Krishnamurti, J. (2000), The Awakening of Intelligence, Penguin Books, India, pg. 214-217
Jiddu Krishnamurti on tradition and holiness
The past in you is your tradition, the books that you have read, the racial inheritance as the Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, and all the rest of it, and the culture in which you have lived, the temples, the beliefs that have been handed down from generation to generation. This constitutes the propaganda to which you have been subjected, your propaganda; you are the slaves to the propaganda for five thousand years. And the Christian is a slave to propaganda of two thousand years. He believes in Jesus Christ and you believe in Krishna, or whatever you do believe in, as the Communist believes in something else. We are the result of propaganda. Do you realise what this means? .. words, the influence of others; so there is nothing whatsoever original. And to find out the origin of anything we must have order. Order that can only come about when there is the cessation of total disorder in oneself. Because all of us, at least those who are even a little serious, thoughtful and earnest, must have asked whether there is anything sacred at all, anything holy. Of course the answer is that the temple, the mosque, or the church is not holy, is not sacred, nor the images therein.
I do not know if you have experimented with yourself. Take a piece of stick, put it on the mantelpiece and every day put a flower in front of it- give it a flower- put in front of it a flower and repeat some words- "Coca-cola", "Amen", "Om", it doesn't matter what word- any word you like .. listen, don't laugh it off .. do it and you will find out. If you do it, after a month you will see how holy it has become. You have identified yourself with that stick, with that piece of idea and you have made it into something sacred, holy. But it is not. You have given it a sense of holiness out of your fear, out of constant habit of this tradition, giving yourself over, surrendering yourself to something, which you consider holy. The image in the temple is no more holy than a piece of rock by the roadside. So it is very important to find out what is really sacred, what is really holy, if there is such a thing at all.
You know, man has spoken of this throughout centuries, seeking something that is imperishable, that is not created by the mind, that is holy in itself, something that is never touched by the past. Man is always seeking that. And man, seeking that, not finding it, has invented religion, organised belief. A serious man has to find out, not through some rock, temple or idea, but he has to find what is really, truly, everlastingly sacred. If you cannot find it, you will always be cruel, you will always be in conflict. And if you will, this evening, listen, perhaps you may come upon it, not through his statements, but you may come upon it when there is discipline through the understanding of disorder. When you watch, see what disorder is; the very seeing of disorder demands attention. Please do follow this. You know, for most of us, discipline is a drill, as it is for the soldier, drill, drill from morning until night so that there is nothing but slavery to a habit. And that is what we call discipline; suppression, control .. that is deadly, that is not discipline at all. Discipline is a living thing; it has its own beauty, its own freedom. And this discipline comes naturally, when you know how to look at a tree, how to look at the face of your wife, your husband, when you can see the beauty of a tree or a sunset. To see, to look at the sky, the glow of it, the beauty of the leaves against that glow, the orange colour, the depth of the colour, the swiftness of that colour .. see it! To see it you must give your whole attention to it. And to give your whole attention has its own discipline, you don't want any other discipline. So that thing, that attention is a living thing, moving and vital.
This attention itself is virtue. You need no other ethical standard, no morality (anyhow you have no morality, except on the one hand the morality that society which you have built tells you, and on the other hand what you want to do, and neither has anything whatsoever to do with virtue). Virtue is beauty and beauty is love, and without love you have no virtue and therefore no order. So again, if you have done it now, as the speaker is talking about it, looking at the sky with your whole being, that very act of looking has its own discipline and therefore its own virtue, its own order. Then the mind reaches the highest point of absolute order and therefore because it is absolutely orderly, it itself becomes the sacred. I do not know if you understand this. You know, when you love the tree, the bird, the light on the water, when you love your neighbour, your wife, without jealousy, that love has never been touch by hate, when there is that love, that love itself is sacred, you have no other thing that can be more so.
So there is the sacred thing, not in the things that man has put together, but which comes into being when man cuts himself off entirely from the past, which is memory. This does not mean that man becomes absent-minded, he must have memory in a certain direction, but that memory will be found to be part of this whole state in which there is no relation with the past. And that cessation of the past can only be when you see things as they are and come directly in contact with them .. to see things as you are in order to understand your world better.
Then out of this order, discipline, virtue, there comes into being love. Love is tremendously passionate and therefore acts immediately. It has no time interval between seeing and the doing. And when you have that love you can put away all your sacred books, all your gods. And you have to put away your sacred books, your gods, your everyday ambitions, to come upon that love. That is the only sacred thing there is. And to come upon it, goodness must flower. Goodness .. you understand, Sirs? ..goodness can only flower in freedom, not in tradition. The world needs change, you need tremendous revolution (not economic, Communist, bloody revolution that man has tried throughout history, that has only led him to more misery). But we do need fundamental, psychological, revolution, and this revolution is order. And order is peace; and this order, with its virtue and peace, can only come about when you come directly into contact with disorder in your daily life. Then out of that blossoms goodness and then there will be no seeking anymore. For that which is, is sacred.
J. Krishnamurti, Madras, 14 January 1968