Chapter 1: The Anguish of Contemporary Man
So we have gathered here to discuss how the color of peace may be spread far and wide in this vast ocean of life. But along with this, I am also aware that a person who becomes interested in his own peace alone, can never become peaceful in the true sense, because to be interested only in oneself is one of the causes of dis-ease. To be only self-centered is one of the fundamental reasons for dis-ease. A person who becomes self-centered and is interested only in himself, who wants to become oblivious of everything else around him, is like someone who builds a beautiful house and does not want to bother with the piles of garbage surrounding the house. He may create a beautiful garden in his property without bothering at all that it is stinking all around his house. If the whole neighborhood is dirty, his garden, his flowers and their fragrance will not mean much. That stink will enter into his house, and drown the fragrance of his flowers.
Man should not only be interested in himself, but also in his environment. A religious person is not only interested in himself, he also takes an interest in everything around him. I also feel that it is not enough to be only concerned with ones own peace; it is necessary to be concerned that the breezes of peace reach to all sentient beings with whom we are inter-related, with whom we are connected. This should also be of interest to us. And a person who becomes eager and thirsty to bring all of life around himself towards peace, will discover that he may or may not succeed in making others peaceful, but in the very effort he himself certainly becomes peaceful.
There is an anecdote in the life story of Buddha, perhaps it is a fictitious story but it is very beautiful. When Buddha attained to nirvana, the ultimate liberation, he reached the door of moksha, salvation, and the gatekeeper opened the gate. But Buddha stood with his back towards it. So the gatekeeper asked, ‘Why are you standing with your back towards moksha?’ Buddha said, ‘There are many people behind me, and until they all attain to moksha, I will stop here and wait. I am not so hard, so cruel and violent that I can enter salvation alone. All the peace I have attained is simply saying to me, that I should be the last person to enter moksha, first all others should enter.’
It is a very beautiful story; the story goes that Buddha is still waiting at the gate of moksha, so that all others may enter first; he himself wants to enter last of all.
The heart of someone in whom such a feeling has arisen, has already attained to moksha, he need not enter any gate of moksha. For him, all notions of moksha become irrelevant. One in whom such feelings of compassion have arisen has already attained to moksha. Only those people become peaceful in whose life a strong inspiration to spread peace all around starts functioning.