Future is Now, The
J. Krishnamurti The Future is Now Chapter 1 7th November 1985 1st Discussion with Buddhists Varanasi
First Participant (P1): [The chief participant in these discussions with Buddhists (P1) is Pandit Jagannath Upadhyaya.] So far as I have understood, you say that life has no purpose or aim and therefore there is no path to tread. Therefore each person is faced with every moment by itself. If the moment is to be understood, then the same moment is the moment of action, knowledge and desire. Is this understanding correct?
KRISHNAMURTI (K): If I may point out, we are not discussing what is correct or not correct. Sir, this is a subject that requires a great deal of inquiry.
P1: If you say that this is not a question of correctness or otherwise, you are creating a problem for the people who want to understand.
K: No. On the contrary, I am saying that Panditji and all of us, including myself, are going to investigate. I don't say, `That is right, this is wrong', but together we are going to go into it.
P1: How can there be a human being who does not decide what is correct or incorrect, what is good or not good?
K: We will come to that. I don't say there is no goodness. Goodness may be entirely different from your goodness and my goodness. So let us find out which is really the good - not yours or mine, but that which is good...
P2: ...in itself.
P1: You are introducing an uncertainty into one's way of looking at things or one's philosophical outlook.
K: Yes, but if you start with certainty, you end up with uncertainty.
P1: This also sounds very paradoxical - that you start with certainty and end up with uncertainty.
K: Of course. This is daily life. So, sir, because you raised a question which implies time, thought, action, could we begin by first going into the question of what is time? Not according to the Buddha, or to some scripture, but what is time? He will interpret it one way, the scientists will say that it is a series of small actions, thoughts and so on. Or you might say, well, time is death, time is living, or thought is time. Right? So, could we, for the time being, put aside what other people have said, including the Buddha, including what I have said or haven't said - wipe all that out - and say, `Now, what is time?'
Is this the only problem we have in life - time - not only a series of events, but being born, growing, dying, time as the past, future and present? We live in time. The moment we hope, it is time - I hope to be, I hope to become, I hope to become enlightened; all that implies time. Acquiring knowledge implies time, and the whole of living from birth to death is a problem of time. Right, sir? Am I making myself clear? So what is it that we call time?
P1: You have spoken about this many times, but I want to say that the moment which is knowledge, action, as well as desire, is a moment in which there is no time.
K: Wait, wait. Can you divide this instant from the rest?
P1: In the instant of attention or observation, there is no time.
K: What do you mean, observation and attention? Sorry to be so analytical. But if we are to understand each other we must be clear about the meaning of these two words - attention and observation. What takes place actually when you observe? - not theoretically. When you observe that tree, that bird, that woman, that man, what takes place?
P2: In that moment of observation, if it is real observation...
K: Is it? I am asking. When he uses the word observation, what does he mean by that? I may mean one thing, he may mean another, she may mean yet another thing.
P2: But you are asking Panditji what he means by observation.
K: And what he means by attention... Sir, may I ask a question? Could we start to discuss, to have a dialogue, a conversation on a word, which is really very, very good deliberation? You know the meaning of that word deliberate? The word comes from libra which in Greek means balance, weigh. You have the same thing in the Zodiac - Libra. And from libra comes the word liberate. And also it comes from the word `deliberare' which in Italian means `to sit down, talk over, take counsel with each other, weigh together. It is not you offering an opinion and I offering another opinion, but both of us taking counsel together, both of us weighing because we want to find the truth of it. Not I will find it and then tell you - that does not exist in that word deliberate. Sir, when the Pope is elected in Rome, in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, they deliberate - the doors are locked, nobody can get out, they have their own places for toilet, restaurant, food; everything is arranged for a fortnight or for some days. Within those set days they must settle. That is called deliberation. So could we start, both of us, as though we know nothing?
P3: It is difficult for Panditji.
K: It is not difficult. I know nothing; our knowledge is merely memory. What's the point of it? I am saying knowledge may be the greatest danger in the world; it may be the greatest hindrance. To further knowledge we are adding, the scientists are adding. That which is added to is always limited.
P2: Of course. If it is complete, you cannot add to it.
K: Yes. Therefore your knowledge is always limited, and if you discuss from that limitation, you end up in limitation.
P2: And the so-called certainty is that limitation.
K: Yes, limitation.
P1: We have heard quite a bit from you and understood certain things; but if the understanding has to be at a deeper level, then someone like you has the responsibility of making that known, since we are at different levels.
