You Are Always on the Funeral Pyre
THE SUTRA OF FORTY-TWO CHAPTERS
THE BUDDHA SAID:
"MOVED BY THEIR SELFISH DESIRES, PEOPLE SEEK AFTER FAME AND GLORY. BUT WHEN THEY HAVE ACQUIRED IT, THEY ARE ALREADY STRICKEN IN YEARS. IF YOU HANKER AFTER WORLDLY FAME AND PRACTISE NOT THE WAY, YOUR LABOURS ARE WRONGFULLY APPLIED AND YOUR ENERGY IS WASTED. IT IS LIKE UNTO BURNING AN INCENSE STICK. HOWEVER MUCH ITS PLEASING ODOUR BE ADMIRED, THE FIRE THAT CONSUMES IS STEADILY BURNING UP THE STICK."
THE BUDDHA SAID:
"PEOPLE CLEAVE TO THEIR WORLDLY POSSESSIONS AND SELFISH PASSIONS SO BLINDLY AS TO SACRIFICE THEIR OWN LIVES FOR THEM.
THEY ARE LIKE A CHILD WHO TRIES TO EAT A LITTLE HONEY SMEARED ON THE EDGE OF A KNIFE. THE AMOUNT IS BY NO MEANS SUFFICIENT TO APPEASE HIS APPETITE, BUT HE RUNS THE RISK OF WOUNDING HIS TONGUE."
THE BUDDHA SAID:
"MEN ARE TIED UP TO THEIR FAMILIES AND POSSESSIONS MORE HELPLESSLY THAN IN A PRISON. THERE IS AN OCCASION FOR THE PRISONER TO BE RELEASED, BUT HOUSEHOLDERS ENTERTAIN NO DESIRE TO BE RELIEVED FROM THE TIES OF FAMILY. WHEN A MAN'S PASSION IS AROUSED NOTHING PREVENTS HIM FROM RUINING HIMSELF. EVEN INTO THE MAWS OF A TIGER HE WILL JUMP. THOSE WHO ARE THUS DROWNED IN THE FILTH OF PASSION ARE CALLED THE IGNORANT. THOSE WHO ARE ABLE TO OVERCOME IT ARE SAINTLY ARHATS."
THE WAY OF THE BUDDHA is not a religion in the ordinary sense of the term, because it has no belief-system, no dogma, no scripture. It does not believe in God, it does not believe in the soul, it does not believe in any state of moksha. It is a tremendous unbelief - and yet it is a religion.
It is unique. Nothing has ever happened before like that in the history of human consciousness, and nothing afterwards. Buddha remains utterly unique, incomparable.
He says that God is nothing but a search for security, a search for safety, a search for shelter. You believe in God, not because God is there; you believe in God because you feel helpless without that belief. Even if there is no God, you will go on inventing. The temptation comes from your weakness. It is a projection.
Man feels very limited, very helpless, almost a victim of circumstances - not knowing from where he comes and not knowing where he is going, not knowing why he is here. If there is no God it is very difficult for ordinary man to have any meaning in life. The ordinary mind will go berserk without God.
God is a prop - it helps you, it consoles you, it comforts you. It says, "Don't be worried - the Almighty God knows everything about why you are here. He is the Creator, He knows why He has created the world. You may not know but the Father knows, and you can trust in Him." It is a great consolation.
The very idea of God gives you a sense of relief - that you are not alone, that somebody is looking after the affairs; that this cosmos is not just a chaos, it is REALLY a cosmos; that there is a system behind it, that there is logic behind it; that it is not an illogical jumble of things, that it is not anarchy. Somebody rules it; the sovereign King is there looking after each small detail - not even a leaf moves without His moving it. Everything is planned. You are part of a great destiny. Maybe the meaning is not known to you, but the meaning is there - because God is there.
God brings a tremendous relief. One starts feeling that life is not accidental; there is a certain undercurrent of significance, meaning, destiny. God brings a sense of destiny.
Buddha says: There is no God - it simply shows that man knows not why he is here. It simply shows man is helpless. It simply shows that man has no meaning available to him. By creating the idea of God he can believe in meaning, and he can live this futile life with the idea that somebody is looking after it.
Just think: you are in an air flight and somebody comes and says, "There is no pilot." Suddenly there will be a panic. No pilot?! 'No pilot' simply means you are doomed. Then somebody says, "Believe the pilot is there - invisible. We may not be able to see the pilot, but he is there; otherwise how is this beautiful mechanism functioning? Just think of it: everything is going so beautifully - there must be a pilot! Maybe we are not capable of seeing him, maybe we are not yet prayerful enough to see him, maybe our eyes are closed, but the pilot is there.
Otherwise, how is it possible? This aeroplane has taken off, it is flying perfectly well; the engines are humming. Everything is a proof that there is a pilot."
If somebody proves it, you relax again into your chair. You close your eyes, you start dreaming again - you can fall asleep. The pilot is there, you need not worry.
Buddha says: The pilot exists not - it is a human creation. Man has created God in his own image. It is man's invention; God is not a discovery, it is an invention.
And God is not the truth - it is the greatest lie there is.
That's why I say Buddhism is not a religion in the ordinary sense of the term. A God less religion - can you imagine? When for the first time Western scholars became aware of Buddhism, they were shocked. They could not comprehend that a religion can exist - and without God! They had known only Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All these three religions are in a way very immature compared to Buddhism.
Buddhism is religion come of age. Buddhism is the religion of a mature mind.
Buddhism is not childish at all - and it doesn't help any childish desires in you.
It is very MERCILESS. Let me repeat it: There has never been a man more compassionate than Buddha, but his religion is merciless.
