The first myth of man is that he exists. Man is only a possibility. Rarely has man become an actuality. Only once in a while a Gautam Buddha, a Jesus Christ, a Lao Tzu, a Zarathustra - the names are not many, they can be counted on the fingers. They are the only proof that man is not impossible. But the so-called ordinary humanity is only a myth, a belief in something which is not really there. Unless you become aware of this false phenomenon, you will never become what you were destined to become. You will remain a seed. You will never bloom, you will not be able to release your fragrance.
The name of Gautama the Buddha is sweeter than honey, is more golden than gold itself. Gautama the Buddha is more godly than God himself. In fact there is no other God. God exists only when buddhahood exists. God needs the context of a buddha to exist. Without the space of a buddhafield God is just a theoretical, philosophical idea with no substance in it, just a shadow. Hence don't ask whether God is or is not. That question cannot be answered. God is when there is a buddha, God is not when the buddha is not.
Whenever there is an awakened person, in the context of his awakening God becomes real. This is the only possibility for God to be. To be really a man means to become a space for God to exist in you. Buddha is the most godly man that has ever been born on the earth, and still the most godless too. He never believed in God. Nobody who knows has ever believed in a God.
All believers are ignorant people - belief IS ignorance. Buddha never believed, Buddha knew. And when you know, you know; there is no question of belief. Buddha never argued about God, he himself was the proof. There can be no other proof. There are great arguers, speculators, theologians; their whole life they go on talking about God, but all their talk is mere talk, it is sheer nonsense. Even if they meet God, they will argue with him. Argument is their habit, argument has become their occupation, their profession, it has become an escape from their true being. Argument keeps them blind.
A rabbi's son converted to Christianity and the rabbi was totally distraught. God himself came down to earth to console him. "After all," said the Lord, "did not the same thing happen to my son two thousand years ago?"
"Yes," replied the rabbi, "but don't forget, my son was legitimate."
A theologian, a philosopher, a great thinker, even if he comes to encounter God, is bound to argue with him. He can't see him. For seeing, silence is needed, not argument.
For seeing, love is needed, not logic. For seeing, scriptures are not needed but a totally different state of mind is needed: a state of mind where thoughts have disappeared, where the mirror of mind reflects nothing, is absolutely pure, not even a ripple of thought. In that silence, in that mirrorlike purity you need not go anywhere else to see God. Wherever you are you will see, because God is not a person, let me repeat again:
God is a presence. If God was a person things would have been very easy. We would have caught him, we would have imprisoned him in the temples, in the churches, in the synagogues, in the mosques. If God was a person our scientists would be experimenting on him in their laboratories. Pavlov wouldn't waste his time on dogs, he would experiment on God. And B.F. Skinner would not remain occupied with rats.
Karl Marx actually has said that: Unless God is proved in a scientific experiment, I am not going to believe. Unless God is proved in the lab, I am not going to believe. But a God proved in a lab is not a God at all, cannot be a God. A God caught in the net of arguments will be impotent, utterly dead.
A group of cannibals attacked a mission but found that the missionaries had fled. The old chief was fascinated by a pile of magazines he found, especially one that had pictures of scantily clad women in the advertisements. Whenever he would come to a picture of a woman with very little on, he would tear out the page and eat it.
Finally one of his sons noticed what he was doing and said, "Tell me, dad, is that dehydrated stuff any good?"
But that's what people are doing. When you are pondering over the Bible, the Gita, the Koran, it is all dehydrated stuff. It is not going to nourish you. What is your Christianity and what is your Hinduism, and what is your Mohammedanism? A really religious person cannot be Christian, and cannot be Mohammedan, and cannot be Hindu. Yes, he can be an Ayatollah Khomeini, but not a Mohammedan, not really a religious person.
Fanatics, lunatics, obsessed with unnecessary formalities....
What is the difference between a Christian and a Hindu and a Jew? If you look deep down there is no difference; all the difference is formal, and they are obsessed with the formalities. Dehydrated stuff has become much too significant.
The Silversteins sent their son to a highbrow New England boarding school. A few months later he returned home for the Christmas holidays.
"Samela," greeted his mother. "It is so good to see you."
"Mother," he replied, "stop calling me Samela. I'm grown up now and I wish you would refer to me as Samuel."
"I am sorry," said Mrs. Silverstein. "I hope you ate only kosher foods while you were away?"
"Mother, it is ridiculous to still cling to those old-world traditions. I indulged in all types of food, kosher and nonkosher, and you would be better off if you did."
"Well, did you at least go to the synagogue occasionally?"
"Really!" replied the young Silverstein. "Going to a synagogue when you are associating with mostly non-Jews is preposterous. It is unfair to ask it of me."
