The Eightfold Way

Fri, 31 October 1976 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Discipline of Transcendence Vol 4
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
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GAUTAMA THE BUDDHA has no leaning towards abstraction, philosophy or metaphysics. He's very practical, down-to-earth practical. He's very scientific.

His approach is not that of a thinker; the approach is existential. When he attained and became a Buddha, it is said that the God of the Gods, Brahma, came to him and asked him, "Who is your witness? You declare that you have become a Buddha, but who is your witness?" Buddha laughed, touched the earth with his hand, and said, "This earth, this solid earth is my witness."

He is very earthy; he made the earth his witness. He could have said so about the sky, but no; he could have said so about the sun or the moon or the stars, but no.

He touched the earth and said, "This solid earth is my witness." His whole approach is like that.

Before we enter into these sutras. his basic steps have to be understood.

Buddha's Way is called 'the eightfold Way'. He has divided it into eight parts.

Those divisions are arbitrary, just utilitarian; the Way is one. It is not really divided, it is divided so that you can understand it easily. And this is very fundamental: if you can understand these eight steps or eight divisions of the Way, the Way will open just in front of you. You are already standing on it, but not aware; your mind is wandering somewhere. The Way is in front of you. So try to understand these eight steps as deeply as possible.

The first is: right view.

And all these eight steps are concerned with rightness - right view, right intention, right speech, right morality, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and the eighth, the ultimate, right SAMADHI. The word 'right' has to be understood first because the Sanskrit word SAMYAK IS SO meaningful, is so pregnant with meaning that it cannot be translated. 'Right' is a very poor translation for it for many reasons.

First, the word 'right' immediately gives the idea as if it is against the wrong.

SAMYAK never gives that idea; SAMYAK IS not against the wrong. Buddha's right is not against the wrong, because Buddha says, 'Wrongs are many, right is one - so how can the right be against the wrong?" Health is one, diseases are many. There are not as many healths as there are diseases, so health cannot be against the diseases - otherwise there would be sc many healths. Somebody is suffering from TB and then he becomes healthy, somebody is suffering from cancer and he becomes healthy, and somebody is suffering from flu and he becomes healthy. These three healths are not three healths. The diseases were different, but health is one, and one cannot be against the many.

Exactly the same is true about right and wrong. Right is one. Wrongs are millions; you can go on inventing wrongs. Right cannot be invented; it does not depend on you. Right is a state of affairs where you are in tune with the whole.

That is the meaning of health too: when you are in tune with the whole you are healthy. The music flows between you and the whole, there is no obstruction.

You feel a well-being. There is no noise, everything is in harmony. When the individual is in tune with the universal, right exists, health exists. When you fall out of tune then so many wrongs arise - there is no limit to them, they are endless. And you can invent new wrongs.

Humanity has invented many new diseases which were not prevalent before. In the old scriptures, ayurvedic scriptures, many diseases are not mentioned.

People think they are not mentioned because ayurveda was not yet enough of a science, so they could not diagnose those diseases. That is not true; ayurveda became a perfect science. But those diseases were not in existence, so how can you diagnose a disease which doesn't exist? They were non -existential. There were a few diseases which existed only for rich people, very rich people. They were called royal diseases. Tuberculosis was called 'royal'. It was not an ordinary disease. Now the whole world has become royal; now the whole world suffers from richness, affluence. Leisure has made many things available, many new diseases available.

Cancer is a very new disease. It can exist only when the mind is very worried, when worry becomes like a wound. And around that subtle wound in the psyche arises a disease in the body corresponding to it. That's what cancer is: That's why cancer seems to be incurable. There is no way to cure it from the body side. It can be cured only from the mind side because basically it arises there.

Each age has its own diseases, each age has its own vices, and each age invents its own sins. But virtue is ageless, timeless. Sainthood has nothing to do with any age, time period. It is not historical, it is existential.

Buddha says: Right is that which is not your invention. It is already there. If you go away from it you are wrong, if you come close to it you are right. The more close you are, the more right you are. One day, when you are exactly home, you are perfectly right. SAMYAK and SAMADHI both come from the same root SAM. SAMYAK IS the step towards SAMADHI. If you don't understand SAMYAK, YOU will not be able to understand SAMADHI.

So seven steps ultimately lead to the final step. 'Samadhi' means: now everything has fallen in tune with existence. Not a flaw exists; the music is utterly perfect.

But there is no better word in English than 'right', so you have to understand it.

'Right' in the Buddhist meaning of the term means: balanced, centered, grounded, harmonious, tranquil - all of these things. But the basic thing can be understood even if there is no synonymous term in English to translate it.

But remember, it has nothing to do with wrong. Wrong is a human invention, right is divine. Right is not something that you have to do - you were born right.

Wrong is something that you have to do; you were not born wrong. Every child is born in harmony. That's why children are so beautiful. Have you ever seen a baby who is ugly? It doesn't happen. All babies are beautiful, but all grown-ups are not beautiful. So something somewhere must have gone wrong - because all babies are beautiful. They have a grace, a tremendous elegance which has nothing to do with any practice, because they have no time to practice anything.

They come into the world without any rehearsal. They are just there; so happy, so silent, so harmonious. Such grace surrounds them - as if the whole existence is protective towards them. Then, by and by, they learn the ways of man and become wrong. Then ugliness appears. Then beautiful eyes can become horrible; then a beautiful face can become criminal; then a beautiful body can lose all grace. Then a beautiful intelligence.... Every child is born intelligent; that's how things are. An intelligent child can become stupid, mediocre. These are human achievements.

The wrong is a human achievement, the right is divine. You are not to do anything for it. You have only to stop all that you have been doing to create the wrong. And when there is right, you don't feel you are right. That's why, I repeat again: It is not against wrong. When you are in the right you are simply natural.

You don't have any feeling of being righteous. You don't have any feeling that you are a great saint. If you have that feeling then you are still wrong somewhere - because the no is a jarring note. It does not allow the music to flow.

'Right' means balanced, non-tense, centered; you are not a stranger in existence.

That's what 'right' means: you are at home. This existence is your family. You are not an alien. In the west, and in the east too, the modern mind continuously talks and thinks about alienation, that man has become an outsider, that man has become a stranger, that we seem to be just like accidents on earth. Existentialists have the right word for it: they say we have been thrown here. Thrown?

Dumped! Expelled! Punished! And this existence is against us. And you can prove it: so many diseases - death is there; so many frustrations, failures. People go on saying man proposes and God disposes.

So of course man is doomed, doomed from the very beginning, is born with great desires and without any possibility of any fulfilment, ever. How can this existence be your home? It can't be your family.

The right is when you start feeling that you are at home. Nothing is alien, nothing is strange.

Buddha says: If you are, you are wrong - because whenever you are, you are separate from existence. When you are not you are right. Listen to this paradox; it is one of the most beautiful paradoxes. Buddha says: When you are, you are wrong. Your being is to be wrong. The very separation, the 'I am', creates a barrier. Then you don't melt, then you become frozen, then you are like an ice- cube. Dead. Closed. Then you have a boundary.

When you start melting, and you start feeling, "The existence is, and I am just a part"... and you relax, and there is a let-go; you disappear. Then you are right.

When you are not you are right.

These eight steps are just indicators, by and by, of how to come to that tremendous courage, that.ultimate courage where you take the quantum leap and you simply disappear. When the self disappears, the Universal Self arises.

The first is right view.

Buddha says: Look at things without any opinion, otherwise you never look at reality. Look at things without any philosophy, without any prejudice, without any dogma, creed, scripture. Just look. Look at things as they are. Be factual; don't create a fiction. If you are looking for something with a prejudice, you will find it - that is the trouble. If you are already full of a belief you will find it because the mind is so creative, so imaginative, so capable of auto-hypnosis, that whatsoever it believes it can create. Buddha says: Go to reality without any belief. Belief is the barrier.

You must have watched it.

If you are born a Hindu - that means if you are being conditioned from your childhood by Hindus - that means you are a victim of Hinduism. And the same applies to Mohammedans and Christians, Jews, Jains, communists: the whole humanity is a victim of this school or that, of this prejudice or that, of this belief or that. If you are born a Hindu, have been conditioned in certain dogmas, and you start meditating, you will start seeing visions of Krishna, Rama - it depends on what you have been taught, who has been enforced and engraved in your mind - but Christ will never come to you. Christ comes to a Christian, Buddha comes to a Buddhist, Mahavira comes to a Jaina. To a Jaina, Mohammed can never come; it is impossible. Even to conceive the idea is impossible. Even in a dream, Mohammed will not come to a Jaina. What is happening? Are these Buddhas, Mahaviras, Christs, really coming? or is your own belief creating them?

Your own belief is creating them.

To a communist, nobody comes. His belief is that all religion is nonsense, an opium for the people, a dangerous poison to be got rid of as soon as possible - then nobody comes. It depends on you. If you have a belief, that very belief becomes a dream; and if you are very, very sensitive, receptive, that dream can look more real than the reality. In fact, this happens every day, even in non- religious people. You dream in the night and when you dream the dream looks so real. You have dreamed your whole life and every morning you cancel it as unreal. But again, next night you dream, and in the dream again it seems real.

The dreaming faculty lives on belief. If you have a strong belief then the dreaming faculty joins with the belief, pours its energy into the belief, makes the belief a reality, and you start having visions. Buddha is not in favor of any visions - because he says: "That which is, needs no visions. It needs simply clarity to see." Your mind need not have any dreams, great dreams of great saints, heaven and hell; these are all your creations.

Right view is: having no prejudice, having no belief, having no opinion whatsoever. Difficult... Buddha's path is arduous; he demands too much. It almost seems to be a superhuman feat. But it is possible - and that is the only way towards truth.

If you have any opinion you will impose your opinion on the truth. You do it every day. If you come to me with the opinion that this man is good, you will go convinced that this man is good; if you come with the opinion that this man is bad. you will go convinced that this man is bad. Your belief will always find that which it wants to find. Belief is very selective. I have heard....

The boy had been brought into court again charged with stealing auto hubcaps.

The magistrate determined to appeal to his father: "See here," said the judge."This boy of yours has been in this court many times charged with theft, and I am tired of seeing him here."

"I don't blame you, Judge," said the father. "And I am just as tired of seeing him here as you are."

"Then why don't you teach him how to act? Show him the right way and he will not be coming here."

"I have already shown him the right way," said the father, "but he just does not seem to have any talent for learning. He always gets caught!"

Now, the right way is different for the judge and for the father. The father himself is a thief. He also wants the boy to learn 'the right way' so that he is never caught again. But his right way is HIS right way.

For a holiday, Mullevy decided to go to Switzerland to fulfill a life-long dream and climb the Matterhorn. He hired a guide, and just as they neared the top the men were caught in a snowslide.

