Is there life before death?

Fri, 12 February 1980 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 9
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
Archive Code:
Short Title:
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The first question:

Question 1:



Prem Barkha, there is infinitely more, but your wanting it is a barrier in reaching to it.

Desiring is like a wall that surrounds you; nondesiring becomes a door. This is one of the most paradoxical but very fundamental laws of life: desire and you will miss, don't desire and it is yours.

Jesus says: Seek and ye shall find. Buddha says: Seek ye not; otherwise you will miss.

Jesus says: Ask and it shall be given to you. Buddha says: Ask not; otherwise it will never be given to you. Jesus says: Knock and the doors shall be opened. Buddha says:

Wait... look... the doors are not closed at all. If you knock, your very knocking shows that you are knocking somewhere else - on the wall - because the doors are always open.

Jesus is as much enlightened as Buddha - because there is no question of being more enlightened or less enlightened. But then why this difference?

The difference comes from the people to whom Jesus is speaking. He is speaking to people who are uninitiated, uninitiated into the mysteries of life. Buddha is speaking to a totally different kind of group, the initiates, the adepts, those who can understand the paradoxical. The paradoxical means the mysterious.

Barkha, you say, "My life seems so meaningless and empty...."

It seems so meaningless and empty because you are constantly hankering for more.

Drop that hankering, and then you will go through a radical transformation. The emptiness disappears immediately as you stop asking for the more. The emptiness is a by-product of asking for more. It is a shadow that follows the desire for more. Let the desire disappear and look back: there is no shadow anymore.

Asking for more is what our mind is - constantly asking for more. It makes no difference how much you have, it will go on asking for more. And because it goes on asking for more you go on feeling you are empty, you are missing so much. See the point: the emptiness is created by asking for more. The emptiness is not there, it is a fallacy, but it will look very real when you are caught in the net of desiring.

See that desire is the cause of your emptiness. Watch your desiring, and in watching it disappears, and with it disappears the emptiness. Then comes a deep deep fulfillment.

You feel so full, so overfull that you start overflowing. You have so much that you start sharing, you start giving - giving for the sheer joy of giving, for no other reason. You become like a cloud full of rainwater: it has to shower somewhere. It will shower even on the rocks where nothing is going to grow; it will shower unconditionally. It will not ask whether this is the right place to shower or not. It will be so burdened with rainwater that it has to shower to unburden itself.

When desiring disappears you are so full of bliss, so full of contentment, so full of fullness that you start sharing. It happens on its own accord. And then there is meaning in life, then there is significance in life. Then there is poetry, beauty, grace. Then there is music, harmony - your life becomes a dance.

Barkha, this emptiness and meaninglessness is your doing, so you can undo it.

You say, "I keep thinking there must be something more."

That's what is creating the trouble. And I am not saying there is not something more, there is - much more than you can ever imagine. I have seen it! I have heard it! I have experienced it! There is infinitely much more! But you will never come into contact with it if desiring continues. Desiring is a wall, no-desiring is a bridge. This is the very essence of Buddha's teaching. This is his basic message to the world. Bliss is a state of no-desire, misery is a state of desire.

You say, "I want there to be something more."

The more you will want the more you will miss. You can choose. If you want to remain miserable, want more, more and more, and you will be missing more and more. This is your choice, remember, this is your responsibility. Nobody is forcing you. If you really want to see that which is, don't hanker for the future, for more. Just see to that which is.

The other day Buddha was saying: See that which is and see that which is not. That is meditation, and meditation takes you beyond mind. Mind is constantly asking, desiring, demanding and creating frustration because it lives in expectations. The whole world is suffering through meaninglessness, and the reason is that for the first time man is asking more than he has ever asked. For the first time man is desiring more than he has ever desired. Science has given him so much hope, so much support to desire more.

