Existence Is Advaita – Osho

The nature of consciousness is to be just a mirror. The mirror has no choice of its own.

Whatsoever comes in front of it is reflected – good or bad, beautiful or ugly – whatsoever. The mirror does not prefer, it does not judge, it has no condemnation. The nature of consciousness, at the source, is just mirror-like.

A child is born; he reflects whatsoever comes before him. He does not say anything, he does not interpret. The moment interpretation enters; the mirror has lost its mirror-likeness. Now it is no more pure. Now it is filled with opinions, disturbed, many fragments, divided, split. It has become schizophrenic.

When the consciousness is divided, not mirror-like, it becomes the mind. Mind is a broken mirror.

In the root, mind is consciousness. If you stop making discriminations, if you stop making dual division – choosing this against that, liking this, disliking that – if you drop out of these divisions the mind again becomes a mirror, a pure consciousness.

So the whole effort for a seeker is how to drop opinions, philosophies, preferences, judgments, choices. And this should not become a choice in itself – that’s the problem.

So try to understand the basic problem, otherwise you can make this a choice “I will not choose, I will remain choiceless. Now choice is not for me, now I am for choiceless awareness.” This has again become the same thing – you have chosen. Now you are against choice and for choicelessness.

You have missed. Nobody can be for choicelessness, because the being for IS choice.

So what is to be done? Simple understanding is needed, nothing is to be done. The ultimate is achieved not through effort but through understanding.

No effort will lead you towards that, because effort will always be from the dual mind. Then you dislike the world and you like God; then bondage is not your preference, freedom is your preference; then you seek the moksha, the ultimate liberation. But again the mind has entered, and the mind goes on entering. And you cannot do anything – you have to simply be alert to the whole situation.

If you are alert, in a sudden illumination the mind falls. Suddenly you are one with the mirror-like consciousness; you have fallen to your base, to your root. And when you have fallen deep within to the root, the whole existence falls to the root.

Existence appears to you as you are. This is one of the fundamental laws. Whatsoever you see depends from where you see. If you are a mind, divided, then the whole life is divided. Existence re-echos your being. If you have a mind, split, then the whole world will be seen as split, then day is against night. They are not, because the day turns into night, the night turns into day – they make a complete circle. They are not against, they are complementaries. Without the night there cannot be any day, and without the day there cannot exist any night. So they cannot be opposites; they are deep down one.

Life and death appear as opposites because YOU are divided. Otherwise life becomes death, death becomes life. You are born, and that very day you have started to die. And the moment you die a new life has come into being. It is a circle – the yin and yang circle of the Chinese.

That circle has to be remembered again and again. It is one of the most basic symbols ever discovered. No other symbol can be compared to it – the cross, the swastika, the aum – no, no comparison with the Chinese yin and yang, because yin and yang comprehends the whole oppositeness of existence: the dark night and the bright day, life and death, love and hate.

All opposites are together in existence. Inside you are divided, outside they are divided. When you fall to your source and you become one, the whole existence suddenly falls into line and becomes one. When you are one, the Brahma appears, the ultimate appears, because to the one only one can appear; to the two, the two; to the many, the many. And you are many, you are a crowd – not even two. You have many, many selves within you.

Gurdjieff used to say that you are a house where nobody knows who the host is. Many people are there, everybody is a guest – but because nobody knows who the host is, everybody thinks he is the host. So whosoever becomes powerful in any moment plays the role of the host.

When anger becomes powerful, anger becomes the host. When love becomes powerful, love becomes the host. When jealousy becomes powerful, jealousy becomes the host. But it is a constant fight, because many are the guests and everybody would like to be the host, the owner of the house. And nobody knows who the owner is. Either the owner has gone for a long journey and has not come back, or the owner is fast asleep.

Your self is fast asleep. Hence the insistence of all Jesuses, Krishnas, Buddhas: “Awake!” Jesus goes on using the word ‘awake’ many, many times: “Awake, watch, be alert.” Buddha goes on saying, “Become more conscious.”

The meaning is one: that if you become aware the host will appear. And the moment – and this is the beauty of it – the host appears, the guests disappear. The moment the master comes into being, the servants simply fall into line and they become servants. They don’t claim that they are the masters. So the real problem is not to fight with anger, jealousy, hate. The real problem is to bring the master, make him aware. Once he is aware everything is set right. But this awareness is possible only if you fall to the source.

Mind is bound to remain divided, it cannot become one – the very nature of the mind is such. Try to understand the nature of the mind, then these sutras of Sosan will become clear, transparent. The nature of the mind is to look at a thing in such a way that the opposite has to be brought in. Without the opposite the mind cannot understand. If I say, “What is light?” how will the mind understand? Immediately darkness has to be brought in.

If you go to the dictionary – the dictionary is a vicious circle – if you look for what light is the dictionary says: that which is not darkness. To destroy light, darkness has to be brought in. What nonsense! And when you go to the definition of darkness, you will be surprised – then the light has to be brought in. What is darkness? – then they say: that which is not light.

You have not defined either, because both remain indefinable. And from one indefinable how can you define the other which is undefined? The whole game of the dictionary is that you never look at the whole thing.

If you ask linguists, “What is mind?” they say, “Not matter.” And, “What is matter?” they say, “Not mind.” Neither is defined. How can one undefined term define something? If I ask you where you live you say, “I am a neighbor of A.” And if I ask you where this A lives, you say, “He is my neighbor.” How am I to find the place where you live? Because neither A is defined nor you; A lives near B and B lives near A. But this is how things go on.

Mind cannot understand anything unless the opposite is brought in, because through contrast mind becomes capable of seeing. Life cannot be understood if there is no death, and happiness is impossible to feel if there is no unhappiness. How will you feel healthy if you have never known illness? You may be healthy but you cannot feel it. To be healthy is possible without illness but the mind cannot check it, the mind cannot know it. You have to fall ill.

For the mind, to be a saint one needs to be a sinner first, and to be healthy you have to be ill, and to be in love you have to hate. If you love and there is no hate you will not be able to know, your mind will not in any way detect it. And nobody else will be able to know it.

That is the problem with a Buddha or a Jesus. Buddha is full of love, but we cannot detect his love – he has no contrasting background, no hate. We have never seen hate in his eyes, and we have never seen anger in his eyes. How can we know that he loves? His love becomes incomprehensible.

For the mind, anything is comprehensible if the opposite is brought in. But the moment you bring the opposite you falsify existence, because in existence there is nothing like ‘opposite.’

Mind moves through the opposite and existence is unitary. Existence is advaita, existence is nondual – there is no problem. Where is the boundary of the day, when the day stops, ceases to be, and the night starts? Is there a gap between the two? Only if there is a gap then the boundary is possible. But there is no boundary! The day simply melts into the night, it merges into the night, and the night again merges into the day. Life is one, existence is one – mind is dual. So if you go on choosing you will never come to the source. Then you will cling to life and you will be afraid of death. Then you will cling to love and you will be afraid of hate. Then you will cling to the good and you will be afraid of the bad. Then you will cling to God and you will be afraid of the Devil.

Life is one. God, Devil – one. There is no division where God ends and where Devil begins; there cannot be. In life, Ram and Ravan are one, but for the mind they are the enemies, they are fighting.

For the mind everything is a conflict, it is a war.

And if you choose then you remain part of the game. And how not to choose is the whole art of religion, how to drop into a choicelessness.

But remember, don’t choose choicelessness! Otherwise, listening to me or to Sosan or Krishnamurti you will become enchanted by the word ‘choicelessness.’ Your mind will say, “This is very good. Then ecstasy is possible and much bliss will happen to you if you become choicelessness. Then the door of the mysteries of life will be opened.” The mind feels greedy. The mind says, “Okay, so I will choose choicelessness.” The door is closed, only the label is changed, but you have become a victim of the old trick.

