The Insights Of J. Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) was an itinerant lecturer and teacher who spent the better of sixty years sharing his thoughts into the nature of truth, meditation, knowledge, and love. His life's work might be described as a long and arduous project of extrication: no step, he thought, could be made in the direction of enlightenment as long as someone was shackled by the biases of his culture, by the influence of texts and teachers, custom and habit, society and institutions. His worldview was woven from the fabric of monistic Hindu philosophy and colored by an odd strand of Oriental individualism. One is struck by the economy and gracefulness of his expression and by his defiant eagerness to render life in the simplest, least conceptualized terms. Below are a few random passages from his work along with a few links about his life and his teachings.

 

From Education And The Significance Of Life (San Francisco, 1953):

"The function of education is to create human beings who are integrated and therefore intelligent. We may take degrees and be mechanically efficient without being intelligent. Intelligence is not mere information; it is not derived from books, nor does it consist of clever self-defensive responses and aggressive assertions. One who has not studied may be more intelligent than the learned. We have made examinations and degrees the criterion of intelligence and have developed cunning minds that avoid vital human issues. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the essential, the what is; and to awaken this capacity, in oneself and in others, is education."

"When there is no self-knowledge, self-expression becomes self-assertion, with all its aggressive and ambitious conflicts. Education should awaken the capacity to be self-aware and not merely indulge in gratifying self-expression."

 

From Think On These Things (New York, 1964):

"Do you know what it means to learn? When you are really learning you are learning throughout your life and there is no special teacher to learn from. Then everything teaches you -- a dead leaf, a bird in flight, a smell, a tear, the rich and the poor, those who are crying, the smile of a woman, the haughtiness of a man. You learn from everything, therefore there is no guide, no philosopher, no guru. Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning."

"In this country, unfortunately, as all over the world, we care so little, we have no deep feeling about anything. Most of us are intellectuals -- intellectuals in the superficial sense of being very clever, full of words and theories about what is right and what is wrong, about how we should think, what we should do. Mentally we are highly developed, but inwardly there is very little substance or significance; and it is this inward substance that brings about true action, which is not action according to an idea."

 

From Meditations (New York, 1969):

"Always to seek for wider, deeper transcendental experiences is a form of escape from the actual reality of 'what is,' which is ourselves, our own conditioned mind. A mind that is awake, intelligent, free, why should it need, why should it have, any 'experience' at all? Light is light; it does not ask for more light.

"We hardly ever listen to the sound of a dog's bark, or to the cry of a child or the laughter of a man as he passes by. We separate ourselves from everything, and then from this isolation look and listen to all things. It is this separation that is so destructive, for in that lies all conflict and confusion. If you listened to the sound of those bells with complete silence you would be riding on it -- or, rather, the sound would carry you across the valley and over the hill...Meditation is not a separate thing from life; it is the very essence of life, the very essence of daily living."

 

From You Are The World (New York, 1972):

"Our minds are limited, narrow, shallow, concerned about ourselves and committed to various forms of activities -- social, personal, idealistic, and so on. While there is a certain space between the observer and the thing observed and also around and within this wall of resistance which constitutes the 'me,' there is another space that is not bound by either the center or by the wall of resistance. And that space, together with beauty and passion, is essential for an understanding of what meditation is."

 

Further Reading:

Krishnamurti Information Network

Krishnamurti Foundation Of America

Life Positive: J. Krishnamurti

 

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