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Dharma and Sectarianism

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    From: http://www.vri.dhamma.org/archives/ddsect.html DHARMA AND SECTARIANISM by S.N. Goenka Friends, seekers of peace and harmony: Everyone seeks peace.
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 29, 2008

      by S.N. Goenka

      Friends, seekers of peace and harmony:

      Everyone seeks peace. Everyone seeks harmony. Life is full of misery,
      misery of one kind or another, due to this reason or that reason.
      There is misery everywhere. How can we come out of misery? How can we
      live peaceful, harmonious lives, good for ourselves and good for others?

      The sages, saints and seers of India the wise, enlightened ones asked:
      "Why is there misery?" and "Is there a way out of misery?" There are
      innumerable apparent reasons why there is misery. But we cannot come
      out of misery by eradicating these apparent reasons. The real cause of
      misery lies deep within ourselves. And unless this deep-rooted cause
      of misery is eradicated, we can never experience real peace, real
      harmony or real happiness.

      How can we eradicate the deep-rooted cause of misery within ourselves?
      Everyone who was wise and enlightened realized that the only way to
      eradicate misery was by following the path of Dharma. If one lives the
      life of Dharma, one is definitely coming out of misery. Dharma and
      misery cannot co-exist. But the difficulty came when, after a few
      centuries, people forgot what Dharma was. When one does not understand
      the real meaning of Dharma, how can one apply Dharma in life?

      Two thousand years ago in India, there were two distinct traditions.
      One tradition gave importance to the purity of Dharma. The other gave
      importance to sectarian rites, rituals, religious ceremonies, external
      appearances, and so on. In those days the tradition of pure Dharma was
      quite strong, but slowly it became weaker and weaker, and eventually
      vanished from India. What was left had no trace of pure Dharma. It is
      very unfortunate that we have lost Dharma. When one speaks of Dharma
      in today's India, the question that arises in the audience's mind is:
      "Which Dharma? Hindu-dharma, Buddhist-dharma, Jain-dharma,
      Christian-dharma, Muslim-dharma, Sikh-dharma, Parsi-dharma, or
      Jewish-dharma? Which Dharma?"

      It is a great pity that we have totally forgotten pure Dharma. How can
      Dharma be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jain, Parsi, or Sikh? This is
      impossible. If Dharma is pure Dharma, it is universal. It cannot be
      sectarian. Sectarian rites and rituals differ from one sect to
      another. The so-called "Hindu-dharma" has its own rites, rituals and
      religious ceremonies; its own beliefs, dogmas, and philosophies; and
      its own external appearances, and disciplines, such as fasting. It is
      the same with the Muslim-dharma, Christian-dharma, Sikh-dharma, and so
      on. But Dharma has nothing to do with all these. Sectarianism is
      divisive. Dharma is universal: it unites.

      The meaning of Dharma in the ancient language of India has been lost.
      Unfortunately, our country has lost the bulk of its ancient literature
      and scriptures. This literature was preserved and is still being
      maintained in the neighbouring countries. When we study these writings
      it becomes so clear what the people of this country meant by Dharma in
      ancient times. The definition was "Dharet¨ ti dharma"—what one holds,
      what one contains, is Dharma. This means what one's mind is holding,
      what one's mind is containing, at this moment. These contents may be
      wholesome thoughts, or unwholesome thoughts. In the language of those
      days, wholesome thoughts were called kuoala-dharma, and unwholesome
      thoughts were called akuoala-dharma. We find that these two words were
      used for a long time in our ancient literature. Kuoala-dharma and
      akuoala-dharma are both Dharma. What one's mind contains at this
      moment is Dharma—"Dharet¨ ti dharma."

      Two other words that occur in the ancient literature are arya-dharma
      and anarya-dharma. As the centuries passed, the real meaning of these
      words has been lost. Today the word arya is used for a particular race
      of human beings. In the India of those days, this meaning was nowhere
      to be found. trya had nothing to do with a race of human beings.
      Rather, it meant one who has a pure mind one who is a noble person, a
      saintly person; one who has eradicated all the impurities of the mind.
      Such a one was called an arya. One who lives the life of negativity,
      impurity, and generates anger, hatred, ill will, or animosity, was
      called anarya. So anybody whose mind contained purity was called arya,
      and anybody whose mind contained impurity was called anarya.

