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exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Jiddu Krishnamurti
1895 - 1986

Buddhist Scholars Discussion 2, Brockwood Park, England - 28 June 1979: Is there life after death?




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Editor’s prefatory comments:

Jiddu Krishnamurti has been an important teacher in my life. I began learning about the “true” and “false” selves about 15 years ago, and his insights served to inaugurate this vital area of enquiry.

He was the one to make clear that “guru” signifies merely “one who points,” not “infallible sage.” Pointing the way is what even the best teachers provide, but no more. One must walk the path of enlightenment alone, no one can do this for us.




Buddhist Scholars Discussion 2, Brockwood Park, England - 28 June 1979

Krishnamurti: Sir, your question was, if there is life after death.

Rahula Walpola: May I say a few words about it?

K: Of course, sir.

RW: You see, I want to put this question to you because all religions, as far as I know, agree and accept a life after death. Of course Buddhism and Hinduism, they accept not one life but many lives before this birth and after this death. That is Hindu and Buddhist teaching. But as far as I know, Christianity at least accepts one life after death, either in hell or heaven.

K: Yes, sir, Muslims too.

RW: Muslims too. I don't know about others very much, but these two, three religions, they accept life after death. I don't know, I think Zoroastrianism accepts it. And of course, except Buddhism, in all those religions there is soul, self, Atman, which is unchanging, everlasting, permanent substance in man which transmigrates or is reincarnated. Buddhism does not accept a self, Atman or soul or ego which is permanent, eternal, everlasting, unchanging. But Buddhism accepts man is composed of five aggregates, physical, and if you put it in brief, as the Buddhist term says, name and form.

K: Name and form.

RW: That you use very often.

K: Yes.

RW: Name and form. That is, name means the mental qualities and form is the physical body. But these are all energies according to Buddhism, forces. And according to Buddhism, what you call death is non-functioning of the body.

K: Yes.

RW: But that non-functioning of the body does not mean the non-functioning of all other qualities and forces, like desire, will to become, to become more and more and all that. So as long as man is imperfect, that means, if he had not seen the truth. Once one sees the truth he is perfect and there is no desire for becoming, because there is nothing to become for him. And when man is imperfect he has always desire, will, as you suggested this morning, time to become more, become more perfect and things like that.

So rebirth is there for him, because he is not perfect. But whatever it may be according to Buddhism, it is not one unchanging substance that goes on, but it is the cause and effect, just as today we live, Buddha says, every moment we are dead and reborn. And so in Buddhism it is wrong to say reincarnation, because there is nothing to incarnate.

Then transmigration also is not a good term. And we use now 'rebirth', which is not quite correct because in the Buddhist term it is 'punar bhava' The Pali, 'Punabbhava' that means, a becoming again, re-becoming, it is called re-becoming, that is, continuity of re-becoming, unbroken continuity, that is the Buddhist attitude. The question is asked, in Buddhism, very often, in the 'Milind Panha' and many texts, is it the same person or another one? Answer is, Buddhist traditional and classical answer is, 'Nacha so, nacha anya', neither he nor another. That is the answer, 'neither he nor another', that is the continuity process, it is given, a child is grown up to be a man of fifty, is he the same child or another one? It is neither the same child nor another one. In the same way, it is 'Nacha so, nacha anya', neither he nor another. That is the Buddhist attitude to rebirth.

And now I would like to know what is your attitude and what is your interpretation?

K: Sir, could we take a journey together a little bit?

RW: Yes. You mean, you want me to answer or...

K: No, no, no, journey together, investigating this thing.

RW: Yes.

K: Would you say that all humanity, whether a human being lives in America, Russia, or India or Europe, is caught in sorrow, conflict, strife, guilt, great sense of misery, loneliness, unhappiness, confusion; that is the common lot of all men, throughout the world? That is, the consciousness of man - not super-consciousness or some other kind of consciousness, the ordinary consciousness of man is the content of all this. Would you agree, sir?

RW: Yes.

K: That man, human being, I won't say man, because there are a lot of girls here too.

RW: Yes (laughs).

K: But human beings, right throughout the world, have the same psychological phenomenon. Outwardly they might differ, tall, short, dark and so on, but psychologically they are greatly similar. So one can say, you are the world. Would you...

Phiroz Mehta: Entirely.

K: Would you agree to that, sir? You are the world and the world is you. Right, sir? Let's talk about it.

RW: Yes. In a sense.

K: Not in a sense, I want to come to it (laughs). It is not partially, it is so. You are born in Ceylon, he was born in India, another born in America or in Europe, or including this island, England. Outwardly one's culture, one's tradition, one's climate, food, all that may vary. But inwardly we have the same sense of guilt; guilt, not about something but the feeling of guilt, feeling of anxiety. Right?

RW: Yes, rather not guilt, anxiety I would agree. I would agree anxiety, not guilt, feeling of guilt in a certain form of society.

K: I mean, it's guilt, unless you are insensitive, brutal, one feels guilty. But leave... that's a minor point.

RW: Yes, yes.

Stephen Smith: Perhaps more like guilt in the, may be more guilt in the western tradition.

RW: Yes.

SS: And something more like shame in the Eastern, perhaps.

K: In the East they would translate it differently.

SS: But the feeling is the same.

K: Karma or it's their lot and so on. So let us... All right, I won't take guilt. Anxiety.

RW: Yes, anxiety is good.

K: Loneliness, despair, various forms of depression, sorrow and fear, these are the common lot of man. That's obvious, I mean. So the consciousness of human beings is its content. Right, sir? The content is all this. So human beings throughout the world are more or less similar, apart from their physical name and form. Would you agree?

RW: Yes.

K: So one can say, not as a verbal statement but the fact, that we human beings are alike. And so deeply you are me.

RW: In similarity.

K: That's what I'm saying. And I am you.

RW: Yes, in similarity, yes.

K: Because each person goes through various forms of hell, tragedies, misfortunes. And so the world, the humanity is one. Right? Would you agree?

PM: Completely. Humanity is one.

K: One. If you see that, accept it, then what is death? Who is it that dies? The name, the form? And also the anxiety, the pain, the sorrow, the misery - does that also die? You're following my point, sir? Can we discuss this a little? That is, to me the world is actually the 'me', it's not just words. I am the world, in the sense I may have different physical contours, physical facial differences and so on, height and colour and so on, but we're not considering that. Psychologically we go through extraordinary miseries, tragedies and uglinesses, hurts. So that is the common consciousness of man. Right, sir? That is the stream in which man lives, psychologically. Right?

Then what is it to die? If you really accept that or see it as being real, not imagined or idealistic, but it's a fact. If you accept that fact, then what is death, what is it that dies? The body? The form, the name? The form and the name may be different from you, you are a man, woman and all the rest of it. So that is the common stream in which mankind lives, with occasional spurts of happiness, rare moments of great joy, rare moments of sense of great beauty. But that's part of our common life, this vast stream is going on all the time. Right? It's a great river. Right? Let's discuss, you may disagree completely.

Mary Zimbalist: Sir, are you saying that in that stream the whole notion which most people have of some individual consciousness is a complete illusion?

K: I think so.

MZ: Why does mankind have that inevitably, then?

K: Because this is part of our education, part of our culture, both religiously and worldly, that there is you, you are an individual, you... you know, the whole idea of it. And also the word 'individual' is really misapplied, because individual obviously means one who is indivisible. But we're all broken up. So we can hardly call ourselves individuals.

PM: We are fragmentary.

K: We are fragmented - fragmented, broken up. So if we see that man's consciousness is the consciousness of the world, the world...

PM: ...of all humanity.

K: ...of all humanity, in that vast river which has no beginning, which is still going on, and you and another are part of that stream. I and another die. What happens to all my desires, what happens to all my anxieties, fears, longings, aspirations, the enormous burden of sorrow which I have carried for years - what happens to all that?

PM: When the body dies?

K: When the body dies.

PM: It commingles with the world stream.

K: It is part of that stream.

PM: Exactly.

MZ: It never was yours at all.

K: It's not mine, it's part of that stream, which has manifested itself as K, with his form. Sir, don't, this is very drastic what I'm saying compared to all the religions.

RW: Now I am with the question. Now in that stream there is K.

K: Ah, wait a minute, aha, no! There is no K. That's the whole point. There is only that stream - that stream is made up of desire, anxiety, despair, loneliness, all the travail of mankind. That is the river.

PM: As well as their opposites. As well as the opposites of pain and sorrow.

K: It's part of that river.

PM: Part of that river.

K: My pleasure, which lasts for a few days, and then I pursue it, and then I cry if I can't get it, and I'm flattered if I get rewarded, so it's part of that vast river.

PM: Would you say, sir, that that which we call the individual is a misnomer.

K: Not only misnomer...

PM: Because of our ignorance.

K: It's not only misnomer, I don't think it exists: because you have a separate name and a bank account, but your consciousness is like somebody else, everybody else.

PM: But sir, if we say that it doesn't exist at all, then we would have to say that humanity also doesn't exist.

