Excerpt About Courage

The Need for Intense Sincerity and Ruthless Courage

True states of realization occur when you throw away all the teachings. All of the teachings, absolutely. Everything. Then you are investigation itself finding out what you are. You realize that many people have said many things along the way. Somebody said you are an eternal soul, you have to be saved, and you have to believe in Christ. Somebody else said you just need to realize that there is no self. Another person said the true self is the Brahman. Somebody talked about God. And if you really believe that those people are not lying, you start wondering what they’re talking about. Who is right? You need intense sincerity and ruthless courage to discover the truth for yourself. “This person says this and that person says that. I believe that they mean what they say, but how can I say one of them is right and one of them is wrong? And who knows what they mean by what they say anyway?” That is one of the things I discovered when I realized the state of no-self. The state was different from what I thought. I realized that many people go around talking about Buddhist no-self, and they haven’t got the vaguest idea of what it means. What they think is no-self is not what Buddha talked about. When Buddha said there is no self, he also meant there is no table and no house. He didn’t mean that you walk around without a self, but that everything is conceptual. The self is ultimately a concept. This thing or that thing is a concept. But people don’t think that way. They read about no-self and think that after sitting around for a while they will be this person sitting in lotus position with no self. There isn’t anything like that. No-self means you realize that you are not sitting in that lotus position. So we don’t really know what those people meant. At some point you have to achieve an independence of mind, which is the state of aloneness. You have to know intrinsic aloneness, allowing yourself to be free from all influence, independent from anybody, from anywhere, even from your own experience.

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