The most excellent way

Fri, 21 August 1976 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Discipline of Transcendence Vol 1
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
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GAUTAM BUDDHA is like the highest peak of the Himalayas, like Gourishanker... one of the purest beings, one of the most virgin souls, one of the very rare phenomena on this earth. The rarity is that Buddha is the scientist of the inner world - scientist of religion. That is a rare combination. To be religious is simple, to be a scientist is simple - but to combine, synthesize these two polarities is incredible. It is unbelievable, but it has happened.

Buddha is the richest human being who has ever lived; rich in the sense that all the dimensions of life are fulfilled in him. He is not one-dimensional.

There are three approaches towards truth. One is the approach of power, another the approach of beauty, and the third the approach of grandeur.

The scientific approach is the search for power; that's why Lord Bacon said 'knowledge is power'. Science has made man very powerful, so much so that man can destroy the whole planet earth. For the first time in the history of consciousness man is capable of committing a global suicide, a collective suicide.

Science has released tremendous power. Science is continuously searching for more and more power. This too is an approach towards truth, but a partial approach.

Then there are poets, mystics, people with the aesthetic sense. They look at truth as beauty - Jalaludin Rumi and Rabindranath Tagore and others, who think that beauty is truth. They create much art, they create new sources of beauty in the world. The painter, the poet, the dancer, the musician, they are also approaching truth from a totally different dimension than power.

A poet is not like the scientist. The scientist works with analysis, reason, observation. The poet functions through the heart - irrational... trust, love. He has nothing to do with mind and reason.

The greater part of religious people belong to the second dimension. The Sufis, the Bauls - they all belong to the aesthetic approach. Hence so many beautiful mosques, churches, cathedrals, temples - Ajanta and Ellora - they were created by religious people. Whenever religious activity predominates, art is created, music is created, great painting is created; the world becomes a little more beautiful. It doesn't become more powerful, but it becomes more beautiful, more lovely, worth living.

The third approach is that of grandeur. The old Bible prophets - Moses, Abraham; Islam's prophet Mohammed; Krishna and Ram - their approach is through the dimension of grandeur... the awe that one feels looking at this vastness of the universe. The Upanishads, the Vedas, they all approach the world, the world of truth, through grandeur. They are full of wonder. It is unbelievably there, with such grandeur, that you can simply bow down before it - nothing else is possible. One simply feels humble, reduced to nothing.

These are the three dimensions ordinarily available to approach towards truth.

The first dimension creates the scientist; the second, the artist; the third, the prophets. The rarity of Buddha consists of this - that his approach is a synthesis of all the three, and not only a synthesis but it goes beyond the three.

He is a rationalist. He's not like Jesus and he is not like Krishna - he's absolutely a rationalist. Einstein, Newton or Edison cannot find any flaw in his reasoning.

Any scientist will be immediately convinced of his truth. His approach is purely logical, he convinces the mind. You cannot find a loophole in him.

Somebody has sent me a beautiful anecdote about a famous atheist, W. C. Fields.

He was doing a tour of the States. One day his manager came into his hotel room and was shocked to see him reading Gideon's Bible.

'Bill!' he said, 'what the hell are you doing? I thought you were an atheist.'

Fields replied, 'Just looking for loopholes, just looking for loopholes.'

But you cannot look for a loophole in the Buddha. Yes, you can look for loopholes in Jesus, there are many - because Jesus believes, trusts, he has faith.

He is simple like a child. There is no argument in him. The proof exists but there is no argument for it. His whole being is his proof.

But it is not so with Buddha. You may not be at all in harmony with his heart, you may not believe him at all, you may not look at the proof he is, but you will have to listen to his argument. He has both the proof and the argument. He himself is the proof of what he is saying, but that is not all. If you are not ready to look at him he can force you, he can convince you; he is a rationalist.

Even a man like Bertrand Russell, who was an atheist, purely logical, has said, 'Before Buddha I start feeling hesitant. With Jesus I can fight.' He has written a book 'Why I Am Not A Christian' - a great argumentative book. It has not yet been replied to by Christians; his argument still holds. But before Buddha he suddenly feels hesitant, he is not so certain about his ground - because Buddha can convince him on his own ground. Buddha is as much an analyst as Bertrand Russell.

You need not be a religious person to be convinced by Buddha, that's his rarity.

You need not believe at all. You need not believe in god, you need not believe in the soul, you need not believe in anything - still you can be with Buddha, and by and by you will come to know about the soul and about the god also. But those are not hypotheses.

No belief is required to travel with Buddha. You can come with all scepticism possible. He accepts, he welcomes, and he says, 'Come with me.' First he convinces your mind, and once your mind is convinced and you start travelling with him, by and by you start feeling that he has a message which is beyond mind, he has a message which no reason can confine. But first he convinces your reason.