In fact, in that mercilessness he is showing his compassion. He will not allow you to cling to any lie. Howsoever consoling, a lie is a lie. And those who have given you the lie, they are not friends to you, they are enemies - because under the impact of the lie you will live a life full of lies.
The truth has to be brought to you, howsoever hard, howsoever shattering, howsoever shocking. Even if you are annihilated by the impact of the truth it is good.
Buddha says: The truth is that man's religions are man's inventions. You are in a dark night surrounded by alien forces. You need someone to hang on to, someone to cling to.
And everything that you can see is changing - your father will die one day and you will be left alone, your mother will die one day and you will be left alone, and you will be an orphan. And from the very childhood you have been accustomed to having a father to protect you, a mother to love you. Now that childish desire will again assert itself: you will need a father-figure. If you cannot find it in the sky, then you will find it in some politician.
Stalin became the father of Soviet Russia; they had dropped the idea of God. Mao became the father of China; they had dropped the idea of God. But man is such that he cannot live without a father-figure. Man IS childish. There are very few rare people who grow to be mature.
My own observation is this, that people remain near about the age of seven, eight, nine. Their physical bodies go on growing, but their minds remain stuck there somewhere below the age of ten.
Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, are the religions below the age of ten.
They fulfil whatsoever are your needs; they are not too much worried about the truth. They are more worried about you, they are more worried how to console you.
The situation is such: the mother has died and the child is crying and weeping, and you have to console the child. So you tell lies. You pretend that the mother has not died: "She has gone for a visit to the neighbours - she will be coming.
Don't be worried, she will be just coming."Or: "She has gone for a long journey. It will take a few days but she will I be back." Or: "She has gone to visit God - nothing to be worried about. She IS still alive: maybe she has left the body, but the soul lives for ever."
Buddha is the most shattering individual in the whole history of humanity. His whole effort is to drop all props. He does not say to believe in anything. He is an unbeliever and his religion is that of un-belief. He does not say "Believe!" he says "Doubt!"
Now, you have heard about religions which say "Believe!" You have never heard about a religion which says "Doubt!" Doubt is the very methodology - DOUBT to the very core, doubt to the very end, doubt to the very last. And when you have doubted everything, and you have dropped everything out of doubt, then reality arises in your vision. It has nothing to do with your beliefs about God. It is nothing like your so-called God. Then arises reality: absolutely unfamiliar and unknown.
But that possibility exists only when all the beliefs have been dropped and the mind has come to a state of maturity, understanding, acceptance that "Whatsoever is is, and we don't desire otherwise. If there is no God, there is no God, and we don't have any desire to project a God. If there is no God, then we accept it."
This is what maturity is: to accept the fact and not to create a fiction around it; to accept the reality as it is, without trying to sweeten it, without trying to decorate it, without trying to make it more acceptable to your heart. If it is shattering, it is shattering. If it is shocking, it is shocking. If the truth kills, then one is ready to be killed.
Buddha is merciless. And nobody has ever opened the door of reality so deeply, so profoundly as he has done. He does not allow you any childish desires. He says: Become more aware, become more conscious, become more courageous.
Don't go on hiding behind beliefs and masks and theologies. Take hold of your life into your own hands. Burn bright your inner light and see whatsoever is.
And once you have become courageous enough to accept it, it is a benediction.
No belief is needed.
That is Buddha's first step towards reality: all belief-systems are poisonous; all belief-systems are barriers.
He is not a theist. And remember: he is not an atheist either - because, he says, a few people believe that there is God and a few people believe that there is no God, but both are believers. His non-belief is so deep that even those who say there is no God, and believe in it, are not acceptable to him. H.e says that just to say there is no God makes no difference. If you remain childish, you will create another source of God.
For example, Karl Marx declared: "There is no God," but then he created a God out of history. History becomes the God; the same function is being done now by history that was done previously by the concept of God. What was God doing?
God was the determining factor; God was the managing factor. It was God who was deciding what should be and what should not be. Marx dropped the idea of God, but then history became the determining factor, then history became the fate, then history became kismet - then history is determining. Now what is history? And Marx says communism is an inevitable state. History has determined that it will come, and everything is determined by history. Now history becomes a super-God.
But somebody to determine is needed. Man cannot live with indeterminate reality. Man cannot live with reality as it is: chaotic, accidental. Man cannot live with reality without finding some idea which makes it meaningful, relevant, continuous, which gives it a shape which reason can understand; which can be dissected, analysed, into cause and effect.
Freud dropped the idea of God, but then the unconscious became the God - then everything is determined by the unconscious of man, and man is helpless in the hands of the unconscious. Now these are new names for God; it is a new mythology.
The Freudian psychology is a new mythology about God. The name is changed but the content remains the same; the label has changed, the old label has been dropped; a fresh, newly-painted label has been put on it - it can deceive people who are not very alert. But if you go deeper into Freudian analysis you will immediately see that now the unconscious is doing the same work that God used to do.
So what is wrong with poor God? If you have to invent something, and man has always to be determined by something - history, economics, unconscious, this and that - IF MAN CANNOT BE FREE, then what is the point of changing mythologies, theologies? It makes not much difference.
You may be a Hindu, you may be a Mohammedan, you may be a Christian, you may be a Jew - it makes not much difference. Your mind remains childish, you remain immature. You remain in search, you continue to search for a father- figure: someone somewhere who can explain everything, who can become the ultimate explanation.
The mature mind is one who can remain without any search even if there is no ultimate explanation of things.
That's why Buddha says: I am not a metaphysician. He has no metaphysics.
Metaphysics means the ultimate explanation about things - he has no ultimate explanation. He does not say, "I have solved the mystery." He does not say, "Here I hand over to you what truth is."
He says, "The only thing that I can give to you is an impetus, a thirst, a tremendous passion, to become aware, to become conscious, to become alert; to live your life so consciously, so full of light and awareness, that YOUR life is solved."