"Tell me son," said Mrs. Silverstein, "are you still circumcised?"
But these are the differences between Hindus and Mohammedans and Christians and Jews and Jainas. What have we made of religion? We have not listened to the buddhas; we have not understood Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mahavira, Buddha. We have misunderstood them, and we are living according to our misunderstanding.
These sutras of Buddha will give you an insight, an insight into the heart of an awakened one, how he sees things, how he feels, what is his understanding of the world. But please remember to listen to his words very carefully. Put your minds aside.
If you listen through your minds, you will listen to something else, you will misinterpret, you will come in between. The words can't carry the meaning to you if you interfere - and we are constantly interfering. That's why everybody knows how to hear, but very few people know how to listen.
Hearing is simple, listening is an art. Be a listener for these twenty days, while we will be talking on these tremendously significant sutras of Buddha. They can reveal to you a totally new vision of life.
Margaret got smashed at the company's Christmas office party. The sales manager, Harvey, offered to drive her home. She staggered out to his car, gave him her address and away they drove.
Fifteen minutes later, she leaned over and said, "Harv, you are passionate." Immediately he reached for her thigh. Margaret slapped his face.
They drove in silence, and then....
"Harv, you are passionate," and again he reached for her thigh. Pow! He stopped the car and said, "Look, honey, on the one hand you tell me I am sexy, on the other you whack me across the mouth. Make up your mind!"
Margaret looked at him and slobbered, "Who the hell said you were sexy? All I have been telling you is, my house, you are passing it."
Put your mind aside - let there be a direct communion between me and you. And I'm not interpreting Gautam Buddha. What he is saying is my own experience too. Hence, in a way I am simply explaining to you my own existential experience. But I love Gautam Buddha, his words are beautiful. It is significant to revive them again and again, to give them life, to let them breathe again. I am not interpreting here, I am simply making myself available to him so that he can say something to you in your language, in the language of the twentieth century.
Of course his words will be a little old. Twenty-five centuries have passed since he spoke them; much water has gone down the Ganges, much has changed. Life is no longer the same, people are no longer the same. That innocence has disappeared from the world. The world has become very cunning, the world has become very political.
The world is no longer religious, no longer innocent, no longer simple. In fact it is impossible now to be in the world and to be simple. It is an almost superhuman task not to be political - the demands made upon you are so great. I feel deep compassion for you, but this is the only world we have right now and we have to understand this situation, we have to transcend this situation.
Buddha has to be revived, resurrected in such a way that you can recognize him again, and I have been doing the same with Jesus, with Lao Tzu, with Kabir and with other enlightened ones. Their names are different, but their taste is the same. Buddha is reported to have said: You can taste the ocean from anywhere, and you will find the taste always the same, it is everywhere salty. So is the ocean of buddhahood - the taste is the same. If you can put your mind aside, if you can commune with me heart to heart, not head to head... because head to head there is only collision, no communion.
Don't be political while you are here with me, don't be clever, don't be cunning, because then you will be missing. This is a totally different kind of dialogue, this is not an ordinary dialogue; it is not mundane, it is sacred. Unless you approach these sutras very innocently, you will miss, and you will miss a tremendously significant opportunity.
Kornblum, aged seventy-six, took an unscheduled flight in the Middle East and suddenly found that two big Arabs had also boarded the airplane. One of them said, "Hey, Jew, we want the window seat!" So he gave it to them.
The plane took off and one of the Arabs said, "Go to the back of the plane and get me some coffee!" Kornblum got the coffee and when he came back the other Arab said, "Now I want coffee!"
The old man rushed back and got him some, but by the time he got back the fellow's companion wanted a refill. The two kept him running back and forth for an hour.
Finally, Kornblum flopped down in a seat exhausted. One of the Arabs said, "Jew, what do you think of the world?"
"Well, it is in terrible shape," said Kornblum. "In Pakistan, Mohammedans are killing Hindus, in India Hindus are killing Mohammedans. In Ireland, Protestants are killing Catholics. And in airplanes Jews are pissing in Arabs' coffee!"
Yes, the world is in a terrible shape, but for these few days you will be here with me, forget the world. Be dropouts for these few days at least, so we can talk of other worlds, of other visions, because there are mysteries upon mysteries.
The sutras.... The Buddha says:
YOU ARE AS THE YELLOW LEAF.
THE MESSENGERS OF DEATH ARE AT HAND.
There are two things in life which are the most important. The first is birth, and the second is death - everything else is trivia. The first has already happened, now nothing can be done about it. The second has not happened yet, but can happen any moment.
