Featured

From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva

Now available in four versions (see below).

From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva is a travelogue of the heart, a diary of the soul, and a handbook for meditation. Combining From Lemurs to Lamas with the author’s second book, Here to Now and Behind, and adding some new content, makes this a collection of stories, essays, poems, and insights spanning more than fifty years of inquiry.

The book first relates stories of the mysteries of life and travels on an overland journey through Africa, Madagascar, Nepal, and India, finally arriving at the Shree Rajneesh Ashram in Poona. There are stories of the magic of Being in the Poona ashram, the opening of a Rajneesh Meditation Center in the heart of the USA, and the transformation of living life to its fullest in Osho’s Rajneeshpuram, Oregon commune of Wild Wild Country fame.

In addition to the stories of the journey to Osho, and life in his communes, the book relates stories of meeting several masters, teachers, and misfits, including: the 16th Karmapa, Jean Klein, U.G. Krishnamurti, and Vimala Thakar.

Layered throughout the book are essays, poems, insights, and photos that have occurred along the Way, on this journey, Here to Now and Behind.

From the Foreword:

As the editor of From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva, I have had the pleasure of reading this book several times, from varying perspectives. I coined the term ‘mediting’ to describe attempts to really get to the meaning of the more potent essays. Before I could even attempt to consider what little tweaks I could make to optimize readability and comprehension, I had to first accept the invitation to consider a slew of questions that occur on the pathless path.

Purushottama from at an early age experiences the futility of a life spent in the material world, the outer world where ambition, wealth, power, etc. beckon. He has a glimpse of the riches found in the interior, through grace, through LSD, through discovering a heart connection with Meher Baba. This prompts a leap into the unknown – into a life of more immediate experience – embarking on a journey that took him to India where he met the living master he sought.

From Lemurs to Lamas details the insights that occur in all stages of his life. Descriptions of life in the Buddhafield that emanated from Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later named Osho, evoke the very presence itself, the magic and the melting. Every aspect of life in the ashram in Poona, India, and later at the ranch in Oregon — from the therapy groups to the actual assigned job to interactions with fellow workers and bosses, not to mention daily discourses and occasional darshans – supported a deeper understanding and an opening of the heart.

The second section of this book distinctly turns from out to in. The gifts of the master and commune have been embraced and internalized. Now Purushottama finds the inner guru. His musings, poetic expressions, aphorisms, and essays are compelling. He thoroughly examines the questions that arise from his inward exploration, for example, what is turning in.  With impeccable logic he uncovers the meaning of I am not the body. He acknowledges the human desire to help others and illuminates the pitfalls of such intent.

The most significant overarching theme, however, is the steady encouragement for each of us to begin the journey, or to pick it up again if it has paused, that permeates these essays. He so clearly conveys that in meditation one is always beginning for it is the reverse of accumulation. Wherever we are on the journey is the place to begin.

-Amido

Now available in four versions.

The two paperback editions and the Kindle e-book are available from these Amazon sites: Amazon.com; Amazon.in; Amazon.co.uk; Amazon.de; Amazon.fr; Amazon.es; Amazon.nl; Amazon.co.jp; Amazon.com.br; Amazon.ca.

Special Color Photo Edition, $29.95

and

Paperback (B&W Photos), $12.95

Kindle E-Book, $7.95

and

PDF for Download

 

 

 

I am Taking Notes on Your Heart

The following is an excerpt from Anando’s book, Osho: Intimate Glimpses.

What happened in these sessions?

‘I am writing notes on your heart,’ Osho said softly, as his finger traced seemingly random patterns on my chest. Once rubbing hard, he said, ‘Take note, Anando, this will be a signature for centuries to remember.’

‘I am doing telegraphy on a heart.’

‘What a notebook, that breathes! I can only write on a notebook that breathes.’

‘I am writing my notes in flesh and bones.’

‘I am writing notes to one who is crying.’

‘I am taking notes on your heart. Can’t you understand, Anando? Take note.’

I didn’t understand.

The ‘note’ giving was happening in a series of dental sessions in the last years Osho was in the body. There were 115 sessions altogether that I was present for, from May 1988 through to September 1989. Each one lasted around an hour, sometimes longer.

I was in in the most privileged position I could imagine, sitting at the right side of my master opposite his chest, in contact with his body. But it wasn’t always fun. Or easy. At times, that gentle finger on my heart became a fist and thumped so hard that it almost knocked me off the stool I was perched on. Three thumps, each accompanied by a single word said so forcefull that it penetrated to my very core. ‘Just! . . . Be! . . . Here!’

He told us that the dental sessions were just an excuse to work on the few of us present. ‘I am trying even in my difficulties to work on everyone of you, although I pretend that you are working on me.’

‘Am I a patient? I wonder. A doctor surrounded by patients.’

He loved us in a way none of us had ever been loved before, but he did not spare our egos. And he didn’t hesitate to expose our unconscious blind spots. It was master laser surgery—precise, and massively uncomfortable.

That was the point of course—to shake us out of our comfort zones, to expose the unconscious blind spots that attached us to our identities and ran our lives. It was what we had all come to him for, but when it was actually happening, I was not at all sure I wanted it.

‘You are the fortunate ones who can be so close to my consciousness,’ he said. Well, when we were in his line of fire, I am not so sure we did feel fortunate. I certainly didn’t, in those precise moments.

He knew he had only a short time left in the body and he said he was determined to work on us until the last moment. ‘Perhaps after my death too, I will have to work on all of you. One day I will have to leave the body. I am just hanging around. You have all loved me and I don’t want to leave you in the middle. My work is finished as far as I am concerned.’

He had a couple of basic themes in these sessions. At one time or another, all of us were told to watch our unconscious desire to be wanted, our unconscious asking to be needed by him. He said it was basically a problem with the female mind, but at times he said both the men—Amrito and Geet—were also asking to be needed. Another favorite theme was reminding us to be present (or rather, reminding us that we were not present). And reminding us that our place was our place, and we couldn’t change with anyone else—we could only be our own individual selves.

Then he hit our individual selves.

‘I am,’ he said with a chuckle, ‘ultimately your master. I know each of you to your very heart.

The devoted doctor sitting on the floor at his feet was often asked to stand up, and then immediately told to sit down again. Just like that, for no reason. ‘You are a scholar . . .’ Osho sometimes told him, which was about the biggest insult imaginable in our milieu. Osho also chuckled at what he called Amrito’s constant stumbling. And he commented on his drinking. (Amrito was somewhat partial to gin and tonic.)

The dentist, who was of course somewhat nervous and tense trying to do his most perfect work, was tortured for exactly that. He was focused on being a dentist, but Osho was being a master. So the dentist’s ego was hit over and over. Fortunately, Geet was also a devoted disciple.

Osho would constantly drive Geet to the point of frustration by refusing to comply with his requests to ‘Open’ or’Bite’, and then say to him, ‘Geet you are working with anger. Can you see your anger?’ Or, ‘Please do your job perfectly. You are not.’ Or, ‘Just do the best, Geet. I don’t settle for the small, the mediocre.’

He also worked on the fear and caution of Geet and the dental assistants, Ashu and Nityamo, constantly prodding them to increase the level of the nitrous gas, whatever the cost to his own life. He said he wanted to test them to see if they were ready to go to their maximum. ‘I wanted to test Devageet. I am still saying, Devageet, don’t be worried about death.

He hit Ashu for being hard like Stalin, and Nityamo for not being present or for fear of going to her maximum.

His strongest hits, however, were reserved for Shunyo and myself. He honed in on the collective unconscious of women—the need to be loved and needed.

‘I am hard because I love you . . . I may say things that may hurt. I say them because I love you, and I want you to be individuals on your own. This whole idea of “wanting” is slavery, but man has forced the condition on women for thousands of years. But I am also determined to destroy this conditioning, at least in a few women.

At first, he started on Shunyo, saying continually, ‘Yes, I love you. So stop asking.’ She of course had been silent, like all of us. But he said he could hear her asking over and over, ‘Do you love me?’ and it was driving him crazy. He kept sending her out of the room, and I have to confess I felt relieved that it was her and not me. However, having finally banished her from the sessions, he then started on me.

‘Just wait, Anando. Your turn will come. I am not even finished yet with Shunyo. I want you even to be finished by yourself. Just Be! Burn! Just be a flame.’

As I was stubborn, however, it took me quite some time to get the point. ‘Can’t you read your own unconscious men?’ he asked me. Well, the answer was that at that time I couldn’t.

In fact, it took a massive hammering . . .

I am ashamed to admit it, but as soon as he started saying that now he could near me also unconsciously asking whether he loved me, I just got up and left the room. Why wait to be thrown out? I thought. I was much too proud. I was immediately called back in, but not before I had had a glimpse of my unbelievable arrogance and pride. But Osho was amazingly patient. And compassionate.

But don’t think for a minute that compassion meant pity—no way. He was determined to crack this deep unconscious pattern, something he said had been in the collective unconscious of women for centuries.

I was still being resistant. My whole identity was built around my belief that I was independent and didn’t need anyone. But, as I realized later, that was just a protection, a cover-up for a longing for love that I felt I didn’t deserve and would never get.

At the time, however, I didn’t appreciate being told that I was also asking to be loved. In fact, I was so pissed off about having that particular layer of my unconscious uncovered that I becam quite rebellious, and it wasn’t until Osho thew me out of his house for a day that I was ready to look at the matter seriously.

What happened is that Shunyo and I were told to pack up and leave Osho’s house because our unconscious asking was driving him crazy. Leave our privileged room is Lao Tzu House? That finally got my attention. During the move, which had to happen immediately, I finally touched the deep vulnerability and need he had been speaking about.

I was humbled—no, more than humbled; I was completely dismantled. I felt pieces inside me shattering, without the faintest idea of what was going on. There was just a feeling of a deep shift inside and at the end—fortunately and like a blessing—a beautiful peace. A few minutes later, I was unpacking in my new room, Amrito came with the message we could move back into his house.

In the dental sessions, Osho generally had his eyes closed. So I took advantage and closed mine also, unless he was speaking. However, occasionally he would open his eyes and if he saw that  my eyes were closed he would laugh and say with a chuckle, ‘Anando, again meditating’—obviously knowing that I was dozing rather than meditating. Once he said, ‘Anando, don’t close your eyes while I am alive.’

I remember the last week he was in the body, when either his doctor or I were always with him, twenty-four hours a day, as his body was so fragile that he used to fall. He was mostly lying in bed with his eyes closed. I was on the ‘night shift’, and after accompanying him to and from his evening Namaste in Buddha Hall and putting him to bed, I would lie there in the darkened room with him.