-Osho

From Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing, Discourse #4

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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For Such a Mind, Self-inquiry will Become Easy – Ramana Maharshi

11. What is the means for constantly holding on to the thought ‘Who am I?’

R.M. When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire: ‘To whom do they arise?’ It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should inquire with diligence, “To whom has this thought arisen?”. The answer that would emerge would be “To me”. Thereupon if one inquires “Who am I?”, the mind will go back to its source; and the thought that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its source. When the mind that is subtle goes out through the brain and the sense organs, the gross names and forms appear; when it stays in the heart, the names and forms disappear. Not letting the mind go out, but retaining it in the Heart is what is called “inwardness” (antarmukha). Letting the mind go out of the Heart is known as “externalisation” (bahir-mukha). Thus, when the mind stays in the Heart, the ‘I’ which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the Self which ever exists will shine. Whatever one does, one should do without the egoity “I”. If one acts in that way, all will appear as of the nature of Siva (God).

12. Are there no other means for making the mind quiescent?

R.M. Other than inquiry, there are no adequate means. If through other means it is sought to control the mind, the mind will appear to be controlled, but will again go forth. Through the control of breath also, the mind will become quiescent; but it will be quiescent only so long as the breath remains controlled, and when the breath resumes the mind also will again start moving and will wander as impelled by residual impressions. The source is the same for both mind and breath. Thought, indeed, is the nature of the mind. The thought “I” is the first thought of the mind; and that is egoity. It is from that whence egoity originates that breath also originates. Therefore, when the mind becomes quiescent, the breath is controlled, and when the breath is controlled the mind becomes quiescent. But in deep sleep, although the mind becomes quiescent, the breath does not stop. This is because of the will of God, so that the body may be preserved and other people may not be under the impression that it is dead. In the state of waking and in samadhi, when the mind becomes quiescent the breath is controlled. Breath is the gross form of mind. Till the time of death, the mind keeps breath in the body; and when the body dies the mind takes the breath along with it. Therefore, the exercise of breath-control is only an aid for rendering the mind quiescent (manonigraha); it will not destroy the mind (manonasa).

Like the practice of breath-control. meditation on the forms of God, repetition of mantras, restriction on food, etc., are but aids for rendering the mind quiescent.

Through meditation on the forms of God and through repetition of mantras, the mind becomes one-pointed.  The mind will always be wandering. Just as when a chain is given to an elephant to hold in its trunk it will go along grasping the chain and nothing else, so also when the mind is occupied with a name or form it will grasp that alone. When the mind expands in the form of countless thoughts, each thought becomes weak; but as thoughts get resolved the mind becomes one-pointed and strong; for such a mind Self-inquiry will become easy. Of all the restrictive rules, that relating to the taking of sattvic food in moderate quantities is the best; by observing this rule, the sattvic quality of mind will increase, and that will be helpful to Self-inquiry.

13. The residual impressions (thoughts) of objects appear wending like the waves of an ocean. When will all of them get destroyed?

R.M. As the meditation on the Self rises higher and higher, the thoughts will get destroyed.

14. Is it possible for the residual impressions of objects that come from beginningless time, as it were, to be resolved, and for one to remain as the pure Self?

R.M. Without yielding to the doubt “Is it possible, or not?”, one should persistently hold on to the meditation on the Self. Even if one be a great sinner, one should not worry and weep “O! I am a sinner, how can I be saved?”; one should completely renounce the thought “I am a sinner”; and concentrate keenly on meditation on the Self; then, one would surely succeed. There are not two minds – one good and the other evil; the mind is only one. It is the residual impressions that are of two kinds – auspicious and inauspicious. When the mind is under the influence of auspicious impressions it is called good; and when it is under the influence of inauspicious impressions it is regarded as evil.

The mind should not be allowed to wander towards worldly objects and what concerns other people. However bad other people may be, one should bear no hatred for them. Both desire and hatred should be eschewed. All that one gives to others one gives to one’s self. If this truth is understood who will not give to others? When one’s self arises all arises; when one’s self becomes quiescent all becomes quiescent. To the extent we behave with humility, to that extent there will result good. If the mind is rendered quiescent, one may live anywhere.

15. How long should inquiry be practised?

R.M. As long as there are impressions of objects in the mind, so long the inquiry “Who am I?” is required. As thoughts arise they should be destroyed then and there in the very place of their origin, through inquiry. If one resorts to contemplation of the Self unintermittently, until the Self is gained, that alone would do. As long as there are enemies within the fortress, they will continue to sally forth; if they are destroyed as they emerge, the fortress will fall into our hands.

-Ramana Maharshi

From Who Am I?

Without any Breaks – Annamalai Swami

Q: Are there no breaks at all in the jnani’s awareness of the Self? For example, if he is engrossed in reading a good book, will his full attention ‘be always on the book? Will he simultaneously be aware that he is the Self?

AS: If there are breaks in his Self-awareness this means that he is not yet a jnani. Before one becomes established in this state without any breaks, without changes, one has to contact and enjoy this state many times. By steady meditation it finally becomes permanent.

It is very difficult to attain Self-abidance, but once it is attained it is retained effortlessly and never lost. It is a little like putting a rocket into space. A great effort and great energy are required to escape the earth’s gravitational field. If the rocket is not going fast enough, gravity will pull it back to earth. But once it has escaped the pull of gravity it can stay out in space quite effortlessly without falling back to earth…

-Annamalai Swami

From Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 284

This Witness is Our Truth – Osho

A few days ago, I heard you say that the voice speaking inside of us is always the mind, so I wonder who in me is hearing this voice. When I try to find the answer, I only find silence.

Chidvilas, the moment you look into your self you only find silence. But are you not aware that you are also there? Who finds the silence? Silence itself cannot find itself; there is somebody as a witness who is finding the silence. Just your focus is wrong; you are still focusing on the object. It is just an old habit, perhaps cultivated for many, many lives, that you always focus yourself on the object, and you always forget yourself.

An ancient Eastern story is that ten blind men crossed a stream. The current was very strong, so they took hold of each other’s hands because they were afraid somebody may be taken away by the current. They reached the other shore, and somebody amongst them suggested, “It is better we should count because the current and the stream were really dangerous. Somebody may have slipped, and we may not even be aware.”

So they started counting. It was a great shock, and they were all crying and weeping; everybody tried, but the count was always nine—because nobody was counting himself.

Naturally, he would start counting, “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine….

My God, one has gone!” So they all were crying.

A woodcutter was watching all this drama and he said… he had never seen ten blind men together, in the first place. Second, what a stupid idea these people had. What was the need to cross the stream when it was so strong and flooded? And, above all, now they were counting, and crying and weeping for someone — they did not know who, but certainly someone had been taken away by the current. Watching them counting, he was simply amazed how was it possible that they were ten persons, but the count always came to nine?

Some help was needed, so he came down from his tree and he said, “What is the matter?”

They all said, “We have lost one of our friends. We were ten, and now we are only nine.”

The man said, “I can find your tenth man. You are right, you used to be ten, but there is a condition.”

They said, “We will accept any condition, but our friend….”

He said, “It is not a very big condition, it is a simple condition. I will hit on the first man’s head; he has to say “one.” Then I will hit on the second person’s head two times; he has to say “two.” Then I will hit on the third person’s three times; he has to say “three.” As many times as I hit, the person has to speak the number.”

They said, “If this is the way to find the lost friend, we are ready.”

So he enjoyed hitting very much, and he hit them in turn. When he had hit the tenth man ten times he said “ten.” All the nine said, “You idiot, where have you been?

Unnecessarily we have all been beaten! Where you have been hiding up to now?”

