Saanen 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 24th July 1980
May I remind you, if I may, that these questions are really put to oneself, not to the speaker, though he will try to answer them, but they are really put to oneself. And, as we have said, the answers to these questions lie in the questions themselves, not outside, beyond the question. And that we are, both of us, you and the speaker, exploring the question, and thereby together find the answer. Not that the speaker will give you the answers, but together we will go into them. And I hope that is clear from the beginning, because if we look to another we are lost. And I really mean it. Because these are our problems, our daily, tiring, boring, tortuous life which we have every day, with all the uncertainties and miseries, and if we try to find an answer outside somewhere - in India or here, or your present guru, or myself, the speaker himself, then we will create an authority and thereby destroy ourselves.
1st QUESTION: I work as a teacher and I am in constant conflict with the system of the school, and the pattern of society. Must I give up all work? What is the right way to earn a living? Is there a way of living that does not perpetuate conflict?
This is a rather complex question and we will go into it step by step, if we may.
What is a teacher? Not only in a school, college and university, the master, the pupil, the professor and so on, what is a teacher? Either a teacher gives information about history, physics, biology and so on; or he is learning not only with the pupil, with the student, but also learning about himself. This is a whole process of learning, teaching and understanding the whole movement of life. So we are asking: what is a teacher? Is there apart from technological subjects, like physics, chemistry, architecture and so on, apart from that what is a teacher? You understand my question? Is there such a person as a psychological teacher? If I am a teacher, not of biology or physics, but psychologically inform you, then will you understand the teacher or will my pointing out help you to understand yourself? You follow my question?
So we must be very careful and clear what we mean by a teacher. Is there a psychological teacher at all? Or only factual teachers, like a professor of chemistry, science, neurology and so on? Is there a teacher who will help you to understand yourself? You understand my question? So when the questioner says: I am a teacher. I have to struggle not only with the established system of schools and education, but also my own life is a constant battle with myself. And must I give up all this? And then what shall I do if I give up all that? So he is asking not only what is a right teacher but also he wants to find out what is right living. Clear?
What do you think is right living? As society exists now there is no right living - right? You have to earn a livelihood, you have to earn money, you have a family, you have children, you become responsible for them and so you accept if you have been through university and so on, you become an engineer, professor, an electromagnetic teacher and so on and so on and so on. As the society exists now can one have a right living? You understand my question? Or to search out a right living becomes merely an Utopia, a wish for something more? So I am asking myself and you are asking yourself, I hope, what is right living? What is one to do in a society which is corrupt, which has such contradictions in itself, in which there is so much injustice - all that, that is the society in which we live? And I am not only a teacher in a school, or in college or university, and I am asking myself: what shall I do? You understand? Are you asking this too, or are you just waiting for the speaker to tell you? What is one to do in a society so deteriorating, degenerating, conflict, wars, violence and terror, what is one to do? What is the right livelihood?
Or, would you ask a question: is it possible to live in this society, not only having a right livelihood, but also to live without conflict? That is what the questioner also asks. Is that possible, to earn a livelihood righteously and also end all conflict within oneself? Right? Now are these two separate things: earning a living rightly and not having conflict in oneself, or with society? Are these two separate, watertight compartments? Are we moving together? Or they go together? If I know how to, or are aware, or live a life without any conflict, which requires a great deal of understanding of oneself and therefore an enormous sense of intelligence, not the clever intelligence of the intellect, but the capacity to observe, to see objectively what is happening, both outwardly and inwardly, and knowing there is no difference between the outer and the inner - you are following all this? It is like a tide that goes out and comes in. The society which we have created, and can I live in this society without any conflict in myself and at the same time have a right livelihood? You understand?
Now on which shall I lay emphasis? You understand? Right livelihood, right living? Or find out how to live a life without a single conflict? Now what would you do when this question is put to you and you have to answer it - you are following this? - what will you do? Which comes first? The bread or the other? You understand what I am saying? Please don't look so - join me! We are together exploring this problem, not I alone. You are also exploring it. So we must both join together, not let me talk and you listen, agree or disagree, say "It is not practical" - it is not this, it is not that - because it is your problem. So we are asking each other: is there a way of living which will naturally bring about a right livelihood and at the sane time to live a constant life without a single shadow of conflict? Is that possible? Is it possible for one to have a life without a single movement of struggle? Do you understand my question?
