Brockwood Park 1979
Brockwood Park 2nd Conversation with Buddhist Scholars 28th June 1979 'Death'
K: Sir, your question was, if there is life after death.
R: May I say a few words about it?
K: Of course, sir.
R: You see, I want to put this question to you because all religions, as far as I know, agree and accept a life after death. Of course Buddhism and Hinduism, they accept not one life but many lives before this birth and after this death. That is Hindu and Buddhist teaching. But as far as I know, Christianity at least accepts one life after death, either in hell or heaven.
K: Yes, sir, Muslims too.
R: Muslims too. I don't know about others very much, but these religions, they accept life after death, I don't know, I think Zoroastrianism accepts it. And of course, except Buddhism, in all those religions there is soul, self, Atman, with this unchanging, everlasting, permanent substance in man which transmigrates or is reincarnated. Buddhism does not accept a self, Atman or soul or ego which is permanent, eternal, everlasting, unchanging. But Buddhism accepts man is composed of five aggregates, physical; and if you put it in brief, as the Buddhist term say, name and form.
K: Name and form.
R: That you use very often. Name and form. That is name means the mental qualities and form is the physical body. But these are all energies according to Buddhism, forces. And according to Buddhism, what you call death is non-functioning of the body.
R: But that non-functioning of the body does not mean the non-functioning of all other qualities and forces, like desire, will to become, to become more and more and all that. So as long as man is imperfect, that means, if he had not seen the truth. Once one sees the truth, he is perfect and there is no desire for becoming, because there is nothing to become. And when man is imperfect he has always desire, will, as you suggested this morning, time to become more, to become more perfect and things like that.
So rebirth is there for him, because he is not perfect. But whatever it may be according to Buddhism, it is not one unchanging substance that goes on, but it is the cause and effect, just as today Buddha says, every moment we are dead and reborn. And so in Buddhism it is wrong to say reincarnation, because there is nothing to incarnate.
Then transmigration also is not a good term. And we use now rebirth, which is not quite correct. In the Buddhist term it is punar janman, the Pali, that means, a becoming again, re-becoming, it is called re-becoming, that is, continuity of re-becoming, unbroken continuity, that is the Buddhist attitude. The question is asked, in Buddhism, very often, in the many texts, is it the same person or another one? Answer is, Buddhist traditional and classical answer is, neither he nor another. That is the answer, 'neither he nor another', that is the continuity process, a child is grown up to be a man of fifty, is he the same child or another. It is neither the same child nor another one. In the same way, it is neither he nor another. That is the Buddhist attitude to rebirth.
And now I would like to know what is your attitude and what is your interpretation?
K: Sir, could we take a journey together a little bit?
R: Yes. You mean, you want me to answer or...
K: No, journey together, investigating this thing.
K: Would you say that all humanity, whether the human being lives in America, Russia, India or Europe, is caught in sorrow, conflict, strife, guilt, great sense of misery, loneliness, unhappiness, confussion; that is the common lot of all men, throughout the world? That is, the consciousness of man - not super-consciousness or some other kind of consciousness, the ordinary consciousness of man is the content of all this. Would you agree, sir?
K: That man, human being, I won't say man, because there are a lot of girls here too, but human beings, right throughout the world, have the same psychological phenomenon. Outwardly they might differ, tall, short, dark and so on, but psychologically they are greatly similar. So one can say, you are the world. Would you?
K: Would you agree to that, sir? You are the world and the world is you. Right, sir? Let's talk about it.
R: Yes. In a sense.
K: Not in a sense, I want to come to it. It is not partially, it is so. You are born in Ceylon, he was born in India, another born in America or in Europe, or including this island, England. Outwardly one's culture, one's tradition, one's climate, food, all that may vary. But inwardly we have the same sense of guilt; guilt, not about something but the feeling of guilt, feeling of anxiety. Right?
R: Yes, rather not guilt, anxiety, I would agree. I would agree anxiety, not guilt, feeling of guilt in a certain form of society.
K: I mean, it's guilt, unless you are insensitive, brutal, one feels guilty. But that's a minor point.
SS: Perhaps more like guilt in the western tradition.
SS: And something more like shame in the East, perhaps.
K: In the East they translate it differently.
SS: But the feeling is the same.
K: Karma or their lot and so on. All right, I won't take guilt. Anxiety.
R: Yes, anxiety.
K: Loneliness, despair, various forms of depression, sorrow and fear, these are the common lot of man. That's obvious, I mean. So the the consciousness of human beings is its content. Right? The content is all this. So human beings throughout the world are more or less similar, apart from their physical name and form. Would you agree?
K: So one can say, not as a verbal statement but as a fact, that we human beings are alike. And so deeply you are me.
R: In similarity.
K: That's what I'm saying. And I am you.
R: Yes, similar.
K: Because each person goes through various forms of hell, tragedies, misfortunes. And so the world, the humanity is one. Right? Would you agree?
F: Humanity is one.
K: If you see that, accept it, then what is death? Who is it that dies? The name, the form, and also the anxiety, the pain, the sorrow, the misery - does that also die? You're following my point, sir? Can we discuss this a little? That is, to me the world is actually the 'me', it's not just words. I am the world, in the sense I may have different physical contours, physical facial differences and so on, height and colour and so on, but we're not concerned with that. Psychologically we go through extraordinary miseries, tragedies and uglinesses, hurts. So that is the common consciousness of man. Right, sir? That is the stream in which man lives, psychologically. Right?