Hence those who are alert will prepare, they will prepare for death. Nothing can be done about birth, but much can be done about death. But people don't even think about death, they avoid the very subject. It is not thought to be polite to talk about it. Even if they refer to death, they refer to it in roundabout ways. If somebody dies, we don't say that he has died. We say God has called him, that God loved him so much, that whomsoever God loves he calls earlier; that he has gone to heaven, that he has moved to the other world, that he has not died, only the body has fallen back to the earth but the soul, the soul is immortal.
Have you ever heard of anybody going to hell? Everybody goes to heaven. We are so afraid of death, we try to make it as beautiful as possible: we decorate it, we speak beautiful words about it, we try to avoid the fact.
But Buddha insists again and again... his whole life after his enlightenment for forty- two years continuously he was talking, morning, evening, day in, day out, year in, year out, about death. Why? Many people think that he is a pessimist - he is not. He is neither optimist nor pessimist. He is a realist, he is very pragmatic. He means business, because he knows only one thing is left for you about which something can be done and should be done - and that is death.
And remember: it is not a simple phenomenon that you die and go to heaven. It is a very complex phenomenon, more complex than life itself.
Mrs. O'Hara, a widow of some five years, went to visit a famous medium, thinking she might contact her late husband, Mike. The medium assured her that every effort would be made and that they would hold a seance that very evening. Several believers gathered around the table, and the medium ordered that the lights be dimmed and that everyone at the table join hands. A hush fell over the room, and the medium called the name Mike O'Hara over and over again.
Suddenly a strange calm seemed to permeate the room and a distant voice, faint at first but growing stronger and stronger, cried, "I am Mike O'Hara. Who is it who calls my spirit forth?"
The medium replied that it was indeed his own wife who called upon him, and that Mrs. O'Hara wished to speak to him. The spirit replied that he would speak to his wife.
"Mike," said Mrs. O'Hara, "are you alright?"
"Yes," he replied. "I am alright."
"Tell me, are you happy there?"
"Yes, I am happy here."
"Are you happier there than you were on earth with me?"
"Yes," replied the spirit, "I am much happier here than I was on earth with you."
Mrs. O'Hara seemed a bit shaken, but she had one last question. "Tell me, my husband, what is it like there? What is heaven really like?"
"Don't be absurd, woman," roared the truthful spirit. "Whatever made you think I was in heaven?"
Even hell will look like heaven in the beginning, because you have created a bigger hell on earth. You are living in such misery, in such hell on earth, of your own creation, that when you enter into hell, if there is any hell, you will find great relief in the beginning.
It will be only later on that you come to understand that this is hell. But we talk about everybody who dies - that he has gone to heaven, that he has become a beloved of God, that God has chosen him, called him forth... ways of avoiding death.
But Buddha talks continuously about death. His first sutra is: YOU ARE AS THE YELLOW LEAF. Yellow leaf represents death. Any moment it is going to fall down.
Dust unto dust, any moment and death is going to possess you. Tomorrow may never come, even the next moment is not certain. This is the only moment you can be certain of, next moment you may not be here. What are you doing to prepare for that great journey into the unknown?
YOU ARE AS THE YELLOW LEAF. THE MESSENGERS OF DEATH ARE AT HAND.
YOU ARE TO TRAVEL FAR AWAY.
It is a long journey, a long long journey, because whatsoever you know will be left behind: your friends, your family, your money, your power, your prestige, all will be left behind. You will be going all alone, even your body will be left behind. You will not be able to recognize your own face, because you don't know what your original face is.
You know only the bodily face, that too you know through the medium of the mirror.
You have not encountered your reality, you have not gone into your inner being, you have not seen yourself, you don't know who you are. All the friends gone, family, money, power, prestige, body... will you be able even to recognize that it is you? You will be simply in a chaos. Buddha asks you:
WHAT WILL YOU TAKE WITH YOU?
Tomorrow is death - YOU ARE LIKE THE YELLOW LEAF - next moment is death:
WHAT WILL YOU TAKE WITH YOU? Have you earned anything that you can take with you? If you have not earned anything, then your life has been a sheer wastage.
You may have accumulated much wealth, you may have become very famous, but all that is futile. You cannot take it with you. Your degrees, your titles, your awards, all will be left behind. You will be going utterly alone. Is there something which you can take with you?
There is only one thing which you can take with you, and that is true wealth. Buddha calls it meditation, awareness, watchfulness, mindfulness, consciousness. If you become more and more conscious, you can take that consciousness with you. But you are living a very very unconscious life. Your whole life is mechanical, you simply go on repeating.
You are not really living, you are being lived by unconscious desires.
Buddha says: Meditation is the only wealth, because you can take it beyond death. In fact he says this is the criterion: if something can be taken beyond death it is true wealth. If it cannot be taken beyond death, it is untrue wealth, it is a deception. And not only that you are deceiving others, you are deceiving yourself. And when death will knock at your door, you will weep, you will cry, but then nothing can be done.