People have said you cannot live that way except in a monastery, or become a religious monk because then society looks after you - right? You are following all this? Society looks after you because you have renounced the world and all the misery of the world, and you are committed to the service of god, in quotes - right? So since you have given your life over to something, or an idea, or a person, or an image, or a symbol, because you are so deeply committed to that you may ask society to look after you, which is what happens in a monastery - right? Are you following all this? May we go on?
Nobody believes any more in monasteries - thank god. Nobody says, "I will surrender myself to something" - right? If you do surrender yourself it will be surrendering yourself to the image you have created about another, or the image which you have projected. You understand all this? No. Come on.
So what shall we do? Can I, can you live a life without a single shadow of conflict? I say it is possible only when you have understood the significance of living. That is, living is action, living is relationship - right? Relationship and action. That is life. Therefore one has to ask: what is right action, under all circumstances? You are following all this? Please join me. What is right action? Is there such a thing? Is there a right action which is absolute, not relative? So one has to go into the question of what is action? You are all interested in this? What is action, what do you mean by action, which is living? Right? Talking, acquiring knowledge, a relationship however intimate with another and so on and so on. Life is action, movement. And life is also relationship with another, however shallow, however deep, however superficial. So we have to find both whether there is a right action and a right relationship - if you want to answer this question deeply.
What is our present relationship with another? Not romantic, imaginative, flowery and all that superficial thing that disappears in a few minutes, but actually what is our relationship with another? What is your relationship with a particular person, perhaps intimate, it involves sex, it involves a dependence on each other, comforting each other, encouraging each other, possessing each other and therefore jealousy, antagonism, and all the rest of it? And the man or the woman goes off to the office, or to some kind of physical work and there he is ambitious, greedy, competitive, aggressive to succeed and comes back home and becomes a tame, friendly, perhaps affectionate husband or wife and so on. Right? That is the actual daily relationship. Nobody can deny that. And we are asking: is that right relationship? We say no, certainly not, it would be absurd to say that is right relationship. So we say that but continue in our own way. We say this is wrong, it is absurd to live that way but we don't seem to be able to understand what is relationship, but accept the pattern set by society, by ourselves - right? So we are going to find out for ourselves what is right relationship, is there such a thing? We may want it, we may wish it, we may long for it but longing, wishing doesn't bring it about. So what one has to do is to go into it seriously to find out.
Relationship is generally sensory, sensuous. Begin with that. Then from sensuality there is a companionship, a sense of dependence on each other, which means creating a family which is dependent on each other. And when there is uncertainty in that dependence the pot boils over. So we are saying, to find what is right relationship one has to enquire into the great dependence on each other. Why do we depend on each other? We depend on the postman, the railway and so on - we are not talking about that. Psychologically in our relationship with each other why are we so dependent? Is it that we are desperately lonely? You are following all this? And is it that we don't trust anybody, even one's own husband, wife - you follow? So we hope to trust somebody, maybe my wife, my husband, but even that is rather suspicious. And also dependence gives a sense of security, a protection against this vast world of terror. And also we say, "I love you". In that love there is always the sense of being possessed and to possess - you are following all this? And when there is that situation then arises all the conflict. Now that is our present relationship with each other, intimate or otherwise. We create an image about each other and cling to that image. No? Are we on the right track?
And so one realizes the moment you are tied to another person, tied to an idea, tied to a concept, corruption has begun. That is the thing to realize and we don't want to realize that. You understand this? If I am tied to you, an audience, friends and so on, I am then dependent on you to give me encouragement, to fulfil myself talking to you, there by encouraging vanity, all that follows, which is corruption. So can I, can we live together without being tied? Without being dependent on each other psychologically? So unless you find this out you will always live in conflict because life is relationship - right? So can we objectively, without any motive, observe the consequences of attachment and let it go immediately? Attachment is not the opposite of detachment. You understand? Please give your mind to it, let your brain work. I am attached and I struggle to be detached and therefore I create the opposite. But there is no opposite. There is only what I have, which is attachment. I don't know if you follow all this. The moment I have created the opposite, conflict comes into being. But there is only the fact of attachment, not pursue detachment. Only the fact that I am attached and I see the whole consequences of that attachment in which actually there is no love. And can that attachment end? Not pursue detachment. You have understood me? So please follow this further. The mind has been trained, educated to create the opposite. The brain has been conditioned, educated, trained to observe 'what is' and to create its opposite: "I am violent but I must not be violent" - and therefore there is conflict. Right? Do you see this? But when I observe only violence, the nature of it, how it arises and so on and so on, observe, not analyse, observe, then there is only that and not the other. Right? So you totally eliminate conflict of the opposite.
