At  the  beginning  of  a  question  and  answer  meeting  at  Brockwood  Park
Krishnamurti said:
To quest is to seek: Together we are going to seek, find, discover the right
answer.  This  is  not  the  Delphic  Oracle!  Together  we  are  going  to  find  out  the
meaning and significance of the question and also seek the answer. There is no
authority here. I happen to sit on a platform for convenience so that everybody
can see, but that little height does not give me any authority whatsoever.    5
– Brockwood Park 1979 –
1st Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 28th
August 1979
The Self
Question: Is it possible ever to be free of self-centred activity? Is there a real
self apart from the self-created image?
What do we mean by the self? If you ask somebody what the self is, he would
say, «It is all my senses, my feelings, my imagination, my romantic demands, my
possessions,  a  husband,  a  wife,  my  qualities,  my  struggles,  my  achievements,
my ambitions, my aspirations, my unhappiness, my joys» – all that would be the
self. You can add more words but the essence of it is the centre, the `me’, my
impulses – «I am impelled to go to India to find truth» and so on. From this centre
all  action  takes  place:  all  our  aspirations,  our  ambitions,  our  quarrels,  our
disagreements, our opinions, judgements, experiences, are centred in this. This
centre  is  not  only  the  conscious  self  acting  outwardly  but  also  the  deep  inner
consciousness  which  is  not  open  and  obvious;  it  is  all  the  different  levels  of
Now the questioner asks: Is it possible to be free of this centre? Why does one
want to be free of it? Is it because the centre is the cause of division? That is, the-
`me’ is the active element that is operating all the time; it is the same `me’ with
different names, with a different coloured skin, with a different job, with a different
position in the hierarchical social structure – you are Lord so-and-so, somebody
else  is  a  servant  –  it  is  the  same  ‘me’  dividing  itself  into  all  these  different
categories – socially, economically and religiously.
Where there is this division there must be conflict – the Hindu as opposed to
the  Muslim,  the  Jew,  the  Arab,  the  American,  the  English,  the  French.  That  is   6
physically  obvious  and  it  has  brought  about  tremendous  wars,  great  agony,
brutality  and  violence.  The  self  identifies  with  an  ideal  –  noble  or  ignoble  –  and
fights for that ideal. But it is still `the ego trip’. People go to India trying to find
spirituality; they put on different fancy dress but they have only changed the garb,
the clothes; essentially they are each the `me’ operating, all the time struggling,
endeavouring  grasping,  denying,  being  deeply  attached  to  their  experiences,
ideas, opinions and longings. And as one lives one observes that this centre, this
‘me’, is the essence of all trouble. Also one observes that it is the essence of all
pleasure, fear and sorrow. So one asks, «How am I to get rid of this centre so as
to be really free – absolutely, not relatively?» It is fairly simple to be relatively free;
one  can  be  a  little  unselfish,  a  little  concerned  with  social  welfare,  with  the
difficulties of others, but the centre is always there biting hard, brutal.
Is  it  possible  to  be  absolutely  free  of  that  centre?  First  of  all  see  that  the
greater the effort that is made to be free of the centre, the more that very effort
strengthens the centre, the self. For those who go off into meditation of various
kinds, trying to impose something upon themselves, the ‘me’ that identifies with
that effort is captured by that and says: «I have achieved», but that `me’ is still the
To be free there must be no effort; which does not mean doing what one likes,
for that is still the movement of the self.
So what is one to do? If you are not to make an effort, because you see the
truth that the more effort you make the greater the travail of the centre, then what
is one to do?
The questioner asks: Is there a real self apart from the self created by thought
with  its  images?  Many  people  ask  that.  The  Hindus  have  said  that  there  is  a
highest principle which is the self. We imagine also that there is a real self apart
from the `me’. You all, I am sure, feel there is something else beyond this `me’,
which  has  been  called  the  higher  self,  the  sublime  or  the  supreme  self.  The   7
moment we use the word `self’, or use any word to describe that which is beyond
the self, the `me’, it is still the self.
Is it possible to be free of the self? – without becoming a vegetable, without
becoming  absent-minded,  somewhat  mad?  Which  means:  is  it  possible  to  be
totally free from attachment? – which is one of the attributes, one of the qualities,
of  the  self.  One  is  attached  to  one’s  reputation,  to  one’s  name,  to  one’s
experiences. One is attached to what one has said. If you really want to be free of
the  self  it  means  no  attachment;  which  does  not  mean  you  become  detached,
indifferent,  callous,  shut  yourself  away,  which  is  another  activity  of  the  self.
Before,  it  was  attached;  now  it  says,  «I  won’t  be  attached.  That  is  still  the
movement of the self.
When you are really, without effort, deeply, basically, not attached, then from
that deep sense of no attachment comes responsibility. Not responsibility to your
wife, to your children, but the deep sense of responsibility. Will you do it? That is
the  question.  We  can  talk  everlastingly,  put  it  into  different  words,  but  when  it
comes to testing it, acting, we do not seem to want to do it; we prefer to go on as
we are, with the status quo slightly modified but carrying on with our quarrels.
To be free from your own experience, from your own knowledge, from your
own accumulated perception – it is possible if you go at it. And it does not take
time. That is one of our excuses. We must have time to be free. When you see
that one of the major factors of the self is attachment and you see what it does in
the world, and what it does in your relationship with another, quarrels, separation,
all the ugliness of relationship – if you see the truth of attachment, then you are
free from it. Your own perception sets you free. Will you do it?    8
2nd Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 28th
August 1979
Question: Can there be absolute security for man in this life?
This  is  a  very  serious  question;  we  all  want  security,  both  physical  and
principally,  psychological.  If  we  were  psychologically  secure,  certain,  then  we
might not be so concerned with physical security. The search for psychological
security is preventing physical security.
The  questioner  asks:  Is  there  absolute  security  for  us  human  beings?  We
must have security – like a child clinging to its mother; if the mother and the father
do not pay enough attention to the baby, do not give it affection and care, then
the  brain  and  nerves  of  the  baby  are  affected.  The  child  must  have  physical
security. Now, why do we demand psychological security? There is the psyche,
demanding security; but is there psychological security at all? We want security in
our  relationships  –  my  wife,  my  children,  the  family  unit.  In  that  attachment  we
think there is a certain security, but when we find that there is no security there
we soon break away and try to find it elsewhere.
We try to find security in a group, in the tribe – that glorified tribe that is the
nation.  And  yet  that  nation  is  against  another  nation.  Thinking  that  security,
psychologically, is in a person, in a country, in a belief, in your own experience, is
the same as demanding physical security. In demanding  psychological  security
we have divided ourselves: the Hindu, the Muslim, the Jew, the Arab, the believer
in Jesus, the believer in something else – in all of them there is the demand for
security.  Psychological  security  has  been  sought  in  these  illusions;  the  various
illusions  of  being  secure  in  Catholicism, in Buddhism,  in  Hinduism,  in  Judaism,
Islam and so on which have created nothing but illusory securities because they
are  all  fighting  each  other.  The  moment  you  see  this  you  do  not  belong  to   9
anything. When you see the truth that the mind, or thought, has sought security in
illusions, that very perception brings intelligence.
One seeks security in one’s belief in Hinduism and in being a Hindu, with all
the  nonsensical  superstitions  and  gods  and  rituals  that  are  involved.  But  that
opposes another group of people who have different superstitions, different gods,
different rituals. These two opposing elements may tolerate each other but they
are  essentially  antagonistic.  There  is  conflict  between  the  two  and  one  has
sought security in the one or the other. And then one realizes that they are both
based on illusions. To see that, is intelligence; it is like seeing a danger. A man
who  is  blind  to  danger  is  an  idiot,  there  is  something  wrong  with  him.  But  one
does not see the danger of these illusions in which one seeks security. The man
in whom intelligence is in operation sees the danger. In that intelligence there is
absolute  security.  Thought  has  created  all  the  various  forms  of  illusion  –
nationalities,  class,  different  gods,  different  beliefs,  different  dogmas,  different
rituals and the extraordinary religious superstitions that pervade the world – and in
them it has sought security. And one does not see the danger of this security, of
this illusion. When one sees the danger – not as an idea but as an actual fact –
that  seeing  is  intelligence,  the  supreme  form  of  absolute  security.  So  there  is
absolute security: it is to see the truth in the false.    10
3rd Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 28th
August 1979
Question: Emotions are strong. Our attachments are strong. How does looking
and seeing reduce the strength and power of these emotions?
Trying to control, suppress, or sublimate emotions and attachments in no way
reduces  the  conflict,  does  it?  Are  one’s  emotions  so  extraordinarily  strong  that
they act? First one has to be conscious, aware, to know or recognise, to see, that
one’s  emotions  are  strong  and  also  that  one  is  attached.  When  one  is  so
conscious, what takes place?
One  is  conscious  of  one’s  attachment,  or  of  one’s  strong  emotions  of  hate,
jealousy,  antagonism,  like  and  dislike.  Now,  do  they,  being  so  strong,
overshadow and control one’s actions? One is examining, looking at the emotions
and attachments which are apparently very strong and one sees that they act as
barriers to clear unconfused thinking, to clear action, Is one aware of that or does
one take it for granted? Does one say, «Yes I have very strong emotions, I am
terribly attached, but it does not matter, it is part of life. I do not mind struggling. I
do not mind having quarrels with everybody»? Now when one says one is aware,
what does one mean by that – to know, to recognise? Is thought recognising the
attachment?  One  says,  «Yes,  I  am  attached»  –  is  it  the  activity  of  thought  that
says, «I am attached»?
When one says, «I am attached», is it an idea or is it a fact? The fact is not the
idea. This microphone: I can create an idea of it but the microphone is a fact. I
can touch it, see it. So,is my attachment a concept, a conclusion, or is it a fact?
Now, when you observe the fact, not the idea, not the conclusion about the fact,
but the fact itself, is the fact different from you who are observing the fact?    11
When you are observing the fact through an idea, or through a conclusion that
you have heard from somebody, you are not looking at the fact. If you are looking
at  the  fact  you  are  not  verbalizing  the  fact.  So,  how  do  you  look  at  it?  As
something  separate  from  yourself?  Is  attachment  something  different  from
yourself  or  is  it  part  of  yourself?  The  microphone  is  something  apart  from
yourself, but attachment, the emotion, is part of yourself. Attachment is the `me’.
If there is no attachment there is no ‘me’. So awareness of your emotions, your
attachments, is part of your nature, part of your structure. If you are looking at
yourself there is no division, there is no duality as the `me’ and attachment. There
is  only  attachment,  not  the  word  but  the  fact,  the  feeling,  the  emotion,  the
possessiveness in attachment. That is a fact; that is `me’.
So, what am I to do with the `me’? When there was division between `me’ and
attachment I could try to do something about it; I could try to control it, I could
say, «I must suppress it», – which we do all the time. But if it is `me’, what can I
do?  I  cannot  do  anything;  I  can  only  observe.  Before,  I  acted  upon  it;  now  I
cannot  act  upon  it  because  it  is  `me’.  All  I  can  do  is  observe.  Observation
becomes all important, not what I do about it.
So there is observation, not, «1 am observing». There is only observation. If in
that  observation  I  begin  to  choose  and  say,  «I  must  not  be  attached»,  I  have
already moved away, I am no saying that it is not `me’. In observation there is no
choice, there is no direction, there is just pure, absolute, observation, and then
the thing that is being observed dissolves. Before, you resisted it, you controlled
it, you suppressed it, you acted upon it; but now in that observation all energy is
centred. It is only when there is the lack of that energy that there is attachment.
When  there  is  complete  observation  without  any  interference  of  thought  –  why
should thought come in? – you are just observing as you observe the thing that
you call the fly. Just observe in the same way your emotions and attachments,
then there is the gathering of all energy in that observation. Therefore there is no
attachment. It is only the unintelligent who are attached, it is only those who do   12
not see the full implications of attachment who are attached. They pervade the
world, they are the stronger element in the world and we are caught in that. But
when you come to examine this closely, then you are no longer caught in that and
you are no longer dissipating energy in something which has no meaning. Your
energy  is  now  centred  completely  in  observation,  therefore  there  is  total
dissipation of attachment. Test it, do it and you will find out. You have to examine
the  thing  very,  very  closely  so  that  your  mind  is  absolutely  clear  in  the
observation. It is only the unaware who jump over the cliff. The moment you are
aware of danger, move. Attachment is a danger because it breeds fear, anxiety,
hate and jealousy, being possessed and being not possessed – the whole of that
is a tremendous danger. And when you see that danger there is action.    13
4th Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 28th
August 1979
Question: Why does the mind so readily accept trivial answers to deeply felt
Why  does  one  accept  a  trivial  explanation  where  a  deep  problem  is
concerned?  Why  does  one  live  in  words?  That  is  the  real  problem.  Why  have
words become so immensely important? One suffers, goes through great agonies
and someone comes along and gives explanations and in these explanations one
seeks  comfort.  There  is  god,  there  is  reincarnation,  there  is  this,  there  is  that,
there is something else. One accepts the word, the explanation, because it gives
one  comfort;  the  belief  gives  one  comfort  when  one  is  in  agony,  in  a  state  of
anxiety. The explanations by philosophers, by psychologists, by priests, by gurus
and  teachers  –  it  is  on  these  that  one  lives;  which  means  that  one  lives
secondhand. One is a secondhand person and one is satisfied, The word `god’ is
a symbol. Symbols become extraordinarily important, like the flag. Why does the
mind do this? One reads a great deal about what other people have thought; one
sees on the television what is taking place. It is always others, somebody else out
there, telling one what to do.  One’s  mind  is  crippled  by this and one is always
living at secondhand.
One has never asked: «Can I be a light to myself – not the light of someone
else,  the  light  of  Jesus  or  the  Buddha?»  Can  one  be  a  light  to  oneself?  Which
means that there is no shadow, for to be a light to oneself means it is never put
out by any artificial means, by circumstances, by sorrow, by accident. Can one be
that  to  oneself?  One  can  be  that  to  oneself  only  when  one’s  mind  has  no
challenge because it is so fully awake.    14
But  most  of  us  need  challenges  because  most  of  us  are  asleep  –  asleep
because we have been put to sleep by all the philosophers, by all the saints, by
all the gods and priests and politicians. One has been put to sleep and one does
not know that one is asleep; one thinks that is normal. A man who wants to be a
light to himself has to be free of all this. One can be a light to oneself only when
there is no self. Then that light is the eternal, everlasting, immeasurable light.    15
5th Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 28th
August 1979
Question: Is not insight intuition? Would you discuss this sudden clarity which
some people have. What do you mean by insight and is it a momentary thing or
can it be continuous?
In the various talks the speaker has given he has used the word `insight’. That
is  to  see  into  things,  into  the  whole  movement  of  thought,  into  the  whole
movement, for example, of jealousy. It is to perceive the nature of greed, to see
the  whole  content  of  sorrow.  It  is  not  analysis,  not  the  exercise  of  intellectual
capacity,  nor  is  it  the  result  of  knowledge.  Knowledge  is  that  which  has  been
accumulated through the past from experience, stored up in the brain. There is no
complete  knowledge,  therefore  with  knowledge  there  is  always  ignorance,  like
two horses in tandem. If observation is not based on knowledge, or on intellectual
capacity or reasoning, exploring and analysing, then what is it? That is the whole
question. The questioner asks: is it intuition? That word `intuition’ is rather a tricky
word which many use. The actuality of intuition may be the result of desire. One
may desire something and then a few days later one has an intuition about it. And
one  thinks  that  that  intuition  is  extraordinarily  important.  But  if  one  goes  into  it
rather deeply one may find that it is based on desire, on fear, or on various forms
of pleasure. So one is doubtful about that word, especially when used by those
people  who  are  rather  romantic,  who  are  rather  imaginative,  sentimental  and
seeking something. They would certainly have intuitions, but they would be based
on some obvious self-deceptive desire. So for the moment put aside that word
Then what is insight? It is: to perceive something instantly, which must be true,
logical, sane, rational. Insight must act instantly. It is not that one has an insight
and does nothing about it. If one has an insight into the whole nature of thinking   16
there  is  instant  action.  Thinking  is  the  response  of  memory.  Memory  is
experience, knowledge, stored up in the brain. Memory responds: where do you
live?  –  you  answer.  What  is  your  name?  –  there  is  an  immediate  response.
Thought  is  the  result  or  the  response  of  the  accumulation  of  experience  and
knowledge,  stored  as  memory.  Thought  is  based  upon,  or  is  the  outcome  of,
knowledge; thought is limited because knowledge is limited. Thought can never
be  all-inclusive;  therefore  it  is  everlastingly  confined,  limited,  narrow.  Now,  to
have an insight into that, means that there is an action which is not merely the
repetition  of  thought.  To  have  an  insight  into,  say,  the  nature  of  organizations
means that one is observing without remembrances, without argumentation, pro
and  con;  it  is  just  to  see  the  whole  movement  and  nature  of  the  demand  for
organization. One has an insight into it, and from that insight one acts. And that
action is logical, sane, healthy. it is not that one has an insight and then acts the
opposite, then it is not insight.
Have an insight, for example, into the wounds and hurts that one has received
from childhood. All people are hurt for various reasons, from childhood until they
die. There is this wound in them, psychologically. Now, have an insight into the
whole nature and structure of that hurt. You are hurt, wounded psychologically?
You may go to a psychologist, analyst, psychotherapist, and he may trace why
you are hurt; from childhood, your mother was this and your father was that and
so on, but by merely seeking out the cause, the hurt is not going to be resolved. It
is there. The consequences of that hurt are isolation, fear, resistance, so as not to
be  hurt  more;  therefore  there  is  self-enclosure.  You  know  all  this.  That  is  the
whole movement of being hurt. The hurt is the image that you have created for
yourself  about  yourself.  So  as  long  as  that  image  remains  you  will  be  hurt,
obviously. Now, to have an insight into all that – without analysis – to perceive it
instantly,  then  that  very  perception  is  insight;  it  demands  all  your  attention  and
energy;  in  that  insight  the  hurt  is  dissolved.  That  insight  will  dissolve  your  hurt   17
completely, leaving no mark, and therefore nobody can hurt you any more. The
image that you had created about yourself no longer exists.    18
– Ojai, 1st meeting 1980 –
6th Question Ojai, California 1st Question & Answer Meeting 6th May
Question: What is the significance of history in the education of the young?
If one has read history it is fairly clear that man has struggled against nature,
conquered  it,  destroyed  and  polluted  it;  man  has  struggled  against  man;  there
have always been wars. Man struggles to be free and yet he becomes a slave to
institutions and organizations from which in turn he tries to break away, only to
form  another  series  of  institutions  and  organizations.  There  is  an  everlasting
struggle to be free. The history of mankind is the history of tribal wars, feudal and
colonial wars, the wars of the kings and nations; and it is all still going on; the
tribal mind has become national and sophisticated – but it is still the tribal mind.
The history of man includes its culture; it is the story of the human being who has
gone  through  all  kinds  of  suffering,  through  various  diseases,  through  wars,
through religious beliefs and dogmas, persecution, inquisition, torture in the name
of god, in the name of peace, in the name of ideals.
And how is all that to be taught to the young? If it is the story of mankind, the
story  of  human  beings,  then  both  the  educators  and  the  young  are  the  human
beings;  it  is  their  story,  not  merely  the  story  of  kings  and  wars,  it  is  a  story  of
themselves.  How  can  the  educator  help  the  student  to  understand  the  story  of
himself,  which  is  the  story  of  the  past,  of  which  he  is  the  result?  That  is  the
problem. If you are the educator and I am the young student, how would you help
me  to  understand  the  whole  nature  and  structure  of  myself  –  myself  being  the
whole of humanity, my brain the result of many million years? it is all in me, the
violence, the competition, the aggressiveness, the brutality, the cruelty, the fear,
the pleasure and occasional joy and that slight perfume of love. How will you help   19
me  to  understand  all  this?  it  means  that  the  educator  must  also  understand
himself  and  so  help  me,  the  student,  to  understand  myself.  So  it  is  a
communication  between  the  teacher  and  myself;  and  in  that  process  of
communication he is understanding himself and helping me to understand myself.
it is not that the teacher or the educator must first understand himself and then
teach – that would take the rest of his life, perhaps – but that in the relationship
between the educator and the person to be educated, there is a relationship of
mutual  investigation.  Can  this  be  done  with  the  young  child,  or  with  the  young
student? in what manner would you set about it? That is the question.
How  would  you  as  a  parent  go  into  this,  how  would  you  help  your  child  to
understand the whole nature and structure of his mind, of his desires, of his fears
– the whole momentum of life? it is a great problem.
Are we prepared, as parents and teachers, to bring about a new generation of
people,  for  that  is  what  is  implied  –  a  totally  different  generation  of  people  with
totally different minds and hearts? Are we prepared for that? If you are a parent,
would you give up for the sake of your child drink, cigarettes, pot, you know, the
whole drug culture and see that both you and the child are good human beings?
The word `good’ means well-fitting – psychologically, without any friction, like a
good door – you understand? like a good motor. Also, `good’ means whole, not
broken  up,  not  fragmented.  So,  are  we  prepared  to  bring  about,  through
education, a good human being, a human being who is not afraid – afraid of his
neighbour, afraid of the future, afraid of so many things, disease, and poverty?