Not that you come to some ultimate explanation of existence - nobody has ever come. Buddha denies metaphysics completely. He says metaphysics is a futile search.
So the first thing: he denies God.
THE SECOND THING: he denies MOKSHA, paradise, heaven. He says: Your heaven, your paradise, are nothing but your unfulfilled sexual desires, unfulfilled instincts, being projected into the other life, the life beyond, the life after death. And he seems to be absolutely true.
If you see the depiction, the description of heaven and paradise in Islam, in Christianity, in Judaism, you will understand it perfectly, what he is saying.
Whatsoever remains unfulfilled here you go on projecting in the hereafter. But the desire seems to be the same!
Hindus say there are trees they call KALPVRAKSHA - you sit under them and whatsoever you desire, without any lapse of time, it is fulfilled. You desire a beautiful woman, she is there - immediately, instantly. In the West you have invented instant coffee and things like that just now. India discovered a wish- fulfilling tree - down the centuries it has believed in that. That is REALLY instantly fulfilling - really instantly, without any time lapse. Here the idea arises, there it is fulfilled; not even a single second passes between the two. The idea is its fulfillment! You desire a beautiful woman, she is there. You desire delicious food, it is there. You desire a beautiful bed to rest on, it is there.
Now, this is simple psychological analysis - that man is unfulfilled in life. And he goes on. His whole life he goes on trying to fulfil it, still he finds it cannot be fulfilled, so he has to project in the future. Not that in the future it can be fulfilled - desire as such is unfulfillable.
Buddha has said: The very nature of desire is that it remains unfulfilled.
Whatsoever you do, regardless of what you do about it, it remains unfulfilled - that is the very intrinsic nature of desire. Desire as such remains unfulfilled. So you can sit under a wish-fulfilling tree - it doesn't make any difference. You can feel many times it is being fulfilled, and again it arises. Ad infinitum it will go on arising again and again and again.
The Christian, the Muslim, the Jewish, the Hindu - all heavens and paradises, are nothing but unfulfilled projected desires, repressed desires, frustrated desires. Of course, they console man very much: "If you have not been able to fulfil here - there. Sooner or later you will reach to God; the only thing you have to do is go on praying to Him, go on bowing down before some image or some idea or some ideal, and keep Him happy, keep God happy, and then you are going to reap a great crop of pleasures and gratifications.That will be His gift to you - for your prayers, for your appreciation, for continuous surrender, for again and again touching His feet, for your obedience - that is going to be the reward."
The reward is, of course, after death, because even cunning priests canNOT deceive you in this life - even they cannot deceive. They know desire remains unfulfilled, so they have to invent an after-life. Nobody has known the afterlife; people can be deceived very easily.
If somebody comes and says to you, "God can fulfil your desire here and now," it will be difficult to prove it - because nobody's desire has ever been fulfilled herenow. Then their God will be at stake. They have tried a very cunning device; they say, "After this life." Is not your God potent enough to fulfil here? Is not your God potent enough to create wish-fulfilment trees on the earth? Is not your God powerful enough to do something while people are alive? If He cannot fulfil here, what is the proof that He is going to fulfil hereafter?
Buddha says: Look into the nature of desire. Watch the movement of desire - it is very subtle. And you will be able to see two things: one, that desire by its very nature is unfulfillable; and second, the MOMENT you understand that desire is unfulfillable, desire disappears - and you are left desireless. That is the state of peace, silence, tranquillity. That is the state of fulfilment! Man never comes to fulfilment through desire; man comes to fulfilment only by transcending desire.
Desire is an opportunity to understand. Desire is a great opportunity to understand the functioning of your own mind - how it functions, what the mechanism of it is. And when you have understood that, in that very understanding is transformation. Desire disappears, leaves no trace behind. And when you are desireless, not desiring anything, you are fulfilled. NOT that desire is fulfilled, but when desire is transcended there is fulfilment.
Now see the difference: other religions say, "Desires can be fulfilled in the other world." The worldly people say, "Desires can be fulfilled here" - the communists say, "Desires can be fulfilled here. Just a different social structure is needed, just the capitalists have to be thrown, the proletariat has to take over, the bourgeoisie has to be destroyed, that's all - and desires can be fulfilled here, the heaven can be created on this earth here."
The worldly people say, "You can fulfil your desires - struggle hard." That's what the whole West goes on doing: "Struggle, compete, cheat, by any means and methods! Acquire more wealth, more power!" That's what the politicians all over the world go on doing: "Become more powerful and your desires can be fulfilled." That's what scientists say, that only a few more technologies have to be invented and the paradise is just by the corner.
And what do your religions say? They don't say anything different. They say, "Desires can be fulfilled, but not in this life - after death." That is the only difference between the so-called materialists and so-called spiritualists.
To Buddha, both are materialists; and to me also, both are materialists. Your so- called religious people and your so-called ir-religious people are both in the same boat. Not a bit of difference! Their attitudes are the same, their approaches are the same.
Buddha is really religious in this way, that he says: Desire CANNOT be fulfilled.
You have to look into desire. Neither here nor anywhere else has desire ever been fulfilled, never. It has never happened and never is it going to happen - because it is against the nature of desire.
What is desire? Have you looked into your desiring mind ever? Have you encountered it? Have you tried any meditation on it? What is desire?
You desire a certain house; you work for it, you work hard. You destroy your whole life for it - then the house is there. But is fulfilment there? Once the house is there, suddenly you feel very empty - you feel more empty than before, because before there was an occupation to achieve this house. Now it is there:
immediately your mind starts looking for something else to get occupied with.
Now there are bigger houses; your mind starts thinking of those bigger houses.
There are bigger palaces.... You desire a woman and you have achieved your desire, then suddenly your hands are again empty. Again you start desiring some other woman.