We are talking about living a life without conflict. We are pointing out it can be done, should be done if one wants to live that way. Only deal with 'what is', everything else is not. You understand this? I am angry. Don't say, "I should not be". Remain, understand the nature of anger - or the nature of greed and so on and so on. So you eliminate totally the quarrel, the struggle between the opposites.
And when one lives that way, and it is possible to live that way, so completely to remain with 'what is' - not try to suppress it, go beyond it, escape from it - then 'what is' withers away. You experiment with it. You understand what I am saying? Oh, no.
Look sirs: my son is dead. My son is dead. I am attached to that son. I have put all my hope in that son. I want to fulfil through the son. And unfortunately some accident takes place, he is gone. And I shed tears, loneliness, despair, the shock of it. Then I run away from it - right? I go to a church, read, escape. But whereas if I remain completely with the fact that he is gone and I am lonely because I have depended on him, I have never understood this sense of isolation. I have escaped from it all my life. So when I remain with 'what is' then I can go into it fully, completely and go beyond it. You understand what I am saying? Please sirs, do it!
As we said the other day, this is a serious talk, serious gathering, not for casual visitors, casual curiosity, casual criticism. One must criticize, one must doubt - not what the speaker is saying but begin to doubt all that you are clinging to. And then doubt what the speaker is saying; don't begin by doubting what the speaker says. What he is saying is pointing out to yourself.
So when there is the freedom in relationship, which doesn't mean to do what you like, that is obviously what everybody is doing. If I don't like the present woman I go off with another woman - and the agony of divorce and all that business. Whereas if I really understood the nature of relationship, which can only exist when there is no attachment, when there is no image about each other, then there is real communion with each other.
And also: what is right action? You follow? That is what he says. Life is relationship and action. You can't escape from these two. What is right action? - which must be right under all circumstances, whether in the western culture or the eastern culture, in the Communist world - there it is more difficult because you daren't speak, you daren't act: you act according to the edicts of the dictator and his group, so there is no sense of freedom there. So we are asking: what is right action? To find that out we must enquire into what is our action now. Right? What is our action based on - either on an ideal - right? - on a principle, or on certain values? Or "I do what I want to do". Please enquire into all this. Either it is a projected ideal, concepts, experiences, or values, or do what you please, the moment you want to do something, do it, which is the latest cry of the psychologists. Don't have any inhibitions, do what you want. That is what is actually going on in the world, and is that right action? What does action mean? The doing - right? The doing now. That is action. Is that action based on your past experience? If it is you are acting according to the past memory of an experience, so the past is dictating your action in the present - right? I wonder if you follow all this? Are you interested in all this? Do you really want to find out what is right action? You may temporarily but it demands tremendous enquiry into all this - not accept some authoritarian assertions.
So we are saying: our actions are based on memories, the past experience, or a projected concept, either according to Marx, or to the Church, or some idealistic, romantic business brought over from India. Which means you are always acting according to the past, or the enticing future - right? This is a fact. And is that action? We have accepted that as action, that is our norm, that is our pattern. Our brain is conditioned, our mind and so on and our heart according to that. We are questioning that. We are doubting that. We are saying that is not action. Action can only be when there is complete freedom from the past and the future. And when we use the word 'right' it means precise, accurate, action which is not based on motive, action which is not directed, committed. The understanding of all this, what is right action, right action, right relationship, the understanding of it brings about intelligence. You understand? Not the intelligence of the intellect but that profound intelligence which is not yours or mine, and that intelligence will dictate what you will do to earn a livelihood. You have understood? Without that intelligence your livelihood will be dictated by circumstances. When there is that intelligence you may be a gardener, a cook, or something, it doesn't matter. You see now our minds are trained to accept status, position, and when one has understood all that, in the very understanding of all that is intelligence which will show what is a right livelihood - right?
