The very nature of things
IS ENLIGHTENMENT BEYOND THE NATURE OF THINGS?
Milarepa, enlightenment is the very nature of things. But it has never been said that way; on the contrary, people's minds have been corrupted by creating a goal against nature, giving it beautiful names, "supernature." And man was caught in this because of a very simple reason:
The nature of things is already where you are.
It is not an excitement and it is not a challenge and it does not call on you to prove your ego. It is not a faraway star. Mind wants for its nourishment something very difficult, something almost impossible. Only if you can achieve the impossible can you feel you are somebody special.
Enlightenment is not a talent. It is not like somebody being born a painter or a poet or a scientist - those are talents. Enlightenment is simply everybody's very source of life. You have not even to go out of your house to look for it. To go out of your house to look for it, you have missed it, and nobody knows when you will be able to come back home.
Enlightenment is nothing but realizing the fact that "I am that which I have always wanted to be, and I have never been anything else and I cannot be anything else, ever." The very definition of nature is that you cannot go beyond it. You can make the effort and create misery, anxiety, anguish, but you cannot go beyond it.
It is you.
How can you go beyond yourself?
It is your very life source, your very existence. Wherever you will go, you will be it.
There have been records of people whose first experience of themselves was just a belly laughter.
Seeing the absurdity of what they were trying to do... they were trying to be themselves! That is the only impossible thing in the world, because you are already it - how can you try to be it?
But the priests, so-called religious leaders, and all those who have wanted you to be enslaved have given you ideals. They have told you, "Unless you behave in a certain way, you are wrong." Unless you do the things that they prescribe, you are not good.
Nobody ever asked these people, "Who has given you the authority to decide for others? If you think something is good, do it, but you have no right to tell anybody else to follow you."
The great corrupters, the great poisoners are the people who have created following, because following simply means you are being put into an absurdity against yourself: you are being told that you have to be somebody else that you can never be. This has created the whole world of tremendous misery.
Unless we see the roots, this misery cannot disappear. We can go on increasing our gadgets, our technology, but the misery continues. It is not that only the poor man is miserable; my own experience is that the poor man is less miserable than the rich man - the poor man at least has a hope. The rich man is living hopelessly. Now he knows that he has done all he could, and his life is as empty as ever - perhaps more empty. And death is coming closer; life is becoming every moment shorter and he has wasted it in accumulating money, power, prestige. He has wasted his life in being a saint, praying before man-manufactured gods.
And all this has been done so that you can never simply be just yourself.
I teach you only a simple morality, and that is: never go against your nature. Even if all the buddhas of all the ages are standing against it, don't pay any attention. They have nothing to do with you.
They did what they felt was right for them, you have to do what you feel is right for yourself. And what is right? It cannot be defined by any scripture. It cannot be defined by any outer criterion.
There is an intrinsic criterion to be understood:
That which makes you happier is good.
That which makes you blissful is the only morality. That which makes you miserable is the only sin.
That which takes you away from yourself is the only thing to be avoided.
Just rejoice in yourself and you are enlightened. You have always been enlightened, there is no way to be unenlightened.
I have tried in many ways, but I have to concede to you that I have failed: I could not become unenlightened. In whatever position, doing whatever kinds of things, I was surprised: whether I go north or I go south, I remain enlightened!
In Japan, they have a very beautiful doll... perhaps they are the people who make the most beautiful dolls. And this doll is no ordinary doll. In Japan its name is daruma, but it is the Japanese distortion of the name of Bodhidharma - the doll is made according to Bodhidharma's insight.
The doll is heavy in the legs and very light towards the head. So you can throw it anywhere you like, but it always gets into the lotus posture. You cannot do anything to it. People may have forgotten; it has become just a doll for children to play with. But it represents what I am saying and what Bodhidharma was saying, that there is no way for you to be unenlightened.
Who has put this idea in your mind that you have to become enlightened?
