It is a great privilege to be involved in editing Krishnamurti's works. Obviously, there is the opportunity to study the insights of his teaching, but there is also much to learn from seeing his manner of teaching, the way in which he does it. We know that, for him, this is not contrived from thought, but our thinking can benefit from working even with his language. His use of words is dramatic, penetrating, speaking to something beyond the conscious mind, despite-or perhaps partly because of-the simplicity of his vocabulary.
This involvement with the teachings has been especially rewarding during the past two years' work on a new edition of 'Letters to the Schools'. The new version combines the original two volumes in which the letters were first published; but it also has seventeen additional letters, so it has been given the title 'The Whole Movement of Life Is Learning'. The letters published in the first volume were produced between 1st September 1978 and 1st March 1980, and those in the second volume between November 1981 and November 1983. The additional letters were created by Krishnamurti between January and May 1968 for nine of them, and between 1st March and 1st July 1973 for the remaining eight. The earliest letters were originally headed 'Conversations with the Schools'. All were dictated, then typed, mimeographed and sent to each of the schools, where they could be studied by teachers and read to students as they arrived.
There have been other books from Krishnamurti about education. 'Education and the Significance of Life' (1953) was the first. (He denied authorship of the much earlier booklet 'Education as Service', which had been attributed to him.) Education and the Significance of Life, for which, strangely, no manuscript has been found, speaks generally of the importance of right education and the atmosphere that should prevail in schools. 'Life Ahead' (1963) and 'This Matter of Culture' (1964) are in the nature of homilies, in the most positive sense, pointing out the right function of education and our responsibility to children. 'Talks with American Students (1970)' and 'You Are the World' (1972) are collections of addresses to young people in colleges and universities. These two collections are very like the public talks, although their focus is the education and future of those being addressed. 'Beginnings of Learning' (1975) and 'Krishnamurti on Education' (1974) comprise discussions with students and teachers, at Brockwood Park and Rishi Valley, respectively. These last-mentioned books are more closely related to the topics discussed in the letters, concerned as they are with the atmosphere in Krishnamurti's schools and the ways in which that will bring about a total education. 'A Flame of Learning' (1993 ) is unique in presenting conversations with a small group of Brockwood teachers in 1974. Although the discussions are centred on Brockwood, they show Krishnamurti's emphasis on right relationship between the students and the teachers, which is a concern for all educators.
But it is in the Letters that we have the essence of Krishnamurti the Teacher, as educator speaking to teachers and students in the schools bearing his name. Writing about the letters in an introduction to the second volume, Krishnamurti asked that they be studied 'as you would study a flower'. As we do so, we discover that these letters are remarkable for their directness and clarity of expression, revealing insights that can make us pause in wonder as we read. His words stop the thinking mind in its tracks: 'Ideals corrupt.' 'Yield without losing integrity.' 'Capacity is limited by desire.' 'Imitation corrupts the mind.' 'Education is the cultivation of total responsibility.' 'The word prevents actual perception.' 'To live with clarity is not a value.' 'Freedom is sane living in daily life.' He returns often to the theme of freedom and the beautiful phrase 'the flowering of goodness' upon which we might meditate endlessly. Our lives are enriched as we ponder: 'You have to be good because you are the future'. Something in us responds to these striking aphorisms with the sense that the significance and validity of what is said are already known; and there is great delight in that recognition.
Ray McCoy was born and educated in Canada. He worked there in manufacturing, government administration, experimental psychology, and education. He became involved in the Krishnamurti work in 1980, teaching at the schools in India at Rajghat and Rishi Valley. From early 1981, he taught at Brockwood Park School and was later to become the Secretary of the Foundation. Since 2004, his work has mainly been editing and taking care of the publications programme of the Foundation.