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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


Rimpocheji has asked a question: In listening to you over the years, one feels that the door is about to open but it does not. Is there something inhibiting us?

A.P.: We live in time. Do we find that the door to perception is closed because perception is not?

P.J.: Many of us have had this feeling that we are at the threshold.

B.K.: It is true for all of us, but part of the problem also - and perhaps it is implied in the question - is that we are afraid to open the door because of what we might find behind it.

P,J.: I did not say that.

A.P.: What you say would imply that there is somebody who opens the door. It is not like that.

K: What is it that prevents one, after exercising a great deal of intelligence, reason, rational thinking and watching one's daily life; what is it that blocks us all? That is the question, isn't it?

P.J.: I would go beyond that. I would say there has been diligence, seriousness, and we have discussed this over the years.

K: But yet something does not click. It is the same thing. I am an average man, fairly well educated, with the capacity to express myself, to think intellectually, rationally and so on; there is something totally missing in all this and I can't go any further - is that the question? Further, do I perceive that my whole life is so terribly limited?

P.J.: I say we have done what has to be done. We have taken the decisions.

K: All right. What is it that a man or a woman can do who has studied K, talked all these years but finds himself up against a wall?

P.J.: I am neither here nor there; I am in-between. I am in the middle of the stream. You can't say you are there nor can you say that you have not started. You must take this into account, sir, even though you say there is no gradual approach.

K: Then what is the question?

P.J.: It is as if something is at the point of opening, but it does not open.

K: Are you like the bud which has moved through the earth; the sun has shone on it but the bud never opens to become a flower? Let us talk about it.

G.N.: Biological time propels action because of the innate energy in it. You say, in the same way psychological time also propels a certain kind of action. Is psychological time a deposit like biological time?

K: You are mixing up the two questions. Pupulji says this: I have done most things, I have read. I have listened to K, I have come to a certain point where I am not entirely with the world nor with the other. I am caught in between. I am half way and I don't seem to be able to move any further.

B.K.: I think the answer has been suggested by you for several years and that is the intellectual answer we give.

P.J.: I am not prepared to accept that. When I put K this question, all this I have seen and gone through. B.K.: The rational part of the mind is repressed.

P.J.: No, it is not so. I have observed time. I have gone into the process of time - psychological time. I have seen its movement. Some of the things K says seem so to me. I can't say that they are totally unknown to me. But there seems to be a point at which some leap is necessary.

K: In Christian terminology, you are waiting for grace to descend on you.

P.J.: Perhaps.

K: Or are you looking for some outside agency to break this? Do you ever come to the point where your brain is no longer saying, `I am seeking, searching, asking,' but is absolutely in a state of not-knowing? Do you understand what I am saying? When the brain realizes, `I don't know a thing' except the technological - do you ever come to that point?

P.J.: I do not say that, but I do know a state in which the brain ceases to function. It is not that it says, `I don't know,' but all movement ends.

K: You are missing my point.

P.J.: I am not.

K: I am afraid I am not making myself clear. A state of not-knowing - I think that is one of the first things that is demanded. We are always arguing, searching; we never come to the point of utter emptiness, of not-knowing. Do we ever come to that, so that the brain is really at a standstill? The brain is always active, searching, asking, arguing, occupied. I am asking, is there a state of the brain when it is not occupied with itself? Is that the blockage?

M.Z.: in emptiness, there is a tremendous openness where nothing is being stored, where there isn't any movement, where the state of openness of the brain is at its greatest.

K: I would not introduce all these words for the moment. I am just asking, is there a moment when the brain is totally unoccupied?

S.P.: What do you mean by `totally unoccupied'?

B.K.: It does not think at that moment. It is blank.

K.: See the danger, because you are all translating what I have said.

J.U.: All action is bound within a time-space framework. Are you trying to bring us to the point where we see that all action as we know it is bound by time and space, is illusion, and so has to be negated?

K: Yes. It is negated. Is that a theory or an actuality?

J.U.: Are you speaking of that state which lies between two actions?

K: Shall we begin by enquiring into action? What is action?

J.U.: In reality, there is no action.

K: You are all theorizing. I want to know what action is, not according to some theory but the action itself, the doing.

J.U.: Action is the movement of thought from one point in space to another or one moment of time to another...

K: I am not talking about thought moving from one point to another point, but of action, of the doing.

P.J.: What is the fundamental question?

K: I am trying to ask the fundamental question which you raised at the beginning: What is keeping us not flowering? I am using the word, however, with its beauty, its perfume, delight. Is it basically thought? I am enquiring. Is it time, or is it action, or have I not really, deeply, read the book which is myself? I have read certain pages of the chapter but I have not totally finished with the book.

