Nietzsche on Buddhist Philosophy
Posted on June 15th, 2015

Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was one of the most profound and influential philosophers. Nietzsche, exerts a powerful and enduring influence over modern thought. Nietzsche’s writings contain many ideas and concepts such as perspectivism, the will to power, master-slave morality, the death of God, the Übermensch (Overman) and eternal recurrence. He gave many insights into the human character.

Nietzsche’s work relentlessly undermines the elevation of ‘literal’ over ‘metaphorical’ truth. He argues that we cannot privilege literal or ‘pure’ truth over metaphor because truth is itself a metaphor that has been invented to lend authority to particular forms of thought and styles of living. He argues repeatedly, for example, that the ‘truths’ of religious teaching are really dominant perspectives upon the meaning of human experience employed to establish the prestige of a community’s way of life (Spinks, 2003).

Nietzsche challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality. He proclaimed himself as an “intellectual Nebuchadnezzar,” -one who, despite his hostility to religion, serves God’s purposes by the depth of his ideas. Although he was critical of a number of religions Nietzsche saw Buddhism as a more realistic religion. According to Antoine Panaïoti the author of Nietzsche and Buddhist Philosophy points out that there is a subtle relationship between Nietzsche’s Philosophy and Buddhism.

Nietzsche mainly read Buddhism through Arthur Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer was influenced by Indian religious texts and later claimed that Buddhism was the “best of all possible religions. Schopenhauer’s ethics which are based on universal compassion for the suffering of others can be compared to the Buddhist ethics of Karuṇā.Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation” made profound impact on Nietzsche.

Nietzsche recognized Buddhism as the most mature expression of life-negation. Nietzsche called Buddha that profound physiologist” and his teachings less areligion than a kind of hygiene. Also he stated that Buddhism is a religion for the closing, over wearied stages of civilization.

Buddhism and Nietzschean philosophy do not deny that the world is characterized by impermanence and illusion. Nietzsche declared the death of God. Nietzsche’s credo “God is dead” served as a declaration for the nineteenth century, it became a theological diagnosis. He recognised Buddhism as an atheist religion. As described by Nietzsche goal of life should be to find one’s self. True maturity means discovering or creating an identity for one’s self. Overcoming feelings of guilt is an important step to mental health.As a human centered religion Buddhism does not deny these ideas.

Buddhism and Nietzschean philosophy saw emptiness in the human condition. At the center of existence there is a void. This void is the result of the insubstantial nature of life, and the aggregates (Ratanakul, 2004). According to Buddhist philosophy emptiness (Śūnyatā) is a realized achievement. Nietzsche accepthed the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna’s (ca. A.D. 150- 250) concept of śūnyatā, or “emptiness,”

The Buddha identified craving (tanha) as the cause of suffering. Nietzsche clearly rails against the pursuit of pleasure where pleasure is understood as a particular sensation marked by the absence of any pain or discomfort. He, for instance, describes Epicurus, who conceived of pleasure (ataraxia) as the absence of all physical and mental discomfort, as representing a state in which one is neither sick nor well, neither alive nor dead. For Nietzsche, pleasure cannot be divorced from pain, rather, they are twins” (Urstad, 2010).

The Buddha stated that “Life is Suffering”. In Buddhism the word suffering (dukkha) has a deep philosophical and existential meaning. In the Buddhist perspective life is characterized by three important traits: conditionality (cause and effect), impermanence, and insubstantiality. Everything is impermanent and changeable therefore suffering exists. It is a universal phenomenon. Schopenhauer’s view that “suffering is the direct and immediate object of life. We are ironically attached to suffering Nietzsche once stated. Both Nietzsche and the Buddhists take the view that suffering and happiness are inextricably linked (Priest, 2007).

Nietzsche’s first book, The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music, first published in German in 1872, occupies a curious position in the development of his thought (Spinks, 2003). In The Birth of Tragedy, Friedrich Nietzsche celebrated the dueling forces of reason and emotion as personified by the ancient Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus. In Greek mythology, Apollo and Dionysus are both sons of Zeus. Apollo is the god of reason and the rational, while Dionysus is the god of the irrational and chaos. The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche began to grapple with the “horror of individual existence.

In his work the Gay Science (first published in 1882) Nietzsche posed a question:  Has existence any meaning at all? In The Gay Science, Nietzsche experiments with the notion of power (Kaufmann, 1974). In Buddhism, the primary purpose of life is to end suffering and it has become the central meaning.

Nietzsche’s Zarathustra and theBuddhist bodhisattva concept have some similarities. Zarathustra left his home and the lake and went into the mountains.and has found contentment and enlightenment during his time alone. During this time period Zarathustra has been transformed. Zarathustra advocates a self-asserting individualism. Nietzsche’s prophet Zarathustra is intended to be a model for the modern mind, one free of superstitions inflicted by antiquated religious dogma.

Nietzsche claimed that Jesus’ death on the cross symblized the beginnings of a “Buddhistic peace movement He praised Buddhism for setting out to treat ‘suffering’as opposed to ‘sin. Nietzsche wrote that knowledge and strength are greater virtues than humility and submission. However he saw nihilism associated with Buddhism. Nietzsche stated that the Buddhism contains nihilistic” belief system. Nietzsche’s concept such as will to power do not harmonize with Buddhism. In addition Nietzsche accepted Schopenhauer’s depiction of the will to live and the need to overcome the animalistic tendencies inherent in the instincts.

The Will to Power Nietzsche describes nihilism as ‘ambiguous’ in that it can be symptomatic of either strength or weakness. Nietzsche claims that nihilism is a necessary step in the transition to a revaluation of all values. Passive nihilism is characterised by a weak will, and active nihilism by a strong will. Nietzsche emphasises that nihilism is merely a means to an end, and not an end in itself (Vered Arnon). According to Nietzsche a nihilist is a man who judges that the real world ought not to be, and that the world as it ought to be does not exist.

Elman (1983) stated that the accusation that Buddhism is pessimistic and nihilistic has been made since Europeans-first came into contact with India. He further states that Max Miiller made this a principal theme in his studies of Buddhism, and this view is still widely held today.

Moad (2004) pointed out that Nietzsche’s interpretation of Buddhism as a life-negating philosophy that seeks to escape an existence dominated by suffering. According to Nietzsche, Buddhism can be described as an effort, through restraint from action, to escape suffering and pass into absolute non-existence.both Nietzsche and Schopenhauer greatly misunderstood Buddhism by interpreting Nirvana as non-existence.