Buddha's religion is supra-rational, but not against reason. This has to be understood in the very beginning. It has something to do with the beyond, supra-rational, but that supra-rational is not against the rational. It is in tune with it. The rational and the supra-rational are a continuity, continuous. This is the rarity of Buddha.

Krishna says to Arjuna, 'Surrender to me.' Buddha never says that. He convinces you to surrender. Krishna says, 'Surrender to me, then you will be convinced.'

Buddha says, 'Be convinced first, then surrender comes like a shadow. You need not worry about it, don't talk about it at all.'

Because of this rational approach he never brings any concept which cannot be proved. He never talks about god. H. G. Wells has said about Buddha, 'He is the most godly and the most godless man in the whole history of man.' Yes, it is so - most godly and most godless.

You cannot find more godly a person than Buddha. Every other personality simply fades before him. His luminosity is superb, his being has no comparison, but he does not talk about god.

Because he has never talked about god, many think that he is an atheist - he is not. He has not talked about god because there is no way to talk about god. All talk about god is nonsense. Whatsoever you can say about god is going to be false. It is something that cannot be said.

Other seers also say that nothing can be said about god, but at least they say this much - that nothing can be said about god. Buddha is really logical, he will not say even this, because he says, 'Even to say that nothing can be said about god, you have said something. If you say, "God cannot be defined," you have defined him in a negative way - that he cannot be defined. If you say, "Nothing can be said," that too you are saying.' Buddha is strictly logical. He will not utter a single word.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the greatest thinkers of this age, one of the greatest of all the ages also, has said, 'That which cannot be said must not be said. That which cannot be said, one must be silent thereof.' Because to utter something about something which is unutterable is a sacrilege.

Buddha is not an atheist but he never talks about god. That's why I say he is a rarity. He brings many people to god - he brought more people than anybody else has done. Millions of people were brought to become godly in his presence, but he never uttered the word. Not only god, but even soul, self - he has no theory about it. He simply says, 'I can show you the way how to go in. You go and see.' He says, 'Buddhas can only indicate the path, they cannot provide you with a philosophy. You are there, go in and see.'

One man came to Buddha. He was a great scholar, a sort of professor, had written many books, was known all over the country. Maulingaputta was his name. He said to Buddha, 'I have come with dozen questions and you have to answer them.'

Buddha said, 'I will answer, but you will have to fulfill a requirement. For one year you will have to be with me in total silence, then I will answer - not before it. Right now I can answer but you will not receive the answers because you are not ready, and whatsoever I say you will misinterpret because you have too many interpretations crowding your mind. Whatsoever I say will have to pass through your mind. For one year you just be silent so that you can drop the knowledge. When you are empty, whatsoever you want to ask I will answer, I promise you.'

While he was saying this, another of Buddha's disciples, Sariputta, sitting under a tree, started laughing - a mad laughter. Maulingaputta must have felt embarrassed. He said, 'What is the matter? Why are you laughing?'

He said, 'I am not laughing about you, I am laughing about myself. One year has passed. This man deceived me also. I had come with many questions and he said, "Wait for one year," and I waited. Now I am laughing because now those questions have disappeared. He goes on asking, "Now, bring those questions!", but I cannot bring those questions. They have disappeared. So, Maulingaputta, if you really want your questions to be answered, ask now, don't wait for one year.

This man is deceptive.'

Buddha introduced many people, millions of people, to the inner world, but in a very rational way. This is simple - that first you have to become a receiver, first you have to attain to silence, then communion is possible, not before it.

Buddha never used to answer any metaphysical questions. He was always ready to answer any question about methods, but he was never ready to answer any question about metaphysics. This is his scientific approach. Science believes in method. Science never answers the 'why', it always answers the 'how'.

If you ask a scientist, 'Why is the world there?' he will say, 'I don't know - but I can answer how the world is there.' If you ask him, 'Why is the water there?' he cannot answer, he will just shrug his shoulders. But he can say how the water is there; how much oxygen, how much hydrogen makes the water happen. He can give you the method, the 'how', the mechanism. He can show you how to make water, but he cannot show you why.

Buddha never asks any 'why' questions, but that doesn't mean that he is an atheist. His approach is very different from other atheists Theists require you to believe, to have faith, to trust. Buddha says, 'How can one believe? You are asking the impossible.' Listen to his argument.

He says if somebody is doubtful, how can he believe? If the doubt has arisen already, how can he believe? He may repress the doubt, he may enforce the belief, but deep down like a worm the doubt will go on lurking and eating his heart. Sooner or later the belief is bound to collapse, because it is unfounded; there is no foundation to it. In the foundation there is doubt, and on the foundation of doubt you have raised the whole structure of your belief. Have you watched it? Whenever you believe, deep down there is doubt. What type of belief is this?