He said, “I was standing here, I was myself counting, and it always came to nine. This man seems to be a miracle man; he managed to find the tenth man.”

The story is significant for the simple reason that it has become our habit not to count ourselves. So when you are watching your thoughts, inside, you are not aware that there is a watcher too. When you are watching silence, you are not aware that you cannot watch silence if you are not there.

Chidvilas, you are asking, “A few days ago I heard you say that the voice speaking inside of us is always the mind, so I wonder who in me is hearing this voice?” Certainly I am not hearing it, and as far as I know nobody else is hearing it. You must be the guy who is hearing this voice. Everybody else has his own problem!

“When I try to find the answer I only find silence.” But then too the question arises: Who finds the silence? It is the same guy who was hearing the voice. His name is Chidvilas.

You have to become more subjective, more alert to yourself; we are always alert to everything around us.

Pat followed his friend Mike’s example and left Ireland to work in England. Though they had since lost contact, Mike had mentioned how easy it was to get a job at Whipsnade Open Zoo, so Pat applied. Unfortunately they had no keeper’s jobs available; there was not even the position of a sweeper vacant.

“But I tell you what, Pat,” the manager said, “the gorilla died a couple of days ago, and what is a zoo without a gorilla? But we have kept his pelt entire; now if you crawl into that skin and take over his enclosure, we will feed and house you, and pay you handsomely as well.”

Pat had a look over the lovely field that was the gorilla enclosure; he surveyed the comfortable gorilla house, and tested the bed provided. He agreed to take the job. Very soon Pat had become a great favorite with visitors to the zoo. Being a bit of an extrovert, he would always put on a good act,  tumbling, chest-thumping, and growling. But the climax of his performance was most popular. Whenever there was a good crowd, Pat would scale a large oak tree at the side of his enclosure where it adjoined the lion’s pen and pelt the lioness with acorns. The big-maned lion, in particular, would roar with rage and stamp about, and the crowd would roar with delight.

One public holiday a particularly large crowd had gathered, and Pat was aloft and reaching the peak of his performance. He had just finished off the acorn pelting with a bit of chest-thumping when the branch he was balanced on broke; he fell to the ground at the lion’s feet. Pat jumped up, shouting for help, and was about to scarper when the lioness whispered, “Hold your tongue Pat, do you want to lose us the best jobs we have ever had?”

Here, everybody has different skins only; inside is the same consciousness. Whether you are hearing a voice, or you are hearing silence, remember more about yourself—who is the watcher? Who is the witness?

In every experience, when you are angry, when you are in love, when you are in greed, when you are in despair, it is the same key: just watch—are you really in danger, or are you only a witness. Here we are, just sitting. Deep down, who are you? Always a witness.

Whatever happens on the outside, you may be young, you may be old, you may be alive, you may be dead—whatever happens on the outside, inside is the same witness.

This witness is our truth. This witness is our ultimate reality, our eternal reality. So all your work is concerned with shifting your focus from the object to the subject.

Don’t be bothered about anger, or silence, or love. Be concerned about whom all this is happening to, and remain centered there. This centering will bring you the greatest experience of your life. It will make you a superman.

-Osho

From The Golden Future, Discourse #3

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.

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The Eternal Present – Jean Klein

The “eternal present”, our theme in these meetings, lies within the depth of ourselves. It is the eternal awareness of the self.

Seen from the Ultimate, the world projected by the mind appears and disappears, in other words, it “becomes”. When we talk of time and space, it must be thoroughly understood that their reality is relative, it is a reality in the world of becoming. But beyond space- time is that stillness which knows no becoming.

If the background is to be revealed, first of all we must ask the essential question: “Who Am I?”

When we say “I”, we are identical with the background and this “I” expresses our most intimate self. Each time we say “I think”, “I see”, “I hear”, we qualify it. We associate the “I”, the subject, with an object of consciousness, with which we identify ourselves. But if we manage to keep the “I” clear of this identification, then appears the Self, the non-dual, everlasting, un changeable reality.

I would like the questions put during these talks to be spontaneous, not elaborated. This spontaneity comes if you adopt an attitude of true listening to yourself.

We obviously have to make use of language, as we use words, to remain open and to transcend them and feel out the ideas in their true reality, beyond the verbal plane. The hearer may then experience a genuine reaction enabling him to put questions which are truly pertinent.

The path which is here advocated is the direct path. Its process is the elimination of the known, since the experience of the Self, of our true nature, is for the moment unknown to us. The Self can only be described negatively since no positive concept, no part of anything we know, can be applied to it. All thoughts are fragmentations which place us in duality; they set themselves before the Self, thus making unitive knowledge impossible.

It is therefore by discarding the known, that is to say our thoughts, perceptions and emotions, that integration with the ultimate “I”, the everlasting present, is possible. The man who experiences this return, who has broken down the limitations set up by the ego, ceases to be tormented by desire and fear. He is in no way diminished by the loss of his individuality; he knows himself to be “out of time”. Only such a timeless “I” is entitled to say: “I am”.

Whether thoughts appear or not, the eternal Presence remains, transcending the three states (waking, dreaming and deep sleep). Nothing can cause the Sage to return to the level of duality. He is established in an undifferentiated state where the Atman, having realized its identity with the Brahman, shines its own light.

-Jean Klein

From Be Who You Are, pp. 29-30

Clouds Come and Go in the Sky – Annamalai Swami

When the mind appears every morning, don’t jump to the usual conclusion, ‘This is me; these thoughts are mine’.

Instead, watch these thoughts come and go without identifying with them in any way.

If you can resist the impulse to claim each and every thought as your own, you will come to a startling conclusion: you will discover that you are the consciousness in which the thoughts appear and disappear. You will discover that this thing called mind only exists when thoughts are allowed to run free. Like the snake which appears in the rope, you will discover that the mind is only an illusion that appears through ignorance or misperception.

You want some experience which will convince you that what I am saying is true. You can have that experience if you give up your life-long habit of inventing an ‘I’ which claims all thoughts as mine’.

Be conscious of yourself as consciousness alone, watch all the thoughts come and go. Come to the conclusion, by direct experience, that you are really consciousness itself, not its ephemeral contents.

Clouds come and go in the sky but the appearance and disappearance of the clouds don’t affect the sky.

Your real nature is like the sky, like space. Just remain like the sky and let thought-clouds come and go. If you cultivate this attitude of indifference towards the mind, gradually you will cease to identify yourself with it.

-Annamalai Swami

From Living by the Words of Bhagavan, page 267, David Godman

 

Explore the Body-Mind – Jean Klein

When there is teaching, you must follow the line free from expectation and anticipation — as in the same way when you trace the route on the map it brings you to your destination. It is very deeply rooted in the body- mind that there is something to achieve, to become, to attain, and this brings us absolutely away from what we are. It takes us in the opposite direction. So we must first face our body- mind, accept it, explore it, get to know it. In this exploration there comes a moment when you are no longer interested in what you explore but live in the exploring itself. The explored is in the exploring, but the exploring is not in the explored. In other words, the known is in the knowing, but the knowing is not in the known. Otherwise, there could not be knowing.

By “explore the body-mind” I mean sense the body-mind. And by “sense” I mean have the sensation of it. Systematically go through all the parts and let each part become sensitive. In this way you become aware of your body. The body is only known through the five senses so let it come up to your five senses. The most obvious of all the sense faculties is sensation or feeling. We know our bodies mostly through sensation. In sensing the body you become free from the reactive body, free from mechanical functioning. So the moment you explore, sense, your body you no longer feed its conditioning. There’s no longer an accomplice to it, to its tension, expectation, aggression. There’s a letting-go, a deep relaxation. Then there’s a moment when there’s no more emphasis on the object, the body-mind, and there’s a switchover so that the observer-subject-explorer is emphasized. You find yourself objectless, no longer in relation of subject to object— abiding completely in stillness, in beingness. That is self-knowing.