This is the nature of desire. Desire always goes ahead of you. Desire is always in the future. Desire is a hope. Desire cannot be fulfilled because its very nature is to remain unfulfilled and projected in the future. It is always on the horizon.
You can rush, you can run towards the horizon, but you will never reach:
wherever you reach you will find the horizon has receded back. And the distance between you and the horizon remains absolutely the same. You have ten thousand rupees, the desire is for twenty thousand rupees; you have twenty thousand rupees, the desire is for forty thousand rupees. The distance is the same; the mathematical proportion is the same.
Whatsoever you have, desire always goes ahead of it.
Buddha says: Abandon hope, abandon desire. In abandoning hope, in abandoning desire, you will be herenow. Without desire you will be fulfilled. It is desire that is deceiving you.
So when Buddha said that these so-called religious people are ALL materialists, of course Hindus were very angry - very angry; they have never been so angry against anybody. They tried to uproot Buddha's religion from India, and they succeeded. Buddhism was born in India, but Buddhism doesn't exist in India - because the religion of the Hindus is one of the most materialistic religions in the world.
You just look in the Vedas: all prayer, all worship, is just asking for more, for more, from gods or from God - all sacrifice is for more. All worship is desire- oriented. "Give us more! Give us plenty! Better crops, better rain, more money, more health, more life, more longevity - give us more!" The whole Veda is nothing but desire written large. And sometimes very ugly. In the Veda not only do the so-called rishis go on praying "Give us more!" - they also pray: "Don't give to our enemies! Give more milk to MY cow, but let the enemy's cow die or let its milk disappear!"
What type of religion is this? Even to call it religion looks absurd. If this is religion, then what is materialism? And even so-called ascetic people who have renounced the world... and there were many in the days of Buddha. He himself had gone to many masters while he was searching, but from everywhere he came back empty-handed - because he could not see that anybody had really understood the nature of desire. They themselves were desiring; of course, their desire was projected in the faraway future, the other life, but still the object of desire was the same, the desiring mind was the same. It is only a question of time.
A few people desire before death, a few people desire after death, but what is the difference? - that does not make any difference. They desire the same things - THEY DESIRE! The desire is the same.
Buddha went to many teachers and was frustrated. He could not see religion flowering anywhere, blossoming - they were all materialistic people. They were great ascetics: somebody was fasting for months, somebody was standing for months, somebody had not slept for years - they were just skeletons. You could not call them worldly and materialistic if you looked at their bodies; but look at their mind, ask them, "Why are you fasting? Why are you trying so hard? For what?" and there arises the desire to attain to paradise to heaven, to have eternal gratification in the afterlife.
Listen to their logic and they all will say, "Here things are fleeting. This life is temporary. Even if you attain, everything is taken away when you die, so what is the point? This life is not going to be for ever. We are searching for something which will remain for ever - we are after immortality, we are after ABSOLUTE gratification. People who are running here, in this life, after desires are fools because death will take everything away. You accumulate wealth, and here comes death and all is left behind. We are searching for some treasure which we can take with ourselves, which will never be lost, which cannot be stolen, no government can tax it - nobody can take it away, not even death."
You call these people religious people? They seem to be even more worldly than the so-called worldly; they are more materialistic than the materialists. Of course, their materialism is garbed in a disguise; their materialism has a flavour of spiritualism - but it is a deception. It is as if on a dung-heap you have thrown some beautiful perfume. The dung-heap remains the dung-heap; the perfume can only deceive fools.
Buddha was not fooled, he could see through and through. And he could always see that the desire is there. If desire is there you are a materialist and you are worldly.
So he is not preaching any paradise to you, he does not believe in any paradise.
Not that he does not believe in blissfulness, no. He believes in blissfulness, but that is not a belief: when all paradises are lost, when all desires drop, suddenly it is your innermost nature to be blissful. For it, nothing is needed - no virtue is needed, no asceticism is needed, no sacrifice is needed. Just understanding is enough.
The Way of the Buddha is the way of understanding.
AND THE THIRD THING BEFORE WE ENTER IN THE SUTRAS: He does not believe in the soul - no God, no paradise, no soul. Now, this seems to be very difficult.
We can accept there is no God - maybe it is just a projection; who has seen it?
We can accept there is no paradise - maybe it is just our unfulfilled desire dreaming about it. But no soul? Then you take the whole ground from underneath. No soul? - then what is the point of it all? If there is no soul in man, if there is nothing immortal in man, then why make so much effort? why meditate? for what?
Buddha says this idea of the self is a misunderstanding. You are, but you are not a self. You are, but you are not separate from the universe. The separation is the root-idea in the concept of self: if I am separate from you then I have a self; if you are separate from me then you have a self.
But Buddha says: Existence is one. There are no boundaries. No-body is separate from anybody else. We live in one ocean of consciousness. We ARE one consciousness - deluded by the boundaries of the body, deluded by the boundaries of the mind. And because of the body and the mind, and because of the identification with the body and mind, we think we are separate, we think we are selves. This is how we create the ego.
It is just like on the map you see India, but on the earth itself there is no India - only on the map of the politicians. On the map you see the American continent, the African continent as separate, but deep down, down under the oceans, the earth is one. All continents are together, they are all one earth.
We are separate only on the surface. The deeper we go, the more separation disappears. When we come to the very core of our being, suddenly it is universal, there is no selfhood in it, no soul there.
Buddha has no belief for God, for soul, for MOKSHA. Then what is his teaching?
His teaching is a way of life, not a way of belief. His teaching is very scientific, very empirical, very practical. He is not a philosopher, not a metaphysician. He is a very down-to-earth man.