Three hours later a Saint Bernard ploughed through to them, a keg of brandy tied under his chin.

"Hooray!" shouted the guide. "Here comes man's best friend."

"Ah," said Mullevy. "And look at the size of the dog that is bringing it!"

Now, for one the dog is the greatest friend of humanity, for the other it is the bottle that he is bringing.

"Ah," said Mullevy. "And look at the size of the dog that is bringing it!"

It depends on how you look at things. You can look at the same thing, and you may not be seeing the same thing. If you are listening to me in trust, you listen differently. If you are listening to me with disbelief, you listen to me differently.

If you are listening as a disciple, you listen differently. If you are listening just as an outsider, a visitor - just by the way, you have come with a friend - you listen differently. What I say is the same, but how you interpret it will depend on you.

Right listening will be that you listen as nobody: neither for nor against, with no prejudice - just listening. If you can see things without any idea in the mind, then Buddha says it is right view.

Right view needs no conceptualization. That's why Buddha says: Don't ask me any theoretical question. He does not say anything about God - not that God is not. He does not say anything about it because it is pointless to create a theory.

He tries to open your eyes to it. He says: To know the truth, you need eyes - just as you cannot teach a blind man what light is like, howsoever you try. You cannot teach a blind man anything about the light. Of course, you can teach as much as you want and he may learn all the information that you deliver to him, but still, in reality, he will not be able to conceive what light is. He cannot conceive.

It happened:

A blind man was brought to Buddha. He was passing through the village, and the people of the village were tired of the blind man because he was very logical and very philosophical. He was so argumentative that he used to prove that the light exists not..He would say, "You just bring it, I would like to touch it"; or "You bring it so I can taste it"; or "You bring it, at least let me smell it"; or "You bring it and beat it like a drum so I can hear it."

Of course, you cannot beat light like a drum, and you cannot taste it, and you cannot smell it, and you cannot touch The blind man would laugh, laugh with victory, and he would say, "You fools!

You are trying to prove something to me which is not. I have got four senses.

Prove it! I am ready, I am open."

They could not prove it, so the blind man started thinking that they were just trying to befool him about this light: "The whole business is just a deception, a fraud. In fact, they want to prove that I am blind. They are insulting me. I am not blind, because light exists not. So what is the point? If light exists not, eyes need not be there. Eves are just a fiction."

He would say, "You are all blind, but you are dreaming about something that exists not."

They brought the man to Buddha, and Buddha said, "Don't bring him to me. I know a physician - because he needs no conviction, he needs a vision of light.

He needs eyes. He needs treatment, he needs no theory about it. But I know a physician. " Buddha had a beautiful, very learned physician. He was given to him by an emperor, to look after Buddha's body. The blind man was taken to the physician.

He treated him, and within six months he was able to see.

By that time Buddha had moved to another town. The man came running and dancing; he was ecstatic. He fell at Buddha's feet and he said, "You have convinced me."

Buddha said, "Don't talk nonsense. I have not done anything. Your eyes have convinced you, and there is no other way."

Buddha used to say: I am not a philosopher, I am a physician. I would like to treat your inner eyes, and the first step is right view. 'Right view' really means: a mind without views. If you have any view, it is wrong view. If you don't have any view, then you are simply open, clear. Then your window is completely open, you don't have any hindrance; whatsoever is available you will be able to see. Buddha never says anything about that which you will see; he only talks about how to treat your blindness, how to get out of your blindness.

Mulla Nasrudin's son, studying political science, asked his father, "Dad, what is a traitor in politics?"

"Any man who leaves our party," said the Mulla, "and goes over to the other one, is a traitor."

"Well, what about a man who leaves his party and comes over to yours?" asked the young man.

"He would be a convert, son," said Nasrudin, "a real convert."

Now, when somebody goes from your party to another party he is a traitor, and when somebody comes from the other party to yours he is a convert. When a Hindu becomes a Christian, to Hindus he is a traitor, to Christians he is a convert; and when a Christian becomes a Hindu, they welcome him: his understanding is back, he has realized what truth is. But to Christians, he is a traitor.

If you live with views you cannot see the truth of anything. Your view always comes as a barrier. It obstructs, it distorts, it does not allow you to see things as they are. And God is that which is. To know the real you need not have any views. In fact, if you really want to know the real, you have to drop views. That is the first renunciation Buddha teaches: Drop all views, and right view will arise. All views are wrong views. The Hindu, the Christian, the Buddhist: all views are wrong views.

A man without views, a man without opinion, a man with not a thought to cling to, a man who is just a mirror, reflects reality.

The woman heard the preacher go through the commandments, and after every commandment she joined the rest of the audience in shouting, "Amen!"

Where he came to the commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery, she said, "Now he is beginning to meddle."

Something looks absolutely right until it doesn't fit with you - as if you are the touchstone of truth, as if you are the criterion of truth. The moment it is not fitting with you it is wrong. This is a wrong approach, and if you have this approach you will never arrive to that which is real. If something is not fitting with you, then don't be in a hurry to settle the matter - that it must be wrong because it doesn't fit with you. It need not fit with you. God has no obligation to fit with you. Reality has no obligation to fit with you. If it is not fitting with you, then a man of right understanding will change himself rather than deny the reality.

