My Abiding Place Has No Pillars – Osho

Zen has no teaching; Zen has no doctrine. Zen gives no guidance, because it says there is no goal. It says you are not to move into a certain direction. It says you are already there, so the more you try to reach there, the less is the possibility of reaching. The more you seek, the more you will miss. Seeking is the sure way of missing it.

Getting it simply means getting the point that it is already available, that it has already happened, that it is the very nature of existence.

Enlightenment is not a goal but the quality of being herenow. How can it be a goal? because the goal is never herenow – it is always therethen, it is always somewhere else. It is like the horizon: it is always distant and yet looks close by. And one feels that “If I travel a little bit, I will reach the horizon.” But one never reaches, because the more you reach towards the horizon, the more the horizon goes on receding back – because in fact there is nothing. Just an illusion.

The earth and the sky are not meeting anywhere. They can’t meet because they are not two, they can’t meet because they are one. The earth is just a materialization of the space of the sky; it is a wave in the ocean of the sky. How can they meet? For meeting, at least two are needed. And they are not two. The horizon exists only in the mind of man; it has no existential truth in it. But you can go on searching and searching. And the more you feel that you are not getting it, the more and more anxious you can become to find it. You can become mad after it.

Zen says: There is nowhere to go, so no guidance is needed. Then what is the purpose of a Zen master? His purpose is to bring you herenow. His purpose is to hit you so hard that you awake herenow. You have fallen asleep and you have started living in dreams.

Another story:

Zen student: “So, master, is the soul immortal or not? Do we survive our bodily death or do we get annihilated? Do we really reincarnate? Does our soul split up into component parts which get recycled, or do we as a single unit enter the body of a biological organism? And do we retain our memories or not? Or is the doctrine of reincarnation false? Is perhaps the Christian notion of survival more correct? And if so, do we get bodily resurrected, or does our soul enter a purely Platonic spiritual realm?”

Master: “Your breakfast is getting cold.”

That’s the way of Zen: to bring you herenow. The breakfast is far more important than any paradise. The breakfast is far more important than any concept of God. The breakfast is more important than any theory of reincarnation, soul, rebirth, and all that nonsense. Because the breakfast is herenow. For Zen, the immediate is the ultimate, and the imminent is the transcendental. This moment is eternity. . . you have to be awakened to this moment. So Zen is not a teaching but a device – a device to disturb your dreaming mind, a device somehow to create such a state that you become alarmed, that you have to get up and see, to create such strain around you that you cannot remain comfortably asleep.

And this is the beauty of Zen and the revolution that Zen brings to the world. All other religions are consolations; they help you to sleep better. Zen tries to awake you; it has no consolation at all. It does not talk about great things. Not that those great things are not there, but talking about them is not going to help. […]

Zen is not a belief system. It is a way of awakening. And the Zen master is bound to be tough. That is his compassion. He has to hit you. And he goes on finding devices how to hit you.

Just listen to this story:

A Zen master was worshipping at a statue of the Buddha. A monk came by and said, “Why do you worship the Buddha?”

“I like to worship the Buddha.”

“But I thought you said that one cannot obtain enlightenment by worshipping the Buddha?”

“I am not worshipping the Buddha in order to obtain enlightenment.”

“Then why are you worshipping the Buddha? You must have some reason!”

“No reason whatsoever. I like to worship the Buddha.”

“But you must be seeking something; you must have some end in view!”

“I do not worship the Buddha for any end.”

“Then why do you worship the Buddha? What is your purpose in worshipping the Buddha?”

At this point, the master simply jumped up and gave the monk a good slap in the face!

It looks so wild, unexpected. And the monk is not asking any irrelevant question: he is asking a simple human question out of curiosity. He should not be treated like that; there is no need to hit him. No Hindu priest would hit him, no Catholic priest would hit him. Their purposes are different – only a Zen master can hit him. His purpose is different.

Why didn’t he hit him in the first place? Why did he bother to answer so many questions and then hit him? He created the situation, the right situation. He created the heat. He created the curiosity more and more and more. He brought the monk to a state from where the hit could simply shock him to a kind of awareness.

He helped the monk to think about it more and more and more, to bring a peak of thinking – because only from the peak can the hit be of any help. But his hitting the monk is neither wild nor arrogant – it is not out of anger, remember. This story I have found in a book written by an American who thinks the master became angry because of the persistent query of the monk, and out of anger he hit him back. This is stupid. You have missed the whole point. It is not out of anger! He is not offended by the question; he is enjoying the question. He is bringing the monk to a more and more feverish state by answering in such a way that the question is not answered but enhanced. Just see the difference.

Ordinarily, you answer a question so that the question is finished. The Zen master is answering so that the question becomes even more pointed and poignant. He is helping the question to arise with a totality. He is giving the idea to the monk that his question is very important and the master is unable to answer it. He is helping the ego of the monk to become a big balloon so a small prick and . . . the balloon bursts.

It is not out of anger; it has nothing to do with anger. He is not angry with the monk, he is not annoyed with the monk. He must be feeling perfectly happy with the monk that he has asked – now he is giving a chance for the master. But it is a device. He is not answering.

Even the slap is not the answer, remember. A few people start thinking as if the slap is the answer – that is not the answer either. The slap is just to give you a jerk, just to shake your foundations, so even if for a single moment you slip out of your thinking you will have a glimpse of reality. Then you will forget about God and about Buddha and worship . . . and you will just see that your breakfast is getting cold. You will come herenow. Zen is an existential approach, not a philosophical approach towards life. And it has helped tremendously, it has brought many people to awakening. Zen does not believe in analyzing a problem, because it does not believe that any problem can be solved at its own level. No problem can be solved unless your consciousness is raised a little higher than the problem. This has to be understood. This is something very fundamental.

You ask me a question. I can answer it, but you remain on the same level of consciousness. My answer cannot raise your consciousness. You ask, “Does God exist?” I can say yes or no – but you remain the same! Whether I say yes or no will not help you in any way to become more conscious. It will not give you more being; it will only give you more knowledge this way or that. If you are an atheist and you ask, “Is there a God?” and I say no, you will feel very happy. You will say, “So I was right.” Or if I say yes, you will say, “This man is wrong. He does not know anything. He is just a blind person. I have argued, I have looked into the matter deeply, and I can’t find any proof for God.”

Whether I say yes or no, whether you are a theist or an atheist, either you will accumulate the knowledge, receive it if it fits with you, or, if it doesn’t fit with you, you will reject it. That’s what you are doing continuously in your mind. But your consciousness is not raised. And unless your consciousness is raised no problem can be solved. In the first place the problem is created because of your conscious-ness, and it can be solved, not by any answer – it can be solved only by helping your consciousness to go a little higher from where it is.

That’s the work of Zen. It is not a transfer of knowledge – it is a transfer of consciousness, being. By slapping the monk, the master has simply helped the monk to become a little more alert. And if the monk becomes a little more alert, that slap is not only a slap – it is a leap of the master’s being into the disciple. But for that you need great love for the master, otherwise you will miss the slap. You need great trust in the Master. […]

Sannyas simply means that you are ready to go with me even if I hit you. You are ready to go with me even if I crush you, annihilate you. You are ready to go with me to any limits. Your trust is more. Your trust is more in me than your trust in yourself. Then the work starts. ‘The work’ simply means you have become available to the master – only then can you be awakened. Because awakening is going to be painful. It is not going to be very sweet, you have slept so long, and you have dreamt so many beautiful dreams. And awakening is certainly going to destroy all those dreams. They are dreams, but you have thought up to now that they are realities. And when somebody starts taking them away from you it hurts. You start feeling that “I am getting nothing – on the contrary, I am losing all that I had before.”

Zen is a particular milieu, a climate between the master and the disciple of trust, of love, of infinite love, so the disciple is ready to go to any end. You will be surprised: sometimes Zen masters have been really wild.

It happened in one Zen master’s ashram: whenever he used to talk, and he used to talk about truth, he would raise one of his fingers towards the sky. That was his particular gesture. Naturally, it became a joke. Anybody who wanted to imitate the master would raise the finger.

A young disciple, very young, became very artful in repeating and imitating the master’s gestures – his face, the way he walked, the way he talked, the way he sat. Just a young boy he was. And anywhere and everywhere, whenever there was some serious discussion going on, he would raise his finger towards the sky in the same way as the master.

One day, the young boy was standing behind the master and the master was talking to people and he raised his finger, and from the back the boy also raised his finger. And the master called him . . .  just took a knife and cut his finger! Now, you cannot think of this as compassion – just cut his finger. And the boy screamed out in pain, and the master said, “Don’t miss the point! Now raise the finger.” Now the finger is gone, there is nothing to raise, and the master says, “Now, raise the finger – don’t miss the point!” And the boy, with tears in his eyes, raised his cut finger towards the sky . . . and that very moment the satori happened. The boy was transformed.

Now, on the surface it is very cruel, violent. If you can only see the surface, you will be forever against these Zen people. They don’t look like saints. Saints are not known to do such things. Saints talk to the fish and saints talk to the trees, and birds come and sit on their shoulders. We have known such saints. But saints cutting the finger for no special reason? of such a simple young boy, who was, out of his innocence, imitating the master. Is the master angry? But if you look deep down, the boy was transformed.

If you see the transformation, then it was worth it – even if the master had cut the head of the boy it would have been worth it. A finger is nothing. The boy was totally transformed.

About this same Zen master, it is said that when he was searching with his own master he had become very famous – famous because birds would come and sit on his shoulders and on his head. Once even, while he was meditating under a tree, a bird made a nest in his hair. He had become famous all over the country. People used to worship him like a Buddha.

He became very egoistic, naturally – such a great attainment. His own master came and was very angry. He said, “What is this bird doing in your hair? Drop all this nonsense!” He was hurt, but he understood. And since that day, birds stopped coming to him.

People would come to see, but no birds would come – and they were surprised. They asked the master, “What has happened to your disciple? First birds used to come, animals used to come and sit by his side, but now they no more come.

The master said, “Now he has disappeared, he is no more special. He has attained. Now birds don’t take any note of him. Animals simply pass by. He is not there! First he used to be there. He was becoming a special person; he was attaining to a specific kind of ego. Now even that is dropped.

He was becoming enlightened! – now even enlightenment is dropped. So birds no longer come to him. Why should they come when there is nobody? And why should animals come and sit there? – they can sit anywhere. It is all the same. There is nobody anymore.”

Now see the point! Zen has a totally different approach towards life. Now the master is happy that the disciple has completely disappeared – because one can even become attached to the idea of enlightenment. And you have to be alert about it.

Just a few months ago it happened: I told Somendra “You have had a small satori” – since then I have not seen him laughing. Since then he has become very serious. He has become enlightened! He has taken it to his heart. He has become special. He cannot laugh, he cannot enjoy – he cannot be ordinary.

And now, if this idea gets too much into him it will become a crust around him. He has to drop it. He has to become unenlightened again. He has to forget that satori. And not that it was not there – it was there – but many satoris happen before the ultimate satori happens. And the ultimate satori is dropping of all satoris, of all samadhis. The ultimate enlightenment is when you forget the very idea of enlightenment. Then there is innocence. Then there is just simple nature.

I have played a joke upon Somendra and he got caught into it.

I am creating here a climate of work – many things are happening, many are going to happen. And you have to be ready. And the first readiness is: when I hit you, when I shock you – now Somendra will be shocked – when I shock you, use the shock to become a little more alert, a little more aware.

Zen is a device, not an analysis of life.

My abiding place

Has no pillars,

It is roofless;

Yet the rain does not wet it,

Nor the wind strike it.

Go into each word with deep love, with deep sympathy.

First:

My abiding place

Has no pillars . . .

The inner has no boundaries, no supports, no pillars. It is infinite space; it is pure space. It is nothingness. And there is nobody there. It is utterly silent. Not a single sound has ever penetrated there. Nobody has ever walked on that beach of your inner being, no footprints are there. It is virgin land.

If you look into that inner space, you will start disappearing. The more you look inside, the more you will disappear. That’s why people don’t want to look inside. They talk about self-knowledge; they talk about how to look inside; they talk about techniques – but they don’t look. And there is no technique.

It is a very simple phenomenon to look inside. It is as simple as looking outside. You can simply close your eyes and look inside. But fear arises, great fear arises in looking inside – because that emptiness overwhelms you. You start disappearing; you start feeling as if you are going to die. You rush back. You start thinking a thousand and one things.

Have you not observed? Whenever you sit silently and look inside, the mind creates so many thoughts immediately. Why? It is your device. It is just like the octopus: whenever he sees that some enemy is coming around, the octopus releases dark black ink like a cloud around himself. Immediately the ink cloud surrounds him and the enemy cannot see where he is.

When you go inside, immediately your mind starts secreting a thousand and one thoughts; immediately there is a great rush of energy into thinking. This is just like the octopus releasing dark black ink around himself – to create a cloud so you cannot see the innermost nothingness. You don’t want to see. To see in is to commit suicide – to commit suicide as an ego, as a self.

Ikkyu says:

My abiding place

Has no pillars;

It is roofless . . .

It is just the vast open sky . . . no pillars, no roof. It is infinity.

Yet the rain does not wet it,

Nor the wind strike it.

How can the rain wet it if there is no roof and no pillar? and no ground either? Do you think when it rains the sky is wet? The sky remains as it is. Rains can’t wet it. Do you think when it is cloudy those clouds leave any impact on the sky? Do you think the sky becomes contaminated, polluted by the clouds? Do you think it becomes darkened? Do you think any mark is left on the sky? Nothing is left.

How can you touch pure nothingness? And just as there is an outer sky, there is an inner sky. And ‘outer’ and ‘inner’ are just arbitrary words. The day you will know, it is all one sky – outer and inner, it is all one. One has to be very courageous to go into it. Once you have the courage to see your reality, all fear disappears – because all fear is for the ego, all fear is because of the ego. “Am I going to survive or not?” is what fear is all about. But once you have seen the inner sky, the fear can’t remain. You are not, so what? You have never been and you will never be, neither born nor dying. And that which is has been always there and will be always there. But you are not that! It appears only when you are not, when you have disappeared. You are just a dream. The dreamer is also part of the dream, and when the dream disappears, the dreamer also disappears. Living in this inner space, you are not afraid about security. Then insecurity is security.

That’s what Alan Watts means when he says ‘the wisdom of insecurity.’ There is only one way to be really secure and that is: don’t have any roof, don’t have any pillars. Just move into the open sky. And then if it rains, let it rain – you will not get wet. You will be the sky; how can you get wet? Then if death comes, let it come – you will not be dying, because how can you die? You were never born. You don’t exist as a thing, as an entity.

Living in insecurity, one is secure. Trying to be secure, one remains insecure. This is the law of reverse effect. If you want something you will miss it – just because you want it. The more you want, the more difficulties you create. And then there is a vicious circle. You want to be secure; you don’t want to die. If you don’t want to die, you will have to die a thousand and one deaths; you will have to die every day. If you don’t want to die, then everything will become a death message; then you will be continuously trembling; and afraid. From everywhere you will see death coming.

And if you forget all about death, and you accept death, then even in death you will not die, even in death you will be a watcher. Death will come and go. You will see it coming, you will see it passing, and you will remain, you will abide. That which abides in you for ever and ever is not an entity – it is a consciousness. It is not a soul, it is awareness, it is pure awareness. And that awareness is part of the universal awareness.

Ikkyu says:

My abiding place

Has no pillars;

It is roofless . . .

It is just the vast open sky . . . no pillars, no roof. It is infinity.

Yet the rain does not wet it,

Nor the wind strike it.

