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

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Life is an Occasion for Meditation – Osho

The essential teaching of Gautam the Buddha is not a teaching at all, but an awakening.

A way to become more aware. He does not give you a doctrine about existence, but he gives you a methodology to see that which is. He is not concerned with God; he is not concerned with the other world beyond. His whole concern is you – the awareness within.

Hence Buddha has been misunderstood by almost everybody. The religious people have not been able to understand him because he does not talk about God. They have not been able to appreciate him because he does not talk about the other world. And all the religions have depended on the other world. They are against this world and for some illusory world somewhere there in the future – beyond this life, beyond this body, beyond this moment. Their whole world is a fantasy world. They persuade people to sacrifice the real for the unreal, they persuade people to sacrifice that which is for that which is not yet and may not ever be. They persuade people to sacrifice the present for the future – how can they understand Buddha? Because he does not talk about the other world at all. He is not an other-worldly one.

But he has not satisfied the materialists either, the atheists either. Because they think this is all that there is – eat, drink, be merry. And Buddha says: This is not all that there is. You are living only on the surface of things. There is a depth to things – but that depth can be known, fathomed, only if depth to you go deeper into your own being, into your own consciousness.

The more conscious you are, the more intensely you live. The more conscious you are, the more reality becomes available to you. You earn reality only through being conscious. When one is absolutely conscious, one is absolutely real.

Naturally, the materialists, the this-worldly people, cannot agree with Buddha, because they say, “This is all. The surface is all, the outside is all, there is no inside to it.”

So nobody is agreeing with him. The religious don’t agree, the irreligious don’t agree. His approach is a very radical approach – it is against the worldly, it is against the other-worldly. He brings a new light; he brings a new understanding. That understanding he calls ‘mindfulness’.

You have to understand this word ‘mindfulness’. If you can understand this single word ‘mindfulness’ you will have understood Buddha’s whole being, his whole approach. And he is one of those who have known. If you want to ask anybody, ask a man like Buddha.

But his approach is a methodology, not a doctrine. It is a way of life. People live like robots, they live mechanically. Buddha says: Live non-mechanically. Each of your acts has to be luminous with awareness. And then each act starts revealing reality to you.

And he does not make any distinction between the profane and the sacred – there is none. The profane is the sacred, if you live it consciously.

Just going for a morning walk – if you can walk consciously, this is prayer. There is no need to go to any church. Prayer has no relationship with a church or a temple, prayer has something to do with your quality of awareness. You can do a thing prayerfully, and the thing may be anything, cleaning the floor, cooking the food, washing the clothes, taking a bath, going to sleep.

It reminds me of one of the most beautiful stories about Buddha’s closest disciple, Ananda. Ananda lived with Buddha for forty years – and he lived like a shadow. He never left Buddha for a single moment, not even in the night; he would sleep in the same room where Buddha was sleeping. He had taken a promise from Buddha…

When Buddha became enlightened, Ananda came to him to be initiated. He was a cousin brother of Buddha and older than Buddha. He asked Buddha, “I am your elder brother. Once I am initiated, I will be your disciple. Then whatsoever you say, I will have to do – then I cannot say no.

That is the meaning of disciplehood – a person decides, “Now I will say yes to my master, whatsoever he says. If he says ’Jump and kill yourself’ I will jump and kill myself.” Surrendering the no is the secret of disciplehood.

So Ananda said, “I am going to be your disciple. Before I become your disciple, as your elder brother I want one promise. Right now I am your elder brother and I can order you” – the old Indian tradition – “you are my younger brother and I can say this to you. You have to give me this promise, that you will never tell me to leave you. I will stay with you; wherever you go I will be with you. I will follow you like a shadow, I will serve you like a shadow. Even in the night I will be sleeping just by your side, continuously ready to serve you.”

Buddha promised. And Ananda lived with Buddha for forty years. No other disciple lived so close. But because he was so close, he started taking Buddha for granted – naturally. He was so close, he started forgetting Buddha. He was so close that he never tried what Buddha was saying. And the day came when Buddha dropped his body…

Many who had come after Ananda had become enlightened. Ananda was not yet enlightened. He wept bitterly. His misery was great; there was no consolation. Now suddenly he became aware that forty years had been a wastage. “I lived with this man – a rare opportunity, very rare. To find a Buddha is rare, and to live with a Buddha for forty years continuously – it has not happened before, it may not happen again. Forty years in a long time. And still I have missed.”

He stopped eating food, he stopped all kinds of other activities. He decided to become enlightened before it was too late – it was already late. Day and night, he was trying to be aware…

And a great council was going to be arranged soon – all the enlightened disciples were going to gather together to collect the sayings of Buddha. Ananda was not invited. And he was the most reliable source, obviously – nobody had lived with Buddha so long, nobody had as much information as he had. Nobody had listened to Buddha so much – morning and evening, day and night, he was always there, just watching. Whatsoever Buddha had said, he had heard it. And he had a miraculous memory, absolute memory – he had the power of absolute recall. But still he was not invited to the council.

It was not possible to invite him. He had known Buddha, his word was reliable, his memory was perfect – but he had no inner validity. He himself was not yet a Buddha. Yes, to collect facts he was the right person. But what about truth? And facts and truths are different dimensions. A fact may be a fact and yet may not be true. And a truth may be true, yet may not be a fact.

Truth is not the sum total of all the facts – truth is something more. Facts are mundane, superficial.  Truths are not on the surface, they are inner. Ananda could say everything factual, but he had no inner validity. He himself was not a witness. So even those who had not lived with Buddha were called to the council, but not Ananda.

He worked hard, he staked all. Each moment he was trying to be aware, alert, mindful.

And the last night came – tomorrow morning the council was going to gather. Ananda was going mad: it had not happened yet. He was becoming more and more tense and he was putting in all that one could put, all that was humanly possible. He was ready to die for it.

The middle of the night had come and nothing had happened yet. And he was driving himself crazy. For days he had not eaten, he had not slept, he had not taken a bath – there was no time to waste. One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock, four o’clock in the morning… and he was just on the verge of either going mad or becoming enlightened. It looked more like madness: he was exploding, he was falling apart.

Then suddenly he remembered, Buddha had always said: Be aware, but in a relaxed way. Be aware, but without any tension. Attention without any tension. Calm and quiet. Alert, but with no strain.

That memory came in the right moment – he relaxed. He was so tired, dead tired, that he went to bed. When he was just going to put his head on the pillow – fully aware, relaxed – he became enlightened. The moment his head touched the pillow, he became enlightened.

He slept, for the first time in his whole life, a different kind of sleep. He was asleep as far as the body was concerned, but his inner light was aflame. Deep within his being, he was alert and aware.

Morning came, and he was still asleep. Other monks came to see whether he had been able to make it. They looked in the room, and it had the same fragrance as that of Buddha – the same luminosity, the same grace and grandeur. And Ananda was fast asleep but his face had the light, the light that comes from within. Even in his sleep he was mindful. There was grace, there was a silence surrounding the room, there was a new space.

He was invited immediately. He asked the other monks, “Why? What has happened now? Why were you not asking me to come to the council?” And they said, “Just one day ago, your memory was just the memory of the outside of things. Now you know from the inside – you yourself have become a Buddha.

Buddhahood means when you become so alert that even in your sleep the alertness continues as an undercurrent. Even when you die, you die fully alert – now there is no way to lose your alertness, your alertness has become your nature.

This is the essential message of Buddha. And unless you understand this, you will miss all the sutras of Ikkyu. Many have commented on the sutras, and particularly the Western commentators go on missing the point – because they think what the sutra is saying is a philosophy. The best commentator is R. H. Blyth – but even he misses, because he also seems to have no inner validity. He thinks these sutras are pessimistic. They are not. Pessimism has nothing to do with Buddha. They look pessimistic because they go against your so-called optimism.

Buddha does not give you any hope. But his message is not that of hopelessness. He takes away hope, and with hope he takes away hopelessness too. That is very difficult to understand, unless you have an inner validity. He destroys all optimism, but remember, he is not a pessimist. Once there is no optimism, how can there be pessimism? – they go together. His vision of life is not dismal, but it looks dismal to people.

Even R. H. Blyth, who is the most perceptive commentator from the West on Ikkyu’s sutras, goes on missing the point. He goes on showing where Buddha is wrong, he goes on saying where Ikkyu is morbid.

If you look at the sutras themselves, without making any effort to be mindful, you will miss the whole point. These sutras are just a device to make you mindful.

Buddha gave an example of just how mindful we should be. He told of a person who was ordered to walk through a very crowded marketplace with a water jug, full to the brim, balanced on his head. Behind him walked a soldier with a big sword. If a single drop of that water were to fall, the soldier would cut off his head. Assuredly, the person with the jug walked pretty mindfully. But it has to be mindful in an easy way. If there is too much forcing or strain, the least jostling will cause the water to spill. The person with the jug has to be loose and rhythmic, flowing with the changing scene, yet staying very attentive in each moment.

That is the kind of care we should take in developing awareness: a relaxed alertness.

These two words look diametrically opposite – they are. Because whenever you are relaxed you lose alertness, and whenever you are alert you lose relaxedness. And unless they both happen together you will go on missing Buddha’s message. It is a very strange message – it wants you to bring this polarity together. It is the highest synthesis of human consciousness: one polarity is relaxedness, another polarity is alertness, attentiveness.

