The risk is worth taking

Fri, 15 February 1980 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 9
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
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Nirupa says that this is my serious day. The fault is not mine; the whole fault is Gautama the Buddha's. That old guy is absolutely serious.

It is said of Jesus that he never laughed. That can't be true because Jesus is very much a man of the earth, very earthly. It is impossible that he never laughed. He loved people, he loved mixing with people, with ordinary people - farmers, carpenters, fishermen, gamblers, drunkards, prostitutes. Seeing his company, it seems absolutely improbable that he never laughed. He enjoyed eating, drinking; he enjoyed company. He must have gossiped, joked, laughed.

But it is possible that Buddha never laughed. He is utterly serious. He is very much Indian. He is pure water... I mix as much wine as I can!

So Nirupa, forgive me, because if I mix more wine, then that old guy will be really angry! As it is, he already thinks I am corrupting him, but he can't do anything - I am alive and he is dead! I am not an Indian at all.

Once an American lady was asking me, "What 'nese' are you? - Japanese, Chinese, Javanese?"

I told her, "I am no one." And then I asked her, "Who are you? - monkey, donkey or yankee?"

I belong to no country, to no tradition, to no race, to no religion. I am just a white cloud floating all over the world. I don't have any roots anywhere; hence I am free. Buddha has roots in the Indian soil, in the Indian mind.

Buddha would have remained the same, unavailable, unapproachable. It is through the Chinese and the Japanese that he became a little more human. Otherwise he would have remained a god above the clouds, almost unreachable. When Buddhism was introduced into China they brought it down to the earth. Chinese are very down-to- earth people. They have never given birth to any men like Buddha. They had their own awakened people - Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu - but they are full of laughter, full of joy, full of gratitude. They belong to this existence; they are not in any way escaping from it. They are living it in its totality.

And the Japanese are even more earthly. When Buddhism reached Japan via China, its very color, texture, its very fragrance changed. It became tremendously multidimensional, creative, more life-affirmative. Laughter came in. The Japanese masters transformed the very seriousness of Buddha into its opposite.

But in India the effort has never been made. In India Buddha has remained old, for twenty-five centuries.

My effort here is to make him alive again. And to make him alive means to make him a contemporary, to help him to speak to you the way you would like to be spoken to, the way you will be able to understand him. He has to be brought from his heights. The earth has its own beauty and any height has to be based on this very earth.

So, Nirupa, forgive me, because speaking on Buddha something of him is bound to come in; that is unavoidable. I try my best to give new colors to his colorless way of expression, to give him more liveliness, but still, I cannot go too far from his sutra.

Although I take enough rope, I go as far as it is possible - nobody has gone so far as I have been trying to go - but still the point of reference remains his sutras.

I love the man - he has a beauty of his own - but there is no need to be so serious. But it was the way in India in those days, and it is the way even today, to be serious.

Religion is thought to be a very serious phenomenon.

I may be the first person in the whole history of India who is mixing religion with jokes.

Let us start with a few jokes.

The first:

Pierre, a Frenchman, Tonio, an Italian, and Stash, a Pole, were traveling through the country when their car broke down.

They found lodging at a farm, and in the course of the night the Frenchman decided to sneak into the farmer's daughter's room.

The farmer heard him walking up the stairs and said, "Who is it?"

Thinking quickly, Pierre whispered, "Meow, meow...."

Twenty minutes later, Tonio made the same attempt. As he neared the farmer's daughter's room, the girl's father shouted, "Who is there?"

The Italian also imitated the feline sound, "Meow, meow...."

Stash decided that he, too, should make an attempt. Just as he got to the girl's room, the farmer shouted, "Alright, who is it?"

The Polack replied, "It is me, the cat."

The second:

Benson and his dog were sitting at a bar. He ordered two martinis. Benson handed one to the dog, who promptly drank it, then ate the glass until only the base and the stem remained. Then he left.

"That's the craziest thing I have ever seen," said the bartender.

"Yeah, he's a dumb dog," said Benson. "The stem is the best part."


Mr. Benchley was quietly drinking his martini in a corner when a lady approached him and said, "Don't you know that stuff you are drinking is slow poison?"

"That's alright," he answered. "I'm in no hurry."