      Words like Hindu-dharma, Buddhist-dharma or Jain-dharma, were never
      used in our ancient literature. Other sects came much later, but even
      when these three were there, nobody used these words. The words
      kuoala-dharma and akuoala-dharma were used. Slowly, after a few
      centuries, another division came: kuoala-dharma (wholesome Dharma) was
      called dharma, and akuoala-dharma (unwholesome Dharma) was called adharma.

      In the ancient scriptures, there was another definition of the word
      dharma: the nature or characteristic of what the mind contains,
      whether wholesome or unwholesome. What is the characteristic of the
      contents of one's mind? This was called dharma. Its nature, its
      characteristic was called dharma. In Indian languages today, we still
      hear an echo of this meaning when someone says: "The dharma of fire is
      to burn." The nature of fire is to burn itself and to burn others.
      Similarly, we can say that the dharma of ice is to create coolness.
      This is the nature of ice.

      What do these universal characteristics have to do with Hinduism? What
      have they to do with Buddhism, or Christianity, Islam, Jainism or
      Sikhism? Fire burns; ice cools. This is a universal law of nature. If
      fire does not burn itself and others, it cannot be fire. If it is
      fire, then its characteristic must be to burn itself and to burn
      others. The dharma of the sun is to give light and heat. If it does
      not give light and heat, it cannot be the sun. The dharma of the moon
      is to give a soft, cool light. This is the dharma, the nature of the
      moon. If it does not do that, it is not the moon.

      This was how the word dharma was used in those days. If the contents
      of my mind are unwholesome for example, if I am generating anger,
      hatred, ill will, or animosity at this moment then the nature of these
      negativities is to burn. They will burn me. The vessel containing the
      fire is the fire's first victim; then this fire and its heat start
      spreading to the environment around it.

      It is the same when there is negativity in the mind. One who contains
      this negativity, who generates this negativity, is the first victim.
      He or she becomes very miserable. How can you expect peace, harmony
      and happiness, if you are generating anger? This is totally against
      the law of nature. That means it is totally against Dharma, which is
      the universal law of nature. If, knowingly or unknowingly, I place my
      hand in fire, my hand is bound to burn. The fire does not
      discriminate. It does not notice whether the hand belongs to a person
      who calls himself or herself a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jain, Sikh or
      Parsi, or an Indian, American, Russian or Chinese. There is no
      difference, no discrimination, no partiality; Dharma is Dharma.

      In the same way, when my mind is generating purity, the negativities
      are eradicated. According to the law of nature, when the mind is pure,
      it is full of love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. This
      is the nature of a pure mind. This pure mind may belong to a Hindu or
      a Christian, or it may belong to an Indian or a Pakistani: it makes no
      difference at all. If the mind is pure, it must have these qualities.
      And when the mind is full of love, compassion, goodwill and
      equanimity, then again, the universal law is such that these contents
      of the mind have their own nature, their own Dharma. They give so much
      peace, so much harmony, so much happiness. One may keep calling
      oneself by any name. He may keep performing this rite or that ritual,
      this religious ceremony or that religious ceremony. He may have this
      external appearance or that external appearance. He may believe in
      this philosophy or that philosophy. It makes no difference at all.
      Dharma is Dharma.

      The moment you defile your mind, the moment you generate any
      negativity, nature starts punishing you then and there. The punishment
      doesn't wait until after death. Whatever happens after death will
      happen then. But what happens now? Anybody who generates anger now
      will experience nothing but unhappiness and misery. This person may
      have any name, may be from any caste, from any community, from any
      sect or from any country: it makes no difference at all. Because one
      has generated negativity, one is bound to suffer here and now.

