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Chapter 11: Not Mind, Not Buddha, Not Things

Then there are people who go on thinking of philosophy, thoughts, oblivious of things, not worried much about them. It happened once: Immanuel Kant was coming to his class. He was a perfect timekeeper, never missed a single appointment, would never be late; at exactly the right time he would enter. He never cared about his clothes, about his house, or food, or anything - never worried about it, never got married; just a servant would do, because that was not much of a problem and the servant can do the food and take care of the house. He never needed a wife or someone who was intimate, a friend - no; a servant was okay as far as the world of things was concerned. The servant was really the master, because he would purchase everything, he would take care of the money and the house and everything.

Immanuel Kant lived like a stranger in that house. It is said that he never looked at the house, he never knew how many rooms the house had, what type of furniture; even if you were to show him something which had been in his room for thirty years he would not be able to recognize it. But he was concerned much with thoughts - he lived in the world of thoughts, and many stories are told, beautiful stories, because a man who lives in the world of thoughts is always absentminded, absentminded in the world of things, because you cannot live in two worlds.

He was going to his class; the road was muddy and one of his shoes got stuck, so he left it there, went to the class with one shoe. Somebody asked, “Where is your other shoe?”

He said, “It got stuck just on the way. It is raining and it was muddy.”

But the man who had asked said, “Then you could have got it back.”

Said Immanuel Kant, “There was a series of thoughts in my mind and I didn’t like to interfere with it. If I had got concerned with the shoe, the track would have been lost, and such beautiful thoughts were there that who cares whether you come to the class with one shoe or two!” The whole college laughed, but he was not concerned.

Once it happened: he came back after his evening walk.he used to have a walking-stick, and he was so absorbed in his thought that he did everything that was done every day, but forgot something. He was so absentminded that he put the walking-stick on the bed where he used to put himself, and he himself stood in the corner of the room where he used to put the.got a little mixed-up!

After two hours the servant became aware that the light was on - so what was the matter? He looked through the window, and Immanuel Kant was standing with closed eyes in the corner and the walking-stick was fast asleep on the pillow. A man who is asleep too much in the mind will be absentminded in the world. Philosophers, poets, men of literature, painters, musicians - they are all fast asleep there.

And then there is a third sleep: monks, those who have renounced the world, and not only the world but also the mind, who have been meditating for many years and they have stopped the thought process. Now no thoughts move in their inner sky, now no things are there; they are not concerned with things, not concerned with thoughts. But a subtle ego, the “I” - now they call it atman, the soul, the self, the Self with a capital “S” - is their sleep; they are asleep there.

Buddha says sleep has to be broken on these three layers, and when all the sleeps are broken, nobody is awake, only awakening is there; nobody is enlightened, only enlightenment is there - just the phenomenon of awareness, without any center..