The car hit her and a hundred yards away he stopped and looked back.

"Watch out!" he shouted.

The woman raised herself on her elbow and screamed, "Why - are you coming back?"

The fifth and the last:

Roxanne, a beautiful, well-built blonde, applied at a circus for the job of a lion tamer.

Ralph was another candidate.

"I will give you both a chance," said the manager. "The girl can go first."

Roxanne, wearing a full-length mink coat, entered the cage. A huge lion was let in with her and immediately the animal started to charge.

Suddenly, Roxanne opened her fur coat and stood there, completely naked. The lion stopped dead in his tracks and began licking her feet, then her hands, then he went meekly back to the corner.

The manager was amazed. He turned towards the young man. "Well, pal, do you think you can top that?"

"I sure can," said Ralph. "You just get that stupid lion out of there and I will show you."

Now, the sutras:

These stories are about the state of humanity. They are different aspects of man's unconsciousness, his mechanicalness, different aspects of man's unawareness. Man goes on living like a robot. All his behavior comes out of a dark space within him. Hence the misery of the world. Unless that inner space is lit, becomes full of light, there is no hope for humanity.

In the past we would survive because the weapons to kill man were not yet perfect.

Now they are. Now we have perfect atom bombs, hydrogen bombs, laser rays, death rays and what-not. Now we have become so efficient in destroying humanity and the earth that if within this last part of the century we don't bring a light within millions of people's hearts, humanity is doomed. Then there is no future. We may be living the last years of human existence on the earth.

But this critical state can become also a great blessing in disguise. It may make us more aware, more responsible. It may provoke us to DO something so that humanity takes a surge towards the higher plane of consciousness.

Buddha's whole message is concerned with consciousness: how to raise consciousness in humanity, how to make him more alert, more capable of seeing things as they are, how to make him capable of becoming more spontaneous and functioning out of awareness and not out of unawareness. We function out of unconsciousness.

All these sutras are just to prepare the ground, a right ground from where you can take off.


Each single word has to be meditated upon. The first word is 'if'; it is a big 'if'. Buddha says: If THE TRAVELER CAN FIND....

It is very difficult to find an awakened master for the simple reason that very few people ever try to get out of the routine of unconsciousness. The routine of remaining unconscious is comfortable, cozy, because it keeps you confined to the world of the familiar and it keeps you with the crowd. It is risky to go away from the crowd because the crowd never forgives a person who goes away from it. The crowd wants to possess you all in all, body and soul. The crowd wants to dominate you. The crowd lives through domination.

This effort to dominate is what politics is all about. Politics means the crowd is trying to dominate the individual, to destroy the individual, to destroy freedom, to destroy spontaneity, to destroy any idea of going on one's own, of living one's own life according to one's own light. The crowd wants you to follow the mass, the collective mind. The crowd does not want you to have your own way. The crowd has already made a superhighway; you can simply follow it. And in a way it is more comfortable, it is cozy. You are surrounded with people, it is warm.

When you move alone into the dense and deep and dark forest of the unknown, it is cold, and there are thousands of fears arising. You don't know, in the first place, how to cope with the unknown. You are efficient in coping with the known; your system of education makes you capable of coping with the known. Your education is very much against the unknown.

You will be surprised to know that your education is against intelligence. Society needs imitators. It wants you to be good in memorizing, not in becoming intelligent. It wants you to become good machines, not beautiful people; efficient machines, but machines all the same. It needs you to function well, but it does not want you to be more conscious. Then you would start saying no to many things; you will not be so obedient.

The society wants yea-sayers. It wants blind people. It does not want you to see because if you see you are bound to be affected by your seeing, you are bound to change your ways. The society wants blind followers.

Hence it is very rare that a person becomes awakened because - the first thing - to become awakened, to be a buddha, means to go away from the collective mind; to become so much an individual, integrated, that even if the whole world is against you you don't care. You have decided that you will live according to your inner voice.

That is the first step, but a great step, a quantum leap. It is moving into danger, it is risky. You will be creating enemies. And you will be going into a world which is uncharted, a territory of which you know nothing. No maps exist; no maps can exist, in the very nature of things.