Then what is it to die? If you really accept that or see it as being real, not imagined or idealistic, but it's a fact. If you accept that fact, then what is death, what is it that dies? The body? The form, the name? The form and the name may be different from you, you are a man, woman and all the rest of it. So that is the common stream in which mankind lives, with occasional spurts of happiness, rare moments of great joy, rare moments of sense of great beauty. But that's part of our common life, this vast stream is going on all the time. Right? It's a great river. Right? Let's discuss, you may disagree completely.
M: Sir, are you saying that in that stream the whole notion which most people share of some individual consciousness is a complete illusion?
K: I think so.
M: Why does mankind have that inevitably.
K: Because it's part of our education, part of our culture, both religiously and worldly, that there is you, you are an individual, you, you know, the whole idea of it. And also the word 'individual' is really misapplied, because individual obviously means one who is indivisible. But we're all broken up. So we can hardly call ourselves individuals.
F: We are fragmented.
K: We are fragmented, fragmented, broken up. So if we see that man's consciousness is the consciousness of the world, the world...
F: ...of all humanity.
K: ...of all humanity, in that vast river which has no beginning, which is still going on, and you and another are part of that stream. I and another die. What happens to all my desires, what happens to all my anxieties, fears, longings, aspirations, the enormous burden of sorrow which I have carried for years - what happens to all that?
F: When the body dies?
K: When the body dies.
F: It comingles with the world stream.
K: It is part of that stream.
M: It never was yours at all.
K: It's not mine, it's part of that stream, which has manifested itself as K., with his form. Sir, don't, this is very drastic what I'm saying compared to all the religions.
R: Now I am with the question. Now in that stream there is K.
K: Wait! There is no K. That's the whole point. There is only that stream - that stream is made up of desire, anxieties, despair, loneliness, all the travail of mankind. That is the river.
F: As well as their opposites. As well as the opposites of pain and so on.
K: It's part of that river.
F: Part of that river.
K: My pleasure, which lasts for a few days, and then I pursue it, and then I cry if I can't get it, and I'm flattered if I'm rewarded, so it's part of that vast river.
F: Would you say, sir, that that which we call the individual is a misnomer.
K: Not only misnomer...
F: Because of our ignorance.
K: It's not only misnomer, I don't think it exists: because you have a separate name and a bank account, but your consciousness is like somebody else, everybody else.
F: But sir, if we say that it doesn't exist at all, then we would have to say that humanity also doesn't exist.
K: No, I'm going to go into it. So if we see that, if we not only see it logically, reasonably, factually, it is so - you're born in India and I was born in Europe, or in America. We go through the same hell, through the same rat race.
M: So, may one, just to be sure so far, that it's clear - there is nothing apart from that in the human...
K: Wait, I'm coming to that. In that stream, man has invented gods, rituals, the saviours, the Virgin Mary, Krishnas, all that - they are all part of that stream. They've invented these.
M: But apart from the invention, the illusions, is there any other something?
K: Yes, is there anything spiritual.
M: Apart, other than that.
K: Yes. I understand. Is there anything that is not of time.
M: Of the stream.
K: Is there in the stream - you're asking, aren't you? - anything which is not man-made, let's call it for the moment. Is that what you're asking?
M: I'm not sure. If what you mean is, is there something that is not of the stream in the human mind, consciousness, whatever you want to call it.
K: Man has invented that there is something.
M: No, non-invention. Something real.
K: Not in that stream. Not in that river.
M: I'm not asking if there's a something else in the river, I'm asking if there's something else in man except the river.
K: No Atman, no soul, no God - nothing. Don't accept it, please.
M: There is enormous implication in that.
K: There is tremendous implication.
M: Because if that were so there would be no end to the stream.
K: That's what... but, no. The man who steps out - I don't want to go further, I want to go slowly, step by step.
If that is so, that we all, all human beings, their common consciousness is this, made up of this vast river. Right, sir? You may not accept this.
R: No, I'm not accepting or rejecting, I am thinking about it, meditating. What Mary said was a very important point.
K: We'll answer that presently.
R: Yes. Is there no escape from...
K: I'm going to answer it presently - not escape.
R: Or whatever it may be.
K: But we are considering death. So that stream is common to all of us, our consciousness is of that stream.
SS: Are you saying, sir, that thought is common to all of us, because all this is a creation and manifestation of thought.
K: Yes, thought, not only creation of thought but creation of thought which has created illusions.
SS: And the operation of those illusions.
K: And the operation of those illusions - Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu; British, French, Russian; various ideologies, all that is part of this stream.
F: May I ask, sir, is it a case of thought as it is here with us now, and functions as it does, which has created the illusions, or is it that mind as a universal constituent, as a universal factor, in the process of thinking through what we commonly call the particular person releases these ideas.
K: Let's go a little bit slowly. I want this to be clear, that we are part of that stream.
F: Yes, that is so.
K: And when the body dies, the desires, the anxieties, the tragedies and the misery goes on.
F: Part of the...
K: I die.
K: And that stream, that river is going on.
K: Right, sir, or do you reject this? I don't see how you can reject it.
R: No rejection, no acceptance.
K: No, just wait - right?
R: Only waiting for the conclusion.
K: Quite right. So that river manifests itself as K.
R: Not the whole river.
K: The river, which is desire, river is that.
F: One of its manifestations is K.
K: The river manifests, not one of the manifestations.
F: Well then how does...
K: No, sorry. I'll make it a bit clear. The river manifests itself as K. That's agreed.
R: Then river also manifests as R.
K: Also? No. River manifests itself as K. K has certain capacities by tradition, by education and so on to paint, to build a marvellous cathedral. But we're talking psychologically. Look, sir, let's go back to it. The river is that, we agree.
R: I don't know.
K: What do you mean, sir, you don't know?
R: I fully agree that whole humanity without exception...
K: ...is one.
R: All these, what you describe as suffering and all that, is common.
R: To all humanity.
