The third Evening
Date: Fri, 6 June 1964 00:00:00 GMT
THE FIRST QUESTION:
ACCORDING TO YOU, NOBODY IS ABLE TO IMPART THE TRUTH. IS WHAT YOU SAY NOT TRUE THEN?
What I am telling you is only an indication and should not be regarded as true in itself. Truth is far removed from indication. It is not the indicator you have to see, but where it directs you. While you are looking in that direction what you will perceive is the truth. There is no way to speak that truth.
No sooner has it been uttered than it becomes false. The truth can never be expressed; however, it can become one's experience.
THE SECOND QUESTION: YOU SUGGEST THAT WE BECOME FULLY-MERGED, THAT WE DROWN. HOW CAN WE DO THIS?
I tell you from my own experience that there is no easier path than merging with one's own self. The only thing one has to do is stop seeking for the support of anything on the surface of the mind. By catching hold of thoughts you cannot drown and because of their support you remain on the surface.
We are in the habit of catching hold of thoughts. As soon as one thought passes on we catch hold of another - but we never enter the gap between two successive thoughts. This gap itself is the channel to drowning in the depths. Do not move in thoughts - go deep down between them in the gaps.
How can this be done? It can be done by awareness, by observing the stream of thoughts. Just as a man standing on the side of a road watches the people passing by, you should observe your thoughts. They are simply pedestrians, passing by on the road of the mind within you. Just watch them. Don't form judgment about any of them. If you can observe them with detachment, the fist that has been gripping them opens automatically and you will find yourself standing, not in thoughts, but in the interval, in the gap between them. But the gap has no foundation so it isn't possible just to stand there. Simply by being there you drown.
And this drowning itself is the real support because it is through this that you reach the being you really are. One who seeks support in the realm of thoughts is really suspended in the air without support - but he who throws away all crutches attains the support of his own self.
THE THIRD QUESTION: I WANT TO CONQUER MY MIND BUT IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE. YET YOU SAY IT IS VERY EASY. HOW DO I DO IT?
In the very idea of conquest I see the seed of the impossibility of conquest. And it is this very thing that does not allow man to conquer anything. If you want to conquer your own shadow will you be able to? As soon as you know the shadow to be a shadow you have won it over. The shadow isn't to be conquered, it is just to be known. And what is true of the shadow is also true of the mind. I ask you to know the mind, not to conquer it.
Someone once said to Buddha, "My mind is very restless. Will you please show me the way to calm it?" Buddha posed a question in reply: "Where is your mind? Bring it to me and I will calm it." The man said, "That is the difficulty. It eludes all my attempts to catch it."
If I had been in Buddha's place I would have said, "Do not try to catch it, let it go. Your very desire to catch it6 is its restlessness. Can you ever catch a shadow?"
Do you know what else Buddha said? He said, "Look at me. I have calmed it have I not?"
If you can only watch your mind and not try to catch it or to conquer it you will find it is no more to be found. In the old days they used to ask, when they were trying to saddle-break a horse, whether it was better to tire the horse out or to tighten the reins. There were also these two methods for conquering the mind, for bringing it under control. But I would not prescribe either of these two methods.
In the first place, I would ask you to see if there really is a horse at all. You are out to exhaust, harness and saddle something that does not exist at all. Both efforts are useless because there is no horse. The horse is the shadow of your ignorance. When you awaken, there is neither horse nor mind to conquer, neither horse nor mind to bring under control.
THE FOURTH QUESTION: YOU ALSO ASK US NOT TO HOLD ON TO THOUGHTS. DOES THIS APPLY TO GOOD THOUGHTS AS WELL?
If you want to know your real being you must rid yourself of both good and evil and become empty, without content. Thoughts, both of good and of evil, are all acquired things. They come from outside:
they pour in from the outside. Your real being is hidden under there, under this load of chains. It is necessary to break these chains. It makes no difference whether the chains are of iron or of gold.
Whatsoever comes from without is an acquired thing, an acquisition - but inside us there is a state of pure consciousness where no outside impressions can enter. The soul comes into its own only in the absence of all one's outer trappings, of all one's outer conditionings. To discover your soul you must have an unconditioned mind. But we are full of thoughts and those who are religious are even fuller, always adding to the pile with thoughts about religion. And this is what is understood by "being religious"! Being full of the scriptures is considered being religious. This is absolutely wrong.
A teacher once said to one of his learned disciples, "Everything else is fine, but there is still one defect in you." The disciple thought about it for a long time but was unable to find any defect in his behavior so he asked the teacher about it. The teacher replied, "You have altogether too much religion in you. This is the only defect that remains in you but it is by no means insignificant."
How can there be too much religion? There can be too many religious scriptures, too much religious thought and the mind becomes so burdened that it cannot fly off into the sky of truth.
I ask you to be empty. Rid yourself completely of all thoughts, of all impressions and then see what happens in that emptiness. The greatest miracle of life takes place in that emptiness, in that void.
