Questioner: What is precept?
Krishnamurti: Through a precept, through a saying - that evil is all that which divides and good all that which unites - by merely following a principle, can you be yourself? Will living according to a pattern, an ideal, following it ruthlessly, meditating upon it, bring you to the discovery of yourself? Can that which is real be perceived through discipline or will? That is, by exertion, by an effort of the intellect, curbing, controlling, disciplining, guiding, forcing thought in a particular direction, can you know yourself?
And can you know yourself through behaviour patterns; that is, by preconceiving a mode of life, of what is good, the ideal, and following it constantly, twisting your thought and feeling to its dictates, putting aside what you consider evil and ruthlessly following what you consider to be good? Will this process reveal to you that which you are, whatever that is? Can you discover yourself through compulsion?
It is a form of compulsion, this ruthless overcoming of difficulties through will, discipline - this subduing and resisting, a withholding and a yielding.
All this is the exertion of will, which I consider to be mechanical, a process of the intellect. Can you know yourself through these means - through these mechanical means? All effort, mechanical or of the will, is habit-forming. Through the forming of habit you may be able to create a certain state, achieve a certain ideal which you may consider to be yourself, but as it is the result of an intellectual effort or the effort of the will, it is wholly mechanical and hence not true. Can this process yield the comprehension of yourself, of what you are?
Ommen Camp, Holland
1st Public Talk 4th August, 1938