Buddha says: You can change your life - these beliefs are not needed. In fact, these beliefs are the barriers for the real change. Start with no belief, start with no metaphysics, start with no dogma. Start absolutely naked and nude, with no theology, no ideology. Start empty! That is the only way to come to truth.
I was reading an anecdote:
This travelling salesman opened the Gideon Bible in his motel room. On the front page he read the inscription: "If you are sick, read psalm 18; if you are troubled about your family, read psalm 45; if you are lonely, read psalm 92."
He was lonely, so he opened to psalm 92 and read it. When he was through, he noticed on the bottom of the page the hand-written words: "If you are still lonely call 888-3468 and ask for Myrtle."
If you look deep down into your scriptures you will always find a footnote which will be more true. Look for the footnote on every scripture page!
Sometimes it may not be written in visible ink, but if you search hard you will always find it there - a footnote which is more real.
Buddha says all your scriptures are nothing but your desires, your instincts, your greed, your lust, your anger. All your scriptures are nothing but creations of your mind. So it is bound to be so, that they will carry all the seeds of your mind.
Scriptures are man-made. That's why religions try hard to prove that their scripture at least is not man-made.
Christians say the Bible is not man-made; the Ten Commandments were delivered to Moses directly from God, directly from the boss Himself. The New Testament is a direct message from His own son, the only begotten son, Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with humanity - it comes from above. Hindus say the Vedas are not man-made, they are God-made. And the same story goes on being repeated: Mohammedans say the Koran descended on Mohammed from heaven above.
Why do these religions insist that their scriptures, and especially ONLY THEIR scriptures, not anybody else's...? Mohammedans are not ready to accept that the Vedas are God-made, neither are Hindus ready to accept that the Koran is God- made - only THEIR Vedas are God-made and everything else is just manufactured by man. Why this insistence? Because they are aware that whatsoever man will create will have the imprint of man's mind and man's desires.
Buddha says all the scriptures are man-made - and he is true. He is not a fanatic at all. He does not belong to any country, and he does not belong to any race; he does not belong to any religion, to any sect. He is simply a light unto himself.
And whatsoever he has said is the purest statement of truth ever made.
I was reading... Paritosh has sent me this beautiful anecdote:
One of the religious leaders in Ireland was asked by his followers to select a suitable burial place and monument for his mortal remains. A 'religious' war was in progress and his life had been threatened.
Three separate plans had been submitted to him, and to the dismay of the committee he chose the least expensive.
He was asked why he had made this selection, why he had chosen this humble resting-place, when the other two designs were of magnificent tombs.
"Well, my dear friends," he told them, "I appreciate your generosity. But is it worth all this expense when I don't expect to remain in my tomb for more than three days?"
Now, this sort of stupidity you will never find in Buddha. This sort of dogmatic certainty you will never find in Buddha. He is very hesitant. There is only one other name who is also so hesitant and he is Lao Tzu; these two persons are very hesitant.
Sometimes, because of their hesitance, you may not be impressed by them - because you are confused you need somebody to be so confident that you can rely on him. Hence, fanatics impress you very much. They may not have anything to say, but they beat the table so much, they make such a fuss about it, that their very fuss gives you a feeling that they must be knowing, otherwise how can they be so certain? The witnesses of Jehovah and people like that - stupid people, but they are so dogmatic in their assertions that they create a feeling of certainty. And confused people need certainty.
When you come to a Buddha, you may not be immediately impressed because he will be so hesitant, he will not assert anything. He knows better than that: he knows that life cannot be confined to any statement, and ALL statements are partial. No statement can contain the whole truth, so how can you be certain about it? He will remain always relative.
Two great Masters of India, Buddha and Mahavir, both were very deep in relativity. Einstein discovered it very late; Einstein brought relativity to the world of science. Before Einstein, scientists were very certain, dogmatically certain, absolutely certain. Einstein brought relativity and brought humbleness to science, and brought truth to science.
The same was done by Buddha and Mahavir in India: they brought relativity, the concept that truth cannot be asserted totally, that we can never be certain about it, that at the most we can hint at it. The hint has to be indirect; we cannot pinpoint it directly - it is so big, so vast. And it is natural that we fragile human beings should hesitate. This hesitation shows his alertness.
You will always find stupid, ignorant people very dogmatic. The more ignorant a person is, the more dogmatic. This is one of the greatest misfortunes in the world, that the foolish are absolutely certain, and the wise are hesitant. Buddha is very hesitant. So if you really want to understand him, you will have to be very alert in your listening, very open. He is not delivering truths to you wholesale.
He is simply hinting at... indications at the most, and they too are very subtle.
And, as I told you, Buddha is very down-to-earth. He never flies high into metaphysics. He never introduces, in fact; he has no preface to his statements. He simply says them directly, immediately, as simply as possible. Sometimes his statements may not look of any profound depth - they are. But he does not beat around the bush, he does not make any fuss about it.
I have heard:
She was a sweet young thing; he was a fast-rising account executive with the well-known Madison Avenue advertising agency, BITTNER, BERMAN, DIRSTEIN AND OSMAN. Everyone thought it was an ideal marriage. But alas, there was a problem.... with sex. The honeymoon hadn't even begun.
"B-b-eing an advertising man," she sobbed to a friend, "all he does every night is sit on the edge of the bed and tell me how wonderful it's going to be!"
But it never happens! You can understand about an advertising man: he simply goes on saying how wonderful it is going to be.
Buddha has no preface. He never advertises what he is going to say. He simply says it and moves ahead.
