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21 Lessons I Learned From Jiddu Krishnamurti

This article is made of quotes from the book "Think on These Things" by Jiddu Krishnamurti.


1. The Function of Education

- To understand life is much more important than merely to prepare for examinations.

- So, while you are young, must you not seek to find what life is all about?

- Not to imitate but to discover - that is education.

- To live is to find out for yourself what is true, so that you are able to face the world and understand it, not just conform to it, so that inwardly, deeply, psychologically you are in constant revolt.

- You cannot inquire, observe, learn, you cannot be deeply aware, if you are afraid.

- You learn from everything, therefore there is no guide, no philosopher, no guru.

- Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.

- Anything truly revolutionary is created by a few who see what is true and are willing to live according to that truth.

2. The Problem of Freedom

- The function of education, then, is to help you from childhood not to imitate anybody, but to be yourself all the time.

- So freedom lies, not in trying to become something different, nor in doing whatever you happen to feel like doing, but in understanding what you are from moment to moment.

- An intelligent mind is an inquiring mind, a mind that is watching, learning, studying.

- You do not have to become sensitive. The man who is trying to become something is ugly, insensitive; he is a crude person.

3. Freedom and Love

- To be free we have to revolt against all inward dependence, and we cannot revolt if we don't understand why we are dependent.

- The desire to change yourself breeds envy, jealousy; whereas, in the understanding of what you are, there is a transformation of what you are.

- You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read.

4. Listening

- If you are listening to find out, then your mind is free.

- There can be no happiness as long as you are afraid of your parents, your teachers, afraid of not passing examinations, afraid of not making progress.

5. Creative Discontent

- What is important is to be wholy discontented, for such total discontent is the beginning of the initiative which becomes creative as it matures.

- One must be wholly discontented, not complainingly, but with joy, with gaiety, with love.

- Self-knowledge comes when you observe yourself in your relationship with your fellow students, and your teachers, with all the people around you.

- Education: to learn to stand alone so that you are not caught either in the ill of the many or in the will of one, and therefore capable of discovering for yourself what is true.

- Don't depend on anybody.

6. The Wholeness of Life

- It is very important to leave your little room and perceive the whole expanse of the heavens.

- If you are inwardly rich, then it does not matter to you whether you are known or unknown, but what happens the next time you paint a picture, or write a poem, or clean a room? You expect someone to come along and say what a wonderful boy you are; and, if no one comes, you no longer bother about painting, or writing, or cleaning.

- It is only when you know who the poet is that you say the poem is lovely. This is snobbishness, the mere repetition of an opinion.

7. Ambition

- It is a basic function of education to help you to find out what you really love to do.

- The moment you are a student there is no one in particular to teach you, because you are learning from everything.

- A book can give you only what the author has to tell.

- To learn through your own self-knowledge is to know how to listen, how to observe, and therefore you learn from everything.

8. Orderly Thinking

- To sit quietly without pressure, to eat elegantly without rush, to be leisurely and yet precise, to be clear in one's thinking and yet expansive.

- To be precise, clear and expansive without effort.

9. An Open Mind

- If you can observe alertly, keenly, but without judging, without concluding, you will find that your thinking becomes astonishingly acute. Then you are learning all the time.

10. Conformity and Revolt

- If you don't know how your own mind works you cannot actually understand what society is.

- To be free of that pattern you have to understand the whole content of it, which is to understand your own mind.

- Meet another human being always with a fresh mind, and not with your prejudices, with your fixed ideas, with your opinions.

- Wherever there is psychological dependence, there must be frustration; and frustration inevitably breeds anger.

11. Self Discipline

- Discipline arises only when there is a contradiction.

- Our present education is rotten because it teaches us to love success and not what we are doing.

- It is good to hide you brilliance under a bushel, to be anonymous, to love what you are doing and not to show off. It is good to be kind without a name.

12. Cooperation and Sharing

- It is only the unoccupied mind that can be fresh to understand a problem.

- Without self-knowledge, merely to gather facts or take notes so that you can pass examinations is a stupid way of existence.

- Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.

- The moment you are very clear about what you want to do, things happen.

13. The Attentive Mind

- Don't just accept if people tell you that you are lazy. Find out yourself what laziness is.

- Scrapp all ideals, drown them in the river, throw them into the wastepaper basket, and start with what you are.

- Use your mind to discover why you don't want to study.

14. Knowledge and Tradition

- Tradition in mechanical affairs is essential, but when tradition is used as a means of guiding man inwardly, it becomes a hindrance to the discovery of greater things.

- Don't accept anything, it does not matter who says it, but investigate the matter for yourself.

- If you think things out for yourself, then you are alive, vital, a creative human being.

15. To Be Religious

- To be religious is to be sensitve to reality.

- One can live in this world anonymously, completely unknown, without being famous, ambitious, cruel.

- One can live very happily when no importance is given to the self; and this also is part of right education.

- It is only in a very quiet mind that great things are born.

- The man who is nobody, who does not want to be a somebody, who is just himself and understands himself - such man is free of arrogance, of pride.

16. The Purpose of Learning

- Experience does not free the mind, and learning through experience is only a process of forming new patterns based on one's old conditioning.

- It is only when the mind is free from the burden of knowledge that it can find out what is true.

- There may be the state of learning only when there is no motive, no incentive, when you do the thing for the love of itself.

- Do not pursue what should be, but understand what is.

17. The Need to Be Alone

- Distractions of every kind: gurus, religious ceremonies, prayers, or the latest novels.

- If you are bored and use your job as a means of forgetting yourself, then you will find that your whole life is nothing but an endless search for distractions.

- Teaching is the greatest vocation in life.

- A true revolutionary is a man who is free of all inducement, free of ideologies and the entanglements of society which is an expression of the collective will of the many.

18. The Energy of Life

- The moment you really want to do something, you have the energy to do it.

- Man exists for only one purpose, which is to find reality of God.

- Meditation is the process of understanding your own mind.

19. To Live Effortlessly

- The moment you arrive there is always a point further ahead at which you have yet to arrive.

- If you love to do sometihng with all your being you are then not concerned with success and failure.

- You want to be loved because you do not love.

- Real education is understanding the significance of life, not juse cramming to pass examinations.

- As long as the mind is seeking to fill itself, it will always be empty.

20. The Mind Is Not Everything

- Sex, earning a livelihood, laughter, having initiative, being earnest and knowing how to think deeply.

- Understanding does not come through comparison, it comes only when you examine the thing itself.

21. To Seek God

- He is seeking what is true, and that very search has a transforming effect on society.

- It is the happy man, not the idealist or the miserable escapee, who is revolutionary; and the happy man is not he who has menny possesions.

- The happy man is the truly religious man, and his very living is social work.

- To be fearless requires immense insight, an understanding of the whole process of fear and its cause.

- Ideals are a curse because they prevent you from thinking directly, simply and truly, when you are faced with the facts.


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