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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 3
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Chapter 4: I Am a Drunkard

Die! Die to the ego, die to your past, and you will be resurrected. That resurrection will make you go beyond death, beyond time, beyond misery, beyond the world - what Buddha calls “beyond this shore.”

The second question:

Why does Jesus tell his disciples: be as cunning as the serpents and as innocent as the doves?

The serpent is the symbol of wisdom. In all the ancient cultures of the world - Hebrew, Hindu, Chinese - the serpent is the only symbol which is common.

By “cunning” Jesus does not really mean cunning as you understand it. In the ancient Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, there is only one word for both wisdom and cunning, hence the wrong translation.

But why have Christians chosen to translate it as cunning and not as wisdom? - because of the biblical story that it is the serpent who seduced, corrupted the mind of Eve, persuaded her to go against God’s commandment and to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Because of this biblical story the serpent has become the original source of sin. It is the serpent who persuaded Eve, then Eve persuaded Adam and humanity fell from the grace of God. Adam and Eve were turned out of the Garden of Eden; hence the serpent became a condemned phenomenon.

But in reality the parable has a totally different meaning. Christians will not concede to that meaning. What meaning do I give to that immensely significant parable? It has many meanings. That is the beauty of ancient parables: they have many-dimensional richness. They are not one-dimensional, they are multidimensional. They can be interpreted in a thousand and one ways; that is their richness. They have many facets; they are like a diamond - and the more facets a diamond has, the more valuable it is.

When the Kohinoor was found for the first time it was a very big stone, the biggest diamond the world has ever known. Now it is only one third of its original weight, because down the ages the jewelers have been polishing, cutting, and polishing and cutting; they have been giving new facets to the diamond. Now it is one third of its weight but millions of times more valuable. So are ancient parables: they are kohinoors. But the problem with the so-called religions is that they become addicted to one meaning. Then they become afraid of other meanings, other possibilities.

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