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Chapter 17

Wake up the Slave
(Discourse from this chapter has been moved to Chapter 5 under the title "Don’t seek sorrow for spurious comforts" in the new edition)

Don’t seek sorrow for spurious comforts.
All absorptions are effected in one.
One method will correct all wrong.
At the beginning and at the end.
There are two things to do.
Be patient, whichever of the two occurs.
Observe two precepts even at the risk of life.
Learn the three difficulties.
Take up the three parts of the principal cause.
Meditate on the three things not to be destroyed.
Make the three inseparable from virtue

An ancient story.... Jesus, son of Mary, once came upon an old man who lived on a mountain in the open air without any shelter from heat or cold. Jesus asked him why he had not built himself a house.
"Ah, spirit of God!" said the old man. "Prophets before thee predicted that I would live for only seven hundred years. It is not worth my trouble to settle down."

Life is a wandering, it is not a home. It is a search for the home, but it itself is not the home. It is an inquiry, an adventure. It is not necessarily that you will succeed -- success is very rare, because the search is very complex and there are a thousand and one difficulties on the way.
But let this be your first understanding about today's sutras. They are of immense value. When you meditate and when you go deeper into them you will be surprised: these sutras are just like oceans contained in dewdrops.
Mohammed says, "I am like a rider who shelters under a tree, then goes on his way." Yes, this life is an overnight's stay, a caravanserai. Don't settle in it. Use the opportunity to reach higher and higher and higher, because there is no end to heights, to depths. But remember always, don't take life for granted: it is only an opportunity, with immense potential and possibilities. But if you start thinking that you have already arrived because you are alive, you will miss the whole point.

Jesus says again and again, "The world is to be treated as a bridge, not as a stopping place." Use it as a bridge; it can bridge you to God. And when life becomes a bridge to God it is divine. But if you don't use it as a bridge towards God it remains mundane, spurious, illusory, imaginary, fictitious.

The first sutra:
Everybody seeks, searches for bliss, and almost everybody succeeds in finding just the opposite. I say "almost" because a few people have to be left out of the account -- a Buddha, a Zarathustra, a Lao Tzu, an Atisha. But they are so few and far between; they are exceptions, they only prove the rule. So I say almost everybody who searches for bliss finds misery and suffering. People try to enter into heaven, but by the time they have arrived suddenly they recognize the fact that it is hell.

There must be a great misunderstanding somewhere. The misunderstanding is that those who seek pleasure will find sorrow -- because pleasure is only a camouflage; it is sorrow hiding itself behind a curtain. It is a mask -- tears hiding behind smiles, thorns waiting for you behind flowers. Those who see it, and everybody can see it because it is so obvious... everybody comes to experience it again and again. But man is the animal who never learns.

Aristotle has defined man as a rational being. That is sheer nonsense! Man is the most irrational being you can find anywhere. Man can be rational, but is not. It is not the definition of man as he is, it is the definition of man as he should be. A Buddha, yes; a Mohammed, yes -- they are rational beings, rational in the sense that they live intelligently, they live wisely, they use each single opportunity to grow, to mature, to be. But as far as millions of human beings are concerned, ninety-nine point nine percent of people, they are not rational beings at all, they are utterly irrational.

Their first irrationality is that they pass through the same experience again and again, yet they learn nothing, they remain the same. How many times have you been angry, and what have you learned out of it? How many times have you been jealous, and what experience have you gained out of it? You go on moving through experiences without in any way being affected by them. You remain un-grownup; your way of life is very irrational, unintelligent.

The intelligent person will be able to see easily that, seeking pleasure, all that is found is sorrow. And what are those pleasures in fact? Very spurious ones. Somebody wants to make a big house, and how much trouble he takes and how much suffering he goes through and how many anxieties and how many nervous breakdowns!

They say that if you are really a successful person you are bound to have a heart attack somewhere between forty-two and forty-eight. If you don't have a heart attack before you are fifty your life is wasted, you are a failure; you have not tried to succeed, you have not been ambitious enough. Ambitious people are bound to have heart attacks; the more ambitious will have nervous breakdowns.

If you don't need the psychiatrist, that simply means you have not used your mind in the ways of ambition. And the whole society is geared towards ambition, the whole educational system produces only ambitious minds. That means potential patients for the psychotherapist. It seems as if there is a conspiracy -- that the whole educational system only creates people for doctors, for priests, for psychotherapists.

The whole system seems to be sick, sick unto death. It does not create the healthy, alive, radiant human being; it does not create the joyous, the celebrating, the festive being. It does not teach you how to make your life a festival. Whatsoever it teaches takes you deeper and deeper into hell. And you know it -- because I am not talking about some speculative systems of thought, I am talking simply about your psychology, your state of being.
Atisha is right. He says:

How much suffering you have created -- for what? Somebody wanted a little bigger house, a little bigger bank balance, a little more fame, a little more name, more power. Somebody wanted to become the president or the prime minister. All are spurious, because death will take them away. That is the definition of the spurious.

