Then how to help man? – how is a master supposed to help others? He helps not by giving detailed information, instructions; he helps only by indicating. He hints, he does not guide. That is one of the most essential things to be understood about Buddha: he is not a guide. He does not give you the whole map of the journey but only an indication, a vague, subtle hint. You need not follow him in all details. You can understand him and then you will have to work out your own life-style.
And I perfectly agree with him. He learned it the hard way; I have also learned it the hard way.
Listen to me – listen with an open heart. Try to understand what is being conveyed to you, but don’t follow it mechanically. Let it first become an understanding in you, then follow your understanding, not my instructions. My instruction can only help you to raise your eyes towards the sky. It cannot give you a fixed pattern of life; it cannot give you a discipline but it can give you the direction. And the difference is great: a direction is a totally different phenomenon; a description, a detailed description, makes you a slave.
Just an opening…fingers pointing to the moon are of immense help. You need not cling to the fingers, you need not worship the fingers. In fact, when you start looking at the moon you have to forget all about the fingers. You will feel grateful, but you will not be an imitator. You will be an individual in your own right. You will be a free consciousness. That is Buddha’s fundamental message.
The way is eightfold.
Remember, it is only a hint. “The eightfold path” is simply a way of expressing his experience, giving you a certain direction. The essence of the eightfold path is in the word rightness. Buddha uses the word rightness about everything. He divides life into eight parts and he uses rightness about each part: right food, right effort, right mindfulness, right samadhi, and so on and so forth. And it is not only a question of eight things; if you understand, then it has to be used as a direction.
Whatsoever you are doing can be done in a wrong way or in a right way; both the alternatives are always there. So you have to understand what he means by “rightness,” the essence of it. You have to taste the flavor of rightness, then you can apply it in everything that you are doing. You are walking: you can walk in the right way and you can walk in the wrong way. You are talking: you can talk in the right way, you can talk in the wrong way. You are listening: you can listen in the right way, you can listen in the wrong way.