Buddha says if there is no doubt then there is no question of belief. Then one simply believes. There is no need for any Krishna to say, 'Surrender, believe' - there is no point. If Arjuna has faith, he has; if he has not, then there is no way to bring it. Then at the most Arjuna can play a game of showing, pretending that he believes. But belief cannot be enforced.

For those whose faith is natural, spontaneous, there is no question of faith - they simply believe. They don't know even what belief is. Small children, they simply believe. But once doubt enters, belief becomes impossible. And doubt has to enter; it is part of growth. Doubt makes one mature.

You remain childish unless doubt has penetrated your soul. Unless the fire of doubt starts burning you, you remain immature, you don't know what life is.

You start knowing life only by doubting, by being sceptical, by raising questions.

Buddha says faith comes, but not against doubt, not as belief. Faith comes by destroying doubt by argument, by destroying doubt by more doubt, by eliminating doubt by doubt itself. A poison can be destroyed only by a poison - that is Buddha's method. He does not say believe. He says go deep into your doubt, go to the very end, unafraid: Don't repress. Travel the whole path of doubt to the very end.

And that very journey will take you beyond it. Because a moment comes when doubt starts doubting itself. That's the ultimate doubt - when doubt doubts doubt itself. That has to come if you go to the very end. You first doubt belief, you doubt this and that. One day when everything has been doubted, suddenly a new, the ultimate doubt arises - you start doubting doubt.

This is tremendously new in the world of religion. And then doubt kills doubt, doubt destroys doubt, and faith is gained. This faith is not against doubt, this faith is beyond doubt. This faith is not opposite to doubt, this faith is absence of doubt.

Buddha says you will have to become children again, but the path has to go through the world, through many jungles of doubts, arguments, reasonings. And when a person comes back home, attains back to his original faith, it is totally different. He is not just a child, he is an old man... mature, experienced, and yet childlike.

This sutra, 'The Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters', has never existed in India. It never existed in Sanskrit or in Pali. This sutra exists only in Chinese.

A certain Emperor Ming of the Han dynasty, AD 67, invited a few buddhist masters to China to bring the message of Buddha there. Nobody knows the names of those buddhist masters, but a group went to China. And the Emperor wanted a small anthology of buddhist sayings as a first introduction to the chinese people.

Buddhist scriptures are very big, the buddhist literature is in itself a world - thousands of scriptures exist and they go into very great detail, because Buddha believes in logical analysis. He goes to the very root of everything. His analysis is profound and perfect, so he goes into very deep details.

It was very difficult. What to translate in a totally new country where nothing like Buddha has ever existed? So these buddhist masters composed a small anthology of forty-two chapters. They collected sayings from here and there, from this scripture and that, from this sermon and that.

This book was compiled in the fashion of confucian analects because it was going to be introduced to a confucian country - people who had become very well aquainted with the way Confucius talks, with the way confucian scriptures were made and compiled. People were familiar with Confucius, so exactly on the same lines the buddhist masters composed this sutra. The analects of Confucius start every sentence, every paragraph with the phrase 'The master said...' This sutra starts in a similar way - 'The Buddha said...' Every saying starts with 'The Buddha said...'

In the beginning of this century scholars used to think that the original must have existed in Sanskrit or Pali, then it disappeared, was lost, and this sutra in the Chinese is a translation. That is absolutely wrong. This sutra never existed in India. As it is, it never existed. Of course, each saying comes from Buddha, but the whole work is a new work, a new anthology. So you have to remember that.

And that's why I have chosen it as a first introduction for you to the Buddha's world. It is very simple. It contains all in a very simple way. It is very direct. It is in essence the whole message, but very short, not very long and lengthy as other buddhist scriptures are.



He always talks about the way, never about the goal. Because he says, 'What to say about the goal? It is futile to talk about it. If you know, you know. If you don't know, there is no way to know about it before you reach it.'

He talks only about the way. He has not even a single word for the goal - god, brahma, the truth, the absolute, the kingdom of god. No, he has not any word for the goal. All that he talks about is the way.


In this one simple sentence his whole teaching is present. TO BE FREE FROM THE PASSIONS AND TO BE CALM.... These are two aspects of one phenomenon, two aspects of one coin - to be free from passions and to be calm.

You cannot be calm if you are not free from passions, and you cannot be free from passions if you are not calm. They both go together and one has to work for both together.

Why is man so tense? Why is there so much anxiety and anguish? Why is man not calm, collected and centered? So many passions go on pulling you this way and that, pushing you this way and that. You are being pulled in many directions, hence you become fragmentary, you become divided, you become split. You lose your center. You forget completely who you are.

Watch. When you are greedy for money, who are you? You are just a greed for money and nothing else. When you are angry, your ego is hurt, who are you?

You are just anger, a wounded ego, nothing else. When you are full of sexual passion, who are you? You are just sexuality, nothing else - libido. When you are ambitious and you want power, prestige, respectability, who are you? You are simply ambition and nothing else.

