred against, three hundred and one for - so I have decided to marry."
The father laughed. He said, "It is too late. She is already married - and not only married, she has a child too! You came a little late."
But that's how philosophers function. I even wonder that he could reach a conclusion within three years. It is a miracle - philosophers never come to any conclusion. It must have been a very nonphilosophic moment in which he arrived at the conclusion.
Ten thousand years of history is enough proof: philosophy remains inconclusive.
Philosophy knows only how to question - no answers. Each answer in its turn becomes ten more questions.
The mind is very happy to argue, to think. The mind is very unhappy to conclude, because once you conclude, mind is not needed. Conclusion means the death of the mind. If you have concluded about the ultimate truth, the mind has to commit suicide.
The mind is very much afraid of saying yes and the mind is very much afraid of doing good, because the good can be done only in a state of egolessness. The good is a by- product of a state of no-mind. Try to understand it - and when I say try to understand it I am not saying try to think it over. I am simply saying, listen from the heart, with a loving heart.
These sutras can be understood only by the heart. They have come out of the greatest heart that has lived on the earth, and they can be understood only by the heart.
BE QUICK TO DO GOOD. The mind is always quick in doing bad. If you want to be angry the mind never says, "Tomorrow," it says, "Do it right now." If you want to donate, if you want to give something to a poor man, the mind says, "Wait! First inquire whether he is really poor or he has a bank balance. And first look... he looks so healthy, why give to him?"
Mind is miserly in sharing anything; sharing is very difficult for the mind. It hoards, it collects; it becomes, slowly slowly, a junkyard. It can't leave anything - useful, useless, it goes on collecting. Who knows, whatsoever is useless today may become useful tomorrow.
To do good means to share, to love, to serve, to be compassionate. And these are things which the miserly mind cannot do. But it will not say, "I don't want to do it," because that will not be very diplomatic. The diplomatic way is "tomorrow" - postpone. Mind is a bureaucrat, and not an ordinary bureaucrat but a Russian bureaucrat.
I have heard:
At a disarmament conference in Geneva, an American delegate, stretching his legs under the table, accidentally bumped the knee of a Russian lady interpreter sitting directly across from him. He smiled an apology.
The lady neither spoke nor smiled. She turned to the communist diplomat next to her and asked him something. The diplomat turned to his superior and whispered something to him. The chief then got up, left the table and went to the phone center.
The meeting was recessed.
Two and a half hours later it was resumed. The ranking diplomat returned to the table, spoke to his assistant, who whispered something to the lady interpreter, who looked across at the American delegate and said, "Your place or mine?"
This is direct from the Kremlin! This is how bureaucracy works, and this is how mind functions. It says, "Wait, let me think it over." And then it goes on and on to no end, and meanwhile it keeps promising you, "Wait! Tomorrow you can do it."
But see: the same mind when it is a question of doing something wrong never tells you to postpone. It says, "Do it right now. Who knows about tomorrow? This man has insulted you - hit him back, hit him hard! If a brick is thrown at you, answer with a rock!"
Gurdjieff remembers that when his grandfather was dying - he was only nine years old - the grandfather called him. He loved the boy very much and he told the boy, "I don't have much to give to you, but departing from the world I would like to give you something. I can only give you one piece of advice that has helped me; it was given to me by my father, and he was also dying when he gave it to me. I am dying. You are too young, you may not be able to understand it right now, but remember, a day will come when you will understand. Whenever you find yourself capable of following my advice, follow it, and you will never be in misery. You can avoid the hell of life."
And what was the advice? Just this sutra - not exactly in these words. He said to Gurdjieff, "Remember one thing: if you want to do any bad thing, postpone it for tomorrow; and if you want to do something good, do it immediately - because postponement is a way of not doing. And bad has not to be done, and good has to be done. For example," the old man said, "if somebody insults you and you feel angry, enraged, tell him that you will come after twenty-four hours and answer him."
Gurdjieff remembers, "That advice transformed my whole life. Although I was too young, only nine years old, I tried it just out of curiosity. Some boy would insult me or would hurt me or would say something nasty, and I would remember my old dying grandfather and I would tell the boy, 'I will have to wait; I have promised an old man.
After twenty-four hours I will answer you.'