Now you have all heard this for forty-five minutes, one question, will you do something about it? No. Or carry on with your usual ways? That is why it demands a great deal of enquiry, denying every form of experience in that enquiry. So there is a way of living in which there is no conflict and because there is no conflict there is intelligence which will show the way of right living.
2nd QUESTION: Is it possible to be so completely awake at the moment of perception that the mind does not recall the event?
You have understood the question? No? Do you want me to read it again? Is it possible to be so completely awake at the moment of perception that the mind does not recall the event?
We are enquiring into the question, in the question is the answer. We are going to show it, we are going to enquire into it, the question. He says, is it possible not to record at all, your hurts, one's failures, despairs, anxiety, experience - you follow? All the things that are going on inside and outside, not to record it so the mind is always free. That is the question.
Now, let's start examining it. Which is, the brain, evolving in time, its process is to record. Someone says to me, "You are an idiot". That has been said to me often! Politely and impolitely. And the brain instantly records it. You have accused me of being an idiot. I don't like it because I have an image about myself that I am not an idiot and when you call me an idiot I am hurt. That is recording. The hurt exists as long as I have an image about myself. And everybody will tread on that image - right? And there is hurt, I have recorded it. The mind, the brain has recorded it. And the recording is to build a wall round myself, not to be hurt any more. I am afraid so I shrink within myself, build a wall of resistance and I feel safe. Now the questioner asks: is it possible not to record that hurt as at the moment when I am called an idiot? You understand? Not to record that incident, the verbal usage, the insight, the implications and the image which I have about myself. Is it possible not to record at all, not only the hurt but the flattery - and I have had plenty of that too. You understand? One has had both. So is it possible not to record either? Right? And the brain has been trained to record because then in that recording there is safety, there is security, there is strength, a vitality, and therefore in that recording the mind creates the image about oneself. Right? And that image will constantly get hurt. So is it possible to live without a single image? Go into it sirs. Don't please go to sleep. Single image about yourself, about your husband, wife, children, friend and so on, about the politicians, about the priests, about the ideal, not a single shadow of an image? We are saying it is possible, it must be, otherwise you will always be getting hurt, always living in a pattern. In that there is no freedom. And when you call me an idiot, to be so attentive at that moment - right? When you give complete attention there is no recording. It is only when there is not attention, inattention you record. I wonder if you capture this? is it getting too difficult? Too abstract?
That is, you flatter me. I like it. The liking at that moment is inattention. In that moment there is no attention. Therefore recording takes place. But when you flatter me, instead of calling me an idiot now you have gone to the other extreme, to listen to it so completely, without any reaction, then there is no centre which records. That is, you have to go into the question of what is attention.
Most of us know what is concentration; from one point to another point - right? From one desire, one hope to another. I concentrate about my job, concentrate in order to control my mind, concentrate in order to achieve a certain result. In that concentration there must be conflict because as you are concentrating thoughts come pouring in and so you try to push them off - you know all this, don't you? And this constant struggle to concentrate and the thought going off. Whereas attention is: there is no point from which you are attending. I wonder if you see that? Do you follow all this?
One wonders if you have ever given attention to anything. Are you now attending to what is being said? That is, attending, giving your attention, which means there is no other thought, no other movement, no interpretation, motive, just listening so completely. So there is a difference between concentration, which is from point to point, and therefore resistance; whereas attention there is no centre from which you are attending, and therefore that attention is all inclusive, there is no border to it. You understand? Not what the speaker is saying, just see the truth of it. That concentration inevitably brings about resistance: shut yourself up, avoid noises, avoid interruptions and so on and so on, your whole brain is centred on a point, the point may be excellent and so on. So what is taking place there? There is division, the controller and the controlled - right? The controller is the thought which says, "I have understood, I must control that". I wonder if you see that? The controller is the controlled. We can put it differently. The thinker is the thought. There is no separation from thought and the thinker - do you see this sirs? Right? So you eliminate altogether the division when one realizes the thinker is the thought. In concentration the controller is the controlled. When one actually sees the truth of it then there comes attention in which there may be concentration, I may have to concentrate on doing something but it comes from attention. Have you understood?
3rd QUESTION: In your talks you have said death is total annihilation and also you have said there is immortality, a state of timeless existence. Can one live in that state?
