Chapter 10: Me, Enlightened?
The first question:
Today when you talked about your father, for the first time it became very clear and close for me that everybody, I also, can become enlightened. Although you have said so many times that we are all buddhas in the center, I always felt it very, very far away. Suddenly all your teaching from the last two and a half years became immediate, maybe because your father was kind of close for me. I saw him in his house eating a chappati, saw him taking his morning walk through the ashram - and he became enlightened! Too much! I want to tell you that I had a great realization in lecture.
Great truths take time to sink in. And this is the greatest of all, that you all are potentially buddhas. It is impossible for your mind to accept it. You can accept somebody far away, a Siddhartha Gautam, being a Buddha, a Jesus Christ, a Zarathustra, a Lao Tzu. They are so far away, millions of light years away; they have become mythological. They are no longer thought to be real persons. They have lost all substance, they have become pure shadows - pure poetry with no words, pure silence with no sound. You can imagine them, but you cannot feel them.
Hence, although I go on repeating again and again that you can become a buddha - in fact you are a buddha, unaware of the fact. On the circumference maybe there is a great storm, just as on the surface the sea is stormy - sometimes more, sometimes less, but there are always waves, bigger or smaller; there is always turbulence, disturbance. But at the depth there is not even a ripple; all is silence.
You are the center of the cyclone, but you are not aware of your center. And down the ages priests have condemned you so much that it has become almost impossible for you to conceive of yourself as a buddha. The priests have condemned you according to your circumference; they know only your circumference. In fact they are interested only in condemning you, so whatsoever they can condemn they see very predominantly in you. They choose that which can be condemned, because through condemnation you are reduced to slaves: slaves of religion - Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Mohammedan, Jaina, Buddhist; and slaves of societies, cultures, civilizations, political ideologies - communist, fascist, Gandhian.
The only way to reduce you to a slave is to condemn you so badly that you lose all self-respect. And it can be done because your circumference is there, and you also are aware only of the circumference. You are fast asleep snoring at the center. Only at the circumference are you a little bit awake, and that too because of the disturbance, noise.