The challenge of the buddha

Fri, 31 August 1976 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Discipline of Transcendence Vol 2
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
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LIFE IS NOT A BED OF ROSES. It is difficult, it is complex. It is very rare to be alive in the true sense of the word. To be born is one thing; to be alive, quite another. To be born is to be just biologically here; to be alive is a totally different dimension - the dimension of spirituality.

Unless a man is spiritual he is not alive yet. But to move from the biological realm to the spiritual realm is very difficult, arduous. It is the greatest challenge there is. It is the greatest quantum leap - from the body to the soul, from the material to the immaterial, from the visible to the invisible, from time to timelessness, from out to in. It is arduous.

Buddha, in this sutra, says there are twenty difficult things. These twenty difficult things can become twenty steps of the challenge. These twenty difficult things are not to make you beware of them; Buddha is talking about these twenty difficult things not to make you avoid them - it is an invitation, it is a challenge.

These twenty himalayan peaks are just a challenge for you... a great invitation.

Don't remain in the valley. The valley is very secure, convenient, comfortable.

You will live comfortably, you will die comfortably. But you will not grow. You will only grow old, but you will not grow.

Growth happens only when you are accepting a challenge. Growth happens only when you start living dangerously. These twenty things are indicative of how one should live.

There is only one way to live and that is to live dangerously, courageously. You become rightly a human being only when you have accepted this challenge of the Buddha.

We will go into these twenty things. They look small on the surface, but Buddha cannot talk about small things. You will have to go into the depth of these small things, and then you will see - they are really difficult.

Before we enter this sutra, one thing I would like to tell you - that the search for truth is the search for the impossible. Religion itself is nothing but a passion for the impossible. But the beauty is - that impossible happens, that impossible also becomes possible. But you have to pay for it, and you have to pay tremendously.

You have to sacrifice yourself utterly. You have to stake your whole life.

If you stake your so-called life, you will attain to what Buddha calls to be alive, to what Jesus calls to be reborn, to what Hindus call to be twice born, dwij. Then a totally new dimension and a totally new quality of being arises in you...

uncorrupted by time and space, uncontaminated by anything, absolutely and eternally virgin.

Long for the impossible. Desire for the impossible.




Because unless you have it, how can you share it? To share something with somebody else you must have it first. In the first place you must have it; only that can be shared which you have. And this is something that we go on forgetting continuously.

I see so many people trying to share their love and they don't have any love. Of course, their sharing brings misery to them and to others. Because you can share only that which you have. You may think you are sharing your love, but you share only your misery in fact, because that is what you have. You go with hope, you move with dreams, but what is the actual result of it? In fantasy love is good; in reality it becomes a misery, a hell.

You don't have love in your being; that energy is not existent there. First you have to become radiant with love, only then can you share it. Before you can become a lover, you have to become love. People think that they will become love only by becoming a lover. Stupid is their logic, illogical is their way of thinking. You cannot become a lover unless you have love - and love you don't have.

Everybody goes on believing that one has the capacity to love; one has just to find somebody to receive. One is full of love energy; one needs only just a receiving end. That's how people go on moving, finding. Many times they find beautiful people, but the total result is miserable.

They think they are sharing love - they share only their loneliness. They think they are sharing something divine - they share only their ugliness. They think they are sharing their innermost being - but they share only their dirty surface.

They themselves are not aware of their innermost core. That is the meaning of a poor man.

When Buddha talks about a poor man, he does not mean a man without money.

When Buddha talks about a poor man, he means a man who is not rich inside... a loveless man. How can he share? How can he become a tremendous sharing? No, charity is not possible. Charity is possible only when you are overflowing.

Overflowing is charity.


And remember it in the reverse way also. Whenever you are unable to share, whenever you are unable to practise charity, note down - you must be poor. You may have much in the eyes of others, but deep down you must be poor if you cannot share.

You possess only that which you can give. Only by giving do you become the possessor. If you cannot give, then you are not in possession, you are not the master. Then the thing that you think you possess, is possessing you. Then you are possessed by your possession.

Charity is a beautiful flowering of one who has, one who is in possession of his being; one who is not poor, one who is rich.

This man may be a beggar on the streets. It has nothing to do with your bank balance. The rich man may be a beggar, but if he has his being, authentic being, if he can love, if he can sing, if he can dance, if he can see poetry in the world, he is rich. He may not have anything at all. As far as material things go, he may not have anything. But he has something of the spiritual... something which cannot be taken away from him.

Observe this fact: that which you really possess cannot be taken away from you.

You can only give it - if you want - but nobody can take it away. That which you don't possess, and by which you are possessed, you can never give - it can only be stolen or taken away, robbed.

Your love cannot be robbed. There is no way to rob it. You can give it voluntarily, you can give it freely, but nobody can rob it. You can be killed, but your love cannot be killed. There exists no way to murder love.

Love seems to be more eternal than your so-called life. Your life can be destroyed very easily... just a hit on the head, just a bullet through the heart; very simple...

but nothing can destroy love. Love seems to be the only eternal thing; something not belonging to the world of time. You can give it, but nobody can take it.

Your money, your respectability, your power, your prestige - they all can be taken away from you. That which can be taken away from you creates a clinging in the mind. You become poorer and poorer, because you have to cling more and more, you have to protect more and more, and you are always afraid and trembling.

The so-called rich people are continuously trembling... trembling. Deep down they are always afraid because they know that that which they have can be taken away. They can never be certain about it. The very uncertainty goes on eating their heart like a worm. You possess only that which grows out of you, which belongs to you, which is rooted in you.

A rich man is one who has poetry in life, dance in life, celebration in life, silence in life, centeredness in life, rootedness in life... who blooms into his inner sky.

The rich man is one who is so full, like clouds in the rainy season... ready to shower on anybody who becomes available. Or like an opening bud... ready to share its fragrance with any wind that passes by, or any traveller that comes by.

Sharing is overflowing.

Buddha says this is one of the most difficult things - to try to share that which you don't have - and that's what people are doing. They go on trying to love without ever considering the fact that love has not yet grown in their heart. In fact, you don't love yourself - how can you love others? The basic is missing, the very basic is missing.