K: That is...
R: In that sense, all are equal, not all one.
K: No equality or anything. We are of that stream.
R: Yes, that's all right.
K: I am the representative of all mankind. Me. Because I'm of that stream.
R: Well, that I don't know.
N: It's a qualitative thing, qualitively.
K: What do you mean qualitative?
N: When you say, "I am of that stream", all the qualities of the stream are in me.
N: That's a qualitative thing.
K: Yes, that's right. All the qualities of that stream.
N: Not that I'm the whole river.
N: But the drop contains all the qualities of the river.
K: But the river is that.
K: The river is that.
M: Would it be helpful to use the example of a wave: a wave is no different from the rest of the ocean.
M: But it manifests as a wave which disappears.
K: If you like to put it that way. But this must be clear. Each one of us is the representative of all mankind, because the representative is of that stream and mankind is of that stream, therefore each one of us is the representative of the whole of that stream.
R: That is better. That's better.
K: Yes, he allowsa it. I mean, yes, let's go. That stream manifests itself as K. Or as X, forget K, X. Manifests itself as X. With a form, name, but that stream also has this quality which is, in that stream there is art, there is everything is in there.
R: Not only X, there is Y.
K: Dozens, X, Y, Z.
R: Yes, that's right, that's what I want to make clear.
K: Oh yes, A B C.
R: Yes, begin with the alphabet, that's right.
K: So as long as mankind is in that stream, and one manifestation of that stream leaves the stream, for him he's completely free of that stream.
R: So you are not whole humanity, because if you leave the river, then you leave; whole humanity, then all humanity is away.
K: Just a minute, sir, just a minute. That stream has manifested in X and in that manifestation, if X doesn't free himself completely from this stream, he's back in it.
M: But, sir, this is the moment that the earlier question referred to.
K: I'm coming to that.
M: What is there? You said there was nothing separate from the stream.
K: Wait, wait. I haven't explained it. There is nothing. There is that stream. Right? It manifests itself as A. In that manifestation, with all the education and environmental influences and so on, if that A doesn't step out of that stream, there is no salvation for mankind.
M: Sir, what is there to step out?
K: Leap, finish with your anxieties, sorrow, all the rest of it.
M: But you said there was nothing except the content of the stream.
K: As long as I remain in the stream.
M: What is the 'I'?
K: I is the thing that has manifested itself as A, and A now calls himself individual, which is not factual, which is illusory. But when A dies, he's part of that stream. That's clear.
M: Yes, but if A is composed of the water of the stream...
M: ...how can the water of the stream step out of the stream?
K: Oh, yes.
P: So there is some logical error in our...
K: In my explanation.
P: Yes. Once you say this, that you are the representative of mankind, humanity, which is the...
K: Is that so or not.
K: Don't say yes, sir. Aren't you the representative of whole of mankind, psychologically?
R: Yes, indeed, I think that too general and too vague a statement.
K: No, it's not vague. I have made it very clear. That stream is this content of our consciousness, which is agony, pain, desire, strife, all that.
R: That is common to all. In that sense, all humanity are equal or...
K: No, I don't want...
R: All humanity is one in other words.
K: I don't want...
R: But I can't accept your attitude, your position, that I am humanity. No.
K: Of course, if I accept that stream, I'm part of that stream, therefore I am like the rest of humanity.
R: Like the rest.
K: I said that, therefore a representative of all of that stream.
R: That also I accept.
K: That's all I'm saying.
R: But you can't say "I am that stream, whole stream".
K: No, I am that stream.
M: But, sir, maybe we're being literal, but there's a concept in this somewhere of a sort of a container which contains the stream.
K: No, not container, not the ships that carry containers and all that. No, don't bring in containers.
M: What is it that can separate itself from the stream if it is only made up of the water of the stream?
K: Part of that stream is this egotistic concept. That's all.
M: No, but what can separate? How can water divide itself from the ocean.
K: You're missing my whole point.
R: Her point is this. Which is it that steps out of the river. That is the question.
K: Wait. If that is the question, I'll answer it presently, I'll answer it. I'm quite good at this. I'm only joking.
R: Yes. We understand. Yes, as a joke. I hope it will not be a joke.
K: No, sir. It's much too serious. You see, all this implies, when you ask that question, what is it that steps out, you're positing an otherness, something which is not of the stream. Right?
R: Or rather you are positing this.
K: I'm not. I haven't posited anything at all, I've only stated what is actually happening. I won't posit anything, I've said, as long as man does not step out of that stream, there is no salvation to mankind. That's all.
F: Sir, may I add a word here. I think the question which the lady asked implies an identifiable permanent entity.
K: There is no permanent entity.
F: No, what I'm suggesting is...
M: A something, I'm not making it more definite than that.
K: I know what you're trying to say.
M: There has to be X or I don't know what to call it.
N: Some aspect of intelligence.
N: Some aspect of intelligence.
K: That's what he's saying.
M: Something that can step out of the stream.
K: Yes, is there some aspect of intelligence in the stream?
N: Yes, which sees the...
K: Which sees the... yes, and therefore steps out.
N: Sees the futility of the stream.
M: Then you're saying it is part of the stream that quality, it's in with all the other human things, something is able...
K: Just a minute.
M: ...to separate itself from all the rest of the stream.
K: A is part of that stream. Let's go step by step if you don't mind, then we won't mislead each other. A is part of that stream. That stream has manifested itself as A. So A perceives he's suffering. Obviously. Right? No?
K: His anxiety, he is living and he says, "Why am I suffering? What is this?" And so he begins to reason, begins to see. Why do you introduce some other factor?
M: Can you then say that some perception that it's still part of the stream...
M: Or some molecule, or something.
