Chapter 1: Nothing Else to Tell except This
If you can be quiet and silent, what remains except breathing? Only breathing remains; nothing else. Like the air inside a bubble, breathing remains. If you can be silent at least once for a few moments, then you will realize that when there are not thoughts there is nothing but breathing. The inhaling and exhaling of air is nothing more than the going out and coming in of air in a bubble or a balloon. So Buddha says, “I was only a bubble. Where was I? A bubble has burst and you are asking where it has gone.” If someone like Buddha knows that he is like a bubble, how can he write his autobiography or tell about his experience? Whatever he might say will be misunderstood.
In Japan there was one saint called Lin Chi. One day Lin Chi ordered the removal of all the idols of Buddha. There had never been a man like him. Only just before he had been worshipping those very idols of Buddha, and now he was ordering them to be removed. Someone stood up and asked, “Are you in your right mind? Do you know what you are saying?”
Lin Chi answered, “As long as I was thinking that I am, I believed that Buddha was. But when I myself am not there, when I am only an air bubble, then I know that someone like Buddha also could not have been there.”
In the evening Lin Chi was again worshipping Buddha. People again asked him what he was doing. He said, “I was helped in my own non-being by Buddha’s non-being. That is why I have been giving thanks. It was a thanksgiving from one bubble to another, nothing more.” But these statements could not be properly understood. People thought that there was something wrong with this man and that he had gone against Buddha.
Autobiography does not survive. Deeply speaking, the soul itself does not survive. So far, we understand only that the ego does not survive. For thousands of years, we have been told that the ego does not survive when one attains self-knowledge. But to put it correctly, the soul itself does not survive.
In understanding this one is filled with fear. That is why we could not understand Buddha. He said, “The soul also does not survive; we become non-soul.” It becomes very difficult to understand Buddha in this world.
Mahavira talked only of the death of the ego; that much could be understood. It is not that Mahavira did not know that even the soul does not survive, but he had in mind our limited understanding. Therefore, he spoke only of giving up the ego, knowing that the soul would automatically dissolve.
Buddha, for the first time, made a statement which had been a secret. The Upanishads also knew, Mahavira also knew, that the soul does not survive in the end, because the idea of the soul is a projection of the ego. But Buddha revealed the secret which had been closely guarded for so long. That created difficulties. Those who themselves believed that the ego does not survive started the quarrel. If the soul does not survive either, they said, then everything is useless. Where are we?
Buddha was right. How could there be an autobiography then? Everything is like a dream sequence, like the rainbow colors formed on a bubble. The colors die when the bubble bursts. That is a very obvious result.
Will the processes and experiences through which a person has passed be of any use to others if they are written down?