In the beginning of this century there was great optimism all over the world because science was opening new doors and everybody was thinking, "The golden age has arrived, it is just by the corner. We have reached it. In our very life we will see it - that paradise has descended on the earth." Naturally everybody started desiring for more and more and more. Paradise has not descended on the earth. Instead, the earth has become a hell.

Science released your desiring, it supported your desires. It supported your hopes that those desires can be fulfilled. And the outcome is that the whole world is living in deep misery. It has never been so before. It is very strange, because for the first time man has more possessions than ever. For the first time man has more safety, more security, more scientific technology, more comfort than ever before. But more meaninglessness is also there. Man has never been in such a despair, in such a desperate effort to get more.

Science gives you desiring; religion gives you an insight into desiring. That insight helps you to drop desire. And then suddenly something that was hidden up to now becomes unhidden, becomes manifest. Something wells up within your being, and everything that you had ever desired is fulfilled... and more. More is available than you could have imagined, than anybody has ever imagined. Unimaginable bliss descends on you. But prepare the ground. Prepare the right soil. Nondesiring is the name of the right soil.

I have given you the name Prem Barkha. It means "love showering." Yes, exactly that can happen. Love can shower, bliss can shower, God can shower on you. Just be in a receptive mood. You are aggressive, you want more - that is aggression, subtle aggression. Be receptive, open, available, and then you are entitled to all the miracles possible.

The second question:

Question 2:



Sant, that is only a feeling. It happens to almost everybody here. And the simple reason is not that you have become detached, but you have become afraid.

So many women write to me, "Why in your commune are men so afraid of us?"

Man has always been afraid. This is nothing new. But one man was living with one woman; he was afraid but was able to manage somehow. Now here he sees women and women and women. He becomes really afraid. There are biological reasons for the fear.

Women are capable of multiple orgasms, man is not. Sexually man is very poor compared to women. No man is capable of satisfying any woman. If the woman is allowed freedom she will make anybody afraid, because she will make you feel very inferior. She is capable of multiple orgasms: within seconds she can have many orgasms and you can have only one orgasm. And with one orgasm you are finished! She has not even started and you are finished - that is very embarrassing. Because of this fear, man has repressed women all over the world. It is not that man is stronger, that is why he has repressed women. No, it is out of fear.

Man has destroyed women's capacity for orgasm. For centuries man has told them that orgasm is possible only to men, not to women. He has taught women to be absolutely unalive in a sexual relationship. He has told women, conditioned them, hypnotized them for centuries that it is more womanlike, ladylike, to be just silent, unmoving. It is for the man to make all the movements, take all the initiative. Hence man makes love, not the woman. The woman is just there, a silent partner. And the reason is great fear because, if she becomes an active partner, she will reduce the man to almost nothingness. If she becomes active the man is very much afraid. How is he going to satisfy her? All his manhood will be at stake. He will no longer be capable of bragging that he is man, something higher, superior. Sexually he is not; sexually he is very inferior. In a muscular way he may be stronger than the woman, but sexually he is not.

There are countries in Africa where operations are even done on small girls. The clitoris is cut when they are very small - a very painful operation - just to make sure that they don't have any idea of orgasm. In Sudan you will not find a single woman who knows anything about orgasm because their very mechanism for orgasm is damaged; their vagina is more like a wound than a healthy organ. What fear! - to cut the clitoris. Then they will always be inferior. In India I have asked many women, "Have you ever achieved orgasm?", and they say, "What is it?" I have never come across an Indian woman who knows what orgasm is, because that is very un-Indian, for an Indian woman to feel orgasmic, to rejoice in making love.

I have heard that a man was making love to a woman on the seabeach. And then the policeman came and said, "Are you mad or something? She is dead! What are you doing?"

He said, "My God! I thought she was Indian!"

The Indian woman has to just be there, not doing anything. She has not to show any signs of joy. If a woman really becomes orgasmic she will wake up the whole neighborhood! She will shout and sing and dance and jump. She will do Dynamic Meditation! And the whole neighborhood will know what is happening.

