I consider the doctrine of sameness as the absolute ground of reality.
Buddha says: Things are not different, they are the same; they only look different, they only appear different. The tree there, and the rock, and you, and the animals and the stars, are not different. At the innermost core, reality is one and the same. Substance is one and the same, there are no distinctions. Distinctions are dreams.
Physicists call that one reality ‘electricity’ or ‘energy’. Materialists, Marxists, communists, call that reality ‘matter’. idealists call that reality ‘mind’. Yogis call that reality ‘consciousness’. Buddha calls that reality ‘nothingness’.
Now, this word ‘nothingness’ is very important. ‘Nothingness’ means: no-thing-ness. No thing is. All things are just forms, dreams. We are different only in form, and forms are just dreams. It is as if out of gold you can make many sorts of ornaments. Those forms, different ornaments, are just dreams, because the gold is the reality. Behind all the forms is gold; behind all the forms is one reality. Buddha says: That sameness is the absolute ground of reality.
If you go in, you leave the form. First you leave the form of the body. Have you observed it? — people who are close to me and meditating, come again and again to that insight — and these sayings can be understood only if you have certain insights of your own. Otherwise, it is impossible to understand them. When you are meditating, many times it happens that you forget your form, your body; you don’t know who you are and how you look. You forget your face. In fact, in deep meditation, you completely become oblivious of your body. When you close your eyes, you are formless. Your mind also has form. You are a Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan, Jain, Buddhist; then you have a form of the mind: you think in terms of being a Christian, you have a certain identity, dogma defines you. But if you go still deeper, mind also disappears. Then you are no more a Christian.
At the deepest core you are neither a body nor a mind. Then what are you?
Buddha says: Nothingness, no-thing-ness: now you are not a thing, now you are universal. Now you are not confined in any idea, you are infinite. You are that which has always been there and will remain always. You are eternal. Then there is no birth to you and there is no death to you. You are like the sky: clouds come and go and the sky remains untouched by them. Millions of times clouds have come and gone, and the sky has remained pure and virgin. It has not been corrupted or polluted by them. You are the inner sky. And when all forms disappear, the inner and the outer also disappear — because they are also forms. Then there is nothing inner and nothing outer… oneness, sameness.
Buddha does not call it ‘God’ — because to call it ‘God’ you may start thinking again of form. But that’s exactly what the word ‘God’ means, or should mean — God is that sameness that exists in all. ‘God’ means existence, isness. The tree is, the rock is, the cloud is, the man is — forms are different but isness is the same. As far as isness is concerned, a tree and you are the same. The form is different: the tree is green and you are not green, and the tree has flowers and you don’t have any flowers, and the bird can fly into the sky and you cannot fly; but these are differences of the form. But isness is the same. To look into that isness is what meditation is all about. And to come to realize that isness is nirvana.
This is the last message, the last sutra of this Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters. This is the forty-second sutra, Buddha’s ultimate message. I don’t think you will be able to understand it right now. Intellectually of course you can understand it, but the real understanding has to be existential. That will come only if you follow the path of inner discipline to the point where you can drop it. If you follow the path of meditation to the point where even meditation becomes a hindrance, and you drop it…. It is as if you move on a staircase from one floor to another, but when you have reached to the next floor you get off the staircase. You don’t cling to it. All methods are staircases — or in Buddha’s terminology: All methods are like boats; you cross the river, then you leave the boat, and you forget all about it.
Methods have to be used and then dropped. It has to be remembered from the very beginning — because there is every possibility that you may become too attached to the method. You become so attached that the method becomes a clinging: you start possessing it and it starts possessing you. Then the medicine has become a disease.
It happens: you are ill, you take medicine. Then illness goes but you cannot leave the medicine now. You have become accustomed to the medicine, to the drug. When the illness has gone, throw the medicine immediately.
Meditation is a medicine — because you are ill you have to use it. When wellness has come, then drop it immediately.
All devices have to be dropped one day, and all scriptures have to be dropped one day. This is the greatness of Buddha: that he says that even his teachings, his methods, have to be dropped.
When Zarathustra was saying goodbye to his disciples, the last thing that he said to his disciples has to be remembered. Keep it in your heart. This is what Buddha is saying in the last sutra. Said Zarathustra to his disciples, “Now I am going and this is my last message: Beware of Zarathustra!” And he left.
Beware of Zarathustra? Beware of the Master… because you can fall in love too much. You can become too much attached. The real Master is one who helps you to fall in love, and then helps you to stand on your own so that you can leave the Master. A real Master never becomes a crutch for you. Never! Before he sees that you are clinging too much, he starts getting out of your life — because the ultimate goal is freedom —freedom from all crutches, freedom from all props, freedom from every discipline, doctrine, method. Freedom from all: that’s the goal.
Always remember that goal. Remembering that goal will help you not to go astray.
A small story and I will finish this discourse. It is a Hassid story: The Three Prisoners.
After the death of Rabbi Uri of Istalisk, who was called ‘The Seraph’, one of the Hassidim came to Rabbi Birnham and wanted to become his disciple. Rabbi Birnham asked, “What was your teacher’s way of instructing you to serve?”
“His way,” said the Hassid, “was to plant humanity in our hearts. That was why everyone who came to him, whether he was a nobleman or a scholar, had first to fill two large buckets at the well in the marketplace, or to do some other hard and menial labor in the street.”
Rabbi Birnham said, “I shall tell you a story….
“Three men, two of them wise and one foolish, were once put in a dungeon black as night, and every day food and eating utensils were lowered down to them. The darkness and the misery of the imprisonment had deprived the fool of his last bit of sense, so that he no longer knew how to use the utensils; he could not see. One of his companions showed him, but the next day he had forgotten again. And so his wise companion had to teach him continually. But the third prisoner sat in silence and did not bother about the fool.
“Once the second prisoner asked him why he never offered his help. ‘Look,’ said the other, ‘you take infinite trouble and yet you never reach the goal because every day destroys your work. But I, sitting here, am not just sitting. I am trying to bore a hole in the wall so that the light and sun can enter, and all three of us can see everything.’ ”
Now, there are two types of Masters in the world. The first type I call the teacher. He teaches you things: disciplines. virtue, character, but next day you forget. Again he teaches you the same, and next day you forget again. The second I call the Master. He does not teach you virtue, he does not teach you character, he does not teach you ordinary humility, humbleness, poverty — no. He bores a hole into your being so that light can penetrate, and you can see yourself. He tries to make you aware, full of light. That’s the real Master. In the East we call him Satguru, the right Master. Teachers are many; Satgurus are very few and far between. Remember this distinction.
If you are with a teacher you may become a good man, but you cannot become enlightened. And your goodness will always remain on a volcano; it can erupt any moment. If you are with a teacher he will teach you outward things — how to discipline yourself, how to be good, how to be a servant, how to serve people, how to be non-violent, how to be loving, kind, compassionate. He will teach you a thousand and one things.
If you come to a Master, he teaches only one thing — that is: how to become aware, how to bore a hole into your being so light can enter into your imprisonment. And in that light, everything starts happening of its own accord.
And when things happen of their own accord, they have a beauty to them. Then there is great benediction.
From The Buddha Said…, Chapter 22
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation
Also published as The Discipline of Transcendence V. 4, Chapter Eleven