Irvine University, CA, USA. June 2, 1998.
We have to begin somewhere, and our life began a long time ago, or perhaps it has just begun and we have forgotten where we truly came from. That's the only question that we could not answer, for most of us, for many of us. Everything else, we are clever enough to know. We can learn through books. We can experiment in the laboratory. We can use chemical substances or scientific knowledge to solve, to give an answer. But the only answer that's most puzzling is, "Where have we come from?" And this is another equally puzzling one, "Where will we go after this?" Obviously, to many of us, life doesn't end in the coffin. We do know that, but we just cannot prove it. To many of the wise saints since ancient times, these questions are very simple. They do know where they came from, and they do know where they will go. For them, the question of death doesn't have any appeal or any frightening effect, because like the saints in the Bible say, I die daily. What does it mean to die daily? When we withdraw ourselves inward to enter the Kingdom of God, that's when we die. We die temporarily, and then we come back to life again. So, resurrection can happen any time during our ordinary life if we follow the process of Jesus, of the ancient saints. Since we die once, or we die daily, we do know there is other life, there are other worlds besides this physical one. Then we are free to roam around the universe; we explore the mysteries of the cosmos. We know that dying is no big deal; and in fact, we know that we don't ever die. We also know that we don't even have a physical body. So strange as it may seem, it is a fact.
That's why when Jesus was nailed on the cross, He was not afraid, He did not cry. He didn't beg for His life. He didn't run away. He could have done so, but He didn't want to. He didn't have to. He surrendered everything to God's will because He knew where He was going. He knew all the time. He knew that there is no such thing as death or suffering. True suffering occurs when we do not know where we came from and where we will go. Because Jesus knew already, He gave up the quest for physical comfort. He gave up the fear of death and He went because He knew He would always be there, and that it is only the physical body that decays in the mortals' eyes. But in Jesus' wisdom, there was no such thing even as a physical body.
This is very difficult to prove unless we follow the same path as the great masters have gone through, like Buddha or Jesus. They went on the same path; therefore, they preached the same thing, even though we label them Buddhism or Christianity. We have so much terminology and separate the Truth into two different categories which confuses us. But actually, the Masters always teach basically the same thing. If we cut off the ribbons, the wrapping paper, and the different ways of the Master's individual talent and eloquence of speech, then they are the same. Especially after we have become enlightened, or have followed the same path and practice the same thing, then we know it is exactly the same because they both go the same way. Suppose all of us come to this auditorium, sit here for a while, then afterward we go out and then describe the same room. There is no difference.
What is it about enlightenment that so many people make a great mystery about, praise so much, and encourage us to go forward to claim it again? It is not enlightenment at all. It is just the Truth. It is just the way it should be; it is the way it is. And if we don't know enlightenment, then we continue suffering so much until we realize that everything else is not important, except to know God. When we begin to want to know God, then God will send someone, a friend, a guide, an experienced brother to show us what to do. After we know what to do, that's when we are enlightened. We might not be as greatly enlightened immediately as Buddha or Jesus, hut we are enlightened somewhat. Then, day by day, we continue with the process, and we become just as great. We will understand what Jesus said to us, like: "Whatever I do, you can do better, or you can do as well," and, "I and my father are one." We will understand that we are all children of God. We will understand that we are the temple of God and only the Holy Spirit lives within us.
If God lives within us, then what are we? We are God. Well, if this is only the house, and God lives inside, then who else is there? Could it be that we, I and God, live in the same house? He didn't say I and God live in there. He said I and my Father are one. If I and my Father are one, how come we don't know Hirm? If the Holy Spirit dwells within this temple, and this fleshly body is only the temple, and there's only one person who dwells within, God, then who is there inside? Only one person, only God.
That made me cry sometimes before. I said "If I am God, how come I am so humble? How come I'm so weak? How come I'm so small how come I'm so ignorant? How come I suffer so much? Where is my Home?" And that's when we begin to ask ourselves how to reclaim our glory again? That's when enlightenment begins to inch toward us, or we're crawling toward enlightenment, or maybe we're running, flying, it depends. Some people fly, some people walk, some people go by, maybe train. That's why at the time of so-called initiation, some people have greater enlightenment, some people have lesser "great" enlightenment. It's because sometimes we choose to go faster, sometimes we choose to go slower.