Watch, and you will find many passions in you, but you will not find who you are - all passions pulling you apart, and each passion goes in its own way. If you want money then you will have to sacrifice other passions for it. A man who is mad after money may forget all about sex. It is very easy for a miser to be celibate. In fact, celibacy may be a sort of miserliness. You don't want to share your energy, you don't want to share your sexual energy with anybody. You are a miser.

A person who is politically ambitious can become celibate very easily because his whole passion drives him in one way. A scientist who is too much into his search can forget all about women. It is easy. If one passion possesses you completely then you can forget everything else.

It is a well-known fact that scientists are very absent-minded people. Their whole mind goes into one direction, but then they become very very poor also. Their field, their vision goes on becoming narrower and narrower and narrower. That's what specialization is. A greedy person becomes narrower and narrower and narrower. He thinks, meditates, only about money; he goes on counting money.

His whole mind knows only one music and that is that of money; only one love, and that is that of money.

In one way, the people who are possessed by one passion are in a way integrated. They are not rich, they don't have many dimensions to their being, they have only one taste - but they have a certain integration. They are not split.

You will not find this type of person going mad, because they are mad in one direction, so they are not split. But this happens rarely. Ordinarily a person runs in all the directions.

I have heard:

A scientist and a gorilla were sent into outer space together. Pinned to the front of the gorilla's space-suit was an envelope with special instructions in it. Dying of curiosity, the scientist waited until it was the gorilla's turn to sleep so that he could sneak a peek into the envelope.

Very carefully he slit the envelope open and unfolded a single piece of paper that was inside. Printed on it was the following: DON'T FORGET TO FEED THE SCIENTIST.

A scientist becomes one-pointed; his life is that of concentration. A concentrated person attains to a false sort of unity. Ordinarily people are not concentrated.

Meditation is far away - they are not even concentrated. Their life is hodge- podge, a mess. One of their hands is going towards north, one leg is going towards south, one eye is going to the east, another eye is going to the west. They are going in all directions. This pull and push of many directions takes them apart. They become fragmentary, they lose wholeness. How can you be silent, how can you be calm?

The person who is concentrated also cannot be calm, because his life becomes lopsided. He is just moving in one direction; all other sides of his life are starved.

A scientist never knows what beauty is, what love is. He does not know what poetry is. He is too much confined to his mathematical world. He becomes lopsided. His many parts are starved, hungry. He cannot be calm. When you are starved, how can you be calm?

The person who is moving in all directions has a little more richness than the specialist, but his richness has a schizophrenia in it; he becomes split. How can you be silent and calm when so many are your masters, pulling you into different directions?

These are ordinarily the two types of people, and both are uneasy, deep in turmoil.



What is his way?


This word has to be understood, this is very basic - SHRAMANA. In India two paths have existed. One, that of the brahmin; another, that of the shraman. The path of the brahmin is the path of grace. The brahmin believes that by your own effort you cannot arrive. Your effort is so small, you are so tiny. How can you conceive of knowing truth by your own effort? God's help will be needed, grace will be needed.

The path of the brahmin is the path of grace, so you have to pray. Only when god helps can you move on the path. Unless he wills, you cannot arrive. There is no possibility for you to move alone. God is necessary, his help is necessary, his hand is needed. Unless he takes you above the world, you will be struggling in vain. So, prayer is the path. The brahmin believes in prayer.

The shramana is just diametrically opposite. The word 'shramana' comes from a root 'shram'. Shram means to exert oneself, to make effort. Shram means effort.

There is no possibility of any grace, because Buddha never talks about god.

Buddha says, you don't know god - how can you pray? To whom are you going to pray? Your prayer will be in deep ignorance. How can you pray to a god you don't know, you have never seen? What type of communication is possible? You will be just talking to the sky, empty sky. You may be just talking to yourself as well. It is mad.

Have you seen mad people talking to themselves - sitting alone talking to somebody? They are talking to somebody, but everybody knows that there is nobody else. They are talking to themselves.

To the rationalist approach of Buddha, a man praying to god is mad, crazy. What are you doing? Do you know god exists? If you know then there is no need to pray. You say that to know god, you are praying. The brahmin says, 'We can know god only by prayer, by his help, by his grace.'

Now this is absurd, logically absurd. You are moving in a circle. You say, 'We can know god only by prayer.' Then how can you pray? - because you don't know god yet. And you say, 'Only by prayer will we be able to attain to his grace.' This is a vicious circle, this is illogical. The flaw is very clear, the loophole is apparent.

This is the problem with the ordinary religious person - he cannot argue. The atheist can destroy your whole argument in a second. Religious people avoid argument, because they know they don't have any base from which to argue.

You say, 'We are searching for god,' and then at the same time you say, 'Only by prayer will we be able to search for him.' You don't know yet - prayer is not possible. And if you know him, prayer is not needed.

