740613 - Conversation A - Paris

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



740613R1-PARIS - June 13, 1974 - 104:29 Minutes



(Conversation with Mr. Deshimaru's)


M. Deshimaru: (French)

(translating for M. Deshimaru throughout)

Yogeśvara: He thinks that... He suggests that perhaps this force is something more than person. Since it is in all people, it is something that all people share, but it's beyond them.

Prabhupāda: That's all right, but in all people the force is a person. Just like the force is in him, force in me, but we are person.

(Prabhupada's comments translated throughout by Yogeśvara)

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says, "This force is the soul."

Prabhupāda: Yes. So soul is a person.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He's confused: what do you define by person then? Because our experience is this person.

Prabhupāda: Just like I am a living being; I have got living force. You have got living force. But we are talking as person.

Yogeśvara: His question is: Well how is it that the soul is also a person?

Prabhupāda: Because I am soul, you are soul, we keep our person. That is person.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He suggests that we are only individuals, distinct, because of the bodily difference—that now we are persons, but afterwards we become one.

Prabhupāda: Not bodily. Because you are individual, therefore you have got individual body. Just like my coat: it is cut according to me, not I am according to the coat. The dress is made according to the person, not the person becomes according to the dress.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says that, well, to... He doesn't see the application. He says if we're just...

Prabhupāda: Why not application? Why not application?

Yogeśvara: He says it's more important to resolve the problems of why man is suffering rather than discuss whether the soul is a person or not.

Prabhupāda: Because he has got different dress, different person.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: So he's asking: Well, therefore, what is the conclusion? If the soul is a person, how does that help us to solve the problem of the man's suffering?

Prabhupāda: That is another thing, why man is suffering. First of all... Just like we have to find out the disease, why he is suffering, and if the disease is cured, the suffering is cured. (aside, as Yogeśvara is translating:) Why the others, they do not come? Why is that? What kind of GBC?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says there's an old Buddhist saying that no matter what kind of body you have, whether it be made of feathers or flesh or whatever kind of body you have, the problem is how to get out of it.

Pṛthu-putra: (correcting Yogeśvara's translation) No, it's not question of body. "If you receive an arrows." You have to translate clearly. If you receive an arrows, it doesn't matter if the arrow is made with wood, with iron, with anything. But just to take out the arrows of your body, because that's the cause of suffering...

Prabhupāda: (aside) Why the GBC men are not interested in these talks?

Satsvarūpa: I'm interested; I was just doing secretary work.

Prabhupāda: That's all right. How you will do secretary work if you do not hear? These are the important philosophy is going on. Where is the other man, Bhagavān dāsa? These important talks going on and you do not..., you think that you have learned everything. What is this?

Yogeśvara: This young gentleman's question is: If you are pierced with an arrow, it's not so much important to discuss how the arrow has got there. Just like you suggest we define the disease before we try to cure it.

Prabhupāda: No, we are not caring how the arrows, but you have got the arrows, you must take out the arrows.

Yogeśvara: That is his point also.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So the disease is because he has forgotten his own self, therefore he is suffering.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says that actually that is the actual problem, to find out our real self.

Prabhupāda: Suppose a man, a sane man, has become insane. That insanity should be cured. Then he becomes a sane man.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: Yes, he must understand that he is crazy.

Prabhupāda: Yes. He must know... He may understand or not understand. Somehow or other, he has become crazy. So if the craziness is cured, then he is normal man.

Bhagavān: Yogeśvara, let Pṛthu translate.

Pṛthu-putra: His point... He says if a man understands that he is crazy, then he is not crazy any more.

Yogeśvara: Prabhupāda says somehow or other, if he understands or not, if he gets cured of his insanity...

Prabhupāda: So the insanity is just like you are dressed, and if you identify yourself with the dress, that is insanity.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says he agrees. That means to be identified with the appearance.

Prabhupāda: So that is insanity. We are actually the living force, soul, but we are identifying at the present moment with the material body. Everyone is thinking, "I am Japanese," "I am Englishman," "I am German," "I am Indian," "I am white," "I am black," but that is his insanity. So this insanity should be cured, that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul." And when he understand that he is spirit soul, he should be engaged in the business of the spirit soul. And because he is misidentifying himself with this body, he is engaged with the bodily activities. So when he stops his bodily activities and he begins his spiritual activities, then he will be cured. So far bodily, I mean to say, pains and pleasure, that will be automatically cured when he understands that he is not body. Just like I feel heat and cold on account of this body.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: They believe that the soul and the body is one thing.

Prabhupāda: How it is one?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says we have one body, we have the soul, and these two things cannot be separated.

Prabhupāda: How the man becomes dead?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says the man is like a phenomenon. He appears and he disappears. And when he disappears, he merge in this cosmic force.