Only that which cannot be taken away by death is real. Everything else is unreal; it is made of the same stuff dreams are made of. If you are running after things which will be taken away by death, then your life is "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." You will never attain to any significance.

And without significance how can there be a song? And without significance how can you ever say that "I have lived"? The tree has not bloomed, the tree has not been fruitful. What to say about fruits and flowers -- even leaves have not come.
Millions are born as seeds and die as seeds. From the cradle to the grave, their story is just of drifting. Accidental it is, and the ultimate result is great sorrow. The idea of hell only symbolizes the great sorrow that you create by a wrong kind of living.

Atisha says:

Then what has to be done? Think of something higher -- something that is beyond death, something that cannot be destroyed, something that is indestructible, something that transcends time -- and sorrow will not be created.
If you search the ultimate, each moment of your life will become more and more peaceful, calm, quiet, cool, fragrant. If you search for the ultimate, if you search for the truth, or God or nirvana or whatsoever you want to call it; if you are in search for the deepest in life and the highest in life and you are not after spurious things, then your very search will bring a new quality to your being. You will feel rooted, integrated; you will feel together. And you will feel a new joy arising in your heart, not coming from the outside.

The real joy never comes from the outside, it is the spurious that comes from the outside -- death can take away only that which has come from the outside.
Death happens only on the without, it never happens within. Death happens on the outside, never on the inside; the inside is eternal. Your interiority is beyond death -- it has always been here, will always be here, but you are unaware of it. You go on running after shadows, and the real waits for you to look in, to turn in, to tune in.

So the first thing: seek that which is deathless, and sooner or later you will knock on the doors of heaven.
The second thing is: why in the first place do you run after spurious pleasures? This woman, that man... why do you run after spurious pleasures? What is the rationale behind it? The rationale is that you are already in sorrow. You want somehow to forget all about it; you want to drown yourself in alcohol, in sex, in money, in power politics -- you want somewhere to drown yourself.
Politicians can easily say that prohibition is needed, because they have a far more dangerous intoxicant available to them. Morarji Desai can insist for prohibition, because he is drinking out of his power politics; he is drowning himself in a very subtle kind of intoxicant. In fact, no alcohol is more dangerous than politics.

If anything has to be prohibited from the world, it is not alcohol, it is politics. And how many people drink alcohol in India? Not more than seven percent. And how many more people are political? I don't think you can find any person who is not political -- very difficult.

You may not be actually in politics, but politics is far more subtle. The husband is trying to dominate over the wife -- this is politics. The wife is trying to manipulate the husband in her own way -- this is politics. The child is in a tantrum and wants a toy immediately -- this is politics. Politics means an effort to dominate the other. And it is very intoxicating; it is the worst kind of alcohol available in the world.

A few people drown in power politics, a few seek shelter in sexuality, a few go to the pub, but many more simply go on searching spurious comforts, go from one comfort to another. When they have achieved one and found that it gives nothing, no nourishment, immediately they start seeking something else. Their life becomes a constant occupation so they need not look at the inner sorrow that is gathering like a cloud, a dark cloud.

So the second meaning of the sutra is: rather than seeking spurious comforts, the best way is to go into your sorrow. Meditate, go deep into it. Don't escape from your misery, because by escaping you will never learn what it is and you will never learn how to transcend it. The beauty is: if you really know the cause of your misery, in that very knowing misery is transcended -- because the cause is always and always ignorance and nothing else.

Jesus says: Truth liberates. This is one of the most important statements ever made, very fundamental for every seeker to understand. Truth liberates -- not the truth that you gather from scriptures but the truth that you come across through your own experiencing.

You are sad. Go into your sadness rather than escaping into some activity, into some occupation, rather than going to see a friend or to a movie or turning on the radio or the tv. Rather than escaping from it, turning your back towards it, drop all activity. Close your eyes, go into it, see what it is, why it is -- and see without condemning it, because if you condemn you will not be able to see the totality of it. See without judging. If you judge, you will not be able to see the whole of it. Without judgment, without condemnation, without evaluation, just watch it, what it is. Look as if it is a flower, sad; a cloud, dark; but look at it with no judgment so that you can see all the facets of it.

And you will be surprised: the deeper you go into it, the more it starts dispersing. If a person can go into his sorrow deeply he will find all sorrow has evaporated. In that evaporation of sorrow is joy, is bliss.
Bliss has not to be found outside, against sorrow. Bliss has to be found deep, hidden behind the sorrow itself. You have to dig into your sorrowful states and you will find a wellspring of joy.

