In accord with the way
IN ACCORD WITH THE WAY, A MONK ASKED THE BUDDHA:
UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS IS IT POSSIBLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PAST AND TO UNDERSTAND THE MOST SUPREME WAY?
THE BUDDHA SAID:
THOSE WHO ARE PURE IN HEART AND SINGLE IN PURPOSE ARE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE MOST SUPREME WAY. IT IS LIKE POLISHING A MIRROR WHICH BECOMES BRIGHT WHEN THE DUST IS REMOVED.
REMOVE YOUR PASSIONS AND HAVE NO HANKERING AND THE PAST WILL BE REVEALED UNTO YOU.
A MONK ASKED THE BUDDHA: WHAT IS GOOD AND WHAT IS GREAT?
THE BUDDHA ANSWERED:
GOOD IS TO PRACTISE THE WAY AND TO FOLLOW THE TRUTH. GREAT IS THE HEART THAT IS IN ACCORD WITH THE WAY.
LIFE IN ITSELF IS NOT THE GOAL. The goal surpasses life. The life is just an opportunity to realize the goal. The goal is hidden deep in life; you cannot find it on the surface. You will have to penetrate to the very center. The life is like a seed. In itself it is not enough. You will have to work hard so the seed sprouts, becomes a tree and comes to bloom.
This is one of the most fundamental things to remember - that man has to surpass himself, that life has to transcend itself. If you don't understand this, then you will be lost in the means and you will forget the end. That's what happens ordinarily. We become too attached with life and we forget that life was just an opportunity to understand something which is deeper than life, higher than life, superior, far superior, than life.
If you get too much obsessed with life itself, it is as if somebody was sent to the university and he became too much attached with the university and he could not leave it, and he could not even conceive of leaving it. The university is there just to educate you for something greater. For the universe, the university is to prepare you; that's why we call it the university. It itself is not the universe... just a preparation.
In the East, life is just like a university, a discipline, a training for something far beyond it. If you become too much attached with life, then you will be coming back again and again every year to the university. Then it is futile, pointless. A university is to get ready. A university has to be renounced one day. It is just a preparation. And if the preparation becomes endless, then it becomes a burden.
That is what has happened to many people. They take life as the goal. Then they go on preparing, they go on preparing endlessly. They never go on the journey, they simply prepare for the journey. And if their life becomes an impotent gesture, no wonder. It is natural, it has to be so.
Just think about yourself - always consulting timetables, always getting ready to leave, always enquiring from the tourist office, and never leaving, never going anywhere. You will go mad.
Nothing is wrong with life itself, but if your attitude is this - that life is an end unto itself - then you will be in trouble. Then your whole life will become meaningless. The meaning is there, but the meaning is transcendental to it. The meaning is there, but you will have to penetrate to that core where it is revealed.
To think of life as the goal is to remain on the periphery. That periphery Buddha calls the wheel. The symbol of the wheel is very significant and has to be understood. The periphery, Buddha calls the wheel... it goes on moving.
You can watch a bullock cart moving. The wheels move. They move on something which is unmoving - the center remains unmoving. The hub remains unmoving. On an unmoving hub, the wheel goes on moving.
If you only look at the wheel, you will be looking at the temporal. If you become capable of looking at the hub, you will be able to penetrate the eternal. If you only look at the periphery, you will be watching the accidental. If you become capable of reaching to the center, to the hub, you will be able to know the essential. And unless you come to know the essential, you will be repeating the same thing again and again and again.
The world is called the wheel because things go on repeating themselves again and again, and you by and by become repetitive. And the more you repeat yourself, the more you are bored. The more you are bored, the more dull and stupid you become. You lose intelligence, you lose freshness, you lose awareness.
You become a robot, a mechanical thing.
Watch people around you. They have become robots. They just go on doing the same thing again and again. Every morning, every evening, they go on moving in the same rut, and of course they look dead. There is no spark in their eyes; you cannot find any ray of light.
Buddha calls this continuous repetition of the wheel, sansar. To get out of it, to get out of this rut, is nirvana.
Before we enter the sutra, a few things have to be understood.
Life is the game of the games, the ultimate game. It has tremendous meaning in it if you take it as a game and you don't become serious about it. If you remain simple, innocent, the game is going to impart many things to you.
Sometimes you were a tiger, and sometimes you were a rock, and sometimes you became a tree, and sometimes you become a man; sometimes you were an ant, and sometimes an elephant. Buddha says all these are games. You have been playing a thousand and one games, to know life in every possible way. By playing game after game, the player may experience all the permutations of matter in evolution. That is the goal of life.
When you exist like a tree, you know life in one way. Nobody else can know it except the tree. The tree has its own vision. When clouds come in the sky and the sun shines and there is a rainbow, only the tree knows how to feel it. It has a perceptivity of its own. When the breeze passes by, the tree knows how to be showered in it. When a bird starts singing, only the tree knows, only the tree has ears for it... for its music, its melody. The tree has a way to know life - its own way. Only a tree knows that way.
