Chapter 1: The World Is on Fire
The world is on fire!
And are you laughing?
You are deep in the dark.
Will you not ask for light?
For behold your body -
a painted puppet, a toy,
jointed and sick and full of false imaginings,
a shadow that shifts and fades.
How frail it is!
Frail and pestilent,
it sickens, festers and dies.
Like every living thing
in the end it sickens and dies.
Behold these whitened bones,
the hollow shells and husks of a dying summer.
And are you laughing?
You are a house of bones,
flesh and blood for plaster.
Pride lives in you,
hypocrisy, decay and death.
The glorious chariots of kings shatter.
So also the body turns to dust.
But the spirit of purity is changeless
and so the pure instruct the pure.
The ignorant man is an ox.
He grows in size, not in wisdom.
The most fundamental question before Gautama the Buddha was, “What is wisdom?” And the same is true for everyone. Down the ages the sages have been asking, “What is wisdom?” If it can be answered by you, authentically rooted in your own experience, it brings a transformation of life.
You can repeat the definitions of wisdom given by others, but they won’t help you. You will be repeating them without understanding them, and that is one of the pitfalls to be avoided on the path. Never repeat what you have not experienced yourself. Avoid knowledge, only then can you grow in wisdom.
Knowledge is something borrowed from others, wisdom grows in you. Wisdom is inner, knowledge outer. Knowledge comes from the outside, clings to your surface, gives you great pride and keeps you closed, far, far away from understanding. Understanding cannot be studied, nobody can teach it to you. You have to be a light unto yourself. You have to seek and search within your own being, because it is already there at the very core. If you dive deep you will find it. You will have to learn how to dive within yourself; not in the scriptures, but within your own existence.
The taste of your own existence is wisdom. Wisdom is experience, not information.
Buddha renounced the world; it is reported in all the scriptures, but the report is not given in the true context. It is reported that Buddha renounced the world because he was against the world - because unless you renounce the world you cannot gain the eternal, the other world, the other shore. This is giving a totally false interpretation to Buddha’s great renunciation.