One Zen master was moving with his disciples. They came across a small river – they had to cross it. It was not very deep, a shallow river. They started passing through it. The master had always said to his disciples, “When an enlightened person passes through the river, his feet never become wet.” They were all waiting for an opportunity to see. They were puzzled because his feet were becoming wet. They became very much confused: “Is our master not yet enlightened?”

And just standing in the middle of the river, the master started laughing an uproarious laugh, a belly-laugh, and they asked, “What is the matter?”

He said, “You fools! I had said that the enlightened person’s feet never become wet, and my feet are not becoming wet – and the feet that are becoming wet are not my feet. You need not be confused; you need not look so puzzled and perplexed. This water is not touching me! Nothing can touch me because I am not. This water of the river is not touching the sky, it is not making the sky wet – how can it make me wet? I am part of the sky.”

Yet the rain does not

Wet it, nor the wind strike it.

So when you are communing with a master, remember it – you are communing with somebody who is a nobody; you are communing with something which is not an entity but only a presence. Communing with a master is not communing with a person but with a presence. A person will become wet, but the presence cannot become wet. The presence remains uncontaminated.

That presence is you. One has just to find it out – that’s all. But you have become so much entangled with the ideas about yourself – that you are a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Christian, a man, a woman, white, black, this and that – you have become so much entangled with identities that you never look inside to see that you are just a pure sky and nothing else. No Hindu exists there, no Mohammedan, no man, no woman, no black, no white. These are all identities.

Think of the one who is identified with these things, think of the inner sky. These are all clouds – Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, communist, capitalist – these are all clouds. Don’t get too much obsessed with the clouds. Go on remembering the sky.

When it blows,

The mountain wind is boisterous,

But when it blows not,

It simply blows not.

Once seen, this inner nothingness, a person becomes a suchness. This word ‘suchness’ is of infinite value in Buddha’s experience, on Buddha’s path – tathata or suchness. When there is nobody, then what happens? A few things happen . . .

First, if there is nobody, there is nobody to control your life, there is nobody to manipulate, there is nobody to discipline. All control, all discipline, all manipulation disappears. That’s what freedom is – that’s what moksha is. Not something far away in the skies, but something deep inside you right now.

When you are not there, how can you control your life? All control disappears – and with control disappear all kinds of tensions, with control disappears all uptightness, with control disappear all anxieties. You become an open flow, so open that

When it blows,

The mountain wind is boisterous,

But when it blows not,

It simply blows not.

Then whatsoever happens, happens.

A man of Zen is totally different from the man of Yoga, and the distinction has to be understood. The man of Yoga is in tremendous control. The whole methodology of Yoga is how to control yourself, how to control absolutely. The man of Yoga cannot be disturbed because he is in such utter control. The man of Zen cannot be disturbed because there is no control. But the difference is great.

The man of Yoga is not absolutely in control, nobody can be. There are possibilities when he will lose his control. You just have to bring about those possibilities – he will lose control, because all control is relative, it is only up to a certain extent.

Watch your control: if there is a ten rupee note you may not steal it, but ten thousand rupees? Then you feel a little inclined. And ten lakh rupees? Then you start thinking, then the idea seems to be worth thinking about. You start dreaming… ten lakh rupees? And just for once, and people are doing so many sins, you will be doing one and only one. And then you can donate half of the money to the church or to the temple. And it is not so wrong either, because it doesn’t belong to a beggar – it belongs to some very rich person, and it doesn’t matter to him whether he has ten lakh less or more. And in the first place he has exploited people for all this money. Now you are gathering energy to do it! But if it is ten crore rupees? Then you will not think a second time: you will simply grab it and rush.

There is a certain limit to all control; beyond that you will fall. Nobody can be in absolute control, because control is an unnatural thing and nothing unnatural can ever be absolute. Only nature can be absolute. Unnature has to be maintained; it takes energy, conflict, struggle, and when you are controlling yourself, there is somebody inside you who is against it – otherwise what is the point of controlling?

Control always splits you: the one who controls and the one who is being controlled, the top-dog and the bottom-dog. And the bottom-dog waits for its own opportunities. There is constant barking and they go on fighting inside you. And you know it! There are moments when you can control your anger, and there are moments when you cannot. There are moments when you can control anything, and there are moments you cannot control. Sometimes the top-dog is powerful and sometimes the bottom-dog is powerful.

And the conflict continues and the victory is never absolute. Nobody ever wins it because the other remains there, maybe tired, resting, waiting for its time. And whenever one is in control, the other is gaining power by resting. And the one who is in control is losing power by controlling? Because controlling means energy is being lost, dissipated. Sooner or later, the controller becomes weak and the controlled becomes powerful. And this goes on, this is a wheel.

The man of Yoga seems to be in great control, but cannot be in absolute control. He has repressed. All that he has repressed is waiting there underneath him like a volcano – it will erupt. And when it erupts, he will be thrown in fragments.

The man of Zen cannot be disturbed – but the reason is totally different. Not that he is in absolute control: he cannot be disturbed because he is not. And then one thing more has to be understood: because he is not, there is no division. He is just a natural man. But you carry the idea of control from the man of Yoga, and that’s why the natural man has always been misunderstood.

For example:

A master died and his disciple started crying, great tears started coming, sobbing. The disciple was known himself as an enlightened person. Others said, “This is not right – you should not cry, you should not weep. What will people think? Is it right for a man who is enlightened to cry?” And that disciple said. “There is no question of right and wrong – if tears are coming, they are coming. There is nobody to prevent them.”

This is a totally different vision – this is the natural man.

And they said, “But you have been telling us that only the body dies, then why are you crying and weeping for the master’s dead body? Only the body has died and the body was just material. It was going to die – dust unto dust.”

And he said, “What are you talking about? I am not crying for the soul – the soul never dies, okay, so I am not crying for the soul! I am crying for the body, because it was beautiful, so beautiful. I will never be able to see such a beautiful man walk again. I will never hear his voice.”

And they said, “But you should not be attached!”

But he said, “I am not attached! Just a flower has withered away and tears are coming to my eyes – I am not attached. These tears are not out of attachment.”

This is very difficult to understand, because we know only tears which come out of attachment. We have not known natural tears – we have forgotten all that is natural. We know tears of attachment; we don’t know tears of innocence.

A Zen man is a natural man.

When it blows,

The mountain wind is boisterous, . . .

This is the description of a Zen man.

But when it blows not,

It simply blows not.

When he laughs, he laughs. When he cries, he cries. It is a simple phenomenon. Just as birds sing, the Zen master speaks; just as flowers bloom, he lives. But his life has no ulterior motive, no goal. His words are not teachings but assertions of joy – hallelujah! his celebration of being. And that, too, when it happens it happens. When it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

There have been Zen masters who talked their whole lives, and there have been Zen masters who never talked. Sometimes it happens that the song is sung in words, and sometimes it happens that the song is sung in silence. But there is nobody to do something. Whatsoever is happening is happening.

This is what is called freedom by Buddha: nobody to control and manipulate, all control disappears – freedom is born. Freedom from the self, the true freedom, Freedom for the self is the pseudo freedom. Yoga tries freedom for the self, and Zen is nothing but freedom from the self. Then one becomes like a tree, like an animal, like a child.

The sage is like a child, not like a yogi, not like a mahatma. The mahatma is trying to control himself continuously, day in, day out – curbing, dropping this, creating that. His whole life is his own effort. And, naturally, the so-called mahatmas look very tired, sad, desperate. Their life has not the quality of joy. They talk about satchitanand, but their life has not the quality of joy.

Zen people have the quality of joy. They don’t talk about satchitanand – they are satchitanand.  They are truth, they are bliss, they are consciousness.

Once Ma Tzu was asked, “Why did Buddha never talk about God?”

Ma Tzu said, “He was so busy living him, that’s why. He didn’t talk about God because he was too busy living him.”

This state is a simple state, a natural state. You cannot brag about it. No child brags about his childhood, no sage can brag about his sagehood – it is the second childhood. He is reborn, the circle is complete. He has seen the world, he has seen the ways of the world, he has seen all the miseries of it, he has become wise. Now desires no longer drag him away from reality. He simply lives. Feeling hungry, he eats; feeling sleepy, he sleeps. He goes on doing the small things of life, but he becomes absolutely a nobody.

Though it has no bridge,

The cloud climbs up to heaven;

It does not ask aid

Of Gautama’s sutras.

And when you become natural, spontaneous, simple, you start rising – of your own accord. You need not ask Gautama Buddha for his help. No help is needed.

Though it has no bridge,

The cloud climbs up to heaven;

It does not ask aid

Of Gautama’s sutras.

There is no need to have any guide. If you are simple, then simplicity is enough. If you are natural, then that naturalness is enough. If you are not natural, you will need the help of a master. And the master is not going to give you anything – he will simply take all that is plastic in you, all that is inauthentic in you.

The master, the real master, simply throws you back to your own utter naturalness. He does not make you an achiever. He does not give you great dreams that you have to become this and you have to become that. He simply says: You relax. You be in a let-go. You be – don’t become.

This is own of the basic messages of Buddha: Be a light unto yourself. If you are not, then you need the help of a master, just for the time being. But what is his help? He throws you back to yourself; he goes on throwing you back to yourself. You would like to cling to the master and he goes on throwing you back.

The real master does not allow you to cling to him. He helps you to uncling, because unclinging is maturity, clinging is childishness. And remember: to be a child is one thing, to be childish is quite another. To be a child means to become a sage; to be childish means to remain clinging, immature.

Ripples appear

On the unaccumulated water

Of the undug well

As the formless, bodiless man

Draws water from it.

And this is the constant refrain of Buddha, that all is dream. Nothing has ever happened, and nothing is ever going to happen. But the mind lives in hope and through hope; it goes on thinking that something is going to happen. Nothing has ever happened, nothing is ever going to happen. All is. Hence the master reminded the disciple about the breakfast.

All is. You have to be reminded constantly of it, because you go on rushing away from it. All going is dreaming – whether you are going for money or for God does not matter. Whether you think of the body or of the soul does not matter. Whether you want to become very rich, very famous, or enlightened, doesn’t matter. All is dream. Becoming is dream.

Look into that which you are, and don’t go on looking for that which you would like to be. Hope is the secret of the mind; the mind lives through hope, nourishes itself on hope. Once you stop hoping, once you relax and you just let hopes disappear, suddenly you are awakened to the truth – the truth of your being, the truth of the whole existence.

Ripples appear

On the unaccumulated water

Of the undug well . . .

Such is your life. Have you not seen in your dreams again and again? A lake is there and ripples appear, and a boat, and you are travelling in the boat – and there is no lake and no ripples and no boat and no traveller either. And in the morning you find yourself just lying in your bed – there has been no lake, no water, no boat, nothing. But all had appeared.

The mind:

Since there is really

No such thing as mind

And now comes one of the most significant sutras, and only those who have followed the sutras up to now will be able to understand it. Now Ikkyu hits hard. He says:

The mind:

Since there is really

No such thing as mind . . .

because mind means nothing but all the processes of dreaming. You call a mind a materialist mind because he dreams of money; and you call a mind a spiritualist mind because he dreams of satoris – but mind is dreaming, mind lives in dreams. It thinks of the faraway, of the distant. It lives in imagination and in memory; both are part of imagination. It never comes to reality; reality is too much for it. Facing, encountering reality it melts and disappears just like dewdrops disappear in the morning sun. Whenever the mind comes to herenow, to the breakfast, suddenly it evaporates.

Try it: taking your breakfast, just take the breakfast and don’t think of God and the Devil and money and the woman and the man, and love and a thousand other things – don’t think. Just take the breakfast, just be there, totally there – in it. Don’t go here and there. Utterly present. And where is the mind? You will not find the mind.

Mind has never been found. Those who have looked, they have always found there is no mind.

The mind:

Since there is really

No such thing as mind,

With what enlightenment

Shall it be enlightened?

And then the question arises: If there is no mind, then why this talk about enlightenment? If there is no mind there – there is nothing to become enlightened, nobody to become enlightened. If there is no mind, no illusion, then how to get out of the illusion? If there is no mind, then how to become something which is beyond mind? If mind exists not, then what is the point of saying that one has to attain to no-mind?

Mind in itself is not . . . one cannot talk about enlightenment any more. But in fact, this is enlightenment. Enlightenment is not getting out of the mind: enlightenment is seeing that the mind exists not – then you are suddenly enlightened. Then you are a Buddha.

There is the well-known incident about the Confucian scholar seeking enlightenment from a Zen master. The student constantly complained that the master’s account was somehow incomplete, that the master was withholding some vital clue. The master assured him that he was withholding nothing from him. The student insisted that there was something the master was withholding from him. The master insisted that he was not withholding anything from him.

Later on, the two went for a walk along the mountain path. Suddenly the master said, “Do you smell the mountain laurels?”

The student said, “Yes!”

The master said, “See! I am not withholding anything from you.”

A strange story, but of tremendous import. What is the master saying? The smell of the laurels . . .  He says to the disciple, “Do you smell the mountain laurels?” They always bring you to the immediate: to the breakfast: to the mountain laurels. They don’t bother about philosophical things.

And the disciple smells and he says, “Yes!”

And the master says, “See! I am not withholding anything from you. Just as you can smell the mountain laurels, so you can smell Buddhahood right now, this very moment. It is in the mountain laurels. It is on this mountain path. It is in the birds; it is in the sun. It is in me; it is in you. What keys and clues are you talking about? What secrets are you talking about?”

Zen has no secrets it is said. Zen is all openness. Zen is not a fist: it is an open hand. It has no esoteric ideology. It is down-to-earth, very earthly, very simple. If you miss, that simply shows that you have a very complex mind. If you miss, that simply means that you have been looking for complex ideologies, and Zen simply drags you back to reality, to the breakfast, to the mountain laurels. To this bird calling. This is Buddha calling! To this utter silence – this is Buddha present.

This communion between me and you. This moment when I am not and you are not. All is open, all is available.[…]

All is one. Nothing is separate. We are not island. So the stones and the stars, all are joined together.

And everything is joined in this moment, is participating in this moment. If you become just this moment, all is attained. There is no other enlightenment.

Zen is a way back home – and the simplest way and the most natural way.

-Osho

From Take It Easy, Discourse #9

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com  or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

The Discontented Socrates – Osho

What is the difference between a contented pig, a discontented Socrates, and a natural man of Zen?

You will have to understand these five categories.

First, the contented pig. It has nothing to do with pigs, remember: all these categories are of human beings. The contented pig is that man or woman who lives in an unconscious way; who simply vegetates, who has no awareness – hence there is no discontent. Discontent presupposes a little awareness.

If you are unconscious and somebody is doing surgery on you, you will not feel any pain. How can you feel pain? To feel pain, consciousness is needed. That’s why in surgery we have to give anesthesia, so the man falls completely asleep in a coma. Then you can cut, remove parts of the body without any pain. Otherwise, the pain is going to be unbearable.

A contented pig is that kind of man who lives in life absolutely like a robot, a zombie. Who eats, walks, goes to work, comes home, makes love, reproduces children, and dies, never becoming aware of what really was happening. Just moves from one thing to another in a kind of daze.

The second is the discontented pig. He is still unconscious, ninety-nine percent unconscious, but one percent of consciousness is arising. The first ray of consciousness has penetrated; one is becoming aware of the pain and the anguish and the anxiety of life. People avoid the second state; they want to live in the first.

The first state is that of the materialist. Don’t think, don’t contemplate, don’t meditate upon anything.

