To Be Humanby Jiddu Krishnamurti
To Be Human presents Krishnamurti's radical vision of life in a new way. At the heart of this extraordinary collection are passages from the great teacher's talks that amplify and clarify the nature of truth and those obstacles that often prevent us from seeing it. Most of these core teachings have not been available in print until now.
Besides presenting the core of Krishnamurti's message, the book alerts the reader to his innovative use of language, the ways in which he would use "old words with new interpretations," then gives practical examples, showing that we can clarify our understanding of life itself—and act on this new understanding.
The splendid introduction by David Skitt discusses Krishnamurti's philosophy as a guide to knowledge and experience, the roles knowledge and experience should play in our lives, and the times when it is best to cast them aside and "look and act anew." The book's source notes will aid the inquisitive reader who wishes a deeper understanding of this great teacher's message.
Read an Excerpt
Part I: The Core of the Teaching
hope you will have the patience to listen to this. Communication is anyhow very
difficult because words have definite meanings, consciously, we accept certain
definitions and try to translate what we hear according to those definitions.
But if we begin to define every word . . . and leave it at that, communication
will be at the conscious level. It seems to me that what we are discussing is
not merely to be understood at the conscious level, but also to be absorbed—if
I may put it that way—unconsciously, deep down, without the formulation of
definition. It is far more important to listen with the depth of one's whole
being, than to indulge in merely superficial explanations. If we can listen in
that way, with the totality of one's being, that very listening is an act of
have to listen without any effort, without any struggle. It is a very difficult
problem to listen with the totality of one's being—that is, when the mind not
only hears the words, but is capable of going beyond the words. The mere
judgment of a conscious mind is not the discovery or the understanding of
truth. The conscious mind can never find that which is real. All that it can do
is to choose, judge, weigh, compare. But comparison, judgment, or
identification is not the uncovering of truth. That is why it is very important
to know how to listen. When you read a book, you might translate what you read
according to your particular tendency, knowledge, or idiosyncrasy, and so miss
the whole content of what the author wants to convey, but to understand, to
discover, you have to listen without the resistance of the conscious mind which
wants to debate, discuss, analyze. Debating, discussing, analyzing is a
hindrance when we are dealing with matters which require not mere verbal
definition and superficial understanding, but understanding at a much deeper,
more fundamental level. Such understanding, the understanding of truth, depends
upon how one listens.
one listen without any conclusion, without any comparison or judgment, just
listen, as you would listen to music, to something which you really feel you
love? Then you listen not only with your mind, your intellect, but you also
listen with your heart, you listen with care, objectively, sanely, you listen
with attention to find out.
think there is an art of listening, which is to listen completely without any
motive, because a motive in listening is a distraction. If you can listen with
complete attention, then there is no resistance, either to your own thoughts or
to what is being said—which does not mean you will be mesmerized by words. But
it is only the very silent, quiet mind that finds out what is true, not a mind
which is furiously active, thinking, resisting.
do not know if you have ever tried this. That is, to listen to the words and to
find out the truth of any statement that is made by the speaker, not only
intellectually, not only with considerable doubt, but also to listen without
any resistance—which does not mean accepting, but to listen so profoundly,
with great attention, so that the very act of listening brings about a total
breaking-down of the pattern of the brain.
Meet the Author
Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986) was one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. He traveled and lectured throughout the world until his death at the age of ninety. His talks and works are preserved in more than seventy books.
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