A few centuries before Christ, there lived a man who became known to us as the Buddha. And he indicated a path through which the human soul can redeem itself from suffering. And I got to know that path that he describes in the work of Rudolf Steiner. So not directly with Buddha himself, but as an enthusiastic reader of Rudolf Steiner's work I got to know Buddha in Rudolf Steiner's lectures on the Gospel of Luke, in which he shows a close connection between the nature of the Gospel of Luke and Buddhism. In those lectures, as well as in many other places, he describes that path. And one would actually wish that in the various steps of that path, one would see a part of one's life path, because that which I keep wanting to point out in these videos and also in my recent book, books - namely, finding the truth in the jungle of data - is indicated in that path of Buddha in a systematic way, how one could come to that. And now, of course, it is not at all easy for us humans in our busy everyday lives to occupy ourselves with a path that purifies the soul. But in fact, just as a language course at Duolingo can go a long way towards learning a language with, say, five minutes a day, so we human beings are constructed that if we were to devote just five minutes a day to something, as far as the purification of the soul is concerned, then after a year, after two years, after five years, we would see a tremendous change, and if not by ourselves, then the environment, our fellow human beings, would in any case enjoy the sweet fruits of this. So that's something that - yes, that's something I would like to say over and over again: let's start with ourselves as human beings instead of constantly pointing the finger at the other, at others, at the world, at leaders, at politicians, at scientists, you name it, and not seeing the plank in our own eye. For the time being, that is a message that is important to me, one that I want to bring in a different way every time, and today I had a reason to experience very strongly how important that path of Buddha is. That path starts with education, with developing the right opinion. And opinion, of course, is something very personal. You think all sorts of things. The first step to deliver oneself from the suffering of the soul would be to scrutinise one's opinions. Of course, that is incredibly difficult, because you do that with your opinions again. So to free oneself from that, that has been a big question mark for me: how do you do that as a human being, when you are, as it were, surrounded by a kind of cocoon of opinions, around your soul - well I don't want to say you are born with it, but the pattern, you are born with it and the fabric of that cocoon arises in the course of life. How do you want to free yourself from that cocoon and conquer the right opinion? That is a question that, when I wrote a book like Learn to Feel, I felt very strongly once again, and I realised that the only way to get rid of the cocoon of opinion was to start letting the facts speak for themselves instead of speaking all the time myself. So, in fact, the right opinion is to silence the opinion and what remains then is an opinion, which is such that it is stripped of its personal colour, but in fact consists entirely of the facts as the world presents them. And then you have an opinion that is in accordance with how things really are in the world. But then you have to shut your own mind mouth, I would say. So you have to learn to be silent for once and make an effort to let the facts, as they come to you in perception and as you follow them with your thinking, be purely what the facts tell you and not to go beyond that. We have an incredible urge to confirm ourselves in our own opinion and to build on what we meet in the world. When we meet a fellow human being and start to talk to him or her, it is quite an art for most people to simply take what the other person says at face value, to listen and look carefully and not to get carried away with all kinds of emotions, thoughts that arise in us and that actually obscure what is happening there. So the opinion should be seen in that sense as a first impression of reality that you can let be. You don't have to be so nervous about always trying to piece things together there, you can also leave the facts for a while. And when you do that with, for example, news reports, it is quite a revelation, because you feel that you are actually always opposing them with your own opinion or going along with them, but when you leave that behind, a completely different content gradually comes to you, which also reveals itself to you from day to day, giving you the feelings that have to do with reality. But you have to be patient. That would be the right opinion, but the second point that comes then, so the second step in that path of Buddha is the right judgment. And a judgment is more than an opinion. With an opinion, you know that it's something subjective, that you think that, and that opinions differ. But a judgement, if it is a factual judgement, cannot be different for all people. You cannot say that everyone could have a different judgement, because a judgement determines something. An opinion moves, and is actually consideration, but when you have a judgement, yes, you establish something. And that is in the simple sensory perception, so when you look around you and you see all kinds of things, then you do that all the time, but that is pure by nature, when you see a lamp and you conclude that it is a lamp, then that is a pure judgement. So that's how we judge all