Chapter 7: Zorba and Buddha: Their Split Is Your Social Disease
I will tell you a few other stories around Buddha so you can understand:
Ananda lived with Buddha for forty-two years. Nobody else lived so long with Buddha, nobody was allowed to live so long with him. But there was a problem. Ananda was Buddha’s cousin-brother, and older than him, and the Eastern tradition. Before taking initiation - Ananda was the elder brother - he said to Gautam Buddha, “Siddharth” - Siddharth was his family name - “Listen, after initiation, whatever you say I will have to do. I will be your disciple; you will be my master. Right now I am your elder brother, you are my younger brother; whatever I say you have to do. Three things you have to remember - don’t forget them when I become a disciple.” It is a beautiful story.
Buddha said, “What are the three things?”
Ananda said, “First, I will always live with you; you cannot send me anywhere else to spread the message. Second, if I want anybody to meet you - even in the middle of the night - you cannot say no; that is my personal privilege. And thirdly, I will sleep in the same room where you sleep. Even in sleep, you cannot make me stay in a different place.” Buddha promised, and these three conditions were followed for forty-two years. But Ananda did not become enlightened. You can understand his pain and his anguish - people who had come long after him became enlightened, and he remained in his ignorance just the same as before. The day Buddha died he said, “What will happen to me? I could not become enlightened even though I was with you for forty-two years, day in, day out, twenty-four hours a day. Without you, I don’t see any hope.”
Buddha said, “You don’t understand the dynamics of life. Perhaps you will become enlightened only when I am gone; I am the barrier. You take me for granted. “The day you asked those three conditions, I thought that those conditions were going to be a barrier for you. You cannot forget that you are my elder brother, even now. You cannot forget that you have a certain privilege over others. You cannot forget that I have agreed on three conditions only for you, for nobody else. Perhaps my death will help.”
Buddha died. And after twenty-four hours, there was a great meeting of all the enlightened disciples to write down whatever Buddha had said in those forty-two years. But the problem was that nobody had been with him continuously for forty-two years except Ananda - but he could not be allowed in the meeting because he was not enlightened. An ignorant man, unenlightened - you cannot rely on what he is saying, whether he heard it or imagined it, whether he has forgotten something, whether he has put his own interpretation on it. It was difficult.