Last talks at Saanen 1985
Last Talks at Saanen 1985 5th Public Talk Sunday, 21st July, 1985
This will be the last talk at Saanen. May we continue with what we were talking about last time we met here? We were saying among other things that this is not a lecture; a lecture is meant to inform, to instruct on a particular subject. Nor is it an entertainment. Entertainment means amusing yourself, going to a cinema, or to a ritual in a church or temple, or mosque. Nor is this a mere matter of intellectual, theoretical - what word shall we use? - psychological pursuit. Rather it is a philosophical pursuit, for philosophy means love of truth, not talking about what has already been talked about, and we are not discussing or concerned with what others have said. We are together, you and the speaker, as two human beings - not this large audience, but you as a person and the speaker are having a conversation together, about their life, about their problems, about all the travail of life - their confusion, their fears, their aspirations, their desires to achieve success, either in the business world or in the so-called religious, spiritual world; that is, success in reaching Nirvana, Heaven, or Enlightenment is the same as success in the business world. I hope we understand each other. A man who is successful in life, making pots of money, grows, expands, changes and continues in the line of success. There is not much difference between that person and the man who is seeking truth. Both are seeking success. One you call worldly, the other you call non-worldly, spiritual, religious. We are not dealing with either of those. We are concerned with you as a human being. You and the speaker are having a conversation together. He means together, though you are sitting there and the speaker unfortunately is sitting up here.
You and the speaker have been talking about relationship, between man and woman, boy and girl and so on. We have also been talking about fear, whether it is at all possible, living in the modern world, to be utterly free psychologically of all fear. We went into that very, very carefully. And we also talked about time, time by which we live, the cycle of time, which is the past being processed in the present and continuing in the future, the past being our whole background, racial, communal, religious, the experiences, the memories. All this is the background of all of us, whether we are born in the distant East or in Europe or in America. That background goes through changes, it is processed in the present and continues to the future. Human beings, you and another, are caught in this cycle. That has been going on for millions and millions of years. So the past going through the present, modifying itself, is the future. And that has been our evolution. Though biologically we have changed from a million years till now, psychologically, inwardly, subjectively we are more or less what we were a million years ago - barbarous, cruel, violent, competitive, egocentric. That is a fact. So the future is the present. Is this clear to you and to the speaker? The past modifying itself becomes the future, so the future is now, unless there is a fundamental, psychological change. And that is what we are concerned about: whether it is possible for human beings, you and another, to bring about a psychological mutation, a total psychological revolution in oneself, knowing that if we are hurt now, wounded psychologically now, as most people are, the future hurt is now. Is that clear?
So is it possible for human beings, for you, to bring about a complete mutation? That mutation changes the brain cells themselves. That is, one has been going north all one's life, and some person comes along and says, `Going north has no importance at all, no value, there is nothing there. Go east, or west, or south.' And because you listen, because you are concerned, because you are deliberate, you go east. At that very moment when you turn and go east there is a mutation in the brain cells because going north has become the pattern, the mode, and when you go east you break the pattern - right? It is as simple as that. But that requires listening, not merely to words, not merely with the hearing of the ear, but listening without any interpretation, without any comparison, listening directly, without bringing in all your traditions, your background, your interpretation. Then that very listening breaks down your conditioning.
And we also talked about seeing - seeing very, very clearly what is happening in the present world; wars and the most appalling things are going on everywhere. A million or two million years ago man killed with a club, then he invented an arrow. He thought that would stop all wars. Now you can vaporize millions and millions of people with one bomb. We have progressed tremendously outwardly, technologically. The computer is probably going to take over all our thinking. It will do far better than we can in a second. I don't know if you have gone into this question, but you should. What is going to happen to the human brain when the computer can do almost anything that you can do, except, of course, sex? And it can't look at the stars and say, `What a marvellous evening it is; it can't possibly appreciate what beauty is. So what is going to happen to the human brain? Will it wither when the laser computer can take over thinking for you? It will save a lot of labour. Either we will turn to entertainment or turn in a totally different direction, because psychologically, inwardly, we can go limitlessly. The brain has an extraordinary capacity, each one's brain. Look what technology has done. But psychologically, subjectively, we remain what we are, year after year, century after century: conflict, struggle, pain, anxiety and all the rest of it. That's what we talked about in the last four talks.
