Quote of the Day

May 15, 2024
Question: I am in conflict and suffering. For thousands of years we have been told of the causes of suffering and the way of its cessation, and yet we are where we are today. Is it possible to end this suffering?

Krishnamurti: I wonder how many of us are aware that we are suffering. Are you aware, not theoretically but actually, that you are in conflict? And if you are, what do you do? You try to escape from it, don't you? The moment one is aware of this conflict and suffering, one tries to forget it in intellectual pursuits, in work, or in seeking enjoyment, pleasure. One seeks an escape from suffering; and all escapes are the same, are they not? whether they are cultured or crude. What do we mean by conflict? When are you aware that you are in conflict? Conflict arises, surely, when there is the consciousness of the `me'. There is awareness of the conflict only when the `me' suddenly becomes conscious of itself; otherwise, you lead a monotonous, superficial, dull, routine life, don't you? You are aware of yourself only when there is conflict, and as long as everything is moving smoothly without a contradiction, without a frustration, there is no consciousness of yourself in action. As long as I am not pushed around, as long as I am getting what I want, I am not in conflict; but the moment I am blocked, I am aware of myself and become miserable. In other words, conflict arises only when there is a sense of `myself' facing a frustration in action. So, what do we want? We want to have an action which is constantly self-fulfilling, without frustration, that is, we want to live without being blocked. In other words, we want our desires fulfilled; and as long as those desires are not fulfilled, there is conflict, there is contradiction. So, our problem is how to fulfil, how to achieve self-fulfilment without frustration. I want to possess something - property, a person, a title, or what you will - , and if I can get it, and go on getting what I want, then I am happy, there is no contradiction. So, what we are seeking is self-fulfilment, and as long as we can achieve that fulfilment, there is no friction.

Now, the question is, is there such a thing as self-fulfilment? That is, can I achieve something, become something, realize something? And in that desire, is there not a constant battle? That is, as long as I crave to become something, to achieve something to fulfil myself, there must be frustration, there must be fear, there must be conflict; and therefore, is there such a thing as self-fulfilment? What do we mean by self-fulfilment? By self-fulfilment we mean self-expansion, the `me' becoming wider, greater, more important, the `me' becoming the governor, the executive, the bank manager, and so on. Now, if you go into it a little more deeply you will see that as long as there is this action of the self, that is, as long as there is self-consciousness in action, there must be frustration, therefore there must be suffering. Hence our problem is, not how to overcome suffering, how to put aside conflict, but to understand the nature of the self, the `me'. I hope I am not making this too complicated. If we merely try to overcome conflict, try to put sorrow aside, we do not understand the nature of the creator of sorrow.

As long as thought is concerned with its own improvement, its own transformation, its own advancement, there must be conflict and contradiction. So, we come back to the obvious fact that conflict, suffering, will exist as long as I do not understand myself. Therefore, to understand oneself is more important than to know how to overcome sorrow and conflict. We can go further into all this later. But to escape from sorrow through rituals, through amusements, through beliefs, or any other form of distraction, is to take your thought further and further away from the central issue, which is to understand yourself. To understand suffering, there must be the cessation of all escapes, for only then are you able to face yourself in action; and in understanding yourself in action, which is relationship, you will find a way of completely freeing thought from all conflict and living in a state of happiness, of reality.
New Delhi India 1st Public Talk 14th November, 1948 Read full text