Don’t become conscious – consciousness is dangerous. Remain unconscious. And if sometimes in spite of you some consciousness happens – because life has so much pain that sometimes it can happen that just the pain can give you a little consciousness – then go and take drugs, tranquillize yourself. Or alcohol is there and other intoxicants are there. Just dull yourself again, back into your anesthetic life, into your unconsciousness. Fall again into that anesthesia.

The discontented pig is one who is coming out of this anesthesia. Have you ever been into anesthesia? Slowly, slowly, when you start coming out of it, you start hearing a few noises around – the traffic noise, the doctors walking, the nurses talking. Slowly, slowly, you start feeling some pain in those parts of the body where the operation has been done. Slowly, slowly, you come back.

The discontented pig is one who is coming out of the anaesthesia of life, who is becoming a man. It is painful – to be a man is painful, to remain a pig is very painless. Millions have decided to remain pigs.

When the discontent arises, you are becoming religious: the first approach towards God.

And the third state is discontented Socrates. You are fully alert about the pain, and you are divided.

You are two now: the pain is there and you are there. And life becomes almost unlivable, the pain of it is so much. Something has to be done – either you fall back and become again a pig, or you start moving and become a Buddha.

The discontented Socrates is just the midpoint. Below, at the lowest, is the pig. Above, at the highest, is the Buddha, the real, natural man of Zen.

Discontented Socrates is just in the middle, in the middle of the bridge. And there is every possibility that you will fall back – because the old is known, and the future is unknown. Who knows? If you go ahead, pain may increase even more – who knows? You have never known that state ahead. But you know one thing – that at the back there was a moment when there was no pain. Why not fall back into it?

That’s where people start becoming interested in drugs but that is falling back, that is a regression.

Man cannot be freed from alcohol and such intoxicants unless man is  on the way towards Buddhahood. No government can prevent people from alcohol; they will find ways. Because life becomes so unbearable, one has to forget it. Either one has to become a Buddha or one has to become a pig. One cannot remain in the middle – the middle is such a torture.

The fourth state is contented Socrates. You start moving ahead, you don’t go back. You move more and more into awareness, you move more and more into meditation. Your thinking is transformed more into a kind of meditativeness. So the fourth stage is contented Socrates: consciousness and unconscious are being bridged.

And the fifth state is: no contentment, no discontentment; no pig, no Socrates. All is gone, all those dreams have disappeared. Neither conscious nor unconscious, but a new thing, transcendence, has arisen. This is Buddhahood. This is what Zen people call the natural state of man. Purified of all junk, cleaned of all dust. Purified of all poisons and the past and the memories, sanskaras, conditionings. You have come home.

The pig is completely unconscious. The natural man of Zen is completely conscious. Between these two are those other three states. These five states have to be pondered over. Find out where you are, and start moving from there.

The goal is not far away. Sometimes it can be reached in a single step, in a single leap. All that is needed is courage. It is out of fear that people fall back into the old rut.

If I can teach you courage, I have taught you all. If I can help you to be courageous, then I have made you religious. To me, courage is the most important religious quality, more important than truth, more important than honesty, more important than anything else. Because without courage, nothing becomes possible – neither truth nor love nor God.

-Osho

From Take it Easy, Discourse #14

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from Viha Osho Book Distributors.

Arigato Nippon

Sumati and I arrived in Tokyo in December having come from India by way of Thailand and the Philippines. The cold was a shock to the system. Not long after arriving, I came down with pneumonia. We were staying in my friend Peter’s apartment, and as is customary in Japan, there was no heat. However, we did use to snuggle up to the kotatsu (table heater) during dinner. After dinner it was time for a jump into the very hot Japanese bath, out into the unheated room, and under the futon covers on the floor. All of these things, combined with a probably depleted immune system from traveling and living in India for several months, created an opportunity for the pneumonia to set in.

Peter was working and so had a state medical card which provided very inexpensive medical care. Because we were both blonde haired gaijins we thought that I could just use his picture ID. It worked. The only problem was I never found a doctor who could speak English, and I did not speak Japanese. The breathing problems became so severe I had to sleep partially sitting up.

I knew that Peter’s girlfriend was not happy we were staying. We felt it would be best if we found somewhere else. We met a Japanese sannyasin named Adinatha who offered us a room in his apartment. Very soon after leaving Peter’s, I started getting better, but what finally healed me was acupuncture. Adinatha knew a sannyasin acupuncturist and suggested that I go see him. I really don’t like needles, which probably saved me from more serious drugs. So, the thought of someone sticking numerous needles into my skin did not appeal. But I saw him, had a session, and still I could not say that I enjoyed it, but rather endured it. Very soon after having the session I was healed.

One day Peter called us to tell us he knew of a Japanese house that was being offered by a Japanese reporter who for some reason preferred to rent to foreigners. It was being offered for a very reasonable rent, fully furnished with everything we would need. It was also located closer in to the city on the Marunouchi subway line which was very convenient.

Sumati had started working for the same company where Peter worked, proof reading advertisements in English and instruction manuals for Japanese companies, such as Nikon, Panasonic, etc. Teaching jobs were coming my way and I was getting a full schedule. I had one job I traveled three hours each way for and taught for two. But the pay made it worthwhile.

The combination of a long-haired sannyasin dressed in orange and wearing a mala proved the perfect antidote for the serious Japanese mentality. These were very serious students, and I found the most important aid to their learning English, was creating an atmosphere in which they felt comfortable being a little crazy. They knew that it was okay to make mistakes and have fun in my classes.

When I was in Nepal, before going to Poona, I had met a Japanese couple at our guest house. Later on, I would run into them again in the Ashram. They both took sannyas around the same time as I did. Her name became Geeta and his name was Asanga. I remember seeing Asanga during some of the meditations, and he seemed to be one of the most focused people I had ever met. In my Zazen group on my second stay in Poona, Asanga was the one who performed the tea ceremony.

The rumor had been going around the sannyas community in Japan that Asanga had become enlightened while in Poona. He was returning to Japan soon. One night, Satchidanda, another sannyasin living and working in Tokyo, invited a few people over including Asanga. That night, I recognized something had changed with Asanga. It was as if his being occupied the entire room, whereas previously he was the most contained person I had ever met. In that small apartment room, he was a wide presence.

Asanga was Chinese Japanese from Chinese parents and lived in Yokohama. Sumati and I visited him one day and had lunch at a Chinese restaurant. I visited Asanga once more before leaving Japan. This time it was with my travel buddy Narayanadeva, who by this time had come to Japan. He was taking over our house and some of my teaching jobs as Sumati and I returned to Poona. By this time Asanga had opened some kind of a night spot in Yokohama called, if I remember correctly, Samadhi. The three of us just spent time sitting together in silence.

-purushottama

This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Download a PDF or order the book Here.

 

The Whiskers of the Pebble – Osho

What is religion? It is not the howling of the wolves at the moon, but that’s what it has become to the masses. If the masses are right, then animals have a great religious sense – wolves howling, dogs barking at the moon, at the distant, at the faraway.

Paul Tillich has defined religion as the ultimate concern. It is exactly the opposite: it is the immediate concern, not the ultimate concern. In fact, the immediate is the only ultimate there is.

Religion is not a desire for the distant, a curiosity for the faraway. It is an inquiry into one’s own being.

That’s why Buddhism is not concerned with God at all. It is concerned with you, with your reality. It’s whole process is like peeling an onion. Buddhism continues to peel your reality; layer upon layer, it goes on destroying the illusions, the dreams. And just as happens when you peel an onion, ultimately only nothing is left in your hands. That nothing is the source of all. Out of that nothing all arises and slowly, slowly disappears back into that nothing.

Now physicists are coming very close to it. They call that nothing ‘the black hole’ – matter disappears into black holes, is utterly annihilated, and becomes nothing. Now, after black holes, there is talk in scientific circles about white holes too. Out of white holes, matter arises. It seems black holes and white holes are just two aspects of the same reality – like a door. On one side of the door is written ‘Entrance’; the other side of the same door is called the ‘Exit’.

When things appear out of the womb of nothingness, the door is called the white hole – white because it gives birth, white because life comes out of it. By calling it white we are appreciating it, we are valuing it. One day every-thing disappears back into the same door – then we call it black. We have always called death black. Man has always been afraid of the black, of the dark, of death.

But it is the same reality! From one side it is ‘black hole’, from the other side it is ‘white hole’. Buddha calls it sunyata.

There is every possibility that modern physics will come every day more and more close to Buddha. It has to come. It has to recognize Buddha’s insight into reality, because nobody else ever dared to call nothingness the source of all. How did Buddha stumble upon the fact? He was not a physicist. He was not working into the deepest reality of matter, but he was working into the deepest reality of his own psychology.

You have to be reminded of that also: Buddhism is not a metaphysics. Metaphysics is always a concern with the ultimate. Meta’ means beyond – beyond physics, beyond that which can be seen; beyond the earth, beyond the visible, the tangible, the sensuous. Metaphysics means always the faraway, the distant reality, the God.

Buddhism is basically purely a psychology; it is not concerned with metaphysics. Its concern is with the reality of the mind, how the mind functions, what constitutes the mind. And it goes on penetrating deeper into the layers of the mind, and finally comes to the realization that deepest, at the bottom core, there is nothingness.

Buddha was not believed by people, because who can believe in nothingness? Who wants nothingness in the first place? Modern physics is also puzzling people, driving them crazy. But reality is as it is; whether you like it or not is not the question. Your liking or not liking is not going to change it. Your liking and disliking can only keep you in illusions. Reality has to be seen as it is. And to be capable of seeing that is all that is needed to become religious: the courage to see reality in its naked truth, in its nakedness, undisguised, uncovered, undressed.

And once you have seen reality as it is, once you have had a glimpse of the real man, a great transformation happens of its own accord – that very insight transforms you, transmutes you. You are never again the same, because all illusions disappear. Seeing the reality, how can you continue to delude yourself? How can you continue to dream? How can you continue in your prejudices? How can you go on keeping false opinions? How can you carry on with doctrines and philosophies and scriptures? Seeing the reality, all simply disappears, only reality is there. And to be with that reality is liberation.

Jesus is right when he says: Truth liberates. Truth is liberation. There is every possibility that Jesus learnt the secrets of the truth through Buddhist masters. There is every possibility that before he started his work in Israel, he was in India, in Nalanda, with Buddhist masters. Nalanda was one of the most ancient Buddhafields, a great university of monks. Never before and never after has something like that ever existed again.

I am hoping to create something like that again, on a wider scale, a bigger scale. Nalanda was a great experiment, an experiment with truth, an experiment to see truth as it is. Ten thousand monks continuously meditated, worked, penetrated, with no prejudices, with no a priori ideas. They were not bent upon proving anything; they were real seekers.

The unreal seeker is one who is bent upon proving something from the very beginning. The unreal seeker is one who, says, “I am in search of God” – one thing he has accepted, that God exists.  Without knowing? If he knows, then why search? If you don’t know, then how can you search for God? Who knows? – God may exist, may not exist. The search is already based on an a priori belief.

In Nalanda, those ten thousand monks were not searching for God, they were not searching for any heaven. They were not searching in reality for something a priori. They were simply searching into their own being with no idea of what they were searching for. Their search was pure. They were just looking into reality . . . to see what is there. And because they were not preoccupied by any idea, they stumbled into nothingness, they came to know nothingness.

If you are preoccupied by some idea, then you are bound to create the illusion of your own idea in that nothingness, and that nothingness is capable of supporting any idea. Any dream that you are carrying in you can be projected on the screen of nothingness. If you are searching for Krishna, you will find him, and it will be just a projection. If you are searching for a Jewish God, you will find. If you are searching for a Hindu God, you will find. Whatsoever you search for you will find, but it will not be truth and it will not liberate you. It will be your imagination.

Remember, this is one of the most important things in life, that if you start a search with a fixed idea, a fixed attitude, you are bound to find it – and then there is a vicious circle. When you find it you think, “Of course, it is because I have found it.” Then it enhances your belief even more, then you start finding it more, and so on and so forth . . . it becomes a vicious circle. The more you believe, the more you find it; the more you find it, the more you believe. And you go on pouring reality into a dream, and one can go on wasting lives together.

Search without any idea – that is Buddha’s message. Look, just clean your eyes and look. Don’t look for some-thing in particular, just look, a pure look into things, into the suchness of things. The eyes have to be clean and pure, otherwise they can project; even a small particle of dust and it will show on the screen of nothingness. Just a little liking, disliking, a little choice, and you will create reality.

Buddha’s approach is such an absolute experiment – simple once you understand, not complicated. But if you don’t understand, you can go on deluding yourself. […]

The Buddhist approach has been to look into reality without any idea so that reality can reveal itself. Allow reality to reveal itself; don’t enforce anything upon it. All other religions have been enforcing something or other – hence they go on missing. Their work becomes metaphysical; in fact, their work becomes a kind of autohypnosis. Buddhism de-hypnotizes man. Buddha’s work is de-hypnosis: how to drop all kinds of hypnosis, all kinds of suggestions given by the society, by the people. And when you are utterly silent, with no conditioning, truth becomes known. That truth liberates.

If it rain, let it rain;
If it rain not, let it not rain;
But even should it not rain,
You must travel
With wet sleeves.

Now the sutras:

One very precious word in Buddha’s approach towards life is samata. Samata means equanimity, equilibrium, balance, choicelessness. Don’t move to the extremes, avoid extremes.

Pain and pleasure are two extremes – don’t choose. Don’t avoid either and don’t cling to either. Just remain in the middle of it, watching, looking at it, unattached. Pain comes, let it come – you just be a watchful consciousness. You just be awareness. There is a headache, you just watch it. Don’t say no to it, don’t start fighting with it; don’t deny it, don’t avoid it. Don’t try to engage yourself somewhere else so you are distracted from it. Let it be there: you simply watch. And in watching it, a great revolution happens.

If you can watch it without like and dislike, suddenly it is there but you are out of it, you are no more in it. You are standing there unbridged to it. Choicelessness unbridges you from all kinds of moods, from all kinds of minds. That is samata.

Pleasure comes, let it come. Don’t cling to it. Don’t say, “I would like to have you for ever and ever.” If you cling to pleasure, then you will avoid pain. And don’t go to the other extreme: don’t start denying pleasure, don’t start escaping from pleasure, because that is the same. If you start escaping from pleasure, you will start clinging to pain. That’s what ascetics do.

The indulgent person clings to pleasure, avoids pain. And the ascetic person avoids pleasure and clings to pain. Both approaches are wrong; in both you lose balance. Buddhism is neither indulgence nor asceticism. It does not teach anything – it simply says watch!

And that’s what Jesus goes on repeating again and again: Watch! Be watchful! Keep alert, keep awake.

You try it! This is an experiment in psychology – nothing to do with God. And you will be surprised and immensely benefitted. The day you can see that you are neither pain nor pleasure is a great day, is the greatest day – because from then onwards things will be different.

If it rain, let it rain…
If there is pain, let it be so.
If it rain not, let it not rain

If there is no pain, let it be so. If there is pleasure, let it be so. But you don’t get identified with anything.

But even should it not rain,
You must travel
With wet sleeves.

But remember one thing: even if your life has been of convenience, comfort, pleasure, and there have not been great pains, great miseries, then too you must travel with wet sleeves. Why? Because still you will become old, still you will have to die one day. So one can live a very pleasant life, but old age is coming, and death is coming. Death cannot be avoided; there is no way to escape from it; it is inevitable. So whether you lived a painful life or you lived a pleasant life will not make much difference when death comes. And death is coming.

Death has come the day you were born. In the very idea of birth, death has entered in you.