And we also talked about thought: what is the nature of thinking, what is thinking? We went into that very carefully. All thought is memory, based on knowledge and knowledge is always limited, whether now or in the past or in the future. Knowledge is perpetually, eternally limited because it is based on experience which is also always limited.
This morning we ought to talk together, you and the speaker, not the whole audience (there is no whole audience, there is only you and the speaker) - we ought to talk together about love, death, what is religion, what is meditation, and if there is anything beyond all human endeavour - or is man the only measure? Is there something beyond the structure of thought, is there something that is timeless? That is what we have to be concerned with, you and the speaker, this morning. All right?
We live by sensation. We talked about that. Our whole structure is based on sensation - sexual, imaginative, romantic, fanciful and so on. And also, as we said, self-interest is the greatest corruption. And is sensation, that is, the stimulation of the senses - is sensation love? We are investigating this thing, you and the speaker, together. It is a long lane, you and the speaker are walking along together - not that he is ahead and you following, but together, in step; perhaps holding hands, friendly, neither dominating the other, not trying to impress each other. So you and the speaker are walking quietly, exploring, investigating, watching, listening, observing.
So we are asking each other: what is love? That word has been spoilt, spat upon, degraded, so we must be very alert to the abuse of that word. What is love? Is it mere sensation? I love you and I depend on you, you depend on me; perhaps I will sell you and you sell me; I use you, you use me. If the speaker says `I love you' because you are a very big audience and feed my vanity and I feel happy, pleased, gratified - is that love? Is gratification, fulfilment, attachment, love? Is love put together by thought? You and the speaker are investigating together, so don't go to sleep on this lovely morning.
Is love sensation? Is love gratification? Is love fulfilment? Dependence? Is love desire? Please don't agree or disagree. We went into that - how we always approach things by either agreeing or disagreeing. Could we put aside altogether from our vocabulary, from our brain, `I agree', or `l don t agree' and just face facts as they are, not only in the world, but also in ourselves? That demands great honesty, the urgency of honesty. Can we do that this morning - face things as they are? Then we can begin to question, enquire, into what love is.
Is love desire? Previously in these talks, we went very deeply into the whole structure of desire. We haven't time to go into that again. Very briefly, desire is the result of sensation, and thought gives a shape, an image, to that sensation, and at that second when thought moulds the sensation, desire is born. So we are asking: is love desire? Is love thought? Please go into it. It is your life we are concerned with - our lives, our daily lives, not some spiritual life, not following some guru with his inanities, not putting on special robes, whether it be the robes of the Middle Ages or of the churches, or the robes of recent gurus. Is love merely the structure of thought? In our relationships with each other, man, woman, boy, girl and so on, when one says, `I love you', is it dependence? One is fulfilling oneself in another and therefore in that relationship thought comes in, and then the thought creates the image, and that image we call love. So we are asking: is love - it is unfortunate to have to use that word - is love put together by thought? Can there be love when there is ambition, when we are competing with each other? Is there love when there is self-interest? Please don't merely listen to the speaker. Listen to yourself. Find out for yourself. When you discover something through what actually is, you can go very far, but if you merely depend on another, his words, his books, his reputation, it is meaningless. Throw away all that and look at oneself. One has to have passion. Passion can exist, as we said the other day, only when suffering ends. Passion without fanaticism, for with fanaticism it becomes terrorism. All the fanatical movements in the world have tremendous passion. Fanaticism breeds passion. That passion is not the passion which comes into being when there is the ending of sorrow. We went into that.
So we are asking: is love all this? Jealousy, which is in hate, anger, desire, pleasure and so on - is all that love? Dare we face all this? Are you and the speaker honest enough to discover for ourselves the perfume of that word?