The second sutra:
So Atisha says: There is no need to have many goals, one goal is enough. Inquire into the truth of your life. Only one search is enough to deliver you from all your miseries, sufferings, hells. Inquire into the truth of your being, see all the facets of it -- the anger, the greed, the lust. Go into each. And by going into each, you will find always and always the same source of joy, the same spring of joy. Slowly slowly you will become a festival. Nothing has been added from the outside, but you have discovered yourself. You have come into the kingdom of God.

The third sutra:
One goal -- truth -- and one method. What is that method? I call it meditation, Atisha used to call it awareness, Buddha used to call it mindfulness. These are different words for the same quality -- the quality of being attentive, alert, awake.
Atisha is very mathematical; no great mathematician can be so mathematical as he is. He is moving step by step. First he says: Don't seek spurious comforts; that is going astray. Don't escape from your sorrowful state; go into it. Let this become your one goal: the search for the truth of your being. He is not talking about any truth that lives somewhere in the sky, he is not talking about any philosophical truth. He is talking about the truth that you are; he is talking about you. He is utterly psychological, he is not talking about metaphysics.

Then the method... and he goes so quick, not a single word wasted, not a single word superfluous. He is so telegraphic; that is the meaning of the word SUTRA. Sutra means very telegraphic. There was a great need in those days when Atisha was writing these sutras -- there was a great need to be very very short, condensed, telegraphic, because books were not available; people had to remember them. And it is better to make very very condensed sutras so people can remember. Now these are only seven points we are discussing, and can be easily remembered.

That method is awareness. There are many illnesses but there is only one health. The quality of health is one, always the same. Whether I am healthy or you are healthy, the feel of health is the same. Diseases are millions, wrongs are many, but the right key that unlocks all the doors, the master key, is only one. And rather than cutting the branches, rather than pruning the leaves, why not cut the very root? There are many people who go on pruning the leaves or cutting the branches; these people are known as moralists.

The moral person is a little-bit-stupid person, stupid in the sense that he thinks that by cutting the leaves he is going to destroy the tree. He is not going to destroy the tree this way. You cut one leaf and the tree will respond with three leaves instead, the foliage will become thicker. You cut one branch and the tree will pour its sap and juices into another branch, and the other branch will become thicker and bigger. This is what happens in your life.

Somebody is against sex; he represses sex, he cuts that branch. Now the whole energy becomes anger. You will find stories in Indian scriptures, stories like the story of Durvasa -- a great so-called mahatma who repressed his sex totally, and then became all anger, just red-hot anger. It is bound to happen. You cannot destroy any energy -- never. It is not possible in the very nature of things. Energies can only be transformed, never destroyed. If you close one outlet, the energy will start flowing from another. If you close the front door, then from the back door... and from the back door it is more dangerous, because it makes your life the life of a hypocrite, it makes your life double. You start living in a dual way: you say one thing, you do another; you show one thing, you are another. You become more and more split.

My emphasis is also exactly the same as Atisha's. You come to me with a thousand and one problems, but my answer is always the same. If you come with anger I say be aware of it, if you come with greed I say be aware of it, if you come with lust I say be aware of it -- because awareness cuts the very root. What is the root? Unawareness is the root.

One can be angry only if he is unaware. Try to be angry and aware together and you will find it impossible. Either you will be aware, then anger will not be found, or you will be angry and awareness will have disappeared. Up to now, nobody has been able to manage both together, and I don't think you can prove the exception. Try it. It is possible you may think both are happening, but if you minutely watch you will see: when awareness is there anger is not, when anger is there awareness is not. Unawareness is the root of all illnesses; then awareness is the only medicine.

Buddha says, "I am a physician." And once somebody asked, "You again and again say you are a physician, but I don't see any medicines around you. What medicines do you give?"
He said, "My medicine is only one: it is awareness. I prescribe awareness." And it has not to be brought from the chemist; you have to change your inner chemistry to bring it. You have to change your inner chemistry. Right now your inner chemistry functions in such a way that it produces unawareness, unconsciousness. It can be changed, it can be deautomatized. How to do it you will find in the sutras that are to follow.

But remember, one method is enough to correct all wrong. That method is awareness. And how will you know that you have attained it? Awareness is something inner, it is so deep that nobody can see it. Still, if you become aware, everybody who has a little intelligence, who has eyes to see, will become aware of it -- because as awareness happens at the inner core, compassion starts radiating, love starts radiating.

Buddha says: Light the candle of awareness in your heart, and your whole being will radiate compassion. Compassion is the proof. Unless compassion happens, remember, you must be deceiving yourself; you must be doing something else than being aware.

For example, you can try concentration. Concentration is not awareness, and the person of concentration will never show compassion. Compassion is not a consequence of concentration. Concentration means the focusing of the mind, the narrowing of the mind on only one point. The concentrated mind becomes a very powerful mind -- but remember it is mind, and very powerful, hence more dangerous than ever. Concentration is the method of science.