You are not happy alone - how can you be happy together with somebody else?

If you are unhappy alone, when you come together with somebody, you will bring your unhappiness to be shared. That's all you have - your poverty, your rottenness, your misery, your depression, your sadness, your angst, anxiety, anguish... your disease.

Try to possess something - that which cannot be taken away by anybody, not even by death. Difficult, but possible. It looks impossible. How to be loving without finding a lover? Our whole mind has been conditioned in a wrong way.

You can dance without the audience; why can't you love without there being somebody? You can sing without a listener; why can't you love without a lover?

Your mind has been conditioned wrongly. You think you can love only when there is somebody to love.

Practise love. Sitting alone in your room, be loving. Radiate love. Fill the whole room with your love energy. Feel vibrating with a new frequency, feel swaying as if you are in the ocean of love. Create vibrations of love energy around you.

And you will start feeling immediately that something is happening - something in your aura is changing, something around your body is changing; a warmth is arising around your body... a warmth like deep orgasm. You are becoming more alive. Something like sleep is disappearing. Something like awareness is arising.

Sway into this ocean. Dance, sing, and let your whole room be filled with love.

In the beginning it feels very weird. When for the first time you can fill your room with love energy, your own energy, which goes on falling and rebouncing on you and makes you so happy, one starts feeling, 'Am I hypnotising myself?

Am I deluded? What is happening?' Because you have always thought that love comes from somebody else. A mother is needed to love you, a father, a brother, a husband, a wife, a child - but somebody.

Love that depends on somebody is a poor love. Love that is created within you, love that you create out of your own being, is real energy. Then move anywhere with that ocean surrounding you and you will feel that everybody who comes close to you is suddenly under a different kind of energy.

People will look at you with more open eyes. You will be passing them and they will feel that a breeze of some unknown energy has passed them; they will feel fresher. Hold somebody's hand and his whole body will start throbbing. Just be close to somebody and that man will start feeling very happy for no reason at all.

You can watch it. Then you are becoming ready to share. Then find a lover, then find a right receptivity for you.

I have heard a small anecdote:

The greatest surprise of Mary's life was receiving half a dollar on her fourth birthday. She carried the coin about the house and was seen sitting on the steps admiring it.

'What are you going to do with your half dollar?' her mother asked.

'Take it to Sunday school,' said Mary promptly.

'To show to your teacher?'

Mary shook her head. 'No,' she said, 'I'm going to give it to god. He will be as surprised as I am to get something besides pennies.'

Whatsoever you are giving to people are just pennies, not even that. And then one day when your love fails... in fact it has never been there even to fail; it has been from the very beginning missing... just your belief that you were a loving man fails one day, then you start thinking of god and prayer.

God and prayer are possible only when your love has succeeded. When you have become a great lover, then only prayer can arise. Out of small pennies of love, something bigger arises - prayer. Then you have something to offer to god.

But almost always it happens that people who have failed in their life, they go to the temple and to the church. Of course, they bring their empty hearts...

completely dry, not even tears in their hearts. And then they pray. Then nothing happens. They think the world is godless, they think god is absent, or god is deaf, or god has never existed; or maybe in the past he existed because so many people talk about him, but he must be dead by now, or he is indifferent.

Nothing is like that. In fact you are missing love energy, and without love energy, prayer cannot arise. Prayer is a refined phenomenon of the same energy - - love. It is out of love that the subtle fragrance of prayer arises.

God is also tired of your pennies. God is also tired of your poorness. God is also tired of your misery. Bring celebration to god. Bring something alive. Don't bring deserts - bring gardens to god. Don't bring corpses - bring somebody dancing, alive.

Buddha's first sutra says: Try to become rich so that you can share.



Yes, it is very difficult for the strong and the rich to observe the way, because ordinarily only weaklings come to the temple, to the church, to the mosque. The strong people don't come. They are too much in their pride, they are too egoistic; they are not ready to surrender.

People surrender only when they have become absolute failures. People surrender only when they have nothing to surrender. When the life has completely crushed them, when they are bankrupt, then they surrender. But what is the point of surrendering when you are a bankrupt?

People remember god only when nothing else seems to help. In deep hopelessness they remember god. It is not possible to remember god in deep hopelessness. When you are full of hope, radiant, vibrating; when there is meaning in your life, when you feel the hands of destiny in your life, when you are riding on waves, when you feel at the top of the world - those are the moments to remember truth, to remember god, to move towards the way.

But Buddha says:


Why is it difficult for the strong? Because the strong thinks, 'I am enough unto myself. What is the need to ask god's help?' The weak thinks, 'I am not enough unto myself so I have to need, I have to ask god.' But only when you are strong do you have energy to ask. Only when you are strong will your prayer have enough energy to reach god. Only when you are strong is there a possibility that you can touch higher realms. Out of impotence you cannot reach higher realms.

You need an inner strength.


... but that is the only possibility. So if you are feeling strong, move towards the way, because these are the right positive moments; this is the opportunity. When you are feeling successful, this is the time to remember. When everything is going good, don't miss this opportunity - this is the time to pray.

Looks absurd, because our logic is this - that when we are happy, we never remember. We completely become oblivious.

A small boy was saying... I asked him, 'Do you remember god when you go to sleep?'

He said, 'Yes, every night.'

And I asked him, 'In the morning?'

He said, 'What is the point in the morning? In the night I feel afraid, in the morning everything is okay. What is the need? Why bother?'

This childish attitude seems to be the very common attitude. When you are ill, suddenly you start feeling very religious. When death is approaching close by and you are getting older and older and you start stumbling in life and your feet are no more strong enough to hold you and you are trembling, you start remembering god. People go on postponing god for their old age.

In India they say.... If somebody young comes to me and I initiate him into sannyas, sooner or later somebody comes and he says, 'This is not good; he's too young to be a sannyasin. Sannyas is for old people.' When they are almost dead, when they are ready to be thrown on the junkyard, when one of their feet is already in the grave, then sannyas.