In the Pali canon, the two most famous descriptions of Nirvana both refer to “the unborn,” where “neither this world nor the other, nor coming, going or standing, neither death nor birth, nor sense-objects are to be found. Nirvana, however, cannot be described as existing, not existing, both existing and not, or neither existing nor not.

Nirvana for the Buddhist is not an escape from the world, as western commentators on Nietzsche have continued to argue. In order to make it possible to experience Nirvma, one begins with an investigation into the suffering inherent in life, but the quest does not end with this important insight. The experience of Nirvma is not based on a question of pessimism or optimism. One overcomes pleasure and pain, pessimism and optimism, before beginning a mindful examination of one’s self and reality as perceived by the self. Therefore Nietzsche, as well as Schopenhauer, entertained inaccurate views of Buddhism (Elman, 1983).

Friedrich Nietzsche could not identify the main essences Buddhism and also he missed the humane part of the Christianity. At the end Nietzsche said : There is perhaps nothing so admirable in Christianity and Buddhism as their art of teaching even the lowest to elevate themselves by piety to a seemingly higher order of things, and thereby to retain their satisfaction with the actual world in which they find it difficult enough to live – this very difficulty being necessary.

References 

 

Baird, R.M.(1987).Nietzsche: An intellectual Nebuchadnezzar.J Relig Health. 26(3):245-50.

 

Elman, B. A. (1983). Nietzsche and Buddhism. Journal of the History of Ideas, 44(4). 671–686.

 

George, D.R. (2013).Shooting at the sun god Apollo’: the Apollonian-Dionysian balance of the TimeSlips Storytelling Project. J Med Humanit. 34(3):399-403.

 

Hutton, K. (2014). Compassion in Schopenhauer and Śāntideva. Journal of Buddhist Ethics Vol. 21.

 

Kaufmann, W (1974). Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, Princeton University Press

 

Mate,G.(2009).In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.Vintage Canada.

 

Moad, O.E.(2004). Dukkha, Inaction, and Nirvana: Suffering, Weariness, and Death? A look at Nietzsche’s Criticisms of Buddhist Philosophy.The Philosopher 92 (1).

 

 

Moss DM .(2010).Nietzche’s echo–a dialogue with Thomas Altizer. J Relig Health. ;49(1):118-37.

 

Panaïoti, A.(2013).Nietzsche and Buddhist Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

Priest, S. (2007). Nietzsche and Zen. Retrieved from http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/1375/Nietzsche_and_Zen.pdf

 

Ratanakul, P.(2004). Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 14., 141-146.

 

Roberts, M.(2008).Facilitating recovery by making sense of suffering: a Nietzschean perspective. J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. ;15(9):743-8.

 

Spinks, L.(2003). Friedrich Nietzsche.Routledge.

 

Urstad, K.(2010).Nietzsche and Callicles on Happiness, Pleasure, and Power. KRITIKE VOLUME FOUR NUMBER TWO.133-141

 

Wilkes, J. (2000). The psychology of compassion. An analysis of the 100th anniversary of the death of Fredrich Nietzsche. Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol.; 50(6):255-8.

 

 

8 Responses to “Nietzsche on Buddhist Philosophy”

  1. Metteyya_Brahmana Says:

    Ruwan writes:

    “He recognised Buddhism as an atheist religion. As described by Nietzsche goal of life should be to find one’s self. True maturity means discovering or creating an identity for one’s self. Overcoming feelings of guilt is an important step to mental health.As a human centered religion Buddhism does not deny these ideas.”

    This is the essential problem with nearly all Western interpretations of Buddhism; clinging to ‘self’ is a requirement of Western culture, whereas the Buddhist foundational teaching on anatta (no-self) requires one to completely let go of the delusion of a separate, permanent ‘self’ as one’s identity. This is why most Western Buddhists gravitate toward the Mahayana end of the spectrum, in which a seemingly ‘permanent’ Bodhisattva dwells on Earth and in the heavens to show unbounded compassion toward all living beings and sacrifices (postpones) his own enlightenment until others are enlightened. The Bodhisattva Ideal of Mahayana Buddhism is much closer to the imperfect God concept in the Abrahamic faiths, so there is naturally more of a comfort level with this concept than complete liberation from samsara in this lifetime, if possible, as taught by the historical Buddha. Clinging to ‘self’ as long as possible, and potentially becoming close to ‘God’ (Buddha in heaven like the Amitabha Buddha) is a cultural adaptation of Buddhism that has great appeal in the West. But this is clearly not what the Buddha taught, and the very definition of a Buddha as a being that is not clinging to anything is lost in adaptations of this sort.

  2. Independent Says:

    “The Buddha stated that “Life is Suffering”.

    I don’t think Buddha said this anywhere. If someone can point out where he said this, I will be grateful.

    Buddha said “there is suffering”, which is the first noble truth, but he did not stop there. There is also “cessation of suffering” which is Nibbana. He did not ask all Buddhists to stop work and start crying but if someone realises existence of “this whole mass of suffering” he has shown the path to end it. He has not ask all SINHALESE to seek extinction. Nibbana is not death, it is the death of suffering or death of death.

    Avijja or Ignorance (I call this God ) has created all beings. Buddhist fight the God and kill it achieving Nibbana in this very life while fully alive and 100% alive.

    Nibbaana is not something you achieve or a beautiful place you go after death.

    Buddha is not a living dead ( as Lorenzo said) but those who claim they are alive are the living dead.

    Appamadena Amatapadam
    Pamado Macchuno padam
    Appamatta na meeyanti
    Ye pamatta yata mata

    Diligence ( mindfulness) is the way to the Deathless (Nibbana); heedlessness is the way to Death. Those who are mindful do not die; those who are not mindful are as if already dead.

    PS:

    Poor Ranjith apologised for bashing Christians but where is Lorenzo’s apology for bashing Buddha ?

  3. Arcadius Says:

    Buddha said that anicca, dukkha, and anatta are the ti-lakkhana of existence. Anatta means “no self” or asoulity. So, how can Nietzsche talk about a self in Buddhism unless he was misled by the commentators who wrote the Abidhamma?
    Buddha was not clear about Nibbana except to imply there was nothing beyond Nibbana. Because suffering is coterminous with existence, one has to presume that when one attains Nibbana, it signifies the cessation of the ti-lakkhana.

  4. Independent Says:

    “Buddha was not clear about Nibbana ” ?

    What happened to you Shelton Ayya ?