I have heard a very beautiful anecdote about one of the most famous Zen masters, Bankei:

Bankei had a terrible fear of death from his earliest age. When he was a small child, his mother created the fear of death in him. He says that at the age of three, his mother, as a punishment, constantly frightened him with death. Not only that: sometimes, because Bankei had committed something which was not right, she pretended that she had become dead. She would lie down with closed eyes and stop her breath, and the small child would cry and weep around her and would call her, “Come back! And I will never do such a thing again.” Only then would she start breathing.

So from the very childhood the fear of death had entered into him. He was constantly afraid. Maybe that’s why when he was young he became interested in Zen – because Zen people say there is no death. He entered a monastery and way overdid the austerities. Whatsoever was said, he overdid it, out of the fear of death. He wanted to see that there is no death; he wanted to overcome death, he wanted to conquer it. He practiced zazen sitting for such long periods at a time that the places where he sat became covered with sores and boils. He became so ill, he nearly lost his life! Then he withdrew for a few months to recuperate.

It was during a feverish period of his convalescence that he had his first satori. And this consisted of an instantaneous realization that he could not die for the simple reason that he had never been born! The crux of the matter was that he had never been born.

Now, Bankei knew as well as you know and everybody knows that his body emerged from his mother’s womb, that his body had been born. Yet he realized that he had never been born.

With the idea of birth, the idea of death arises. They go together, aspects of the same coin. Unless you get rid of the idea of birth, you will not get rid of the idea of death.

That’s why Zen people insist: Go deep into your being and see your face that you had before birth. If you can have one small glimpse of that original face which you had before birth, then death has disappeared. Attached to birth you are going to die – don’t be attached to birth, then you need not be afraid of death. Watch birth and you will be able to watch death too.

And the greatest experience of life is to die watching death. But you have to prepare for it. If you cannot even watch a headache, if you cannot even watch a small pain in the stomach, if you cannot watch these small things, you will not be able to watch death.

Buddhism says: Watch! Let every moment of life become an experience in watchfulness – pain, pleasure, everything; love, hate, everything; good, bad, everything. Go on watching. Let one taste spread on your being: the taste of watchfulness, and samata arises out of it. One becomes utterly balanced in the middle of the polarities.

In that balancing . . . just like a tightrope walker walks balanced on the tightrope. He remains in the middle, does not lean to the left or to the right; or whenever he finds himself leaning to one side, he immediately balances himself. Between pain and pleasure, day and night, birth and death, go on balancing . . . and then that very balancing will give you an insight of the reality you are.

That reality has never been born. This body has been born; this body is going to die . . .

Another Zen master, Bokoju, was asked by a man . . . Bokoju was ill, old, just on the verge of death, and this stranger came and asked, “Master, where will you be when you are dead?”

And Bokoju opened his eyes and said, “I will be in the grave! All my four limbs raised towards the sky.”

A strange answer. And you will miss the point if I don’t remind you. When Bokoju is saying, “I will be lying in my grave with all my four limbs raised to the sky,” what is he actually saying? He is saying, “The body will be in the grave and I will be watching it lying in the grave with four limbs raised to the sky. I will still be watching, I will still be a watcher. I have always been a watcher. The body was born and I was watching. The body became young and I was watching. And the body became old and I was watching. And one day it will die and I will be watching. I am my watchfulness.”

This Buddha calls samasati – right awareness.

If it rain, let it rain;
If it rain not, let it not rain;
But even should it not rain,
You must travel
With wet sleeves.

So don’t be deceived by your comfortable, convenient life – because death is coming to disrupt all, to destroy all. Prepare yourself!

And the only preparation is balance.

Look at the cherry blossoms!
Their colour and scent fall with them,
Are gone forever,
Yet mindless
The Spring comes again.

Life repeats itself mindlessly – unless you become mindful, it will go on repeating like a wheel. That’s why Buddhists call it the wheel of life and death – the wheel of time. It moves like a wheel: birth is followed by death, death is followed by birth; love is followed by hate, hate is followed by love; success is followed by failure, failure is followed by success. Just see!

If you can watch just for a few days, you will see a pattern emerging, a wheel pattern. One day, a fine morning, you are feeling so good and so happy, and another day you are so dull, so dead that you start thinking of committing suicide. And just the other day you were so full of life, so blissful that you were feeling thankful to God that you were in a mood of deep gratefulness, and today there is great complaint and you don’t see the point why one should go on living. And tomorrow again that blissful moment will come. The cherry blossoms will come again, and there will be fragrance and the singing of birds, and the sunlit days . . . and again the cloudy days, and the dark nights of the soul. And it goes on and on, but you don’t see the pattern.

Once you see the pattern, you can get out of it. Once you see the pattern; that it goes on and on mindlessly, it does not need you . . . People ordinarily think that when they are angry, somebody has created the anger in them. That is utterly wrong! Even if you were alone and there was nobody, you would have been angry in that moment. That has something to do with your inner wheel, with your inner periodicity, inner rhythm – it has nothing to do with somebody outside.

The outside is just an excuse, because it is so ugly to think, “I am creating my anger myself.” The excuse feels good, it relieves you of a burden. Then someday, meeting a friend, you feel so happy and you think, “The coming of the friend has made me so happy” – that too is false. Even if you were sitting alone in that moment, you would have been happy.

That is one of the great realizations that comes to people who move into isolation for a few days. That’s a good meditation, to move into isolation for a few weeks and just to be alone for a few weeks. You will be surprised! Out of nowhere . . . one day you are feeling good – nobody is there and nobody has done anything to you. And one day you are feeling so bad. One day you are dancing, another day you are crying. And then you can see that you create your own states.

Once this is seen you stop throwing responsibilities on others and life becomes a different life. Otherwise, we are all throwing our responsibilities on others. We are making others feel guilty: “It is because of you that I am angry or sad.” And naturally the others have to accept it because they are doing the same thing themselves. And they have to accept it for another reason too, because sometimes they are praised because they make people happy too.

Once you know that you can’t make anybody happy, you have never made anybody happy, and nobody can make you happy and nobody can make you unhappy – once this insight has become settled in your heart, you will never be throwing responsibility on anybody. All struggle, futile struggle, disappears. Then you know that you have an inner wheel that goes on moving. Sometimes one spoke is on top, sometimes another spoke comes on top.

And it moves mindlessly, remember. So the only way to get out of it is mindfulness. It is a robot; it is a mechanical thing; it is an automaton. So all meditations are nothing but de-automatization. All the processes that have become automatic in you have to be de-automatized. Anything that de-automatizes helps immensely.

For example, you walk at a certain pace. Buddha told his disciples: Walk slowly; change the pace. Just walk very slowly. And suddenly you will be surprised: if you walk slowly, you become aware of your walking. In fact, you can walk slowly only if you remain aware. The moment you lose awareness, you will gather speed; then you will become again an automaton.

Buddha’s meditations are to make you aware about life’s activities. Eating, eat with full awareness; chew with awareness of what you are doing. Walking, each single step has to be taken with full awareness of what is happening, what you are doing. Not verbally! but there has to be a consciousness behind: “I am raising my left foot” – not that you have to repeat it, “I am raising my left foot.” That is stupid. There is no need to repeat it. But you can watch it: “I am chewing. I am standing under the shower. The water is cool. It is too hot and the body is perspiring.” Not that you have repeat these words: you have just to be watchful. Then slowly, slowly a new integration happens in you, a mindfulness arises. That mindfulness can take you out of the wheel – nothing else.

Look at the cherry blossoms!
Their colour and scent fall with them,
Are gone forever,
Yet mindless
The Spring comes again.

How many times has it happened to you? You had fallen in love with a woman or with a man, and then there was great frustration and great misery, and you suffered and there was anguish, and you thought you were finished for ever – never again! And after just a few days, again the spring comes, again you are feeling love blossoming in you, again you are falling into the same rut and routine. Again you are saying the same stupid things to another woman. Again you are whispering those sweet nothings, and you are hearing those sweet nothings. And again you are in a dream world, and you have completely forgotten the old experience.

And this will happen again and again! The spring goes on coming. Don’t think you are very much different from a cherry tree. You are angry – and this is so about all your moods – you are angry and you feel the fire of it and the poison of it and the destructiveness of it, and you suffer. And you decide, “No more again. It is ugly and it is foolish and it is a sheer wastage of energy. So why should I be in anger again?” And you decide, and you decide very strongly, “This is the last time. Now I am going to avoid.” And one day, mindlessly, it comes again. Just a small thing triggers it, and you are again on fire, again red, again doing destructive things. And later on you will remember. You will become mindful, but always later on. Then it is of no sense, no meaning. It is impotent.

Mindfulness means in the moment. Everybody is wise when the moment has passed, remember this. Really wise are those who are wise in the moment. When something is happening – you are sad – this is the moment to become so watchful that you are unbridged from sadness, that you are disconnected from sadness; that sadness is there, you are here, and there is no connection. You are no more identified. You are simply seeing it.

You are not sad, you are the seer. Then you are wise.

When sadness has gone, then you think, “It was not good to become sad. It was so trivial, so foolish; there was no meaning in it. Next time I am not going to become so sad. There is no point.” But you will become sad again because awareness can be practiced only in the moment. This repentance is not on the right track.

Everybody repents, and things go on happening the same way they have always been happening. There is such a vicious circle that sometimes you think you are doing the opposite and you are not really doing the opposite but the same thing.

An angry person can decide, “I will never be angry,” and can go on repressing anger. Then by repressing anger, one day he has so much anger that it is uncontrollable, it explodes. If he had not repressed, he may not have been so angry. Now he is more angry because he tried not to be angry.[…]

This happens. You can go on thinking that you are doing something else, something contrary. But if you are mindless, something else is going to happen.

Your life is not lived by you – it is lived by a very mindless process. You are not really living it: you are being lived by a mindless existence. You are born, you are young, you become old; you have emotions, ideas – and they all are happening in you just like the cherry blossoms. And you go on repeating the same, year in, year out; you go on moving in a wheel. To see it, to see it totally, to see it as it is, is Buddha’s way of becoming aware.

The vicious circle of birth and death has to be broken, but it can be broken only if you start looking into things which happen to you in a detached way, in a non-passionate way. What scientists call ‘a detached observation’ is really a Buddhist discovery.

Scientists have been trying this only for three hundred years – in their labs they simply watch, without any prejudice, without for or against. They simply note down the facticity of it. But this is an ancient Buddhist meditation: the same way one has to watch one’s own mind, one’s own mind’s functionings, structures, and slowly, slowly you start becoming aware of a wheel that goes on moving inside you. And you are not moving the wheel; it moves on its own. The spell can be broken only if in this mechanical process of life something of awareness penetrates.

De-automatize yourself.

Buddhism is the shaved part of the saucepan,
The whiskers of the pebble,
The sound that accompanies
The bamboos in the picture.

Still Buddhism is not an ‘ism’, it is not a philosophy. It does not give you any idea of what reality is – because once the idea is given to you of what reality is like, you immediately jump upon it, you start clinging to it. And you will make reality like your idea, you will create it.

Buddhism simply takes all ideas away from you, it is negative. It does not give you any positive notion. It does not say what truth is: it only says what truth is not. It eliminates, it goes on eliminating. It is very severe. It does not allow you any nook and corner to cling to. It takes all, everything that you possess away from you. Only then one thing is left, which cannot be taken away – that is your awareness. Then uncontaminated awareness is left; you become a mirror. In that mirror the reality is reflected. So Ikkyu says:

Buddhism is the shaved part of the saucepan,
The whiskers of the pebble,
The sound that accompanies
The bamboos in the picture.

So Buddhism as an ‘ism’ is as false as The sound that accompanies

The bamboos in the picture, or as false as The whiskers of the pebble. As an ‘ism’ Buddhism is false.

Then what is it? If it is not a philosophy, then what is it?

It is just an approach towards reality, an opening. It is not a belief system. It is utterly devoid of beliefs; it negates beliefs. It is not a positive philosophy. And that is the beauty of it – because all positive philosophies are nothing but creations of the mind.

And people are very much interested in positive philosophies. They appeal – because they enhance your mind, they nourish your mind. They give you great ideas how to live your life, how to achieve more, how to become more, how to be enlightened, and all that.

Buddhism simply says: Just drop your ideas and you are enlightened. Just drop your mind and you are divine.

But Buddha was very, very careful even about saying that, because people are hankering so much to cling to something. He was very careful about making even a single statement positively. If you ask him, “What will happen when all has disappeared and one has become a mirror?” he says, “There will be no pain”; but he never says, “There will be bliss.” Never for a single moment, for a single time does he become positive.

People used to insist to him, because they had heard it down the ages that when the ultimate happens you will be blissful. And Buddha says, “You will not be miserable” – that’s all. “Why don’t you say,” they would ask him, “that we will be happy and blissful?” And he would say, “If I say that you will be happy, then it is never going to happen – then you will search for happiness! And you will fall into new dreams and new imaginations, heaven and paradise and so on and so forth. And you will create your own ideas of what happiness is. And all that you know is misery. So I say only: There will be no misery – and let me keep absolutely quiet about what there will be. You just drop misery and see what is.”

It didn’t appeal to ordinary, mediocre minds. The mediocre mind wants something to possess; he wants some keys which can open new doors to new treasures. Buddha simply takes all the keys out of your hands. He leaves you utterly alone . . . but in that utter aloneness, something immense happens, something infinite happens, something unimaginable happens, something inexpressible happens. And the first condition for it to happen is that you should not think about it, that no idea should be given to you about it – otherwise it will never happen because the idea will prevent it.

Buddhism is the shaved part of the saucepan,
The whiskers of the pebble,
The sound that accompanies
The bamboos in the picture.

Then what is Buddhism? Just a gesture, just a painted picture. There is no sound in it, no wind is blowing. Just Indian ink is there and nothing else – no sound, no wind. You just imagine sound and wind, you imagine movement – nothing is moving there. So people have created Buddhism out of their own imagination.

The religion that exists in the name of Buddhism is just a painted religion. Buddha never delivered this thing to the world. It is a creation of the people; because people cannot live with nothingness they created something.

What I say to you, you may not hear it, it may be too much for you. You may hear something which I have not said at all, because that you can manage. You may hear a few fragments. You may delete something, you may add something; you may create something out of what I am saying; you may create something out of it which is absolutely yours.

That’s how Buddhism has happened. That’s how Christianity has happened. That’s how all the religions have happened. The original expression has been lost in interpretations. What exists in the name of Buddhism is not what Buddha had said. What Buddha had said caul be experienced only if you become a Buddha – there is no other way.

What I am saying to you can be experienced only in the same state of mind, in the same state of awareness. It is impossible to convey it. Once it leaves one state of consciousness and enters into another kind of state, it is transformed, it is translated, it becomes polluted, it is never the same again.

If you can also become silent, quiet, unprejudiced, with no opinion in your mind, then things can happen. But people carry opinions in their minds – such opinions! amazing opinions!

Just the other day I was reading an article by Ashoka. Now he feels doubtful about my enlightenment because sometimes I look at the clock. “How can an enlightened person look at a clock? Can’t he know what time it is? And if he can’t even know what time it is, what else can he know?” And this type of thing continues. It is not only in Ashoka’s mind – in many people’s minds, because minds are minds.

But you have not looked at it without prejudice. You have some idea of how an enlightened person should be. You have some idea – in that idea it is implied that he will know without looking at the clock what time it is. The reality is just the contrary.

You may be able to know what time it is without looking at the clock, but an enlightened person cannot – because for him time has disappeared. For him there is no more time! For him there is only eternal now. Nothing moves. All has stopped. His clock has stopped! Now there exists no calendar in him anymore. He has to look to know what time it is. You can feel the time because your clock, inside clock, is working; you can have a certain inference about what time it must be. And within minutes you will be right; at the most, within ten minutes you will be right. Your mind can calculate. You know what time is; you know how much it feels when one hour passes by.

