Sunday, 3 October 2010

Truth in One Second (Krishnamurti)

Below is a wonderful conversation between Jiddu Krishnamurti and Buddhist Scholars at Brockwood Park, England, 28th June, 1979. Duration 93 min. B & W. Many more wonderful Krishnamurti talks and discussions can also be found at


Full Transcript:

Many have considered Buddhism to be the religion closest in spirit to J. Krishnamurti's spiritual teaching—even though the great teacher was famous for urging students to seek truth outside organized religion. This record of a historic encounter between Krishnamurti and a group of Buddhist scholars provides a unique opportunity to see what the great teacher had to say himself about Buddhist teachings. The conversations, which took place in London in the late 1970s, focused on human consciousness and its potential for transformation. Participants include Walpola Rahula, the renowned Sri Lankan Buddhist monk and scholar, author of the classic introductory text What the Buddha Taught.

Summary of Conversation
Brockwood Park, England, 28th June,1979)

There is only one truth no second.
Truth equated with "nirvan" or ultimate truth is never defined in positive terms, only negative.
When it is described positively, it is metaphorically, with symbols.
Truth is "advait". It is characterised by non-duality. What is non-duality?
The bodhisattvas came up with 32 definitions. They asked Vimalakirti, and he responded with…
...A thundering silence!
Can you formulate this non-duality or truth? The moment you formulate, it becomes duality.
So, just as they asked Vimalakirti, I ask you today: what is truth, what is absolute truth, what is ultimate truth and what is that non-duality as you see it? Tell us. This is a challenge.

Krishnamurti begins by distinguishing reality from truth. Reality from the Latin "res" is concerned with "things", everything that thought has created. Reality is our whole movement of thought. We are not concerned whether this reality is illusion or corresponds to things existing actually, and we are not saying that mountains and trees are created by our thought. They are clearly not. They are actualities. We are concerned only with this man-made concept of ours of reality, the reality of our thoughts.
Can the mind, which is the network of all the senses, actualities and so on, can that apprehend, see, observe what is truth? 

To find out what absolute truth is, thought must be understood - the whole nature and movement of thought must be gone into and observed. And it has its relative place, and so the mind then becomes absolutely still and perhaps out of that, in that stillness, truth is perceived, which is not to be measured by words.

What is measurement? And what has brought measurement about?

Self-growth, self-aggrandisement, 'getting better', getting more noble, achieving enlightenment? All that implies time. Aspiring is time. In religious traditions, there is aspiration always. Psychologically give me time so that I'll get rid of my anger, my jealousy or whatever it is, and I'll be free of it. Any aspiration, however noble it is, is in the field of reality, in the field of thought. Why? Because time is movement, created from movement of thought, cause and effect, distance to get from here to there, all these involve time.

Do we need time psychologically? 

Can we see truth without thinking or time, whether seeing truth is now, this moment, or whether you postpone it till you become better. Now do we see - see, not through argument, through explanation, through rationalisation, that thought has created this psychological time as a means of achieving something? Do we understand clearly, even verbally, and so intellectually, that we have used time as a psychological catalyst to bring about change? I'm questioning that catalyst. 

Truth cannot possibly be perceived, seen, through time. So why are we so conditioned to see things? The driving factor may be sorrow. We are conditioned that way because we are educated that way. As long as our minds are thinking in terms of reward and punishment, that is time.

Insight implies an observation in which there is no remembrance of things past, therefore the mind is alert, free from all the value judgements and so on, just to observe. Only then can you have an insight. Scientists and artists too have insights, but that insight is partial, it does not change the way we live as a whole. Now let's be clear. Insight means action, instantly, not have an insight and later act. That very insight implies action. And you act. And that action is always right, right being accurate, precise, without any regret, without any effort, without any reward or punishment, it is so, both externally and inwardly. If I have an insight into attachment for example: attachment to ideas, attachment to conclusions, attachment to persons, attachment to my - you follow? - knowledge, experience. If I have an insight into that, the whole thing is abandoned.

Now is this an idea or an actuality which you yourself have perceived: that you yourself see that ascent of man through knowledge is not so. Man can only ascend perhaps technologically, but psychologically, if he continues with the accumulation of knowledge, he's caught in the trap. Do you see that? An ordinary person may think they see something, but be mistaken. How can we know we actually see? I may not see actual 'what is'. I think I see 'what is'.

Listening without analysis, without interpretation, without like or dislike, just to listen. And if you so listen you have absorbed it, absorbed the fact that thought is the response of memory, memory is knowledge, experience, and so from the past, thought is moving. Then you can proceed. Then can thought ever free itself from its mother, (laughs) from its roots, from its source? Obviously not.

Our time is running out. Tell us about truth! If you can't do it in one minute, you can't do it in five hours.

I quite agree. All right, sir, in one second. Truth is not perceivable through time. Truth doesn't exist when the self is there. Truth doesn't come into existence if thought in any direction is moving. Truth is something that cannot be measured.

Ah, do we listen? Or we've all kinds of conclusions, so filled, that our minds are full and incapable of listening. You see me, you say, 'He's an Indian, what the heck, get rid of him, he knows nothing'. Or you say, 'Well, he's a conceited person,' this or that. You don't actually listen.

What then could bring about that correct listening? It has been said, through suffering, which is nonsense. It has been said, make effort - which is nonsense. You listen when somebody says, 'I love you', (laughs) Don't you? So can you, the same thing, to listen to what you think is unpleasant.

Truth doesn't come into existence if thought in any direction is moving.
Truth is something that cannot be measured.
Ah, we have come full circle. And in the true spirit of the Buddha, you have come to a definition of truth in negative terms!
You're not listening. I cannot come to Truth. I cannot see Truth.
Truth can only be when the self is not.

Let's go eat…

The greatest spiritual wisdom is always left to last, and it's truth the most lasting.

"Let's go eat... " :^)

okei: Oh, the irony of the title, lol. 
Carrie: Thanks, Okei! I greatly admire Krishnamurti. 
Lin: Thanks so very much.......

I really look forward to listening to this.........but it is another beautiful fall day, in the great outdoors......... 24 degree's wonderful after what feels likes weeks/ maybe even months of rain and below average cool weather.

Thanks again
Back later. 
okei: Enjoy the day, Lin!
And if I were you, maybe take a peek at the first and last video in the series, but I find it much easier myself to read and digest something from a transcript (linked at the top) or the essence of the teaching which I've tried to capture in summarizing the transcript.
But for those who like videos and who can hear wisdom in the silence between the words, go for it! Just warning though that Krishnamurti takes a long time to make his points. He really wants the listeners to struggle and be frustrated and find the truth for themselves.
The blog originally appeared on Buddhist Travelers. 

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