Afraid of women, man has repressed them in subtle ways - and sometimes not so subtle, like these Sudanese people. In Africa many Mohammedan countries do it - the operation, the surgery on the clitoris. Not only that, they sew the vagina of the woman so much that making love to a woman becomes almost impossible. And the childbirth is so painful that once a woman has made love to a man she decides never to do that again, it is so painful! Once she has given birth to a child she decides never to be pregnant again; the whole experience is nightmarish. And this has been done by man, and the priests have been behind it.

Sant, in my commune it is a totally different phenomenon. Centuries-old taboos are broken, centuries-old inhibitions are thrown to the winds. I am all for freedom, particularly sexual freedom, because all other freedoms are rooted in that. If a man or a woman is not orgasmic he is not alive, she is not alive - they are dead. They breathe, they eat, they walk, but that is not life. They only vegetate.

A scientist was doing an experiment on a certain species of fish. In that species the female fish, whenever approached by a male fish, starts moving away in a very coquettish way, alluring, enchanting, inviting, but starts escaping - does not really escape but pretends that she is escaping. That excites the male; he starts running after her. The more he runs after her, the more he becomes excited, his passion is aroused.

Then, of course in a very diplomatic way, the female fish allows him to make love.

One scientist, Lorenz, trained a female fish just to do the opposite: that whenever she comes across the male, go, take the initiative, jump upon the male fish. And Lorenz was surprised: whenever this was done, the male fish was so much afraid; the male fish could not believe his own eyes, what is happening! And the male fish was unable to make love - a sudden impotence! The mechanism works in a certain way: the female has to be seductive but unavailable - not absolutely unavailable because that will destroy the whole game, just a pretension of unavailability. That excites the male energy. That makes the male more and more interested, obsessed. He is functioning at the optimum, and when he is functioning at the optimum he makes love easily - because the male mind, whether in men or in mice, is the same. The male mind wants to conquer.

And, Sant, you are in the same situation like the male fish. Now female fish are jumping upon you, making you afraid, and you are trying to hide the fact in a beautiful religious term: detachment. It is nothing! If you feel it is detachment, just go to the Himalayas for one month - sit in a cave, and you will think only of women and women!

I am just like another Lorenz. This commune is a pond, and I am training female fish to embrace every male fish!

When one is really detached - out of understanding, out of meditation - then there is no detachment either; that thing has to be understood. When one is really detached one is neither attached nor detached. The whole thing becomes irrelevant as if there is no question anymore of attraction, of nonattraction. The whole question drops. You are simply yourself. You don't think in terms of women, women don't think in terms of men. Thinking, "I am attached" - or "detached" - means you are still thinking in terms of women.

Real detachment - that which comes out of understanding - has no reference to the other. You are simply yourself, utterly joyous, happy, so blissful that you don't need the other. The other has been forgotten completely, the other exists no more. A woman will pass and you will not think whether she is a man or a woman. That is transcending your biology, and that is one of the greatest things in life - to transcend your biology - because only then, for the first time, you become something superior to the animals.

Otherwise there is not much difference, maybe some difference of quantity but not of quality. Unless you transcend biology you remain part of the animal kingdom, another species of animal, that's all.

Sant, now watch your detachment, whether it is fear or understanding. Have you understood the stupidity of the whole game? If you have understood, then you will not ask, "Now what is next?" There is nothing next then. You have transcended biology and you will be really at rest with yourself. You will become orgasmic without the help of the other. And orgasmicness will become so natural, so spontaneous, it will have no reference to sex at all.

A Buddha is orgasmic twenty-four hours a day because he is rejoicing each moment in its totality; there is nothing more. If you have transcended the biology, if sex has disappeared - through understanding, remember, not through some kind of repression or fear - then you have entered into God, you have become divine.

The third question:

Question 3:



Anand Nagaro, Gautama the Buddha has taught only one thing, and that is the middle way. Never go to the extreme. All extremes are the same. Be exactly in the middle and you will be freed, you will be liberated.