A tiger has another way of knowing life. He is playing another game. An ant is playing a totally different game. Millions of games....
All these games are like classes of a university. You pass through each class; you learn something. Then you move into another class. Man is the last point.
If you have learned all the lessons of life and the lesson of being a human being, then only will you become capable of moving into the very center of life. Then you will be able to know what god is, or what nirvana is.
All through these games you have been trying to approach god - through many directions, in many ways, in many perceptivities. But the goal is the same - that everybody is trying to know what the truth is. What is the mystery of this life?
Why are we here and who am I? And what is this that goes on existing?
There is only one way to learn it, and that is the way of existence. But if you just move from one class to another like a sleepwalker, a somnambulist, unconscious, dragged from one class to another, not moving deliberately and consciously, you will miss.
That's how many people arrive at the point of being human beings and they cannot see any god. That simply shows they have missed the lessons, they avoided the lessons. They were in the classes but they have not got the point.
Otherwise every person who has arrived at the stage of being human must be religious.
Being human and being religious must become synonymous. They are not synonymous. Very rarely a few people are religious. By religious I don't mean a person who goes to the church every Sunday. By religious I don't mean a person who is Christian, Mohammedan, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist. By religious I don't mean that you belong to a religious organization.
When I say religious, I mean a person who is aware that life is so full of transcendence... that from everywhere life is overflowing into something bigger than life... that every step is leading you towards god, truth, nirvana, freedom...
that whether you know it or not, you are moving towards the ultimate temple.
When a person starts feeling it in his very guts, then a person is religious. He may go to the church, he may not go to the church; that is irrelevant. He may call himself a Christian or a Mohammedan or a Hindu; that is irrelevant. He may not call. He may belong to any organization, he may not belong - but he belongs to god.
And when I say god, remember that by god I mean that which transcends. That is always ahead of you. You are always coming closer to it, approaching closer and closer and closer, but it always remains ahead of you.
God is that omega point which always remains the goal. You come close to it but you can never possess it. It cannot be ever in your hands. You can drop yourself completely in it, you can merge yourself in it, but still you will know that much remains to be known. In fact the more you know, the more you feel that much remains to be known. The more you know, the more you become humble. The mystery, infinite, ineffable, cannot be exhausted.
That inexhaustible source, that transcendental source, is what I mean by god.
And by calling a person religious, I mean one who has become alert about the transcendental.
When you are alert about the transcendental, your life has a beautiful charm, a grace. Then your life has energy, intelligence. Then your life has a sharpness, a creativity. Then your life has a holy aura to it. By becoming aware of the transcendental, you become part of the transcendental. He has penetrated in your awareness. A ray of light has entered into the dark night of your soul. You are no more alone, and you are no more a stranger in existence. You are deeply rooted in it. This is your home.
A religious person is one who feels existence as his home. A religious person is one who feels existence constantly evolving and evolving, going higher and higher, towards that ultimate omega point where you disappear, where all limitations disappear and only infinity is left, only eternity is left.
So this game of life has to be played very skillfully. Buddha calls skill, upaya. It is one of his most beautiful words. He says, 'be skillful'. If you are not skillful, you will miss much that is valuable. Be skillful means be aware. Just don't go on dragging yourself half asleep, half awake. Shake yourself into awareness. Bring more awareness into each act of your life, into each step of your being. Then only, with open eyes, you start seeing something which cannot ordinarily be seen when you are asleep, when you are unconscious. Shake all the dust from the eyes.
Be skillful and live life consciously. Otherwise life becomes boring. You feel it.
You know how it feels. Sooner or later everything feels boring; one is bored to death. One goes on living because one is not courageous enough to commit suicide. One goes on living just in the hope that sooner or later one will die - the death is coming.
Mulla Nasrudin was going on a world tour and he was travelling in a ship for the first time, and he was very seasick. The captain came to him and said, 'Don't be worried, Nasrudin. I have been working as a captain for twenty years and I have never seen any man die from seasickness. Don't be worried.'
Mulla said, 'My god! That was my only hope - that I will die. You have taken even that hope!'
People are living just in the hope that some day or other they are going to die. So they go on saying to themselves, 'Don't lose heart - death is coming.'
If you are waiting for death, if you are so bored, then there is no possibility for any encounter with god. The encounter can only happen in radiance, in sharpness, in awareness.
But why do we get bored? The buddhist explanation is of tremendous import.
Buddha says you have done the same things - not only in this life; you have been doing them for millions of lives, hence boredom. You may not remember them, but deep down the memory is there. Nothing is lost as far as memory is concerned.
