All the philosophers of the world have not even been able to make a dent in the problem – because they have moved in a wrong way. Problems are not to be solved; problems need to be dissolved, and that is a totally different path – the path of the mystics. They don’t solve the problems, they simply create devices in which problems disappear into thin air.
One great philosopher came to Gautam Buddha. He was known all over the country for his great commentaries on the Vedas and the Upanishads and the Gita. He had thousands of followers. He had brought his most scholarly followers with him. Still, the number was big enough – five hundred scholars followed him. They were going to challenge Gautam Buddha; and the man had challenged many, many scholars, professors, learned people – and he had defeated them. This was a routine thing in India – that scholars used to move from town to town, challenging; and if anybody who accepted their challenge was defeated, he had to become their follower; or if the scholar was defeated, he had to become their follower with all his followers. The country had remained for almost five thousand years in a very strange philosophical atmosphere.
This man came to Gautam Buddha and said, “I have come here to challenge you. I want to know what is your definition of truth, and from there we can begin our discussion. I have brought with me my five hundred most scholarly followers. If you win we will all become your disciples, but if you are defeated, then this is the condition: you, with all your disciples, will have to become my disciple.”
Gautam Buddha said, “There is no problem in it. Before we begin the discussion, I want to ask one question. It is not part of the discussion; it is just to be acquainted with each other. Have you asked this question other scholars and so-called wise people?”
He said, “Yes, I have asked thousands of people. Many of them are my followers, because I defeated them.”
Gautam Buddha said, “What have you gained? Have you come to know the truth by discussing it? Have you come to know the truth by defeating these people? One thing is certain: that you are logically more clever, sharper, than these other people. But it does not prove that you know what truth is – and even if you defeat me, you will not know what truth is. Do you want to know the truth, or simply to waste your life in defeating people?”
The man had never been faced with such a question. He said, “I really want to know the truth.”
“Then,” Buddha said, “discussion is not going to help; because the truth that I know cannot be brought into words – and you don’t know the truth. Otherwise, what was the need to travel thousands of miles to come to me?
“I suggest one thing: you just sit by my side. For two years you have to remain silent – no question, no speaking, and relax so totally that slowly, slowly even your thoughts disappear. When two years are over, I will remind you that now we can enter into the discussion: you can ask your question.”
At that very time, Mahakashyapa, who was sitting under a tree, started laughing loudly. The man said, “Is this man mad?”