From that we ought to consider what place death has in our life. Death, talking about it, is not morbid. It is part of our life. From childhood maybe till we actually die, there is always this dreadful fear of dying. Aren't you afraid of death? We have put it as far away as possible. So let us enquire together what is that extraordinary thing that we call death. It must be extraordinary. Let us enquire without any kind of romantic, comforting, belief in reincarnation or life after death. Reincarnation is a marvellously comforting idea. If one believes in it sincerely, deeply, as millions do, then it matters what you do now, what you are now, what your conduct, what your daily life is, because if there is a continuity, then next life you will have a better castle, a better refrigerator, better car, better wife, or husband. So could we put that comforting idea aside? So what is death? First we must enquire into what is living - what do we mean by living? What do we mean by a good life? Is a good life having a lot of money, cars, changes of wives, or girls, or going from one guru to another and being caught up in his concentration camp? Please don't laugh, this is actually what is going on. Is a good life enjoyment, tremendous pleasure, excitement, a series of sensations, going to the office from morning till night for forty years? For God's sake, face all this. Working, working, and then dying. Is this what we call living - constant conflict, constant problems one after the other? In this life to which we cling, we have acquired a tremendous amount of information and knowledge about practically everything, and we cling to that knowledge. To those memories we have, we are deeply attached. All this is called living - pain, anxiety, uncertainty, and endless sorrow and conflict. And death comes through accident, old age, senility. That is a good word. What is senility? Why do you attribute it to old age? Why do you say, `He is a senile old man'? I may be. Are you senile? Senility is forgetfulness, repeating, going back to the old memories, half alive - right? That is generally called senile. The speaker has asked this question very often of himself. is senility an old age problem? Or does senility begin when you are repeating, repeating, repeating? You follow? When you are traditional, continue to go to the churches, temples, mosques, repeat, repeat, repeat. Christians kneel, and the other fellow touches his forehead to the ground, and the Hindus prostrate. So senility can be at any age - right? Ask yourself that question. Death can happen through old age, through an accident, through terrible pain, disease; and when it comes there is an end to all your continuity, to all your memories, to all your attachments, to your bank account, to your fame. So we ought to consider what is continuity and what is ending? May we go into that? What is it that continues and what is it that ends? Why are we so frightened of ending something, whether it be tradition, a habit, a memory, an experience? Not calculated ending, not ending something to achieve something else. You can't argue with death. There is a marvellous story of ancient India. I don't know if we have time for it because we have to talk about religion, meditation and whether there is something beyond all this human endeavour. All right, I will repeat that story very, very briefly.
A Brahmana - a Brahmana, you understand, a Brahmana of Ancient India - has collected a lot of things, cows and all the rest of it, and he decides to give them away, one by one. And his son comes to him and says, `Why are you giving away all this?' He explains that when you collect a lot of things you must give them away and begin again. You understand the meaning of it, the significance? You collect and then give away everything that you have collected. (I am not asking you to do this.) So the boy keeps on asking that question. And the father gets angry with him and says, `I will send you to Death if you ask me any more questions.' And the boy says, `Why are you sending me to Death?' So when a Brahmana says he will do something, he must stick to it, he sends the boy to Death, and after talking to all the teachers, philosophers, gurus and all the rest of it, the boy arrives at the house of Death. (I am making it very, very brief.) And there he waits for three days. Follow the significance of all this, the subtlety of all this. He waits there for three days. Then Death comes along and apologizes for keeping him waiting because after all he is a Brahmana, so he apologizes and says, `I will give you anything you want, riches, women, cows, property, anything you want.' And the boy says, `But you will be at the end of it. You will always be at the end of everything.' And Death then talks about various things which the boy can't understand. It is really a marvellous story.
So let's come back to realities. What is death? Is time involved in it? Is time death? I am asking you, please consider it. Time, not only by the watch, by the sunset and sunrise, but also psychologically, inwardly. As long as there is self-interest, which is the wheel of time, there must be death. So is time related to death? Oh, come on, sirs. If there is no time, is there death? Please, this is real meditation, not all the phoney stuff. for us time is very important - time to succeed, time to grow in that success, and bring about a change in that success. Time means continuity. I have been, I am, I will be. There is this constant continuity in us, which is time. If there is no tomorrow - may I enter into all this? This is a dangerous subject. Please pay attention if you are interested in it, otherwise yawn and rest at ease. If there is no tomorrow, would you be afraid of death? If death is now, instant, there is no fear, is there? There is no time. You are capturing what I am saying? So, as long as thought functions in the field of time - which it is doing all day long - there is inevitably the feeling that life might end and therefore I am afraid. So time may be the enemy of death. Or time is death.
For instance, if the speaker is attached to his audience because out of that attachment he derives a great deal of excitement, sensation, importance, self-interest, or envy of a person who has a larger audience - if the speaker is attached, whether to an audience, to a book, to an experience, to a title, to a fame, then he is frightened of death. Attachment means time. I wonder if you understand all this? Attachment means time. So can I, can you, be completely free of attachment now? Not wait for death, but be free of that attachment completely now,? Yes, sir. Face that fact.