Miss Prim, the elderly spinster, is giving an introductory talk at the girl's college. "Now, girls," she says, "whenever you go out, remember: no smoking in the streets, no bad conduct in public and when the men bother you, ask yourself: Is an hour's pleasure worth a lifetime of disgrace? Now, girls, are there any questions?"
A voice from the back of the hall cries, "How do you make it last an hour?"
There are people around you driving you crazy. Otherwise everything is perfectly as it should be.
This is the most perfect world, nothing is missing. But a few crackpots cannot sit at ease unless they drive a few other people into running after shadows which can never be realized.
And the more they feel they cannot be realized, the more meaninglessness, the more hopelessness, the more the feeling of utter emptiness... and a sadness settles and becomes thicker as time passes by.
Never accept any criterion that makes you miserable. Never accept any morality that makes you feel guilty. Never accept anything that is trying to enforce something upon you against your simple nature.
Just be yourself and you are perfect.
Move away from yourself and you are in for great trouble. Everybody is in trouble. My own experience of coming in contact with thousands of people is that I have never seen a man who is really miserable. On the contrary - I have seen people enjoying their misery, exaggerating their misery. One feels immensely compassionate that people who could have blossomed into beautiful flowers are shrunken. They have lost the way to their own home, and everybody is trying to help them to go somewhere else - "become a Buddha, become a Jesus, become a Moses." But nobody ever says to you, "Just be yourself."
What connection exists between you and Moses? What are the ties between you and Jesus Christ?
But people are worshipping, praying, hoping that some day they will become the ideals of their imagination. Naturally they are always failures. You are a roseflower and you are going to be a roseflower. Let the whole world condemn or appreciate - it does not matter.
Once a man takes this stand that "I am going to assert myself" - it has nothing to do with ego, it is simply protecting yourself against a criminal world, corrupted for thousands of years. You have every right to protect yourself, not to be poisoned. And there will not be any need in you for any god, for any religion, for any moral code, for any methodology, for any effort to become enlightened. Just being natural is more than you can ever imagine.
Except man, the whole of existence is enlightened. Nobody is trying for anything else; everybody is at ease, at home with the universe.
One of the great scientists, Julian Huxley, has a certain hypothesis - there is no way to prove it, but it seems to have certain significance. After his whole life's research he concludes that, "It seems something has gone wrong in the very mechanism of man. Because no tree seems to be in anxiety, no animal commits suicide in the wild, no animal becomes a homosexual in the wild." But something strange happens in the zoos. When animals are kept in a zoo, they start getting some great qualities of your humanity: they become homosexuals. Animals have even been found to commit suicide in zoos. They become perverted, they start doing things which none of their ancestors have ever done, in millennia. What happens in the zoo? They become part of the human society. They start imitating human beings. They become distorted, they become unnatural.
As far as I am concerned, except man, the whole existence is perfectly healthy, perfectly at ease.
Julian Huxley's idea has some pragmatic value. It may not be possible to prove what has gone wrong, because man is a very complex mechanism. But something certainly has gone wrong.
In my vision, it is not something hereditary that has gone wrong. It is something that happens to every child again and again, because every child is born in a society which is not sane. And he has to learn the ways of the people who are insane. By the time he is capable of some intelligence, he is already poisoned. It is already too late, he has become an imitator.
Children are innocent. They come into the world without any idea of what is going to happen.
Naturally, finding themselves surrounded by people, they start imitating them. That is their way of learning. But in this very process of imitation and learning happens the great mistake which Julian Huxley thinks is genetic. It is not genetic, it is cultural. It is because of the grown-ups. The child has no other way; he has to learn from people who are sick. And these sick people will not tolerate anybody who is not sick.
Anybody who is healthy, anybody who is sane is going to be hated, is going to be poisoned, is going to be stoned to death, because the crowd has to choose between two things: either the single individual is right - then the whole crowd and its whole history is wrong. Or if the whole crowd and its long past, which it calls its "golden past," is right, then this man has to be erased; otherwise it is a constant question mark.