There are people who are obsessed with sex; that is one extreme. Then there are people who escape from women, and if they are women they escape from men; they escape to the monasteries, to the caves. They are also obsessed - of course, in the opposite direction. That is the other extreme. There are people who are greedy, too much greedy; their whole life is nothing but greed. And then there are people who renounce, who become afraid of touching anything.

There are Jaina monks; in Buddha's time they were very influential. Buddha's whole fight was with Jaina monks, because they were extremists. They remain naked because if you wear clothes you may become attached to the clothes. They will not carry anything with them, not even a razor; when their hair is too long, they will pull it out.

They will not wear shoes, they will walk barefoot, because shoes are a luxury. Naked, without any possessions, they impress people very much.

Extremists are always very impressive. You are greedy, you are after money, after power, prestige; they have renounced all. Certainly, a great respect arises in your heart for them because you know you cannot do this; it is too cold to be naked. And to live without money.... The Jaina monk cannot touch money; he is not allowed to touch it, he is not even allowed to SEE money. How can you live without money? A great respect arises in you. You live on one extreme and you respect the other extreme. Sooner or later, when you will become fed up with your extreme, you will start moving to the other extreme. But no basic change happens. The man who is afraid of touching money is still in a state of ignorance, unawareness.

Buddha says: Stop in the middle. There is no need to be indulgent, there is no need to renounce either. Just be in the middle, exactly in the middle. He has a great point there:

if you remain exactly in the middle, that is the point from where transcendence happens.

It is like the pendulum of a clock. It goes from the right to the left, from the left to the right. Try to understand the pendulum and its process because it is very similar to the process of your mind. When the pendulum is going towards the right, visibly it is going towards the right, but invisibly it is gaining momentum to go to the left. When it is going to the left it is gaining momentum to go to the right.

When you are indulging you are gaining momentum for renouncing the world, and when you are renouncing you will gain momentum to indulge again. And this can go on for lives together. But hold the pendulum in the middle and the clock stops.

That's what Buddha says: hold the pendulum in the middle and the mind stops. The mind is the clock because the mind is time, the mind is desire. It brings past and future - - it IS time. Hold it in the middle. Don't live in the past and don't live in the future. Be in the present, that is the middle. Don't be indulgent and don't be a renunciate; be in the middle. Fulfill the necessities of life. Don't be obsessed by possessing things and don't be obsessed by renouncing them. Both are obsessions and both are pathological states.

Avoid both, be in the middle. In the middle is balance.

You ask me, Nagaro, "Whatever I do, I try too hard. Please tell us about Buddha's 'right effort'."

Right effort means don't try too hard. Right effort also means don't stop trying completely. It means, just try in a relaxed way, neither too hard nor too soft, just in a relaxed way, in a very playful way. When you are trying too hard you become tense; when you are not trying at all you become lazy. When you are trying playfully you are neither lazy nor tense. Your life has a beauty, a grace, a balance, a harmony. Be in the middle, that's exactly the meaning of right effort.

Whenever Buddha uses the word 'right', remember, he means balance. 'Right' is a translation of a word which means balance, because the extreme is wrong, both the extremes are wrong. Buddha's word is SAMYAK; SAM means balance, equilibrium. He uses that word more than any other word; he uses it for everything. If you are making effort for anything, let it be samyak, balanced, exactly in the middle.

If you are meditating, Buddha says, let it be samyak - right meditation. Don't make too much fuss about it, don't make a tension out of it. Don't create anguish. Don't become mad. Don't be aggressive. And he also says that that does not mean to forget all about it and go on living the way you are living. No, make efforts for meditation, but in a joyous way, a graceful way, always in the middle. Be gentle, be gentlemanly. Buddha is the perfect gentleman; the emphasis is on gentle. He is a rare person in that way.

Mahavira seems to be an extremist - another enlightened person who was Buddha's contemporary, the last prophet of the Jainas. He seems to be very extremist. It is said that for twelve years he was silent, didn't speak a single word. Now, this is going too far. Don't speak too much....