It was very tempting to fall asleep, as I had done earlier in the year, when Osho first became too frail to be on his own. It sounds like a very privileged position to be in (and of course it was), but every hour or half hour throughout the whole night Osho would ask, ‘Anando, are you awake?” Previously, this had disturbed me and finally made me really annoyed, as I never got any sleep, and in fact, that was why I had told Osho for the second time that I couldn’t do that job anymore. But in those last nights of Osho’s being in the body—even though I was personally in denial that he was dying—something made me stay awake, and I was always very happy to be able to answer, ‘Yes, Osho, I am awake,’ without any of my old annoyance.

And I really was happy to be in that strange dark situation with him. Previously I used to think about the sleep I thought I needed, or the people I wanted to see, but in those last days, it was enough just to be there.

After he left the body, I was so grateful that those last vestiges of my resistance had completely melted away in that final period. What amazing compassion Osho had to ask me to come and be with him every night for that last week even though I had said ‘No” to that role before. I can imagine how devastated I would have felt if he had left and I was still unconsciously resisting him. In fact, a friend said Amrito told her that Osho had specifically called me back to the night shift in that last week because he knew he was leaving the body.

-Anando

From Osho: Intimate Glimpses, ppg. 36-39 and is available from Osho: Intimate Glimpses.

Zen is not a Theology – Osho

Zen is not a theology, it is a religion – and religion without a theology is a unique phenomenon. All other religions exist around the concept of God. They have theologies. They are God-centric not man-centric; man is not the end, God is the end. But not so for Zen. For Zen, man is the goal, man is the end unto himself God is not something above humanity, God is something hidden within humanity. Man is carrying God in himself as a potentiality.

So there is no concept of God in Zen. If you want you can say that it is not even a religion – because how can there be a religion without the concept of God? Certainly those who have been brought up as Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus, Jews, cannot conceive of what sort of religion Zen is. If there is no God then it becomes atheism. It is not. It is theism to the very core – but without a God.

This is the first fundamental to be understood. Let it sink deep within you, then things will become clear.

Zen says that God is not extrinsic to religion, it is intrinsic. It is not there, it is here. In fact there is no ‘there’ for Zen, all is here. And God is not then, God is now – and there is no other time. There is no other space, no other time. This moment is all. In this moment the whole existence converges, in this moment all is available. If you cannot see it that does not mean that it is not available – it simply means you don’t have the vision to see it. God has not to be searched for, you have only to open your eyes. God is already the case.

Prayer is irrelevant in Zen – to whom to pray? There is no God sitting there somewhere in the heavens and controlling life, existence. There is no controller. Life is moving in a harmony on its own accord. There is nobody outside it giving it commandments. When there is an outside authority, it creates a kind of slavery . . . a Christian becomes a slave, the same happens to a Mohammedan. When God is there commanding, you can be at the most a servant or a slave. You lose all dignity. Not so with Zen. Zen gives you tremendous dignity. There is no authority anywhere.

Freedom is utter and ultimate.

Had Friederich Nietzsche known anything about Zen he might have turned into a mystic rather than going mad. He had stumbled upon a great fact. He said, “There is no God. God is dead – and man is free.” But basically he was brought up in the world of the Jews and the Christians, a very narrow world, very much confined in concepts. He stumbled upon a great truth: “There is no God. God is dead, hence man is free.”  He stumbled upon the dignity of freedom, but it was too much. For his mind it was too much. He went mad, he went berserk. Had he known anything like Zen he would have turned into a mystic – there was no need to go mad.

One can be religious without a God. In fact, how can one be religious with a God? That is the question Zen asks, a very disturbing question. How can a man be religious with a God? – Because God will destroy your freedom, God will dominate you. You can look into the Old Testament. God says, ‘I am a very jealous God and I cannot tolerate any other God. Those who are not with me are against me. And I am a very violent and cruel God and I will punish you and you will be thrown into eternal hell fire. How can man be religious with such a God? How can you be free and how can you bloom? Without freedom there is no flowering. How can you come to your optimum manifestation when there is a God confining you, condemning you, forcing you this way and that, manipulating you?

Zen says that with God, man will remain a slave; with God, man will remain a worshipper; with God, man will remain in fear. In fear how can you bloom? You will shrink, you will become dry, you will start dying. Zen says that when there is no God there is tremendous freedom, there is no authority in existence. Hence there arises great responsibility. Look . . . if you are dominated by somebody you cannot feel responsible. Authority necessarily creates irresponsibility; authority creates resistance; authority creates reaction, rebellion, in you – you would like to kill God. That’s what Nietzsche means when he says God is dead – it is not that God has committed a suicide, he has been murdered.

He has to be murdered. With him there is no possibility to be free – only without him. But then Nietzsche became very afraid himself. To live without God needs great courage, to live without God needs great meditation, to live without God needs great awareness – that was not there. That’s why I say he stumbled upon the fact, it was not a discovery. He was groping in the dark.

For Zen it is a discovery. It is an established truth: there is no God. Man is responsible for himself and for the world he lives in. If there is suffering, you are responsible; there is nobody else to look to. You cannot throw off your responsibility. If the world is ugly and is in pain, we are responsible –there is nobody else. If we are not growing we cannot throw the responsibility on somebody else’s shoulders. We have to take the responsibility.

When there is no God you are thrown back to yourself. Growth happens. You have to grow. You have to take hold of your life; you have to take the reins in your own hands. Now you are the master. You have to be more alert and more aware because for whatsoever is going to happen you will be responsible. This gives great responsibility. One starts becoming more alert, more aware. One starts living in a totally different way. One becomes more watchful. One becomes a witness.

And when there is no beyond . . . The beyond is within you, there is no beyond beyond you. In Christianity the beyond is beyond; in Zen the beyond is within. So the question is not to raise your eyes towards the sky and pray – that is meaningless, you are praying to an empty sky. The sky is far lower in consciousness than you.

Somebody is praying to a tree . . . Many Hindus go and pray to a tree, many Hindus go to the Ganges and pray to the river, many pray to a stone statue, many pray towards the sky or many pray towards a concept, an idea. The higher is praying towards the lower. Prayer is meaningless.

Zen says: only meditation. It is not that you have to kneel down before somebody. Drop this old habit of slavery. All that is needed is that you have to become quiet and silent and go withinwards to find your centre. That very centre is the centre of existence too. When you have come to your innermost core you have come to the innermost core of existence itself. That’s what God is in Zen. But they don’t call it God. It is good that they don’t call it God.

So the first thing to remember is that Zen is not a theology, it is a religion – and that too with a tremendous difference. It is not a religion like Islam. There are three fundamentals in Islam: one God, one book, and one prophet. Zen has no God, no book, no prophet. The whole existence is God’s prophecy; the whole existence is his message.

And remember, God is not separate from this message either. This message itself is divine. There is no messenger – all that nonsense has been completely dropped by Zen. Theology arises with one book. It needs a Bible, it needs a holy Koran. It needs a book which pretends to be holy, it needs a book which tries to say that it is special – that no other book is like this, this is a Godsend, a gospel.

Zen says everything is divine so how can anything be special? All is special. Nothing is nonspecial so nothing can be special. Each leaf of every tree and each pebble on every shore is special, unique, holy. It is not that the Koran is holy, not that the Bible is holy. When a lover writes a letter to his beloved that letter is holy.

Zen brings holiness to ordinary life.

A great Zen Master, Bokoju, used to say, “How wondrous this. How mysterious. I carry fuel, I draw water.”

“How wondrous this. How mysterious.” Carrying fuel, drawing water from the well and he says, “How mysterious.” This is the Zen spirit. It transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. It transforms the profane into the sacred. It drops the division between the world and the divine.

That’s why I say it is not a theology. It is pure religion. Theology contaminates religion.There is no difference between a Mohammedan and a Christian and a Hindu as far as religion is concerned but there is great difference as far as theology is concerned. They have different theologies. People have been fighting because of theology.

Religion is one; theologies are many. Theology means the philosophy about God, the logic about God. It is all meaningless because there is no way to prove God – there is no way to disprove either. Argumentation is just irrelevant. Yes, one can experience but one cannot prove – and that’s what theology goes on doing. And theology goes on doing such stupid things – logic chopping. When you look at it from a distance you will laugh. It is so ridiculous.

In the Middle Ages, Christian theologians were very much concerned, very much troubled, puzzled about problems which will not look like problems to you. For example, how many angels can stand on the point of a needle? Books have been written about it – great argumentation.

Mulla Nasrudin, the owner of two lovebirds, sent for a veterinarian. “I’m worried about my birds,” he announced. “They haven’t gone potty all week.”

The doctor looked inside the cage and asked, “Do you always line this thing with maps of the earth?”

“No,” answered Mulla Nasrudin, “I put that in last Saturday when I was out of newspapers.”

“That explains it!” replied the vet. “Love-birds are very sensitive creatures. They’re holding back because they figure this planet earth has taken all the crap it can stand!”

Theology is crap. And because of theology, religion becomes poisoned. A really religious person has no theology. Yes, he has got the experience, he has the truth, he has that luminosity, but he has no theology. But theology has been of great help to scholars, pundits, the so-called learned people. It has been of great interest to the priests, to the popes, to the shankarcharyas. It has been of great benefit to them. Their whole business depends on it.

Zen cuts the very root. It destroys the very business of the priest. And that is one of the ugliest businesses in the world because it depends on a very great deception. The priest has not known and he goes on preaching; the theologian has not known but he goes on spinning theories. He is as ignorant as anybody else – maybe even more so. But his ignorance has become very, very articulate. His ignorance is very decorated – decorated with scriptures, decorated with theories; decorated so cunningly and cleverly that it is very difficult to detect the flaw. Theology has not been of any help to humanity but certainly it has helped many people: the priests. They have been able to exploit humanity in the name of foolish theories.

Two psychiatrists meeting in a busy restaurant got to talking and one said he was treating a rather interesting case of schizophrenia.

At that the other analyst balked. “What’s so interesting about that? Split-personality cases are rather common, I would say.” “This case is interesting,” responded his colleague. “They both pay!”

That’s how theologians have lived. Theology is politics. It divides people. And if you can divide people you can rule them.

Zen looks at humanity with undivided vision – it does not divide. It has a total look. That’s why I say that Zen is the religion of the future. Humanity is growing slowly towards that awareness where theology will be dropped and religion will be accepted purely as an experience.

In Japanese they have a special word for it. They call it konomama or sonomama – ‘Thisness’ of existence. This – capital ‘This’ – is it. This isness of life is God. It is not that God is, but the very isness is divine: the isness of a tree, the isness of a rock, the isness of a man, the isness of a woman, the isness of a child. And that isness is an undefined phenomenon,  undefinable. You can dissolve into it, you can merge into it, you can taste it. “How wondrous! How mysterious!”

