What We Call Love and Enlightenment

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the Indian philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986). He was only 14 he met one of the leaders of the Theosophical Society who tried to groom him as the next “World Teacher,” a concept loosely based on Maitreya, the so-called future Buddha.

In 1929, Krishnamurti, then 34, rebelled against the World Teacher gig and disbanded the organization created to support him. From then on, he was a sort of roving iconoclast, who considered himself unaffiliated with any nationality, religion, or philosophy. He wrote books, traveled the world speaking to audiences large and small, and punched holes in many a cherished notion.

At first glance, it might appear that Krishnamurti’s philosophical view is at odds with Buddhism. That would certainly be the case with some traditional Buddhist concepts, but overall Krishnamurti had great respect for the Buddha and his dharma. Asked once which of the great religious leaders came closest to teaching and realizing the ultimate truth, Krishnamurti replied ‘‘Oh! the Buddha . . . the Buddha comes closer to the basic truths and facts of life than any other. Although I am not myself a Buddhist, of course.’’ [1]

He made these comments on the subject of love in 1983 [2]:

One of our difficulties is that we have associated love with pleasure, with sex, and for most of us love also means jealousy, anxiety, possessiveness, attachment. That is what we call love . . . Is love the opposite of hate? If it is the opposite of hate, then it is not love . . . Love cannot have an opposite. Love cannot be where there is jealousy, ambition, aggressiveness.

And where there is a quality of love, from that arises compassion. Where there is compassion, there is intelligence – but not the intelligence of self-interest, or the intelligence of thought, or the intelligence of a great deal of knowledge. Compassion has nothing to do with knowledge.

Only with compassion is there that intelligence that gives humanity security, stability, a vast sense of strength.”

You’ll notice that Krishnamurti says the word “intelligence” several times. As he used it, intelligence did not refer to mental capacity, but rather to the faculty of recognizing that which is false, seeing that we are “surrounded by false illusory things.”

Here is what he had to say about enlightenment in 1973 [3]:

Enlightenment is not a fixed place. There is no fixed place. All one has to do is understand the chaos, the disorder in which we live. In the understanding of that we have order and there comes clarity, there comes certainty. And that certainty is not the invention of thought. That certainty is intelligence. And when you have all this, when the mind sees all this very clearly, the door opens. What lies beyond is not namable. It cannot be described, and anyone who describes it has never seen it.”

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[1] Susunaga Weeraperuma, Living and dying from moment to moment, Motilal Banarsidass, 1996

[2] [3] Selection from “What is Creation?” from the public talk at Brockwood Park on Sept. 4, 1983, “Enlightenment is Not a Fixed Place” from the public talk in San Francisco on March 18, 1973, in This Light in Oneself, Shambhala Publications, Ltd., 1999


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