Buddha says only by your own effort, by your own shrama, will you achieve him. There is no question of any grace. In a way it looks very hard, in another way it seems to be very very scientific.

You are alone here, lost in this forest of the world, and sitting under a tree you are just praying, not knowing to whom you are praying, where the god is, whether he is or not. You may be wasting your time. If there is no god, then...?

All the time that you wasted in prayer could have been used to search, to find out.

Buddha says once you understand that you are lost and you have to find your own way and there is no help coming, you become responsible. Prayer is an irresponsibility. To pray is just to avoid. To pray is to be lazy. To pray is just an escape.

Buddha says effort is needed. And it is also insulting to pray. So in the buddhist structure nothing like prayer exists, only meditation. You can meditate, you cannot pray.

This is the difference between meditation and prayer. Prayer needs a belief in god, meditation needs no belief. Meditation is purely scientific. It simply says that there are states of mind where thinking stops. It simply says there are ways to stop the thinking, to drop thinking and to come to a silent state of mind... a tranquil, serene state of mind. And that state of mind gives you what truth is, gives you the glimpse, opens the door - but it is only by your own effort.

Man is alone and has to work hard, and if you miss, only you will be responsible.

If you don't arrive, you cannot blame anybody because there is nobody to blame.

The path of Buddha is the path of the shramana - one who believes in his own effort. It looks very austere, arduous. One starts feeling afraid. In our fear we need somebody's help. Even a belief that somewhere some god exists, gives us relief.

I have heard:

The seasick passenger lying listlessly on his deck chair stopped a passing steward. Pointing into the distance, he said, 'Over there - it's land, isn't it?'

'No, sir,' replied the steward. 'It's the horizon.'

'Never mind,' sighed the passenger, 'it's better than nothing.'

But the horizon is nothing. How can it be better than nothing? It only appears, it is not there. Nothing exists like the horizon; the horizon is just illusory. But that too, to a seasick passenger, seems to be good. At least something - better than nothing.

Belief, to Buddha, is like the horizon. Your gods are like horizons, mirages. You believe in them because you feel alone. You don't know they are; you create them because you need them. But your need cannot be a guarantee of their truth. Your need cannot be a guarantee of their reality.

You are in a dark night passing through a forest. You are alone. Your need is there for a companion. You can imagine a companion, you can start talking to a companion, you can even start answering as from the companion. It will give you an illusion that somebody is there. You can believe in the companion, you can be completely hypnotized by it, but that does not mean that you can create the companion.

People start whistling when they are alone. Passing in a dark night, they start whistling. That helps, it is better than nothing. You listen to your own noise and it gives you the idea that there is somebody else. People also start singing.

Listening to their own voice gives a feeling that there is somebody else also.

Because you have always listened to others talking. The very sound that you can hear gives you a feeling that the other must be there.

But Buddha says that just because you need, reality has no necessity to fulfill it.

Reality does not change by your need. Your need is true - that you are alone and you would like a father figure in the sky, a god. That's why Christians call god 'the father'; it is a father figure.

Psychologists will agree with Buddha. Psychologists say that god is just a need for a father figure. Every small child has a father - protective, giving security.

One feels absolutely okay because the father is there. Then you grow, then you become mature. Then your father is no more a protection. Then you know that your father is as weak as you are. Then you know your father is as limited as you. And by and by you see your father is becoming weaker and weaker every day, becoming old.

Your trust is lost, but the need remains. You need some father figure. You want somewhere to go and talk to your father, who is no more there. Lost, you create a god, or you create a mother - call it Kali, Amba... but you create a father or mother figure. It is your need, certainly - a psychological need - but this need keeps you immature.

Buddha is all for maturity. He says drop all these figures, they don't exist, and even if they exist this is not the way to find them. The way is to become calm and quiet. The way is to become so alone and so accepting of one's aloneness that there is no need for anybody's grace. Become so silent and alone that you are fulfilled within your own self, that you are enough unto yourself. Then you will be calm. Then a grace will start happening to you, but it is not a grace coming from god. It is a grace spreading from your own center towards your own periphery. You will become graceful.

Buddha sitting, standing, walking, is just grace personified. But this grace is not coming from somewhere else; it is surfacing from his own innermost depths, it is bubbling up from his own center. It is like a flower that has flowered on the tree - - it has come out of the tree. It is not a gift from somebody else, it is a growth.

This is the difference between the path of the brahmin and the path of the shramana. On the brahmin's path, truth is a gift, god's gift. On the shramana's path, truth is a growth that happens to you from your own being. It is yours.

Truth is not something outside to be discovered, it is something inside to be realized.


Now, the definition of the shramana. Who is called a shramana? Who is really a seeker of truth? Who is making real effort, authentic effort to discover what truth is? The first thing - they leave their parents.