Yogeśvara: Like anything. Like a flower that grows and dies and merges again into the earth.

Prabhupāda: Merges?

Yogeśvara: Just like a flower grows from the earth...

Prabhupāda: They do not believe in the reincarnation, next birth?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says there is no personal reincarnation of the soul. When the body dies... (break)

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says himself, he has no answer, but the Zen philosophy has one answer.

Prabhupāda: Zen philosophy answer?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He was that cosmic force. Before birth, man was the universality of everything.

Prabhupāda: And what you are now?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: And now he is himself. Now he is different.

Prabhupāda: So how you became from zero?

Pṛthu-putra: No, he don't say he is different. He says, "Now I am myself." (French with guest) His point is that he doesn't think that man is more important than the flower or the table. It's all the same.

Prabhupāda: Then why he is anxious for man's suffering?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says the man is there. The suffering is there.

Prabhupāda: No. So why he is bothering about suffering? He was zero beginning, and he will be zero, and now he is also zero.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says there is two aspect. There is this aspect: everything is zero. But there is another aspect: there is a man who is always searching after to find the solution to his problem.

Prabhupāda: Why solution? He will automatically become zero. Then finish everything. (laughter)

Karandhara: Just dying, that solves all the problems.

Prabhupāda: No, he said that is natural.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says religious life is a very deep thing on man, and he has to search out, and that must be his goal. Even if there is no reason, it don't matter. He has to search.

Prabhupāda: No. Then how he can explain from zero something so important come into existence?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says actually he doesn't start from zero; he starts from this cosmic force.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Pṛthu-putra: He says it's something we cannot define what is it. A man is not able to define this force.

Prabhupāda: That means... You cannot define, that means your knowledge is imperfect.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says his knowledge is imperfect, that's for sure, but he says to define this cosmic force with the human mind is to bring down...

Yogeśvara: He says actually a human mind cannot define it. He says a human mind can't actually encompass the whole of the cosmic force.

Prabhupāda: If you cannot define, there is no remedy for your suffering. Just like a disease: unless the physician knows what is the infection, he cannot treat.

M. Deshimaru: (French with Yogeśvara)

Yogeśvara: (to Pṛthu-putra:) Maybe you can translate that.

Pṛthu-putra: He says one thing: we don't have to put name on disease or we don't have to know this name is called like that, this name is called like that, to cure it.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is the system. If you go to a physician, he will try to understand what is the cause of the disease. Then he makes treatment.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: They agree about knowing the cause of the disease, that it's necessary to know.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That..., what is the cause of the suffering?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says ignorance of himself. The man suffer because he's ignoring himself.

Prabhupāda: So let him become in knowledge.

Karandhara: How does the cosmic force become ignorant of itself and fall into this condition? If before he was this form he was the cosmic energy, how he can fall down into ignorance and become an individual, limited, conditioned soul?

M. Deshimaru: (French with Yogeśvara)

Yogeśvara: I'm finding it hard to be able to translate, because he says that we're ignorant and he says at the same time we're not ignorant.

Prabhupāda: What is this? When you speak of ignorance, that means he has fallen down from knowledge. That is ignorance.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says this knowledge is there anywhere, for everyone, but the men take it or don't take it, ignore it or get themself interested.

Prabhupāda: No, why...? As soon as you say ignorant, that means he has lost his knowledge.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says there is ignorance, there is knowledge, but there is something beyond this knowledge and this ignorance.

Prabhupāda: What is that something? Do you know it?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He called this things God. That is God.

Prabhupāda: So therefore we are suffering forgetting God.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says, "Well, all right, that's okay. You can say that we're suffering because we forgot God. The important thing is that we're suffering."

Prabhupāda: Yes, that we also say. But we know the cause.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says but you are suffering still.

Prabhupāda: I may suffering, but I am under treatment. But you are not under treatment. You will die.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says Zen Buddhism is also a kind of treatment.

Prabhupāda: But if you do not know what is the goal of the treatment, then how the treatment will be successful?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says we may choose a goal for ourselves spiritually, but after all, we're the ones who chose the goal, so it's all an individual question.

Prabhupāda: No, we are not choosing. God is asking to do this.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says therefore we don't have to worry about what's the result. We just have to practice without being attached to the result.

Prabhupāda: No, without result, why should I practice unnecessarily? (aside to devotee:) Go. Take sleep.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says the religious life is not a bargain between God and him. He says we just have to practice without gaining, without waiting for any result, without praying...

Prabhupāda: No, no, we are not so fool, without any result we are going to do anything. We are not so fool.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Bhagavān: According to their philosophy, if whether you practice or you don't practice you get the same result in the end, what's the use of doing anything? If at death everything merges back, what's the use of doing anything? Why not commit suicide? Why doesn't everyone just kill themselves?