Awareness is totally different; it is not focusing, it is unfocused alertness. For example, right now you are listening to me. You can hear in a concentrated way, you can be focused on me; then you will miss the birds and their songs, then you will miss this noise on the road. Then you are not aware, then your mind has become very narrow. Awareness is not the narrowing of the mind but the disappearance of the mind. The narrowing of the mind makes the mind more of a mind -- hence the Hindu mind is more of a mind, the Mohammedan mind is more of a mind, the communist mind is more of a mind, because these are all narrowing. Somebody is focused on Das Kapital or the Communist Manifesto, somebody is focused on the Koran or on the Dhammapada, somebody on the Gita, somebody on The Bible -- focused people. They create narrow minds in the world. They create conflict, they don't bring compassion.

For thousands of years religions have existed, but compassion is still a dream. We have not been able to create a world that knows what love is, friendship is, brotherhood is. Yes, we talk, and we talk too much about all these beautiful things. In fact the talk has become nauseating, it is sickening. It should stop. No more talk of brotherhood and love and this and that -- we have talked for thousands of years for no purpose.

The reason is that the concentrated mind becomes narrow, becomes more of a mind. And love is not the function of the mind, love is the function of no-mind -- or call it heart, which means the same. No-mind and heart are synonymous.
Awareness means to listen to me unfocused -- alert of course, not fallen asleep, but alert to these birds, their chirping, alert to the wind that passes through the trees, alert to everything that is happening. Concentration excludes much, includes little. Awareness excludes nothing, includes all.

Awareness is a state of no-mind. You are, yet you are not focused. You are just a mirror reflecting all, echoing all; see the beauty of it and the silence and the stillness. Suddenly you are and you are not, and the miracle starts happening. In this silence you will feel a compassion, compassion for all suffering beings. It has not to be practiced either; it comes on its own.
Atisha says: Awareness inside, compassion on the outside. Compassion is the outer side of awareness, the exterior of awareness. Awareness is your interiority, subjectivity. Compassion is relating with others, sharing with others.

The fourth sutra:
By the beginning is meant the morning, and by the end, the evening. In the morning remember one thing, says Atisha, that a new day, a new opportunity, has again been given to you. Feel grateful. Existence is so generous. You have wasted so many days, and again one day has been given to you. Existence is so hopeful about you! You have been wasting and wasting and doing nothing; you have wasted so much valuable opportunity and time and energy, but existence still hopes. One day more is given to you.

Atisha says: In the morning remember it is a new day, a new beginning. Have a decision deep in your heart that "Today I am not going to waste this opportunity. Enough is enough! Today I am going to be aware, today I am going to be alert, today I am going to devote as much energy as possible to the single cause, the cause of meditation. I will meditate in all my acts. I will do all the activities, the usual day-to-day activities, but with a new quality: I will bring the quality of awareness to them."

Welcome the new day. Feel grateful, happy that existence still trusts in you; there is still a possibility, the transformation can still happen. Start the day with a great decisiveness.
And in the evening again feel gratitude that the day was given to you, and feel gratitude for all that happened -- good and bad both, happiness and unhappiness both, because they are all teachers.

Everything is an opportunity. Taken rightly, every moment is a stepping-stone. Failure as much helps you to become alert as success; sometimes in fact failure helps you to become more aware than success. Success helps you to fall asleep. In happiness people forget; in happiness nobody remembers God. In unhappiness suddenly the remembrance comes.
Fortunate is the man who can remember even when he is happy; fortunate is the man who can remember when everything is going good and smooth. When the sea is rough, everybody remembers God; there is nothing special in it, it is just out of fear.

It happened: In the sea there was a ship, a ship which was carrying many Mohammedans to Mecca. They were on a pilgrimage. They were all surprised by one thing: because they were all pilgrims going to the holy of holies, each was praying all the five prayers prescribed for a Mohammedan every day -- except a Sufi mystic. But the mystic was so radiant with joy that nobody dared to ask him why.

Then one day the sea was very rough and the captain declared, "There seems to be no possibility that we can be saved, so please do your last prayer. The ship is going to sink." And everybody fell in prayer except the Sufi mystic.
Now this was too much. Many people gathered around the mystic. They were really angry and they said, "You are a man of God. We have watched you, you have never prayed. But we didn't say anything; we felt that this would be disrespectful -- you are thought to be a holy man. But now it is unbearable. The ship is sinking, and you are a man of God -- if you pray, your prayer will be listened to. Why are you not praying?"

The mystic said, "To pray out of fear is to miss the whole point, that's why I am not praying."
And then they asked, "Then why did you not pray when there was no question of fear?"
He said, "I am in prayer, so I cannot pray. Only those who are not in prayer can pray. But what is the point of their prayer? Empty rituals! I am in prayer, in fact I am prayer. Each moment is a prayer."