    If Budhdha was not clear about Nibbana he is not a Buddha. But he knew it is difficult to understand, that is why he was reluctant to teach initially.

  5. AnuD Says:

    What Arcadius saying is Bullshit.

    When you say that a Samyak Sambuddha was not clear about what Nirvana was… that means you don’t know what you are talking.

    Even Pratyeka Buddhas aka IRSHIS HAD TALKED ABOUT what is beyond Nirvana. Samyak Sambuddha was an ALL KNOWER. So, if you say that Samyak Sambuddha did not know what Nirvana was,you don’t know what you are talking.

  6. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Essentially every child is a Buddha, but child’s buddhahood, child’s innocence, is natural, not earned. Child’s innocence is a kind of ignorance, not a realization. Child’s innocence is unconscious — Child is not aware of it, Child is not mindful of it, Child has not taken any note of it. It is there but Child is oblivious. Child is going to lose it. Child has to lose it. Paradise will be lost sooner or later; Child is on the way towards it. Every child has to go through all kinds of corruption, impurity — the world.

    The child’s innocence is the innocence of Adam before he was expelled from the garden of Eden, before he had tasted the fruit of knowledge, before he became conscious. It is animal-like. Look into the eyes of any animal — a cow, a dog — and there is purity, the same purity that exists in the eyes of a Buddha, but with one difference.

    And the difference is vast too: a Buddha has come back home; the animal has not yet left home. The child is still in the garden of Eden, is still in paradise. He will have to lose it — because to gain one has to lose. Buddha has come back home…the whole circle. He went away, he was lost, he went astray, he went deep into darkness and sin and misery and hell. Those experiences are part of maturity and growth. Without them you don’t have any backbone, you are spineless. Without them your innocence is very fragile; it cannot stand against the winds, it cannot bear storms. It is very weak, it cannot survive. It has to go through the fire of life — a thousand and one mistakes committed, a thousand and one times you fall, and you get back on your feet again. All those experiences slowly, slowly ripen you, make you mature; you become a grown-up.

    Buddha’s innocence is that of a mature person, utterly mature.

    Childhood is nature unconscious; buddhahood is nature conscious. The childhood is a circumference with no idea of the center. The Buddha is also a circumference, but rooted in the center, centered. Childhood is unconscious anonymity; buddhahood is conscious anonymity. Both are nameless, both are formless…but the child has not known the form yet and the misery of it.

    It is like you have never been in a prison, so you don’t know what freedom is. Then you have been in the prison for many years, or many lives, and then one day you are released…you come out of the prison doors dancing, ecstatic! And you will be surprised that people who are already outside, walking on the street, going to their work, to the office, to the factory, are not enjoying their freedom at all — they are oblivious, they don’t know that they are free. How can they know? Because they have never been in prison they don’t know the contrast; the background is missing.

    It is as if you write with a white chalk on a white wall — nobody will ever be able to read it. What to say about anybody else — even you will not be able to read what you have written.

    If you write on a white wall even you yourself will not be able to read it, but if you write on a blackboard it comes loud and clear — you can read it. The contrast is needed. The child has no contrast; he is a silver lining without the black cloud.

    Buddha is a silver lining in the black cloud.

    In the day there are stars in the sky; they don’t go anywhere — they can’t go so fast, they can’t disappear. They are already there, the whole day they are there, but in the night you can see them because of darkness. They start appearing; as the sun sets they start appearing. As the sun goes deeper and deeper below the horizon, more and more stars are bubbling up. They have been there the whole day, but because the darkness was missing it was difficult to see them.

    A child has innocence but no background. You cannot see it, you cannot read it; it is not very loud. A Buddha has lived his life, has done all that is needed — good and bad — has touched this polarity and that, has been a sinner and a saint. Remember, a Buddha is not just a saint; he has been a sinner and he has been a saint. And buddhahood is beyond both. Now he has come back home.

    That’s why Buddha said “There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path. There is no cognition, no knowledge, no attainment, and no non-attainment.” When Buddha became awakened he was asked: “What have you attained?” And he laughed, and he said: “I have not attained anything — I have only discovered what has always been the case. I have simply come back home. I have claimed that which was always mine and was with me. So there is no attainment as such, I have simply recognized it. It is not a discovery, it is a re-discovery. And when you become a Buddha you will see the point — nothing is gained by becoming a Buddha. Suddenly you see that this is your nature. But to recognize this nature you have to go astray, you have to go deep into the turmoil of the world. You have to enter into all kinds of muddy places and spaces just to see your utter cleanliness, your utter purity.

    Only a perfect ego has the capacity to disappear, not an imperfect ego. When the fruit is ripe it falls; when the fruit is unripe it clings. If you are still clinging to the ego, remember, the fruit is not ripe; hence the clinging. If the fruit is ripe, it falls to the ground and disappears. So is the case with the ego.

    Now a paradox: that only a really evolved ego can surrender.

    Ordinarily you think that an egoist cannot surrender. That is not the observation of Buddhas down the ages. Only a perfect egoist can surrender. Because only he knows the misery of the ego, only he has the strength to surrender. He has known all the possibilities of the ego and has gone into immense frustration. He has suffered a lot, and he knows enough is enough, and he wants any excuse to surrender it. The excuse may be God, the excuse may be a master, or any excuse, but he wants to surrender it. The burden is too much and he has been carrying it for long.

    People who have not developed their egos can surrender, but their surrender will not be perfect, it will not be total. Something deep inside will go on clinging, something deep inside will still go on hoping: “Maybe there is something in the ego. Why are you surrendering?”

    In the East, the ego has not been developed well. Because of the teaching of egolessness, a misunderstanding arose that if the ego has to be surrendered, then why develop it, for what? A simple logic: if it has to be renounced one day, then why bother? Then why make so much effort to create it? It has to be dropped! So the East has not bothered much in developing the ego. And the Eastern mind finds it very easy to bow down to anybody. It finds it very easy, it is always ready to surrender. But the surrender is basically impossible, because you don’t yet have the ego to surrender it.

    You will be surprised: all the great Buddhas in the East have been kshatriyas, from the warrior race — Buddha, Mahavira, Parshwanath, Neminath. All the twenty-four tirthankaras of the Jainas belong to the warrior race, and all the avataras of the Hindus belonged to the kshatriya race — Ram, Krishna — except one, Parashuram, who was, accidentally it seems, born to a brahmin family, because you cannot find a greater warrior than him. It must have been some accident — his whole life was a continuous war.