Also, are we prepared to help the child and ourselves to have integrity? The word
`integrity’ also means to be whole and to say what you mean and not say one
thing and do something else. Integrity implies honesty. Can we be honest if we
have illusions and romantic and speculative ideals and strong beliefs? We may
be honest to a belief but that does not imply integrity. As it is, we bring children
into the world, spoil them till they are two or three, and then prepare them for war.   20
History has not taught human beings; how many mothers must have cried, their
sons having been killed in wars, yet we are incapable of stopping this monstrous
killing of each other.
If  we  are  to  teach  the  young  we  must  have  in  ourselves  a  sense  of  the
demand for the good. Good is not an ideal; it is to be whole, to have integrity, to
have no fear, not to be confused; these are not ideals, they are acts. Can we be
factual and so bring about a good human being through education? Do we really
want a different culture, a different human being, with a mind that is not confused,
that has no fear, that has this quality of integrity?    21
7th Question Ojai, California 1st Question & Answer Meeting 6th May
Question: Why is knowledge, as you have said, always incomplete? When one
is observing, is one aware that one is observing, or only aware of the thing that is
being  observed?  Does  awareness  lead  to  analysis?  What  is  psychological
Whom do you expect to answer these questions, the Delphic oracle, the highly
elevated  priest,  the  astrologers,  the  soothsayers,  the  readers  of  tea  leaves?
Whom do you expect to answer these questions? But since you have put these
questions,  we  can  talk  them over together. Not that I, the speaker, will answer
them and then you accept or deny and go away dissatisfied, saying, «I’ve wasted
my  morning».  If  we  could  seriously  talk  over  these  questions,  so  that  we  both
penetrate  into  the  problem,  then  it  will  be  your  own  answer,  not  the  answer  of
someone  you  have  heard  answer  these  questions.  You  can  talk  about  cancer,
and not have it; but if you have it, you are involved in it, in its pain, anxiety and
Why  is  knowledge  always  incomplete?  What  is  knowledge  and  what  do  we
mean when we say «I know». You may say,»I know my wife or my husband or my
girl or boy friend». Do you really know them? Can you ever know them? Do you
not have an image about them? Is the image the fact? So, to know is very limited.
Scientific knowledge is also limited; scientists are trying to find out what is beyond
matter; although they have accumulated a great deal of knowledge they have not
been able to find out so far. Knowledge and ignorance always go together; the
unknown  and  the  known.  Scientists  say:  through  matter  we  will  find  that  which
may be beyond. But we human beings are matter. Our minds are matter. Why do
we not go into this, for if the mind can go through itself, the possibility of coming
upon that which is the origin of all things, is much more likely?    22
Knowledge  of  oneself  is  also  limited.  If  I  seek  to  know  myself  I  can  study
psychology,  I  can  discuss  with  the  psychologists,  psychoanalysts,
psychotherapists, psychobiologists. But that knowledge is always limited. But if I
penetrate into this entity called myself, then there is a possibility of going infinitely
beyond. This is a very important thing without which life has very little meaning
other than the cycle of pleasure and pain, reward and punishment – the pattern in
which  we  live.  That  psychological  knowledge  which  we  have  acquired  has
created  the  patterns  in  which  we  are  caught.  Knowledge,  whether  it  is
physiological or psychological, must always be limited.
When one is observing, is one aware that one is observing; or only aware of
the  thing  being  observed?  Does  the  awareness  lead  to  analysis?  What  do  we
mean by observing? There is visual external observation – the observation of the
tree – and also inward observation. There is the external hearing with the ear and
also hearing inwardly.
When we observe, do we really observe or do we observe with the word? That
is:  I  observe  the  thing  we  call  a  tree  and  I  say  `tree’.  I  observe  with  the  word.
Now, can we find out if it is possible to observe without the word? – for the word
has become more important than the seeing. The husband observes his wife, or
a wife her husband, with all the memory, pictures, sensations and irritations. They
never directly observe.
Can  we  observe  a  person  with  whom  we  live  intimately  without  the  image,
without the picture, without the idea? Perhaps we are able to perceive the thing
which we call the tree, without the word. That is fairly easy, if you have gone into
it.  But  to  observe  the  person  with  whom  you  live  without  the  activation  of  the
memory about that person is not so easy.
This observation, through the image, through the accumulated memory, is no
relationship at all. It is a relationship of one picture with another picture and that is   23
what we call relationship. But if you examine it closely you will see that it is not
relationship; it is the idea of one against the idea of another.
So  can  we  observe  without  making  an  abstraction  or  idea  of  what  we
observe?  This  is  what  is  meant  by  psychological  knowledge;  I  build  up,
psychologically, a great deal of knowledge about my wife, correctly or incorrectly,
depending on my sensitivity, depending on my ambition, greed, envy, depending
on my self-centred activity. That knowledge is preventing the actual observation
of  the  living  person.  And  I  never  want  to  meet  that  living  thing  because  I  am
afraid. It is much safer to have an image about that person than to see the living
thing. My psychological knowledge prevents pure observation. Now, can one be
free of that? Can the machinery that builds these images come to an end? I have
these  images  about  my  wife,  they  are  there;  that  is  a  tremendous  fact,  like  a
stone  around  my  neck.  How  am  I  to  throw  it  away?  Is  the  stone,  the  image
around my neck, different from the observer? Is that image, that weight around
my neck, different from the observer who says, «I have these images».
Is the observer who says, «I have these images and, how am I to get rid of
them?» different from the images he observes? Obviously not.
So  the  observer  is  the  image-maker  who  is  making  these  images  and  then
separating himself from them, saying, «What am I to do about them?» That is the
way we live, that is the pattern of our actions, that is our conditioning to which we
are accustomed, so we naturally accept it. But we are saying something entirely
different, which is that the observer is the observed.
We have to enquire into what the observer is. The observer is the result of all
his experiences; he is his knowledge, his memories, his fears, his anxieties – the
past. The observer is always living in the past; although modifying himself all the
time to meet the present, he is still rooted in the past. There is this movement of
time, the past modifying itself in the present and going on to the future. This is the
psychological momentum or movement of time.    24
When  we  observe,  we  are  observing  through  the  image  which  we  have
created  about  that  thing  or  that  person,  Can  we  observe  the  thing  or  person
without  that  image?  That  means;  can  the  observer  be  absent  in  observation?
When we look at a person whom we know very intimately there arises the image;
the more intimately we know them the more definite the image. Can we look at
that person without the image? Which means: can we look at that person without
the observer? That is pure observation.
Does this awareness lead to analysis? Obviously not. What do we mean by
analysis  and  who  is  analysing?  Suppose  I  am  analysing  myself;  who  is  the
analyser? Is the analyser different from me? Obviously not.
We are eliminating the very structure of conflict between human beings, the
conflict that exists as long as there is division. it is the division in myself which
creates the division outside. There is a division in myself if I say I am a Hindu.
The identification with the image of being a Hindu gives me security. So I hold on
to it, which is nonsense, for there is no security in an image. And the Muslim and
the Arab and the Jew, do the same. So we are at each other’s throats.
When  the  observer,  psychologically,  is  the  observed,  there  is  no  conflict,
because there is no division. See this clearly: our minds have been trained and
educated to have this division; that `I’ and the thing observed are different – my
anger  and  my  jealousy  are  different  from  me;  therefore  I  must  do  something
about them, control them, suppress them, go beyond them, act upon them. But
when anger and jealousy are `me’, what has happened? There is the elimination
of conflict. The pattern has been broken. The pattern, which is the conditioning of
my mind, has been broken. It is the ending of something and the beginning of
something else. If the pattern is broken and the struggle is ended what then takes
place? A new momentum, a new movement, takes place.
You can observe a tree and the word `tree’ interferes; the moment you see it
you say, «There’s a tree», or a butterfly, a deer, or the mountain or river; there is   25
immediate reaction. That reaction can be observed and perhaps put aside so that
there is just observation of the tree, the beauty of the line of it, the grace of it, the
quality  of  it.  Now,  do  the  same  with  a  person  with  whom  you  have  lived,  with
whom  you  have  been  intimate  –  observe  without  a  single  image  about  that
person. Then relationship is something extraordinary.
Suppose a wife has no image about her husband; what then is the relationship
for the husband? The husband is violent and the wife is not violent. Is there any
relationship  –  except  perhaps  through  the  senses,  sexually  –  is  there  any
relationship? Obviously not, but they are living in the same house. So what will
the husband do? First of all that is a most extraordinary way of living, in which
there  may  perhaps  be  real,  profound  love.  The  wife  has  no  images  about  her
husband, but he has images, ideas all the time, piling up. They are living in the
same house. What takes place? She is free, he is not. He wants her to have an
image about him, for he is used to that. ~o the most destructive relationship goes
on till she says, «Enough». Does she divorce him, leave him? Perhaps, since she
has no images about him, a totally different atmosphere has been brought about
in  the  house.  He  is  beginning  to  be  aware  because  she  is  immovable  –  you
understand?  –  and  he  is  moving  all  around.  When  he  meets  something  that  is
immovable, something happens to him.    26
8th Question Ojai, California 1st Question & Answer Meeting 6th May
Question: Does not thought originate  as  a  defence  against pain? The infant
begins to think in order to separate itself from physical pain. Is thought – which is
psychological knowledge – the result of pain, or is pain the result of thought? How
does one go beyond the defences developed in childhood?
Put a pin into a leg and there is pain; then there is anxiety that the pain should
end.  That  is  the  momentum  of  thinking,  the  nervous  reaction;  then  comes
identification with that reaction and one says: «I hope it will end and I must not
have it in the future». All that is part of the momentum of thinking. Fear is part of
pain; is there fear without thought?
Have  you  ever  experimented  with  dissociating  thought  from  pain?  Sit  in  a
dentist’s chair for some time and watch the things going on; your mind observing
without  identifying.  You  can  do  this.  I  sat  in  the  dentist’s  chair  for  four  hours;
never a single thought came into my mind.
How does one go beyond the defences cultivated in childhood? Would one go
to a psychoanalyst? One may think that is the easiest way and one may think that
he  will  cure  all  the  problems  arising  from  one’s  childhood.  He  cannot.  He  may
slightly modify them. So what will one do? There is nobody one can go to. Will
one face that? There is nobody. Has one ever faced that fact that there is nobody
one can go to? If one has cancer one can go to a doctor, that is different from the
psychological knowledge that one has developed during childhood which causes
one to become neurotic; and most people are neurotic.
So,  what  is  one  to  do?  How  is  one  to  know,  in  a  world  that  is  somewhat
neurotic, in which all one’s friends and relations are slightly unbalanced, that one
is also unbalanced? One cannot go to anybody; so what is taking place in one’s   27
mind now that one no longer depends on others, on books, on psychologists, on
authority?  What  has  happened  to  one’s  mind  if  one  actually  realizes  that  one
cannot  possibly  go  to  anybody?  Neuroticism  is  the  result  of  dependence.  One
depends  on  one’s  wife,  on  the  doctor;  one  depends  on  God  or  on  the
psychologists. One has established a series of dependences around one, hoping
that in those dependences one will be secure. And when one discovers that one
cannot depend on anybody, what happens? One is bringing about a tremendous
psychological revolution; one is usually unwilling to face it. One depends on one’s
wife; she encourages one to be dependent on her; and vice versa. That is part of
one’s neurosis. One does not throw it out, one examines it. Can one be free of it,
not  depending  on  one’s  wife  –  psychologically,  of  course?  One  will  not  do  it
because one is frightened; one wants something from her, sex or this or that. Or
she encourages one with one’s ideas, helps one to dominate, to be ambitious, or
says one is a marvellous philosopher.
But see that the very state of dependence on another may be the cause of the
deep psychological neurosis. When one breaks that pattern, what happens? One
is sane! One must have such sanity to find out what truth is. Dependence has
been  from  childhood,  it  has  been  a  factor  against  pain  and  hurt,  a  factor  for
comfort,  for  emotional  sustenance  and  encouragement  –  all  that  has  been  built
into one, one is part of that. This conditioned mind can never find out what truth
is. Not to depend on anything means one is alone; all one, whole – that is sanity,
that sanity breeds rationality, clarity, integrity.    28
– Ojai, 2nd meeting 1980 –
9th Question Ojai, California 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 8th May
Question:  There  is  a  prevalent  assumption  these  days  that  everything  is
relative, a matter of personal opinion, that there is no such thing as truth or fact
independent of personal perception. What is an intelligent response to this belief?
Is it that we are all so personal that what I see, what you see, is the only truth?
That my opinion and your opinion are the only facts we have? That is what the
question implies; that everything is relative; goodness is relative, evil is relative,
love is relative. If everything is relative (that is, not the whole complete, truth) then
our  actions,  our  affections,  our  personal  relationships  are  relative,  they  can  be
ended whenever we like, whenever they do not please us.
Is there such a thing as truth apart from personal belief, apart from personal
opinion? Is there such a thing as truth? This question was asked in the ancient
days by the Greeks, by the Hindus and by the Buddhists. It is one of the strange
facts in the Eastern religions that doubt was encouraged – to doubt, to question –
and in religion in the West it is rather put down, it is called heresy.
One  must  find  out  for  oneself,  apart  from  personal  opinions,  perceptions,
experiences, which are always relative, whether there is a perception, a seeing,
which is absolute truth, not relative. How is one going to find out? If one says that
personal  opinions  and  perceptions  are  relative  then  there  is  no  such  thing  as
absolute truth, all is relative. Accordingly our behaviour, our conduct, our way of
life, is relative, casual, not complete, not whole, fragmentary.
How  would  one  find  out  if  there  is  such  a  thing  as  truth  which  is  absolute,
which is complete, which is never changing in the climate of personal opinions?   29
How  does  one’s  mind,  the  intellect,  thought,  find  out?  One  is  enquiring  into
something  that  demands  a  great  deal  of  investigation,  an  action  in  daily  life,  a
putting aside of that which is false – that is the only way to proceed.
If one has an illusion, a fantasy, an image, a romantic concept, of truth or love,
then that is the very barrier that prevents one moving further. Can one honestly
investigate what is an illusion? How does illusion come into being? What is the
root of it? Does it not mean playing with something which is not actual?
The actual is that which is happening, whether it is what may be called good,
bad or indifferent; it is that which is actually taking place. When one is incapable
of  facing  that  which  is  actually  taking  place  in  oneself,  one  creates  illusions  to
escape from it. If one is unwilling or afraid to face what is actually going on, that
very avoidance creates illusion, a fantasy, a romantic movement, away from that
which is. That word `illusion’ implies the moving away from that which is.
Can one avoid this movement, this escape, from actuality? What is the actual?
The  actual  is  that  which  is  happening,  including  the  responses,  the  ideas,  the
beliefs and opinions one has. To face them is not to create illusion.
Illusions can take place only when there is a movement away from the fact,
from that which is happening, that which actually is. In understanding that which
is,  it  is  not  one’s  personal  opinion  that  judges  but  the  actual  observation.  One
cannot observe what is actually going on if one’s belief or conditioning qualifies
the observation; then it is the avoidance of the understanding of that which is.
If one could look at what is actually taking place, then there would be complete
avoidance  of  any  form  of  illusion.  Can  one  do  this?  Can  one  actually  observe
one’s dependency; either dependency on a person, on a belief, on an ideal, or on
some  experience  which  has  given  one  a  great  deal  of  excitement?  That
dependence inevitably creates illusion.    30
So a mind that is no longer creating illusion, that has no hypotheses, that has
no  hallucinations,  that  does  not  want  to  grasp  an  experience  of  that  which  is
called truth, has now brought order into itself. it has order. There is no confusion
brought  about  by  illusions,  by  delusions,  hallucinations;  the  mind  has  lost  its
capacity  to  create  illusions.  Then  what  is  truth?  The  astrophysicists,  the
scientists, are using thought to investigate the material world around them, they
are going beyond physics, beyond, but always moving outward. But if one starts
inwards one sees that the `me’ is also matter. And thought is matter. If one can
go inwards, moving from fact to fact, then one begins to discover that which is
beyond matter. Then there is such a thing as absolute truth, if one goes through
with it.    31
10th Question Ojai, California 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 8th
May 1980
Question: How can we take responsibility for what is happening in the world
while continuing to function in our daily life? What is right action with regard to
violence and when faced with violence?
Is  that  which  is  happening  in  the  world  outside  different  from  that  which  is
happening inside? In the world there is violence, extraordinary turmoil, crisis after
crisis.  There  are  wars,  division  of  nationalities,  religious  differences,  racial  and
communal differences, one set of systematized concepts against another. Is that
different from what is going on inside us? We are also violent, we are also full of
vanity, terribly dishonest, putting on different masks for different occasions.
So  it  is  one  movement  like  the  tide  going  out  and  the  tide  coming  in.  We
human beings have created what is going on outside and that cannot possibly be
changed unless we human beings change. That is the root of it. We want to do
something in the world, have better institutions, better governments etc, but we
never say we have created that. Unless we change that cannot change. After the
millions  of  years  we  have  lived,  we  are  just  the  same.  We  have  not  changed
fundamentally and we continue to create havoc in the world.
The  fact  is,  one  is  the  world;  not  as  an  idea  but  actually.  Do  you  see  the
difference between the idea and the actuality? One has heard the statement that
one  is  the  world  and  one  makes  an  idea,  an  abstraction  of  it.  And  then  one
discusses the idea, whether it is true, or false and one has lost it. But the fact is,
one is the world; it is so.
So  one  is  responsible  for  changing  it.  That  means,  one  is  responsible,
completely, for the way one lives one’s daily life. Not try to modify the chaos that
is  going  on,  decorate  it  or  join  this  group  or  that  group  or  institution,  but  as  a   32
human  being,  who  is  the  world,  go  through  a  radical  transformation  oneself;
otherwise there can be no good society.
Most of us find it difficult to change, to give up smoking, for example. There
are  institutions  that  will  help  one  not  to  smoke!  See  how  one  depends  on
institutions. So, can one find out why one does not change, why one does not,
when one sees something wrong – `wrong’ in quotes – end it, immediately? Is it
that one hopes that somebody else will bring order in the world and then one can
just slip into it? Is it that we are indolent, psychologically lazy, ineffectual?
How many years one spends in acquiring certain techniques, going through
high school, college, university, becoming a doctor, yet one will not spend a day
to bring about a change in oneself.
So one’s responsibility is to bring about a radical change in oneself, because
one is the rest of humanity.
The next question is: What is right action with regard to violence and when
faced with violence? Violence is anger, hatred, conformity, irritation, obedience.
The denial of all that is the opposite of that. Is it possible to be free of the violence
that is part of one’s life, inherited, probably from the animal – not relatively free,
but completely free? That means to be free of anger; it means, not only to be free
of  anger,  but  to  have  no  anger  in  the  mind.  Or,  to  be  free  of  conformity  –  not
outward  conformity,  but  conformity  through  comparison.  One  is  always
comparing, psychologically – I was, I will be, or I am, something. A mind which is
always  comparing,  judging,  is  aggressive.  If  the  mind  is  free  from  imitation,
conformity and comparison then from that there is right action.
Can the mind be absolutely free of  all violence? If it is, then when it meets
violence, what is its response? If one meets violence, face to face, what is the
action that takes place? Can one judge what one is going to do when one meets
it?  The  brain  when  faced  with  violence, undergoes  a  rapid  chemical  change;  it   33
reacts  much  quicker  than  the  blow.  One’s  whole  body  reacts  and  there  is
immediate  response;  one  may  not  hit  back,  but  the  very  presence  of  anger  or
hatred causes this response and there is action.
In the presence of a person who is angry see what takes place if one is aware
of it and does not respond. The moment one is aware of the other person’s anger
and one does not react oneself, there is quite a different response. One’s instinct
is  to  respond  to  hate  by  hate,  to  anger  by  anger,  there  is  the  welling  up
chemically which creates in the system the nervous reactions; but quieten all this
in the presence of anger, and a different action takes place.    34
11th Question Ojai, California 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 8th
May 1980
Question: The hope that tomorrow will solve our problems prevents our seeing
the absolute urgency of change. How does one deal with this?
What  do  you  mean  by  the  future,  what  is  future?  If  one  is  desperately  ill,
tomorrow has meaning; one may be healed by tomorrow. So one must ask, what
is  this  sense  of  future?  We  know  the  past;  we  live  in  the  past,  which  is  the
opposite  movement;  and  the  past,  going  through  the  present,  modifying  itself,
moves to that which we call the future.
First  of  all,  are  we  aware  that  we  live  in  the  past  –  the  past  that  is  always
modifying itself, adjusting itself, expanding and contracting itself, but still the past
– past experience, past knowledge, past understanding, past delight, the pleasure
which has become the past?
The future is the past, modified. So one’s hope of the future is still the past
moving to what one considers to be the future. The mind never moves out of the
past. The future is always the mind acting, living, thinking in the past.
