Way of Intelligence, The
J. Krishnamurti The Way of Intelligence Chapter 1 Discussion with Buddhists Varanasi 13th November 1978 `Illusion and Intelligence'
J. Krishnamurti The Way of Intelligence Chapter 2 Part 1 1st Seminar Madras 14th January 1981 `In Listening is Transformation'
Rimpoche: Sir, when the observer observes, he is the matrix of thought, of memories. So long as the observer is observing from this matrix, it is not possible for him to see without naming, because that naming arises out of that matrix. How then can the observer free himself from this matrix?
Krishnamurti: I would like to know whether we are discussing this as a theoretical problem, an abstraction, or as something that has to be faced directly without theories?
Jagannath Upadhyaya: This question is directly connected with one's daily life.
K: Sir, who is the observer? We take it for granted that the observer is born of the matrix, or that he is the matrix. Or, is the observer the whole movement of the past? Is this a fact to us or an idea? Does the observer himself realize that he is the whole movement of the past? And that as long as he is observing, that which is being observed can never be accurate? I think this is an important question. Can the observer, who is the whole movement of the past, with all his conditioning, ancient and modern, be aware of himself as being conditioned?
Achyut Patwardhan: The observer when he looks at a fact, looks with his old conditioning, samskar. And so he cannot see the fact as it is.
J.U.: Can we accept this?
K: Are we all on the same level as Rimpocheji, who has asked this question: The observer is made up of the past and as long as he is rooted in the past, is he able to see the truth of a fact? If he is not aware of himself as the observer who is conditioned, there will be a contradiction between himself and the thing which is being observed, contradiction being a division.
A.P.: As long as he does not see this clearly, there will be conflict in the act of seeing.
K: Sir, the question arises then: Is it possible for the observer to understand himself and discover his limitations, his conditioning, and so not interfere with the observation?
RMP: That is the basic problem. Whenever we try to observe, the observer is always interfering in the observation. I would like to know whether there is a method to cut off the `me' which is interfering.
K: The observer is the practice, the system, the method. Because he is the result of all past practices, methods, experiences, knowledge, the routine, the mechanical process of repetition, he is the past. Therefore, if you introduce another system, method, practice, it is still within the same field.
RMP.: Then how can it be done?
K: We are coming to that. Let us first see what we are doing. If we accept a method, a system, the practising of it will make the observer more mechanical. Any system will only strengthen the observer.
J.U.: Then this leads to a deadlock.
K: No. On the contrary. That is why I said, does the observer realize he is the result of all experience, of the past and the present. In that experience is included methods, systems, practices, the various forms of sadhana. And you now ask, is there a further series of practices, methods, systems, which means that you are continuing in the same direction.
J.U.: I feel that it is not only possible to reject the past totally but the present as well. The past can be negated by observation, but the power of the present will not go unless the past is negated. One is concerned with the present moment.
A.P.: The present and the past are actually one. They are not separate.
J.U.: Therefore, we should negate the present. The roots of the past will be negated when the present is broken.
A.P.: You mean by the present, this moment, this present moment of observation?
K: This present moment in observation is the observation of the whole movement of the past. What is the action necessary to put an end to that movement? Is that the question?
J.U.: What I am saying is, it is on this moment of time that the past rests and on this moment that we build the edifice of the future. So, to be completely free of either the past or the future, it is necessary to break the moment in the present, so that the past has no place in which to rest and no point from which the future could be projected. Is this possible?
K: How is this movement of the past which is creating the present, modifying itself as it moves, and which becomes the future, to end?
J.U.: By the process of observation we negate the past. By negating the past we also negate the present. And we cease to build the future based on the desires created by the past. Only observation remains. But even this moment of observation is a moment. Unless we break that, we are not free from the possibility of the rising of the past and the creation of the future. Therefore, the present moment, the moment of observation, has to be broken.
K: Are you saying, sir, that in the state of attention now, in the now, the past ends; but that the very observation which ends the past has its roots in the past?
J.U.: This is not what I am saying. I do not accept the position that the past creates the present or the present the future. In the process of observation, past and future history are both dissolved. But the question is that again the histories of the past and the future touch on this moment, this existent moment. Unless this moment itself is negated, the past and the future are again restored to activity.
To make it clear, I would like to call it `existence', the moment of `is'-ness. One has to break this moment of `is' ness, and then all these tendencies, whether they reflect the past or project the future, are broken. Is this possible?
K: This question has special relevance for you. I want to understand the question before I answer. I am just asking, not answering: The past is a movement. It has stopped with attention. And with the ending of the past, can that second, that moment, that event, itself disappear?
J.U.: I would like to make it more clear: This moment is an `existent' moment.
K: The moment you use the word `existence', it has a connotation. We must look at it very carefully.
Pupul Jayakar: It is not stable.
J.U.: I would like to call this moment kshana bindu, the moment of time. The `suchness' of the moment, the `is' ness of the moment, has to be broken. Is this possible? In the movement of observation there is neither the past nor the possibility of the future. I do not even call it the moment of observation because it does not have any power of existence. Where there is no past or future, there cannot also be any present.
K: May I put this question differently? I am the result of the past. The `me' is the accumulation of memories, experience, knowledge - which is the past. The `me' is always active, always in momentum. And the momentum is time. So, that momentum as the `me' faces the present, modifies itself as the `me' but is still the `me', and that `me' continues into the future. This is the whole movement of our daily existence. You are asking, can that movement as the `me', the centre, cease and have no future? Is that right, sir?
K: My question is, does the `me', which is consciousness, recognise itself as the movement of the past, or is thought imposing it as an idea - that it is the past?
J.U.: Could you repeat the question?
K: I, my ego, the centre from which I operate, this self-centredness is centuries old, millions of years old. It is the constant pressure of the past, the accumulated result of the past. The greed, the envy, the sorrow, the pain, the anxiety, the fears, the agony, all that is the `me'. Is this `me' a verbal state, a conclusion of words, or is it a fact as this microphone is a fact?
J.U.: Yes, it is so; yet it is not absolutely so. It is not self-evident.
A.P.: Why? On what is it dependent?
J.U.: When I say it is so, it is only in terms of the past or future. It is neither in the past nor in the future. I do not accept it as transcendental truth. I may accept it at the level of a day-to-day order of reality.
A.P.: But you are saying it is the creator of the context.
J.U.: `This' is a creation of the past. What is the meaning of `this'? The `me' is the history of the past.
K: Which is the story of man who has been in travail, who has struggled, who has suffered, who is frightened, who is in sorrow and so on.
P.Y. Deshpande: It is the story of the universe, not of `me'.
K: It is `me'. Don't let us pretend it is of the universe.
J.U.: The `me' is history, which can be broken by observation.
A.P.: He is saying that these facts are unrelated to the centre as the observer.
K: Existence has no self-existence. It is a descriptive statement in observing; it is not a fact.
J.U.: It is history. It has nothing to do with observation.
P.J.: He says, I am this, I am that, I am history. This is a descriptive statement. In observing, it has no existence.
K: Let us go into it quietly. The `me' is the movement of the past, the story of humanity, the history of man. And that story is `me'. It expresses itself all the time in my relationship with another. So, that past in my relationship with my wife, husband, child or friend, is the operation of the past with its images, with its pictures, and it divides my relationship with another.
J.U.: This exists prior to awareness. With awareness the moment will be broken and with it all relationships.
P.Y.D.: At the point of attention everything dissolves.
K: You are saying that at the point of attention everything disappears. But does it disappear in my relationship with my wife?
J.U.: No. This is not my experience. I have no history; I have not made any history. History is independent of the `me' or the `I'.
A.P.: He says he is the product of history, and he has accepted this identity.
