Why did Osho change the traditional order used for the Three Jewels? At first, I wondered if it was just a mistake that Sheela had made when introducing us to them, but later I found discourses in which Osho referred to them in the order that was presented to us.
Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami – I take refuge in the Awakened One
Sangham Sharanam Gachchhami – I take refuge in the Community of the Awakened One
Dhammam Sharanam Gachchhami – I take refuge in the Ultimate Teaching of the Awakened One
Traditionally they are said with Dhammam preceding Sangham. Each of us will have our own insight as to why he changed them, but regardless of why, this is the order his work has operated on me.
First it was I bow down to the Buddha, to the Master. This is the easiest. Who cannot but bow down to the Master once the Master is met? For me this is what took place in what we refer to as Poona One. It was all Him. He gave us meditations. He gave us daily discourses. He guided us through our personal issues during darshan. He then began working on us in energy darshans and finally introduced us to Satsang.
Sangham Sharanam Gachchhami was more difficult and for some almost impossible. To surrender to the commune is much more arduous because often it means saying yes to stupidity. But it is that saying yes to stupidity that is intelligence because one understands that it is transformative. It is surrender. Surrender means putting aside the conditioning and saying yes. This then lessens the grip that the conditioning has on oneself. In fact, it lessens the grip of oneself. One can let go of conditioning only with awareness. One does not say yes because of a need for appreciation, a hunger for position or power, but in the understanding that it is here the transformation takes hold. It is here awareness is strengthened and the ego begins to lose its grip.
When I saw Osho take off in the plane from the runway at Rajneeshpuram, I knew at that moment I would never see him again. This was the beginning of Dhamma, the ultimate truth of the Awakened One. What does it mean to surrender to the ultimate truth? It is when one starts being the teaching. One starts living the understanding in one’s own light.
The beginning of living the understanding didn’t immediately start at that moment of watching the plane take off; it took a little time. I was still involved with the distribution of Osho’s books. We had to move the books to Colorado and set up distribution anew. And then because of conflict with the organization, I moved further and further away, until finally I was standing on my own. The call of the inner guru was heard.
For the first time the spark of inquiry was lit. Up to that point, I had meditated but it was witnessing phenomena; sensations, thoughts, or feelings. Now, the consciousness was seeking its source. This is what I believe to be conversion. It is here that surrender to Dhamma begins. To me this means Self-Inquiry. It is the movement from seeking to inquiring. It is the movement from the outer guru to the inner guru. Up to this point, one is living on borrowed bliss. From this point on, one is relying on one’s own light of understanding that has been lit by Buddha, strengthened by Sangha, and is now being stabilized in Dhamma.
This does not mean that one is no longer open to the understanding being expressed through the Masters; on the contrary one is more open than ever. And once the contact with the inner guru is established, there is no fear whether some teaching is valid or not, because it is seen from one’s own understanding. There is clarity. The understanding is experienced for oneself; it is acted upon. Even more accurately, it can be said that the understanding itself, the seeing itself, is the acting, is the transformation. It is in the fire of this Being Understanding that the “me” is consumed, impression by impression, “Gathe, gathe, para gathe parasam gathe. Bodhi svaha!” (Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond. O what an awakening all-hail!)
Everyone passes through the Three Jewels at their own pace. What is important is that we don’t linger too long on the way and that we continue, until finally, we are living the Dhamma, being a light unto oneself.
PostScript – It occurs to me that there are many who reading “Be a light unto ourselves” will think that it is ironic for those of us who have lived with a master, who have lived as part of a commune, to place importance on being a light unto ourselves.
To those, I would say that is precisely what drew us to the flame. We had become aware that until we were capable of separating ourselves from this conditioning, we would not be that light. We had already discovered that our minds were filled with conditioning — by our parents, the society, the churches, the politicians, and the schools.
We could also see that anyone who has not managed to extricate themselves from that conditioning is simply incapable of being their own light because it is through that conditioning, that mind, which one sees the world, acts and reacts. Is it any wonder that we live in a world in conflict? And we found that meditation is the means of brain washing (de-conditioning). Meditation is not a learning, rather an unlearning, which in the end uncovers the original face.
“Be ye lamps unto yourselves,
be a refuge to yourselves.
Hold fast to Truth as a lamp;
hold fast to the Truth as a refuge.
Look not for a refuge in anyone beside yourselves.
And those, who shall be a lamp unto themselves,
shall betake themselves to no external refuge,
but holding fast to the Truth as their lamp,
and holding fast to the Truth as their refuge,
they shall reach the topmost height.”
Buddha’s Farewell Message to Ananda
This story is from a collection of stories and essays from along the Way titled From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva.