Chapter 10: The Law - Ancient and Inexhaustible
Man ordinarily functions out of the past, and life goes on changing. Life has no obligation to fit with your conclusions. That’s why life is very confusing - confusing to the knowledgeable person. He has all ready-made answers: The Bhagavadgita, the holy Koran, the Bible, the Vedas. He has everything crammed, he knows all the answers. But life never raises the same question again; hence the knowledgeable person always falls short.
Buddha certainly says: Know how to sit silently. That does not mean that he says: Go on sitting silently forever. He is not saying you have to become inactive; on the contrary, it is only out of silence that action arises. If you are not silent, if you don’t know how to sit silently, or stand silently in deep meditation, whatsoever you go on doing is reaction, not action. You react.
Somebody insults you, pushes a button, and you react. You are angry, you jump on him - and you call it action? It is not action, mind you, it is reaction. He is the manipulator and you are the manipulated. He has pushed a button and you have functioned like a machine. Just like you push a button and the light goes on, and you push the button and the light goes off - that’s what people are doing to you: they put you on, they put you off.
Somebody comes and praises you and puffs up your ego, and you feel so great; and then somebody comes and punctures you, and you are simply flat on the ground. You are not your own master: anybody can insult you and make you sad, angry, irritated, annoyed, violent, mad. And anybody can praise you and make you feel at the heights, can make you feel that you are the greatest - that Alexander the Great was nothing compared to you.
And you act according to others’ manipulations. This is not real action.
Buddha was passing through a village and the people came and they insulted him. And they used all the insulting words that they could use - all the four-letter words that they knew. Buddha stood there, listened silently, very attentively, and then said, “Thank you for coming to me, but I am in a hurry. I have to reach the next village, people will be waiting for me there. I cannot devote more time to you today, but tomorrow coming back I will have more time. You can gather again, and tomorrow if something is left which you wanted to say and have not been able to say, you can say it to me. But today, excuse me.”
Those people could not believe their ears, their eyes: this man has remained utterly unaffected, undistracted. One of them asked, “Have you not heard us? We have been abusing you like anything, and you have not even answered!”
Buddha said, “If you wanted an answer then you have come too late. You should have come ten years ago, then I would have answered you. But for these ten years I have stopped being manipulated by others. I am no longer a slave, I am my own master. I act according to myself, not according to anybody else. I act according to my inner need. You cannot force me to do anything. It’s perfectly good; you wanted to abuse me, you abused me! Feel fulfilled. You have done your work perfectly well. But as far as I am concerned, I don’t take your insults, and unless I take them, they are meaningless.”