"And it always happened," Gurdjieff remembers, "that either I would come to conclude that he was right, that whatsoever he had said LOOKED nasty but it was true about me.... He was saying, 'You are a thief,' and that is true, I am a thief. He was saying, 'You are insincere,' and that is true - I am insincere." So he would go and thank the boy:
"You pointed out something true about me. You brought up a true facet of my being which was not clear to me. You made me more conscious about myself. I am immensely grateful."
Or, after twenty-four hours' thinking, he would come to conclude that, "That man or that boy is absolutely wrong. It has nothing to do with me." Then there is no point in answer-ing; he would not go back to the boy. If something is utterly wrong, why become enraged? This is a big world, millions of people are there; you cannot go answering everybody, otherwise your whole life will be wasted. And there is no need either.
This is half of the story. If you can postpone the bad for tomorrow you will be able to do the good immediately. And you will never repent - because if you do bad immediately, you will repent tomorrow; if you do good today you will never repent, there is no question of repentance. This is a simple secret of transforming the hell that you live in into a lotus paradise.
Don't be slow, be quick because mind is very quick; it moves faster than anything else.
It moves faster than light! Physicists say nothing moves faster than light and of course, it seems impossible to move faster than light. Light moves one hundred and eighty-six thousand miles in one second - in one second! But physicists have no idea of the mind yet. They don't yet have such sophisticated instruments to measure the speed of the mind.
Mind moves faster than light. You have to be VERY alert, otherwise mind is bound to ditch you somewhere. Before you become alert, mind will have already taken you somewhere far away. Mind is always ready to go on a trip, because it is only in trips that it feels alive.
Meditation simply means sitting silently, doing nothing, not even thinking... and the mind disappears. Because you are not on any trip, the mind is no longer needed. Mind is a guide for great journeys. If you are going somewhere, mind is very happy; in your going somewhere the mind can feel enhanced. But if you are not going anywhere, just sitting silently, doing nothing, the mind feels very sad.
And it will happen almost always to meditators that when the mind feels sad, it starts creating boredom for you; that is a strategy of the mind. The mind is saying, "Come on!
Let us go somewhere, let us do something. Why are you sitting? Just sitting doing nothing brings boredom!"
It is a trick of the mind! Otherwise, just sitting doing nothing will bring you more freshness. That's the experience of all the awakened ones - but not yours. This is MY experience. In my room, what am I doing? Sitting silently, doing nothing... spring comes and the grass grows by itself. Nothing has to be done really - the grass grows by itself. Life goes on by itself, life flows on by itself. You need not push the river.
But in the beginning mind will create boredom; boredom is the mind's trick. The mind is saying, "Look, if you don't follow me you will feel bored. If you don't follow me you will feel utterly meaningless. If you don't follow me you won't have anything to enjoy.
Come, come with me and I will take you to great entertainments."
Mind is always bribing you by entertainments: put on the radio, put on the TV, go to the movie or at least to the club, gossip - do something. Boredom is a punishment from the mind to you if you are not doing anything. And the greatest problem for the meditator is boredom.
But if you can sit absolutely unconcerned about boredom - let the boredom be there - if you don't get disturbed by the boredom, within three to nine months' time the boredom will disappear. And instead of boredom there will come such a bubbling joy, such freshness, that you have never known before. And it is not entertainment because there is nothing: you are simply sitting in an absolute void. And out of that void, the plenitude, out of that void, a new kind of fulfillment....
BE QUICK TO DO GOOD. IF YOU ARE SLOW, THE MIND, DELIGHTING IN MISCHIEF, WILL CATCH YOU. The mind delights in mischief. Why? - because that is the only way it can live. They say that you cannot write a story about a really good man because there will be nothing to write. A story can be written only about a bad man. It is not accidental that Buddha, Mahavira, Jesus, are not even mentioned in your history books. No ancient history mentions them. Why? There is nothing to mention! They never killed anybody, they never did any nuisance; they were \as if they were not.
They were so good as if they never existed!
One of the names of Buddha is 'Tathagata'. TATHAGATA means: coming like a breeze, going like a breeze - thus came, thus gone - without disturbing anything, not even a dead leaf. A silent breeze slowly coming with no footsteps and then disappearing.
Neither does the coming create any noise nor the going. It is as if you have drawn a line in water; you have not even made it and it has disappeared. It is like birds flying in the sky: they don't leave any footprints.