K: No, no, I'm going to go into it, don't... So if we see that, if we not only see it logically, reasonably, factually, it is so - you're born in India and I was born in Europe, or in America. We go through the same hell, through the same rat race.

MZ: Sir, may one, just to be sure so far that it's clear - there is nothing apart from that in the human...

K: Wait, I'm saying that. I'm coming to that. In that stream, man has invented gods, rituals, the saviours, the Virgin Marys, Krishnas, all that - they are all part of that stream. They've invented these.

MZ: But apart from the inventions, the illusions, is there any other something?

K: Yes, is there anything spiritual.

MZ: Apart from that, other than that.

K: Yes. I understand. Is there anything that is not of time.

MZ: Of the stream.

K: Is there in the stream - you're asking, aren't you? - anything which is not man-made, let's call it for the moment. Is that what you're asking?

MZ: I'm not sure if what you mean is, is there something that is not of the stream in the human mind, consciousness, whatever you want to call it.

K: Man has invented that there is something.

MZ: No, non-invention. Something real.

K: Not in that stream. Not in that river. (Laughter)

MZ: No, I'm not asking if there's a something else in the river, I'm asking is there something else in man except the river.

K: Nothing.

MZ: Because there is a...

K: No Atman, no soul, no God - nothing! (Laughter) Don't accept it, please.

MZ: There is enormous implication in that.

K: There is a tremendous implication.

MZ: Because if that were so there would be no end to the stream.

K: That's what... but, no! The man who steps out - I don't want to go further here, I want to go slowly, step by step.

If that is so, that we all, all human beings, their common consciousness is this, made up of this vast river. Right, sir? You may not accept this.

RW: No, I'm not accepting or rejecting, I am thinking about it, meditating. What Mary said was a very important point.

K: Yes.

RW: Then...

K: We'll answer that presently.

RW: Yes. Is there no escape from...

K: I'm going to answer it presently - not escape.

RW: Or whatever it may be.

K: But we are considering death, you see. So that stream is common to all of us, our consciousness is of that stream.

Shakuntala Narayan: Are you saying, sir, that thought is common to all of us, because all this is a creation and manifestation of thought.

K: Yes, thought, not only creation of thought but creation of thought which has created illusions.

SS: And the operation of those illusions.

K: And the operation of those illusions - Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, British, French, Russian, various ideologies, all that is part of the stream.

PM: May I ask, sir, is it a case of thought as it is here with us now, and functions as it does, which has created these illusions, or is it that mind as a universal constituent, as a universal factor, in the process of thinking through what we commonly call the particular person releases these ideas.

K: I think, let's go a little bit slowly. I want this to be clear, that we are part of that stream.

PM: Yes, that is so.

K: And when the body dies, the desires, the anxieties, the tragedies and the misery goes on.

PM: Part of the...

K: I die.

PM: Yes.

K: And that stream, that river is going on.

PM: Yes.

K: Right, sir? Or do you reject this? I don't see how you can reject it.

RW: No rejection, nor acceptance.

K: No, just wait - right?

RW: Only waiting for the conclusion.

K: Quite right. So that river manifests itself as K.

RW: Not the whole river.

K: The river, which is desire, (laughs) river is that.

PM: One of its manifestations is K.

K: The river manifests, not one of the manifestations.

PM: Well then how does...

K: No, sorry. I'll make it a bit clear. The river manifests itself as K.

PM: Yes.

K: That's agreed.

RW: Then river manifests also as R.

K: Also manifests... No! River manifests itself as K. K has certain capacities by tradition, by education and so on, to paint, to build a marvellous cathedral. But we're talking psychologically. Look, sir, let's go back to it. The river is that, we agree.

RW: I don't know.

K: What do you mean, sir, you don't know.

RW: I fully agree that whole humanity without exception...

K: ...is one.

RW: All these, what you describe as suffering and all that, is common.

K: Yes.

RW: To all humanity.

K: That is...

RW: In that sense, all are equal, not all one.

K: No equality or anything. We are of that stream.

RW: Yes, that's all right.

K: I am the representative of all mankind. Me. Because I'm of that stream.

RW: Well, that I don't know.

Narayan: It's a qualitative thing, qualitatively.

K: What do you mean qualitative?

Narayan: When you say, 'I am of that stream', all the qualities of the stream are in me.

K: Yes.

N: That's a qualitative thing.

K: Yes, that's right. All the qualities of that stream.

N: Not that I'm the whole river.

RW: Yes.

N: But the drop contains all the qualities of the river.

K: But the river is that.

N: Yes.

K: The river is that.

MZ: Would it be helpful to use the example of a wave: the wave is no different from the rest of the ocean.

K: Yes.

MZ: But it manifests as a wave which disappears.

K: If you like, put it that way. But this must be clear. Each one of us is the representative of all mankind, because the representative is of that stream and mankind is of that stream, therefore each one of us is the representative of the whole of that stream.

RW: That is better. That's better.

K: Yes, allons-y. I mean, yes, let's go. That stream manifests itself as K. Or as X, forget K, X. Manifests itself as X. With a form, name, but that stream also has this quality which is, in that stream there is art, there is everything is in there.

RW: Not only X, there is Y.

K: Dozens, X, Y, Z.

RW: Yes, that's right, that's what I want to make it clear.

K: Oh yes, A B C... X Y (Laughter)

RW: Yes, begin with the alphabet, that's right.

K: So as long as mankind is in that stream, and one manifestation of that stream leaves the stream, for him he's completely free of that stream.

RW: So you are not whole humanity, because if you leave the river, then you leave... then whole humanity is liberated.

K: Just a minute, sir, just a minute. That stream has manifested in X and in that manifestation, if X doesn't free himself completely from this stream, he's back in it.

MZ: But, sir, this is the moment (laughs) that the earlier question refers to.

K: I'm coming to that.

MZ: What is there? You said there was nothing separate from the stream.

K: Wait, wait, wait. I haven't explained it. There is nothing. There is that stream. Right? It manifests itself as A. In that manifestation, with all the education and environmental influences and so on, if that A doesn't step out of that stream, there is no salvation for mankind.

MZ: Sir, what is there to step out?

K: Leave, finish with your anxieties, sorrows, all the rest of it.

MZ: But you said there was nothing except the content of the stream.

K: As long as I remain in the stream.

MZ: What is the 'I'?

K: 'I' is the thing that has manifested itself as A, and A now calls himself individual, which is not factual, which is illusory. But when A dies, he's part of that stream. That's clear.

MZ: Yes, but if A is composed of the water of the stream...

K: Yes.

MZ: ...how can the water of the stream step out of the stream? (Laughs)

K: Oh, yes.

TK: Sir, there is some logical error in our...

K: In my explanation.

TK: Yes. Once you say this, that you are the representative of mankind, humanity, which is the...

K: Is that so or not.

TK: Yes.

K: Don't say yes, sir. Aren't you the representative of whole of mankind, psychologically?

RW: Yes, I think that too general and too vague a statement.

K: No, it's not vague. I have made it very clear. That stream is this content of our consciousness, which is agony, pain, desire, strife, all that.

RW: That is common to all.

K: Absolutely.

RW: In that sense, all humanity are equal or...

K: No, I don't want...

RW: All humanity is one in other words.

K: I don't want... You're insisting...

RW: Yes, you can say that. But I can't accept your attitude, your position, that I am humanity. No.

K: Ah, of course, sir if I accept that stream, I'm part of that stream, therefore I am like the rest of humanity.

RW: Like the rest.

K: I said that, therefore a representative of all of that stream.

RW: That also I accept.

K: That's all I'm saying.

RW: But you can't say 'I am that stream, whole stream'.

K: No, I am that stream.

MZ: But, sir, maybe we're being literal, but there's a concept in this somewhere of a sort of a container which contains the stream.

K: No, not container, not the ships that carry containers and all the rest of that. No, no, don't bring in containers.

MZ: What is it that can separate itself from the stream if it is only made up of the water of the stream?

K: Part of that stream is this egotistic concept. That's all.

MZ: No, but what can separate? How can water divide itself from the ocean.

K: You're missing my whole point.

RW: Her point is this: which is it that steps out of the river.

MZ: Yes.

RW: That is the question.

K: Wait, wait. If that is the question, I'll answer it presently, I'll answer it. I'm pretty good at this (laughs). I'm only joking. (Laughter)

RW: Yes. We understand. Yes, as a joke. I hope it will not be a joke.

K: No, sir. It's much too serious.

RW: Yes.

K: You see, all this implies, when you ask that question, what is it that steps out, you're positing an otherness, something which is not of the stream. Right?

RW: Or rather you are positing this.

K: Ah, I'm not! I haven't posited anything at all, I've only stated what is actually happening. I won't posit anything, I've said, as long as man does not step out of that stream, there is no salvation to mankind. That's all.

PM: Sir, may I add a word here. I think the question which the lady asked implies an identifiable permanent entity.

K: No, there is no permanent entity.

PM: No, what I'm suggesting is...

MZ: A something, I'm not making it more definite than that.

K: I know what you're trying to say.

MZ: There has to be X or I don't know what to call it.

