Chapter 9: A Philosopher Asks Buddha
And in those days when systems were being created everywhere, and such complicated, complex systems that there has never been anything to compare with them.. Historians of philosophy and religion say that at that time India knew all that has been known in philosophy - every shade and nuance of thought, every approach. India has looked at all the paths and possibilities, and every possibility has been finished. Now, since that time, there has been nothing new in philosophy; and if you think there is something new, it only means that you are not well acquainted with India. There has been nothing new since Buddha, because at that time everything was searched, almost every possibility finished.
And if you think.In the West many people come to realize something and think that they are giving something new. It looks new because they are unacquainted with it, they don’t know it. And now the whole of this treasure is hidden in Pali, in Prakrit and in Sanskrit, languages not spoken, not used. But every nuance of thought.
For example, when Sigmund Freud said for the first time that, “I suspect that the conscious mind is not the whole mind. Deep down below the conscious there is a subconscious layer. And even beyond that, I suspect an unconscious layer,” it was thought that it was a very revolutionary discovery. But in Buddha’s time this was known; not only this - Buddha talks about still further layers. He talks about seven layers of the mind. These three are there, as Freud says - but four more.and if he is right up to the third, there is every possibility he will be right beyond them, because he is on the right track.
Then Jung suggested that beyond the unconscious there seems to be a collective unconscious - that is the fourth layer of Buddha. Now the whole of psychology has come to this fourth layer. All four are suggested by Buddha - but three more are there; sooner or later we will discover them.
Since then there has never been such appreciation for thinking, logic. And the hair-splitting went to its very extreme. Buddha talks about seven layers of mind and Prabuddha Katyayan talks about seven hundred layers of mind. Incomprehensible, but very logical.and the possibility is that the mind can be divided into seven hundred layers. Nothing is impossible.
At that time a philosopher came to Buddha. First try to understand the situation of Buddha; Buddha’s situation is as antimetaphysical as possible, he is not a philosopher. Really, you cannot find a man who is more anti-philosophical than Buddha, because he says all philosophical questions are nonsense. This is the standpoint now in the West - Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein. The latest discovery in the West is Wittgenstein, and this is the standpoint of Wittgenstein: that all philosophical questions, answers, are nonsense. Still, if you ask a question, a philosophical question, Bertrand Russell answers it yes or no. Buddha never answered, because if it is nonsense, why answer? Buddha would keep silent.
So it was the routine, whenever Buddha would come to any town, that Buddha’s bhikkhus would go into the town and inform people: “Please don’t ask these eleven questions.” They had a list of eleven questions; in those eleven questions all metaphysics is finished, you cannot ask anything beyond those eleven. They are the whole expanse of all philosophical inquiry.