The void brings you face-to-face with your self. There is no greater miracle than this! As soon as you stand face-to-face with yourself you stand face-to-face with God.
THE FIRST QUESTION: I AM AN IDOL-WORSHIPPER, BUT FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW THERE SEEMS TO BE NO NEED FOR AN IDOL. WOULD YOU ADVISE ME TO GIVE IT UP?
I do not ask you to give up anything or to take on anything. I am simply calling to you to wake up.
If when you wake up, your dreams are over, it will be another story. Behavior changes along with levels of consciousness. When children grow up they automatically stop playing with dolls. They don't make any effort to give it up, it stops automatically.
There once lived a sadhu on the outskirts of a village. He lived alone in a hut without doors. There was nothing in the house that made doors necessary. One day some soldiers happened by. They went into the hut and asked for water. One of them asked the sadhu why, since he was a sadhu, there wasn't a single idol of God anywhere in the hut. The sadhu replied, "The hut is very small. Do you see room for two?"
The soldiers were amused at the sadhu's words, and the next day they brought him a statue of God as a gift. But the sadhu said, "I don't need any image of God because he himself has been living here for a long time. And 'I' have been lost. Don't you see there isn't room for two here?" The soldiers saw he was pointing to his heart. That was his hut.
God is formless. And so, his presence is formless; it has no shape. Consciousness cannot have shape either. It is boundless. It is beginningless and endless because that which just is, has neither beginning nor end.
How foolish we are, making these images. We worship idols we have made of ourselves. Man has created an image of God based on his own for4m and so, in this way, he ends up worshipping himself. This is the height of self-deception, egoism and ignorance.
God is not to be worshipped. God is to be lived. You have to install God in your life and not in the temple. You have to make every possible effort to allow god to come into your heart and to be in your every breath. For this, the disappearance of the "I" is essential. At present that "I" occupies your heart and pervades every moment of your life. And as long as that "I" is within you it is impossible for God to enter. In one of his songs Kabir has said that the lane of love was very narrow and that it was impossible for two to walk along it at the same time.
One night I read until very late by the light of a lamp. When I turned off the lamp I was amazed.
The full moon was shining outside but the light of my tiny lamp had prevented the moonlight from entering my room. No sooner was my lamp extinguished than the nectar of the moon permeated my room. That day I cam to realize that as long as the light of "I" shone within me, the light of God had to wait outside.
The extinction of "I", nirvana, samadhi, are all terms for the coming of God. They are synonymous.
Therefore please don't construct any images of God, just destroy the image of "I". Its very absence will be the presence of God.
How easy it is then to realize truth! But things that appear easy and simple are always found to be difficult. That is so because whatever is easy and simple is quickly forgotten for the same reason.
We remain occupied by things that are far away and lose sight of the things that are near. We remain occupied with the other and forget the one that is our self.
Doesn't it often happen in the theater that the audience becomes so involved in the play going on in front of them that they forget themselves? This happens in life too. Life is also a giant stage and we have become so engrossed in what is being acted out on the stage that we have forgotten the audience, the seer, the self. In order to attain truth, to attain yourself, you only have to do one thing - you only have to wake up, to realize you are at a play and nothing else.
I see that you are always encircled by a kind of restlessness that is expressed in your behavior whether you are sitting, standing, walking or sleeping. It is there in every action, great or small.
Don't you feel it yourself? Have you never noticed that whatsoever you do, you do it with a restless mind?
You have to bring a halt to this barrage of restlessness and create a zone of silence. Only against a background of silence will you be able to experience the joy and the music that are ever-present in you - but you are unable to hear it and to live in it because of the uproar and turmoil within yourselves. My friends, the outer turmoil is no disturbance at all. If you are at peace within it is as if the outer turmoil is not. But we are restless within ourselves. And this is the only difficulty.
Someone asked me this morning, "What should we do to have peace within?" I said, "look at the flowers. Look how they open. Look at the streams. Look at how they flow." Do you see any restlessness there? How peacefully it all goes on! There is no restlessness anywhere except in man.
You can live like the flowers too. Live like this and experience yourself as part of nature. The belief of the "I", that it is separate, has created all this restlessness and tension. Rid yourself completely of the "I" before you act, before you do anything. Then you will find divine peace spreading throughout you.
When the wind is blowing be as if you are the wind and when it rains feel that you are the rain too and then see how profound the peace gradually becomes. With the sky be the sky, with darkness be darkness and with light be light. Do not keep aloof. Let the drop that you are fall into the ocean.
And then you will know that which is beauty, music and truth.
If I walk I must be conscious that I am walking; if I stand up I must be conscious that I am standing up. No act of the body or of the mind should occur in unconsciousness, in a half-sleep. If in this way you awaken and live your life with awareness, your mind will become pure, faultless, transparent.