N: Is that some aspect of intelligence.

MZ: Something.

N: Some aspect of intelligence.

K: That's what he's saying. He is saying the same thing.

MZ: Something that can step out of the stream.

N: Some aspect of intelligence.

K: Yes, is there some aspect of intelligence in the stream?

MZ: Call it anything.

N: Yes, which sees the...

K: Which sees the... yes, and therefore steps out.

N: Which sees the futility of the stream.

K: Yes.

MZ: And it is, we're saying, you're saying it is part of the stream, that quality, it's in with all the other human things, something is able...

K: Just a minute, just a minute.

MZ: ...to separate itself from the rest of the stream.

K: A is part of that stream. Let's go step by step if you don't mind, then we won't mislead each other. A is part of that stream. That stream has manifested itself as A. So A perceives he's suffering. Obviously. Right? No?

N: Yes.

K: His anxiety, he is living and he says, 'Why am I suffering? What is this?' And so he begins to reason, begins to see. Why do you introduce some other factor?

MZ: Can you then say that some perception that is still part of the stream...

K: No.

MZ: Or some molecule, or something.

K: No. No. You are not listening, if you don't mind my pointing out.

RW: May I add a word, sir?

K: Yes, sir.

RW: According to Buddha's teaching, in that stream there is also wisdom which sees.

K: No. I don't know what... Forgive me.

RW: No, I know, because in that stream, which is called, in other words, in Buddhist philosophy it is very well explained, as Mary puts the question, there is wisdom which sees the whole thing. It is that.

N: Which sees what?

RW: The whole thing. Whole view, whole thing. The reality, which sees the reality, which sees as it is, as we discussed this morning. And then is there stepping out, that seeing is the stepping out.

MZ: Are you saying that there is an action of stepping out without an actor?

K: Yes. Go with me. I'll explain it. I'll explain it, but you don't have to accept it. I think it'll be logical, reasonable and fairly sane, unless one is completely besotted, we can examine it. A is of that stream, with a name and a form. And as he lives he realises what he's going through. Right? In that realisation he says, 'I'm suffering.' Then he begins to enquire into the whole nature of suffering, and ends that suffering. I'm taking one aspect of this stream. Ends that suffering. And he is out of that stream. That entity is really unique, who is out of that stream.

Scott Forbes: So it's something there that wasn't there before then?

K: The moment A realises that he's suffering, and doesn't escape from that suffering - enquires, explores without any motive and so on, so on into the nature of suffering, and has an insight into the whole structure of suffering, that very insight ends that suffering.

RW: That insight also in the stream.

K: Ah, no. You see, the moment - you're positing something, I'm not.

RW: From where you are bringing insight?

K: No, I said... I brought in insight very carefully. A realises he's suffering. Suffering is part of that stream.

RW: A also is part of the stream.

K: Yes, that stream has manifested itself in A. A living, realises he's suffering, he doesn't escape from it, because he wants to know the whole nature of it, the nature and the structure and what is behind suffering. So he examines it, both logically, sanely and also non-verbally. Looks into it. And the very looking into it is the insight. It's not of the stream, the looking into the suffering.

RW: That looking in, from where does it come?

K: He's concerned, I said that, he's studying, he's exploring, he's questioning the whole beastly thing, he wants to know.

RW: That means it was not a part of the river.

K: No, sir, you're...

SF: Krishnaji, because we've been saying that something steps out of the river.

K: Wait. I won't use that word, stepping out.

SF: No, and it seems now that what we're saying is that something comes into being which never was part of that river.

MZ: Insight.

K: Yes. I said, no. We are interpreting, let me... You follow me and see if I'm wrong, then correct me. A is of that stream, A is suffering, A says, 'Why?' He's not concerned what the teacher said. He said, 'I know all that,' he pushes all that aside. Why is there suffering? In the very enquiry of it - the enquiry depends on your capacity to put aside interpretation, not escape and all the rest of it - in the very enquiry into the nature of suffering and the cause of it, and the effect of it and so on, in that very enquiry is insight, comes insight. Insight isn't in the stream.

SF: Correct.

RW: I say it is in the stream.

K: Why, sir.

RW: You see, it has in itself the capacity of producing and ceasing.

K: The stream itself has the capacity...

RW: Of continuing and producing and ceasing it. Stopping it. That insight also is part of the stream. Just as all that misery...

K: No, sir, no sir, no sir, no sir, I wouldn't...

RW: And where did that insight come from?

K: I'm telling you, sir.

RW: You say A is part of the river?

K: Yes.

RW: And then A...

K: A is suffering.

RW: Suffering.

K: A begins to enquire, A begins to - wait - in his enquiry he realises enquiry can only exist when there's complete freedom from all escapes, suppression and all the rest of it.

RW: Yes.

K: So in that moment of enquiry there is insight, when he doesn't escape, when he doesn't suppress, when he doesn't rationalise or seek the cause of suffering, in that very moment of examining, is insight.

N: You're implying insight is born, it is not of the stream.

K: Don't introduce 'born, not of the stream'.

N: Then...

K: You see, you are misleading, you want it part of that stream.

N: Where does it come from, insight, then?

K: I'm telling you.

N: From enquiry.

K: From the freedom to enquire.

N: Where does that freedom to enquire come from?

K: From his own examination.

RW: But he is part of the river.

K: No. You're missing the point.

SF: Krishnaji, are we saying this, that A which is just a form and a name, normally is nothing more than a name and a form, plus all that there is in the river. With free enquiry...

K: A begins to enquire.

SF: Right, A begins to enquire and then A, if he has this insight...

K: No, no. He has not the insight.

SF: He is no longer a part of just that river.

K: Scott, would you just follow it, step by step. A is part of that stream, A is the manifestation of that stream, a wave of that stream, or whatever you like to call it. Now A is going through agony. A examines it. And the examination is very important, because if he escapes it is not examination, not exploration. If he suppresses, it's not. So he realises - please follow this step by step - that as long as he's not free from the blockages that prevent exploration, and therefore he puts them aside, he's free to enquire. And in that freedom is insight.

T.K. Parchure: Sir, there is a missing link here.

K: There may be ten, sir.

TP: It appears that what Narayan is saying, that if the person is part of the stream, a representative of the stream, and when enquiry begins, examination starts, freedom comes to enquire.

K: Be careful, sir. No, you see, you are assuming so much.

TP: No, but I'm repeating what you're saying, the link I want to know.

K: Yes, all right, you're repeating what I said. Right.

TP: And the beginning of this, the beginning of enquiry, the beginning of the capacity to explore without any of the things of the stream, are they also in the stream?

K: No.

TP: Where do they come from?

K: But, that's very simple, sir. What are you all making a fuss about!

TP: This beginning of the enquiry is this thing.

K: No. Listen. You are not, forgive me, Doctor, you're not listening. I said, A is the manifestation of that stream. Let's follow it step by step, sir. That stream is, part of that stream is suffering. A is suffering, so A says, 'Why, why should I suffer?'

TP: At this point I will interrupt you.

K: At any point.

TP: The number of human beings in the stream, the question as to 'Why should I suffer?', this is the beginning of the whole thing.

K: No. Man has asked 'Why should I suffer', there are a dozen explanations - the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Christian and so on, so on, so on. The man who is suffering says, 'I see all this, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Christian, the Muslim, I reject all that, because that doesn't leave me the freedom to enquire. I'm accepting tradition and authority. I won't.'

TP: Now, seeing these...

PM: Sir, perhaps could we put it this way. That the conditioned enquiry...

K: ...is part of the stream.

PM: ...is part of the stream.

K: That's the whole point.

PM: But the free enquiry...

K: ...is beginning of...

N: ...is getting away from the stream.

PM: No.

K: No. Forget - look, Narayan, leave the stream alone now. For God's sake. (Laughter) A is a manifestation of that stream. A is suffering. A says, 'Why am I suffering?' Studies Buddhism, studies Hinduism, studies Christianity, and says, 'For God's sake, that's words - out. I'm going to find out myself.' And he begins to enquire. And he realises he can only explore if he's free to look. Right? Free from fear, free from reward and punishment, free from any kind of motive, otherwise he can't enquire. The moment he's in that state of examination, there is insight. This is very clear.

PM: And of course very difficult to do.

K: Ah, no, I won't even give... No, I won't accept the word 'difficult'.

PM: At first, because otherwise we wouldn't be enquiring.

K: No. Because we have not given our energy to this. We don't care, we put up with so many things!

So leave A alone. But B is part of that stream, and he suffers, he says, 'Yes, that's my nature, that's human nature, there is no way out, no Jesus, nobody is going to save me'. He says 'All right, I'll put up with it.' So he is contributing to the stream.

SS: So the stream becomes more intense.

K: Yes, has more volume.

PM: More drive also.

K: Of course, more volume is pressure of tremendous water. So we come to the point: what is death?

RW: Now I want to pose another question. Now A is out of the river.

K: Ah, sir.

RW: Insight.

K: A is not out of the river.

RW: But he has seen, insight.

K: He has insight.