What is the past? It is one’s racial inheritance, one’s conditioning as Hindu,
Buddhist,  Christian,  Catholic,  American  and  so  on.  It  is  the  education  one  has
received the hurts the delights, as remembrances. That is the past. That is one’s
consciousness.  Can  that  consciousness,  with  all  its  content  of  belief,  dogma,
hope, fear, longing and illusion, come to an end? For example, can one end, this
morning, completely, one’s dependence on another? Dependence is part of one’s
consciousness.  The  moment  that  ends,  something  new  begins,  obviously.  But
one never ends anything completely and that non-ending is one’s hope. Can one
see and end dependence and its consequences, psychologically, inwardly? See
what it means to depend and the immediate action taking place of ending it. Now   35
is the content of one’s consciousness to be got rid of bit by bit? That is, get rid of
anger, then get rid of jealousy, bit by bit. That would too long. Or, can the whole
thing  be  done  instantly,  immediately?  for  taking  the  contents  of  one’s
consciousness and ending them one by one, will take many years, all one’s life
perhaps. Is it possible to see the whole and end it – which is fairly simple, if one
does it? But one’s mind is so conditioned that we allow time as a factor in change.    36
12th Question Ojai, California 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 8th
May 1980
Question:  What  does  it  mean  to  see  the  totality  of  something?  Is  it  ever
possible to perceive the totality of something which is moving?
Can one see the totality of our consciousness completely? Of course one can.
One’s  consciousness  is  made  up  of  all  its  content;  one’s  jealousy,  nationality,
beliefs,  experiences  and  so  on;  they  are  the  content  of  this  thing  called
consciousness  and  the  core  of  that  is  `me’,  the  self.  Right?  To  see  this  thing
entirely  means  giving  complete  attention  to  it.  But  one  rarely  gives  complete
attention  to  anything.  If  one gives  complete  attention  at the very core, the self,
one sees the whole.
The questioner also asks, which is interesting: «Is it ever possible to perceive
the totality of something which is moving?» Is the self moving? Is the content of
your consciousness moving? It is moving within the limits of itself.
What  is  moving  in  consciousness  –  attachment  or  the  fear  of  what  might
happen  if  one  is  not  attached?  Consciousness  is  moving  within its own radius,
within its own limited area. That one can observe. Is one’s consciousness with its
content living? Are one’s ideas, one’s beliefs, living? What is living?
Now,  is  the  remembrance  of  the  experience  one  has  had,  living?  The
remembrance,  not  the  fact;  the  fact  is  gone.  Yet  one  calls  the  movement  of
remembrance  living.  The  experience  which  is  gone  is  remembered;  and  that
remembrance is called living. That one can watch; but not that which is gone. So
what one calls living is that which has happened and gone. That which has gone
is dead; that is why one’s mind is so dead. That is the tragedy of one’s life.    37
13th Question Ojai, California 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 8th
May 1980
Question:  Is  there  a  state  that  has  no  opposite?  And  may  we  know  and
communicate with it?
Are there opposites, except such opposites as man, woman, darkness, light,
tall, short, night and day? Is there an opposite to goodness? If it has an opposite
it is not good. I wonder if you see that. Goodness, if it has an opposite must be
born out of that opposite. What is an opposite? We have cultivated opposites and
we say, good is the opposite of bad. Now, if they have a relationship with each
other, or are the outcome of each other, then good is still rooted in bad. So, is
there  the  opposite  at  all?  One  is  violent;  thought  has  created  non-violence,  its
opposite, which is non-fact;  but  the  ending  of  violence is quite a different state
from non-violence.
Mind  has  created  the  opposite  in  order  either  to  escape  from  action  or  to
suppress violence. All this activity is part of violence. But if one is only concerned
with facts, then facts have no opposites. One hates; one’s mind, one’s thought
and society say one should not hate, which is the opposite. The opposites are
born out of each other. So, there is only hate, not its opposite. If one observes the
fact of hate and all the responses to that fact, why should one have an opposite?
The opposite is created by thought which leads to a constant struggle between
hate and non-hate, between fact and thought. How is one to get over one’s hate?
If the fact alone remains and not its opposite, then one has the energy to look at
it. One has the energy not to do anything about it and the very fact is dissolved.    38
– Ojai, 3rd meeting 1980 –
14th Question Ojai, California 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 13th
May 1980
Question: What is true creativity and how is it different from that which is so
considered in popular culture?
What  is  generally  called  creativity  is  man-made  –  painting,  music,  literature,
romantic and factual, all the architecture and the marvels of technology. And the
painters,  the  writers,  the  poets,  probably  consider  themselves  creative.  We  all
seem  to  agree  with  that  popular  idea  of  a  creative  person.  Many  man-made
things are most beautiful, the great cathedrals, temples and mosques; some of
them are extraordinarily beautiful and we know nothing of the people who built
them.  But  now,  with  us,  anonymity  is  almost  gone.  With  anonymity  there  is  a
different  kind  of  creativity,  not  based  on  success,  money  –  twenty-eight  million
books sold in ten years!
Anonymity has great importance; in it there is a different quality; the personal
motive, the personal attitude and personal opinion do not exist; there is a feeling
of freedom from which there is action.
But most man-made creativity, as we call it, takes place from the known. The
great musicians, Beethoven, Bach and others, acted from the known. The writers
and philosophers have read and accumulated; although they developed their own
style  they  were  always  moving,  acting  or  writing,  from  that  which  they  had
accumulated – the known. And this we generally call creativity.
Is that really creative? Or is there a different kind of creativity which is born out
of  the  freedom  from  the  known?  Because  when  we  paint,  write,  or  create  a
marvellous  structure  out  of  stone,  it  is  based  on  the  accumulated  knowledge   39
carried from the past to the present. Now, is there a creativity totally different from
the activity that we generally call creativity?
Is there a living, is there a movement, which is not from the known? That is, is
there a creation from a mind that is not burdened with all the turmoils of life, with
all the social and economic pressures? Is there a creation out of a mind that has
freed itself from the known?
Generally  we  start  with  the  known  and  from  that  we  create,  but  is  there  a
creative impulse or movement taking place that can use the known, but not the
other  way  round?  In  that  state  of  mind,  creation,  as  we  know  it,  may  not  be
Is creativity something totally different, something which we can all have – not
only  the  specialist,  the  professional,  the  talented  and  gifted?  I  think  we  can  all
have this extraordinary mind that is really free from the burdens which man has
imposed upon himself. Out of that sane, rational, healthy mind, something totally
different comes which may not necessarily be expressed as painting, literature or
architecture. Why should it? If you go into this fairly deeply, you will find that there
is  a  state  of  mind  which  actually  has  no  experience  whatsoever.  Experience
implies  a  mind  that  is  still  groping,  asking,  seeking  and  therefore  struggling  in
darkness and wanting to go beyond itself.
There is a complete and total answer to the question if we apply our minds
and our hearts to it; there is a creativity which is not man-made. If the mind is
extraordinarily  clear  without  a  shadow  of  conflict,  then  it  is  really  in  a  state  of
creation; it needs no expression, no fulfilment, no publicity and such nonsense.    40
15th Question Ojai, California 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 13th
May 1980
Question: You have said that in the very seeing there is action. Is this action
the same as the expression of action?
In the very observation there is action. Observe greed without any distortion,
without motive, without saying, «I must go beyond it» – just observe the movement
of  greed.  That  very  observation  sees  the  whole  movement  of  it,  not  just  one
particular form of greed, but the whole movement of greed.
If in observing greed, or hatred, violence or whatever it is, the observation is
completely  non-directive,  then  there  is  no  interval  between  the  seeing  and  the
acting.  Whereas  we  normally  have  intervals  –  seeing,  then  concluding  and
extracting an idea and then carrying out that idea, in which there is the interval
between  the  arising  of  ideas  and  the  acting  on  those  ideas.  It  is  in  this  time
interval that all kinds of other problems arise, whereas the seeing is the very act
of ending greed.
Now,  the  questioner  asks:  «Is  this  action  the  same  as  the  expression  of
action?»  That  is,  you  see,  a  snake,  a  cobra.  There  is the  instant  expression  of
self-preservation, which is natural; the self-protective instinct is immediate, to run
away  or  to  do  something  about  it.  There  the  seeing  has  expressed  itself  in
physical action. But we are talking of observation with the whole of our mind, not
partially  observing,  as  we  normally  do;  to  be  so  attentive  that  the  whole  of  the
mind is giving complete attention. Such attention implies that there is no centre
from which you are attending. When you concentrate it is from a centre, from a
point; therefore it is limited, restricted, narrow; whereas attention has no centre,
everything in your mind is alive, attending. Then you will find out that there is no   41
point from which you are attending; in that attention there is no border, whereas
concentration has a border.    42
16th Question Ojai, California 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 13th
May 1980
Question:  For  the  making  of  images  to  end,  must  thought  also  end?  Is  one
necessarily implied in the other? Is the end of image-making really a foundation
upon which one can begin to discover what love and truth are? Or is that ending
the very essence of truth and love?
We  live  by  the  images  created  by  the  mind,  by  thought.  These  images  are
continuously added and taken away. You have your own image about yourself; if
you are a writer you have an image about yourself as a writer; if you are a wife or
a husband, each has created an image about himself or herself. This begins from
childhood, through comparison, through suggestion, by being told you must be as
good  as  the  other  chap,  or  you  must  not  do,  or  you  must;  so  gradually  this
process accumulates. And in our relationships, personal and otherwise, there is
always  an  image.  As  long  as  the  image  exists,  you  are  liable  to  be  either
wounded,  bruised  or  hurt.  And  this  image  prevents  there  being  any  actual
relationship with another.
Now the questioner asks: Can this ever end, or is it something with which we
have  to  live  everlastingly?  And  he  also  asks:  In  the  very  ending  of  the  image,
does thought end? Are they interrelated, image and thought? When the image-
making machinery comes to an end, is that the very essence of love and truth?
Have  you  ever  actually  ended  an  image  –  voluntarily,  easily,  without  any
compulsion, without any motive? Not, «I must end the image I have of myself, I
will not be hurt». Take one image and go into it; in going into it, you discover the
whole movement of image-making. In that image you begin to discover there is
fear,  anxiety;  there  is  a  sense  of  isolation;  and  if  you  are  frightened  you  say,
«Much better keep to something I know than something I do not know». But if you   43
go into it fairly seriously and deeply, you enquire as to who or what is the maker
of  this  image,  not  one  particular  image  but  image-making  as  a  whole.  Is  it
thought? Is it the natural response, natural reaction, to protect oneself physically
and  psychologically?  One  can  understand  the  natural  response  to  physical
protection, how to have food, to have shelter, to have clothes, to avoid being run
over by a bus and so on. That is a natural, healthy, intelligent response. In that
there  is  no  image.  but  psychologically,  inwardly,  we  have  created  this  image
which is the outcome of a series of incidents, accidents, hurts, irritations.
Is this psychological image-making the movement of thought? We know that
thought does not, perhaps to a very large degree, enter into the self-protective
physical reaction. But the psychological image-making is the outcome of constant
inattention which is the very essence of thought. Thought in itself is inattentive.
Attention has no centre, it has no point from which to go to another point, as in
concentration. When there is complete attention there is no movement of thought.
It is only to the mind that is inattentive that thought arises.
Thought is matter; thought is the outcome of memory; memory is the outcome
of experience and that must always be limited, partial. Memory, knowledge, can
never be complete, they are always partial, therefore inattentive.
So when there is attention there is no image-making, there is no conflict; you
see the fact. If when you insult me or flatter me and I am completely attentive,
then it does not mean a thing. But the moment I am not paying attention, thought,
which is inattentive in itself, takes over and creates the image.
Now the questioner asks: Is the ending of image-making the essence of truth
and love? Not quite. Is desire love? Is pleasure love? Most of our life is directed
towards  pleasure  in  different  forms,  and  when  that  movement  of  pleasure,  sex
etc, takes place we call that love. Can there be love when there is conflict, when
the mind is crippled with problems, problems of heaven, problems of meditation,   44
problems between man and woman? When the mind is living in problems, which
most of our minds are, can there be love?
Can  there  be  love  when  there  is  great  suffering,  physiological  as  well  as
psychological?  Is  truth  a  matter  of  conclusion,  a  matter  of  opinion,  of
philosophers, of theologians, of those who believe so deeply in dogma and ritual,
which are all man-made? Can a mind so conditioned know what truth is? Truth
can  only  be  when  the  mind  is  totally  free  of  all  this  jumble.  Philosophers  and
others  never  look  at  their  own  lives;  they  go  off  into  some  metaphysical  or
psychological  world,  about  which  they  begin  to  write  and  publish  and  become
famous.  Truth  is  something  that  demands  extraordinary  clarity  of  mind,  a  mind
that has no problem whatsoever, physical or psychological, a mind that does not
know conflict. Even the memory of conflict must end. With the burden of memory
we  cannot  find  truth.  It  is  impossible.  Truth  can  only  come  to  a  mind  that  is
astonishingly free from all that is man-made.
Those are not words to me, you understand? If it was not something actual, I
would not speak, I would be dishonest to myself. If it were not a fact I would be
such a terrible hypocrite. This requires tremendous integrity.    45
17th Question Ojai, California 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 13th
May 1980
Question:  Would  you  please  make  a  definite  statement  about  the  non-
existence  of  reincarnation  since  increasing  `scientific  evidence’  is  now  being
accumulated to prove reincarnation is a fact. I am concerned because I see large
numbers of people beginning to use this evidence to further strengthen a belief
they already have, which enables them to escape problems of living and dying. Is
it  not  your  responsibility  to  be  clear,  direct  and  unequivocable  on  this  matter
instead of hedging round the issue?
We  will  be  very  definite.  The  idea  of  reincarnation  existed  long  before
Christianity.  It  is  prevalent  almost  throughout  India  and  probably  in  the  whole
Asiatic  world.  Firstly:  what  is  it  that  incarnates;  not  only  incarnates  now,  but
reincarnates  again  and  again?  Secondly:  the  idea  of  there  being  scientific
evidence  that  reincarnation  is  true,  is  causing  people  to  escape  their  problems
and that causes the questioner concern. Is he really concerned that people are
escaping?  They  escape  through  football  or  going  to  church.  Put  aside  all  this
concern  about  what  other  people  do.  We  are  concerned  with  the  fact,  with  the
truth of reincarnation; and you want a definite answer from the speaker.
What is it that incarnates, is reborn? What is it that is living at this moment,
sitting here? What is it that is taking place now to that which is in incarnation?
And when one goes from here, what is it that is actually taking place in our
daily  life,  which  is  the  living  movement  of  incarnation  –  one’s  struggles,  one`s
appetites,  greeds,  envies,  attachments  –  all  that?  Is  it  that  which  is  going  to
reincarnate in the next life?
Now  those  who  believe  in  reincarnation,  believe  they  will  be  reborn  with  all
that they have now – modified perhaps – and so carry on, life after life. Belief is   46
never alive. But suppose that belief is tremendously alive, then what you are now
matters much more than what you will be in a future life.
in the Asiatic world there is the word `karma’ which means action in life now, in
this period, with all its misery, confusion, anger, jealousy, hatred, violence, which
may  be  modified,  but  will  go  on  to  the  next  life.  So  there  is  evidence  of
remembrance of things past, of a past life. That remembrance is the accumulated
`me’, the ego, the personality. That bundle, modified, chastened, polished a little
bit, goes on to the next life.
So it is not a question of whether there is reincarnation (I am very definite on
this matter, please) but that there is incarnation now; what is far more important
than reincarnation, is the ending of this mess, this conflict, now. Then something
totally different goes on.
Being unhappy, miserable, sorrow-ridden, one says: «I hope the next life will
be better». That hope for the next life is the postponement of facing the fact now.
The speaker has talked a great deal to those who believe in and have lectured
and written about reincarnation, endlessly. It is part of their game. I say,»All right,
Sirs, you believe in it all. If you believe, what you do now matters». But they are
not interested in what they do now, they are interested in the future. They do not
say: «I believe and I will alter my life so completely that there is no future». Do not
at the end of this say that I am evading this particular question; it is you who are
evading it.I have said that the present life is all-important; if you have understood
and gone into it, with all the turmoil of it, the complexity of it – end it, do not carry
on with it. Then you enter into a totally different world. I think that is clear, is it
not?  I  am  not  hedging.  You  may  ask  me:  «Do  you  believe  in  reincarnation?»
Right? I do not believe in anything. This is not an evasion I have no belief and it
does not mean that I am an atheist, or that I am ungodly. Go into it, see what it
means. It means that the mind is free from all the entanglements of belief.    47
In the literature of ancient India there is a story about death and incarnation.
For  a  Brahmin  it  is  one  of  the  ancient  customs  and  laws,  that  after  collecting
worldly  wealth  he  must  at  the  end  of  five  years  give  up  everything  and  begin
again. A certain Brahmin had a son and the son says to him, «You are giving all
this away to various people, to whom are you going to give me away; to whom
are you sending me?» The father said, «Go away, I am not interested». But the
boy comes back several times and the father gets angry and says, «I am going to
send you to Death» – and being a Brahmin he must keep his word. So he sends
him to Death. On his way to Death the boy goes to various teachers and finds
that  some  say  there  is  reincarnation,  others  say  there  is  not.  He  goes  on
searching  and  eventually  he  comes  to  the  house  of  Death.  When  he  arrives,
Death is absent. (A marvellous implication, if you go into it.) Death is absent. The
boy waits for three days. On the fourth day, Death appears and apologizes. He
apologizes because the boy was a Brahmin; he says, «I am sorry to have kept
you waiting and in my regret I will offer you three wishes. You can be the greatest
king, have the greatest wealth, or you can be immortal». The boy says, «I have
been to many teachers and they all say different things. What do you say about
death and what happens afterwards?» Death says: «I wish I had pupils like you;
not concerned about anything except that». So he begins to tell him about truth,
about the state of life in which there is no time    48
– Ojai, 4th meeting 1980 –
18th Question Ojai, California 4th Question & Answer Meeting 15th
May 1980
Question: I am not asking how fear arises – that you have already explained
but rather, what is the actual substance of fear? What is fear itself? Is it a pattern
of  physiological  reaction  and  sensation,  tightening  of  muscles,  surging  of
adrenalin and so forth; or is it something more? What am I to look at when I look
at fear itself? Can this looking take place when fear is not immediately present?
What is fear itself? We are generally afraid of something, or of a remembrance
of something that has happened, or of a projection of a reaction into the future.
But the questioner asks: What is the actual nature of fear?
When one  is  afraid, both physiologically as well as psychologically,  is  it  not
that  one  has  a  feeling  of  danger,  a  feeling  of  total  isolation  called  loneliness,
deep, abiding, lasting loneliness? All reactions are to something; one is afraid of
the snake, or one is afraid of the return of some pain one has had. So it is either
fear of an actual thing or of the remembrance of something that has happened in
the past. But apart from the psychological reactions which one knows as fear is
there fear in itself, not fear of something? Is there fear per se? Or does one only
know fear in relation to something else? If it is not in relation to something, is it
fear?  One  knows  fear  in  relation  to  something,  from  something,  or  towards
something, but if you eliminate that, is there actual fear, which you can examine?
The mind, the brain, need complete security in order to function well, healthily,
sanely. Not finding security in anything, in a relationship, in an idea, in a belief –
an  intelligent  mind  rejects  all  that  –  yet  it  still  looks  for  complete  security.  Not
finding it, fear comes into being. Is there something totally and completely secure   49
and certain, not the certainty of beliefs, dogmas, rituals and ideas, which can all
be abolished when new ideas, dogmas and theories replace them? Putting aside
all  that,  does  the  mind,  the  brain,  seeking  a  security  that  is  intelligible  and  not
finding it, feel deep-rooted fear? So, apart from the ordinary kinds of fear, is the
mind creating fear itself, because there is nothing valid, nothing that is whole? Is
that the substance of fear?
Can the mind in itself have no fear? Thought – which is part of the function of
the mind and brain – desiring security, has created various illusions, philosophical
and theological. Not finding it there, it either creates something beyond itself in
which it hopes to find total security, or the mind itself is so totally complete that it
has no need for fear.
We are not talking of getting rid of fear or suppressing fear; we are asking, can
the mind in itself have no cause or substance or reaction which brings fear? Can
the mind ever be in a state – that word `state’ implies static, it is not that – can it
ever  have  a  quality  where  it  has  no  movement  reaching  out,  where  it  is
completely  whole  in  itself? This  implies  understanding meditation.  Meditation  is
not  all  the  nonsense  that  is  going  on  about  it.  It  is  to  be  free  from  fear,  both
physiological  and  psychological,  otherwise  there  is  no  love,  there  is  no
compassion. As long as there is fear, the other cannot take place. To meditate –
not to reach something – is to understand the nature of fear and go beyond it –
which is to find a mind that has no remembrance of something which has caused
fear, so that it is completely whole.
Then there is the other part of this question: Can this looking take place when
fear is not immediately present?
One can recall fear and the recalling of that fear can be observed. One had
fear in the past and one can summon it; but it is not actually the same because
fear exists a moment after, not at the actual moment; it is a reaction that one calls
fear.  But  at  the  actual  moment  of  great  danger,  at  the  moment  of  facing   50
something that may cause fear, there is no fear, there is nothing. Then there is a
recollection of the past, then the naming of it, and saying, «I am afraid», with all
the tightening of the muscles, the secretion of adrenalin.