Hence it is very rare to find the awakened master. In hundreds of years it happens only once that there is a man like Jesus or Buddha or Lao Tzu. There are thousands of pretenders and they are easily available and they are very cheap. In fact, even if you don't find them, they will find you. They are constantly searching for followers. Their whole business depends on how many followers they have. Each religion is concerned in having more followers because more followers mean more power.

Just a few days before, the Protestant church of Germany has released a report against me - a big report, eighteen pages! To all the churches the report has been sent. They have been alerted that, "This man is dangerous. And the danger is more so," says the report, "because this man quotes Jesus. And sometimes he explains Jesus in such a beautiful way that Christians may get hooked by him."

I am sitting here. I have never been to Germany and I will never be there. What is the fear?

A small commission was made to study all of my books to prepare the report. The commission seems to be a little bit confused. It seems a few people of the commission have become interested... because if you have a little bit of intelligence, even just a little bit of intelligence, how can you avoid seeing that there is something? So they say, "There is something, there seems to be something. And it happens to be very much like Jesus' teaching. But beware. Jesus has said, 'False prophets will be coming who will speak like me.' But Jesus is the only begotten Son of God."

There is a great fear that if a few people go away from the crowd, the crowd feels reduced, its power lost. So no crowd wants anybody to leave its fold. It will create all kinds of hindrances. And if you want to become enlightened you have to pass all those hurdles created by the society, by the church, by the state, by everybody around you, by your own family.

Remember Jesus. He has said: Unless you hate your mother and your father and your family you cannot come with me. It looks a little harsh and hard on Jesus' part. It looks as if these words can't be his - but they ARE his. And the man was so loving and so compassionate; why should he be so hard on his family? - because they were creating all kinds of hindrances for him.

And every family is going to create hindrances because when you go in search of truth you are going away from the power of the family. And everybody is power-hungry.

The father is power-hungry, the mother is power-hungry, the husband, the wife. Even the children are power-hungry. Even the children don't want you to go out of the fold.

To become an enlightened person is almost like going the whole way AGAINST the current. Hence it is very rare.

That's why Buddha starts the sutra: If THE TRAVELER CAN FIND....

And it is a pilgrimage, the greatest, the most adventurous, of coming to oneself. It is a strange journey. You have gone so far away from yourself that you have to come back.

You have forgotten the way how to come back home. You need a guide, but only somebody who has come home can guide you. And there are thousands of pretenders.

It is very easy to pretend. Anybody can talk, advise, say beautiful things; it costs nothing. Anybody can read the scriptures, anybody can quote the scriptures - and that's what is happening all around the world. And religion is a good business. You can exploit people very easily; "for their own good" you can exploit them.

Buddha says: IF THE TRAVELER CAN FIND A VIRTUOUS AND WISE COMPANION.... Remember: the real master from HIS side is only a companion, a friend. From YOUR side he is a master; from HIS side he is only a friend. From your side he is a master because you are unawakened and he is awakened. From his side he is only a friend because he knows there is no essential difference between him and you.

You are just asleep; that is not much of a difference - no difference in quality.

You can be awakened.

Your buddhahood can become manifest.

You are just a bud and he has become a flower, but any bud can become a flower any moment. He was also a bud before; now he has opened his petals, he has become a flower. He has released his fragrance. Everybody is capable of doing it. From the master's side, the disciple is a friend, a companion.

The pseudo master will always pretend that he is higher than you, holier than you, superior to you. He will talk always in such a way that you cannot understand; that is his way of hiding himself. He will talk in spiritual jargon, he will talk in esoteric ways.

And there are foolish people who become victims, because people have some idea that if you cannot understand something, there must be something in it. If you cannot understand, it must be very deep, very profound.

Even here... I am with you, but there are a few people who pretend they are my mediums. And they tell people that, whatsoever they are saying, I am speaking through them. I am fully alive - I can speak on my own! Wait a little. Let me die, then you can do your business. You will do it, but not now.

But I can forgive these people because they earn a little money and they exploit a few people. I cannot understand the people who become victims of these persons. They can't see the point. I am here: what is the need of somebody to function as a medium, to tell them what I want to tell them? I will tell you myself. Am I not telling you enough?

Do you want more? Year in and year out I go on speaking to you every day.