RW: Insight. So if all is one humanity, if A is the humanity then humanity has seen it.

K: No, sir, no sir.

MZ: So has he left humanity.

PM: You are looking at it, perhaps, purely logically.

K: No, even logically.

PM: What I mean is, logically but accepting the conditioned states.

K: The moment A is aware of his conditioned state and begins to enquire into it, he has got the energy to put aside.

PM: May I just... Now the Buddha himself said, 'Put aside with right wisdom' - do you remember that phrase of the Buddha?

RW: What is that?

PM: 'Put aside all shape and form, all sensation, all perceptions, all discriminative consciousness itself.'

RW: That's what I say.

PM: Put it aside with right wisdom.

RW: That is what I tell you. That is what I said, that he is making so complicated.

K: Who?

PM: No, no.

K: You're all making it complicated, mine is very simple, I won't have...

RW: That is what I tell you, that is the statement, that is the idea, but I also...

K: May I interrupt here? Say one doesn't belong to any religion. One doesn't accept any authority. That is enquiry. If I accepted what Christ or X Y Z said, it's no enquiry. So A rejects in his enquiry into sorrow, everything what anybody had said. Will you do that? Because otherwise he's a second-hand human being, examining through second-hand eye-glasses.

RW: Or you can hear somebody who has seen it and...

K: I hear what the Buddha has said.

RW: Yes, you can hear it.

K: Anybody has said.

RW: Said, and you also can see independently as he has seen.

K: Yes, but, yes, Buddha said, sorrow is the beginning of, whatever he said.

RW: Yes.

K: All right, but what he said is not my meal.

RW: Absolutely, that is so.

K: No!

RW: That is what I am telling you, but you also can see the same thing as he has seen.

K: Yes.

RW: And still you know what he has said also.

K: What? Sir, the printed word or the hearsay, to a hungry man has no meaning.

RW: That is so.

K: Reading the menu doesn't feed me.

RW: That is what I'm telling you, it is not the menu but the food.

K: The food. The food is not cooked by anybody, I have to cook it, eat it.

RW: That is not usually so. (Laughter)

K: Wait, I said the man who is examining the whole structure of sorrow.

RW: I should say the other way, that you have to eat to get rid of hunger. Just because you have eaten, my hunger will not disappear.

K: No.

RW: You have prepared the food, you have eaten and there is food. I also can eat it, and it is my food. Do you deny that?

K: No, of course not, sir. This afternoon, you've eaten lunch, somebody cooked it, and I ate it, we ate it.

RW: Yes.

K: But we're not talking at food level. We are saying that, as long as I accept any authority, it doesn't matter who it is, there is no insight.

RW: It is not accepting authority. No.

K: Wait. Accepting descriptions, accepting conclusions, what Buddha said, what Krishna said, what A said, and all. To me the freedom is from the known. Otherwise I'm everlastingly living in the stream. You see, that's why, sir, either we discuss this factually, and say, 'Look, I will drop every authority I have.' That means, knowledge, tradition - can you do that? Because that is enquiry, if you, if I am tethered to a tradition, I can't; I go round in circles, I must be free of the post and the rope that ties me to the post.

So B accepts suffering. Right, sir? B accepts what he is; conditioned, miserable, unhappy. You know what human being is. So he's all the time contributing to the stream. So there is no soul, no Atman, no ego, no permanent me, that evolves. Then what would be enquiry would be, what is the state of the mind of the man, of the human who has had an insight into the whole nature of suffering, and therefore the whole stream? Right? What is the nature of that mind? What is the quality? Right, sir? Yes, enquire it. Would that be speculative? It would.

SS: Sir, what is the position of the person who has some insight or a partial insight? Still in there, isn't he?

K: Like the scientist, a partial insight. He may be excellent in science, but confused and miserable, unhappy, ambitious, you know.

PM: Don't you think that the very term 'partial insight' means a conditioned insight.

K: Of course.

PM: And therefore it's part of that stream and it's true to type generally.

K: I wonder if we see this, sir, or it is an image we are seeing. Because now we've created the image of the river.

PM: Yes, that's the unfortunate thing.

K: Yes.

MZ: Sir, can one use the word insight in the same sense as intelligence? Is there a difference?

K: You see. Now wait a minute. Let's go into that. The stream manifesting itself as B, and in his activities he becomes very cunning, clever. Has not intelligence, no relationship, with cunning, cleverness, chicanery, all that, but it is essentially part of love and compassion. What do you say, sir? The love in the stream is not love. You know, we are saying things which nobody will accept. If B is in the stream, and he tells his wife or his girlfriend or boyfriend, 'I love you', is that love?

RW: As long as there is me there is no love.

K: No, no don't reduce it to the 'me'. B is of that stream. B says to his girl friend or boy friend, 'I love you' - love is that love?

RW: In which sense?

K: Love.

RW: Love has many hundred meanings.

K: So, that's what I'm enquiring. The love of a book, the love of your particular soup, the love of poetry, the love of a beautiful thing, the love of an ideal, the love of your country, the love of jealousy, in which is included hate, envy, hurt. Is all that - I'm questioning, exploring - is all that love? And B who is the manifestation says, 'Yes, that is love. At least it's part of love.' Or he says, 'Without jealousy there is no love,' I've heard these statements a dozen times before.

RW: Not only that, many people have asked me, without the idea of self, how can there be love.

K: Yes, yes.

RW: There are people who put that question also.

K: You see, sir, are we discussing verbally all this? Or realising, seeing the stream is you, and say, 'Look, examine, end it.' And so not being able to end it, we invent time: I will one day step out of that stream. So thought invents psychological evolution.

PM: Could we also put it this way: thought invents psychological development through time.

K: Yes, sir, that's what I mean.

PM: Instead of what really belongs to the psychological sphere, namely the immediacy...

K: That's right. The immediacy only takes place when there is insight. In that there is no regret, no saying, 'I wish I hadn't done it.' So our action is always at the time level.

See, sir, what is immortality? What is eternity? What is the immeasurable? They all talk about that. All religions more or less touch on this, even the metaphysicists and the logicians and the monks have gone into this: what is immortality? That is, an author writes a good book and he becomes immortal. His name becomes immortal. Or a politician - unfortunately politicians last, endure. We have related immortality as something beyond death - mortal and the immortal, beyond mortality, beyond death. No?

PM: That's the usual conception.

K: Of course. Well, sir, what have you to say to all this?

RW: What happened to our question?

K: Death - rebirth?

RW: Yes, what happened there.

K: I've told you. Rebirth is this constant stream, manifesting itself into A, B, C, down the alphabet. I know this is most disappointing, depressing, and I say, 'My God, this is too horrible, I won't listen to it.'

SS: Are you also suggesting therefore death is part of that stream?

K: Yes, body dies. By usage and wrong way of living it dies. Dies inevitably.

SS: But I meant more...

K: You see, sir, to find out what death is, one has to be with death. That means, end. End my attachment, end one's attachments one's beliefs, end to everything that one has collected. Nobody wants to do that.

MZ: But that, that definition of death would not be in the stream.

K: What?

MZ: That action of death would not be part of the stream.

K: No. You see, in the man who is gone, understood this, he doesn't think even in streams, it's something entirely different. It's not a reward for the man in the stream. (Laughs)

MZ: No, it's the action of the insight, is it not?

K: Yes, the action of insight. Action of insight, you cannot have insight if there is no love, compassion, intelligence, that's part of all that. And then, it's only then there is a relationship to truth.

SS: You seem to be suggesting in some way then that death is a key.

K: Yes, sir. Free investigation, not the scientific investigation - the thinking tank, you know; but investigation into this whole myself, which is me, that stream, myself is that stream. Enquire into that, so that there isn't a shadow of the stream left. We don't do this because we are too learned, we have no time, we are too occupied with our own pleasures, our own worries. So we say, 'Please, leave that to the priests; not for me.'

So have we answered the question? Is there reincarnation, a continuation of the 'me' in different forms? I say, no!

RW: Of course not, of course not. As you say, I also say, there is no. First of all there is no 'me' to be reborn, to incarnate.

K: No, sir, the stream manifests and B says, 'I am I', therefore I'm frightened to die.

RW: Yes.

K: And therefore he invents various comforting theories, he prays, please save me and all the rest of it. But that stream, as long as B lives in that stream, his consciousness is part of that stream, there's no... he's only contributing more and more to the volume of that water. Obviously, sir, if you see that. So there is no 'me' to continue. Sir, I mean this is... nobody will accept this, but it's the truth.

PM: You would agree then, that what is necessary is to see in this profound...

K: Yes, seeing is that.

PM: Truly see, and that truly seeing is real action, creative action.

K: Is action, the moment I see, I drop anxiety. The moment I see I'm petty-minded, it's finished.

PM: It is a complete transformation of the ordinary psychical process.

K: Yes.

MZ: Isn't it really the crux in all this and the place where people go wrong, so to speak, they do not see in the sense you're talking about; they see verbally, intellectually, on various levels, but they don't really see.

K: No, I think mostly they don't mind being sorrowful, they say well why not? They don't see, one doesn't see one's own petty reactions. You say, 'Yes, why not?'