K: All right, all right. But the man says, K says, leave your moorings, let us float together.
P1: How can we counsel together when we are at two different levels?
K: I don't admit that. I don't admit that we are at two levels.
P1: We have a complaint against you that...
K:...that I am a poor surgeon!
P1:...physician, yes. Because there are all the difficulties and conflicts outside. People like me who have the privilege of coming to you receive some light, but the physician is not able to say how to cope with those things which are outside and solve the difficulties there.
K: So you want to solve first the difficulties out there, and then approach the problems in here. Is that it?
P1: No, I want to solve them both together.
K: I do not admit the division.
P1: Yes, I accept that.
K: The world is me, I am the world. Now, from there how do we solve the problem?
P1: Let us say I don't make a difference between outer and inner things.
K: First make sure of that. Do you actually see that, or is it theoretical?
P1: For me it is theoretical.
K: Sir, first of all, theory to me has no value. Forgive me, sir. I see what is happening in the world - war, nationalities, killing, all the appalling things that are happening - actually happening. I am not imagining it; I see it happening under my nose. Now, who created it?
P1: Human beings.
K: Do you admit that we all of us have created that?
P2: Yes, of course.
K: All right. So, if all of us have created it, then we can change that. Now, in what manner will you bring about the change? Sir, I met the other day in New York, a scientist, a doctor who has become a philosopher. He said this is all talk, the real question is: can the cells in the brain bring about a mutation in themselves - not through drugs, not through various genetic processes, but can the brain cells themselves say: This is wrong - change! Do you understand, sir? Can the brain cells themselves, uninfluenced, undrugged, see what they have created and say: This is wrong - mutate!
P1: But you distinguish the brain from the mind.
K: Yes, may be silly, but I have made a difference because the brain is the very centre of our sensations.
P4: Sir, that was my question the day before yesterday also: Should we wait for that mutation?
K: You can't. It will go on.
P4: Will it come automatically?
P4: So we should try for that.
K: What will you do, sir? You see that a mutation is necessary. Right?
P4: Yes, everyone agrees with that.
K: Now, what will change that? - in the cells, not just ideas. The very cells of the brain contain all the memories of the past. Can those cells, without pressure, without influence, without chemicals, say: That is the end of that; I will change?
P2: No: If there is no influence, no pressure, it means it is taking place by itself.
K: No. Listen to it. The brain cells hold all the memories, all the pressures, all the education, all the experience, everything - it is the centre of knowledge. Right?
P2: Yes, it is loaded.
K: Loaded with knowledge of two and a half million years. We have tried everything - chemicals, torture, every form of experience to bring about a change inside the skull; we have not succeeded. There is genetic engineering, there is every form of experiment being done to change this inside, they haven't succeeded. They haven't so far; they may in a thousand years. So I say to myself, why does this brain depend on all this - chemicals, persuasion, pleasure? Is it waiting to be released? I say, `No, sorry, that is another form of escape.'
P2: Waiting for something else.
K: Yes. So, can the brain cells, with all the past memories, put an end to all that now? That is my question. What do you say, sir?
P1: I have another question. I have to teach my students and I do it through a logical process - rationally so many things are explained. At the same time I realize the limitation of that, especially having come into contact with you - that this is all artificial, theoretical, very limited. Then, when we come to you, we hear what is good, and we go from one fine point to another, but I find at the end of it all that we are still nowhere near the truth. So it just means that instead of going round in that circle of logic we go round in this, but it makes no difference.
K: Yes, sir, these are all just explanations and we move from that logic to this logic. So, do we see that logic has a limitation? Now, can I leave that logic without going to another logic, because I see at the very beginning that logic has limitation - whether it is superfine logic or plain common sense?
P1: No, the two cannot be compared because the other is entirely logical, which we understand is limited, but here it is not just logic as we get bits of insight, bits of light; but we keep moving around with these little bits. There is no comprehension.
K: All right. If that is so - which I question - is it that you want complete insight? Your question implies that. -- Page 31 --
P1: We should be satisfied with what we are getting, but we need that happiness which shapes thought. We get little bits of insight, not the whole.
K: I am not talking of happiness; I am talking of insight. Will you listen to it? I will present the whole, I will show you logically the whole. Will you listen - not say yes, this is right, this is wrong? Sir, practically every writer, painter, scientist, poet, guru - they all have a limited insight. You and I come along and say, `Look, this is limited, and I want the real, complete, full insight; not partial.' Right?