Prayer is the Sufi word for the same quality for which Atisha will use the word awareness.
So in the evening thank again, thank the whole existence. For Atisha there is no God, remember. Even if I use the word god it is not Atisha's word; for Atisha the whole existence is divine, there is no personal God.
That has always been the attitude of the meditator. If you are a man of prayer, existence appears as God, as personal. If you are a man of meditation, existence is impersonal, just a wholeness, a divineness. For the man of prayer there is God; for the man of awareness there is godliness but no God.

H.G. Wells is reported to have said that Gautam Buddha was the most godless man, yet the most godly. This is true -- most godless because he never believed in any God, yet the most godly because he himself was divine. He himself was as godly as one can ever be or hope ever to be.

So in the evening feel grateful for whatsoever happened during the day. And two things more: remember when you failed in the day in being aware and being compassionate -- just remember. Atisha does not say repent, just remember. And let me remind you: when in The Bible Jesus says again and again "Repent!" it is a mistranslation from the Aramaic. In English it has taken on a totally different meaning, a diametrically opposite meaning. It has become repentance -- "Feel guilty!"

In Aramaic, repent simply means return, look back; that's all. Take a count back: the day is gone, look back. Just watch again, take note when you failed in awareness -- that will help you tomorrow, it will enhance your awareness. And take note when you failed in compassion -- that will help you tomorrow to be more compassionate. And also take note when you succeeded in being aware and compassionate. Don't feel any pride for it either -- no guilt, no pride. It is not a question of guilt and pride; it is simply taking an account of the day that is gone before you go to sleep, just looking back, with no evaluation -- neither condemning oneself as a sinner, nor being very very proud that "Today I have been so aware, so compassionate; I have done so many good deeds." Nothing of the sort -- just noticing back, what happened from the morning to the evening. This is also a method of becoming more aware.

Remember, whether you succeed in awareness or you fail, be patient. Don't be impatient, because impatience is not going to help. Just watch patiently and wait in tremendous trust that if this much can happen, more is possible. Another leaf will be born tomorrow, another flower will bloom tomorrow.

Also remember that this body is not the only body. Many more you had before, and many more you are going to have in the future. There is no hurry. Be patient, because hurry can only disturb things. Hurry is not going to help, but hinder.

These two precepts of awareness and compassion are so valuable that even if you sometimes have to sacrifice your life for them, it is worth it. Life is nothing but an opportunity to attain to awareness and compassion. If you don't attain awareness and compassion, what is the point of going on living? It is meaningless.

Just meditate over it. If one is so much ready, so intent, so deeply committed to be aware and compassionate that he is ready to sacrifice his life, will he remain unaware long? Impossible! This very moment, if this intensity is there, awareness will happen out of this intensity. This intensity will flare up like a light inside, and out of that light, the radiance of compassion.
Life in itself is not meaningful. It is meaningful only if you can sing a song of the eternal, if you can release some fragrance of the divine, of the godly, if you can become a lotus flower -- deathless, timeless. If you can become pure love, if you can beautify this existence, if you can become a blessing to this existence, only then does life have significance; otherwise it is pointless. It is like an empty canvas: you can go on carrying it your whole life and you can die under its weight, but what is the point? Paint something on it!

Meaning has to be created in life; meaning is not given already. You are given freedom, you are given creativity, you are given life. All that is needed to create meaning is given. All the essential ingredients of meaning are given, but meaning is not given, meaning has to be created by you. You have to become a creator in your own right.
And when you became a creator in your own right, you participate with God, you become a part of God.

There are three difficulties in becoming aware. These are very essential for each seeker to understand. In fact everybody becomes aware, but only when the act is finished. You have been angry -- you slapped your wife or you threw a pillow at your husband. Later on when the heat is cooled, the moment has passed, you become aware. But now it is pointless, now nothing can be done. What has been done cannot be undone; it is too late.

Three things, Atisha says, are to be remembered. One is becoming aware while the act is happening. That is the first difficulty for the person who wants to become aware -- becoming aware in the act itself.
Anger is there like smoke inside you. Becoming aware in the very thick of it, that is the first difficulty, but it is not impossible. Just a little effort and you will be able to catch hold of it. In the beginning you will see, you become aware when the anger has gone and everything has cooled -- you become aware after fifteen minutes. Try -- you will become aware after five minutes. Try a little more -- you will become aware immediately after one minute. Try a little more, and you will become aware just when the anger is evaporating. Try a little more, and you will become aware exactly in the middle of it. And that is the first step: be aware in the act.

Then the second step, which is even more difficult because now you are going into deeper waters. The second step, or the second difficulty, Atisha calls it, is remembering before the act: when the act has not yet happened but is still a thought in you; it has not been actualized but it has become a thought in your mind. It is there, potentially there like a seed; it can become the act any moment.