Become free from undertaking, from doing. Not doing is also an undertaking. Doing and not doing are movements in the mind. And the mind, like all objects, has its roots in the self, in our highest principle. It is only in this higher principle that there is a conversion between doing and not doing. In this conversion there is no more left and right, yes and no, like and dislike, doing and not-doing; you are free from duality, there is really wholeness, completeness. It no longer has anything to do with the mind.

-Jean Klein

From The Book of Listening, pp. 177-178

Excerpts from Dialogue, Santa Barbara, California: February 16, 1992

 

Sunyawad, The Philosophy of Emptiness – Osho

These techniques are concerned with emptiness – they are the most delicate, the most subtle. Even to conceive of emptiness seems impossible. Buddha used all these four techniques for his disciples and bhikkus, and because of these four techniques he was totally misunderstood. Buddhism got completely uprooted from Indian soil just because of these four techniques.

Buddha said that there is no God. If there is God, you cannot be totally empty. You may not be there but the God will be there, the Divine will be there. And your mind can deceive you, because your Divine may be just your mind playing tricks. Buddha said that there is no soul, because if there is any soul, atma, you can hide your ego behind it. Your ego will be difficult to leave if you feel that there is some self within you. Then you cannot be totally empty because you will be there.

Just to prepare the ground for these techniques of emptiness, Buddha denied everything. He was not an atheist but he appeared to be an atheist because he said that there is no God, he said there is no soul, he said there is nothing substantial in existence – existence is empty. But this was just to prepare the ground for these techniques. Once you enter emptiness you have entered all – you may call it the Divine, you may call it God, or atma, soul, whatsoever you like – but you can enter the truth only when you are totally empty. Nothing should be left of you.

Hindus thought that Buddha was destroying religion, that he was teaching irreligion. And people who heard him, even they couldn’t follow, because whenever you go somewhere, you go to seek something – you never go to seek emptiness. So those who went to hear him were seeking something – nirvana, moksha, the other world, heaven, truth – but they were seeking something. They had come to gratify their ultimate desire: to find the truth. That is the last desire. And unless you are completely desireless, you cannot know the truth; the very condition of knowing is to be totally desireless.

So one thing is certain, you cannot desire truth. If you desire it, the very desire will become the barrier. There were masters before Buddha who were teaching, “Don’t desire, be desireless.” But they were talking about God, about the kingdom of God, heaven, paradise, moksha, the ultimate freedom and liberation – and they were saying, “Be desireless.” Buddha felt that you cannot be desireless if there is something to be attained. You may pretend that you are desireless, but this pretension, desirelessness, is also from some desire to be fulfilled. It is false. The masters say that you cannot attain to ultimate bliss with desire, and you want to attain ultimate bliss – so you start being desireless, you try to be desireless, so that you can attain the ultimate bliss. But the desire is there. You are trying to be desireless just because of the desire. So Buddha said that there is no God to be attained. Even if you desire, there is no one to be attained… so be desireless. There is no moksha somewhere, there is no goal. Life is meaningless and goal-less.

His emphasis is beautiful and wonderful – no one has tried that way. He destroyed all the goals just to help you to be desireless. If the goals are there, how can you be desireless? And if you are not desireless, you will not attain to the goal – this is the paradox. He destroyed all the goals – not that those goals are not there, they are there and they can be attained – but if you want to attain them, if you desire to attain them, it becomes impossible. The very basic condition is you must be desireless – then the ultimate happens to you. So Buddha says there is nothing to be desired, desires are futile. Drop all desires and when there is no desire you will be empty.

Just imagine, if there is no desire within you, what will you be? You are nothing but a bundle of desires. If all desires go, you simply disappear. Not that you will not exist – you will exist, but as an emptiness. You will be there, just like a vacant room: no one is there, just a sunya, a nothingness. Buddha has called this nothingness anatma, anatta, no-soulness. You will not feel any center, that “I am”; there will be just “am-ness”, no “I” to it, because “I” is nothing but accumulated desires, condensed desires, crystallized desires – many, many desires have become your “I”.

It is just as in physics. Physicists say that if you analyze matter, then matter is nothing but atoms; there is nothing to join the atoms, each atom is surrounded by vacant space. If you have a rock in your hand, there is no rock, just atoms of energy, and between two atoms, infinite space. Even a rock is spacious, porous. They say that soon we will be able to pull that space out from anything.

H.G. Wells has written a story.

In the twenty-first century, a passenger starts calling for coolies in a big station. Other passengers who are traveling in the same compartment with this passenger cannot understand, because he has no luggage, just a packet of cigarettes and a small matchbox. That is all his luggage. And he goes on calling for coolies. A big group gathers and a passenger asked, “Why? Why are you calling? You don’t have anything. You can carry this matchbox and this packet of cigarettes yourself. What are you going to do with these two dozen coolies?” The passenger laughs and he says, “Try, try that matchbox. That matchbox is not ordinary. One railway engine is condensed into it.”

It is possible soon. Space can be pulled out and then it can be again forced in, and the engine will take its shape again. Then big things can be carried without much problem. The weight will remain the same but the shape, the form, will become smaller and smaller. A matchbox can contain a railway engine, but the weight will remain the same, because space has no weight. You can pull out the space but you cannot pull out the weight. The weight will remain the same because weight is contained by the atoms, not by the space. They say that the whole earth can be condensed into the form, the shape, of one apple, but the weight will remain the same. And if you pull apart all these atoms; if you take one atom out, and then another, and then another; if you take all the atoms out, nothing will be left behind – so matter is just an appearance.

Buddha has analyzed the human mind in a simpler way: he is one of the greatest scientists possible. He says your ego is nothing but desires, atomic desires. There are millions of desires; they make you. If you go on pulling out desires one by one, a moment will come when there is no desire left, you have disappeared… just space, just vacant space remains. And this, Buddha says, is nirvana. This is the cessation of your being completely; you are no more. And Buddha says this is silence: unless you are completely gone, silence cannot descend on you. Buddha says you cannot be silent because you are the problem; you cannot be peaceful because you are the disease; and you can never be blissful because you are the only barrier. The bliss can come at any moment but you are the barrier. When you are not, bliss will be there; when you are not, peace will be there; when you are not, silence will be there, when you are not, ecstasy will be there. When your inner being is totally empty, this emptiness itself is bliss. That’s why Buddha’s teachings are called sunyawad, the philosophy of emptiness, or the philosophy of zero.

These four techniques are to attain this state of being, or you can call it this state of no-being – there is no difference. You can give it a positive term, as Hindus and Jains have called it, soul, or you can give it a more appropriate but negative term, as Buddha has called it, anatta, no-selfness or no-soulness. It depends on you. But whatsoever you call it, there is no one to be named and called, there is just infinite space. That’s why I say that these are the ultimate techniques, the most delicate, the most difficult – but the most wonderful. And if you can work with any of these four techniques, you will gain the unattainable.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #79

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

See the first technique Suppose Your Passive Form to be an Empty Room.

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.

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Death is Not the Enemy – Osho

Death is not the enemy. It appears to be so because we cling too much to life. The fear of death arises out of the clinging. And because of this clinging we are unable to know what death is. Not only that, we are unable to know what life is too.

The man who is not able to know death will not be able to know life either, because deep down they are two branches of the same tree, If you are afraid of death, basically you will remain – because it is life that brings death. It is through living that you come to dying.

You would like to become stagnant frozen, so that you don’t flow, so that death never happens. You would like to get stuck somewhere on the way, so that you never come to the ocean and disappear.