But you cannot define it, you cannot pinpoint it logically, you cannot formulate it into clear-cut concepts. Concepts kill it. Then it is the isness no more. Then it is a mind-construction. The word God is not God, the concept God is not God. Neither is the concept love nor is the word food. Zen says a very simple thing. It says: remember that the menu is not the food. And don’t start eating the menu. That’s what people have been doing down the centuries: eating the menu.

And of course, if they are undernourished, if they are not flowing, if they are not vital, if they are not living totally, it is natural, it is predictable. They have not lived on real food. They have been talking too much about food and they have completely forgotten what food is. God has to be eaten, God has to be tasted, God has to be lived – not argued about.

The process of ‘about’ is theology. And that ‘about’ goes round and round, it never comes to the real thing. It is a vicious circle. Logic is a vicious circle. And Zen makes every effort to bring you out of that vicious circle.

How is logic a vicious circle? The premise already has the conclusion in it. The conclusion is not going to be something new, it is contained in the premise. And then in the conclusion the premise is contained. It is like a seed: the tree is contained in the seed and then the tree will give birth to many more seeds and in those seeds trees will be contained. It is a vicious circle:  seed, tree, seed. It goes on. Or, egg, hen, egg, hen, egg . . . it goes on ad infinitum. It is a circle.

To break out of this circle is what Zen is all about – not to go on moving in your mind through words and concepts but to drop into existence itself.

A great Zen Master, Nanin, was cutting a tree in the forest. And a professor of a university came to see him. Naturally the professor thought that this woodcutter must know where Nanin lived in the hills, so he enquired. The woodcutter took his axe in his hand and said, “I had to pay very much for it.”

The professor had not enquired about his axe. He was enquiring where Nanin lived; he was enquiring if he would be in the temple if he went there. And Nanin raised the axe and said, “Look, I had to pay very much for it.” The professor felt a little puzzled and before he could escape, Nanin came even closer and put his axe just on the head of the professor. The professor started trembling and Nanin said, “It is really sharp.” And the professor escaped.

Later on, when he reached the temple he came to know that the woodcutter was nobody but Nanin himself. Then he enquired, “Is he mad?”

“No,” the disciple said. “You had asked if Nanin was in and he was saying yes. He was showing his inness and isness. That moment he was a woodcutter; that moment, axe in his hand, he was totally absorbed in the sharpness of the axe. He was that sharpness in that moment. He was saying ‘I am in’ by being so immediate, by being so totally in the present. You missed the point. He was showing you the quality of Zen.”

Zen is non-conceptual, non-intellectual. It is the only religion in the world which preaches immediacy; moment to moment immediacy; to be present in the moment, no past, no future.

But people have lived with theologies. And those theologies keep them childish, they don’t allow them to grow. You cannot grow by being confined in a theology, by being a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan or even a Buddhist. You cannot grow; you don’t have space enough to grow. You are confined very much, in a very narrow space; you are imprisoned.

A young priest took a hundred thousand dollars from the church safe and lost it on the stock market. Then his beautiful wife left him. In despair he went down to the river and was just about to jump off the bridge when he was stopped by a woman in a black cloak with a wrinkled face and stringy gray hair.

“Don’t jump,” she rasped. “I’m a witch, and I’ll grant you three wishes if you do something for me!”

“I’m beyond help,” he replied.

“Don’t be silly,” she said. ,”Alakazam! The money is back in the church vault. Alakazam! Your wife is home waiting for you with love in her heart. Alakazam! You now have two hundred thousand dollars in the bank!”

“That’s w-w-wonderful,” stuttered the priest. “What do I have to do for you?”

“Spend the night making love to me.”

The thought of sleeping with the toothless old hag was repellent, but certainly worth it, so they retired to a nearby motel. In the morning, the distasteful ordeal over, the priest was dressing to go home when the bat in the bed said, “Say sonny, how old are you?”

“I’m forty-two!” he replied. “Why?”

“Ain’t you a little old to believe in witches?”

That’s what happens. If you believe in God you can believe in a witch, it is the same package. If you can believe in one kind of nonsense, you can believe in all kinds of nonsense. But you never grow. You remain juvenile.

Zen means maturity. Zen means drop all wishes and see what is the case. Don’t bring your dreams into reality. Clean your eyes completely of dreams so that you can see what is the case. That isness is called konomama or sonomama. Kono or sonomama means the isness of a thing – reality in its isness. All ideologies prevent you from seeing. Ideologies are all blindfolds, they obstruct your vision. A Christian cannot see, neither can a Hindu, nor a Mohammedan. Because you are so full of your ideas you go on seeing what you want to see, you go on seeing what is not there, you go on projecting, you go on interpreting, you go on creating a private reality of your own which is not there. This creates a sort of insanity. Out of a hundred of your so-called saints, ninety-nine are insane people.

Zen brings sanity to the world, utter sanity. It drops all ideologies. It says: “Be empty. Look without any idea. Look into the nature of things but with no idea, with no prejudice, with no pre-supposition.” Don’t be preoccupied – that is one of the fundamentals. So theology has to be dropped otherwise you remain preoccupied.

Can you see the point? If you have an idea, there is every possibility that you will find it in reality – because the mind is very, very creative. Of course, that creation will be only in imagination. If you are seeking Christ you may start having visions of Christ, and they will be all imaginary. If you are seeking Krishna you will start seeing Krishna, and they will be all imaginary.

Zen is very down-to-earth. It says that imagination has to be dropped. Imagination comes out of your past. From childhood you have been conditioned for certain ideas. From childhood you have been taken to the church, to the temple, to the mosque; you have been taken to the scholar, to the pundit, to the priest; you have been forced to listen to sermons – all kinds of things have been thrown into your minds. Burdened with all that, don’t come to reality – otherwise you will never come to know what reality is.

Unburden. That unburdening is Zen.

A minister of the Gospel was conducting religious services in an asylum for the insane. His discourse was suddenly interrupted by one of the inmates crying out wildly, “I say, have we got to listen to this tommyrot?”

The minister, surprised and confused, turned to the keeper and said, “Shall I stop speaking?”

The keeper replied, “No, no, keep right on, that won’t happen again, not at least for seven years. That man has only one sane moment every seven years.”

It is really very difficult to be sane in an insane world.

Zen is simple and yet difficult. Simple as far as Zen is concerned – it is the most simple thing, the simplest, because it is a spontaneous thing – but very difficult because of our conditioned minds, because of the insane world in which we live, by which we have been brought up, by which we have been corrupted.

The second thing: Zen is not a philosophy, it is poetry. It does not propose, it simply persuades. It does not argue, it simply sings its own song. It is aesthetic to the very core, it is not ascetic. It does not believe in being arrogant, aggressive, towards reality, it believes in love. It believes that if we participate with reality, reality reveals its secrets to us. It creates a participatory consciousness. It is poetry, it is pure poetry – just as it is pure religion.

Zen is very, very concerned with beauty – less concerned with truth, more concerned with beauty. Why? Because truth is a dry symbol. It is not only dry in itself but people who become too much concerned with truth become dry also. They start dying. Their hearts shrink, their juices flow no more. They become loveless, they become violent, and they start moving more and more in the head.

And Zen is not a head thing, it is a total thing. Not that the head is denied, but it has to be given its right place. It is not given any dominant status. It has to function with the totality. The guts are as important as the head, the feet are as important as the head, the heart is as important as the head. The total should function as an organism. Nobody should be dominated.

Philosophy is head-oriented; poetry is more total. Poetry has more flow to it. Poetry is more concerned about beauty. And beauty is non-violence and beauty is love and beauty is compassion.

The Zen seeker looks into reality to find out the beautiful . . . in the songs of the birds, in the trees, in the dance of a peacock, in the clouds, in the lightning, in the sea, in the sands. It tries to look for the beautiful.

Naturally, to look for the beautiful has a totally different impact. When you are searching for truth you are more male; when you are searching for beauty. you are more female. When you are searching for truth you are more concerned with reason; when you are searching for beauty you have to be more and more concerned with intuition. Zen is feminine. Poetry is feminine. Philosophy is very male, very aggressive. It is a male mind.

Zen is passive – that’s why in Zen, sitting became one of the most important meditations. Just sitting – zazen. Zen people say that if you simply sit doing nothing, things will happen. Things will happen on their own; you need not go after them, you need not seek them, you need not search for them. They will come. You simply sit. If you can sit silently, if you can fall into a tremendous restfulness, if you can ‘unlax’ yourself, if you can drop all tensions and become a silent pool of energy, going nowhere, searching nothing, God starts pouring into you. From everywhere God rushes towards you. Just sitting, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

And remember, when Zen says ‘just sitting’ it means just sitting – nothing else, not even a mantra. If you are repeating a mantra you are not just sitting, you are again getting into some tommyrot, again into some mind thing. If you are not doing anything whatsoever. . . . Thoughts are coming, coming; they are going, going – if they come, good; if they don’t come, good. You are not concerned with what is happening, you are simply sitting there. If you feel tired you lie down. If you feel your legs getting tense you spread them. You remain natural. Not even watching. Not making any effort of any kind. That’s what they mean by just sitting. Just sitting it happens.

Zen is the feminine approach and religion is basically feminine. Science is male, philosophy is male – religion is female. All that is beautiful in the world – poetry, painting, dance – has all come from the feminine mind.

It may not have come from women because women have not been free to create yet. Their days are coming. When Zen becomes more and more significant in the world, the feminine mind will have a great upsurge, a great explosion.

Things move in a togetherness. The past has been male-dominated – hence Islam and Christianity and Hinduism. The future is going to be more feminine, more soft, more passive, more relaxed, more aesthetic, more poetic. In that poetic atmosphere Zen will become the most significant thing in the world.

Philosophy is logic; poetry is love. Philosophy dissects, analyses; poetry synthesizes, puts things together. Philosophy is basically destructive; poetry is life-giving. Analysis is the method of philosophy – and it is the method of science, the method of psychoanalysts. Sooner or later psychoanalysis will have to be replaced by the more profound psychosynthesis. Assagioli is far more right than Sigmund Freud because synthesis is closer to truth. The world is one. It is a unity. Nothing is separate. Everything pulsates together. We are joined with each other, interlinked. The whole life is a net. Even the small leaf around this Chuang Tzu auditorium is joined with the farthest star. If something happens to this leaf something is going to happen to that farthest star too. Everything is together, this togetherness. Existence is a family.

Zen says don’t dissect, don’t analyze.

A farmer, who was a witness in a railroad case up in Vermont, was asked to tell in his own way how the accident happened.

“Well, Jake and me was walking down the track and I heard a whistle, and I got off the track and the train went by, and I got back on the track and I didn’t see Jake. But I walked along and pretty soon I seen Jake’s hat, and I walked on and I seen one of Jake’s laigs, and then I seen one of Jake’s arms, and then another laig, and then over on one side Jake’s head, and I says, ‘By crickey! Something musta happened to Jake!’”

