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Chapter 43: Finding the Changeless through the Changing

In that state when there is nothing to be known, it is said that you know yourself in a certain sense. But that knowledge is totally different from all other knowledge. It is misleading to use the same word for both. There have been mystics who have said that self-knowledge is contradictory, the very term is contradictory. Knowledge is always of the other; self-knowledge is not possible. But when the other is not, something happens. You may call it “self-knowledge,” but the word is misleading.

So whatsoever you know is change. Everywhere, even these walls, are constantly changing. Now physics supports this. Even the wall which looks so stationary, non-changing, is changing every moment. A great flux is on. Every atom is moving, every electron is moving. Everything is moving fast, and the movement is so fast that you cannot detect it. That is why the wall looks so permanent. In the morning it was like this, in the afternoon it was like that, in the evening it was like this, yesterday it was like this and tomorrow it will be like this. You look at it as if it is the same, but it is not. Your eyes are not capable of detecting such great movement.

The fan is there. If the fan is moving very fast, you will not be able to see the space, it will look like just one circle. Space cannot be seen because the movement is fast, and if the movement is so fast - just as fast as electrons are moving - you will not see that the fan is moving at all. You will not be able to detect the movement. The fan will look stationary; you will even be able to touch it. It will be stationary, and your hand will not even be able to enter into the gaps, because your hand cannot move so fast as to go into the gaps. Before you move, another blade will have come. Before you move, still another blade will have come. You will always touch the blade, and the movement will be so fast that the fan will look like it is non-moving. So things that are non-moving are very fast moving: that is why there is the appearance that they are stationary.

This sutra says that everything is change: Here is the sphere of change.. On this sutra Buddha’s whole philosophy stands. Buddha says that everything is a flux, changing, non-permanent, and that one should know this. Buddha’s emphasis is so much on this point. His whole standpoint is based on it. He says, “change, change, change: remember this continuously.” Why? If you can remember change, detachment will happen. How can you be attached when everything is changing?

You look at a face; it is very beautiful. When you look at a face that is very beautiful, there is a feeling that this is going to remain. Understand it deeply. Never expect that this is going to remain. But if you know that this is changing fast, that this is beautiful this moment and it may be ugly the next, how can you feel any attachment? It is impossible. Look at a body: it is alive; the next moment it will be dead. All is futile, if you feel the change.

Buddha left his palace, his family - his beautiful wife, his child - and when someone asked him, “Why?” he said, “Where there is nothing permanent, what is the use? The child will die.” And the night Buddha left, the child was born. He was just a few hours old. Buddha went into his wife’s room to have a last look. The wife’s back was towards the door. She was holding the child in her arms in sleep. Buddha wanted to say good-bye, but then he resisted. He said, “What is the use?”