It is said of Alexander the Great that when he was dying, tears were rolling down his cheeks, because the physicians had told him that he had only twenty-four hours at the most; his death was absolutely certain within twenty-four hours. His physician asked, "Why are you crying? You are a brave man."
Alexander said, "I had promised my mother that I would come back home. In twenty- four hours I cannot reach there. At least forty-eight hours are needed, and I am ready to give my whole kingdom to you if you can manage twenty-four hours more for me. I would like to fulfill my promise. I have given my word, and my mother will be waiting for me."
The physician said, "It is impossible. Nothing can be done. In fact twenty-four hours is also too optimistic a hope. As I see it, things are going down the drain. Within two or three hours you will be gone. Twenty-four hours is the most, more than that is not possible."
And Alexander died within six hours. Before he died, he asked for one thing only.
He said, "When you take me towards the cemetery, let my hands hang outside the casket."
"Why?" asked his generals. "It has never been done, it is not conventional. Why this eccentric idea?"
Alexander said, "For a simple reason. I would like people to know that I am going empty-handed. I am dying like a dog. Let people know. I lived with the idea that I am great, that I am the world conqueror. But all that I have managed to do is waste my life.
My whole kingdom is not capable of purchasing even a few minutes for me."
Death is so powerful, but one thing it cannot take away from you, that is meditation. If you can become rooted in your being, alert, conscious, watchful, you will see that you are not the body, and you are not the mind, and you are not the heart. You are simply the witnessing soul, and that witnessing will go with you. Then you can witness even death. That witnessing is the source of all religion. Those who have attained to that source are the enlightened ones, are the buddhas.
In life, whatever you are doing, whatsoever it is, is wrong if it is not leading you towards meditation.
You must have heard about the famous Peter principle. The principle is: If anything can go wrong, it will.
The second principle of Peter is: No matter which way you ride, it is uphill and against the wind.
And the third principle of Peter is: You can't win, you can't break even, you can't even quit the game.
But Peter... I don't know who this Peter is. Nobody knows, so many Peters are petering around the world. But it seems he has not heard about Buddha. Yes, it is true you can't win. It is true, you can't break even. It is true, you can't even quit the game. And all three have been tried, and nothing has succeeded. Capitalism tries to win the game, that is the capitalist approach, the approach of Alexander the Great. Socialism tries to go against the second, that you can't break even. Capitalism has failed, because all Alexanders have failed, and socialism has failed, all Stalins and Maos have failed. And the pseudoreligious person has failed: he tries to quit the game, and that too can't be done.
But there is a fourth thing that only buddhas know. There is no need to quit the game, you can watch it. There is no need to escape, you can be a witness. And that's my approach too. To my sannyasins this is my message: don't be an escapist, because nobody can escape. Where will you escape to? Wherever you go you will be the same, wherever you will go it is the same world. And wherever you go your mind will create the same world again, because the seeds of the world are within you. You can't quit the game, it is true. But you can be a witness of the game, the game of life, you can transcend it. Witnessing is transcendence.
And once in a while you come to know it too. Every person, once in a while, comes to have a little glimpse of witnessing.
Churchill is reported to have said: Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.
In life, many times you stumble upon the truth, many times you feel a great bliss arising whenever witnessing happens: witnessing a sunset or a bird on the wing, a roseflower opening in the early morning sun, a lotus in the lake. Just witnessing, you are not doing anything about it; you can't do anything about the sunset, you are just seeing it. You have forgotten that you are a doer, you are just a mirror, a pure mirror reflecting. And such joy arises in you, such bliss, such unbounded bliss descends on you, and great silence and great beauty is experienced.
You think that it is because of the sunset that you are feeling so joyous? No, your analysis is wrong. You stumbled upon the truth, but you picked yourself up and continued on. You analyzed wrongly. It is not the sunset, it is not the lotus flower, it is not the beauty of a starry night that gives you silence and peace and bliss; it is witnessing. But because it happened accidentally, you missed it.
Buddha says: do it deliberately, consciously. That's what yoga is all about - conscious effort, deliberate effort of becoming available to bliss, to silence. Buddha says:
YOU ARE THE LAMP TO LIGHTEN THE WAY.
THEN HURRY, HURRY.
On the one hand he says: YOU ARE THE YELLOW LEAF. If you are unaware, you are the yellow leaf, you are death. But if you become aware, YOU ARE THE LAMP TO LIGHTEN THE WAY. THEN HURRY, HURRY. Don't waste time, because who knows, there may be no time left - this may be the only moment. Always remember that this is the last moment. Behave as if this is the last moment. Each night when you go to bed, remember that this is the last time you are going to bed. Who knows, tomorrow morning you may not rise.