That’s what has happened to humanity. Something has happened. Man has been cut into parts. There are now specialists: somebody takes care of the eyes and somebody takes care of the heart and somebody takes care of the head and somebody takes care of something else. Man is divided.

Zen says man is a total organism.

In modern science a new concept is becoming very prevalent – they call it androgeny. Buckminster Fuller has defined androgeny as the characteristic of a whole system, an organism. An organism has something which is not just the sum total of its parts. It is called synergetic – that is, more than the simple sum of its parts. When these parts are united in a functioning whole, in a working order, a synergetic dividend appears – the ‘tick’. You can open a clock and you separate everything – the tick disappears. You put the parts together again in a functioning order – the tick appears again. The tick is something very new. No single part can be made responsible for it; no single part had it. It is the whole that ticks.

That tick is the soul. You take my hand away, you take my leg away, you take my head away, and the tick disappears. The tick is the very soul. But the tick remains only in an organic unity.

God is the tick of this whole existence. You cannot find God by dissecting, God can be found only in a poetic vision of unity. God is a synergetic experience. Science can never reveal it; philosophy can never come to it – only a poetic approach, a very passive, a very loving approach, can. When you fall en rapport with existence, when you are no more separate as a seeker, when you are no more separate as a watcher, when you are no more separate as an observer, when you are lost into it, utterly lost it is there, the tick.

The third thing: Zen is not science but magic. But it is not the magic of the magicians, it is magic as a way to look into life. Science is intellectual. It is an effort to destroy the mystery of life. It kills the wonder. It is against the miraculous. Zen is all for it – for the miraculous, for the mysterious.

The life mystery has not to be solved because it cannot be solved. It has to be lived. One has to move into it, cherish it. It is a great joy that life is a mystery. It has to be celebrated.

Zen is magic. It gives you the key to open the miraculous. And the miraculous is in you and the key is also in you.

When you come to a Zen Master he simply helps you to be silent so that you can find your key which you are carrying all along the way, and you can find your door – which is there – and you can enter into your own innermost shrine.

And the last fundamental: Zen is not morality, it is aesthetics. It does not impose a code of morality, it does not give you any commandments: do this, don’t do that. It simply makes you more sensitive towards the beautiful, and that very sensitivity becomes your morality. But then it arises out of you, out of your consciousness, Zen does not give you any conscience as against consciousness; it simply gives you more consciousness and your more consciousness becomes your conscience. Then it is not that Moses gives you a commandment, it is not that it comes from the Bible or Koran or Vedas . . . it is not coming from outside. It comes from your innermost core.

And when it comes from there it is not slavery, it is freedom. When it comes from there it is not that you are doing it as a duty, reluctantly. You enjoy doing it. It becomes your love.

-Osho

Excerpt from Zen: The Path of Paradox, V.1, Discourse #1

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 World of the Gurus has Ended – Osho

My Friends and my Fellow Travelers,

I would have loved to use the Urdu words for the same, because they have a depth and a poetry . . . even the very sound of them rings bells in the heart. The ordinary meaning is the same: my friends, my fellow travelers. But I have a very insistent feeling within me to give you the most pregnant words.

Those words are: Mehre hamsafar means “my fellow travelers.” Mehre hamdham means “my heart.” Mehre dost means “my friend.” But such a vast difference . . .

English has become more and more prose and less and less poetry, for the simple reason that it has been serving scientific and objective technological progress. It has to be definite, it cannot be poetic.

You cannot write mathematics into poetry; neither physics, nor chemistry. Because of this predominant factor of science and technology, English has lost its glamor, its splendor, its music. It has to gain it back, because the objective side of life is not enough. Unless your heart is moved, the words are not very much pregnant with meaning and significance.

These five days have been of immense significance. It can be said that almost never in the history of man has such a phenomenon happened. This has been the deep search of meditators for thousands of years that once a man becomes enlightened, once a man becomes full of light and knows his own eternity, he disappears into the ultimate, into the cosmos. He cannot come again through the womb of a woman. He has no desires, he has no longings. He no longer has any of the passions which drag human souls again and again to the birth and death cycle.

But once a man has gone beyond all these mind-produced desires, greed, and anger and violence, once one has come to the very center of his being, he is liberated. Liberated from himself, liberated from the body, liberated from the mind. For the first time he understands that the body will be only a prison. Now that his intuition has absolute clarity he can see that the body is nothing but disease and death – maybe a few moments of pleasure, which go on keeping you in the body in the hope that more pleasure… But soon one realizes, if one has intelligence, that those pleasures are very phenomenal, illusory, just made of the same stuff as dreams are made of.

The moment this recognition happens, your life energy simply opens its wings and flies into the open sky of the cosmos, to dissolve into the ultimate.

But Gautam Buddha is an exception.

In the form of a beautiful story, it is said that when Gautam Buddha died he reached the gates of paradise. There was so much ceremony to receive him, but he refused to enter. He insisted, “Until every human being passes through the gates of paradise I cannot come in. It is against my compassion.”

At the last moment of his death he has predicted that he will be coming back after twenty-five centuries. Of course, he can come only in one way, and that is to possess somebody’s body; the womb is no longer possible for him.

For seven weeks continuously I was witnessing a fire test. Each moment seemed to be the last, and each breath going out was not promising that it would be coming back. In those seven weeks, seven times my heart showed symptoms of failure.

My physician Amrito, at the seventh stroke thought that this was the end. I told him, “The cardiogram can show you how many beats I have missed, but it cannot show you that I am not the heart – I am the witness behind it. And my source of life is not the heart or the body; my source of life is existence itself. I trust in existence, and I trust that this seven weeks’ long dark night will end.”

I would have never told you, but due to Katue Ishida… a woman who has not known me, has just seen my picture and my eyes, and a woman who is a well-known seer and prophetess but rarely speaks. Very rarely people come to her ancient Shinto temple in the forest to ask questions, about their destinies, their future. And most of the time she remains silent; she speaks only when she feels, “Now existence is taking possession of me. I am not speaking; I am only allowing the existence to speak through me.”

My Japanese translator, Geeta, has been informing her of everything that has happened in these five tremendously meaningful days. Because of her prophecy that Gautam Buddha has taken possession of my body as a vehicle, I had to admit the truth. But I had also expressed to her that my individuality and Gautam Buddha’s individuality are twenty-five centuries apart. He was an individualist – I am a greater individualist. I can be the host, but the guest has to remember that he is not my master.

I have never accepted anybody as my master. It has taken me very long to find out myself, but I am immensely happy that I don’t have even to say a ‘thank you’ to anyone. The search has been absolutely alone, tremendously dangerous.

And there are opinions in which I am bound to differ from Gautam Buddha. Four days he stayed with me, and saw clearly that there is no possibility of any compromise.

Compromise always leads you away from the truth. Truth cannot be a compromise – either you know it or you don’t.

Geeta informed Ishida, and she was very much afraid: how will the woman feel? But the woman proved to be of tremendous power. She said, “It does not matter. I love your master and I absolutely agree to whatsoever has happened.” And then she suddenly started crying.

Geeta asked her, “Why are you crying?”

She said, “There are no words. For the first time… continuously, for five days, I have been speaking about your master, and I know nothing of him. I have not read his books, I have just seen his eyes, and a door within me has opened and almost like a flood I have been speaking. This is for the first time in my whole life…” She is in a hurry to come.

But the seven weeks’ fire, the long night of the soul proved to be a blessing in disguise. It has purified me completely. And these five days of Gautam Buddha as Maitreya Buddha – that was his prophecy, that “My name after twenty-five centuries when I come back again, will be Maitreya the Buddha.” The Friend – Maitreya means “the friend.”

It was significant on his part. He was saying, the world of the gurus has ended. The world of the masters and disciples will not be relevant anymore. The master can function only in the capacity of a loving friend. And the disciple has not to be a disciple, has not to surrender to anybody, he has just to listen to the Friend. It is up to him to decide what to do or not. No discipline can be given, no dictation can be given.

In the world of religion this is the beginning of democracy; otherwise, all religions have been dictatorial, fascist, fundamentalist.

I would like you to remember because you have been the witness of all these seven weeks and five days – seven weeks of a constantly deepening darkness, and these five days of the rising sun, of the morning glories, of the birds singing. Again a new beginning, not only in my individuality but also in the individualities of those who have taken the risk to be fellow-travelers with me.

A new dawn, a new man is absolutely needed. Perhaps you are the new man who will destroy all that is rotten and old, that is superstitious and has no roots in intelligence. Perhaps you will be the one to destroy all organized religions, because the moment truth is organized, it dies. […]

The function of the priest has not been to convert you into the hands of the cosmos. On the contrary, he has been in every way preventing you to open your eyes and see the stars, to open your ears and hear the breeze passing through the pine trees. He has not allowed you to see the beauty of the planet, the beauty of the skies. Neither has he been helpful to take you in your innermost being where is your eternal home. He has been exploiting.

The new man, the new humanity means individual religious people, not organized according to any dogma, doctrine, cult, but simply in tune with existence. And the only way to be in tune with existence is what we have called in the East, meditation, in which no priest is needed. You alone are enough unto yourself.

-Osho

From No Mind the Flowers of Eternity, 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.

My Deepest Secret

What to do when my heart and mind are in the midst of tremendous turmoil, confusion, anger, disappointment?

I find a not uncomfortable place to sit and in that sitting just give a little space and time for all of the turmoil to completely reveal itself, the swirling thoughts, the clouds of despair, the murkiness of confusion, the fire of anger, and without turning away, I remain staying with it all. And the key, the most important key, is that I do not try to end any of this. I do not engage in thought to rationalize, I do not push away that which is uncomfortable, nor judge my feelings, I do not analyze why all of this is happening, nor jump onto the bandwagon and go for a ride into the maelstrom, but simply allow all of the thoughts and even more importantly all of the sensations and feelings that come along. And these too are allowed without judging, without hanging on to those that I like and without pushing away those that are uncomfortable. There is no spiritual bypassing of anything that arises. It is all welcome.

But of course, this is not true, I do, do all of those things. I do judge, I do push away, I do grasp, I do analyze, but by seeing that I am doing them, a little space opens up for love. And again, I am back to watching the whole drama but with just a little bit more awareness, a little bit freer of the grasping clutches of mind and emotion. But once again, the cycle repeats itself, not just once or twice but many times. But with each return to center the gap has widened.

And sometimes, there does come those special moments when the thoughts subside completely, when the hot feelings turn into “a peace that passeth all understanding.” In those moments there are no conclusions, just a remaining in a vast unknownness, and there is a gratefulness to all that has preceded, all that has contributed to creating this opportunity, to all that has led to this moment and I bow down to existence.