One  can  recall  a  past  fear  and  look  at  it.  The  observing  of  that  fear  is
important because either one  puts it outside of oneself or one says, «I am that
fear» – there is not oneself apart from the fear observing it; one is that reaction.
When  there  is  no  division  between  oneself  and  fear,  but  only  the  state  of  that
reaction, then something entirely new takes place.    51
19th Question Ojai, California 4th Question & Answer Meeting 15th
May 1980
Question: When one sees in the world no demonstrable universal principle of
justice, one feels no compelling reason to change oneself or the chaotic society
outside. One sees no rational criteria by which to measure the consequences of
actions  and  their  accountability.  Can  you  share  your  perception  on  this  matter
with us?
Is there justice in the world? This has been a question that all the philosophers
have gone into, spinning a lot of words about it. Now, is there justice in the world,
rational,  sane,  justice?  You  are  clever,  I  am  not.  You  have  money,  I  have  not.
You  have  capacity  and  another  has  not.  You  have  talent,  you  can  enjoy  and  I
have been born poor. One has a crippling disease and the other has not. Seeing
all this, we say; there must be justice somewhere. We move from lack of justice
to  an  idea  of  justice  –  God  is  just.  But  the  fact  remains  that  there  is  terrible
injustice in the world.
And the questioner wants to know: «If there is no justice, why should I change?
There  is  no  point  in  it.  Why  should  I  change  in  this  chaotic  world  where  the
dictators are supreme; their very life is injustice, terrorizing millions of people?»
Seeing all that, there is no rational cause for me to change. I think that is not a
rational  question,  if  I  may  say  so.  Do  you  change  because  you  are  under
pressure, or because you are rewarded – change brought about by reward and
Human beings are so irrational, right through the world and you as a human
being, are as the rest of humanity. And as you are the rest of mankind, you are
responsible; not because you see so much injustice in the world, how the crooks   52
get away with everything, or because you contrast the marvellous churches and
great riches with the millions and millions who are starving.
Change  is  not  brought  about  through  compulsion,  through  reward  and
punishment. The mind itself sees the absurdity of all this; it sees the necessity of
change,  not  because  God  or  the  priest  or  somebody  tells  one  to  change.  One
sees the chaos around one and that chaos has been created by human beings; I
am  as  these  human  beings;  I  have  to  act,  it  is  my  responsibility  and  a  global
responsibility.    53
20th Question Ojai, California 4th Question & Answer Meeting 15th
May 1980
Question: Can we die, psychologically, to the self? To find out is a process of
choiceless awareness. In order to observe choicelessly, it seems we must have
ended or died to the ego,`me’. The question is: How can I observe, in my current
state of fragmentation? It is like the `I’ trying to see the `I’. This is an impossible
paradox; please clarify.
Do  not  quote  me  –  or  anybody  –  for  then  it  is  not  yours  and  you  become  a
secondhand  human  being,  which  we  all  are.  That  is  the  first  thing  to  realize,
because  that  distorts  our  thinking.  We  are  the  result  of millions of years of the
pressure of other people’s thinking and propaganda. If one is not free of all that,
one can never find the origin of things.
The questioner asks: How can I observe in my current state of fragmentation?
You cannot. But you can observe your fragmentation. In observing yourself you
discover  that  you  are  looking  with  certain  prejudices.  And  you  forget  to  look  at
yourself  and  go  into  the  question  of  prejudice.  You  become  aware  of  your
prejudice; can you look at it without any sense of distortion, without choice? Just
observe the prejudices; let prejudice tell you the story, not you tell the story about
prejudice; let prejudice unroll itself; the cause of prejudice, the image, conclusions
and opinions.
So you begin to discover in looking at prejudice that you are fragmented and
that  that  fragmentation  is  brought  about  by  thought;  naturally,  therefore,  you
begin to be aware of the movement of thought.
You are confused; what is this confusion? Who has created this confusion, in
you  and  outside  of  you?  Observing  confusion,  you  begin  to  be  aware  of  the   54
movement of thought, of the contradictory nature of thought; let the whole thing
unroll itself as you watch.
The story is there but you do not read the story; you are telling the book what
it should say. It is not that it is the history of yourself; it is the history of mankind.
You  cannot  have  insight  if  it  is  merely  the  response  of  memory.  Organized
religion  is  not  religion.  All  the  nonsense  that  goes  on,  the  rituals,  dogmas,
theories and the theologians spinning out new theories – that is not religion. Now
what makes one say that it is not religion? Is it merely a thoughtful examination of
all  the  religions,  their  dogmas,  their  superstitions,  their  rituals,  their  ignorance,
and saying at the end of it, «This is nonsense»? Or is it that one sees immediately
that  any  form  of  propaganda  or  pressure,  is  never  a  religion?  One  sees  this
immediately and therefore one is out of it. But if one is merely examining various
religions and then coming to a conclusion, that conclusion will be limited, it can be
broken down, by argument, by superior knowledge.
But if one gets an insight into the nature of the religious structures which man
has  invented,  then  the  mind  is  immediately  free  of  it.  If  one  understands  the
tyranny of one guru – they are tyrants, because they want power, position; they
know; others do not know – then one has seen the tyranny of all gurus. So one
does not go from one guru to another.    55
21st Question Ojai, California 4th Question & Answer Meeting 15th
May 1980
Question:  What  is  the  relationship  of  attention  to  thought?  Is  there  a  gap
between attention and thought?
You  know  what  concentration  is  –  from  childhood,  we  are  trained  to
concentrate.  Concentration  is  the  narrowing  down  of  all  energy  to  a  particular
point  and  holding  to  that  point.  A  boy  in school looks out of the window at the
birds and the trees, at the movement of the leaves, or at the squirrel climbing the
tree.  And  the  teacher  says:  «You  are  not  paying  attention,  concentrate  on  the
book;  or,  «Listen  to  what  I  am  saying».  This  is  to  give  far  more  importance  to
concentration than to attention. If I were the teacher I would help him to watch; I
would help him to watch that squirrel completely; watch the movement of the tail,
how its claws act, everything. Then if he learns to watch that attentively, he will
pay attention to the book.
Attention  is  a  state  of  mind  in  which  there  is  no  contradiction.  There  is  no
entity, or centre, or point, which says, «I must attend». It is a state in which there is
no wastage of energy, whereas in concentration there is always the controlling
process going on – «I want to concentrate on that page», but thought wanders off
and  you  pull  it  back  –  a  constant  battle going on. Attention is  something  totally
different from concentration.
The questioner asks: What is the relationship of attention to thought? None,
obviously.  I  do  not  know  if  you  follow  that.  Concentration  has  a  relationship  to
thought, because thought directs, «I must learn», «I must concentrate in order to
control myself». Thought gives direction from one point to another point. Whereas,
in attention, thought has no place, there is simply attending. And the further part
of the question: Is there a gap between attention and thought? Once you have   56
grasped the whole movement of thought, you do not put this question. You have
to understand what thought is, see what it is and how it comes into being. There
is no thought if there is total amnesia. But unfortunately, or fortunately, you are
not in a state of amnesia. You want to find out what thought is, what place it has
in life, so you begin to examine thinking. Thinking takes place as a reaction of
memory.  Memory  responds  to  a  challenge,  to  a  question,  to  an  action,  or  in
relation to an idea or to a person. You may have trodden on some insect that has
bitten  you.  That  pain  is  registered  and  stored  in  the  brain  as  memory;  it  is  not
actual  pain,  the  pain  is  over,  but  the  memory  remains.  So  next  time  you  are
careful, for there has been the experience of pain, which has become knowledge,
which  responds  as  thought.  Memory  is  thought.  Knowledge,  however  deep,
however extensive, must always be limited. There is no complete knowledge.
Thought is always particular, limited, divisive; in itself it is incomplete and can
never  become  complete.  It  can  think  about  completeness;  it  can  think  about
wholeness,  but  thought  itself  is  not  whole.  Whatever  thought  creates,
philosophically or religiously, it is still partial, limited, fragmentary and is part of
ignorance. Knowledge can never be complete, it must always go hand in hand
with  ignorance.  If  you  understand  the  nature  of  thought  and  understand  what
concentration  is,  then  you  will  realize  that  thought  cannot  attend  because
attention  is  the  giving  of  all  your  energy  without  any  limitation  or  restraint  of
If you are attending, what takes place? There is no `you’ attending. There is no
centre that says: «I am attending». You are attending because it is your life. If you
are serious and giving attention, you will soon find out that all your problems have
gone – at least for the moment. To resolve problems is to attend. It is not a trick.    57
22nd Question Ojai, California 4th Question & Answer Meeting 15th
May 1980
Question: Why is my mind chattering, so restless?
Have you ever asked that question, for yourself? Why is your mind so restless,
always  chattering,  going  from  one  thing  to  another,  moving  from  one
entertainment  to  another?  Why  is  your  mind  chattering?  And  what  will  you  do
about  it?  Your  immediate  impulse  is  to  control  it:  «I  must  not  chatter».  The
controller who says, «I must not chatter», is in itself part of chattering. Do you see
the beauty of it?
So  what  will  you  do?  You  can  examine  the  causes  of  chattering,  how
chattering  is  part  of  the  mind  being  occupied.  The  mind,  including  the  whole
structure, the brain, must be occupied with something – with sex, with television,
with cooking, with cleaning the house, with football, with going to church, always
occupied.  Why  must  it  be  occupied?  If  it  is  not  occupied  are  you  not  rather
uncertain, do you not fear being unoccupied? You feel empty, you feel lost, you
begin to realize that there is tremendous loneliness inside.
So, to avoid that deep loneliness, with all its agony, the mind occupies itself
with  everything  else  except  that.  And  then  that  becomes  the  occupation.  From
being  occupied  with  all  these  outward  things,  it  says,  «I  am  lonely,  that  is  my
trouble. How am I to get over it?» And you think about how miserable you are – so
back to chattering. Then ask, why is the mind chattering, with never a moment
when  it  is  quiet,  never  a  moment  when  there  is  complete  freedom  from  any
problem?  Again  that  mental  occupation  is  the  result  of  your  education,  of  the
social nature of your life. But when you realize that your mind is chattering and
look at it, staying with it, then you will see what happens. Your mind is chattering.
All right, watch it. You say, «All right, chatter». You are attending, which means   58
you are not trying not to chatter, not saying, «I must not», or suppressing it; you
are just attending to chattering. If you do, you will see what happens; your mind is
clear and probably that is the state of a `normal’, healthy human being.    59
– Saanen, 1st meeting 1980 –
23rd Question Saanen 1st Question & Answer Meeting 23rd July 1980
Question: There are so many gurus today, both in the East and in the West,
each one pointing his own way to enlightenment. How is one to know if they are
speaking the truth?
When a guru says he knows, he does not. When an Eastern guru or a man in
the West says: «I have attained Enlightenment» – then you may be sure that he is
not enlightened; enlightenment is not to be attained. It is not something that you
reach step by step as if you were climbing a ladder. Enlightenment is not in the
hands  of  time.  It  is  not,  «I  am  ignorant  but  if  I  do  certain  things  I  will  come  to
enlightenment» – whatever that word may mean. What is time? Time is necessary
to go from here physically to another place. Psychologically, is time necessary at
all? We have accepted that it is and it is part of our tradition and training; I am this
but  I  will  be  that.  What  I  will  be  will  never  take  place  because  I  have  not
understood  `what  is’.  The  understanding  of  `what  is’  is  immediate;  you  do  not
have to analyse, go through tortures.
One  does  not  like  to  use  the  word  `enlightenment’,  it  is  so  loaded  with  the
meaning given by all these gurus. They do not know what they are talking about;
not that the speaker knows, that would be silly on his part, but one sees what is
involved when they talk about achieving enlightenment, step by step, practising,
so that the mind becomes dull, mechanical, stupid.
Whether  they  are  Eastern  or  Western  gurus,  doubt  what  they  are  saying,
doubt also what the speaker is saying – much more so, because although he is
very clear about all these matters it does not mean that he is the only person who   60
knows,  which  is  equally  absurd.  The  mind  must  be  free  from  all  authority  –  no
followers, disciples and patterns.
The questioner asks: How is one to know that these gurus are speaking the
truth? How do you know whether the local priests, the bishops, the archbishops
and  the  popes  are  speaking  the  truth?  Instead  of  going  off  to  India  accepting
those  gurus,  consider  first,  how  do  you  know  whether  they  are  speaking  the
truth? May be they are all engaged in some kind of guile which means money,
position, authority, giving initiations and all the rest of it. Question them, ask them,
«Why have you put yourself in authority?» Doubt everything they say and you will
soon find that they will throw you out. it once happened that a very famous guru
came to see the speaker. He said; «I am a guru with many followers. I began with
one  and  now  I  have  a  thousand  and  more,  both  in  the  West  and  in  the  East,
especially in the West. I cannot withdraw from them; they are part of me and I am
part of them. They have built me and I have built them.» The disciples build the
guru, the guru builds the disciples and he cannot let them go. In this way authority
in the `spiritual’ world is established. See the danger of it. Where there is authority
in the field of the mind and heart there is no love – spurious love maybe, but there
is no sense of that depth of affection, love and care.
To find out who is speaking the truth, do not seek but question. Truth is not
something  you  come  by.  Truth  comes  only  when  the  mind  is  totally  and
completely free from all this. Then you have compassion and love; not for your
guru, not for your family, not for your ideals or your saviour, but love, without any
motive, which acts through intelligence. And you think that truth is something you
buy from another!
The Eastern and the Western gurus all quote the old saying: «You must be a
light  unto  yourself».  It  is  an  ancient  and  very  famous  saying  in  India.  And  they
repeat  it,  adding,  «You  cannot  be  a  light  unto  yourself  unless  I  give  it  to  you».
People are so gullible; that is what is wrong. They all want something – the young   61
and  the  old.  For  the  young  the  world  is  too  cruel,  for  them  what  the  older
generations have made of the world is too appalling. They have no place in it,
they are lost, so they take to drugs and drink; all kinds of things are going on in
the world with the young; communes, sexual orgies, chasing off to India, to gurus,
to find somebody who will tell them what to do – somebody whom they can trust.
They  go  there,  young,  fresh,  not  knowing;  and  the  gurus  give  them  the  feeling
that they are being protected and guided – that is all they want. They cannot get it
from their parents, from their local priests, from the psychologists, because their
parents, the local priests and psychologists are equally confused. They go off to
this dangerous country, India, and there they are caught by the thousand. They
are  seeking  comfort,  somebody  to  say,  «I  am  looking  after  you.  I  will  be
responsible for you. Do this. Do that», and it is a very happy, pleasant state, for
they are also told, «You can do what you like, indulge in sex, in drink – go on».
Equally,  the  older  generation  are  in  the  same  position,  only  they  express  it
with more sophistication. They are the same, the young and the old all over the
world. But nobody can give guidance, can give light, to another. Only you yourself
can do that; but you have to stand completely alone. That is what is frightening
for  the  old  and  the  young.  If  you  belong  to  anything,  follow  anybody,  you  are
already entering into corruption. Understand that very deeply, with tears in your
eyes: when there is no guru, no teacher and no disciple, there is only you as a
human being living in this world – the world, the society, which you have created.
And if you do not do something for yourself, society is not going to help you. On
the contrary, society wants you to be what you are. Do not belong to anything, not
to  any  institution  or  organization;  do  not  follow  anybody,  be  not  a  disciple  of
anybody. You are a human being living in this terrible world; a human being who
is the world and the world is you. You have to live there, understand it, and go
beyond yourself.    62
– Saanen, 2nd meeting 1980 –
24th Question Saanen 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 24th July
Right Living
Question: I work as a teacher and I am in constant conflict with the system of
the school and the pattern of society. Must I give up all work? What is the right
way to earn a living? Is there a way of living that does not perpetuate conflict?
This is a rather complex question and we will go into it step by step.
What is a teacher? Either a teacher gives information about history, physics,
biology and so on, or he himself is learning together with the pupil about himself.
This is a process of understanding the whole movement of life. If I am a teacher,
not of biology or physics, but of psychology, then will the pupil understand me or
will my pointing out help him to understand himself?
We must be very careful and clear as to what we mean by a teacher. Is there
a  teacher  of  psychology  at  all?  Or  are  there  only  teachers  of  facts.  Is  there  a
teacher who will help you to understand yourself? The questioner asks: I am a
teacher. I have to struggle not only with the established system of schools and
education, but also my own life is a constant battle with myself. And must I give
up all this? Then what shall I do if I give up all that. He is asking not only what
right teaching is but he also wants to find out what right living is.
What is right living? As society exists now, there is no right way of living. You
have to earn a livelihood, you marry, you have children, you become responsible
for  them  and  so  you  accept  the  life  of  an  engineer  or  a  professor.  As  society
exists can there be a right way of living? Or is the search for a right way of living
merely a search for Utopia, a wish for something more? What is one to do in a
society which is corrupt, which has such contradictions in itself, in which there is   63
so  much  injustice  –  for  that  is  the  society  in  which  we live? And, not only as a
teacher in a school, I am asking myself: what shall I do?
Is it possible to live in this society, not only to have a right means of livelihood,
but also to live without conflict? Is it possible to earn a livelihood righteously and
also  to  end  all  conflict  within  oneself?  Now,  are  these  two  separate  things:
earning  a  living  rightly  and  not  having  conflict  in  oneself?  Are  these  two  in
separate, watertight compartments? Or do they go together? To live a life without
any conflict requires a great deal of understanding of oneself and therefore great
intelligence  –  not  the  clever  intelligence  of  the  intellect  –  but  the  capacity  to
observe, to see objectively what is happening, both outwardly and inwardly and to
know that there is no difference between the outer and the inner. It is like a tide
that  goes  out  and  comes  in.  To  live  in  this  society,  which  we  have  created,
without any conflict in myself and at the same time to have a right livelihood – is it
possible? On which shall I lay emphasis – on right livelihood or on right living, that
is, on finding out how to live a life without any conflict? Which comes first? Do not
just let me talk and you listen, agreeing or disagreeing, saying «It is not practical.
It is not like this, it is not like that saying, «It is not practical. It is not like this, it is
not like that» – because it is your problem. We are asking each other: is there a
way of living which will naturally bring about a right livelihood and at the same
time enable us to live without a single shadow of conflict?
People have said that you cannot live that way except in a monastery, as a
monk;  because  you  have  renounced  the  world  and  all  its  misery  and  are
committed  to  the  service  of  God,  because  you  have  given  your  life  over  to  an
idea, or a person, an image or symbol, you expect to be looked after. But very
few believe any more in monasteries, or in saying, «I will surrender myself». If they
do surrender themselves it will be surrendering to the image they have created
about another, or which they have projected.    64
It is possible to live a life without a single shadow of conflict only when you
have  understood  the  whole  significance  of  living  –  which  is,  relationship  and
action. What is right action – under all circumstances? Is there such a thing? Is
there  a  right  action  which  is  absolute,  not  relative?  Life  is  action,  movement,
talking, acquiring knowledge and also relationship with another, however deep or
superficial.  You  have  to  find  right  relationship  if  you  want  to  find  a  right  action
which is absolute.
What is your present relationship with another – not the romantic, imaginative,
flowery and superficial thing that disappears in a few minutes – but, actually, what
is  your  relationship  with  another?  What  is  your  relationship  with  a  particular
person? – perhaps intimate, involving sex, involving dependence on each other,
possessing  each  other  and  therefore  arousing  jealousy  and  antagonism.  The
man or the woman goes off to the office, or to do some kind of physical work,
where he or she is ambitious, greedy, competitive, aggressive to succeed; he or
she  comes  back  home  and  becomes  a  tame,  friendly,  perhaps  affectionate
husband or wife. That is the actual daily relationship. Nobody can deny that. And
we  are  asking:  is  that  right  relationship?  We  say  no,  certainly  not,  it  would  be
absurd to say that that is right relationship. We say that, but continue in the same
way. We say that that is wrong but we do not seem to be able to understand what
right relationship is – except according to the pattern set by ourselves, by society.
We may want it, we may wish for it, long for it, but longing and wishing do not
bring it about. We have to go into it seriously to find out.
Relationship  is  generally  sensuous  –  begin  with  that  –  then  from  sensuality
there is companionship, a sense of dependence on each other; then there is the
creating of a family which increases dependence on each other. When there is
uncertainty in that dependence the pot boils over. To find right relationship one
has to enquire into this great dependence on each other. Psychologically why are
we  so  dependent  in  our  relationships  with  each  other?  Is  it  that  we  are   65
desperately lonely? Is it that we do not trust anybody – even our own husband or
wife?  On  the  other  hand,  dependence  gives  a  sense  of  security;  a  protection
against this vast world of terror. We say: «I love you.» In that love there is always
the  sense  of  possessing  and  being  possessed.  And  when  that  situation  is
threatened there arises all the conflict. That is our present relationship with each
other, intimate or otherwise. We create an image about each other and cling to
that image.
The  moment  you  are  tied  to  another  person,  or  tied  to  an  idea  or  concept,
corruption has begun. That is the thing to realize and we do not want to realize it.