But history is full of Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadirshah, Alexander, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong. If you do more mischief there is more possibility of your name remaining in history. If you really want to be part of history, if you want to create history, do mischief. Politicians will remain in history because they are the greatest mischief- mongers.
Mind is constantly in search of mischief; any opportunity and it cannot miss it. Even if there is no opportunity it will try to create an opportunity.
A doorbell rings at a whorehouse. The madam opens the door and sees a man there with no arms or legs.
"What are you doing at a place like this?" asks the madam.
The cripple looks at her and says, "I rang the doorbell, didn't I?"
No hands, no legs, but still he is ready to go to the whorehouse!
Berquist hid in the closet when Frank, the husband of his girlfriend, returned unexpectedly. While hanging up his coat, Frank spotted the Swede's balls between other garments.
"What the hell are those?" he asked his wife.
"Oh... eh... Christmas bells," she replied.
"Let us hear their peal," said the husband. He gave them a terrific whack with his fist.
A voice gasped, "Yingle, yangle! You sonofabitch!"
Just look at people's lives. Watch yourself, watch others. Become a watcher, and you will be surprised: everybody is in search of some opportunity. And opportunities are there. People are waiting only for opportunities. If they are not doing some evil, that does not mean that they are good people; it may only be that the opportunity is missing.
That is my own observation.
When a politician is not in power he is a very good man, a public servant, humble; always ready to bow down and touch your feet; open hospitals and schools. And once he is in power, he is not even ready to recognize you and all that public service disappears. Once he is in power, he has opportunity; now he will do things that he always wanted to do but could not.
This has happened in this country in such a crystal-clear way as it has not happened anywhere else. Before independence, just thirty years ago, all these politicians who have become a nuisance to the country were great public servants, great servants of the country, freedom-fighters. They sacrificed much, they lived simple, humble, poor lives, for the freedom of the country. Their lives were an example to be followed, they were ideals; they were worshipped by the people.
And then came power - and within seconds the whole thing changed. They became power-hungry, they became power-possessed. Their faces changed, their masks disappeared. Now the opportunity was there.
Lord Acton has said: Power corrupts. I agree and I don't agree. Yes, superficially it seems that power corrupts, but if you go deep into its analysis it is not power that corrupts - the person has been corrupted always. Power only gives opportunity; power cannot corrupt. If you are corrupted, then power gives you an opportunity to do that which you always wanted to do but were not able to do.
People think it is money that corrupts people. No, money simply gives opportunity.
Poor people look so good; it is not so. Just let them become rich and then see... all their goodness disappears. In fact the newly rich people are far more dangerous than those who are born rich, because those who are born rich are accustomed to riches.
It is said about a prime minister of a king that he accumulated much wealth illegally, behind the king's back; that he became the richest man in the country. Then the king came to know about it.
He called the prime minister and he said, "You have served me well so I cannot punish you because of your services and your devotion, but you have been cheating and you have been accumulating illegal wealth. I will not punish you - you please resign and leave my country and go wherever you want to go."
The prime minister said, "Before I leave I would like to suggest one thing. Now I have all that I need, in fact more than I need, if you appoint another man your prime minister, he will have to accumulate wealth again. He will harm you more. Now I need not harm you at all."
And it is said the king understood the point. He didn't throw the man out. He said, "That's right, you have already done whatsoever you could, so why bring a new person? And he will go through the whole process again, that is true."
Let a poor man become rich and then see what happens: all his simplicity is gone, all his humbleness is gone.
A man had a talking dog. One day when he was thirsty he went into a bar with his dog and made a bet with the bartender that if his dog could talk he would get a free beer.
The bartender agreed, knowing that there was no such thing as a talking dog. He asked the dog what kind of beer his master liked.
"Budweiser," replied the dog, and the startled bartender paid up with the beer.
Then the three of them - the man, the bartender, and the dog - got caught up in an animated conversation. The dog ate peanuts while the men drank. At one point the bartender said that he had a headache but had run out of aspirins.
"Does your dog run errands?" he asked.
"Sure," replied the man. So the bartender gave the dog five dollars and sent him off to the store for some aspirins.
The dog didn't come back. The men waited and waited but as no dog came, his owner went out looking for him. He walked the city until he spied the dog in a dark back alley humping another dog.
