Buddha says, "Be a light unto
yourself." That is his greatest message. Nobody else in the whole
world, in the whole history of humanity, has been so respectful
towards others as Gautam the Buddha. "Be a light unto yourself."
The word `buddha' will be
repeated again and again by Bodhidharma so you have to understand
what it means. It is not a personal name of anybody. Buddha simply
means one who is awakened. Gautam Buddha is the most famous awakened
person but that does not mean that he is the only awakened person.
There have been many buddhas before him and there have been many
buddhas after him and as long as every human being can become a
buddha, there will go on springing up new buddhas in the future.
Gautam Buddha was the most
cultured and the most educated, the most sophisticated person ever
to become a mystic. There is no comparison in the whole of history.
He could see where the innocent mystics had unknowingly given
chances for cunning minds to take advantage. He decided not to use
any positive term for the ultimate goal, to destroy your ego and any
possibility of your ego taking any advantage. He called the
ultimate, nothingness, emptiness, shunyata, zero. Now, how can the
ego make zero the goal? God can be made the goal, but not zero.
Whenever new disciples used to
come to Gautam the Buddha he would say to them, "For two years just
sit by my side silently, then something will be possible. Then I can
say something to you and then you will be able to understand.
Buddha says, "Even if you meet
me on the way, kill me immediately." He is saying: Don't follow me,
just take the hints. Try to understand, imbibe the spirit. Feel my
presence and then go on your way. Live according to your own light,
howsoever small it is; but if it is yours and you live according to
it, it will go on growing.
Gautam Buddha had to deny that
God existed -- not that he was against God, a man like Gautam Buddha
cannot be against God. And if Gautam Buddha is against God, then it
is of no use for anybody to be in favor of God. His decision is
decisive for the whole of humanity, he represents our very soul. But
he was not against God. He was against your ego, and he was
constantly careful not to give your ego any support to remain. If
God can become a support, then there is no God.
Mahavira and Buddha both
insisted on nonviolence. The basic reason for not fighting is that
once you stop fighting the ego cannot exist. Ego exists in fight; it
is a consequence of fight. The more you fight the more ego exists.
If you alone remained on the earth, nobody to fight with, would you
have an ego? You would not have an ego.
Buddha and Mahavira both
emphasized meditation. Meditation is a totally different technique.
There is no need to believe, no need to move to the other; you are
alone there. But you have to wake yourself
Gautam Buddha was born on a
full-moon night. He became enlightened on a full-moon night. He died
on a full-moon night. This cannot be just coincidence. His type has
something to do with a synchronicity with the full-moon night.
The next time you enter a temple
of Gautam Buddha or Mahavira just sit silently, watch the statue.
Because the statue has been made in such a way, in such proportions
that if you watch it you will fall silent. It is a statue of
meditation; it is not concerned with Gautam Buddha or Mahavira.
The story about Gautam Buddha is
that when he reached the gates of nirvana he stood there, his back
towards the gates. The gates were opened, and the guards wanted him
to enter. They were ready to welcome him -- because centuries pass
and then once in a while those gates open. And they were immensely
happy that someone has again become a buddha.
But Buddha refused. The story is
symbolic. He says, "Unless every living being passes by me into
nirvana, I am going to stay here. I will be the last. I cannot go
alone, I have to take everybody with me. "They are struggling in
pain and misery, and do you think I should enjoy nirvana and its
tremendous blissfulness? It is not possible. I will wait. You can
wait; but waiting here I will try to help those struggling souls,
stumbling in darkness, groping in darkness. Unless I am satisfied
that everybody has passed in, I will not come in and close the
doors. Buddha is certainly one of the most insightful men. He does
not stop at himself. Anybody would have stopped there -- it is a
natural tendency to put oneself at the highest point and then stop.
In India I have visited a few
places... The place where Gautam Buddha became enlightened is called
Bodh Gaya. It is a small temple -- some follower made the temple as
a memorial, by the side of the tree under which Buddha became
enlightened. That tree still remembers something, and I came to know
later on that the bodhi tree has a certain substance which no other
tree has, and that is the substance which makes a man a genius. Only
geniuses have that substance in their mind, and in the world of
trees only the bodhi tree has that substance. Perhaps it is more
perceptive, more receptive; it has a certain genius.
A buddha asleep is such a
beautiful phenomenon: he looks like a small child, innocent, with no
burden of the day.
To look at a buddha while he is
asleep is very beautiful, so Ananda used to watch. Buddha would go
to sleep, and Ananda would sit and look at him. He was such a silent
pool of being. Nothing was incomplete, everything, every moment was
complete and perfect. There was no dream, there were no traces left;
his mind was a clean mirror. The stream of consciousness was never
muddled, it was crystal clear.
Gautama the Buddha is the
greatest breakthrough that humanity has known up to now. Time should
not be divided by the name of Jesus Christ; it should be divided by
the name of Gautam Buddha. We should divide history before Buddha
and after Buddha, not before Christ and after Christ, because Christ
is not a breakthrough; he is a continuity. He represents the past in
its tremendous beauty and grandeur. He is the very essence of the
whole search of man before him. He is the fragrance of all the past
endeavors of man to know God, but he is not a breakthrough. In the
real sense of the word he is not a rebel. Buddha is, but Jesus looks
more rebellious than Buddha for the simple reason that Jesus'
rebellion is visible and Buddha's rebellion is invisible.
You will need great insight to understand what Buddha has
contributed to human consciousness, to human evolution, to human
growth. Man would not have been the same if there had been no
Buddha. Man would have been the same if there had been no Christ, no
Krishna; there would not have been much difference. Remove Buddha
and something of tremendous importance is lost; but his rebellion is
very invisible, very subtle.
Before Buddha, the search -- the religious search -- was
fundamentally a concern with God: a God who is outside, a God who is
somewhere above in the heavens. The religious search was also
concerned with an object of desire, as much as the worldly search
was. The worldly man sought money, power, prestige, and the
otherworldly man was seeking God, heaven, eternity, truth. But one
thing was common: both were looking outside themselves, both were
extroverts. Remember this word, because this is going to help you
understand Buddha. Before Buddha, the religious search was not
concerned with the within but with the without; it was extrovert,
and when the religious search is extrovert it is not really
religious. Religion begins only with introversion, when you start
diving deeply within yourself.