So whenever it hurts, whenever reality hurts, and whenever you feel that you are unfit, it is you who are unfit, not the reality. And a man who has no views will never find that there is any conflict between him and the reality. He will always fit with the reality and reality will fit with him - just like a glove fits on the hand.

This is right view.

The second step is: right intention.

We live result-oriented, we live goal-oriented, we live with intention, with desire:

"Things should be like this, then I will be happy. If they are not like this then I'm going to be unhappy." That's why we are so frustrated. Buddha says: Your frustration comes from your intentions. Your intentions seem to be going against reality; then you are frustrated.

Drop intentions, drop desires, and just move moment to moment with reality, wherever it leads. Just become a driftwood; just float with the stream and you will never be frustrated. Frustration comes whenever there is conflict between you and the real. And remember, the real is going to win; you cannot win against the real. Nobody can win against God; that's not possible, that doesn't happen.

You can win only with Him. Whenever you succeed remember, somehow, accidentally you must have been with Him. All success simply means this: that unknowingly you must have stepped with Him, and that's why you have succeeded. Failure means that unknowingly you must have stepped against Him. Failure is an indication, success is an indication.

A man who has learned this drops all his intentions. He has no private desires.

He says exactly what Jesus said on the cross: Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done. He surrenders. Buddha has no concept of God. His approach is more scientific than Jesus'. Jesus is more poetic. God is poetry, a beautiful poetry.

Buddha is not a poet, he's very mathematical. He says: There is no need to talk about God. Only one thing can be understood: you drop intentions. When you don't have any intentions, you have the right intention. And you have to remember this paradox in all the eight steps.

'Right intention' means no intention on your part. Then the universe flows through you. Then the universe goes on fulfilling its intention through you. You become a vehicle.

"Please," the little man prayed, "you know me. I am always praying to you and yet I have had nothing but bad luck, misery, sickness and despair all my life.

And look at the butcher next door. He's never prayed in his life, and yet he has nothing but prosperity, health and joy. How come a believer like me is always in trouble and he is always doing good?"

Suddenly a big booming voice sounded in his ear, "Because the butcher is not always bugging me, that's why!"

Now, your prayer can be a 'bugging'. What are your prayers? - your prayers are your intentions, the desires that you would like fulfilled. What are your prayers?

- your prayers are always against God. And look at the absurdity: you are praying to God, and the prayer is basically against God - because if it is not against God then there is no point in praying. You are ill: if you trust God that means you know that God wants you to be ill. This is how you are at this moment, this is what God's will is. You accept it. Then your prayer is only of gratitude. You don't beg for anything, you simply thank Him: "Thank you for making me ill. Thank you, because I know it must be needed. I may not understand, but I know you give me whatsoever is needed, whenever it is needed." You don't go to the temple or the church or the mosque and ask for help. If you ask, you are going against God. That which has happened already cannot happen against the will of the whole, whatsoever it is. If it is a dark night, then you must be in need of a dark night.

A Sufi mystic used to say in his prayer every day, "Thank you, my Lord - you always give me whatsoever is needed." His disciples were very annoyed by this, because they had seen him many times when he was poor, hungry, nowhere to rest in the night. And still, he would pray to God five times a day, and he would say, "Thank you. How grateful I am - whatsoever I need you always give me."

One day it was too much. For three days they had been hungry; nobody had even offered them food. For three days they had been sleeping under the trees, outside a town. and the town was very antagonistic and was ready to kill them.

And the morning of the fourth day the mystic was praying again and he was saying, "Thank you. Whatsoever I need you always give me."

One disciple could not contain himself. He said, "Stop all this nonsense! There is a limit to everything. What are you thanking God for? For three days we have been hungry, thirsty, no shelter. Nights are cold and we are getting frozen and you are thanking! For what! What has He given you!"

The mystic laughed and said, "For these three days I needed to be hungry, needed to be without any shelter. It was part of my growth. These three days have done me tremendous good, they have been a great blessing. That's what was needed, and He always gives whatsoever is needed."

In fact, whatsoever He gives is whatsoever is needed.

But when you pray, your prayer is always 'bugging'. You are complaining, you are grumpy, grouchy. You are saying, "Nothing is right, everything is wrong. Put it right! Otherwise I will start disbelieving in you; otherwise I am going to become an atheist. If you are, then do these things. If you are not, then I am finished, I am not going to pray anymore."

Is your prayer a sort of bribery? Do you praise Him just to persuade Him to fulfill your desires? Buddha says: The real religious person has no intention of his own - and that is his right intention. He does not live a private life, he does not live a separate life. He moves with the universe, he's one with the universe.

He has no separate goal, no separate destiny. The destiny of the whole is his destiny. Then the man becomes holy.

The man who has no intention of course lives moment to moment. He cannot project into the future. To whatsoever is needed in this moment, he responds accordingly. He is spontaneous and he is responsible. When I use the word 'responsible' I use in its original sense. He is response-able; he can respond, and he can respond totally, because he has no intention of his own. He can simply say, "Yes l" and he can say it totally. He will not hold back anything. His yes will not be a reluctant yes. It will be like a flower... blooming, releasing its fragrance to existence.

The man of right intention lives a life without any tension. Look at the word 'intention'; it is made of tension. All intention will create tension. It is made of two words, 'in', and 'tension'. When your inner reality is tense, it is IN TENSION.

When your inner reality is relaxed and there is no tension - you are not going anywhere, you are not chasing anything, you are not after anything, you are just here and now, relaxed - that state of no tension or no intention is what Buddha calls right intention. Because then suddenly the universe starts flowing through you. You become like a hollow bamboo. You become a flute.

