Chapter 1: Be on Guard
Buddha gives a psychological religion. Religion means he helps you to understand the mind so that you can go beyond it - not so that you can become adjusted to the collective but so that you can rise to the heights of your individuality, to the peaks of your destiny.
Psychology believes that man lacks meaning in his life and meaning can come only through therapy. Psychology in essence means meaning through therapy. And religion is just the opposite; religion means therapy through meaning. Religion gives you meaning first and then automatically the meaning becomes a healing force, it becomes therapeutic.
Buddha says again and again that, “I am a healer,” that “I am a physician,” that “My function is not that of a philosopher but that of a physician. I help people to become healthier, to become whole.” And what is his process? His process is to impart meaning to your life. That too he does in a profoundly new way; it has never been done before like that. He does not give you an arbitrary meaning because the arbitrary meaning will be seen sooner or later to be arbitrary, and the moment it collapses you will fall into deep darkness. The darkness will be far darker than it was before. Now you have lost meaning. You will feel suicidal; you will not feel life is worth living at all. Even breathing will become hard, difficult. The question will arise: Why? Why should I go on living if there is no meaning?
Buddha does not give you any arbitrary meaning. Hence I say he has no metaphysics. He helps you to discover the intrinsic meaning of your life. He does not give you meaning, but he gives you methods and means to discover the meaning that you are already carrying within yourself like a seed.
Psychologists go on saying: First seek ye the kingdom of Freud, Jung, Adler, Pavlov, Skinner and company, and then all else shall be added unto you. It never happens; it has never happened yet to a single individual. It can’t happen in the very nature of things. Even Freud knows no meaning, lives without meaning, lives deep down in despair. He says that there is no hope for man, that man can never be happy, it is impossible. It must be his own understanding, his own experience of life. He says that at the most we can help man to be less miserable, that’s all. What kind of goal is this? - helping man to be a little less miserable! It is not very appealing.
Man needs blissfulness, not less miserableness. Man needs something positive - something to live for and something to die for, something so full of worth that even life can be sacrificed to it. But it should not be arbitrary. There are many arbitrary meanings.
Adolf Hitler gave Germany an arbitrary meaning: Live for the Aryan race, live for the pure Nordic blood, because you are born to rule the world. He gave great hope, but it flopped. It was bound to happen. He himself committed suicide; that was almost destined.