      Similarly, when you generate purity of mind, when your mind is full of
      good qualities such as love, compassion and goodwill, nature starts
      rewarding you here and now. You won't have to wait until the end of
      your life you start getting the rewards of a pure mind now. When your
      mind is full of love, full of compassion, you start experiencing so
      much peace, harmony and happiness. This is Dharma. It has nothing to
      do with sectarianism.

      Someone who calls himself a very staunch Hindu, a staunch Muslim, a
      staunch Christian or a staunch Sikh, may be a very good Dharmic
      person, or may not have any trace of Dharma. Sectarian rites and
      rituals, sectarian beliefs or philosophies, sectarian religious
      ceremonies and outward appearances have nothing to do with Dharma.
      Dharma is totally different. Dharma means what your mind contains now.
      If what it contains is wholesome, it rewards you. If it is
      unwholesome, it punishes you.

      If this understanding of Dharma becomes more and more prevalent in
      Indian society, as it was twenty-five centuries ago, then the country
      will be more peaceful because its people will be more peaceful.
      Everyone will give importance to whether or not he or she is a Dharmic
      person. That means, is one keeping one's mind pure, free from
      impurities, free from negativities? If you keep generating anger,
      hatred, ill will, animosity and other negativities, you are not a
      Dharmic person. You may perform some rite or ritual. You may go to a
      temple and bow before a particular idol, or to a mosque to recite a
      namaz. You may go to a church to say prayers, or to a gurudwara to
      chant kirtans. Or you may go to a pagoda and pay respect to the statue
      of Buddha. These do not help at all.

      When you generate negativity in your mind, you may blame various
      outside reasons for your misery. You may find fault with others. You
      may be under the wrong impression that you are miserable because
      so-and-so abused or insulted you, or because something which you
      wanted has not happened, or because something that you did not want
      has happened. You remain deluded for your whole life that you are
      miserable because of these apparent external reasons. Because Dharma
      was lost to the country, we have forgotten to go deep inside to find
      the real cause of misery.

      Suppose someone abuses me, and I become miserable. Between these two
      events, something very important happens inside me. But that link
      remains unknown to me. When somebody abuses me, I start generating
      anger and hatred; I start reacting with negativity. Only then do I
      become miserable, not before. The reason I am miserable is not because
      somebody has abused me, nor because something unwanted has happened.
      Rather, it is because I am reacting to these outside things. This is
      the real cause of my misery. You cannot understand this by listening
      to discourses such as this, by reading scriptures, by
      intellectualizing or accepting it at the emotional or devotional
      level. The real understanding of Dharma can only come when you start
      experiencing it within yourself.

      To illustrate this point: suppose by mistake I have placed my hand in
      fire. The law of nature is such that the fire starts burning my hand.
      I take my hand away because I don't like being burned. The next time,
      I again make a mistake and put my hand in the fire. Again, my hand
      gets burned, and again I take my hand back. I may do this once, twice,
      or three times, and then I start to understand: "This is fire, and the
      nature of fire is to burn. So I had better not touch the fire." This
      becomes a lesson, and I begin to understand at the experiential level
      that I must keep my hand away from fire.

      In a similar way, one can learn how to practice Dharma using a
      technique which was very common in ancient India. To learn Dharma
      means to observe the reality within oneself. The word that was used
      for this was "Vipassana," which means "to observe reality in a special
      way." This means to observe reality in the right way, the correct way,
      to observe it as it is not just as it appears to be, not just as it
      seems to be, not coloured by any belief or philosophy, not coloured by
      any imagination but to observe it by working in a scientific way.

      For example, when anger has arisen, you observe the reality that anger
      has arisen. Cutting yourself off from the external object of anger,
      you simply observe anger as anger, hatred as hatred; or passion as
      passion, ego as ego. You observe any impurity that has arisen on the
      mind. You simply observe it, observe it objectively, without
      identifying yourself with that particular negativity.