So living is dying and therefore living is death. You understand what I am saying? Oh, come on, sirs. That is why one has to lay the foundation of understanding oneself not according to philosophers, psychiatrists, books and so on, but understand oneself, watch one's behaviour, one's conduct, one's habits - the racial, communal, traditional, personal accumulation we have collected through millennia upon millennia - know all that which is inside you. The knowledge, the awareness of that is not of time; it can be instant. And the mirror in which you see this is the relationship between you and another - to see in that relationship all the past, the present habits, the future; everything is there. To know how to look, how to observe, how to hear every word, every movement of thought, that requires great attention, watchfulness.
So death is not in the future. Death is now when there is no time, when there is no me becoming something, when there is no self-interest, no egotistic activity, which is all the process of time.
So living and dying are together always. You don't know the beauty of it. There is great energy in it. We live by energy. You take sufficient food, have the right diet and so on, and it gives a certain quality of energy. That energy is distorted when you smoke, drink and all the rest of it. The brain has extraordinary energy. And that extraordinary energy is required to find out for oneself, discover for oneself, and not be directed by another.
So now we are going to enquire into what is religion? We have talked about fear, we have talked about psychological wounds, not to carry them for the rest of one's life. We have talked about the significance of relationship. Nothing can exist on earth without relationship, and that relationship is destroyed when each one of us pursues his own ambition, his own greed, his own fulfilment, and so on. We have talked about fear. We went together into the question of thought, time, sorrow and the ending of sorrow. And we have talked this morning about death. Now we are capable of, alive to finding out, what religion is because we have got the energy. You understand? Because we have put all that human conflict and self-interest aside. If you have done that it gives you immense passion and energy, incalculable energy. So what is religion?
Is religion all the things that thought has put together? The rituals, the robes, the gurus, the perpetual repetition, prayers - is that religion? Or is it a big business concern? There is a temple in South India that makes a million dollars every third day. You understand what I am saying? Every third day that temple gathers one million dollars. And that is called religion. Is that religion? Going every Sunday morning to hear some preacher and repeating the ritual, is that religion? Or has religion nothing whatever to do with all that business? You can only ask this question when you are free from all that, not caught in the entanglement, in the performance, in the power, position, hierarchy of it all. Then only can you ask the question: what is religion? Is God created by thought, by fear? Is man the image of God? Or is God the image of man? Can one put all that aside in order to find out that which is not put together by thought, by sensation, by repetition, by rituals? Because all that is not religion - at least not for the speaker. All that has nothing to do with that which is sacred.
What then is truth? Is there such a thing as truth? Is there such a thing - an absolute, irrevocable truth, not dependent on time, environment, tradition, knowledge, or what the Buddha said, or what somebody else said? The word is not the truth. Therefore there is no personal worship. K is not important at all. We are seeking what is truth. If there is any. And if there is something that is beyond time. The ending of all time. They have said that meditation, a quick mind, is necessary to come upon this. We are going to go into it, if you will allow me.
What is meditation? The word means ponder over, according to the dictionary. To think over. It also has a different meaning in Sanskrit and in Latin, which is to measure. And to measure means comparison, of course. There is no measurement without comparison. So can the brain be free of measurement? Not measurement by the yard-stick, by kilometres, miles, but the measurement of becoming and not becoming, comparing, not comparing. You understand? Can the brain be free of this system of measurement? I need to measure to get a suit made. I need measurement to go from here to another place. Distance is measurement, time is measurement. Oh, come on. Can the brain be free of measurement? That is, comparison - have no comparison whatsoever so that the brain is totally free. This is real meditation. Is that possible, living in the modern world, making money, breeding children, sex, all the noise, the vulgarity, the circus that is going on in the name of religion? Can one be free of all that? Not in order to get something. To be free.
So meditation is not conscious meditation. You understand this? It cannot be conscious meditation, following a system, a guru - collective meditation, group meditation, single meditation, according to Zen or some other system. It cannot be a system because then you practise, practise, practise, and your brain gets more and more dull, more and more mechanical. So is there a meditation which has no direction, which is not conscious, deliberate? find out.
That requires great energy, attention, passion. Then that very passion, energy, the intensity of it, is silence. Not contrived silence. It is the immense silence in which time, space is not. Then there is that which is unnameable, which is holy, eternal.
Last talks at Saanen 1985
Last Talks at Saanen 1985 5th Public Talk Sunday, 21st July, 1985
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