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Chapter 11: The Fully Enlightened One

There is a story to the effect that a group of students from different nations were asked to write individual essays on the elephant. A German student wrote on the uses of the elephant in warfare. An English student, on the elephant’s aristocratic character. A French student, on lovemaking among the elephants. An Indian, on the elephant’s philosophical attitude. And an American chose for his subject, how to make bigger and better elephants.

The mind is continuously thinking - the mind is American - how to make things bigger.a bigger house, a bigger car, everything has to be bigger. And naturally, the bigger the bubble becomes the closer it comes to bursting. Small bubbles may float a little longer on the surface of the water; bigger bubbles cannot even float that much. Hence the American frustration. Nobody is as frustrated as the American.

The American mind has succeeded in making the bubble very big; now it is bursting from everywhere. Now there seems to be no possibility to protect it, to save it; it is exploding. And nobody is at fault, because nobody thinks, “It is our deepest desire and we have succeeded in it.” Nothing fails like success.

Seventh: Buddha says think of the mind as a dream. It is imagination, subjective, one’s own creation. You are the director, you are the actor and you are the audience. All that goes on in your mind is a private imagination; the world has nothing to do with it, the existence has no obligation to fulfill it.

A doctor had just finished giving a patient, who was quite a bit more than middle-aged, a thorough physical examination. “I can’t find a thing wrong with you, sir,” the doctor said, “but I recommend you give up about half of your love life.”

The old man stared at the doctor for a moment and then said, “Which half - thinking about it or talking about it?”

Mind is insubstantial - thinking or talking; it knows nothing of the real. The more mind you have the less reality you will have; the less mind you have the more reality. The no-mind knows what reality is, tathata. Then you become a tathagata - one who has known suchness.

Or think of the mind as a lightning flash, says Buddha. Don’t cling to it, because the moment you cling to it you will create suffering for yourself. The lightning is only there for the moment, and it is gone. Everything comes and goes, nothing remains, and we go on clinging. And by clinging we go on creating misery.

Watch your mind, how ready it is to cling to anything, how afraid the mind is of the future, of change. It wants to make everything stable, it wants to cling to everything that happens. You are happy, you want this happiness to remain. You will cling with it. And the moment you cling you have crushed it already, it is no longer there.

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