"My God!" exclaimed the owner. "What the hell are you doing? This is the first time you have ever done this kind of thing!"
"I know," panted the still humping dog. "I have always wanted to, but I have never had the money before!"
It is not power that corrupts. Power brings your corrupted unconscious to the surface, power brings your intrinsic evil into action. Power exposes you, power does not corrupt you. Power is a good thing in a way: it exposes people. It is like an X-ray: it shows your reality, your naked truth.
THE MIND, DELIGHTING IN MISCHIEF, WILL CATCH YOU. Remember it: the mind is very quick. If you don't do good IMMEDIATELY - the moment the idea of good arises in you, if you don't do it immediately, the mind is going to deceive you, to take you astray, to convince you to do something else.
Feingold immigrated to America and after many years of hard work became a very wealthy man. Now on his deathbed, with his wife Sarah standing by, he started to dispose of his worldly possessions.
"My Cadillac with the pushbutton-motorcycle-cop-detector I leave to my son, Sam."
"Better you should leave it to Joe," said his wife. "He is a better driver."
"Alright," he whispered. "My Rolls Royce I bequeath to my daughter, Linda."
"You better give it to your nephew, Willie," Sarah interrupted. "He is a very conservative driver."
"Alright, give it to Willie. My twelve-cylinder Jaguar I give to my niece, Sally."
"Personally, I think Judy should get it."
Feingold raised his head and shouted, "Sarah, please! Who is dying, you or me?"
If you wait, the mind is going to give you suggestions, "Do this, do that." Do the good immediately - why wait? And who knows? - the next moment will never come; this may be the last moment. Act as if this is going to be the last moment! Act with that urgency, because death can overtake you any moment. Don't listen to the mind. Mind can go on and on postponing things and, before mind allows you to do anything, death may have knocked you down. Do good, because doing good immediately brings joy.
Because if you do mischief, sorrow is going to follow you like a shadow. It is not that there is a God sitting somewhere who punishes you when you do something wrong; the wrong itself is the punishment, it carries its punishment intrinsically.
That's the whole idea behind the theory of karma. There is no need for any God to judge, to punish, to reward. And just think: if there was a God to judge every person and every person's every act and then dispose accordingly - punishments to a few, rewards to others - that kind of God would have gone mad long ago!
No, there is no God disposing rewards and punishments - that idea is childish. There is a law, not a God, a law like gravitation. If you don't walk rightly, if you are too much drunk, you are bound to fall somewhere. Not that God orders, "Fall!" - the law of gravitation is enough. If you don't walk rightly you are bound to fall. The law of gravitation takes care of it. If you walk alert, consciously, you don't suffer.
Exactly like that, karma is a scientific law: the law of action. Whatsoever you do has its intrinsic reward or punishment. When you are angry, it is not that you will suffer in your next life. When you are angry, WHILE you are angry, you are suffering; there is no need for another life to give you punishment. While you are angry you are in a fire, you are poisoning your whole body, you are poisoning your whole system.
Anger is poison.
It may hurt the other, it may not - it depends on the other - but it is going to hurt you, certainly.
If you insult a buddha it is not going to hurt him, but before you can insult a buddha you will have to go through much inner turmoil.
A man came and spat on Buddha's face. Buddha wiped his face and asked the man, "Do you want to say something more, or is this all?"
Ananda, his disciple, became furious, naturally. This man comes, Buddha has not done anything to this man, and he spits on the master. Inconceivable! Ananda said to Buddha, "Bhagwan, just give me permission so that I can show this man. He needs to be punished!"
Buddha said, "Ananda, you have become a sannyasin, but you go on forgetting it. And that poor man has suffered already too much. Just look at his face, look at his eyes, bloodshot. Look at his body, trembling. And before spitting on me, do you think he would have been celebrating and dancing and singing? The whole night he has not slept; the whole night he was in an insane state. Spitting on me is just the outcome of that insanity. Feel compassion for the poor man. What more punishment? Is it not enough? And what harm has he done to me? I just had to wipe it. It's so simple. And don't you get agitated, otherwise you are behaving foolishly. For his wrong, you are punishing yourself - this is foolishness!"
See the point - of tremendous significance. Buddha says, "HE has done something wrong. Why are YOU punishing yourself, Ananda? I can see you are boiling! If I were not here to prevent you, you would kill this man! You are getting insane in the same way he was insane."