People go on postponing sannyas for the very end. God seems to be the last item on their list. They have a shopping list - god is the last. When they have purchased everything - consistent, inconsistent, relevant, irrelevant - when they have wasted all their energy, when nothing is left, when they are just exhausted, then they remember god. But who is going to remember god then?

Sannyas is for the young. Sannyas is for the strong. Buddha initiated a new trend into sannyas. He dropped the old hindu concept that one should become a sannyasin in the old age.

Hindus have four stages - they are very calculating, very mathematical. Manu seems to be the greatest mathematician of life... very clever. He has divided life - twenty-five years for education, brahmacharya; then twenty-five years for living in the world, the life of a householder, grihastha; then twenty-five years for getting ready to leave the world... Looking after children who have become grownups now, who are getting married, who are coming from their universities; and then the last - sannyas, the fourth stage of life. That means after seventy-five years. The last - when everything has happened, when there is nothing else, then... then god.

This seems to be very insulting. This is very insulting to god - that you are fit for him only when you are dead. It seems you somehow relate god with death, not with life. God should be in the very center of life.

And Buddha says it is difficult to be religious when young - but that is the challenge. It is difficult to observe the way when you are strong - but that is the challenge. It is difficult to become religious when you are rich - but that is the only way to become religious.

When you are rich and strong and young, when energy is streaming, when you are ready to do something, when you are ready to go into a venture, when you have courage, when you can take risks, when danger has appeal for you, when death has not weakened you, when you are full of zest and life, that is the point - - take the challenge and move into the unknown.

The third:


IT IS DIFFICULT TO DISREGARD LIFE AND GO TO CERTAIN DEATH. It is very difficult to disregard life. Life is very enchanting, very hypnotising. It is beautiful, it is a miracle, a magic world - but made of the stuff dreams are made of.

It is difficult to awake in this beautiful dream. When you are having a nice dream... maybe you are on a trip with Marilyn Monroe or something like that; or you have become the president of the United States.... When you are having a beautiful dream, nice, as you always wanted it and it is happening, and then somebody shakes you, you become aware - but the dream is lost. You feel annoyed. Is this the right moment? Could you not wait a little more? I was having such a beautiful dream.

But a dream is a dream, beautiful or not beautiful. A beautiful dream is also a dream; so futile, a wastage.


Yes, when life has deserted you, then it is very simple. When life itself has deserted you, when you are left behind and life has gone out of you, or is going out of you; when life has oozed out of you and you are left just like a dead dry thing, then it is very easy to disregard life. Even then it seems difficult. Even in old age people go on behaving childishly.

I have heard:

An ancient man described his recent visit to a bordello.

'How old are you anyway?' the madam asked him.

'I am ninety-three,' he said.

'Well, you have had it, sir,' she told him.

'I have? Ah - then how much do I owe you?'

Now his memory is gone, but still he has come in search of a prostitute. He cannot remember, but the passion persists. He must be just on the deathbed. He may have been carried by others to the bordello. To the very end....

This is my observation - that out of a hundred persons, almost ninety-nine persons die thinking of sex. In fact when death comes, the idea of sex becomes very strong. Because death and sex are opposite each other; they are the polar opposites. Sex is birth and death is the end of the same energy that birth released.

So while dying, a person becomes obsessively interested in sex. And that becomes the beginning of another birth.

To die without thinking about sex is a great experience. Then something of tremendous import has happened to you. If you can die without thinking of sex at all, no lurking shadows of sex in your mind, of lust for life, you are dying as one should die. Only one percent of people die that way.

These are the people Buddha calls srotapanna - those who have entered into the stream, those who have become sannyasins, those who have taken a step towards understanding what is real and what is unreal, those who have become discriminative of what is dream and what is true.


Even when death is coming, then too it is difficult to disregard life. Even when death has become certain. In fact, death is the only certainty. Everything else is uncertain. Everything else may happen, may not happen, everything else is accidental. Death is absolutely certain. The day you were born, death became certain. With the very birth, only one thing has become absolutely certain - that you will die.

Death is certain. You may know it or you may not know it; you may look at it, you may not look at it - but death is certain. Still, even with so much certainty, one is afraid to go into it; one clings with uncertain life, with dreamlike life.

Death seems to be more real than whatsoever you call your life.

Buddha says it is difficult to accept death and move into death, and it is difficult to disregard so-called life. But a man of understanding starts disregarding life and regarding death. He respects death more because death is more certain, must be more part of reality than so-called life - because the so-called life is just like dreaming.

You have lived for thirty or forty or fifty years. Now look back, think retrospectively. What has happened in these fifty years? Was it real or just a long dream? Can you make any difference... if it was real or a dream? How will you distinguish? Maybe you have dreamed all. Maybe it was just an idea in your mind. What proof have you got that it was real? What is left in your hand?

Nothing... emptiness. And you call it life? And only emptiness results out of it?

Buddha says, better call it death. Now look into death - maybe there is real life.

It is difficult, but a person who becomes interested in death, intrigued by death, the phenomenon of death, becomes a different type of person. He is a srotapanna.

The people who cling to the bank are the people who think this life is all. The people who try to understand, penetrate deeply into the life, become aware that this is not the real thing. Then they take a jump into the river which is going somewhere else - towards death.

Meditation is an effort to die voluntarily. And in deep meditation one dies. In deep meditation, the so-called life disappears and for the first time you encounter death. That experience of encountering death makes you deathless.

Suddenly you transcend death. Suddenly you know - that which is going to die is not you.

All that can die, you are not. You are neither your body nor your mind nor your self. You are simply pure space - which is never born and never dies.

People talk about death very rarely. Even if they talk about it, they talk very reluctantly. Even if they are forced to talk about it, they feel embarrassed - even people who believe that the soul never dies, even people who believe that after death a person goes to the eternal god, to the paradise.

In his 'Unpopular Essays', Bertrand Russell has a telling anecdote.

"F. W. H. Myers, whom spiritualism had converted to belief in a future life, questioned a woman who had lately lost her daughter as to what she supposed has become of her soul.

