The Way of the White Clouds – Osho

Why is your way called The Way of the White Clouds?

Just before Buddha died somebody asked him: When a buddha dies where does he go? Does he survive or simply disappear into nothingness? This is not a new question, it is one of the oldest, many times repeated and asked. Buddha is reported to have said: Just like a white cloud disappearing….

This very morning there were white clouds in the sky. Now they are there no more. Where have they gone? From where do they come? How do they evolve, and how do they dissolve again? A white cloud is a mystery, the coming, the going, the very being of it. That’s the first reason why I call my way The Way of the White Clouds.

But there are many reasons, and it is good to ponder, to meditate upon them. A white cloud exists without any roots. It is an unrooted phenomenon, grounded nowhere or grounded in the nowhere. But still it exists. The whole of existence is like a white cloud: without any roots, without any causality, without any ultimate cause, it exists. It exists as a mystery.

A white cloud really has no way of its own. It drifts. It has nowhere to reach, no destination, no destiny to be fulfilled, no end. You cannot frustrate a white cloud because wherever it reaches is the goal.

If you have a goal you are bound to get frustrated. The more goal-oriented a mind is, the more anguish, anxiety and frustration there will be, because once you have a goal you are moving with a fixed destination. And the whole exists without any destiny. The whole is not moving anywhere; there is no goal to it, no purpose.

And once you have a purpose, you are against the whole – remember this – then you will get frustrated. You cannot win against the whole. Your existence is so tiny – you cannot fight, you cannot conquer. It is impossible to conceive how an individual unit can conquer the whole. And if the whole is purposeless and you are with purpose you are going to be defeated.

A white cloud drifts wherever the wind leads – it doesn’t resist, it doesn’t fight. A white cloud is not a conqueror, and still it hovers over everything. You cannot conquer it, you cannot defeat it. It has no mind to conquer – that’s why you cannot defeat it.

Once you are fixed to a goal, purpose, destiny, meaning, once you have got that madness of reaching somewhere, then problems will arise. And you will be defeated, that is certain. Your defeat is in the very nature of existence itself.

A white cloud has nowhere to go. It moves, it moves everywhere. All dimensions belong to it, all directions belong to it. Nothing is rejected. Everything is, exists, in a total acceptability. Hence I call my way The Way of the White Clouds.

The white clouds have no way of their own – they drift. A way means reaching somewhere. The White Clouds’ Way means a pathless path, a wayless way. Moving, but not with a fixed mind – moving without a mind.

This has to be understood, because purpose is synonymous with mind. That’s why you cannot conceive how to live without purpose, because the mind cannot exist without purpose.

And people are so absurd – they even come to me and ask: What is the purpose of meditation?

Meditation cannot have any purpose because meditation basically means a state of no-mind: it is where you are, not going anywhere; where just being, just to be, is the goal.

The goal is here and now. Once the goal is somewhere else mind starts its journey. Then the mind starts thinking, then the mind starts a process. If future is there then mind can flow, then mind can have its course, then mind has space to move. With purpose comes future, with future comes time.

A white cloud hovers in the sky, timeless – because there is no future and no mind to it. It is here and now. Each moment is total eternity.

But the mind cannot exist without purpose, so mind goes on creating purposes. If the so-called worldly purposes are lost, then the mind creates religious purposes, otherworldly purposes. If money has become useless, then meditation becomes useful. If the so-called world of competition, politics, has become useless, then another world of new competition, of religion, achievement, becomes meaningful. But mind always hankers for some meaning, some purpose.

And to me, only that mind is religious which is purposeless. But that means that mind is no more a mind at all. Think of yourself just like a white cloud, with no mind.

In Tibet they have a meditation: monks sitting on the hills, lonely, absolutely in aloneness, just meditating on white clouds drifting in the sky, continuously contemplating, and by and by being merged. Then they become white clouds – just perching on a hill like a white cloud. No mind, just being there. No resistance, no fight, nothing to be achieved, nothing to be lost, just enjoying the very existence, celebrating the moment – the joy, the ecstasy of it.

Hence I call my way The Way of the White Clouds. And I would like you also to become white clouds drifting in the sky. I say drifting, not moving, not moving to a point – just drifting wheresoever the winds lead you. Wheresoever you happen to be, that is the goal. So the goal is not something ending somewhere, the end of the line. The goal is every moment.

Here you are siddhas to me, enlightened ones. Here you have achieved. Here you are as perfect as you can be, just like a Buddha, a Mahavira, or a Krishna. There is nothing else to be achieved.

Right this very moment everything is there, only you are not alert. And you are not alert because your mind is in the future. You are not here. You are not aware of what has happened to you this very moment.

And this has been happening always and always. For many, many millions of lives this has been happening. Every moment you have been a buddha. Not for a single moment has it been missed. It cannot be missed, that is how nature itself is, how things are. You cannot miss it!

But you are not alert, and you cannot be alert because of a goal somewhere, something that has to be achieved. Because of that a barrier is created and that which you are already is missed.