There is a reservoir of memory. Buddha calls it alaya vigyan, reservoir of memory. It is exactly what Jung calls the collective unconscious. You carry it. The body changes, the identity changes, but the bundle of memories goes on jumping from one life to another. And it goes on accumulating, gathering. It goes on becoming bigger and bigger.
Nothing is lost as far as memory record is concerned. If you look into yourself, you have the whole record of the existence in you. Because you have been here from the very beginning - if there was any beginning. You have been always here. You are an intrinsic part of this existence. All that has happened to existence has happened to you also, and you carry the record.
You may not know it, but you have loved millions of times.
Again falling in love - it is nothing new, it is the very old story. You have done all the things that you are doing. You have been ambitious, you have been greedy, you accumulated wealth, you became very famous, you had prestige and power - this has happened many many times, millions of times. And you carry deep down in the unconscious, the reservoir of memories, and whatsoever you are doing looks futile, pointless, meaningless.
I have heard:
A newspaper reporter was interviewing Mulla Nasrudin on his hundredth birthday. If you had your life to live over,' he asked, 'do you think you would make the same mistakes over again?'
'Certainly,' said the old Mulla, 'but I would start a lot sooner. I would start a lot sooner....'
This is what is happening. Out of mistakes you only learn how to start them sooner, you don't learn how to drop them. You only learn how to start them sooner and how to do them more efficiently next time.
Buddha says if you can penetrate this reservoir of memories then you will be really fed up. Then you will see - 'I have been doing the same thing again and again.' And then in that state of awareness, you will start doing something new for the first time. And that will bring a thrill, a fresh air into your being.
There are two time concepts in the world. In the West, the linear time concept has been prevalent. Christians, Jews, Mohammedans - they are all offshoots of one judaic concept of life. They have believed in the linear concept of time; that time is moving in a line. The eastern concept - the hindu, the buddhist, the jainist concept - is different. It is circular. Time is moving in a circle.
If time is moving in a line, then things are not repeated again. The line goes on moving; it never comes back to meet and move on the same old track again. If time is thought to be circular, then everything is being repeated. And the eastern time concept seems to be more true - because every movement is circular.
Just watch all the movements. The seasons moving around the year are circular - again comes the summer... again, again. In the same way it moves. The earth moves in a circle, the sun moves in a circle, the stars move in a circle. And now Albert Einstein has suggested that the whole universe is also moving in a circle.
Not only that - Einstein introduced a very strange concept to the physics, and that is the concept of circular space. The whole space is circular.
The East has always thought that the circle is the natural way of things. They move in a circle and by and by they become circular. All movement is circular.
Then time has also to be circular, because time is nothing but pure movement. If you think about time as circular then the whole world view changes. Your whole life is also circular according to the eastern way of seeing.
A child is born. Birth is the beginning of a circle, death is the end of the circle.
And the old man in his last moments again becomes as helpless as a child. And if things have gone rightly, he will become as innocent as a child. Then the circle is complete. Then his life was a round-shaped life. Then his life will have a grace. If the circle is not complete, then the life will have something missing in it. Then there will be holes in his life, and his life will be tense. It will not be round, graceful.
Buddha says that in each life the wheel moves once. The circle becomes complete. Another life - the wheel moves again. The spokes are the same - again childhood, again youth, again old age; the same desires, the same passions, the same lust, the same rushing, the same ambition, the same struggle, conflict, the same aggression, the same ego, and again the same frustration, the same misery. This goes on and on and on.
If you can penetrate into your deepest memories, then you will be able to see that you are not doing anything new here. That's why in the East they say there is nothing new under the sun. Everything has been done millions of times.
So it became a very methodological thing in Buddhism and Jainism for every seeker to penetrate into his past memories. It became a necessary thing. Because Buddha says unless you can see the whole nonsense of repetition, you will continue to repeat.
Just think about it. If you come across the whole record and you see that for millions of times you have been falling in love, and every time you were miserable.... Now it is time enough to understand. Now don't be foolish again. If you see that for millions of times you were born and you died again, and every birth brings death, then now what is the point in clinging to life. Then renounce it. If you see that every time you expected, you were frustrated, your expectations were never fulfilled, then what is the point now? Now drop expecting.
This became a basic meditation - to go into one's past memories. If you look in even one life, you will see constant repetition. Even in the very old age, you go on being the same way. It simply shows that you have not learned anything in life. Everybody passes through experiences, but that is not necessarily a learning.
There is a difference between passing through life and learning. Learning means you go on looking at your experiences. You keep a record of the experiences, you observe your experiences, and you gather certain wisdom through them. You were angry and you did something foolish. Again you are angry and you do something foolish. Again you are angry - but you never take account of all your angers, and you never look at the mechanicalness of it. And you don't learn a lesson out of it. Then you experienced, but you have not learned anything. If you simply experience, you become old. If you learn, you become wise.
All old people are not wise. Wisdom has nothing to do with old age. A real man of understanding can become wise any time. Even as a child he can become wise.
