Conversations in Brockwood Park 1978
Brockwood Park 23rd June 1978 2nd Conversation with Prof.bohm, Mr.narayan and Two Buddhist Scholars
K: Yes, you wanted to start.
Rahula: This morning and afternoon I want to ask you one or two things to clarify. And for a long time these questions were on my mind, and very often I thought of you, to meet you and to discuss these things, not in a place like this but privately between you and me, but it was not possible and now ultimately I am grateful to Mr.Narayan for arranging this. We continued yesterday about something, I think you were getting at the last thing about greed and as a bad thing, the idea is given by words, but if you see it without the word it may not be the same thing. And of course that is quite so, because the thing itself has no word when you see the thing. In Buddhist terminology there are three levels of knowledge: one is that we get wisdom, self-knowledge through learning, the books, the teacher; then there is further development, the wisdom that you get by thinking, meditating according to that, your knowledge, still within words, it is still within language; but the highest wisdom goes beyond words, it has no word, it has no name, it has no terminology. That means that you see the thing without a word. I think that is what you meant when you said, when you see the thing, all our reflections, accumulated meanings disappear. That is how I understood it. I don't know whether that is what you meant.
K: Perhaps we will go into it, sir, but you also said you would like to ask some other questions.
R: That's right. That is very interesting. I am very grateful to you.
K: Not at all, sir.
R: These are things which have been on my mind for a long time. Sir, you know the words arhat, in Buddhist terminology. Arhat is the one who realized the truth, who is liberated, who is free, and that is a very well known term. And the question was put to the Buddha, very often, by his disciples, and by various people, what happens to an arhat after his death? And then that man asked, "Does he exist after his death?" The Buddha said, "No." "Then he does not exist." The Buddha said, "No." "Then he exists and does not exist." Buddha said, "No." "Then he does not exist, nor not exist. These are the four corners." He said, "No. None of those terms exist or does not exist, is or is not, can be applied to that state." All those terms, relative, dualistic terms, are used only within our knowledge, within our experience, within empirical world. But this is beyond that, therefore you can't apply any of those words. This answer is everywhere, in many places he was asked these questions, and what do you say to this? He said you can't exist, or not exist.
K: Could we talk over together, sir, what is living and what is dying, and what is the state of the mind that is dead, or in the process of dying? Could my putting it that way be a help to answering the question?
R: I don't know.
K: You see, after all arhat is known also I believe in Indian thought, Hindu thought, because, not that I have read any books but I have discussed. Human beings right throughout the world, as far as one can make out, are always enquiring or believing into what is death, is there life after death, is there a continuity, and if there is no continuity what is the point of living at all? Life is such a dreadful affair anyhow with a lot of trouble, anxieties, fears, and so on, if there is no reward for living properly, correctly, what is the point of being good, kind, noble, etc? Could we approach your question from that point of view? Or do you want to ask what is the state of a mind that has no self whatsoever?
R: That's right, that is an arhat.
K: That is what I want to get at.
R: That's right.
K: Yes. Could we go into that, that way?
R: I think that is a good approach, because that is an arhat who has no self whatsoever.
K: Is that possible? We are enquiring.
K: I am not saying it is, or it is not, we are enquiring, I am not saying it is, or it is not, we are enquiring, proceeding through exploration and finding out, not believing or not believing.
So what is the self? The name, the form - just a minute, sir, let me enquire, we are enquiring. The form, the body, the organism, the name, the name identifies itself with the body, certain characteristics identifying itself with the 'me' - I am strong, I am weak, I have got a good character, I am not bad. So the characteristic is identified by thought as the 'me'. The tendency is identified by thought as the 'me'. The experiences, the accumulated knowledge is identified by thought as the 'me', and the 'me' is that which I possess - my property, my house, my furniture, my wife, my books. All that, the violence, the pleasure, the fear, the agonies, all that with the name, with the form, constitutes the self. So what is the root of the self? Is the root of the self the acquired experiences - I am enquiring, sir - the acquired experiences - we are enquiring into the very root of it, not the mere expressions of it. Right sir? I want to laugh a bit!
R: Yes, that is very important.
K: So the whole process of identification - my house, my name, my possessions, what I will be, the success, the power, the position, the prestige, the identification process is the essence of the self. If there is no identification is there the self? You understand sir?