M. Deshimaru: (French with devotees)

Prabhupāda: No, the idea is that when you know that you will be cured, then I take the medicine. And if I do not know whether I will be cured or not, why shall I take the medicine?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says from the medical point, that's all right. But from the religious point...

Prabhupāda: So you are talking about medical point. Why you place something utopian?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says this example of medical point we made is just an analogy. But the religious life...

Prabhupāda: Their analogy must be perfect in all points, otherwise it is no analogy.

Karandhara: Prabhupāda, the premise of Zen is that the cosmic force falls into misery when it develops an individual desire. So an individual, as long as he has desires and he wants things, then he's forced to suffer, to take on a body and to suffer. So the Zen satori is to give up all desire, not care one way or the other what happens.

Prabhupāda: That is also desire, to give up all desire.

Karandhara: Yes, it is.

Prabhupāda: That is also desire

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says that the person who is practicing without goal, without desire, without getting the satori, without anything, then he is practicing the satori.

Prabhupāda: Where is the point of no desire? (chuckles)

Karandhara: No point. It's ambiguous.

M. Deshimaru: (French with devotees)

Pṛthu-putra: For himself it's just to practice zazen, to meditate on Zen.

Prabhupāda: That is also desire.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says that's for sure. In the beginning when they are practicing zazen is always some material desire. We desire that, we desire that; we would like to know God, or something like that. But by practicing zazen, finally, the goal, we just come to the point, we don't have any more desire, just by practicing zazen.

Prabhupāda: Then what is that position of no desire?

Karandhara: The real position is to eliminate the self. The only possible way that they can achieve no desire, no initiative, is to eliminate the self altogether, to make the self become eliminated and just be the cosmic one again, without any self.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that will be done automatically. Why you practice so much?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says the practice of zazen harmonize the self in this cosmic force.

Bhagavān: Does that harmony means to merge?

Prabhupāda: Now let me explain. Suppose a material elements are there. Somehow or other, combined together they have become this body. Is it not? Now, this body, when I am dead body, automatically it again becomes dispersed to the different elements. So this is taking place for even cats and dogs. Then what is the value of my meditation?

M. Deshimaru: (French with devotees)

Yogeśvara: Actually, Śrīla Prabhupāda, you've defeated him. He doesn't really have an answer.

Pṛthu-putra: He says, "So then I am practicing like a cat and dog, but the deep goal..."

Prabhupāda: But I mean to say, what result you will get more than the cats and dogs?

Karandhara: Why practice?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Bhagavān: What happens to the cat and the dog in the end?

Karandhara: Actually, Zen philosophy, they accept reincarnation, and the self keeps on taking bodies until he becomes selfless, and it's only in the human form that he can develop that selflessness.

Prabhupāda: Then they have to accept good work and bad work.

Karandhara: Yes, they do. They have a similar understanding of karma so far as the material self is concerned, and that the soul, or the self, takes on different forms until it becomes perfectly selfless. And then it merges back into the nondescript, the cosmic force. So I don't know if this young man's versed in Zen philosophy...

Prabhupāda: That is our definition, anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Brs. 1.1.11). Śūnyam means you have to give up all material desires. Jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam (CC Madhya 19.167). But the desire should be synchronized. Ānukulyena kṛṣṇānu..., you have to desire to satisfy Kṛṣṇa.

Karandhara: Well, they come to the point of trying to give up all material desires. But at that point they say there's nothing, there's no self...

Prabhupāda: That is their ignorance, or they do not understand, or they do not try to explain because the followers will not understand. That is our also point, anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam, to become desireless. But after becoming desireless, what is it? Just like you become painless from the disease. That means painless means everything finished? Then let me enjoy this pain. After being painless means everything is finished? No. Painless means no material pain but spiritual life. That is painless.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: As soon as one realizes he is spirit soul, then there is no more suffering.

Karandhara: Their point is they come... Zen Buddhism or Buddhism goes as far as trying to obliterate the material ego.

Prabhupāda: No, it is clear as you said, as you said that unless he becomes desireless. That desire means material desire.

Karandhara: Yes. That's actually what they're speaking about when they say desire.

Prabhupāda: So they are not so advanced that there is spiritual desire. That they do not understand. But so far the material desirelessness, that is accepted by us also. It is something like this: Just like a child without education at home is simply doing mischief. So the parents want to make him mischievouslessness. But if the parent does not know that he should be given better engagement, otherwise it cannot be mischievouslessness, that he does not know.

M. Deshimaru: (French with Pṛthu-putra)

Pṛthu-putra: He says there is something beyond material desire and spiritual desire.

Karandhara: No, he doesn't understand the definition when we say "spiritual," then. He's confusing spiritual with something like esoteric. Spiritual is the opposite of material. And beyond material desire, that means beyond gross and subtle desire. When we say spiritual we mean transcendental, the opposite of material.

