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Chapter 19: The Sunlit Peaks of Sacredness

The temple in Bodhgaya where Gautam Buddha became enlightened has been made in memory of two things.one is a Bodhi tree under which he used to sit. Just by the side of the tree there are small stones for a slow walk. He was meditating, sitting, and when he would feel that sitting had been too much - a little exercise was needed for the body - he would walk on those stones. That was his walking meditation.

When I was in Bodhgaya, having a meditation camp there, I went to the temple. I saw Buddhist lamas from Tibet, from Japan, from China. They were all paying their respect to the tree, and I saw not a single one paying his respect to those stones on which Buddha had walked miles and miles. I told them, “This is not right. You should not forget those stones. They have been touched by Gautam Buddha’s feet millions of times. But I know why you are not paying any attention to them, because you have forgotten completely that Buddha was emphasizing that you should watch every act of your body: walking, sitting, lying down.”

You should not let a single moment go by unconsciously. Watchfulness will sharpen your consciousness. This is the essential religion - all else is simply talk. But Waduda, you ask me, “Is there something more?” No, if you can do only watchfulness, nothing else is needed.

My effort here is to make religion as simple as possible. All the religions have done just the opposite: they have made things very complex - so complex that people have never tried them. For example, in the Buddhist scriptures there are thirty-three thousand principles to be followed by a Buddhist monk; even to remember them is impossible. Just the very number thirty-three thousand is enough to freak you out: “I am finished! My whole life will be disturbed and destroyed.”

I teach you: just find a single principle that suits you, that feels in tune with you, and that is enough.