The problem is that we are living with a darkness in the heart – how to transform this darkness into a luminosity? We have the potential, but we don’t know how to change it into actuality. Buddha is very pragmatic, very practical, the first man really to be so pragmatic about the inner world, about subjectivity, about interiority. People are very much interested in philosophies of life. If they don’t have one they feel as if they are missing something. People are interested in phony words because they cost nothing. You can be a Hindu, you can read the Vedas and the Gita and Upanishads, and you can become very learned. You can become a great parrot, you can become a pundit, a great scholar, you can talk about great things for hours, but your life will remain ordinary – it will not have any touch of the beyond.
You can be a Mohammedan or a Christian – there are hundreds of ideologies in the world – you can be a Catholic or communist. It does not matter what you believe in. What really matters is: are you capable of seeing? Do you have eyes to see the mystery of existence? Do you have the heart to feel the magic of it? Are you open, available, vulnerable to the unknown? And when the unknown calls, are you courageous enough to go into the uncharted sea, not knowing what is going to happen next? Do you have that type of guts?
Goldberg had a vague feeling that something was missing in his life. One night he was particularly depressed and told his wife about his yearning for something.
“But Sam,” reassured his wife, “you have everything!”
“I know, I know! But I don’t have a philosophy of life – I want that.”
“Sam, what do you want that for? None of the neighbors have one.”
But that’s really the problem – the neighbors have. Somebody is a Hindu, somebody is a Mohammedan, somebody is a Christian, somebody is a Jew, somebody is a communist; somebody talks about Das Kapital and somebody about the Gita and somebody about the Koran, and you start feeling as if you are missing something because you cannot talk about great things. You start feeling these people must be knowing all that they are talking about. They know nothing. They are as blind as you are, or maybe they are more blind than you are. At least you are free of the philosophies – that is one of the basic hindrances in seeing.
The first thing to understand about Buddha and his approach is that he does not want to give you a teaching. He certainly wants to give you a science – he is not interested at all in making your minds more sophisticated. He wants you to drop the mind. Sophisticated or unsophisticated, mind is a block, it hinders. No-mind is the capacity to see; mind is the capacity to believe, but it is not the capacity to see.
Hence Buddha has given a totally new meaning to meditation. Before him, meditation was concentration in the beginning and contemplation in the end. But concentration and contemplation both are part of the mind; the mind can play these games perfectly well. The mind is very much interested in concentration because through it, it becomes stronger. Concentration is a nourishment. And mind is immensely interested in contemplation too, because through contemplation, finer food, finer nourishment, become available.