This secret is the art of watching, the art of witnessing, and it is the greatest gift that I received from Osho, but it is not unique to him. Below is a post where the Zen Master, Charlotte Joko Beck, who lived for some time in Prescott, AZ, describes a similar process which she names, get “a bigger container.”

-purushottama

A Bigger Container – Charlotte Joko Beck

Life is a Mysterium

At the end of the ranch, we moved Rajneesh Publications to Boulder, Colorado. I had traveled through Boulder many times with the books and knew there was a very diverse group of spiritual misfits assembled in Boulder. I felt we would fit right in.

Soon several semi-trucks of books were loaded and sent to Boulder. We assembled a crew and were on our way out into the world. It was not an easy transition because we had been operating as a non-profit and now had to make enough income to survive. Additionally, we were still expected to fill some of the functions of the non-profit.

There were conflicts with the international management team. Shakyamuni, who had been doing our sales trips on the east coast, and I decided to create our own marketing company and support the sales from one step removed. I was coming to the end of my book career: I could feel it; the juice was out; but I didn’t acknowledge it right away. Something was shifting internally also; I was being increasingly drawn into individual inquiry. We managed to transform the knowledge gained from calling on new age bookstores into a unique music and art store named Mysterium. This store would also be able to support the newly born music distribution business that had just started to show its shoots. Soon that business too would break off and flourish as White Swan Records and Distributors.

Looking back, it is easy to see it was the conflict, the friction with management that helped fuel the inner fire which gave birth to new endeavors. If one is grateful for the result then one also has to be grateful for the means. Life is a Mysterium Tremendum.

-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.

 

 

Don’t Miss this Opportunity – Osho

I feel so much resistance against meditation and I don’t have this desire for God that you speak about. Is this the right place for me?

If you feel much resistance against meditation, it simply shows that deep down you are alert that something is going to happen which will change your total life. You are afraid of being reborn. You have invested too much in your old habits, in the old personality, in the old identity.

Meditation is nothing but trying to clean your being, trying to become fresh and young, trying to become more alive and more alert. If you are afraid of meditation, it means you are afraid of life, you are afraid of awareness, and the resistance comes because you know that if you move into meditation, something is bound to happen. If you are not resisting at all it may be because you don’t take meditation very seriously. you don’t take meditation very sincerely. Then you can play around. What is there to be afraid of? It is exactly because you are resisting that this is the right place for you. This is precisely the right place for you. The resistance shows that something is going to happen. One never resists without any cause.

You must be living a very dead life. Now you are afraid that something is becoming alive, something is changing. You resist. Resistance is an indication; resistance is a very clear indication that you have suppressed much. Now in meditation that suppression will surface, it will be released. You would also like to be released of the burden but in that burden, there are investments.

For example, you may be carrying pebbles in your hands but you think they are diamonds. And then I tell you, ‘Clean yourself. Drop these pebbles. They have become a burden and you cannot move because of them.’ You would like to be unburdened but then you are afraid that your diamonds will be lost. And they are not diamonds. Look again at your diamonds. If they were really diamonds, you should be happy. If they were really diamonds, you would not have come to me at all. There is no need. If you have come, it shows that you are seeking. You may say that you are not interested in God — I am also not interested in God — but you are interested in yourself. Are you interested in yourself?

Forget all about God. If you are interested in yourself. then this is precisely the place for you. If you are interested in your own being, in your own wholeness and health; if you are interested in becoming a blossomed flower, then forget all about God — because in that blossoming you will know what God is. When your fragrance is released then you will know what God is. God is your ultimate flowering, your final flowering; your destiny fulfilled is what God is all about.

A woman seeing Turner’s pictures said once, ‘Making a lot of fuss over him, are they not? I never saw anything in him myself.’ And another woman said to Turner himself, ‘But you know, Mr. Turner, I never see sunsets like yours.’ She received the mild yet devastating reply, ‘No. Don’t you wish you could?’

When a Turner paints a sunset of course he sees a sunset in a totally different way to you. He brings all his sensitivity, his whole being, to see it. In fact, you may not have ever seen a sunset the way a painter looks at it. Turner says rightly, ‘Don’t you wish you could?’

I’m here. I know you can’t see what I am talking about, but don’t you wish you could? I know that many things I am saying are almost nonsense to you because to see them you will have to attain different eyes, you will have to clarify your being; to see them you will have to pacify your turmoil within. I know you cannot see the green that I am seeing in the trees. Your green is bound to be very dusty because your eyes are full of dust.

It happened once, that a man was staying with a friend at somebody’s house. The host and the guest were standing near the window — the window was closed — and in the neighbor’s house, clothes were hanging out to be dried.

The host said, ‘These people are very dirty. Look at their clothes.’

The man looked, he came closer to the window and he said, ‘Those clothes are not dirty.

Your window glass is covered with dust.’ They opened the windows and it was so. Those clothes were not dirty.

Life is tremendously beautiful. It is Divine. When we say ‘Life is God’ we simply say that life is so tremendously beautiful that one feels a reverence for it. That’s all. Life is so tremendously beautiful that one feels like worshipping it. That’s all we mean when we say ‘Life is God.’ When we say ‘Life is God’ we only mean, ‘Don’t see that life is ordinary. It is extraordinary. There is tremendous potentiality. Just open your eyes.’ I have never seen a person who is not interested in God — although he may not know it — because I have never seen a person who is not interested in happiness. If you are interested in happiness, you are interested in God; if you are interested in being blissful, you are interested in God.

Forget all about God. You just try to be blissful, and one day, when you are dancing in your inner bliss. when the inner juices are flowing, suddenly this life is no longer ordinary. Everywhere some unknown force is hiding and you will see God in the flowers and in the stones and in the stars. I talk to you just to plant a seed, a song, a star. If you can become happy, you become religious. A happy person is a religious person — let that be the definition. A religious person is not one who goes to the church or the temple if he is unhappy, he cannot be religious. A religious person is happy. Wherever he is, he is in the temple. A happy person carries his temple around him. I know it because I have been carrying it. I need not go to any temple. Where I am is my temple. It is a climate. It is my own inner juice overflowing. God is nothing but you realized, reached, fulfilled.

Yes. I say to you, I have never seen a man who is not interested in God. There cannot be. That man is not possible. Even people who say they don’t believe in God, who are atheists, are not uninterested in God. They are interested. Their denying, their saying that they don’t believe may be just a trick of the mind to protect themselves; because once you allow yourself to be possessed by God you disappear, only God remains. So people who are afraid of being, of disappearing, of moving into non-being, people who are too egoistic and cannot allow their drop to drop into the ocean, say there is no ocean. That is the trick of their mind so that they can protect themselves. They are fearful people, afraid, scared of life.

If you are interested in being happy, this is the place for you. And you are already here. Nobody has brought you; nobody has forced you; you have come on your own. Some inner search that you may not be aware of has brought you here. Maybe something is in the heart and your head does not know anything about it. There are desires of which the head is completely unaware — the head is concerned only with rubbish. The heart may have brought you here.

Break that resistance — and when you are here, be really here. Don’t miss this opportunity.

In the New Testament the Greek word for sin is antinomic or anomeia. It means to miss the point; or, as in archery, to miss the mark. The word ‘sin’ comes from a root which means to miss the point, to miss the mark. If you are here and you miss me, that will be a sin. If you are here then why waste time? Be totally here. Drop the resistance. Or if you cannot be totally here, then go away from here. But go totally away. Then never again remember me, otherwise that will be a sin.

The word ‘sin’ is beautiful. It has been badly corrupted by Christianity. It has nothing to do with guilt, nothing to do with something bad, evil. It has nothing to do with morality but it has something to do with consciousness. If you are here, be consciously and totally here; your unconscious heart has brought you here. Groping in the dark you have come to me, now don’t miss this opportunity. Either be totally here, or go away. Turn your back against me and never remember me again; because going away, if you remember me, then you will not be totally there — wherever you are going. Wherever you are, be totally there, that’s the only way to open the secrets and mysteries of life.

And don’t be worried about whether you are interested in the concept of God or not. In fact, people who are too interested in the concept of God will not be able to know him. I have come across a very beautiful book, written somewhere in the Middle Ages by a certain man known as Dionysius Exegius. His book is Theologica Mystica. He says in that book that the highest knowledge of God is through what he calls in Greek agnostos, which means unknowing. You must have heard the word ‘agnostic’, it comes from the same root, agnostos. Agnostos means unknowing. And this Dionysius says that God is known only by unknowing. No need to be worried about the concept; no need to accumulate knowledge, theories, doctrines about God; forget all about the word and the theory. You be simply interested in your happiness, in your bliss, and one day you will find God has entered in you. It is another name for ultimate bliss.

-Osho

From Ancient Music in the Pines, Discourse #4, Q3

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.

Not Twoness

One summer day when I was Junior High School age, I must have been 13 or 14, I was sitting across the street from the house of two brothers who were friends of mine. They were eating lunch and I was waiting for them to finish so that we could continue on our day’s routine of playing in the neighborhood, riding our bikes, smoking in the woods, all the things that we liked to do.

While I was sitting on the ground under a big tree with stick in hand and drawing circles in the dirt, time stopped, and for a brief moment a window of nowness opened. In that moment, all movement of time came to a standstill, and I was being in the eternal now. It was as if a portal into reality had opened. I knew it was significant but that was all I knew. It only lasted a couple of moments, seconds probably, but it made a deep impression in my consciousness. Of course, at the time, I would not have used such terminology as eternal now, portal, consciousness. In fact, I didn’t even mention the experience to my friends when they came out of their house, but this was my first experience of what we could call Oneness. In that moment, there was no separation, no demarcation, only beingness, conscious beingness.

Looking back, I can see that this experience unconsciously became a litmus test, a North Star, that guided my life on through experimentation with drugs, psychedelics, and finally, to discovering meditation. I would be willing to bet that every one of us who has found themselves interested in a life of discovery, anyone who is reading this now, has had some brush with naked reality.

It is clear that this reality I stumbled upon is always present, it is only that most of the time I am not present to meet it and dissolve into it. Meditation has been the key to shining a light on what it is that is standing between my consciousness and this experience of nowness, and that is mind, thought. It is thought, the me, which obscures the perception of reality. It has been my experience that through meditation the movement of thought becomes illuminated. And it is this ‘seeing’ of thought that is the exit.

For many years following this first awakening, I was unconsciously searching to replicate that profound happening, beginning with becoming unconscious through alcohol. Unconsciousness is a type of oneness, as is sleep, but it is unconscious, and so is missing a key element of the experience that had happened years before. Next it was on to smoking marijuana, certainly much closer to the happening but dependent on a foreign substance, not a natural state. Then it was on to psychedelics, which were incredibly helpful in seeing how mind works, first in seeing thought in action, and then in seeing that I was the one who was supporting the movement of thought through identification.

This discovery of the workings of mind inevitably led to discovering meditation, first through the teachings and being of Meher Baba, and eventually, of course, to Osho.