Prabhupāda: Purified, purified.

Yogeśvara: Purified desire.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Bhagavān: Prabhupāda says spiritual means pure desire, not that it's opposite, but it's pure desire.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says it's still a desire. It may be a pure desire, but...

Prabhupāda: Because he has no information what is spiritual desire, he thinks material desire is as good as spiritual desire.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Karandhara: They don't have a conception of spiritual. To them everything is material.

Prabhupāda: No, it is ignorance. Just like a man is suffering from disease, he is also lying down, he is also eating, he is also passing stool. And if he is informed that "After your disease is cured, you will also nicely sleep, you will also nicely walk, you will also nicely eat," but he is thinking, "Again eating? Again sleeping? Again...?" This is something like this. "So I don't want to be cured."

Karandhara: Yes, that's actually the psychology behind Zen philosophy.

Prabhupāda: That is the trouble, yes. He does not know what is the sleeping in healthy condition and what is the eating in healthy condition. He thinks this eating and that eating the same.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says for him, spiritual and material, they are going together. In spiritual is something material, and in material is something spiritual. And they are... Together they form harmony, and this harmony is the goal.

Prabhupāda: But he has no knowledge that although... Just like here is my leg and here is my nail. Now when I cut the nail I don't feel, and as soon as you come little later, the skin, you feel pain. So they are one. But why there is no sensation, and why there is sensation?

M. Deshimaru: (French with devotees)

Yogeśvara: He doesn't understand the analogy. He doesn't understand the example, how that explains spiritual life as compared to material life.

Prabhupāda: Then why... How he will understand? Let me know. I will tell him. Let me know how he will understand.

Yogeśvara: He doesn't understand the example of the skin and the nail. How does that explain...

Prabhupāda: Why? It is everyone understands. Why he does not understand? Here is the nail; here is the skin. As I prick the nail cutter here, oh, that "Oooooh!" And (chuckles) while it is cutting on, it is going on nicely. Why he does not understand?

Pṛthu-putra: The thing is he doesn't understand the analogy with spiritual and material.

Prabhupāda: Analogy is, means where there is no spiritual sensation, that is matter.

M. Deshimaru: (French with devotees as they try to explain)

Karandhara: It's just merely meant to be an illustration, not that you're supposed to compare everything all the way around. The body is also material; the nail is also material. The point is that that which is not sensed spiritually by the true identity of the soul, that which is experienced outwardly by the material body and the senses, that is matter. But the basic element, or the basic consciousness, is spiritual, and that's eternal. Whereas the sensation from outward, like what I see today and taste today, that is temporary, but the taster, the seer, he is eternal, the self.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Prabhupāda: As soon as that spirit soul will be off from this body, this part of the body also will be without any sensation. Therefore the distinction of sensation and no sensation is due to the presence of the spirit soul.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says the important thing is the basic principles. If you accept the basic principle, for example that the soul has a form, then we can discuss many, many things afterwards.

Prabhupāda: Yes, soul has a form.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He's asking is the form of the soul material?

Prabhupāda: No, spiritual.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says it's an idea that he finds difficult to understand, spiritual form.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that requires knowledge. That requires how to get that knowledge. He has no such knowledge.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Karandhara: You explain to him the basic difference between the Buddhist concept and our concept is that after the material, the ignorance of the material body and the material self, is cleared away and eliminated, there is still a self. There's still a body, but it's spiritual. It's opposite from material. Whereas the material body is simply temporary and liable to suffer, the spiritual body is eternal and never suffers. It's just the opposite of material. Buddhists go towards... They get to the point of eliminating the material, but then they don't..., they don't have the next step, or the spiritual.

Prabhupāda: No understanding of the spiritual.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says the concept of Zen is to see spirituality in matter and something material in spirit, in spirituality. That is the concept of Zen, to realize spiritual life according to matter.

Karandhara: What that means... That's just an expression of the idea that everything is ultimately one. You don't have to make value judgments, you shouldn't make value judgments or say one thing is better than the other, that everything is ultimately the same, and the self is also the same as everything. So there's no distinction and there's no objective or conscious awareness of anything, because everything is everything.

Yogeśvara: There's no discrimination.

Karandhara: Yes, there's no self.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says in the daily life there is varieties. If something wrong, we do something right. But when we are speaking about spiritual elevated life, everything is one.

Prabhupāda: Yes, when the spirit is gone, then your daily life is also gone.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says yes, for sure, we all die.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Therefore daily life means so long the spirit is there. As soon as the spirit is gone, there is no more daily life.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says but the goal...

Prabhupāda: Has the dead man has any daily life?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says his daily life is just lying in his coffin.