The mother replied, 'Ah, well, I suppose she is enjoying eternal bliss, but I wish you would not talk about such unpleasant subjects."'

Now if really she is enjoying eternal bliss, then why is this subject unpleasant?

One should be happy to talk about it. In fact it is unpleasant to talk about it, and just to hide the unpleasantness, one has invented many theories, beliefs, that after death one goes to eternal heaven. Everybody has to somehow convince himself that he will not die.

Buddha's teaching is that you have to accept the fact that you will die. Not only that - that all that you think you are, absolutely, in toto, is going to die. Buddha is very stern about it.

If you ask Mahavir, he will say that body will die, mind will die, but your soul? - no, your soul will remain. Now there is some protection. We can think, 'Okay, the body will die. We would like it not to die, but we can accept. Body is not me.'

In India you can find many monks, sadhus, just contemplating: 'I am not the body. I am not the body. I am the soul eternal.' Now, what are they doing? If they really know that they are the soul eternal, then why this constant repetition?

Who are they trying to befool? Why this constant repetition that 'I am not the body'? If you are not, you are not - finished.

No, they don't believe really; they are trying to autohypnotize themselves. 'I am not the body.' Repeating it continuously for many years, they may come to an autosuggestion that 'I am not the body', but that is not going to be their experience. It will remain just an autosuggestion. They have befooled themselves, they have fallen into a delusion.

And then they are saying, 'I am the eternal soul - infinite, satchidananda - true, always true, existential, always existential, blissful, always blissful. They are fighting with death and they are trying to find some place where they can hide against death.

Buddha's approach is totally different. He says there is no place to hide. You have to go headlong into it. And Buddha says your body will die, your mind will die, your so-called soul will die - everything, in toto. You are going to die.

Nothing is going to remain.

This is very very difficult to even conceive. But Buddha says, if you can conceive this, and if you are ready for this, only then you will be able to know that innermost space which is beyond time and space.

But remember - you don't know that space at all, so it has nothing to do with you. Whatsoever is your identity is going to die completely and that which is going to remain has nothing to do with you.

So Buddha says don't ask about that. Because you are such rationalizing animals, such tricky fellows, that if Buddha says, 'Yes, there is an inner space which will remain,' you say, 'Okay, that's what I call my soul.' Again you are back in the old trap. 'So, I am going to survive. Nothing to be afraid of.' You will find some identity with that inner space.

Buddha keeps completely quiet. He must have been tempted many times to talk about it. It is very difficult to keep secrets when you know - but Buddha has kept it.

It is really almost superhuman to keep secrets. You may have observed the fact.

Whenever somebody says to you, 'Don't tell it to anybody, keep it a secret,' then you are in a difficulty. The whole mind tends to tell it to somebody. There seems to be a natural thing in it. It is as if you eat something; then how can you hold it forever and ever inside your stomach? It has to be defecated. It has to be thrown out. Otherwise you will have permanent constipation and it will be very disturbing.

The same happens with the mind. Somebody says something to you: 'Keep it a secret.' Your husband comes home and he says, 'Listen, keep it a secret.' Now the wife is in trouble, because something has gone into the mind. It has to come out, otherwise there will be a mental constipation. And she feels very heavy unless she can find somebody. She is going to talk to the servant. And of course she will say, 'Don't tell it to anybody.' And the servant will rush faster to his home, to his wife, because - what to do? And within minutes the whole town will know.

It is very difficult to keep a secret. You can keep a secret only if it has not come from the outside, remember it. If it has come from the outside, it has to go outside; it cannot be kept. If it has arisen in your own being, if it has flowered within you, if it has existential roots in your own being, you can keep it a secret - because it has not come from the outside; there is no need for it to go outside.

Buddha could keep this secret because it was his own experience. Nobody had told it to him, he had not found it in the Vedas, he had not heard it from the traditional sources, he had not read about it. It had not entered in his being; it had bloomed into his own being - it was his own flower. When something blooms into you, it is yours; it is for you to keep or to share.

Buddha is continuously tempted. A thousand times, I think almost every day, people are coming to him and asking him, 'Yes, we can understand that the soul will die, the body will die, the mind will die - but the soul? the self? the atman?'

And Buddha goes on saying flatly, 'Everything will die. Everything that you know your identity is, will die. You will die completely and that which will be saved, you don't know anything about.'

When you disappear, then you will know that which remains. That has nothing to do with you. That existed before you existed. That exists just now, just parallel to you. You never meet with it. You are two parallel lines; you never meet. You are hiding it. When you are not, it is revealed.

Buddha says, go into death as deeply as possible. And that is possible only if you start disregarding your so-called life. To disregard it means to know it - it is a dream.

The swain and his girl had just encountered a bulldog that looked mean and hungry.

'Why, Percy,' she exclaimed as he started a strategic retreat. 'You always swore you would face death for me.'

'I would,' he flung back, 'but that damned dog ain't dead yet!'

People say they can face death, but when it comes to facing death, suddenly their whole courage disappears. People say that they can surrender their life very easily. It is not so easy.

Lust for life is very deep. You have watered it for many lives; its roots have gone deep into your being. Even if you cut a few branches, it makes no difference; even if you cut the whole tree, it makes no difference - new shoots will be coming out.


Buddha says it is very few, a very favoured few, a fortunate few, a chosen few, a blessed few, who become aquainted with the wisdom of a Buddha.

Because to be in contact with a Buddha, you have to pass through a few experiences that life is illusory, that death is certain. Unless your illusion about life is shattered completely, you will not listen to a Buddha. He is irrelevant, he does not exist for you.

Buddha exists for you only if you have become alert that this life is fleeting, slipping by; that this life is just a shadow, not a reality... a reflection in the mirror.

When all your dreams about life are shattered, then you become interested in a Buddha. And when you become interested, only then is there a possibility to understand buddhist wisdom, the wisdom of an awakened man.

Who is an awakened man? One who has come to know what is dream, one who has come to know what is not dream. When you are asleep, dream looks real. In the morning when you awake, then you know that it was unreal. A Buddha is one who has awakened - awakened out of this so-called life and has come to realize that it is a dream.