THE BUDDHA SAID:
"MOVED BY THEIR SELFISH DESIRES, PEOPLE SEEK AFTER FAME AND GLORY. BUT WHEN THEY HAVE ACQUIRED IT, THEY ARE ALREADY STRICKEN IN YEARS. IF YOU HANKER AFTER WORLDLY FAME AND PRACTISE NOT THE WAY, YOUR LABOURS ARE WRONGFULLY APPLIED AND YOUR ENERGY IS WASTED. IT IS LIKE UNTO BURNING AN INCENSE STICK.HOWEVER MUCH ITS PLEASING ODOUR BE ADMIRED, THE FIRE THAT CONSUMES IS STEADILY BURNING UP THE STICK."
A very simple and matter-of-fact statement.
"MOVED BY THEIR SELFISH DESIRES, PEOPLE SEEK AFTER FAME AND GLORY."
WHAT IS A SELFISH DESIRE? In the Buddhist way of expression, a selfish desire is one that is based in the self. Ordinarily, in ordinary language, we call a desire selfish if it is against somebody else and you don't care about others. Even if it harms others, you go ahead and you fulfil your desire. People call you selfish because you don't care for others, you don't have any consideration for others.
But when Buddha says a desire is selfish, his meaning is totally different. He says: If a desire is based in the idea of self then it is selfish.
For example: you donate, a million rupees you donate, for some good cause - hospitals to be made or schools to be opened, or food to be distributed to the poor, or medicine to be sent to poor parts of the country - nobody will call it a selfish desire. Buddha will say it is - IF there is any motivation of self. If you are thinking that by donating a million rupees you are going to earn some virtue and you are going to be rewarded in heaven, it is a selfish desire. It may not be harmful to others - it is not - in fact, everybody will appreciate it. People will call you a great man, religious, virtuous; a great man of charity, love, compassion, sympathy. But Buddha will say the only thing that determines whether a desire is selfish or not is motivation.
If you have donated without any motivation, then it is not selfish. If there is any motivation hidden somewhere - conscious, unconscious - that you are going to gain something out of it, here or hereafter, then it is a selfish desire. That which comes out of the self is a selfish desire; that which comes as part of the ego is a selfish desire. If you meditate just to attain to your selfhood, then it is a selfish desire.
Buddha has said to his disciples: Whenever you meditate, after each meditation, surrender all that you have earned out of meditation, surrender it to the universe. If you are blissful, pour it back into the universe - don't carry it as a treasure. If you are feeling very happy, share it immediately - don't become attached to it, otherwise your meditation itself will become a new process of the self. And the ultimate meditation is not a process of self. The ultimate meditation is a process of getting more and more into un-self, into non-self - it is a disappearance of the self.
"MOVED BY THEIR SELFISH DESIRES, PEOPLE SEEK AFTER FAME AND GLORY. BUT WHEN THEY HAVE ACQUIRED IT, THEY ARE ALREADY STRICKEN IN YEARS."
And Buddha says: Look, you can attain to fame, to glory, to power, to prestige, respectability, in the world - but what are you doing? Are you aware? You are wasting a great opportunity - for something absolutely meaningless. You are collecting rubbish and destroying your own life-time, life-energy.
"IF YOU HANKER AFTER WORLDLY FAME AND PRACTISE NOT THE WAY..."
Buddha always calls his religion 'The Way' - DHAMMA - just the Way, because he says: Don't be bothered about the goal; the goal will take care of itself. You simply follow the Way, not even with the motivation to reach any goal, but just out of sheer delight of meditating, of praying, of loving, of being compassionate, of sharing. Out of sheer delight you practise the Way. Not that you are going to gain any profit out of it; don't make it a business.
Ordinarily the mind is a businessman.
The old father was dying and his family was gathered around the bed waiting for him to take his last breath. As the old man wheezed away life, his oldest son said to one and all, "When Papa goes, if it's tonight, we can bury him early tomorrow from the big funeral parlor downtown. Since the funeral will be early in the morning, we won't be able to get in touch with too many people, so we won't need a lot of cars or the big room, and it won't cost too much."
His daughter was standing there and she said to the brother, "You know, death to me is a very personal thing. Why do we have to call a bunch of strangers together to witness such a sad scene - if you two boys are there and I'm there, who needs anyone else?"
The youngest son looked at them both and said, "I couldn't agree with you more.
In fact, why do we need the expense of taking Papa to an undertaker? He is dying in the house, let's bury him from the house."
All of a sudden the old man's eyes flew wide open. He looked at his three children and shouted, "Give me my pants!"
They answered in a chorus, "Papa, you are a very sick man. Where do you want to go?"
He replied, "Give me my pants. I'll walk to the cemetery - I am a businessman."
The whole life people simply go on saving, saving - for what? The life is slipping by; each moment a precious moment is gone and it cannot be reclaimed. Buddha says: Don't waste it in foolish things.
Fame is foolish, it is pointless, meaningless. Even if the whole world knows you, how does it make you richer? How does it make your life more blissful? How does it help you to be more understanding? to be more aware? to be more alert?
to be more alive?
If you are not practising the Way:
"... YOUR LABOURS ARE WRONGFULLY APPLIED AND YOUR ENERGY IS WASTED. IT IS LIKE UNTO BURNING AN INCENSE STICK. HOWEVER MUCH ITS PLEASING ODOUR BE ADMIRED, THE FIRE THAT CONSUMES IS STEADILY BURNING UP THE STICK."
That's how life is: each moment burning. You are always on the funeral pyre because each moment death is coming closer, each moment you are less alive, more dead. So before this whole opportunity is lost, Buddha says, attain to a state of no-self - then there will be no death. And then there will be no misery.
And then there will be no constant hankering for fame, power, prestige.
In fact, the more empty you are within, the more you seek fame; it is a sort of substitute. The more poor you are within, the more you seek riches; it is a substitute to somehow stuff yourself with something.