Prabhupāda: That is daily life? That is perpetual life. (chuckles)

Karandhara: No, ask him is death always the solution? If we're in ignorance or we're suffering, when I die, even if I don't attain Zen within this life, when I die, does that solve all the problems?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Prabhupāda: That I said already. The cats and dogs, they are also having the same result without any Zen philosophy.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says death is a part of life. The question is not to die or not to die. He says the question is not to know that we are going to be..., that we are going to get salvation by going to die or not. The important is just life, and the death is part of life. Here and now, what's happening here, in the instant, here, now, that's important for him.

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Pṛthu-putra: What is important for him is here and now what he's doing in the instant. He says death is just part of life.

Bhagavān: So what difference does it make if someone becomes religious or if someone becomes a demon?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says in a demoniac person there is some religiosity, and in a religious person there is some demoniac qualities too.

Bhagavān: Are you a demon?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: As we want.

Prabhupāda: No, so far we know, Lord Buddha is considered as incarnation of God. He was sympathetic with the animal killing. So he wanted to stop this animal killing.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says he thinks that Buddha was just a man who was searching how to solve the problems of death and life, and when he got some experience he preached this message.

Karandhara: Yes, the Zen school don't accept the preeminence of the personality of Buddha. They say Buddha is just a state of mind, and various men in history have attained that state of mind; that no one particular man was the Buddha, set apart from everyone else.

Prabhupāda: At least he set the example before others. That is not wonderful, but he set the example. Therefore he is original Buddha.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He doesn't deny the personality of Buddha, and he says the most important thing they are following is some kind of disciplic succession from Buddha until now.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says the most important thing is the relation with the disciple and the master who is in affiliation from Buddha.

Karandhara: But they don't have the same historical... I don't think they're considered the same historical personality. I studied Zen myself for a number of years, and they don't distinguish one particular individual in one particular period of time as being the Buddha. All the way back in history, as long as history goes, any man who's come to the state of enlightenment has become a Buddha. It didn't begin anywhere.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says he doesn't give any special meaning to Buddha. Sometimes Buddha is with them, sometimes Buddha is a concept of God like the Christianity they call God, or Buddha is all this disciplic succession. He doesn't give any special meaning to the word Buddha.

Prabhupāda: No, no, buddha, actually buddha means knowledge, "one who knows," that is the meaning. So that is existing always. Now, we are talking your (sic:) Jain Buddha. Jain Buddha. No? What is the...?

Karandhara: Zen. Zen's a later development. The school of Zen started...

Prabhupāda: So we are trying to study this Zen Buddha. Buddha means, ordinarily, "knowledge." Budhā bhāva-saman... (break)

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Karandhara: The Zen school is a liberalization of the old Buddhist doctrines. Previously, hundreds of years ago, to completely follow the Buddhist path one had to renounce all activity. He had to go away from civilization and live in a hermitage. Zen...

Prabhupāda: Nirvāṇa. Finish everything.

Karandhara: Yes. Zen allows a man... According to the precepts of Zen, you can act within the world. You can be a businessman, you can be a soldier, you can be anything, and still attain the same state of perfection by acting without desire, by acting unattached to the results.

Prabhupāda: So that is our philosophy. We... Arjuna acted as soldier, and still, he was recognized as devotee.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Bhagavān: What is the use of practice? If you practice or you don't practice, you still get the same result.

Prabhupāda: No, practice must be there. You cannot avoid practice. We also practice.

Karandhara: What he says is the form of the practice doesn't really matter, but the inspiration or the motivation to practice, to try and become desireless, that is the dynamic thing. It doesn't matter what form it takes.

Bhagavān: The problem is still death, though. The problem is still death.

Prabhupāda: No, practice without any aim...

Karandhara: Well they say the aim is the practice itself. Just like we say the aim of devotional service...

Prabhupāda: No, no, the aim is there. Aim is there. He says that to become desireless. That is the aim. So why does he say that there is no aim?

Pṛthu-putra: When he is talking about practice, he's talking about special practice, the zazen practice. And his concept in zazen, his concept of Buddha, is that disciplic succession, that to practice under the guidance of the spiritual master of this disciplic succession of zazen from Buddha. That is his practice.

Prabhupāda: No, if he says that "There is no aim; you go on practicing," so aim is there, he says, that to become desireless.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says zazen is in himself; the satori is the practice. We don't practice to get the satori, but the satori is going automatically with the practice.

Prabhupāda: No, no, the aim of practice is to become desireless. Is it not?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says the goal of the practice is to become without goal.

Prabhupāda: Oh, it is nonsense. (chuckles) What is this nonsense, "Goal is without goal"? Then what is this? These are vague terms.

Karandhara: It's like saying nothing is true. But then that's a truism.

Prabhupāda: It is darkness.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: They want to become minus.