P1: We need to understand this. What is full insight? Is it an experience?
K: No, I doubt if it is an experience. It is not an experience.
P2: Then it has to come from within.
K: No, you see, you are already stipulating what should happen.
P2: It cannot be anticipated.
K: You cannot lay down laws about it. You cannot say it is experience; it is not.
P2: You were going to tell us how all this will be a whole.
K: Not all this; the parts do not make the whole. I am as damned logical as any of you. I am just saying, you are approaching it wrongly. That is my point; don't say it is an experience; it is based on knowledge. What is based on knowledge is invention, not creation.
P6: Sir, he is not saying it is experience based on knowledge, but it has to be real, proved.
K: It is not that I experience something; it is real. I don't understand your difficulty. Somebody comes along and tells me a story. I listen with rapt attention. It is a beautiful story, lovely language, style; I am enraptured by it, I listen to the story, and it goes on and on day after day, and I am consumed by the story. So the story ends by saying, `It stops here.'
P5: The story doesn't end for us; the problem continues.
K: You are my friend. I want to tell you that people have limited insight, which is obvious. Your friend here says, I will tell you in what manner you can have the whole insight. Will you listen to him? Don't argue,just listen. You give rice to the beggar; he didn't expect anything from you, but you give it. In the same way, he is giving me a gift and he says, `Take it, don't ask me why you are being given it, who is giving it; just take it.' So I am telling you, insight is not dependent on the intellect, it is not dependent on knowledge, it is not dependent on any form of remembrance, and it is not dependent on time. Enlightenment is not dependent on time. Time, memory, remembrance, cause - they don't exist; then you have insight, complete insight. Sir, like two ships passing each other at night, one says to the other, `This is it,' and passes on. What will you do?
P4: Sir, does it come through gradual practice or is it instantaneous?
K: Practice means memory, time.
P4: So it can only be instantaneous.
K: Oh no, no, sir, just listen. He tells me this and he disappears. He has left with me a tremendous jewel and I am watching the beauty of it. I am not saying, why did he give it to me, who is he, and so on. He has given it to me and he said, `Take it, my friend, live with it, and if you don't want it, throw it away.' And I never see him again. I am enthralled by the jewel and that jewel begins to reveal things I have never seen before, and that jewel says, `Hold me more closely, you will see much more.' But I say, `I have got my wife, my children, my college, my university, my job; I can't do this.' So you put it on the table come back in the evening and you look at it. But the jewel is fading, so you have to hold it, you have to cherish it, love it, watch it, care for it.
I am not trying to convince anybody of anything. We see that our knowledge is very limited, and knowledge may be the very danger, it may be the poison in all of us.
Sir, I met the other day, just before I came to India, three computer experts - the very, very latest. They are going deeper into artificial intelligence. And artificial intelligence can do most of the things that human beings can do - argue, have tremendous knowledge, much more than any of us. It will include British knowledge, European knowledge, French knowledge, Russian knowledge, all the Upanishads, all the Gitas, all the Bibles, the Korans, everything, and it will act - it will tell you what to eat, what not to eat, when to go to bed for your health, when you cannot have sex, everything you can do; it has already begun. And what is going to happen to the human brain if that machine can do everything I can do, except have sex or look at the stars? What is the point of the human being? And the entertainment industry - football, tennis, all these things - here too, unfortunately, it is very strong. So if man is caught in all the entertainment, which includes all the religious entertainment, then where is man? Sir, this is a very serious question; it is not just casual talk.
P2: This question would not arise if there is mutation in the brain which is then far ahead of the present brain, because the present brain is memory and the machine has a far better memory.
K: A little chip like that holds 600 million words.
P2: All the libraries of the world will be in the machine.
K: They have got it, haven't they? Therefore, why should I go to the library, why should I listen to all this stuff? Therefore, entertainment.
P2: Or mutate.
K: That's it. This is the question I have been asking.
P2: So we are back to the question.
P1: Does meditation have a place in all this?
K: Yes. Sir, is there a meditation which is not contrived, which is not deliberate, which does not say practise, practise, practise, which had nothing to do with all this? Because, that way I practise to become a rich man, I have a deliberate purpose. So it can't be meditation as we do it now. So, perhaps there is a meditation which has nothing to do with all this - and I say there is.
P2: Shall we stop here?
K: Yes, we stop - like the story. 2nd Discussion with Buddhists Varanasi