That is the question. First of all I said - please listen - I did not use the word annihilation. I have said death is an ending - right? - like ending attachment. When you end something, like attachment, something totally new begins - right? This is obvious. When I have been accustomed to anger all my life, or greed, aggression, I end it, there is something totally new happens - right? If you have done it. I have followed my guru, with all the gadgets he has given me and I realize the absurdity of it, I end it. See what happens. There is a sense of freedom. The burden which I have been carrying uselessly. I said death is like ending an attachment.
And also we said: what is it that has continued through life? You understand my question? We put death in opposition to living. Right? Is it so? We have put it. We say death is at the end, that end may be ten years or fifty years, or the day after tomorrow. I hope it will be ten years, but this is our illusion, this is our desire, and this is our momentum. It is like asking how to face death. You follow what I am saying? I say you cannot understand that, how to face death without understanding or facing living. Death is not the opposite of living. I wonder if you understand all this? Shall we go into this? Do you want me to go into all this? You aren't tired? I am surprised!
I think a much more important question is not how to face death, what is immortality, whether that immortality is a state in which one can live: but much more important is how to face life, how to understand this terrible thing called living. If we don't understand that, not verbally, not intellectually, but living it, finding out what it means to live it, because to us living as we are is meaningless. Whether you are a disciple with all the jewels and all the rest of it, it has no meaning. Going to the office from day to day for the next fifty years, slaving away, going to church, you know, all these things, what is the meaning of all this? You may give meaning to life, as people do, say life is this, life must be that. But without all these romantic, illusory, idealistic nonsenses, life is this, our daily sorrow, competition, despair, depression, agony - with shadows of occasional flash of beauty, love. That is our life. Can we face that, understand it so completely that we have no conflict in life? That is, to die to everything that thought has built. I wonder if you understand this? Thought has built my vanity. Thought has said, "You must be this". Thought has said, "You are much cleverer than the other". Thought has said, "Achieve, become somebody, struggle, compete," - like the Olympics. That is what thought has put together, which is my existence, your existence. Our gods, our churches, our gurus, our rituals, our changing names into Indian names, all that is the activity of thought. And thought, as we said, is a movement of memory, experience, knowledge. Which is, experience brings certain knowledge stored up in the brain as memory, and responding, that memory is the movement of thought. This is so, if you observe it. So thought is a material process - right? So thought has made this, my life is that. I am different from you. I must achieve - you follow?
And when thought predominates our life, as it does, then thought denies love. Right? Love is not a remembrance. Love is not an experience. Love is not desire or pleasure. You will agree with this but that is our life. And living that way you have separated that thing called death which is an ending, and you are frightened of that. If we deny everything in oneself that thought has created, end it - do you understand what I am saying? This requires tremendous grit, not all the nonsensical romance. Your attachments, your hopes, your vanities, your sense of importance, all that is to become. When that becoming completely ends what have you? You are with death, aren't you? So living is dying, and so renewal. Oh, you don't understand all this. Do it and you will find out. But we are trained to be individuals - me and you, my ego and your ego. Is that a fact? Or we are the entire humanity, because we go through what every human being goes through, sexual appetites, indulgence, sorrow, great hope, fear, anxiety, and an immense sense of loneliness, that is what each one of us has, that is our life. So we are the entire humanity, we are not individuals. We like to think we are, we are not. You may be clever at writing a book, but that doesn't make you an individual. You have a gift, but when you have a gift to write or sing or dance, whatever it is, that gift is translated as 'my gift'. And when you accept that as 'my gift' vanity - you know, all the circus round it begins.
So there is a life in which there is no centre as me, and therefore life is walking hand and hand with death; and therefore out of that sense of ending totally time has come to an end. Time is movement, movement means thought, thought is time. And when you say: "Do I live in that eternity?" - then you don't understand. You see what we have done? "I want to live in eternity. I want to understand immortality" - which means I must be part of that. But what are you? A name, a form, and all the things that thought has put together. That is what we actually are. And we cling to that. And when death comes, through, disease, accident, old age, how scared we are. And there is always the priest around the corner telling you that you will go to heaven. Or if you don't do what he tells you, you go to hell. It is not only the priest round the corner but the guru round the corner. They are all the same.
So can one live a life so completely without a centre, and therefore no conflict and then only that state of mind which is timeless comes into being.
Saanen 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 24th July 1980
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