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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 4
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Chapter 5: Dust against the Wind

As the rich merchant with few servants
shuns a dangerous road
and the man who loves life shuns poison,
beware the dangers of folly and mischief.

For an unwounded hand may handle poison.
The innocent come to no harm.

But as dust thrown against the wind,
mischief is blown back in the face
of the fool who wrongs the pure and harmless.

Some are reborn in hell,
some in this world,
the good in heaven.
But the pure are not born at all.

Not in the sky,
nor in the midst of the sea,
nor deep in the mountains,
can you hide from your own mischief.

Not in the sky,
nor in the midst of the ocean,
nor deep in the mountains,
can you hide from your own death.

Life is not given ready-made - not to humanity at least. That is the dignity of human beings, and the danger too. All other animals are born ready-made, preprogrammed. Their whole life is a simple unfoldment of something built-in. They need not live their lives consciously; their life is unconscious, it is mechanical. It can’t be good, it can’t be bad; it simply is. You cannot call a tree a sinner or a saint, and you cannot call a tiger or cat virtuous or full of vice. Those words are meaningless as far as existence below humanity is concerned. They become immensely significant referred to man.

Man has a special situation. He is born like all other animals, with a difference - a difference that really makes a difference. The difference is of tremendous value to understand, because one may go on avoiding it and to avoid it is to avoid your true life. There is every possibility to remain oblivious of it, because it seems more convenient and more comfortable not to be reminded of it. To be reminded of it means a great challenge: a challenge to adventure into the unknown, into that which is not preprogrammed.

God is not a built-in possibility; it is an open opportunity. It can happen, it may not happen. It all depends on you - how you live, how much consciousness you bring to your life, how nonmechanical you become.

Millions of people don’t want to be reminded of this dimension at all; hence their antagonism against Buddha, Christ, Socrates. These people - Buddha, Christ, Socrates - goad you, they don’t allow you to sleep comfortably. They bring the point again and again to your awareness that this is not the right way to live, that you are missing life. This is not human life that you are living, this is animal life.

And sometimes you can fall even below animals. No animal can become a Genghis Khan or Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin, because animals have no choice. They can’t become Buddhas, they can’t become Genghis Khans either. They remain whatsoever they are; they can’t move anywhere else. They have a life already arranged; they will simply follow the course.

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