So,  can  we  live  together  without  being  tied,  without  being  dependent  on  each
other  psychologically?  Unless  you  find  this  out  you  will  always  live  in  conflict,
because life is relationship. Now, can we objectively, without any motive, observe
the consequences of attachment and let them go immediately? Attachment is not
the opposite of detachment. I am attached and I struggle to be detached; which
is: I create the opposite. The moment I have created the opposite conflict comes
into  being.  But  there  is  no  opposite;  there  is  only  what  I  have,  which  is
attachment.  There  is  only  the  fact  of  attachment  –  in  which  I  see  all  the
consequences  of  attachment  in  which  there  is  no  love  –  not  the  pursuit  of
detachment. The brain has been conditioned, educated, trained, to observe what
is and to create its opposite: «I am violent but I must not be violent» – therefore
there is conflict. But when I observe only violence, the nature of it – not analyse
but observe – then the conflict of the opposite is totally eliminated. If one wants to
live without conflict, only deal with `what is’, everything else is not. And when one
lives that way – and it is possible to live that way – completely to remain with `what
is’ then `what is’ withers away. Experiment with it.
When you really understand the nature of relationship, which only exists when
there is no attachment, when there is no image about the other, then there is real
communion with each other.    66
Right action means precise, accurate action, not based on motive; it is action
which  is  not  directed  or  committed.  The  understanding  of  right  action,  right
relationship, brings about intelligence. Not the intelligence of the intellect but that
profound  intelligence  which  is  not  yours  or  mine.  That  intelligence  will  dictate
what you will do to earn a livelihood; when there is that intelligence you may be a
gardener, a cook, it does not matter. Without that intelligence your livelihood will
be dictated by circumstance.
There  is  a  way  of  living  in  which  there  is  no  conflict;  because  there  is  no
conflict there is intelligence which will show the right way of living.    67
25th Question Saanen 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 24th July
Question:  Is  it  possible  to  be  so  completely  awake  at  the  moment  of
perception that the mind does not recall the event?
In the question is the answer; we are going to enquire into it. Is it possible not
to record at all, one’s failures, despairs, anxieties, all the things that are going on
inside and outside, so that the mind is always free?
It  is  the  function  of  the  brain  to  record.  Someone  says  to  me:  «You  are  an
idiot», and the brain instantly records it. I do not like it because I have an image
about myself that I am not an idiot and you call me an idiot and I am hurt. That is
recording. The hurt exists as long as I have an image about myself – everybody
will  tread  on  that  image.  And  there  is  hurt,  the  brain  has  recorded  it.  The
recording  is  to  build  a  wall  round  myself  so  as  not  to  be  hurt  any  more.  I  am
afraid, so I shrink within myself, build a wall of resistance and I feel safe.
Now the questioner asks: Is it possible not to record that hurt at the moment
when I am called an idiot? Is it possible not to record at all, not only the hurt but
flattery? Is it possible not to record either? The brain has been trained to record
for in that recording there is safety, security, a sense of vitality; in that recording
the mind creates the image about oneself. And that image will constantly get hurt.
Is it possible to live without a single image about yourself, or about your husband,
wife, children, firm, or about the politicians, the priests, or about the ideal – not a
single shadow of an image? It is possible, and if it is not found you will always be
getting hurt, always living in a pattern in which there is no freedom. When you
give complete attention there is no recording. It is only when there is inattention
that  you  record.  That  is:  you  flatter  me;  I  like  it;  the  liking  at  that  moment  is   68
inattention therefore recording takes place. But if when you flatter me I listen to it
completely without any reaction, then there is no centre which records.
You have to go into the question of what attention is. Most of us know what
concentration is; from one point to another point – from one desire, one hope, to
another.  You  concentrate  on  your  job.  You  concentrate  in  order  to  control  the
mind,  in  order  to  achieve  a  certain  result.  In  that  concentration  there  must  be
conflict because as you are concentrating, thoughts come pouring in and you try
to push them off. This constant struggle with intruding thought is concentration;
whereas  in  attention  there  is  no  struggle  and  no  point  from  which  you  are
Have you ever given attention to anything? – which means there is no thought,
no  movement,  no  interpretation  or  motive,  just  attending  completely.
Concentration  is  from  point  to  point  and  therefore  there  is  resistance;  attention
has no centre from which you are attending; attention is all-inclusive, there is no
border  to  it.  Concentration  inevitably  brings  about  resistance,  you  shut  yourself
up,  avoid  noises,  avoid  interruptions;  your  whole  brain  is  centred  on  a  point,  a
point  which  may  be  excellent  or  not.  In  concentration  there  is  the  division
between  the  controller  and  the  controlled.  The  controller  is  the  thought  which
says,  «I  must  control  that»,  therefore  the  controller  is  the  controlled.  Put  it
differently: the thinker is the thought, for there is no separation between thought
and the thinker. You eliminate altogether the division when you realize that the
thinker is the thought, that the controller is the controlled. When you actually see
the truth of this there comes attention; in attention there may be concentration in
which you concentrate on doing something, but it comes from attention.    69
26th Question Saanen 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 24th July
Question: In your talks you speak of death as total annihilation; also you have
said that after death there is immortality, a state of timeless existence. Can one
live in that state?
I did not use the word annihilation; I have said that death is an ending – like
ending  attachment.  When  something  ends,  like  attachment,  something  totally
new begins. When one has been accustomed to anger all one’s life, or greed or
aggression  and  one  ends  it,  something  totally  new  happens.  One  may  have
followed a guru, with all the gadgets he has given one; one realizes the absurdity
of  it,  and  one  ends  it.  What  happens?  There  is  a  sense  of  freedom  from  the
burden  which  one  has  been  uselessly  carrying.  Death  is  like  ending  an
What  is  it  that  has  continued  through  life?  One  puts  death  in  opposition  to
living. One says death is at the end of life; an end that may be ten or fifty years
away – or the day after tomorrow. One hopes it will be ten years or more, but this
is one’s illusion, one’s desire, a kind of momentum. One cannot understand how
to face death without understanding or facing living, for death is not the opposite
of living.
Much more important than asking the question: how to face death or, what is
immortality  or,  whether  that  immortality  is  a  state  in  which  one  can  live,  is  the
question  of  how  to  face  life,  how  to  understand  this  terrible  thing  called  living?
Because living as one does, is meaningless. One may try to give meaning to life,
as most people do, saying life is this, or life must be that, but putting aside all
these  romantic,  illusory,  idealistic  nonsenses,  life  is  one’s  daily  sorrow,  its
competition, despair, depression, agony – with the occasional flash of beauty and   70
love. That is one’s life; can one face it and understand it so completely that one is
left with no conflict in life? To do that is to die to everything that thought has built
up.  Thought  has  built  one’s  vanity,  thought  has  said,  «I  must  achieve,  become
somebody, struggle, compete». That is what thought has put together, which is
one’s  existence.  One’s  gods,  churches,  gurus,  rituals,  all  that  is  the  activity  of
thought, a movement of memory, experience, knowledge stored up in the brain, a
material process. And when thought dominates one’s life, as it does, then thought
denies love. Love is not a remembrance. Love is not an experience. Love is not
desire or pleasure.
Living that way, dominated by thought, one has separated from life that thing
called  death,  which  is  an  ending,  and  one  is  frightened  of  it.  If  one  denies
everything in oneself which thought has created – and this requires tremendous
grit – what has one? One is with death; living is dying and so renewal.
One is trained to be an individual – me as opposed to you, my ego against
your ego. But the fact is that one is the entire humanity. One goes through what
every other human being goes through, all one’s sexual appetites, indulgences,
sorrow, great hope, fear, anxiety, the immense sense of loneliness – that is what
every human being has, that is one’s life. One is the entire humanity, one is not
individual. One likes to think one is, but one is not.
There  is  a  life  in  which  there  is  no centre as `me’, a life,  therefore,  walking
hand in hand with death; and out of that sense of ending totally, time has come to
an  end.  Time  is  movement,  movement  is  thought,  thought  is  time.  When  one
asks: «Can one live in that eternity?» – one cannot understand. See what one has
done. «I want to live in eternity, to understand immortality» – which means the `I’
must be part of that. But what is the `I’? A name, a form, and all the things that
thought has put together; that is what the `I’ actually is, to which one clings. And
when death comes through disease , accident, old age, how scared one is.    71
– Saanen, 3rd meeting 1980 –
27th Question Saanen 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 25th July 1980
Question: I am dissatisfied with everything. I have read and thought a great
deal but my discontent with the whole universe is still there. What you talk about
makes  me  more  discontented,  more  disturbed,  more  troubled.  I  now  feel
frustrated,  antagonistic  to  you.  What  is  wrong  with  what  you  are  saying?  Or  is
something wrong with me?
One observes what is happening in the world, one sees the over population,
the pollution, corruption and violence, in practically every country and one tries to
find  an  answer.  One  may  be  discontented,  not  only  with  what  the  speaker  is
saying  but  with  everything  around  one  –  with  one’s  job,  with  one’s  wife  or
husband, with one’s girl or boy friend and much else. One is discontented. And
that  is  the  common  lot  for  most  of  us.  Either  that  discontent  becomes  a
consuming flame, or it is dampened down by seeking some kind of satisfaction in
various  activities  of  life.  Instead  of  allowing  discontent  to  become  a  consuming
flame,  most  of  us  almost  destroy  it.  We  are  so  easily  satisfied,  so  gullible,  so
ready to accept, that gradually our discontent withers away and we become the
normal mediocre human being, without any vitality, without any energy, without
any urge to do anything.
The  questioner  implies  that  he  has  been  through  all  that;  he  has  read  and
thought about life a great deal, he has probably been all over the world and has
not found an answer to this discontent. People who are thoughtful, aware of what
is happening around them and in themselves, are aware that politics, science and
religion  have  not  answered  any  of  our  deep  human  problems.  We  have
technologically  evolved  and  developed  but  inwardly  we  are  discontented.  The
questioner, listening to the speaker, is even more disturbed, more discontented   72
and antagonistic and asks what is wrong with what the speaker is saying – or is
there something wrong with himself? Instead of accepting and sitting quietly and
saying yes, he is antagonistic to the speaker; he does not accept. One must be
very clear as to whether this discontent has a cause, because if it has a cause
then it is seeking contentment, satisfaction, gratification. The discontent creates
the  opposite,  the  wish  to  be  contented,  to  be  satisfied,  to  be  completely
bourgeois. If what one wants, when one is discontented, is to find something with
which one can be completely contented, so that one is never disturbed, then one
will find a way to obtain contentment and discontent will wither and be gone.
Perhaps that is what most of us are doing. You have been to this or to that
talk, you come here wanting some kind of satisfaction, some kind of certainty and
assurance, some gratifying truth. Most of us find satisfaction very easily; in the
kitchen, in some aspect of religion, or in politics. So gradually and inevitably the
mind is narrowed down, made small when its capacity is so immense.
If one is not satisfied with anything, discontented with the whole universe – as
the  questioner  puts  it  –  not  just  dissatisfied  at  the  level  of  having  no  house  or
money, then that discontent has no cause; it is discontent in itself, not because of
something.  Such  people  are  rare  who  have  this  flame  of  discontent.  Perhaps
such a person comes here, listens, and that discontent increases, it becomes all-
consuming.  So  what  shall  he  do  when  he  is  totally  dissatisfied  with  the  whole
structure of thought? He is in an immovable state. He is not seeking, he is not
wanting, he is not pursuing something or other; he is aflame with this thing. And
the speaker is also immovable. What he says is so; not because he is dogmatic,
superstitious,  romantic  or  self-assertive.  He  says  that  if  you  comprehend
consciousness  with  its  content  and  the  freeing  of  that  consciousness  of  its
content there is a totally different dimension. He has said this for fifty years, not
because he has invented it, but because it is so.    73
There are these two entities, one is completely discontented, nothing satisfies
him, words, books, ideas, leaders, politics, nothing and so he is in an immovable
state,  and  the  other  is  equally  immovable,  he  will  not  budge,  he  will  not  yield.
What happens? Two human beings, one from the depth of his mind and heart is
totally dissatisfied and the other also from the depth of his mind and heart says,
«It is so; then these two entities meet. This is not something romantic, invented
out of imagination. This is so. But if one feels antagonistic to the other, then he
has already moved. He has not remained completely dissatisfied. The moment he
says, «I am antagonistic to you and to that of which you speak», he has moved
away  from  what  is  burning.  He  has  already  softened.  Still  the  other  has  no
antagonism; he says, «It is so». When the first person meets the speaker without
antagonism, without wanting something from him, he is alight. Then both are the
same. Fire is fire. It is not your fire, my fire, it is fire. When the fire is dampened,
the are different.    74
28th Question Saanen 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 25th July 1980
Question: One realizes deeply the importance of awareness of one’s inner and
outer  actions,  yet  one  slips  into  inattention  so  easily.  Must  there  be  a
Krishnamurti,  the  books,  the  cassettes,  to  keep  one  alert?  Why?  Why  this  gap
between understanding and immediate action?
Why is inattention so easy, so common? It is taking place all the time. To be
aware  of  what  is  happening  inside  the  skin  and  what  is  happening  outside  the
skin – must there be somebody to remind you of it?
Clothes do not make a man; by putting on robes a monk does not become a
saint. Either the clothes remind you that one must be constantly aware – then you
depend  on  the  clothes  –  or  without  these  outward  garments  can  you  be  aware
and not slip into inattention?
Is  awareness,  whatever  it  is,  to  be  cultivated,  developed  through  practice,
through saying: «I must be aware», and meditating on that awareness or having
some kind of thing to remind one of it constantly – whether a picture or a hair shirt
which is so uncomfortable that one is constantly reminded to be aware? Let us
find  out  what  it  means  to  be  aware.  One  cannot  know  everything  that  is
happening in the world; what the politicians are doing, what the Secret Service is
doing, what the army or the scientists are doing; one does not know what one’s
neighbour is doing, nor what one’s wife or husband is doing inwardly. One cannot
know everything. But one can know, or become aware, of one’s own life inwardly.
Now, is that inner movement different from the outer movement? Is that which is
outside – the pollution, the corruption, the chicanery, the deception, the hypocrisy,
the  violence  –  is  that  very  different  from  oneself  inwardly?  Or  is  it  a  constant
movement, like the tide going in and out? Can one be aware of this movement –
see  and  observe  it?  Can  one  in  the  process  of  observing  this  flow  this  unitary   75
movement, make any choice? In this movement is awareness based on choice?
Can one observe this movement – which is oneself and the world, for the world is
oneself – without any choice? That observation is awareness, which one does not
have to cultivate, about which one does not have to have somebody to remind
one,  neither  books,  nor  tapes.  Once  one  sees  for  oneself  the  truth  that  this
movement out there and the movement in here are essentially similar one does
not need any reminders. It is this same movement that has created the world, the
society,  the  army,  the  navy,  the  scientist,  the  politician,  and  that  movement  is
oneself. Can one seriously, not deceiving oneself, go very very deeply into this
awareness  without  choice;  observing  it  without  any  direction?  One  has  to  be
extremely watchful.
Naturally, that awareness cannot be constant. But to be aware that it is not
constant,  is  to  be  aware  of  inattention.  To  be  aware  of  inattention  is  attention.
One cannot reasonably, sanely, say: «I am going to be alert from the moment I
wake up until the moment I go to sleep» – one cannot, unless one is neurotic and
practises  saying:  «I  am  going  to  be  aware,  I  am  going  to  be  aware»  –  then  it
becomes words and has no meaning. But if one sees that attention, awareness,
cannot be maintained all the time – which is a fact – then inattention, not being
attentive, has its value, has its meaning; because in inattention you discover that
you are not attentive.
The  questioner  asks:  Why  is  there  a  gap  between  understanding  and
immediate action? What does one mean by understanding? Somebody explains
the nature and the structure of the atom, one listens carefully and says, «Yes, I
understand what you are saying». Or one listens to a philosopher and says, «Yes,
I  understand  the  basis  of  your  theories».  All  that  is  intellectual  discernment,
understanding.  That  is  the  function  of  the  intellect  –  to  discern,  to  evaluate,  to
analyse. At that level one says, «I understand». The questioner asks: Why is there
a gap between understanding of that kind and immediate action? One has deeply
to  understand  that  the  word  never  is  the  thing,  the  explanation  is  never  the   76
actuality. Now, understanding takes place when the mind is quiet, not merely at
the  intellectual  level.  You  are  telling  me  something,  something  serious,
philosophic. if my mind is chattering, wandering away, I cannot fully comprehend
what you are saying. So I must listen to you, not translate what you are saying, or
interpret what you are saying, or listen partially because I am frightened of what
you  might  say,  for  then  the  mind  is  disturbed,  moving,  changing,  volatile.
Whereas, if I really want to listen to what you are saying, the mind must be quiet.
Then there is a depth of understanding which is not merely intellectual or verbal.
When there is profound perception of what is being said, false or true – and one
can  discover  the  truth  in  the  false  –  then  in  that  state  of  silent  understanding
action  is  naturally  immediate,  there  is  no  gap  between  the  two.  When  one  is
standing on the edge of a precipice, one does not argue, the intellect does not
say  let  us  discuss,  think  about  it;  one  jumps  away  from  the  danger.  There  is
immediate action of self-protection, which is healthy, natural, normal. One does
not  stand  in  front  of  a  bus  which  is  running  one  down,  or  stand  looking  at  a
dangerous snake, or animal. It is a natural, instinctive, response to save oneself.
If  perception  is  complete  –  which  can  only  take  place  when  the  mind  is  quietly
listening, not accepting, not denying but listening – then that perception and action
are the same.    77
29th Question Saanen 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 25th July 1980
Question:  I  have  understood  the  things  we  have  talked  over  during  these
meetings,  even  if  only  intellectually.  I  feel  they  are  true  in  a  deep  sense.  Now
when I go back to my country shall I talk about your teachings with friends? Or
since I am still a fragmented human being will I only produce more confusion and
mischief by talking about them?
All  the  religious  preachings  of  the  priests,  the  gurus,  are  promulgated  by
fragmented  human  beings.  Though  they  say,  «We  are  high  up»,  they  are  still
fragmented human beings. And the questioner says: I have understood what you
have  said  somewhat,  partially,  not  completely;  I  am  not  a  transformed  human
being. I understand, and I want to tell others what I have understood. I do not say
I have understood the whole, I have understood a part. I know it is fragmented, I
know it is not complete, I am not interpreting the teachings, I am just informing
you what I have understood. Well, what is wrong with that? But if you say: «I have
grasped  the  whole  completely  and  I  am  telling  you»  –  then  you  become  an
authority, the interpreter; such a person is a danger, he corrupts other people. But
if I have seen something which is true I am not deceived by it; it is true and in that
there  is  a  certain  affection,  love,  compassion;  I  feel  that  very  strongly  –  then
naturally I cannot help but go out to others; it would be silly to say I will not. But I
warn  my  friends,  I  say,  «Look,  be  careful,  do  not  put  me  on  a  pedestal».  The
speaker is not on a pedestal. This pedestal, this platform, is only for convenience;
it does not give him any authority whatever. But as the world is, human beings
are tied to something or other – to a belief, to a person, to an idea, to an illusion,
to  a  dogma  –  so  they  are  corrupt;  and  the  corrupt  speak  and  we,  being  also
somewhat corrupt, join the crowd.
Seeing  the  beauty  of  these  hills,  the  river,  the  extraordinary  tranquillity  of  a
fresh  morning,  the  shape  of  the  mountains,  the  valleys,  the  shadow  how   78
everything is in proportion, seeing all that, will you not write to your friend, saying,
«Come over here, look at this?» You are not concerned about yourself but only
about the beauty of the mountain.    79
30th Question Saanen 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 25th July 1980
Question: Why does sex play such an important part in each one’s life in the
There  is  a  particular  philosophy,  especially  in  India,  called  Tantra,  part  of
which  encourages  sex.  They  say  through  sex  you  reach  Nirvana.  It  is
encouraged, so that you go beyond it – and you never do.
Why has sex become so important in our life? It has been so, not only in the
present period, but always. Why has sex been so deeply embedded in man? –
apart  from  producing  children,  I  am  not  talking  of  that.  Why?  Probably  it  is  the
greatest  pleasure  a  human  being  has.  Demanding  that  pleasure,  all  kinds  of
complications  arise;  volumes  have  been  written  with  explanations  of  the
psychological complications. But the authors have never asked the question as to
why human beings have made this thing so extremely important in their lives.