If you have a penetrating understanding, even a single experience of anger and you will be finished with it. It is so ugly. A single experience of greed and you will be finished with it. It is so poisonous.
I have heard:
'I am leaving home!' shouted Mahamud to his father, Mulla Nasrudin. 'I want wine, women, adventures!' His old man got up out of his chair.
'Don't try to stop me!' shouted Mahamud at him.
'Who is trying to stop you?' exclaimed old Mulla. 'I am coming with you.'
The same foolishness continues. Young and old, educated, uneducated, poor, rich - all seem to be in the same boat. They don't seem to learn. If you learn, a totally different vision arises in your life.
I have heard:
It was in the early barnstorming days of aviation, and the old fellow had finally worked up enough nerve to take a flight on a plane. When the rickety plane landed, the old fellow crawled out and said 'Sir, I want to thank you for both of those rides.'
'What are you talking about?' asked the pilot. 'You had only one ride.'
'No,' replied the passenger, 'I had two rides - my first and my last.'
If you understand a thing, then it is your first and last. Then you have had enough of it. Then it is not one ride, it is two rides.
This sutra today consists of a question from a monk.
A MONK ASKED THE BUDDHA: UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS IS IT POSSIBLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PAST AND TO UNDERSTAND THE MOST SUPREME WAY.
UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS IS IT POSSIBLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PAST?
Buddha insisted very much. He said, first move towards the past, first go backwards - because that is where you have lived for millenia. Just look what you have been doing there. What has been your experience up to now? Go into it. Gather some lessons out of it. Otherwise you will tend to commit the same mistakes again and again.
And there is a natural mechanism which does not allow you to remember it ordinarily. When a person dies and is reborn again, there comes a gap between his past life and the new life - a layer of oblivion, forgetfulness. It is natural, because it will be very difficult for you to live if you continuously remember all that has happened before. Not only at the end of life; every day it is happening.
Millions of things happen in the day. You don't remember all. Not that they are not recorded - they are all recorded. It is unbelievable how the mind goes on recording minute, small things. Whatsoever happens around you... you may not be even aware that it is happening, but the mind goes on recording.
For example, you are listening to me, you are focused towards me, you are deeply in concentration - but the train is passing by. You may not have heard it at all as far as your consciousness is concerned. If somebody asks you later on, 'Was there a train going by? Did you hear the noise?' you may say, 'I don't remember because I was so concentrated.' But your mind has recorded it. Even without your knowing it, mind goes on recording. If you are hypnotized and then asked, the mind will say everything.
If I ask you suddenly, 'What happened on the first of January, 1970? What happened? Can you remember?' You will be simply blank. That does not mean that nothing happened on that day. Something must have happened - a quarrel with your wife, or a headache. Twenty-four hours, the first of January, 1970 - something must have happened. Twenty-four hours cannot be vacant, otherwise you would have become a Buddha. If you had remained empty for twenty-four hours, nothing happening, then nirvana would have happened. But you don't remember at all. You will shrug your shoulders that you don't remember.
Unless something very special happened on that day - that there was a car accident and you were almost killed; maybe you will remember it. Or some other type of accident - you got married. You will remember it because there is no way to forget it now. You cannot forget and you cannot forgive yourself for it. It remains like a wound. But otherwise you are completely forgetful.
But if you are hypnotized and you go in a deep trance and the hypnotist asks you, 'Now go backwards. Remember the first of January, 1970, and start relating what happened from the morning,' you will relate such minute things - that the tea was cold and you didn't like it at all, that the night was not good and you had a nightmare.
Things like this you will remember, minute details - that a dog was barking when you were taking your morning tea, that the cup from your hand had fallen and broken. Small things - that you were passing by the side of a tree and the tree had bloomed... and you will remember the smell. Or that it had rained and there was a beautiful smell coming out of the earth. You may not only remember; you will relive it. It will be so clear.
Everything is recorded. But you have to forget it. Otherwise your mind will be so cluttered with unnecessary information that you will not be able to manage your life. So there is a natural mechanism which goes on sorting out inside you. Much work continues for twenty-four hours; a great sorting out goes on.
Whatsoever is unessential is thrown into the basement. You may never need it.
Then the secondary things which are not so absolutely irrelevant, which you may need sometime but for which there is no urgency, they are put into the subconscious, within reach. If sometimes you need them, you can bring them back to consciousness. And very few things, which you will need every day, are left in the conscious.
For example, two plus two is four, mm? - this remains in the conscious. You will need it every day, every moment. That this is your wife and this is your husband remains in the conscious. If you go on forgetting every day, it will create difficulties in life. Your name and your address and your phone number....
So, everything, almost ninety-nine point nine percent, falls into the basement and disappears forever. But it remains there underground. It can be recalled by specific methods. That's what they are doing in primal therapy - they are trying to recall all that has disappeared into the tunnels of the unconscious, to relive it.
Once it is relived, you are freed from it.
What primal therapists are doing now, Buddha has done twenty-five centuries ago. And on a greater, in a greater way, in a deeper way. Not only with this life - he has done it with the whole past.
You have to pass through the womb again in your memory. Then you have to go back to the death that happened in the last life. Then go on moving to the birth in the last life. And this way one goes on moving back and back and back. And the more you practise it, the more you become efficient in revealing all the mysteries that you have been carrying.
You are carrying a great record, and if you can relive it, you will be able to find out a few lessons from it. Those lessons will be of tremendous value. They will be liberating. They will liberate you from your past.
Once you are liberated from the past, you are liberated from the future also.
Because then there is nothing left to project. Once you are liberated from your past lives, you are liberated from life itself. Then all desires to cling to life disappear. Then you don't want to be born again. Then you don't want to cling.
Then you are not afraid of death. Then you don't want to be confined in any womb, in any body. You don't want to be embodied again. You would like absolute freedom.
This learning can be done in two ways - either while you are living, learn it.... If you do that, you will become a Buddha, slowly. If you have not done that, then go backwards and relive your past experiences, your past lives.
THE MONK ASKED BUDDHA: UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS IS IT POSSIBLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PAST AND TO UNDERSTAND THE MOST SUPREME WAY?
Because first you have to understand your past lives, then only can you ask in a meaningful way how to get out of it... where is the exit? the way? When Buddha talks about the way, he means the way out. You have entered into life, now where is the way out?
I have heard:
Mike was going to Dublin for the last time and his friend Pat was giving him a few hints on what to do and where to go in the big city.
'What do I do when I go to the zoo?' asked Mike.
'You be careful about the zoo,' advised Pat. 'You will see fine animals if you follow the words "To the Lions", or "To the Elephants", but take no notice of "To the Exit". It is a fraud. It is outside I found myself when I went to look at it.'
That we have been doing - we have been avoiding the door that takes us out of life. We have avoided it for so long that it has almost become invisible to us. We have ignored it so long that it almost does not exist for us. Even if we come across it, we will not be able to recognize it.
"To the Exit"... those words have become very faint; they have almost disappeared. We know only the entrance into life, we don't know the exit.
Entrance of course we know, because we have entered many times. Again and again we enter in the womb. Here you die and there you enter; almost within minutes, at the most within days. Here you die... even while dying, your mind starts planning where to enter. You have not yet died and you are planning already for the future - where to enter, how to enter. The fantasy has started working again.
Remember, it is your decision to enter in the womb, that's why you enter. You are not thrown in it, you choose it. As the entrance exists, so exists the exit.
The monk is asking:
UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS IS IT POSSIBLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PAST AND TO UNDERSTAND THE MOST SUPREME WAY?
THE BUDDHA SAID:
THOSE WHO ARE PURE IN HEART AND SINGLE IN PURPOSE ARE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE MOST SUPREME WAY.
THOSE WHO ARE PURE IN HEART AND SINGLE IN PURPOSE... People who live in their heads will find it very difficult to move into the past, because the head is always in the future. Head is really a mechanism to plan for the future. It always moves ahead of you. It is like a radar.
In a plane, you must have seen a radar. The radar moves ahead of the plane. That is its whole meaning... two hundred miles ahead, four hundred miles ahead. On the radar, the clouds that are four hundred miles ahead start appearing. Because within seconds the plane will be reaching, so the pilot has to know beforehand.
Because if he comes to know only when he has reached, then it will be too late; the speed is so much.
Mind is a radar, your head is a radar system. It goes on groping in the future, it goes on planning for the future. It is never here in the present. And with the past it has nothing to do; it has already disappeared.
The whole interest of the head is in the future. Even if sometimes it looks at the past, it looks only to find few clues for the future. Even if it wants to look into the past, it is just as a help to prepare for the future. But the interest, the center of interest is the future.
Buddha says... PURE IN HEART AND SINGLE IN PURPOSE. People who are not in the head but in their heart, only they can enter into the past lives. Heart is very close to the unconscious basement, head is farthest away. Heart is closer to your navel center. Just somewhere near the navel is the corresponding point in the body with your unconscious. You have to come to the heart. Heart is midway between the head and the navel.
If you become more and more full of feeling, full of heart, you will become capable of knowing, of entering into that great story of your past lives. It is not only YOUR biography; it is the biography of the whole universe. Because sometimes you were a tree, and still in your mind, deep down in the unconscious, you are carrying all those memories of being a tree. Someday you were a tiger, and someday you were a cat, and someday you were an elephant, and someday you were a woman, and someday you were a man, and millions of memories are there. The whole drama of life is there, in a very condensed form.
If you go into it, it starts playing. You can again listen to those sounds.
That's why in hypnosis it is possible that if you hypnotize a person and tell him that now he has become a tiger, he becomes a tiger. You may have seen hypnotists doing it on the stage. They tell a man, 'You have become a woman.
Now walk!' And the man walks like a woman.
It is very difficult, but he manages. He may have never walked like a woman.
Now, how does he suddenly start walking like a woman? It is very difficult, because the woman has a totally different structure of the body. Because of the womb existing in her body, she has a different type of skeleton. She moves in a different way. Her movement is more round and more shapely. She cannot run fast. A man moves differently.
But under hypnotic influence, the man can walk like a woman, the woman can walk like a man. Not only that. A person who has never heard a single word of Arabic or Latin or Chinese, can be provoked under hypnosis to speak Chinese.
And if the hypnosis is really deep, he may start speaking Chinese. It is a miracle, and the hypnotist has not been yet able to explain it. How to explain it? What happens?
The explanation is simple if you understand Buddha's hypothesis. Buddha says - - and it is agreed with by all the eastern masters - that a man has been everything in his past life. You have been Chinese, you have been Japanese, you have been a German, you have been a Tibetan. So if somewhere deep in your memories the life that you lived as a Chinese person is still there, it can be provoked under hypnosis. It can be revealed. You can start speaking Chinese.
You have never heard a single word of it, you don't know anything about it.
A human being is vast. It is not so confined as you think. You think you are a Hindu, or a Mohammedan, or a Christian, or an Indian, or Japanese, or Chinese.
These are just boundaries on your conscious mind. On the unconscious, you are infinite territory. You are all. Not only Hindu and Mohammedan and Christian, but even a tiger, a cat, a mouse, a lion, a tree, a rock, a cloud. You are vast. You are as vast as this universe.
Once you start entering, you will become tremendously aware that no limitation exists. All limitations are a sort of belief. You believe, that's why they are there. If you drop them, they start disappearing.
THOSE WHO ARE PURE IN HEART AND SINGLE IN PURPOSE...
People who are more heart-oriented are single of purpose. They are not crooked, they are not cunning. The head is very cunning. The head is like a fox - very calculating and very subtle in its ways. If it wants something, it will never go direct. If it wants something, it will go zig-zag. It will say something else, it will do something else. It would like to get something else. The head is very political, diplomatic.
You can watch it in yourself - how the head goes on deceiving, how the head goes on being political. It is never authentic. It cannot be. The heart is authentic.
It knows no deception. It goes direct. The heart moves in straight lines, the head goes very zig-zag.
Buddha says a person who wants to move into his past lives will need singleness of purpose. Crookedness won't do. One will have to follow straight, simple, direct.... ARE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE MOST SUPREME WAY. These people who are simple, heart-oriented, single, straight, direct, immediate - these people enter easily.
It has become more and more difficult since the days of Buddha to enter into past lives. It was so simple in Buddha's time. People were simple. Almost every sannyasin that was initiated by Buddha had to pass through past experiences, and the same was true with Mahavir.
There is a famous story. A prince took sannyas, was initiated by Mahavir. But he had lived almost always in comfort, in richness, and now life was very hard with Mahavir. He had to move naked, to sleep on hard floors with no clothes. It was difficult.
The first night he started thinking of dropping out; this was not for him. There were so many mosquitoes - as there have always been in India; they seem to be the constant enemies of meditators. He could not meditate... so many mosquitoes... and he was naked and it was cold, and the place where he was sleeping was just in the middle, and hundreds of sannyasins were staying there.
The whole night he could not sleep; people were coming and going. It was very crowded and he had never lived that way; that was not his way of life.
So in the night he started feeling that the next morning he would leave. It is said that in the middle of the night Mahavir came to him. He was surprised. He said, 'Why have you come?'
Mahavir told him, 'I have been watching you. I know your difficulty. But this has happened before. This is in fact the third time. You have been initiated twice before in your other lives and every time you have left.'
He said, 'What do you mean?' And Mahavir told him to do a certain technique of meditation that he calls jati smaran - the method to remember the past life. And he told him, 'You just do this the whole night. Sit in meditation and by the morning, whatsoever you decide....'
He went into his past life. It seems very simple, it must have been. People must have been simple. He went into his past life so easily. And by the morning he came; he was full of new light. He touched Mahavir's feet and he said, 'I have decided to stay. Enough is enough. I looked into.... Yes, you were right. How long can I go on repeating it again and again? It is insulting to take sannyas and leave it; it is below dignity.
'No, it is not good for a warrior like me to be afraid of mosquitoes, to be afraid of small inconveniences. But you were right. Twice also it has happened the same way. I was initiated and the first night I became disturbed, and the next morning I left. And I was going to do it again. I am so grateful to you that you reminded me. Otherwise I would have committed the same thing again, thinking that I am doing this for the first time.'