    It is a surprise when you come to know that not a single brahmin has ever been declared a Buddha, an avatara, a tirthankara. Why? The brahmin is humble; from the very beginning he has been brought up in humbleness, for humbleness. Egolessness has been taught to him from the very beginning, so the ego is not ripe, and unripe egos cling.

    In the East people have very, very fragmentary egos, and they think it is easy to surrender.

    They are always ready to surrender to anybody. A drop of a hat and they are ready to surrender — but their surrender never goes very deep, it remains superficial.

    Just the opposite is the case in the West: people who come from the West have very, very strong and developed egos. Because the whole Western education is to create an evolved, well-defined, well-cultured, sophisticated ego, they think it is very difficult to surrender. They have not even heard the word surrender. The very idea looks ugly, humiliating. But the paradox is that when a Western man or woman surrenders, the surrender goes really deep. It goes to the very core of his or her being, because the ego is very evolved. The ego is evolved; that’s why you think it is very difficult to surrender. But if surrender happens it goes to the very core, it is absolute. In the East people think surrender is very easy, but the ego is not so evolved so it never goes very deep.

    A Buddha is one who has gone into the experiences of life, the fire of life, the hell of life, and has ripened his ego to its ultimate possibility, to the very maximum. And in that moment the ego falls and disappears. Again you are a child; it is a rebirth, it is a resurrection. First you have to be on the cross of the ego, you have to suffer the cross of the ego, and you have to carry the cross on your own shoulders — and to the very end. Ego has to be learned; only then can you unlearn it. And then there is great joy. When you are free from the prison you have a dance, a celebration in your being. You cannot believe why people who are out of prison are going so dead and dull and dragging themselves. Why are they not dancing? Why are they not celebrating? They cannot: they have not known the misery of the prison.

    These seven doors have to be used before you can become a Buddha. You have to go to the darkest realm of life, to the dark night of the soul, to come back to the dawn when the morning rises again, the sun rises again, and all is light.

    But it rarely happens that you have a fully developed ego.

    If you understand me, then the whole structure of education should be paradoxical: first they should teach you the ego — that should be the first part of education, the half of it; and they should then teach you egolessness, how to drop it — that will be the latter half. People enter from one door or two doors or three doors, and get caught up in a certain fragmentary ego.

    The first is the bodily self. The child starts learning slowly, slowly: it takes nearabout fifteen months for the child to learn that he is separate, that there is something inside him and something outside. He learns that he has a body separate from other bodies. But a few people remain clinging to that very, very fragmentary ego for their whole lives. These are the people who are known as materialists, communists, Marxists.

    The people who believe that the body is all — that there is nothing more than the body inside you, that the body is your whole existence, that there is no consciousness separate from the body, above the body, that consciousness is just a chemical phenomenon happening in the body, that you are not separate from the body and when the body dies you die, and all disappears…dust unto dust…there is no divinity in you — they reduce man to matter.

    These are the people who remain clinging to the first door; their mental age seems to be only fifteen months. The very, very rudimentary and primitive ego remains materialist. These people remain hung up with two things: sex and food. But remember, when I say materialist, communist, Marxist, I do not mean that this completes the list. Somebody may be a spiritualist and may still be clinging to the first….

    For example, Mahatma Gandhi: if you read his autobiography, he calls his autobiography My Experiments With Truth.. But if you go on reading his autobiography you will find the name is not right; he should have given it the name My Experiments With Food And Sex. Truth is nowhere to be found. He is continuously worried about food: what to eat, what not to eat. His whole worry seems to be about food, and then about sex: how to become a celibate — this runs as a theme, this is the undercurrent. Continuously, day and night, he is thinking about food and sex — one has to get free. Now he is not a materialist — he believes in soul, he believes in God. In fact, because he believes in God he is thinking so much about food — because if he eats something wrong and commits a sin, then he will be far away from God.

    He talks about God but thinks about food.

    And that is not only so with him, it is so with all the Jaina monks. He was under much impact from Jaina monks. He was born in Gujarat. Gujarat is basically Jaina, Jainism has the greatest impact on Gujarat. Even Hindus are more like Jainas in Gujarat than like Hindus. Gandhi is ninety percent a Jaina — born in a Hindu family, but his mind is conditioned by Jaina monks. They are continuously thinking about food.

    And then the second idea arises, of sex — how to get rid of sex. For his whole life, to the very end, he was concerned about it — how to get rid of sex. In the last year of his life he was experimenting with nude girls and sleeping with them, just to test himself, because he was feeling that death was coming close, and he had to test himself to see whether there was still some lust in him.

    The country was burning, people were being killed: Muslims were killing Hindus, Hindus were killing Muslims — the whole country was on fire. And he was in the very middle of it, in Novakali — but his concern was sex. He was sleeping with girls, nude girls; he was testing himself, testing whether brahmacharya, his celibacy, was perfect yet or not.

    But why this suspicion? — Because of long repression. The whole life he had been repressing. Now, in the very end, he had become afraid — because at that age he was still dreaming about sex. So he was very suspicious: would he be able to face his God? He was a very primitive materialist. His concern was food and sex.

    Whether you are for it or against it doesn’t matter — your concern shows where your ego is hanging. A capitalist’s whole concern is how to gather money, hoard money — because money has power over matter. You can purchase any material thing through money. You cannot purchase anything spiritual, you cannot purchase anything that has any intrinsic value; you can purchase only things. If you want to purchase love, you cannot purchase; but you can purchase sex.

    Sex is the material part of love. Through money, matter can be purchased, possessed.

    The communist and the capitalist both in the same category, and they are enemies, but their concern is the same. The capitalist is trying to hoard money, the communist is against it. He wants that nobody should be allowed to hoard money except the state. But his concern is also money, he is also continuously thinking about money. It is not an accident that Marx had given the name Das Kapital to his great book on communism, Capital. That is the communist Bible, but the name is Capital. That is their concern: how not to allow anybody to hoard money so the state can hoard, and how to possess the state — so, in fact, basically, ultimately, you hoard the money. The communist mind is basically a capitalist mind, the capitalist mind is basically a communist mind. They are partners in the same game — the game’s name is capital, Das Kapital.

    Many people, millions of people, only evolve this primitive ego, very rudimentary. If you have this ego it is very difficult to surrender; it is very unripe.

    The second door is self-identity.

    The child starts growing an idea of who he is. Looking in the mirror, he finds the same face. Every morning, getting up from the bed, he runs to the bathroom, looks, and he says: “Yes, it is I. The sleep has not disturbed anything.” He starts having an idea of a continuous self.

