Chapter 2: The Greatest Rebellion Ever Tried
And even when a buddha reminds you, you don’t feel good. You feel offended, as if your life is being condemned. He is not condemning your life - buddhas never condemn anything. They simply say whatsoever is the case. If you are blind, they say you are blind. If you are dead, they say you are dead. They simply state the fact - and they state the fact because there is a possibility to go beyond it.
Buddha insists again and again that life is misery because life can be tremendous bliss. But unless you understand the first thing you will not understand the second thing.
First you have to be very, very aware that your life is misery, so much so that it becomes impossible to live in the old way even for a single moment. When you see your house is on fire, how can you go on living in it? You will run, you will escape from the house! You will forget all your treasures. You will not carry your cherished items, beautiful paintings, art works, or whatsoever you love. You will forget all about your postal stamps and your picture albums. You will forget even your wife, your husband, your children. You will remember them when you are out of the house.
Buddha used to tell a story:
There was an old man, eighty years old, who became blind in old age. His friends, his physicians, suggested to him that his eyes could be cured, but the old man was a philosopher, a logician, a great scholar. He said, “What do I need eyes for? I have twelve sons - that means twenty-four eyes; their twelve wives - that means twenty-four eyes more; my wife - two eyes more; and so many children of my sons.. I have so many eyes, why do I need eyes for myself? In this house there are at least one hundred eyes; if two eyes are missing it doesn’t matter. My needs are looked after.”
His logic had a point in it. He silenced his friends and physicians. But one night the house caught fire. Those hundred eyes escaped - they forgot all about the old man. Yes, they remembered, but they remembered only when they were safe outside. Suddenly they remembered that the old man is in the house. What to do now? And the flames were so big now they could not go in. And the old man was trying to find his way stumbling, getting burned here and there. And then he remembered that his logic was absolute stupidity.
In times of real need only your own eyes can be of help. But it was too late: he died, he was burned alive.
When Buddha insists again and again that life is dukkha - misery, anguish, pain - he is simply reminding you that your house is on fire and your eyes are still blind. It is time - prepare! Your eyes can be cured. A way can be found to come out of this fire. You can still save yourself, all is not yet lost. Hence the insistence.