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Chapter 7: Enlightenment: A Very Simple Understanding

Just see the difference between these two simple words: being and becoming. Enlightenment is being - you cannot become it. Becoming is a process somewhere in the future after long journeys, doing all kinds of stupid things - yoga postures, Christian prayers, fasts, remaining celibate, entering into a monastery forever, you will not come out of it..

There are monasteries where you enter but unless you are thrown out you cannot get out; only your dead body comes out some day. I have heard about such a monastery. It was famous for two things: one, for one thousand years no woman had entered into the monastery - it was prohibited. Even a six-month-old baby girl was not allowed.

When I heard about it I thought, were monks living in the monastery, or monsters? A six-month-old baby is not allowed in! You can conceive the mind of those people who are living inside.

And second, it was famous in that silence was the rule. Only after seven years - once, after seven years - if you wanted to say something to the abbot, you could say it, and then for seven years again silence.

One man became a monk. For seven years he suffered, because the mattress was missing, he was sleeping on a bare floor. It was hard, it was cold, but he had to wait for seven years to say, “I need a mattress.”

Seven years, by and by, passed - they must have looked to that man almost like seven centuries. And he was so happy when he went to the abbot and said, “Master, I have a complaint to make. In the room you have allotted me, there is no mattress. And for seven years I have been prohibited from speaking.”

The abbot said, “Okay, a mattress will be provided immediately. You go back.”

A mattress was provided. But the cell in which the monk was living was very small, and the door was very small, and the mattress was big. So while they were bringing the mattress in, the door fell out and the window’s glass was broken. Somehow they forced that big mattress into the small room. For seven years the poor man again suffered - from rain, wind, snow, because there was no door and the window was broken. In fact, he started thinking that the first seven years were far more beautiful: “I was an idiot to make that complaint!”

Again after seven years he went to the abbot. And the abbot said, “Again?”

The man said, “I have to say something, I am compelled to say it: the mattress that was provided was bigger than my cell, and the people, the other monks who brought it, somehow forced it in. I could not say no - I could not speak. They broke the door, they broke the window, and you can conceive - for seven years I have been living in wind, in rain, in snow. I was not thinking that I would be able to survive, but somehow by God’s grace I am here again. Please put the door back and mend the window.”

This was too much. The abbot became angry, and he said, “In all these fourteen years you have done nothing but complain, complain, complain! This is not a way to be religious. You simply get lost!”

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