If you are also feeling the pain, the frustration, the misery of this dreamlife, this futile life, only then you start moving towards a source of light; otherwise not.

Buddha says those are the few favoured ones.



IT IS BY RARE OPPORTUNITY... Yes, it is so, because a Buddha is rarely there.

Thousands of years pass, then a person becomes a Buddha. And even then it is not necessary that he will start teaching. He may not teach at all. He may simply disappear into the unknown. There is no necessity that he should become a master. So, Buddhas are few, and then Buddhas who become masters and help people on the way are even fewer.


So if you can find a person who is awakened, if you can find a person who is a little different from you, if you can find a person in whose eyes you don't see the clouds of sleep and around whom you can feel the aura of awakening, then don't miss the opportunity, because it may not be for many lives that you will come across such a man again.


IT IS DIFFICULT TO CONQUER PASSIONS. That's why Buddha says a courageous man will not bother to go to the top of the Himalayas. Yes, it is difficult - but nothing compared to conquering your own passions. A real man of courage will not try to go to the moon. It is difficult - but nothing compared to conquering your own passions and lust for life.

The greatest adventure in life is to become passionless, to become free of lust. To just be, without any hankering to be something else; to just be herenow; with no desire for the future, no desire for any repetition of the past... with no projection.


Why do we live in dreams? - because dreams many times are agreeable. That is the trick of the dreams, that's how they persuade you; that is their bait.

I have heard:

Mulla Nasrudin stood quietly at the bedside of his dying father. 'Please, my boy,' whispered the old man, 'always remember that wealth does not bring happiness.'

'Yes, father,' said Nasrudin, 'I realize that, but at least it will allow me to choose the kind of misery I find most agreeable.'

That's what we are doing - trying to find a misery which appears agreeable.

That's your whole search.

Buddha says:


Agreeable or disagreeable is not the point. Because a dream can be agreeable, a lie can be agreeable, sometimes poison can be agreeable, sometimes suicide can be agreeable - that is not the point. The point is what is real.

The real man endeavours to know the real, and the unreal man tries only to find things which are agreeable, comfortable, convenient. Look, watch out. Don't go after the agreeable, otherwise dreams will go on pulling you and pushing you here and there, and you will remain like a driftwood.

Let your emphasis be on what is real. Even if it is not agreeable, choose the real.

Let me repeat it: even if the real is not agreeable to you, choose the real, become agreeable to it. Then only you can come to truth; there is no other way.


Anger is so easy; so mechanical. You need not have any awareness for it, it is robotlike. Somebody insults you; you become angry. Buddha says, try; when somebody insults you, remain calm and quiet. Don't miss this opportunity. This is an opportunity to get out of your mechanical world. This is an opportunity to become more conscious. The person is giving you a beautiful chance to grow.

Don't miss it.

Whenever you find an opportunity where it is natural to be mechanical, try to be non-mechanical, become more conscious of the situation. And that will become your growth ladder.

Somebody insults you. It is very easy to be hurt. It is mechanical; you are not needed for it; no intelligence is needed for it. It is very easy to get into a rage, anger, fire. No intelligence is needed for it. Even animals do it, so nothing is special in it.

Do something special. Remain calm and quiet and collected. Relax, watch inside that the mechanical thing does not possess you. Become a little loose from your mechanical habits and your benefit will be tremendous. You will start becoming more and more aware.


Very difficult - because in the first place people seek authority just to abuse it.

You have heard Lord Acton's famous dictum that power corrupts. It is not true.

His observation is right in a way, but not true. Power never corrupts anybody, but still Lord Acton is right - because we always see people being corrupted by power. How can power corrupt people?

On the other hand, in fact, corrupted people seek power. Of course, when they don't have power, they cannot express their corruption. When they have power, then they are free. Then they can move with the power, then they are not worried. Then they come in their true light, then they show their real face.

Power never corrupts anybody, but only corrupted people are attracted towards power. And when they have power, then of course they use it for all their desires and passions.

It happens. A person may be very humble. When he is seeking a political post he may be very humble, and you may know him - you may have known that for his whole life he was a simple and humble person - and you vote for him. The moment he is in power, there is a metamorphosis; he is no more the same person.

People are surprised - how does power corrupt?

In fact, that humbleness was false, bogus. He was humble because he was weak.

He was humble because he had no power. He was afraid he would have been crushed by other powerful people. His humbleness was his politics, his policy.

Now he need not be afraid, now nobody can crush him. Now he can come to his true being, now he can express his own reality. Now he looks corrupted.

Buddha says:


Difficult, because in the first place only people who want to abuse their authority become interested in authority. If you have some authority, watch. Even small authorities corrupt people. You may be just a constable standing on the crossroads, but if you have the opportunity, you will abuse it; you will show yourself who you are.

Mulla Nasrudin used to serve as a constable. He caught hold of a woman who was driving a car. Of course, a woman and a car driver never go together, so she was going wrong. Mulla took his notebook and started writing. The woman said, 'Wait! I know the chief minister, so don't be worried.' But Mulla continued writing; he didn't pay any attention. The woman said, 'Do you know, I even know the governor!' But the Mulla continued writing.

The woman said, 'Listen, what are you doing? I even know Indira Gandhi!'

Mulla said, 'Listen lady, do you know Mulla Nasrudin?'

She said, 'No, never heard of him.'

He said, 'My name is Mulla Nasrudin, and unless you know Mulla Nasrudin, nothing doing.'

When you have authority, then one tends.... It is so easy, mm? You can watch it all around. You are just standing at the railway window of a railway station and the booking clerk goes on doing something - and you can see that he has nothing to do. He goes on turning pages here and there. He wants to delay. We wants to show you that now he has the authority. He says, 'Wait.' He cannot lose this chance to say no to you.

Watch - in yourself also. Your son comes and says, 'Daddy, can I go out to play?'

