I call them so-called saints and sages. They look almost like buddhas, but deep inside there is great darkness. Their own self-nature is not yet realized. They have not attained samadhi. They are still wandering in the puzzling mind and its millions of ways. Their great practices, their asceticism, their disciplines, are nothing but their mind projection.
So it can be said that the so-called saints and sages end up trapped by nirvana. Their whole desire is to become enlightened. But that is the problem: you cannot desire to be enlightened. Desire is the barrier. You can become enlightened, but you cannot desire to become enlightened. The moment you desire you are trapped. You are trapped by your own desire.
You cannot make enlightenment an object of your greed. You cannot make it an object of your ambition.
And that is where the so-called sages and saints come in. They have made enlightenment, liberation, moksha, nirvana, a goal – an achievement. Then it becomes an ego trip. They are trapped, badly trapped.
Nirvana has to flower within you. When you have dropped the mind with all its desire, with all its ambitions, with all its program for achievements, when you have dropped your whole mind full of greed…. Whether the greed concerns money, or the greed concerns enlightenment, it does not make any difference. Mind can go on changing from object to object. But it remains the same mind full of greed. The moment mind is completely dropped, you suddenly find enlightenment is not a goal. It is your self-nature. Suddenly the lotus blossoms open their petals and you are full of fragrance. And this fragrance is not different in the arhatas or in the bodhisattvas. They both are buddhas; they both are enlightened people.
Because I don’t belong to any religion, I don’t belong to any particular sect – I simply don’t belong to anybody, I just belong to myself – I can see clearly where people get trapped in their own ideologies. Even a man like Bodhidharma cannot tolerate the idea that arhatas are the same as bodhisattvas. He belongs to the category of bodhisattvas.
And it is not the case only with him. There have been arhatas who condemn bodhisattvas in the same way. But to me it does not matter whether somebody is of one category or of another category. I can be absolutely impartial. And my being impartial has been my problem because I say things without bothering about who is going to be pleased by my statements, who is going to be displeased by my statements.
It is a very strange world. If I say something that pleases you, you will forget all about it. But if I say something that displeases you, you are not going to forget it, and you are not going to forgive me.