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Book Name: The Dhammapada - The Way of the Buddha, Vol 5Previous     Next

renounced the world; it is reported in all the scriptures, but the report is not given in the true context. It is reported that the Buddha renounced the world because he was against the world -- because unless you renounce the world you cannot gain the eternal, the other world, the other shore. This is giving a totally false interpretation to Buddha's great renunciation.

He certainly renounced the world, but not to gain anything in the other. If there is any motive in your renunciation, it is not radical enough, it is not a revolution. It is again the same old business, the same old bargaining mind; it is based in desire and desire is the world. The world does not consist of things, the world consists of motives, desires, ambitions.

If you renounce the world to gain something, whatsoever it is -- nirvana, enlightenment, moksha, freedom, truth or God, whatsoever it is -- if you renounce the world to gain something, it is not renunciation.

Hence I will not say that Buddha renounced the world to attain something. The very idea of attaining something IS the world. The very idea of attaining something is to live in imagination, is to live in the future. And a man of understanding lives in the present, not in the future. A man of understanding does not really renounce the world -- the world simply falls from him, the world simply becomes irrelevant; it loses meaning. His insight is such that he can see through and through the falsity of all desire -- not to attain something, but seeing the futility of desire, desiring ceases. That is true renunciation.

That's what Buddha did. In fact to say he did it is not right. Language creates so many problems. When you start talking about the buddhas, language is not an adequate vehicle; it becomes very inadequate. To say Buddha renounced the world is not exactly the truth. It will be better if we say the world disappeared from his vision. It was not an act but a happening.

When he became aware, alert, watchful, a witness, when he saw the absurdity of desire, desire ceased on its own. It is not an act. How can you go on desiring if you see the absurdity of it? You will not try to pass through a

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