And that’s how it is. The mountain is in front of you, but your eyes are full of maps – maps of the same mountain, maps about the same mountain, made by different explorers. Somebody has climbed the mountain from the north side, somebody from the east. They have made different maps: Koran, Bible, Gita – different maps of the same truth. But you are too full of the maps, too burdened by their weight; you cannot move even an inch, and you cannot see the mountain just standing in front of you, its virgin snow peaks shining like gold in the morning sun. You don’t have the eyes to see it.
The prejudiced eye is blind, the heart full of conclusions is dead. Too many a priori assumptions and your intelligence starts losing its sharpness, its beauty, its intensity. It becomes dull. Dull intelligence is what is called intellect. Your so-called intelligentsia is not really intelligent, it is just intellectual. Intellect is a corpse. You can decorate it, you can decorate it with great pearls, diamonds, emeralds, but still a corpse is a corpse.
To be alive is a totally different matter. Intelligence is aliveness; it is spontaneity, it is openness, it is vulnerability, it is impartiality, it is the courage to function without conclusions. And why do I say it is courage? It is courage because when you function out of a conclusion the conclusion protects you, the conclusion gives you security, safety. You know it well, you know how to come to it, you are very efficient with it. To function without a conclusion is to function in innocence. There is no security; you may go wrong, you may go astray.
One who is ready to go on the exploration called truth has to be ready also to commit many errors, mistakes, has to be able to risk. One may go astray, but that is how one arrives. Going many, many times astray, one learns how not to go astray. Committing many mistakes one learns what is a mistake, and how not to commit it. Knowing what is error, one comes closer and closer to what is truth. It is an individual exploration; you cannot depend on others’ conclusions.
Hence Atisha says:
Train impartially in every area; it is important to have trained deeply and pervasively in everything.
The second thing he says: Let your life be as multidimensional as possible, don’t live one-dimensionally. Down the ages, monks, nuns and the so-called priests have all lived one-dimensionally. They live a very narrow life; they move as trains move, on fixed rails. They go on doing the same ritual, the same prayer, day in, day out, year in, year out, life in, life out; they go on repeating. Their whole life moves in circles. And they are not rich, they cannot be – richness comes by living life in all its dimensions.
A religious person should explore in every possible way, should try to experience life in all its tastes, sweet and bitter, good and bad. The really religious person will be very experimental. He will experiment with music, he will experiment with dance, he will experiment with poetry, with painting, with sculpture, with architecture. He will go on experimenting with everything, everything that becomes available; he will be a child exploring everything. And that makes your inner life rich.