Now this is very symbolical, don't take it literally. It is very symbolical and very psychological. A child has to remain for nine months in the womb of his mother... totally protected, in such a beautiful warm atmosphere that never again will he be able to find such comfort. No worry, no responsibility - even for breathing. He has no need to breathe himself, the mother breathes for him. He has no worry that he will be hungry or left hungry; the mother goes on feeding him. He is so protected, so secure.

Psychologists say that in religious search people are seeking the same womb again. All their concepts of paradise are nothing but magnified wombs...

absolutely comfortable. In the hindu mythology they say that in heaven there is a tree called kalpavriksha - wish-fulfilling tree. You sit under it, and the moment any desire arises, even before you come to know that it has arisen, it will be fulfilled. You think of food and food will be there, instantly. You think of a bed because you are feeling sleepy - instantly the bed will be there.

This is what the womb is. Womb is a kalptaru, a wish-fulfilling tree. The child never becomes aware of any need. Before he becomes aware it is fulfilled. It is absolutely automatic. But the child has to leave the womb; it is needed for his growth. Because comfort alone can never help you to grow, because there is no challenge. The child has to leave the womb, and the first thing the child will have to do after leaving the womb is the basis of all survival - he will have to breathe on his own. He will have to make effort on his own. He is becoming a shramana.

In the mother's womb he was a brahmin. Everything was happening by grace.

Everything was happening, he was not doing anything. But everybody has to come out of the womb. Every brahmin has to become a shramana. Buddha says through being a shramana, growth is possible.

Then the child by and by grows farther away, farther away from the mother.

After the birth he will still have to depend on the breast of the mother. Then a moment will come when he will no more depend on the breast either, but still he will depend on the mother to feed him. Then he will go to school. He is going farther away from the mother, he is becoming more and more independent, he is becoming more and more an individual. Then one day he falls in love with another woman and he is cut off from the mother completely.

That's why no mother can ever forgive the woman who has taken away her son.

Never - it is impossible for the mother to forgive the woman who has taken away her son... a deep conflict. But a man becomes really mature when he falls in love with a woman, because then he has turned his back towards his mother completely. Now he has turned one hundred and eighty degrees.

Buddha says that in the psychological world still many roots have to be cut. You should become more and more aware that you may have come far away from the mother, but then you create psychological mothers. You may have come far away from the father, but then you create a father figure in the heaven - god ruling all over the world, the supreme sovereign. And you call him father. Again you are trying to become dependent - as if you are afraid of your independence.

All these are roots; all the roots have to be cut.

Jesus says somewhere... and I suspect that he must have got those ideas from some buddhist source, because Jesus came five hundred years after Buddha, and by the time Jesus came, buddhist attitudes had spread all over the Middle East.

They had penetrated far into the middle of Asia, they had entered deep into Egypt.

Jesus was brought up in Egypt. He must have come to know. And there is every possibility that he visited India before he again went to Jerusalem to teach. There is every possibility. There are sources that say that he visited the university, the buddhist university, of Nalanda. He must have come to know about the path of the shramana, because in his teachings he says a few things which have no traditional source in jewish ideology.

For example he says, 'Unless you hate your father and mother, you cannot become my disciples.' Christians always feel embarrassed if you say this. What type of teaching is this? - 'Unless you hate your father and mother....' And you say that Jesus is love and he has come to teach love to the world? And you say that God is love? And the teaching seems to be very full of hatred - 'Hate your mother and father.' All the great teachers have said; 'Respect your father and mother,' and what nonsense - Jesus is saying hate? He must have heard it from some sources.

Those sources can only be buddhist, because Buddha says: THOSE WHO LEAVE THEIR PARENTS, GO OUT OF THE HOME...

Don't take them literally. Don't take Jesus literally either. He is not saying 'hate your father and mother'. He is simply saying cut yourself completely away from father and mother. He is saying cut yourself away from security. Become insecure. Cut yourself from all dependency. Become independent. Become an individual. That's what he is saying.

He is using a very rough language, Buddha is using very cultured language.

Jesus was not very well educated; he was a rough man, a carpenter's son. And the jewish tradition is very rough. The prophets speak in fiery language. Their language looks more political than religious. Buddha was the son of a king - well educated, well cultured. Their terminology has become different because they are different persons, but the meaning is the same.

One has to leave the parents, one has to leave the home, one has to leave the past.

One has to become totally independent, alone... trembling in that aloneness - but one has to become alone.

One has to become absolutely responsible for oneself, and then only you can understand the mind. Because if you go on depending on others, your very dependence will not allow you to understand who you are.

Cut all sources, cut yourself away from all relationship. You are left alone, now there is nobody else. You have to see into your own soul. You have to encounter yourself. That is the only way to encounter oneself. Then you reach to the very source of your being, by understanding the mind... AND COMPREHEND THE IMMATERIAL.