K: No. No. You are not listening, if you don't mind my pointing out.
R: May I add a word, sir?
K: Yes, sir.
R: According to Buddha's teaching, in that stream there is also wisdom which sees.
K: No. I don't know what...
R: Forget, no, I know, because in that stream, which is called, in other words, in Buddhist philosophy it is very well explained, as Mary puts the question, there is wisdom which sees the whole of thing. It is that.
N: Which sees what?
R: The whole thing. Whole view, whole thing. The reality, which sees the reality, which sees as it is, as we discussed this morning. And then is that stepping out, that seeing is the stepping out.
M: Are you saying that there is an action of stepping out without an actor?
K: Yes. Go with me. I'll explain it. I'll explain it, but you don't have to accept it. I think it'll be logical, reasonable and fairly sane, unless one is completely besotted, it can be examined. A is of that stream, with a name and a form. And as he lives he realizes what he's going through. Right? In that realization he says, "I'm suffering." Then he begins to enquire into the whole nature of suffering, and ends that suffering. I'm taking one aspect of this stream. Ends that suffering. And he is out of that stream. That entity is really unique, who is out of that stream.
S: So it's something there that wasn't there before then?
K: The moment A realizes that he's suffering, and doesn't escape from that suffering - enquires, explores without any motive and so on into the nature of suffering, and has an insight into the whole structure of suffering, that very insight ends that suffering.
R: That insight also in the stream.
K: You see, a moment - you're positing something I'm not.
R: From where you are bringing insight?
K: No, I brought in insight very carefully. A realizes he's suffering. Suffering is part of that stream.
R: A is also part of the stream.
K: Yes, that stream has manifested itself in A. A living, realizes he's suffering, he doesn't escape from it, because he wants to know the whole nature of it, the nature and the structure and what is behind suffering. So he examines it, both logically, sanely and also non-verbally. Looks into it. And the very looking into it is the insight. It's not of the stream, the looking into the suffering.
R: That looking in, from where does it come?
K: He's concerned, I said that, he's studying, he's exploring, he's questioning the whole beastly thing, he wants to know.
R: That means it was not a part of the river.
S: Krishnaji, because we've been saying that something steps out of the river.
K: Wait. I won't use that word, stepping out.
S: No, and it seems now that what we're saying is that something comes into being which never was part of that river.
K: Yes. I said no. You follow me and see if I'm wrong, then correct me. A is of that stream, A is suffering, A says, "Why?" He's not concerned what the teacher said, he said, "I know all that," he pushes all that aside. Why is there suffering? In the very enquiry of it - the enquiry depends on your capacity to put aside interpretation, not escape and all the rest of it - in the very enquiry into the nature of suffering and the cause of it, and the effect of it and so on, in that very enquiry is insight, comes insight. Insight isn't in the stream.
R: I say it is in the stream.
K: Why, sir?
R: You see, it has in itself the capacity of producing and ceasing.
K: The stream itself has the capacity?
R: Of continuing and producing and ceasing it. Stopping it. That insight is also part of that stream. Just as all that misery...
K: No, sir, I wouldn't...
R: And where does that insight come from?
K: I'm telling you, sir.
R: You say A is part of the river?
R: And then A...
K: A is suffering.
K: A begins to enquire, A begins to - wait - in his enquiry he realizes enquiry can only exist when there's complete freedom from all escapes, suppression and all the rest of it.
K: So in that moment of enquiry there is insight, when he doesn't escape, when he doesn't suppress, when he doesn't rationalize or seek the cause of suffering, in that very moment of examining, is insight.
N: You're implying insight is born, it is not of the stream.
K: Don't introduce born, not of the stream.
K: You see, you are misleading, you want it part of that stream.
N: Where does it come from, insight, then?
K: I'm telling you.
N: From enquiry.
K: From the freedom to enquire.
N: Where does that freedom to enquire come from?
K: From his own examination.
R: But he is part of the river.
K: No. You're missing the point.
S: Krishnaji, are we saying this, that A is just a form and a name, normally is nothing more than a name and a form, plus all that there is in the river. With free enquiry...
K: A begins to enquire.
S: Right, A begins to enquire and then A, if he has this insight...
K: No. He has not the insight.
S: He is no longer just a part of that river.
K: Would you just follow, step by step. A is part of that stream, A is the manifestation of that stream, a wave of that stream, or whatever you like to call it. Now A is going through agony. A examines it. And the examination is very important, because if he escapes it is not examination, not exploration. If he suppresses, it's not. So he realizes - please follow this step by step - that as long as he's not free from the blockages that prevents exploration, and therefore he puts them aside, he's free to enquire. And in that freedom is insight.
P: There is a missing link here.
K: There may be ten, sir.
P: It appears that what Narayan was saying, that if the person is part of the stream, a representative of the stream, and when enquiry begins, examination starts, freedom comes...
K: Be careful, sir. No, you see, you are assuming so much.
P: No, but I'm repeating what you're saying.
K: Yes, all right, you're repeating what I said. Right.
P: And the beginning of this, the beginning of enquiry, the beginning of the capacity to explore without any of the things of the stream, are they also in the stream?
P: Where do they come from?
K: That's very simple. What are you all making a fuss about?
P: This beginning of the enquiry is...
K: No. Listen. You are not, forgive me, Doctor, you're not listening. I said, A is the manifestation of that stream. Let's follow it step by step, sir. Part of that stream is suffering. A is suffering, so A says, "Why, why should I suffer?"
P: At this point I will interrupt you.
K: At any point.
P: The number of human beings in the stream, the question as to "Why should I suffer?", this is the beginning of the whole thing.
