Chapter 10: No Yesterday, No Tomorrow, No Today
All perfectionists go mad. That is their ultimate, final end because as a separate unit you will remain imperfect, you cannot be perfect. How can you be perfect? - because your energy comes from the whole, it goes to the whole; you are not. A wave has to remain a wave, it cannot become the ocean. And if it tries too hard, it will go mad.
That’s why in the world of religion you see the most egoistic people possible, because they are trying to be perfect about everything. They insist on perfection. They cannot be relaxed, they will always be tense. And always something will be wrong and they have to put it right - and they will always remain in anxiety. Go to the madhouses, and there you will find ninety percent perfectionists.
A man of understanding remains relaxed. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care. No, he cares but he knows the limitations. He cares, but he knows that he is just a part. He never thinks himself to be the whole, so he is never worried.
He enjoys whatsoever he is doing, knowing well that it is going to remain imperfect, it cannot be perfect. But he enjoys doing it, and by enjoying it, whatsoever perfection is possible happens without creating any worry in him. He loves it, knowing well that it is not going to be the absolute thing. It cannot be; something will remain incomplete, it is the nature of things.
That’s why in the East we have always believed - and believed in a very true thing - that whenever somebody becomes perfect he is not born again, he disappears from this world. He has to, because in this world only imperfection is possible. He no longer fits here, he is not needed, he dissolves into the whole.
Even a Buddha to the very last moment of his life remains imperfect, but not worried about it. That’s why Buddhists have two terms for nirvana. The ultimate enlightenment they call mahaparinirvana, and enlightenment they call nirvana. Nirvana means a Buddha is in the body. He has attained to illumination, he has become a knower, but he is still in the body, the body of imperfection. He is still in the world of imperfect parts. This is nirvana, enlightenment.
Then when he leaves the body, when he simply disappears into the ultimate emptiness, it is mahaparinirvana, it is the great enlightenment. Now imperfection disappears, now there is no individuality, now he is whole. Only the whole can be perfect. Now Buddha can be perfect, because now he has dissolved into the whole, he is oceanic.
So remember this well, because all perfectionism is an egoistic effort, you go mad after everything. Try to do it as well as you can, but don’t be crazy about it; do as well as you can and accept the limitation. The limitation is going to be there, even about your character, morality, everything!