R: Yes, I follow.
K: So can this identification come to an end? Which is, the identification is the movement of thought. If thought didn't say, that is my furniture, identifying itself with that, because it gives it pleasure, position, security, all that, so the root of the self is the movement of thought.
K: So death is the ending of that movement. Or is death a continuity of that movement into the next life? You understand?
K: Arhat, or the liberated man, why should he wait until the end, till he reaches that which is called death? So, when we realize the very root of the self is the movement of thought in time, in distance, from here to there, and all the conflicts, miseries, confusions, created by thought - right sir - is the self. So when thought comes to an end that is a form of death while living.
K: Now, can thought come to an end? To bring that about, or wanting thought to end, we meditate, we practice, we are aware, we go through all the tortures of so-called meditation. Right sir? Would you agree to that.
R: Popular religion.
K: No, no. You see - please sir, if I may point out, the ordinary man is not interested in all this. Right? He wants his beer, whatever he wants, he is not interested in all this, because, perhaps wrong education, social conditions, economic position, environmental influences, and maybe the religions have helped to keep the man down there, popular, the elite are somewhere else - the pope, the cardinals - you follow? So I wouldn't, if I may point out sir, I wouldn't say popular. It is the human tendency, that is all we are talking about. Every human being has identified himself and so conditioned himself with something or other, with god, with nirvana, with moksha, with heaven, with paradise and so on. Now while living can that death, which is the end of thought, take place? Not at the end of one's life which then is a graveyard renunciation. It has no meaning.
R: I agree when you said it is not necessary to wait until the end of your life, at the death, and Buddha pointed out the same thing. When this question was put to him, the question was asked also what will happen to the Buddha after his death. He asked the disciple, "What is Buddha? Is it this body?" - like you said, the name, the form, all this. Exactly what you said, in Buddhist terminology is called the kamarupa.
K: In Sanskrit too.
R: And the disciple said, no. Then you can't pin-point the Buddha even now, living, then how can you say after death?
K: Sir, if I may ask, I hope you don't think me impudent - why do we bring in the Buddha? We are talking as human beings.
R: Just because I raised the question from the Buddha's point of view.
K: Ah, no, as a human being I want to know what happens after death. Or what is the significance of death. Or can one live in daily life not as a monk, as a saint, all that stuff, daily life, without the self?
R: Of course my question was not that. The person who has realized the truth, who has become liberated, free, to him, what happens. That is the question.
K: I would never ask that question, because he might say this happens, or he might say that happens, or nothing happens. Then it becomes a theory to me, which is an idea.
R: I wanted from you a little more than that.
K: Ah, you want from me.
R: Not a theory.
K: If you want it from this person who is talking you have to enquire as he is enquiring. And therefore he asks, is it possible to live in daily life, not at the end of one's existence, in daily life without this identification process which brings about the structure and the nature of the self, which is the result of thought? Can the movement of thought end while I am living? That is the question, rather than what happens when I die. The 'me' is merely a movement of thought. Thought itself is very limited. Right? It is a piece in a vast movement, it is a small piece, broken up. So as long as thought, limited, a broken up thing, a fragment, whatever it creates will still be limited, broken up, fragmentary. Right? So can a human being, you or I or any of us, can we live without the movement of thought, which is the essence of the self? Suppose I say, yes, it can be done - what value has it to you?
Schoegel: Once that identification is really broken - once that identification of thought and 'me' is really broken...
K: Ah, no, not broken, end.
S: That is what I mean, ended.
K: When you break something it can continue. It is an ending.
S: It can never come back in the same way again, it is an irrevocable ending.
K: All I am saying is, suppose the speaker, this person says, yes, it is possible, I know it is possible, then what? What value has it to you?
S: That is what personally I hope we can discuss.
K: I am coming to that. What value is that to you? Either you accept it; or you say, don't be silly, and walk away, as it is not possible, and you leave it. But if you want to enquire and say, look, is it possible, let's find out - not as an idea but as an actuality in daily life. Right? Somebody join us!
Narayan: Dr.Rahula, we have been talking in this context of the value of Buddhist meditation, preparation, practice, mindfulness. What is the value of all those things that are mentioned in the Buddhist literature, which is practised as a very important thing in relation to the ending of thought?
R: Ending of thought, or self?
N: Mindfulness, let us say.