Our life is in a turmoil, it is a constant struggle, with nothing original, nothing
creative – I am using the word `creative’ very carefully. The painter, the architect,
the wood-carver, he may say he is creative. The woman who bakes bread in the
kitchen is said to be creative. And sex, they say, is also creative. So what is it to
be  creative?  The  painters,  the  musicians  and  the  Indian  singers  with  their
devotion, say that theirs is the act of creation. Is it? You have accepted Picasso
as a great painter, a great creator, putting one nose on three faces, or whatever
he does. I am not denying it or being derogatory, I am just pointing it out. That is
what is called creation. But is all that creativeness? Or is creativeness something
totally different? You are seeing the expression of creativeness in a painting, in a
poem,  in  prose,  a  in  a  statue,  in  music.  It  is  expressed  according  to  a  man’s
talent, his capacity great or small; it may be modern Rock or Bach – I am sorry to
compare  the  two!  –  they  are  quite  incomparable.  We  human  beings  have   80
accepted all that as creative because it brings fame, money, position. But I am
asking: is that creativity? Can there be creation, in the most profound sense of
that  word,  so  long  as  there  is  egotism,  so  long  as  there  is  the  demand  for
success, money and recognition – supplying the market? Do not agree with me
please. I am just pointing out. I am not saying I know creativity and you do not; I
am not saying that. I am saying we never question these things. I say there is a
state  where  there  is  creation  in  which  there  is  no  shadow  of  self.  That  is  real
creation;  it  does  not  need  expression,  it  does  not  need  self-fulfilment;  it  is
creation. Perhaps sex is felt to be creative and has become important because
everything  around  us  is  circumscribed,  the  job,  the  office,  going  to  the  church,
following some philosopher, some guru. All that has deprived us of freedom and,
further, we are not free from our own knowledge; it is always with us, the past.
So we are deprived of freedom outwardly and inwardly; for generation upon
generation we have been told what to do. And the reaction to that is: I’ll do what I
want, which is also limited, based on pleasure, on desire, on capacity. So where
there is no freedom, either outwardly or inwardly, specially inwardly, we have only
one thing left and that is called sex. Why do we give it importance? Do you give
equal importance to being free from fear? No. Do you give equal energy, vitality
and  thought  to  end  sorrow?  No.  Why?  Why  only  to  sex?  Because  that  is  the
easiest thing to hand; the other demands all your energy, which can only come
when you are free. So naturally human beings throughout the world have given
this thing tremendous importance in life. And when you give something, which is
only one part of life, tremendous importance, you are destroying yourself. Life is
whole, not just one part. If you give importance to the whole then sex becomes
more or less unimportant. The monks and all those who have denied sex have
turned  their  energy  to  god  but  the  thing  is  boiling  in  them,  nature  cannot  be
suppressed. But when you give that thing all-importance, then you are corrupt.    81
31st Question Saanen 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 25th July 1980
Question:  What  do  you  mean  when  you  ask  us  to  think  together?  Do  you
intend that everybody who listens to you should think with you at the same time?
Don’t you think that this is acting as a guru, leading people to follow your ideas,
thoughts and conclusions?
The word ‘guru’ is a discredited word. I believe that the true meaning is one
who  dispels  ignorance,  not  one  who  adds  his  ignorance  to  yours.  It  has  other
meanings also. There have always been Western gurus from ancient times; the
priests, acting between you and what they call god or the saviour. This has also
existed  in  India.  The  questioner  says:  When  the  speaker  asks  us  to  think
together, is he not setting himself as a guru? So let us examine what it means
when the speaker says ‘think together’.
Thinking  together  is  not  accepting  what  the  speaker  is  saying.  It  is  not
agreeing with or accepting the ideas, the conclusions which he may have. The
speaker, in fact, has no conclusions. But he says ‘think together’ in the sense that
both  of  us  observe  together.  Observe,  and  let  us  find  out  what  it  means  to
observe.  That  does  not  give  him  any  authority.  You  can  make  him  into  an
authority, which would be unfortunate, but he does not have any authority and he
denies any kind of following. If he were laying down any conclusions, ideals and
so on and was accepting disciples, then he would be in a state of corruption. For
the last fifty years he has been saying this.
So there is no sense of authority in this. It is very simple: if he were prejudiced,
if he had all kinds of nauseating, compulsive, neurotic conclusions, it would mean
that he wanted to force them on you. But he constantly says let us share together
what we are observing, out there and in here. That is all.    82
Apparently  you  seem  to  be  incapable  of  standing  alone:  that  word  ‘alone’
means all one. When you are really alone, not contaminated, when you are really
free, you are the whole human entity, the human world. But we are frightened to
be alone; we always want to be with somebody or with an idea or an image. To
be alone is not solitude, solitude has its own beauty, to walk alone in the woods,
alone  along  the  river  not  hand  in  hand  with  somebody  or  other  –  but  alone  in
solitude, which is different from aloneness.If you are walking by yourself, you are
watching the sky, the trees, the birds, the flowers and all the beauty of the earth,
and  also,  perhaps,  you  are  watching  yourself  –  not  having  a  dialogue  with
yourself, not carrying your burdens with you; you have left those behind. Solitude
reveals  you  loneliness,  your  vanity,  your  sense  of  depression.  When  you  have
finished with solitude there is the other, aloneness, which is not a conclusion or a
belief – it is not propaganda, telling you what it means to look. Aloneness is not
pushing you in any direction; when you are directed or when you are guided, you
become a slave and therefore you lose freedom, totally, from the very beginning.
Freedom is not at the end, it is at the beginning.    83
– Saanen, 4th meeting 1980 –
32nd Question Saanen 4th Question & Answer Meeting 26th July
To Be Quiet
Question: You seem to object even to our sitting quietly everyday to observe
the  movement  of  thought.  Is  this,  by  your  definition,  a  practice,  a  method  and
therefore without value?
Now the questioner asks: What is wrong with sitting quietly every morning for
twenty  minutes,  in  the  afternoon  another  twenty  minutes  and  perhaps  another
twenty minutes in the evening or longer – what is wrong with it? By sitting quietly
you can relax, you can observe your thinking, your reactions, your responses and
your  reflexes.  What  is  the  motive  of  those  who  sit  quietly  by  themselves,  or
together in a group? What is the motive behind the desire to sit quietly for half an
hour  every  day?  Is  it  not  important  to  find  out  why  you  want  to  do  this?  Is  it
because  somebody  has  told  you  that  if  you  sit  quietly  you  will  have
parapsychological  experiences,  that  you  will  attain  some  kind  of  peace,  some
kind of understanding, some kind of enlightenment, or some kind of power? And,
being rather gullible, you pay thousands of dollars to receive instructions and a
mantra which you can repeat. Some people have paid thousands of dollars to a
man who will give them something in return – specially a Sanskrit word – and they
repeat  it.  You  pay  something  and  you  receive  something  in  return;  what  is  the
motive behind it? Why are you doing this? Is it for a psychological reward? Is it
that by sitting quietly you attain some kind of super-consciousness? Or is it that
you want that which has been promised by your instructor?
So  it  is  important  –  before  we  plunge  into  all  this  –  to  find  out  what  is  your
motive, what it is that you want. But you do not do that. You are so eager and
gullible;  somebody  promises  something  and  you  want  it.  If  you  examine  the   84
motive, you see that it is a desire to achieve something – like a businessman’s
desire to earn a lot of money. That is his urge. Here the psychological urge is to
have something that a guru, or an instructor, promises. You do not question what
he promises, you do not doubt what he promises. But if you ask the man who is
offering you something: Is it worthwhile? Is it true? Who are you to tell me what to
do? then you will find that sitting quietly, without understanding your motive, leads
to all kinds of illusory psychological trouble. If that is the intention of sitting quietly,
it is not worth it. But if while sitting quietly without any motive, or walking quietly
by yourself or with somebody, you watch the trees, the birds, the rivers and the
sunshine on the leaves, in that very watching you are also watching yourself. You
are not striving, not making tremendous efforts to achieve something. Those who
are  committed  to  a  certain  kind  of  meditation  find  it  very  hard  to  throw  that  off
because  the  mind  is  already  conditioned;  they  have  practised  this  thing  for
several years and there they are stuck. And if somebody comes along and says:
«What nonsense all this is» they may, at a rare moment, become rational and say:
«Yes, perhaps this is wrong; then begins the trouble, the conflict, between what
they  have  found  rationally  for  themselves  and  that  which  they  have  been
practising  for  the  last  ten  years  –  a  struggle  that  is  called  progress,  spiritual
The mind is always chattering, always pursuing one thought or another, one
set  of  sensory  responses  after  another  set  of  responses.  In  order  to  stop  that
chattering you try to learn concentration, forcing the mind to stop chattering and
so  the  conflict  begins  again.  This  is  what  you  are  doing;  chattering,  chattering,
talking endlessly about nothing. Now, if you want to observe something, a tree, a
flower, the lines of the mountains, you have to look, you have to be quiet. But you
are not interested in the mountains, or the beauty of the hills and the valleys and
the waters; you want to get somewhere, achieve something, spiritually.
Is it not possible to be quiet, naturally – to look at a person, or to listen to a
song, or to listen to what somebody is saying quietly, without resistance, without   85
saying,  «I  must  change,  I  must  do  this,  I  must  do  that»,  just  to  be  quiet?
Apparently that is most difficult. So you practise systems to be quiet. Do you see
the fallacy of it? To practise a method, a system, a regular everyday routine, as a
result of which you think the mind will at last be quiet; but it will never be quiet; it
is mechanical, it has become set in a pattern, dull and insensitive. You do not see
all that; you want to get something – an initiation! Oh, it is all so childish.
If you listen quietly, not saying the speaker is right or wrong, or saying, I am
committed  to  this,  I  have  promised  not  to  give  it  up;  I  am  this,  that,  the  other
thing», but listen to what is being said without resistance, then what you are doing
is  your  own  discovery,  then  your  mind  in  the  very  process  of  investigation
becomes quiet.
So can we, ordinary people, with all our troubles and turmoils, be quiet and
listen to all the prattlings of our own movements of thought? Is it possible to sit, or
stand, or walk quietly, without any promptings from another, without any reward
or  desire  for  extraordinary  super-physical  sensory  experiences?  Begin  at  the
most rational level; then one can go very far.    86
33rd Question Saanen 4th Question & Answer Meeting 26th July 1980
Question: What is enlightenment?
To be enlightened about what? Please let us be rational. For instance, one is
enlightened  about  one’s  relationship  with  another.  That  is,  one  has  understood
that  one’s  relationship  with  another  is  based  on  one’s  image  about  the  other,
however  intimate.  That  image  has  been  put  together  through  many  years  of
constant reaction, indifference, comfort, nagging, all that goes on between man
and  woman.  So  the  relationship  is  between  the  two  images.  That  is  what  one
calls  relationship.  Now,  if  one  perceives  the  truth  of  this,  one  says  one  is
enlightened  about  it.  Or,  one  is  enlightened  about  violence;  one  sees  clearly,
without  distortion,  the  whole  movement  of  violence.  Or  one  sees  how  sorrow
arises, and the ending of sorrow is that one is enlightened about it. But we do not
mean that. We mean something else: «I am enlightened, I will tell you about it,
come to me».
If we really go into what enlightenment, illumination, the voice of truth, is, then
we must go carefully into the question of time. The so-called enlightened people
have said that you come to it through time, gradually, life after life – if you believe
in reincarnation – until you come to the point when you are enlightened – about
everything. They say it is a gradual process of experience, knowledge, a constant
movement  from  the  past  to  the  present  and  the  future,  a  cycle.  Now,  is
enlightenment, the ultimate thing, a matter of time? Is it? Is it a gradual process,
which means a process in time, the process of evolution, the gradual becoming?
We  must  understand  the  nature  of  time,  not  chronological  time,  but  the
psychological structure which has accepted time: «I hope ultimately to get there».
The desire, which is part of hope, says, «I will ultimately get there». The so-called
enlightened  people  are  not  enlightened,  for  the  moment  they  say,  «I  am
enlightened», they are not. That is their vanity. It is like a man saying, «I am really   87
humble» – when a man says that you know what he is. Real humility is not the
opposite of vanity. When vanity ends the other is. Those who have said they are
enlightened, say you must attain it, step by step, practise this, do that, don’t do
this; become my pupil, I’ll tell you what to do, I’ll give you an Indian name, or a
new Christian name, and so on. And you, an irrational human being, accept this
nonsense. So you ask, what is that supreme enlightenment? A mind that has no
conflict, no sense of striving, of going, moving and achieving.
One  must  understand  this  question  of  psychological  time,  the  constant
becoming, or not becoming – which are the same. When that becoming is rooted
in the mind it conditions all your thinking, all your activity; then it is a matter of
using time as a means of achieving. But, is there such a thing as becoming? «I
am  violent,  I  will  be  non-violent».  That  means  that  becoming  is  an  idea.  I  am
violent and I project the idea of not being violent, so I create duality; the violent
and non-violent, and so there is conflict. Or I say, «I must control myself, I must
suppress,  I  must  analyse,  I  must  go  to  a  psychologist,  I  must  have  a  psycho-
Without creating the opposite the fact is violence. The fact. The non-violence
is non-fact. If you see the truth that if I am violent, the concept of non-violence
brings about this conflict between the opposites, the non-fact has no value. Now
to observe the whole movement of violence, anger, jealousy, hatred, competition,
imitation, conformity, do so without any direction, without any motive. If you do
that, there is the end of violence, which is immediate perception and action.
So, one can see that illumination, the sense of ultimate reality, is not of time.
This goes against the whole psychology of the religious world, the Christians with
their souls, with their saviours, with their ultimate.
Perception is action, not perception, interval, then action. In the interval there
arises the idea. The mind, the brain, the whole human nervous and psychological
structure, can be free  of  this  burden  of  a  million  years of time so that you see   88
something clearly and therefore that action is invariably immediate. That action
will be rational, not irrational. That action can be explained logically, sanely.
That ultimate thing, which is truth, is not to be achieved through time. It can
never be achieved; it is there; or it is not there.
— Page 73 —
34th Question Saanen 4th Question & Answer Meeting 26th July 1980
Extra-Sensory Experiences
Question: People talk of experiences beyond the senses. There seems to be a
fascination in such experiences but the lives of those who claim to have had them
seem  to  be  as  mediocre  as  before.  What  are  these  experiences?  Are  these
experiences  part  of  enlightenment,  or  a  step  towards  it?  And  if  so,  what  is
It is strange, is it not, that you are always talking about enlightenment, about
what  the  speaker  has  said,  or  what  somebody  else  has  said?  You  never  say:
«Look,  it  is  my  life.  I  am  in  great  pain,  sorrow;  how  am  I  to  resolve  all  this?».
Everywhere the speaker has been, there has always been this kind of question.
You  do  not  question  how  you  will  live  in  this  world  which  is  so  corrupt,  where
there is no justice; and you are part of all that. Why do we not ask a really deep
fundamental question about ourselves? Why is it we never ask: «I don’t seem to
have loved; I know all the descriptions of love; I know when I say to my girl friend
or my wife, `I love you’ – I know it is not love, it is sex, sensory pleasure, desire,
companionship; I know that all that is not that bloom that flowers, that has beauty,
that has creativeness»? But you ask about enlightenment – why? Is it that you are
frightened,  that  you  cannot  bear  to  see  what  you  are  –  the  shoddiness,  the
ugliness, the pettiness, the vulgarity, the mediocrity of it all? And, if you discover
what  you  actually  are,  you  say  please  help  me,  tell  me  what  to  do.  The  father
figure comes into being then.
Apparently we never face ourselves. We avoid it at any cost. That is why we
become so irrational and why we are exploited by all these people. It is really a
tragedy: grown up people – at least we think we are grown up – playing with all
this,  and  not  coming  to  the  root  of  things,  which  is  ourselves.  We  have  to  be
forced, urged, compelled to face ourselves, by somebody. We never, never under
any circumstance face this thing; that is why there is no change in us. Life, the   90
living  of  everyday,  is  a  vast,  tremendous,  experience,  with  its  joys,  pleasures,
anxieties,  its  burden  of  sorrow  and  injustice  all  around  us;  and  the  poverty,
overpopulation,  pollution;  and  the  lack  of  energy  in  ourselves.  Life  is  such  a
complex experience. Yet we are bored with it. We cannot face it. We do not feel
responsible  for  it.  We  separate  ourselves  from  all  this.  That  separation  is
fallacious, unreal, irrational, because we are that, we have created that, each one
of us. We are part of all that and we do not want to face it. So being bored, being
exhausted by the trivialities of life, we go and ask somebody, pay him, to initiate
us, to give us a new name, in the hope of having new experiences.
So, we must understand the nature of our daily living, the daily irritations, the
daily  angers,  boredom,  loneliness  and  despair.  Yet,  instead  of  facing  all  that,
understanding it, cleaning it up, we want super-extra-sensory experiences, when
we have not even understood the activity of the daily response of the senses.
When  one  has  really  understood  and  lived  so  that  the  life  of  everyday
boredom, loneliness, the ache for something better, is cleansed away; when one
is free of all that and the depths are cleared, when the foundation is laid,
then  when  one  goes  beyond  it  one  will  see  that  a  mind  that  is  asking  for
extrasensory experiences is still in the state of being conditioned by the senses.
Then there is a mind that has no experience whatsoever.    91
35th Question Saanen 4th Question & Answer Meeting 26th July 1980
Question: Insight is a word now used to describe anything newly seen, or any
change  of  perspective.  This  insight  we  all  know.  But  the  insight  you  speak  of
seems a very different one. What is the nature of the insight of which you speak?
If you have understood with insight, your whole daily life will be affected. The
first part of the question refers to the sort of experiments carried out on monkeys.
Hang up a bunch of bananas and a monkey takes a stick and beats it and the
bananas drop; the monkey is said to have insight. There is the other monkey who
piles furniture together, one piece on top of another; by that means he reaches
the  bananas.  That  is  also  called  insight.  There  are  also  experiments  with  rats;
they have to do all kinds of tricks, press this button or that button in order to get at
food.  That  is  also  called  insight.  Through  experiment,  through  trial  and  error,
through  constantly  trying  this  button  and  the  other  button  the  right  button  is
ultimately pressed and the door of the trap is opened. This process of so-called
insight is essentially based on knowledge and that is what we are all doing. You
may not call it insight, but it is the actual process of our activity. Try this; if it does
not  suit,  try  that.  Medically,  physically,  sexually  and  so-called  spiritually  we  are
doing  this  all  the  time.  Trying,  experimenting  and  achieving,  which  becomes
acquired knowledge, and from that knowledge we act. This is called insight.
We are referring to an insight which is something entirely different. When the
monkey  pushes  that  button  and  achieves  a  result,  his  brain  has  recorded,
memorized,  that  button  as  giving  that  result;  it  becomes  automatic.  Then  the
experimenter changes the button. The monkey presses the original button but it
does  not  work  so  he  gets  disturbed.  This  is  what  happens  to  you.  Through
experiment, through trial, you find a way of living, which suits you. That then is
called insight. That insight is based on the repetition of knowledge. Knowledge is   92
acquired  or  discarded.  That  insight  is  always  based  on  knowledge,  and
knowledge is the past. There is no knowledge of the now or of the future.
The brain is accustomed to one button, to one pattern; it will not accept basic
change, it does not know where it is, like the monkey; if the buttons are constantly
changed it gives up; it will not move; it is paralysed and does not know what to
do. You can see all this in your own self; not knowing what to do, you rush off
asking somebody what buttons to press.
We  are  talking  about  something  very  serious.  This  constant  change,
happening throughout the world, brings about a sense of paralytic inaction. One
cannot do anything. One can go into a monastery, but that is too immature, too
childish  when  you  are  facing  something  tremendous.  So,  unless  there  is  a
change in the brain cells themselves, the mere pressing of buttons is the same
process repeated. Unless the brain – which is composed of a million, a trillion, or
whatever number of cells – undergoes a radical change it will be repeating the old
pattern, modifying itself, uncertain, insecure, in a paralysing state of inaction, and,
being paralysed it will go off to ask somebody else for help. This is what we are
Can those brain cells change – not by being operated upon, not by being given
new drugs, not as a result of entering into new modes of scientific investigation?
If  not  we  will  keep  on  endlessly  repeating  this  pattern  of  certainty,  uncertainty,
certainty, uncertainty.
I say they can be changed. This movement from certainty to uncertainty and
vice versa, is a pattern of time. The brain is used to that – that is why there are all
these questions about enlightenment, systems and so on. The speaker says they
can be changed, rationally, not in some illusory, fanciful, romantic manner. The
brain, the mind and so the nerves, the whole, can observe itself. Which means no
direction,  no  motive.  When  there  is  no  motive  or  direction,  the  movement  has
already  changed.  The  brain  is  accustomed  to  function  with  motives  and  when   93
there is no motive in observation one has changed the whole momentum of the
past. When there is no motive, no direction, the mind becomes absolutely quiet.
There is inward observation and that observation is insight. Therefore the pattern
to which the brain cells have been accustomed has been broken.
We are brought up on ideals – the greater, the nobler, the better. The ideal has
become more important than `what is’. `What is’ and the ideal are opposed and
must breed conflict. Look what you are doing: the ideal is the creation of thought
in order to overcome `what is’, or to use the future as a lever to change `what is’.
You  are  using  non-fact  to  deal  with  fact.  Therefore  there  is  no  result;  that  way
there  can  never  be  change.  It  is  so  simple  once  you  see  it.  Discard  the  ideal
because it is valueless and observe only the fact. The discarding of the ideal has
changed the pattern of the brain cells; the brain has lived in that pattern and now
the pattern is broken. One has lived in the hope that one will gradually change;
then  one  sees  that  gradualness  is  really  the  same  thing  repeated,  modified,
repeated, modified, repeated – therefore there is no basic change. When you see
that, the whole structure of the brain has changed: that is insight.    94
– Saanen, 5th meeting 1980 –
36th Question Saanen 5th Question & Answer Meeting 27th July 1980
Beyond Measure
Question: I think I can solve my problems. I do not need any help. I have the
energy  to  do  it,  but  beyond  this  I  come  to  receive  –  and  if  you  do  not  like  that
word, to share something measureless to man, something that has great depth
and beauty. Can you share that with me?
