Chapter 21: The Biggest Fetter Is the Ego
But he was the latest arrival. The serai, the caravanserai where Buddha was staying, was full of Buddhist monks. There was no space inside for him to sleep, so he had to sleep just on the steps - and he could not sleep. He had never even dreamed of such hardship.just on the steps. And Buddha had this idea that the monk can have only three pieces of material for clothes. So one he uses for the bed - a long piece of cloth - and also uses it to cover himself, so it becomes a kind of sleeping bag. And two he uses for himself: one for the lower body, one for the upper body. That’s all a Buddhist monk is allowed: on a stone step with just a thin cloth - he could not sleep.and there were so many mosquitoes, and the whole night monks were coming in, going out, coming in, going out, and he was just on the steps, so each time anybody would come out or go in he was awakened.
Just early in the morning, when he was falling asleep at last, tired, Buddha came, awakened him, and said, “There is still time - you go back home. Nobody knows you have become a sannyasin. Once people know, it will be difficult for you to go back. Go back! I know you have not been able to sleep the whole night. It is difficult: there are mosquitoes, and only three pieces of cloth are allowed, and in this place there is no space. And you are the youngest monk, just one day old, so you cannot have the space of some elderly monk. There is a seniority, and you are the last.”
Shrone said, “Don’t disturb me. What step I have taken, I have taken. Now whatsoever consequence has to be suffered, I will suffer. But I don’t know how to look back. The question of going back simply does not arise; I never even look back.”
Buddha said, “It is good, because in the last life you had become a monk and just because of these same difficulties you had gone back. So I thought perhaps you might do it again, because people go on in the same vicious circle again and again and again - the same habit. And they go on moving in the wheel of the habits. I had come to ask you particularly because I knew that in the last life you had turned back. This is a good sign that you have grown up, that you have stopped turning back. But ahead it is not easy; perhaps a few lives with this determination, if you go on and on and on, you might achieve nirvana” - that is the Buddhist term for enlightenment.
Bertrand Russell cannot be called an enlightened person. He is a very great intellectual, a rational being, very progressive, and capable of getting out of the bondage of convention, tradition, but the reasons he chooses to get out are all of the mind. He finds Jesus to be contradictory - it is a mind statement. Jesus behaves arrogantly, and he talks of being humble. He says to the people, “Blessed are the poor,” and then he promises them the kingdom of God. Now, there is an apparent contradiction. If poverty is a blessing, then all the sages in heaven should be the most poor, because it is a blessing. In fact the people who live in hell should all be rich, super-rich, if you follow it logically.
Jesus says, “Even a camel can pass through the eye of a needle but a rich man cannot pass through the gates of heaven.” Then where are rich men going? They must be going somewhere. So all the rich and super-rich - if you want to meet the Fords and Rockefellers and Morgans, you have to go to hell. They will all be there, with all their riches. Because if rich people cannot go to heaven, how can their riches go? Who will take them? And perhaps hell will be, right now, the most luxurious place to live in. You will find all of Hollywood there; where else will they go? All the actors and actresses must be there in hell.