R: Mindfulness, or rather presence of awareness - a sense of mindfulness. Yes, satybhatana has many aspects, not only one but the most important thing is the mindfulness, awareness in everything. Even now what we do here is a meditation, it is not sitting with legs crossed like a statue under a tree, or in a cave, that is no meditation, that is only an exercise externally. Many people take it as the meditation. What we do here nobody would think we were meditating. But to me this is the deepest sort of meditation, also given in the satybhatana, this is called dharmapassana, to see, or to follow, or to observe, or to be aware of various subjects, topics, thins, doctrines, things like that, various things, that is the intellectual side of it. Then there is also meditation being mindful of everything you do, whatever you do, eating, drinking, or going about, talking, everything is mindfulness. And all that leads to what he says.
N: It leads to.
R: It leads to what he says.
N: That is the thing I really want to get at.
R: To end the thought process of self.
K: Sir, I hope you don't think me impudent or irreverent to what the Buddha said. I personally haven't read all these things. I don't want to read a thing about all this. They may be correct, or not correct, they may be under illusion or not under illusion, they may have been put together by disciples, and what the disciples do with their gurus is appalling - twist everything. So I say, look, I don't want to start with somebody telling me what to do, or what to think. I have no authority. So I say, look, as a human being, suffering, going through agonies, sex and mischief, and terror, and all the rest of it, in enquiring into all that I come to the point, which is thought. That's all. I don't have to know all the literature in the world, which will only condition further thinking. So forgive me for putting it that way: I brush all that aside. We have done this - Christians, I have met Christians, Benedictine monks, Jesuits, great scholars, always quoting, quoting, quoting, believing this is so, this is not so. You understand sir? I hope you don't think I am irreverent
R: Not at all. I fully agree with you and that is my attitude as well. I am talking to examine it.
K: You see I only start with what is a fact, for me. What is a fact, not according to some philosophers and religious teachers and priests, a fact - I suffer, I have fear, I have sexual demands. How am I to deal with all these tremendously complex things which make my life and I am so utterly miserable, unhappy. From there I start, not from what somebody said, that means nothing. You follow, sir? I am not belittling, forgive me, the Buddha, I wouldn't.
R: That, I know, I know you have the highest respect for the Buddha. But we have the same attitude and I want to examine it with you. That is why I put the question.
K: No, sir, not quite, sir, forgive me for saying so, not quite. I start with something which is common to all of us. Right? Not according to the Buddha, not according to some Christian god or Hindu or some group, to me all that is totally irrelevant, they have no place because I suffer, I want to find out to end it, or must I carry on for the rest of my life - this agony, this brutality, this sexual perversion, or sexual desires, you know, all the rest of it. Right sir? So I see the root of all this confusion, uncertainty, insecurity, travail, effort, the root of this is the self, the 'me'. Right sir? Now is it possible to be free of the 'me' which produces all this chaos, both outwardly, politically, religiously, economically and all the rest of it, and also inwardly, this constant struggle, constant battle, constant effort? So I am asking, can thought end? So thought has no future - that which ends then has a totally different beginning, not the beginning of the 'me', ending and picking up again later. Right sir?
In what manner can thought end? That's the problem. The Buddha must have talked about it. Right sir? I don't think Christianity, as far as I know, has touched this point. They said, give yourself to God, Christ, abandon yourself to him. But the self goes on. They haven't gone into this at all, only the Hindus and the Buddhists have done so, and perhaps some others. So can this thought end? Then the priest comes along and says, yes it can end, only identify yourself with Christ, with the Buddha - you follow? Identify, forget yourself.
R: That is the Christian attitude.
K: Christian, also part of the Hindu.
R: But not Buddhism. I must defend it.
K: I know.
N: I believe a great deal of Buddhist thought has degenerated into this.
R: Yes, yes, of course, degenerated, that is certain schools of thought, but I mean to say according to the Buddha's teaching.
K: You see.
S: Shall we say it is human nature to lean on something, and this is what automatically happens and this is what we are trying to get away from.
K: So here I am, an ordinary human being, fairly educated, not according to schools, colleges, fairly educated, has observed what the world is going through and he says, "I am the world, I am not different from the world, because I suffer, I have created this monstrous world, my parents, my grandparents, everybody's parents, created this". Right sir? So how is it possible for thought to end? Some people say, yes, which is to meditate, control, suppress.
