Don’t believe in the old children’s stories that hell is somewhere else; that too is a strategy of the mind to postpone. The mind always tries to postpone; it uses all methods, ways, and means to postpone things. It says, “Yes, hell is deep down below the earth, far, far away. You need not worry – it happens only after death. Right now, there is no question about it, no need to waste time about it. At the time of death, you can decide where to go. If you remember God you will go into heaven, if you don’t remember God you will go into hell.”
And then you are living as if hell is somewhere else. It is herenow. All is herenow, hell and heaven both.
A buddha lives in heaven. He walks along with you, he sits amidst you. He lives on this earth, in this very body, but for him it is a totally different experience. This very body the buddha, this very earth the lotus paradise – that is his experience. That is the experience of all the buddhas, of all the awakened ones.
But for you it is just a dream, a fiction, a mythology. For you: this very body the hell, this very earth the fire of hell. You can’t see the lotus paradise – you don’t have the eyes to see it. Those eyes have to be created; those eyes are not given by birth. Only the potential is there; you have to grow them, you have to endeavor to achieve them, you have to become them. The seed is there but you have to find the right soil. And the basic strategy of the mind is to keep you deluded, to tell you that hell and heaven are all beyond, somewhere else.
The function of the master is to bring you here and now again and again. The mind tries to slip. There are two possibilities for the mind to get away from the herenow: either to move in the past, in the memories – the golden past and those golden days of Rama and Krishna, those beautiful days – or to move into the future, into some utopia, when there will be a classless society on the earth or there will be a paradise somewhere far away beyond the clouds. But it keeps you away from the present moment. And the present moment is the only reality there is; there is no other moment. It is always present.
The past is no more, the future not yet. Whatsoever is, is the present. And mind takes you away from it in a thousand and one ways. It is always going on trips. The mind can only exist either in the past or in the future; the mind cannot exist in the present. Let this sink deep in your heart: the mind cannot exist in the present. If you are utterly herenow, the mind disappears and with the disappearance of the mind, there is no hell.
The disappearance of the mind is what paradise is: to live in the present, without the mind. It does not mean to live in the present absentmindedly. When I say “without the mind” I don’t mean absentmindedly – just the contrary! To live consciously is to live without mind, to live without thoughts, but with great alertness. And you can live with great alertness only when thoughts have been dropped, because the energy involved in the thoughts is released, is available. You become overflowing with energy. Then you have a tremendous vitality, intensity, passion. Your life is not lukewarm; your life is such a flame that just to be for a single moment is enough. A single moment of that conscious intensity is longer than eternity itself.
These sutras of Buddha are simple but immensely helpful for the seeker.