Chapter 3: Meditation Requires Courage
It is not iron that imprisons you
nor rope nor wood,
but the pleasure you take in gold and jewels,
in sons and wives.
yet they hold you down.
Can you snap them?
There are those who can,
who surrender the world,
forsake desire, and follow the way.
O slave of desire,
float upon the stream.
Little spider, stick to your web.
Or else abandon your sorrows for the way.
Abandon yesterday, and tomorrow,
Cross over to the farther shore,
beyond life and death.
Do your thoughts trouble you?
Does passion disturb you?
Beware of thirstiness
lest your wishes become desires
and desire binds you.
The most fundamental message of Gautama the Buddha is not God, is not soul.it is freedom: freedom absolute, total, unconditional. He does not want to give you an ideology, because every ideology creates its own slavery. He does not want to give you a religion, because religion binds you. That’s exactly the meaning of the English word religion - that which binds you together. Religion is a bondage, very subtle, so subtle that unless you are very aware you will not be able to see it. He does not want to give you a philosophy of life, because any philosophy given by somebody else is going to fetter you. You have to live according to your own light, not according to somebody else’s light.
The whole world is full of slaves for the simple reason that everybody is living according to somebody else. Somebody is living according to Jesus, somebody is living according to Mahavira, somebody is living according to Krishna, somebody is living even according to Buddha.
Buddha says: Be a light unto yourself. Unless you create a light within your own being you will remain a slave, you will be dominated. And there are crafty priests, cunning, very clever, very worldly; and they know, they are very experienced in creating new bondages for you. If you escape from one prison, they immediately create another. They are very clever with words. They go on interpreting words in such subtle ways that you will never be able to understand how these words of the buddhas are being manipulated, distorted. Words that were meant to give you freedom have been made into chains.
But man is very unaware; hence he goes on remaining a victim - a victim of all kinds of psychological exploitation.
Buddha teaches you freedom as the ultimate goal, the summum bonum, the highest good. There is nothing higher than freedom. Every other value is a by-product of freedom; they follow freedom as a consequence.