Prabhupāda: But he is plus always. No, if you have no goal... There is example: "Man without any aim is ship without any rudder." What is called? So suppose if the ship goes... If the... (others are talking at the same time) Aeroplane is going with a aim to land in some country, but if he goes on simply without any aim, then there will be disaster.

Karandhara: Well, they have an aim, but the aim is... Because they haven't...

Prabhupāda: That you say they have got; he does not say. You say.

Karandhara: No, but I mean philosophically considering, they have an aim, but it's very obscure. The substance and the significance of that aim is without form or conception.

Prabhupāda: So without aim, what is the use of practice?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He agrees, but he prefers his non-goal (indistinct).

Pṛthu-putra: He says he likes the practice without goal, and he doesn't give any value to the practice because there is goal.

Prabhupāda: That is foolishness. Without goal practicing something, it is foolishness.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Karandhara: No, he is also working for a goal. He just differs semantically with what we say.

Prabhupāda: No, he does not know what is that goal. He does not know what is that goal.

Karandhara: Well, he says the goal is to become goal-less.

Prabhupāda: We give the goal... We give the goal, yajñārthe. Yajñārthe karma. We give the goal: for satisfying the Lord Viṣṇu, Yajña, yajña-puruṣa. We know the goal.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says, "Who is Viṣṇu?"

Prabhupāda: Viṣṇu is God.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: And how we can satisfy God?

Prabhupāda: That you have to learn from me.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says yes.

Prabhupāda: "Me" means from the spiritual master. If you don't work for Viṣṇu, Yajña, yajñārthe karmaṇaḥ anyatra loko 'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ (BG 3.9), then you will be entangled in this birth and death. Just like if I do not know what is healthy life, then, if I live whimsically, then I will infect so many contaminous disease, and I will have to suffer one after another, one after another, one after another. Therefore the aim is... The aim is Viṣṇu. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (SB 7.5.31). These people, they do not know that what is the aim of life. The aim is Viṣṇu. Durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ. They are implicated with the external energy, therefore very much anxious to mitigate this suffering, mitigate that suffering, mitigate that suffering, that suffering, that suf... The suffering will never end. Simply they will be bewildered, one after another, one after another, sometimes man's life, sometimes a dog's life, sometimes cat's life, that's life. So this kind of philosophy is propounded by blind men. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāḥ. One blind man is guiding another blind man without knowing the strict, stringent laws of nature. (aside:) There is one bead lying for three hundred years there. Whose? He has taken initiation; he does not know where is the bead? On the... There is a bead. Just see.

Karandhara: On the heater there's someone's beads.

Prabhupāda: So I see it was lying on the bathroom. Then I brought it here, and it's still lying unused. Whose it is?

Bhagavān: It is mine.

Prabhupāda: You are so forgetful?

Bhagavān: No, I was looking for them.

Prabhupāda: Why? Why did you...?

Bhagavān: I left them on your bathroom door, I think.

Prabhupāda: Yes. (pause) Hmm. So this kind of leadership will not make any solution if you do not know what is the real goal.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He doesn't agree if a man create or imagine a goal. He says the real goal, the real things...

Prabhupāda: No, it is not imagination. That is another foolishness, to imagine a goal. If we imagine some goal, that is another rascaldom. You have to understand what is the goal of life from superior. Just like a child: he does not know what is the goal of life, but his parents know he must be educated. So goal has not to be imagined. Goal has to be understood from superior. So if the superior man is also blind, then he cannot lead other blind followers. If a blind man takes the position of superior, then he will lead these followers to the ditch only. That's all.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says "Who can understand that someone is blind or not blind?"

Yogeśvara: Who can judge?

Prabhupāda: But because he has no eyes, he cannot see. Therefore he has to hear. He has to hear.

M. Deshimaru: (French with devotees)

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: How can one discriminate what is a real authority and who is a blind person posing as an authority?

Yogeśvara: How can we tell a real authority?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: As opposed to someone who is posing as an authority.

Prabhupāda: This authority means just like you follow somebody. You are going to somewhere by aeroplane. You do not know. But others are purchasing ticket and going there, so you have to follow them. That's all. So the authority is if he does not know... Therefore we are giving the chance, the association of the devotee. The devotee, they are practicing something for going back to home, back to Godhead. So you have to mix with the devotees and then gradually understand.

Karandhara: No, what he's saying is, what is the standard of measurement? There are so many people saying they are the authority. How does one individually judge which one is the best or proper?

Prabhupāda: So that he has to judge himself. It is like this: just like if you eat, then you judge yourself whether you are satisfied or not. The process is described. No, no, the process is described. First of all, the thing is that he is inquisitive to know the ultimate goal. That is first qualification, that he is actually searching after the goal of life, the actual. That is first qualification. If he has no such aim, that "I must find out the actual aim of life," then he will remain always in darkness. Then next thing, next process will be that he has to associate with person, those who are also actually the goal of life. And then next process is, as Bhagavān was telling last night, that we have no problem. Then next process will be how we have become free from all problem. Then he will say, "You do like this." Then, acting according to him, one who says that "I have no problem," "So let me act like him." When he feels, "Yes, I have no problem," then it is fixed up.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says in the Buddhist philosophy there is these three things. There is these three steps.