But there are a few people... they don't come to listen, they don't come here. They avoid the commune, but they go on sitting in the Blue Diamond,* and a few foolish people go on meeting them there. And they roll up their eyes and they pretend to go in a trance, and then they start talking nonsense. The more nonsense it is, the more philosophical it seems, the more metaphysical it seems. And they always get a few people to listen to them, to follow them. It is a strange phenomenon, but somehow the pseudo has an appeal.

One thing about the pseudo master is that he manages a facade, he wears a mask. He wears a mask that you would like him to wear. He fulfills your expectations. The true master never fulfills anybody's expectations.

Jesus proved that he was a true master because at the last moment he frustrated everybody, even his closest disciples. They were hoping that he would do some miracle:

"If he can raise people from death, if he can cure blind people, if he can cure crippled persons, he is going to do something when he will be crucified. Some great miracle is going to happen...." And nothing happened, nothing at all! That proves his authenticity.

He was not there to fulfill your expectations.

But the pseudo master always tries to fulfill your expectations. Sometimes he manages beautifully. Sometimes he will do miracles.

I know one man. He told his story to me himself because he fell in love with me. He was worshipped by many as enlightened. By and by he became tired of playing the role. It is tiring. When you are not enlightened and you have to pretend to be enlightened and you have even to manage a few miracles, it is tiring.

He came to see me. He cried and wept and he said, "Save me from my followers! I am utterly tired and bored, and I have to do things just to keep them satisfied." He said to me, "Once I had to do a miracle because my followers were expecting something big so that many more people can come."

Followers are also interested that if many more people come to THEIR master, they feel that they are with the right person. If they are alone with the master, then they start feeling a little doubtful. Nobody believes in his own being, nobody trusts in his own intelligence. When you see thousands of people you say, "It must be right. So many people can't be wrong." Remember, the reality is just the opposite: so many people can't be right!

The man said to me, "I had to manage a miracle. I stopped a train for seven minutes."

I said, "How did you manage it?"

He said, "Simple! I had to bribe three persons. One was the ticket collector. I had managed it that I would be traveling without the ticket and he would come and ask for the ticket. And I would get angry and I would say, 'There is no need for any ticket for me. We are saints and we are allowed every freedom.' So I became very angry. When I became angry, he became angry - he was bribed and he was told to become very angry." He pushed the man outside the railway compartment.

This man was traveling with a big group of his followers; almost half of the train was full of his followers. They all got down, and the man said, "Okay, then try to take your train. I will not allow it to move a single inch" - and he stood there with rolled-up eyes.

And the driver tried, and the guard was showing the flag and the stationmaster was showing the flag, and nothing was happening. The train was stuck because the driver was bribed, the guard was bribed. Three persons were bribed.

Finally they rushed to him, fell at his feet, asked to be forgiven, asked him to come in again and told him, "Nobody will ever again ask you for the ticket. We are stupid people - forgive us!"

He entered the train and immediately it moved. That created a great sensation.

Thousands of people became his followers because he managed to do this miracle.

All miracles are done in this way. If you want to do miracles, you can come in private to me and I will teach you - because these tricks cannot be taught publicly! Once you know, everybody knows; then they lose their whole mystery. All these tricks are done in this way. But people's expectations are fulfilled.

The pseudo masters speak the language of your desires. They say, "If you meditate, you will become rich, you will become successful." That is absolute nonsense.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says to people, "If you meditate you will become healthy, you will become rich, you will become successful, you will become famous. In whatsoever line you are working you will be at the top."

That's what you want, so you say, "Okay, then it is not much of a problem to meditate.

Fifteen minutes in the morning, fifteen minutes in the evening..." just half an hour lost and all success is yours. This is the most successful formula for success - and you want to succeed. You want a thousand and one desires to be fulfilled.

Now, there are masters who say, "Whatsoever you want, you will get it through meditation. Money will pour in. Just ask in deep meditation and it is going to happen."

This is speaking the language of your desire. The truth is just the opposite. If you ask me, if you really meditate you will be a failure in life, an utter failure. If you are succeeding, even that success will disappear because meditation will make you so relaxed, so nonviolent, so loving, so noncompetitive, so nonegoistic, that who cares for success? Meditation will make you so joyous that who wants to bother about the tomorrow? Who wants to stake today for the tomorrow?

