He certainly renounced the world, but not to gain anything in the other. If there is any motive in your renunciation, it is not true renunciation; it is not radical enough, it is not a revolution. It is again the same old business, the same old bargaining mind; it is based in desire and desire is the world. The world does not consist of things; the world consists of motives, desires, ambitions.
If you renounce the world to gain something, whatsoever it is – nirvana, enlightenment, moksha, freedom, truth or godliness, whatsoever it is – if you renounce the world to gain something, it is not renunciation.
Hence, I will not say that Buddha renounced the world to attain something. The very idea of attaining something is the world. The very idea of attaining something is to live in imagination, is to live in the future. And a man of understanding lives in the present, not in the future. A man of understanding does not really renounce the world. The world simply falls from him. The world simply becomes irrelevant, it loses meaning. His insight is such that he can see through and through the falsity of all desire – not to attain something, but seeing the futility of desire, desiring ceases. That is true renunciation.
That’s what Buddha did. In fact to say he did it is not right. Language creates so many problems. When you start talking about the buddhas, language is not an adequate vehicle; it becomes very inadequate. To say Buddha renounced the world is not exactly the truth. It would be better to say the world disappeared from his vision. It was not an act but a happening.
When he became aware, alert, watchful, a witness, when he saw the absurdity of desire, desire ceased on its own. It was not an act. How can you go on desiring if you see the absurdity of it? You will not try to pass through a wall. Seeing that it is a wall, you will not try to pass through it. If you are still trying to pass through the wall, hitting it hard with your head, that simply shows your eyes are closed. And you are not seeing it as a wall – somewhere you are imagining that it is a door. You are hoping to get through it. The moment you see it as a wall the transformation has happened.
To understand is enough, there is no need to practice it. People practice only because they don’t understand.
Many come to me and ask, “Give us a certain discipline to practice.” For centuries they have been given disciplines to practice. I give you no discipline because you can practice a discipline, you can become very skillful, you can become very artful, crafty; still deep down you will remain the same person – because it is not a question of practicing a discipline.
The question is of seeing, the question is of understanding your life, its unconscious motives. The question is to understand the darkness in which you live. And the miracle is that if you can understand the darkness in which you are living, suddenly there is light, because understanding is light.
Buddha has been very much misunderstood, not only by his enemies but by his friends too. In fact, more by friends than by enemies. The enemies can be forgiven, but the friends cannot be forgiven.