The third is right speech.

Buddha says: Say only that which is. Never move into fictions. Only say that which is true and real. Only say that which you have experienced. Never talk about others' experiences. If you have not known God, please don't say anything about God - because whatsoever you say will be a falsification, will be sacrilege, will be a sin. Because whatsoever you say will be wrong. If you have known God, only then; otherwise not. The world would be more beautiful, less confused, if Buddha's dictum were listened to: right speech. He says: Say only that which you have experienced, which is grounded in your experience, rooted in your experience. Never say anything else.

Just think about it... haw many things we go on saying which we have never experienced, which we don't know anything about. We may have heard, we may have read, but that doesn't make you capable of uttering anything. It is all borrowed, and the borrowed is never the truth. Say only that which is. Be factual, not fictitious.

Buddha has not created any mythology. His statements are bare of all poetry and fiction, all ornaments. He NEVER decorates his statements; they are nude, they don't have any dressing. He says: If you start playing with fictions. there is no end. And the many religions in the world are ninety-nine percent fiction. Hindus say: there is one hell, one heaven. Jainas say: there are seven hells and seven heavens. And there was a teacher, Gosala, in the days of Mahavir. Somebody asked him, "What do you say7 Because Hindus believe in only one heaven, one hell. And the disciples of Mahavira say that they have not gone deep enough, but their Master has gone deeper and he says there are seven hells and seven heavens."

Gosala laughed. He said, "Nothing! I know there are seven hundred hells and seven hundred heavens."

Now, you can go on playing; there is no end to it, and there is no need to prove it. In the name of religion fictions can continue. All sorts of foolish things can be said in the name of religion. There is no way to judge whether they are true or not. There is no way to make them valid or invalid; you cannot prove, you cannot disprove. That's why all sorts of nonsense continues. There are three hundred religions on the earth and every religion has its own fiction. They are all fictitious. If they are just fictitious, then there is no problem. If it is understood, if you want to enjoy a fiction, then you enjoy.

Do you know that Krishnamurti goes on reading detective fictions? He never reads the GEETA, he never reads the KORAN, he never reads the BIBLE. He goes on reading detective novels. Nobody has asked him why, and he has never answered, but I know why - because it is all the same. Whether you read a dectective novel, or you read the BIBLE or the KORAN, makes no difference.

They are religious detective novels, they are secular detective novels. You may be surprised that a man of the qualities of Krishnamurti should read detective novels, but it is very indicative. He's simply saying that everything is a fiction, and if you want to read a detective novel then why not read a twentieth-century detective novel? Why go backwards and read rotten, primitive things? Why not the new, the latest model?

Buddha says: Right speech means: don't be fictitious, don't be esoteric. Just be absolutely honest and authentic. There were many times when questions were asked of Buddha and he would remain quiet, he would not answer. He would say, "This is not needed for your spiritual growth. This is unnecessary."

Somebody would ask, "Who created the world?" And he would say, "Don't ask - because if A created or B created or c created, what difference does it make to you? Or if nobody created it and it has been there without anybody's making it, creating it, what difference does it make? You just ask something real, empirical.

You ask something which can be of some help to you. Don't ask foolish questions."

Now see: he says, "These questions - foolish!" because the answers won't help you in any way to grow. And there are people who go on fighting about these things. Somebody says God created it; somebody says in six days; somebody says He is still creating, the creation continues, it has never been finished, the full point has not come yet - and they go on fighting and quarrelling. It seems they want to fight, so any excuse will do. And these are beautiful excuses because there is no way to end them. You can go on and on and on, ad infinitum. Then there are people who ask, "Who created God?" Now they are also asking a pertinent question.

These questions are irrelevant, and Buddha says: Only say that which you know, and only say that which is helpful, and only say that which is beneficial. Don't be frivolous and don't be fictitious. Be sincere in your utterances.

It happened:

The local political leader was invited to speak to the inmates of a mental asylum.

The politician had begun his talk and had been going for about ten minutes when a fellow in the back stood up and yelled, "Oh, you don't know what you are talking about! Besides, you are talking too much. Why don't you shut up and sit down!"

"I will wait a minute until you put that man out," the politician said to the superintendent.

"Put him out?" the superintendent asked. "Certainly not! That poor man has been here for eight years and that is the first time he has ever said anything that made any sense, sir."

Have you listened to your politicians' speeches? They go on talking and talking - and without saying a single thing. That's what diplomacy is: go on saying things without saying anything, otherwise you will be caught. So. roundabout and roundabout, people go on. In the end you cannot have any conclusion; there is no conclusion. They simply play with words. Words have their own charm, and if you watch you will be able to see. Sometimes you say a word, then that word leads to another word - the words have their own charm - then you go to the other word that leads you into another word, and finally you end up somewhere you had never wanted to. Words have their own charm, their own magic. Ask the novelists, poets; they know about it. The novelist starts a story, but it never ends according to him. By and by, the characters start asserting their own personalities. By and by, the words weave in certain ways and lead into certain directions. All great novelists have known it and said. "It's so - that we start the novel but we never end it. It ends in its own way."

You try to write a story. First you plan in the mind, you have a bare blueprint when you start. The moment you start, things start happening which you never intended. Then you are led astray and astray, and the novel or the story ends somewhere you had not even dreamt about. What happens?words have a magic of their own. One word leads to another, and one can go on and on.