Meditation will make you inwardly rich, certainly. Inwardly you will become ecstatic, but outwardly it can't be guaranteed that you will become rich, that you will become successful, that you will become very healthy, that no disease will ever happen to you.

That is all sheer bullshit!

Maharshi Raman died of cancer, Ramakrishna Paramahansa died of cancer. Can you find greater meditators? J. Krishnamurti suffers from many illnesses; he has been suffering from severe headache for almost twenty years. The headache is so severe that sometimes he wants to hit his head against the wall. Can you find a greater meditator?

Can you find a greater buddha alive? If J. Krishnamurti suffers from a headache, if Raman Maharshi dies of cancer, if Ramakrishna dies of cancer, do you think meditation is going to give you health? Yes, in a way it will make you more healthy and more whole, but only in a very inner way. Deep down you will be whole, deep down there will be an inner spiritual health.

Raman is dying with cancer, but his eyes are full of joy. He dies laughing. This is real health. In deep agony is his body, but he is just a witness. This is meditation.

Buddha says:


If you can find a man who is awakened, who is really virtuous and wise, whose virtue is not only a cultivated facade but a spontaneous fragrance, whose wisdom is no longer knowledge, whose wisdom is his own authentic experience... if you can find such a person, then go with him joyfully, wholeheartedly, totally. Then don't hold back, because this is a rare opportunity.

How will you recognize the real awakened person? How will you recognize that he is authentic, true, that what he is saying he knows? How will you recognize him? That is one of the most important questions that has been asked for centuries, and it has not been answered adequately because it can't be answered adequately. Only a few hints can be given.

You cannot recognize a true master through the head. To your head he may look very illogical. Let that be one of the hints - because the pseudo master tries to be very logical. He has to convince you, and you can be convinced only if he is logical. He tries even to give logic about God. He creates theology, which is the most stupid thing in the world - logic about God! There is no way to prove God logically, but the pseudo master tries to prove everything logically because you can understand only logic.

The true master speaks paradoxically. He is a living paradox. He contradicts himself, because truth is the meeting of the opposites. And in the true master the truth has happened, the opposites have met. The polar opposites have disappeared in him; they have become one, they have melted into one unity. He is as paradoxical as existence itself. That should be the first hint.

The head can only give you this much, so if your head feels somewhere that something is illogical, don't escape from the place. That illogicality simply means something mysterious is there. Now move to the heart. When your head says something is illogical, the head is saying, "It is beyond me - drop it. I can't understand it. It is incomprehensible." Rather than dropping it, drop the head! Then you will be able to see the true master.

The true master can only be felt. It is a question of a loving openness on your part. The disciple has to open the heart. The true master comes through the heart, not through the head. He is felt as love, not as logic. He is felt as a song, not as syllogism. He is felt as poetry, not as prose. He is a dance; you can know him only through participation.

Be with a true master. Just being with him, sitting by his side in deep silence, with no prejudice, with no idea what is happening, something transpires. Something jumps from the master into your heart. You can feel it. It is energy, it is an energy phenomenon. It is not a question of a theory, of any hypothesis, of philosophy. It is a jump of energy, a quantum leap. Something invisible radiates from the true master and penetrates to the true disciple. And who is the true disciple? - the one whose heart is open.

And once you have felt the presence of the true master, Buddha says: GO WITH HIM JOYFULLY... not reluctantly, not with doubts - joyfully, dancing, celebrating. You have found the master. There can be no greater blessing than that, because on the way you will find many problems without the master. The first step will not be possible; only the master can push you. And you can allow him to push you only if you trust.

It is just like a new bird who has come out of the egg and sits on the edge of the nest, looks at his mother, father, parents, other birds flying in the sky. A great longing arises in his heart too. He flutters his wings, but he cannot gather courage; he is afraid he may fall down. He has never flown before. He does not know what it is all about, how these people are managing. They may be different, they may have certain qualities. Who knows that he has wings also? He can have a certain feeling that there are wings; he can see a certain similarity. But the fear of falling, of killing oneself or crippling oneself, is also there.