It is not without reason that Socrates is poisoned. Socrates is intolerable. His very presence hurts you because his height, his intelligence, his honesty, all prove you to be hypocrites. Certainly the crowd is not willing to accept a single man's standard against the whole history of mankind. It is better to destroy this man, to get rid of this man. He is a constant nagging; he is telling you that you are dishonest, that you are living in lies, that your gods are false, that your hopes are nothing but consolations, that you are trying to hide your nudity.
You know perfectly well that behind your clothes, you are a totally different person. These people are reminders, and it hurts to be reminded of your dishonesty to yourself. It hurts to know that your love is not love but jealousy; it is a diluted form of hate. It hurts to know that your gods are absolutely bogus, your own creation; your holy scriptures are as unholy as a book can be. The easier thing seems to be to remove any man like Socrates and be at ease with your misery and again start making efforts to become enlightened.
It is a very strange situation. Whenever somebody is natural and is enlightened, you destroy him and then you try to find out how to become enlightened. Perhaps your quest of how to become enlightened is nothing but a cunning strategy to postpone enlightenment.
In fact, even to say postponement is not right. You are enlightened and you are trying not to be enlightened. Your whole effort of being a Catholic, being a Protestant, being a Hindu, being a Mohammedan, is nothing but a device not to recognize your enlightenment.
When Socrates was poisoned, Athens was a city state, a direct democracy. Every citizen except the slaves had the right to vote and every decision had to be made by the whole city. The chief justice who was going to decide whether the majority of Athenians were in favor of poisoning Socrates or in favor of saving him, was very much puzzled. He must have been a man of some intelligence. He saw that Socrates was a simple, innocent, almost childlike person. He had not committed any crime, he had not done any harm to anybody. And that's what Socrates had appealed to the court - "Just tell me, what is my crime?"
There was no crime, there was no charge against him. The chief justice whispered in his ear that "Your crime is that you are a natural being. I cannot say it aloud, because I know if they cannot forgive you, they cannot forgive me either. But I have immense respect for your innocence and I don't want a man like you to be destroyed. You are an exception, but you prove the rule that every man can be so innocent and so sincere and so alive and so joyous. I give you three alternatives....
"First is that Athens is a city state; its laws are not applicable outside the boundary of the city. The simple thing is for you to move outside the city. You can open your school, your academy, and those who love you will be coming there. And I know for certain that the younger generation is immensely impressed by you. It is the older generation..."
But in the past, the older generation was always the majority, because out of ten children, nine used to die within two years after their birth. Now the situation has reversed: out of ten children only one child dies, nine go on living. It is for the first time that young people are the majority in the world.
Never in the past were the young people in the majority. They were always a minority group.
The chief justice said, "You simply move out of the city." Socrates said, "That will be cowardly. As far as death is concerned, it is going to come sooner or later. I am already old enough. But I don't want the future generations to remember that Socrates moved out of Athens because of the fear of death. Please forgive me, I cannot go out of Athens."
The chief justice said, "Then the second simple thing will be that you stop teaching. Live in Athens, but don't talk about your truth. And don't talk about people being sincere and authentic."
Socrates said, "You are asking me to do things which I cannot do. What is the purpose of my living if I cannot blossom into my absolute potential? When a tree blossoms, flowers are bound to be there and the fragrance is going to reach those who are receptive. I will continue to speak and I will continue to talk about truth and I will continue to provoke people to be natural and not to become hypocrites according to the so-called religions."
The chief justice said, "Then I am helpless. Then the third alternative is that you have to accept poison. Because the majority, although they have no evidence against you, simply say that your very presence is corruptive. Your very presence is destroying the youth; your very presence is taking the youth away from the old path trodden by the ancients. Your presence is making individuals assertive, giving them courage to be free and to stand alone even if it comes to be against the whole society."
Socrates said, "There is no problem about poison. That I can accept. I am dying for a beautiful cause. I lived in absolute glory and I am dying with a crescendo."
And while he was lying in the bed and the poison was being prepared, the man - who had prepared poison for many other prisoners - was trying to delay, because he also felt, "The man is absolutely innocent. If I can give him a few minutes more to live... I am a poor man, I cannot do anything more."