If you are only attentive then sooner or later you will be tired of it. You cannot be attentive for twenty-four hours; you will need holidays. You will need alcohol, drugs, to drop out of that attentiveness.

That’s what is happening in the West. People have become more attentive; attentiveness has been cultivated. The whole educational mechanism forces you to become more attentive. Those who are more attentive succeed, those who are less attentive fail. It is a very competitive world – if you want to succeed you have to be very attentive. But then it tires you. Then the tension becomes heavy on the head, then it drives you neurotic. Then madness becomes a very, very natural by-product of it.

Many more people go neurotic in the West than in the East. The reason is clear: in the West, attentiveness has been practiced, down through the ages. It has paid much. The technology, the scientific progress, affluence – all that has come through being attentive. In the East, people have remained in a relaxed state. But if you are relaxed without being attentive, it becomes lethargy. It becomes passivity, it becomes a kind of dullness. Hence the East has remained poor, unscientific, non-technological, starving.

If Buddha’s message is rightly understood, there will be a meeting of East and West. In Buddha, both can meet. His message is of relaxed attentiveness. You have to be very very relaxed, and yet alert. And there is no problem; it is possible.

And I say it to you from an inner validity: It is possible. And only this possibility will make you a whole man, a holy man. Otherwise you will remain half – and a half man is always miserable, in one way or other. The West is miserable spiritually, the East is miserable materially. And man needs both – man needs a richness of the inner and the outer, both.

With Buddha, a new age can dawn. And the secret is simple: learn relaxed awareness. When you are trying to be attentive, simultaneously keep in mind that the body should not become tense. It should be relaxed, loose, in a kind of let-go.

I like this story of Ananda becoming enlightened when his head touched the pillow. You cannot find a better place to become enlightened. Remember it.

And Buddha has not given you any objects to meditate upon. He has not told you to meditate on God, he has not told you to meditate on a mantra, he has not told you to meditate on an image. He has told you to do the small things of life with a relaxed awareness. When you are eating, eat totally – chew totally, taste totally, smell totally. Touch your bread, feel the texture. Smell the bread, smell the flavour. Chew it, let it dissolve into your being, and remain conscious – and you are meditating. And then meditation is not separate from life.

And whenever meditation is separate from life, something is wrong. It becomes life-negative. Then one starts thinking of going to a monastery or to a Himalayan cave. Then one wants to escape from life, because life seems to be a distraction from meditation.

Life is not a distraction; life is an occasion for meditation.

Walking, just be watchful of the breath going in, the breath going out. You are putting one of your feet ahead: watch, feel it from within. You are touching the earth: feel the touch of the earth. And the birds are singing and the sun is rising… One has to be multi-dimensionally sensitive. This will help your intelligence to grow; this will make you more brilliant, sharp, alive. And religion should make you more alive, more sensitive. Because life is God, and there is no other God.

Buddha would have agreed with Toscanini…

On Toscanini’s eightieth birthday, someone asked his son what his father ranked as his most important achievement. The son replied, “For him, there can be no such thing. Whatever he happens to be doing at the moment is the biggest thing in his life – whether he is conducting a symphony or peeling an orange.”

Peel an orange as if you are conducting a symphony, and you will be coming closer and closer to Buddha. Peel an orange as if you are painting the greatest painting in the world – with that alertness, with that care, with that love, with that totality. Peel an orange and be multi-dimensionally aware of it – the smell that is coming from it, the feel, the touch, the taste. Then a small orange, an ordinary orange, is transformed – transformed by the quality of the consciousness that you bring to it.

And if life can be lived in this way then religion is not life-negative – it affirms. It does not take you away from life – it takes you into it, to the deepest core of it. It takes you into its mysteries.

That’s my approach too. And any religion that has to be maintained separate from life – a prayer that you have to do in the temple, and a meditation that you can do only in a Himalayan cave – is not worth much, because you cannot do it for twenty-four hours. Even the man who lives in a Himalayan cave will have to go to beg for his food, will have to collect wood for the winter that is coming, will have to protect himself because the rain is there, will have to think of something because in the night the wild animals are there. Even in that cave he will have to do a thousand and one things. You cannot simply meditate for twenty-four hours; it is not possible.

But Buddha makes it possible. He says: Don’t separate meditation from life – let them be together. Turn each opportunity of life into meditation. Do it fully aware, alert, watchful, witnessing.

A disciple had come to see Ikkyu, his master. The disciple had been practicing for some time. It was raining, and as he went in, he left his shoes and umbrella outside. After he paid his respects, the master asked him on which side of his shoes he had left his umbrella.

Now, what kind of question…? You don’t expect masters to ask such nonsense questions – you expect them to ask about God, about kundalini rising, chakras opening, lights happening in your head. You ask about such great things – occult, esoteric.

But Ikkyu asked a very ordinary question. No Christian saint would have asked it, no Jain monk would have asked it, no Hindu swami would have asked it. It can be done only by one who is really with the Buddha, in the Buddha – who is really a Buddha. The master asked him on which side of his shoes he had left his umbrella. Now, what do shoes and umbrellas have to do with spirituality?

If the same question was asked to you, you would have felt annoyed. You would have felt that this man is no master at all. What kind of question is this? What philosophy can there be in it?

But there is something immensely valuable in it. Had he asked about God, about your kundalini and chakras, that would have been nonsense, utterly meaningless. But this has meaning. The disciple could not remember – who bothers where you have put your shoes and on which side you have put your umbrella, to the right or to the left. Who bothers? Who pays so much attention to umbrellas? Who thinks of shoes? Who is so careful?

But that was enough – the disciple was refused. Ikkyu said, “Then go and meditate for seven years more.”

“Seven years?” the disciple said. “Just for this small fault?

Ikkyu said, “This is not a small fault. Faults are not small or big – you are just not yet living meditatively, that’s all. Go back, meditate for seven years more, and come again.”

This is the essential message of Buddhism: Be careful, careful of everything. And don’t make any distinction between things, that this is trivia and that is very very spiritual. It depends on you. Pay attention, be careful, and everything becomes spiritual. Don’t pay attention, don’t be careful, and everything becomes unspiritual.

Spirituality is imparted by you, it is your gift to the world. When a master like Ikkyu touches his umbrella, the umbrella is as divine as anything can be. And if you touch even God, God will become trivia. It depends on your touch.

Meditative energy is alchemical. It transforms the baser metal into gold; it goes on transforming the baser into the higher. The more meditative you become, the more you see God everywhere. At the ultimate peak, everything is divine. This very world is the paradise, and this very body the Buddha.

-Osho

From Take It Easy, Discourse #26

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.

Enlightenment is the Key – Osho

Enlightenment is certainly the key, but almost all the traditions are against it – and there is a reason why they are against it. The most fundamental reason is that if enlightenment is a reality, God becomes an unreality. If your own illumination is the ultimate, then nothing can be above it. Then man’s own consciousness becomes the highest reality.

Religions and traditions believing in God cannot allow enlightenment. It goes against all their fictions. Their fictions can exist only in the darkness, not in the light. To keep their fictions alive, to keep their dreams real, they don’t allow human beings to be awake. You don’t hear of Christian mystics as enlightened, you don’t hear of Jewish mystics as awakened. In fact, enlightenment is the alternative of God.

All that belongs to the ritualistic religions is endangered by enlightenment, because enlightenment has no ritual, it has no prayer, it has no scriptures. It so totally believes in you, its respect for humanity is so absolute and irrevocable … It is natural that all the priests are going to be against it, because the whole profession of the priests depends on fictions, and enlightenment destroys fictions.

All theologies are fabrications of the mind, and enlightenment is a transcendence going beyond the mind. All that belongs to the mind is a nightmare. Where do your gods exist?

Where is your heaven, your hell? Where are your angels and your ghosts? They all constitute the entity called the mind.

Enlightenment is the greatest revolution you can conceive of because it destroys all fictions, all rituals, all gods, all traditions, all scriptures. It leaves you with only the essential consciousness of your own being. Its trust in consciousness is so total that there is no need of anything else.

It has not been said as clearly as I am putting it … I want to make it absolutely clear that the very idea of enlightenment is against all religions. Or, in other words, the only authentic religion is that of enlightenment. All other religions are part of the marketplace; they are businesses exploiting human helplessness, exploiting human weakness, exploiting human limitations.

Religions have done so much harm to man that it is unparalleled. Nothing else has been so dangerous. In every possible way they have been preventing man from even hearing the word ‘enlightenment’. You should not become aware that raising your hands to the sky is stupid—there is no one to answer your prayers, no prayer has ever been answered. All your gods are your own creations. You sculpt them, and you never think about it – that you go on worshipping things which you have created. The Christian Bible says, “God created man in his own image.” The truth is just the contrary: man has created God in his own image. And then—the ultimate foolishness—you worship your own image. In fact, if you were a little intelligent, you could just purchase a mirror and worship.

All your gods are nothing but your own reflections. There is no need to go to a temple or to a church; you can just keep a small mirror. Perhaps ladies are very intelligent about it—they go on looking again and again in the mirror, they believe in the mirror.