See, Buddha does not say comprehend the spiritual. He says COMPREHEND THE IMMATERIAL. This is the difference. His approach is so rational, he will not assert something in which you can find a loophole. He will not say 'the spiritual'; he simply says 'the immaterial'.

Ask the physicist, he will understand the buddhist language. He says, 'By analysing the atom we came to electrons.' Electrons are just electric particles, almost immaterial. Matter has disappeared, only energy is there. You cannot call it matter, you can only call it im-matter. And then by analysing the electron they have come to almost emptiness - immaterial emptiness. The physicist will understand the buddhist terminology.

Buddha also reached the same point by analysing the mind. By analysing the mind he came to a stage where no thought was there... simple emptiness. He calls it immaterial. Thought is the inner material. When you disperse thought and only space remains, it is immaterial.

The same has happened to modern physics. They were analysing matter in the outside world and they came to the immaterial. Buddha reached the immaterial on his inner journey, and science has reached the immaterial in its outer journey, but both have reached the immaterial. Scientists also will not say that this is spiritual. The scientist can only say this much - that whatsoever was matter is no more there. He cannot say what is there. This much can be said - that whatsoever we used to think of as matter is no more there. All that we can say is a denial.

Buddha says:


Now the categories of shramanas:


Arhat is the highest state of no-mind. The word 'arhat' means 'one who has conquered his enemies'. Ari means enemy and arhat means 'one who has conquered the enemy'.

Who is the enemy? They are not outside you. The passions, the distractions, the desires, the hatred, jealousy, possessiveness, anger, sexuality - these are the enemies.

In one way your mind is the enemy, the root enemy. One who has conquered the mind is called arhat. This is the highest state - one who has come above all the clouds.

Have you sometimes, travelling by air, watched when the aeroplane comes above the clouds? All the clouds are just below you and you are in the pure, blue sky. That is the state, the inner state of arhat. One goes on penetrating the mind.

By and by the clouds of passions are no more there, they are left far behind, and you are soaring higher and higher into pure space, into the immaterial space.

This is the state of arhat.

In buddhist terminology that is the highest state. What Christians call christ, Buddha calls arhat. What Jainas call arihanta; that word also means the same. Or what Hindus call the avatara - Rama, Krishna - that is the same state, the state of arhat.

But Buddha is very scientific in that too. He does not call it avatara, because avatara means 'god descending into the world' - you have to believe in god. He does not call... in any way he does not use any term that has to have some presuppositions. He uses simple terms without any presuppositions.


Arhat is the highest state, next to it is the anagamin. Anagamin means 'one who will not come again', one who...


It is just below the arhat state.

Anagamin - the word means 'one who will not come again'. Gone, he will be gone. Gone, he will be gone forever, he will not return. He has come to the point of no return. He is just close to being an arhat, he has passed the clouds. Just on the boundary, he is standing on the threshold of being an arhat. Maybe a small clinging has remained in him, and that clinging is with the body. So when he dies, that clinging also disappears. He will not be coming back.


Skridagamin means 'one who comes back'.


Only once.... He has still some clinging; very faint - but there are still a few roots and he will be pulled back to another womb again. He is not absolutely desireless. Arhat is absolutely desireless. A skridagamin has passed beyond the gross desires, but subtle desires are still there.

What are the gross desires? Desire for money, for power, prestige - these are gross desires. Desire to be free, desire to be calm, desire to attain to the last state of arhatship - these are subtle desires, but they are still desires. He will have to come back only once.


The word srotapanna means 'one who has entered into, the stream'. Srota means stream and apanna means 'one who has entered'. Srotapanna means 'one who has entered the stream'. He has just begun his journey on the path. He is no more worldly - he has become a sannyasin, he has entered into the river. Far is the ocean, but he has entered into the river, he has started.

And when the journey is begun, it will end. Howsoever far it is, it is not far away. The real problem is with those who have not even entered into the stream.

They are standing on the bank. These are the worldly people, standing on the bank. The sannyasin, the bhikkhu, is the one who has entered into the river - knows well that the ocean is far away, but now half the journey is over, just by entering.


These are just symbolic, don't take them literally... these are just symbolic things.

'Seven' does not mean exactly seven. It means many times he will die, many times he will be born, but his face is turned towards the ocean. He has entered into the Ganges and the journey has started.


And Buddha said that by dropping the passions, he means that it is as if somebody cuts off your hand; then you cannot use it. Or somebody takes your eyes out; then you cannot see through them. A man who is ready to enter into the stream is one who, on his own, voluntarily drops his passions. He says, 'I will not use them again.'

Remember, this is not repression in the freudian meaning of the term. He does not repress it, he simply withdraws his energy from it. Sex remains there - he does not repress it, he simply does not cooperate any more.

The difference is tremendous. When sex is there and you repress it, you fight with it, you don't go above it, you remain with it. If you fight with it you remain clinging to it, and if you fight with it you will remain afraid of it.

