Chapter 9: Dead Men Don’t Bleed
Hence, when I say that Bodhidharma has missed the point, don’t misunderstand me. Don’t start thinking that Bodhidharma is not enlightened. There is no contradiction. He is enlightened - one of the greatest enlightened people on the earth. But enlightenment makes you blossom, come to spring with your whole potentiality becoming actual; it does not mean that you become incapable of committing any mistake.
In fact the enlightened man becomes so humble that if you point out his mistakes he will accept them. He is so detached from his own personality, it does not matter. He has no ego; he is not hurt. And he accepts that there are possibilities where he may become too one-sided, may lean into this multidimensional existence more towards certain dimensions, may become averse to the dimensions which are against his own experiences and feelings. Existence contains all contradictions, and even at the highest point of enlightenment it is very difficult to contain contradictions.
Man, after all, is man, asleep or awake. It is very difficult to conceive contradictions existing together not as contradictions but as complementaries. The easier thing seems to be to choose one side and go against the other. But that does not mean that the enlightenment is not complete; it simply means even an enlightened man can have a partiality. And it is because of the vastness of the universe.
When Gautam Buddha was asked.. He was a contemporary of Mahavira, and the followers of Mahavira were saying about Mahavira that he knows past, present, future; that he knows all that has ever been, that is and that will ever be. They were making him synonymous to the idea of God - omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. And it is worth remembering that Gautam Buddha laughed. He said, “I have heard once that Mahavira was begging before a house where nobody has lived for a long time, and there was nobody inside the house. And the people say that he knows everything of the past, of the present, of the future, and he does not know that he is standing before a house and there is nobody in the house!”
And Gautam Buddha joked about Mahavira that once he had heard Mahavira was walking early in the morning.. It was in the hot summer, so he had started to move very early, before the sunrise, and he stepped on the tail of a dog. When the dog started barking, then he became aware that there was a dog. The darkness was there.. This man knows past, present and future and he does not know the tail of a dog is under his foot. And I certainly agree with Gautam Buddha.
Mahavira never claimed this - it was the claim of his disciples. People like Mahavira don’t claim anything. The disciples of Gautam Buddha asked, “What is your position about knowing past, present and future?” And the humbleness of Gautam Buddha is so great, he said, “I am not omnipotent or omniscient or omnipresent. I have a clear vision, but compared to the vastness of existence it is a very small phenomenon.