Questioner: Is not the spiritual man always perfect?
Krishnamurti: A spiritual man may be, but we are not. That is, we have a sense of duality; we think of a higher man who is perfect and a lower man who is not, and we think of the higher man as trying to dominate the lower. Please try to follow this for a moment, whether you agree or disagree.
You can know only the present conflict; you cannot know perfection so long as you are in conflict. So you need not be concerned with what perfection is, with the question of whether or not man is perfect, whether or not spirit is perfect, whether or not soul is perfect; you are not concerned with that. But surely you are concerned with what causes suffering.
You know, a man confined in a prison is concerned with the destruction of that prison in order to be free; he is not concerned with freedom as an abstract idea. Now you are not concerned with what causes suffering, but you are concerned with the way of escaping from that suffering into perfection. So you want to know if you as an individual will ever realize perfection.
I say that that is not the point. The point is: are you conscious in the present, are you fully aware in the present of the limitations that create suffering? If you know the cause of suffering, from that you will know what perfection is. But you cannot know perfection before you are free of suffering. That is the cause of limitation. So do not question whether you will ever attain perfection, whether the soul is perfect, or whether the God in you is perfect, but become fully conscious of the limitations of your mind and heart in action. And these limitations you can discover only when you act, when you are not trying to imitate an idea or a guiding principle.
You know, our minds are clogged with national and international standards, with standards that we have received from our parents, and standards that we have evolved for ourselves. Guided by these standards we meet life; therefore, we are incapable of understanding. We can understand only when our minds are really fresh, simple, eager - not when they are burdened with ideas.
Now, each of us has many limitations, limitations of which we are wholly unconscious. The very question, ''Is there perfection?'' implies the consciousness of limitation. But you cannot discover these limitations by analyzing the past. The attempt to analyze oneself is destructive, but that is what you are trying to do. You say, ''I know that I have many limitations, so I shall examine. I shall search and discover what my barriers and limitations are, and then I shall be free.'' When you do that you are but creating a new set of barriers, hindrances. To really discover the false standards and barriers of the past, you must act with full awareness in the present, and in that activity you become aware of all the undiscovered hindrances. Experiment, and you will see. Begin to move with full awareness, with fully awakened consciousness in action, and you will see that you have innumerable barriers, beliefs, limitations, that prevent your acting freely.
Therefore I say, self-analysis, analysis to discover the cause in the past, is false. You can never find out from that which is dead, but only from that which is living; and what is living is ever in the present and not in the past. What you must do is to meet the present with full awareness.