A man who is afraid of death clings to life too much; but the irony is that even if he clings too much to life, he is not able to see what life is. His clinging to life becomes a barrier to understanding life too. He cannot understand death, he cannot understand life; he remains in a deep misunderstanding, in a great ignorance.

So this is one of the most fundamental things to see: that death is not the enemy. Death cannot be the enemy. In fact, the enemy exists not. The whole existence is one. All is friendly. All is yours, it belongs to you and you belong to it. You are not strangers here.

Existence has given birth to you; existence has mothered you. So when you die, you simply go back to the original source to rest and to be born again.

Death is like a rest. Life is activity: death is rest. And without rest activity is not possible. Life is like the day and death is like the night. And without the night, the day cannot exist on its own. It is night that prepares you for the day, it is night that rejuvenates you, gives you energy back. You move in your deep sleep to the very point where death will lead you.

Every night you go into death – it is a small death – hence in the morning you feel so alive. Unfortunate are those people who don’t die every night. In the morning they are more tired than they were when they went to bed. They were dreaming, they were still clinging to life in their dreams. They didn’t go in a let-go. They didn’t allow death to take possession of them and mend many things and give rest, relaxation, new energy. These are the unfortunate people. The fortunate people are those who go into a tremendously deep sleep, a dreamless sleep. In the morning they are again alive, ready to face life in its manifold forms, full of joy, full of response, ready to take any challenge that life proposes.

Death is like the night. Life is yang and death is yin. Life is male, death is female. Life is aggression, ambition – a great effort to conquer many things. And death is relaxation from all aggression – an inward journey. One relaxes into oneself. Zen people call it ‘the asylum of rest’.

Life is an adventure; you go away from yourself; you go farther and farther away. The farther away you are, the more miserable you become. You go in search of happiness, but the more you search for happiness, the farther you are from it. And you can see it in your own life. This is not a philosophy; this is a simple statement of fact. Everybody goes in search of happiness. But the farther away you go, the more miserable you become.

Life is a search for happiness – but brings misery. One day you are fed up and tired and bored. That adventure no longer appeals. You relax into yourself, you come back. The closer you come to yourself, the happier you become. The more you forget about happiness, the happier you become. The day you stop seeking and searching for happiness, you are happy.

Life is a promise for happiness, but only a promise. It never fulfills. Death fulfills it. Hence, I repeat: death is not the enemy. Death is your home where you come after many, many journeys – tired, frustrated, exhausted – to seek shelter, to seek rest, to gain again the lost vitality. One thing.

Second thing: life and death are not so much apart as we think. You think life happened the day you were born, and death will happen the day you die. So there is a seventy or eighty or one hundred years’ gap. It is not so. Birthing and dying go on together your whole life. The moment you start breathing you start dying too. Each moment there is life and there is death – two wheels of the same cart. They go together. They are simultaneous. You cannot put them so far apart – seventy years is too much distance. You cannot put them so far apart – they are there every moment. Every moment something is being born in you and something is dying.

Dying and living are together. In seventy years’ time you are finished with this dying and living. You are tired of the game. You would like to go home. You have played with sand castles. You have argued, fought for your sand castles: This is mine and that is thine, and enough is enough! Evening has come and the sun is setting and you want to come home. After seventy years you slip into deep rest. But dying and living continue together. To see it in that light will bring great insight to you. Each moment both are there.

So there is no need to be afraid. It is not that death is going to happen somewhere in the future. The future creates problems: It is going to happen somewhere in the future – how to protect yourself? How to create Great China Walls against it? What arrangements should be made so it doesn’t happen to you, or at least so it can be postponed a little more?

But it is already happening! It is not a question in the future. It has been happening since you have been here. You cannot postpone it; you cannot do anything about it! There is no way to do anything about it. It is the very process of life – dying is part of the very process of life.

For example, it comes very, very prominent and loud and bold when you make love. Naturally, because love gives you the feeling of life. But have you watched? After each love act you become depressed. Relaxed, silent, but a kind of frustration is also there. At the peak of your love you are at the peak of life, and then suddenly you fall into death. Each love act brings life to a peak, and, naturally, gives you a glimpse into the abyss of death that is surrounding it. The valley of death is very clear when the peak of life is very high.

Out of this experience, two types of culture have arisen in the world. One is sex-against, and one is death-against.

The sex-against culture emphasizes more the frustration that follows the sex act. It is more concerned with the valley. It says, “Look, nothing is achieved, only frustration. That was all illusion; that peak, that orgasm, was just illusory, momentary. See what really comes in the end – just frustration. Again, you are flat on the ground. So it was a kind of illusion that you have created, but this is reality.”

After each sex act, everybody starts thinking of how to become celibate, how to drop this whole miserable wheel, how to get out of this vicious wheel. The idea of celibacy and Brahmacharya has arisen because of that second part. It is there! People who are sex-against see only it. People who are death-against don’t see it. People who are death-against, they simply see the peak, they don’t look into the valley. Once the peak is there, they close their eyes and go into sleep. They don’t think about the valley. The valley is there, but they have chosen only the peak.

But see, there is a corollary to it. If you only see the peak then you will be very much afraid of death, because you will not have any experience of it. Then death will remain unknown forever. Only when you are dying, then you will come across it. Then it will be too much and too new, and too unfamiliar and unknown, and it will shock you very much.

So the people who are death-against and only see the peak of life, the orgasmic peak of the sex act, will avoid the valley, they will not look into it. Then ultimately, one day, that valley is there. They are very afraid. Hence, in the West, where sex has become more free and people are less sex-against, hey are more death-against. They are fighting against death. Somehow death has to be destroyed.

In the East, people are sex-against. They look only into the valley. They don’t look at the peak; they say the peak is just illusory. Because they look into the valley, they have become more and more death-prone, ready to die. In fact, waiting to die; in fact, hoping to die, desiring to die, dreaming to die. In the East the greatest ideal is how to die so utterly that you are never born again. That is the ultimate death.

In the West the idea is how to create a situation where you don’t die at all; you go on living – on and on and on. Both attitudes are lop-sided. Both attitudes create a kind of imbalance in you, and that imbalance is the misery of man.

A real man, an authentic man, will face all; he will not choose. He will not say, “I will see only the valley and I will be oblivious of the peak,” or “I will only see the peak and I will remain oblivious of the valley.” He will see both as they are. He will not choose.

Not to choose is Zen. To be choiceless is Zen: to see things as they are in their totality – good and bad, heaven and hell, life and death, day and night, summer and winter – to see them as they are. Zen is not an either/or philosophy. It does not give you a choice because it says, “If you choose, you will always be afraid of the one that you have not chosen.”

See into it: if you choose something, you will remain constantly trapped with that which you have not chosen, because the not-chosen is the rejected, the not-chosen is the repressed. The not-chosen is a hankering to take revenge. The not-chosen is getting ready – someday, in a weaker moment, it will explode with a vengeance.

So the man who is sex-against is always afraid of the vengeance of sex – it can explode any moment. And the man who is afraid of death, death-against, is naturally always trembling death is coming. He knows, there is a tacit understanding. Whether you see it or not, it makes no difference. Just not seeing it will not make it disappear. It is there. You know it is there and it is coming. And it is coming closer every moment.

The man who is sex-against will be afraid of sexuality erupting any moment in his consciousness. And the man who is death-against will be afraid of death coming any day and possessing him and destroying him.

Both kinds of people remain fear-oriented; and both kinds of people remain in a fighting state, continuously conflicting. They never come to a calm tranquility, an equilibrium. Equilibrium is when you don’t choose, when you see the fact as it is. Life is not an either/or question, there is nothing to choose. It is all together. By your choice, nothing is changed. By your choice, only you get into a kind of ignorance. That which you choose is part, and that which you are not choosing is also part of reality. The unchosen part of reality will remain hanging around you, waiting to be accepted. It cannot disappear, there is no way for it to disappear. If you love life too much and you don’t want to see the fact of death… death is there hanging around like a shadow.

