TO BE CALLED A BODHI-BEING
IN WHOM THE NOTION OF A SELF
OR OF A BEING SHOULD TAKE PLACE,
OR THE NOTION OF A LIVING SOUL
OR OF A PERSON.'
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.
Truth has to be said as it is. The moment you compromise, the moment you bring truth to the ordinary level of human consciousness, it loses its soul, it becomes superficial, it becomes a dead thing. You cannot bring truth to the level of human beings; human beings have to be led to the level of truth. That is Buddha's great work.
Twenty-five centuries ago, just some day early in the morning -- just like this day -- this sutra was born. Twelve hundred and fifty monks were present. It happened in the city of Sravasti. It was a great city of those days. The word Sravasti means the city of glory. It was one of the glorious cities of ancient India; it had nine hundred thousand families in it. Now that city has completely disappeared. A very very small village exists