K: But if you are the product of history, you are the result of the past. That past interferes with your relationship with another. And my relationship with another brings about conflict. My question is, can that conflict end now?
J.U.: Yes. It will end because the moment is broken.
P.J.: It will end in the instant of attention, and with it the totality of the past.
Radha Burnier: This is absolutely theoretical.
J.U.: I am speaking from experience. Attention is an experience, a special experience - and it denies the past.
A.P.: Attention cannot be an experience because it would then be imaginary. It is a part of the past because there is an observer separate from the observed and so there is no attention.
K: That is why, sir, I began by asking in the beginning, are we discussing theories or facts of daily life?
Rimpocheji, I think your first question was, can this past history, this past movement, which is always exerting its pressure on our minds, our brains, our relations, on all our existence, end, so that it does not prevent pure observation? Can the sorrow, the fear, the pleasure, the pain, the anxiety, which is the story of man, end now, so that the past does not interfere or prevent pure observation?
RMP.: Yes. That was the original question.
K: You asked, if I understood rightly, is there a practice, a method, a system, a form of meditation, which will end the past?
RMP.: Whenever we try to observe the past, the past intervenes. At that moment, observation becomes useless. That is so according to my own experience.
K: Of course, obviously.
RMP.: Now, how to observe without the interference of the observer?
K: What is the quality or nature of the observer? When you say the observer is all the past, is he aware of himself as the past?
RMP.: I don't think so.
K: No, he is not aware.
R.B.: Or is he partially aware that he is the past?
RMP.: No. At the moment of observation he is not aware of the past.
K: For the moment we are not observing; we are examining the observer. We are asking if the observer can be aware of himself.
RMP.: You mean at the moment of observation?
K: No. Not at the moment of observation; forget the observation. I am asking whether the observer can know himself.
RMP.: Yes. He can understand the past, he can understand his conditioning.
K: Can he understand his conditioning as an outsider observing it, or is he aware of himself as being conditioned? You see the difference, sir?
RMP.: Observation by the mind of the real man, whether it is dual or it is itself - that is not clear. The awareness of self - is it a duality?
K: I don't know about duality. I don't want to use words which we don't understand. To make it much simpler: Can thought be aware of itself?
R.B.: Is it the same as saying, is one aware of envy, anger, etc., as other than oneself?
K: Am I aware that I am angry? Is there awareness of anger as it arises? Of course, there is, I can see the awakening of envy. I see a beautiful carpet, and there is envy, there is the greed for it. Now, in that knowing, is thought aware that it is envy or is envy itself aware? I am envious, I know what the meaning of the word `envy' is. I know the reaction, I know the feeling. Is that feeling the word? Does the word create that feeling? If the word `envy' did not exist, then is it envy? So, is there an observation of envy, the feeling without the word?
We don't know it exactly, but is there something to which we later give a name?
P.J.: Naming which creates the feeling?
K: That is what I am saying. The word has become more important. Can you free the word from the feeling? Or does the word make the feeling? I see that carpet. There is perception, sensation, contact and thought, as the image of owning that carpet, and so desire arises. And the image which thought has created is the word. So, is there an observation of that carpet without the word, which means there is no interference of thought?
RMP.: Observation of a carpet, an outside object... It can be seen without interference.
K: Now, is it possible to observe without the word, without the past, without remembrance of previous envies?
RMP.: It is difficult.
K: If I may point out, sir, it does not become difficult. First, let us be clear: The word is not the thing; the description is not the described. But for most of us the word has become tremendously important. To us the word is thought. Without the word, is there `thinking', in the usual usage of that word? The word influences our thinking, language moulds our thinking, and our thinking is with the word, with the symbol, with the picture, and so on. Now, we are asking, can you observe that feeling that we have verbalized as envy, without the word, which means without the remembrance of past envies?
RMP.: That is the point we do not see. As soon as observation starts, the past as thought always interferes. Can we make any observation without the interference of thought?
K: I say `yes', absolutely.
