That is Buddha’s very specific contribution: the middle path. Buddha says: Avoid the extreme, because it is on the extreme that anxiety arises. You can indulge in an extreme way and you will suffer. You can renounce the world, become another kind of extremist, and you will suffer. Extreme always brings suffering. To be in the middle is to be beyond suffering.
When the traveling salesman’s car broke down, he stopped at a farmhouse and was invited to sleep with the farmer’s daughter. They went to bed and he made a pass.
She said, “Stop. Stop that or I will call my father.”
He tried again. She said, “Stop, or I will call my father.” But she moved closer.
Finally he succeeded.
Shortly after, she tugged on his pajama sleeve and said, “Could we do that again?” He obliged.
A little later she woke him up and asked if they could do it again. He obliged.
The third time she woke him up and asked if they could do it again he said, “Stop that or I will call your father.”
Indulge to the extreme and you will suffer. Or renounce to the extreme and you will suffer. Buddha is a very down-to-earth man; he says remain in the middle, exactly in the middle is the way. There you become balanced.
…nonviolence, moderation and purity. All these things follow naturally if you are wise – not knowledgeable, remember, but wise. Mind becomes knowledgeable, meditation brings wisdom.
Fine words or fine features
cannot make a master
out of a jealous and greedy man.
Only when envy and selfishness
are rooted out of him
may he grow in beauty.
You may have a beautiful face, fine features; you may have a very articulate way of expressing yourself, of communicating your ideas, you may be very good with words. These things do not make a master; cannot, because if you are jealous and greedy you remain the same.
Only when envy and selfishness are rooted out of him may he grow in beauty. A real master is truly beautiful, but that beauty is not of the body. It is something inner that starts radiating out of the body. Yes, his body has a certain aura, a light around itself, a coolness, a grace – but they arise from his innermost core. They arise from his center and spread towards the circumference. But just having a beautiful body does not mean that you are wise.