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Chapter 12: What is the Soul?

A blind man moves with his staff. He cannot move without it: he searches and gropes in the dark with it. If we talk to him about operating on his eyes to heal them so he can see, the blind man can ask, very pertinently, “When I have my eyes will I still be able to grope in the dark with my staff?”

If we say, “You will not need your staff,” he cannot believe it. He will say, “Without my staff I cannot exist, I cannot live. What you are saying is not acceptable. I cannot conceive of it. Without my staff, I am not. So what will become of my staff? First you tell me!”

Really, this individuality is like the blind man’s staff. You are groping in the dark with an ego because you have no soul; this ego, this “I,” is just a groping because you do not have eyes. The moment you have become totally alive, the ego is just lost. It was part of your blindness, part of your nonaliveness or partial aliveness, part of your unconsciousness, part of your ignorance. It just drops.

It is not that you are individual or you are not individual; both things become irrelevant. Individuality is not relevant, but questions continue because the source of questioning remains the same.

When Maulingaputta came to Buddha for the first time he asked many questions. Buddha said, “Are you asking in order to solve the questions or are you only asking to get answers?”

Maulingaputta said, “I have come to ask you, and you have begun to ask me! Let me ponder over it, I must think about it.” He thought about it and the second day he said, “Really, I have come to solve them.”

Buddha said to him, “Have you asked these same questions to anyone else as well?”

Maulingaputta said, “I have asked everyone continuously for thirty years.”

Buddha said, “By asking for thirty years you must have got many answers - many, many. But have any proved to be the answer?”

Maulingaputta said, “None!”

Then Buddha said, “I will not give you any answers. In thirty years of questioning many answers have been given; I can add some more but that is not going to help. So I will give you the solution, not the answer.”

Maulingaputta said, “Okay, give it to me.”

But Buddha said, “It cannot be given by me, it has to be grown in you. So remain for one year with me silently. Not a single question will be allowed. Be totally silent, be with me, and after one year you can ask; then I will give you the answer.”

Sariputta, the chief disciple of Buddha, was sitting nearby under a tree. He began to laugh. Maulingaputta asked, “Why is Sariputta laughing? What is there to laugh about?”

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