J.U.: The clue to all these lies in seeing that the walker is not different from walking. Walking itself is the walker.
K: Is that a theory?
J.U.: This is not a theory. Otherwise it is not possible to have a dialogue.
K: Is this so in daily life?
J.U.: Yes. When we sit here, it is only on that level of relationship. We are here to see the fact of `what is', we are separating the actor from action. It becomes history. When we understand that the actor and acting are one, through observation, then we break history as the past.
A.P.: Are we definitely clear that there is no distinction between relationship and the fact of relationship?
J.U.: I must make myself clear. There is a bullock cart and it is loaded. All that is loaded on the cart, where does it rest, what does it stand on? It is resting on that point of the earth, the point of the wheel which is in contact with the point of the earth. It is on that point that the whole load rests. Life is a point on which history as the past rests - past and future. That present existent moment, when I hold it in the field of observation, is broken. Therefore, the load and the bullock cart are broken.
A.P.: When you say it is broken, is that attention your experience? If what you say is a fact, then Rimpoche's question should have been answered. If his question has not been answered, then what has been said is theoretical.
RMP.: This does not answer my question.
K: Sir, your question in the beginning was, can the past end? It is a very simple question because all our life is the past. It is the story of all humanity, the enormous length, depth, volume, of the past. And we are asking a very simple but very complex question: Can that vast story with all its tremendous volume, like a tremendous river with a great deal of water flowing, come to an end?
First of all, do we recognise the immense volume of it - not the words, but the actual volume of it? Or is it just a theory that it is the past? Do you understand my question, sir? Does one recognise the great weight of the past? Then the question arises, what is the value of this past? Which is, what is the value of knowledge?
RMP.: It is the point of realization.
A.P.: The factual realization is impossible because at this point thought comes in.
K: There is no realization because thought interferes. Why? Why should thought interfere when you are asking me the question: What place has knowledge in my life?
RMP.: It may have its own utility.
K: Yes, knowledge has its limited place. Psychologically, it has no place. Why has knowledge, the past, taken over the other field?
P.J.: Sir, what is it that you seek by this question? I am asking this because the receiving of this question is also in the field of knowledge.
K: No. That is why I am asking you a very simple question: Why should knowledge take a place in my relationship with another? Is relationship with another a remembrance? Remembrance means knowledge. My relationship with her, or with you, becomes a remembrance - as, for instance, `You have hurt me; `She has praised me; then `She is my friend', `You are not my friend'. When relationship is based on memory, remembrance, there is division and conflict. Therefore, there is no love. How is this memory, remembrance, which prevents love, to come to an end in relationship?
A.P.: The original question that we started with has ended in a new question.
K: I am doing it now: What is the function of the brain?
RMP.: To store memory.
K: Which means what? To register, like a tape-recorder. Why should it register anything except what is absolutely necessary? I must register where I live, how to drive a car. There must be registration of the things that have utility. Why should it register when she insults me, or you praise me? It is that registration that is the story of the past - the flattery, the insult. I am asking, can't that be stopped?
RMP.: When I am thinking, it is very difficult...
K: I am going to show you it is not difficult.
RMP.: Sir, you say why not register only what is necessary, but the brain does not know what is necessary. That is why it goes on registering.
K: No, no.
RMP.: The registering is involuntary.
K: Of course.
RMP.: Then how can we register only that which is necessary?
K: Why has it become involuntary? What is the nature of the brain? It needs security - physical security - because otherwise it cannot function. It must have food, clothes and shelter. Is there any other form of security? Thought has invented other forms of security: I am a Hindu, with my gods. Thought has created the illusion and in that illusion the brain seeks shelter, security. Now, does thought realize that the creation of the gods, etc. is an illusion, and, therefore, put it away, so that I don't go to a church, perform religious rituals, because they are all the products of thought in which the brain has found some kind of illusory security?
J.U.: The moment of self-protection is also the past. To break that habit of self-protection is also a point. It is that point on which the whole of existence rests. This atma which is samskriti must also be negated. This is the only way out.