    Those people who become too involved with this door, get hooked with this door, are the so-called spiritualists who think that they are going into paradise, heaven, moksha, but that they will be there. When you think about heaven, you certainly think of yourself that as you are here, you will be there too. Maybe the body will not be there, but your inner continuity will remain. That is absurd! That liberation, that ultimate liberation happens only when the self is dissolved and all identity is dissolved. You become an emptiness….

    That idea that the child has of self-continuity is carried by the spiritualists. They go on searching: from where does the soul enter into the body, from where does the soul go out of the body, what form does the soul have, planchettes and mediums, things like that — all rubbish and nonsense. The self has no form. It is pure nothingness, it is vast sky without any clouds in it. It is a thoughtless silence, unconfined, uncontained by anything.

    That idea of a permanent soul, the idea of a self, continues to play games in your minds.

    Even if the body dies, you want to be certain that: “I will live.”

    Many people used to come to Buddha…because this country has been dominated by this second kind of ego: people believe in the permanent soul, eternal soul, aatman — they would come to Buddha again and again and say: “When I die, will something remain or not?” And Buddha would laugh and he would say: “There is nothing right now, so why bother about death? There has never been anything from the very beginning.” And this was inconceivable to the Indian mind.

    The Indian mind is predominantly hooked with the second type of ego. That’s why Buddhism could not survive in India. Within five hundred years, Buddhism disappeared. It found better roots in China, because of Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu had created really a beautiful field for Buddhism there. The climate was ready — as if somebody had prepared the ground; only the seed was needed. And when the seed reached China it grew into a great tree. But from India it disappeared. Lao Tzu had no idea of any permanent self, and in China people have not bothered much.

    There are these three cultures in the world: one culture, called the materialist — very predominant in the West; another culture, called the spiritualist — very predominant in India; and China has a third kind of culture, neither materialist nor spiritualist. It is Taoist: live the moment and don’t bother for the future, because to bother about heaven and hell and paradise and moksha is basically to be continuously concerned about yourself. It is very selfish, it is very self-centered. According to Lao Tzu, according to Buddha too, and according to me also, a person who is trying to reach heaven is a very, very self-centered person, very selfish. And he does not know a thing about his own inner being — there is no self.

    The third door was self-esteem: the child learns to do things and enjoys doing them.

    A few people get hooked there — they become technicians, they become performers, actors, they become politicians, they become the showmen. The basic theme is the doer; they want to show the world that they can do something. If the world allows them some creativity, good. If it does not allow them creativity, they become destructive.

    The criminal and the politician are not very far away, they are cousin-brothers. If the criminal is given the right opportunity he will become a politician, and if the politician is not given the right opportunity to have his say, he will become a criminal. They are border cases. Any moment, the politician can become a criminal and the criminal can become a politician. And this has been happening down the ages, but we don’t yet have that insight to see into things.

    The fourth door was self-extension. The word “mine” is the key word there. One has to extend oneself by accumulating money, by accumulating power, by becoming bigger and bigger and bigger: the patriot who says: “This is my country, and this is the greatest country in the world.” You can ask the Indian patriot: he goes on shouting from every nook and corner that this is punya bhumi — this is the land of virtue, the purest land in the world.

    India is the only country where so many Buddhas were born, so many avataras, so many tirthankaras — Rama, Krishna and others. Why? – if in the neighborhood you see that in somebody’s house a doctor comes every day — sometimes a vaidya, a physician, an acupuncturist, and the naturopath, and this and that — what do you understand by it?”

    Simple! That the family is ill.

    That is the case with India: so many Buddhas needed — the country seems to be utterly ill and pathological.

    So many healers, so many physicians. Buddha has said: “I am a physician.” And you know that Krishna has said: “Whenever there is darkness in the world, and whenever there is sin in the world, and whenever the law of the cosmos is disturbed, I will come back.” So why had he come that time? It must have been for the same reason. And why so many times in India?

    But the patriot is arrogant, aggressive, egoistic. He goes on declaring: “My country is special, my religion is special, my church is special, my book is special, my guru is special” — and everything is nothing. This is just ego claiming.

    A few people get hooked with this “mine” — the dogmatist, the patriot, the Hindu, the Christian, the Mohammedan.

    The fifth door is self-image. The child starts looking into things, experiences. When the parents feel good with the child, he thinks: “I am good.” When they pat him he feels: “I am good.” When they look with anger, they shout at him and they say: “Don’t do that!” he feels: “Something is wrong in me.” He recoils.

    A small child was asked in school on the first day he entered: “What is your name?”
    He said: “Johnny Don’t.”
    The teacher was puzzled. He said: “Johnny Don’t? Never heard such a name!”
    He said: “Whenever, whatsoever I am doing, this is my name — my mother shouts: ‘Johnny don’t!’ My father shouts: ‘Johnny don’t!’ So I think this is my name. ‘Don’t’ is always there. What I am doing is irrelevant.”

    The fifth is the door from where morals enter: you become a moralist; you start feeling very good, “holier than thou.” Or, in frustration, in resistance, in struggle, you become an immoralist and you start fighting with the whole world, to show the whole world.

    Either the child is accepted — then he feels good, then he is ready to do anything the parents want; or, if again and again he is frustrated, then he starts thinking in terms of: “There is no possibility that I can receive their love, but still I need their attention. If I cannot get their attention through the right way, I will get their attention through the wrong way. Now I will smoke, I will masturbate, I will do harm to myself and to others, and I will do all kinds of things that they say ‘Don’t do,’ but I will keep them occupied with me. I will show them.”

    This is the fifth door, the self-image. Sinner and saint are hooked there. Heaven and hell are the ideas of people who are hooked there. Millions of people are hooked. They are continuously afraid of hell and continuously greedy for heaven. They want to be patted by God, and they want God to say to them: “You are good, my son. I am happy with you.” They go on sacrificing their lives just to be patted by some fantasy somewhere beyond life and death. They go on doing a thousand and one tortures to themselves just in order that God can say: “Yes, you sacrificed yourself for me.”

    It seems as if God is a masochist or a sadist, or something like that.

