Epitectus said, “It would be completely meaningless to fight because the wrestlers are much stronger than I am. Any resistance would be completely pointless. Also, to prolong an act of this nature will create much more pain for Epitectus, so the sooner his legs are broken, the sooner it will all be over.”
The king said, “What do you mean?”
Epitectus said, “The person who is called Epitectus, which is the name given to this body and to the person you have sent for, will have too much pain.”
The king asked, “And what about you?”
Epitectus answered, “I will watch! I will watch your foolishness, I will watch the power of your wrestlers, I will watch Epitectus’s trouble – I will watch it all.”
Then the king said, “Talking won’t prove anything. Your legs will just have to be broken.”
His legs were broken, and Epitectus went on watching. Then he said, “If you are finished, now I would like to take Epitectus home.”
The king started crying! He had never conceived that this could be possible. He fell at Epitectus’s feet and asked for the secret of this understanding.
Epitectus said, “Even now I am not the one whose feet you are touching. I am seeing that the king is weeping. Now Epitectus is again in trouble, a different kind of trouble – now his feet are being touched! A little while ago they were being held down to be broken, now they are being held in respect…but I am watching all this.”
Witnessing means that there is no identification with any experience whatsoever – with any experience, I say! No experience touches you. You stand at a distance, beyond it. Your separateness from the experience is not affected for any reason.
When you are walking on the road, you can do it in such a way that you are walking, or you can also walk in a way that the act of walking is happening and you are witnessing it, watching it. Your identification with each action will have to be broken; identification with all experiences will have to be left behind. When you are eating, you can eat in such a way that you are eating, but you can also eat in a way that the act of eating is happening and you are just watching it.
When you start to become aware in this way in every single moment, then with this constant effort to be aware, the witness will be born. Then within you there will be a consciousness that just watches. It is just a watcher, a knower; it is never the doer.
Now let us enter this sutra: