Heard at a Swamiís hut, Kufri, Near Shimla, Himachal Pradesh on 7th May 2009
Make friends with them who is on the path at least as much as you are. If they do not take you forward, at least they should not become a reason to move you backward on your quest. If this is not possible, just walk alone. The companionship of fools is not good. Remember one thing, you have come alone in this world and will leave this world alone. The togetherness ideal is just a way to make you feel better. That is why it is important to learn the art of solitude. In the company of a person who has gone deeper into themselves, you will feel their company as well as solitude.
My understanding: internally focused means people who are turned to and value self-realization, joy, happiness, god, the truth, awareness versus externally focused people who are more engaged with the world of ëthingsí: money, status, career,ómostly things that have more materialistic value.
Crowds are formed by people who are focused on the external. Itís a miracle to see that there are no crowds to be seen when you are with people who are focused in and within themselves. If ten internally focused individuals are sitting in a room, it is not that there are ten internally focused individuals sitting. It is that each individual sitting by themselves, thereby not forming a crowd.
Internally focused people donít make bridges to the outside world. If there are ten externally focused people sitting, there not a crowd of ten people ñ but it is a crowd of ten thousand. This is because each individual is connecting with the other ten and so on. Thousands of relationships are been forged with time. When internally focused people are together, they leave each other alone. The best company is offered from people who allow you to be alone even while you are with them.
The people worth developing company with are the people who let your solitude retain its purity. (Akkelanpan can be wichar na ho, near some translation help here). Company that lets the naturalness and nakedness of your solitude maintain its pristine state. Your aloneness, your silence remains untouched and pure. They respect your boundaries and do not become a reason for disturbing your solitude. They provide company, one which does not invade your space. When you call them, they come near to you. Only as near, as you call them and no more. They leave you alone when you want to go inside of yourself.
Buddha established a large order of monks. These were the principles they lived by as well. People who are going deeper into themselves donít create relationships
My understanding: meaning binding ties that are more attachments that genuine love and care with other people.
10,000 monks used to walk with Buddha. Even though it was a big crowd in a large village, it was always enveloped in serenity. When 10,000 monks walked with the Buddha, they walked alone. All of them going inside of themselves, engrossed in introspection. They do not make bridges to others. The relationship with others is only for namesake. The only relationship that they have it they are going on the same path, both inside of themselves. The path to the inside is not like Raj path (not clearly laid out) but like pagdandi (wild trail with no well laid out path). On the wild trail, every person has to find their own steps to the path.
Man has come alone and will go alone. Life is a gathering of suffering. The more you are tied to this crowd on the outside; the more you are bound to suffering -specially as you start forgetting to go inward. You are a real sanyasi if you are able to keep the solitude pure in the midst of this crowd. Sanyasi is not someone who has retired to a forest; they are someone who has found solitude in the crowd. They are together with everyone, but at the same time not alone. They are with you, but still afar. They are deeper into themselves, so are you.
My understanding: into themselves does not mean selfish focus. It simply means that they are single mindedly committed to the goal of building self-awareness, selfless love and compassion and away from ties to the ego.
Find friends who do not pull you outwards. That is why Buddha says that, The company of fools is not goodí. (My understanding: A fool is a person who is inclined to be more ëthingsí, ëoutsideí focused, more activity focused for the sake of activityówhile a wise person is who is moving towards spirituality and awakening via self-awareness.)
People say, this is my son. This is my family.í But in reality, if even you are not yours, how can others be yours? (Pali: Atta he attano nath.) Even our people are not ours. (Pali: Kutu Budhu Kutu Dhanu.) Try to understand this a little.
Fools go (Pali: Mudtha) towards ëthingsí and ërelationshipsí. These kinds of people value having a lots of things and lots of relationships. They say, ëI have a big kingdomí. ëI have these many thingsí, ëthese many sonsí. All fools keep growing these and all of this becomes samsara, a series of realities, thoughts, karma, a round which continues to bind them to the realm of suffering.
My understanding: In reality, a person claiming to own these ëthingsí is inherently selfish because these statements are extensions of the foolís ego. As these ëthingsí are impermanent their going away almost always end up in suffering. This is because the operating character of each attachment is continuous change and ultimate destruction. By placing value and attaching oneís ego to something that is bound to these two truths, a person is continuously creating suffering from themselves and the world.