P.J.: At this point, I say I have read the book. There is no saying I have read the book completely because every day, every minute, a chapter is being added.

K: No, no. Here we are - at last. I am asking a question: Have you ever read the book, not according to Vedanta or Buddhism or Islam, or according to modern psychologists, but read the book?

P.J.: Can one ever ask: Has one read the whole book of life?

K: You will find, if you have read the book at all, that there is nothing to read.

J.U.: You have been saying that if there is perception of the instant in its totality, then the whole instant is.

K: But that is just a theory. I am not criticizing, sir. Pupulji said I have listened to K. I have also met various gurus, I have meditated. At the end of it, there is just ashes in my hand, in my mouth.

P.J.: I won't say there are ashes in my hand.

K: Why?

P.J.: Because I don't see them as ashes.

M.L.: We have come to a certain point. We have explored.

K: Yes, I admit it. You have come to a certain point and you are stuck there. Is that it?

P.J.: I have come to a certain point and I do not know what to do, where to go, how to turn.

R.B.: You mean that the breakthrough does not come?

K: Why don't you be simple? I have reached a point and that point is all that we have said, and from there I will start.

P.J.: You must understand one thing. There is a difference, Krishnaji - to take a journey and then say we are in despair. I do not say that. K: You are not in despair?

P.J.: No. I am also awake enough to see that having travelled, the flower has not blossomed.

K: So you are asking, why does the flower not blossom, the bud open up - put it any way.

A.P.: Just to take it out of the personal context - when you speak to us there is something within us which responds and says this is the true, right note, but we are not able to catch it.

P.J.: I have wept in my time. I have had despair in my time. I have seen darkness in my time. But I have also had the resources to move out and, having moved out of this, I have come to a point when I say, `Tell me, I have done all this. What next?'

K: I come to you and ask you this question, `With all that you have said just now, what would be your answer? Instead of asking me, what would you tell me? How would you answer?,

P.J.: The answer is tapas.

A.P.: Tapas means that you have to keep on, which involves time.

P.J.: It means, burn the impurities which are clouding your sight.

K: You understand the question? `Thought is impure' - can we go into this?

R.B.: This is very interesting: Thought is impure - but there is no impurity.

K: When you admit thought is impure, impure in the sense that it is not whole...

R.B.: Yes, that is what corrupts.

K: No. Thought is not whole. It is fragmented, therefore, it is corrupt, therefore it is impure or whatever word you would like to use. That which is whole is beyond the impure and pure, shame and fear. When Pupulji says, burn impurity, do please listen that way. Why is the brain incapable of perception of the whole and from that wholeness, of acting? Is the root of it - the block, the inhibition, the not flowering - the thought that is incapable of perceiving the whole? Thought is going round and round in circles. And I am asking myself, suppose I am in that position, I recognise, I see, I observe that my actions are incomplete and, therefore, thought can never be complete. And, therefore, whatever thought does is impure, corrupt, not beautiful. So, why is the brain incapable of perceiving the whole? If you can answer that question, perhaps you will be able to answer the other question.

RMP.: You have correctly interpreted our question.

K: So, could we move from there, or is it not possible to move from there? That is, we have exercised thought all our life. Thought has become the most important thing in our life, and I feel that is the very reason there is corruption. Is that the block, the factor, that prevents this marvellous flowering of the human being? If that is the factor, then is there the possibility of a perception which has nothing to do with time, with thought? Have you understood what I am saying? I realize, not only intellectually but actually, that thought is the source of all ugliness, immorality, a sense of degeneration. Do I actually see that, feel it in my blood? If I do, my next question is: Since thought is fragmented, broken up, limited, is there a perception which is whole? Is that the block?

J.U.: My mind has been trained in the discipline of sequence. So, there is no possibility of saying, can this be? Either it is so or it is not.

K: I have been trained in the sequence of thought - thought which is logic. And my brain is conditioned to cause-effect. J.U.: I agree that thought is not complete.

K: The moment you agree that thought is incomplete, whatever thought does is incomplete. Whatever thought does must create sorrow, mischief, agony, conflict.

A.P.: Thought will only take you up to a point. It will only move to a degree.

J.U.: We have certain other instruments, certain processes, but you seem to dispense with them. You dissolve whatever we have acquired. Supposing we have a disease, you cannot heal it, no outside agency can do that. We ourselves have to be free of the disease. So, we have to discover an instrument which can open the door from disease to good health. That door is only thought which, in one instant, breaks the grip of the false, and in the very breaking, another illusion or the unreal comes into being. Thought again breaks that, and in this fashion, is negating the false again and again. There is a process of the dissolution of thought and thought itself accepts this and goes on negating. Thus the nature of thought itself is to perceive that it can dissolve itself.