K: For survival, physical survival, not only of you and me but of humanity, why do we divide ourselves as Hindu, Muslim, communist, socialist, Catholic?
RMP.: This is the creation of thought, which is illusory.
K: Yet we hold on to it. You call yourself a Hindu. Why?
RMP.: It is for survival, a survival reflex.
K: Is it survival?
A.P.: It is not, because it is the enemy of survival.
P.J.: At one level we can understand each other. But it does not end that process.
K: Because we don't use our brains to find out, to say this is so: I must survive.
P.J.: You say the brain is like a tape-recorder recording. Is there another function of the brain, another quality?
K: Yes, it is intelligence.
P.J.: How is it awakened?
K: Look, I see there is no security in nationalism, and, therefore, I am out: I am no longer an Indian. And I see there is no security in belonging to any religion; therefore, I don't belong to any religion. Now what does that mean? I have observed how nations fight each other, how communities fight each other, how religions fight each other, the stupidity of it, and the very observation awakens intelligence. Seeing that which is false is the awakening of intelligence.
P.J.: What is this seeing?
K: Observing outwardly England, France, Germany, Russia, America, are at each other's throats, I see how stupid it is. Seeing the stupidity is intelligence.
R.B.: Are you saying that as one sees this, the unnecessary recording comes to an end?
K: Yes. I am no longer a nationalist. That is a tremendous thing.
Sunanda Patwardhan: You mean if we cease to be nationalists, all unnecessary recording stops?
K: Yes, with regard to nationalism.
R.B.: Do you mean to say that when one sees that security or survival is an absolute minimum and eliminates everything else, then the recording stops?
K: Of course, naturally.
J.U.: One song has ended and another has started; a new song has been recorded on the old. It will go on. The old destructive music will keep on breaking and the new music which is good, which is right, will take over. Is this the future of humanity?
K: No, you see, this is theory. Have you stopped being a Buddhist?
J.U.: I don't know. The past as history has shaped the image in my brain. My being a Buddhist is the past - a historical past.
K: Then drop it - which means you see the illusion of being a Buddhist.
J.U.: That is correct.
K: Seeing the illusion is the beginning of intelligence.
J.U.: But we would like to see that when one thing breaks another does not form.
K: Could we tackle this differently? We are surrounded by false illusory things. Must we go step by step, one after another? Or is there a way of looking at this whole illusion and ending it? To see the whole movement of illusion, the movement of thought which creates illusions and, seeing it, to end it - is that possible?
J.U.: This is possible.
K: Is it a theory? The moment we enter into theory, then it is meaningless. then this is possible. The form of this process will then undergo a change; but the self-protective process itself will not end. When we think that something has existence, even that is an illusion. Thousands of such illusions break and thousands of new ones come into being. That is not sadhana; this happens all the time. So far we have been talking only of the gross illusions; these certainly break. But a new image is continually shaping itself. It is making its own thought structures.
A.P.: What he is saying is that this process of negating gives place to the arising of new, subtler illusions.
K: No. Thought being limited, whatever it creates is limited - whatever: gods, knowledge, experience, everything is limited. Do you see that thought is limited and its activity is limited? If you see that, it is finished; there is no illusion, no further illusion.
RMP.: This point, this thought, again arises.
K: That is why I said, sir, thought must find its own proper place, which is utility, and it has no other place. If it has any other place, it is illusion. Thought is not love. Does love exist? You agree thought is limited, but do you love people? I don't want theories. What is the point of all this? What is the point of all your knowledge, Gita, Upanishads, and all the rest of it? Have we made ourselves clear, or are we still at the verbal level?
RMP.: No, not at the verbal level.
K: When we have really discovered the limitations of thought, there is a flowering of something else. Is it really happening? Does that take place?
RMP.: I can now recognise the limitations of thought more poignantly.
Varanasi 13th November 1978