Zen says: See both – they are one piece, they are together. Seeing them together, without any choice, without any prejudice, you transcend them. Seeing them together, you are no more identified with life and no more identified with death. When you are not identified, you are free, you are liberated.

Identification is what imprisonment is. Let this be understood perfectly, because that is the root cause of all our misery, slavery.

Identification – this word is very significant. It means you get identified with a part. You become one with one part of life, that part you start thinking of as if it is the whole. Nothing is wrong with the part as such, but the part is the part; it is not the whole. When you start thinking of the part as the whole, partiality arises. When you start claiming for the part as if it is the whole, you are becoming blind to the whole. Now you will be in conflict with reality. And you cannot win against reality, remember it. You cannot win against reality. It is impossible. It does not happen, it cannot happen. You can win only with reality, never against reality. Victory is with reality. That’s why all the great Masters have put so much emphasis on surrender. Surrender means to be with reality. Then victory is certain – because reality is going to win. It is always the reality that wins. If you are with it, you will be a winner; if you are against it, you are going to be a loser. And we are all losers, we have been fighting.

We choose a small part and claim that this is the whole. We choose life, we take life out of its basic context – death – and we say, “This is me. I am life.” Now you are getting into trouble. You will be encaged in this identification. How will you manage death then? – and it is there, and it is happening every moment, and it is going to take you unawares one day.

You get identified with the body, “I am the body,” then there is trouble. You get identified with the mind, “I am the mind,” then there is trouble. Getting identified is getting into trouble. Identification is the very stuff ignorance is made of. Once identification is dropped, once you don’t get identified with anything, you simply remain a witness – not saying, “This I am” or “that I am.” You simply remain a witness. You see life as passing, you see death as passing, you see sex as passing, you see frustration, joy, success, failure. You go on seeing; you remain a pure seer. You don’t get hooked with anything; you don’t claim “I am this.” Without claiming, who are you? Without confining and defining yourself, without giving a limitation to yourself, if you can remain flowing, just seeing, there is liberation. There is great liberation.

Unidentified one is free. Identified, one is encaged.

Zen says: Don’t be identified with anything whatsoever. And then, naturally, transcendence happens. You see misery coming and you remain a watcher. You see misery arising, engulfing you, surrounding you like great dark smoke, but you remain a watcher. You see it, you don’t judge. You don’t say, “This is me,” or “This is not me.” You don’t say anything at all, you remain non-judgemental. You simply see this is the fact, that there is misery. 

Then as it had come one day, one day it starts disappearing. Clouds had gathered and now they are disappearing, and there is great sunshine and happiness. You don’t get identified with that either. You just see that sunshine has come back; clouds have disappeared. You don’t say, “This is me,” you don’t say, “This is not me.” You don’t make any statement at all about yourself. You simply go on watching.

Many times, it will happen – misery will come, happiness will come – many times you will succeed, many times you will fail. Many times, you will be depressed, and many times you will feel very high. Watching all this duality, by and by you will see that you are beyond all these dual pairs of things.

And so is a pair – life and death. And so is a pair – mind and body. And so is a pair – the world and nirvana. All are dual pairs. When you can see thoroughly, when you can see transparently, and you don’t choose, you are something transcendental – the witness. That witness is never born and never dies.

Death and life come into that witness’ vision, but that witness is eternal. It was there before you were born, and it will be there when you are gone. You have been coming into the world millions of times, and you may yet be coming – and still you have never come. The world appears in you just like a reflection appears in a mirror. Nothing, in fact, happens to the mirror. Or do you think something happens to the mirror?

You are standing before a mirror and the mirror reflects your face. Do you think something is happening to the mirror? Nothing is happening. You are gone, the mirror is empty. Somebody else comes before the mirror, the mirror reflects that face – beautiful or ugly – it has no choice, it is choiceless. You bring a beautiful rose-flower, it reflects; you bring an ugly thorn, it reflects. You bring a beautiful face, it reflects; you bring an ugly face, it reflects. It has no choice. it does not say, “This is not good and I am not going to reflect,” and, “This is very good and I will cling to it. Please don’t go away from here. remain here. I am you; you are me.” No, the mirror simply reflects.

This mirror-like quality is what is meant by witnessing. And that’s why the mirror remains clean of all impressions. It goes on reflecting, but no impressions are collected on it. This is the state of awareness. This is what meditation is all about.

Watch, see, be alert, but don’t choose. And don’t get into any part. The part is not the whole. The part is part, and sooner or later the part will go, because the part cannot stay long enough. And when it goes you will be miserable because you will not be willing to leave it; you will cling to it, because you got identified with it. But it will have to go, and you will feel miserable and you will cry and you will weep – but that is your creation. If you had remained like a mirror there would be no problem. Whatsoever happens, happens. You remain undis-turbed and undistracted.

This is the very essential core of all religions. It is not a question of practice, it is not a question of learning concepts, dogmas. It is not a question of reciting sutras. It is a question of insight! And this insight is available to you. There is no need to go to anybody for this insight. You have been carrying it all along. From the very beginning it has been so. It is there, the mirror is there. Just start using it.

Try sometimes and you will be surprised! The same thing that has been disturbing you in the past no more disturbs. Somebody insults you – you simply watch, you don’t get identified with it. You don’t say, “He has insulted me.” How can he insult you? You don’t know yourself who you are, how can he know who you are? He cannot insult you. He may have been insulting some image that he carries of you, but that is not you. He may be having some idea about you, and that idea he is insulting. How can he insult you? He cannot see you at all.

If you remain alert and watchful, you will be surprised – the insult came and went and nothing happened inside you, nothing was stirred, The calmness was radiant. No vibration, no wave, not even a ripple arose in you. And you will be tremendously blissful knowing this mirror like quality. Then you are becoming integrated.

Then somebody comes and praises you. Try it again. Be watchful. Don’t think he is praising you. He may be praising somebody he thinks you are. He may be praising you for some ulterior motives of his own. That is none of your business. You simply see the fact that “this man is praising me.” But remain a mirror. Don’t swallow it! Don’t cling to it! If you swallow it you will be in difficulty. Then ego arises – with identification, ego.

And then you start expecting that everybody should praise you like this man. Nobody’s going to praise you like that. Then there is hurt and misery. And tomorrow this man may not praise you again. His motive may have been fulfilled. Or tomorrow he may start thinking that he was wrong, or tomorrow he may take revenge. Whenever somebody praises you, some day he is going to insult you too – because he has to take revenge, he has to put things right.

An imbalance arises. When somebody is praising you, he is not feeling really very good; it hurts him to praise you. He has to show you that you are higher than him – that hurts. He may not show it right now, but he will keep the hurt, the wound, inside. And some day if the opportunity arises, he will show you who you are; he will put you in your right place. And then you will be very much hurt. This man has been praising you so much, and now he hurts you. But he has not done anything. It is you – you started clinging to the idea that he had put in your mind.

Not getting identified with anything, watching, keeping the mirror-like quality is what brings one, by and by, closer to enlightenment.

Rinzai was giving a lecture one day on the ‘True Man of No Title’. That’s what I mean when I say the mirror-like quality – the ‘True Man of No Title’. There is inside you a True Man of No Title. It is neither man nor woman, neither Hindu nor Mohammedan, neither good nor bad – it has no titles – neither educated nor uneducated, neither Eastern nor Western, it has no titles – neither a saint nor a sinner, it has no titles. And that is the true man inside you.

Rinzai was giving a lecture one day on the ‘True Man of No Title’. This was the title of his lecture:

A monk, quite perplexed, went up to him and asked, “What is this True Man of No Title?” Rinzai grabbed him by the neck and yelled, “Speak! Speak!” The monk was dumbfounded and could say nothing. Rinzai let go of him and exclaimed: “What worthless stuff is this True Man of No Title!”