But to the enlightened consciousness, nothing passes. All simply is . . . and always is. There is no way to infer what time it is. Hence, I have to look at the clock again and again.

Sometimes Vivek becomes very much puzzled, because just five minutes before I had looked at the clock and I look again. And she says, “Just five minutes before you had looked, and you are looking again.” And I can understand her puzzlement: anybody can infer, any child can infer, that only five minutes have passed. But nothing is passing for me. Even for the day I have to inquire what day today is, what date today is.

But you have your mind, your idea, and naturally you can look only from your mind and from your idea. You will go on missing that way. You have to drop your prejudices; you have to drop all ideas. Why bother how an enlightened person should be when an enlightened person is with you? Why not look directly? Rather than having an idea, why not look directly?

You have a certain idea how a rose should be. Maybe you have never seen a black rose, and you think that a rose has to be only red. And there is a black rose, and you will say, “This is not a rose because a rose has to be red, has to be rosy. This is not a rose! It is not rosy – it is black. How can it be a rose?”

Drop the idea. Come close. Smell the flower. Sit silently with the flower. Let its fragrance give you the message. Let it have a communion with you! and you will know. And that will be far better, far truer. Otherwise, this goes on happening.

Buddha was there, and what he was saying people were not listening to – they were listening to something else. They were translating. Please, don’t translate me; otherwise, sooner or later I will be just The whiskers of the pebble, the sound that accompanies the bamboos in the picture.

Don’t create a picture! While the reality is here, why can’t you have a contact with the reality? Why can’t you bridge yourself? What is preventing you? A priori prejudices, opinions that you have gathered.

A Christian comes, and he looks at me and he wants to find Christ in me. And if he can’t find Christ he says, “This man can’t be enlightened!” A Buddhist comes, he looks for Buddha in me. A Jain comes, he looks for Mahavir in me. And if he can’t find . . . and he cannot find, because I am myself.

This rose flower is black, that rose flower is yellow, another rose flower is red – there are thousands of rose flowers. Don’t be too much concerned with the color, with the shape, with the form. But the roseness is the same, that flowering is the same.

There were people in Buddha’s time who followed Jain philosophy. They would look at him, and because he was not naked they would think he was not yet enlightened – because Jains have the idea that when a person becomes enlightened he drops all clothes. It is a beautiful idea, but clothes don’t mean clothes literally. He drops all clothes, he becomes nude, utterly nude, but not literally. But who is going to prevent people from being literal? And Buddha was not nude, so he was not an enlightened person.

Buddha was one kind of rose flower. Jesus was another kind. Bodhidharma, Buddha’s disciple, was a third kind. Buddha was silent and Bodhidharma was laughing. But I say to you: the taste of Bodhidharma’s laughter was the same as Buddha’s silence. But if you have seen Buddha sitting silently under his Bodhi Tree, you will not believe in Bodhidharma because he will be rolling on the floor. Such mad laughter! And you will say, “What is happening? This man must be mad – how can he be enlightened? An enlightened person always sits under a Bodhi Tree and never looks at a clock!”

Your ideas continuously interfere. You can miss this opportunity. It all depends on you. You can use this opportunity. You can be transformed by this opportunity . . .

The puppet-player hangs them
Round his neck, not his heart;
He can take out a devil,
He can take out a buddha.

Buddha has said that mind is a magician. All that it creates is magic work. You must have seen our sannyasin magician, Avinash. He can produce things out of empty boxes . . .  Mind is a conjurer. Once you have a certain idea in the mind, it becomes a seed and the seed starts growing, and soon it will become a reality for you. […]

Buddha says mind is a conjurer; it creates illnesses, it can create cures. Mind creates all kinds of illusions – beauty and ugliness, success and failure, richness and poverty . . . mind goes on creating. And once the idea settles in you, your whole life energy functions to create it, to make it a reality. Every thought becomes a thing, and every thing in the beginning was only a thought and nothing else. You live in a kind of hypnosis.

Buddha says this hypnosis has to be broken, and no other religion has tried so hard to break this hypnosis. Man has to be de-hypnotized. Man has to be made aware that all is mind: pain and pleasure both, birth and death both. All is mind.

And once this has been seen absolutely, the conjurer disappears . . . and then what is left is truth. And that truth liberates.

The puppet-player hangs them
Round his neck, not his heart;
He can take out a devil,
He can take out a buddha.

A tremendously important statement. You can become a Devil, you can become a Buddha – it is all mind game. You can become a sinner, you can become a saint; you can become a criminal, an Adolf Hitler, or you can become a great mahatma – and it is all mind game. In both the ways it is mind playing.

Then who is a real Buddha? If the Devil is a mind thing and the Buddha is a mind thing, then who is a real Buddha? The real Buddha is one who is no more the mind, who has come to see all the games of the mind and has retired from all the games of the mind. That is renunciation, that is sannyas: retiring from all games of the mind, playing no more new games.

Zen people say Buddha was never born, never lived, never uttered a word, never died, never attained enlightenment – and they are right. And obviously wrong too, because Buddha was born, he lived for eighty-two years, he is a historical person, he is not a myth only. He has left immense marks on the sense of time. He was born, he became enlightened, and he uttered millions of words. For forty-two years continuously he was teaching. These are obvious facts.

When Zen people say: Buddha was never born, never lived, never uttered a word, never died, never attained enlightenment, they are not denying these historical facts. Remember it. They are uttering something of more value. They are saying: Yes, he said many things but he never uttered a word – his real reality remained silent. Yes, he was born to a certain mother, to a certain father, in a certain place, but that birth was only a mind phenomenon, a dream that he lived through. But in his reality he was never born.

And, in reality, you are not born either. And in reality he never died, because how can you die if you are not born? Who can die? Who is there to die? And, of course, when you are not born and you cannot die, how can you become enlightened? Who is there to become enlightened? There is no one; there is nobody to become a Buddha.

This is Buddhahood, this is enlightenment: seeing the fact that there is nobody, that the house is utterly empty, that there has lived nobody ever, that we were only playing games of the mind, that we were creating shadows, that we were fast asleep and dreaming things . . . then all disappears.

When in the morning you wake up, it is not only that the bad dreams were wrong or false – the good dreams were also false. Whether you dream in the night that you were a thief or you dreamt that you were a yogi doesn’t matter in the morning – both are false. Whether you dreamt that you were Adolf Hitler or you dreamt that you were a Gautam Buddha doesn’t matter in the morning – when you are awake, all is finished. Gone is Adolf Hitler, gone is Gautam Buddha – all is gone. And what is left has always been there as the substratum. That eternal, that formless, that attributeless, that nirguna, that conditionless, is your reality. On that conditionless all kinds of conditions have been imposed; on that unconditional a thousand and one conditions have been put together. Those conditionings together are called the mind. And the only way to get out of the mind is to see the mind, to be aware of it.

Slowly, slowly, the more you become aware of the dream, the dream starts dissipating, the dream starts receding back. When awareness is perfect, dream has disappeared. Then you are neither a Buddha nor a man nor a woman, neither this nor that. Who are you then? – nothing can be said about it. Only one thing can be said about it: A glimpse of the real man, and you are in love, and you are love.

-Osho

From Take It Easy, Discourse #7

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com  or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

In the Fire of Dancing Stillness

A review of In the Fire of Dancing Stillness – Reflections with Vimala Thakar

A film by Renata Keller

Renata Keller introduces the life and teachings of Vimala Thakar in an extraordinarily accessible way, so very much in tune with Vimala herself.  The opening scene sets the stage for the intertwining of the elements and nature as both background and enhancement.  Waves form, play, and disappear. The boatman intently watches as he punts his craft along the shore, and soaring over this peaceful scene is the crystal-clear voice of Vimala.

Renata uses a delicate touch to tell Vimala’s story, guided by profound gratitude, for Vimala recognized her longing for wholeness, and by so doing changed her life.  This tribute, made some twenty years after this meeting, interweaves interviews with Vimala’s colleagues and friends; an exploration of places she worked and taught; and powerful excerpts from those teachings. Interspersing these scenes is the slow evolution of a chalk image into the goddess Durga.

Vimala is described as a philosopher, spiritual revolutionary, and social activist.  She engaged in land distribution, persuading rich landowners to donate part of their land to landless laborers so all could live in dignity.  She reached out to, and taught, girls and women, encouraging their independence and development of self-respect.  She explains her work as taking care of suffering at all levels.

Vimala’s capacity for love and light extends far beyond her social activism.  J. Krishnamurti invited her to visit him for some healing sessions after a car accident severely damaged one of her ears.  These meetings engendered an upheaval in her consciousness.  Vimalaji wrote, “Something within has been let loose. It can’t stand any frontiers. The invasion of a new awareness irresistible and uncontrollable has swept everything away. The freshness and awareness keep one ever alert, ever keen and ever insecure. Though the journey has come to an end, I have not arrived.  Perhaps there is nowhere to arrive.  Perhaps there is no static destination.  It seems to me that life is its own purpose. Life is its own direction.  Life is dynamic, and those who live are on an eternal voyage.”  Krishnamurti strongly encouraged Vimala to start giving talks from her understanding.

This movie exudes the vast love and concern Vimala felt for the whole of humanity, the global family we are becoming as so much of our way of living is changing.  Vimalaji has tremendous hope in the new generation, in all of us, that though we live in turbulent times, such challenges create the possibility to “emanate out of our being a new human culture” based on truth, love and compassion.

Vimalaji explains how we have become separate from the sacred in life due to the way we live apart from nature, apart from each other, interacting with the manmade. Vimala points out how so much of what is considered human can now be done by artificial intelligence; it has become memory, thought, and even feeling.  She asks, is there something that is untransferable, something that artificial intelligence cannot do?  And this is the search.  What is it that cannot be transferred to a machine?  Let us find out! And this dovetails into another frequent theme.  How can we relate to life without the interference of the mind? Can we learn to look at life in a fresh way born of silence, from emptiness, in touch with the sacred?  Vimala encourages us all to experiment, dive within, disinfect ourselves of knowledge, and find out.

And the threads of this tapestry – scenes of flowing rivers and still lakes, a bird aloft in the vast sky, the beauty of trees, of humanity – the interrelatedness of it all woven together with exquisite music, and the patient creation of the goddess Durga from chalk; and shortly after completion, the destruction.

-Amido

In the sanctuary of silence
Beauty comes to life.
On the altar of silent beauty
Humility plays with life.
In the light of dancing humility
Innocence opens itself.
Freedom is the blossom
Love is the perfume
Compassion its graceful way of walking.

-Vimala Thakar

Download or watch the video: In the Fire of Dancing Stillness.

Here is a link to explore more from Vimala Thakar.

My Beloved Bodhisattvas

On June 21, 1979, nearly nine months after arriving from Japan and beginning work full time in the Ashram, Vidya stopped Sumati and me as we entered Buddha Hall. She told us to come see her after discourse.Osho began discourse on this day with the words:

My beloved bodhisattvas . . . Yes, that’s how I look at you. That’s how you have to start looking at yourselves. Bodhisattva means a buddha in essence, a buddha in seed, a buddha asleep, but with all the potential to be awake. In that sense everybody is a bodhisattva, but not everybody can be called a bodhisattva – only those who have started groping for the light, who have started longing for the dawn, in whose hearts the seed is no longer a seed but has become a sprout, has started growing.

You are bodhisattvas because of your longing to be conscious, to be alert, because of your quest for the truth. The truth is not far away, but there are very few fortunate ones in the world who long for it. It is not far away but it is arduous, it is hard to achieve. It is hard to achieve, not because of its nature, but because of our investment in lies.

We have invested for lives and lives in lies. Our investment is so much that the very idea of truth makes us frightened. We want to avoid it; we want to escape from the truth. Lies are beautiful escapes – convenient, comfortable dreams.

But dreams are dreams. They can enchant you for the moment; they can enslave you for the moment, but only for the moment. And each dream is followed by tremendous frustration, and each desire is followed by deep failure.

But we go on rushing into new lies; if old lies are known, we immediately invent new lies. Remember that only lies can be invented; truth cannot be invented. Truth already is! Truth has to be discovered, not invented. Lies cannot be discovered, they have to be invented.

Mind feels very good with lies because the mind becomes the inventor, the doer. And as the mind becomes the doer, ego is created. With truth, you have nothing to do . . . and because you have nothing to do, mind ceases, and with the mind the ego disappears, evaporates. That’s the risk, the ultimate risk.

You have moved towards that risk. You have taken a few steps – staggering, stumbling, groping, haltingly, with many doubts, but still you have taken a few steps; hence I call you bodhisattvas.

-Osho
From The Dhammapada, Vol.1, Discourse #1

After discourse, Vidya told us that we were moving into the Ashram. Up to that point, we had been responsible for our own housing. We had food passes which meant that the Ashram provided our meals but we took care of our rent (mind you in India rent is not much). But we were very happy to be moving into the Ashram. We were moving into a new bamboo structure that had been built at number 70 Koregaon Park. This was a very large house two blocks from the Ashram proper, which the Ashram had acquired and in which different facilities as well as living quarters were being housed.

By this time, I was working at the bakery and given the responsibility of being one of the drivers for the bakery. This job entailed driving a large Mercedes-Benz van with left-side steering through the streets of Poona, in a right-side steering world. I also delivered fresh hot croissants stacked on metal trays in an Ashram rickshaw. The croissants had to arrive before discourse ended because it would be very difficult to deliver them with everyone filing out into Vrindavan. Of course, you never knew when Osho would complete his discourse. It could be one hour or two hours in length, though generally they were around ninety minutes long.

Arriving during discourse would require turning off the engine, pushing the rickshaw through the front gate and down the drive to the kitchen, taking great care not to upset the stacked metal trays, all the while being as quiet as possible. With all the possibilities for mishaps, it is amazing to think the worst that happened was occasionally misjudging the ending, and having to navigate through swarms of blissed out sannyasins.

-purushottama

This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Download a PDF or order the book Here.

Has Anyone Seen Osho?

Understanding the phenomenon called “Osho” has proved strangely elusive. Perhaps that is inevitable because at root Osho represents the greatest potential paradigm shift in the history of humanity. “Seeing” this is the first step.

The first major misunderstanding is the meaning of Osho. A little over a year before he leaves the body, he announces that he was dropping all names and would like to be addressed as “the beloved friend.” Then later, when the people around him found this too difficult, he offers to accept the name “Osho,” if everyone “votes” for it. Which everyone did.

The only statement we have from Osho about the meaning of his name is in a message he dictated that was to be put inside all the books which had been transcribed from his talks, and which now had the “wrong” name on. He dictates the following message, that “his name is derived from William James’ word ‘oceanic’ which means dissolving into the ocean.  “Oceanic” describes the experience, he says, but what about the experiencer?  For that, we use the word “Osho.” And finally, he later makes the comment in his room that Osho “was not his name, but a healing sound derived from William James’ oceanic.”

What is the relevance of all this you might ask? Well, the more you listen to what he is actually saying, the more you discover that he has carefully anticipated a time when he would no longer be present, a time when the traditional ideas of an “Indian guru” or “master” – who leaves his disciples behind when he leaves the body – would naturally be projected onto his work.

In contrast to this view, we discover that he proposing something totally different:

“In the first place, I am not a guru.

“That is a dirty word. Because all gurus have been just exploiting people in the name of spirituality.

