He tried a few other colleges, because the city I was in was one of the most significant cities as far as education was concerned; there were twenty colleges in all. He called a few other principals, and everybody said, “You can send anybody else, but we have heard about that student. And you are the oldest college and you have the best professors. If they are ready to resign because of him, what will happen to our professors who are not so senior, who are not so experienced?”
The principal was in a dilemma. And I was sitting there listening to all this phone talk. I told him, “You will not be able to manage. I will manage myself. You just give me expulsion orders and I will manage.”
And I arranged with one principal to enter his college on the condition that I would never come to the college. I would pay the fee but I would never come to the college. I would go to the library but not to the classes. I would not attend the classes, so no problem would arise. And the principal would see to it that I got the right attendance necessary for appearing at the examination. I said, “That’s a great arrangement. In fact, I have always wanted it.”
For two years I never went to a single class for a single day. But those two years were of great importance. I settled into the library as deeply as possible. Before the library would open, I was there and only when the librarian pushed me out because it was being closed did I reluctantly leave.
The same is the situation with Bodhidharma, who belongs to the particular school of Mahayana. Because China – the whole of China – does not have any other school except Mahayana. And to tell the Mahayana people that you can become enlightened just like a click of the fingers…it is not possible for them to believe, because Buddha himself said he had to do hard work for three asankhyas – innumerable ages – before he became enlightened. But Bodhidharma knew from his own experience that he had become enlightened without any austerity, without any discipline, without going through fasting, without doing prayers, rituals. He became enlightened just by becoming aware of his mind.
But to say that Gautam Buddha is wrong…. He would be surrounded by the whole country which believed that Gautam Buddha cannot be wrong. And in actual fact, for six years after leaving his palace, Gautam Buddha did everything, and all the teachers finally felt that he was a far greater soul than they themselves were. And they said to him, “Forgive us. All that we knew, we have told you. More than that is beyond our capacity. But we will suggest a greater teacher to you.”
For six years he went from one teacher to another teacher, and finally, the greatest teacher of those days said to him, “You are wasting your time. No teacher can help you. It is time enough that you should be on your own…. Just watch your mind. I don’t have any other teaching for you.”
Tired of those six years of continuous discipline…. It was a full moon night. He had been was refused by the teacher and told, “Just watch your mind. There is no discipline for you; those disciplines are for mediocre minds. They are compromises, according to everybody’s capacity – a certain ritual to console him that he is doing some work for enlightenment. Nothing will satisfy you unless enlightenment happens.”