I arrived in Poona in 1976 and every nook and corner of the Ashram was exuding Oneness. Upon entering the gate, one was absorbed into the vastness that lived in Lao Tzu house. We sang in Music Group and were lost in ecstasy. We did our groups and had glimpses of being outside of our little ego selves. We did the active meditations and rays of sunshine would find their way out from the center of our being. And, of course, we sat in discourse and darshan and the sun itself lovingly dismantled all the clouds obscuring the brilliance of our inner light, the Oneness within.

At the Ranch we witnessed Oneness in action. We saw what could happen when a group of meditators worked without the need for approval or compensation. We worked and loved the working, but this oneness was a group oneness, a collective. It did give us another opportunity to experience a certain type of oneness, but because it was a group oneness, it was a oneness that was by definition opposed to the ‘not group,’ to the outside, and therefore could not be sustainable, definitely could not be eternal.

It was after the Ranch that I realized I had to dive deep into inquiry, into meditation. I had to find that oneness that had been experienced so many years before for myself, without the aid of drugs or others. I had to rediscover exactly what was standing in the way of my own experiencing of oneness in this moment.

And so, it was time for doubling down on meditation. It was time to discover for myself what is this ‘witnessing’ that Osho keeps talking about. Do I really know for myself? And in this quest, I became deeply attracted to self-inquiry and the path of advaita, non-duality.

In one of the discourses where Osho is talking about advaita, he says something that had a strong impact on me. He says, and I am paraphrasing here, that advaita means not-two, and so it is easy to translate that as one, or oneness, but he says that there is a difference in how the two words or phrases feel or act on you. When you say or think the word ‘one’ or ‘oneness,’ there is a contraction, a solidification, it feels like an object. But when you say ‘not-two,’ there is a letting go, and so is a much better pointer to the actual experiencing of oneness.

Similarly, in a workshop that Jean Klein, a Western Advaita teacher gave in Boulder, Colorado, in one of those moments when meditation is exuding all around, I asked Jean, “So is this it, just more and more subtle?” And Jean responded, “I would say less and less conditioned.”

And that is the key. It is not that we need to be searching for this thing called ‘oneness,’ but that we have to simply see what it is that is preventing us from Being in this Eternal Now that we refer to as oneness, or perhaps better described as not twoness. And that takes me back to meditation.

By meditation, I mean closing my eyes, sitting in a not uncomfortable but alert position and watching whatever appears on the screen of my consciousness. Sometimes it is a cacophony, and sometimes it is just a meandering quiet stream. But whichever, I watch, and every time that I forget and I become aware that I have forgotten, I am back to watching. Slowly, slowly I discover how to watch without judging, without grasping, without rejecting, and without analyzing. And in this watchingness, the flow of traffic decreases and occasionally gaps appear, gaps in which there are no thoughts. And when there are no thoughts, there is no movement of time, there are no obstructions to experiencing this same Eternal Now that was stumbled upon so many years ago. But this time it is conscious, it is not accidental, and it does not depend on any circumstance, substance, or any other person. And these moments cannot but infuse our everyday life with more lightness of being.

-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.

Seven Concentric Circles – Osho

Man is a bridge between the known and the unknown. To remain confined in the known is to be a fool. To go in search of the unknown is the beginning of wisdom. To become one with the unknown is to become the awakened one, the Buddha.

Remember, again and again, that man is not yet a being — he is on the way, a traveler, a pilgrim. He is not yet at home, he is in search of the home. One who thinks that he is at home is a fool, because then the search stops, then the seeking is no longer there. And the moment you stop seeking and searching, you become a stagnant pool of energy, you start stinking. Then you only die, then you don’t live at all.

Life is in flowing; life is in remaining a river — because only the river will reach the ocean. If you become a stagnant pool then you are going nowhere. Then you are not really alive. The fool does not live, he only pretends to live. He does not know, he only pretends to know. He does not love, he only pretends to love. The fool is a pretension.

The wise lives, loves, the wise inquires. The wise is ready, always ready, to go into the uncharted sea. The wise is adventurous. The fool is afraid.

When Buddha uses the word ‘fool’ you have to remember all these meanings of the word. It is not the ordinary meaning that Buddha gives to the word ‘fool’. For him, the fool means one who lives in the mind and knows nothing of the no-mind; one who lives in information, knowledge, and has not tasted anything of wisdom; one who lives a borrowed life, imitative, but knows nothing of anything that arises in his own being.

By ‘the fool’ Buddha means one who is well acquainted with the scriptures, but has not tasted a single moment of truth. He may be a great scholar, very learned — in fact, fools are scholars; they have to be because that is the only way to hide their foolishness. Fools are very learned people; they have to be, because it is only through learning words, theories, philosophies, that they can hide their inner ignorance, that they can hide their emptiness, that they can believe that they also know.

If you want to find the fools, go to the universities, go to the academies. There you will find them—in their utter ignorance, but pretending to know. They certainly know what others have said, but that is not real knowing. A blind man can collect all the information there is about light, but he will still remain blind. He can talk about light, he can write treatises on light; he may be very clever in guessing, in fabricating theories, but still he remains a blind man and he knows nothing of light. But the information that he collects may not only deceive others, it may deceive himself too. He may start thinking that he knows, that he is no longer blind.

When Buddha uses the word ‘fool’ he does not mean simply the ignorant, because if the ignorant person is aware that he is ignorant, he is not a fool. And it is more possible for the ignorant person to be aware that he is ignorant than it is for the so-called learned people. Their egos are so puffed up; it is very difficult for them to see — it goes against their investment. They have devoted their whole lives to knowledge, and now, to recognize the fact that all this knowledge is meaningless, futile, because they have not tasted truth themselves, is difficult, is hard.

The ignorant person can remember that he is ignorant — he has nothing to lose; but the learned, he cannot recognize that he is ignorant — he has much to lose. The knowledgeable person is the real fool. The ignorant person is innocent; he knows that he knows not, and because he knows that he knows not, because he is ignorant, he is just on the threshold of wisdom. Because he knows he knows not, he can inquire, and his inquiry will be pure, unprejudiced. He will inquire without any conclusions. He will inquire without being a Christian or a Mohammedan or a Hindu. He will simply inquire as an inquirer. His inquiry will not come out of ready-made answers, his inquiry will come out of his own heart. His inquiry will not be a by-product of knowledge, his inquiry will be existential. He inquires because it is a question of life and death to him. He inquires because he really wants to know. He knows that he knows not — that’s why he inquires. His inquiry has a beauty of its own. He is not a fool, he is simply ignorant. The real fool is one who thinks he knows without knowing at all.

Socrates was trying to do the same thing in Athens: he was trying to make these learned fools aware that all their learning was false, that they were really fools, pretenders, hypocrites. Naturally, all the professors and all the philosophers and all the so-called thinkers . . . and Athens was full of them. Athens was the capital of knowledge in those days. Just as today people look towards Oxford or Cambridge, people used to look towards Athens. It was full of the learned fools, and Socrates was trying to bring them down to the earth, was shattering their knowledge, was raising such questions — simple in a way, but difficult to be answered by those who have only acquired knowledge from others.

Athens became very angry with Socrates. They poisoned this man. Socrates is one of the greatest men who has ever walked on the earth; and what he did very few people have done. His method is a basic method. The Socratic method of inquiry is such that it exposes the fools as fools. To expose a fool as a fool is dangerous, of course, because he will take revenge. Socrates was poisoned, Jesus was crucified, Buddha was condemned.

The day Buddha died, Buddhism was thrown out of the country, expelled from the country. The scholars, the pundits, the brahmins, could not allow it to remain. It was too uncomfortable for them. Its basic attack was on the brahmins, the learned fools, and naturally they were offended. They could not face Buddha, they could not encounter him. They waited for their opportunity in a cunning way: when Buddha died, then they started fighting the followers. When the light was gone, then it was the time for the owls, the learned fools, to reign over the country again. And since that time they have reigned even up to now — they are still in power. The same fools!

The world has suffered much. Man could have become the glory of the earth, but because of these fools… and because they are powerful they can harm, and because they are powerful they can destroy any possibility, any opportunity for man to evolve. Man has been moving in circles, and these fools would not like man to become wise, because if man becomes wise these fools will be nowhere. They won’t be in power anymore — religiously, politically, socially, financially, all their power will be gone. They can remain in power only if they can go on destroying all possibilities of wisdom for man.

My effort here is to create a Socratic inquiry again, to ask again the fundamental questions that Buddha raised.

In the new commune we are going to have seven concentric circles of people. The first, the most superficial circle, will consist of those who come only out of childish curiosity, or out of already accumulated prejudices, who are, deep down, antagonistic — the journalists, etcetera.

They will be allowed only to see the superficial part of the commune – not that anything will be hidden, but just because of their approach they will not be able to see anything more than the most superficial. They will see only the garments. Here also the same goes on happening. They come and they see only the superficial.

Just the other day I was reading a journalist’s report; he was here for five days. He writes, “for five days,” as if it is a very long time to be here; five days, as if he has been here for five lives! Because he has been here for five days he has become an authority. Now he knows what is happening here because he has watched people meditating. How can you watch people meditating? Either you can meditate or not, but you cannot watch people meditating. Yes, you can watch people’s physical gestures, movements, dance, or their sitting silently under a tree, but you cannot see meditation! You can see the physical posture of the meditator, but you cannot see his inner experience. For that, you have to meditate, you have to become a participant.

And the basic condition for being a participant is that you should drop this idea of being a watcher. Even if you participate, if you dance with the meditators, with this idea that you are participating only to watch what happens, then nothing will happen. And, of course, you will go with the conclusion that it is all nonsense — nothing happens. And you will feel perfectly right inside yourself that nothing happens, because you even participated and nothing happened.

That man writes that he was in darshan and much was happening to sannyasins – so much was happening that after a deep energy contact with me they were not even able to walk back to their places — they had to be carried away. And then he mentions, “But nothing happened to me.” That is enough proof that all that was happening was either hypnosis, or people were pretending just because the journalist was there, or it was just an arranged show, something managed — because nothing was happening to him.

There are things which can happen only when you are available, open, unprejudiced.

There are things which can happen only when you put aside your mind.

The journalist writes again, “The people who go there, they leave their minds where they leave their shoes — but I could not do that. Of course,” he says, “if I had left my mind behind, then I would have also been impressed.” But he thinks the mind that he has is something so valuable — how can he leave it behind? He feels himself very clever because he didn’t leave his mind behind.

Mind is the barrier, not the bridge. In the new commune, the first concentric circle will be for those who come like journalists — prejudiced people, who already know that they know. In short, for the fools.

