Innocence has not to be achieved, Sonja, it is already there. Hence it is not a question of becoming, it is your being. It has only to be discovered – or rediscovered. You have to drop all that you have learned from others, and you will immediately be innocent.
Hence my antagonism towards all knowledge that is borrowed. Don’t quote the Bible, don’t quote the Gita. Don’t behave like parrots. Don’t just go on living on borrowed information. Start seeking and searching for your own intelligence.
A negative process is needed; it is to be achieved through via negativa. That is the Buddha’s way. You have to negate all that has been given to you. You have to say, “This is not mine; hence I have no claim over it. It may be true, it may not be true. Who knows? Others say it is so; unless it becomes my experience I cannot agree or disagree. I will not believe or disbelieve. I will not be a Catholic or a communist, I will not be a Hindu or a Mohammedan. I will simply not follow any ideology.” Because, whoever you follow, you will be gathering dust around yourself. Stop following.
Here, being with me, you are not my followers, remember it. Friends certainly, but not followers. You are in a love affair with me, but it is not a question of following. And my work here is not to teach you something, but to help you to discover yourself. Just drop all knowledge. It hurts because you have carried that knowledge for so long and you have been bragging so much about that knowledge – your degrees, MA’s and PhD’s and DLitt’s, and you have been bragging about all those degrees. And suddenly I am saying to you: Drop all that nonsense.
Just be as simple as a child. Just be again a child as you were born, as God sent you into this world. In that mirrorlike state you will be able to reflect that which is. Innocence is the door to knowing. Knowledge is the barrier and innocence is the bridge.
The second question:
Can I also become a Gautama the Buddha?
Yes and no. Yes because buddhahood is nobody’s personal possession. Gautama does not have it as a personal attribute; he is not the owner of it and he is not the only buddha. There have been many buddhas before him, there have been many buddhas after him. The word buddha simply means the awakened one.
You are asleep. Naturally, if you can be asleep you can wake up. One who is capable of sleep is also capable of waking up; the very phenomenon of sleep implies the capacity to wake up. If you are incapable of waking up you will be incapable of sleeping too; they are two sides of the same coin.