The Risk Is Worth Taking

Buddha has said, “When I became enlightened, the whole universe rejoiced. That moment I felt that the whole universe was helping me, waiting for me to become enlightened.”

The story is beautiful. Don’t take it literally. It is symbolic, it is a metaphor. When Buddha became enlightened, trees bloomed out of season. Trees cannot bloom out of season, but we have to express somehow the joy that was felt in existence itself.

Whenever there is a man like Buddha, the whole humanity takes an upward surge; it soars higher. Just take two dozen names from human history – Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Mohammed, Bahauddin, Kabir – just two dozen names. Take them out of human history and you will not be human at all; you will lose all your humanity. It is through these few people that great consciousness has been released. And even though you have not done anything you have been blessed by it. It has showered on you without your becoming aware of it.

So if you have to travel alone, travel, but travel you must, in spite of all the dangers and risks. The greatest risk is not to travel, because then you are stuck, you don’t grow, you are like a stone, you will never flower. In traveling maybe you will go astray, you will commit a few mistakes. So what? One learns through mistakes, one learns through going astray. And if one keeps alert one can’t go very far away; that alertness brings one back.

Travel on alone,
rather than with a fool for company.

Buddha says: Just for the company’s sake, don’t move with a fool. Beware of that.

I have been observing thousands of saints and mahatmas – Jaina, Hindu, Mohammedan – and I was surprised to find one thing: ninety-nine percent of them look foolish, stupid. Something dull and dead seems to be inside them. There seems to be no flash of insight; no intelligence radiates around them. They look like walking graves. They have already died. They are worshipped because people worship death, and because people worship them they think they have arrived. They have not moved a single inch! They have even fallen below the ordinary humanity.

This is my experience: that your so-called saints are far below the ordinary humanity as far as intelligence is concerned, awareness is concerned. They are not meditators, they don’t know what meditation is. In the name of meditation they go on doing something else. They are utter fools!

Excerpted From The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 9 CH: 5

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