Chapter 9: The Monkey in the Forest
If you sleep,
desire grows in you
like a vine in the forest.
Like a monkey in the forest
you jump from tree to tree,
never finding the fruit -
from life to life,
never finding peace.
If you are filled with desire,
your sorrows swell
like the grass after the rain.
But if you subdue desire,
your sorrows fall from you
like drops of water from a lotus flower.
This is good counsel
and it is for everyone:
as the grass is cleared for the fresh root,
cut down desire
lest death after death crush you
as a river crushes the helpless reeds.
For if the roots hold firm,
a felled tree grows up again.
If desires are not uprooted,
sorrows grow again in you.
Gautama the Buddha’s most fundamental message to humanity is that man is asleep. Man is born asleep. He is not talking about the ordinary sleep; he is talking about a metaphysical sleep, a deep, deep unconsciousness within you. You are acting out of that unconsciousness, so whatsoever you do goes wrong. It is impossible to do right with this unconsciousness within you. This unconsciousness perverts all of your efforts, it leads you into wrong directions. It is bound to be so.
Even if a buddha is with you, you will misunderstand him for the mere reason that you are not conscious. If you are really asleep and a buddha is sitting by the side of you, you cannot recognize him, you cannot see him, you cannot feel him. You will go on dreaming in your own way; you will remain confined to your own private world of dreams.
The most private thing in life is your dreaming. When the dreaming disappears you enter into the world of the universal. Then you enter into truth, into God, into nirvana. But with all your dreams, that is impossible; you are lost in your own dreams. And it is not only one dream within you; millions of them are constantly growing.one is being replaced by another. You think that now you are awake because one dream has left you, but another has taken its place. You can even dream that you are awake. Buddhas go on shouting, but you don’t hear.
Jesus says: If you have eyes to see, see. If you have ears to hear, hear. He is not talking with deaf and blind people, he is talking with people like you. He is saying exactly the same thing that Buddha is saying: that you are asleep.
Jesus had been to India, and when Jesus came to India, Buddha was very much alive. Although he had left his body five hundred years before, the air was still full with his songs. There were still people deeply connected with him; there were still people for whom he was almost a tangible reality.