That evening he dropped torturing. He told his disciples that now he will live relaxedly, now he will not torture himself, now he will follow the middle path. Up to now he had been doing something extremist. First he lived the life of a prince, indulged in all kinds of pleasures and luxuries – that was one extreme. Then he moved to another extreme: he renounced the world and all its comforts, luxuries, pleasures, and started torturing himself, started a suicidal course – that was another extreme. He said to his disciples, “But tonight I have come to a tremendous understanding, that truth is not to be found by extremes. I have renounced the world; today I renounce that renunciation too! Now I will be just ordinary, neither a king nor an ascetic.”
The disciples immediately left him, and that very night he became enlightened. He searched for his disciples because he felt they have been with him for so long – for six years continuously – it is his duty that he should share his understanding, his bliss, his love, first with those five disciples. When he reached close to those five disciples they were sitting under a tree. They looked at Buddha coming and they said, “Here comes that fallen man! We should not stand up to pay respect to him; we should not fold our hands in respect to him. We should keep our backs toward him. If he comes and he sits, it’s okay; if he wants to say something, it’s okay, but we are not going to pay him any more respect or attention.”
Even Gautam Buddha is not understood by his own disciples.
This gentleman says my assertion that Vimalkirti has attained buddhahood sounds phony. Why? What is wrong with Vimalkirti attaining buddhahood? If I can attain it, why cannot Vimalkirti attain it? Why cannot you attain it?
Buddhahood is not something like a goal far away; it is your very nature. In fact, you are all buddhas, although unaware of the fact. All that happens in attaining buddhahood is one becomes aware of it! The treasure is there – it is always there, you cannot lose it even if you want to lose it! It is your very being, hence there is no way to drop it. Who will drop it? But you can forget about it. And buddhahood simply means a remembering, a recognition. Why does it sound phony? – unless you have some preconceived ideas. If you have some idea how a buddha should be, then certainly…
Jainas in India have not accepted Buddha as enlightened yet. Twenty-five centuries have passed and I don’t think they will ever accept him as a buddha, for the simple reason that they have a certain attitude which is not fulfilled by him. They think whenever a person becomes a buddha he goes naked, and Buddha never went naked. That’s enough to prove that he was not a buddha. When a person becomes a buddha he drops even a begging bowl, he possesses nothing. And Buddha possessed three clothes, one begging bowl, one walking staff – too many possessions! This won’t do. He’s still living in luxury. According to Jainas, it is still luxury.
Mahavira lived naked, with no begging bowl, with nothing at all. He used to eat from his hands; he used to drink water from his hands. He will lie down on the earth to sleep, earth underneath and the sky above. Hence he was called digambara. The word digambara means one who is clothed with the sky only, and nothing else. The sky itself is his clothing – nothing else between him and the sky.
How can they accept Buddha, that he has become enlightened?