Chapter 4: The Cataract at Luliang
Follow me step by step, if you can understand the problem rightly, it is solved immediately, because the problem carries its own solution within it. The problem is like a seed and the solution is like a flower that is hidden in the seed. If you can understand the seed correctly, totally, the solution is already there. To solve a problem is in fact not to solve it, but to understand it. The solution is not external to it, it is intrinsic. It is hidden in it. So don’t look for solutions, just look deeper into the problem. Find the root. In fact, there is no need even to cut. Once you have understood it, the very beginning becomes the cutting of the root. So, follow me step by step to see how the problem is born. And don’t be concerned with the solution - that’s how philosophy arises in the world. There is a problem, the mind starts to find some solution. Philosophy arises. There is a problem, the mind tries to understand it, religion is born.
.A child is born and the child is absolutely helpless, particularly the human child. He cannot survive without other’s help. So this is the first thing: no problem exists for animals and trees and birds. They live a non-problematic life. They simply live without any problems, anxiety, ulcers, cancer: they simply live and enjoy and celebrate the moment while they are. They have no problem in their life and they have no problem in their death - they live a non-problematic existence. Only a human child is born helpless. All other children, animals, trees, birds, can survive without the parents, can survive without society, can survive without a family. Even if sometimes help is needed, it is very little, a few days, at the most a few months. But a human child is so helpless; for years he has to depend, and it is there that the root has to be sought.
Why does helplessness create the human problem? The child is helpless, he depends on others; but the ignorant mind of the child interprets this dependence on others as if he is the center of the whole world.
The child thinks: Whenever I cry, my mother runs immediately; whenever I am hungry, just an indication, and the breast is given. Whenever I am wet, just a slight crying, weeping, and somebody comes and changes my clothes. The child lives like an emperor. In fact he is absolutely helpless and dependent, and the mother and the father and the family are all helping him to survive. They are not dependent on the child, the child is dependent on them. But the ignorant mind of the child interprets it as if he is the center of the whole world, as if the whole world exists for him. And the whole world is, of course, very small in the beginning: the mother, on the fringe the father - this is the whole world. And they both love the child.
The child becomes more and more egoistic. He feels himself to be the very center of all existence. The ego is created. Through dependence, helplessness, the ego is created.