Prabhupāda: No, no, apart from this philosophy, we are talking general, general talk. So when he understands, "Yes, I have also no problem," then he is fixed up. Then spiritual life begins. Yes. When he becomes problemless, no more problem, then spiritual life begins. So long he is busy to solve the problems of the material..., that is no spiritual life. (aside:) Find out this verse, yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha...

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: That's Bhagavad-gītā?

Prabhupāda: ...sama-duḥkha-sama... Hmm? Yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha. Y-a-m, yam.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete...

Prabhupāda: Ete, yes.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: 2.15.

Prabhupāda: Saḥ amṛtatvāya kalpate.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa:

yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete
puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha
sama-duḥkha-sukhaṁ dhīraṁ
so 'mṛtatvāya kalpate
(BG 2.15)

Translation: "O best among men (Arjuna), the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation." (Pṛthu-putra translates)

Prabhupāda: Yes. So long these material disturbances disturb him, he cannot get any spiritual life. Fixed up. That is the position of fixed up.

M. Deshimaru: (French with devotees)

Pṛthu-putra: He's all right with this point. He agree with this point.

Prabhupāda: He will agree with all the points, provided he is fixed up.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Prabhupāda: Not after death; in this life you can be fixed up, provided you associate with the persons who are fixed up.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says we have to be constantly fixed up, not only one moment and after it's slowing. We always have to be fixed up each time, each time, all the time, all the time.

Prabhupāda: Not each time. Just like our devotees: they come in the saṅkīrtana once, twice, thrice, he becomes interested. Then he becomes fixed up.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says to want to become fixed up, that is important, just on the moment.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Unless one is fixed up, his spiritual life does not begin. Spiritual life means fixed up, he is not agitated. Sama-duḥkha-sukhaṁ duḥkham. What is that?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Is it the same verse?

Prabhupāda: Same verse.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Sama-duḥkha-sukhaṁ dhīram. Sama-duḥkha-sukhaṁ dhīram, "unaltered in distress or happiness."

Prabhupāda: Is there any purport?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "Anyone who is steady in his determination for the advanced stage of spiritual realization and can equally tolerate the onslaughts of distress and happiness is certainly a person eligible for liberation."

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says so we then just have to practice now.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Goal must be fixed up, practice must be there, and one must be fixed up. Then it will be...

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says it's very simple.

Prabhupāda: Yes, it is simple. It is simple. First thing to know that "I am not this body." Because within this body there is the living force. I am that living force. Then he will understand that there is living force in this big cosmic gigantic manifestation. There is a living force. So what is the relationship with that living force and this living force? Then when it is understood that "Living force is great, and I am small," then what is my duty? Here we see that the great takes service from the small. Therefore my business is to serve the great. That is final. In three lines you can understand the whole truth, provided you understood. But if you become rigid to your understanding, own understanding, then it is very difficult. Otherwise it is very simple. You are a living force. There is no doubt. Is there any doubt you are a living force?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: No, he has no doubt.

Prabhupāda: Then there must be one living force for the whole cosmic manifestation. So He is also individual; I am also individual. But He is great; I am small. The small business is to serve the great. If the small falsely thinks himself that he is as great, that is ignorance. So one has to get out of this ignorance that he is thinking falsely that he is as great as the big. Then he is in fixed up. Yes. Then further progress.

Bhagavān: Then we can ask, "What is that great?"

Prabhupāda: Yes, that we are doing. You can understand very easily. Just like you want money. You are in need of money, but you have no sufficient money. So greatness means He has insufficient..., er, more than sufficient money. That is greatness. Suppose you are weak, and if He is like you, no. He is unlimitedly stronger than you. You have got knowledge, but not perfect knowledge. But He has got unlimited knowledge. In this way you can understand greatness.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He understand the point.

Prabhupāda: Greatness should be understood, comparing my position. We can understand, "This man is greater than me. He is superior than me." That we can understand. Similarly, we can understand, just like we human being, we are floating, flying one biggest airplane, 747, and you are thinking we are very wonderful, but that great is floating millions of planets in the air. But the foolish man cannot see the process. He can see that a pilot is floating this airplane, so there must be one big pilot who is floating all these things. But he cannot see. Therefore he says "nature." So he cannot see. Just like a child, he cannot see that within the plane there is a pilot (pronounces pee-lot, French pronunciation of "pilot"), or pilot. He is thinking that the plane is moving automatically. So one who is foolish, he sees the cosmic wonderful work only. He does not know there is a pilot. And in the absence of that knowledge he is thinking that I am also being moved in that way.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Prabhupāda: So, so long I do not see the pilot of the cosmic movement, I am fool. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā says, na māṁ duṣkṛtinaḥ mūḍhāḥ. (laughs) Na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ prapadyante narādhamāḥ, māyayāpahṛta-jñānāḥ (BG 7.15). His knowledge is lost.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest amongst men, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me."

