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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 9
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Chapter 4: Freedom Is Something Inner

But because you are calling it stupidity, condemning it, giving it a negative name, you are feeling sad, hopeless. We live through words; we have become so much attached to words that we are deceived by words. Just change the word and you will see the change in your inner climate. Call it innocence and just feel the texture, the taste. Call it stupid and feel the texture and the taste. When you call it stupid you suddenly feel surrounded by darkness; when you call it innocence, as if a flower starts opening within your heart, a fragrance surrounds you.

Beware about words, what words you use, because we have lived so long with words, through words..

I have heard:

A hunter lost his way in the forest. By the evening he reached a private land, but he was afraid to enter because just on the gate there was a big signboard saying: Beware Of Dangerous Dogs. But the night was descending and the forest was full of wild animals. It was better to encounter the dogs than to be eaten by the wild animals. And he was so tired, so utterly tired; he wanted to rest. And there was some hope: if dogs are there, there may be somebody - the owner of the dogs, the owner of the land, the man who has put these big signs.

He entered in, a little afraid, shaky, but there was no other way, there was no alternative. Just a few yards he entered in and again there was a board, an even bigger one: Beware Of The Dangerous Dogs. His heart started sinking, but there was no way to go back, nowhere to go back, so he had to go in. Again, even a still bigger board.

And then.just a small dog, a very small dog, standing before the cottage of the owner. So small a dog that you could simply take him by the feet and throw him at least a hundred yards!

The hunter was very much puzzled. He asked the owner, “Where are the big, dangerous dogs?”

He said, “There are none. This is my only dog.”

The hunter asked, “Can this dog prevent people coming in?”

The man said, “No, but the signboards do. You are the first man in years who has entered. Even if there is no dog, those signboards will do.”

People live through words. In a crowded theater, if somebody suddenly shouts, “Fire! Fire!” people will start running. Nobody will bother whether there is any fire. The very word fire and your imagination starts working.

Don’t call it stupid, otherwise you create your own sadness and you are a victim of your mind. Your mind will feel happy because it has made you sad. If you are sad you will start collecting the knowledge that has fallen from you; you will put it back into its old place. You will again start collecting information so that you don’t feel stupid. Call it innocence.

Be very careful what words you use. Words have associations, deep associations. They have become almost concrete realities in our life; they are no more words, they are things.

You say, “I feel very hopeless. And it makes me sad.”

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