The first question:
I am fifty, but I don’t yet feel really mature and fully grown up. What is the matter with me?
Maybe you have not yet killed anybody. That’s a must. If you want to become mature, you have to become a very skillful murderer. Unless you kill a few persons you will never become mature. You have to kill your parents, you have to kill your teachers, you have to kill your leaders. They are all clamoring inside you, and they don’t allow you to become a grown-up person – they go on keeping you childish. they make you a dependent, they don’t allow you independence.
It happened, a monk was taking leave from Buddha – he was going far away to spread Buddha’s message. And when he came to touch his feet, Buddha blessed him and said to his other disciples, “Do you see this blessed monk? He has killed his mother, he has killed his father, he has killed his relatives, he has killed his king.” The people were very much surprised, they could not believe their ears – “What is Buddha saying?”
One disciple gathered courage and asked, “Sir, what do you mean? Do you mean a murderer has some virtue? You are calling him blessed?” Buddha laughed and he said, “Not only that, he has even murdered himself – he has committed suicide.” Then Buddha sings a song, says a gatha, in which he explains what he means by it.
Everybody is brought up as a child. That is your first way into the world; that’s how you have been trained for years, to remain a child. Everything was ordered, and you were expected to obey. You have become very dependent – you always go on looking for father-figures, you always go on looking for authorities to say to you what should be done, what should not be done.
Maturity means the understanding to decide for oneself, the understanding to be decisive on your own. To stand on your own feet – that’s what maturity is. But it rarely happens, because parents spoil almost every child, more or less. And then there is the school and the college and the university – they are all ready to spoil you. It is very rare that somebody becomes mature.
The society is not happy with mature people. Mature people are dangerous people, because a mature person lives according to his own being. He goes on doing his own thing – he does not bother what people say, what their opinion is. He does not hanker for respectability, for prestige; he does not bother for honor. He lives his own life – he lives it at any cost. He is ready to sacrifice everything, but he is never ready to sacrifice his freedom.