Through such aware living and behavior, meditation pervades each activity of one's life. Its inner flow accompanies us night and day. It calms us. It purifies our actions and makes us men of virtue.
Bear in mind that a man who is awake and aware in his ever action, physical or mental, can do no wrong to others. Evil deeds can only be committed in unconsciousness, in a state of delusion. They can very easily be avoided in a wakeful and conscious state.
I call samadhi, the culmination of meditation, "the great death", and in fact that is what it is. Through ordinary death you will die - but you will be reborn because with that death your self will not cease to be. The self will take a new birth and pass through yet another death. Ordinary death is not a real death because it is followed by rebirth, and this is again followed by death. And this cycle continues on and on until samadhi, until the great death comes and frees us from the cycle of births and deaths.
Samadhi is the great death, for it is in samadhi that the "I" ceases to be, and along with it the cycle of births and deaths ceases to be as well. What remains then is life. Through the great death of samadhi one attains life immortal, where there is neither birth nor death. Immortality has neither beginning nor end. It is this great death we call moksha, emancipation, nirvana, brahma.
I also ask that you consider dhyana, meditation, as rest and not as activity. "No-action" means this very thing. It is perfect rest, a total halt to all actions. And when all the actions have been reduced to nothingness and the pulsations of the mind have become still, then in that restful state something begins to emerge that cannot be taught by all the religions of the world put together. Only when there are no actions can that which is no-action, that which is the center and the life of all actions, be seen. Only then can the doer be seen.
Sarahapada has said, "O mind, go and rest - somewhere where the sun and the moon do not reach and where even the air does not dare to enter." Such a place is within you and nobody but you can enter. That is your atman, your soul.
Your body on the other hand extends to a point where others do have access. The limit of the world's entry into you is the boundary of your body. The world can enter it because it is a part of the world, of samsara. The senses are the doors through which the world enters. The mind is a hodgepodge of impressions that have entered you like this.
That which is beyond the body, beyond the mind and the senses is the soul, atman. Without attaining that soul life is useless, because without knowing and attaining it all knowledge and achievements are worthless.
I do not consider samsara and nirvana, the world and emancipation, as two different things. The distinction that exists between them has nothing to do with their natures. it is not an objective distinction. The distinction is not between them, it is in your way of looking at them. Samsara and nirvana are not two different entities. Samsara and nirvana are your two ways of looking at the one reality. The reality is only one but the ways of looking at it are two. Seen from the standpoint of knowledge it appears to be one thing; seen from the standpoint of ignorance, another. What appears as samsara in ignorance becomes nirvana in knowledge. What is ignorance in the world is knowledge in God. Therefore the question is how to change the internal world, not the external one.
If you change, everything else changes. You are both samsara and nirvana.
The truth cannot be had at any price. It cannot be obtained from others in exchange for something.
it is the fruit of self-development.
Emperor Bimbasara once went to Mahavira and said, "I want to attain truth. I am willing to give anything I possess but I must have the truth that rids man of all sorrow." Mahavira saw that the ruler wanted to conquer truth in the same way he had conquered the world, that he even wanted to buy the truth. So understanding that it was ego that spoke, Mahavira said to Bimbasara, "Excellency, first go to Punya shravak, a citizen of your empire, and get from him the fruit of his meditation. That will make your journey to emancipation and truth easier."
Bimbasara went to Punya Shravak and said, I have come to ask something. I want to buy the fruit of your meditation. I will pay whatever price you require."
On hearing the emperor's request, Punya shravak replied, "My Lord, meditation means serenity. It means keeping the mind free from temptation and hatred and remaining steady in one's self. How can this be given by one person to another? You want to buy it but this is impossible. You will have to acquire it yourself."
There is no other way. The truth cannot be purchased. It can neither be obtained as a gift nor by begging. And it cannot be conquered by attack. Attacking truth is not the way to attain it. Violence is an expression of ego and where the ego is truth cannot exist. To attain truth you have to reduce yourself to zero. Truth comes through the door of the void, of emptiness. It doesn't come through the attack of the ego but through sensitivity and the receptivity of emptiness. Don't attack truth - prepare an opening in yourself for it to come in.
Hui-neng said that there was a way to attain truth: cultivation through no-cultivation. No-cultivation is laid down as a condition in order to avoid the use of force in cultivation. This is inaction, this no-cultivation. It is not attaining but emptying - but it is the way to attain truth. The extent to which you empty yourself is the extent to which you attain.
Where does rainwater go? It doesn't stay on the hills but runs into the empty ditches. The nature of truth is similar to the nature of water. If you want to attain truth empty yourself completely. As soon as you are empty the truth will fill that empty place with itself.
Truth is within you. It is within me. You don't have to go anywhere else to look for it. You just have to dig it out of yourselves as you dig wells for water. You have to dig the well of the soul. And meditation is the spade for digging that well. With the spade of meditation we must dig out the earth of the outside world that covers our nature - and then the one we are seeking is near. He is hidden in the seeker himself.