Chapter 1: Hold Your Tongue
Buddha says there are two kinds of enlightened people in the world; he is very scientific about his approach. His categories are very significant; nobody has done that before or since. He says the first category of the enlightened ones is called arhatas. The arhata is a mystic; he has known, he has realized, but he is utterly unconcerned about others. He has found the way. He has reached his home and he does not care about others who are seeking and searching, because his understanding is that if they seek and search authentically they will find the way themselves. And if they are not true seekers, nobody can make them true seekers; hence no help is needed. The arhata does not help anyone. He has traveled alone and he knows everybody has to travel alone.
When Buddha became enlightened himself, his first idea was to become an arhata. For seven days he remained absolutely silent, not saying a single word.
The story is:
Gods from heaven came. They were very much worried because only once in a while does a person become awakened, and if he remains absolutely silent the world will miss his message. And his message is a medicine for those who are dying; his message is a nourishment for those who are starving for truth. His message can be a boat to the other shore. His message has to be delivered, he has to be persuaded. They came, and they argued.
But Buddha said, “You must agree with me that nobody was able to help me - of course, I knocked on many doors - because it is something which is not transferable. Even if they had it they could not give it to me; I had to find it by my own effort. Hence I think that is the only way: people have to seek and search; it cannot be borrowed.”
He was right and the gods had to agree. And he said, “Even if I say it, only one out of ten thousand people will understand. The remaining ones will not understand; on the contrary, they will misunderstand. So why create so much misunderstanding in the world? The world is already in confusion - why create more confusion? Out of compassion I am keeping quiet. And the one who will understand will find it himself anyway. The man who can understand what I say is so intelligent that really he needs no help. So what is the point? Why should I bother?”
The gods were silenced. They moved into the woods to ponder over the matter. “How to convince the Buddha? He appears to be right, he is logical, but some way has to be found.” It is good that they were able to find some way, otherwise we would have missed The Dhammapada; these beautiful sutras would have been missed. The world would have been far poorer. The whole credit goes to those anonymous gods who persuaded Buddha!
They pondered over the matter for hours; they found a way. They came back and they said, “We agree with you, but only on one point we cannot agree. And that point is that we understand that only one person will understand out of ten thousand, so you need not bother about that one person; he will find himself sooner or later. It is only a question of time, and time does not matter because existence is eternal. So what does it matter, how does it matter, whether one achieves today and somebody else achieves tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? All those who have become awakened are contemporaries; it does not make much difference at all.”