Buddha says: Be mindful. Don't be led astray by words. Say that which you really want to say, don't be frivolous.

Just the other night Mrs. Mulla Nasrudin came to me. She said, "Do you know? I can stand at the door and by just looking at my husband's face I can tell whether he is lying or not."

I was surprised. I said, "How on earth can you do that?"

She said, "If his lips are moving, he's lying."

Mulla Nasrudin is a politician. If his lips are moving... enough! Then he must be lying. What else can he do?

Remember one thing: you have to be careful about what you take in, and you have to be careful about what you bring out. Only then can you have a life which is centered. People are careless: they go on stuffing themselves with whatsoever they find. Anything! They go on stuffing - in the body, and in the mind too. Be careful.

If your neighbor comes and starts gossiping, you listen very attentively. If the neighbor throws some rubbish in your garden, you will start fighting, but if he throws some rubbish in your head, you are perfectly welcoming of it. You don't see it: once somebody has been allowed to put rubbish in your head, what will you do with it? Sooner or later it will come through your mouth and enter into somebody else's head. You cannot keep it inside. That's why people have so much difficulty in keeping a secret. Tell somebody not to tell anybody anything, and you can be certain he will tell. Tell your wife, "This is very secret... don't tell anybody," and you can be certain that within twenty-four hours the whole town will know. Of course she will also say the same thing when she tells the story to the servant: "Don't say this to anybody, it is very secret." And he will say the same to his wife, and it will go on and on and on. Within twenty-four hours you will see the whole town knows about it. There is no better way to spread a thing around: just go on telling people, "Don't say it to anybody." Certain it is - they will have to say it. Because whenever there is a secret it becomes difficult to keep it inside. It wants to come out.

Don't go on taking anything in, and don't go on throwing anything out on people. If you are too full of rubbish, go to the riverbank, go to the forest, and just talk to the trees. Nothing will be harmful, because they don't listen. You can talk, you can unburden yourself, you can unwind and come back. But don't do that to human beings - they are already too burdened.

Buddha says: Right speech means very sincere speech.

The Bible says: In the beginning was the word... and then everything came in.

Buddha says: If you drop the word, there will be reality, the beginning. If you become silent, then whatsoever you say will have significance.

Have you watched it? If you fast for one day, the next day your hunger has a different passion to it. If you fast then you have a fresh hunger arising in you. If you go on stuffing yourself every day, continuously, and never fast, you completely forget the language of hunger, the freshness, the beauty, the aliveness of hunger. Fast one day and next day you will have a fresh hunger arising, and next day you will have a different taste. The food may be the same, but it will become tasteful - because it is hunger that makes it tasteful.

And the same happens with words. Keep silent, and then say something, and you will see: that something has power in it. Silence is like a fast: it brings life to your words. And in this world only those people who have kept themselves in deep silence, have been of tremendous import, and their words have been of lasting eternal value.

Buddha was silent for many months, Mahavir was silent for twelve years.

Whenever Jesus would feel that he was tired, he would go to the forest and he would say to his disciples, "Leave me. Leave me alone." He would be in silence for forty days, and then he would come back. And then his words would have a value to them: each word would be like a diamond.

If you really want that your words should have value, then learn silence. Keep more and more silent; then one day you will know what right speech is.

The fourth is: right morality.

Buddha says: The morality that comes from without is not the right morality. The morality that comes from within is the right morality.

All that we think is moral is not really moral. It is just conditioned by the society.

You have been taught to behave in a certain way and you behave in a certain way - but that behavior is the behavior of a slave. It is not that of a free man, it is not out of freedom. And how is morality possible out of slavery?

Buddha says: Morality is possible only when you are totally free, without any conditioning. Not that you have to do certain things, not that it is your duty, not that you have to follow a certain rule; but that you have become conscious, you have become aware. And out of that awareness you behave in a certain way.

AWARENESS is right morality; unawareness is wrong morality.

You can be truthful. You may not be a thief, and Vou may not fool around with others' wives, and you may not be a deceiver, but if it is just because society has forced these things on you, you are not moral. You may be a good citizen but morality is a greater thing: it is not so cheap. You may be good to the society; society does not want anything more than that. If you don't create any trouble - enough; if you don't create any mischief - enough - you are a good citizen. But to be moral means something more than being a good citizen. It means... a good man; it has nothing to do with society. It has something to do with your inner integrity.

Buddha says: Become more conscious. Live through consciousness rather than living through conscience.

Conscience is made by the society. If you are born in a Jaina family you will not eat meat, but it does not mean that you are non-violent. How can you be non- violent just by not eating meat? - because from your very childhood you have been taught not to eat meat and it has become nauseating. The Jaina cannot even look at meat: even seeing meat he starts feeling nauseous, he starts feeling sick.

When I was a child, in my home even tomatoes were not allowed. I asked my mother, "Why are tomatoes not allowed?" She said, "They look like meat. One starts feeling sick if one looks at tomatoes.'

Tomatoes, poor tomatoes... you cannot find more innocent people than tomatoes!

But I had not tasted tomatoes for a long time in my childhood. When I went to a hostel, only then did I gather courage to eat tomatoes. And the first day, when I ate them, I could not sleep the whole night. My whole stomach was rumbling, and I was afraid I had committed a great sin. In the morning I vomited - just a conditioning.

The French language has only one word for both consciousness and conscience.

