Chapter 4: Two Empty Skies Meeting
The first question:
Jesus and Buddha were certainly individuals. Cannot their individuality and its expression be called personality? You too, it could be said, have a personality, yet not an ego.
Please clarify the concepts of personality, ego, individuality, and self.
The first thing to be understood is about the words “individuality” and “personality.” “Individuality” means one who is indivisible, one who has become a unity, one who is no more divided. It is a beautiful word. In this sense, Buddha, Jesus, Zarathustra, can be called individuals - in this root meaning of the word, not the way you use it.
Your use of “individuality” is almost a synonym for “personality.” “Personality” has different orientations. It comes from Greek drama. In Greek drama the actors used to have “personas,” masks. They would be hiding behind the mask. You could not have seen their faces, you could have only heard their voice. “Sona” means sound. “Persona” means you can have a contact only with their sounds, not with their faces. They are hiding somewhere. From that comes the word “personality.”
In that sense Buddha, Jesus, Zarathustra, Lao Tzu, have no personalities. They are just there in front of you, not hiding anything. They are naked, confronting you in their absolute purity. There is nothing to hide. You can see them through and through, they are transparent beings.
So you cannot say rightly that they have personalities or that they are persons. They are individuals, but remember the meaning of the word - they cannot be divided. They don’t have fragments. They are not a crowd. They are not polypsychic. They don’t have many minds. Their manyness has disappeared and they have become one, and their oneness is such that there is no way to divide it. No sword can cut them in two. Their indivisibility is ultimate.
In that sense you can call them individuals. But it is dangerous. Because this oneness comes only when the many is lost. When the many is lost how can you say even that one is one? Because one can be called meaningfully one only when the possibility for many exists. But the very possibility has disappeared.
Buddha is not many, but how can you call him one? That’s why in India we call “God” advait, non-dual. We could have called him one, but we have resisted that temptation. We have never called him one, because the moment that you call something one, the two has entered - because one cannot exist without the two, the three, the four. One is meaningful only in a series. One is meaningful only in a hierarchy.