A man approached the Blessed One and wanted to have all his philosophical questions answered before he would practice. In response, the Buddha said, “It is as if a man had been wounded by a poisoned arrow and when attended to by a physician were to say, ‘I will not allow you to remove this arrow until I have learned the caste, the age, the occupation, the birthplace, and the motivation of the person who wounded me.’ That man would die before having learned all this. 

In exactly the same way, anyone who should say, ‘I will not follow the teaching of the Blessed One until the Blessed One has explained all the multiform truths of the world’ – that person would die before the Buddha had explained all this.

Religion Is Living

Life is Not a Philosophy Class!

To solve your problems means to give you an answer that intellectually satisfies you; and to dissolve your problem is to give you a method that makes you yourself aware that there is no problem at all: problems are all our own creations and there is no need for any answer.

The enlightened consciousness has no answer.

Its beauty is that it has no questions.

All its questions have been dissolved, have disappeared. People think otherwise: they think that the enlightened man must have the answer for everything. The reality is he has no answer at all. He has no questions. Without questions, how can he have any answer?

Gertrude Stein, a great poet, was dying surrounded by her friends when suddenly she opened her eyes and asked, “What is the answer?”

Somebody said, “But we don’t know the question, so how can we know the answer?”

She opened her eyes a last time and she said, “Okay, so what is the question?” and she died. A strange last statement.

It is very beautiful to find out the last statements of poets, painters, dancers, singers. They have something tremendously meaningful in them.

First she asked, “What is the answer?”…as if the question cannot be different for different human beings. The question must be the same; there is no need to articulate it. And she was in a hurry, so rather than going through the proper channel – asking the question and then listening to the answer – she simply asked, “What is the answer?”

But people don’t understand that every human being is in the same position: the same question is everybody’s question. So some stupid person asked, “But how can we answer if we don’t know the question?”

It looks logical, it is not: it is simply stupid – and to a dying person…. But the poor woman opened her eyes once more. She said, “Okay, what is the question?” And then there was silence.

Nobody knows the question, nobody knows the answer. In fact there is no question and there is no answer; there is only a way of living in confusion, in the mind. Then there are millions of questions and millions of answers, and each answer brings hundreds more questions in, and there is no end to it.

But there is another way of life: living in consciousness – and there is no answer and no question.

If Buddha or Enlightened master was present as Gertrude Stein was dying he would have said to her, “This is not the moment to bother about questions and answers. Remember that there is no question and there is no answer: existence is absolutely silent about questions and answers. It is not a philosophy class. Die without any question and without any answer; simply die silently, consciously, peacefully.”

Learning from story Philosophical Questions: Religion Is Living

Experience Learning

Religion is living. Living totally, living intensely, without any purpose because purpose is always in the future and living is always in the present. If you have a purpose to live your life is divided between present and future — you cannot be total. And without being total you cannot experience what life is. The only way to be total is to forget all about purpose.

However, the approach up until now has been exactly the opposite. That approach asks you to renounce life, to renounce the world. It does not ask you to search in life. It does not ask you to learn the art of living. It also does not say to you that how life feels, depends on how you look at it. If life seems to be dark and miserable it is because of your wrong way of living it. This very life can also become a shower of bliss if only you know the right way to live it.

Religion is the art of living. Religion is not a renunciation of life, it is a stairway for descending deep into life. Religion is not turning one’s back on life, it is opening one’s eyes fully toward life. Religion is not an escape from life; religion is the name of embracing life fully. Religion is a total encounter with life.

It is perhaps because of these basic misconceptions that only elderly people show any interest in religion. You go to the temples, to the churches, to the gurdwaras and you will find only old people there. You will not see any young people. Why? There is only one explanation: so far our religions have been religions of old people; of those nearing their death, those who are now haunted by the fear of death and are interested in thinking about “after death” stuff, and want to know what there is after death.

How can a religion based on the philosophy of death influence the whole of life? How can a religion contemplating death make this world religious? It cannot. Even after five thousand years of religious teachings, the world is sinking steadily from irreligiousness to more irreligiousness. Although there is no shortage of temples, mosques, churches, priests, teachers, ascetics on this planet, its people have not yet been able to become religious. And they will not be able to, because the very base of religion is wrong. Instead of life, death has been made the base of religion. Instead of blossoming flowers, graves have been the focus of religion. It is not surprising if death-oriented religion is unable to thrill the heart of life.

Who is responsible for all this?

Up to now, everything has been done to hide, to suppress, to forget about this basic truth of life rather than to understand it, explore it. And the ill-effects of this effort to forget it, to deny it, have spread all over the world.

What is the central element in the normal life of human beings? God? Soul? Truth? No. What is at the core of human beings? What is in the depths of the human heart – of someone who has never undertaken any spiritual search, who has never traveled at all on any path of spiritual search, who has never begun any kind of spiritual seeking? Prayer? Devotion? No, not at all. If we search in the life-energy of a normal human being, if we search in one’s life force, we will see neither God nor devotion nor prayer, worship nor meditation there. We will see something very different.

This is something that has been kept suppressed and unmentioned, rather than be known and understood. And what is this something that will be found if we uncover and analyze the core of human beings?


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