I observe every day: people come to me, and whenever they have a problem with their love, they immediately start eating too much. Whenever they feel that their love is in a crisis, they are not being loved, or, they are not able to love, something has blocked their love-energy, they immediately start stuffing themselves with things, they go on eating. Why? What are they doing with the food? They feel empty - that emptiness makes them afraid. They have to somehow stuff it with food.
If you are feeling happy inside, you don't bother about fame;only unhappy people bother about fame. Who bothers whether anybody knows you or not if you know yourself? If you know yourself who you are then there is no need. But when you don't know who you are you would like everybody to know - everybody to know who you are. You will collect opinions, you will collect people's ideas, and out of that collection you will try to arrange some identity, that "Yes, I am this man. People say, 'You are very intelligent' - I am intelligent."
You are not certain. If you were certain, who bothers what people say or not?
You go on looking into people's eyes to see your face - you don't know your face. You beg: "Say something about me. Say - you are beautiful. Say - you are lovely. Say - you are charismatic. Say something about me?!" Have you watched yourself begging: "Say something about my body, about my mind, about my understanding - say something!"
You immediately grab if somebody says something. And if somebody says something which is shocking and shattering, you become very angry. He is destroying your image if he says something against you. If he says something in favour of you, he helps your image to be a little more decorated, it becomes a little more ornamental - you come home happy. If people applaud you you feel happy. Why?
You don't know who you are. That's why you go on seeking. You go on asking people "Who am l? Tell me!" And you have to depend on them. And the beauty of it is, or the irony of it is, that those same people don't know who they are.
Beggars begging from other beggars. They have come to beg from you, so there is a mutual deception.
You come across a woman; you say, "How beautiful! How divine!" And she says, "Yes, and I have never come across such a beautiful man as you." This is a mutual deception. You may call it love - this is a mutual deception. Both are hankering for a certain identity about themselves. Both fulfil each other's desires.
Things will go well - till one day one of the two decides that enough is enough and starts dropping the deception. Then the honeymoon is over... and marriage starts. Then things go ugly. Then you think "this woman deceived me" or "this man deceived me." Nobody can deceive you unless you are READY to be deceived, remember. Nobody has ever deceived anybody - unless you are ready to be deceived, unless you were WAITING to be deceived.
You cannot deceive a person who knows himself, because there is no way. If you say something he will laugh. He will say, "Don't be worried about it - I already know myself who I am. You can drop that subject and go ahead with whatsoever you have to say. Don't be bothered about me - I know myself who I am."
Once you have an inner richness of life, you don't seek wealth, you don't seek power.
Psychologists have become aware that when people start becoming impotent, they start finding some sexual, phallic symbols. If a person becomes impotent then he wants some phallic symbol to replace it. He may try to have the biggest car in the world - that is a phallic symbol. He would like to have the most powerful car in the world; now his own power is lost, his own sexual energy is gone - now he would like a substitute. While rushing his car to the maximum speed, he will feel good - as if he is making love to his woman. The very speed will give him power. He will get identified with the car.
Psychologists have been watching the phenomenon for many years, that people who have a certain inferiority complex always become ambitious. In fact, nobody goes into politics unless he is deeply rooted in an inferiority complex. Politicians are basically inferiority complex people. They have to prove their superiority in some way, otherwise they will not be able to live with their inferiority complex.
What I am trying to point out is: whatsoever you miss within, you try to accumulate something outside as a substitute for it. If you don't miss your life within, you are enough unto yourself. And only then are you beautiful. And only then you are.
THE BUDDHA SAID:
"PEOPLE CLEAVE TO THEIR WORLDLY POSSESSIONS AND SELFISH PASSIONS SO BLINDLY AS TO SACRIFICE THEIR OWN LIVES FOR THEM.
THEY ARE LIKE A CHILD WHO TRIES TO EAT A LITTLE HONEY SMEARED ON THE EDGE OF A KNIFE. THE AMOUNT IS BY NO MEANS SUFFICIENT TO APPEASE HIS APPETITE, BUT HE RUNS THE RISK OF WOUNDING HIS TONGUE.
NOTHING IS ENOUGH IN THIS LIFE TO FULFIL YOUR DESIRES, to fulfil your appetite. This world is a dream-world - nothing can fulfil because only reality can be fulfilling.
Have you watched? In a dream someday, you feel hungry in the night and in the dream you go to the fridge and open it and you eat to your heart's desire. Of course, it helps in a way - it does not disturb your sleep; otherwise, the hunger will not allow you to sleep, you will have to wake up. The dream creates a substitute; you continue to sleep, you feel "I have eaten enough." You have deceived your body.
The dream is a deceiver. In the morning you will be surprised - you are still hungry - because a feast in the dream is equivalent to a fast. Feast or fast - both are the same in a dream, because a dream is unreal. It cannot fulfil. To quench real thirst real water is needed. To fulfil, a real life reality is needed.
Buddha says: You go on taking the risk of wounding yourself, but no fulfilment comes out of this life. Maybe here and there you have a taste of honey - sweet, but very dangerous, unfulfilling. And the honey is smeared on the edge of a knife; there is every danger you will wound your tongue.
Look at old people: you will not find anything else but wounds; their whole being is nothing but wounds - ulcers and ulcers and ulcers. When a person dies you don't see blossoming flowers in his being; you simply see stinking wounds.
If a person has really lived and not been deceived by his dreams and illusory desires, the older he grows the more beautiful he becomes. In his death he is superb.
Sometimes you may come across an old man whose old age is more beautiful than his youth ever was. Then bow down before that old man - he has lived a true life, a life of inwardness, a life of 'interiorness'. Because if life is lived truly, then you go on becoming more and more beautiful and a grandeur starts coming to you, a grace; something of the unknown starts abiding in your surroundings - you become the abode of the infinite, of the eternal. It has to be so because life is an evolution.
If when you are no longer young and you become ugly, that simply means in your youth you tasted honey on too many knives - you have become wounded.