K: No. Man has asked "Why should I suffer", they have a dozen explanations - the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Christian and so on. The man who is suffering says, "I see all this, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Christian, the Muslim, I reject all that, because that doesn't leave me the freedom to enquire. I'm accepting tradition and authority, I won't."
F: Sir, perhaps could we put it this way. That the conditioned enquiry...
K: ...is part of the stream.
F: ...is part of the stream.
K: That's the whole point.
F: But the free enquiry...
K: ...is beginning of...
N: ...getting away from the stream.
K: No. Look. Now, leave the stream alone now. For God's sake. A is a manifestation of the stream. A is suffering. A says, "Why am I suffering?" Studies Buddhism, studies Hinduism, studies Christianity, and says, "For God's sake, that world is out. I'm going to find out for myself." And he begins to enquire. And he realizes he can only explore if he's free to look. Right? Free from fear, free from reward and punishment, free from any kind of motive, otherwise he can't enquire. The moment he's in that state of examination, there is insight. This is very clear.
F: And of course very difficult to do.
K: No, I won't even accept the word difficult.
F: At first, because otherwise we wouldn't be enquiring.
K: No. Because we have not given our energy to this. We don't care, we have put up with so many things.
So leave A alone. But B is part of that stream, and he suffers, he says, "Yes, that's my nature, that's human nature, there is no way out, no Jesus, nobody is going to save me, I'll put up with it." So he is contributing to the stream.
SS: So the stream becomes more intense.
K: Yes, has more volume.
F: More drive also.
K: Of course, more volume is pressure of tremendous water. So we come to the point: what is death?
R: I want to go slowly. Now A is out of the river.
K: No, sir. A is not out of the river.
R: But he has seen, had insight.
K: He has insight.
R: Insight. So if all is one humanity, if A is the humanity then humanity has seen it.
K: No, sir, no sir.
M: So he left humanity.
F: You are looking at it, perhaps, purely logically.
K: No, not even logically.
F: What I mean is, logically but accepting the conditioned states.
K: The moment A is aware of his conditioned state and begins to enquire into it, he has got the energy to put aside.
F: Now the Buddha himself said, "Put aside with the right wisdom" - do you remember that phrase of the Buddha? "Put aside all shape and form, all sensation, all perceptions, all discriminative consciousness itself."
R: That's what I say.
F: Put it aside with right wisdom.
R: That is what I tell you. That is what I said, that he is making so complicated, whole.
K: We're all making it complicated, it is very simple.
R: That is what I tell you, that is the statement, that is the idea, but I also...
K: May I interrupt here? Say one doesn't belong to any religion. One doesn't accept any authority. That is to enquire. If I accepted what Christ or X Y Z said, it's no enquiry. So A rejects in his enquiry into sorrow, everything that anybody had said. Will you do that? Because otherwise he's a secondhand human being, examining through secondhand eye-glasses.
R: Or you can hear somebody who has seen it and...
K: I hear what the Buddha has said.
R: Yes, you can hear it.
K: Anybody has said.
R: Said, you also can see independently as he has seen.
K: Yes, but, yes, Buddha said, sorrow is the beginning of, whatever he said.
K: All right, but what 'he said' is not by me.
R: Absolutely, that is so.
R: That is what I am telling you, but you also can see the same thing as he has seen.
R: And still you know what he has said also.
K: What? Sir, the printed word or the hearsay, to a hungry man has no meaning.
R: That is so.
K: Reading the menu doesn't feed me.
R: That is what I'm telling you, it is not the menu but the food.
K: The food. The food is not cooked by anybody, I have to cook it, eat it.
R: That is not usually so.
K: Wait, I said the man who is examining the whole structure of sorrow.
R: I should say the other way, that you have to eat to get rid of hunger. Just because you have eaten, my hunger will not disappear.
R: You have prepared the food, you have eaten and there is food. I also can eat it, and it is my food. Do you deny that?
K: No, of course not, sir. Rhis afternoon, you've eaten lunch, somebody cooked it, and they ate it, we ate it.
K: But we're not talking at food level. We are saying that, as long as I accept any authority, it doesn't matter who it is, there is no insight.
R: It is not accepting authority. No.
K: Accepting descriptions, accepting conclusions, what Buddha said, what Krishna said, what A said. To me the freedom is from the known. Otherwise I'm everlastingly being in the stream. You see, that's why, sir, either we discuss this factually, and say, "Look, I will drop every authority I have." That means, knowledge, tradition - can you do that? Because that is enquiry, if you, if I am tethered to a tradition, I can't; I'll go round in circles, I must be free of the past and the rope that ties me to the post.
So B accepts suffering. Right, sir? B accepts what he is; conditioned, miserable and unhappy. You know what human being is. So he's all the time contributing to the stream. So there is no soul, no Atman, no ego, no permanent me, that evolves. Then what would the enquiry be, what is the state of the mind of the man, of the human who has had an insight into the whole nature of suffering, and therefore the whole stream? Right? What is the nature of that mind? What is the quality? Right, sir? Would that be speculative? It would.
SS: Sir, what is the position of the person who has some insight or a partial insight? He's still in there, isn't he?
K: Like the scientist, a partial insight. He may be excellent in science, but confused and miserable and unhappy, ambitious, you know.
F: Don't you think that the very term 'partial insight' means a conditioned insight.
K: Of course.
F: And therefore it's part of that stream and it's true to type generally.
K: I wonder if we see this, sir, or it is an image which we are seeing. Because now we've created the image of the river.
F: Yes, that's the unfortunate thing.
M: Sir, can one use the word insight in the same sense as intelligence, is there a difference?
