Chapter 21: Spice in Buddha’s Pot
“A great painter can bring you out in it - your sadness, your blissfulness, your silence. The photograph cannot catch hold of it because they are not physical things. But a great painter or a great sculptor can manage to catch hold of them. He’s not much concerned about the outlines, he is much more concerned about the inner reality.”
And I told the conference, “I would like this story to be added to the scriptures because all the scriptures were written after Gautam Buddha’s death - three hundred years afterwards. So what difference does it make if I add few more stories after twenty-five centuries, not three centuries. The whole question is that it should represent the essential reality, the basic taste.”
And you will be surprised that people agreed with me; even Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan agreed with me. This kind of understanding and agreement is a Buddhist phenomenon, it is a speciality which has happened in different branches of Buddhism.
And I am not even a Buddhist. And they went on inviting me to their conferences. And I told them, “I am not a Buddhist.”
They said, “That does not matter. What you say is closer to Gautam Buddha than what we say - although we are Buddhists.”
You cannot expect that from Christians or Mohammedans or Hindus. They are fanatics.
Buddhism is a non-fanatic religion.
Just now when we were in Nepal - Nepal is a Buddhist country - the chief of all the Buddhist monks used to come to listen to my lectures. And I came to know that he was going round meeting ministers, and the prime minister, and other important people and telling them, “You should come. Don’t decide by reading nonsense newspapers. Come and listen to him.”
He used to sit just in front of me - an old man - and whenever I said something which was very close to Buddha’s heart, I could see that old man’s head nodding. He was not doing it knowingly. He was just so much in tune that he felt it; this was the purest thing that he has heard. And I was not talking about Buddha; but the taste he understood.
The whole day he was moving around Kathmandu, forgetting his own work as president of the monks of Nepal. He was telling people that they should come and listen to me, and saying, “Don’t be bothered what newspapers say. When the man is here, why should you miss him?” And he brought many people by and by.
You cannot hope for this with a Hindu shankaracharya, or the head of the Jaina monks, or a Catholic pope. It is impossible.
Buddha has left a tremendously meaningful legacy, and his impact is still alive. No man has left such an impact on humanity; no man has made man so humble, so receptive, so intelligent, so unprejudiced.
So thousands of people have thrown their spices in the Buddhist pot, but nobody has been able to change its basic essence.