The mother goes and calls from the tree far away, gives him a call. He wants to go, but the fear.... The mother goes around the nest, flies, to show him that "What I am doing YOU can do." Slowly slowly, he gathers courage, and one day the mother simply pushes him. He has to be pushed. In spite of his fear, when he is pushed he can see that he opens his wings; he is able to balance himself. Of course, in the beginning it is a little awkward, but soon he becomes efficient.

Without the master the first step is difficult, the most difficult thing. How to move into the unknown if there is nobody to push you? But the master can push you only if you trust him, if you love him. It is just like the bird loves the mother and he knows that whatsoever she is doing she will not do any harm. Out of that trust he allows her to push him; in fact, deep down he wants to be pushed. He knows, "I cannot do it on my own." But if the mother is doing it she must be doing it right.

When the disciple feels such a love affair with the master, then things become possible.

And then there are many dangers on the way. The first step is the most difficult; then as you move deeper and deeper many more things have to be dropped. Who is going to tell you what to drop and what not to drop? It is all unknown to you. Somebody needs to constantly watch you.

And then comes the last step, when the ego dies. That is also very difficult - it seems as if YOU are dying. The master has to help you die because only through death you will be reborn. The master has to help you understand that this is not death. The seed disappearing in the soil is not dying; it is really being born as a tree. And the river disappearing in the ocean is not dying, it is simply becoming the ocean. It is not losing anything, it is gaining much more. It is losing nothing and gaining all.

BUT IF YOU CANNOT FIND.... Buddha says: It is not easy to find an awakened master, so:


Travel you must. If you can find a master, a companion, a friend, you are blessed, you are fortunate. If you cannot find, just don't make it an excuse that what can you do? - there is nobody like Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu available. "What can I do? I have to live the ordinary life. I cannot go into the unknown on my own." No, you CAN go. It will be a little bit difficult, hazardous, risky, but the risk is worth taking.


Don't be worried that you are alone. Slowly slowly, you will become able to balance yourself. Slowly slowly, in slow steps, you will be able to go beyond the known. Slowly slowly you will be able to die as an ego and be born as an egoless presence. It may take a little longer time. It may take you sometimes astray because you are alone and there is nobody to call you back again and again to the right path, but still it is better to travel alone than not to travel at all.

The greatest fault, the greatest misery is that people are not traveling at all towards truth. They are simply going in circles in their mundane affairs: the business, the wife, the husband, the children, the office and the home. And they go on in circles. Their whole life is just pointless; it makes no sense. It has no meaning, no significance. Still, somehow they go on, afraid of risking.

Don't be afraid of risking. If you can risk, the whole universe is going to help you because this universe is not in any way aloof and unconcerned about you.

Buddha has said, "When I became enlightened, the whole universe rejoiced. That moment I felt that the whole universe was helping me, waiting for me to become enlightened."

The story is beautiful. Don't take it literally. It is symbolic, it is a metaphor. When Buddha became enlightened, trees bloomed out of season. Trees cannot bloom out of season, but we have to express somehow the joy that was felt in existence itself.

Whenever there is a man like Buddha, the whole humanity takes an upward surge; it soars higher. Just take two dozen names from human history - Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Mohammed, Bahauddin, Kabir - just two dozen names. Take them out of human history and you will not be human at all; you will lose all your humanity. It is through these few people that great consciousness has been released. And even though you have not done anything you have been blessed by it. It has showered on you without your becoming aware of it.

So if you have to travel alone, travel, but travel you must, in spite of all the dangers and risks. The greatest risk is NOT to travel, because then you are stuck, you don't grow, you are like a stone, you will never flower. In traveling maybe you will go astray, you will commit a few mistakes. So what? One learns through mistakes, one learns through going astray. And if one keeps alert one can't go very far away; that alertness brings one back.


Buddha says: Just for the company's sake, don't move with a fool. Beware of that.

I have been observing thousands of saints and mahatmas - Jaina, Hindu, Mohammedan - and I was surprised to find one thing: ninety-nine percent of them look foolish, stupid. Something dull and dead seems to be inside them. There seems to be no flash of insight; no intelligence radiates around them. They look like walking graves. They have already died. They are worshipped because people worship death, and because people worship them they think they have arrived. They have not moved a single inch! They have even fallen below the ordinary humanity.