MZ: Or they don't see that they don't see, to put it perhaps childishly. They don't realise that what they think is understanding is not.

K: No, Maria, I mean - not you personally - has one dropped any opinion that one holds? One's prejudice; completely? Or one's experience? Never! This is, you're asking, you know, they say, 'Please' - they won't even listen to you. Do you mean to say a politician will listen to you? Or a priest or anybody who is absolutely caught in his own conclusion? Because there he's completely safe, completely secure. And you come and disturb him, either he worships you or kills you, which is the same.

MZ: Or he sees that that security is a complete fabrication.

K: Yes, if he sees, then he drops these prejudices, his conclusions, even his knowledge.

SF: Sir, for the man who has stepped out of the stream and is no longer a manifestation of the stream, there is something else which is operating. Could we say something about the nature of that thing?

K: Which is intelligence.

SF: Which is intelligence in which...

K: Intelligence is love. Intelligence is compassion.

SF: And from many things that you have said in the past that seems to have an independent existence.

K: Obviously.

SF: Even before it, or without it manifesting in him.

K: Sir, if A frees himself - not himself - if A, his consciousness is no longer of the stream, his consciousness is entirely different. It is a different dimension altogether.

SF: And that consciousness existed before he stepped out of the stream, so to speak?

K: Now you are speculating.

SF: Yes, I am.

K: I won't play with you.

SS: Perhaps another way to say, would be, is there intelligence without the intelligent person?

K: I know what you are saying. That means - let's put it round the other way: wars have created a great deal of misery. Right? And that misery remains in the air. It must. Goodness has been also part of man - try to be good. There is also that enormous reservoir of both. No?

SS: Yes.

K: So what. One doesn't contribute to that goodness but one is always contributing to the other.

MZ: Are you saying the other exists only in the human psyche, but goodness exists apart from humanity?

K: Let's put it round this way: there is not only A suffering, there is this whole suffering of mankind.

MZ: Or more than mankind, there is suffering.

K: There is suffering, of course.

SS: Suffering is a universal phenomenon.

K: Sir, would you kindly explain, what is Buddhist meditation.

RW: Buddhist meditation, the purest form of Buddhist meditation - it has taken many forms, many varieties. The purest form of Buddhist meditation is this insight into 'what is'.

K: You are using my words, put those... (laughs)

RW: No, not your words. You are using those words! (Laughter) Long before you, two thousand five hundred years ago these words were used. I am using them.

K: All right, then we are both two thousand years old.

RW: Old. That's right.

K: Sir, I'm just asking.

RW: It is called Vidarshana or Vipassana. In Pali Vipassana and in Sanskrit Vidarshana.

K: Darshan, yes.

RW: It is insight vision, see into the nature of things, that is the real vision.

K: Have they a system?

RW: A system is, of course, developed.

K: That's what I want to get at.

RW: Yes, when you take the original teaching of the Buddha...

K: ...there is no system.

RW: No, it is called 'Satipatthana'. That is the best discourse by the Buddha on this insight meditation.

K: No, I wanted to...

RW: Wait, I'll tell you.

K: Yes, I am listening, sir.

RW: There is no system in it. And the key point in that is the awareness. Awareness, that is called 'Sati', or in Sanskrit 'Smriti'.

K: Smriti, yes.

RW: And to be mindful, aware, of all that happens, you are not expected to run away from life and live in a cave or in a forest, sitting like a statue, all that. It is not that. And in this Satipatthana it is - if you translate it, if it is translated as establishment of mindfulness, but rather it is the presence of awareness, the meaning of that word.

K: Is this awareness...

RW: Yes, awareness of every movement, every action, everything.

K: Yes. Is this awareness to be cultivated?

RW: There is no question of cultivating. There is no question.

K: That is what I am trying to get at, sir.

RW: Yes.

K: Because the modern gurus, modern systems of meditation, modern Zen, you know all the rest of it, they are trying to cultivate it.

RW: Yes, I tell you, sir. I have written an essay, it will be published in Belgium, on the psychology of Buddhist meditation.

K: No, I'm just...

RW: Wait, wait. There I said that this teaching of the Buddha is for many centuries misunderstood and wrongly applied as a technique. And they have developed into such a technique that the mind can be instead of liberating, it can be imprisoned.

K: Of course. All meditation, sir, is imprisoning process.

RW: If it is made into a system.

K: No, that's what... Please, sir, I am asking: awareness, is it something to be cultivated in the sense manipulated, watched over, worked at?

RW: No, no.

K: Wait, wait. So how does it come into being?

RW: There is no coming into being, you do it.

K: No, wait sir, no, just listen what I mean by...

RW: You give the interpretation.

K: I want to find out, I am not critical, I just want to find out what Buddhist meditation is. Because now there is Buddhist, there is Tibetan, there are various types of Buddhist meditation, various types of Tibetan meditation, various types of Hindu meditations, Sufi meditation - for god's sake - you follow? - they are like mushrooms all over the place. I am just asking if awareness is something that takes place through concentration.

RW: No, not in that sense. For anything we do in this world a certain amount of concentration is necessary. That is understood. In that sense a certain kind of concentration is necessary but don't mix it up with 'dhyana' and samadhi.

K: I don't like any of those words personally, dhyana...

RW: But there concentration is the principle.

K: I know, I know. Most of the meditations that have been propagated all over the world now involve concentration.

RW: Zen and various other things, samadhis, dhyanas, Hindu, Buddhist, concentration is the central point.

K: That is nonsense. I don't accept concentration.

RW: In the Buddhist, pure, Buddha's teaching meditation it is not that concentration. There is not that concentration.

K: It is not concentration. Let's put it out. Then what is this awareness, how does it come into being?

RW: You are aware of it. It happens. You see, in the Satipatthana one great thing is, you live in the action in the present moment.

K: Wait, sir.

RW: That is one form of Satipatthana.

K: Yes sir. The moment you say in the present moment, you don't live in the present moment.

RW: That is what it says, that you don't live in the present moment. And Satipatthana is to live in the present moment.

K: Ah, no, no, no, you are missing it. How is one to live in the present?

What is the mind that lives in the present?

RW: The mind that lives in the present is the mind which is free from...

K: Yes, sir, go on sir, I am waiting, I want to find out.

RW: ...free from the idea of self. When you have the idea of self either you live in the past or in the future.

K: The now is, as far as I, one sees, not I, one sees generally, the past modifying itself in the present and going on.

RW: That is the usual.

K: Wait. That is the present.

RW: No.

K: Then what is the present? Free of the past.

RW: Yes.

K: That is free of the past, which means free of time. So that is the only state of mind which is now. Now I am just asking, sir, what is awareness? Does it come... How does it flower, how does it happen? You follow?

RW: There is no technique for it.

K: I understand.

RW: In asking how it happens, you are asking the method. You were asking how it happens.

K: Quite right. Let's cut out... I used the 'how' just to ask a question, not for a method. I'll put it round the other way. In what manner does this awareness come into being? I am not aware - suppose I am not aware. I am just enclosed in my own petty little worries and anxieties, problems, I love, and you don't love me, and all that is going on in my mind. I live in that. And you come along and tell me, 'Be aware of all that'. And I say, 'What do you mean by being aware?'

RW: When you ask me that, just be aware of that pettiness.

K: Yes. So that means be aware...

RW: You said of the pettiness.

K: Yes, yes. Be aware of your pettiness. What do you mean by that?

RW: Be aware of that.

K: Yes, sir, I don't how to be, I don't know what it means.

RW: It is not necessary to know what it means.

K: What do you mean it is not necessary?

RW: Be aware of it.

K: Yes, sir. You tell me, be aware of it. I am blind. I think that is an elephant, how am I to... You follow my question, sir? I am blind and I want to see light. And you say, 'Be aware of that blindness'. I say, 'Yes, what does it mean?' It is not concentration. So I say, 'Look, awareness is something in which choice doesn't exist'. Wait, sir. Awareness means to be aware of this hall, the curtains, the lights, the people sitting here, the shape of the walls, the windows, to be aware of it. Just a minute. Either I am aware one part, part by part by part by part, or as I enter the room I am aware of the whole thing: the roof, the lamps, the curtains, the shape of the windows, the floor, the mottled roof, everything. Is that what you mean, sir?

RW: That also is a kind of awareness. That also is awareness.

K: That is awareness. Now what is the difference - I am not categorising, please I am not being impudent, or inquisitive, or insulting - what is the difference between that sense of awareness and attention?

RW: It is wrong to put 'sense' of awareness. There is no sense of awareness. There is awareness.

K: All right. That awareness and attention. You see we have abolished concentration except when I have to drill a hole in the wall, I hope I am drilling it straight, I concentrate.

RW: No, no. We have not excluded it. There is concentration but that is not the main thing.

K: No, that is not awareness.

RW: But concentration may be useful or helpful.

K: To drill a hole straight.

RW: Yes, yes, like that. For awareness also, it may be helpful but it is not concentration on the central point.

K: There must be a certain sense of concentration if I have to learn mathematics.