What Rinzai did was to create a situation. The man asked, “What is this True Man of No Title?” Rinzai grabbed him by the neck and shouted, “Speak! Speak!” He has shocked him. In that shock all titles have disappeared. In that shock he is nobody, simply nobody, a mirror. In that shock the mind is no more spinning. In that shock he is simply dumbfounded. Rinzai has created a situation for him to look into this real man of no title, this mirrorlike quality.

But the man missed, he started thinking how to answer. “What is my Master doing to me? Is this the right thing to do to a questioner?” He must have got into thoughts like that. He missed the point. That’s why Rinzai exclaimed: “What worthless stuff is this True Man of No Title!”

The moment your mirror starts clinging to something, you become worthless. The moment your mirror is covered and attached to something; it is collecting dust – you become worthless. The moment the mirror collects no dust, you have immense worth – you are a god. The only difference between a Buddha and you is this much: that your mirror has collected much dust and Buddha’s mirror has become completely clean of all dust. Your thoughts are nothing but dust.

But sometimes you value dust very much. You say, “This is golden dust, this is no ordinary dust. This is pure gold! I have to hold it. I should not allow anybody to rob me of it; it is very valuable.”

That’s how you have become attached to life. You think it is very valuable. And because you become attached, you think of death as the enemy, the robber. Death is coming and it will rob you of all your gold, of all the precious stones that you have carried all along. It will take all the dust off your mirror – and that’s all you have been thinking is your life. Hence, you are afraid.

If you see the point, death is a friend. In fact, a far greater friend than life itself. Why do I say so?

I say so because in life you get attached, you collect dust. Death takes all your attachments and all your dust away. If you can see the point, you will feel tremendously grateful to death. What you cannot do, death does for you. That’s why if you can do it, then there is no death for you; then there is no need for death. If a man can clean his consciousness through meditation, then he will never die.

I’m not saying that he will not die in the body – that is a natural thing. But he will never come across death. Death happens only to the dust that collects on the mirror. The mirror never dies! The mirror itself is undying. This witnessing is an undying process, it is eternal. The traveler continues; only the clothes become torn and rotten, and they have to be changed. The traveler continues; only dust gathers on the body and you have to take a bath.

But if you start thinking that your dust is you, you will not take any bath. There are people who are very much afraid of taking a shower – as if they will lose something, something valuable. There are people who are afraid of meditation because meditation is a shower. It takes all the nonsense thoughts that you have collected, accumulated – all the junk that you go on carrying in your head.

And your head is suffering, is very heavy, and you are miserable, but still you go on carrying it thinking that it is valuable.

Death is a great friend, it unburdens you. It unburdens you of all that you have accumulated. Once this unburdening is allowed voluntarily, death becomes samadhi. If you don’t allow it voluntarily, then death is not a samadhi, it is a pain. Now see the point. The same thing can be utter pain, and the same thing can be utter joy. It depends on your interpretation – how you look at things, how you penetrate a certain experience, how deep you go into it. 

If you are a clinger, very possessive, then death will be very painful and will be a great anguish. You will suffer. You will not suffer because of death, you will suffer because of your clinging, because of your possessiveness, because of your attachments, because of your greed, and all that.

But if you are not a clinger, you are not very possessive, you are not greedy, you are not egoistic, you are not aggressive, suddenly death’s quality has changed. It comes like a fresh breeze of God. It comes and cleanses you. It gives you a great rest much needed. It purifies you. It takes you into the eternal source from where you will rise again. If you go voluntarily into it you will rise in a better form, because you have learned something from the last form. If you don’t go voluntarily, then too death will throw you into the furnace, will burn you, but forcibly, and you will come back again into the same form because you have not learned anything.

The student who has not learned anything has to be sent to the same class again and again and again. A Buddha is a person who has learned all the possibilities of all forms. He has been a rock, and he learned it. He has been a tree, and he learned it. He has been a tiger, and he learned it. He has been a man and a woman, he learned it. He has been a god and he learned it. And he went on learning and learning and learning…. And one day he has finished all forms. He has gone through all forms – watching, choicelessly alert, keeping his mirror bright, un-clouded, he has come through all the forms. And he has now come to a point where no more learning is needed. He has learned the lesson. Then he disappears. Then death becomes nirvana. Then he spreads all over existence, then he becomes a fragrance. Then he enters the cosmic form. Now small forms are no more needed. He has learned all that was there in those small forms. All that was contained in those small forms he has decoded. He has become a grown-up. Now there is no need for him to go back to school. He becomes part of the whole. He spreads over the whole. Then he is a song in the heart of the cosmic mind, a blessing, a peace. He does not come any more, he has gone beyond the point of return.

This is the ultimate learning. But one has to go through all the forms. And death brings a great lesson, far greater than life. And death brings a very intense possibility to understand, because life is spread long range – death comes in a very, very potential way in a very short time. In a single moment it shakes you. If you are not alert you will miss that moment, the moment is very tiny. If you are alert, then that very moment becomes a door into the divine.

Once you are not attached to death, once you are not afraid of death, death becomes a game, a play.

Listen to this beautiful story:

Almost blind at the age of ninety-six and no longer able to teach or work about the monastery, Zen Master Yamamoto decided it was time to die, so he stopped eating. When asked by his monks why he refused his food, he replied that he had out-lived his usefulness and was only a bother to everybody.

Now ninety-six… it is enough. And the old man thinks that now it is time to die, so he stops eating food. Death is just a rest. It is time to rest. He starts preparing to retire. This is the understanding that is needed. 

The disciples told him, “If you die now” – it was January and very cold – “when it is so cold, everybody will be uncomfortable at your funeral and you will be an even greater nuisance, so please eat!”

Those were also great people. Mm? – the reason they give: “Please just think of the cold. You will be dying, it is January and much too cold, and you will be a greater nuisance to all of us. We will have to go to your funeral – so start eating.”

This can happen only in a Zen monastery with a Zen Master and Zen disciples. Nobody is worried about the death. Death is okay. The Master is ready to die, but look at the disciples. Those disciples are also very close to enlightenment. They say, “Stop your nonsense! Right now it is not a good time. Why do you want to create trouble for us? Yes, you are a bother – ninety-six years old – but that will be even more bothersome, dying in the middle of January. Please eat!”

So the old man laughed, he resumed eating, but when it became warm again he stopped, and not long after quietly toppled over and died.

Death, too, is then a game, something to be played with. Then you are not afraid. There is nothing to be afraid of. Then you are not even serious. Look at the non-seriousness of the whole thing. Can you think of something like this happening in the West? Impossible! It can only happen in the East where people have accepted life and death both, as they are.

And this can happen only when you know that nobody is going to die – that’s why they could joke with the old man, and the old man laughed. He was not offended. Just think of the disciples saying, “This will be a nuisance, sir, dying in the middle of January. It is so cold and it will be a great bother for all of us to go to the funeral.” Just see the point of it, the humor of it – as if life and death are nothing but jokes, as if the old man is just going to play an act, as if it is not truth!

That’s how it is. Simply as if he is going to play an act. “Please don’t play it right now, later on you can do it when the days are warmer.” The old man laughed; he didn’t feel offended. He must have enjoyed it tremendously. This was a great insight in his disciples. Now they even take death humorously. When you start taking death also humorously, you are a man of under-standing. You are, by and by, turning into The Man of No Title, the real Man of No Title. When you take death also with humor, you have already gone beyond it. And to go beyond life and death is to go into your reality.

Another anecdote:

When Tozan was dying a monk said to him, “Master, your four elements are out of harmony, but is there anyone who is never ill?”