Buddha says one simply does not cooperate with it. A desire, a sexual desire arises - what will you do? Buddha says you simply watch. Let it be there. It will come and it will go. It will flicker in the mind, will try to attract you; you remain watchful, you don't allow any unconsciousness, otherwise it will enter in you.

You simply remain watchful.

Says Buddha, 'A man has to be just mindful. Then the man is like a house where lamps are burning, where lamps are lit - the thieves are afraid to enter. When lamps are not there and the house is dark, then thieves enter easily. The man who has really become mindful is like the house where on the door there is a guard, fully awake, and lamps are lit. It is difficult for the thieves to enter, they cannot gather courage.'

The same happens when you are aware - you have a guard. When you are aware, your house is lit with light. Passions cannot enter you. They can come, they can roam around, they will try to persuade you, but if you simply watch, they will disappear on their own accord because they live by your cooperation.

Don't fight with them and don't indulge in them; just remain aware. Then by and by they will drop like severed limbs.

If you start fighting, you are creating another problem. Instead of being an indulgent person you will become a repressive person. The problem is not solved, only the name is changed.

I have heard:

A doctor was treating a man who had been brought in paralytically drunk. 'If the patient sees green snakes again, give him some of this medicine,' he told the nurse.

Later on he came back to find the man raving - but the medicine hadn't been given to him. 'Did I not tell you to give him this medicine if he saw green snakes again?' the doctor demanded.

'But he didn't see green snakes,' the nurse replied.


'No, he has been seeing purple frogs.'

Now whether you see green snakes or you see purple frogs makes no difference - - you are drunk.

There are people who cooperate with their passions and there are people who fight with their passions - but both remain with the passions. One is friendly, another is antagonistic, but both remain with the passions and both are ways of subtle cooperation. One has to drop out of the relationship. One has to just become a spectator, a watcher.

Once you start watching you will become aware of layers and layers of passions.

There are many layers. When gross passions are left, more subtle layers will be found.

Our whole life is like an onion. You peel it - another layer; you peel that - another layer... fresher, younger, more alive. But if you go on peeling, a moment comes when just emptiness is left in your hands. That's what Buddha calls nirvana - emptiness. All layers gone.

I have heard:

The guitarist of a pop group was involved in a car accident and sustained injuries to his head. On arrival at the hospital the doctor ordered that his long, thick hair be completely cut off to enable the extent of the injuries to be seen. A nurse was detailed to undertake the task, and she set to work with a large pair of scissors.

After ten minutes or so she said to the young man, 'You went to North Lancaster Comprehensive School when you were younger, didn't you?'

'Yes, I did,' answered the youth. 'Were you there as well?'

'No,' said the nurse, 'I'm from London.'

'Well, how on earth did you know which school I went to?' queried the young man.

'I have just come to your cap,' replied the nurse as she carried on cutting.

Layers upon layers.... And the deeper you cut, the more you will find - many things that were missing for long, for many years; your cap you will find. The deeper you go in your mind, the deeper you will go in your childhood. Many things forgotten, lost - again, they are there. Because nothing is ever lost, everything goes on accumulating.

When you come to a point where you cannot find anything, then you have come to your being. The being is not like a layer; the being is simply space, pure space.

The being is simply emptiness.

Buddha calls being non-being, he calls it anatta. Buddha says if you find yourself, then there must be some layer still left. When suddenly you come to a point where you cannot find yourself - you are, and you cannot find yourself - then you have come home. And this can be attained only by effort.

This is his framework. From tomorrow we will start moving into his methodology - the ways of meditation, the ways of inner discipline; the ways how to transcend the ego, the ways how to transcend all. That's why I am going to call this series of talks 'The Discipline of Transcendence'. But this is his framework.

Ordinarily you are standing on the bank. Then you cannot hope, then you are in a hopeless state. If you become a srotapanna, if you enter the stream, that's what I call sannyas. By sannyas you become a srotapanna - you enter the stream, you take the courage, you take the jump. It is a quantum leap from the bank into the stream. They are very close, but they are totally different.

The bank never goes anywhere. It has no growth, it never moves. It is static, stagnant, stale, dead. And by the side is flowing the river, which is going somewhere.

If your life is not going anywhere, you are standing on the bank. Enter the stream and you start a journey. Your life starts changing, transforming. You start a transfiguration, a metamorphosis. And each moment new visions open their doors to you. One day the river reaches the ocean. That day you become arhat, you dissolve into the ocean.

First srotapanna, then skridagamin, then anagamin, then arhata. These are the states. It is a very scientific framework. From being a worldly man become srotapanna and then your journey has started.

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The above was confirmed by the New York Journal American of February 3, 1949:

"Today it is estimated by Jacob's grandson, John Schiff, that the old man
sank about $20million for the final triumph of Bolshevism in Russia."