S: No, no.
K: Wait. I said some people madam.
S: I beg your pardon.
K: Some people have said, suppress it, identify the self with the highest, which is still the movement of thought. Some people have said, burn out all the senses. Right sir? They have done it, fast, do everything for this thing. So somebody comes along like me and says, effort is the very essence of the self. Right? Do we understand that? Or has it become an idea, and we carry that idea out? You understand what I am talking about? I don't know if I am making myself clear.
N: If you say effort is the very essence of the self, is there again a preparation, an initial training to come to that situation? Or does one come to it effortlessly?
S: If I have understood you and please correct me if not, you mean that the very effort that I make to come to it, that in itself is already contributing to my delusion?
K: To the maker of the effort, who has already identified with something greater, and is making an effort to reach it. It is still the movement of thought.
S: And it is still a bargaining - if I do this, or if this happens, then I will get that.
K: So how do you, if I may ask, listen - listen? How do you listen?
K: A person like me says, effort of any kind only strengthens the self. Now how do you receive that statement?
S: I am entirely in agreement.
K: No, not agreement, or disagreement. How do you listen to it?
S: Let it impinge.
K: No, no.
Bohm: Do we listen in the same way we have made identifications, that is in general we listen through the past, through our previous ideas, through what we know?
S: That must be.
B: Is that right?
S: If one can open out and just listen.
K: Ah, no. When you eat, you are eating because you are hungry. The stomach receives the food, there is no idea of receiving the food. So can you listen - listen - without the idea of receiving, or accepting, or denying, or arguing, just listen to a statement? It may be false, it may be true, but just listen to it. Can you do it?
S: I would say yes.
K: Then if you so listen, what takes place?
K: No, madam, don't say immediately, nothing. What takes place? I listen to a statement that thought is the root of the self. After carefully explaining the mood of thought which identifies itself with the form, with the name, with this and that and the other thing. So after explaining very carefully, it is said that thought is the very root of the self. Now how do we receive, listen to the truth of that fact, that thought is the root of the self? Is it an idea, a conclusion, or is it an absolute, irrevocable fact?
R: If you ask me, it is a fact. You see I listen to it, receive it. I see it.
K: Are you listening as a Buddhist - forgive me for putting it that way?
R: I don't know.
K: No, you must know.
R: I am not identifying anything at all. I am not listening to you as a Buddhist or a non-Buddhist.
K: I am asking you, sir, are you listening as a Buddhist - just a minute - are you listening as a person who has read a great deal about the Buddha, and what the Buddha has said and so comparing - just a minute - and so you have gone away from listening. Right? So are you listening - I am not being personal, sir, forgive me - are you listening?
R: Oh, you can be quite free with me - I won't misunderstand you and you won't misunderstand me.
K: No, no. I don't mind you misunderstanding me at all. I can correct it. Are you listening to the idea, to the words, and the implications of those words, or are you listening without any sense of verbal comprehension, which you have gone through quickly, and you say, yes, I see the absolute truth of that?
R: That is what I said.
K: Do you?
K: No, Sir. Then it is finished. It is like seeing something tremendously dangerous, it is over, you don't touch it. I wonder if you see it.
S: Why not touch it?
B: It seems to me there is a tendency to listen through the word, as you say, and that word identifies, and that identification still goes on while one thinks one is listening. This is the problem. It is very subtle.
R: In other words, it is listening you use the word in seeing, in that sense.
K: No. Sir, I listen. When you say something to me, what the Buddha has said, I listen. I say, he is just quoting from what Buddha has said, but he is not saying something I want to know. He is telling me about the Buddha, but I want to know what you think, not what Buddha thought, because then we are establishing a relationship between you and me, and not between you, Buddha and me? I wonder if you see that.
R: That also means you were listening...
K: I was listening to what you were saying about Buddha. Just listening. I don't know. You are quoting, probably what you are quoting was perfectly so, you are quoting probably correctly and so on, but you are not revealing yourself to me and I am revealing myself to you. Therefore we have a relationship through the Buddha, not direct relationship. I love my dog and you like that dog too, but you like that dog and our relationship is based on that dog. I don't know if I am making myself clear. I am not comparing Buddha to the dog!
