Into the same rivers we step and do not step.
You cannot step twice in the same river.
Everything flows and nothing abides.
Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.
Cool things become warm, the warm grows cool.
The moist dries, the parched becomes moist.
It is by disease that health is pleasant;
by evil that good is pleasant,
by hunger, satiety; by weariness, rest.
It is one and the same thing to be living or dead,
awake or asleep, young or old.
The former aspect in each case becomes the latter,
and the latter again the former,
by sudden unexpected reversal.
It throws apart
and then brings together again.
All things come in their due seasons.
Into the same rivers we step and do not step…
…because the appearance, and remember, only the appearance, remains the same. Otherwise, everything changes and flows.
Here is the basic difference between the ordinary religious conception and the really religious. Hindus say that that which changes is the appearance, the maya; and that which never changes, is permanent, is brahma. Heraclitus says just the opposite: that which appears permanent is the appearance, the maya, and that which changes is the brahma. And the same is the understanding of Buddha, that change is the only permanence, change is the only eternal phenomenon. Only change abides, nothing else. My feeling is also the same.
In search of a permanent truth you are searching for nothing but your own ego. In search of a permanent God, what are you seeking? You are seeking permanence in some way or other. You would like to abide so that if this world changes there is nothing to worry about. Your mind says, “Seek the divine and there will be no change, and you will live for ever and ever.”
The ordinary religious conception – Hindu, Jewish or Christian – is basically an ego-trip. Why do you say that change is appearance? – because with change you are afraid. Change looks like death. You would like something absolutely permanent to stand upon. You would like a house that will be always and always. In this world you cannot find that house that abides. In this world you cannot find any relationship that abides. Then you project a relationship with God, because God abides, and with God you will abide. But this search, this desire, this seeking to abide forever – this is the problem! Why do you want to be? Why not, NOT be? Why are you so afraid of not being? If you are afraid of nonbeing, nothingness, emptiness, death, you cannot know the truth. One knows the true when one is ready to drop oneself totally, utterly.