You say, 'No!' And you know well and the son knows well that you will allow him. Then the son starts shrieking and jumping and screaming and he says, 'I want to go!' Then you say, 'Okay, go.' And you know it; it has happened before the same way. And there was nothing wrong in going outside and playing. Why did you say no?

If you have authority, you want to show it. But then the son also has some authority. He starts jumping, he creates a tantrum, and he knows that he will create trouble and the neighbours will listen and people will think wrong about you, so you say, 'Okay, go.'

In every human encounter you will see it happening - people are throwing their authority all around; either bullying people or being bullied by others. And if somebody bullies you, you will immediately find some weaker person somewhere to take the revenge.

If your boss bullies you in the office, you will come home and bully your wife.

And if she is not a lib movement woman, then she will wait for the child to come home from the school, and she will bully the child. And if the child is old- fashioned, not american, then the child will go to his room and crush his toys, because that is the only thing he can bully. He can show his power on the toy.

But this goes on and on. This seems to be the whole game. This is what real politics is.

To get out of the political mind is the meaning of this sutra:


So whenever you have some authority.... And everybody has some authority or other. You cannot find a person, you cannot find the last person who has no authority; even he has some authority, even he has a dog he can kick. Everybody has some authority somewhere. So, everybody lives in politics. You may not be a member of any political party; that doesn't mean that you are not political. If you abuse your authority, you are political. If you don't abuse your authority, then you are non-political.

Become more aware not to abuse your authority. It will give you a very new light - how you function - and it will make you so calm and centered. It will give you tranquillity and serenity.


It is very difficult, because people are cunning. If you are simple-hearted, you will be cheated.

Buddha says, be cheated. It is better to be cheated than to cheat. If these are the only alternatives - to be cheated or to cheat - then Buddha says choose the first, be cheated. At least your inner being will remain uncorrupted.

That is the meaning when Jesus says, 'If somebody hits, slaps your face, then give him the other side also. If somebody forces you to carry his load for one mile, go two miles. And if somebody tries to steal your coat, give him your shirt also.'

The whole meaning is this: that it is better to be cheated, because when somebody is cheating you, he can cheat you only of immaterial things, meaningless things. When you cheat somebody, you are losing something of your inner being... something which is tremendously valuable.


It is very simple to be simple-minded when you are alone. That's why many people go to the Himalayas or to the monasteries where they drop out of the world. It is very simple not to cheat when you are alone. It is very simple to be simple when you are alone - but what is the point?

Of course, when you are alone you cannot be dishonest. Of course, when you are alone you cannot lie. Of course, when you are alone you cannot be egoistic, you cannot be competitive, you cannot deceive, you cannot hurt. But that doesn't mean that you have changed and transformed. The real test is in the world.

So, never leave the world - change yourself. It is very easy to change the circumstances, but that is not the real thing - change your consciousness.


Mind tends to be lazy - all laziness is in the mind. Mind wants to avoid any effort. That's why mind does not want to move in new dimensions. It remains clinging to the old, to the familiar, because it knows it is very efficient there. It has a certain proficiency and skill. Now, once you have settled, you don't want to change it.

Many people go on living with a woman or with a man, not because they love the man or the woman, but just because it is familiar. Now it will again be a trouble to move with another woman and start from ABC. They are simply lazy.

People go on living the way they are living - even if it is miserable, even if nothing exists out of it except anguish, but they continue, because at least it is familiar, known; they have become skillful about it. And they can go on sleeping.

Mind is lazy. This laziness is one of the barriers.

Buddha says:


You have not even been thoroughly aware of your life, which is the most important thing here. You have not even investigated it - what it is. You have taken it for granted, on the surface. All your knowledge about your life is borrowed. Whatsoever you know is not what you know - it is from somebody else.

I have heard:

A student nurse was faced with the following question on an examination paper:

'Name five reasons why mothers' milk is better for babies than cows' milk.'

She answered. First: because it is fresher. Second: because it is cleaner. Third:

because the cats can't reach it. Fourth: because it is easier to take with you on journeys.

Try as she would, she could not think of a fifth reason. You try... even these four are not reasons. In desperation, she glanced at the paper of a male student sitting next to her, and then wrote, Fifth: because it comes in such cute little containers.

This is the way you borrow knowledge, looking here and there. This is all that you know. You have not looked directly. And unless you look direct, you will remain stupid, you will remain mediocre.


One of the most arduous things in life is not to think of oneself as extraordinary.

Of course, this is the most ordinary thing in the world to think, because everybody thinks he is extraordinary. Everybody thinks he is extraordinary, so the feeling of being extraordinary is the most ordinary thing. Look around - still you go on thinking that you are extraordinary.

Buddha says it is very difficult, but if you really want to move on the path, start feeling... just be ordinary. Don't claim any extraordinariness.

And this is the beauty of the whole thing - the moment you become ordinary, you become extraordinary. The moment you don't claim that you are exceptional, you are exceptional... because the claim is so ordinary. Everybody is claiming he is unique, exceptional. People may say, may not say, but deep down they know who they are.

Become alert. How can you be extraordinary? Either everybody is extraordinary, then you are also extraordinary - but what is the point? If extraordinariness is just a common quality of everybody, then what is the point of claiming it? Either everybody is extraordinary, because everybody comes from the same source of existence, or everybody is ordinary, because everybody comes from the same source of existence.

Whatsoever you think about you, think about others also. And whatsoever you think about others, think about yourself also. And then pride will disappear.

Pride is always vain. Pride is always for wrong reasons. Pride is like a fever and you can never be healthy with it. It is a temperature.


Buddha specifically mentions it. When you see somebody who is more ignorant than you, you suddenly feel a contempt. It is very difficult not to feel that contempt. Because when you see somebody more learned than you, you feel jealous. Both these things go together - contempt for those who are behind you and jealousy for those who are ahead of you. Contempt and jealousy simply show that you are continuously comparing yourself with others.

Never compare, because all comparison is foolish. Everybody is just like himself.

What is the point of comparing? Who are you to compare? And who are you to fix a criterion - to decide who is learned and who is not learned? Who are you to make a criterion who is beautiful and who is not beautiful? Who are you? Why should you judge? Jesus says, 'Judge ye not.'