(Pṛthu-putra translates)

Prabhupāda: So narādhama means lowest of the mankind. In the human form of life one could understand that as there is a pilot in the aeroplane, there is a pilot on this big cosmic manifestation.

Yogeśvara: Yes, but his last reaction to that was that he always finds Indian analogies amusing.

Prabhupāda: But he has no other knowledge. Without analogy he cannot understand. Then it will be dogmatic. So if you go this way you are dogmatic, and if you this way, analogy. Then what way he will take?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Prabhupāda: But you are a fool. "In your own way" means foolish way. You do not know.

M. Deshimaru: (French, saying he understands the analogy but not what it's meant to prove)

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The example is that this body, there is a living force within the body which is causing it to move and to work, and that living force is the soul. And when the soul leaves this body, then the body is no longer moving and eating and talking and hearing and seeing. So in the same way, in this universe there is a greater, spiritual person, and His body, in a sense, is this whole universe, and it is moving on the same principle because He is the supreme consciousness.

M. Deshimaru: But what do you know about the soul leaving the body? Maybe when the body leaves the soul, the soul also dies.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The point is that body and soul are two things.

M. Deshimaru: I think it is same thing.

Prabhupāda: You think, but how you can prove?

M. Deshimaru: How you can prove that the body...?

Prabhupāda: Yes, you cannot prove. When the soul is gone...

Yogeśvara: He's asking how can we prove our point?

Prabhupāda: Yes, I can prove that the body is dead because the soul is gone.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: He wants to know how we can prove the body...

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says, "Oh, I can also say that when the body is dead, the soul is dead."

Karandhara: No, but at the time of death the body is still there. The body is still there. Just like your body is there, at the time of death your body will still be there, but it won't be the same; something's is missing. Something's gone away. What's the difference between a dead body and a living body?

Prabhupāda: How you can explain? Why the body's hand is there, leg is there, head is there, why it stopped working?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says that when there is no longer any movement in the cells. Scientific explanation.

Prabhupāda: So why don't you... If you know that, then replace that cell.

Karandhara: The scientists don't have a perfect explanation either. They don't know exactly what death is.

M. Deshimaru: They cannot know also what life is.

Karandhara: They do. They know this much, that life is what is not present in a dead body. So it must be different than the body.

M. Deshimaru: But the death is... You can change also what you say.

Prabhupāda: How you can change? Can you make the dead body alive?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Karandhara: I can say that life is not present in a dead body, but you can't say that death is present in a live body.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Prabhupāda: No, he says that the living force and the body is the same.

Devotees: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Does he not say? But why the body becomes dead, and the living force go on? Why?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Prabhupāda: Why the body is no more moving?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: Is just what he says. He says when the body is dead, everything is gone, but what is still existing is the karma.

Prabhupāda: Is the karma.

Pṛthu-putra: The karma. What is still existing when a body is dead and when the soul is gone, the still, the something is still there, still existing, is the karma.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Let's say if your hand is cut off, and it's lying there. Why is it that you are not conscious of that hand?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: "Because the nerves are just cut."

Prabhupāda: No, no, if the body and the hand is the same, when it is cut, then it is lying down on the floor. So why there is no consciousness? His question is very intelligent.

M. Deshimaru: Because the hand is cut.

Prabhupāda: But it is hand. Why there is no consciousness?

Karandhara: It's part of the body. It should have its own consciousness if the body and consciousness is the same.

Prabhupāda: You say the consciousness and body is the same. So when it is cut, why there is no consciousness?

M. Deshimaru: (French with devotees)

Prabhupāda: Therefore the body is different from consciousness. Therefore body is different from consciousness.

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Devotee: And also if he says that the soul and the body are the same, then what is the cause of death then? Then what is death?

Prabhupāda: No, we say the soul goes away from this body. Just like if I am sitting here, it can go away from this room, so similarly, the soul is within the body, he goes away, and therefore the body is dead.

Devotee: That's our explanation, but what is his explanation of death? If the soul and the body are the same, then what is the cause of death?

Prabhupāda: That he does not know, he cannot explain.

Devotee: Is it that the soul gets old, and then because the soul dies, then the rest of the body doesn't work?

M. Deshimaru: (French)

Prabhupāda: (aside:) Take it. Make arrangement with him.

M. Deshimaru: (French with devotees)

Devotees: (indistinct background comments) (break) (end)