Now you will need a little more subtle awareness. The act is gross -- you hit the woman. You can become aware while you are hitting, but the idea of hitting is far more subtle. Thousands of ideas go on passing in the mind -- who takes note of them? They go on and on; the traffic continues. Most of those ideas never become acts.
This is the difference between sin and crime. Crime is when something becomes an act. No law court can punish you for a thought. You can think of murdering somebody but no law can punish you. You can enjoy, you can dream, but you are not under law unless you act, unless you do something and the thought is transformed into actuality; then it becomes a crime.
But religion goes deeper. It says when you think it, it is already a sin. Whether you actualize it or not does not matter -- you have committed it in your inner world and you are affected by it, you are contaminated by it, you are blemished by it.

The second difficulty, Atisha says, is to catch hold when the thought is arising in you. It can be done, but it can be done only when you have crossed the first barrier, because thought is not so solid. But still it is solid enough to be seen; you have to just practice a little bit. Sitting silently, just watch your thoughts. Just see all the nuances of a thought -- how it arises, how it takes form, how it remains, abides, and how then it leaves you. It becomes a guest and then when the time comes it leaves you. And many thoughts come and go; you are a host where many thoughts come and go. Just watch.

Don't try from the very beginning with the difficult thoughts, try with simple thoughts. That will make it easier, because the process is the same. Just sit in the garden, close your eyes and see whatsoever thought is passing -- and they are always passing. The dog barks in the neighborhood, and immediately a process of thought starts in you. You suddenly remember a dog you had in your childhood and how much you had loved that dog, and then the dog died, and how you suffered.
Then comes the idea of death, and the dog is forgotten and you remember the death of your mother. And with the idea of the mother suddenly you remember your father. And things go on and on. Just the whole thing was triggered by a foolish dog who is not even aware that you are sitting in your garden, who is simply barking because he knows nothing else to keep himself occupied. His barking is nothing but politicking -- his politics, power politics.

That's why dogs are very much against uniforms. The policeman, the postman, the sannyasin -- and the dogs are very angry. They don't tolerate uniforms. How dare you walk in uniform, trying to dominate them? They are angry against policemen and people like that.
He was not aware of you, he has not barked for you especially, but a chain was triggered. Watch these simple chains, and then slowly slowly try them with more emotionally involved things. You are angry, you are greedy, you are jealous -- just catch hold of yourself in the middle of the thought. That is the second difficulty.
And the third difficulty is to catch hold of this process, which results ultimately in an act, before it becomes a thought. That is the most difficult; right now you cannot even conceive of it. Before anything becomes a thought, it is a feeling. These are the three things: feeling comes first, then comes thought, then comes the act. You may not be aware at all that each thought is produced by a certain feeling. If the feeling is not there, the thought will not come. Feeling becomes actualized in thought, thought becomes actualized in the act.

Now you have to do the almost impossible thing -- to catch hold of a certain feeling. Have you not watched sometimes? You don't really know why you are feeling a little disturbed; there is no real thought that can be caught as the cause, but you are disturbed, you feel disturbed. Something is getting ready underground, some feeling is gathering force. Sometimes you feel sad. There is no reason to feel sad, and there is no thought to provoke it; still the sadness is there, a generalized feeling. That means a feeling is trying to come above ground, the seed of the feeling is sending its leaves out of the ground.
If you are able to become aware of the thought, then sooner or later you will become aware of the subtle nuances of the feeling. These are the three difficulties.

Atisha says:
And if you can do these three things, suddenly you will fall into the deepest core of your being.
Action is the farthest from the being, then comes thought, then comes feeling. And behind feeling, just hidden behind feeling, is your being. That being is universal. That being is the goal of all meditators, the goal of all those who pray -- call it God, atman, self, no-self, whatsoever you wish to call it, but this is the goal. And these three barriers have to be crossed. These three barriers are like three concentric circles around the center of being.

Now a very important sutra. The last three sutras are just golden. Keep them in your heart: they will nourish you, they will strengthen you, they will transform you. Particularly for my sannyasins, they are of immense value.
What are those three parts of the principal cause? In the tradition of Buddha there are three famous shelters: buddham sharanam gachchhami: I go to the feet of the buddha, I surrender myself to the buddha. sangham sharanam gachchhami: I go to the feet of the commune, I surrender myself to the buddhafield. dhammam sharanam gachchhami: I surrender myself to the ultimate law which is personified by the buddha and is searched for by the commune, which has become actual in the buddha and is an inquiry in the commune. These three are the most important things for a seeker: the master, the commune, and the dhamma, Tao, logos, the ultimate law.