RW: Yes, for anything, sir.

K: Therefore I am just putting that aside for the moment. What is attention? To attend.

RW: How do you explain, for instance, awareness, mindfulness, attention, how do you discriminate these three: awareness, mindfulness and attention?

K: I would say awareness in which there is no choice, just to be aware. The moment when choice enters into awareness there is no awareness.

RW: Right.

K: And choice is measurement, division and so on. So awareness is without choice, just to be aware. To say, 'I don't like, I like this room', all that has ended.

RW: Yes. Right.

K: Attention, to attend, in that attention there is no division.

RW: Also that means no choice.

K: Leave it for the moment. Attention implies no division, me attending. And so it has no division, therefore no measurement and therefore no border.

RW: In attention.

K: In complete attention.

RW: In that sense it is equal to awareness.

K: No, no, no.

RW: Why not?

K: In awareness there may be a centre from which you are being aware.

SS: Even if there is no choice?

RW: No, that is not awareness.

K: Wait a minute sir, I must go back.

N: You are making a distinction between awareness and attention.

K: I want to.

C: Are you saying attention is a deeper process.

K: Much more, a totally different quality. One can be aware of what kind of dress you have. One may say, 'I like it', or 'I don't like it', so choice doesn't exist, you are aware of it, that's all. But attention, in that there is no attender, one who attends, and so no division.

RW: In awareness also you can say the same thing, there is no one who is aware. There is awareness.

K: Of course, that's right. But it has not the same quality as attention.

RW: Of course as we discussed, but I don't want to go into these words, but the Buddha's teaching of the Satipattana is that in the satipatthana practice of meditation there is no discrimination, there is no value judgement, there is no like or dislike. You only see. That's all. And what happens will happen when you see.

K: In that state of attention what takes place?

RW: That is another explanation.

K: No, no, no, not explanation if you totally attend, with your ears, with your eyes, with your body, with your nerves, with all your mind, with your heart in the sense of affection, love, compassion, total attention, what takes place?

RW: Of course what takes place is an absolute revolution internal and complete revolution.

K: No, what is the state of such a mind that is completely attentive?

PM: It is free of the stream.

K: No, that we've finished with.

RW: That stream is dry now, don't talk about it! (Laughter) It is desert now! (Laughs)

K: I am asking what is the quality of the mind that is so supremely attentive?

PM: Compassionate.

K: You see it has no quality, no centre, and having no centre no border. And this is an actuality, you can't just imagine this. That means has one ever given such complete attention to sorrow?

SS: Is there any object in that attention?

K: Of course not.

RW: Object in the sense of.?

K: Subject and object.

RW: Subject and object, yes, yes.

K: Obviously not. Because there is no division. You try it, do it, sir, once do it.

SS: I mean not merely physical object but any phenomenal object such as any object, such as sorrow, or all those.

K: Give complete attention, if you can. Say for instance, I tell you meditation is the meditator.

RW: That is right. There is no meditator.

K: Wait, wait, wait. I say, meditation is the meditator. Give your complete attention to that, and see what happens. That's a statement you hear. You don't make an abstraction of it into an idea, but you just hear that statement. It has a quality of truth, it has a quality of great beauty, it has a sense of absoluteness about it. Now give your whole attention to it and see what happens.

RW: I think Buddhist meditation, satipatthana, is that.

K: I don't know, sir.

RW: Yes. I know satipatthana.

K: I'll accept your word for it, but I don't know.

RW: Yes. And I think it will not be misleading to accept my opinion of satipatthana. (Laughter)

K: No, no. I'm not saying it's misleading or... I don't know.

RW: Satipatthana is that. Real satipatthana meditation is that. Now if you ask people who practise it, and there are many meditation centres, I openly say they are misleading.

K: Nonsense, of course they are nonsense.

RW: I have openly written it.

K: Yes, sir, that is nonsense.

RW: Yes because when you ask how it happens, I said that presupposes a method, a technique.

K: No, I am asking, can one give such attention.

RW: You are asking whether it is possible?

K: Yes, is it possible and will you give such attention - not you, sir, I am asking the question. Which means do we ever attend.

PM: Sir, when you say can one attend...

K: Will you attend. Put it an way.

PM: That's it. That makes it...

K: Of course. Not exercising will to attend.

PM: No, no, no. Quite.

K: Will you... you know, do it!

PM: Spontaneously and naturally.

K: If that attention is not there truth cannot exist.

RW: Rather I don't think it is appropriate to say truth cannot exist. Truth exists, truth cannot be seen.

K: Ah, I don't know. You say truth exists but I don't know.

RW: Yes, that doesn't mean truth does not exist.

K: Ah, I don't know, I said.

RW: That is correct.

K: I mean Jesus said, 'Father in heaven'. I don't know the father.

RW: (Laughs) Yes, that is true.

K: It may exist but I don't know, so I don't accept.

RW: No, not accepting. I don't think it is correct to say without that attention truth does not exist.

K: I said without that attention truth cannot come into being.

RW: There is no truth coming into being.

K: No, of course not.

RW: That is also not correct.

K: Let me put it differently. All right.

RW: That is wrong.

K: Without that attention the word 'truth' has no meaning.

RW: That will be better.

K: I've said that, sir. That's better.

K: We have talked for an hour and three quarters, sir. I don't know when your bus or train goes.

RW: I think we will now stop.

K: We better stop.

RW: Yes, and I think on behalf of everybody...

K: No, no...

RW: No, no, not you, I thank all these people.

K: Yes, sir.



Editor's last word:

I did not like this discussion. Too much bickering and seeking for advantage.

Precious little time was spent on the actual question concerning post-mortem survival.

Near the end, K did clearly say that he did not accept reincarnation, but did not elaborate.

However, in another article written by one of his friends, K does make plain his views. It seems that he did not subscribe to post-mortem survival of any kind.

Here is the article:




A Conversation with Jiddu Krishnamurti following the Death of John Field

From "The Reluctant Messiah" by Sidney Field

Source: katinkahesselink.net

This is a quote copied from pp. 117, 118 and pp. 135-157 from the book The Reluctant Messiah by Sidney Field, Paragon House, New York 1989, Edited by Peter Hay, ISBN 1-55778-180-X, Copyright 1989 by Sidney Field. [fair use] Sidney Field was a close friend to Krishnamurti and the book is about all the encounters he had with K.

My brother, John, died early in January, 1972. His death was totally unexpected and a great shock to me. John had been a photographer, a lover of adventure, women and wine, a mean of great Latin charm. He had known Krishnaji as long as I had, and had many times delighted him with his stories and personal adventures. Krishnaji had just arrived from Europe and was staying in Malibu at the home of Mrs. Zimbalist. I called him to give him the sad news, saying I wanted to see him, and he asked me to come the following day for lunch.

He greeted me most affectionately. At the dining table I came right to the point: "Has John survived his bodily death in a subtler form? Yes or no?" There was a moment's silence. "My gut feeling," I went on, "is that he is here beside me, right now."

"Of course he is, right here beside you," said Krishnaji. "He's very close to you, and will continue being close for some time." Two hours later we were still deep into the subject of death and the hereafter. He referred to that part of the personality that survives bodily death as an echo, instead of an astral body, as the Theosophists call it, the echo of the person who lived on earth, the duration of its life on the other side depending on the strength of the individual's earthly personality. "Dr. Besant's echo, for instance," he said, "will go on for a long time, for she had a very strong personality."

"Your viewpoint here is very similar to that of the Theosophists," I said.

"With one important difference," he replied. "There is no permanent substance that survives the death of the body. Whether the ego lasts one year, ten thousand, or a million years, it must finally come to an end."

Krishnaji's remarks during this conversation were among the most revealing and enlightening I had ever heard him make on the subject of death and survival beyond it. At the end of our talk Mrs. Zimbalist remarked that it was a great pity we had not recorded it, for, prodded by insistent questioning and probing on my part, and aided by a sympathetic Mrs. Zimbalist, Krishnaji had explored what to us was a new dimension on this fascinating subject.

Krishnaji has an extraordinary capacity for recall, when he wants to use that gift, and a few days later, he Alain Naude and Mrs. Zimbalist recreated the entire conversation, this time recording it, with Naude asking Krishnaji essentially the same questions I had asked. It was staged in a much quieter atmosphere, naturally, and Naude's questions were cool and intellectual. They did not have the same urgency and strong feeling of my approach, for I was hurting at the time. Nevertheless, I was fascinated when I heard the recording. Krishnaji gave me permission to publish it in connection with this memoir, as it appears below.

Transcription of the conversation, recorded on January 14, 1972

Participants: J. Krishnamurti, Alain Naude , Mary Zimbalist

Krishnamurti : We said the other day Sidney Field came to see me. His brother John died recently. You knew him. He was very concerned whether his brother was living in a different level of consciousness; wether there was John as an entity born [in the] next life. And did I believe in reincarnation and what did it mean. And so he had a lot of questions. He was having a difficult time with himself because of his brother, whom he loved and whom we have known for years. So out of that conversation two things came up. First, is there a permanent ego? If there is such a thing as a permanent something, then what is its relationship from the present to the future? The future being next life or ten years later. But if you admit or accept or believe or assert that there is a permanent ego, then reincarnation...