Unless the knowledge is your own, there will always be a rift between what you know and what you do. Because whatsoever you do cannot be transformed by knowledge gathered from others; it cannot be changed by borrowed knowledge.

It changes only when your insight flowers. It is difficult to have a synthetic, harmonious life between what you know and what you do.

Watch it. Whatsoever you do, in fact, that is indicative that only that is what you know. Whatsoever you know and you don't do, that you don't know at all. Drop it, throw it! It is rubbish! Watch your doing, because that is your real knowledge.

You say anger is bad and you don't want to do it, but then somebody insults and you become angry and you say, 'What to do? In spite of me I became angry. I know very well that anger is bad, poisonous, destructive. I know it, but what to do? - I became angry.'

If you come to me, I will say, 'You don't know that anger is poisonous. You have heard about it. Deep down you know that anger is necessary; deep down you know that without anger you will lose your standing, everybody will be bullying you. Without anger, you will not have any spine; your pride will be shattered.

Without anger, how can you exist in this world of continuous struggle for survival?' This is what you know, but you say, 'I know anger is poisonous.'

Buddha knows anger is poisonous. You have heard Buddha, you have listened to Buddha, you have learned something from him - but that is his knowledge.

Whatsoever is your doing, remember - it is your knowing. Go deep into your doing to find out exactly what you know. And if you want to transform your doing, then borrowed knowledge won't do. If you really want to know what anger is, go into it, meditate over it, taste it in many ways, allow it to happen inside you, be surrounded by it, be clouded by it, feel all the pang and the pain and the hurt of it, and the poison, and how it brings you low, how it creates a dark valley for your being, how you fall into hell through it, how it is a downward flow. Feel it, know it. And that understanding will start a transformation in you.

To know truth is to be transformed. Truth liberates - but it must be your own.


Very difficult. We go on unconsciously expressing our opinion about others. Do you know others? You don't know even yourself. How foolish it is to express opinions about others. You may have known somebody for a few days. You know his name, you know how he walks; you have known him in a few situations - how he acts - but do you know him ? He is a vast continent. You have known only a fragment of it.

It is as if a page torn from the Bible has come in your hands... winds have brought it to you, torn apart... and you read a few sentences. They are also not complete - somewhere one word is missing, somewhere the ink has been washed by the rain water, somewhere mud has settled... and then you decide about Jesus, or you decide about Christianity. It will be foolish.

It is as if you are brought into a movie which is going on. You enter from one door, you look at the movie, and you go out through the other door; just for a few seconds you are inside - and you decide about the whole story. It will be foolish. It will be sheer stupidity on your part. In fact, you will not decide. You will say, 'I have not seen the whole movie. I don't know what went before, what was coming afterwards, and I have only been here in the movie hall for a few seconds; just a few pictures were there, they are almost irrelevant to me - I don't know the context.'

That's how we know persons. A life is a tremendously rich phenomenon. One never knows, because only a part of it comes in the actions, only the tip of the iceberg - the real thing remains inside. What you do is a very small tiny part of what you are. What you do is a very small part of what you think, of what you feel, of what you dream, of what you fantasize, of what goes on inside your being... just fragments.

Buddha says, IT IS DIFFICULT NOT TO EXPRESS AN OPINION ABOUT OTHERS - but take the challenge. Resist the temptation. Don't express your opinions about others and you will grow in understanding. Because your opinion becomes a barrier to understanding; it becomes a prejudice.


In fact, to be introduced to a true spiritual teacher is a very unique phenomenon.

First, nobody is searching truth. Even if a master passes you by, you will remain completely oblivious of his existence. That's how it happened when Buddha passed. Millions of people remained oblivious. When Jesus passed, people had not even heard his name. He was an unknown figure. When Mahavir was here, very rare souls came in contact with him.

Because you can come in contact with a master only when you are really seeking truth intensely, passionately; when you have mumuksha, a fiery desire to know, and you are ready to stake everything for it.

When you are ready to know, when you are ready to become a disciple, only then can you come into the contact of a master, only then can you be introduced to the world of a master. Your readiness to become a disciple will be your introduction.

It is very difficult to become a disciple. It is easy to become a student, because a student has no personal relationship. He comes to know things. You go to the university, you are a student. If you come to me as a student, you will miss me, because then you hear only what I say, and you will collect it as information; you will become more knowledgeable. But if you really want to come to me, you have to come to me as a disciple.

A disciple is one who says, 'I don't know anything. I surrender totally, utterly. I will be just receptive. I trust. I am ready to annihilate myself. If you say, "Jump into the fire," I will jump.'

A disciple means one who is ready to trust somebody... very difficult... ready to drop himself, ready to go with somebody into the unknown, uncharted world.

Only a very courageous soul becomes a disciple. To learn, one needs to be humble. To learn, one needs to be totally empty, receptive, sensitive, meditative.

A student needs concentration, a disciple needs meditation. Concentration means he has to listen correctly to what is being said. Meditation means you have to be present rightly; not only listen rightly - that is only a small part of it.

You have to be here with me present rightly, in tune, in harmony, in deep rapport, en rapport, so my heart can beat with your heart, so you can breathe with my breathing, so you can vibrate with my frequency.

A moment comes between the master and the disciple when they both start vibrating in the same rhythm. Then something is transferred, then something transpires between them. That which cannot be said can be transferred in those moments. That which cannot be expressed can be handed over in those moments. A transmission beyond scripture... that's how zen buddhists express it... a transmission beyond scripture, a transmission immediate, direct.


DIFFICULT TO GAIN AN INSIGHT INTO THE NATURE OF BEING - because one has to go inwards. Outwards we go easily. To go outward is to go downward; it is easy. To go inward is to go upward. It is an uphill task, it is difficult.

To go to others is simple - the way of the world. To go to oneself is difficult - it is not the way of the world, not the way of the crowd. Only very few people, rare souls, try to move inwards.


First, it is difficult to have an insight into your own being, and then it is even more difficult to practise it, because then you will be practising nothingness.