      It is very difficult to observe objectively. When anger arises, it is
      like a volcanic eruption, and we get overpowered by it. When we are
      overpowered by anger, we cannot observe anger. Instead, we perform all
      the vocal and physical actions which we did not want to perform. And
      then we keep repenting: "I should not have done this. I should not
      have reacted in this way." But the next time a similar situation
      occurs, we will react in the same way, because we have not experienced
      the truth within ourselves.

      If you learn this technique of observing the reality within yourself,
      then you will notice that, as anger arises in the mind, two things
      start happening simultaneously at the physical level. At a gross level
      at the level of your breath you will notice that, as soon as anger,
      hatred, ill will, passion, ego, or any impurity arises in the mind,
      your breath loses its normality. It cannot remain normal. It will
      become abnormal slightly hard, slightly fast. And once that particular
      negativity has gone away, you will notice that your breath becomes
      normal. It is no longer fast, no longer hard. This happens in the
      physical structure at a gross level.

      Something also happens at a subtler level, because mind and matter are
      so interrelated. One keeps influencing the other, and getting
      influenced by the other. This interaction is continuously happening
      within ourselves, day and night. At a subtler level a biochemical
      reaction starts within the physical structure. An electromagnetic
      reaction starts and, if you are a good Vipassana meditator, you will
      notice: "Look, anger has arisen." And then what happens? There is heat
      throughout the body; there is palpitation; there is tension throughout
      the body.

      One need not do anything except observe. Do nothing; just observe.
      Don't try to push out your anger. Don't try to push out the signs of
      the anger. Just observe, just observe. Continue to observe, and you
      will notice that the anger becomes weaker and weaker, and passes away.
      If you suppress it, then it goes deep into the subconscious level of
      your mind. When it is suppressed, it does not pass away.

      Whenever misery comes, we think that the cause of this misery is
      something outside, and we make a great effort to rectify external
      things: "So-and-so is misbehaving. I am unhappy because of this
      person's misbehaviour. When this person stops misbehaving, I will be a
      very happy person." We want to change this person. Is this possible?
      Can we change others? Well, even if we succeed in changing one person,
      what guarantee is there that somebody else will not appear, who will
      again go totally against our desires? It is impossible to change the
      entire world. The saints and sages, enlightened people, discovered the
      way out: change yourself. Let anything happen outside, but do not
      react. Observe the truth as it is. But when we don't know the
      technique of observing ourselves the technique of self-realization,
      the technique of truth-realization then we can't work out our own

      For example, you may try to divert your attention. You are very
      miserable and you can't change the other person or the outside
      situation, so you try to divert your mind. You go to a cinema or a
      theatre, or worse, to a bar or gambling casino, to divert your
      attention. For awhile you may feel that your misery is gone. This is
      an illusion: you have not come out of your misery; it is still there.
      You have merely diverted your attention, and the misery has gone deep
      inside. Time and time again it will erupt and overpower you. You have
      not come out of your misery.

      There is another way of diverting the mind, this time in the name of
      religion. You go to a temple, a mosque, a gurudwara, or a pagoda, to
      chant or pray. Your mind will be diverted, and you may feel quite
      happy. But again, this is an escape. You are not facing your problem.
      This was not the Dharma of ancient India.

      We have to face the problem. When misery arises in the mind, face it.
      By observing it objectively, you go to the deepest cause of misery. If
      you can learn to observe the deepest cause of misery, you will find
      that layers of this deep-rooted cause start getting eradicated. As
      layer after layer gets peeled off, you start to be relieved of your
      misery. You have neither suppressed your negativity, nor expressed it
      at the vocal or physical level and harmed others. You have observed
      it. Doing nothing, you have just observed.

      This is a wonderful technique of India. Unfortunately, our country
      lost it because we lost the real meaning of the word dharma. Now these
      crutches, these scaffoldings of Hindu-dharma, Buddhist-dharma,
      Jain-dharma and Muslim-dharma have become predominant for us. When we
      say Hindu-dharma, then Hindu is predominant for us. Poor Dharma
      recedes behind the curtain into the darkness. Dharma has no value,
      because Hindu is more important. When we say Muslim-dharma, Muslim is
      important. When we say Buddhist-dharma, Buddhist is important;
      Jain-dharma, Jain is important. It's as if Dharma is not an entity of
      its own. But what a great entity Dharma is! It is the law of nature,
      the eternal truth; and we are missing it when we give prominence to
      these false scaffoldings, crutches. We are forgetting the real essence
      of Dharma.