S: May I try to say what you are trying - not trying - what you are looking for is our personal experiential response.
K: No, your personal experience is also the experience of everybody else, it is not personal.
S: Though it is individually rendered.
K: If you and I suffer it is suffering, not my suffering and your suffering. But when there is identification with suffering there is my suffering. And I say, I must be free of it. But as human beings in the world we suffer. We are going off somewhere else.
B: It seems to me this question of identification is the main one, it is very subtle, in spite of all that you have said, identification still goes on.
K: Of course.
B: It seems to be built into us.
S: And this raises a question whether that identification can be ended - if I understood rightly.
B: Identification prevented listening freely, openly, because one listens through the identification.
K: What does identification mean? Why do human beings identify themselves with something - my car, my house, my wife, my children, my country, my god, my - you follow? Why?
S: To be something, perhaps.
K: Let's enquire why. Not only identify with outward things, but also inwardly identify with my experience, identify with experience and say, this is my experience. Why do human beings go through this all the time?
B: At one stage you said we identify with our sensations, for example, our senses, and this seems very powerful. What would it be not to identify with our sensations?
K: Yes. So when one listens, am I listening to identify myself with that fact about which he is talking, or there is no identification at all and therefore I am capable of listening with a totally different ear? Am I hearing with the ears of my hearing, or am I hearing with total attention? You understand sir? Am I listening with total attention? Or, my mind is wandering off and says, "Oh my goodness, this is rather boring, and what is she talking about?" - or he - and so I am off. But can I attend so completely that there is only the act of listening and nothing else, no identification, no saying, yes, that is a good idea, bad idea, that's true, that's false, which are all processes of identification, but without any of those movements can I listen? When I do so listen, then what? The truth that thought is the essence of the self, and the self creates all this misery, is finished. I don't have to meditate, I don't have to practise, it is over when I see the danger of these things. So can we listen so completely that there is the absence of the self? And one says, can I see, observe something without the self - which is my country, I love that sky, it is a beautiful sky - and all the rest of that. So please.
So the ending of thought, which is the ending, or cutting at the very, very root of the self - a bad simile, but take that - when there is such active, attentive, non-identifying attention, then does the self exist? I need a suit, why should there be identification in getting a suit? I get it, there is getting it. So the active listening implies listening to the senses. Right sir? To my taste, the whole sensory movement. I mean you can't stop the senses, then you would be paralysed. But the moment I say, "That's a marvellous taste, I must have more of that", begins the whole identification.
B: It seems to me that that is the general condition of mankind, to be identifying with the senses. Now how are we going to change that?
K: That is the whole problem sir. Mankind had been educated, conditioned for millenia to identify with everything - my guru, my house, my god, my country, my king, my queen, and all the horror that goes on.
B: You see with each one of those there is a sensation.
K: It is a sensation, which you call experience.
R: So we should come to our point.
K: Yes, which is?
R: The one that we began.
K: When the self ends - it can end, obviously, it is only the most ignorant and most highly burdened, and people with knowledge, and identifying themselves with knowledge and all that, when there is the ending of the self, what takes place? Not at the end of my life, not when the brain becomes deteriorated, when the brain is very, very active, quiet, alive, what then takes place, when the self is not? Now, how can you find out, sir? Say, X has ended the self completely, not picks it up in the future, another day, but ends it completely, he says, yes, there is a totally different activity which is not the self. What good is that to me, or to any of us? He says, yes, it can end, it is a different world altogether, different dimension, not a sensory dimension, not an intellectual projected dimension, something totally different. I say he must be either a cuckoo, a charlatan, or a hypocrite, but I want to find out, not because he says so, but I want to find out. Can I, as a human being, living in this tremendously ugly, brutal, violent world, economically, socially, morally and all the rest of it, live without the self? I want to find out. And I want to find out not as an idea, I want to do it, it's my passion. Then I begin to enquire, why is there identification with the form, with the name - it is not very important whether you are K or W or Y. So you examine this very, very carefully not to identify yourself with anything, with sensation, with ideas, with a country, with an experience. You understand sir? Can you do it? Not vaguely and occasionally but something you have got to do with passion, with intensity, to find out.
