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Chapter 14: Suffering: Broken Harmony

Any outward help cannot go very deep as far as the mind is concerned. It can only make you adjusted. And the word adjusted really means nothing because with each culture, adjustment is different. A person who is well-adjusted in an Eastern society is not so adjusted in a Western society. In a particular religion, one may be adjusted, in another religion, he may become maladjusted. So adjustment is a criterion which is more sociological than psychological. It is concerned more with the society to which you are adjusted.

When the innermost part of you - the inner being, the spiritual - is not in harmony, then not even adjustment from without can help. And something more can be understood. The innermost, the central part of your being is not reached at all through psychoanalysis, through any science of the mind that is prevalent today. In fact, in Western languages you have nothing parallel with pain and anguish as far as the third, innermost part is concerned - no word. Pain is physiological, anguish is mental, but when the spirit, your being, is not in harmony, is unhealthy, then you have no word for it.

Buddha used the word dukkha. It cannot be translated really. It is neither pain nor anguish nor misery. Dukkha means an existence without meaning, a meaningless existence. You go on existing without any meaning, you go on existing unnecessarily, you become just a burden to yourself. That is what is meant by dukkha: you have become just a burden to yourself.

Buddha was not physically ill. He had one of the most beautiful and harmonious physiques. He was not in anguish. There was no psychological complexity, no psychological disharmony. He was one of the most adjusted beings, but he felt dukkha.

So I will have to explain to you what dukkha is. That is real suffering; dukkha is the innermost suffering.

The whole story will have to be told to you.

When Buddha was born, all the wise men came to bless him. One wise man came from the Himalayas. The moment he saw Siddhartha - Buddha’s name - he began to weep. Buddha’s father was disturbed. He asked, “Why are you weeping? You have come to bless the child and instead you are weeping. Is something going to be wrong with the child?”

The wise old man said, “No, nothing is going to be wrong with the child. I am weeping for myself. This child is going to be a buddha, an enlightened one, and I will not be there. I am going to die this year; my course is completed. And I have been seeking and searching for a man who is enlightened, but I couldn’t find one in my life. This child is going to be an enlightened one, but I will not be there. That’s why I am weeping.”

But this forecast disturbed the father even more, because if Buddha, if Siddhartha, is going to be enlightened, then what will become of his kingdom?

He asked the other wise men how to stop the child. They said, “There are only two possibilities. If he can be prevented from becoming aware of suffering, of dukkha, only then can you hold him, otherwise he is going to be a sannyasin. So don’t let him know suffering, don’t let him know dukkha.”

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