When someone awakens, a door of possibility opens, an opportunity arises. An awakened one can break our dreams, he can create obstacles for us from just turning over and continuing sleeping. This is why Gurdjieff says that awakening is a collective process, a school’s, an ashram’s work, a process of a group of friends. To awaken on one’s own is very arduous. Hence Buddha pioneered the maha sangha – the great commune, where thousands of bhikkhus came together. Even if just one of them could wake up, he would become a door to the others’ awakening.
With the same purpose, Mahavira founded the organized tradition of munis, sadhus and sadhvis. Hindus established big, well-run ashramas, and the Christians developed precious monasteries. If just one person in the place awakens, he will be useful in awakening others; that single ray will seek to penetrate the darkness of many others living there. Still, there is no guarantee that the darkness can be dispelled.
This is why I say that buddhahood happens only once in a while. Then the door opens for a short while. Then if you can stop yourself from turning over and going back to sleep, if you can resist your age-old habit of converting truth into dreams, if you can maintain a little remembrance, if you can see through the deception of what you think in your sleep are gains, and that misery is not destroyed by unconsciousness but only forgotten, you will have to wake up. If life is hell, you will have to see that it is so. It is through that very vision of hell that your journey toward heaven will begin.
No one has ever reached anywhere by running away from it, and no one has ever been able to falsify the truth by closing their eyes to it. The logic of the ostrich is no logic at all – the enemy does not disappear because you have buried your head in the sand. The escapists have never attained to any life-fulfillment. One will have to wake up. If there is struggle you will have to face it, if there is suffering you will have to live it. It is through this living and the process of waking up and awareness that you will come to the point where one transcends unhappiness.
To find a buddha is a rare fortune.
Even that much good fortune is the result of your striving for many, many lives: that life after life, even though you have dreamed, you have dreamed of waking up. Life after life you have yearned for liberation. You could not become liberated, you could not go beyond the world, that is another matter; you could not go beyond the world, but the seed of sannyas has been lying within you. The meaningless keeps hold of you, but once in a while you have seen the futility of it. Just as lightning flashes in a dark night and one gets a glimpse of everything, so have there been some flashes at some points of your life’s journey when you have seen that everything is meaningless. The meaningful has called you sometimes, and this is why you have been able to earn the good fortune to come across a buddha. For many it is not possible to even think of it.