That means I must put everything in its right place. Right? Because I have to live, to have food, I don't have to identify myself with that or that food, I eat the correct food, and it's finished, therefore it has its right place. But there are all the bodily demands, sex, put it in its right place. Who will tell me to put it in the right place? You understand sir? My guru, the pope, any scripture? If they do I identify myself with them because they are giving me help to put things in the right place, which is sheer nonsense. Right sir? The pope can't tell me, sex has its right place, and he says, don't divorce, marry, your marriage is with god - all that. And I am stuck. Why should I obey the pope, or the guru, or scriptures, or the politicians? So I have to find out what is the right place for sex, or money. Right sir? What is the right place? How shall I find out what is the right place for sex, which is one of the most powerful, urgent physical demands, which the religious people say, cut, destroy it. Right sir? Suppress it, take a vow against it and all the rest of it. I say, sorry, that doesn't mean a thing to me. So I want to find out what is its right place. How shall I find out? I have got the key to it. Right? Which is, non-identification with sensation, that is the key of it. Right sir? So non-identification with sensation, which is translated in modern experience - I must experience sex. Right? So that is, identification with sensation makes the self. So is it possible not to identify with sensations? - yes sensations, I am hungry, but sex is a little more powerful. So I have got the key to it, the truth of it. Right sirs? So I feel secure, all right. Non-identification, that is the truth of it. If I really see the truth of it then sex, money, everything has its right place.
R: In other words, you can see, you must see, or you see without the self.
K: Ah, no, no.
R: Identification is self.
K: No, there is the truth that identification with sensation, with this, or that, builds the structure of the self. Right? Is that an absolute, irrevocable, passionate, lasting truth? Or is it just an idea which I have accepted, yes, it's true, and I can change that idea tomorrow? But this thing is irrevocable. One must have money - money gives me freedom, money gives you freedom to do what you like, freedom, sex, if you want it, money gives you a sense of travelling, power, position - you know, all the rest of it. So non-identification with money. You follow?
B: And that means the end of desire for anything.
K: No, desire has very little meaning. But it doesn't mean I am a dead vegetable.
B: Are you saying identification gives desire excessive meaning?
K: Of course.
So having put everything in its right place - I don't put it, it happens because I have seen the truth of this thing so everything falls in its right place.
K: No, I can't say yes, right or wrong.
R: No, no, I see what you say.
K: Then what place has thought? You understand, sir? What place has thought? Has it any place at all? Obviously when I am talking I am using words, the words are associated with memory and so on and so on, so there is thinking there - not with me, there is very little thinking as I am talking, don't let's go into that. So thought has a place. Right sir? When I have to catch a train, when I have to go to the dentist, when I go to do something, thought has its place. And it has no place psychologically when there is the identifying process taking place. Right? I wonder if you see.
N: Are you implying that because there is no thought the identifying process has lost its strength?
K: No, it hasn't lost its strength.
N: Or it doesn't happen at all.
K: We said just now, that having the key, or living with the fact, living with the truth that identification brings about the structure and the nature of the self, which creates all the innumerable problems, seeing the truth, living that truth - living, it's in my brain, in my throat, in my gullet, it's part of my blood - seeing the truth of that, that truth is there. And so thought has its right place. I have put money, sex - not I.
S: It falls into its place.
K: I want to go further into this.
N: If the insight, the passion, the truth, is powerful enough...
K: No, you see you are using the word 'powerful'.
N: Yes, I am using it.
K: No, it is not powerful.
N: It has its own strength.
K: No, you can't use those words.
N: Now if it has no strength thought asserts itself.
K: No, no, it is not strength.
B: You are saying it is identification that makes thought do all the wrong things.
K: That's right. Identification has made thought do the wrong things.
B: It would be all right otherwise.
K: Otherwise thought has its place.
B: But when you say no identification, you mean the self is empty, that it has no content, doesn't it?
K: There are only sensations.
B: Sensations but they are not identified.
K: Not identified.
N: Through thought.
K: Not identified.
B: They are just going on, do you mean?
K: Yes, sensations are going on.
B: Outside or inside.
N: And you are also implying there is no slipping back.
K: Of course not. When you see something most dangerous, you don't slip back or go forward, it is dangerous. Sir then is that death? That is the question we began with.
R: Yes, yes.
K: Is that death? Death as we know it, that is the brain cells, etc., etc., die. Right? The body deteriorates, there is no oxygen and all the rest of it. So it dies. Sensations die with it. Right? Now where am I?