K: You see. Now wait a minute. Let's go into that. The stream manifesting itself as B, and in his activities he becomes very cunning, clever. Has not intelligence no relationship with cunning, cleverness, chicanery, all that, but it is essentially part of love and compassion. What do you say, sir? The love in the stream is not love. You know, we are saying things which nobody will accept. If B is in the stream, and he tells his wife or girl friend or boy friend, 'I love you', is that love?
R: As long as there is me there is no love.
K: No, no don't reduce it to the 'me'. B is of that stream. B says to his girl friend or boy friend, "I love you" - now is that love?
R: In which sense?
R: Love has many hundred meanings.
K: So, that's what I'm enquiring. The love of a book, the love of your particular soup, the love of poetry, the love of a beautiful thing, the love of an ideal, the love of your country, the love of jealousy, in which is included hate, envy, hurt. Is all that - I'm questioning, exploring - is all that love? And B who is the man who says, "Yes, that is love. At least it's part of love." Or he says, "Without jealousy there is no love," I've heard these statements a dozen times before.
R: Not only that, people have asked me, without the idea of self, how can there be love.
R: There are people who put that question also.
K: You see, sir, are we discussing verbally all this? Or realizing, seeing the stream is you, and say, "Look, examine, end it." And so not being able to end it, we invent time: I will one day step out of that stream. So thought invents psychological evolution.
F: Could we also put it this way: thought invents psychological development through time.
K: Yes, sir, that's what I mean.
F: Instead of what really belongs to the psychological sphere, namely the immediacy.
K: That's right. The immediacy only takes place when there is insight. In that there is no regret, no saying, "I wish I hadn't done it." So our action is always at the time level.
See, sir, what is immortality? What is eternity? What is the immeasurable? All religions more or less touch on this, even the metaphysicists and the logicians and the monks have gone into this. What is immortality? That is, an author writes a good book and it becomes immortal. His name becomes immortal. Or a politician, unfortunately politicians last, endure. We have related immortality as something beyond death - mortal and the beyond mortality, beyond death. No?
F: That's the usual conception.
K: Of course. Well, sir, what do you say to all this?
R: What happened to our question?
K: Death - rebirth?
R: Yes, what happened there.
K: I've told you. Rebirth is this constant stream, manifesting itself into A, B, C, down the alphabet. I know this is most disappointing, depressing, and I say, "My God, this is too horrible, I won't listen to it."
SS: Are you also suggesting therefore death is part of that stream?
K: Yes, body dies. By usage and wrong way of living, it dies, dies, inevitably.
SS: But I meant more...
K: You see, sir, to find out what death is, one has to be with death. That means, end. End my attachment, end one's attachments and beliefs, end to everything that one has collected. Nobody wants to do that.
M: But that, that definition of death would not be in the stream.
M: That action of death would not be part of the stream.
K: No. You see, in the man who is gone, understood this, he doesn't think even in streams, it's something entirely different. It's not a reward for the man in the stream.
M: No, it's the action of the insight, is it not?
K: Yes, the action of insight. Action of insight, you cannot have insight if there is no love, compassion, intelligence, that's part of all that. And then, it's only then there is a relationship to truth.
SS: You seem to be suggesting in some way that death is a key.
K: Yes, sir. Free investigation, not the scientific investigation - the thinking tank, you know; but investigation into this whole myself, which is me, that stream, myself is that stream. Enquire into that, so that there isn't a shadow of the stream left. We don't do this because we are too learned, we have no time, we are too occupied with our own pleasure, our own worries. So we say, "Please, leave that to the priests; not for me."
So have we answered the question? Is there reincarnation, a continuation of the 'me' in different forms? I say, no!
R: Of course not, of course not. As you say, I also say, there is no. First of all there is no 'me' to be reborn.
K: No, sir, the stream manifests and B says, "I am I", therefore I'm frightened to die.
K: And therefore he invents various comforting theories, he prays, please save me and all the rest of it. But that stream, as long as B lives in that stream, his consciousness is part of that stream, he's only contributing more and more to the volume of that water. Obviously, sir, if you see that. So there is no 'me' to continue. Sir, nobody will accept this, but it's the truth.
F: You would agree then, that what is necessary is to see in this profound...
K: Yes, seeing is that.
F: Truly see, and that truly seeing is real action, creative action.
K: Is action, the moment I see, I drop anxiety. The moment I see I'm petty-minded, it's finished.
F: It is a complete transformation of the ordinary psychical process.
M: Isn't it really the crux in all this and the place where people go wrong, so to speak, that they do not see in the sense you're talking about; they see verbally, intellectually, on various levels, but they don't really see.
K: No, I think mostly they don't mind being sorrowful, they say well why not? They don't see, one doesn't see one's own petty reactions. Say, "Yes, why not?"
M: Or they don't see that they don't see, to put it perhaps childishly. They don't realize that what they think is understanding is not.
K: No, Maria, I mean - not you personally - has one dropped any opinion that one holds? One's prejudice; completely? Or one's experience? Never, they say, "Please" - they won't even listen to you. Do you mean to say a politician will listen to you? Or a priest or anybody who is absolutely caught in his own conclusion. Because there he's completely safe, completely secure. And you come and disturb him, either he worships you or kills you, which is the same.
M: Or he sees that that security is a complete fabrication.
K: Then he drops these prejudices, his conclusions, even his knowledge.
S: Sir, for the man who has stepped out of the stream and is no longer a manifestation of the stream, there is something else which is operating. Could we say something about the nature of that thing?
K: Which is intelligence.
S: Which is intelligence...
K: Intelligence is love. Intelligence is compassion.
S: And from many things that you have said in the past that seems to have an independent existence.
S: Without it manifesting in him.
K: Sir, if A frees himself - not himself - if A, his consciousness is no longer of the stream, his consciousness is entirely different. It is a different dimension altogether.