day long, and if you didn't, you wouldn't know your way from here to there, so to speak. So in life you do have to judge, you have to determine. But when it comes to more complicated judgements, when it comes to judgements that are made up of different parts, then it is a different matter, you have to learn to use a completely different judgement, while staying with what you originally had when you established the facts. And then you will say much more often: I don't know. Because then you will find that when you want to connect certain facts, you cannot do that at all, you do not know how the one is related to the other. So the judgement is an observation. And we, as human beings, hardly ever live in these complicated factual determinations. We have a confusion between opinion and judgement. We have intertwined opinion in the judgment. We forget that it was an opinion and we take that opinion as a judgement, as something that is true, and then we connect those facts, those judgements that we believe to be true. Well, of course that's all right and that's also something we need to develop in the end, you have to try some things. If only we would be conscious, but most of the time we are not, and so we judge just like that. And that is what should be overcome in the development of us human beings towards a pure soul and a harmonious harmony of several human souls: that we judge at random. Judging is a very profound process. When we look into history we see that great philosophers, thinkers, have occupied themselves with this, there is for example Aristotle's fundamental work about interpretation, which is actually a work of judgement, the art of judging, how do you do it right and where do you go wrong and when do you really make completely ridiculous mistakes. He also gives examples of that. That is Aristotle.
I was once in a bookshop in Aachen, and that was at a time when Hitler's book Mein Kampf was still banned, it was not allowed to be sold. Not that I was looking for Mein Kampf, I wouldn't say that, but I was looking through the available books on the table, shelves, interested in what was for sale in that German bookshop, and there was a scholarly work about certain passages from Mein Kampf, which apparently was allowed, And I found it very intriguing, so I bought it and when we got home I started reading it and there was a passage, I've forgotten most of it, but one passage has stayed with me and that is that in it this deceiver advises people, if they want to develop in his sense, that they, he or she, should absorb the texts that they read, insofar as they have already been accepted by them and that they should forget what they say no to. So, in fact, you read a book or an article or a study in such a way that you only take in what you already think, and what you don't think, you dismiss. So you reinforce your own opinion, as it were. And you do this in such a way, as you can imagine, that you end up living in an extremely powerful and self-confident opinion of your own. Well, that's exactly the opposite of what Buddha gave in the eightfold path, where you develop the judgment and the opinion in such a way that they are as it were universally valid and not only for you. It is precisely that which is personal therein that you try to overcome in favour of the universal. And you can imagine that it also serves a selfish purpose, this. In the sense that when you stop constantly involving yourself in everything, and become much more of a wise observer of everything in which you live, then you experience a much greater inner peace and gradually come to realise that there is actually much more time than you think you have. You lose an incredible amount of time cultivating your own opinions and the judgements based on them. You all know that wretched message that you get when you have a smartphone, that from time to time you get to see how many hours you have had that thing open in a day, that you have looked at the screen. Or at least the screen has been open. Well, for most people that's quite a few hours. When you consider what else you could have done in those hours than - I don't know what you did, texting, reading news items, watching films, I don't know what you do, but it takes up hours of your time, it's the same with personal judgement and personal opinion. Of course, that's in a completely different area, but it has a similar effect: that it creates such an accumulation of unrest in your soul that you have the feeling that you have to be in a constant hurry, that you don't have time, that you roll from one thing to another. Imagine if you could stop doing that. Then a blue sky would begin to come into your soul in which a centre could shine as a sun that brings a peace you have not known before. That is the selfish motive. And furthermore, of course, it is beneficial for those around you, because people really do feel faultlessly what your opinions are. And they may not know it, they may not be aware of it, but it also brings unrest to the other person, that one has to defend oneself against that wrong opinion that the other person has. One feels not understood, one feels not heard, not seen and one wants to restore that, to show oneself, to show that this is not how one is, what one thinks and that gives one an enormous restlessness. So when this stops, when we finally let the facts speak for themselves and shut our mouths by our own will, then this will eventually result in a lot of time and peace for us as well as for those around us.Finding the truth in the chaos of opinions by Mieke Mosmuller