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What's the real truth

Buddha entered a village. A
man asked him as he was
entering the village, "Does God
exist?" He said, "No, absolutely
no." In the afternoon another man
came and he asked, "Does God
exist?" And he said, "Yes,
absolutely yes." In the evening a third man
came and he asked, "Does God
exist?" Buddha closed his eyes
and remained utterly silent.
The man also closed his eyes.
Something transpired in that silence. After a few minutes
the man touched Buddha's
feet, bowed down, paid his
respects and said, "You are the
first man who has answered
my question." Now, Buddha's attendant,
Ananda, was very much
puzzled: "In the morning he
said no, in the afternoon he
said yes, in the evening he did
not answer at all. What is the matter? What is really the
truth?" So when Buddha was going to
sleep, Ananda said, "First you
answer me; otherwise I will
not be able to sleep. You have
to be a little more
compassionate towards me too. I have been with you the
whole day. Those three people
don't know about the other
answers, but I have heard all
the three answers. What
about me? I am troubled." Buddha said, "I was not
talking to you at all! You had
not asked, I had not answered
YOU. The first man who came
was a theist, the second man
who came was an atheist, the third man who came was an
agnostic. My answer had
nothing to do with God, my
answer had something to do
with the questioner. I was
answering the questioner; it was absolutely unconcerned
with God. "The person who believes in
God, I will say no to him
because I want him to drop
his idea of God, I want him to
be free of his idea of God --
which is borrowed. He has not experienced. If he had
experienced he would not
have asked me; there would
have been no need. "The person who believed in
God, he was trying to find
confirmation for his belief
from me. I was not going to
say yes to him -- I am not
going to confirm anybody's belief. I had to say no, I had to
deny, just to destroy his
belief, because all beliefs are
barriers to knowing the truth.
Theist or atheist, all beliefs,
Hindu or Christian or Mohammedan, all beliefs are
barriers. "And the person with whom
I remained silent was the
right inquirer. He had no
belief, hence there was no
question of destroying
anything. I kept silent. That was my message to him: Be
silent and know. Don't ask,
there is no need to ask. It is
not a question which can be
answered. It is not an inquiry
but a quest, a thirst. Be silent and know. I had answered him also;
through my silence I gave him
the message and he
immediately followed it -- he
also became silent. I closed my
eyes, he closed his eyes; I looked in, he looked in, and
then something transpired.
That's why he was so much
overwhelmed, he felt so much
gratitude, for the simple
reason that I did not give him any intellectual answer. He
had not come for any
intellectual answer;
intellectual answers are
available very cheap. He
needed something existential -- he needed a taste. I gave
him a taste."

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