    People torture themselves with the idea that they will be making God happy. What do you mean by this? You fast and you think God will be very happy with you? You starve yourself and you think God will be very happy with you? Is he a sadist? Does he enjoy torturing people? And that is what saints, so-called saints, have been doing: torturing themselves and looking at the sky. Sooner or later God will say: “Good boy, you have done well. Now come and enjoy the heavenly pleasures. Come here! Wine flows here in rivers, and roads are of gold, and palaces are made of diamonds. And the women here never age, they remain stuck at sixteen. Come here! You have done enough, you have earned, now you can enjoy!” The whole idea behind sacrifice is this. It is a foolish idea, because all ego ideas are foolish.

    The sixth is the self as reason. It comes through education, experience, reading, learning, listening: you start accumulating ideas, then you start creating systems out of ideas, consistent wholes, philosophies. This is where the philosophers, the scientists, the thinkers, the intellectuals, the rationalists are hooked. But this is becoming more and more sophisticated: from the first, the sixth is very sophisticated.

    The seventh is propriate striving: the artist, the mystic, the utopian, the dreamer — they are hooked there. They are always trying to create an utopia in the world. The word “utopia” is very beautiful: it means “that which never comes.” It is always coming but it never comes; it is always there but never here. But there are moon-gazers who go on looking for the faraway, the distant, and they are always moving in imagination. Great poets, imaginative people — their whole ego is involved in becoming. There is somebody who wants to become God; he is a mystic.

    Remember, “becoming” is the key word on the seventh, and the seventh is the last of the ego. The most mature ego comes there. That’s why you will feel, you will see a poet — he may not have anything, he may be a beggar, but in his eyes, on his nose, you will see the great ego. The mystic may have renounced the whole world and may be sitting in a Himalayan cage, in a Himalayan cave. You go there and look at him: he may be sitting there naked — but such a subtle ego, such a refined ego. He may even touch your feet, but he is showing: “Look how humble I am!”

    There are seven doors. When the ego is perfect, all these seven doors have been crossed; then that mature ego drops on its own accord. The child is before these seven egos, and the Buddha is after these seven egos. It is a complete circle.

    Buddha has moved into all these seven egos — seen them, looked into them, found that they are illusory, and has come back home, has become a child again. That’s what Jesus means when he says: “Unless you become like small children, you will not enter into my kingdom of God.”

    Ego starts growing as the child grows. The parents, the schools, colleges, university, they all help to strengthen the ego for the simple reason that for centuries man had to struggle to survive and the idea has become a fixation, a deep unconscious conditioning, that only strong egos can survive in the struggle of life. Life has become just a struggle to survive. And scientists have made it even more convincing with the theory of the survival of the fittest. So we help every child to become more and more strong in the ego, and it is there that the problem arises. As the ego becomes strong it starts surrounding intelligence like a thick layer of darkness. Intelligence is light, ego is darkness. Intelligence is very delicate, ego is very hard. Intelligence is like a roseflower, ego is like a rock. And if you want to survive, they say – the so-called knowers – then you have to become rock-like, you have to be strong, invulnerable. You have to become a citadel, a closed citadel, so you cannot be attacked from outside. You have to become impenetrable. But then you become closed. Then you start dying as far as your intelligence is concerned because intelligence needs the open sky, the wind, the air, the sun in order to grow, to expand, to flow. To remain alive it needs a constant flow; if it becomes stagnant it becomes slowly slowly a dead phenomenon. Happiness is threatening and misery is safe – safe for the ego. Ego can exist only in misery and through misery. Ego is an island surrounded by hell; happiness is threatening to the ego, to the very existence of the ego. Happiness rises like a sun and the ego disappears, evaporates like a dewdrop on the grass leaf. Happiness is the death of the ego. If you want to remain a separate entity from existence as almost everybody is trying to do, you will be afraid of being blissful, cheerful. You will feel guilty in being blissful. You will feel suicidal because you are committing suicide on the psychological level, on the level of the ego. It almost always happens that people enjoy a few moments and then afterwards feel very guilty. The guilt arises because of the ego. The ego starts torturing them, “What are you doing? Have you decided to kill me? And I am your only treasure. Killing me? You will be destroyed. Killing me is destroying yourself.” Try to understand the ego. Analyze it, dissect it, watch it, observe it, from as many angles as possible. And don’t be in a hurry to sacrifice it, otherwise the greatest egoist is born: the person who thinks he is humble, the person who thinks that he has no ego. That’s what the religious people have been doing down the ages – pious egoists they have been. They have made their ego even more decorated; it has taken the color of religion and holiness. Your ego is better than the ego of a saint; your ego is better, far better – because your ego is very gross, and the gross ego can be understood and dropped more easily than the subtle. The subtle ego goes on playing such games that it is very difficult. One will need absolute awareness to watch it. Misery has many things to give to you which happiness cannot give. On the contrary, happiness takes away many things from you. In fact, happiness takes all that you have ever had, all that you have ever been; happiness destroys you. Misery nourishes your ego, and happiness is basically a state of egolessness. That is the problem, the very crux of the problem. That’s why people find it very difficult to be happy. That’s why millions of people in the world have to live in misery, have decided to live in misery. It gives you a very, very crystallized ego. Miserable, you are. Happy, you are not. In misery: crystallization; in happiness you become diffused. If this is understood then things become very clear. Misery makes you special. Happiness is a universal phenomenon, there is nothing special about it. Love and ego cannot go together. Knowledge and ego go together perfectly well, but love and ego cannot go together, not at all. They cannot keep company. They are like darkness and light: if light is there darkness cannot be. Darkness can only be if light is not there. If love is not there the ego can be; if love is there the ego cannot be. And vice versa, if ego is dropped, love arrives from all the directions. It simply starts pouring in you from everywhere. The Ego Feeds off Your Desire to Be Something Else. Where does the ego get its energy? The ego feeds off your desire to be something else. You are poor and you want to be rich – the ego is absorbing energy, its life-breath. You are ignorant and you want to become a wise one – the ego is absorbing energy. You are a wretched nobody and you want to become powerful – the ego is absorbing energy. Understand the process of the ego. How does the ego live? The ego lives in the tension between what you are and what you want to be. A wants to be B – the ego is created out of this very tension. How does the ego die? The ego dies by you accepting what you are. That you say, “I am fine as I am, where I am is good. I will remain just as existence keeps me. Its will is my will.” When you have dropped all the tension about the future – that I should become this and I should become that – the ego evaporates. The ego lives on a base of the past and the future. Understand this a little. The claims of the ego are of the past, “I did this, I did that” – it is all in the past. And the ego says, “I will definitely accomplish this, I will definitely show you that I can accomplish that.” That is all in the future. The ego simply does not exist in the present. If you come to the present, then the ego disappears. That is death to the ego.Coming to the present is the death of the ego. The ego exists through friction. Have an ideal, and you will become an egoist. The idealist is an egoist. Have a bigger ideal, and you will be a bigger egoist. The greater the ideal, the greater the ego, because the greater is the friction. The ego is created by friction between the real and the ideal. Now you may have the ideal of egolessness – that doesn’t matter. You may say, “But I have the ideal of being egoless” – it does not matter, the ideal brings the ego. Now your idea of egolessness will bring great ego. So the real egoists are those who think they are humble people, who pretend that they are egoless.

