Auckland, New Zealand | 2nd Talk in Town Hall 1st April, 1934
Question: Do you believe in reincarnation?
Krishnamurti: First of all, I do not know how many of you are conversant with the idea of reincarnation, I will very briefly explain to you what it means. It means that in order to reach perfection, you must go through a series of lives, gathering more and more experience, more and more knowledge, till you come to that reality, to that perfection. Briefly and crudely, without going into the subtleties of it, that is reincarnation: that you as the "I", the entity, the ego, take on a series of forms, life after life, till you are perfect.
Now I am not going to answer whether I believe it or not, as I want to show that reincarnation is immaterial. Do not reject what I say immediately. What is the ego? What is this consciousness which we call the "I"? I will tell you what it is, and please consider it; do not reject it. You are here to understand what I am saying, not to create a barrier between yourself and me by your belief. What is the "I", that focal point which you call the "I", that consciousness of which the mind is continually becoming aware? That is, when are you conscious of the "I"? When are you conscious of yourself? Only when you are frustrated, when you are hindered, when there is a resistance; otherwise, you are supremely unconscious of your little self as "I". Is that not so? You are only conscious of yourself when there is a conflict. So, as we live in nothing else but conflict, we are conscious of that most of the time; and, therefore there is that consciousness, that conception, which is born of the "I". The "I" in that conflict is nothing else but the consciousness of yourself as a form with a name, with certain prejudices, with certain idiosyncrasies, tendencies, faculties, longings, frustrations; and this, you think, must continue and grow and reach perfection. How can conflict reach perfection? How can that limited consciousness reach perfection? It can expand, it can grow, but it will not be perfection, however large, all-inclusive, because its foundations are conflict, misunderstandings, hindrances. So you say to yourself, "I must live as an entity beyond death, therefore I must come back to this life till I reach perfection."
Now then, you will say, "If you remove this conception of the `I', what is the focal point in life?" I hope you are following this. You say, "Remove, free the mind from this consciousness of myself as an `I', then what remains?" What remains when you are supremely happy, creative? There remains that happiness. When you are really happy, or when you are greatly in love, there is no "you". There is that tremendous feeling of love, or that ecstasy. I say that is the real. Everything else is false.