I love Gautama the Buddha because he represents to me the essential core of religion. He is not the founder of Buddhism — Buddhism is a byproduct — but he is the beginner of a totally different kind of religion in the world. He’s the founder of a religionless religion. He has propounded not religion but religiousness. And this is a great radical change in the history of human consciousness.
Before Buddha there were religions but never a pure religiousness. Man was not yet mature. With Buddha, humanity enters into a mature age. All human beings have not yet entered into that, that’s true, but Buddha has heralded the path; Buddha has opened the gateless gate. It takes time for human beings to understand such a deep message. Buddha’s message is the deepest ever. Nobody has done the work that Buddha has done, the way he has done. Nobody else represents pure fragrance.
Other founders of religions, other enlightened people, have compromised with their audience. Buddha remains uncompromised, hence his purity. He does not care what you can understand, he cares only what the truth is. And he says it without being worried whether you understand it or not. In a way this looks hard; in another way this is great compassion.
– The Diamond Sutra, Chapter #1
Buddha is one of the most important masters who has ever existed on the earth — incomparable, unique. And if you can have a taste of his being, you will be infinitely benefited, blessed.
– The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 1, Chapter #1
GAUTAM BUDDHA is like the highest peak of the Himalayas, like Gourishanker… one of the purest beings, one of the most virgin souls, one of the very rare phenomena on this earth. The rarity is that Buddha is the scientist of the inner world — scientist of religion. That is a rare combination. To be religious is simple, to be a scientist is simple — but to combine, synthesize these two polarities is incredible. It is unbelievable, but it has happened.
– The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 1, Chapter #1
But as far as Gautam the Buddha is concerned, I welcome him in my very heart. I will give him my words, my silences, my meditations, my being, my wings. From today onwards you can look at me as Gautama the Buddha.
– No Mind: The Flowers of Eternity, Chapter #1
Buddha says: Meditation is enough to solve your problems, but something is missing in it — compassion. If compassion is also there, then you can help others solve their problems. He says: Meditation is pure gold; it has a perfection of its own. But if there is compassion then the gold has a fragrance too — then a higher perfection, then a new kind of perfection, gold with fragrance. Gold is enough unto itself — very valuable — but with compassion, meditation has a fragrance.
– The Heart Sutra, Chapter #1
Even I myself could not believe that I had not included Gautama the Buddha’s DHAMMAPADA. Gautam Buddha was sitting there silently in the last row. I love the man as I have loved nobody else. I have been speaking on him throughout my whole life. Even speaking on others I have been speaking on him. Take note of it, it is a confession. I cannot speak on Jesus without bringing Buddha in; I cannot speak on Mohammed without bringing Buddha in. Whether I mention him directly or not that’s another matter. It is really impossible for me to speak without bringing Buddha in. He is my very blood, my bones, my very marrow. He is my silence, also my song. When I saw him sitting there I remembered. I cannot even apologize, it is beyond apologizing.
DHAMMAPADA literally means ‘the path of truth’, or even more accurately ‘the footprints of truth’. Do you see the contradiction?
leaves no trace behind,
nor it needs a guide.
Truth is unspeakable. There are no footprints. Birds flying in the sky don’t leave any footprints… and buddhas are birds of the sky.
But buddhas always speak in contradictions, and it is beautiful that at least they speak. They cannot speak without contradicting themselves, they cannot help it. To speak of truth is to contradict yourself. Not to speak is again to contradict, because even when you are trying not to speak, you know that your silence is nothing but an expression, without words maybe, but an expression all the same.
Buddha gave the name DHAMMAPADA to his greatest book, and there are contradictions upon contradictions. He is so full of contradictions that believe me, except me nobody can defeat him. Of course he would enjoy being defeated by me, just as a father once in a while enjoys being defeated by his own child. The child sitting on his father’s chest victorious, and the father has simply allowed him to win. All the buddhas allow themselves to be defeated by those who love them. I allow my disciples to defeat me, to go beyond me. There cannot be anything more joyous than seeing a disciple transcend me.
Buddha begins with the very name DHAMMAPADA — that’s what he is going to do: he is going to say the unsayable, to utter the unutterable. But he uttered the unutterable so beautifully that DHAMMAPADA is like an Everest. There are mountains and mountains, but not one rises to the height of Everest.
– Books I Have Loved, Chapter #6