Chapter 5: Character Kills
The child has a body but he has no form. In his consciousness no form yet exists. Even if you put a mirror before the child he will not recognize himself. He will look at the mirror but he will not recognize that he is reflected there, because he does not yet know who he is. That is his innocence. Then things start gathering around: the name and it becomes an imprisonment. The form, the identity, the religion, the society, the color, the nation - they all become confinements.
Now the child is shrinking; the vastness of the sky is disappearing. Clouds are gathering and they go on suffocating your being. By the time you die, you were already dead long before.
This is the meaning of these sutras: that if one is to attain to one’s real glory again, one has to become indefinable, one has to lose character.
It will be very difficult to understand me. I say one has to lose character, because character is what gives you limitations. Character is a fixity, a frozenness. Unless the character melts and you start feeling again, and you become unknown to yourself and unpredictable.. Nobody, not even you yourself, knows what is going to happen in the next moment. You start living from moment to moment. The calculation is gone, the planning disappears. You float like a white cloud in the sky, moving but without any motivation; moving but not knowing where you are going; moving but remaining in the moment - so totally herenow that past and future make no sense, only the present is meaningful.
Then what will be your identity? Who will be you? You cannot say anything about it; it is unutterable. That is what Buddha calls the inner emptiness: anatta, no self. That’s what Jesus calls the kingdom of God - something mysterious that you are, and not that you have to become. You are already that.
It happened in the Second World War in a Japanese concentration camp. The guards of the concentration camp had come to know that the American army’s arrival was imminent. They could reach any moment, and Japan would be defeated. So they became afraid for their own lives. They unlocked the doors of the concentration camp and fled to the woods.
But those who were imprisoned in the camp never came to know that now the doors were not locked. They were still imprisoned. The guards had gone, the locks were unlocked, but the prisoners were still prisoners. They were already free, but they did not know it.
The next day when the liberators came they had only to announce to them, “You are already free. We have to do nothing.”
This is what I say to you: that you are already free. The guards have never been there except in your imagination, and the locks were never locked. You have seen a dream and you are imprisoned in it. And this is the only good news that Jesus brings to you, or I bring to you: that you are already free, not that you have to become free.