Alain Naude: ... is inevitable.

K: Not inevitable. I wouldn't say inevitable. It is plausible, because the permanent ego, to me, if it is permanent, can be changed in ten years' time. It can incarnate differently in ten years time.

A: We read this all the time in the Indian scriptures. We read about children who remember the past life, about a girl who said, "What am I doing here? My home is in some other village. I'm married to so and so. I have three children." And in many cases I believe that this has been verified.

K: I don't know. So there is that. If there is no permanent entity, then what is reincarnation? Both involve time, both involve a movement in space. Space being environment, relationship, pressure, all that existing within that space, time.

A: Within time and temporal circomstances ...

K: ... That is, culture etcetera ...

A: ... Within some sort of social set-up.

K: So is there a permanent me? Obviously not. But Sidney said, "Then what is it that I feel, that John is with me? When I enter the room, I know he is there. I'm not fooling myself, I'm not imagining; I feel him there as I feel my sister who was in that room yesterday. It's as clear, as definite as that."

A: And also sir, when you say "obviously not" , would you explain that ?

K: But wait. So he says, "My brother is there." I said of course he is there, because first of all you have your association and memories of John and that is projected, and that projection is your remembrance.

A: So that the John who was contained within you is that.

K: And when John lived he was associated with you. His presence is with you. When he was living, you might not have seen him all day, but his presence was in that room.

A: His presence was there, and perhaps this is what people mean when they speak of an aura.

K: No, aura is different. Let's not push that in yet.

Mary Zimbalist: May I interrupt - when you say he was in that room, whether alive or dead, was there something external to his brother and sister that was there, or was it in their consciousness?

K: It is both in their consciousness and outside consciousness. I can project my brother and say he was with me last night, feeling he was with me, that may emanate from me; or John, who died ten days ago - his atmosphere, his thoughts, his way of behaving still remaining there, even though physically he might have gone.

A: The psychic momentum.

K: The physical heat.

Z: Are you saying there is a sort of energy, for want of a better word, which human beings give off?

K: There was a photograph of a parking lot taken where there had been many cars, and the photo showed, although there were no cars there, the form of the cars that had been there.

A: Yes. I saw that.

K: That is, the heat that the car had left came on the negative.

A: And also one day when we were living in Gstaad, the first time I was your guest at Gstaad, we were living as Les Capris - you left for America before any of us left, and I went into that flat - you were still alive and on your way to America and your presence was there, extremely strong.

K: That's it.

A: Your presence was so strong, one felt one could touch you. This was not simply because I was thinking about you before I entered the flat.

K: So there are three possibilities. I project out of my remembrance and consciousness, or pick up the residual energy of John.

A: Like a smell that would linger.

K: John's thought or John's existence is still there.

A: That's the third possibility.

Z: What do you mean by that, John' existence?

A: That John is really there as before he died? The third possibility.

K: I live in a room for a number of years. The presence of that room contained my energy, my thoughts, my feelings.

A: It contains its own energy, and when we go into a new house it sometimes takes time before you are rid of the person who was there before you, even though you may not have known him.

K: So those are the three possibilities. And the other is John's thought, because John clings to life. John's desires are there in the air, not in the room.

A: Immaterially.

K: Yes, they are there just like a thought.

A: And does that mean that John is conscious and there is a being who is self-conscious calling himself John, thinking those thoughts?

K: I doubt it.

A: I think that is what the people who believe in reincarnation would postulate.

K: See what happens, Sir. This makes four possibilities and the idea that John whose physical body is gone, exists in thought.

A: In his own thought or someone else's?

K: In his own thought.

A: Exists as a thinking entity.

K: As a thinking entity exists.

A: As a conscious being.

K: That is - listen to this, it's rather interesting - John continues because he is the world of vulgarity, of greed, of envy, of drinking, and of competition. That is the common pattern of man. It continues and John may be identified with that, or is that.

A: John is the desires, the thoughts, the beliefs, the associations.

K: Of the world.

A: Which are incarnate and which are material.

K: Which is the world - which is everybody.

A: This is a big thing you are saying. It would be nice if you could explain it a bit better. When you say John persists, John continues because there is a continuation of the vulgar in him - the vulgar being worldly, material association.

K: That is right: fear, wanting power, position.

A: Desire to be as an entity.

K: So that, because that is a common thing of the world and the world does incarnate.

A: You say the world does incarnate.

K: Take the mass of the people. They are caught in this stream and that stream goes on. I may have a son who is part of that stream and in that stream there is John also, as a human being who is caught in it. And my son may remember some of John's attitudes.

A: Ah but you are saying something different.

K: Yes.

A: You are saying that John is contained in all the memories that different people have of him. In that respect we can see that he does exist. Because I remember a friend of mine died not long ago, and it was very clear to me when I thought about it that in fact he was very much alive in the memories of all the people who had loved him.

K: That's just it.

A: Therefore, he was not absent from the world, he was still in the stream of events which we call the world, which is the lives of different people who had associated with him. In that sense we see that he can perhaps live forever.

K: Unless he breaks away from it - breaks away from the stream. A man who is not vulgar - let's use that word, vulgar, representing all this ... greed, envy, power, position, hatred, desires, all that - let's call that vulgar. Unless I am free from the vulgar, I will continue representing the whole of vulgarity, the whole vulgarity of man.

A: Yes, I will be that vulgarity by pursuing it, and in fact incarnating in it, giving it life.

K: Therefore I incarnate in that vulgarity. That is, first I can project John, my brother.

A: In my thought and imagination or remember him. The second point, I can pick up his kinetic energy, which is still around.

K: His smell, his taste, his saying the words.

A:The pipe which is unsmoked on the desk, the half-finished letter.

K: All that.

A: Flowers he picked in the garden.

K: Third, the thought remains in the room.

A: Thought remains in the room?

K: Feelings ...

A: One might say, the psychic equivalent of his kinetic energy.

K: Yes.

A: His thought remains almost as a material smell. As a physical smell.

K: That's right.

A: The energy of thought remains like an old coat that you hang up.

K: Thought, will, if he has a very strong will; active desires and thought, they also remain.

A: But that's not different from the third point. The third point is that thought remains, which is will, which is desire.

K: The fourth point is the stream of vulgarity.

A: That's not very clear.

K: Look, sir, I live an ordinary life, like millions and millions of people.

A: Yes, pursuing goals, hopes and fears.

K: I live the usual life. A little more refined, a little bit higher or lower, along the same current, I follow that current. I am that current. Me, who is that current, is bound to continue in that stream, which is the stream of me. I'm not different from millions of other people.

A: Therefore are you saying, sir, even dead, I continue because the things which were me are continuing.

K: In the human being.

A: Therefore, I survive. I was not different from the things which filled and preoccupied my life.

K: That's right.

A: Since these things which filled and occupied my life survive, in a manner of speaking I survive since they do.

K: That's right. That's four points.

A: The question is about the fifth. Is there a conscious thinking entity who knows that he is conscious when everybody has said, "There goes poor old John," even put him in the ground. Is there a conscious entity who immaterially says, "Good gracious, they've put that body in the ground but I have consciousness of being alive."

K: Yes.

A: That is the question which I think is difficult to answer.

K: Sidney was asking that question.

A: Because we see that everybody does exist in these other ways after death.

K: Now, you are asking the question, Does John, whose body is burned - cremated - does that entity continue to live?

A: Does that entity continue to have its consciousness of its own existence?

K: I question whether there is a separate John.

A: You said at the beginning, is there such a thing as a permanent ego? You said obviously not.

K: When you say that John, my brother, is dead and ask wether he is living, living in a separate consciousness, I question whether he was ever separate from the stream.

A: Yes.

K: You follow what I am saying, sir?

A: Was there a John alive?

K: When John was alive, was he different from the stream?

A: The stream filled his consciousness of himself. His consciousness of himself was the stream knowing himself.

K: No, sir, just go slowly. It's rather complicated. The stream of humanity is anger, hate, jealosy, seeking power, position, cheating, corrupt, polluted. That is the stream. Of that stream is my brother John. When he existed physically, he has a physical body, but psychologically he was of this. Therefore was he ever different from this? From the stream? Or only physically different and therefore thinking he was different. You follow my point?

A: There was an entity who was self-conscious ...

K: ... As John.

A: He was self-conscious, and the stream was in relationship to himself.

K: Yes.

A: My wife, my child, my love.

K: But was John inwardly different from the stream? That's my point. Therefore what is dead is the body. And the continuation of John is part of that stream. I, as his brother, would like to think of him as separate because he lived with me as a separate being physically. Inwardly he was of the stream. Therefore, was there a John who was different from the stream? And, if he was different, then what happens? I don't know if you follow.

