That is Buddha’s very significant contribution, his emphasis on awareness.
Silence becomes secondary, silence becomes a by-product. One does not make silence a goal – the goal is awareness. If you take care of the rosebush, if you give it the right amount of water, sun and shade, roses are bound to come in their own time. You need not be worried about the roses. Silence is a rose, awareness is the rosebush. You take care of the rosebush, don’t be too much concerned about the rose. If you are too much concerned about the rose without thinking about the rosebush, there is every possibility you will purchase some plastic roseflowers. A practiced silence is a plastic phenomenon, it is false, pseudo, deceiving others and deceiving yourself.
Silence cannot make a master out of a fool. And what does Buddha mean by a fool? Who is foolish? He does not mean the unknowledgeable person, he does not mean the uneducated, uncultured. The fool can be very much cultured. The fool can have a PhD, the fool may have accumulated great knowledge, learning. In fact, fools are known to do such things, for the simple reason that they are afraid of their own foolishness and want to cover it up. A PhD, a DLitt becomes a good cover.
The fool becomes a great philosopher, a great scholar. Instead of knowing he becomes knowledgeable. Instead of seeing light he knows more about light. And slowly, slowly he convinces himself that knowing about light is knowing light, knowing about God is knowing God, knowing about love is knowing love. It is not so. He remains confined to the empty words. He will be verbose, he may know fine words. He may use language skillfully, he may use logic to prove his ideology, he may be a skillful logician. But nothing of these things changes his foolishness, he remains a fool all the same.
Then what is foolishness? The word that Buddha uses, the original word, is mulha, which has been translated as the “fool.” In fact it should be translated as “one who lives in unconsciousness,” one who lives like a sleepwalker, who lives mechanically, who goes on moving through many things, but all his gestures are empty. He lives without knowing why, he goes on rushing without knowing where. He is not even aware of who he is – he has not tasted his own consciousness. And because his inner being is in darkness, he remains foolish in whatsoever he tries to do. His knowledge, his learning, his scholarship, are of no avail.
One who lives unconsciously, like a somnambulist, is a fool; one who lives consciously starts changing from foolishness towards wisdom. Again let me remind you: wisdom is not knowledge. Wisdom is consciousness, and the man who attains to the perfection of wisdom, perfection of consciousness, is called a master by the Buddha. Silence cannot make a master out of a fool.