So he was preparing the poison as slowly as possible.
But Socrates would come to the door and say to the man, "You are not being sincere, you are cheating. The orders are that as the sun sets, the poison should be given to me. And the sun has set and you have not prepared the poison. I feel you are trying to give me a few more minutes, but there is no point. I am ready to go into the unknown. Life I have known enough. Don't delay; let me go into the unknown mysteries of death."
He was one of the most sincere men in the sense that he never said anything about what happens beyond death. He always said, "First let me die. Unless I know, I cannot say anything about beyond death. Those who have said something are all lying, deceiving, cheating, because they are still alive and they don't know anything about death. Don't force me to be in the same company. I will say only that which is my experience."
He told the man who was preparing the poison, "Be quick, because my disciples are waiting.
Perhaps I can give them a few indications about death as it is experienced." The poison was given - and this is when Socrates comes into his purest awareness. He said to his disciples, "Up to my knees, I don't feel." He pinched and he said, "Up to my knees, the poison has worked. But one thing you should remember: the knees are gone, but I am as complete and entire as I have been before.
Nothing has been taken away from me." And then the whole legs, and then the hands... and then the breathing started slowing. And Socrates said, "Perhaps I may not be able to say anything more.
I want you to know that almost my whole body is dead. Just the last few breaths more... and I will be gone. But I am as entire and as total and as whole as I have ever been. My awareness is crystal clear."
This shows the sincerity of the man. Only such a man can say that your sources of life belong to eternity, they don't die with your bodies. They only change houses. You have been here always, and you will be here always. You are part, an essential part, inseparable part of this immensely beautiful dancing existence.
Just be natural so that you can remain in tune with existence. So that you can dance in the rain and you can dance in the sun and you can dance with the trees, and you can have a communion even with the rocks, with the mountains, with the stars.
Except this, there is no enlightenment.
Let me define it: Enlightenment is to be in tune with existence.
To be in tune with nature - the very nature of things - is enlightenment. Against nature there is only misery - and misery created by yourself. Nobody else is responsible for it.
Two Irish leprechauns arrive at the convent door and ask to speak to the Mother Superior. They are led to her office, where one of them respectfully asks, "Excuse me, your holiness, but are there any leprechaun nuns at this convent?"
The Mother Superior looks shocked and assures him that there are not. The little guy then asks if there are any leprechaun nuns in the neighborhood. Again the reply is no.
The leprechaun then asks, "Begging your pardon, Holy Mother, but would you know of any leprechaun nuns anywhere?"
The nun shakes her head, at which the little man turns and shakes his friend by the shoulders. "You see! You see!" he cries, "I told you, you fucked a penguin!"
This is prayer time.
Old man Finkelstein tells Ruthie that he is going into town to apply for an old age pension. Ruthie says, "Sam, you don't have a birth certificate; how are you going to prove your age?"
"Don't worry Ruthie," says old man Fink and he leaves for town.
Sure enough, he is back in a few hours and reports that he will get his first check on Monday. "So how did you prove your age?" asks Ruthie.
"Easy," says Fink, smiling, "I just unbuttoned my shirt and showed them all the gray hairs on my chest."
"Well, while you were at it," snaps Ruthie, "why didn't you drop your pants and apply for total disability?"
At a doctor's convention, a conversation is taking place in the pub at the end of the day's activities.
An Israeli doctor says, "Medicine in my country is so advanced that we can take an eyeball out of one person and put it in another and have him looking for work in six weeks."
A German doctor says, "Ja, that's nothing. In Germany, we can take a lung out of one person and put it in someone else and have him looking for work in a month."
A Russian doctor says, "In my country, medicine is so advanced that we can take half a heart from one person, put it in another, and have them both looking for work in two weeks."
An American doctor, not wanting to be outdone, says, "That's nothing. We can take an asshole out of Hollywood, put him in the White House, and have half the nation looking for work the next day!"
Yes, Beloved Master.