Chapter 2: Diamonds Regained
The first question:
I have often thought that if children were raised in a free and loving environment rather than the insane society that we grew up in, they would all mature into free, loving, enlightened beings. But if this were so, many of the primitive societies would be overflowing with enlightened beings. Why is this not so?
The first thing: before you can get to yourself, you will have to lose yourself. The child is born in innocence, and if the child never loses his innocence he will never become enlightened. Enlightenment means that you have lost it and regained it - paradise lost and regained. It is part of enlightenment that first you must lose it.
It is like a fish who has always lived in the ocean - it is impossible for the fish to know the ocean. It is very obvious to those who are standing outside but it is not so obvious to the fish. It has been born into it, it is part of it, it is like a wave. To know the ocean, a little separation is needed, a little distance is needed. The fish will remain unaware of the ocean and will die. But take the fish out, let the fish out, throw the fish on the bank, on the hot sand, and there will be pain and there will be suffering - but in that suffering the fish will know for the first time that she has been living in the ocean. And for the first time a great thirst, a great desire will come to go back to the ocean. And she will make efforts to go back.
And if she succeeds and reaches back into the ocean there will be great joy. She had been in the ocean forever but there had been no joy. But now there will be joy, now she will be thrilled, blessed! Now each moment will be a kind of ecstasy. And it is the old, the same ocean she was born in. What difference has happened? A new consciousness has arisen. The fish is no longer innocent, the fish is enlightened.
In primitive societies you will not find buddhas, you will not find christs. Primitive societies live in the ocean. Innocence you will find, a childlike innocence you will find, an animal-like innocence you will find - but you will not find a buddha. A buddha is one who has recognized his innocence. This recognition makes the difference. But to recognize, you first have to lose.
I can understand. Your question is very relevant. If this insane society drives you into neurotic paths, then the logical mind will say then why are the primitives not all enlightened? This society drives you into madness but through that very driving you start moving away from your innermost core. Suffering arises, and a great desire to come back home arises. That desire is what religion is all about - to come back home.