Chapter 1: That Realm of Nirvana
The ego has to die for the essential being to surface. That is the meaning of Prajnaparamita Vajrachchhedika. It cuts like a thunderbolt. In one stroke it can destroy you. It is one of the greatest sermons of Buddha. Get in tune with it.
Before we enter into the sutra, a few things to be understood.that will help you to understand it. Gautama the Buddha has started a spirituality that is nonrepressive and nonideological. That is a very rare phenomenon. The ordinary kind of spirituality, the garden variety, is very repressive. It depends on repression. It does not transform man, it only cripples man. It does not liberate man, it enslaves man. It is oppressive, it is ugly.
Listen to these words of Thomas à Kempis, author of Imitation of Christ. He writes: “The more violence you do to yourself, the greater will be your growth in grace. There is no other way save of daily mortification. To despise oneself is the best and the most perfect counsel.” There are thousands of saints down the ages who will agree with Thomas à Kempis. And Thomas à Kempis is pathological.
Or the French priest Bossuet says: “Cursed be the earth! Cursed be the earth! A thousand times cursed be the earth.” Why? Why should the earth be cursed? Life has to be cursed. These people have been thinking as if God is against life, as if life is against God. Life is God, there is no antagonism, there is no separation even. They are not different things, they are two names for one reality.
Remember this: Buddha is nonrepressive. And if you find Buddhist monks to be repressive, remember, they have not understood Buddha at all. They have brought their own pathology into his teachings. And Buddha is nonideological. He gives no ideology, because all ideologies are of the mind. And if ideologies are of the mind, they cannot take you beyond the mind. No ideology can become a bridge to reach beyond the mind. All ideologies have to be dropped, only then the mind will be dropped.
Buddha believes in no ideals either, because all ideals create tension and conflict in man. They divide, they create anguish. You are one thing and they want you to be something else. Between these two you are stretched, torn apart. Ideals create misery. Ideals create schizophrenia. The more ideals there are, the more people will be schizophrenic, they will be split.
Only a nonideological consciousness can avoid being split. And if you are split how can you be happy? how can you be silent? how can you know anything of peace, of stillness?
The ideological person is continuously fighting with himself. Each moment there is conflict. He lives in conflict, he lives in confusion, because he cannot decide who really he is - the ideal or the reality. He cannot trust himself, he becomes afraid of himself, he loses confidence. And once a man loses confidence he loses all glory. Then he is ready to become a slave to anybody - to any priest, to any politician. Then he is just ready, waiting to fall in some trap.