That is right; Buddha would have agreed with it. It has only one word for both conscience and consciousness. Buddha also says: Your consciousness should be your conscience. You should become more aware. You should start seeing more things as they are, and then a nonviolence will arise. It is stupid to kill animals just for your food. It is not sin, it is stupid. It has nothing to do with sin. You are not going to be thrown into hell-fire.

I have heard....

A rich man died, a miser - he must have been a Marwari. They are the Indian Jews. He died. He told his wife, "No need to put any clothes on me, because I know where I'm going. I am going to the hot place. I have committed so many sins, so I am going to hell. There is no need for clothes, and clothes are costly, and costs are rising higher and higher every day. You keep them. They will be useful for our children." So the wife burned him without clothes.

But next night, in the middle of the night somebody knocked on the door. So she opened the door. The ghost of her husband was there, and he said, "Give me my woollen clothes!"

"And what is the matter with you?"

He said, "Now those old days are gone. They have air-conditioned hell. I'm shivering!"

Forget all that nonsense - that in hell you will suffer. So many politicians are there, so many scientists are there. It is natural that they would have air- conditioned it by now.

Buddha says: Not because of fear should you be moral, but because of understanding; and not because of greed should you be moral - because your ordinary religions are based on fear and greed, just the ordinary trick of reward and punishment. Just as you do with your children your religions have been doing with you: if you do this you will go to heaven, if you do this you will go to hell - fear and greed. They are playing on human fear and greed, and they say that one should not be afraid, and one should not be greedy, and their whole structure is based on the same fear and greed.

Buddha says: Have no fear and have no greed. Just look into things, and out of your awareness a responsibility arises. You start behaving gracefully. You don't do foolish things, that's all.

If you are doing things out of fear, you will never be able to be totally moral - because deep down, beyond the fear, you will know.... And the desire to do the opposite, to be the opposite, will remain there.

It happened:

During a religious meeting an attractive young widow leaned too far over the balcony and fell. But her dress caught on a chandelier and held her suspended in mid air. The preacher, of course, immediately noticed the woman's predicament and called out to his congregation, "The first person who looks up there is in danger of being punished with blindness."

Mulla Nasrudin, who was in the congregation. whispered to the man next to him, "I think I will risk one eye."

An enforced morality cannot be total; one is always willing to risk one eye, at least. Who knows? It may be true, it may not be true....

And the so-called moral people will always need holidays, because it will be tiring. It is based on conflict: one part of your being says something and morality says something else. You are divided, you are split. Because of this split the whole humanity is a little schizophrenic - one part going south, one part going north. And you are always in an ambiguity, and you are always undecided, wavering - where to go? what to do? Your instincts say something and your conditioning says just the opposite. You can enforce anything upon yourself, but really, it will never be part of you.

An egoist can be told by the society to become humble, and he can try to become humble. But an egoist is an egoist: now humility will hide his ego.

I have heard....

A rabbi addressed his congregation. They were very moved by his sermon and one man stood up and said, "I'm Joe Smith. I came to this land without a cent.

Now I am worth five million, but when I hear your words, I am nothing."

Another man stood up and said, "I started out without a cent, too. Now I am worth ten million, but when I hear your words, Rabbi, I am nothing, absolutely nothing.

Then another man rose and said, "I work for the post office. I make eighty dollars a week, but when I hear your words I am nothing, utterly nothing." And the first millionaire said to the second, "Look who wants to be nothing."

Just a postman, trying to become nothing? Then nothingness needs that you first become a millionaire. That's why in India, such a religious country, not even for a single time has a simple person been declared an AVATAR, a TEERTHANKARA. No, not yet; it has not happened - because if you are poor, what will you renounce? All the twenty-four TEERTHANKARAS of the Jainas come from royal families, sons of kings. Buddha himself comes from a royal family; Rama, Krishna - everybody comes from a royal family.

Why? Why not Kabir? Why not Fareed? Why not Dadu? Nothing is lacking.

Only one thing is missing: they don't have anything to renounce. Look who is trying to be nothing! First you have; to renounce you must have much, you need much; YOU HAVE to have. A simple person is not really a humble person, only an egoist is a humble person. And then he tries, through his humbleness, to say that he is the greatest humble person in the world. But the same thing in a different garb continues.

Your morality never transforms you.

So Buddha says: Right morality is from within, from awareness - not out of fear, not out of greed.

The fifth step is: right livelihood.

Buddha says: Life should be simple, not complex. Life should be based on needs, not on desires. Needs are perfectly okay: you need food, you need clothes, you need a shelter, you need love, you need relationship. Perfectly good, nothing wrong in it. Needs can be fulfilled; desires are basically unfulfillable. Desires create complexity. They create complexity because they can never be fulfilled.

You go on and on working hard for them, and they remain unfulfilled, and you remain empty.

The first thing about livelihood is: it should be based on needs, not on desires.

Then a very small quantity of things is enough.

Secondly: it should not be violent. You should not do something just because you can get some money out of it. You can kill somebody and get some money, you can be a butcher and you can make your livelihood, but that is inhuman... and very unconscious. Better ways are possible. One should be creative in one's livelihood, one should not be destructive.

The businessmen were discussing a compatriot.

"He used to work for me," said the first one. "I would not trust him with my money. He would lie, steal, cheat; anything for a buck."

"How do you know him so well?"

"How?" said the first. "I taught him everything he knows."