“There is,” said Tozan.

He was very ill. The whole body was just disintegrating. The four elements were no more together. It was a kind of riot inside his body, Elements were trying to get free of each other. Tozan was old and dying, and the disciple asks, “Your four elements are out of harmony, but is there anyone who is never ill?”

“There is,” said Tozan.

“Does this one look at you?” asked the monk.

“It is my function to look at him,” answered Tozan.

“How about when you yourself look at him?” asked the monk.

“At that moment I see no illness,” replied Tozan.

In you there are two worlds: the world of birth and death, and the world that is transcendental. Yes, the body can be very ill, and yet there may be no illness in you – if you don’t get attached to illness, if you don’t get identified with illness, if you don’t start thinking “I am ill.” It is only a kind of hypnosis. It has to be learned through many many doors.

When you feel hungry, what do you say? You say, “I am hungry.” You are not – the body is hungry; the organism is hungry. You are just a watcher, you are just seeing that the body is hungry. Then you eat and you fed satisfied, and you say, “Now I am satisfied, fully satisfied.” You are not satisfied, because you were not hungry in the first place! First you had seen hunger in the body, now you feel satisfaction in the body – but you are just a witness. First your mirror was reflecting the hungry man standing in front of you, and now your mirror reflects the satisfied man standing before you – but the mirror was never hungry and the mirror is not satisfied either.

One day you are healthy, another day you are ill – the mirror reflects! One day you are young, another day you are old. One day you are loved, another day you are hated. One day appreciated, another day condemned. The mirror goes on reflecting. The function of the mirror is just to reflect whatsoever is the case. But each time you get identified.

Stop this identifying yourself with things that are standing in front of you, and suddenly you will see you have never been ill and never been hungry and never been born, and never are you going to die. You are the very source of eternity. You are eternal.

-Osho

From Zen: The Path of Paradox, V.3, 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.

 

A Truly Remarkable Woman, Worth Remembering – Robert Rabbin

I think it’s important to honor the lives and legacies of people who have touched our hearts in some way, who have touched the lives of others in uplifting and inspiring ways.

It’s important to celebrate the qualities we admire and respect and want to pass on to our children by shining a light of gratitude on those who embody those qualities. And so I want to remember Jean Dunne, a truly remarkable woman worth remembering.

I lived in Mill Valley, just north of San Francisco, from the late ’80s through the mid-’90s. At some point during those years—I can’t remember precisely—I heard that Jean Dunn lived not too far away, in Vacaville, about half way between San Francisco and Sacramento, on I-80.

Jean had lived in India for many years, first as a disciple of Ramana Maharishi, and later as a disciple of Nisargadatta Maharaj—both popular, if misunderstood, gurus from India. Nisargadatta had acknowledged that Jean had realized her true nature and was to carry on his work after he passed from this world, which he did in 1981.

I, too, had lived in India with a guru, though to the best of my knowledge he never publicly said I had realized my true nature. (Inasmuch as he passed from this world in 1982, I’ll have to say that on my own behalf. But not here, not know. Later. Stay tuned lovers.)

With our mutual back-story of living in India with gurus, and being mindful of her standing in the non-duality culture, I wanted to speak with her.

I held her in high regard based on her years of study and service. I contacted Jean and asked if I could come for a visit. She was most welcoming. I set off with two friends, Monika and Norman. We were full of expectant good cheer for the prospects of a great adventure.

It didn’t take long to drive the 45 miles from Marin County to Vacaville. Once there, we had to locate the trailer park Jean lived in, which was situated right behind a cement factory. We found the park, then her single-wide mobile home—standard issue it seemed to me. I remember pausing for a moment, trying to take this in. I could see bits of the cement factory sticking up nearby, and could see and smell the dust of it, which I knew so well as I worked as a mason’s apprentice for a year in 1969.

It seemed odd that someone with the quiet notoriety of being a realized being would end up living in a mobile home park behind a cement factory. Jean was around 68, maybe 70, years old when we knocked on the door that day.

This tiny little thing, couldn’t have been bigger than a bird, weighing 75 pounds, but bright and energetic as all get out, opened the door and enthusiastically welcomed us in to her home. She was thrilled we came and said she had baked some brownies for us and had made come coffee. Did we drink coffee? Yes, of course. (Actually, Monika and Norman didn’t, but how could they refuse her home-brewed coffee?)

She took us to the kitchen area, where she asked us to sit around a card table, on which was a plate stacked high with brownies, a pot of coffee, and a carton—not a pack, a carton—of Marlboro cigarettes. Next to the table was an oxygen tank and mask, as Jean was suffering from emphysema at that time.

As she served us coffee and we helped ourselves to the brownies, she asked, “Would you like a cigarette?” Well, Monika and Norman said no, very politely. While I didn’t smoke, I just felt that I should accept. It felt to me as if the cigarettes were a kind of sacred thing, a ritual thing, such that if I didn’t smoke I would have somehow spurned her heartfelt hospitality.

So I said, “I’d love to have a cigarette with you, thanks.” Well, I don’t believe I’ve ever made anyone so happy in my life. She just beamed and offered me a pack. Well, for the next hour or so, we sat around the table talking, eating brownies, drinking coffee, and smoking up a storm.

At one point, Norman asked about the paradox of taking a drag on a cigarette and then a drag on the oxygen mask. (He later said to us he was afraid she’d blow us all up, smoking right next to the tank.) Norman and, to a slightly lesser extent, Monika, were keenly and religiously health-conscious. They just nibbled on their brownie and barely touched their coffee. They kept shushing and waving the cigarette smoke away. I was, let’s say, not as concerned with my health. I seem to recall gulping down brownies and cups of coffee. I probably went through half a pack of Marlboros, too.

Well, it was quite a scene: here is this lovely, dear, sweet-as-sugar woman, reputedly self-realized, having lived and worked with one of the great non-dual masters of the last century, sitting at a card table in a mobile home behind a cement factory eating brownies and drinking coffee and smoking Marlboros, all the while taking great gulps of oxygen from a tank to help her breathe in the face of her emphysema.

When Norman (I’m sure it was Norman) asked, politely, she just broke out one of her best smiles and chirped, “Well, dearie, what can I do? The body seems to like smoking. I don’t interfere.” (All these years later, I can’t swear this is a direct quote, but it reflects the spirit of what she said.)

And that was that. After about an hour or so, we could see that Jean was getting tired, so we thanked her, and we left.

I don’t remember anything from our conversation. Not a word, except those words of wonderful welcome and offers of brownies and coffee and cigarettes. I do remember her beautiful sweet smile and gentle eyes. I met her once, maybe 25 years ago. I am telling this story now for the first time. I don’t know why it’s popped into my consciousness, but it has.

I have no idea if dear Jean had realized her true nature. I tend to scoff at those terms and claims these days. But I can say that she was completely, utterly gracious and charming and sweet and vulnerable and transparent and loving—I can say those things based on my experience. I haven’t met many like her. I don’t think I’ve met anyone like her. She was a beauty. A rare, authentic beauty.

She passed from this world in 1996, at 75 years of age. Her legacy? Insofar as I see it, her legacy is the fragrance she emitted, the fragrance of authenticity, the smell and scent of deep beauty, peace, kindness, humor, self-acceptance and loving nature. All this seemed, in her, to be the most natural thing in the world. Oh, yes, that’s what a real human being looks like. Simple, basic, natural, original-self kind of beauty. A child. A true child. An embodiment of simple kindness, open-hearted, friendly, welcoming, respectful, joyful. I’ll take those as meaning she was self-realized.

-Robert Rabbin

Thank you to Parvati Devi for pointing me towords this article which was first published in Elephant Journal.

You can read more on Jean Dunn here.

Here you can download Jean Dunn Journals – Being with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.