The whole process of thought is discrimination. It leaves a thing the moment it discovers that it is the false. But that which perceived it as false is also thought.

K: Of course.

J.U.: Therefore, the process of perception is still riding the instrumentality of thought.

K: You are saying perception is still thought. We are saying something different - that there is a perception which is not of time, not of thought.

RMP.: We want to know your position more clearly. Please elaborate.

K: First of all, we know the ordinary perception of thought: discriminating, balancing, constructing and destroying, moving in all the human activities of choice, freedom, obedience, authority, and all that. That is the movement of thought which perceives. We are asking - not stating - is there a perception which is not thought?

P.J.: I often wonder what is the value of a question like that. You see, you pose a question; you say no answer is possible.

K: No.

P.J.: Is an answer possible?

K: Yes. We know the nature of thought. Thought discerns, distinguishes, chooses; thought creates the structure. There is a movement of thought in perception to distinguish between the right and the wrong, the false and the true, hate and good. We know that and, as we said, that is time-binding. Now, do we remain there, which means, do we remain in perpetual conflict? So, you ask, is there an enquiry which will lead us to a state of non-conflict? Which is what? Is there a perceiving which is not born of knowledge, knowledge being experience, memory, thought, action? I am asking, is there an action which is not based on remembrance, remembrance being the past? Is there a perception which is totally denuded of the past? Would you enquire with me that way? I know this, and I realize that this implies everlasting conflict.

A.P.: This process of thinking in the field of cause and effect has no way of escaping out of the chain reaction. It is only a bondage. Therefore, observing this, we let go of it here and now. Next we ask the question, is there a perception which does not touch the past, does not get involved in the past, the past being all that we have done and been concerned with?

K: It is a rational question to ask whether this can end; not an illogical question.

A.P.: Because we have learnt by experience that thinking through the medium of cause and effect cannot free us from the wheel of sorrow. J.U.: Whatever instrument we had, you have broken that. Before an ailment afflicts us, you have removed it, which means, before a disease grips you, it is removed. The sick man will continue to live. Therefore, when he wants to be free from disease, it is necessary to point out to him some process by which he achieves this. Even after renouncing the chain of cause-effect, he needs to be shown its futility. I accept it is difficult to do this.

A.P.: No. What you are saying amounts to an assertion that we cannot let go the wheel of time.

J.U.: No, this is not what I am saying. Cause and effect is a movement in time, and if you say that at the end of this a `process' still remains, it must be a form of mental activity. Whatever that be, the question is: Can the patient be allowed to die before the ailment is cured? I accept the fact that the cause and effect chain is incomplete. I also understand that till we can break that, this dilemma cannot be broken; but the question is very simple, that the patient has to be restored to health and not be allowed to die. The disease will have to be cured without killing the patient.

K: If you say life is conflict, then you remain where you are.

P.J.: The metaphor Upadhyayaji uses is, he understands the whole movement of conflict in time and sees the inadequacy of it. But the ill man, the suffering man who wants to be cured, cannot kill himself before he is cured. What you are asking is for him to kill himself.

K: You are making a case which is untenable.

P.J.: He may put it in a different way. Don't also forget that conflict is the `I'. Ultimately society and all can go down the drain. Ultimately it is `I'. All experience, all search, centres round that which is thought, caught in time as conflict.

K: So `I' is conflict.

P.J.: I see it is so in an abstract way. K: No, not in an abstract way. It is so.

P.J.: Maybe this is the ultimate thing which is stopping us...

K: Let us be very simple. I recognise conflict is my life. Conflict is `me'.

A.P.: After accepting the futility of cause and effect, What remains is an identification with a certain habit reflex. Does that identification break or not? If it does not break, then our dialogue is only at the theoretical level.

K: Don't introduce more words. When you say conflict ends, the `me' ends, there is the block.

P.J.: I know conflict.

K: You don't know it. You can't know it.

P.J.: How can you say that?

K: That is just a theory. Do you actually realize that you are conflict? Do I realize in my blood, in my heart, in the depth of `me', `I am conflict', or is it just an idea which I am trying to fit into?

J.U.: If you accept that the chain of causality includes the impact of time, space and circumstance, we must recognise that this is a major problem. This is like a wheel, and any movement of this wheel is not going to dissolve the problem. We accept this by logic and experience. What I was seeking to explain by the simile is that a process must remain which is within the wheel of sorrow. If the disease is not, and the wheel of sorrow is not, still some life principle must be left.

