Our whole life is based on Reward and Recognition. Do something acceptable to the society and be recognized or rewarded for that. It starts from our childhood when you are rewarded with chocolates. In the school it is to be the in the top and be recognized for that. This continues throughout our life; whether we are ordinary citizens, big businessmen, politicians or religious leaders. Even in religious organizations we have a hierarchy and we are rewarded and rise up the hierarchy. So why is this craving for recognition, why we are not content with what we are? Why do we want name and fame? We all want to be famous. We all follow the famous, try knowing about them, talking about them and may be identify ourselves with them. If we don’t do this we feel empty, lonely and as a “nobody”.
Why is it that we are not content to be ourselves?
“Why is it that we crave to be recognized …………………….. Why is it that we are not content to be ourselves? Are we frightened and ashamed of what we are, that name, position and acquisition become so all-important? ......... In the excitement of a battle, one does incredible things for which one is honored; one becomes a hero for killing a fellow man. Through privilege, cleverness, or capacity and efficiency, one arrives somewhere near the top - though the top is never the top, for there is always more and more in the intoxication of success……………” -- (J.K)
“…………………. It is strange how most people want recognition and praise - to be recognized as a great poet, as a philosopher, something that boosts one's ego. It gives great satisfaction but it has very little meaning. Recognition feeds one's vanity and perhaps one's pocket, and then what? It sets one apart and separation breeds its own problems, ever increasing. …………………….. To be free of both success and failure is the real thing. From the beginning not to look for a result, to do the thing that one loves, and love has no reward or punishment. ……………..” -- (J.K)
So recognition will not help us in anyway spiritually, it will only add to the anxiety and tension; and create vanity in us. We will end this part with the encounter of Bodhidharma with the Emperor.
Bodhidharma Meets the Emperor
Bodhidharma was introduced to the emperor of China, who was a Buddhist himself. In his conference with the emperor, Bodhidharma exhibited the sort of sharp, shocking behavior that would become characteristic of Zen Buddhist masters. This meeting is regarded as China's first introduction to Zen Buddhism.
The emperor practiced the outward behaviors of Buddhism; he wore Buddhist robes, abstained from eating meat, build many temples and supported hundreds of monks and nuns. The emperor was proud of his knowledge of Buddhism and his support of Buddhism in his kingdom. He asked Bodhidharma, "Since I came to the throne, I have built many temples, published numerous scriptures and supported countless monks and nuns. How great is the merit in all these?"
"No merit to speak of.", was the shocking reply of Bodhidharma. The emperor had often heard renowned masters say, "Do good, and you will receive good; do bad and you will receive bad. The Law of Cause and Effect is unchangeable, effects follow causes as shadows follow figures." But now, this foreign sage declared that all his efforts had earned no merit at all.
The emperor failed to understand that one is not practising Buddhism if one does good with the desire to gain merit for oneself. It will be more like promoting one's own welfare or hoping for admiration by the public. The emperor asked his next question, "What then, is the essence of Buddhism?"
Bodhidharma's immediated reply was, "Vast emptiness and no essence at all!" This stunned the emperor. Other masters had explained that the essence was contained in doctrines such as The Four Noble Truths and The Law of Cause and Effect, but this foreign sage of Buddhism had just declared there was 'no essence at all'.
1. Commentaries on Living Series I Chapter 22 The Self - http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/krishnamurti-teachings
2. Letters to a Young Friend,23 – J. Krishnamurti