One’s problems can be solved without the help of others; they are created by
oneself  in  relationship  to  another;  and  however  subtle,  however  superficial  or
great they can be solved if one applies one’s mind and heart to resolving them –
that is if one is not slack and lazy.
But  the  questioner  wants  to  go  much  further.  He  comes  here  to  share
something  he  calls  `measureless  to  man’  (in  Coleridge’s  words),  something
beyond all measure, something that is not given in churches. The first thing is to
be  clear  as  to  what  we  mean  by  measure  –  because  he  uses  the  word
`measureless’.  Distance  can  be  measured.  So-called  progressive  evolution  can
be measured. One was this yesterday; through meeting the present yesterday is
modified and gives the movement to the future. That can be measured. Thought
is a material process which can be measured – the superficiality of one’s thinking,
the  deeper  and  the  deepest  thoughts.  The  more  and  the  less  can  always  be
measured.  Comparison  is  a  process  of  measurement.  Imitation  and  conformity
can be measured.
As  long  as  there  is  measurement  the  mind  can  only  function  in  that
measurement. The mind, the brain, through training and custom have fallen into
the habit of measurement. Is there something which is not measurable? Is there   95
such a thing? Can the mind, the brain, and the heart, they are all one, can that
whole structure be free of measurement?
The brain – which has evolved through time, millions and millions of years – is
the common brain of humanity. We may not like to realize this because we are
accustomed to the idea that our brains are individual. That concept of individuality
has been the tradition through millennia. That brain is constantly measuring – the
more, the less, the better and the best – it is constantly functioning in that pattern.
But the questioner comes to share something measureless to man.
How then are we going to find out if there is something beyond all measure,
that  is  beyond  all  time  –  because  time  is  measurement?  Time  is  movement.
Thought  is  movement.  Time  is  thought.  Thought  is  born  out  of  memory,
experience, knowledge. This is a material process because in the very cells of the
brain  memories  are  stored.  Everything  that  the  brain  creates  is  a  material
Insight is total perception of the whole complex movement of measurement.
You can only have that insight when you perceive without previous knowledge,
for if you are using knowledge then it is comparative, it is measurable. Insight is
not  measurable.  When  there  is  measureless  insight  the  unfolding  of  the  whole
movement of comparison is not only seen but ends immediately. You can test it;
you do not have to accept the speaker’s word for it.
So: what is beyond measure? To find out there must be freedom from fear, the
deep-rooted,  conscious  or  unconscious  fears.  Fear  is  something  that  can  be
observed and resolved, because the root of fear – not the various branches and
the leaves of that tree – is time. One is afraid of tomorrow. One is afraid of what
has happened. The physical pain which one has had is gone but the fear that it
might  occur  again  remains.  Psychologically  one  has  done  something  wrong,
dishonourable  and  there  is  fear.  Psychologically,  fear  is  time:  «I  am  afraid  of
dying. I am living now but I dread what might happen; that is the measurement of   96
time.  The  root  of  fear  is  time  and  thought.  To  have  an  insight  into  that  is  the
ending of fear totally.
The ending of fear means the understanding of time and the ending of sorrow.
If  the  mind  and  the  brain,  are  cleared  of  sorrow  and  fear  then  there  may  be
something other. But we want to be assured of it, we want it guaranteed, like a
good watch: that is the commercial mentality. There is no guarantee and that is
the beauty of it. This one has to do for itself, not for a reward. And that is very
difficult  for  most  people.  If  one  is  given  something  in  exchange  it  is  an  act  of
measurement. So, can the mind be free of all measurement – especially in your
relationship  to  another,  which  is  more  difficult?  When  one  is  free  of  all
measurement then something totally different takes place. When that which has
taken place beyond measure is described, it is no longer measureless. You can
describe the mountain, the shape of it, the line of it, the shadows; you can paint it,
make a poem about it, but all that is not the mountain. We sit in the valley and
say, «Please tell us about the mountain.» We do not walk there. We want to be
comfortable. There is something beyond all measure.    97
37th Question Saanen 5th Question & Answer Meeting 27th July 1980
Question:  What  is  our  consciousness?  Are  there  different  levels  of
consciousness?  Is  there  a  consciousness  beyond  the  one  of  which  we  are
normally aware? Is it possible to empty the content of consciousness?
One may use words and give descriptions, but what is named and described
is not the fact; so do not be caught in the description.
What is our consciousness? It is to be conscious of, to be aware of, what is
going  on,  not  only  outside  but  inside;  it  is  the  same  movement.  Our
consciousness is the product of our education, our culture, racial inheritance and
the  result  of  our  own  striving.  All  our  beliefs,  our  dogmas,  rituals,  concepts,
jealousies, anxieties, pleasures, our so-called love – all that is our consciousness.
It is the structure which has evolved through millennia after millennia – through
wars, tears, sorrow, depression and elation: all that makes up our consciousness.
Some people say you cannot change consciousness. You can modify it, you can
polish  it,  but  you  have  to  accept  it,  make  the  best  of  it;  it  is  there.  Without  the
content, consciousness, as we know it, does not exist.
The questioner asks: Is it possible to empty consciousness of all content – the
sorrow,  the  strife,  the  struggle,  the  terrible  human  relationships,  the  quarrels,
anxieties, jealousies, the affection, the sensuality? Can that content be emptied?
If  it  is  emptied,  is  there  a  different  kind  of  consciousness?  Has  consciousness
different layers, different levels?
In India the Ancient people divided consciousness into lower, higher and yet
higher. And these divisions are measured, for the moment there is division there
must  be  measurement,  and  where  there  is  measurement  there  must  be  effort.
Whatever  level  consciousness  may  have,  it  is  still  within  consciousness.  The
division  of  consciousness  is  measurement,  therefore  it  is  thought.  Whatever   98
thought has put together is part of consciousness, however you choose to divide
It is possible to empty the content of consciousness completely, The essence
of  this  content  is  thought,  which  has  put  together  the  `me’  –  the  `me’  who  is
ambitious,  greedy,  aggressive.  That  `me’  is  the  essence  of  the  content  of
consciousness.  Can  that  `me’  with  all  this  structure  of  selfishness  be  totally
ended? The speaker can say, «Yes, it can be ended, completely». It means that
there  is  no  centre  from  which  you  are  acting,  no  centre  from  which  you  are
thinking.  The  centre  is  the  essence  of  measurement,  which  is  the  effort  of
becoming. Can that becoming end? You may say: «Probably it can, but what is at
the end of it, if one ends this becoming?»
First of all find out for yourself if this becoming can end. Can you drop, end,
something which you like, that gives you some deep pleasure, without a motive,
without  saying,  «I  can  do  it  if  there  is  something  at  the  end  of  it»?  Can  you
immediately end something that gives you great pleasure? You see how difficult
this is. It is like a man who smokes, his body has been poisoned by nicotine and
when he stops smoking the body craves for it and so he takes something else to
satisfy  the  body.  So  can  you  end  something,  rationally,  clearly,  without  any
motive of reward or punishment?
Selfishness hides in many ways, in seeking truth, in social service, in selling
oneself to a person, to an idea, to a concept. One must be astonishingly aware of
all  this,  and  that  requires  energy,  all  the  energy  that  is  now  being  wasted  in
conflict,  in  fear,  in  sorrow,  in  all  the  travails  of  life.  That  energy  is  also  being
wasted in so-called meditation. It requires enormous energy, not physical energy,
but the energy that has never been wasted. Then consciousness can be emptied
and when it is emptied one may or may not find there is something more, it is up
to  oneself.  One  may  like  something  more  to  be  guaranteed  but  there  is  no
guarantee.    99  100
38th Question Saanen 5th Question & Answer Meeting 27th July 1980
Question: Why is it that almost all human beings, apart from their talents and
capacities,  are  mediocre?  I  know  I  am  mediocre.  I  do  not  seem  to  be  able  to
break through this mediocrity.
Are you aware that you are mediocre? Answer it for yourself. Mediocre means
neither  high  nor  low,  just  hovering  in  between.  The  great  painters,  the  great
musicians, the great architects, have extraordinary capacities and talents but in
their daily life they are like you and me, like everybody else. If you are aware that
you are mediocre, what does it mean? You may have great talent as a writer, a
painter, sculptor, musician, teacher, but that is all outward dress, outward show
hiding  inward  poverty.  Being  poor  inwardly  we  are  always  striving  to  be
something nobler. Trying to fill that insufficiency with the latest gossip of politics,
with the latest rituals, the latest meditations, the latest this and that, is all an act of
mediocrity.  This  sense  of  mediocrity  shows  itself  in  outward  respectability.  And
there  is  the  other  revolt  against  mediocrity,  the  hippies,  the  long  haired,  the
unshaved, the latest fallouts; it is the same movement. Or you join a community,
because inwardly there is nothing in you; by joining you become important, and
there  is  action.  When  you  are  aware  of  this  mediocrity,  this  utter  sense  of
insufficiency, this sense of deep frustrating loneliness, you see it is covered over
by all kinds of activities. If you are aware of that, then what is this loneliness, this
insufficiency? How do you measure this insufficiency? – for this measurement is
limitless; you go on measuring, measuring, measuring; it is unending. Now, can
that comparative observation end? If so, is there insufficiency?
This mediocrity, that all of us seem to have, can be broken through when there
is  no  sense  of  comparison,  of  measurement.  That  gives  you  an  immense
freedom.  Where  there  is  complete  psychological  freedom  there  is  no  sense  of   101
mediocrity. You are out of that class altogether – a totally different state of mind
exists.    102
39th Question Saanen 5th Question & Answer Meeting 27th July 1980
Question:  Attachment  brings  about  a  kind  of  emotional  exchange,  a  human
warmth, which seems a fundamental need. Detachment produces coldness, lack
of  affection,  a  break  in  relationship;  it  can  also  deeply  hurt  others.  Something
seems to be wrong with this approach. What do you say?
The word `attach’ means to cling, to hold, to have the feeling that you belong
to somebody and that somebody belongs to you. Cultivating detachment breeds
lack  of  affection,  a  coldness,  a  break  in  relationship;  it  is  the  cultivation  of  the
opposite. Naturally it will. If detachment is the opposite of attachment, then that
detachment is an idea, a concept, a conclusion that thought has brought about as
a  result  of  realizing  that  attachment  produces  a  lot  of  trouble,  a  lot  of  conflict,
jealousy  and  anxiety.  So  thought  says,  «It  is  much  better  to  be  detached.»
Detachment  is  a  non-fact,  whereas  attachment  is  a  fact.  When  there  is
attachment, to cultivate detachment  is  a  movement  towards  illusion  and  in  that
illusion  you  become  cold,  hard,  bitter,  isolated  without  any  sense  of  affection.
That is what we are all doing: living in non-fact.
Can you face the fact that you are attached – not only to a person, to an idea,
to a belief, but to your own experiences, which is much more dangerous? Your
own experiences give you a sense of excitement, a sense of being alive.
If  one  is  aware  that  one  is  attached  one  sees  all  the  consequences  of  that
attachment  –  anxiety,  lack  of  freedom,  jealousy,  anger,  hatred.  In  attachment
there is also a sense of safety, a sense of stability, a sense of being guarded,
protected.  And  so  there  is  the  possessor  and  the  possessed  and  hence  there
must  be  jealousy,  anxiety,  fear  and  all  the  rest.  Now,  do  you  see  the
consequences  of  all  that  –  not  the  description  of  it  but  the  actuality  of  it?  I  am
attached to you out of my loneliness and that attachment, arising from loneliness,   103
says,  «I  love  you».  I  feel  a  communication  because  you  are  also  in  the  same
position.  Two  people  cling  to  each  other  out  of  their  loneliness,  out  of  their
depression, out of their unhappiness. So what happens? I am clinging not to you,
but to the idea, to something which will help me to escape from myself.
You may be attached to an experience, to an incident, which has given you
great excitement, a great sense of elation, a sense of power, a sense of safety
and  you  are  clinging  to  that.  That  experience,  which  you  have  had,  what  is  it?
That experience is registered in the mind and you hold it. That something you are
holding on to is dead and you also are becoming dead. If you see all this, without
any  direction,  without  any  motive,  just  observe  it,  then  you  will  see  that  insight
shows  the  whole  thing  as  on  a  map.  When  once  there  is  that  insight  the  thing
disappears completely, you are not attached.    104
– Brockwood Park, 1st meeting 1980 –
40th Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 2nd
September 1980
Schools And Foundations
Question:  You  have  spoken  so  much  against  organizations,  so  why  do  you
have schools and foundations? And why do you speak?
A group of us saw the necessity of having a school. `School’ comes from the
Greek  word  for  leisure  –  leisure  in  which  to  learn,  a  place  where  students  and
teachers can flower, a place where a future generation can be prepared, because
schools  are  meant  for  that,  not  just  merely  to  turn  out  human  beings  as
mechanical, technological instruments – though jobs and careers are necessary –
but  also  flower  as  human  beings,  without  fear,  without  confusion,  with  great
integrity. And how to bring about such a `good’ human being? – I am using the
word `good’ in its proper sense, not in the respectable sense, but in the sense of
a whole human being, not fragmented, not broken up. Although it is very difficult
to find teachers who are `whole’, we are trying in India (where there are five or six
schools),  in  California,  in  Canada  and  here,  to  see  that  these  schools  are  real
centres of understanding, of comprehension of life. Such places are necessary;
that  is  why  we  have  these  schools.  We  may  not  always  succeed  but  perhaps
after ten years one or two people may come out of them as total human beings.
The Foundations in America, Canada, India and here exist merely to publish
books,  to  organize  these  gatherings,  to  help  the  schools  –  not  as  centres  of
`enlightenment’ and all that business. And nobody is making a profit out of them.
Now why do I speak? This has often been asked. «Why do you go on wasting
your energy after fifty years when nobody seems to change? Why do you bother
about  it?  Is  it  a  form  of  self-fulfilment?  Do  you  get  energy  talking  about  these   105
things, and so depend on the audience?» We have been through all that several
First  of  all,  I  do  not  depend  on  you  as  a  group  who  come  to  listen  to  the
speaker. The speaker is not attached to a particular group nor is it necessary for
him  to  have  a  gathering.  Then  what  is  the  motive?  I  think  when  one  sees
something true and beautiful, one wants to tell people about it, out of affection,
out of compassion, out of love. And if there are those who are not interested, that
is all right, but those who are interested can perhaps gather together. Can you
ask the flower why it grows, why it has perfume? It is for the same reason the
speaker talks.    106
41st Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 2nd
September 1980
Question: You say that fundamentally my mind works in exactly the same way
as everyone else’s. Why does this make me responsible for the whole world?
What  the  speaker  said  was,  that  wherever  you  go,  throughout  the  world,
human  beings  suffer,  are  in  conflict,  they  feel  anxiety  and  uncertainty.  Both
psychologically  and  physically  there  is  very  little  security;  there  is  fear,  there  is
loneliness,  despair  and  depression.  This  is  the  common  lot  of  human  beings
whether  they  live  in  China,  Japan,  India,  America,  Russia  or  here  –  everybody
goes through this. It is their life. And as a human being you are the whole world
psychologically. You are not separate from the man who is suffering, anxious and
lonely, in India or in America. You are the world and the world is you. This is a
fact which very few people realize, not a philosophical concept, an idea, but a fact
– as when you have a headache. And when one realizes that profoundly, then the
question  arises:  what  is  my  responsibility?  We  are  asking  each  other  this
question, please. When you realize that, not verbally but in your blood, that you
are no longer an individual – which is a great shock for most people, we think our
minds, our problems, our anxieties are all ours, personally – when one sees the
truth  of  this  matter,  then  what  is  our  responsibility?  What  is  our  responsibility
globally – not only for our family, wife and children – but for the whole of mankind,
because we are mankind? We have our illusions, our images of God, our images
of heaven, our rituals, exactly like the rest of the world, only with different names,
but the pattern is the same.
What  is  your  reaction  when  you  feel  that  you  are  humanity?  How  do  you
respond to the challenge? How do you meet any challenge? If you meet it from
your old individual conditioning, your response will naturally be totally inadequate
and  fragmentary,  it  will  be  rather  shoddy.  So  you  have  to  find  out  what  your   107
response is to this great challenge. Does your mind meet it greatly, or with your
fears, your anxieties, the little concerns about yourself?
The  responsibility  depends  upon  the  response  to  the  challenge.  Is  it  just  a
flutter, a romantic appeal, or something profound that will transform your whole
way of looking at life? Then you are no longer British, American, French. Will you
give  up  all  that?  Or  merely  play  with  the  idea  that  it  is  a  marvellous  Utopian
concept?    108
42nd Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 2nd
September 1980
Urgency To Change
Question: When I listen to you there is an urgency to change. When I return
home it fades. What am I to do?
What are you to do? Is the urgency to change due to, or influenced by, the
speaker? While you are here you are driven into a corner but when you leave that
is  so  no  longer.  It  means  that  you  are  being  challenged,  influenced,  driven,
persuaded, and when that is gone you are where you were.
Now, what is one to do? Please let us think out the right answer to this. What
is one to do? I come to this gathering from a distant place. It is a lovely day. I
have  put  up  a  tent  and  I  am  really  interested.  I  have  read,  not  only  what  the
speaker  has  said,  but  a  great  deal  besides.  I  know  the  Christian  and  Buddhist
concepts,  the  Hindu  mythology,  and  I  have  also  done  different  forms  of
meditation, the T.M., the Tibetan, Hindu and Buddhist. But I am dissatisfied with
all those, so I come here and I listen. Now am I prepared to listen completely? I
cannot listen completely if I bring all my knowledge here with me. I cannot listen
or learn, or comprehend, completely if I belong to some sect, if I am attached to
one particular concept and if I also want to add to that what is said here. I must
come, if I am serious, with a free mind, with a mind that says, «Let’s find out, for
God’s sake», not, «I want to add what you are saying to what I already know».
So  what  is  one’s  attitude  going  to  be?  The  speaker  has  been  saying
constantly: freedom is absolutely necessary. Psychological freedom first, not the
physical  freedom  which  you  have  in  the  democratic,  if  not  in  the  totalitarian,
countries.  Inward  freedom  can  only  come  about  when  one  understands  one’s
conditioning,  the  conditioning  which  is  both  social  and  cultural,  religious,
economic  and  physical.  Can  one  be  free  of  that  –  of  the  psychological   109
conditioning? Me first, everybody else second! What is difficult in all this is that
we cling to something so deeply that we are unwilling to let go. One has studied
various things and one is attracted to a particular psychological school. One has
gone into it, studied it and found out that there is a great deal in it and one sticks
to it. And then one comes here and listens and adds what one has heard to that.
So it all becomes a melange, a mixture of everything. Are we not doing that? Our
minds  become  very  confused.  And  for  the  time  being  when  you  are  here  that
confusion is somewhat pushed away or diminished, but when you leave, it is back
again. Can one be aware of this confusion, not only while you are here but when
you are at home – that is much more important?
So what does it all indicate? We have the intelligence to solve technological
problems: the problem-solving mind. We all have that, but it is not intelligence.
The  capacity  to  think  clearly,  objectively,  and  to  be  aware  of  the  limitation  of
thinking,  that  is  the  beginning  of  intelligence.  We  worship  thinking;  the  more
cleverly  we  can  think,  the  greater  we  see  ourselves  as  being.  Whereas  if  we
could observe our own confusion, our own individual narrow way of looking at life,
if we could be aware of all that, we would see how thought is perpetually creating
problems.  Thought  creates  the  image  and  that  image  divides  –  to  see  that
requires intelligence. To see psychological dangers is intelligence. But apparently
we do not see those things. That means somebody has to goad you all the time,
push  you,  drive  you,  ask  you,  persuade  you,  beg  you  to  make  you  aware  of
yourself; and then to move from there, not just stay there. And I am afraid nobody
is going to do that for you, not even the most enlightened human being, because
then you become his slave.
Vitality,  physical  and  psychological  energy,  is,  as  you  are  now,  being
dissipated in conflict, in worry, in chattering, in endless gossip not only with others
but  with  oneself.  This  endless  chattering!  It  all  dissipates  the  psychological
energy that is needed to observe ourselves in the mirror of relationship – we are
all  related  to  somebody  or  other  –  and  so  discover  our  illusions,  images,   110
absurdities  and  idiocies.  Then  out  of  that  observation  comes  freedom  and  the
intelligence which will show the way of life.    111
43rd Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 2nd
September 1980
Question:  I  derive  strength  from  concentrating  on  a  symbol.  I  belong  to  a
group that encourages this. Is this an illusion?
Do not belong to anything! Sir, see the reason of this: we cannot stand alone,
we want support, we want the strength of others, we want to be identified with a
group,  with  an  organization.  The  Krishnamurti  Foundation  is  not  such  an
organization, it merely exists to publish books and so on. But there is this idea
that we must be part of something, for belonging to something gives one strength.