Now you will suffer these canceric wounds. Old age becomes a great suffering.
And death is very rarely beautiful, because very rarely have people really lived.
If a person has really lived - like a flame burning from both ends - then his death will be a tremendous phenomenon, an utter beauty.You will see his life aglow when he is dying, at the maximum, at the optimum. In the last moment he will become such a flame; his whole life will become a concentrated perfume in that moment, a great luminosity will arise in his being. Before he leaves, he will leave behind him a memory.
That's what happened when Buddha left the world. That's what happened when Mahavir left the world. We have not forgotten them, not because they were great politicians or great people of power - they were nobodies, but we cannot forget them. It is impossible to forget them. They had not done anything as far as history is concerned. We can almost omit them from history, we can neglect them from history - nothing will be lost. In fact, they never existed in the main current of history; they were by the side of it, but it is impossible to forget them. Their very last moment has left such a glory to humanity. Their last glow has shown us our own possibilities, our infinite potentialities.
THE BUDDHA SAID:
"MEN ARE TIED UP TO THEIR FAMILIES AND POSSESSIONS MORE HELPLESSLY THAN IN A PRISON. THERE IS AN OCCASION FOR THE PRISONER TO BE RELEASED, BUT HOUSEHOLDERS ENTERTAIN NO DESIRE TO BE RELIEVED FROM THE TIES OF FAMILY. WHEN A MAN'S PASSION IS AROUSED NOTHING PREVENTS HIM FROM RUINING HIMSELF. EVEN INTO THE MAWS OF A TIGER WILL HE JUMP. THOSE WHO ARE THUS DROWNED IN THE FILTH OF PASSION ARE CALLED THE IGNORANT. THOSE WHO ARE ABLE TO OVERCOME IT ARE SAINTLY ARHATS."
Buddha says: Those who are lost into the filth of passion and never transcend it, those who never transcend as the lotus transcends the mud it is born into, they are the ignorant people, the worldly people. Those who transcend lust and desire, those who understand the futility of desire, and those who become understanding about the whole nonsense that the mind creates and the dreams that it manufactures, they are the great ARHATS.
'Arhat', the very word means one who has overcome his enemies. Buddha says desire, desiring, is your enemy. Once you have overcome your desire, you have overcome your enemy, you have become an Arhat. Arhat is the goal: to become desireless - because only when you are desireless is there benediction.
Our so-called religions are based in fear. Buddha's religion is based in an inner benediction. We worship God because we are afraid, because we don't know what to do with our lives. We are continuously trembling, scared - death is coming and we don't know what to do, how to protect ourselves. We need a protector. It is out of fear. Buddha's religion is based in an inner benediction, in an inner blessing - it has nothing to do with fear.
Let me tell you one anecdote:
Henry went on his first hunting trip. When he got back to his office his partner Morris couldn't wait to hear all about his trip. Henry told him, "Well, I went into the woods with the guide. You know me, two minutes in the woods, I get lost.
I'm walking extra quiet, when all of a sudden the biggest bear you ever did see is standing right in front of me. I turn around and run just as fast as I can and that bear, he is running even faster. Just when I feel his hot breath on my neck, he slipped and fell. I jumped over a brook and kept running, but I was losing my breath and sure enough there was that bear getting close to me again. He was almost on top of me when he slipped again and fell. I kept on running and finally I found myself in the clearing of the woods. The bear was running as fast as he could and I knew I didn't stand a chance. I saw the other hunters and shouted for help, and just then the bear slipped and fell again. My guide was able to take aim and he shot the bear and killed him."
Morris said, "Henry, that was quite a story. You are a very brave man. If that would have happened to me, I would have made in my pants."
Henry looked at him and shrugged, "Morris, what do you think the bear was slipping on?"
The so-called religions are just out of fear. And anything based on fear can never be beautiful. Your gods, your churches, your temples, if they have come out of your fear they stink - they are bound to stink of your fear.
Buddha's religion is not based in fear at all. That's why he says the first step is to drop all beliefs. Those beliefs are because of the fear. Dropping the beliefs you will become aware of your fear, and that is good, to become aware of your fear.
You will become aware of your death. You will become aware of this whole infinite cosmos - nowhere to go, nobody to guide, nowhere to find any security.
In that fear, in that awareness of fear, the only place left will be to start going withinwards - because there is no point in going anywhere. It is so vast.
THE INTERIOR JOURNEY STARTS when you have dropped all beliefs and you have become aware of the fear, death, desire. And once you are in, suddenly you see fears are disappearing; because in the deepest core of your being there has never been any death, there cannot be. Your innermost core is absolutely a non- self.
A self can die. The no-self cannot die. If there is something, it can be destroyed.
That's why Buddha says there is nothing inside you - you are a pure nothing.
That nothing cannot be destroyed. And once you have understood it, that death cannot destroy, that this nothingness is in itself so beautiful, there is no need to go on stuffing it with money, power, prestige, fame. This nothingness is so pure and so innocent and so beautiful that you are blessed in it. You start dancing in that nothingness. That nothingness starts a dance. Buddha hints you towards that dance.
When Buddha was dying, Ananda started crying and he said, "What will I do now? You are leaving and I have not yet become enlightened."
Buddha said, "Don't cry, because I cannot make you enlightened - only you can do that miracle to yourself. Be a light unto yourself - APPA DEEPO BHAVA."
Buddha throws humanity into the interiormost core. Buddha says: Go within - and there is nowhere else to go. YOU ARE THE SHRINE. Go within! And there is no other God anywhere to worship. The more you move inwards, the more a worshipping consciousness will arise - without any object for worship; a prayer will arise, not addressed to anybody. A pure prayer... out of bliss, out of being, out of inner benediction.