Remember it – otherwise it is very easy for people to become fanatics. Why do millions of people in the world become fanatics? For a simple reason: by becoming a fanatic you avoid all experimenting, by becoming a fanatic you escape from thinking on your own, feeling on your own. By becoming a fanatic you throw all responsibility on somebody else’s shoulders – Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Atisha.
Remember, your responsibility is such, it cannot be given to anybody else, it cannot be thrown on somebody else. Your responsibility is absolutely yours. You will have to think, you will have to feel, you will have to meditate, you will have to walk, for yourself. And let me remind you again: you may come across scenes which Atisha has never come across.
If you go to the Himalayas and you want to climb Everest, there are many ways to climb it, many sides. From one side you may come across beautiful valleys and rivers and trees. From the other side you may not come across any river, you may not come across trees at all, you may come across only rocks and rocks. From the third side you may come across glaciers, virgin snow that has never melted. And you will all reach the top.
Those who have reached the top will always be considerate and liberal. They cannot be stubborn, they cannot say, “This is the only path,” because from the top they can see that there are many paths. They can see many pilgrims arriving, reaching from different routes. And each route has its own world. Atisha followed a certain route. But he was very fortunate to have three enlightened masters; he reached Everest by at least three routes. His vision is very comprehensive, his vision is wide, it is not narrow.
Jesus says, “My path is narrow but straight.” He followed only one master. Naturally his path is very narrow and straight. It is not the case with Atisha; his path is very zigzag and very wide. It contains many paths in it, it is a great synthesis.
The first sutra:
Begin the development of taking with yourself.
Let me remind you, in the last sutra Atisha was saying that when you take the breath in, let it become your meditation that all the suffering of all the beings in the world is riding on that incoming breath and reaching your heart. Absorb all that suffering, pain and misery in your heart, and see a miracle happen.
Whenever you absorb somebody else’s misery, pain and suffering, the moment you absorb it, it is transformed. The natural tendency is to avoid it; the natural tendency is to protect yourself against suffering. The natural tendency is to keep aloof, not to sympathize, not to empathize. People, even when they sympathize, sympathize only formally. They pay lip-service; they don’t mean it. If they really meant it, they could have helped the other person. They could have absorbed his suffering, they could have drunk his suffering.