      When someone starts giving importance to Hindu-dharma, he never gives
      importance to Dharma. Hindu-dharma and all the rites, rituals,
      ceremonies and appearances become more important for this person. He
      performs them and feels that he is a very Dharmic person. Similarly,
      if one gives importance to Muslim-dharma, Sikh-dharma, or
      Buddhist-dharma, one feels that he is a very Dharmic person. This
      person may not have even a trace of Dharma, because all the time his
      mind is full of impurity, full of negativity. What a great delusion it
      is when one feels that he is a Dharmic person because he has performed
      his rite or ritual; because he has gone to this temple or to that
      mosque; because he has gone to this church or to that gurudwara;
      because he has recited this or recited that. What has happened to us?
      Where is this sectarianism leading us? Far away from Dharma!

      The yardstick of Dharma should be: "Is my mind getting purified or
      not?" There is nothing wrong with performing a particular rite,
      ritual, or religious ceremony. There is nothing wrong with going to a
      mosque or a temple. But one should keep examining oneself to see: "Is
      my mind getting purified by performing all these rites, rituals and
      ceremonies? Am I getting liberated from anger, hatred, ill will,
      animosity, passion, ego?" If so, then yes, they are very good.

      If no improvement is coming, then one sees that he is just deluding
      himself, fooling himself: "Even if my mind appears to be purified for
      a short time, I am deluding myself, because I have not come out of my
      misery, my impurities. My impurities lie at the deepest unconscious
      level of my mind. That is the storehouse of my impurities." We carry
      this storehouse from life to life, from life to life. And we either
      give more input, more impurities, or we remove them.

      Mostly we keep giving more and more input, and therefore we become
      more and more miserable. How can we purify the deepest level of the
      mind? We can purify the surface of the mind to some extent by
      intellectualizing, or by devotional or emotional beliefs. But to take
      out the impurities from the deepest level of the mind, we have to work
      and work in the way that nature wants us to work. The law of nature
      says that whenever we generate any impurity, the source of the
      impurity lies at the deepest level of our mind. And the deepest level
      of our mind is constantly in contact with body sensations.

      Day and night, whether you are asleep or awake, the deepest level of
      your mind (the so-called "unconscious") is never unconscious: it is
      always feeling sensations on the body. Whenever there is a pleasant
      sensation, it will react with craving raga, raga. Whenever there is an
      unpleasant sensation, it will react with aversion 'dvesha', 'dvesha'.
      Craving, aversion, craving, aversion: this has become the behaviour
      pattern of the mind deep inside. Twenty-four hours a day, day and
      night, every moment there are sensations in the body deep inside, and
      at the deepest level the mind keeps reacting. It has become a slave of
      its own behaviour pattern. Unless we break that slavery, how can we
      come out of our misery? We will be just deluding ourselves by trying
      to purify the surface of the mind, while we forget the deep root. As
      long as the roots are impure, the mind can never become pure.

      Vipassana is a technique of India. Laudable references to Vipassana
      are given in the Rig Veda. The most ancient literature of this country
      is full of words of praise for Vipassana:

      Yo viovabhih vipaoyati bhuvanah

      sanca paoyati sa na paroadati dvioah.

      One who practices Vipassana in a perfect way_sanca paoyati, sa na
      paroadati dvioah_comes out of all aversion and anger; the mind becomes

      But one has to practice it oneself. If you just keep reciting this
      verse of the `g Veda, how is this going to help? Suppose you keep
      reciting: "The cake is very sweet; the cake is very sweet." How can
      you taste the sweetness of the cake unless you put it in your mouth?
      The practice of Dharma is more important than merely accepting Dharma
      at the intellectual, emotional or devotional level. And this practice
      is Vipassana.