S: And that consciousness existed before he stepped out of the stream, to to speak?
K: Now you are speculating.
S: Yes, I am.
K: I won't play with you.
SS: Perhaps another way to say it, would be, is there intelligence without the intelligent person?
K: I know what you are saying. That means - let's put it round the other way: wars have created a great deal of misery. Right? And that misery remains in the air. It must. Goodness has been also part of man - try to be good. There is also that enormous reservoir of both. No?
K: So what? One doesn't contribute to that goodness but one is always contributing to the other.
M: Are you saying the other exists only in the human psyche, but goodness exists apart from humanity?
K: Let's put it round this way: there is not only A suffering, there is this whole suffering of mankind.
M: Or more than mankind, there is suffering.
K: There is suffering, of course.
SS: Suffering is a universal phenomenon.
K: Sir, would you kindly explain, what is Buddhist meditation.
R: Buddhist meditation, the purest form of Buddhist meditation which has taken many forms, many varieties, the purest form of Buddhist meditation is this insight into 'what is'.
K: You are using my words.
R: No, not your words. You are using those words! Long before you, two thousand five hundred years ago these words were used. I am using them.
K: All right, then we are both two thousand years old.
R: Vipassana is insight vision, to see into the nature of things, that is the real vision.
K: Have they a system?
R: A system is, of course, developed.
K: That's what I want to get at.
R: Yes, when you take the original teaching of the Buddha...
K: ...there is no system.
R: It is called Satipaṭṭhāna, the best discourse by the Buddha on this insight meditation. There is no system.
K: I am listening, sir.
R: And the key point in that is the awareness, that is called Sati, or in Sanskrit Smṛti. And to be mindful, aware, of all that happens, you are not expected to run away from life and live in a cave or in a forest, like a statue, all that. It is not that. And in this Satipaṭṭhāna it is - if you translate it as the establishment of mindfulness, but rather it is the presence of awareness, the meaning of that word.
K: Is this awareness...
R: Yes, awareness of every movement, every act, everything.
K: Is this awareness to be cultivated?
R: There is no question of cultivation. There is no question.
K: That is what I am trying to get at.
K: Because the modern gurus, modern systems of meditation, modern Zen, you know all the rest of it, they are trying to cultivate it.
R: Yes, I'll tell you, sir. I have written an essay, it will be published in Belgium, on The Cycle of Buddhist Meditation. There I said that this teaching of the Buddha is for many centuries misunderstood and wrongly applied as a technique. And they have developed into such a technique that the mind can be instead of liberating it can be...
K: Of course. All meditation...
R: If it is made into a system.
K: Please, sir, I am asking: awareness, is it something to be cultivated in the sense manipulated, watched over, worked at? R: No, no.
K: So how does it come into being?
R: There is no coming into being, you do it.
K: Wait sir, just listen. I want to find out, I am not critical, I just want to find out what Buddhist meditation is. Because now there is Buddhist, there is Tibetan, there are various types of Buddhist meditation, various types of Tibetan meditation, various types of Hindu meditation, Suffi meditation - for God's sake, you follow, they are like mushrooms all over the place. I am just asking if awareness is something that takes place through concentration?
R: No, not in that sense. For anything we do in this world a certain amount of concentration is necessary. That is understood. In that sense a certain kind of concentration is necessary but don't mix it up with dhyani and samadhi.
K: I don't like any of those words personally.
R: But they are concentration in the principle.
K: I know, I know. Most of the meditations that have been propagated all over the world involves concentration.
R: Zen and various other things, samadhi, dhyana, Hindu, Buddhist, concentraion is the centre.
K: That is nonsense. I don't accept concentration.
R: In the Buddha's teaching, meditation is not that concentration.
K: It is not concentration. Let's put it away. Then what is this awareness, how does it come into being?
R: You see, you live in the action in the present moment.
K: Wait, sir. Yes sir. The moment you say the present moment, you don't live in the present moment.
R: That is what it says, that you don't live in the present moment. And satyabhatan is to live in the present moment.
K: No, you are missing it. How is one to live in the present? What is the mind that lives in the present?
R: The mind that lives in the present is the mind which is free from...
K: Yes, sir, go on sir, I am waiting, I want to find out.
R: ...free from the idea of self. When you have the idea of self either you live in the past or in the future.
K: The now is, as far as I, one sees, not I, one sees generally, the past modifying itself in the present and going on.
R: That is the usual.
K: Wait. That is the present.
K: Then what is the present? Free of the past?
K: That's it. Free of the past, which means free of time. So that is the only state of mind which is now. Now I am just asking, sir, what is awareness? How does it flower, how does it happen? You follow?
R: There is no technique for it.
K: I understand.
R: You were asking how it happens.
K: Quite right. I used the 'how' just to ask a question, not for a method. I'll put it round the other way. In what manner does this awareness come into being? I am not aware - suppose I am not aware. I am just enclosed in my own petty little worries and anxieties, problems, I love you and you don't love me, and all that is going on in my mind. I live in that. And you come along and tell me, "Be aware of all that". And I say, "What do you mean by being aware?"
R: When you ask me that, be aware of that pettiness.
K: Yes. So that means be aware...
R: Of the pettiness.
K: Yes, yes. Be aware of all your pettiness. What do you mean by that?
R: Be aware of that.
K: Yes, sir, I don't how to be, I don't know what it means.
R: It is not necessary to know what it means.
K: What do you mean it is not necessary?
R: Be aware of it.
