Buddha, for example: he reached the ultimate through will-lessness. But in this life he worked very arduously on the path of will for six years. He went to every teacher, inquired about every path, endeavored his best, tried everything that was taught and said. He did everything that a human being can do, and with every teacher he worked hard. No teacher was able to say, “You are not achieving because you are not working,” because he was working even more than the teacher. So every teacher had to say to him, “I cannot say that you are not working – you are working hard, impossibly hard – but now this is all I can teach you. You must go somewhere else.”
So he went around to every teacher, worked on every method. In those times Bihar was a very potential place. Such great peaks have happened only twice. Once it was in Athens, in the Greek civilization. Athens was a very potential city, a very potential situation happened there. And another time was in Bihar; it happened that Bihar became the peak of all that mind can do. In Bihar, in Buddha’s time, every method had been evolved and every method had its own teacher, its own master, and Buddha worked with every one. He worked so hard and so sincerely that every teacher had to ask him to leave because he had worked totally and nothing was coming out of it.
Really, he was not the man meant for the path of will. Mahavira, a contemporary of Buddha, reached through the path of will and achieved. But Buddha could not achieve. Frustrated, after working hard in every way, in a sudden moment of helplessness…. He felt helpless. He had done everything and nothing was achieved, and he remained the same with no transformation. A total frustration set in, and one day he left everything.
Previously, he had left “the world”: that was the first renunciation. But the second one, which is not mentioned in the scriptures, was greater. The Buddhists don’t talk about it. A second, greater renunciation happened: Buddha left the path of will after six years of tortuous effort. He said, “I feel helpless – and it seems that nothing is possible, nothing can be done, so I leave all efforts.”
That was a full-moon night and he was sitting under a tree. He had left the world; now, on that evening, he left all religions, all philosophies, all techniques. He relaxed under the tree. For the first time, after lives and lives, he could relax…because somehow or other we are always working, doing, achieving. But on that evening there was no achieving mind in him. He was so totally helpless that time ceased, future dropped, desires became meaningless. Effort was not possible; will was not found at all.
So he was dead, really dead – psychologically dead. He was alive only in the sense that a tree is alive – with no desires, with no future, with no possibility. He was just like the tree he was lying under. Conceive of it. Try to conceive of it. If there are no desires and no future and no morning to follow, and nothing is to be achieved and everything has been just absurd and the thought that “I cannot do” penetrates deeply, then what is the difference between you and the tree? No difference. He was as relaxed as the tree. He was as relaxed as the river flowing by.
He slept. This sleep was strange – there was not even a dream, because dreams belong to desires, effort, will. He slept as trees sleep. The sleep was total. It was just like death – no movement of the mind, no motivation inside. Everything stopped. Time stopped.