If you can exist each moment with such intensity, as if this is the last, great energies will be released in you. You will be so focused, so centered that you will become integrated, that you will be born anew, that you will become a soul, that you will not remain just a body.
WHEN YOUR LIGHT SHINES WITHOUT IMPURITY OR DESIRE YOU WILL COME INTO THE BOUNDLESS COUNTRY.
And as your awareness deepens, your light shines forth. We are made of the stuff called light. The whole existence is made of light. Awareness is igniting the fire within you.
And once you become aflame desires will be burned in that fire, impurities will be burned in that fire. You will come out of it as pure gold. You will come into the boundless country.
Buddha says there is only one impurity: desire. Hence he uses impurity or desire synonymously; desire is impurity. What is desire? Desire means there is future, desire means there is tomorrow, desire means you are projecting yourself into the next moment, and that is foolish, stupid. This is the only moment you can be certain of.
Desire is a way of postponing this moment for something in the future which is not yet, and may never be. Desire is deceiving yourself.
But people go on deceiving, they go on pushing their lives into the future. Today they will say tomorrow, and tomorrow again they will say tomorrow, and they will go on saying this. Many people come to me....
Just a few days ago one old man wrote a letter to me. His young son who is only thirty wants to take sannyas, and the old man is very angry; he is seventy. He wrote a letter to me that said, "My son is only thirty, so young, and he wants to become a sannyasin. Is it right, is it right of you to give him sannyas at such a young age?"
I inquired of the old man, "I am ready not to give sannyas to your son, if you replace him. You are seventy. What about you?"
And he wrote, "Yes, some day I will also take sannyas, but the time has not come yet."
But how will you manage? Death may come before and if the time has not come even when you are seventy, when is it going to come?
There are ways of postponing; desire is a way of postponing. Today is ugly, miserable; tomorrow you hope. And because of that hope you somehow manage to drag on. It is only a question of today - tomorrow everything will be alright. It is not going to be so!
Tomorrow is going to be born out of your today.
I have heard another principle. Somebody just like Peter, his name is Murphy - Murphy's maxim. He says: Smile, because tomorrow is going to be worse.
This moment is all. Buddha insists very much: Live in the moment. And desire does not allow you to live in the moment. And you go on repeating the same things, you move in circles. Just watch your life, look back. You have been moving in circles: the same anger, the same sex, the same greed, the same ambition, the same postponement and the same desiring mind. When are you going to wake up?
A bartender at a very posh gentlemen's club was on duty when a distinguished gentleman seated himself at the bar, but made no attempt to order a drink. The bartender inquired what the gentleman would have, but the man replied that he was not drinking because he had tried liquor once and had not liked it.
The bartender hated to see the man just sitting there, so tried offering him a cigar. "No, thank you," was his firm reply. "I tried a cigar once, but I did not like it."
The bartender persisted in trying to make the customer comfortable, so he suggested that perhaps if he stepped into the billiard room he might find a friendly game of cards to sit in on. "Ah no," he replied, "I did gamble once, and did not care for it at all. I will just sit here, if you don't mind. You see, I am waiting for my son."
"Ah," replied the bartender sympathetically, "your only child I assume."
But very few people are so alert. They go on repeating the same things again and again.
And not only in one life, in many many lives you have been doing the same things.
Desire means you are dragged out of the moment; that creates a tension, that creates anxiety, that creates hope. And then finally hope turns sour, becomes frustration. Each hope leads you into anguish. Buddha calls it the only impurity. Cut the roots of desire, live in the moment so totally, pull yourself out of the past and don't project yourself into the future. Let this moment be all and all. And your life will have such a purity, such a crystal-clear consciousness that right now you cannot imagine.
In fact, listening to buddhas you start creating new desires: a desire of becoming pure, a desire of becoming a sannyasin some day, a desire of meditating tomorrow. That's how you misinterpret them. Your misinterpretations rarely, very rarely can be of any help, only accidentally. Otherwise, ninety-nine point nine percent, you will go on playing the same stupid game, even in the name of religion.
An old country doctor found his work load too heavy and managed to persuade a young doctor to share his practice. "Just remember, son," cautioned the older man, "these are simple country folk. They don't have much of a way with words, and sometimes they won't be able to describe their symptoms accurately. But just keep your eyes open, and you will be able to diagnose their ailments with no trouble at all."
That very evening the two doctors were called to the aid of a beautiful young girl who lay in a stupor. The older doctor took her pulse while the younger man tried to take her temperature. His efforts only seemed to upset her, and her violent tossing and turning caused him to drop the thermometer. He bent over and picked it up and put it back in his bag.
