And all the thirty-two philosophical schools – they were great scholars, far greater than Maitreya, than Ananda, far more capable to interpret, to bring meanings to things, to make systems out of words – those thirty-two schools slowly, slowly became rejected. And the reason for their rejection was that they had missed a single beginning: “I have heard….” They were saying, “Gautam Buddha said” – the emphasis was on Gautam Buddha.
Ananda’s version is the universally accepted version. Strange…there were enlightened people, but they remained silent because what they had heard was not possible to be expressed. And there were unenlightened philosophical geniuses who were very articulate, and they wrote great treatises – but they were not accepted. And the man who was not enlightened, not a great philosopher, but just a humble caretaker of Gautam Buddha, his words have been accepted. The reason is these beginnings – “I have heard….” I don’t know whether he was saying it or not. I cannot impose myself on him. All that I can say is what echoed in me; I can talk about my mind – not the mindless silence of Gautam Buddha.”
Buddhist scriptures, in this way, are the only scriptures in the world which have this quality of the great difference between the master and the disciple, between one who has arrived and one who is trying to arrive.
You are asking, “I have heard you say that Gautam Buddha’s work came to an end when he became enlightened, and you started Your work after your enlightenment.”
It is one of those strange incidents of history, where the obvious is completely ignored. I have talked, discussed, with a few very great scholarly Buddhist monks. One was Bhikkshu Sangharakshita. He was an Englishman, but while he was young, searching, he found that Christianity had nothing to give and became a Buddhist. When I met him, he had become very old. He used to live in the Himalayas, in Kalimpong. He has written great books on Buddhism with such love and such insight that one feels full of awe.
I have been discussing many times with Bhikkshu Ananda Kausalyayan, who is the most prominent Buddhist scripture scholar and who has written much with depth and profundity. And the third man was Doctor Bhikkshu Jagdish Kashyap. He was the head of the great Institute of Buddhist Studies.
None of these three people have noticed the difference – that Ananda’s version is humble and truer because he is saying what is reflected in his being, and he can authoritatively say only that. When I pointed it out to them, they were all surprised – “We have been studying our whole life, but we never thought that this has any significance. We always thought that it is just the way Ananda writes.”
And when I said to them, “No Buddhist, except a few Zen masters, are going to agree with me….” The whole of Asia is Buddhist. In different countries it has taken different shapes, different rituals. But one thing is similar everywhere – that Buddha worked for six years, hard enough to attain enlightenment. He attained enlightenment after six years of hard work – this is just accepted.