“I don’t belong to that gang. And I am not an Indian in the sense that I don’t believe in nationalities. I simply believe that the whole earth is one.” 1

About his being a Master, Osho talks about Buddha’s declaration that Maitreya, the friend, will return in twenty-five centuries. He explains the significance of this:

“What he meant was that the ancient relationship between the master and the disciple would become irrelevant in twenty-five centuries. It was his clarity of perception – he was not predicting anything – just his clarity to see that as things are changing, as they have changed in the past and as they go on changing, it would take at least twenty-five centuries for the master and disciple relationship to become out of date. Then the enlightened master will be only the friend.

“I had always wanted not to be a Master to anybody. But people want a Master, they want to be disciples; hence, I played the role. It is time that I should say to you that now many of you are ready to accept me as the friend…

“It is exactly twenty-five centuries after Buddha’s death…. It is going to change the very flavor of our whole movement. And you have to rise up so that what I want the movement to become, it becomes. So that the dream is realized.

“Don’t let me down. Okay?” 2

And perhaps most penetratingly, Osho specifically deals with how he would like to be remembered:

“I would simply like to be forgiven and forgotten. There is no need to remember me. The need is to remember yourself!

“People have remembered Gautam Buddha and Jesus Christ and Confucius and Krishna. That does not help. So what I would like: forget me completely, and forgive me too — because it will be difficult to forget me. That’s why I am asking you to forgive me for giving you the trouble. Remember yourself.” 3

And on another occasion when asked whether he would like to be remembered, as a mystic, a spiritual leader, a philosopher? He replies, “Just a nobody. I would like it to be as if I had never been.”

And even when specifically addressing the people around him, he continuously insists that they have to understand this work is not about him, it is about them:

“You must learn to work without me.

You cannot be here always, you will have to go far away; you cannot hang around me forever, you have other work to do. You have come from different countries all over the world; you will have to go. For a few days you will be here with me, but if you become addicted to my physical presence, then rather than being a help it may become a disturbance, because then when you go away you will miss me. Your meditation here should be such that it can happen without my presence; then wherever you go the meditation will not be in any way affected.

“And this too has to be remembered: I cannot always be in this physical body with you; one day or another the physical vehicle has to be dropped. My work is complete as far as I am concerned. If I am carrying this physical vehicle, it is just for you; someday it has to be dropped.

“Before it happens you must be ready to work in my absence, or in my nonphysical presence, which means the same. And once you can feel me in my absence you are free of me, and then even if I am not here in this body the contact will not be lost.

“It always happens when a buddha is there: his physical presence becomes so meaningful. Then, when he dies, everything is shattered.” 4

So, the fundamental paradox emerges. We imagine there is someone out there called Osho who is going to change us for the better. Then we discover that Osho is doing nothing but holding up a mirror so we can see ourselves. As he puts it:

“My approach to your growth is basically to make you independent of me. Any kind of dependence is a slavery, and spiritual dependence is the worst slavery of all.

“I have been making every effort to make you aware of your individuality, your freedom, your absolute capacity to grow without any help from anybody. Your growth is something intrinsic to your being. It does not come from outside, it is not an imposition; it is an unfolding.

“All the meditation techniques that I have given to you are not dependent on me – my presence or absence will not make any difference – they are dependent on you.

“It is not my presence, but your presence that is needed for them to work. It is not my being here but your being here, your being in the present, your being alert and aware that is going to help.” 5

And the essential ingredient of all these meditations has nothing to do with the outside. As he says so often, the key is to “look in” and rediscover the witness, the experiencer, “Osho” – on the inside.

So, how does all this fit together? Firstly, Osho is basically putting humanity on the couch and unraveling its every madness. He surgically dissects all that is insane in the world around us and how those outer lunacies are simply expressions of our own inner schizophrenia. And vice versa. He takes all our inner distortions and shows how these create the outer barbarity that passes for “civilization.” And at every turn, he explains – and demonstrates with his presence – the fundamental medicine for the disease, meditation.

Turning the world around on a dime was never going to be easy, or quick.

Perhaps that is why he says that he “would be contemporary in two centuries.” Long after his listeners were dead and gone.

Osho always starts with exactly what existence offers him. And that is you and me, his listeners on any particular day. And unless he could entertain us, intrigue us, connect with us in some way that kept us sitting there long enough to hear his real message of meditation, we would miss the real reason for his speaking.

But the more successful he was at this, the more his listeners become attracted to him, the longer we sit with him, came all the usual dangers that we would become “addicted to him.”

No matter how often he would explain that he was just a device, a finger pointing to the moon, that we should not become attached to the finger but look at the moon….

What to do? Not an easy finger to let go of. No matter how many times he would describe himself like a window frame, whose only function was to allow us to see the stars beyond…. No matter how many times he would explain that the answer lay within not without, the temptation to keep looking out, at him in particular, remained the ultimate pitfall.

Osho is clear that this same pitfall has destroyed every previous attempt at provoking consciousness. In fact, Osho describes two previous “quantum leaps” in this process. The first, twenty-five centuries before Buddha, happened around Adinatha, an ancient Jaina, inner explorer whose efforts “got lost in a desert of austerities and self-torture.” Osho explains, “This was the first quantum leap: God was disposed of.” But Adinatha “did not drop organization. And because there was no God, the organization created rituals.”

So people ended up looking outwards not inwards.

The second quantum leap occurred around Buddha.

“It is Buddha’s insight to see that God has been dropped; now the gap should be filled, otherwise the gap will destroy man. He puts in meditation – something really authentic, which can change the whole being. But he was not aware – perhaps he could not be aware because there are things you cannot be aware of unless they happen – that there should be no organization, that there should be no priesthood, that as God is gone religion should also be gone. But he can be forgiven because he had not thought about it and there was no past to help him to see it, it came after him.

“The real problem is the priest, and God is the invention of the priest.

“Unless you drop the priest, you can drop God, but the priest will always find new rituals, he will create new gods.” 6

Despite Buddha insisting, “be a light unto yourself,” the Buddhists end up looking outwards, and upwards, and not inwards.

So, Osho proposes the next step, the third quantum leap:

“My effort is to leave you alone with meditation, with no mediator between you and existence.

“When you are not in meditation you are separated from existence and that is your suffering. It’s the same as when you take a fish out of the ocean and throw it on the bank – the misery and the suffering and the tortures he goes through, the hankering and the effort to reach back to the ocean because it is where he belongs. He is part of the ocean and he cannot remain apart.

“Any suffering is simply indicative that you are not in communion with existence, that the fish is not in the ocean.

“Meditation is nothing but withdrawing all the barriers, thoughts, emotions, sentiments, which create a wall between you and existence. The moment they drop you suddenly find yourself in tune with the whole; not only in tune, you really find you are the whole.”

Osho continues about what happened to Adinatha and Buddha’s work, and how to avoid these failures in future:

“Buddha, seeing what had happened to Jainism, that it had become a ritualism, dropped God. He dropped all rituals and single-pointedly insisted on meditation, but he forgot that the priests who had made rituals in Jainism are going to do the same with meditation. And they did it, they made Buddha himself a God. They talk about meditation but basically, Buddhists are worshippers of Buddha – they go to the temple and instead of Krishna or Christ, there is Buddha’s statue….

“The priests had to create the statue – God was not there, ritual was difficult, around meditation ritual was difficult. They created a statue and they started saying – in the same way all religions have been doing – have faith in Buddha, have trust in Buddha, and you will be saved.

“Both the revolutions were lost. I would like that what I am doing is not lost. So I am trying in every possible way to drop all those things which in the past have been barriers for the revolution to continue and grow.

“I don’t want anybody to stand between the individual and existence.

“No prayer, no priest, you alone are enough to face the sunrise, you don’t need somebody to interpret for you what a beautiful sunrise it is.” 6

Or as he put it more bluntly on another occasion:

“It is such an absurd effort to force living human beings to worship the dead rather than finding the deeper layers of life within themselves. Giving them teddy bears outside, consolations – ugly consolations, degrading consolations.…” 7

And:

“As far as I am concerned, I am simply making every effort to make you free from everybody — including me — and to just be alone on the path of searching.

“This existence respects a person who dares to be alone in the seeking of truth. Slaves are not respected by existence at all. They do not deserve any respect; they don’t respect themselves, how can they expect existence to be respectful toward them?

“So remember, when I am gone, you are not going to lose anything.

“Perhaps you may gain something of which you are absolutely unaware. Right now I am only available to you embodied, imprisoned in a certain shape and form. Right now you have to come to me. When I am gone, where can I go?

“I will be here in the winds and in the ocean; and if you have loved me, if you have trusted me, you will feel me in a thousand and one ways.

“In your silent moments, you will suddenly feel my presence. Once I am unembodied, my consciousness is universal.” 5

If you thought Osho’s analysis of the state of the world was radical, including his insights about sex, power, the family, education, the environment, democracy, the state, politics, religion…. If you thought that his insight that all the human stupidities you read about in the newspapers every day are simply a projection of all our personal stupidities was radical…. Then you haven’t heard the half of it. His proposal for how the individual can change him or herself is even more radical. The “third quantum leap” in the history of consciousness is the basic understanding of we can also affect radical change by dropping all those same stupidities which keep the world so retarded.

If Osho is right, and the mess of the world around us is in our hands, then instead of always looking to the priests and the politicians, to the media and the pundits, and all the other people trying to brainwash us to believe that they know what they are doing and have all the answers – now we know the solution is in our hands. The choice is ours. In the process, of course, we realize why all those “influencers,” the ones who benefit from the status quo and will do anything to resist change, all want to persuade us not to look for Osho. If we do, we will be able to happily ignore those apologists for what they call “civilization” – and they will have to look for a job!

And if like most of us, you haven’t really seen Osho yet, now you know where he suggests we look.

-Prem Amrito MD

From Osho Times

To continue reading and see all available formats of these talks:

Osho, The Last Testament, Vol. 3, Talk #5 – This Moment Is Enough for Me
Osho, The Last Testament, Vol. 3, Talk #25 – Religion, Religiousness, and Religio
Osho, The Transmission of the Lamp, Talk #29 – Just like Ripe Fruit
4 Osho, A Bird on the Wing, Talk #1 – Empty Your Cup
5 Osho, Beyond Enlightenment, Talk #11 – Harmony: The Birthplace of Love
6 Osho, The Last Testament, Vol. 5, Talk #16
7 Osho, Isan: No Footprints in the Blue Sky, Talk #5 – Empty Your Mind

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

This Very Place the Lotus Paradise – Osho

Man lives in illusion. Man lives through illusion. Man lives for illusion. In short, man lives because of illusion. Hence the fear of truth. Nobody wants truth, although everybody goes on seeking for it. That seeking is a deception, that seeking is an avoidance. To seek truth means to avoid truth.

It has to be understood – how the seeker goes on avoiding truth. To seek means to look far away, to seek means to look somewhere else, to seek means to go on a trip. To seek means to postpone – to seek means it will happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, it is not happening right now. It is not here, it is there. It is not this, it is that.

Man goes on living in illusion. But to live in illusion one needs to avoid truth, because if truth comes it will shatter all your illusions and all your so-called life and all your so-called love. Truth looks like a calamity. And Friedrich Nietzsche is right in a sense when he says: Please don’t give truth to humanity. Otherwise, you will destroy people’s joy, you will destroy their enthusiasm, you will destroy their gusto. Don’t give truth to humanity, otherwise all that they have will disappear. Because all that they have is a kind of dream. Don’t wake humanity, otherwise the dreams will be shattered. And they may be seeing beautiful dreams – or hoping to see, somewhere, sometime.

That’s why Christ is crucified, Socrates is poisoned, Buddha is stoned. They bring truth to people who have become almost illusory. They bring light to people who live in darkness and dream in darkness. And their dreams depend on darkness – when somebody brings light into the darkness the darkness disappears and the dreams and the desires.

One feels hurt by a Buddha or a Christ. The Christ looks not like the saviour but like the enemy. Otherwise, why should you crucify Christ? There is no other reason. The basic reason is: he uproots you, he shatters you. This has to be understood very deeply. And when you live in illusion, you search for truth. That is a double deception, so that you can go on telling yourself and consoling yourself that ‘I am searching. Look what great efforts I am making, how much I am putting my energy into the search – look!’

The search for truth arises out of your lie. It is the lie that puts you on the search for truth. It is a protection for the lie, it is the way of the lie to survive. It says: Go and search for truth. It is there far away in some distant land. You will have to travel, and the travel is long and the travel is not going to be finished soon. It will take lives and lives, it will take millennia, but go! Go on searching, one day you will find it. The lie gives you hope, it gives you a future, it gives you future dreams. Your God is somewhere far away. It has to be far away, because close by He will be dangerous. […]

But in your very destruction is the possibility of a new birth. Out of the ashes the new is going to be born. The myth of the phoenix is not a myth, it is a metaphor for man’s rebirth. You have to die first to be reborn. […]

But if you come close to me – and initiation means coming close, initiation means coming as close as possible – you will be burned. You will be burned to ashes. You will disappear.

But that is the only real hope. If you disappear as you are, you will be born as you really are. Only the disappearance of the lie that you have become can be the birth of truth. And truth is not far away, it is just hiding within you. And you are clinging to the lie. Your personality is the lie. And because of the personality you cannot move towards the essence. The personality is taught by the society; the society creates lies. Lies are very, very convenient. Lies function like lubricants, lies make life smooth. You see somebody and you smile. And the smile is a lie – because it is not coming from your heart, it is just painted there on the lips. You have created it, you have managed it, it is a kind of exercise of the lips. But it lubricates relationship, the other man starts smiling.

If you are true, if you are as you are, it will be difficult, the relationship will become difficult. Psychologists say that if every person starts revealing what is in his heart, friendship will disappear from the earth, love will disappear from the earth. That is true. It will be impossible to find friends if you simply say what is in your heart. If you say what is in your heart your beloved will leave you and your lover will leave you.

You go on keeping it in the heart, and you go on playing something which is not really there – you do something else, just the opposite. You may be angry but you smile. You may be hurt but you smile. You may be boiling within but you smile. You may want to scream but you go on singing. You may want to do something else but it is not feasible, it is not practical, it is not the right thing to do.

The society creates this persona, this mask around you, this personality.

There are three you’s in you. You-1 – that is the personality. The word personality comes from a Greek root ’persona’. In the Greek drama they used to use masks, and the voice would come from the mask. ’Sona’ means voice, sound, and ’per’ means through the mask. The real face you don’t know – who the real actor is. There is a mask, and through the mask comes the voice. It appears as if it is coming from the mask, and you don’t know the real face. The word ’personality’ is beautiful, it comes from Greek drama.

And that’s what has happened. In the Greek drama they had only one mask. You have many. Masks upon masks, like layers of an onion. If you put one mask away there is another, if you put that away there is another. And you can go on digging and digging and you will be surprised how many faces you are carrying. How many! For lives you have been collecting them. And they are all useful, because you have to change many times. You are talking to your servant, you cannot have the same face that you have when you talk to your boss. And they may be both present in the room: when you look at the servant you have to use one mask and when you look at your boss you have to use another mask. You continuously change. It has almost become automatic – you need not change, it changes itself. You look at the boss and you are smiling. And you look at the servant and the smile disappears and you are hard – as hard as the boss is to you. When he looks at his boss, he smiles.

In a single moment you may be changing your face many times. One has to be very, very alert to know how many faces one has. Innumerable. They cannot be counted.

This is your first you, the false you. Or call it the ego. It has been given to you by the society, it is a gift from the society – from the politician and the priest and the parent and the pedagogue. They have given you many faces just to make your life smooth. They have taken away your truth, they have given you a substitute. And because of these substitute faces you don’t know who you are. You can’t know, because the faces change so fast and they are so many, you cannot trust yourself. You don’t know exactly which face is yours. In fact none of these faces is yours.