He waved the older doctor aside and whispered a few words into the young woman's ear. Whatever he said seemed to soothe her and the two men went on their way. When they got in the car, the old doctor demanded to know what the young man had said to the patient.
"I simply told her she would have to cut down on her political activity."
"Now that is ridiculous," exclaimed the old practitioner. "She was practically in a coma, and you thought it was politics? You are a fool!"
"No, sir. I just did what you told me to do. I just kept my eyes open."
"Now what is that supposed to mean?" demanded the irate physician.
"Well, when I bent over to pick up the thermometer, I saw the mayor under the bed."
Yes, once in a while accidentally, you may be able to understand a part of the message.
But the part cannot be of much help. An accidental understanding is not liberation.
Understanding has to be deliberate and conscious.
Now, this young doctor will do it again and again - everywhere, wherever he will go, he will look under the bed. You can't hope that you will find mayors everywhere, and he will be at a loss. This time it worked. And sometimes a few wrong things can work.
And once they work you become obsessed with them, and you start trying them in every possible way, hoping that they will become your very life-style. They will simply create chaos.
Hence on the path it is absolutely necessary to be a disciple, so that a constant source of light remains available to you; so the master can go on forcing you to see things as they are, and helping you to become deliberately conscious.
It is a long, arduous process, much hammering is needed on your head. You have remained unconscious for so long that unconsciousness has become your second nature, and it has grown so thick, that unless these rocks of unconsciousness are broken, waters of consciousness will not flow in your being. The first thing you can do is, start uprooting the weeds of desire: all kinds of desire, worldly and otherworldly.
That's why Buddha never talks of heaven, never talks about heavenly pleasures, never talks about moksha, nirvana. He never says to his disciples that great bliss is waiting for you, but goes on insisting: be desireless, be alert, be aware. Because if you say to people that great joy is waiting for you if you become desireless, they can try to become desireless, but that too will be only another desire. The desire to be desireless is still a desire, and it is not going to help.
YOUR LIFE IS FALLING AWAY.
DEATH IS AT HAND.
WHERE WILL YOU REST ON THE WAY?
WHAT HAVE YOU TAKEN WITH YOU?
This is Buddha's special way - he repeats. When for the first time Buddhist sutras were translated into non-Indian languages, the translators were at a loss to understand why he repeats so much. Particularly when he was translated into German, French, English...
the translators went on cutting his repetitions. He used to repeat for a certain reason:
the reason is your sleepiness. He was not writing, he was communicating. He was talking to disciples, and he knew that you go on missing.
The truth has to be hammered again and again and again. Hence the repetition. The repetition is significant. One time you may miss, a second time you may be able to listen; the second time you may miss, a third time you may be able to listen. And who knows - there are moments in your being when you are less sleepy, and when you are very sleepy. When you are less sleepy something can penetrate in. When you are very sleepy, densely asleep, then nothing can penetrate.
YOU ARE THE LAMP TO LIGHTEN THE WAY.
THEN HURRY, HURRY.
WHEN YOUR LIGHT SHINES PURELY YOU WILL NOT BE BORN AND YOU WILL NOT DIE.
He says, "Only one thing I can promise you. If you become enlightened, if you become fully alert and aware and conscious, if you dispel all desire and darkness from your being, this much I can promise: you will not die." Of course, if you are not going to be born, how can you die? There will be no birth and no death, and to go beyond birth and death is to go into eternity, is to be immortal. That's what nirvana is, that's what absolute freedom is.
Birth is a bondage, it is a confinement, you are chained into the body. And death again leads you into another birth, it is a vicious circle. Birth leads you into death, death leads you into birth, and you go on moving in a circle. Jump out of the wheel of birth and death.
AS A SILVERSMITH SIFTS DUST FROM SILVER, REMOVE YOUR OWN IMPURITIES LITTLE BY LITTLE.
Don't be greedy. Many times it happens, you become spiritually greedy, you start asking too much without any inner capacity to receive it. You start demanding too much - that too is desire and greed. Don't be greedy, go slow, go steady. Be persistent in your effort but be ready to wait too.
Hope for the best, and expect the worst, so nothing will ever disappoint you, and nothing will ever frustrate you.
OR AS IRON IS CORRODED BY RUST YOUR OWN MISCHIEF WILL CONSUME YOU.
If you don't listen to the buddhas you will be consumed by your own mischief. The harm that you do to yourself is such that nobody can do it to you; you are the greatest enemy to yourself, right now as you are. Of course you can be the greatest friend too, but you have not tried it.
