Mahavira and Buddha leaving their palaces and escaping was only superficial. The deeper truth is that they were renouncing the place of excitement so that the natural purity of their senses could be regained. They made their way to the forest, which means they moved towards nature, towards naturalness, so that the rubbish that had accumulated, which was blocking the inner doors of experiencing, could be removed. Only when that has been done do we start to become sensitive again. Only then are we able to hear that which can only be heard by the finest sensitivity. Only then are we able to see that which can only be seen with the subtlest of vision. This sutra relates to all of this.
The first sutra:
Kill out desire for sensation.
Drop the desire for sensation. This does not mean that this sutra is against the senses. The truth is that your desire for sensation is the death of your senses. This sutra is about purifying the senses; it is not against them. If you refine your sense of taste, the sumptuous food of kings will not compare with the taste of a dry crust of bread you may be eating – because taste does not depend on the bread, on the food, it depends on the one who is tasting. It depends on you, how much you can experience, how deeply you can immerse yourself in the experience.
Without first getting rid of the desire for sensation no one can enter into the world of meditation, because meditation means leaving behind all that is gross, and going in search of the subtle. But it is you who will search for the subtle! So are you capable of experiencing the subtle or not, do you have the capacity to imbibe the subtle?
If you do not – if your eyes are blind and you cannot see – then even if the subtle appears right in front of you, you will not be able to see it. You have to keep on purifying yourself. You have to become so pure that you are aware of what is happening even at the center of your innermost core. Try to understand this.
Those senses to which we give too much excitement become jaded, and because of this we have to give them even more excitement, which deadens them even more. A vicious circle is born. Then every day a new taste or sensation is needed, every day a new woman, a new man is needed, every day a new house, a new car is needed – every day something new is needed. But for how long can this newness last? For a while it seems to be something fresh, because we have not experienced the excitement of it before; so for a while it seems to be good. Then after some time it too becomes stale. Everything which was new becomes old. And the more dull the senses become, the quicker an experience becomes stale. That is why nothing satisfies; instead everything leaves us dissatisfied. So what is the way to fulfillment?
The way to fulfillment is not through paying attention to outer things but rather to your inner capacity to experience. Then even small things – even a smaller number of things – can give you much fulfillment. Even with nothing you can feel bliss…. Because one thing you can see is that having everything doesn’t necessarily bring bliss, so it is possible to conceive of nothing bringing bliss.