But all your gods are the same, all your rituals are created by crafty priests. None of your scriptures are even first-rate literature; they are very third-class contributions. But just because they are holy … Who makes them holy? There are people who have their vested interests … It is a long chain from God to the prophets, to the messiahs, to the holy scripture, to the church. But the only reality in this whole long line of fictions is the priest, and his whole effort through the ages has been to exploit you. And not only to exploit—exploitation is possible only if certain conditions are fulfilled: you have to be made to feel guilty.

Strange ways have been invented to make you feel guilty. The Hindus say that you are suffering, in misery, not because of your stupidities, not because of your unconsciousness, not because of your unmeditativeness, not because you have made no effort to become enlightened, but because of the evil acts you have done in millions of past lives. Now you cannot undo them; there is no way backwards. That burden you have to carry, and under that burden you lose all your dignity, all your pride. All that you can do is pray to God to help you, to save you.

Christians—because they don’t have the idea of many, many lives, but only one life – cannot use the same strategy. They have found their own strategy: the Hindu is suffering because of millions of past lives; the Christian is suffering because Adam and Eve, faraway, back in the very beginning, disobeyed God. The idea is so far-fetched … In what way can I be responsible if Adam disobeyed God?

But Christianity goes on insisting, and Christianity means half of humanity, that you were born in sin because your forefathers, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. You are born of sinners; hence, you are miserable. And you will remain miserable unless you repent and unless you are forgiven. Only the son of God, Jesus, can save you. He is going to plead on your behalf; he is going to be your advocate. You have just to believe in him and at the last Day of Judgment he will choose the people who believe in him, and will ask God to forgive them. The remainder of humanity is going to fall into eternal hell.

These are great strategies to bring people into the fold of Christianity … because that is the only way to save your future; otherwise there is no hope. Every religion has in some way taken away your beauty, your greatness, has destroyed the very idea that you have any worth, any meaning, any significance, that you have any potential.

Enlightenment is a rebellion against all traditions, against all priests, against all religions, because it declares that there is nothing higher than man’s consciousness. And man is not suffering because some stupid man in the past disobeyed a fictitious God; man is not suffering because of millions of lives of evil acts. Man is suffering for the simple reason that he does not know himself. His ignorance about himself is the only cause of his suffering, misery, torture.

Enlightenment brings everything to a very simple and scientific conclusion. It pinpoints that all that you need is to learn the art of awareness.

Ta Hui is right to say that enlightenment is the key, the only key which opens all the realities and all the blessings and all the potentials which have been hidden within you. You are a seed: enlightenment is nothing but finding the right soil and waiting for the spring to come.

Enlightenment is such a radical standpoint. It is not another religion. It is the only religion. All other religions are pseudo.

-Osho

From The Great Zen Master Ta Hui, Discourse #34

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.

Unless You Take Individual Responsibility, You Cannot Grow – Osho

Not counting the discourses, is twenty minutes of meditation a day enough to see me along the path and lead me to experience the satyam, shivam, sundram you are pointing us towards?

Vimal, first you cannot be allowed not to count the discourses, because your meditations cannot happen without these discourses. These discourses are the foundations of your meditation. I am crazy but not that crazy that I should go on speaking four hours a day if it does not help you in meditation! Do you think I am trying to distract you from meditation?

And then you are such a miser, Vimal. I never thought you were so miserly that just twenty minutes in twenty-four hours… not even twenty-four minutes!

You have missed my basic standpoint completely. I don’t want you to think of meditation within limits; I want meditation to become your very life. In the past this has been one of the fallacies: you meditate twenty minutes, or you meditate three times a day, you meditate five times a day – different religions, but the basic idea is that a few minutes every day should be given to meditation.

And what will you do in the remaining time? Whatever you will gain in twenty minutes… what are you going to do in the remaining twenty-three hours and forty minutes? Something anti-meditative, and naturally your twenty minutes will be defeated. The enemies are too big, and you are giving too much juice and energy to the enemies and just twenty minutes for meditation. No, meditation in the past has not been able to bring a rebellion in the world because of these fallacies.

These fallacies are the reasons I want you to look at meditation from a totally different standpoint.

You can learn meditation for twenty minutes or forty minutes – learning is one thing – but then you have to carry whatever you have learned day in, day out. Meditation has to become just like your heartbeat.

You cannot say, “Is it enough, Osho, to breathe for twenty minutes every day?” – The next day will never come. Even while you are asleep you continue breathing. Nature has not left the essential functions of your body and life in your hands. Nature has not trusted you, because if breathing were in your hands you would start thinking how much to breathe and whether it is right to breathe while you are sleeping. It looks a little odd doing two things together – sleeping and breathing. Breathing seems to be a kind of disturbance in sleeping. But then the sleep will be eternal!

Your heartbeat, your blood circulation are not under your control. Nature has kept everything that is essential in its own hands. You are not reliable; you can forget, and then there is no time even to say, “I am sorry, I forgot to breathe. Just give me one chance more!” Even that much opportunity is not there.

But meditation is not part of your biology, your physiology, your chemistry; it is not part of ordinary natural flow. If you want to remain just a human being for eternity, you can remain there. Nature has come to a point of evolution where more than this is not needed: you are perfectly capable of reproducing children and that’s enough. You will die, your children will continue. Your children will carry on the same stupidities that you were doing. Some people will be coming into the congregation, into the churches; some other idiot will be giving sermons, and the whole thing will continue – don’t be worried.

Nature has come to a point where now, unless you take individual responsibility, you cannot grow. More than this nature cannot do. It has done enough. It has given you life, it has given you opportunity; now how to use it, it has left up to you.

Meditation is your freedom, not a biological necessity. You can learn in a certain period of time every day to strengthen meditation, to make it stronger – but carry the flavor of it the whole day.

First, while you are awake – the moment you wake up, immediately catch hold of the thread of remaining alert and conscious, because that is the most precious moment to catch the thread of consciousness. Many times in the day you will forget – but the moment you remember, immediately start being alert. Never repent, because that is a sheer wastage of time. Never repent, “My God, I forgot again!”

In my teachings there is no place for any repentance. Whatever has happened is gone, now there is no need to waste time on it. Catch hold again of the thread of awareness. Slowly, slowly you will be able to be alert the whole day – an undercurrent of awareness in every act, in every movement, in everything that you are doing, or not doing. Something underneath will be continuously flowing.

Even when you go to sleep, leave the thread only at the last moment when you cannot do anything because you are falling asleep. Whatever is the last thing before you fall asleep will be the first thing when you wake up. Try it. Any small experiment will be enough to prove it. Just repeat your own name while you are falling asleep: half awake, half asleep, go on repeating, “Vimal, Vimal, Vimal.” Slowly, slowly you will forget repeating, because the sleep will grow more and more and the thread will be lost. It is lost only because you are asleep, but underneath your sleep it continues. That’s why in the morning when you wake up and just look around, the first thing you will remember will be “Vimal, Vimal.” You will be surprised: Why? What happened? You slept eight hours, but there has been an undercurrent.

And as things become deeper and clearer, even in sleep you can remember that you are asleep.

Sleep becomes almost a physiological thing and your spirit, your being, becomes a flame of awareness, separate from it. It does not disturb your sleep; it simply makes your sleep very light. It is no more the sleep of the old days, when your house was on fire and you went on sleeping – that was almost like a coma, you were so unconscious.

Your sleep will become thin, a very light layer, and your inside will remain alert. Just as it has been alert in the day, it will be even more alert in the night, finally, because you are so silent, so relaxed. The whole nuisance world becomes completely silent.

Patanjali, the first man in the world to write about meditation, says that meditation is almost like dreamless sleep, but with only one difference. In dreamless sleep you are not aware; in samadhi, in the ultimate state of meditation, there is just a little difference – you are aware.

Vimal, you can continue to learn, to refresh for twenty minutes every day, to give more energy and more roots – but don’t be satisfied that that’s enough. That’s how the whole of humanity failed.

Although the whole of humanity has tried in some way or other, so few people have been successful that many people by and by stopped even trying, because success seems to be so far away. But the reason is that just twenty minutes or ten minutes won’t do.

I can understand that you have many things to do. So find time – but that time is not meditation; that time is only to refresh yourself, and then again you will have to work, earn, do your job, and a thousand and one things. Just remain alert whether it is still there inside or it has disappeared.

This continuity then becomes a garland of twenty-four hours. Only then, Vimal, will you be able to experience satyam, shivam, sundram – not before it.

A lion was walking through the forest taking a poll to determine who was the greatest among all the wildlife animals. When he saw the hippopotamus, he inquired, “Who is king of the forest?”

“You are,” said the hippopotamus.

Next he met a giraffe. “Who is king of the forest?” he inquired.

“You are,” said the giraffe.

Next he met the elephant. He gave him a good rap on the knee and said, “And who is the king of the forest?”

The elephant picked him up in his trunk and swung him against the tree. As the lion slid down, brushing himself off, he said, “You don’t have to get so mad just because you don’t know the right answer.”

Vimal, unfortunately I know the right answer. I will not get mad at you, but certainly I will tell you where you are wrong and where you are right.

First, sitting with me in these discourses is nothing but creating more and more meditativeness in you. I don’t speak to teach something; I speak to create something. These are not lectures; these are simply a device for you to become silent, because if you are told to become silent without making any effort you will find great difficulty.

That’s what Zen teachers have been telling their disciples: “Be silent, but don’t make any effort.”