      In ancient days, Vipassana was everywhere in India. A traveller came
      from Burma then. Travelling the whole country, he found that in every
      household people were practicing Vipassana. He visited different
      households, rich and poor, and found that not only the husband, wife
      and children, but even the servants were practicing Vipassana every
      morning and evening. And everywhere there was talk of Vipassana,
      because people were getting benefit from it. Over time, unfortunately,
      in this country we became involved in rites, rituals and religious
      ceremonies and forgot this scientific understanding of Dharma.

      Dharma is nothing but a pure science, a super-science of mind and
      matter: the interaction of mind and matter, the cross-currents and the
      under-currents happening deep inside every moment. Things are
      happening inside every moment, but we remain extroverted, giving
      importance to things outside. Say somebody has abused me, and I don't
      have this practice of observing what is happening within myself: I
      become angry and start shouting. What am I doing?

      When someone is abusing me, it is that person's problem, not mine. If
      they are abusing, it means that they are generating negativity in the
      mind. This person is a sick person, an unhappy person, a miserable
      person when he is generating anger and shouting. Why should I generate
      anger? Why should I shout and make myself miserable? This
      understanding cannot come unless you have experienced it. It is like
      the experience when you touch fire and learn not to touch it again. It
      happens once, twice, several times, and then you learn not to touch
      fire again. Similarly, you can develop the ability to observe what is
      happening inside. Anger has arisen and you will immediately notice
      that there is fire, and it has started burning you: "Look, I am
      burning! I don't like burning. Next time I will be more careful." Or,
      "Oh no, here is anger. If I generate anger, I'll burn." By mistake you
      have again generated anger; again you observe it. Again you generate
      anger, and again you observe it. After a few experiences, you start
      coming out of it.

      But when you are not observing the reality within yourself, then you
      give all importance to the apparent external cause of your misery,
      trying to rectify that. For example, a mother-in-law says: "Our
      household is a real hell now." If you ask her the reason, she says:
      "It is all because of this daughter-in-law. What a daughter-in-law has
      come into our house! She is so modernized. She goes totally against
      all our traditions and beliefs! She has spoiled the entire harmony of
      the household." If you talk to the daughter-in-law, she will say: "The
      old lady should change a little. She doesn't understand that there is
      a generation gap. The times are changing. Why doesn't she understand?
      She is making herself and everybody else miserable." The
      daughter-in-law wants the mother-in-law to change. The mother-in-law
      wants the daughter-in-law to change. The father wants the son to
      change. The son wants the father to change. This brother wants the
      other brother to change. The other brother wants this brother to change.

      "I won't change. I am perfectly all right. Nothing in me needs
      changing!" We never see within ourselves that we are not perfectly all
      right, that we are the cause of our own misery. The basic problem lies
      within ourselves, not outside. We start realizing this at the
      experiential level by practicing Vipassana. It is very difficult to
      observe abstract anger. Even for a Vipassana meditator, it takes a
      long time before one reaches the stage where one can observe abstract
      anger, or abstract passion, abstract fear, abstract ego. It is very

      When anger arises, along with it, a sensation starts in the body.
      Along with anger, the breath also becomes abnormal. You can observe
      this. Even in ten days you can learn this technique. By coming to a
      Vipassana course and working properly, you can understand how to
      observe the breath. Perhaps anger has come, and you can't observe
      abstract anger, but you can observe your breath: "Look, the breath is
      coming in and going out." This is not a breathing exercise. You just
      observe the breath as it is; if it is shallow, it is shallow; if it is
      deep, it is deep; if it passes through the left nostril, then the left
      nostril; through the right nostril, then the right nostril. You simply
      observe it. Or perhaps there is heat throughout the body, or
      palpitation, or tension. You just observe them. It is easy. These
      things become easy to observe if you practice even for one or two
      ten-day courses.

      To observe anger as anger, or hatred as hatred, or passion as passion,
      is very difficult. It takes time. That is why the wise people, the
      enlightened people, the saints and seers of India advised: "Observe
      yourself." Observing oneself is a path of self-realization,
      truth-realization; one can even say "God-realization," because after
      all, truth is God. What else is God? The law is God, nature is God.
      And when one is observing that law; one is observing Dharma. Whatever
      is happening within you, you are just a silent observer, not reacting.
      As you observe objectively, you have started taking the first step to
      understand Dharma; the first step towards practicing Dharma in life.

      By practicing Dharma, you won't run away from external activities like
      going to this or that temple, or performing this or that rite or
      ritual. But at the same time as you are doing these things, you will
      start observing the reality pertaining to your mind at that moment:
      "What is happening in my mind at this moment? Whatever is happening in
      my mind from moment to moment, this is more important for me than
      anything that is happening outside." You will start to notice how are
      you reacting to things outside. Whenever you react, this reaction
      becomes a source of misery for you. If you learn not to react but
      simply to observe, you will come out of the suffering. Of course it
      takes time. One does not become perfect immediately, but a beginning
      is made.

      Let a beginning be made to understand Dharma. Dharma is free from all
      sectarian beliefs, dogmas, rites and rituals. Even sectarian names are
      not necessary. You may or may not call yourself a Hindu or a Muslim,
      but you should be a Dharmic person, a person living the life of
      Dharma. This means that your mind should remain pure. If your mind
      remains pure, then all your other actions, vocal or physical, will
      naturally become pure.

      Mind is the base. When the mind is impure, full of negativities, then
      our vocal actions are bound to be impure, and our physical actions are
      bound to be impure. We have started harming ourselves. We have started
      harming others. As I said, when you generate anger, or hatred, or ill
      will, you are the first victim of your negativity. You become very
      miserable, and the misery that you generate because of your negativity
      starts to permeate the atmosphere around you. The entire environment
      around you becomes so tense. Anyone who comes in contact with you at
      that time becomes tense, miserable. You are distributing your misery
      to others. This is what you have, and you keep distributing it to
      others. You are making yourself miserable, and you are making others

      On the other hand, if you learn the art of Dharma, this means the art
      of living, and you stop generating negativity, you start experiencing
      peace and harmony within yourself. When you keep your mind pure, full
      of love and compassion, the peace and harmony that is generated within
      permeates the atmosphere around you. Anyone who comes in contact with
      you at that time starts experiencing peace and harmony. You are
      distributing something good that you have. You have peace, you have
      harmony, you have real happiness, and you are distributing this to
      others. This is Dharma, the art of living.

      In ancient India, Dharma was nothing but an art of living, the art of
      how to live peacefully and harmoniously within, and how to generate
      nothing but peace and harmony for others. And to achieve that, proper
      training was given. There were Vipassana meditation centres in
      practically every village. Vipassana centres were everywhere, as were
      yoga schools, yoga colleges and yoga hospitals. They were a part of
      life. Students used to learn this art in their schooling. Practicing
      it, they lived good lives, healthy lives, harmonious lives.

      May that era come again. May people understand what Dharma is. May you
      be released from the demons, the devils, of sectarianism and
      communalism which make you forget all about Dharma. May you come out
      of this suffering. May you live a real life of Dharma, so peaceful,
      harmonious and happy for you and so peaceful, harmonious and happy for

      May all of you who have come to this Dharma talk find time to spare
      ten days of your life to learn this technique. You will get the
      benefits here and now. It is not necessary for you to convert yourself
      from one organized religion to another organized religion, from one
      sect to another sect. Let a Hindu keep calling him or herself Hindu
      for the whole life. Let a Christian keep calling himself Christian for
      the whole life a Muslim, Muslim; a Sikh, Sikh; a Buddhist, Buddhist.
      But one should become a good Hindu. One should become a good Muslim, a
      good Christian, a good Sikh, a good Buddhist. One should become a good
      human being. Dharma teaches you how to become a good human being, how
      to live a good life, a happy life, a harmonious life.

      May all of you get trained in this wonderful technique. Come out of
      your misery and enjoy real peace, real harmony, real happiness. Real
      happiness to you all. Real happiness to you all.
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