Once this is revealed, once this is realized, once you become aware of this, the greatest mystery of being is revealed, that everyone is perfect. That’s what we mean when we say everyone is Brahma – everyone is the soul, the ultimate soul, the divine. That’s what we mean when we say tattwamasi – you are that. Not that you have to become that, because if you have to become that, then you are not that. And if you are not that already, how can you become? The seed becomes the tree because the seed is already that. A stone cannot become a tree. The seed becomes the tree because the seed is already that! So the question is not of becoming, the question is only of revelation. The seed is revealed this moment as a seed, next moment as a tree. So this is only a question of revelation. And if you can penetrate deeply, the seed is the tree this very moment.

Tibetan mystics, or Zen masters or Sufi dervishes, they have all talked about the white clouds. The white clouds have been catching many people’s inner being. A rapport is achieved; it seems, with the white clouds. Make it a meditation and then many things will come to you.

Life should not be taken as a problem. Once you start that way you are lost. Once you think life is a problem it can never be solved. That’s how philosophy moves – and that’s how philosophy always moves wrongly. There are no right philosophies: there cannot be. All philosophies are wrong. Philosophizing is wrong, because philosophy takes the wrong basic step of thinking of life as a problem. Once life is a problem there is no solution to it. Life is not a problem but a mystery, which is how religion takes it.

A white cloud is the most mysterious thing, suddenly appearing, suddenly disappearing. Have you ever thought at any time that clouds have no nam-roop – no name, no form? Even for a single moment the form is not the same. It is changing, it is becoming, it is a river like flow.

You can give a form to the cloud, but that is your projection. A cloud has no form; it is formless or continuously being formed, it is a flux. And that’s how life is. All forms are projected.

This life you call yourself a man and just one life before you could have been a woman. This life you are white and the next life you can be black. This moment you are intelligent and the next moment you behave in a stupid way. This moment you are silent and the next moment you become mad, fiery, aggressive.

Have you got a form? Or are you continuously changing? You are a flux, a cloud. Have you got a name, any identity? Can you call yourself this or that? The moment you say you are this, that very moment you become aware that you are the contrary also.

You say to someone: I love you – and that very moment hate is there. You say you are a friend to someone and that very moment the enemy is laughing inside you, waiting for its moment. Some moment you say you are happy and that very moment happiness is lost and you have become unhappy. You have no identity. If you realize this you become a cloud with no form, with no name. And then drifting starts.

To me, the life of a white cloud is the life of a sannyasin, of a man who has renounced. The life of a householder is a fixed routine. It is a dead thing, it is a pattern. It has a name, it has a form. It moves on a particular track like railway lines. On the track trains are moving; they have a goal, they have to reach somewhere. But a sannyasin is like a cloud drifting in the sky – no iron tracks for him,  no routes, no identities. He is no one and lives the life of a non-being, lives as if he is not.

If you can live a life as if you are not, you are on my way. And the more YOU are, the more disease will be there. The less you are, the more healthy you will be. The less you are, the more weightless you will be. The less you are, the more you will be divine and blissful.

When I say life is not a problem but a mystery, I mean you cannot solve it, you can become it. A problem is something to be solved intellectually; but even if you solve it, nothing is achieved. You have gathered a little more knowledge, but no ecstasy out of it. A mystery is something you can become. You can be one with it, merged. Then ecstasy arises, then bliss – then the ultimate that can happen to a being, the ultimate joy.

Religion takes life as a mystery. What can you do about a mystery? You cannot do anything about the mystery, but you can do something about you. You can become more mysterious. And then the similar can meet with the similar, the same can meet with the same.

Look for the mysterious in life. Wherever you look – in the white clouds, in the stars in the night, in the flowers, in a flowing river – wherever you look, look for the mystery. And whenever you find that a mystery is there, meditate on it.

Meditation means: dissolve yourself before that mystery, annihilate yourself before that mystery, disperse yourself before that mystery. Be no more, and let the mystery be so total that you are absorbed in it. And suddenly a new door opens, a new perception is achieved. Suddenly the mundane world of division, of separation has disappeared, and a different, totally different world of oneness comes before you. Everything loses its boundary; everything is with others, is not divided but one.

This can be done only if you do something with you. If you have to solve a problem, you have to do something with the problem. You have to find a key, a clue. You have to work on the problem. You have to move in a laboratory – you have to do something. If you have to encounter a mystery, you have to do something with you; with the mystery nothing can be done.

We are impotent before a mystery. That’s why we go on changing mysteries into problems, because with problems we are potent, with problems we feel we are in control. With mysteries we are impotent, we cannot do anything. With mysteries we face death, and we cannot manipulate.

That’s why the more human intellect grows mathematical, logical, the less and less possibility of ecstasy is open before the human mind, less and less poetry is possible. Romance is lost; life becomes factual, not symbolic.

So when I say my way is The Way of the White Clouds, it is just a symbol. The white cloud is not being used as a fact; it is used as a symbol, as a poetic symbol; as an indication of a deep merger into the mysterious and the miraculous.


From My Way: The Way of the White Clouds, Chapter One   My Way the Way of the White Clouds

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available online from and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.


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