Now, you are putting the person into such a difficult fix: Don’t make any effort and be silent…. If he makes any effort he is wrong – and there is no way to be silent without making any effort. If it were possible to be silent without any effort there would have been no need of any master, there would have been no need of teaching meditation. People would have become silent without any effort.

I have gone as deep into Zen efforts as possible. They have been working for almost fourteen centuries, since Bodhidharma. They are one of the greatest groups in the world, totally devoted to a single thing, and that is meditation. There is no other experiment anywhere which has been done for so long a time continuously. But still there are not many Zen masters.

Yes, there are more masters in the stream of Zen than in any other stream in the world, but still they are very few compared to the people who have been working. I have been searching out what was the basic mistake – and this is the basic mistake, Vimal: those Zen masters told them the right thing, but not in the right way. I am making you aware of silences without any effort on your part. My speaking is for the first time being used as a strategy to create silence in you.

This is not a teaching, a doctrine, a creed; that’s why I can say anything. I am the most free person who has ever existed as far as saying anything is concerned. I can contradict myself in the same evening a hundred times, because it is not a speech, so it has not to be consistent. It is a totally different thing, and it will take time for the world to recognize that a tremendously different experiment was going on.

Just in a moment, when I became silent, you become silent…. What remains is just a pure awaiting.

You are not making any effort; neither am I making any effort. I enjoy to talk. It is not an effort.

I love to see you silent.

I love to see you laugh.

I love to see you dance.

But in all these activities, the fundamental remains meditation.

-Osho

From Satyam Shivam Sundram, Discourse #28

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.

Underlying Great Doubt there is Great Satori – Osho

Zen is the only revolutionary religion in the world. All the other religions are traditional, orthodox, superstitious, fundamentally based on belief. Any religion that is based on belief is a fiction, because belief simply means a repressed doubt.

Zen is an exception: it does not believe in anything – not even in the scriptures, not even in the sutras of Gautam Buddha. Belief, as such, is denied completely. I agree with it, without any condition; that has been my own whole approach.

Truth has to be experienced, not believed. Once you believe in it you will never experience it. Truth has to be searched for. Out of necessity, you have to doubt all the theories and ideologies propounded by the scriptures and others. If you don’t doubt them, you will be in a sheer confusion. If you believe in them you will stop there, at your belief. Your god will be a belief, not a truth. Your own very self will be just a belief, not something that you have lived, not something that you have danced, not something that you have touched. All beliefs take you away from yourself.

To find out the truth, you have to learn the art of disbelief.

Hence Zen has a very special position. Atheists also disbelieve, but they stop at their disbelief, just as theists stop at their belief. The atheist’s disbelief is only negative belief; it is nothing different. But when Zen talks of disbelief or doubt, it simply means a challenge to explore; not something to settle at, but to begin from there. You have discarded and eliminated all beliefs, all disbeliefs: then your pure consciousness asserts itself on its own accord. And the beauty of spontaneous flowering is the only beauty in the world.

Hakuin says – and Hakuin is one of the masters to be listened to very carefully – My humble advice to you distinguished persons who study the profound mystery of the  Buddha-dharma is this: your close examination of yourself must be as urgent as saving your own head were it ablaze. 

He is saying that your inquiry should be so intense and total… as if it is a question of life and death. If you don’t find it, your life is futile and fruitless. Unless you find it, you cannot blossom and dance and sing in joy. There will not be any rejoicing, any celebration, any festivity in your life. Your life will be a dark, unending night where the sun never rises.

Your efforts to penetrate into your own nature must be as tireless as the pursuit of an indispensable thing; your attitude toward the verbal teachings of the buddhas and patriarchs must be as hostile as that toward a deadly enemy. 

This can be said only by a great master, a buddha himself. He is saying that your attitude toward the verbal teachings of the buddhas and patriarchs must be as hostile as that toward a deadly enemy. The implication is that you should not believe in the word, but look for the experience. The word may be coming from the greatest master, but still, it is a word. And howsoever Buddha may have found himself, his nourishment is not going to be your nourishment. If he has quenched his thirst, all that he can say is, “Water has helped me to quench my thirst.” You can go on repeating ”H20” as a mantra but your thirst will not be quenched.

Zen says: Think of all the great words and great teachings as your deadly enemy. Avoid them, because you have to find your own source.

You have not to be a follower, an imitator. You have to be an original individual; you have to find your innermost core on your own, with no guide, no guiding scriptures.

It is a dark night, but with the intense fire of inquiry, you are bound to come to the sunrise. Everybody who has burned with intense inquiry has found the sunrise. Others only believe. Those who believe are not religious, they are simply avoiding the great adventure of religion by believing. 

In Zen, he who does not bring strong doubt to bear upon the koans is a dissolute, knavish good-for-nothing. Therefore it is said: “Underlying great doubt is great satori; where there is thorough questioning there will be a thorough-going experience of awakening.”

This is a unique quality of Zen. It says that hidden behind a great doubt is your satori, your enlightenment.

What exactly is doubt? Doubt means eliminating anything that is borrowed. It is not saying that something is not true, it says that “It is not my truth. And unless something is my truth, I am not going to discontinue my search.”

Doubt means a great love for truth, which never compromises for any cheap beliefs which are available in the marketplace, in every temple, in every church, in every synagogue. All the religions are telling you just to believe and you will be saved. This is pure nonsense, because millions of people have believed and nobody seems to be saved.

Millions of people are believing today, but the world is a mess. Their belief does not change the world, their belief does not change them, their belief makes no difference at all in their character. It does only one thing: it functions as an umbrella. It keeps them hiding from a great inquiry that is our basic right. They go on repressing the inquiry with belief, saying, “What is the point of knowing the truth? – Krishna has known it. Just read Shrimad Bhagavadgita every day, and that’s all.” Why should you bother to inquire yourself?

Or they say that Buddha has found it and he has told it: now there is no need for you to find it again.

This is what belief means. It takes your individual inquiry away from you. But remember, with the inquiry gone, the individuality is also gone. All the religions together have conspired to take away the dignity of man, because they have taken man’s individuality. They have made people into a crowd, a crowd of believers.

Zen wants you to be an individual seeker. Throw away all the scriptures, burn all the scriptures, never take anybody’s word as your truth. It is a great challenge, and it needs strength, it needs integrity, it needs a love for truth at any cost. Only those who gamble everything for truth are the blessed ones.

The world of religion is not the world of the businessman. It is the world of the gambler, who risks everything on the unknown – he does not know what is going to happen.

I am reminded… A Japanese actor earned much money in Hollywood, and after earning so much money he thought to go back home and relax: “Enough is enough – there is no point to going on earning. There is a little time before death knocks on the doors, and it will be good to rest.”

But before returning to Japan he thought he should go around the world to have a look before he settled in Japan. He went to Paris, and in a gambling place he risked everything that he had earned – millions of dollars, just in one go. Even the owner was trembling, every gambler there was perspiring: “My God, what kind of man is this?”

He did not save a single dollar, he gambled everything, and lost. And then he went to his room and went to sleep.

The next morning, in the newspapers, there was news that a Japanese man had jumped from the seventh floor of a building and had killed himself. In the hotel everybody thought that it must be the Japanese who risked everything, but in this hotel there were not seven stories. And he had gone to his bed, so they went and knocked on the door. The man opened the door. Those people were shocked to see him – he was perfectly alive. They said, “Have you seen the morning newspaper?”

He said, “Yes, I see that some Japanese has committed suicide from a seventh floor. And I knew you all would think I was going to commit suicide, but I’m not the one to accept defeat. I will earn money again, and I will come back to this hotel to put down just as much money – more than this time!”

And he went back to Hollywood. When he came back after earning enough money, more than the first time, that gambling place had closed. It was too risky. The man said, “What is the matter? Just a day before you were open and now you are closed.”

They said, “You can gamble somewhere else. There are many gambling places in Paris, but don’t frighten us. You are a man of strange steel.”

A man who can gamble everything for the unknown result – that’s exactly the situation of a religious man. You are renouncing all the scriptures and all the great masters’ words, and you are going into your own inner world without any guide, without any map, without any companion, alone, on a path never walked by anybody. Your inner path is your path; nobody else can walk on it.

But if one can doubt totally, denying all that is not his own, it creates an immense purity and creates great power, it gives a tremendous freedom – all which are absolutely necessary to inquire into your own being. What is there? Nobody can say it. Only you have to go there, and only you can go there. Hakuin is saying that there will be a thorough-going awakening where there is thorough-going questioning.

Go on questioning everything that the religions have been telling you to believe. Belief is the greatest barrier to the religious man. But just the contrary has been preached: faith and belief are praised by all religions. And the world that we see is the result of this stupid teaching – believing and having faith. Out of a thousand years of believing what have you gained? Where are you? The world has never been in more of a mess than it is today. If you want to get out of the mess, please throw out all that you have believed up to now.

Be utterly naked of belief, and the truth is not very far away. Just turn in and it is there. It does not come by faith, it comes by turning in. Faith is outside, belief is outside. Only turning in brings a transformation in being. 

Do not say, “Since my thoughts are always flying about in confusion, I lack the power to apply myself to genuine concentration on my koan.” 