The second concentric circle will be for those who are inquirers — unprejudiced, neither Hindus nor Mohammedans nor Christians, who come without any conclusion, who come with an open mind. They will be able to see a little deeper. Something of the mysterious will stir their hearts. They will cross the barrier of the mind. They will become aware that something of immense importance is happening — what exactly it is they will not be able to figure out immediately, but they will become aware vaguely that something of value IS happening. They may not be courageous enough to participate in it; their inquiry may be more intellectual than existential, they may not be able to become part, but they will become aware — of course, in a very vague and confused way, but certainly aware — that something more is going on than is apparent.

The third circle will be for those who are sympathetic, who are in deep sympathy, who are ready to move with the commune a little bit, who are ready to dance and sing and participate, who are not only inquirers but are ready to change themselves if the inquiry requires it. They will become aware more clearly of deeper realms.

And the fourth will be the empathic. Sympathy means one is friendly, one is not antagonistic. Empathy means one is not only friendly; one feels a kind of unity, oneness. Empathy means one feels with the commune, with the people, with what is happening. One meets, merges, melts, becomes one.

The fifth circle will be of the initiates, the sannyasins – one who is not only feeling in his heart but who is ready to be committed, to be involved. One who is ready to risk. One who is ready to commit, because he feels a great, mad love — mad, mad love — arising in him. The sannyasin, the initiate.

And the sixth will be of those who have started arriving — the adepts. Those whose journey is coming closer to the end, who are no longer sannyasins only but are becoming siddhas, whose journey is coming to a full stop, is getting closer and closer to the conclusion. The home is not far away, a few steps more. In a way, they have already arrived.

And the seventh circle will consist of arhatas and boshisattvas. The arhatas are those sannyasins who have arrived but are not interested in helping others to arrive. Buddhism has a special name for them: arhata – the lonely traveler who arrives and then disappears into the ultimate. And the bodhisattvas are those who have arrived but they feel a great compassion for those who have not yet arrived. The bodhisattva is an arhata with compassion. He holds on, goes on looking back and goes on calling forth those who are still stumbling in darkness. He is a helper, a servant of humanity.

There are two types of people. The one who is at ease only when he is alone; he feels a little uncomfortable in relationship, he feels a little disturbed, distracted, in relationship. That type of person becomes an arhata. When he has arrived, he is finished with everything. Now he does not look back.

The bodhisattva is the second type of person: one who feels at ease in relationship, in fact far more comfortable when he is relating than when he is alone. He leans more towards love. The arhata leans more towards meditation. The path of the arhata is of pure meditation, and the path of the bodhisattva is that of pure love. The pure love contains meditation, and the pure meditation contains love – but the pure meditation contains love only as a flavor, a perfume; it is not the central force in it. And the pure love contains meditation as a perfume; it is not the center of it.

These two types exist in the world. The second type – the follower on the path of love – becomes a bodhisattva. The seventh circle will consist of arhatas and bodhisattvas.

Now, the seventh circle will be aware of all the six other circles, and the sixth circle will be aware of the other five circles – the higher will be aware of the lower, but the lower will not be aware of the higher. The first circle will not be aware of anything other than the first circle. He will see the buildings and the hotel and the swimming pool and the shopping center and weaving and pottery and carpentry. He will see the trees, the whole landscape . . . he will see all these things. He will see thousands of sannyasins, and he will shrug his shoulders: “What are these people doing here?” He will be a little puzzled, because he was not thinking that so many mad people can be found in one place: “All are hypnotized!” He will find explanations. He will go perfectly satisfied that he has known the commune. He will not be aware of the higher – the lower cannot be aware of the higher. That is one of the fundamental laws of life – Aes dhammo sanantano – only the higher knows the lower, because he has passed from the lower.

When you are standing on the sunlit mountain peak, you know everything down in the valley. The valley people may not be aware of you at all, it is not possible for them. The valley has its own occupations, its own problems. The valley is preoccupied with its own darkness.

The fool can come to a master but will remain unbenefited because he will see only the outer. He will not be able to see the essential, he will not be able to see the core. The fool comes here too, but he listens only to the words and he goes on interpreting those words according to his own ideas. He goes perfectly satisfied that he knows what is happening.

There are many fools who don’t come here – they don’t feel the need. They simply depend on other fools’ reports. That’s enough. Just one fool can convince thousands of fools, because their language is the same, their prejudices are the same, their conceptions are the same . . . there is no problem! One fool has seen, and all the other fools are convinced. One fool reports in the newspaper and all the other fools read it early in the morning, and are convinced.

-Osho

From The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, V.2, 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.

From the Lowlands to the Highlands

The coast of Madagascar was a sight to see, miles and miles of white beaches, palm trees with the mountains behind, and not a soul in sight. We pulled into a small village in the north of the country which had a French-run sugar mill. We were picking up cargo which would be dropped off in Majunga. There was a party at the company that night and we were invited by the French management. I don’t think I have ever seen a group of guys as drunk as we were. We were all young lads and had been days at sea. The Comoros was a Muslim country so we didn’t have any refreshments while there. Whiskey was the drink of choice. I’ve never been much of a hard alcohol drinker, which I reaffirmed that night.

The boat had navigated an estuary to the small village and in order to leave we had to time the tides exactly. We didn’t, so ended up aground and leaning to one side. We had to wait for the next high tide. Another couple of days sailing down the Madagascar coast and we finally arrived in Majunga.

Majunga harbor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Majunga is a dusty port town. This part of Madagascar is mostly made up of people of African and Arabic descent. All of the buildings were bleached white and reflected the hot sun. Peter and I were anxious to get on our way so we didn’t linger long. We hitchhiked out of town. The journey from the coast to Antananarivo, Tana for short, is beautiful; from the dry desert landscape near Majunga to the highlands of central Madagascar. When you reach the highlands, you begin to see the terraced rice fields of the Malagasy. On the second to the last day, a French expat couple picked us up and offered us a room in their house for the night. Wine and cheese in the evening and an omelet in the morning were quite a treat after so many days at sea.

When Peter and I arrived in Tana we were quite shocked. First by the architecture — the city was built on hills and the houses were two stories high made with brick and had wooden balconies, unexpected in Africa. Apparently, some Scottish fellow helped plan the city and put his stamp on the look. Below the hills was a small lake surrounded by jacaranda trees. On one side of the lake was the Hilton Hotel, the only high-rise building in the country. But most surprising to us were the women. The highland Malagasy people are of Indo-Malay descent: long, straight, black hair; dark olive skin; and almond-shaped eyes. Considering we were off the S.E. coast of Africa, we were quite surprised. On that very first day wandering around the city, I heard myself say, “This is a place I could get stuck in for a while.” It proved itself true.

At that time (1973), very few travelers ventured through Madagascar, so those travelers who were living in Tana knew very quickly new blood was in town. We were introduced to an American with shoulder-length hair, about our age, named Derek. He was teaching English at the American Cultural Center. He offered us a place to stay until we found something else and mentioned they needed a substitute teacher for an evening class at the center. I explained that I had never taught before and he immediately reassured me that it didn’t matter. “You just need to look over the lesson before you teach.” That was the beginning of my English teaching career. I substituted that evening and was offered a job for the next term which would begin in a month. We checked in with the American Embassy to let them know we were in town and also to get a recommendation for a doctor. The Consul General was a young, very light-skinned African American, a really nice guy; Skip was his name. He pointed me towards the embassy doctor and welcomed us to Madagascar. There was an American NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) listening post on Madagascar at that time so a few American expats living in Tana. The Malagasy doctor gave me antibiotics for the gonorrhea and I was careful to explain I had already been given a dose in The Comoros but apparently not strong enough. I wanted to be sure to get a strong enough one this time so that I wouldn’t have to come back again.

Jacaranda trees blooming in Antananarivo (Tana)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I did have to go back again. It returned. So, so did I, to the doctor and got another dose. By this time, I was on my third dose of antibiotics and it was beginning to take its toll. After the third dose had run its course and I still wasn’t rid of the gonorrhea, I was wasted. And, my pee was no longer burning but it was brown. Somehow gonorrhea had morphed into hepatitis. Probably what had happened is the antibiotics had played havoc with my liver and perhaps caused a reoccurrence of the hepatitis I had had several years earlier in the States. But regardless, my pee was brown and I couldn’t stay awake nor eat a thing. Fortunately, we had met some French school teachers who were going on holiday and had offered us their flat while they were gone.

By this time, I knew I was going to stay in Madagascar to teach the next term, but Peter wanted to continue on to South Africa. After all, he had a friend waiting for him there, with work. He made arrangements for a flight to Johannesburg. Peter did stick around and look after me until I was on the road to recovery. I was pretty useless but amazingly only for a short while. The forced down time was an opportunity to read Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi.

After only a couple of weeks, I was getting better. We calculated what I owed Peter and I said I would send the money to him after I started working. By buying dollars on the black market, I managed to send all the money I owed him in pretty short order. I ended up staying two years in Madagascar, teaching and traveling, and it became a crucial point in my life.

What I found in Madagascar was a reconnection with life: living, being, enjoying. Life was good. Eventually there was a girlfriend, Voahangy, a beautiful Malagasy. She helped me find a big house to rent and many of the Center’s English teachers ended up living there communally. We also had a room for the travelers coming through. Randy Dodge was on the top floor in a kind of attic space. Keenan, an American, wanted to have the verandah with his Malagasy girlfriend and I had the room on the other side of the wall from his verandah. One of my windows looked out into his space. There was also a New Zealander and an Australian. Randy’s girlfriend was named Rickey, a very young, extremely beautiful and smart Malagasy girl. I think she was 18 or 19 at the time. She was one of my English students from book two through book six and into the advanced class.

Voahangy didn’t need to be an English student. Her English was perfect. She was my age and a doctor. Her sister was married to another of the center’s teachers, and in fact it was he who I replaced.

Unfortunately, I had to share Voahangy. She already had a boyfriend when I met her at a party at Skip’s, the American Consul General. Her boyfriend worked for the FOA, the United Nation’s Organization for Forestry and Agriculture, and so was always traveling around the island, fortunately. We spent the time together that we could.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had two visitors from Kansas City while in Madagascar. The first was a previous girlfriend. It was terribly awkward. Our relationship had finished a year before I left the States, although I did visit her on the way out. It was very difficult for me and extremely uncomfortable for her. I just couldn’t pretend. It didn’t help that she had put on 20 or 30 pounds since I had last seen her, but really, we were done. I hoped she would meet a Malagasy guy. She didn’t stay very long. The second was someone who I didn’t really know very well. We had gone to high school together and she was one year behind me. She had a great time and became a teacher and stayed quite some time. I don’t remember if she left Madagascar before me or after. Her name is Donna Price. We’ll meet up again.