    The man who is egoless is the man who has no ideals. Let this be the criterion, and you have stumbled upon a fundamental. The man of no ego is the man of no ideals. Then how can the ego be created? – the very energy is missing. The energy comes out of friction, conflict, struggle, will.

    When you accept your life – when you take your breakfast, and when you sleep and when you walk and when you take your bath – how can you create an ego out of these things? Sleeping when feeling sleepy, eating when feeling hungry, how can you create your ego? No, if you fast, you can create ego. If you are on a vigilance for the whole night, and you say, “I am not going to sleep,” you can create the ego. By the morning, the person who has slept well will have no ego, you will have a great ego. But the ego does not want to be whole, because once you are whole the ego cannot exist. The ego exists only in the split. When you are fighting with yourself, the ego exists. The ego always exists through conflict; conflict is its food, nourishment. So if you are whole, the ego cannot exist. You can watch it. You can go and watch the criminals – they have their ego, you can go and watch your saints – they have their ego: the ego of the good and the ego of the bad. But if you can find a man who has no ego, he will be neither a sinner nor a saint, he will be very simple. He will not claim anything good or bad; he will not claim at all. The ego is created by the rift. When you are fighting, the ego comes in; when you are not fighting, the ego cannot come in. Ego is a tension. If you want the ego, then divide yourself as fully as possible – become two persons. That is what is happening to many people, that is what has happened to whole of humanity. Everybody has become two persons: one voice says “Do this,” the other voice says “Don’t do that” – then the ego arises. Out of friction ego arises, and ego is very intoxicating; it makes you unconscious. This is the whole mechanism.

    I am’ is nothing but another name for the ego. Now you will be getting into trouble. If the ego is convinced that the only way is to drop the ego, then who is going to drop whom? And how? It will be like pulling yourself up by your own shoestrings. You will look just silly. Watch each word that you use. ‘I am’ is nothing but the ego.

    The second thing: nobody has ever been able to drop the ego because ego is not a reality that you can drop; anything to be dropped at least has to be real, substantial. Ego is just a notion, an idea. You cannot drop it, you can only understand it. Can you drop your shadow? You can run as fast as you want but your shadow will run at the same speed, exactly the same speed. You cannot drop the ego. Once you start trying to drop the ego you will get in a very deep mess; you will become more and more worried and puzzled. And this is not the way to get rid of the ego. The only way to get rid of the ego is to look at it.”

    So when you do something, watch, be alert. And if it leads to misery, then you know well that it was ego. Then the next time, be alert, don’t listen to that voice. If it is nature, it will lead you towards a blissful state of mind. Nature is always beautiful, ego always ugly. There is no other way but trial and error. Life is subtle and complex and all criteria fall short. You will have to make your own efforts to judge. So whenever you do something, listen to the voice from within. Make a note of it, of where it leads. If it leads to misery, it was certainly from the ego. If your love leads to misery, it was from the ego. If your love leads to a beautiful benediction, a blessedness, it was from nature. If your friendship, even your meditation, leads you to misery, it was from the ego. If it were from nature everything would fit in, everything would become harmonious. Nature is wonderful, nature is beautiful, but you have to work it out. Always make a note of what you are doing and where it leads. By and by, you will become aware of that which is ego and that which is nature; which is real and which is false. It will take time and alertness, observation. And don’t deceive yourself – because only ego leads to misery, nothing else. Don’t throw the responsibility on the other; the other is irrelevant. Your ego leads to misery, nobody else leads you into misery. Ego is the gate of hell, and the natural, the authentic, the real that comes from your center, is the door to heaven. You will have to find it and work it out. Before you can lose your ego, you must attain it. Only a ripe fruit falls to the ground. Ripeness is all. An unripe ego cannot be thrown, cannot be destroyed. And if you struggle with an unripe ego to destroy and dissolve it, the whole effort is going to be a failure. Rather than destroying it, you will find it more strengthened, in new and subtle ways. This is something basic to be understood – the ego must come to a peak, it must be strong, it must have attained an integrity – only then can you dissolve it. A weak ego cannot be dissolved. And this becomes a problem. In the East all the religions preach egolessness. So in the East everybody is against the ego from the very beginning. Because of this anti attitude, ego never becomes strong, never comes to a point of integration from where it can be thrown. It is never ripe. So in the East it is very difficult to dissolve the ego, almost impossible. In the West the whole Western tradition of religion and psychology propounds, preaches, persuades people to have strong egos – because unless you have a strong ego, how can you survive? Life is a struggle; if you are egoless you will be destroyed. Then who will resist? Who will fight? Who will compete? And life is a continuous competition. Western psychology says: Attain to the ego, be strong in it. But in the West it is very easy to dissolve the ego. So whenever a Western seeker reaches an understanding that ego is the problem he can easily dissolve it, more easily than any Eastern seeker. This is the paradox – in the West ego is taught, in the East egolessness is taught. But in the West it is easy to dissolve the ego, in the East it is very difficult. This is going to be a hard task for you, first to attain and then to lose – because you can lose only something which you possess. If you don’t possess it, how can you lose it? When you are in anger, in passion, violent, aggressive, you feel a crystallized ego within you. Whenever you are in love, in compassion, it is not there. That’s why we cannot love, because with the ego, love is impossible. That’s why we go on talking so much about love, but we never are in love. And whatsoever we call love is more or less sex, it is not love; because you cannot lose your ego, and love cannot exist unless the ego has disappeared. Love, meditation, godliness, they all require one thing – the ego must not be there. That’s why saying that Love is Lord Shiva is right, because both phenomena happen only when the ego is not. The child is born with a Self but not with an ego. The child develops the ego. As he becomes more and more social and related, ego develops. This ego is just on your periphery where you are related with others – just on the boundary of your being. So ego is the periphery of your being, and Self is the center. The child is born with a Self, but unaware. He is a Self, but he is not conscious of the Self. The first awareness of the child comes with his ego. He becomes aware of the “I”, not of the Self. Really, he becomes aware first of the “thou”. The child first becomes aware of his mother. Then, reflectively, he becomes aware of himself. First he becomes aware of objects around him. Then, by and by, he begins to feel that he is separate. This feeling of separation gives the feeling of ego, and because the child first becomes aware of the ego, ego becomes a covering on the Self. Then ego goes on growing, because the society needs you as an ego, not as a Self. The Self is irrelevant for the society; your periphery is meaningful. And there are many problems. The ego can be taught and the ego can be made docile and the ego can be forced to be obedient. The ego can be made to adjust, but not the Self. The Self cannot be taught, the Self cannot be forced. The Self is intrinsically rebellious, individual. It cannot be made a part of society. Everybody, even a religious man, has his own ego. Even while declaring, “I am just dust underneath your feet,” you are gathering ego. The ego and the personality have to be dropped, then you will find individuality arising…a feeling of uniqueness. Yes, you are unique. Everybody else is also unique. In this world only unique people exist, so comparison is just stupid, because you alone are like yourself. There is nobody like you, so how to compare? There are only two states of consciousness that exist – the state of the ego and the state of love. The ego is the narrow state, the seed-form, the atomic stage; love is all encompassing, love is God. The center of the ego is I; the ego exists for itself. The nectar of love is the universe. Love exists for all. The ego is exploitation; love is service. And the service that flows from love, freely and spontaneously, is non-violence.

