Chapter 1: We Are What We Think
The third meaning of dhamma can be God - but Buddha never uses the word God because it has become wrongly associated with the idea of a person, and the law is a presence, not a person. Hence Buddha never uses the word God, but whenever he wants to convey something of godliness he uses the word dhamma. His mind is that of a very profound scientist. Because of this, many have thought him to be an atheist - he is not. He is the greatest theist the world has ever known or will ever know - but he never talks about God. He never uses the word, that’s all, but by dhamma he means exactly the same. “That which is” is the meaning of the word God, and that’s exactly the meaning of dhamma.
Dhamma also means discipline - different dimensions of the word. One who wants to know the truth will have to discipline himself in many ways. Don’t forget the meaning of the word discipline: it simply means the capacity to learn, the availability to learn, the receptivity to learn. Hence, the word disciple. Disciple means one who is ready to drop his old prejudices, to put his mind aside, and look into the matter without any prejudice, without any a priori conception.
Dhamma means discipline; and dhamma also means the ultimate truth. When mind disappears, when the ego disappears, then what remains? Something certainly remains, but it cannot be called “something” - hence Buddha calls it “nothing.” But let me remind you, otherwise you will misunderstand him: whenever he uses the word nothing he means no-thing. Divide the word in two; don’t use it as one word - bring a hyphen between no and thing, then you know exactly the meaning of nothing.
The ultimate law is not a thing. It is not an object that you can observe. It is your interiority, it is subjectivity.
Buddha would have agreed totally with the Danish thinker, Søren Kierkegaard. He says: “Truth is subjectivity.” That is the difference between fact and truth. A fact is an objective thing. Science goes on searching for more and more facts, and science will never arrive at truth - it cannot by the very definition of the word. Truth is the interiority of the scientist, but he never looks at it. He goes on observing other things. He never becomes aware of his own being.
That is the last meaning of dhamma: your interiority, your subjectivity, your truth.
One thing very significant - allow it to sink deep into your heart: truth is never a theory, a hypothesis; it is always an experience. Hence my truth cannot be your truth. My truth is inescapably my truth; it will remain my truth, it cannot be yours. We cannot share it. Truth is unsharable, nontransferable, incommunicable, inexpressible.
I can explain to you how I have attained it, but I cannot say what it is. The “how” is explainable, but not the “why.” The discipline can be shown, but not the goal. Each one has to come to it in his own way. Each one has to come to it in his own inner being. In absolute aloneness it is revealed.