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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 8
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Chapter 9: Discover Your Original Face

It is out of compassion that buddhas have spoken - compassion for those who can only understand language. And language is a poor thing, very poor, very inadequate. Remember it, then slowly you can find something in these sutras - not exactly in the words, but between the words; not exactly in the lines, but between the lines, in the gaps, in the intervals, some glimpses, some taste of silence, some perfume.

One man denies truth. How do people deny truth and why? First, their lies have become their investments. Watch your own life. You have invested so much in your lies, you would not like to know the truth, because the truth will shatter all your palaces, all your dreams. The truth will shatter all that you have believed up to now. You know deep down in your heart that you are living in lies, but they are beautiful, they are nice, they are cozy, and you have lived in them so long that it seems difficult to live without them.

There is an ancient Sufi parable.

A man gave to a Sufi mystic a present, a golden bowl with a beautiful fish in it. The Sufi looked at the bowl and the fish and felt very sorry for the fish, because the bowl was an imprisonment.

He went to the lake and he was tremendously happy in liberating the fish. He threw the fish into the lake. He was happy that at least now the fish could have the whole lake, the great freedom, the space that really belonged to her. A golden bowl - although it is golden it is a confinement.

Then he thought, “What to do with this bowl?” So he also threw the bowl into the lake.

The next morning he went to see how the fish was. He was surprised: the fish was in the bowl and the bowl was in the lake. What had happened to the fish? She had again chosen the bowl. Now the bowl was in the lake, but the fish was not in the lake; the fish had entered the bowl again. She has lived so long in it, it was her home. The mystic thought it was a prison, but not the fish; she may have been afraid of the freedom.

People become very afraid of freedom, more afraid than of anything else. You will be surprised to know that people talk about freedom, but when freedom is really given to them they become afraid, frightened, scared, because freedom is vast, unmanageable, uncontrollable. You cannot dominate it. Slavery is small, it is smaller than you. You feel good with it - you seem big compared to your slavery. But compared to your freedom you are nobody, a nonentity, a nothingness. And who wants to be a nothingness? Everybody wants to be somebody; even though one has to live in a prison, one is ready. If you can be made the head of the prisoners - a president, a prime minister, or something like that - you would like, would love to live in the prison rather than be free and nobody.

The first requirement for attaining to truth is the capacity to be free, the capacity to be nobody. The ego is the greatest barrier. The ego can exist only in a golden bowl; it can’t exist in a lake. It is bound to melt, merge and disappear.

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