This is my experience: that your so-called saints are far below the ordinary humanity as far as intelligence is concerned, awareness is concerned. They are not meditators, they don't know what meditation is. In the name of meditation they go on doing something else. They are utter fools!

When Buddha uses the word 'fool' he means somebody who is living an unconscious life. Somebody is accumulating money in an unconscious way, not knowing why, not knowing for what, not knowing that death will come and everything will be taken away. Somebody else has renounced money, but he is as unconscious as the one who is greedy for money. Somebody goes on stuffing himself with food and somebody else goes on long fasts. Both are torturing their bodies in different ways, but both are self- destructive. The man who eats too much tortures his body, remember it - he is also ascetic in his own way - and the man who fasts also tortures his body. Both are self- destructive.

And by self-destruction you cannot attain to liberation, to God, to nirvana. It is only through a tremendous creativity, sensitivity, awareness, that one comes home.

So Buddha says: Beware of the company of the fool. It is better to be alone rather than to be with a foolish person, because the foolish person is bound to affect you. You will be with him and he will certainly infect you with his foolishness.

Intelligence is also contagious. If you live with an intelligent person you start becoming intelligent, because we are not so separate, we vibrate together. If we live with somebody for a long time we start synchronizing with the person.

That's the whole secret of SATSANG - the communion with the master. If he is awakened, his disciples slowly slowly start moving towards a subtle awakening. It is bound to happen. If the disciple can simply be in the presence of the master, surrendered, relaxed, in a state of let-go, he may not have to do anything at all. The presence of the master will start flooding him, will start changing his being. We are joined together.

Have you not watched it? If four persons are laughing and you are in a sad mood and you go to these people, you forget your sadness; you start laughing. Later on when you remember that you were sad, it looks very strange. How did you forget your sadness?

How did you start laughing? What happened? The energy there, the space there, was totally different from you: it was more powerful than you. Those four persons were creating a certain vibe. Hence the significance of a buddhafield. The master creates a field around himself; through his disciples he creates an energy field. To be in that energy field is a transformation in itself.

But the same happens if you move with the foolish people. Just to keep company, people would like to be with anybody. They are so afraid of being alone.

Buddha wants you to beware of that. It is better to be with trees and the clouds and the river and the mountains and the ocean, because they will not make you more foolish than you are; they may even help you to become a little more intelligent, because the whole existence is nothing but intelligence. If you can be in deep communion with nature you will become more intelligent. There is all around you tremendous intelligence available, but only intelligent people can feel it. The foolish person remains closed.

The fool lives in his own world; that's why he is called the idiot. The word 'idiot' means one who lives in his own world, one who has his own idiom, one who has his own private reality. He is closed to the real; he has his own fantasy. He lives in his dreams.

Pat went to see the doctor about his eyes. The doctor suggested he bathe them every morning in brandy.

The next time Pat came to see the doctor, the doctor asked him how his eyes were.

"Did you follow my advice?" he asked.

"I tried to - but I can't raise the glass higher than my mouth!"

The fool is not only the person who is ignorant. The fool can be very knowledgeable; often he is. He can be a pundit, he can be a priest, he can be a professor. And then he is more dangerous because he appears to talk sense, and deep down he is as ignorant as anybody else, as foolish as anybody else.

A famous professor walked into a travel agency to buy a steamship ticket.

"To where?" the agent asked.

"Have you got a globe of the world?"

The travel agent handed him a globe. The professor turned the globe around and around looking at all the countries and continents. After thirty minutes he said, "Pardon me, haven't you got anything else?"

Your professors, your pundits, your scholars, are not very much different.

And remember, the foolish person may have a certain character. It is easy for the fool to create a certain character because he is stubborn. Stupidity is always stubborn. If some idea gets into his head he may be able to practice it more consistently than the intelligent person because he is stubborn, he cannot be flexible. He is not dynamic, he is stagnant.

That helps many foolish people to become respectable - because they can do stupid things nobody else will be able to do, but they do them with such perseverance, with such patience, with such strength, that they succeed in doing them. They can create great characters, they can be great moralists, they can be very pious, and they can impress you.

Remember, character is not of much value. What is valuable is consciousness - not conscience but consciousness. Conscience is created by the society. The more foolish you are, the more the society is able to create a conscience in you. It gives you an idea how to live your life. It manipulates you in a very subtle way. It hypnotizes you and conditions you. And the conditioning is so long that you forget completely that these are not your ideas.