All the sannyasins of Buddha and Mahavir had to pass through jati smaran, through the memory of all the past lives. Today it has become very difficult.
Difficult, because the head has become very heavy. Head is so heavy and energy is so much monopolized by the head, that it is not flowing in the heart at all. And the path towards past lives goes through the heart.
So if you want to remember past lives - and it is a great experience, very revealing and very liberating - you will have to live for a few months and years a very simple-hearted life... the life of feelings. Don't allow your thinking to dominate you; let feeling balance it, Don't allow logic to be dictatorial; let love decide. And by and by you will see - the ways of the heart are very simple. And they are always single in purpose.
When the heart falls in love with somebody, then there is no problem; then your love object is the only love object for you. The moment the heart has fallen in love with a woman, then that is the only woman in the world. Then all the women have disappeared for you. Heart is single in purpose. But if the head had fallen in love - in fact it has not fallen in love, it simply pretends - then it is difficult. Then any woman that passes on the street attracts you, provokes you.
Then any passing influence distracts you. Love knows single purposeness because love is really of the heart.
If you are here with me through the heart, then it is a totally different relationship Then it is going to be eternal. Then I can die, you can die, but the relationship cannot die.
But if it is only of the head, if you are simply convinced by what I am saying, not convinced by what I am... if you are only convinced by what I am saying - my logic, my argument - then this relationship is very temporary. Tomorrow you will be convinced by somebody else. Tomorrow somebody else can give you a better argument. Then it disappears.
Just two nights ago a young man from the West came, the husband of a sannyasin. I asked him, 'Have you something to say to me? Why have you come to me?'
He said, 'My wife told me to come to you.'
I said, 'Then it is not worth - because your wife told you to come to me so you have come.... Your coming is very accidental. You have not come to me. You are simply obliging your wife. Then don't waste my time. You can oblige your wife in many other ways. This is no way.'
Then he listened to me, I talked to his wife, and then in the end he said, 'I am thinking to take sannyas.'
I asked him, 'Thinking? Then it will be difficult. Even if you are convinced by thinking, you may become a sannyasin outwardly; inwardly you will never be a sannyasin, because it will be a head thing. Sannyas is not a logical conviction, it is a conversion in love.'
But he couldn't understand. He said, 'I will think about it.'
If he comes, then too he will not be coming. Because he will come only because he is convinced, his head is convinced. He will not be convinced by me, he will be convinced only by his head, or maybe by his wife. The wife may persuade him. She persuaded him to come from Europe to here, so she can persuade him to change the clothes also. He may find some rationalizations, but the whole thing is pointless.
Unless you come through the heart, you don't come. Unless you reach me through the heart, you don't reach at all. Remember it. Religion is something that happens in your source of feelings. It has nothing to do with your thinking.
... PURE IN HEART AND SINGLE IN PURPOSE ARE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE MOST SUPREME WAY.
And once you have seen your past lives, suddenly you see the way out. Because so many times you have come in again and again. The way to come in is really the way to come out also. You just have to move in the opposite direction.
The way is the same. The entrance and the exit are not two. The direction is different. When you enter into the house, you enter from the same door. You go out of the house - you get out of the same door. Just your direction is different.
So Buddha says, if you look into your past lives and you see again and again you are clinging with life, clinging with lust, ambition, ego, greed, jealousy, possessiveness - those are the ways you have been coming in again and again.
Those are the ways to go out.
If greed is the way to come in, no-greed is the way to go out. If ego is the way to come in, no-ego is the way to go out. If lust, desire, passion, is the way to come in, then no-passion, no-desire, or desirelessness is the way to go out.
IT IS LIKE POLISHING A MIRROR WHICH BECOMES BRIGHT WHEN THE DUST IS REMOVED. REMOVE YOUR PASSIONS AND HAVE NO HANKERING, AND THE PAST WILL BE REVEALED UNTO YOU.
So Buddha says three things. First, pure in heart, single of purpose, and third, he says that your consciousness is so much cluttered that your mirror is not reflecting. Otherwise you have such a beautiful mirror with such a penetrating clarity, that wherever you move your mirror of consciousness, you will be able to see everything that exists in that dimension.
If you move your mirror towards the past, the whole past, in toto, will be revealed to you. If you move your mirror towards the future, the whole future will be revealed to you. If you move your mirror to the present, the whole present will be revealed to you. Your consciousness is your key.
IT IS LIKE POLISHING A MIRROR WHICH BECOMES BRIGHT WHEN THE DUST IS REMOVED.
Too much dust of thinking, too much dust of impressions, is covering your mirror. You have completely forgotten - the mirror looks like a brick. Clean it, wash it - that's what we are doing in meditations. It is just an effort to clean the mirror so it mirrors whatsoever is.
REMOVE YOUR PASSIONS AND HAVE NO HANKERING AND THE PAST WILL BE REVEALED UNTO YOU.