Suppose that, among the dense crowd of people in the hurly-burly of the marketplace, a man accidentally loses two or three pieces of gold. You will never find anyone who, because the place is noisy and bustly or because he has dropped his pieces of gold in the dirt, will not turn back to look for them. He pushes any number of people about, stirs up a lot of dust, and weeping copious tears rushes around searching for his gold. If he doesn’t get it back into his own two hands, he will never regain his peach of mind.

Hakuin is saying that the loss of even two or three pieces of gold is enough to make you look for them, but you don’t know what a treasure is hidden inside you, what a splendor you are carrying. 

Do you consider the priceless jewel worn in the hair, your own inherent, marvelous Tao, of less value than two or three pieces of gold?

You never bother about who is hidden inside you, what is the source of your being.

Those who have known the source, they are unanimously in agreement that it is the most precious experience that can happen in this world. It is the most universal which gives you a deathlessness, and which gives your life a tremendous freshness, and in each moment a radiance, a grace, a beauty. Your whole life becomes a celebration.

And this is something that nobody can steal away. This is something that nobody can destroy. Even death is incapable of touching it. It is your eternal treasure. From eternity to eternity, it is yours – but you never look at it.

Dangai wrote:

Earth, river, mountain:
Snowflakes melt in air.
How could I have doubted?
Where is North? South? East? West? 

Once you know, doubt commits suicide on its own accord. Never believe; let the doubt die. That is a totally different situation. When you believe, doubt remains alive – in fact, very forcibly alive.

One Christian missionary, Stanley Jones, said to me, “My faith in Jesus Christ is absolute!”

I said, “You simply analyze your own statement. Is not faith enough? Has it to be absolute? What is the purpose of the word ‘absolute’? Faith is enough, if it is there. But it is not there. Just by the side of faith are disbelief, unfaith, doubt – all are there. To cover them up you have to bring a bigger umbrella. Absolute faith simply shows that your doubt is very great. Ordinary people have small doubts; their faith is small. You are a learned scholar, a world-famous scholar – naturally your doubt is going to be very great.”

He said, “I had never looked from this angle, but perhaps you are right.” He was a very honest man. He said, “I will have to think it over.”

When somebody says to somebody else, “I love you absolutely,” then you have to be aware. Don’t get caught in absolute love affairs – just temporary is good. Absolute is going to be a constant murder!

The real lovers don’t even say “I love you.” They will not use the word ‘love’ for their great experience. The word is very small and used too many times; it has lost its freshness. It is my experience that when love starts disappearing, people start saying to each other, “I love you very much.” It is only when love starts disappearing, when they become aware that love is no more there, now only words can continue the misery that they used to call love. Now they have to repeat it continuously.

But if you know, then the moment you have dropped all belief, including disbelief; when your doubt is total, suddenly there is an explosion, as if the fire of your being, which was hidden, has come to its fully-fledged form. Its flames are even reaching out of you. You are on fire! In this case there is no question of doubt and there is no question of belief. You simply know.

Once a Western journalist asked Shri Aurobindo, “Do you believe in God?” It is a very common question. Shri Aurobindo said, “No.”

The man was very much puzzled. He had come to see him from far away just because he had heard that he was a man of God. So the journalist was not going to just leave Shri Aurobindo at that.

He asked, “What do you mean by saying no?”

Aurobindo said, “When you know something, you do not believe. Do you believe in the sun? Do you believe in the starry night? Do you believe in the roses? You see they are there: there is no question of belief.”

Belief arises only in darkness, when you don’t know. And belief keeps you in darkness – because of belief you never try to discover on your own what is the truth.

A haiku:

Butterflies setting out
To cross the sea,
Have disappeared:
My self comes back to me.

He is saying that all our thoughts are nothing but butterflies trying to cross the sea: they will disappear somewhere. Have you watched your thoughts? If you have lived forty or fifty years, how many million thoughts have crossed the sea and disappeared? Every day, you go on creating new thoughts and they go on disappearing into the dust. Only one thing remains with you, and that is your am-ness. Only you remain.

As a Zen poet has said, “Clouds come and go and the sky remains.” It never goes anywhere, it never comes from anywhere. You are the sky. Anything that happens in this sky is just a traffic – no need to be concerned about it, no need to be identified with it.

-Osho

From Turning In, Discourse #6

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

My Belly has Become My Best Friend – Osho

Eleven years ago, when I first sat in front of you, I was so overwhelmed by your energy, by your love, by you, that I could do nothing but cry and bow down to your feet in silent expression; and yet I felt very much understood by you. At that time you told me to keep my energy inside and bring it to my hara. Since then this suggestion stays with me, and my belly has become my best friend, and the place below my navel a mirror of my feelings. In all this time tears and laughter of joy and gratitude for being able to spend this life with you have kept back most of my words. My beloved master, I feel that behind this small suggestion of yours lies more than I can imagine Would you please say something more about the hara, and guide me further?

Deva Radhika, hara is the center from where a life leaves the body. It is the center of death. The word hara is Japanese; that’s why in Japan, suicide is called hara-kiri. The center is just two inches below the navel. It is very important, and almost everybody in the world has felt it. But only in Japan have they gone deeper into its implications. Even the people in India, who had worked tremendously hard on centers, had not considered the hara. The reason for their missing it was because they had never considered death to be of any significance. Your soul never dies, so why bother about a center that functions only as a door for energies to get out, and to enter into another body? They worked from sex, which is the life center. They have worked on seven centers, but the hara is not even mentioned in any Indian scriptures.

The people who worked hardest on the centers for thousands of years have not mentioned the hara, and this cannot be just a coincidence. The reason was that they never took death seriously. These seven centers are life centers, and each center is of a higher life. The seventh is the highest center of life, when you are almost a god.

The hara is very close to the sex center. If you don’t rise towards higher centers, towards the seventh center which is in your head, and if you remain for your whole life at the sex center, then just by the side of the sex center is the hara, and when then life will end, the hara will be the center from where your life will move out of the body.

Why have I told Radhika this? She was very energetic, but not aware of any higher centers; her whole energy was at the sex center, and she was overflowing. Energy overflowing at the sex center is dangerous, because it can start releasing from the hara.

And if it starts releasing from the hara, then to take it upwards becomes more difficult. So I had told her to keep her energy in, and not to be so expressive: Hold it in! I simply wanted the hara center, which was opening and which could have been very dangerous, to be completely closed.

She followed it, and she has become a totally different person. Now when I see her, I cannot believe the expressiveness that I had seen at first. Now she is more centered, and her energy is moving in the right direction of the higher centers. It is almost at the fourth center, which is the center of love and which is a very balancing center. There are three centers below it, and three centers above it.

Once a person is at the center of love, there is very rarely a possibility for him to fall back down, because he has tasted something of the heights. Now valleys will be very dark, ugly; he has seen sunlit peaks, not very high, but still high; now his whole desire will be….

And that is the trouble with all lovers: they want more love, because they don’t understand that the real desire is not for more love, but for something more than love.

Their language ends with love; they don’t know any way that is higher than love, and love does not satisfy. On the contrary, the more you love the more thirsty you become.

At the fourth center of love, one feels a tremendous satisfaction only when energy starts moving to the fifth center. The fifth center is in your throat, and the sixth center is your third eye. The seventh center, the sahastrara, is on the top of your head. All these centers have different expressions and different experiences.

When love moves to the fifth center then whatever talents you have, any creative dimension, is possible for you. This is the center of creativity. It is not only for songs, not only for music; it is for all creativity.

Hindu mythology has a beautiful story. It is a myth, but the story is beautiful, and particularly for explaining to you the fifth center. Indian mythology says that there is a constant struggle between evil forces and good forces. They both discovered that if they made a certain search in the ocean they could find nectar, and that whoever drank it would become immortal. So they all tried to find it.

But as life balances everywhere, there too…. Before they found the nectar they found poison which was hiding the nectar underneath it. Nobody was ready to test it; even the very sight of it created sickness. One of them thought that the first hippie of the world, perhaps might be willing — he was the god Shiva. So they asked Shiva, “You test it.” He said, “Okay.”

He not only tested it, he drank it all, and it was pure poison. He kept it just in his neck, at the fifth center. The fifth center is the creative center. It became completely poisoned, and Shiva became the god of destruction. So Hindus have three gods: Brahma who creates the world, Vishnu who sustains the world, and Shiva who destroys the world. His destructiveness came from his creative center being poisoned. And the poison was so great that it cannot be a small destruction; he can only destroy the whole of existence.

When Vishnu is tired of maintaining it, Shiva destroys it. By that time Brahma has forgotten — millions of years have passed since he created the world; he again starts creating it — just an old routine! Brahma is the creator god, but in the whole of India there is only one temple devoted to Brahma, because who cares about him? He has done his work; it is futile to say anything to him. Vishnu has millions of temples, because he is the sustainer god. Krishna and Rama are all incarnations of Vishnu.

But nobody can compete with Shiva. Shiva has more shrines to him than anybody else.

He is a hippie, so he does not need very great temples or anything — just anywhere, under any tree. Just put a round stone, oval shape, and he does not ask much — a few leaves, not even flowers. A few leaves you can drop there, a few drops of water on his head, just to keep him cool… so people have created devices; they just hang a small pot on top of his head with a small drip, drip, drip. It keeps him cool, so he does not get annoyed with anybody and destroy the world.

