Chapter 2: Ignorance Is Ultimate
When you look at existence as an object you remain separate, but when you participate with existence, when you become a participant, when you look at an object and it becomes your very subjectivity - then there is no knowledge and then there is no ignorance. When there is no knowledge, how can there be ignorance? Ignorance and knowledge are aspects of the same coin and the wise man has thrown both. So a wise man is neither and both.
“There is an old tradition that links wisdom and foolishness.” That is true. There is a tradition that says that Jesus was a fool - and he was. There is a tradition that says that St. Francis was a fool - and he was. In India the name of Buddha has taken a very strange form. It has become buddhu - which means “the fool.” The very name which means the most wise has taken another form, the polar opposite - it has become buddhu. It means “the fool, the utter fool”.
Yes, polarities meet. That’s what I was talking about yesterday - about what scientists call androgyne. Each man is both man and woman but you become identified with only one part of your being. You think you are a man but there is also a woman inside you, waiting to be recognized, received, accepted. And you go on denying it. You say, “I am a man.” You will remain lopsided. If you are a woman there is also a man waiting within you, and you go on denying the man. Then you will never be one whole, you will always remain split.
There is a point of awareness, understanding, vision, where your man and woman inside meet and mingle and disappear into each other. That’s what William Blake has called “the inner marriage” when you have become both, androgynous, man and woman both. In India we have the perfect symbol for it - ardhanarishwar. There are statues of Shiva in which half of his body is man and half of his body is woman. He is both the lover and the beloved, the yin and yang. He is androgynous.
This same kind of meeting with the opposites goes on happening in many directions and many dimensions. Foolishness and wisdom are your two polarities. If you are wise and you deny your foolishness you are not fully wise, because a part of you has not yet been absorbed. A part of you is hanging around you; it has not yet become an integral part of you. If you are a fool and you think that you are a fool then your wise man inside you has been denied, suppressed. A wise man is both and yet neither. He transcends both so you can say he is neither, but because the dualities have disappeared in him and have come to become a new synthesis, you can call him both too.
“Is a wise man simple-minded?” No. A wise man is no-minded - not simple-minded, not complex-minded. Again there is the same duality: the simple mind and the complex mind. A wise man is a no-mind. The wise man has gone beyond the confines of the mind, he knows no mind at all. Mind divides. Mind is the barrier between you and existence. Mind exists like the great China Wall - it is your armor.