I have heard a story about Morarji Desai:

Whenever he speaks, his wife will send him a note. Every-body around him became curious, naturally, "What is that note?" Always it comes, inevitably.... And on the note they found there is only one word: Kiss.

They told Morarji Desai, "This is rare in this age of unfaithfulness; your wife still loves you so much. You are eighty-four, she must be seventy-five or more. Still such romance that whenever you stand to speak she sends you a note always welcoming you with a kiss."

Morarji looked angry - as he always looks, that is nothing new! When he smiles, that is rare. Even in his smile there is no smile; still he looks as if he is angry. The smile seems to be painted. But he was really angry. He said, "You don't know what she means. It is a short form; it means, 'Keep it short, stupid.' That is the meaning of 'kiss'."

If you keep it short, that's okay, but there is no need to become dumb for twelve years.

Be telegraphic, use only words which are necessary. Don't go on chattering twenty-four hours a day, either with others or with yourself. People are chattering constantly, day in, day out. In the day they are chattering, in the night they are chattering.

Mulla Nasruddin's wife went to the physician and said that "My husband talks in his sleep. Something has to be done. I am very much disturbed about it."

The physician said, "I can understand. Take this medicine and within a week or two he will stop talking in his sleep."

The wife said, "You misunderstand me. I don't want him to stop, I want him to talk clearly so I can hear what he is saying."

People are talking in their sleep, people are talking while they are awake. People are constantly talking; needed, not needed, they go on talking. Talking seems to be a kind of escape from themselves. So Buddha says it is good for a few hours to be silent, but there is no need to be silent forever.

It is said that Mahavira ate only once in a while. Ten days he would fast - or twenty days or thirty days - and then one day he would take food. In those twelve years he took food only three hundred and sixty-five times; that means only one year. In twelve years, if that is the proportion, it comes to once every twelve days.

Buddha says that is unnecessary, that is torture, that is making an extreme effort for no reason. It is perfectly good if you eat only as much as is needed; people are eating too much, people are stuffing themselves with food. That is again another way of keeping yourself away from yourself, keeping yourself engaged.

People feel so empty - like Prem Barkha - everybody feels empty. And there is some unconscious desire to fill this emptiness - through food, through smoking, through drink, through something; through talk, through the television, through the radio. Just remain occupied so you feel full.

Just the other day I was reading that in America they have now invented a new kind of refrigerator. You open the door and the refrigerator immediately says, "Excuse me, be kind to yourself. Please close the door." People are constantly moving towards the fridge; that seems to be their only exercise. Even in the night when they have nothing to do or they are not feeling sleepy they will go to the fridge.

There are people, and their number is big... out of ten, one person is capable of sleepwalking. They walk in their sleep and the direction is always towards the fridge.

Even in sleep they know where the fridge is! They don't stumble anywhere, they go directly like an arrow. Now this is one extreme, and not eating for eleven or twelve days then eating only for one day, that is another extreme.

Buddha says "right food." Be in the middle. Eat as much as is necessary for your health, for your well-being, don't eat too much. And that goes for everything in your life.

A lady went into a shoe store to buy a pair of shoes. The salesman brought her a pair which she tried on. "Ah," she said, "I don't like these shoes. They are too wide. I don't want them too wide, I don't want them too narrow. I just want them in between."

So the salesman gathered up the shoes and returned with another pair which were tried on. This time she frowned and said, "These shoes won't do. The holes in the toes are too big. I don't want them too big and I don't want them too small. I just want them in between."

So the salesman went back to the store room and got her another pair at which she exclaimed, "Ah, I don't like them. The heels are too high. I don't want them too high and I don't want them too low. I just want them in between."

At this point the salesman looked at her and said, "Madam, if you will stand up and bend over I will give you a shoe not too high and not too low - just in between!"

The salesman seems to be a Buddhist: just in between!