One should be a little more alert. Money is not all, and one should not destroy one's own life just in accumulating money. Poverty can be tremendously beautiful. If you are just living by your needs, poverty can be a tremendous contentment. In fact, you will never find rich people contented. Sometimes you can come across a beggar with a contented face, but never a millionaire.

The more you chase, the more you feel the horizon is far away. The faster you run, the closer you come to your death, but never to any fulfillment. The shadow of death, the fear of death, the fear that you are going to miss again, destroys all contentment.

The sixth is: right effort.

Buddha says: Never strain and never be lazy. One has to balance between the two. Then there is right effort; effort which is basically effortless.

Have you seen children playing? They play, but there is no effort, there is no strain. They enjoy it. Have you seen a painter painting, a poet writing his poetry, a musician playing on his instrument? or a dancer? There is no effort. If there is effort then the dancer is not a real dancer. Then the dancer is just trying to earn something out of it. Then he is result-oriented, goal-oriented. Then the activity itself, the dance itself, is not his joy.

When Buddha says 'right effort' it means: everything that you do should be a joy unto itself. It should be an intrinsic value. It should be playful.

And right mindfulness is the seventh step.

'Mindfulness' is Buddha's word for meditation. By mindfulness he means: you should always remain alert, watchful. You should always remain present. Not a single thing should be done in a sort of sleepy state of mind. You should not move like a somnambulist, you should move with a sharp consciousness.

Buddha used to say: Not even your breath should be allowed to go out and in without your consciousness. He said to his monks: Always go on watching your breath coming in, the breath going out. If you move, go on watching your feet moving. If you are talking, be watchful. If you are listening, be watchful. If you are eating, be watchful. Never allow any act to be done without awareness, and then nothing else is needed. This awareness will spread all over your life; it will be a twenty-four-hour thing. There is no need to keep separate hours for meditation. And Buddha says that meditation cannot be separate from life; it has to spread and mix with life, it has to be one with life.

And the eighth, the last step is: right SAMADHI - when YOU are totally absorbed into the center of existence....

These seven steps will bring you to it, but still he says: right SAMADHI. That means there is a possibility of a wrong SAMADHI too? Yes, there is a possibility.

If you fall into unconsciousness, if you fall into a coma, that is wrong SAMADHI; it is not right. It should bring you to total awareness, to perfect awareness. You should not fall in a coma, you should not become unconscious.

One can become unconscious. One can go inside so deeply that one can forget the outside. Now look - we ordinarily live outside, we have forgotten the inside.

Inside we are unconscious; outside there is a little consciousness. We are out- moving, out-going. Then one day you just stand on your head, you change the whole process: you start forgetting the outside and you start becoming aware inside. A moment comes when you are totally inside and you have forgotten the outside. Buddha says that this is wrong SAMADHI. It is the same man just standing in a reverse posture.

Buddha says: Right SAMADHI IS when, in and out, you are totally aware; not at the cost of the out. In or out, you are aware. Your light of consciousness is burning so bright, it fills you with light, it fills your outside also with light. In fact, in right SAMADHI the inner and the outer disappear; there is only light.

Right SAMADHI IS not inner. Right SAMADHI IS transcendental to both inner and outer. Right SAMADHI IS transcendental to duality, to division.

Now the sutra. This sutra simply says how a sannyasin should be.




These eight steps are the work.

And Buddha says: There are many types of people: a few are cowards who never go on the Way; a few go fully armored but come back as they start feeling difficulties arising; a few go half the way half-heartedly, then return back; a few go a little further but are killed. Because they could never gather their energy, they could never become integrated, they can be easily destroyed. They were not ready enough to go into the battle - maybe outwardly they were full of armor, maybe outwardly looking very strong, but inwardly hollow, empty. There are only very few who go into the battle, win the battle, and come back home.

That coming back home is what SAMADHI IS, and these seven steps before SAMADHI are the battle, the Way. Move slowly, otherwise you may be killed.

For example: if a person of false morality goes into the battle he will be killed.

You have to be authentically moral. 'Authentically moral' means that you have to be moral from within. Those false faces learned from the outside won't help. You will remain hollow inside. And you have to move step by step. You cannot jump steps. otherwise those missing gaps will become dangerous.

That's why I talk about these eight steps, this eightfold path. This sutra is meaningful only if you understand these eight steps. 'Coming home' means SAMADHI. That means you have come to the very center of existence.

Let me read it again.


Foes are many, and you are alone. So you have to be perfectly ready, otherwise you will miss the goal.


If you have not lived the right view, right intention, right speech, you will remain faint-hearted. You will remain very weak, a weakling. You will remain impotent.


If you have not practiced right morality and right livelihood, this is going to happen: you will come half the way. You will be a runner, an escapist.... AND SOME WHO ARE KILLED IN THE AFFRAY...

Some go full-heartedly but are killed. If you have not practiced right effort and right mindfulness, this is going to happen. But there are only a few... WHO COME HOME VICTORIOUS. If you have practiced all the seven steps you will come home victorious, you will attain to SAMADHI.


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Ibrahim Nafie Al-Ahram, Egypt, November 5

"Is it anti-semitism? Or is it a question of recognising
expansionist and aggressive policies?

Israel's oft-stated weapon of anti-semitism has become truly
exposed ...

Tel Aviv has been called upon to explore the reasons behind
the Middle East conflagration. It is these reasons that make
Israel a rogue state in the real sense of the word.
Enough of crying 'anti-semitism' to intimidate others."