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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 4
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Chapter 3: Be Quick to Do Good

Be quick to do good.
If you are slow,
the mind, delighting in mischief,
will catch you.

Turn away from mischief.
Again and again, turn away,
before sorrow befalls you.

Set your heart on doing good.
Do it over and over again,
and you will be filled with joy.

A fool is happy
until his mischief turns against him.
And a good man may suffer
until his goodness flowers.

Do not make light of your failings,
saying, “What are they to me?”
A jug fills drop by drop.
So the fool becomes brimful of folly.

Do not belittle your virtues,
saying, “They are nothing.”
A jug fills drop by drop.
So the wise man becomes brimful of virtue.

Once I was staying in Varanasi. A professor of the Hindu university came to see me. He asked me, “Do you believe in hell?”

I said, “I don’t need to believe in hell, because hell is. Belief is needed when you don’t see something as existent. Hell is so existential, hell is so much, so much present, there is no need to believe in it.”

He said, “Where is it?”

I told him, “You live in it! You are born in it, you breathe in it, you will die in it - if you don’t make great effort to get out of it.”

Man is oblivious of the hell because he is born in it. It is all over the place; he is surrounded by it. Like a fish in the ocean, man lives in hell. The fish also never becomes aware of the ocean unless she is thrown out of the ocean by some accident or is caught by someone. Once separated from the ocean, for the first time the fish comes to know that she has been in the ocean all along.

Unless you know something of paradise you will never become aware that you have been living in hell - not only living in hell but creating it, helping it to be there, feeding it, strengthening it. You are its creator and you live in the world you create, and you can’t live in any other world. The only place to live is the place that you create around yourself. And that which you create around yourself first has to exist at the center of your being; only then can it become the circumference.

The hell exists first at the center of your being, then it spreads, becomes a circumference. First it exists in you, as you, then it becomes your relationship, your world.

Hell is not something geographical; it is something psychological. Hell is another name of a diseased mind, of a mind in anguish, turmoil, of a mind suffering nightmares, of a mind living basically in unconsciousness. The unconscious mind is what hell is all about, and the conscious mind is going beyond the hell.

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