It was the assassination of President Ratsimandrava on February 5, 1975, that set off a series of events that would eventually lead to my leaving Madagascar. The killing was blamed on a political group from the coast and the battle raged in Antananarivo for days. For a couple of days, we all just stayed in the house and listened to the gunfire. I remember running to the bathroom and ducking under the windows, just in case shots came through. Actually, we found it quite exhilarating. We had never been in a coup d’état before and were young and thought we were invincible. When the shooting died down, we went out on the street to survey the situation and had to run for cover into the American Embassy when the shooting started up again. We spent the night at the embassy and a great bond was formed with everyone there: the marine guards, the staff, and us traveler teachers. A curfew was established and we had to change the hours of our classes and begin at 6:00 a.m. in order to be able to close before curfew.

During the curfew, one night I went home with a lady expecting to stay the night only to find she wasn’t a she but a he. The curfew had already begun and I found myself out on the street when I shouldn’t be. Fortunately, one of my students was a Colonel in the Gendarmes, and it was he who drove by in a jeep and kindly dropped me off at home.

The political scene was very unsettled for months and every Malagasy who could was making plans to go to France. After Didier Ratsiraka was installed as the President in June, things got even dicier, especially for the Americans. He was much more of a socialist and had strong ties to both China and Russia. It was known he would be closing the NASA post so all of the Americans working there started making plans too.

In the middle of the fighting in Tana between the rival factions, the prison just outside of town was closed and all of the inmates were released. They were to be interred at a later date when it was safer. One of the beneficiaries of this situation was an American businessman, George Reppas. He had been arrested for some kind of fraud involving his business exporting Malagasy beef. Apparently, they were contrived charges in order to get him out of the picture so that his Malagasy partners could take over the business. He had kept himself fit in his tiny cell by practicing yoga daily. Because of the closing of the prison, he had been released into the care of the American Embassy who was responsible for his whereabouts. He was staying in a room somewhere in Tana and had a young Malagasy girlfriend who had looked me up. By this time, the semester at the Cultural Center had finished and I was planning a trip to Mauritius and La Reunion.

The expat scene in Antananarivo at that time was very small and everyone knew just about everyone else and what they were up to. George’s girlfriend, who coincidentally was leaving the island with her family, which was a jazz group, and also going to La Reunion, proposed that somehow, I help George escape from Madagascar. He had made some arrangements for a boat to pick him up from Majunga in the north. We made arrangements that he go with a friend of ours who had rented a car and would drive him up to Majunga while myself and a buddy would make our way south to Fort Dauphin, where we could catch a boat to La Reunion. Because everyone knew that Ginger, my Australian buddy, and I were going to Fort Dauphin, we thought that it would act as a decoy for George.

Ginger and I hitchhiked to the south of the country. Southern Madagascar is very rugged terrain with terrible roads, even today. In Fort Dauphin, there was an American school operated by the American Lutheran Church, and was a place American expats went for R & R. When George went missing, and knowing that Ginger and I were traveling to Fort Dauphin, the embassy assumed that he was with us and figured they would get hold of him there.

Arab dhow of the coast of Madagascar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: I received the following email from George Reppas and so will let him correct the record. When Ginger and I arrived at the American School after traveling for several days everyone asked us where George Reppas was. But by that time, he had slipped out of the country in the north. It was only the next year when I returned to the States that I heard the full story from George. He did manage to escape onto the awaiting boat after somewhat of a hair-raising chase. Randy Dodge and I had lunch with him in San Francisco. He was meeting a movie producer who he was trying to convince to make a movie of his great escape. Recently I googled George Reppas and found that he is still pursuing his dream of making the movie and had started a production company. Good luck George.

Good hearing from you, I always wondered what has happened to you and your Madagascar commune friends.

Craig Jones, our camp archivist, did a search of my name and ran across a section of your story. It was not quite right.

We were not released, as you wrote, but I took a chance that I would not be shot if I walked into the fire between the FRS and the army, and I took Professor Hercourt with me.  When we got through the women prisoners followed and then the rest.  I had instructed our guys to let the Molotov cocktails fly before leaving.  They didn’t do a thorough job and that’s why the prison was back in repair after 6-weeks.

At the US embassy I hooked up with Slater, a British agent, and he coordinated with Jackie Cauvin who had a trimaran in Majunga.  You guys did the fake ID and lined up the Swiss driver that got us through.  The Malagasy sent a hitman to the Comoros apparently to either bring me back or to hit, but he was stopped by Interpol and they took him away. I never saw any of them again, obviously lined up by The State Department.

Your story did not have it right, but I recognized that it was done by someone who knew but was without all the facts. -George

-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.

 

Negative Projection, a Technique of Visualization – Osho

Mind itself means projection, so unless you transcend the mind, whatever you come to experience is projection. Mind is the projecting mechanism. If you experience any visions of light, of bliss, even of the divine, these are all projections. Unless you come to a total stopping of the mind you are not beyond projections; you are projecting. When mind ceases, only then are you beyond the danger. When there is no experience, no visions, nothing objective – the consciousness remaining as a pure mirror with nothing reflected in it – only then are you beyond the danger of projections.

Projections are of two types. One type of projection will lead you to more and more projection. It is a positive projection; you can never go beyond it. The other type of projection is negative. It is a projection, but it helps you to go beyond projections.

In meditation, you use the projecting faculty of the mind as a negative effort. Negative projections are good: it is just like one thorn being pulled out by another thorn or one poison being destroyed by another poison. But you must be constantly aware that the danger remains until everything ceases, even these negative projections, even these visions. If you are experiencing something, I will not say it is meditation; it is still contemplation, it is still a thought process. However subtle, it is still thinking. When only consciousness remains with no thought – just an unclouded, open sky – when you cannot say what “I” am experiencing, this much can be said: I am.

The famous maxim of Descartes, “Cogito ergo sum – I think; therefore, I am,” in meditation becomes “Sum ergo sum – I am; therefore, I am.” This “I am-ness” precedes all thinking; you are before you think. Thinking comes later on; your being precedes it, so being cannot be inferred from thinking. You can be without thinking, but thinking cannot be without you, so thinking cannot be the basis upon which your existence can be proved.

Experiences, visions, anything felt objectively is part of thinking. Meditation means total cessation of the mind, of thinking, but not of consciousness. If consciousness also ceases, you are not in meditation but in deep sleep; that is the difference between deep sleep and meditation.

In deep sleep projection also ceases. Thinking will not be there, but simultaneously, consciousness will also be absent. In meditation projections cease, thinking ceases, thoughts are no more there – just like in deep sleep – but there is consciousness. You are aware of this phenomenon: of total absence around you, of no objects around you. And when there are no objects to be known, felt and experienced, for the first time you begin to feel yourself. This is a nonobjective experience. It is not something that you experience; it is something you are.

So even if you feel the divine existence, it is a projection. These are negative projections. They help – they help, in a way, to transcend – but you must be aware that they are still projections, otherwise you will not go beyond them. That is why I say that if you feel you are encountering bliss, you are still in the mind because duality is there: the duality of the divine and the nondivine, the duality of bliss and nonbliss. When you really reach to the ultimate, you cannot feel bliss, because nonbliss is impossible; you cannot feel the divine as divine because the nondivine is no more.

So remember this: mind is projection, and whatever you do with the mind is going to be a projection. You cannot do anything with the mind. The only thing is how to negate the mind, how to drop it totally, how to be mindlessly conscious. That is meditation. Only then can you know, can you come to know, that which is other than projection.

Whatever you know is projected by you. The object is just a screen: you go on projecting your ideas, your mind, upon it. So any method of meditation begins with projection – with negative projection –and ends with nonprojection. That is the nature of all meditation techniques, because you have to begin with the mind.

Even if you are going toward a state of no mind, you have to begin with the mind. If I am to go out of this room, I have to start by going into the room; the first step must be taken in the room. This creates confusion. If I am just going in a circle in the room, then I am walking in the room. If I am going out of the room, then again I have to walk in the room – but in a different way. My eyes must be on the door and I must travel in a straight line, not in a circle.

Negative projection means walking straight out of the mind. But first, you have to take some steps within the mind.

For example, when I say “light,” you have never really seen light. You have only seen lighted objects. Have you ever seen light itself? No one has seen it; no one can see it. You see a lighted house, a lighted chair, a lighted person, but you have not seen light itself. Even when you see the sun you are not seeing light. You are seeing the light returned.

You cannot see light itself. When light strikes something, comes back, is reflected, only then do you see the lighted object and because you can see the lighted object, you say there is light. When you do not see the lighted object, you say it is dark.

You cannot see pure light, so in meditation I use it as a first step – as a negative projection. I tell you to begin to feel light without any object. Objects are dropped, there is just light. Begin to feel light without any objects . . . One thing has been dropped, the object, and without the object you cannot continue to see light for a long time. Sooner or later the light will drop, because you have to be focused on some object.

Then I tell you to feel bliss. You have never felt bliss without any object; whatever you know as happiness, bliss, is concerned with something. You have never known any moment of bliss that is unconcerned with anything. You may love someone and then feel blissful, but that someone is the object. You feel blissful when you listen to some music, but then that music is the object. Have you ever felt a blissful moment without any object? Never! So when I say to feel blissful without any object, it seems to be an impossibility. If you try to feel blissful without any object, sooner or later the bliss will stop, because it cannot exist by itself.

Then I say to feel divine presence. I never say, “Feel God,” because then God becomes an object. Have you ever felt presence without someone being present there? It is always concerned with someone: if someone is there, then you begin to feel the presence.

I drop that someone totally. I simply say, feel the divine presence. This is a negative projection. It cannot continue for long because there is no ground to support it; sooner or later it will drop. First I drop objects, and then, by and by, projection itself will drop. That is the difference between positive and negative projection.

In positive projection, the object is significant and the feeling follows, while in negative projection the feeling is important and the object is simply forgotten, as if I am taking the whole ground from under your feet. From within you, below you, from everywhere, the ground has been taken and you are left alone with your feeling. Now that feeling cannot exist; it will drop. If objects are not there, then the feelings that are directly connected to objects cannot continue any longer. For a while you can project them, then they will drop. And when they drop you alone remain there – in your total aloneness. That point is the point of meditation; from there meditation begins. Now you are out of the room.

So meditation has a beginning in the mind, but that is not real meditation. Begin in the mind, so that you can move toward meditation, and when mind ceases and you are beyond it, then real meditation begins. We have to begin with the mind because we are in the mind. Even to go beyond it, one has to use it. So use the mind negatively, never positively, and then you will achieve meditation.

If you use the mind positively, then you will only create more and more projections. So whatever is known as “positive thinking” is absolutely anti-meditative. Negative thinking is meditative; negation is the method for meditation. Go on negating to the point where nothing remains to be negated, and only the negator remains; then you are in your purity, and then you know what is. Everything that is known before that is just the mind’s imaginings, dreamings, projections.

-Osho

From Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy, Appendix 1

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.