The questioner says that he derives strength from concentrating on a symbol.
We all have symbols. The Christian world is filled with symbols and images, with
concepts, beliefs, ideals, dogmas, rituals, and it is the same in India. Now when
one  belongs  to  a  large  group  which  adores  the  same  symbol,  one  derives
enormous strength from it; it creates a feeling that at last one is understanding
something beyond the symbol.
First,  we  invent  the  symbol  –  see  how  our  minds  work  –  the  image  in  the
church  or  in  the  temple,  or  the  letters  in  the  mosque,  and  in  worshipping  that
which  we  have  created  out  of  our  thought,  we  derive  strength.  See  what  is
happening. The symbol is not the actuality. The actuality may never exist, but the
symbol satisfies and gives us vitality by looking at it, thinking about it, being with
it. Surely that which has been created by thought must be illusion. If you create
me as being your guru – I refuse to be a guru, it is too absurd, because I see how
the  followers  destroy  the  guru  and  the  guru  destroys  the  followers  –  but  if  you
create an image about me, about the speaker, then the whole business begins; to
me it is an abomination.    112
Thought  is  the  mischief  maker  in  this.  All  the  images  it  has  created  in  the
churches, in the temples, in the mosques, are not truth, are not actual. They have
been invented by us and by the priests, out of our fear, out of our anxiety and
uncertainty of the future. We have created a symbol and we are caught in it. So
first  realize  that  thought  will  always  create  the  things  which  give  satisfaction,
psychologically, which give comfort. The reassuring image is a great comfort; it
may be a total illusion – and it is – but it gives comfort and therefore we will never
look beyond the illusion.    113
44th Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 2nd
September 1980
Thought And Consciousness
Question: What is the relationship between thought and consciousness? why
do we seem unable to go beyond thought?
What is thought and what is consciousness? Are the two different? When you
say what is the relationship between thought and consciousness, it implies, does
it not, that there are two different entities, or two different movements? First we
have  to  consider  together  what  thought  is,  for  it  is  upon  this  whole  question  of
thinking  that  all  our  conduct,  our  activities,  are  based.  Thought  is  part  of  our
emotions, sentiments, reactions and the recognition of those reactions. And what
is consciousness? To be conscious of something, to be aware of, to be able to
recognise, to understand, that is the whole field in which the mind is in operation,
and that is more or less what we mean by consciousness.
The  questioner  asks:  What  is  the  relationship  between  the  two?  All  our
activities  are  based  on  thought,  with  its  images,  past  remembrances  or  future
projections  and  the  enormous  activity  in  every  direction,  technological,
psychological, physical. And our relationship with each other is based on thought,
the thought which has created your image about another and the other’s image
about you. That thought surely is based on knowledge, experience, memory. The
reaction of that memory is thinking. And experience, knowledge, memory and the
movement of thought is a material process. So thought is always limited because
knowledge is always limited. There is no complete knowledge about anything –
except the ending of knowledge, which is a different matter. So where there is the
operation of knowledge and the movement of memory, thought is limited, finite,
definite.    114
And what part does thought play in consciousness? All the knowledge which
we have accumulated, all the experiences, not only the personal but the collective
memories,  genetic  responses,  the  accumulated  experience  of  generation  after
generation,  all  the  travail,  anxiety,  fear  and  the  pleasures,  the  dogmas,  the
beliefs, the attachments, the pain of sorrow – all that is our consciousness. You
can  add  to  or  take  away  from  it  but  it  is  still  the  movement  of  thought  as
consciousness. One can say there is a super consciousness but it would still be
part of thought. Consciousness is in constant movement, breaking up the `you’
and the `me’. Our consciousness is made up of its content; without that content
what  is  our  consciousness?  Is  there  a  consciousness  totally  differing  from  that
which  is  made  up  of  the  various  activities  of  thought  which  we  call
consciousness? To come to that point one has to find out if thought can end, not
temporarily,  not  between  two  thoughts  as  a  gap,  or  a  period  of  silence  or
unconscious  movement.  Can  thought  ever  end?  This  has  been  the  problem  of
those serious people who have gone into it very deeply through meditation. Can
thought, which is so enormously powerful, which has got such a volume of energy
behind it, energy created through millennia – in the scientific field, the economic,
religious, social and personal fields – can all that activity come to an end? Which
means: can those things that thought has built into our consciousness, of which
we are made up, which are the content of consciousness, end?
Why  do  we  want  to  end  it?  What  is  the  motive  behind  this  desire  to  end
thought?  Is  it  that  we  have  discovered  for  ourselves  how  thought creates such
great travail, great anxiety for the future, from the past, in the present, and brings
about such a sense of utter isolation and loneliness?
When you ask that question: «Can thought come to an end?» are you seeking
a  method  to  end  it,  a  system  which  you  practise  day  after  day  so  as  to  end
thought?  If  you  practise  day  after  day,  that  very  practise  intensifies  thought  –
naturally.  So  what  is  one  to  do?  One  realizes  the  nature  of  thought,  its
superficiality,  the  intellectual  games  it  plays.  One  knows  how  thought  divides,   115
divides  into  nationalities,  into  religious  beliefs  and  so  on;  and  the  perpetual
conflict it produces from the moment we are born until we die. Is that the reason
why  you  want  to  end  thought?  One  has  to  be  very  clear  about  the  motive  for
wanting to end thought – if that is possible – because the motive will dictate and
direct. One can live in the illusion that thought has come to an end. Many people
do, but that illusion is merely another projection of thought which desires to end
Thought  and  the  things  that  thought  has  built  as  consciousness  with  its
content, can all that come to an end? If the speaker says it can, what value has
that? None whatever. But can one realize the nature of consciousness and the
movement of thought as a material process and observe it – can one do this? Can
one observe the movement of thought, not as an observer looking at thought, but
thought  itself  becoming  aware  of  its  own  movement;  the  awakening  of  thought
and thought itself observing its movement? Take a very simple example, greed:
observe it as it arises in one and then ask oneself, «Is the observer, is the thinker,
different from thought?» To observe thinking is fairly easy. I separate myself as an
observer and watch my thinking, which most of us do. But this division is illusory,
is fallacious, because the thinker is thought. So can the observer be absent in his
observation? The observer, the thinker is the past – the remembrances, images,
knowledge,  experiences,  all  the  things  that  he  has  accumulated  in  time  is  the
observer. The observer names a reaction as greed and in naming it he is already
caught in the past. By the very naming of the reaction we call greed, we have
established it in the past. Whereas if there is no naming but pure observation – in
which there is no division as the observer and the observed, the thinker and the
thought,  the  experiencer  and  the  experience  –  then  what  takes  place?  Our
conditioning is to make this division between the observer and the observed and
that is why we take such enormous trouble to control the thing that is observed. I
am  greedy,  that  is  the  reaction.  But  we  say,  «I  am  different  from  greed  and
therefore I can control it, I can operate on it, I can suppress it, I can enjoy it, I can   116
do something about it». The fact is, the thinker is the thought. There is no thinker
without thought.
So  observe  without  past  memories  and  reactions  projecting  themselves
immediately  in  observation;  observe  purely,  without  any  direction,  without  any
motive; then one will find, if one has gone into it deeply, that thought does come
to an end. Thought is a movement and time is a movement, so time is thought.
This is real meditation: for thought to see its own movement, how it arises, how it
creates  the  image  and  pursues  that  image;  it  is  to  observe  so  that  there  is  no
recognition  of  what  is  being  observed.  To  make  it  very  simple:  observe  a  tree
without naming it, without wondering to what use it can be put, just observe it.
Then the division between the tree and you comes to an end – but you do not
become the tree, I hope not! The word with the neurological responses creates
the division. That is, can one observe one’s wife or another, without the word and
so without the image and all the remembrances of that relationship? – which is, to
observe purely? Then, in that observation, which is complete attention, has not
thought  come  to  an  end?  This  requires  a  great  deal  of  attention,  step  by  step
watching, like a good scientist who watches very, very carefully. When one does
that, thought does come to an end and therefore time has a stop.    117
– Brockwood Park, 2nd meeting 1980 –
45th Question Brockwood Park 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 4th
September 1980
Question:  Does  compassion  spring  from  observation,  or  thought?  Is  not
compassion an emotional feeling?
I  do  not  know  how  to  answer  this.  What  is  compassion?  Is  it  emotion,
something romantic? Does it expend itself in some kind of social work? One has
to find out what compassion is, what love is. Is love desire? Is love pleasure? And
can there be love where there is ambition? Can there be love when one is trying
to  become  something  –  not  only  in  the  outward  world  but  also  psychologically
where there is this constant struggle to be or to become something? Can there be
love when there is jealousy and violence; when there is division between you and
me? Can there be love when you are nationalistic? In this nationalistic division
and the division of beliefs, images, can there be love? Of course there can be no
love when there is such division. But all of us are so heavily conditioned, and we
accept that conditioning as normal.
What is the relationship of love to sorrow? Can suffering and love go together
– not only personal suffering but the enormous suffering of mankind, the suffering
that wars have brought about and are still bringing about, the suffering of people
living in totalitarian states – can there be love when there is suffering? Or is it only
with the ending of suffering that there is passionate compassion?
After stating all this, where are we? Is love just an ideal – something which we
do  not  know  and  therefore  want  to  have:  that  extraordinary  sense  of  great
compassion?  But  we  will  not  pay  the  price  for  it.  We  would  like  to  have  this
marvellous jewel but are unwilling to make a gesture, do something that will bring   118
it about. If you want peace you must live peacefully, not be divided into nations
with wars and all the hideousness that is going on. So what price do we pay for
this,  not  coins  and  paper,  but  inwardly?  How  deeply,  profoundly,  do  I  see  that
nationalism, that all division, must end in myself as a human being? Because one
human being – whether you or I – is like the rest of the world, psychologically. We
all suffer, we all go through agonies, we all go through great fears, uncertainties,
confusion, we are all caught in absurd religious nonsense. We are that. Can we
see the totality, not as an idea, not as something longed for, but as a fact, as a
burning,  actual,  daily  fact?  Then  out  of  that  perception  the  responsibility  of
compassion comes. Compassion goes with great intelligence. That intelligence is
not the operation of knowledge. Knowledge can solve many problems, intellectual
and  technical,  but  intelligence  is  something  entirely  different.  Please  do  not
accept  what  I  am  saying,  just  look  at  it.  You  may  have  read  a  great  deal,  be
capable  of  great  arguments  and  of  solving  problems,  but  the  problem-solving
mind is not the intelligent mind. Intelligence comes with compassion, with love.
And when that intelligence is an action of compassion it is global, not a particular
action.    119
46th Question Brockwood Park 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 4th
September 1980
Question: Why do you say attachment is corruption? Are we not attached to
those we love?
Does this need explanation? When you are attached to an idea, to a concept,
to an ideal as the Communists are, or the Catholics, is there not the beginning of
corruption? When I am tied to a belief, to a god, to an image or to a person, is
there not the beginning of corruption? Please Sirs, it is not what I say – just look at
it for yourselves. Is attachment love? If I were attached to you as an audience
(God forbid!) I would be exploiting you, deriving great comfort from you, fulfilling
myself. Is that not corruption? When I am attached to my wife, to my friend, to a
piece of furniture or whatever it is, corruption begins: I have to guard it, I have to
protect it, and so comes fear. Fear begins with attachment. I may derive pleasure
in that attachment, comfort, encouragement, but there is always the shadow of
fear in it, anxiety, jealousy and possessiveness; people like to be possessed and
to possess. Is that not corruption because in that there is a sense of fear, anxiety,
that I might lose it?
So can one live in this world without any sense of attachment to anything? – to
one’s beliefs, dogmas, gods, to all the various symbols, ideologies and images
and  to  the  furniture,  house,  experiences?  Which  does  not  mean  that  one
becomes detached. When there is an attempt to be detached then detachment is
part of attachment, because the opposite has its roots in its own opposite. Is that
clear? So when one understands the nature of attachment, the consequences of
it, sees the whole movement of it, not just one particular attachment to a person,
to an idea, or to a piece of furniture, but comprehend and have insight into this
whole  movement  of  attachment  –  then  attachment  drops  away  immediately   120
without any conflict. Then perhaps one has love – because love, fear and jealousy
cannot go together.    121
47th Question Brockwood Park 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 4th
September 1980
A Minority
Question: You say, «We are the world», but the majority of the world seem to
be heading for mass destruction. Can a minority of  integrated people outweigh
the majority?
Are you, are we, that minority? Is there one among us who is totally free of all
this? Or are we partially contributing to the hatred of each other, psychologically?
You may not be able to stop one country attacking another, but psychologically,
are  you  free  of  your  common  inheritance,  which  is  your  tribal  glorified
nationalism?  Are  we  free  from  violence?  Violence  exists  where  there  is  a  wall
around  ourselves.  Do  please  understand  all  this.  And  we  have  built  ourselves
walls, fifteen feet high and ten feet thick. All of us have these walls around us.
From that arises violence and this sense of immense loneliness. So the minority
and  the  majority  are  you.  If  a  group  of  us  have  psychologically  transformed
ourselves  fundamentally  we  will  never  ask  this  question,  because  we  are  then
something entirely different.    122
48th Question Brockwood Park 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 4th
September 1980
Faith And Prayer
Question: Christian mystics describe certain forms of mental prayer in which
they speak to God, or what they call God. They say that in such prayer something
tremendous  happens  which  they  call  union  with  God.  They  are  convinced  that
this  is  not  an  illusion.  Are  they  deceiving  themselves?  Then  what  is  faith?  It
appears to give people the power to do extraordinary things.
When you are a nationalist it gives you extraordinary power to kill others. Look
what they are doing! So can an illusion give you enormous vitality and strength to
do extraordinary things? Apparently it does. Look what the Christian missionaries
have done in the world because they believe in something. That belief may be
totally unreal, an image that the mind has created, but they believe in it and are
attached  to  it  and  they  want  to  convert  all  the  others  in  the  world  to  the  same
belief. They put up with extraordinary discomforts, with disease and every kind of
hardship. And those mystics who talk to God through prayer – I don’t know what
God is, nobody knows – they have an image that there is a supreme entity and
that through prayer, through faith, through dedication, through devotion, you can
move mountains. Look at what America, Russia, India and all the other countries
are doing. They have tremendous faith in their country, in their nationalism, and
they are building a vast technological world to destroy the others, who are doing
exactly  the  same  thing.  To  go  to  the  moon,  what  enormous  energy  it  needed,
what technological capacity, faith; the Americans first on the moon with their flag!
In  the  Christian  world  faith  has  taken  the  place  of  doubt.  Doubt  is  very
cleansing, it purifies the mind. If you doubt your experiences, your opinions, you
are  free  to  observe  clearly.  In  the  Eastern  world,  in  Buddhism  and  Hinduism,
doubt is one of the major factors, it is demanded that you doubt, question, you
must not accept: be a light unto yourself, a light that cannot be given to you by   123
anyone. (Of course, now, in India and Asia it has all gone to pieces, they are just
like anybody else, they are becoming merchants.) Great strength does not come
through prayer, it does not come through illusion, faith; it comes through clarity,
through  the  mind  that  can  see  clearly;  and  that  clarity  does  not  come  and  go.
When  you  see  something  clearly  –  for  instance  that  nationalism  is  the  most
destructive thing in the world – then you are finished with it. And the ending of that
burden gives you vitality, energy, strength. Similarly if you are totally free of all
attachments it gives you the strength of love, and that can do much more than all
the other experiences and prayers.
To escape through an illusion, through a symbol, through an ideal is an easy
way out. But to see exactly what we are and go beyond demands a great deal of
energy, perception and action; it is much more arduous. It means that we have to
become astonishingly aware in all our activities and feelings. But we are unwilling
to do all that. We think that through some easy prayer we can talk to God. God is,
after  all,  put  together  by  thought:  the  Christian  God,  the  Hindu  gods;  the
Buddhists have no gods but they have their own images.    124
49th Question Brockwood Park 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 4th
September 1980
Helping Others
Question: I have been a member of a Gurdjieff group. I find it has given me a
background  to  better  understanding  of  what  you  are  saying.  Should  I  continue
with such a group in order possibly to help others, as I was helped? Or does a
group make for fragmentation?
This is an extraordinary idea, this idea of helping others, as though you have
comprehension, beauty, love and truth, the whole world of order, and that great
immense  sense  of  wholeness.  If  you  have  that  you  do  not  talk  about  helping
Why do we want to belong to something? – belong to some sect, some group,
some religious body? Is it because it gives us strength? Is it that we cannot stand
alone? The word `alone’ means all one. Is it that we need encouragement, need
somebody to tell us this is the right way? The questioner says: As I belong to a
certain  group,  it  has  helped me to understand you.  Understand  what?  Me?  Do
please look at it. Understand what we are talking about? Do we need interpreters
to understand what we are talking about? – to be kind, to love, to have no sense
of  nationality?  Does  it  need  anybody  to  tell  us  that?  Why  do  we  depend  on
others, whether the other be an image in a church, in a temple or mosque, or the
preacher, the psychologists? Why do we depend on others? If we do depend on
others psychologically we become secondhand people, which we are. The whole
history  of  mankind  is  in  us  –  the  story  of  mankind  is  not  in  books  except  for
outward things; the whole history is here. And we do not know how to read it. You
understand what I am saying? You are the book. But when you read the book as
a reader it has no meaning. But if you are the book and the book is showing you,
telling you the story, then you will not depend on a single person, you will be a
light unto yourself. But we are all waiting for a match, the fire of another, to kindle   125
the light. Perhaps that is why you are all here. And that is where the tragedy lies,
because we cannot see clearly for ourselves. Before we help others we have to
see clearly, for God’s sake! It is like the blind leading the blind.    126
50th Question Brockwood Park 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 4th
September 1980
Question: What is freedom?
Many philosophers have written about freedom. We talk of freedom – freedom
to do what we like, to have any job we like, freedom to choose a woman or a
man, freedom to read any book, or freedom not to read at all. We are free, and
what do we do with that freedom? We use that freedom to express ourselves, to
do whatever we like. More and more life is becoming permissive – you can have
sex in the open park or garden.
We have every kind of freedom and what have we done with it. We think that
where there is choice we have freedom. I can go to Italy or France: a choice. But
does  choice  give  freedom?  Why  do  we  have  to  choose?  If  you  are  very  clear,
perceive purely, there is no choice. Out of that comes right action. It is only when
there  is  doubt  and  uncertainty  that  we  begin  to  choose.  So  choice,  if  you  will
forgive my saying so, prevents freedom.
The totalitarian states have no freedom at all, because they have the idea that
freedom brings about the degeneration of man. Therefore they control, suppress –
you know what is happening.
So what is freedom? Is it based on choice? Is it to do exactly what we like?
Some  psychologists  say,  if  you  feel  something,  do  not  suppress,  restrain  or
control it, but express it immediately. And we are doing that very well, too well.
And this is also called freedom. Is throwing bombs freedom? – just look what we
have reduced our freedom to!
Does  freedom  lie  out  there,  or  here?  Where  do  you  begin  to  search  for
freedom?  In  the  outward  world,  where  you  express  whatever  you  like,  the  so-called individual freedom, or does freedom begin inwardly, which then expresses
itself  intelligently  outwardly?  You  understand  my  question?  freedom  exists  only
when there is no confusion inside me, when I am psychologically and religiously
not  to  be  caught  in  any  trap  –  you  understand?  There  are  innumerable  traps:
gurus, saviours, preachers, excellent books, psychologists and psychiatrists; they
are all traps. And if I am confused and there is disorder, must I not first be free of
that disorder before I talk of freedom? If I have no relationship with my wife, my
husband or another – because our relationships are based on images – there is
conflict  which  is  inevitable  where  there  is  division.  So  should  I  not  begin  here,
inside  me,  in  my  mind,  in  my  heart,  to  be  totally  free  of  all  fears,  anxieties,
despairs and the hurts and wounds that one has received through some psychic
disorder? Watch all that for oneself and be free of it!
But apparently we have not the energy. We go to another to give us energy.
By  talking  to  a  psychiatrist  we  feel  relieved  –  confession  and  all  the  rest  of  it.
Always  depending  on  somebody  else.  And  that  dependence  inevitably  brings
conflict  and  disorder.  So  one  has  to  begin  to  understand  the  depth  and  the
greatness  of  freedom;  one  must  begin  with  that  which  is  nearest,  oneself.  The
greatness  of  freedom,  real  freedom,  the  dignity,  the  beauty  of  it,  is  in  oneself
when there is complete order. And that order comes only when we are a light to


Εισάγετε τα παρακάτω στοιχεία ή επιλέξτε ένα εικονίδιο για να συνδεθείτε:

Λογότυπο WordPress.com

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό WordPress.com. Αποσύνδεση / Αλλαγή )

Φωτογραφία Twitter

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό Twitter. Αποσύνδεση / Αλλαγή )

Φωτογραφία Facebook

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό Facebook. Αποσύνδεση / Αλλαγή )

Φωτογραφία Google+

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό Google+. Αποσύνδεση / Αλλαγή )

Σύνδεση με %s