All that you have done to yourself has been just a constant creation of hell, but you go on doing it, for the simple reason that you never take the responsibility on your own shoulders. You always throw the responsibility on others, on fate, on God, on the society, on the economic structure, on politics, on the state, on this, on that. You go on throwing your responsibility on others. This is a sure way to remain a slave forever.
Take the whole responsibility.
When Buddha says, "You will be consumed by your own mischief," he is saying, "Remember that whatsoever happens to you is your own doing. Good or bad, bliss or misery, darkness or light - whatsoever you reap you have sown, and you are absolutely responsible for it and nobody else."
Giving responsibility to somebody else is becoming a slave. Take the whole responsibility on your own self. In the beginning it is hard, it is a burden, but soon you realize: if you can create hell, you can create heaven too. Just more awareness will be needed. Hell is downhill, no awareness is needed. Heaven is uphill, more and more awareness will be needed. When you move towards the peaks, you will have to be very watchful.
People are watchful of wrong things. If you have money, you are very watchful. You go on constantly looking into your pockets. You look again and again into your suitcase to see whether the money is safe. That's how thieves come to know that you have something. When a person constantly goes on touching his pocket, he himself is inviting thieves. He is making them aware, they are also watching. When you are hiding something, you are inviting people - it must be precious. Just throw the kohinoor diamond in the garden, and nobody will steal it.
People are very watchful about wrong things, but not watchful about their inner being.
Mulla Nasruddin and his family were walking to the cemetery with the body of his recently departed wife. Suddenly one of the pallbearers tripped on a cobblestone and fell. The casket dropped to the ground and opened. Everyone stood in shock as the dead Mrs. Nasruddin opened her eyes. She was very much alive, the victim of catatonia.
Five years went by and Mrs. Nasruddin passed away, this time a victim of natural causes, but Nasruddin had not forgotten. And on the way to the cemetery as the pallbearers approached the spot where her casket was dropped, he shouted, "For God's sake, watch the cobblestones!"
Even after five years he had not forgotten, but within five seconds you forget. If it is real inner watchfulness even five seconds is too much.
George Gurdjieff used to give to his disciples his pocket watch and would tell them, "Just watch the second hand. If you can manage for sixty seconds, one minute, I will accept you as a disciple. Remember, looking at the second hand, remember that 'I am watching the second hand... I am watching the second hand.' Don't forget it!"
And out of a hundred it was rare that even one or two persons were able to manage for sixty seconds. Sixty seconds... within five seconds the mind goes far away, it starts thinking of other things, it forgets. You try it, keep a watch and try, and you will see within five to seven seconds you have gone into the past, into the future. You are no longer now and here. But about unnecessary things, trivia, you are so careful.
Your mischief is going to consume you. And we are all doing mischief. We think because we are doing with others... that is absolutely wrong. Whatsoever you are doing with others is going to fall upon you, it is going to rebound on you a thousandfold. The world is constantly throwing things back to you. If you throw flowers, flowers will be coming back. If you throw stones, stones will be coming back. And why are you throwing stones, why are you so violent? Why you are behaving in such a mischievous way? You are thinking, "This is the way to win, this is the way to compete. This is the way to be victorious in the world."
In the first place, out of millions of struggling people one percent will be able to become Alexander the Great. All the remaining ones will fall in great frustration. And secondly, the one who after arduous effort comes to the peak, finds the peak utterly empty, although he will not say so, because that looks silly. You worked so hard, you struggled so much, and then you arrived and became president of a country - and then telling people that there is nothing here.... You are bound to say, "Aha! I have arrived, what beauty, what joy!" You HAVE to say it, just to save your face.
And people are ready to do anything to win. They can crawl like dogs, they can wag their tails like dogs, they can do anything to win. And ask the winners - they are utterly empty, but not honest enough to say that nothing has been achieved.
McNellis shuffled home one night in a drunken stupor, carrying the biggest ham Mrs.
McNellis had ever seen.
"Now then, out with it," she exclaimed. "Where did you get that ham?"
"Won it at the tavern, drinking with the boys, me darlin'."
"And how did you come to win it, may I ask?" she continued.
"Me love," said McNellis proudly. "It was given to the man with the biggest organ.
Everyone at the bar opened up and...."
"Kevin Patrick Michael McNellis!" shrieked his wife. "You don't mean to tell me you took out that thing in front of everybody?"
"Now, darlin'," said the Irishman, "not the whole thing. Just enough to win."
The Buddha says:
NEGLECTED, THE SACRED VERSES RUST.
FOR BEAUTY RUSTS WITHOUT USE AND UNREPAIRED THE HOUSE FALLS INTO RUIN, AND THE WATCH, WITHOUT VIGILANCE, FAILS.
IN THIS WORLD AND THE NEXT THERE IS IMPURITY AND IMPURITY:
WHEN A WOMAN LACKS DIGNITY, WHEN A MAN LACKS GENEROSITY.
