I am requesting your guidance on my answer to something I heard you say to me – which you never actually said.
During my sannyas darshan you spoke to me at length about what happened to Buddha’s teachings after Buddha left his body. I heard you say that Buddha’s disciples compromised Buddha’s teaching. They created safe religions, and thus compromised. You told me, “Do not compromise.”
While you were speaking these words to me, I heard another communication. The request that I silently heard spoken was, “Do not let it happen to me.”
Since that day I have continually looked for what I might be able to do to fulfill this request. Much to my wonder, I know what to do, I know how to fulfill the unspoken request – but I want your guidance.
Will you please give me your specific guidance?
What happened to Gautam Buddha and his teachings is almost the rule, not the exception. The moment the master leaves his body the disciples start compromising with the surrounding world to survive, to continue to exist. And truth is something that cannot be compromised.
Just Gautam Buddha’s teachings…five hundred years afterwards, there was not a single Buddhist in the whole of India. The greatest man who has ever walked on the earth, and the most refined teaching and the clearest perception of truth simply disappeared like a dream.
One wonders – it has not happened to Christianity, it has not happened to Mohammedanism, it has not happened to Jainism. So the complexity of the phenomenon has to be understood. The people who had followed Gautam Buddha refused to compromise. That was the cause of the disappearance of Buddhism from India. The Buddhists were either killed, burned alive or forcibly converted into Hinduism, or the fortunate ones escaped to the neighboring countries.
In a way, it was a blessing in disguise because the Buddhists who escaped India spread all over Asia and converted the whole continent to the teachings of Gautam Buddha. But the problem was, they had learned something that a disciple should never learn: they had learned in India that if you insist on truth, crucifixion is the result. If you want to survive, you have to compromise with all kinds of lies which are prevalent.
What they did not do in India they did in China, they did in Japan, they did in Korea, and they did in Ceylon. All over Asia they compromised with the local population, its superstitions, its ancient ideologies founded on untruths, just created out of fear. But because they compromised with them, they survived. And it was not only that they survived, they became very respectable. Buddhism became the religion of the whole of Asia except India.
It is a very strange phenomenon, because Buddha was born here; all his great disciples were born here. Hundreds of people became enlightened under his guidance. The consciousness of this country reached its highest point in the presence of Gautam Buddha. And yet the moment Buddha had gone, the tremendous experience disappeared, evaporated – because the people who remained behind were still not ready to betray their master. They were ready to die, but not to betray; they were not going to compromise.