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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 8
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Chapter 10: Towards a New Humanity

Secondly, whether you want it or not, if you remain asleep next lifetime you are going to be a woman. Even if you don’t want it, it is going to happen. There is a simple law. This is my observation of many people’s past lives, this is how mind functions, this is very fundamental to the mind: it always moves to the opposite end. If you are rich the mind thinks poverty is religious, spiritual; it has something of innocence in it, and “Look how the poor are free from anxiety, and how the beggar sleeps soundly. I have got everything and I cannot sleep, I cannot rest, not even a moment’s rest: continuous worry, anxiety.”

The rich man always thinks that the poor are really in a better space than he is. It is the rich people who have given the idea that poverty is spiritual. You will be surprised, take note of it, that all the tirthankaras, all the great masters of the Jainas were kings. Buddha himself was a king. All the avataras of the Hindus - Rama, Krishna - were kings. It is because of these rich people that a deep idea has prevailed down the ages that poverty is spiritual.

There is nothing spiritual in being poor, there is nothing spiritual in being rich either. The poor man thinks that the rich people are enjoying real life. Hence the poor man projects: if he cannot be rich in this life, then let it be next life; if not in this world, then let it be in the other world. It is the poor man’s projection - paradise, heaven, where he dreams that he will be rich, and he will have all that rich people have. Not only that, the poor man also dreams that no rich man will ever be able to reach heaven, they will be thrown into hell: “They have enjoyed enough here, now they have to suffer for it. And I have suffered enough here so I have to be rewarded.”

Jesus is a poor man, he is not like Krishna, Buddha and Mahavira. Krishna, Buddha and Mahavira have not said that no rich man can enter into paradise. Jesus says: “Even a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but the rich man cannot enter through the gate into heaven.” He is a poor carpenter’s son; he knows what poverty is. And because of that poverty he speaks a totally different language than Buddha.

In India the idea has prevailed for centuries that if you are rich, it is because of your past lives’ good karmas that you are rich now. And Jesus says: “Rich people cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” He says: “Those who are the first here will be the last there, and those who are the last here will be the first.” It is not an accident that Christianity goes on spreading in poor countries; it has an appeal for the poor. It is not an accident that Communism is a by-product of Christianity.

The East has not given birth to Communism, it could not have done it. And whenever a country becomes rich, remember, it will start becoming Buddhist, it will start becoming more and more Hindu. It is not an accident that America is so interested in Eastern wisdom. Whenever a society is affluent it starts thinking in a different way than a poor country thinks.

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