Now, if you don’t understand the real meaning of sin, you are bound to misinterpret the whole statement and Jesus will look too harsh, too hard, too violent. Saying, “If your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away,” does not look like a statement of Jesus. A man of profound love and compassion – he cannot say it, he cannot be so violent. But this is how Christians have interpreted him.
What he means is: whatsoever causes you to forget yourself, even if it is your right eye…. That is just to emphasize the fact. It is simply a way of talking, an emphasis: “If your right eye causes you to forget yourself, then take it out and throw it away.” He is not saying anything which has to be taken literally; it is a metaphor. He is saying that it is better to be blind than to be forgetful of yourself, because the blind man who remembers himself is not blind, he has the real eye. And the man who has eyes, if he has forgotten himself, what is the use of having eyes? He cannot see himself – what else can he see?
Your question is beautiful. You say, “I am a sinner….” Everybody is! To be born in this world means to be a sinner. But remember my emphasis: it means to forget oneself.
That’s the whole purpose of the world: to give you an opportunity to forget yourself. Why? – so that you can remember. But you will ask – and your question will look logical – “If we already remembered before, then why this unnecessary torture that we have to forget ourselves and then remember again? What is the point of this whole exercise? It seems to be an exercise of utter futility!” It is not; there is great significance in it.
The fish in the ocean is born in the ocean, lives in the ocean, but knows nothing about the ocean – unless you take the fish out of the ocean. Then, suddenly, a recognition arises in the fish. Only when you lose something do you remember. Only in that contrast does remembering happen. Then let the fish go back to the ocean. It is the same fish, it is the same ocean, the same situation – yet everything is different. Now the fish knows that the ocean is her life, her very being. Before, she was in the ocean but unaware; now, she is in the ocean but aware. And that’s the great difference, the difference that makes the difference.
We have lived in God, we all come from the original source of existence, but we have to be thrown out into the world so that we can start searching for God again, searching for the ocean – thirsty, hungry, starving, longing. And the day we find it again there is great rejoicing. And it is not anything new.
The day Buddha became enlightened he laughed and he said to himself, “This is very strange! What I have gained is not an achievement at all, it is only a recognition. I had it always, but I was unaware of it.”
The only difference between a sinner and a sage is that the sinner is full of forgetfulness, and the sage is full of remembering. And between these two is that hocus-pocus being called the saint. He does not know anything, he does not remember anything. He has heard other sages or may have read the scriptures, and he repeats those scriptures like a parrot – not only repeats but practices also. He tries to behave like a sage. But any effort to behave like a sage shows only one thing: that you are not a sage yet.