For example, if you are born in a vegetarian family you will be a vegetarian, thinking that you have renounced all meat-eating, etcetera, that you are great - you are a vegetarian. But if you were born in a nonvegetarian family you would have been a nonvegetarian. It depends on the conditioning; you are not doing it consciously. You are allowing other people to dominate you, to decide for you.

The intelligent person is rebellious. He does not allow others to decide for him; he keeps the right to himself. Hence, stupid people become saints very easily because they allow the society to condition them. At least in that particular society they will be very much respected. To others they will look very stupid, to others they will look insane, but to that particular society which has conditioned them they will be great saints.

Just a few days before in Bombay, a naked Jaina saint has come - Acharya Vidyananda.

He lives naked. To the Jainas he seems to be a great saint; to others he seems to be a little bit crazy, eccentric. And if you look at his face he looks stupid, although he talks on great scriptures. But his face shows simply stupidity, no radiance. His body seems ugly. If there is going to be a competition, a world competition in ugliness for Mr.

Universe, then he may succeed. But to his set, to his followers he looks so great - that he has transcended his body. And all that he is doing is unnecessarily torturing his body.

If you torture the body it becomes ugly. It is a gift of God - make it beautiful. It is your home, you have to live in it - make it beautiful.

But once you are in a certain conditioning, that is your whole universe. You think in terms which others have told you. Unless by some accident you come across a new idea....

Old maid Sarah possessed several million dollars, a pedigree female cat, and some very Victorian ideas on the subject of sex. In fact, her feelings about sex were such that for five years she had never allowed her cat to go out of the house for fear of "contamination."

Deciding to take a vacation in Hawaii, Sarah instructed her housekeeper, "Now be sure you don't let the cat out. I repeat, do not, under any circumstances, let the cat out."

After Sarah had been gone about a week, the housekeeper received a telegram, "Having a wonderful time. Met the nicest young man. Let the cat out!"

People are living in small ponds of their own ideology and it is very rare that they will come across something new that will go through their thick layer of conditioning and will make them aware what they are doing to themselves. These are the people you worship, you respect, whom for centuries you have worshipped and respected. And because of this worship and respect the whole humanity has remained tethered to the lowest possibility of intelligence. You could have reached to the Everest of intelligence, but we have not allowed our intelligence to soar high, higher than the collective mind wants it to.


Buddha says: Go alone, just remember two things. Don't carry your mistakes - that means, don't carry your past. There is no need even to repent about the past. Your religious people go on teaching you, "Repent!" because it is through repentance that they make you feel guilty, and when you are guilty you can be exploited.

A real master always makes you feel good about yourself, not guilty; respectful towards yourself, not guilty. But the priests live on creating guilt in you. They would not like you to forget your mistakes; they want to remind you again and again. They have not even forgotten the sin that was committed by Adam and Eve; they go on reminding you about the original sin. You have not committed it, but you are born into the chain in which the first man and woman committed it and you are carrying the load of it. You have to feel guilty even for that, what to say about your own mistakes? The priests have lived in great power for the simple reason that they have reduced you into guilty sinners.

The elderly priest listened in while the young curate took his first confession.

"You did well," he told the young priest, "but I suggest that when you hear the confessions of these pretty young ladies it would be more appropriate if you went, 'Tsk, tsk, tsk,' and not 'Wow!'" DO NOT CARRY WITH YOU YOUR MISTAKES. Don't repent, don't feel guilty. Drop the past; it is no more.

And: DO NOT CARRY YOUR CARES. That is: don't think about the future, don't be worried about it. Live in the present. That is what meditation is all about: living in the present. Mind lives in the past and in the future; and if you can be in the present, mind disappears, and silence prevails - profound silence, virgin silence.

See it as a fact... right now, here. If there is no past and no future, then this moment has such beauty, such grace. Then the birds singing and the traffic noise and this beautiful silence... and something will transpire between me and you. It can transpire only in the present.


Be in the present and travel on alone - if you cannot find a master. But if you can find a master, let him go with you; go with him joyfully.... AND OVERCOME THE DANGERS OF THE WAY.

Enough for today.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 9

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