B: Sensations, you say, die with the body. There is no sensation.
K: No sensation. Right? Now is there a living with the sensation fully awakened - they are awakened, they are alive, but the non-identifying with sensation deprives, wipes away the self. We said that. Now what is death? Is it possible to live a daily life with death, which is the ending of the self?
K: I am not questioning. Go on, somebody talk for a little while.
R: I follow it.
N: Would you say there is a great deal of talk about insight - insight meditation, vipassana - is insight a thing we can use and doesn't slip back? Is insight that quality?
R: Exactly what he is saying now is the insight meditation. What he is telling now is the insight meditation.
N: No, I am asking, does insight endure without reference to time?
K: Don't use the words 'endure', 'last'.
N: All insight is a momentary process.
K: The moment you have an insight it is finished.
N: Finished, yes.
R: Once you see it, finished.
K: I have an insight into the whole nature of the self. I have an insight.
R: Exactly that is what he says.
N: It is complete.
R: In itself it is complete and there is no coming back.
N: Otherwise it is not insight.
R: You have seen it, and you know it and there is no slipping back, no coming back.
S: Who has seen it? With those words we always into trouble.
R: No, this is only the language. There is no see-er apart from seeing.
N: There is no see-er apart from seeing.
B: Would you say the insight transforms the person?
K: That is what we were discussing the other day - the insight transforms not only the state of the mind but the brain cells themselves undergo a change.
B: Therefore the brain cells being in a different state behave differently, it is not necessary to repeat the insight.
R: The whole system changes with that.
K: Be careful, sir, don't - either it is so, or it is not so. So I am left with this now: I am left with the question of what is death. Is the ending of the self death? Death in the ordinary accepted sense of the word. It is not, obviously, because the blood is circulating, the brain is working, the heart is pumping, and all the rest of it.
B: It is still alive.
K: It is alive but the self is non-existent because there is no identification of any kind. This is a tremendous thing. Non-identification with anything, with experience, with belief, with a country, with ideas, with ideals, wife, husband, love, no identification at all. Is that death? People who call that death say, my god, if I don't identify myself with my something or other, why I am nothing. So they are afraid of being nothing. Then identify. But nothingness, which is not a thing, you understand sir, not a thing, therefore it is quite a different state of mind. Now that is death. While there is living, sensations, the heart beating, the blood circulating, breathing, the brain active, undamaged - our brains are damaged.
B: Can this damage be healed? Is it possible to heal the damage?
K: Insight, that is what I want to get at. Our brains are damaged. For thousands of years we have been hurt psychologically, inwardly, and that hurt is part of our brain cells, remembered hurts, the propaganda for two thousand years that I am a Christian, that I believe in Jesus Christ, which is a hurt; or I am a Buddhist - you follow sir - that is a hurt. So our brains are damaged. To heal that damage is to listen very carefully, to listen, and in the listening to have an insight into what is being said, and therefore there is immediately a change in the brain cells. Therefore there is no identification, complete and total. And then is that love? You see I question this, sir. There is a great talk about compassion, isn't there, in the Buddhist literature. Be compassionate, don't kill, don't hurt. What place has love in compassion? To love a man or a woman, or a dog, or a piece of stone, a stray cat, to love something, the clouds, the trees, what place - or the nature, anything, love, the house put together by architects, a beautiful thing, the bricks, to love it, which is non-identifying with the bricks, with the house. The dying while living is that love in which there is no attachment.
R: That is so.
K: So then what place has love - loving a woman, a man, you understand, not identifying, please identifying with the sensations of sex with a woman, or with a man, and yet to love that person. When there is that love, that love is not the woman whom I love, it is global love. I wonder if you see.
K: Don't agree, sir.
R: No, not agree, I see it.
K: What place has that quality with compassion? Or is compassion the same as love?
N: Why do you say no?
R: Compassion is only for the suffering people. Love, there is no discrimination, whereas compassion is directed towards those who are suffering.
N: You make that distinction between compassion and love.
N: Is it in the Buddhist language?
R: Karuna is compassion and love is maitri, it is more than compassion.
K: Sir, does one love without identification, which implies no self, no attachment?
R: That is the true love.