A.P.: Process is continuity.

J.U.: Then, what is it? Is it immutable?

A.P.: When perception and action are not related to the past, then there is a cessation of continuity.

K: I only know my life is a series of conflicts till I die. Can man admit this? This is our life, and you come along and say to me, must you go on doing this? Find out if there is a different way of looking, acting, which does not contain this. That is the continuity, that is all I am saying. Next, I am a reasonable man, thinking man, and I say, must I go on this way. You come along and tell me that there is a different way which is not this and he says I will show it to you.

J.U.: I accept that this circle of continuity in which I am moving is not taking us anywhere. I come with you up to there. Where it is a matter of experience, I clear my position with the help of an example. But you cut the ground under that example by saying that I must discard the continuity. If continuity is cut, the question itself disappears. So how can I accept the proposition that I renounce continuity altogether?

A.P.: Therefore you must let go of examples or similes. Let go of all anchorages of the past.

J.U.: If I give up the simile, it does not bring a termination; unless there is an ending, how can there be a new beginning?

K: Who is saying that?

A.P.: You have said that this is time; you say negate time.

R.B.: What Upadhyayaji is saying is this: Life is conflict, time, thought. He accepts they have to go.

K: I am not asking anything to go.

J.U.: If that goes, then what is the connection between that and what is to be?

K: I am not talking about any connection. I am a man who is suffering, in conflict, in despair, and I say I have been with this for sixty years. Please show me a different way of living. Would you accept that very simple fact? If you accept it, then the next question is, is there a way of looking or observing life without bringing in all the past, acting without the operation of thought which is remembrance? I am going to find out. What is perception? I have perceived life as conflict; that is all I know. He comes along and tells me, let us find out what is true perception. I don't know it, but I am listening to what he says. This is important. I have not brought into listening my logical mind; I am listening to him. Is that happening now? The speaker is saying that there is a perception without remembrance. Are you listening to it or are you saying there is a contradiction, which is, you are not listening at all. I hope you have got it. I say, Achyutji, there is a way of living without conflict. Will he listen to me? Listen, and not translate it immediately into a reaction - are you doing that?

A.P.: When a question is asked, when you are faced with a challenge, there must be listening without any reaction. Only in such a state can there be no relationship whatsoever with that which is the past.

K: Therefore there is no reaction, which means what? You are already seeing. You get it?

J.U.: I have not understood the state. For instance, at the same moment if one observes with attention all illusions, then in the light of that attention the whole process of illusion is dispelled. And that same moment of attention is the moment of true observation. Is that so? That means one observes `what is' as is.

P.J.: Krishnaji is asking us whether you can listen without the past, without bringing in the projections of the past. Only then, in such listening, is there perception.

J.U.: That is why I was saying that if the moment which is loaded with illusion can be seen with full attention, then it becomes the true moment of perception because the illusion is seen for what it is. To give an example: I see a coin on which there is the seal of the Ashoka chakra. The other side of the coin is different, but they are two sides of the same coin. Is the seeing, the perception which was caught in the past, the same seeing?

K: No. Now sir, you are a great Buddhist scholar. You what the Buddha has said, all the intricacies of Buddhist analysis, exploration, the extraordinary structures. Now, if the Buddha came to you and said, `Listen,' would you listen to him? Please don't laugh; this is much too serious. Sir, answer my question: If the Buddha comes to you today, now, sitting there in front of you, and says, `Please sir, listen,' would you listen? And he says to you, `If you listen to me, that is your transformation.' Just listen. That listening is the listening to the truth.

You can't argue with the Buddha.

J.U.: This pure attention is the Buddha and this attention is action, which itself is the Buddha. That is why I gave you the instance of the coin, which has one seal on one side whereas the other side has another seal.

K: Would you listen? If the Buddha talked to me, I would say, `Sir, I listen to you because I love you. I don't want to get anywhere because I see what you say is true, and I love you.' That is all. That has transformed everything.

A.P.: When I am aware that this is the word of the Buddha, it is the truth. This truth wipes out every other impression.

K: Nobody listened to him; that is why there is Buddhism.

J.U.: There is no Buddha; there is no speaking of the Buddha. There is only listening and in the right listening the quintessence of that wisdom which transforms is there. The word Buddha or the word of the Buddha is not the truth. Buddha is not the truth. This attention itself is the Buddha. The Buddha is not a person; he is not an avatara and there is no such thing as the word of Buddha. Attention is the only reality. In this attention, there is pure perception. This is prajna, intelligence; this is knowledge. That moment which was surrounded by the past, that moment itself, under the beam of attention, becomes the moment of perception.