That man listened to this whole dialogue. He was puzzled, perplexed; he was not expecting Buddha to behave in such a way. He was thinking he would be furious, angry; that's what he wanted. Failing in it he felt very humiliated. It was so unexpected, the compassion and the love that Buddha showed.
And Buddha said to him, "Go home, take a good rest. You are looking tired, you have punished yourself enough. Forget all about spitting - it has not harmed me. How can it harm me? And this body is made of dust. Sooner or later, it will fall into dust and people will be walking on it, spitting on it, and all kinds of things will happen on this body. People will defecate, urinate.... You have not just done anything very dangerous.
Go home, take a good rest."
The man went home. For the first time he was absolutely puzzled: so unexpected was the response of Buddha, he could not understand it. He cried, he wept. He came back by the evening, he fell at Buddha's feet, and he said, "Forgive me!"
Buddha said, "There is no question of me forgiving you, because I was not angry in the first place. How can I forgive you? But it is good - you look more calm and quiet. I am happy. I cannot forgive you, sorry, because I was not angry in the first place. But I am happy, tremendously happy, seeing that you have become reconciled, seeing that you have attained to a harmonious state, seeing that you are sane again. Go happily, and remember it: never do such acts again, because that's how you go on creating hell for yourself."
TURN AWAY FROM MISCHIEF. AGAIN AND AGAIN, TURN AWAY, BEFORE SORROW BEFALLS YOU. Many many times the mind will suggest to you, "Do this, do that." Many many times you are bound to forget. Many many times you will not be able to remember what Buddha has said, what I am saying to you. So you will have to remember again and again. Slowly slowly the remembrance will settle, will become a light in your being. Then you will not be expected to remember; it will be simply there.
It will fall on your path as a beam of light. It will show you the way; it will help you to avoid the pitfalls. And once remembering settles deep inside you and mischief becomes impossible, evil becomes impossible, and good becomes natural, spontaneous, you have entered into the lotus paradise.
It is not somewhere else - it is here. It is a change of your attitude, of your vision.
Nothing else changes in the world, everything remains the same, but you are no longer the same. Not that you are transported to another world - the same world continues, but your vision is no longer the same. You look at the same things in a new way, with a new style. That style is sannyas, that way is sannyas.
Shift your consciousness from the head to the heart. Mind wants to do mischief, it lives out of mischief; and the heart wants to do good, it lives, nourishes through it.
SET YOUR HEART ON DOING GOOD. Notice the difference! Now he is not saying set your MIND on doing good. Mind cannot be set on doing good; even if you try to do good through the mind you will do evil, you will do bad. It is not within the capacity of the mind to do good.
You can see it happening all over the world. The scientists wanted to do good; that's why they worked for years, researched, and found the source of atomic energy. Albert Einstein wanted to do good. He wrote a letter to the American president, Roosevelt, saying that "Now atomic energy is available and atomic bombs can be made. And just by making atom bombs America will be so powerful that there will be no need to fight.
Just the power will be enough - enemies will become so afraid that Hitler and Tojo and Mussolini will surrender on their own accord."
This is what a logical mind thinks. But life does not follow logic, life does not follow mind. Albert Einstein repented his whole life, because deep down he felt he was responsible for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He had written the letter... and the politicians immediately jumped on the discovery. And once the power reached into the politicians'
hands, they didn't care; then they would not listen to Albert Einstein. Then who cares? - - now the power is in their hands.
And do you know, in fact, those who specialize in war matters say that Nagasaki and Hiroshima were not needed at all. Japan was going to surrender within a week; it was only a question of one week more. And if you had tolerated the war for years, what was the hurry? But America wanted to show its power to the world.
Politicians are very juvenile, childish. In fact, if a person is not juvenile and childish he will not be a politician in the first place. When you have something, you want to show it to the world; otherwise what is the point of having it? One hundred thousand people were killed in Hiroshima within five seconds, for no other reason than to show the world that America has the atom bomb.
Albert Einstein lived and died in deep repentance. When he was dying somebody asked, "If God is going to give you another chance, what are you going to do, what are you are going to be? Would you again be a scientist, a physicist, so that you can continue your incomplete work?"
Einstein opened his eyes and said, "No, never! Rather than being a physicist I would like to be a plumber. Enough is enough!"