In every action, remain just in between. Through that balance comes transcendence, through that balance mind disappears. The mind is an extremist. It lives only through extremes; it dies if you stop moving from one extreme to another.

The fourth question:

Question 4:



Nijanando, first ask: is there life before death? People ask: Is there life after death? What concern is that for you? You are alive. Ask the significant question, the really relevant question: Is there life before death? Are you really alive?

A woman went to the insurance company and said, "Can I get the money for which my husband has been insured?"

The man in the office said, "But he is still alive. He is not dead. You will get the money only when he is dead."

She said, "I know that he is not dead, but no life is left in him either."

That's the situation: people are not dead and yet not alive either. They are somehow walking, talking, doing things, keeping themselves together, but there is no aliveness, there is no flavor of aliveness.

And you are concerned, Nijanando, with what happens after death. Forget all about it.

You are alive - first live it totally. And remember one thing: whatsoever you do with your life now, that is going to create your future. Your future comes out of your present.

If you live miserably now you will live miserably after death - even more miserably because your whole life lived in misery will produce more misery for you.

I am not concerned about life after death; my whole concern is life before death. And whatsoever you do with your life now will produce, as a consequence, your future. The tomorrow will be born out of today, the next moment will be born out of this moment.

So if this moment is lived rightly, totally, wholly, meditatively, then the next moment is bound to be more total, more holy, more meditative, because life goes on accumulating.

If you live blissfully, bliss accumulates. You will take with you when you die whatsoever you have gained in this life.

But down the ages people have remained concerned about the other life. I also talk sometimes about the other life, but just to joke, to laugh at it. It is not really a concern.

In hell, as punishment for his sins, Ayatollah Khomeini and Jimmy Carter had to walk together hand in hand for eternity. As they were strolling along, they came across Morarji Desai arm in arm with Gina Lollobrigida.

Carter asked, "Mr. Desai, how come I am stuck for eternity with this turkey, while you get the gorgeous Lollobrigida?"

Morarji Desai answered, "Jimmy, she is not my punishment - I am hers!"

Only for jokes I talk about hell and heaven and life after death, but it is not my concern at all; I am not interested. My whole interest is in my present moment. Now is my interest, here is my interest, because God knows only one time - now - and God knows only one space - here. If you want to be in contact with God you will have to learn how to be now and here.

The fifth question:

Question 5:



Jyotirmaya, when Buddha made that vow he was not a buddha; he was as ignorant as you are. In ignorance, whatsoever he has done, please forgive him. Don't take much note of it. In ignorance everybody goes on doing stupid things. That vow is stupid.

Truth is not something that you can force by your willpower. Taking a vow that "I will not rise from meditation until attaining enlightenment" shows violence and ignorance.

But Buddha was not Buddha at that time, he was Siddhartha Gautama - stumbling, groping in the darkness as everybody else is groping. He was not in any way different from you. He had himself yet not learned the art of being in the middle; he was an extremist. This is extremism.

For six years he tried hard and failed. That hard work upon himself did not yield any result; it cannot. That's why when he became a buddha he was very much against hard effort, he was very much against extremes. He had lived through all kinds of extremes:

he had lived like an ascetic, tortured himself. For six years he suffered as much as a human being can suffer - but truth cannot be bought by your suffering. It is not a commodity and it is not possible to attain to it just by sheer force of willpower. You can sit for three days or three lives under a tree, and you won't attain it.

He didn't attain it, remember. What he attained was hallucinations, visions of hell, demons, etcetera. That was his punishment, so beware of it.

How he became enlightened is a totally different story. After three days, when he was tired, utterly tired of his effort, and he saw the frustration, the failure... those six years' continuous torturing himself, and no gain, no success. He had not moved even an inch nearer to truth; he was still where he had started. Only one thing had happened: he had become weaker because he had been fasting. He had become ugly; he had become just bones, all flesh had disappeared. He had become just a skeleton. He looked like he had come out of a grave. No gain, no success... all efforts had failed.

