Chapter 3: A Slave in Your Own House
Master yourself according to the law.
This is the simple teaching of the awakened.
The rain could turn to gold
and still your thirst would not be slaked.
Desire is unquenchable
or it ends in tears, even in heaven.
He who wishes to awake
consumes his desires
In his fear a man may shelter
in mountains or in forests,
in groves of sacred trees or in shrines.
But how can he hide there from his sorrow?
He who shelters in the way
and travels with those who follow it
comes to see the four great truths.
the beginning of sorrow,
the eightfold way,
and the end of sorrow.
Then at last he is safe.
He has shaken off sorrow.
He is free.
The awakened are few and hard to find.
Happy is the house where a man awakes.
Blessed is his birth.
Blessed is the teaching of the way.
Blessed is the understanding among those who follow it,
and blessed is their determination.
And blessed are they who revere
the man who awakes and follows the way.
They are free from fear.
They are free.
They have crossed over the river of sorrow.
Master yourself according to the law. This is the simple teaching of the awakened. Man can either be interested in dominating and mastering others, or he can be interested in mastering himself. The first category is the category of the fools, but they make the major part of history: Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadirshah, Alexander, Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong. History is full of the names of the first category. It is the wrong kind of history to teach.
The right kind of history will teach about the buddhas: those who have tried and conquered themselves. It is far more arduous to conquer oneself; it needs far more integrity, awareness, strength, will, trust, surrender. It requires all the great qualities of consciousness. It basically requires consciousness.
You can master yourself only if you are absolutely alert; otherwise you remain dominated by your desires. You are a slave in your own house. One desire pulls you towards the south, another towards the north, and you are at the mercy of those blind desires. You are always falling apart. It is difficult even to manage to remain together: so many desires, so many attractions, so many objects alluring you. You are simply in an insane state, running hither and thither, not knowing why, not knowing whether it is worth it at all.