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Chapter 17: The Manifestation of the Invisible

Only those who have the courage that is necessary for moving into the unknown can enter there. Those who ask for maps will have to stop outside the temple. Those who say, “What will happen to us if we go any further? Until we are reassured about this, we will not go on” - those people simply cannot go any further. Only those who are very courageous can enter there, only those who say, “We are not afraid or worried. Let whatever comes, come!” Only those who say, “We are not bothered at all about safety and security; even if death comes, we are ready,” can enter.

At the gateway of the temple, only the one who can show that much daring - even to disappear - can enter.

Knowledge acquired from the outside can be of no help whatsoever, because that kind of knowledge cannot comprehend or even touch the supreme experience. This is why whoever reaches to that state has an original experience. Even though thousands of buddhas have reached there, the experience is always original and untouched: the experience is new. Whenever a person enters the temple, he finds that nothing there is stale. If it were possible to give you maps, scriptural scholars and guides, and if you could then enter the temple with their descriptions of the experience, your own experience would be false.

American psychologists say that today, wherever American tourists travel, they feel that they have already seen it all before. Everything appears stale to them. And the funny part of all this is that today, it is Americans who have the greatest possibility to travel all over the globe. All over the world, eighty percent of the vast crowd of tourists that you come across are Americans. It is the Americans who travel to every nook and corner of the world. And a very interesting thing has happened: wherever they go, they feel as if they have seen it all before. Everything appears to be stale to them.

They have seen the Taj Mahal a thousand times already on the television, at the movies, in pictures and so forth, so when they arrive at the real Taj Mahal, it is a Taj Mahal that they have seen thousands of times before. It is stale. They have pinned great hopes on seeing it, but when they arrive they feel that they have already seen it many, many times. And the fact is that the Taj Mahal seems to be so beautiful in photographs, on the TV and in the cinema, that it can never be so beautiful when it is seen by the naked eye. That’s why the real Taj Mahal appears to pale a little. The Taj Mahal that you saw in the photos was much more colorful, it appeared to be much more precious. They went to see it thinking that the original must be even more beautiful, but the original seems pale in comparison. Because they have already been seen it so many times before, there seems to be nothing original about it.

This is why, even though the American tourist travels so much, he never seems to arrive anywhere, he doesn’t experience anything. Wherever he goes, he feels that he has seen it all before. Everything looks stale, everything seems boring.

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