Then one evening he saw the futility of human effort. He saw the futility of human ego - - because all efforts are egoistic: "I will attain." The 'I' is always behind all your achievements, desires of achievement. The 'I' is very ambitious: it wants to be successful in this world, it wants to be successful in the other world. It wants to have money, it wants to have God too. It wants to have power; it wants to have liberation, moksha, truth, nirvana. It wants to have everything.

Buddha saw it and in that seeing he dropped that mad effort and he dropped the very source of ambition. It was a full-moon night. He laughed at himself, at the whole stupidity of six years. He relaxed, he sat under a tree. For the first time after six years, just sitting not to achieve anything, just sitting, not meditating. Hence in Zen, meditation is called ZAZEN. Zazen means just sitting doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

That evening he sat there under the tree with no desire, because all desires had failed.

The worldly desires had failed, the otherworldly desires had failed.

You will be surprised to know: enlightenment is not a success. Enlightenment happens only when you have totally failed. Enlightenment is born out of total failure - because if you succeed, the ego remains. When the failure is total, absolute, irrevocable, categorical, when there is no going back, the ego disappears. Ego lives, feeds on success; it cannot live in failure. It leaves you.

That evening the ego disappeared. The full moon rose. He watched the full moon, he enjoyed the full moon. For six years he had not seen the moon at all, he was so much preoccupied with his own spiritual attainment. The night was cool and beautiful. The forest was silent, and just by the side was flowing the river Niranjana. He enjoyed the reflection of the moon in the Niranjana. He enjoyed the silence. Then he fell asleep. He slept without any dreams, because all dreams are by-products of desires.

In the morning when it was dawn and the birds started singing he was awakened by their songs. Lying under the tree, nowhere to go, nothing to do, he watched the sun rise above the horizon; the east becoming red and a beautiful morning and the cool breeze....

And something happened, something clicked. He became enlightened - not out of six years' effort but only one night's effortlessness. Not out of six years' constant striving of the ego, but only one night's state of no ego, no desire. And in the morning he was enlightened.

Then again he laughed. He laughed because he saw that he was always enlightened but could not see the fact, the truth of it, because he was so much concerned with attaining it. If you are so much concerned with attaining it you will not be able to see that it is already the case.

You are all buddhas. Nobody is born otherwise, everybody is born a buddha. It is not a question of achieving, Jyotirmaya, remember it: buddhahood, enlightenment, is not a question of attainment. It is a question of becoming silent, still, egoless, desireless, so that you can see with unclouded eyes who you are. You are a buddha already, you ARE enlightened.

He laughed in the night because his whole life had failed; it was ridiculous. In the morning he laughed because he was searching for something that was already inside his soul; there was no need to seek and search for it. In fact, seeking and searching was keeping him away from it.

Seek, and ye will not find; seek not and it is yours.

The sixth question:

Question 6:



Satya Bharti, it is impossible. But remember, the moment you stop thinking of killing him, love will also disappear. To fall in love with an Italian in the first place is very crazy, and then this desire to kill him is natural. Love is a kind of fight - Italian or not Italian. Love is a kind of fight; it is a struggle. And when you stop fighting, when you stop struggling, love disappears. I am not talking about the love of the buddhas; I am talking about the love Satya is asking about.

And do you know who this Italian is? Sarjano, the most Italian out of all Italians!

After the Ark had pushed off, Noah assembled all the animals in the central cabin and made a short speech. He pointed out that the trip was liable to be a long one, and that quarters were somewhat limited. "Therefore," he said, "I want to emphasize that we can't have any population increases at all until the flood subsides and we can get to land. I am appointing the giraffe, as the tallest of you, to stand guard and make sure my instructions are carried out."

Finally the water subsided, the Ark landed and the doors were opened. Out came the animals, two by two, as they had come in - no more of any species. Then the cats came out - followed by a litter of little kittens. As they passed the giraffe, one of the cats looked up and winked. "I will bet," he said, "you thought we were fighting."