A: There is a stream from outside and there is a stream from inside. Vulgarity seen in the street is from the man who feels himself to be acting in the moment of that vulgarity. I insult somebody. This is vulgarity. You see that vulgarity from the outside and say there is a vulgar act. I who am insulting somebody see the act in a different way. I feel self-conscious life at the moment when I insult. In fact I insult because there is a conscious thinking about me. I am protecting myself, so I insult.

K: My point is, this is what is happening with one hundred million people. Millions of people. As long as I swim in that stream, am I different? Is the real John from the stream?

A: Was there ever a John?

K: That's all my point.

A: There was conscious determination which felt itself to be John.

K: Yes, but I can imagine. I can invent because I am different.

A: There was imagination, thought, calling itself John.

K: Yes, sir.

A: Now, does that thought still call itself John?

K: But I belong to that stream.

A: You always belong to the stream.

K: There is no separate entity as John who was my brother, who is now dead.

A: Are you saying that there is no individual?

K: No, this is what we call permanent. The permanent ego is this.

A: What we think is individual.

K: Individual, the collective, the self.

A: Yes, the creation of thought which calls itself self.

K: It is of this stream.

A: That's right.

K: Therefore, was there ever a John? There is only a John when he is out of the stream.

A: That's right.

K: So first we are trying to find out if there is a permanent ego which incarnates.

A: The nature of the ego is imperminent.

K: Reincarnation is in the whole of Asia, and the modern people who believe in it say there is a permanent ego. You take many lives so that it can become dissolved and be absorbed in Brahma and all that. Now, is there from the beginning a permanent entity, an entity that lasts centuries and centuries? There is no such entity, obviously. I like to think I'm permanent. My permanence is identified with my furniture, my wife, my husband, circumstances. These are words and images of thought. I don't actually possess that chair. I call it mine.

A: Exactly. You think it's a chair and you own it.

K: I like to think I own it.

A: But it's just an idea.

K: So, watch it. So there is no permanent self. If there was a permanent self, it would be this stream. Now, realizing that I am like the rest of the world, that there is no seperate K, or John, as my brother, then I can incarnate if I step out of it. Incarnate in the sense that the change can take place away from the stream. In the stream there is no change.

A: If there is permanence, it is outside the stream.

K: No, sir, permanency, semipermanency, is the stream.

A: And therefore it is not permanent. If it is permanent, it is not the stream. Therefore, if there is an entity, then it must be out of the stream. Therefore, that which is true, that which is permanent, is not a something.

K: It is not in the stream.

A: That's right.

K: When Naude dies, as long as he belongs to the stream, that stream and its flow is semipermanent.

A: Yes, It goes on. It's a historical thing.

K: But if Naude says, I will incarnate, not in the next life, now, tomorrow, which means I will step out of the stream, he is no longer belonging to the stream; therefore there is nothing permanent.

A: There is nothing to reincarnate. Therefore, that which reincarnates, if reincarnation is possible, is not permanent anyway.

K: No, it's the stream.

A: It's very temporal.

K: Don't put it that way.

A: A seperate entity is not real.

K: No, as long as I belong to the stream ...

A: I don't really exist ...

K: There is no separate entity. I am the world.

A: That's right.

K: When I step out of the world, is there a me to continue?

A: Exactly, It's beautiful.

K: So, what we are trying to do is justify the existence of the stream.

A: Is that what we are trying to do?

K: Of course, when I say I must have many lives and therefore I must go through the stream.

A: What we are trying to do, then, is we are trying to establish that we are different from the stream.

K: We are not.

A: We are not different from the stream.

K: So, sir, then what happens? If there is no permanent John or K or Naude or Zimbalist, what happens? You remember, sir, I think I read it in the Tibetan tradition or some other tradition, that when a person dies, is dying, the priest or the monk comes in and sends all the family away, locks the door and says to the dying man, "Look you're dying - let go - let all of your antagonisms, all your worldliness, all your ambition, let go, because you are going to meet a light in which you will be absorbed, if you let go. If not, you'll come back. Which is, come back to the stream. You will be the stream again.

A: Yes.

K: So what happens to you if you step out of the stream?

A: You step out of the stream, you cease to be, but the you which was, was only created by thought, anyway.

K: Which is the stream.

A: Vulgarity.

K: Vulgarity. What happens if you step out of the stream? The stepping out is the incarnation. Yes, sir, but that is a new thing you are coming into. There is a new dimension coming into being.

A: Yes.

K: Now, what happens? You follow? Naude has stepped out of the stream. What happens? You are not an artist. Not a businessman. You are not a polititian, not a musician, all that identification is part of the stream.

A: All the qualities.

K: All the qualities. When you discard that, what happens?

A: You have no identity.

K: Identity is here. Say, for instance, Napoleon, or any of these so-called world leaders: they killed, they butchered, they did every horror imaginable, they lived and died in the stream, they were of the stream. That is very simple and clear. There is a man who steps out of the stream.

A: Before physical death?

K: Of course; otherwise there is no point.

A: Therefore, another dimension is born.

K: What happens?

A: The ending of the dimension which is familiar to us is another dimension, but it cannot be postulated at all because all postulation is in terms fo the dimension we are in.

K: Yes, but suppose you, living now ...

A: Step out of it.

K: Step out of the stream. What happens?

A: This is death, sir.

K: No, sir.

A: This is death, but no physical death.

K: You see, you step out of it. What happens?

A: Nothing can be said about what happens.

K: Wait, sir. You see, none of us step out of the river, and we are always from the river, trying to reach the other shore.

A: It's like people talking about deep sleep from awakeness.

K: That's it, sir. We belong to this stream, all of us. Man does belong to the stream and from the stream he wants to reach that shore, never leaving the river. Now the man says, all right, I see the fallacy of this, the absurdity of my position.

A: You can't state another dimension from the old dimension.

K: So I leave that. So the mind says, "Out!". He steps out and what takes place? Don't verbalize it.

A: The only thing one can say about it in terms of the stream is silence. Because it is the silence of the stream, and one can also say it is the death of the stream. Therefore, in terms of the stream it is sometimes called oblivion.

K: You know what it means to step out of the stream: no character.

A: No memory.

K: No, sir, see: no character, because the moment you have character it's of the stream. The moment you say you are virtuous, you are of the stream - or not virtuous. To step out of the stream is to step out of this whole structure. So, creation as we know it is in the stream. Mozart, Beethoven, you follow, the painters, they are all here.

A: I think perhaps, sir, sometimes that which is in the stream is vivified, as it were from something which is beyond.

K: No, no, can't be. Don't say these things because I can create in the stream. I can paint marvelous pictures. why not? I can compose the most extraordinary symphonies, all the techniques ...

A: Why are they extraordinary?

K: Because the world needs it. There is the need, the demand, and the supply. I'm saying to myself what happens to the man who really steps out. Here in the river, in the stream, energy is conflict, in contradiction, in strife, in vulgarity. But that's going on all the time ...

A: Me and You.

K: Yes, that's going on all the time. When he steps out of it, there is no conflict, there is no division as my country, your country.

A: No division.

K: No division. So what is the quality of that man, that mind that has no sense of division? It is pure energy, isn't it? So our concern is this stream and stepping out of it.

A: That is meditation, that is real meditation, because the stream is not life. The stream is totally mechanical.

K: I must die to the stream.

A: All the time.

K: All the time. And therefore I must deny - not deny, I must not get entangled with - John who is in the stream.

A: One must repudiate the things of the stream.

K: That means I must repudiate my brother.

A: I must repudiate having a brother. You see what that means?

K: I see my brother belonging to this, and as I move away from the stream my mind is open. I think that is compassion.

A: When the stream is seen from that which is not of the stream.

K: When the man of the stream steps out and looks, then he has compassion.

A: And love.

K: So, you see, sir, reincarnation, that is, incarnating over and over again, is the stream. This is not a very comforting thing. I come to you and tell you my brother died yesterday, and you tell me this. I call you a terribly cruel man. But you are weeping for yourself, you are weeping for me, for the stream. That's why people don't want to know. I want to know where my brother is, not whether he is.


Final word:

As mentioned elsewhere, but as common knowledge, physicist Dr. David Bohm, over several years, held friendship and many conversations with K, as there is link between thought and quantum mechanics. However, in later years, Bohm fell into disillusionment with his friend. A science writer comments:

from https://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/sunrise/46-96-7/sc-pruyn.htm

In the 1970s Bohm met Krishnamurti and became involved in his movement. They had many discussions, and Bohm became trustee of one of his schools. However, his confidence in Krishnamurti was dented after the latter's death, when it emerged that, although he advocated celibacy, he had kept a mistress who had several abortions. These revelations contributed to the mental crisis Bohm was passing through at that time.

Well, we find that K was human after all, but there's no need to condemn him for common frailty. However, in this footnote to his life, I suggest, we find the real reason why K, seemingly, changed his mind on the reality of the afterlife. He didn’t want to go there as, at least subliminally, like many people in this world, he expected judgment for immorality. Further, this "secret sin", harbored and safeguarded for 25 years, accounts for K's inability - as discussed in my commentaries appended to his lectures - to "go deeper" to access the life within. It's not possible to sense the hidden "true self" if one lives a life of hypocrisy.