Unless you are in contact with one who has already realized, it is almost impossible for you to grow. The hindrances are millions, the pitfalls many, the false doors many, the temptations are many; there is every possibility of going astray. Unless you are in the company of someone who knows the way, who has traveled the way, who has arrived, it is almost impossible for you to reach. Unless your hands are in the hands of someone whom you can trust and to whom you can surrender, you are bound to go astray. The mind creates so many temptations -- so alluring they are, so magnetic is their power -- that unless you are in the power-field of someone whose magnetism is far more powerful than any other kind of temptation, it is impossible to reach. That is the meaning of disciplehood.
BUDDHAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI: I surrender to the master.
The master is such a magnetic force that your surrender to the master becomes your protection; hence it is called the shelter. Then you are secure, then you are guarded, then you are protected. Then your hand is in those hands which know where to take you, what direction to give to you.

The second thing is the commune. Each buddha creates a commune, because without a commune a buddha cannot function.

A commune means his energy field, a commune means the people who have become joined with him, a commune means an alternate society to the ordinary mundane society which goes after spurious comforts -- it is there available to everybody.
A small oasis in the desert of the world is what is meant by a commune created by a buddha -- a small oasis in which life is lived with a totally different gestalt, with a totally different vision, with a totally different goal; where life is lived with purpose, meaning, where life is lived with method -- even though to the outsiders it may look like madness, but that madness has a method in it -- where life is lived prayerfully, alert, aware, awake; where life is not just accidental, where life starts becoming more and more a growth in a certain direction, towards a certain destination; where life is no more like driftwood.

And the third is the dhamma. Dhamma means truth. Buddha represents the dhamma in two ways: one, through his communication, verbal, and second, through his presence, through his silence, through his communion: nonverbal. The verbal communication is only an introduction for the nonverbal. The nonverbal is an energy communication. The verbal is only preparatory; it simply prepares you so you can allow the master to communicate with you energywise, because energywise it is really moving into the unknown. Energywise it needs great trust, because you will be completely unaware where you are going -- aware that you are going somewhere, aware that you are being led somewhere, aware that something is happening of tremendous import; but what exactly it is you don't yet have the language for, you don't have any experience to recognize. You will be moving into the uncharted.

The buddha represents dhamma, truth, in two ways. Verbally he communicates with the students; nonverbally, through silence, through energy, he communicates with the disciples. And then there comes the ultimate unity where neither communication nor communion is needed, but oneness has been achieved -- where the master and the disciple become one, when the disciple is just a shadow, when there is no separation. These are the three stages of growth: student, disciple, devotee.

The buddha, the sangha, the dhamma, meditate over these three things not to be destroyed. The world will be very much against all these three things; the world will be bent upon destroying them. Those who love truth, those who are real seekers, inquirers, they will do everything to protect these three things.
First, the buddha. Why does the world creates so many difficulties for the buddha whenever he appears, in whatsoever form? He may be Krishna, Christ, Atisha, Tilopa, Saraha; he may appear in any form. By buddhahood I mean awareness, awakening. Wherever awakening happens, the whole world becomes antagonistic. Why? -- because the whole world is asleep.
There is an Arabic saying: Don't wake up a slave, because he may be dreaming that he is free. Don't wake up a slave; he may be dreaming that he is free, that he is no more a slave.

But the buddha will say: Wake up the slave! Even though he is dreaming beautiful dreams of freedom, wake him up and make him aware that he is a slave, because only through that awareness can he really become free.
The world is fast asleep and people are enjoying their dreams. They are decorating their dreams, they are making their dreams more and more colorful, they are making them psychedelic. Then comes a man who starts shouting from the housetops, "Wake up!" The sleepers feel offended; they don't want to wake up, because they know that once the dream is gone they will be left with their misery and suffering and nothing else. They are not yet aware that behind their misery there is a source of joy that can be found. Whenever something like awakening has happened to them they have always found themselves utterly miserable. So they want to remain drowned in something, whatsoever it is; they want to remain occupied.

The teaching of the buddhas is: Find time and a place to remain unoccupied. That's what meditation is all about. Find at least one hour every day to sit silently doing nothing, utterly unoccupied, just watching whatsoever passes by inside. In the beginning you will be very sad, looking at things inside you; you will feel only darkness and nothing else, and ugly things and all kinds of black holes appearing. You will feel agony, no ecstasy at all. But if you persist, persevere, the day comes when all these agonies disappear, and behind the agonies is the ecstasy.
So the first thing: whenever the buddha appears the world is against him. The world is fast asleep, dreaming, and the buddha tries to wake people up. There are a thousand and one other reasons why the world wants to destroy a buddha, and why

Atisha is saying:

Had Jesus' disciples known something like this they would have tried in every way to protect Jesus, but they were not aware at all. Jesus could live only three years as a buddha. He could have lived to a very old age, he could have helped millions of people on the path, but the disciples were not aware that a great treasure was in their possession and it had to be protected and guarded.