The seventh question:

Question 7:



Ismail Nagdum, I don't believe in anything and I don't disbelieve anything. My whole effort here is to help you to destroy all beliefs and all disbeliefs, because only then will you be able to know. Knowing happens only when the inner being is utterly empty of beliefs and disbeliefs, when you are neither a Catholic nor a communist, neither an atheist nor a theist. And that was Buddha's attitude too: he was an agnostic.

A real seeker of truth does not believe in anything, positively or negatively. He does not believe in God, he does not believe in no-God. So what to say about astronomy and astrology? Belief is not his concern; knowing, experiencing, seeing, is his concern, because it is only through seeing that transformation happens.

But people go on believing all kinds of things because belief gives you a false idea of knowledge. It makes you feel good - it hides your ignorance. Otherwise belief is the most stupid thing that one can do. Belief means you don't know and yet you believe.

Remember, belief is irrelevant when you don't know - and belief is irrelevant when you DO know. When you don't know, your belief is false, rooted in ignorance. When you know, there is no need to believe - you know already.

Do you believe in the sun, in the moon? Does anybody ask you, "Do you believe in the earth?" Nobody asks such questions. People ask, "Do you believe in God? Do you believe in astrology? Do you believe in life after death?" These questions seem to be relevant because nobody seems to know.

I don't believe in anything. And remember, if you start believing, then there is no end to it; you can believe in any nonsense. Once you believe, there is no problem.

Harry came home from work earlier than usual one afternoon. "Darling, I'm home," he cried and rushed upstairs to the bedroom, where he found his wife lying on the bed, a surprised look on her face. The curtains were drawn, the sheets and blankets were in disorder. "Is everything alright?" he asked.

"Why, yes... yes, of course, dear," she replied uncertainly.

Taking off his jacket he went to the wardrobe and to his surprise found a man crouching inside.

"Hello, what are you doing here?" said Harry in astonishment.

"Oh... I... I'm the gas man.... I've, er... come to check the gas meter."

"Hmm, I see," said Harry and hung up his jacket.

Then reaching under the bed for his slippers, he found another man lying there.

"Well... and who are you?" he asked.

"Ah, yes... well.... I'm the, er... the electrician... I've come to fix the wiring."

"I see," said Harry. "Alright then."

Then, taking off his tie and shirt, he remarked, "I say, dear, it is a bit dark and stuffy in here, don't you think?" and drawing back the curtain he saw a man perched outside on the window ledge.

"Hello," said Harry, "and what are you doing here?"

"Well," said the man, "if you believed those other guys - actually, I'm waiting for a bus."

The eighth question:

Question 8:



Narendra, it depends on whether you are a man or a mouse!

The last question:

Question 9:



Govindo, what should I do? Should I cry and weep over spilt milk? If you cannot laugh at knowledgeable people, at whom are you going to laugh? They are the most stupid people in the world, the most ridiculous.

A British couple after a few years of marriage finally had a child. As the child's hair was completely red and both parents' hair was brown, things looked a little suspicious. The bewildered wife, upset at the obvious insinuations, suggested that they both go to see a doctor.

The doctor, after taking note of the unusual phenomenon, looked even more puzzled than the couple. "According to the laws of genetics," he explained, "it is impossible that a man and a woman with brown hair can give birth to a child with red hair." The doctor decided to make inquiries in another direction. "How frequently do you have sexual intercourse?" he asked.

The answer was a British embarrassed silence.

"Once a day?" encouraged the doctor.

"Well, not really," was the embarrassed answer of the couple.

"Well, once a week then?" asked the doctor.

"Ahem, I wouldn't say that," answered the man.

"Once a month?" probed the doctor.

"Well, ahem, we don't - not that often," was the reply.

"Aha!" cried the doctor. "Now I get it! Nothing to be worried about - it's only rust!"

Enough for today.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 9

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