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Chapter 10: What Next?

And Buddha said to his disciples, “I am more offended by you because you know me and you have lived for years with me and still you react.” Puzzled, confused, the man returned home. He could not sleep the whole night. It is difficult, when you see a buddha, it is difficult to sleep again the way you used to sleep before. Impossible. Again and again he was haunted by the experience, he could not explain it to himself, what had happened. He was trembling all over and perspiring, he had never come across such a man; he had shattered his whole mind and his whole pattern; his whole past.

Next morning he was back there. He threw himself at Buddha’s feet. Buddha asked him again, “What next?”

This too is a way of saying something that cannot be said in language. When you come and touch my feet you are saying something which cannot be said ordinarily, for which all words are a little narrow, it cannot be contained in them.

Buddha said, “Look, Ananda. This man is again here, he is saying something. This man is a man of deep emotions.”

The man looked at Buddha and said, “Forgive me for what I have done yesterday.”

Buddha said, “Forgive? But I am not the same man to whom you did it. The Ganges goes on flowing. It is never the same Ganges again. Every man is a river. The man you spat upon is no more here. I look just like him but I am not the same; much has happened in these twenty-four hours! The river has flowed so much. Only in appearance I look the same. So I cannot forgive you because I have no grudge against you. And you also are new. I can see you are not the same man who came yesterday, because that man was angry. He was anger, he spat - and you are bowing at my feet, touching my feet, how can you be the same man? You are not the same man! So let us forget about it; those two - the man who spat and the man on whom he spat - both are no more. Come closer, let us talk of something else.

This is response.

Reaction is out of the past. If you react, out of old habits, out of mind, then you are not responding. To be responsive is to be totally alive in this moment, here-now.

Response is a beautiful phenomenon, it is life; reaction is dead, ugly, rotten, it is a corpse. Ninety-nine per cent of the time you react, and you call it response. Rarely it happens in your life that you respond. But whenever it happens you have a glimpse; whenever it happens the door to the unknown opens.

Go back to your home and look at your wife with response not with reaction.

I see people, they may have lived with a woman for thirty years, forty years - they have stopped looking at her! They know she is the old lady, the old woman; they think they know, but the river has been flowing all the time. This woman is not the same one to whom they got married; that is a past phenomenon, that woman exists nowhere now. This is totally a new woman.

Every moment you are being born anew. Every moment you die and every moment you are born. But have you looked lately at your wife, your mother, your father, your friend? You have stopped looking because you think they are all old, so what is the point of looking at them? Go back and look again with fresh eyes, as you would look at a stranger - and you will be surprised at how much this old woman has changed.

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