The Buddha said:
Those who are following the way should behave like a piece of timber which is drifting along a stream. If the log is neither held by the banks, nor seized by men, nor obstructed by the gods, nor kept in the whirlpool, nor itself goes to decay, I assure you that this log will finally reach the ocean. If monks walking on the way are neither tempted by the passions, nor led astray by some evil influences, but steadily pursue their course for nirvana, I assure you that these monks will finally attain enlightenment.
The Buddha said:
Rely not on your own will. Your own will is not trustworthy. Guard yourselves against sensualism, for it surely leads to the path of evil. Your own will becomes trustworthy only when you have attained arhatship.
The way of the Buddha is known as via negativa – the path of negation. This attitude, this approach has to be understood.
Buddha’s approach is unique. All other religions of the world are positive religions, they have a positive goal – call it God, moksha, liberation, salvation, self-realization, but there is a goal to be achieved, and positive effort is needed on the part of the seeker. Unless you make hard effort you will not reach to the goal.
Buddha’s approach is totally different, diametrically opposite. He says: You are already that which you want to become, the goal is within you, it is your own nature. You are not to achieve it. It is not in the future, it is not somewhere else. It is you right now, this very moment. But there are a few obstacles – those obstacles have to be removed.
It is not that you have to attain godhood – godhood is your nature – but there are a few obstacles which have to be removed. Once those obstacles are removed, you are that which you have always been seeking. Even when you were not aware of who you are, you were that. You cannot be other than that, you cannot be otherwise.
Obstacles have to be eliminated, dropped. So nothing else has to be added to you. The positive religion tries to add something to you: virtue, righteousness, meditation, prayer. The positive religion says you are lacking something; you have to be in search of that which you are lacking. You have to accumulate something.
Buddha’s negative approach says you are not lacking anything. In fact, you are possessing too many things which are not needed. You have to drop something.
It is like this: A man goes trekking into the Himalayas. The higher you start reaching, the more you will feel the weight of the things you are carrying with you. Your luggage will become more and more heavy. The higher the altitude, the more heavy your luggage will become. You will have to drop things. If you want to reach to the highest peak, you will have to drop all.
Once you have dropped all, once you don’t possess anything, once you have become a zero, a nothingness, a nobody, you have reached.
Something has to be eliminated, not added to you. Something has to be dropped, not accumulated.
When Buddha attained, somebody asked him, “What have you attained?”