And the Zen people say: Unless you know your original face you will not know what Buddha is. Because Buddha is your original face. You were born as a Buddha and you are living a lie.

This social gift has to be dropped. That is the meaning of sannyas, initiation. You are a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan, that face has to be dropped. Because it is not your own face – it has been given to you by others, you have been conditioned for it. And you have not even been asked, you have not even been requested. It has been imposed forcibly, violently.

All parents are violent and all educational systems are violent. Because they don’t take any note of you. They have a-priori ideas, they already know what is right. And they put the ‘right’ on you. You squirm, you scream inside, but you are helpless. A child is so helpless and so delicate, he can be molded in any way. And that’s what the society does. Before the child becomes strong enough it is already crippled in a thousand and one ways. Paralyzed, poisoned.

The day you want to become religious you will have to drop religions. The day you want to relate to God you will have to drop all ideologies about God. The day you want to know who you are, you will have to drop all the answers that have been given to you. All that is borrowed has to be burnt.

That’s why Zen has been defined as: ‘Direct pointing to the human heart. Seeing the nature and becoming Buddha. Not standing on letters. A separate transmission outside the scriptures.’ A separate transmission outside the scriptures: the Koran cannot give it to you, neither can the Dhammapada nor the Bible nor the Talmud nor the Gita. No scripture can give it to you. And if you believe in the scripture you will go on missing truth.

Truth is in you. It has to be encountered there. ‘Seeing the nature and becoming Buddha. Direct pointing to the human heart.’ You are not to go anywhere. And wherever you go you will remain the same, so what is the point? You can go to the Himalayas; it is not going to change anything. You will carry all that you have with you. All that you have become, all that you have been made, you will carry all your artificiality. Your synthetic faces, your borrowed knowledge, your scriptures, will go on clinging inside you. Even sitting in a cave in the Himalayas alone you will not be alone. The teachers will be there around you, and the priests and the politicians and the parents and the whole society. It may not be so visible but it will be there inside you crowding you. And you will remain a Hindu there or a Christian or a Mohammedan. And you will go on repeating words like parrots. It will not change, it cannot change. […]

Wherever you go you will be yourself. Even in Heaven or in the Himalayas. You cannot be otherwise. The world is not outside you; you are the world. So wherever you go you take your world with you.

The real change has not to be of place, the real change has not to be outside, the real change has to be inner. And what do I mean by real change? I don’t mean that you have to improve upon yourself, because improvement is again a lie. Improvement means you will go on polishing your personality. You can make it immensely beautiful – but remember, the more beautiful it is, the more dangerous, because the more difficult it will be to drop it.

That’s why it happens that sometimes a sinner becomes a saint. But your so-called respectable people never become. They cannot become – they have such valuable person-alities, so much decorated, polished, and they have put so much investment in the personality, their whole life has been a kind of polishing. Now it is too costly to drop those beautiful personalities. A sinner can drop it, he has no investment in it. In fact he is fed-up with it, it is so ugly. But how can a respectable person drop it so easily? It has been paying him so well, it has been such a profit. It has been making him more and more respected, he is going higher and higher, he is reaching the pinnacle of success. It is very difficult for him to stop going on this ladder of success. It is a non-ending ladder, you can go on and on for ever. […]

When you are succeeding in the world it is difficult to stop. When you are becoming richer it is difficult to stop, when you are becoming famous it is difficult to stop. The more refined personality you have, the more it clings to you.

So I am not saying that you have to improve upon yourself. All the great masters, from Buddha to Hakuin, nobody has said to improve. Beware of the so-called ’improvement books’. The American market is full of those books: beware. Because improvement is not going to lead you anywhere. It is not a question of improvement, because by improvement the lie will be improved. The personality will be improved – will become more polished, will become more subtle, will become more valuable, will become more precious – but that is not the transformation. The transformation comes not by improvement but by dropping the personality utterly.

The lie cannot become the truth. There is no way to improve upon the lie so that it becomes the truth. It will remain the lie. It will look more and more like the truth but it will remain the lie. And the more it looks like the truth, the more you will be engrossed in it, rooted in it. The lie can look so much like the truth that you can even become oblivious of the fact that it is a lie.

The lie tells you: Search for the truth. Improve your character, your personality. Search for the truth, become this, become that. The lie goes on giving you new programs: Do this, and then everything will be good and you will be happy for ever. Do this, do that. This has failed? Don’t be worried, I have other plans for you. The lie goes on giving you plans, and you go on moving in those plans and wasting your life.

In fact the search for truth also comes out of the lie. That will be hard to understand but it has to be understood. The search for truth comes from the lie itself. It is the lie’s way to protect itself – it gives you even the search for truth, now how can you be angry with your personality? And how can you call it a lie? It propels you, it enforces you, it pushes you to search for truth.

But the search means going away. And truth is here, and the lie pushes you to go there. And truth is now, and the lie says ‘then’ and ‘there’. The lie always speaks either of the past or of the future, it never speaks of the present. And the truth is the present. This very moment! It is herenow. That’s what Hakuin means when he says:

This very place the lotus paradise,
This very body the buddha.

So the first ‘you’ is the lie, the act. The pseudo-personality that surrounds you. The public face, the phoniness. It is a fraud. The society has imposed it upon you and you have become a cooperator with it. You have to drop your cooperation with the social lie. Because only when you are utterly nude are you yourself. All clothes are social. All ideas and all identities that you think you are, are social – given by others. They have their motives to give those ideas to you. It is subtle exploitation.

The real exploitation is not economic or political, the real exploitation is psychological. That’s why all the revolutions up to now have been failures. Hitherto, no revolution has succeeded. The reason? Because they have not looked at the deepest exploitation which is psychological. They only go on changing superficial things. A capitalist society becomes communist, but it makes no difference. A democracy becomes dictatorial, a dictatorial society becomes democratic, it makes no difference. These are just superficial changes, like a whitewash, but the structure remains deep down the same.

What is the psychological exploitation? The psychological exploitation is that nobody is allowed to be himself. That nobody is accepted as himself or herself. That nobody is respected. How can you respect people if you don’t accept them as they are? If you impose things upon them and then you respect, you respect your own impositions. You don’t respect them as they are, you don’t respect their nudity. You don’t respect their naturalness, you don’t respect their spontaneity, you don’t respect their real smiles and real tears. You respect only phoniness, pretensions, actions. Their actings you respect.

This you-1 has to be utterly dropped. Freud helped much to make humanity aware of the pseudoness of personality, of the conscious mind. His revolution ii far deeper than the revolution of Marx, his revolution is far deeper than any other revolution. It goes deep, although it does not go far enough. It reaches to the second you, you-2. It is the repressed you, instinctive you, unconscious you. It is all that the society has not allowed, it is all that the society has forced inside your being and locked in there. It comes only in your dreams, it comes only in metaphors, it comes only when you are drunk, it comes only when you are no more in control. Otherwise, it remains far away from you. And it is more authentic, it is not phony.

Freud has done much to make man aware of it. And the humanistic psychologies and particularly growth groups, encounter and others, have helped tremendously to make you aware of all that is screaming inside you, all that has been repressed, crushed. And that is your vital part. That is your real life, natural life. Religions have condemned it as your animal part, they have condemned it as the source of sin. It is not the source of sin; it is the source of life. And it is not lower than the conscious. It is deeper than the conscious, certainly, but not lower than the conscious.

And nothing is wrong if it is animal. Animals are beautiful, so are trees. They still live naked in their utter simplicity. They have not yet been destroyed by the priests and the politicians, they are yet part of God. Only man has gone astray. Man is the only abnormal animal on the earth – otherwise all animals are simply normal. Hence the joy, the beauty, the health. Hence the vitality. Have you not seen it? When a bird is on the wing have you not felt jealous? Have you not seen it in a deer running fast into the forest? Have you not felt jealous of the vitality, of the sheer joy of energy?

Children: have you not felt jealous? Maybe because you feel so jealous, that’s why you go on condemning childishness. You go on condemning. Montague is right when he says that instead of telling people ‘Don’t be childish’ we should start telling people ‘Don’t be adultish’. He is right, I agree. A child is beautiful, the adult is what ugliness is. He is no more a flow; he is blocked in many ways. He is frozen, he is dull and dead. He has lost zest, he has lost enthusiasm, he is simply dragging. He is bored, he has no sense of mystery. He never feels surprised, he has forgotten the language of wonder. Mystery has disappeared for him. He has explanations, mystery is no more there. Hence he has lost poetry and the dance and all that is valuable and all that gives meaning and significance to life, all that gives flavor to life.

This second ‘you’ is far more valuable than the first. That is where I am against all the religions, that is where I am against all the priests, because they cling to the first, the superficial most. Go to the second. But the second is not the end – that is where Freud falls short. And that is where humanistic psychology also falls short – goes a little deeper than Freud but still does not go deep enough to find the third.

There is a third ‘you’, you-3. The real you, the original face, which is beyond you-1 and you-2, both. The transcendental. The Buddhahood. It is undivided pure consciousness. The first you is social, the second you is natural, the third you is divine. Or, if you want to use Hakuin’s terms, the first you is the physical body, the second you is the bliss body, and the third you is the essential body. These are the three bodies of Buddha.

And remember, I am not saying that the first is not at all useful. If the third exists then the first can be used beautifully. If the third exists, the second can be used beautifully. But only if the third exists. If the center functions well then the periphery too is okay, then the circumference too is okay. But without the center, only the circumference, is a kind of death.

That’s what has happened to man. That’s why in the West so many thinkers think that life is meaningless. It is not. It is only because you have lost touch with your source from where meaning arises.

It is as if a tree has lost its contact with its own roots. Now no flowers come. Now the foliage starts disappearing, the leaves fall and no new leaves arrive. And the juice stops flowing, the sap no more exists. The tree becomes dead, the tree is dying.

And the tree may start philosophizing, the tree may become existentialist, a Sartre or somebody else, and the tree may start saying that there are no flowers in life. That life has no flowers, that there is no fragrance, that there are no more any birds. And the tree may even start saying that it has been always so, and the ancients were only befooling themselves that there are flowers – they were imagining. ‘It has always been so, the spring has never come, people have only been fantasizing. These Buddhas and these Jinas, they have been simply imagining, fantasizing, that flowers bloom and there is great joy and birds come and sunlight. There is nothing. All is darkness, all is accidental, and there is no meaning.’ The tree can say it.

And the real thing is not that there is no meaning, not that there are no more flowers, not that flowers don’t exist, not that fragrance is fantasy, but simply that the tree has lost contact with its own roots.

Unless you are rooted in your Buddhahood you will not bloom. You will not sing, you will not know what celebration is. And how can you know God if you don’t know celebration? If you have forgotten how to dance how can you pray? If you have forgotten how to sing and how to love then God is dead. Not that God is dead. God is dead in you, only in you. Your tree is dry, the sap has disappeared. You will have to find roots again. Where to find these roots? Roots have to be found here and now. That is the whole message of Hakuin’s song of meditation. Before we enter into the song, a few things.

A man can seem to be the sum total of his days, of all that he does from the beginning to the end. But this is not the true man. What you do is just on the periphery. What you feel goes a little deeper. What you are is really at the roots. A man is not the sum total of his acts. A politician IS the sum total of his acts, because he lives only on the circumference. That’s why it is easy to write history about the politicians. It is difficult to write history about Buddhas, because they live at such depth where we cannot reach them. They live in such eternity that time takes no record of them. They exist in such a transcendental way that they leave no traces on the earth. They are like birds in the sky: they fly but no footprints are left.

Politicians leave footprints. They live in the mud, in the dirt, they drag themselves in the mundane reality. They leave many footprints; they leave much bloodshed behind them. A Buddha exists as if he has never existed. He exists so absently, he exists like a space, empty space.

Remember, a man is not a sum total of his actions. And if he is, he is not yet a man; he is just a fiction, he is living in illusion. You are not what you do. So don’t be too much concerned with your doing, start going deeper into being. That’s why all meditations are basically a way to sit silently – so silently that all action stops. On the physical plane, on the mental plane, action stops, thought stops. Because thought is also action on the mental plane – you are doing something. When all doing disappears and you are simply there, just there, a presence, then the meditation has happened.

Sitting silently, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

That is the meaning of the word ‘zazen’. ‘Za’ means sitting doing nothing. And ‘zen’ means: in that sitting when you are not doing anything you fall upon yourself, you encounter yourself, you see yourself. That is zen, dhyana, meditation. The word ‘zazen’ is beautiful. ’Sitting and looking into yourself’ – that is the meaning of it.

Man is more than the sum total of his acts, his thoughts, his feelings. Behind the acts, thoughts and feelings there is another man – that which is, that which essentially IS. But many seldom if ever show themselves in their essential being. Very few ever reach to that point of their essential being-hood, to their very ground of being. Those who reach, only they know that life is a benediction. A sheer joy, eternal celebration.

But if you remain on the surface, you know only misery, nothing else. Agony, nothing else. Let me say it in this way: You-1 knows only misery and agony. You-3 knows ecstasy of being and joy of being. And You-2 neither knows ecstasy nor knows agony. It knows pleasure/pain, it is just in the middle. Ecstasy is exceeding joy without any bounds to it, infinite joy. Agony is infinite misery, no bounds to it. Just between the two exists the animal and the child. It knows play, it knows pleasure/pain. It knows neither agony nor ecstasy. It does not know infinity.

If the child moves towards the first, which society forces him to do, he will know agony. If he finds somebody who can help to move him towards the third, he will know ecstasy. To find a master is nothing but to find a man who has known his essential being, so that he can help you to go towards your own essential being.

A master is not to be followed, a master is not to be imitated, a master is only to be understood. In that very understanding is the revolution.

A man’s true life is the way in which he puts off the lie imposed by others on him. Stripped, naked, natural, he is what he is. This is a matter of being, and not of becoming. The lie cannot become the truth, the personality cannot become your soul. There is no way to make the non-essential the essential. The non-essential remains non-essential and the essential remains essential, they are not convertible. And striving towards truth is nothing but creating more confusion. The truth has not to be achieved. It cannot be achieved, it is already the case. Only the lie has to be dropped.

All aims and ends and ideals and goals and ideologies, religions and systems of improvement and betterment, are lies. Beware of them. Recognize the fact that as you are, you are a lie. Manipulated, cultivated, by others. Striving after truth is a distraction and a postponement. It is the lie’s way to hide. See the lie, look deep into the lie of your personality. Because to see the lie is to cease to lie. No longer to lie is to seek no more for any truth – there is no need. The moment the lie disappears, truth is there in all its beauty and radiance. In the seeing of the lie it disappears and what is left is the truth.

To see the lie of striving after truth is to fall into an eternal silence. A stillness comes when you see the lie of your personality. There is nothing more to do. Hence the stillness – what can you do?

Just the other night, a sannyasin was saying ‘What can I do? Whatsoever I do, I fail. What can I do?’ There is nothing really to be done. Doing is not going to help, doing will be again the same rut. Only being is going to transform you, not doing. So when one fails again and again and again, only then the insight arises that ‘Doing is never going to lead me anywhere.’ The day that sword has hit you – that ‘Doing is not going to lead me anywhere’ – what will you do? Nothing is left to do.

In your utter helplessness, the surrender. And silence and stillness. This is the silence that transforms – not the silence that somehow you impose upon yourself by repeating a mantra or doing TM; that is not the real silence, that is a created silence. Any silence that you manage to create will belong to the personality. It will not be of much use, it will not go deeper than that – how can your doing go deeper than you? When you have utterly failed, when you have seen your ultimate failure and you have seen that there is no possibility and no hope for you to succeed, what will you do in that silence? You will just be there. All has stopped. The mind no more spins any thoughts.