  7. Cerberus Says:

    There is an interesting book “Divine Revelation in Pali Buddhism” by Peter Masefield, son of poet Laureate John Masefield who became a Buddhist priest and a Pali Scholar. He talks of the role of grace and the disappearance of the Saavaka*​. You may find this interesting. highly recommend this book. It has been written by someone who has gone deep into the Pali texts.

    Here is a review of the book from Amazon.

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    His Voice Alone contained Divine Revelation for Savakas*
    By radiofreewill on March 1, 2008

    Format: Hardcover
    If you want to know what makes a Buddha different from a run-of-the-mill Spiritual Teacher, even famous ones, then get this book – the living, teaching, revealing Buddha is in here!

    When the Buddha spoke Dhamma, his Voice carried out into the audience of monks, nuns and lay people. In many cases, if not most cases at public discourses, his Voice passed by the listeners and did not penetrate the ‘cloud’ of their pre-conceived notions. These people, both lay and monastic, were called ‘puthujjanas’ – they remained in darkness and ignorance as to the insight and wisdom contained in the teachings.

    However, those who could ‘hear’ Dhamma were called Savakas. When a listener went to a public discourse – heretofore ‘lost’ inside his or her personal worldview – and heard Dhamma from the Blessed One, the Sound would penetrate their confusion, and he or she would undergo an upliftment to a *startling* revelation – the listener would *directly realize* that he or she had been “looking at life All Wrong” up to that point, and had unwittingly and unconsciously been perpetuating their own suffering through Ignorance. That moment of Revelatory Insight, when one directly experiences the Four Truths, being transformed by them, is called Right View.

    In this book, Masefield shows that what happened in the Buddha’s day after someone acquired Right View wasn’t a progression through the stages sequentially – stream enterer, once returner, non-returner, arahant – which is the popular, institutionalized understanding of the paths and fruits.

    Rather, someone who had undergone the radical transformative experience of Right View under the force of the Buddha’s instruction, would typically go off and dwell, aloof and dilligently, in the forest – usually for only a day or two – before returning to the Buddha for a second oral teaching – at which point the listener would ‘be established’ in their fruit – and that fruit could be anything from stream enterer to arahant, depending entirely on the Kammic Substrate remaining after *realization.* So, one would attain Right View as a result of oral instruction from the Buddha, and, within days, after a second talk, arrive directly at the fruit appropriate to their remaining Kammic Substrate – which could, and often did, mean going straight from Merchant to Arahant, all in a couple of days.

    In the Buddhist Model of Salvation, all Savakas from Stream Enterers to Saints and Buddhas, have equally Attained the Goal – the only question is: How long are they going to be ‘held-up’ by ‘good’ Kamma until the final extinction of Pari-Nibbana? (Arahants experience “unexcelled complete perfect enlightenment” in this life, Anagamins after a Pleasant Celestial Re-birth in the Pure Abodes, Sakadagamins after a Celestial life and then Returning Once, and Sotapattis after a period of up to seven more human-or-better Re-births.)

    However, after the passing of the Buddha, People didn’t ‘wake up’ anymore to the Sound of Dhamma, as spoken by others; and the Community of Savakas – those who had actually heard Dhamma from the Buddha – gradually dwindled and disappeared, leaving only the records of the teachings for guidance. Those records, oral and written, were carried forward by institutionalized Buddhism, which eventually ‘lost contact’ with Dhamma as Sound, and revised the teachings into a traditional linear progression of stages, attained through merit.

    In the course of that institutional evolution, what got lost was contact with the absolutely earth-shattering experience of being lifted out of confusion to a vantage point of clarity, stability and insight, through hearing Dhamma from the Buddha. The Pali sources record many, many people – upon hearing the Voice of the Fully Enlightend One speak Dhamma – becoming illuminated on the spot, and ending their aimless wandering through Samsara by requesting the going-forth, lay or monk, into the Community of Realized Being!

    It is the neccessity of the Buddha’s Voice that characterizes the teachings as both Grace (one of the benefits of *Right View* is the instantaneous destruction of 99% of your accumulated Kamma!) and Divine Revelation (if you didn’t hear it from him, you didn’t ‘get it’ by sound.)

    The signifigance of Sound is that *any* listener could ‘wake up’ regardless of background or circumstance – no need to be a meditator, or a monk or nun, or a vegetarian, or educated, or a certain class or caste – if you had the ‘capacity’ to hear Dhamma, the Buddha’s Voice had the ‘capacity’ to take you to a glimpse of Nibbana, that you then worked-out for yourself, and that he then confirmed.

    When it comes to the Buddha, Masefield has the Right View!

  8. Naram Says:

    I agree with much of what the audience has written. In my attempts to understand Nietzche, he stuck me as an self absorbed egotist and sadly he had struck as a kindred spirit to Adolf Hitler. N thought he speaks only to the elevated, men who have climbed the peaks of the mountain and thought contemptuously of the rest. Naturally his train of thought is an attempt to prove himself to be a superior being thus lacked the universality, humanity and equanimity of Buddhist Philosophy.

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