When Buddha became enlightened, he remained silent for seven days, thinking, “What is the use of saying things to people which cannot be said? – and even if you say them, which are bound to be misunderstood? Moreover, if somebody is capable of understanding your words, he is bound to be capable of finding truth on his own.”
The story says the gods from heaven then descended. They touched the feet of Buddha and they prayed to him that he should speak.
Buddha said, “For what? Ninety-nine percent of people are not going to understand at all. One percent may perhaps be able to understand, but that one percent who can understand through words will be able to find the truth even if I don’t say anything about it at all. So what is the point of saying it?”
The gods were puzzled. The logic was right, but still something was wrong, because in the ancient days other buddhas had spoken. Then they conferred together to find out how to argue with Buddha. And they found a way. It is good that they could find a way; otherwise we would have missed these tremendously significant messages of Buddha.
They came back and they said, “You are right; the majority will never understand. And there are a few people who will reach to truth even if you don’t say anything. But can’t you imagine that there are a few who are in between these two groups, just on the boundary line? If you speak, that will give them a challenge, inspiration. If you don’t speak they may be lost. Speak for those few who are just on the borderlands, who can be lost without your words and who can find the light with the help of your words.”
You are right: all words are lies, because when you experience you cannot put it into words. How to put love into words? And love is not a very rare experience. How to put beauty into words? Has any poet succeeded yet? Only the fools think that they have succeeded. The greater the poet, the more he is aware of his failure. Has any painter been able to paint the beauty that he experiences? No great painter is ever satisfied. A tremendous discontent follows him like a shadow his whole life. It haunts him. He goes on trying again and again and again; his whole life is a long failure, a tragedy. His great paintings are great for us, but he knows that he has failed. They are great for us because we don’t know what beauty is. If those great paintings had not been there we would not have been aware of many things.