Everybody is afraid of him, so naturally he has many more worshipers, many more temples, and many more shrines. In every small village you will find at least a dozen Shiva shrines, because they cost nothing; any poor man can afford it. And he has to be concerned about it because Shiva can destroy. Keep him satisfied! And he does not ask much; just keep his head cool. Flowers are costly, but any two leaves and his worship is finished.

Shiva became the destroyer of the world because his fifth center had accumulated the whole poison of existence in it. It is our creative center, that’s why lovers have a certain tendency to creativity. When you fall in love, you suddenly feel like creating something—it is very close. If you are guided rightly, your love can become your great creative act.

It can make you a poet, it can make you a painter, it can make you a dancer, it can make you reach to the stars in any dimension.

The sixth center which we call the third eye is between the two eyes. This gives you a clarity, a vision of all your past lives, and of all the future possibilities. Once your energy has reached your third eye, then you are so close to enlightenment that something of enlightenment starts showing. It radiates from the man of the third eye, and he starts feeling a pull towards the seventh center.

Because of these seven centers, India never bothered about hara. Hara is not in the line; it is just by the side of the sex center. The sex center is the life center, and hara is the death center. Too much excitement, too much un-centeredness, too much throwing your energy all over the place is dangerous, because it takes your energy towards the hara. And once the route is created, it becomes more difficult to move it upwards. Hara is equally parallel to the sex center, so the energy can move very easily.

It was a great discovery by the Japanese: they found that there was no need to cut your head off, or shoot your brains out to kill — they are all unnecessarily painful; just a small knife forced exactly at the hara center, and without any pain, life disappears. Just make the center open and life disappears, as if the flower opens and the fragrance disappears.

The hara should be kept closed. That’s why, Radhika, I had told you to be more centered, to keep your feelings inside, and to bring it to your hara. “Since then this suggestion stays with me, and my belly has become my best friend, and the place below my navel a mirror of my feelings.”

If you can keep your hara consciously controlling your energies, it does not allow them to go out. You start feeling a tremendous gravity, a stability, a centeredness, which is a basic necessity for the energy to move upwards.

You are asking, “I feel that behind this small suggestion of yours lies more than I can imagine.” Certainly, there is much more….

A Pole is walking down the street, and passes a hardware store advertising the sale of a chain saw that is capable of cutting seven hundred trees in seven hours. The Pole thinks that it is a great deal and decides to buy one.

The next day he comes back with the saw, and complains to the salesman, “The thing did not come close to chopping down the seven hundred trees that the ad said it would.”

“Well,” said the salesman, “let us test it out back.” Finding a log, the salesman pulls the starter cord, and the saw makes a great roaring sound.

“What is that noise?” asked the Pole.

So he must have been cutting by hand and it was an electric saw!

Radhika, your hara center has so much energy that, if it is rightly directed, enlightenment is not a faraway place.

So these two are my suggestions: keep yourself as much centered as possible. Don’t get moved by small things — somebody is angry, somebody insults you, and you think about it for hours. Your whole night is disturbed because somebody said something…. If the hara can hold more energy, then naturally that much more energy starts rising upwards.

There is only a certain capacity in the hara, and every energy that moves upwards moves through the hara; but the hara should just be closed.

So one thing is that the hara should be closed. The second thing is that you should always work for higher centers. For example, if you feel angry too often you should meditate more on anger, so that anger disappears and its energy becomes compassion. If you are a man who hates everything, then you should concentrate on hate; meditate on hate, and the same energy becomes love.

Go on moving upwards, think always of higher ladders, so that you can reach to the highest point of your being. And there should be no leakage from the hara center. India has been too concerned about sex for the same reason: sex can also take your energy outside. It takes… but at least sex is the center of life. Even if it takes energy out, it will bring energy somewhere else, life will go on flowing.

But hara is a death center. Energy should not be allowed through the hara. A person whose energy starts through hara you can very easily detect. For example, there are people with whom you will feel suffocated, with whom you will feel as if they are sucking your energy. You will find that, after they are gone, you feel at ease and relaxed, although they were not doing anything wrong to you.

You will find just the opposite kind of people also, whose meeting you makes you joyful, healthier. If you were sad, your sadness disappears; if you were angry, your anger disappears. These are the people whose energy is moving to higher centers. Their energy affects your energy. We are affecting each other continually. And the man who is conscious, chooses friends and company which raises his energy higher.

One point is very clear. There are people who suck you, avoid them! It is better to be clear about it, say goodbye to them. There is no need to suffer, because they are dangerous; they can open your hara too. Their hara is open, that’s why they create such a sucking feeling in you.

Psychology has not taken note of it yet, but it is of great importance that psychologically sick people should not be put together. And that is what is being done all over the world.

Psychologically sick people are put into psychiatric institutes together. They are already psychologically sick, and you are putting them in a company which will drag their energy even lower.

Even the doctors who work with psychologically sick people have given enough indication of it. More psychoanalysts commit suicide than any other profession, more psychoanalysts go mad than any other profession. And every psychoanalyst once in a while needs to be treated by some other psychoanalyst. What happens to these poor people? Surrounded by psychologically sick people, they are continually sucked, and they don’t have any idea how to close their haras.

There are methods, techniques to close the hara, just as there are methods for meditation, to move the energy upwards. The best and simplest method is: try to remain as centered in your life as possible. People cannot even sit silently, they will be changing their position. They cannot lie down silently, the whole night they will be turning and tossing. This is just unrest, a deep restlessness in their souls.

One should learn restfulness. And in these small things, the hara stays closed. Particularly psychologists should be trained. Also, psychologically sick people should not be put together.

In the East, particularly in Japan in Zen monasteries, where they have become aware of the hara center, there are no psychologists as such. But in Zen monasteries there are small cottages, far away from the main campus where Zen people live, but in the same forest or in the same mountain area. And if somebody who is psychologically sick is brought to them, he is given a cabin there and he is told to relax, rest, enjoy, move around in the forest — but not to talk. Anyway there is nobody to talk to! Only once a day a man comes to give food; he is not allowed to talk to that man either, and even if he talks, the man will not answer. So his whole energy is completely controlled. He cannot even talk; he cannot meet anybody.

You will be surprised to know that what psychoanalysis cannot do in years is done in three weeks. In three weeks’ time the person is as healthy as normal people are. And nothing has been done — no technique, nothing. He has just been left alone so he cannot talk. He has been left alone so he can rest and be himself. He is not expected to fulfill somebody else’s expectations.

Radhika, you have done well. Just continue whatever you are doing, accumulating your energy in yourself. The accumulation of energy automatically makes it go higher. And as it reaches higher you will feel more peaceful, more loving, more joyful, more sharing, more compassionate, more creative.

The day is not far away when you will feel full of light, and the feeling of coming back home.

-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.

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.

Without Boundaries – Osho

Things are there around you because of you. You attract them. If you feel hell around you, it is you who has attracted it. Don’t be angry about it and don’t start fighting with it; it is useless. You attracted, you invited – you have done it! And now your desires are fulfilled: whatsoever you needed is around you. And then you start fighting and getting angry. You have succeeded!

Remember always that whatsoever is happening around you is rooted in the mind. Mind is always the cause. It is the projector, and outside there are only screens – you project yourself. If you feel it is ugly then change the mind. If you feel whatsoever comes from the mind is hellish and nightmarish, then drop the mind. Work with the mind, don’t work with the screen don’t go on painting it and changing it. Work with the mind.

But there is one problem, because you think you are the mind. So how can you drop it? So you feel you can drop everything, change everything, repaint, redecorate, rearrange, but how can you drop yourself That is the root of all trouble. You are not the mind, you are beyond mind. You have become identified, that’s true, but you are not the mind.

And this is the purpose of meditation: to give you small glimpses that you are not the mind. Even for a few moments the mind stops… you are still there! On the contrary, you are MORE, overflowing with being. When the mind stops it is as if a drainage which was continuously draining you has stopped. Suddenly you are overflooded with energy. You feel more!

If even for a single moment you become aware that the mind is not there but “I am,” you have reached a deep core of truth. Then it will be easy to drop the mind. You are not the mind, otherwise how can you drop yourself? The identification has to be dropped first, then the mind can be dropped.

The whole Gurdjieff method is how to get unidentified. When next time when a desire comes, look at it. Say within yourself, “Okay, I will watch where this mind is moving.” And you will feel a distance, you are looking at it. Who is this looker, the spectator? And the desire moves and creates dreams.

Sometimes you may forget, sometimes you may become one with the desire. Pull yourself together again, look at the desire again: the desire is moving on its own. It is as if a cloud has entered, a thought has come into the sky of your being. Just look at it, watch it. And remember, if you can be unidentified even for a fragment of a second – the desire is there and you are here and there is a distance – suddenly there is illumination, a light has happened to you.

Now you know that the mind works on its own, it is a mechanism. You can drop it! You may not use it, you may use it; you are the master. Now the slave, the mechanism, is put in its place; it is no more the master. Then dropping is possible. When you are different from it, only then is dropping possible.

Meditation, witnessing, silently sitting and looking at the mind, will be of much help. Not forcing, simply sitting and looking. Not doing much, just watching as one watches birds flying in the sky. Just Lying down on the ground and watching, nothing to do, indifferent. Not your concern really, where they are going; they are going on their own.

Remember, thoughts are also just like birds: they are moving on their own. And sometimes it happens that people who are around you, their thoughts enter into your sky, your thoughts go on entering into their sky. That’s why sometimes you feel that with some man suddenly you become sad; with some other man suddenly you feel an upsurge of energy and happiness and delight. Just looking at somebody, being near to him, something changes in your mood.

It happens even with places. You go into a house and suddenly a gloom settles on you. You go in another house, and suddenly you feel light as if wings have come to you, you can fly, you are weightless. You enter a crowd and you are no more yourself, something has changed. You enter another crowd, again something has changed.

This is the base of satsang: being with a Master who has no thoughts. Just being with him, sometimes his no-thought, his no-mind, will knock at your door. In some moments… it cannot be manipulated, one has to wait, one has just to pray and wait and watch. It cannot be forced because it is not a thought. A thought is a thing; it can be thrown at you. No-thought is not a thing, it cannot be thrown.

A thought has its own movement and propulsion. Whenever you are near a person who has too many thoughts, he will fill you with his thoughts. Just being near he will go on pouring his mind in you – whether he speaks or not, that is not the point. Continuously, thoughts, like sparks, are falling from his head all around – you catch them.

And sometimes you are even aware that this is not your thought. But when it comes you become filled with it, you become identified even with that. This is not your anger; somebody else was angry and you felt something within you. Somebody was hateful and the hate hit you. Everything is infectious, and mind is the most infectious disease in the world. No flu can compete with it, it goes on infecting people all around.

If you can see, you can see just sparks falling from the head of a person. They have different colors.

That’s why so many mystics became aware of auras, because if a gloomy person comes he brings a gloomy aura. You can see it if your eyes are clear. You can see when a happy person comes around you. Even if you have not seen him – he is coming from behind you, you have not seen him – but suddenly you feel something happy is happening around.

Thoughts are not your own, they are not you. When you die your thoughts are scattered all around. It has happened, and next time you go near a dying man, watch – it is an experience in itself. When a man is dying, just sit and watch what happens to your mind. You will be surprised; thoughts which have never been there, thoughts you are not accustomed to, thoughts which are unknown, suddenly bubble up in you – pop! The man is dying and he is throwing his thoughts all around, like a dying tree throwing its seeds. It is in a panic; before the tree dies it should throw seeds so other trees come up.

Never go near a man who is dying if you are not aware, because then the dead will influence you. Basically, never be near a man where you feel gloomy, sad, unless you are aware. If you are aware then there is no problem. Then the gloom comes and passes; you never get identified with it.

Have you ever felt, going in a church, people praying, you feel immediately different. So much prayer, even not very real, just a Sunday prayer, but still they are doing it, even for a few moments the windows open – they are different. A fire catches you, you feel sudden changes within you.

Be aware! And then see how thoughts enter in the mind, how you get identified and become one with them. And they are moving so fast, the speed is so great, because there is nothing more speedy than thought. It is not possible to create anything more speedy than thought. It takes no time to reach anywhere. It jumps from one infinity to another; space doesn’t exist for it.

Thoughts are there, moving with fast speed. Because of the fast speed you cannot see two thoughts separately. Sit, close your eyes, slow down all processes of the body. Breathing slows, heartbeat slows, blood pressure slows. You slow down everything; you relax, because if everything slows, thought has to slow down, because it is a compact whole. When everything is slow, thought has to get slow.

That’s why in deep sleep thought stops; because everything is so slow and thought is so speedy a thing that there comes a breaking – the process cannot continue. The man is so slow and thought is so speedy, they cannot get together. Thought disappears. In deep sleep, only for a few hours, two hours at the most in the night, thought stops, because you are completely relaxed.

Relax and just watch: as the thought process slows you will be able to see gaps. Between two thoughts there is an interval – in that interval is consciousness. Between two clouds there is an interval – in that interval is the blue sky.

Slow down the thought process and look in the intervals, and pay more attention to the intervals than to the clouds. Shift the attention, change the gestalt. Don’t look at the figure, look at the background.

If I put a blackboard, a big blackboard the size of this wall here, and mark it with a white point and ask you what you see, ninety-nine percent the possibility is you will not see the blackboard, you will see the white dot – because we see the figure, not the background.

Such a big blackboard, but if I ask you, “What do you see there?” you will say, “I see a little white spot.” Such a big blackboard is not seen and only a little white spot, which is almost invisible, is seen? Why? Because this is the fixed pattern of the mind: to look at the figure, not at the background; to look at the cloud, not at the sky; to look at the thought, not at the consciousness.

This gestalt has to be changed. Pay more attention to the background and less attention to the figure. You will be nearer reality. In meditation this has to be done continuously. The mind, because of old habit, will look at the figure. You just shift again… Look at the background.

You are here, I am here. We can look at each other in two ways. I can look at the background; in the background are the trees, plants, greenery, the sky – the vast universe is your background. Or I can look at you, you are the figure. But mind always looks at the figure.

That’s why it happens if you go to a person like Sosan, Jesus or Buddha, you feel that their eyes are not looking at you. You are just the figure and they are looking at the background. Their gestalt is different. You may feel that their eyes are cold because they are not paying attention to you.

You are just a cloud. Persons like Buddha, when they look; you are there, but just as a small part of the background. And vast is the background, and you are just a dot. But you would like somebody to look at you, at the small dot, as if you are the universe, as if nothing exists beyond you.

Buddha’s love will look cold. You need a hot love, eyes which look at you and forget the whole. That is not possible for a Buddha. You have your place, but you are still a small dot. Howsoever beautiful, you are just part of a vast background – whole attention cannot be given to you.

That’s why the ego feels very much hurt near a Buddha, because the ego wants the whole attention: “Look at me, I am the center of the world.” But you are not the center of the world. Really there is no center in the world, because the center is possible only if the world is limited. If it is a finite circle then the center is possible – and it is an infinite circle.

It is absurd to think of a center. There is no center in the world; the world exists without any center. And it is beautiful. That’s why everybody can think, “I am the center.” If there is a center then it is impossible.

That’s why Mohammedans and Christians and Jews will not allow Hindu assertions that “I am God – Aham Brahmasmi.” They say, “This is heresy. What are you saying? Only God is the center. Nobody else is the center.” But Hindus can assert playfully that “I am God,” because they say there is NO center, or everybody is the center.

But when you ask that the whole attention should come to you, this is the mind, the old habit of the mind, not to look at the background, just to look at the figure.

In meditation you have to shift from the figure to the background, from the star to the sky. The more this shift happens, the more you will feel you are not the mind, the more you will feel easily it can be dropped…

It is just like dropping a dress. You have made it so tight that it feels like a skin. It is not, it is just like a dress you can drop it easily. But one has to understand that one is the background, not the figure. And when this mind drops, says Sosan, then the objective world simply vanishes.

What does he mean? Does he mean that if you are in deep meditation, if you have reached the goal of no-mind, then these trees will disappear, vanish? Then this house will no more be here? Then you will not be sitting here? If I have attained, will this chair I am sitting on vanish?

No. Objects disappear as objects; not this chair, not that tree – they remain, but they are no more limited. Now they have no boundaries. Then this chair is meeting with the sun and with the sky, then the figure and the background has become one. There is no figure separate from the background, their identities are lost. And they are no more objects, because you are no more a subject there.

Krishnamurti goes on saying something very beautiful: that in deep meditation the observer becomes the observed. This is true, but you will feel that this looks absurd. If you are looking at a flower, does Krishnamurti mean that you become the flower? Then how will you get back home? And somebody may pluck you and you will be in trouble.

“The observer becomes the observed.” Does it mean that you become the flower? No – but still, in a sense, yes. You don’t become the flower in the sense that you can be plucked and somebody can carry you and you are no more a man. No, not in that sense. But when there is no mind, there is no boundary to you which separates you from the flower, no boundary to the flower which separates it from you. You have both become a subjective pool, you are merging and meeting. You remain you, the flower remains the flower, nobody can mistakenly pluck you – but there is a merging.

It happens only in your life sometimes in a few moments when you love a person. That too is rare, because man’s mind never leaves him even in love. It goes on creating its own nonsense, creating its own world. And the lover is no more allowed such closeness that he reaches to the background. The figure, the ego, always stands in between. But a few times it happens.

Of course, it must be happening in spite of you. It is so natural that even if you have made all the arrangements, sometimes the reality bumps into you. With all your arrangements, with all your dreams, sometimes it penetrates you; sometimes you are not on guard. Sometimes you forget, or you are so much occupied in a certain thing that a window opens and you are not looking at that window and the reality enters in.

A few moments, in love, this happens, when the observer has become the observed. This is a beautiful meditation: if you love a person then sit with the person and look into each other’s eyes – not thinking anything, not thinking who he is, not creating a thinking process, just looking into each other’s eyes.

There may be a few glimpses when the observer will become the observed, when you will be lost and you will not know who you are – whether you have become the beloved or the beloved has become you. Eyes are beautiful doors to enter into each other.

And why do I say only in love it is possible? Because only in love are you not on guard. You relax. You are not afraid of the other, you can be vulnerable, you can afford it. Otherwise you are always on guard, because you don’t know what the other will do; you don’t know whether he will hurt you. And if you are not on guard the hurt can go very deep.