There are many reasons. One reason why people are against is because whenever a buddha appears in the world he is unique, he cannot be compared to any other buddha of the past; that is the problem. People become accustomed, slowly slowly, to the past buddhas, but whenever a new buddha arrives he is so new, so unique, so different, that they cannot believe he is a buddha because they have a certain conception.

Those who have known Mahavira, how can they recognize me as a buddha? -- because I am not standing naked. Those who have seen Jesus, how they can recognize Atisha as the buddha? -- because Atisha is not curing the ill and helping the dead to be raised again, is not helping the blind to see. Atisha is a totally different kind of buddha; he is not serving the poor, his work is on a totally different plane.

The Christian cannot recognize Buddha as a buddha. What to say of the Christian -- Mahavira and Buddha were contemporaries, but Jainas don't recognize Gautam Buddha as the awakened one, and Buddhists don't recognize Mahavira as the awakened one. They were contemporaries, in the same province, sometimes lived in the same town and once stayed in the same SERAI. But each buddha has a unique quality, incomparable; hence no previous buddha can be used as a criterion. That creates difficulty.

Buddhas are unrecognizable, because your life has no experience through which you can recognize a buddha. The sexual person can recognize the sexual, the money minded can recognize the money minded, but how can you recognize a buddha? You don't have any experience of awareness. In the buddha you will only see reflected your own mind. It is natural.
The buddha is uncompromising; that creates trouble. He cannot compromise. Truth cannot be compromised with any lies, comfortable lies. The buddha seems to be very unsocial and sometimes antisocial. The buddha never fulfills any expectations of the multitudes -- he cannot; he is not here to follow you. There is only one way: you can follow him if you want to be with him, otherwise get lost! He cannot fulfill your expectations. Your expectations are foolish, your expectations are your expectations -- out of unawareness and blindness. What value can they have?

The buddha is always rebellious, antitraditional, nonconformist. That creates trouble. The buddha does not belong to the past; in fact, the future belongs to the buddha. He is always before his time, he is a new birth of God.
All these things are enough for the society of the blind, mad, power-hungry, ambitious egoists, all kinds of neurotics, psychotics -- it is enough for them to be together and to destroy any possibility of there being a buddha.
And they are also against the sangha -- even more so. They can tolerate a buddha if he is alone; they know, what can he do? They have tolerated Krishnamurti more easily than they can tolerate me. What can Krishnamurti do? He can come and talk and people listen, and people have been listening for fifty years and nothing has happened -- so he can talk a few years more; there is nothing to be worried about him.

I was also alone, traveling all over the country from one corner to the other corner almost three weeks every month on the train, on the plane, continuously traveling, and there was not much problem. The day I started sannyas the society became alert. Why? -- because to create a buddhafield, to create a sangha, means now you are creating an alternate society; you are no more a single individual, you are gathering power, you can do something. Now you can create a revolution.
So people want to destroy all communes. Do you know, communes don't have long lives; very rarely do communes survive -- very rarely. Millions of times communes have been created, and the society destroys them sooner or later, and more sooner than later. But a few communes have survived. For example, Buddha's commune still continues -- not with the same purity, much garbage has entered into it. It is no more the same crystal-clear water that you can see at Gangotri where the Ganges is born. Now the Buddha's commune is like the Ganges near Varanasi -- dirty, dead bodies floating in it, all kinds of garbage being poured into it. But still it is alive. Many have completely disappeared.

For example, no commune of Lao Tzu survives, no commune of Zarathustra survives. Yes, a few followers are there, but they are not communes. No commune of Saraha, Tilopa, Atisha, survives. They all had created communes. But the society is really big, huge, powerful; when the master is alive maybe the commune can survive, but once the master is gone the society starts destroying the commune from all possible directions.

Atisha says:

And the third is dhamma, the truth. The world is against the truth, the world lives in lies. Lies are very comfortable, very secure, cozy, and you can create lies according to yourself, according to your needs. Truth is never according to you; you have to be according to the truth, and that is difficult. Many chunks of your being will have to be cut so that you can fit with truth. Your ego will have to be dropped so that you can enter into the temple of truth.
Lies are perfectly beautiful, cheap, everywhere available. You can go shopping and you can purchase bagfuls of lies, as many as you want. And the best thing about them is that they fit with you, they never require that you should fit with them. They are very friendly; they don't require anything from you, they don't demand, they don't ask for any commitment. They are ready to serve you.

Truth cannot serve you, you will have to serve truth.
Atisha is giving you a great insight. Particularly for my sannyasins it has to be remembered, meditated upon. The buddha is here, the commune has started happening, the truth is being shared. Now it is up to you to help it survive, to protect it, so that it can live long and serve humanity long.

And the last sutra:
Let this be your virtue, your religion: serving the buddha, serving the commune, serving the truth. Let this be your only virtue, your only religion.

Enough for today.