K: No, I am asking you, you as a human being, not as a Buddhist, as a human being without identification with your senses and so on and so on, do you love a woman or a man, or a child, or the sky or a stone, or a stray dog without identifying? They all suffer - the woman suffers, the man suffers, the dog has a terrible life, a stray dog, chased and kicked. And when there is no identification do you love that dog, or do you have compassion for that dog? Is compassion an idea - I must have compassion for the suffering, for the poor, for the demented?
B: I still think the question is, is there love for somebody who is not suffering? Suppose there is somebody who is not suffering.
K: Suppose somebody is frightfully happy, because he writes good books, or thrillers and gets a lot of money, says, jolly good luck.
B: I didn't mean that exactly. You could say that he was suffering underneath.
K: That's what I am questioning.
B: But would there be love if there were no suffering? You know if mankind were to be free of it.
K: Would there be love without suffering. Or, are you saying, a human being must go through suffering to have love?
B: Well not necessarily.
K: You see when you put it that way, that is what it implies, doesn't it.
B: Well you could say one point that there could be love whether there is suffering or not. And the other is compassion, the way the Buddhists use it, is that is only for suffering
K: I question that.
N: I didn't quite feel that karuna, compassion, was only for those who were suffering. I think it has a wider quality than that.
R: No, there are four qualities called Brahma Viharas, these supreme qualities - maitri, karuna, mudita, upekkha. Maitri embraces suffering and not suffering; karuna embraces only suffering, mudita is directed towards the happy people, happiness, in the world there is no such sympathetic joy; upekkha is equanimity. These four qualities are called the Brahma Viharas, the supreme, divine qualities. And that classification when you use the word love it is much bigger.
K: No, I haven't come to compassion yet, sir. I just want to know as a human being, do I love somebody - the dog, the chimney, the clouds, that beautiful sky, without identifying? Not as a theory but fact. I don't want to delude myself in theories, or in ideas, I want to know if I love that man or woman or that child, or that dog, without saying, "It is my dog" - my wife, my house, my brick - actually not abstraction.
S: If I can be quite sure the 'I' is gone, as long as I feel 'I' is acting as self, I cannot do it.
K: No, madam. We said the truth is the identification breeds the self which causes all the trouble, miseries.
S: And if that is seen.
K: I said that, it is an absolute, irrevocable reality, it is in my blood, I can't get rid of my blood, it is there.
S: Then I cannot help but love.
K: No, no. You are all too quick.
S: I beg your pardon.
K: Not, "I cannot help loving" - do you?
R: If you see it.
K: No, no. Do you see the truth, the truth of that, that identification is the root of the self, with thought and all the rest of it? That is an absolute fact, like a cobra, like a dangerous animal, like a precipice, like taking deadly poison. So there is no identification, absolutely, when you see the danger. Then what is my relationship to the world, to nature, to my woman, man, child? When there is no identification is there indifference, callousness, brutality - say, "I don't identify" and put your nose in the air?
R: That would be very selfish.
K: No, not selfish. Is this what is going to happen?
K: No, sir, you can't just say, no. Why not? It will happen if it is intellectual.
S: It is not truth.
K: I have an ideal.
R: That is what I said, you have not seen then.
K: No. I am asking, sir, is this non-identification an ideal, a belief, an idea which I am going to live with and therefore my relationship to the dog, to the wife, to the husband, to the girl, or whatever it is becomes very superficial, casual. It is only when the truth that identification is absolutely cut out of one's life, there is no callousness then - because that is real.
We haven't solved the question of death yet. It is five minutes past one and we have to stop for lunch.
R: And in the afternoon I have some more questions, a list of things.
K: Let's go through them.
R: And these have been working in my mind for a long time.
K: Let's do it.
R: I want to discuss them with you and there is one session only we have this afternoon.
K: Do you want some more sessions?
R: Not possible today because we are going to have lunch.
K: This afternoon we are going to meet, but after today?
N: Dr. Rahula said he would like to stay back on Saturday, if it is possible. But Dr. Schloegel is going back this evening.
K: So we can meet today, this afternoon sir and we will see.
R: We will see how it works. If it is not possible today we will meet some other time. But you are going away.
K: Yes, I am going away on Tuesday. We will see.
Conversations in Brockwood Park 1978
Brockwood Park 23rd June 1978 2nd Conversation with Prof.bohm, Mr.narayan and Two Buddhist Scholars
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