Chapter 9: The Discipline beyond Discipline
The Buddha said:
My doctrine is to think the thought that is unthinkable; to practice the deed that is not doing; to speak the speech that is inexpressible; and to be trained in the discipline which is beyond discipline. Those who understand this are near; those who are confused are far. The way is beyond words and expressions, is bound by nothing earthly. Lose sight of it to an inch or miss it for a moment, and we are away from it forever more.
This sutra is one of the most important, one of the very central to Buddha’s message. The very essence of his message is there like a seed. Go patiently with me into it, try to understand it. Because if you understand this sutra, you would have understood all that Buddha wants you to understand. If you miss this sutra, you miss all.
The Buddha said:
My doctrine is to think the thought that is unthinkable; to practice the deed that is not doing; to speak the speech that is inexpressible; and to be trained in the discipline that is beyond discipline.
The choice of the word “doctrine” is unfortunate, but there are difficulties in translating. Buddha must have used the word siddhanta. It has a totally different meaning. Ordinarily it is translated as doctrine; it should not be translated so. But the problem is that in the English language there is no equivalent to siddhanta. So I will have to explain it to you.
A doctrine is a consistent logical theory. A siddhanta has nothing to do with logic, theory, consistency. A siddhanta is a realization, a siddhanta is an experience. A doctrine is intellectual, siddhanta is existential. You can make a doctrine without being transformed by it. You can make a great doctrine without even being touched by it. But if you want to achieve a siddhanta you will have to be totally transformed, because it will be a vision of a totally different person.
The word siddhanta means the assertion of one who has become a siddha, one who has achieved, one who has arrived - his statement. You can be a great philosopher, you can figure out intellectually many things, you can systematize your inferences, and you can make a very consistent, logical syllogism which almost appears like truth, but is not truth. It has been manufactured by your mind. A doctrine is man-made; a siddhanta has nothing to do with man and his effort. A siddhanta is a vision - you come upon it.
For example, a blind man can think about light and can try to figure out what it is all about. He can even listen to great treatises on light and he can make a certain idea about it - what it is. But he will be as far away from light as he was before. He can even expound the doctrine about light, he can explain its physics, he can explain its structure. He can go deep into the constituents of light, he can talk about, he can write a PhD on it, a thesis. He can be declared a doctor by a university, because he has propounded a doctrine - but still he does not know what light is. He has no eyes to see.