How did we choose that? We chose that before we were born. We chose before creation began to play our part in this physical world, or in any part of the cosmos -- we spread all over. We were one and then we became many, as God wished it to be. We partake in the grand design of the creation to play in the colorful drama of life. And now, when the time comes that our role is finished, not necessary, or we're tired, then we want to retire, we want to go back Home. Other people, or other souls, will continue our role, will take over, and then we begin to go Home. That's when enlightenment occurs. It is so simple. We are God; we chose to be ignorant in order to play this drama of life, in order for creation to be colorful and lively, to be different, to have fun, and also in order to know what we truly are. In heaven, there is only God, nothing else. We don't know God, because we are God, so we have to be "un-Godlike." We chose to come here to be different from God, so that we can have a look and compare and know that we are God.
Enlightenment is the purpose of everyone who comes into this physical universe. Because we want to know God, we have chosen to play this ignorant part so that we truly can recognize God and ourselves. Just like if, in the world, there is only man, we do not know the difference between man and woman. We will not know that we are a man unless there is a woman. Unless there is night, we do not recognize daytime. If we always live in the sunlight, we do not know what darkness is. That is the answer that I have found myself. But to find out the real meaning of it, to realize the real meaning, each one of us has to search the way to find it for him or herself. It's not by hearing, by listening, by saying, that we know we are God. Even though we believe the Bible, at the moment we still don't know we are God, or do we? Do you know you are God? Some of you do, I guess, because you are enlightened. Some of you have studied with other masters, or teachers, and then of course, you realized, to some degree, that you are not just the body; you are not the body at all.
Sometimes, during samadhi, you find your body doesn't exist. You know you exist, but not the body. You don't find any body, you don't find any trace of the physical substance that we call flesh, bones, body, hair, or whatever. It's all light; it's all God. That's when we truly realize we are God, that only God dwells within this temple; and after all, the temple disappears, too. Only this realization will make us happy, truly happy; otherwise, no matter how many Bibles we read, how many other teachers tell us that we are God, we can never believe it. We can never know we are truly the children of God or the Kingdom of God is within you.
We read the Bible every day; we know the Bible by heart; we might be able to recite from the first page to the last sentence, but we still do not know God. We pray every day to God, to the God that we don't even know, to answer our questions, to fulfill our requests, to answer our desires; and all the while we are that. We are that to whom we're praying. Then sometimes we get angry with Hirm because we think Hes doesn't answer us, Hes doesn't fulfill our requests. Only when we know we are God, we don't blame any-more. We don't even need to pray anymore. Whatever we think, we will have; whatever we want, we will get, but we will not want any more.
At that time, we can say, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, because we are so fulfilled. It doesn't matter if we drive a Mercedes, we drive a bicycle, or we walk, we are so happy, we are so fulfilled. We are so rich inside that nothing can make us unhappy at all. Even if we are a king, or we are a beggar, we are equally happy in any situation because we truly know happiness. At that time, happiness is us and that's what enlightenment will bring. It's not a theory that we should listen to, it's the experience, it's knowledge, it's the realization that we must get. Otherwise, we cannot understand many things that we want to understand. Otherwise we will continue to misunderstand each other, also, and suffer a lot, whether in personal relationships, in business dealings, or in the loving connection with God. We will not have the true understanding and the love that is so great that we could forgive our enemies because at that time, we will realize there is no enemy.
We read a lot of the Bible, like, you have to forgive your enemy, love thy neighbor . But we will never understand why until we truly realize what we are or who we are. Then at that time, there's no need to explain. Love just flows from us. Light just surrounds us; we become that, we become love, we become light, we become what we always wanted to be, we become what we have always been praying to. We become Godlike. That's why a master like Jesus, we worship because He is so Godlike. That's why Buddha, everyone adores Him, because He is so Godlike. He is everything that we imagine a God to be. But that, we can become also. Jesus has told us, and we have to believe Him. He had no reason to tell us a lie. He didn't take money from anyone. He didn't build a church or house at that time, even. He walked, He had no possessions, He had no reason to tell lies to any soul on this planet. He told us: Whatever I can do, you can do also. You are all children of God. He said that; we have to believe Him. Now, the only one thing for us to do is to realize what He said, to prove it to ourselves. Because He already promised that, we have to find out 'how', how to realize these promises. This is what enlightenment is all about. Very simple.