K: Now, just listen to me. There is conflict. A man like me comes along. He says, there is a way of living without knowledge. Don't argue. Just listen - listen without knowledge, which means without the operation of thought.

A.P.: That moment of attention is totally unrelated to the thought process, from causality.

K: I know my life is conflict. And I am saying, is there a way of looking, listening, seeing, which has no relationship to knowledge. I say there is. And the next question is, as the brain is full of knowledge, how can such a brain understand this statement? I say that the brain cannot answer this question. The brain is used to conflict, habituated to it, and you are putting a new question to it. So the brain is in revolt; it cannot answer it.

J.U.: I want to know this. The question that you have put is my question. You have posed it with clarity.

K: The speaker says, don't be in revolt,. listen. Try to listen without the movement of thought, which means, can you see something without naming. The naming is the movement of thought. Then find out what is the state of the brain when it has not used the word in seeing, the word which is the movement of thought. Do it.

R.M.P.: That is very important.

A.P.: Your perception is that.

J.U.: This is right.

P.J.: The truth is to see the brain's incapacity.

K: My whole life has changed. Therefore there is a totally different learning process going on, which is creation.

P.J.: If this is itself the learning process, this is creativity.

K.: I realize my life is wrong. Nobody has to point that out; it is so. That is a fact and you come along and tell me that you can do something instantly. I don't believe you. I feel it can never happen. You come and tell me this whole struggle, this monstrous way of living, can be ended immediately. My brain says, sorry, you are cuckoo, I don't believe you. But K says, look, I will show it to you step by step. You may be god, you may be the Buddha, but I don't believe you. And K tells you, listen, take time, in the sense, have patience. Patience is not time. Impatience is time. Patience has no time.

S.P.: What is patience which is not time?

K: I said life is conflict. I come along and tell you there is an ending to conflict and the brain resists. I say let it resist, but keep on listening to me, don't bring in more and more resistance. Just listen, move. Don't remain with resistance. To watch your resistance and keep moving - that is patience. To know the resistance and to move along, that is patience. So he says, don't react but listen to the fact that your brain is a network of words and you cannot see anything new if you are all the time using words, words, words. So, can you look at something, your wife, the tree, the sky, the cloud, without a single word? Don't say it is a cloud. Just look. When you so look, what has happened to the brain?

A.P.: Our understanding, our total comprehension, is verbal. When I see this, then I put aside the word. That which I see now is non-verbal. What then happens to the accumulated knowledge?

K: What actually happens, not theoretically, when you are looking without the word? The word is the symbol, the memory, the knowledge and all that.

A.P.: This is only a perception. When I am observing something, keeping aside verbal knowledge and watching that which is non-verbal, what reaction does the mind have? It feels its whole existence is threatened.

K: Watch it in yourself. What happens? It is in a state of shock, it is staggering. So have patience. Watch it staggering, that is patience. See the brain in a staggering state and be with it. As you are watching it, the brain quietens down. Then look with that quiet brain at things, observe. That is learning.

A.P.: Upadhyayaji, K is saying that when you observe the instability of the mind, when you see that is its nature, then that state disappears.

K: Has it happened? The bond is broken. The chain is broken. That is the test. So, sir, let us proceed. There is a listening, there is a seeing and there is learning, without knowledge. Then what happens? What is learning? Is there anything to learn at all? Which means you have wiped away the whole self. I wonder if you see this. Because the self is knowledge. The self is made up of experience, knowledge, thought, memory; memory, thought, action - that is the cycle. Now has this happened? If it has not happened, let us begin again. That is patience. That patience has no time. Impatience has time.

J.U.: What will come out of this observing, listening? Does this state go on, or will something come out of it which will transform the world?

K: The world is me, the world is the self, the world is different selves. That self is me. Now what happens when this takes place, actually, not theoretically? First of all, there is tremendous energy, boundless energy, not energy created by thought, the energy that is born out of this knowledge; there is a totally different kind of energy, which then acts. That energy is compassion, love. Then that love and compassion are intelligence and that intelligence acts.

A.P.: That action has no root in the `I'.

K: No, no. His question is, if this really takes place, what is the next step? What happens? What actually happens is, he has got this energy which is compassion and love and intelligence. That intelligence acts in life. When the self is not, the `other' is. The `other' is compassion, love and this enormous, boundless energy. That intelligence acts. And that intelligence is naturally not yours or mine.