BUT THE GREATEST IMPURITY IS IGNORANCE.
FREE YOURSELF FROM IT.
NEGLECTED, THE SACRED VERSES RUST. FOR BEAUTY RUSTS WITHOUT USE.
And that's how your great potential for awareness is getting rusted, neglected - neglected for lives together. You have completely forgotten that you can become a buddha. You have completely forgotten your real nature, your authentic being; much rust has grown around you, and now you think, "This is all that I am."
FOR BEAUTY RUSTS WITHOUT USE AND UNREPAIRED THE HOUSE FALLS INTO RUIN, AND THE WATCH, WITHOUT VIGILANCE, FAILS.
IN THIS WORLD AND THE NEXT THERE IS IMPURITY AND IMPURITY....
There are all kinds of impurities, but three Buddha specifically mentions. They are significant. First he says: WHEN A WOMAN LACKS DIGNITY, grace, and WHEN A MAN LACKS GENEROSITY, Sharing for sharing's sake. Why does Buddha make this difference? This is tremendously significant. This is part of the psychology of the buddhas.
The feminine mind is basically receptive, and the masculine mind is basically aggressive. The feminine mind is inward-going, and the masculine mind is outward- going. The inward-going mind can grow into grace very easily. Hence the woman has a natural grace, a natural beauty, a natural roundness, a certain sweet aura around her. If she becomes more aware, her grace deepens. If she becomes more aware, she becomes pure grace.
Many times I have been asked why there have been so many men masters, but not so many women masters. The reason is that when the woman becomes enlightened, she becomes so passive, so receptive, that she cannot teach. Teaching means approaching the other. Teaching is in a certain way an outgoing effort. The woman is a womb. You never ask why a woman never becomes a father. The woman becomes the mother, she can't become a father. Her sexual energies are not outgoing, they are ingoing, she has an interiority. And the same is true about her spirituality. The woman becomes the perfect disciple. No man can compete with the woman as far as disciplehood is concerned.
Hence it is always the same proportion with Buddha, with Mahavira, with Jesus, with everybody. The woman proves to be the more authentic disciple. When Jesus was crucified all the men disciples escaped. Those twelve apostles, not even a single one....
But the women disciples were there. Even the prostitute, Mary Magdalene, was there; she did not escape, she was ready to risk her life.
Mahavira had forty thousand sannyasins: thirty thousand were women and ten thousand were men. And exactly the same was the proportion with Buddha - and you can see here. People ask me why I am giving the whole ashram into women's hands.
What can I do? They are the best disciples, they know how to say yes, they know how to trust, they know how to be committed totally. Man remains a little skeptical, somewhere deep down the no remains alive. Even if he trusts, he trusts conditionally.
The woman trusts unconditionally, her trust is forever. The man trusts intellectually.
The woman trusts with her whole body, mind, soul, with her every fiber. Her trust is love not logic.
Hence Buddha says, if a woman is not graceful she is missing something, that is an impurity. The absence of grace in a woman is impurity. It can be forgiven in a man, but not in a woman; and in a man, generosity, sharing, giving - that is an outgoing phenomenon. If a man is not generous, if he cannot give, then he is not really a man.
That's why there have been so many male masters, because it is generosity, it is giving, it is sharing. The woman can receive, the man can give. The question is not who is the master and who is the disciple. The question is, in whatsoever way you are perfect you are fulfilling your nature. Be a perfect disciple and you will enter into God, be a perfect master and you will enter into God. Perfection is the key. It doesn't matter whether you are a disciple or a master, but be perfect.
And thirdly, and the most important, which has nothing to do with man or woman, which is applicable to both is: BUT THE GREATEST IMPURITY IS IGNORANCE. Not knowing yourself is the greatest impurity. The first two impurities are peripheral, on the circumference; the third and most important is central, is at the very core. Hence it has no male/female division. Man and woman are only different on the circumference, but at the center, consciousness is neither male nor female. Its expressions are male and female but its purest nature is beyond duality. Not knowing oneself is the greatest impurity.
How are you going to know yourself? Drop desiring and become more conscious. Free yourself from self-ignorance. Be pure. Free yourself from desiring. Be in a state of no desire, alert, conscious, and you have arrived home.
Remember, until you become a buddha you have wasted your life. Buddhahood is your flowering, your fragrance. A tree is fulfilled when it blooms, and a man is fulfilled when he releases the fragrance of buddhahood, when he becomes luminous; then he comes to know who he is. In knowing that, all is known. In knowing that, God is known. In knowing that, truth is achieved - you become the truth, and truth liberates. Truth is freedom.
Enough for today.
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 7