But such is the ignorance of man that the first statues made of any man were those of Gautam Buddha. There had been statues, but those were of fictitious gods. Gautam Buddha is the first historical person whose statues were made, and made on such a great scale that even today he has more statues in the world than anybody else. And the poor fellow had said, “Don’t make my statues, because I am not teaching you to worship, I am teaching you to awaken. No worship is going to help; it is simply a waste of time.”
But the priest is interested in worship; hence Buddha’s words were not taken care of, and priests started making statues. Rituals were created, and he had been fighting for forty-two years continuously against rituals, against temples, against scriptures. Exactly what he had been fighting against was done afterwards – and done with all good intentions by people who thought they were doing some service to humanity, by people who thought that they were followers of Gautam Buddha.
It is a strange history. Every master has been betrayed, without exception, by his own people in different ways. The betrayal of Judas was very ordinary, superficial. But the betrayal of those who have created statues of Buddha, made temples of Buddha, created scriptures in the name of Buddha, brought everything back against which that man had fought for forty-two years continuously…From the back door everything has come in.
These people say…and they are many, and of many different sectarian ideologies. There are thirty-two buddhist sects in the world, and they all think they are teaching exactly what Gautam Buddha has said. But there are only a few who can be said to have understood Gautam Buddha – because the only way to understand him is to become him, is to become an awakened being.
Except for that, there is no way to understand Buddha. You cannot study him from scriptures and you cannot persuade him by your prayers. You can be in his company only by being awakened the same way as he was. On those same sunlit peaks of consciousness you will be able to understand him. In other words, the day you understand yourself you will have understood the message of this strangest man who has walked on the earth.
The priests have been trying to misquote him, to distort him, to interpret him for their own interests.
They consider enlightenment as falling into the secondary. They think that enlightenment deceives people…
The fact is, only enlightenment does not deceive people. Except enlightenment, everything in the name of religion deceives people.
…that enlightenment is a fabrication…
And I say again to you: only enlightenment is the ultimate reality. Other than that, everything else is a fabrication.