Science is a mind endeavor, mind effort; hence science has created great power. But the power is turning against man himself. Science has destroyed the whole ecology, it has destroyed the whole planet. It is destroying man - and in the name of good! And scientists think they are great servants of humanity, they are helping humanity to grow, evolve, to become more and more powerful. They are simply creating a situation in which this planet will become almost impossible to live on. They are creating a situation where the whole humanity can commit suicide. They can destroy this whole planet...
because the whole effort is out of the mind.
We need science which is rooted in the heart and not in the mind. We need a totally different kind of science which is rooted in meditation and not in concentration. We need a totally new quality to science: the quality of religion.
Unless science has the flavor of religion, meditativeness, love, unless it arises out of the heart, it is not going to become a blessing to humanity or to the world. It is going to be a curse - notwithstanding what the scientists think they are doing. They think they are doing great work, great humanitarian work. They are sacrificing their lives for the sake of humanity. And I am not saying that they are insincere people - they are sincere people, but their orientation is wrong.
Buddha immediately changes the word. First he uses the word 'mind'. Now he says:
SET YOUR HEART ON DOING GOOD. DO IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN, AND YOU WILL BE FILLED WITH JOY.
Joy is a by-product just as sorrow is a by-product. Sorrow follows like a shadow when you do something wrong and joy follows like a shadow when you do something good.
Let these be the criteria. If you are in misery, remember - you must be doing something wrong.
But people are very cunning, their minds are very cunning. If you are in misery the mind says, "Others are doing wrong to you, that's why you are in misery." It is not so - NOBODY can make you miserable. Yes, they can kill you, but nobody can make you miserable. You can kill me but you cannot make me miserable. I will die in the same blissful state in which I am living. There will be no difference at all. You can poison me but you cannot poison my consciousness. You can destroy the body - which is going to be destroyed anyway sooner or later - but you cannot destroy ME. That is beyond destruction.
Nobody can make you miserable and nobody can make you blissful. It all depends on you, it depends totally on you. You are responsible for your misery and you are responsible for your joy. Take this responsibility, accept this responsibility. To accept this responsibility totally, one hundred percent, is to become a religious person, is to be initiated into what I call religion.
The politician always throws the responsibility on the other and the religious person takes the responsibility totally upon his own shoulders.
To remind you, Buddha says that sometimes you may see a mischievous person very happy, and vice versa: sometimes you may see a good man very unhappy. But don't be deceived by the appearances. A FOOL IS HAPPY UNTIL HIS MISCHIEF TURNS AGAINST HIM.
It takes a little time. If you sow the seeds, it will take a little time for them to grow and bring fruit. Evil may taste sweet in the beginning but always proves to be poisonous in the end. And the good act may not appear so sweet in the beginning because it takes time for it to flower, it takes a little time for it to release its fragrance, but in the end it is always sweet.
Buddha has said: If you see a mischievous person happy, just wait a little; soon, sooner or later, you will see that he has dug a grave for himself. And if you find a good man in misery, don't be worried: it is just the uphill task. When you are moving uphill it is a little difficult, arduous; you perspire, you feel tired, but once you have reached the top you can relax and rest.
But fools go on thinking that they are happy because of their mischief. You will be surprised to know that people are very unintelligent in looking into the deep causes of their lives.
In a primitive tribe in Africa, even up to now it is believed that the birth of a child has nothing to do with lovemaking, with intercourse - because the gap is nine months. For centuries they have been giving birth to children, but they have not connected the cause and effect yet. They think the child is born because of God's grace or the religious ritual that the priest has done on their behalf. When they came to know for the first time that the whole world thinks differently, they laughed; they thought the whole world foolish.
What does lovemaking have to do with childbirth? - because every time you make love you don't get a child.
It looks logical! And you make love today and the child comes after nine months - and those primitive people don't have any calendar yet, any clock; they cannot count time.
Nine months is incalculable; they don't know how much time has passed, so they have never been able to connect cause with effect.
And this is the situation about evil and its absolutely inevitable result, sorrow. You may do evil today, and it is very good and everything looks beautiful, and you can't see any bad thing resulting out of it. And deep down you know all these buddhas are wrong - where is the law of karma?
Many times people come to me and they say, "We see that evil people are prosperous.