And in that very moment the door opens. And that silence is being, that silence is Buddha.

This stillness is not the opposite of action, it is not brought about by will or by withdrawal from the world. One cannot withdraw from the world; one is the world. The want to escape keeps us imprisoned – because the wish to be without desire is still desire, and the will to be still is disturbance. You cannot will your silence, will is the base of all disturbance. Will has to disappear. You can only see into the futility of it. Doing, willing, improving, bettering yourself, achieving, reaching – all these words are just projections of the lie.

When the lie has been seen in its totality . . . the illumination, the enlightenment.

Now Hakuin’s sutras.

The pure land paradise is not far.

Zen people call the state of no-mind ‘the pure land paradise’. So please don’t interpret it in Christian ways. Paradise, to a Christian, is somewhere there in the sky. For a Buddhist, particularly for a man like Hakuin, it is the state of no-mind.

The pure land paradise is not far.

Stop thinking and you are there. And in fact that is the Biblical meaning of the parable of Adam’s expulsion. He has not been expelled, there is nobody to expel him. He has only eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge – he has become a mind. The more knowledge you accumulate, the more of a mind you become. Adam has become knowledgeable, he has become a mind, and that is the expulsion from the paradise. If he can drop his mind he will suddenly find himself again in the paradise, and he will also find that he has been always there. Even when he was thinking he had lost it, it was not lost. It was only forgotten. He became too much obsessed with knowledge, that’s why it was forgotten.

The day the child starts becoming knowledgeable he loses paradise. Each Adam loses it again and again. And don’t think that it happened once in history, and we are suffering for that ancient Adam. No. It has happened to our life – to each life, to each child. For a few months the child lives in the Garden of Eden. He knows nothing. Without knowing, he is a no-mind – he simply exists moment to moment, he has no worries. When he feels hungry, he cries, when he feels satisfied, he falls asleep. When he is happy, he smiles, when he is angry he screams. But he has no ideas about anything. He neither praises a smile nor condemns screaming. He neither feels shy about crying and weeping nor feels very good that he has been a good boy today. He knows nothing about all this nonsense. He knows nothing good, nothing bad, he makes no distinctions. He lives utterly one with reality. And whatsoever happens, happens; there is no rejection.

But by and by he will become knowledgeable, he will start learning things. The day he starts learning things he is trapped by the snake. Now he has started eating the fruit of the tree, sooner or later the paradise will disappear. Beaches will be there but no more beautiful. Butterflies will be still floating in the wind but for the child they don’t exist anymore. What exists is arithmetic, geography, history. Flowers still bloom but they don’t bloom for the child any more, he is too much into his homework. Once in a while still he hears the bird singing on the window, but only once in a while. And the whole society tries to drag him away from that.

The teacher will say ‘Look here at the blackboard! What are you doing there? Concentrate on me!’ The child was concentrating. The birdcall was so beautiful outside the window, the child was in concentration, utter concentration. This teacher has distracted him; now he has to look at the blackboard. And there is nothing to look at it, just a blackboard. But by and by we will manage to distract the child.

The expulsion is not by God but by the society. The society drags each Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. And once you have become too much of the head it is very difficult to enter back into that purity, that pure land paradise. Zen masters say, just like Jesus said: Unless you are like small children you will not enter into the kingdom of God.

A Christian missionary went to a Zen master and started reading the Sermon on the Mount. The Zen master listened and he said ‘Whosoever has said it must be very close to Buddhahood.’ The Zen master had never heard about Christ, he had never read the Bible, but he said ‘Whosoever has said it must be very close to Buddhahood.’ And when the missionary read ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God’ the Zen master said ‘Now stop. Now there is no more to read. Now there is no need to read any more. Whosoever has said it is a Buddha.’

‘Poor in spirit’ means empty of mind. ‘Poor in spirit’ means empty – all thoughts have disappeared. Then you are again back in paradise.

The pure land paradise is not far.

It is just there! Beating in your heart. Your each breath goes and touches the pure land paradise, each moment. You live from it. Every night when you fall asleep and dreams disappear, you are in it again. That’s why in the morning you feel so fresh, again young, rejuvenated. You have been on a short trip to the pure land paradise.

When in reverence this truth is heard even once,
He who praises it and gladly embraces it
Has merit without end.

Hakuin says ‘When in reverence this truth is heard even once.’ The question is not of hearing the truth many times. If you hear even once, if you have understood it even for a single moment in deep trust and reverence, it is yours forever. Doubt distracts. Doubt does not allow you to understand, doubt does not allow you to see it. Listen in reverence, in love. Be en rapport.

That is the way to be with a master – be en rapport, be bridged. But small things, very small things, distract you. Very small things which mean nothing – but you are distracted by those small things, and doubt arises. And doubt becomes a cloud and you become blind.

. . . In reverence this truth is heard even once,

It is enough.

How much more he who turns within . . .

Even hearing the truth is a deliverance. ‘How much more he who turns within’ – who not only hears it but looks within and sees it . . .

And confirms directly his own nature,
That his own nature is no-nature . . .

When you look deep into yourself you will not find anything there obstructing your vision. It is pure space. Your nature is no-nature. It is emptiness, sunyata.

Such has transcended vain words.

Only when you look into your nature . . . and find nothing. You only find an empty infinity there. Words will not have any meaning any more, you have transcended words. You have looked into your nature and now you know no word can explain it, no word can define it, no word can even indicate it. All scriptures become meaningless.

The gate opens, and cause and effect are one . . .

When you look inside yourself and there is no content, and the no-nature has been felt and you have seen your inner sky . . .

The gate opens, and cause and effect are one.

And the source and the goal are one. Now you are not to go anywhere, you have come to your source. And to be at the source is to be at the goal. To be at the beginning is to be at the end.

Straight runs the way – not two, not three.
Taking as form the form of no-form,
Going or returning, he is ever at home.

And once you have seen the form of no-form, once you have seen the thought of no-thought, once you have seen the nature of no-nature, you are a totally new being. What happens . . .

Going or returning, he is ever at home.

Then wherever you are, you are at home. In the prison you are at home, in the temple you are at home, in the shop you are at home, in the Himalayas you are at home, in the marketplace you are at home. You are simply at home. once you have seen your center, your essential being, your Buddhahood, has been glimpsed. Then wherever you are you are at home, because all is your home. Then there is no need to leave the world.

Zen people are not against the world. They say: To be against the world is still to be attached to the world. To go to the opposite extreme is not transformation. When you no more choose between two extremes, you settle in the middle. And the middle is the way.

Straight runs the way – not two, not three.

It is a simple way – one.

Going or returning, he is ever at home.
Taking as thought the thought of no-thought,
Singing and dancing, all is the voice of truth.

Then whatsoever you do, you express truth. Whatsoever. Eating, you express truth. Walking, you express truth. When a Zen master hits a disciple he is expressing truth. When Kabir sings he is expressing truth, when Meera dances she is expressing truth. Jesus expresses truth dying on the cross, and Krishna expresses truth singing on his flute. Whatsoever you do, there is no way to avoid expressing truth. You are truth. The lie has been dropped.

Singing and dancing, all is the voice of truth.
Wide is the heaven of boundless samadhi,
Radiant the full moon of fourfold wisdom.
What remains to be sought?
Nirvana is clear before him,
This very place the lotus paradise,
This very body the buddha.

Remember the word ‘This’.

This very place the lotus paradise

And once you have known your source, wherever you are, you are in the lotus paradise.

This very place the lotus paradise,
And this very body the buddha.

And whatsoever you do – whatsoever, without any conditions – is the expression of truth.

I have heard a beautiful story about Roshi Taji, a great Zen master.

As Roshi Taji approached death, his senior disciples assembled at his bedside. One of them, remembering the roshi was fond of a certain kind of cake, had spent half a day searching the pastry shops of Tokyo for this confection which he now presented to Roshi Taji. With a wan smile the dying roshi accepted a piece of the cake and slowly began munching it. As the roshi grew weaker, his disciples leaned close and inquired whether he had any final words for them.

‘Yes’ the roshi replied.

The disciples leaned forward eagerly. ‘Please tell us!’

‘My, but this cake is delicious!’ And with that he died.

Meditate over it. What a man! What manner of man! A Buddha. Each act and each word and each gesture becomes the expression of truth. In that moment only that was true, the taste of the cake. In that moment anything else would have been false, untrue. If he had talked about God, that would not have been true. If he had talked about nirvana, that would not have been true. In that moment the taste on his tongue was still alive. In that moment that was his authentic gesture.

He said ‘My, but this cake is delicious.’ This cake.

This very place the lotus paradise,
This very body the buddha.

Zen people talk about four wisdoms.

Wide is the heaven of boundless samadhi,
Radiant the full moon of the fourfold wisdom.

The first wisdom is called ‘the wisdom of the mirror’. When there is no thought you become a mirror. This is the first wisdom, becoming like a mirror. The second wisdom is called ‘the wisdom of sameness’. When you become a mirror without any thought, all distinctions in the world disappear. Then it is all one. Then the rose and the bird and the earth and the sky and the sea and the sand and the sun are all one, it is one energy.

When you are a mirror – the first wisdom – the second wisdom arises out of the first: the wisdom of sameness. Duality disappears. And out of the second arises the third wisdom, the wisdom of spiritual vision. When you have seen that all over the world it is one energy, then only can you see inside yourself that you are also that energy. Then the seer and the seen become one, the observer and the observed become one. That is the third wisdom, the wisdom of spiritual vision. Buddha has a special word for it, he calls it dhamma chakkhu – the eye for truth, or the truth-eye. The spiritual vision opens – what yogis call ‘the third eye’. What Christ also calls ‘the one eye’, when two eyes become one. Dhamma chakkhu opens, the wisdom of spiritual vision is attained.

And out of the third arises the fourth, the wisdom of perfection. When you have seen that all is the same, and when you have looked within and seen that without and within are also the same, you have become perfect. In fact, to say that you have become perfect is not true, you have always been perfect. Now it is revealed to you – it is only a revelation. In that moment one knows . . .

This very place the lotus paradise,
This very body the buddha.

-Osho

From This Very Body the Buddha, Discourse #6

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com  or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

So Much Magnificence – Osho

The darkness of night is coming along fast,
And the shadows of love
Close in the body and the mind. 
Open the window to the West, and disappear
Into the air inside you.
 

Near your breastbone there is an open flower.
Drink the honey that is all around that flower.
Waves are coming in:
There is so much magnificence near the ocean. 
Listen: Sound of immense seashells! Sound of bells
Kabir says, ‘Friend, listen,
This is what I have to say:
The guest I love is inside me!’
 
Friend, hope for the guest while you are alive. 
Jump into experience while you are alive. 
Think and think while you are alive. 
What you call ‘salvation’
Belongs to the time before death. 
If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
Do you think ghosts
Will do it after? 

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
Just because the body is rotten –
That is all fantasy. 
What is found is found then. 
If you find nothing now, you will simply end up
With an apartment in the city of death.

And if you make love with the divine now,
In the next life you will have the face
Of satisfied desire. 
Then plunge into the truth,
Find out who the teacher is,
Believe in the great sound!
 
Kabir says this:
‘When the guest is being searched for, it is the
Intensity of the longing for the guest
That does all the work.
 
Look at me…
You will see a slave of that intensity.’

-Kabir

As seen in Osho’s book on Kabir, The Revolution, Discourse #9

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com  or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

The Tale of a Ring-Tail

When I returned to Madagascar from Mauritius, I encouraged Andre, a Malagasy guy who had run the reception at the Cultural Center, to leave Madagascar. He was a fine musician and I encouraged him to go to La Reunion and join up with the jazz family. I knew it was very difficult for someone to leave their native land, especially the first time, so I encouraged him as much as I could. In fact, eventually, he did make the jump. The only thing I ever heard about him was from Ginger, the guy I went to Fort Dauphin and traveled on to La Reunion with. I received a letter from him telling me that he had run into Andre in Bombay. I don’t know anything more about what happened to him. I wish you the best Andre.

I had made plans to teach one more term at the Center, after returning to Madagascar and making a trip to Tulear in the southwest of the country. This was a solo trip for me, and on this trip, I met one of my best friends in Madagascar. I traveled to the south by my usual means of transport, hitchhiking. While waiting for the next ride out of a small village, I was offered a ring-tailed lemur for sale. He was a young male that they had on a rope leash. I paid not more than a couple of dollars, if that. Still, that didn’t make me any less annoyed when shortly after buying him he got away and went up a tree. Eventually, he was retrieved. I was sure that his fate with me would be better than it would be staying around that village. When the next truck came through town, Maki, which is what I decided to call him because that’s the Malagasy word for this kind of lemur, and I headed out. I kept hold of his leash and he kept hold of my hair, perched on my shoulders, his back feet on my shoulders and his chin resting on the top of my head with his little primate hands holding my hair.

This could be Maki.

Ring-tailed lemurs also like to sit in their own yoga posture. They sit up straight with their arms outstretched and palms facing outwards, as if they are warming their hands. I saw Maki do this in front of a fire made to keep us warm while traveling with the trucks and I also saw him do it many times as the sun was setting.

Lemurs are unique to Madagascar. This is because they developed before Madagascar split off from the African coast and also before predators evolved. This left them in relative safety on the island of Madagascar, whereas on the African continent they were wiped out. I always describe them as part dog, part cat, and of course, part monkey. The monkey part is obvious: the tail, climbing in trees, jumping from tree to tree. Their fur is soft like a cat, not at all coarse and they make a sound that is quite similar to purring. As to the dog similarity: they make a kind of dog bark and their heads are more dog like. Ring-tails have an elongated snout much more like a dog.

We made friends right away. Well not right away, first we had a crisis. We were walking down a dusty trail and he kept holding onto my hair. This was a habit that I was trying to break. In a moment of unawareness and annoyance, I pulled on the leash and almost threw Maki to the ground. The entire world came to a halt. I was shocked and he was shocked. He remained still and I prayed that he was okay. After what seemed like a few minutes, but was probably no more than a few seconds, he revived. After that I never lost my temper with Maki again and he never pulled on my hair.

When it was time to return to Tana, I took a train from Fianarantsoa. I had to hide Maki under my clothes because one was not allowed to travel with a lemur. He was very accommodating. He just snuggled up and no one knew about the secret passenger. At our house in Tana, he was not kept on a leash and was free to roam the neighborhood, much to the dismay of some of our neighbors. He did like to go in through their windows and help himself to fruit. But mostly the neighbors were quite fond of Maki. In general, the Malagasy respect their forest friends. The endangering of the lemur population is not due to a direct threat from humans but the indirect threat of loss of habitat. At night Maki slept with me, lying above my head on the pillow.

One day Maki went missing. Voahangy and I walked the neighborhood with her asking everyone if they had seen him. We could follow his path with one person pointing us on to the next that had seen him. We eventually found him. Some Malagasy had become too fond of him and had tied him up. He was happy to be liberated. When I left Madagascar, I entrusted Maki to the lady who shopped and cooked lunch for us. She had grown very fond of him. Unfortunately, Maki used to like to tease dogs. They would charge him and he would jump straight up in the air about four feet high and they would run through where he had just been. When he landed the dog would turn around for another go. Apparently, he did this once too often and a dog got hold of him by the back and gave him a pretty good bite. He died from the wound. Rest in peace, Maki.

-purushottama

This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Download a PDF or order the book Here.

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