A MONK ASKED THE BUDDHA: WHAT IS GOOD AND WHAT IS GREAT?
THE BUDDHA ANSWERED: GOOD IS TO PRACTISE THE WAY AND TO FOLLOW THE TRUTH. GREAT IS THE HEART THAT IS IN ACCORD WITH THE WAY.
Tremendously beautiful is his definition of the great. Understand it as deeply as possible. GOOD IS TO PRACTISE THE WAY....
First one has to know the way - no greed, no violence, no desire. In a way, all are negatives. Because whatsoever you know as positive has been the door to come in. Eliminate the positive and you will find the door to go out.
GOOD IS TO PRACTISE THE WAY.... Buddha says, knowing the way, recognizing the way in a clear, mirror-like consciousness, the first thing that one has to do is to practise it. Just be recognizing, it won't help. Just by recognizing, it is not going to transform you. You have to walk, you have to discipline.
GOOD IS TO PRACTISE THE WAY AND TO FOLLOW THE TRUTH.
You have had a vision of truth. It is very far away like a distant star. Clear vision... but the distance is great. You have to follow, you have to move towards it slowly, gradually. You have to prepare for the journey. This Buddha calls good. This is what virtue is.
AND GREAT IS THE HEART THAT IS IN ACCORD WITH THE WAY.
When you are practising, there is bound to be a little struggle. When you are disciplining yourself, there is bound to be a little conflict, because the old habits will come in the way. You have always been greedy, now suddenly you decide not to be greedy. The whole past will come in the way, will distract you. Old habits will again and again possess you; again and again you will forget and waver. There is bound to be struggle.
So Buddha says it is good but not great. Great is the man whose struggle is gone, whose discipline also is gone. Who is simply moving spontaneously in accord with the way is the great man. That's what Buddha calls great - in accord. He is so surrendered that it is now natural for him.
Not to desire has become as natural to him as it is natural ordinarily to desire.
Not to be ambitious has become as natural as it is natural for people to be ambitious. People are habitually in discord with the way, and he becomes naturally in accord.
Pythagoras calls this state harmonia. That is the right word - in accord.
Harmonia, in harmony.... Lao Tzu calls this tao. Buddha calls it dhamma.
To be in accord... as if you are not swimming, not struggling; you are completely relaxed and floating with the river. You are so one with the river that there is not even a slight distance between you and the river.You don't have any of your desires, you don't have any private goals. You go with the river to the ocean.
A man of harmonia, accord, tao, dhamma, is the most beautiful flowering in this world. He is the lotus flower of consciousness.
GREAT IS THE HEART THAT IS IN ACCORD WITH THE WAY.
But it cannot happen immediately. First you will have to discipline, and then you will have to drop discipline also. First you will have to make it a point to relax, and then you will have to forget relaxation also. First you will have to fight with your old, ingrained habits, and once you have got over them, you have to drop new habits that you must have created in fighting with the old. First you have to meditate, then one day you have to drop meditation also.
Meditation is good. Dropping of meditation is great. Being a saint is good, being holy is great. Being a good person is good, but not great. Because a good person still carries a subtle fight with the bad. He is constantly conflicting with the devil, with the evil inside himself. He is not at ease, he cannot relax. He knows that if he relaxes, the old, the past, is big and powerful and he will be possessed, and he will be thrown off balance. He has to continuously balance himself. A good man, a saint, is still not in absolute accord. He is trying hard, he is trying his best, and it should be appreciated that he is trying - that's why Buddha calls him good.
So never be satisfied by good. Remember, to be great is the goal... to be so deeply in accord that you simply disappear and only the dhamma remains, only the tao remains, only the nature remains. You are just a wave in the ocean and you don't exist separately. Your separate existence, your self, has to be dropped.
The bad man has a self. The self is created by fighting against the law, against nature. The bad man has a self. He creates the self by fighting against dhamma.
Whatsoever is good, he fights against it and creates a self. The good man also has a self. He fights against his bad habits that he has created in the past. Because of fight, he has also a self.
The bad man has an ego, the good man has an ego. The bad man's ego is based on his mischief. The good man's ego is based on his virtue. But both have egos.
The great is one whose ego has disappeared, who is completely immersed, merged into the whole. To be so merged into the whole, to be in such a harmony, is to be great. That is what is required. That is what has to be remembered continuously. Never lose sight of it.
Life is just a training. One has to become so transcendental that not even good satisfies. One has to be continuously in a divine discontent to attain to this excellent transcendence where you are lost and only the whole is... when you have completely surrendered, when you have given way to the whole... you have become just a space.
If you want to use non-buddhist terms, you can call it surrender to god. You are so empty that god can descend in you. If you want to use buddhist terms, then he says, you are not there - now only the law functions, now only the dhamma, the tao goes on functioning. To function in such accord is bliss, satchidananda.