Then you will be walking as an emptiness. Then you will not be there.

Because if you go into the deepest core of your being, you will find that man is like an onion - you go on peeling it, layer upon layer... go on peeling it... and in the end only emptiness is left in the hand. Then you have come to the very core of the onion - that is from where it has developed. Out of nothingness it has become something. Out of the immaterial, matter has arisen. Out of no-being, being has gathered.

It is difficult to know it, first, because who wants to know that one is not? Who desires to disappear? Who longs for total ultimate death? It is difficult first to know it and then it is even more difficult to practise it - because when you are nobody, nothing is left to practise.

To walk like a Buddha is really the impossible. It happens. It is incredible, it cannot be believed. How does Buddha walk? Have you ever pondered over it?

He has no desire to go anywhere, still he walks. He has no desire to do anything, still he lives. He has no desire to achieve anything, still every morning he gets up, starts helping people. He has nothing to achieve now, nowhere to go - then why does he go on breathing? He is practising nothingness. It is one of the most incredible phenomena - to come to know that you are not and then still to exist.

Many disappear. Those who disappear, Buddha calls them arhatas. When they come to know their inner emptiness, they simply dissolve into it. Then what is the point of even breathing? Why breathe? why eat? why drink? why be? They simply disappear.

Those who try hard, knowing well that they are not, but who still try hard to help others... knowing well that others are just in dream, knowing well that others also don't exist in reality.... To have compassion on phantoms, to have compassion on shadows, and still make an effort to help them, is the most impossible thing. But it happens.

You exist because of passion, desire. Buddha has to exist for compassion. He has no desire. There is nothing - no future for him. All that has to happen has happened. Still he practises the way. He moves as alert as he wants you to move.

He behaves in the way he wants you to behave.

Jesus was leaving his disciples on the last night and he washed their feet and touched their feet. They were very embarrassed and they said, 'What are you doing, master?'

And Jesus said, 'There is no need for me to touch your feet, but I am touching so that you will remember - don't become too egoistic. Remember that your master touched your feet, so remember when people come to you as disciples, don't become too egoistic that you know and they don't know, that they are ignorant.

Touch their feet.' Jesus says that just to help them to remember, he's touching their feet.

Buddha says, 'I behave the way you should behave. Not that there is any more any discipline for me, but I go on behaving the way I would like you to behave.

For you, still there is much to be done.'

A Buddha is absolute freedom. He can be in any way, there is no problem. But still he goes on following. Every morning he sits in meditation. What compassion.

Somebody, his great disciple Sariputta, asked Buddha, 'Why do you sit in meditation? Because you are twenty-four hours in meditation.'

Buddha said, 'That's right, but if I don't sit, others will take advantage of it. They will think, "If Buddha is not meditating, why should we bother?"'

Now he has nothing to meditate, but he sits under the tree every morning so that others can sit under the tree.



Because to follow the steps of a saviour is to commit suicide. You have to dissolve yourself by and by. The closer you come to a saviour, the more you disappear, the more and more you disappear. When you come the closest, you are not there. One who is ready to dissolve is ready to become a disciple.


Small things prove you - that you are a slave. Somebody insults - and anger.

You are simply proving that he is the master. He can insult any day and can create anger in you - you are not the master of your anger. Somebody comes and flatters you and you smile. He has brought the smile in you; he is the master. You are not the master.

Buddha says it is very difficult, but try.

I call you swamis. The word 'swami' means a master. Try in every way to remain a master. Don't allow anybody to manipulate you. Don't allow anybody to reduce you to just a mechanism. Remain master in every situation. And if you make effort, sooner or later you will start feeling a new power, a new surge of energy in you.

And the last, the twentieth:


It is difficult because you are not a Buddha yet. Only the similar can understand, only the equal can understand. A Jesus can be understood only by a Jesus. A Buddha can be understood only by a Buddha.

How can you understand? If you live in the valley, if you have the language of the valley, and somebody comes from the top of the hill where you have never been, and he talks about the sunlight and the clouds, and the beautiful colours of the clouds, and the flowers that bloom on the top of the hill, how will you understand?

You know only the valley, the darkness, and your crawling life. You will misinterpret, you will translate whatsoever he is saying into the language of your valley. That's why Buddhas say, 'Come, come with us. Come to the reality we exist at. Come to the top. There only will you be able to understand it.' It is not a question of logical discourse; it is a question of changing and transforming your plane of being.

Whatsoever I am saying to you, you can listen to it. In a certain intellectual way you can understand it also, but you will always feel puzzled. You will always feel that this man is talking in contradictions. Sometimes he says this, sometimes he says that. You will always remain in a confusion.

Just the other night a sannyasin came to me and she said, 'I was never so confused as I have become listening to you.'

I said, 'That's right. You were thinking that you know. Now you know that you don't know. You were thinking that everything is okay. Now you know - nothing is okay. You were thinking that this valley is all that exists. Now you know there are unknown peaks. Now the challenge has penetrated your heart.

Now the desire has arisen and much has been stirred by the desire. You don't know what those peaks are, but you have started longing for those peaks.'

Confusion is bound to happen, because the language of the valley and the language of the peak are two different languages. There has been a meeting between the two; chaos has arisen.

'But don't be bothered by it,' I told her.'Start moving towards the direction I am indicating, and as you move higher, your confusion will start changing into a fusion. Confusion will be left behind in the valley. By the time you reach the peak, everything will be crystal-clear.'


It is enough if you can even understand a bit of it. Try hard. Don't leave any stones unturned. Try hard to understand. Knowing well it is almost impossible - but try hard. By your very effort, you will become integrated. A center will be born in you, and that center will become a transforming point.

One day you are all destined to be Buddhas. The whole thing will be understood only on that day, not before it. You will have to grope in the dark, but don't be lazy - grope.

The door is there, certainly. If you go on groping, you are bound to find it. The hill exists. If you take courage and start moving beyond the valley, you are bound to reach.

Yes, arduous is the path, dangerous is the path, but that is the only way one matures, grows and attains to life abundant.

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