K: Yes, sir. You tell me, be aware of it. I am blind. I think that is an elephant, how am I to.? You follow? I am blind and I want to see light. And you say, "Be aware of that blindness". I say, "Yes, what does it mean?" It is not concentration. So I say, look, awareness is something in which choice doesn't exist. Wait, sir. Awareness means to be aware of this hall, the curtains, the lights, the people sitting here, the shape of the walls, the windows, to be aware of it. Just a minute. Either I am aware of one part, part by part, or as I enter the room I am aware of the whole thing: the roof, the lamps, the curtains, the shape of the windows, the floor, the mottled roof, everything. Is that what you mean, sir?
R: That also is a kind of awareness.
K: That is awareness. Now what is the difference - I am not categorizing, please I am not being impudent, or inquisitive, or insulting - what is the difference between that sense of awareness and attention?
R: It is wrong to put 'sense' of awareness. Awareness.
K: All right. That awareness and attention. You see we have abolished concentration except when I have to drill a hole in the wall, I hope I am drilling it straight, I concentrate.
R: We have not excluded it. There is concentration but that is not the main thing.
K: No, that is not awareness.
R: But concentration may be useful or helpful.
K: To drill a hole straight.
R: Yes. In awareness also, it may be helpful but it is not concentration on a simple point.
K: There must be a certain sense of concentration if I have to learn mathematics.
R: For anything, sir.
K: Therefore I am just putting that aside for the moment. What is attention? To attend.
R: How do you explain, for instance, awareness, mindfulness, attention, how do you discriminate these three: awareness, mindfulness and attention?
K: I would say awareness in which there is no choice, just to be aware. The moment when choice enters into awareness there is no awareness.
K: And choice is measurement, division and so on. So awareness is without choice, just to be aware. To say, "I don't like, I like this room", all that has ended.
K: Attention, to attend, in that attention there is no division.
R: Also that means no choice.
K: Leave it for the moment. Attention implies no division, me attending. And so it has no division, therefore no measurement and therefore no border.
R: In attention.
K: In complete attention.
R: In that sense it is equal to awareness.
R: Why not?
K: In awareness there may be a centre from which you are being aware.
SS: Even if there is no choice?
R: No, that is not awareness.
K: Wait, I must go back.
N: You are making a distinction between awareness and attention.
K: I want to.
SS: Are you saying attention is a deeper process.
K: Much more, a totally different quality. One can be aware of what kind of dress you have. One may say, "I like it", or "I don't like it", so choice doesn't exist, you are aware of it, that's all. But attention, in that there is no attender, one who attends, and so no division.
R: In awareness also you can say the same thing, there is no one who is aware.
K: Of course, that's right. But it has not the same quality as attention.
R: I don't want to go into these words, but the Buddha's teaching is that in this practise of meditation there is no discrimination, there is no value judgement, there is no like or dislike, but you only see. That's all. And what happens will happen when you see.
K: In that state of attention what takes place?
R: That is another explanation.
K: No, if you totally attend, with your ears, with your eyes, with your body, with your nerves, with all your mind, with your heart in the sense of affection, love, compassion, total attention, what takes place?
R: Of course what takes place is an absolute revolution internal and complete revolution.
K: No, what is the state of such a mind that is completely attentive?
F: It is free of the stream.
K: No, that's finished.
R: The stream is dried now, don't talk about it! It is desert now!
K: I am asking what is the quality of the mind that is so supremely attentive? You see it has no quality, no centre, and having no centre no border. And this is an actuality, you can't just imagine this. That means has one ever given such complete attention.
SS: Is there any object in that attention?
K: Of course not.
R: Object in the sense of.?
K: Subject and object. Obviously not. Because there is no division. You try it, do it, sir.
SS: I mean not merely physical object but any phenomenal object such as sorrow, or all those.
K: Give complete attention, if you can. Say for instance, I tell you meditation is the meditator.
R: That is right. There is no meditator.
K: Wait, wait, wait. I say, meditation is the meditator. Give your complete attention to that, and see what happens. That's a statement you hear. You don't make an abstraction of it into an idea, but you just hear that statement. It has the quality of truth, it has the quality of great beauty, it has a sense of absoluteness about it. Now give your whole attention to it and see what happens.
R: I think Buddhist meditation is that.
K: I don't know, sir.
K: I'll accept your word for it, but I don't know.
R: And I think it is not misleading to accept my opinion.
K: No, no. I don't know.
R: Satyabhatana is that. Real satyabhatana is that. Now if you ask people who practise it, there are many meditation centres, I openly say they are misleading. I have openly written it.
K: Yes, sir, that is nonsense.
R: When you ask how it happens, I said that presupposes a method, a technique.
K: No, I am asking, can one give such attention.
R: You are asking whether it is possible?
K: Yes, is it possible and will you give such attention - not you, sir, I am asking the question. Which means do we ever attend.
F: Sir, when you say can one attend...
K: Will you attend.
F: That's it.
K: Not exercising will.
K: Will you... you know, do it. If that attention is not there truth cannot exist.
R: I don't think that is appropriate. Truth exists but cannot be seen.
K: Ah, I don't know. You say truth exists but I don't know.
R: But that doesn't mean that truth does not exist.
K: I don't know, I said.
R: That is correct.
K: Jesus said, Father in heaven. I don't know the father. It may exist but I don't know, so I don't accept.
R: No, not accepting. I don't think it is correct to say that without that attention truth does not exist.
K: I said without that attention truth cannot come into being.
R: There is no coming into being.
K: No, of course not. Let me put it differently. All right. Without that attention the word truth has no meaning.
R: That will be better. That's better.
K: We have talked for an hour and three quarters, sir. I don't know when your bus or train goes. We had better stop.
R: I think on behalf of everybody, I thank all these people, not you.
Brockwood Park 1979
Brockwood Park 2nd Conversation with Buddhist Scholars 28th June 1979 'Death'
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