In accord with the way
A monk asked the Buddha: Under what conditions is it possible to come to the knowledge of the past and to understand the most supreme way?
The Buddha said:
Those who are pure in heart and single in purpose are able to understand the most supreme way. It is like polishing a mirror which becomes bright when the dust is removed. Remove your passions and have no hankering and the past will be revealed unto you.
A monk asked the Buddha: What is good and what is great?
The Buddha answered:
Good is to practice the way and to follow the truth. Great is the heart that is in accord with the way.
Life in itself is not the goal. The goal surpasses life. The life is just an opportunity to realize the goal. The goal is hidden deep in life; you cannot find it on the surface. You will have to penetrate to the very center. The life is like a seed. In itself it is not enough. You will have to work hard so the seed sprouts, becomes a tree and comes to bloom.
This is one of the most fundamental things to remember – that man has to surpass himself, that life has to transcend itself. If you don’t understand this, then you will be lost in the means and you will forget the end. That’s what happens ordinarily. We become too attached with life and we forget that life was just an opportunity to understand something which is deeper than life, higher than life, superior, far superior, than life.
If you get too much obsessed with life itself, it is as if somebody was sent to the university and he became too much attached with the university and he could not leave it, and he could not even conceive of leaving it. The university is there just to educate you for something greater. For the universe, the university is to prepare you; that’s why we call it the university. It itself is not the universe…just a preparation.
In the East, life is just like a university, a discipline, a training for something far beyond it. If you become too much attached with life, then you will be coming back again and again every year to the university. Then it is futile, pointless. A university is to get ready. A university has to be renounced one day. It is just a preparation. And if the preparation becomes endless, then it becomes a burden.
That is what has happened to many people. They take life as the goal. Then they go on preparing, they go on preparing endlessly. They never go on the journey, they simply prepare for the journey. And if their life becomes an impotent gesture, no wonder. It is natural, it has to be so.
Just think about yourself – always consulting timetables, always getting ready to leave, always inquiring from the tourist office, and never leaving, never going anywhere. You will go mad.
Nothing is wrong with life itself, but if your attitude is this – that life is an end unto itself – then you will be in trouble. Then your whole life will become meaningless. The meaning is there, but the meaning is transcendental to it. The meaning is there, but you will have to penetrate to that core where it is revealed.
To think of life as the goal is to remain on the periphery. That periphery Buddha calls the wheel. The symbol of the wheel is very significant and has to be understood. The periphery, Buddha calls the wheel…it goes on moving.