What is the difference between a contented pig, a discontented Socrates, and a natural man of Zen?
You will have to understand these five categories.
First, the contented pig. It has nothing to do with pigs, remember: all these categories are of human beings. The contented pig is that man or woman who lives in an unconscious way; who simply vegetates, who has no awareness – hence there is no discontent. Discontent presupposes a little awareness.
If you are unconscious and somebody is doing surgery on you, you will not feel any pain. How can you feel pain? To feel pain, consciousness is needed. That’s why in surgery we have to give anesthesia, so the man falls completely asleep in a coma. Then you can cut, remove parts of the body without any pain. Otherwise, the pain is going to be unbearable.
A contented pig is that kind of man who lives in life absolutely like a robot, a zombie. Who eats, walks, goes to work, comes home, makes love, reproduces children, and dies, never becoming aware of what really was happening. Just moves from one thing to another in a kind of daze.
The second is the discontented pig. He is still unconscious, ninety-nine percent unconscious, but one percent of consciousness is arising. The first ray of consciousness has penetrated; one is becoming aware of the pain and the anguish and the anxiety of life. People avoid the second state; they want to live in the first.
The first state is that of the materialist. Don’t think, don’t contemplate, don’t meditate upon anything.
Don’t become conscious – consciousness is dangerous. Remain unconscious. And if sometimes in spite of you some consciousness happens – because life has so much pain that sometimes it can happen that just the pain can give you a little consciousness – then go and take drugs, tranquillize yourself. Or alcohol is there and other intoxicants are there. Just dull yourself again, back into your anesthetic life, into your unconsciousness. Fall again into that anesthesia.
The discontented pig is one who is coming out of this anesthesia. Have you ever been into anesthesia? Slowly, slowly, when you start coming out of it, you start hearing a few noises around – the traffic noise, the doctors walking, the nurses talking. Slowly, slowly, you start feeling some pain in those parts of the body where the operation has been done. Slowly, slowly, you come back.
The discontented pig is one who is coming out of the anaesthesia of life, who is becoming a man. It is painful – to be a man is painful, to remain a pig is very painless. Millions have decided to remain pigs.
When the discontent arises, you are becoming religious: the first approach towards God.
And the third state is discontented Socrates. You are fully alert about the pain, and you are divided.
You are two now: the pain is there and you are there. And life becomes almost unlivable, the pain of it is so much. Something has to be done – either you fall back and become again a pig, or you start moving and become a Buddha.
The discontented Socrates is just the midpoint. Below, at the lowest, is the pig. Above, at the highest, is the Buddha, the real, natural man of Zen.
Discontented Socrates is just in the middle, in the middle of the bridge. And there is every possibility that you will fall back – because the old is known, and the future is unknown. Who knows? If you go ahead, pain may increase even more – who knows? You have never known that state ahead. But you know one thing – that at the back there was a moment when there was no pain. Why not fall back into it?
That’s where people start becoming interested in drugs but that is falling back, that is a regression.
Man cannot be freed from alcohol and such intoxicants unless man is on the way towards Buddhahood. No government can prevent people from alcohol; they will find ways. Because life becomes so unbearable, one has to forget it. Either one has to become a Buddha or one has to become a pig. One cannot remain in the middle – the middle is such a torture.
The fourth state is contented Socrates. You start moving ahead, you don’t go back. You move more and more into awareness, you move more and more into meditation. Your thinking is transformed more into a kind of meditativeness. So the fourth stage is contented Socrates: consciousness and unconscious are being bridged.
And the fifth state is: no contentment, no discontentment; no pig, no Socrates. All is gone, all those dreams have disappeared. Neither conscious nor unconscious, but a new thing, transcendence, has arisen. This is Buddhahood. This is what Zen people call the natural state of man. Purified of all junk, cleaned of all dust. Purified of all poisons and the past and the memories, sanskaras, conditionings. You have come home.
The pig is completely unconscious. The natural man of Zen is completely conscious. Between these two are those other three states. These five states have to be pondered over. Find out where you are, and start moving from there.
The goal is not far away. Sometimes it can be reached in a single step, in a single leap. All that is needed is courage. It is out of fear that people fall back into the old rut.
If I can teach you courage, I have taught you all. If I can help you to be courageous, then I have made you religious. To me, courage is the most important religious quality, more important than truth, more important than honesty, more important than anything else. Because without courage, nothing becomes possible – neither truth nor love nor God.
From Take it Easy, Discourse #14
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