Why? And we also see that good people are suffering. Why? That is proof enough that there is no God, that is proof enough that there is no law of karma. That is proof enough that might is right, whosoever is powerful is right." It is not so. Just one needs a little patience. But fools have their own logic - foolishness has its own logic, remember.
Gilligan, Frizzoli and Lieberman were telling how they were mistaken for great men.
The Irishman said, "I was walking along the street and a fella yelled, 'Hello, Saint Patrick!'" The Italian said, "That's nothing. I was standing on a corner, a man passed and said, 'Hello, Mussolini!'" "That's nothing," said the Jew. "As I walked across the park this morning, a policeman yelled at me, 'Jesus Christ, get off the grass!'" The fool has his own logic. In fact the fool may be more logical - at least appear more logical - than the wise man, because the wise man will be paradoxical.
Buddha says: Remember that it takes a little time for seeds to grow into sprouts, become trees. Wait for the spring, and then the flowers come.
A FOOL IS HAPPY UNTIL HIS MISCHIEF TURNS AGAINST HIM. It always turns against the fool, it is BOUND to turn. It is a natural law, it cannot be avoided, you cannot escape it.
Zimmerman, on a business trip to Tokyo, was having lunch with a Japanese friend.
"You Americans don't know how to make love," said the Oriental. "In Japan we go to bed with wife, begin to make love; after a few minutes we stop, get up for cup of hot tea. Then go back to bed, make love for ten minutes, then get up and have a bowl of rice. Then make love some more, get up, take bath together. Then we finally finish the act."
Two weeks later, back in Brooklyn, Zimmerman got into bed with his wife and began making love to her. Suddenly he stopped and said, "Let us have a glass of tea."
"Are you crazy?" she said.
"Come on," he insisted. Soon they were back in bed and after a little while he stopped and said, "Now we are gonna have a pastrami sandwich."
"Are you nuts?" exclaimed his spouse.
They got back into bed and after a few minutes Zimmerman said, "Now we are gonna take a bath together."
When they finished the Jewish couple went back to the bedroom and wound up their lovemaking.
"Well," said Zimmerman, "what did you think of that?"
"Wonderful," replied his wife. "But where did you learn to screw like a Jap?"
You can go on believing that you are very wise but if you are a fool, you are a fool. Your belief is going to be destroyed sooner or later by life itself. Life knows no exceptions.
And this is one of the most fundamental laws. AES DHAMMO SANANTANO - this is the eternal law: that the evil person is bound to suffer sooner or later, and it is going to be sooner rather than later; and the good man is going to be blessed by all the blessings of existence.
Don't make light of your failings. Don't say, "This is a small thing. Just a small thing can't be of much consequence." But drop by drop you can create the whole ocean! The ocean is nothing but an accumulation of drops, so you have to be aware in each single act; in all the details of your life you have to be alert and aware.
Remember, life consists of small things, there are no big things. Small things accumulated become big things. A single act may not look very significant either as evil or as good. A single smile may not look very significant, but a single smile is part of a long process. A single flower is not the garland, certainly, but there will be no garland if there are not single flowers put together.
Do not belittle your failures, do not belittle your good acts. Each and every act is significant: if it is bad you are going to suffer; if it is good you are going to enjoy life.
And to enjoy life is the only way to know that God is. It is only in blissfulness that the proof comes that God is. There is no logical proof for God, but when you are overflowing with joy, when you can dance with joy, in that dance a gratitude arises on its own accord. A thankfulness, a prayer, is born, and in that prayer you are reborn. In that prayer not only are you reborn, God is born too.
Life consists of small things, and you have to transform each small thing through your awareness, watchfulness, alertness, into a beautiful act. Then ordinary things can become extraordinary.
A Zen monk was asked, "What did you use to do before you became enlightened?"
He said, "I used to chop wood and carry water from the well."
And then he was asked, "What do you do now you have become enlightened?"
He said, "I chop wood and carry water from the well."
The questioner was puzzled. He said, "There seems to be no difference then."
The master said, "The difference is in me. The difference is not in my acts, the difference is in me - but because I have changed, all my acts have changed. Their significance has changed: the prose has become poetry, the stones have become sermons, and matter has completely disappeared. Now there is only God and nothing else. Life now is liberation to me, it is nirvana."
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 4