Tradition & Dependence
Conversation between Jiddu Krishnamurti
& Professor Jacob Needleman
...continued from part four, the end of "Inner Space"
Excerpt from The Awakening of Intelligence
Needleman: I have another question which I wanted to ask you. We see the stupidity of so many traditions which so many people hallow today, but aren't there some traditions transmitted from generation to generation which are valuable and necessary, and which without them, if we were without them, would we not lose the little humanity that we now have? Aren't there traditions that are based on something real that do come down?
Krishnamurti: Handed down...
Needleman: Ways of living, even if only in an external sense.
Krishnamurti: If I hadn't been taught from childhood not to run in front of a car...
Needleman: That would be the simplest example.
Krishnamurti: Be careful of fire, be careful of irritating the dog, it might bite you, and so on. That is also tradition.
Needleman: Yes, that certainly is.
Krishnamurti: The other kind of tradition is that you must love.
Needleman: That is the other extreme.
Krishnamurti: And the tradition of the weavers in India and other parts, have their own tradition. You know, they can weave without a pattern and yet they weave in a tradition which is so deeply rooted that they don't even have to think about it, it happens. It comes out with their hands. I don't know if you have ever seen it? In India we see it, they have a tremendous tradition and they produce marvelous things. And there is the tradition of the scientist, the biologist, the anthropologist; which is, tradition is the accumulation of knowledge, handed over by one scientist to another scientist, by a doctor to another doctor, learning. Obviously that kind of tradition is essential. I wouldn't call that tradition, would you?
Needleman: No, this is not what I had in mind. What I meant by tradition was a way of living.
Krishnamurti: I wouldn't call that tradition. Don't we mean by tradition some other factor? Is goodness a factor of tradition?
Needleman: No, but perhaps there are good traditions.
Krishnamurti: "Good traditions", conditioned by the culture in which one lives. Good tradition, in India, among the Brahmins used to be not to kill any human being or animal. They accepted that and functioned. I am saying: "Is goodness traditional? Can goodness function, blossom in tradition?"
Needleman: What I am asking then is: are there traditions which are formed by an intelligence either single, or collective, which understands human nature?
Krishnamurti: Is intelligence traditional?
Needleman: No. But can intelligence form, or shape a way of living that can help other men more readily to find themselves? I know that this is a self-initiated thing that you speak of but are there not men of great intelligence who can shape the external conditions for me, so that I will not have quite as difficult a time to come to what you have seen?
Krishnamurti: That means what, sir? You say you know.
Needleman: I don't say I know.
Krishnamurti: You know what the great... I am taking that. Suppose you are the great person of tremendous intelligence and you say, "My dear son, live this way."
Needleman: Well I don't have to say it.
Krishnamurti: You exude, your ambience, your feeling, your atmosphere, your aura, and then I say, "By Jove, quite right. He has got it, I haven't got it." Can goodness flower in your ambience? Can goodness grow under your shadow?
Needleman: No, but then I wouldn't be intelligent if I made those my conditions.
Krishnamurti: Therefore you are stating that goodness cannot operate, function, flower under any environment.
Needleman: No, I didn't say that. I was asking, are there environments which can be conducive to liberation? Simply by the fact that a man...
Krishnamurti: We will have to go into this. A man who goes to a factory every day, day after day, day after day, except Saturday and Sunday and to find a release drinks and all the rest of it...
Needleman: No, this is the example of a poor environment, a bad tradition.
Krishnamurti: So what does the man who is intelligent, is concerned with changing the environment do for that man?
Needleman: Perhaps he is changing the environment for himself. But he understands something about man in general. I am talking now about a great teacher, whatever that is, who helps, who presents a way of life to us which we don't understand, which we haven't verified ourselves, but which somehow acts on something in me to bring me together a little.
Krishnamurti: Yes, I understand that's what satsun - back to that - which is the company of the good. It is nice to be in the company of the good because we don't then quarrel, we won't then fight each other, we won't be violent; it is good.
Needleman: All right. But maybe being in the company of the good means that I will quarrel, but I'll see it more, I'll suffer it more, I'll understand it better.
Krishnamurti: So you want the company of the good in order to see yourself more clearly.
Krishnamurti: Which means you depend on the environment to see yourself.
Needleman: Well, perhaps in the beginning.
Krishnamurti: The beginning is the first step and the last step.
...Excerpt from The Awakening of Intelligence
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