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Chapter 5: Forfeiting Duality

When does catharsis take place in the discipline of Vipassana? I practice Vipassana. Also, in what way can my work as a musician be helpful to me in moving toward awareness?

Vipassana is a technique of meditation that is centuries old. It must have been discovered thousands of years ago; who discovered it is not known. It is an amazing technique. It is the easiest way to know oneself. The meaning of the word vipassana is: sitting silently becoming a witness to oneself. Pashya means to see. Vipassana means sitting silently within and seeing: here comes the “in” breath, here goes the “out” breath - and to witness that also. The heart is beating - and seeing that also. Sitting silently within, watching all that is happening - just watching and witnessing - all sounds disappear and a great nothingness surrounds you.

Buddha spread the technique of Vipassana worldwide, but there exists one obstacle. And that obstacle is that twenty-five centuries have gone by since Gautam Buddha’s time, but the technique of Vipassana has remained the same, although man’s stupidity is no longer the same. Man has kept moving from stupidity to even more stupidity. Vipassana is a simple matter for any innocent person, but modern man is not innocent. Modern man is so full of noise and so full of dishonesties that you can forget all about being honest with others - he is not even honest with himself.

I have heard:

A thief went on a pilgrimage with Eknath. Eknath was embarking on a pilgrimage and a whole group of his disciples was also going with him. This was a well-known thief - the whole village knew him. The thief asked Eknath to take him along on the pilgrimage too. “Save a poor wretch like me too! Let me also have the opportunity of visiting all the holy places with you,” he said.

Eknath replied, “I have no objection, but there is one condition. The pilgrimage will last for three to six months and during that period you will not steal. Otherwise I don’t want to bring you along if you will just be trouble. There will be fifty to sixty of my disciples and if you are stealing from them.”

The man said, “I swear to you that I will not steal.”

Eknath consented, “Then there is no problem; you can come along.”

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