In love you can look into each other’s eyes. There will be some glimpses when the background and the figure dissolve into each other. You will be shaken to your very foundations. Suddenly you will have a glimpse: you are not, still you are. Somewhere deep there has been a meeting.

This happens to a real meditator with the universe itself – not that he becomes a tree, but still he becomes a tree. When he is with a tree, boundaries are not there. And when he becomes tuned to this no-boundary land, then he moves without boundaries.

-Osho

From Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing, Discourse #5

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.

Natural You Are – Osho

Enlightenment is my true nature; there is no need to do anything.

Only when effort is completely exhausted and one feels utterly useless does grace come.

What is all this? I am confused. What should I do? Should I continue with meditation or should I just sit and let things happen?

Pleas guide me.

Shiv-Priyanand, if you are confused then you will have to continue meditations. Confusion is the illness: meditation is medicinal. Both the words – meditation and medicine – come from the same root. If you are confused, you will have to go on meditating. When you see the point without any confusion, then there is no need. But meditation will prepare you, meditation will force you to see the point that there is no need to do anything. Only meditation can do that.

Just listening to me… I have told you that to be natural is to be enlightened. Now you think, “So, that is great! I can sit silently and do nothing.” But can you really sit silently and do nothing? If you can really sit silently and do nothing, then this question would not have arisen. You would have sat and known and you would have bowed before me and thanked me. There would have been no question. You would have come dancing to me, not with a question and a confused mind.

If you can sit silently doing nothing, what else is needed?

That’s what Buddha was doing under the Bodhi Tree – sitting silently doing nothing… and then it happened. That’s how it happened to me! That’s how it always happens!

But not to do is not so easy. Because you have become so accustomed to doing something or other, even sitting will be a doing to you. You will have to force yourself in a yoga posture and you will sit strained, still, in control, holding, trying to sit silently and not do anything – and boiling within, to do a thousand and one things, and thousands of thoughts will clamor around, will distract you.

Can you just sit and do nothing? That is the ultimate. That’s what nirvana is, samadhi is.

It can happen; just listening to me also it can happen, but great intelligence is needed then. Then, simply, you have seen the point – that to be natural is all. Then where is the confusion? From where can it come? Then what is the confusion? You have seen it, or you have not seen it. If you will sit silently, you will walk silently, you will eat silently, you will talk silently. You will become a non-doer, you will become a natural being.

But if you have not seen it, then you will need a few more crazy things; you will have to go through them. Those meditations will force you to see the point. Either you see just by listening and sitting by my side, or you will have to see the hard way.

Buddha meditated for six years, and meditated intensely, totally. Then this realization arose in him: “What am I doing? Trees are perfectly happy, birds are perfectly happy – what am I doing? And these trees are not meditating, and these birds have never thought about meditation, and they have not read Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and they don’t do yoga asanas and they don’t chant any mantras. And the whole existence is so tremendously ecstatic! What am I doing standing on my head and fasting and all that nonsense?”

He saw it, but six years it took for him to see this. And he was no ordinary man. He was tremendously intelligent. It took six years for him to see the point. But the moment he saw it, he relaxed under the Bodhi Tree. He fell asleep and the next morning he was awakened. Not only physically he opened his eyes – spiritually his eyes were opened. Next morning when he opened his eyes, he was totally a different man – the real man had arisen. And just a glimpse of the real man, says Ikkyu, and you are in love. And the moment he saw his real man, he started living a life of compassion and love. There was no other way now, no choice. He became a natural man.

So, if you feel confused, then go on meditating. Meditation is not for enlightenment: meditation is for confused people. Meditation does not lead you to enlightenment; it simply makes you fed up with your confusion. Just see the point: meditation is not a way to enlightenment – it is just a way to get rid of confusion. And when there is no confusion, enlightenment comes of its own accord.

Meditation’s work is negative. It takes things away from you. It does not give you anything; it simply goes on taking things away from you. Anger disappears, greed disappears, desire disappears, and you start losing whatsoever you had. You become every day poorer and poorer.

That’s what Jesus means when he says: Blessed are those who are poor in spirit.

Anger is not there, greed is not there, ambition is not there. Slowly, slowly, chunks of your being are cut from you. And one day suddenly nothing is there – or, only nothing is there. That very moment, light penetrates. All those things greed, anger, passion, lust, hatred, ambition, ego – they were hindering the path. They were not allowing the light to penetrate in you. They were functioning like a rock between you and God. All those removed… suddenly God enters into you and you enter into God.

If you understand me, there is no need for any meditation. But if you don’t understand me… to understand me meditation will be needed. Then go on doing it.

I understand your confusion, your trouble. You can do it only if it leads to enlightenment. That’s what your problem is. You have not said it so clearly, but that’s exactly where the problem is. You can do it if I emphasize that it will lead you to enlightenment – that I cannot do, because that is not true. You want me to promise you so that you can go on doing meditation. You want me to hypnotize you, you want me to go on supporting your desires, your goals, that you want to become enlightened, that you want to become natural… now look at the whole absurdity of becoming natural! How can one become natural? Natural you are! All becoming will lead you towards unnatural structures.

Becoming cannot bring you to being natural. Becoming means becoming unnatural.

Natural you are, but you want me to support you because you cannot sit silently. You cannot sit, really; you need something to think about, something to do. You want some goal. And if I take the goal away you ask, “Then why should I do meditation if it is not needed?” It is still needed. Needed, not for enlightenment – needed just to destroy this constant restlessness in your mind.

It is like this: if you live in a room with closed doors the sun will not penetrate, although opening the door is not creating the sun. By opening the door you don’t create the sun – the sun is there. But by opening the door, you become available to the sun. Meditations are just like opening the door.

So right now if you sit, you will be sitting in confusion, and the confusion will grow more and more if you sit. You will gather it; it will become almost impossible to bear it. And you will have to go to the movie or to the radio or the TV or to the club – you will have to go somewhere.

Meditations are cathartic. They throw all the rubbish that you contain inside. They simply cleanse you. They open the doors, they open the eyes – the sun is there. Once you are available, it starts penetrating you.

Then you will never say, “I became natural.” You will say, “I was natural. The problem was not how to become natural – the problem was how not to go on becoming unnatural.”

-Osho

From Take It Easy, Discourse #6

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

The Goal Comes to You – Osho

What is Joshu’s single note? This is the single note – emptiness. This is the lotus flower that Buddha transmitted to Mahakashyap. And this is what all of the Buddhas have been teaching through the ages – be empty. The ego wants to be All. The All happens, but it happens through emptiness, and therein lies the difficulty, the impossibility of it. You can become perfect, but if perfection is the ideal, then you will miss it. You can become perfect through being totally empty. That seems inconceivable for the mind, because the mind says: To be perfect one has to make much effort, to be perfect one has to create an ideal in the future, and one has to make effort to reach the goal. The goal happens.

Perfection comes to man, man need not go there. The goal comes to you. Nobody has ever gone to the goal. It has always been otherwise; the goal comes to you when you are empty. And to be empty is just the opposite, just the opposite of all efforts towards perfection, because perfection means you would like to be God himself. Perfection means you would like yourself eternally, infinitely, spread all over. Emptiness is just the opposite – you have to destroy yourself utterly. Not even a trace should be left behind. When your house is empty, the guest comes. When you are no more, the goal has been attained.

So don’t make perfection your goal, the goal happens indirectly. You be empty, and you have created the situation for it to come. Because nature abhors emptiness, nothing can remain empty. If you empty yourself completely, you will be filled by the Unknown. Suddenly, from all directions the Divine rushes towards you. You have created the situation; it has to be filled. When you are not, God is.

So remember, there cannot be any meeting between you and God. There has never been, and there will never be. When you are not, God is; when you are, God is not. They both cannot be together.

Here you disappear, and suddenly the Total, the Perfect, the Whole appears. It has always been there. But you were filled by yourself so much that there was no space for it to come in. It was all around, but you were not empty.

You are just like a house without doors – just walls and walls and layers and layers of walls. And remember, a house is in fact not the walls but the doors. Lao Tzu says: What is a door? – A door is nothing, it is an emptiness; and from the door you enter. The wall is something, the door is nothing.

And have you observed that the house is not the walls but the emptiness within? The very word ‘room’ means emptiness, space. You don’t live in the walls, you live in the space, in the emptiness.

All that exists, exists in emptiness. All that lives, lives in emptiness.

You are not your body. Within your body, just like within your house, space exists. That space is you. Your body is just the walls. Think of a person who has no eyes, no ears, no nose, no windows, no doors in the body – he will be dead. Eyes and ears and nose and mouth, they are the doors, they are emptinesses. And through that emptiness, existence enters into you. The outer and the inner meet, because the outer space and the inner space are not two things, they are one. And the division is not a real division.

It is just like, you can go to the river, and you can fill an earthen pot with water. When the water is moving in the earthen pot, the river outside and the water inside the pot are the same. Only an earthen wall exists, and even that earthen wall is porous; water is continuously flowing out and in.

Your body is also porous; existence is continuously flowing in and out. What is your breathing? – It is existence coming in and going out. And scientists say, millions of holes in the skin are continuously breathing in and out. You are porous. If your whole body is painted thickly, and only the nose is allowed to remain open, you can go on breathing, but within three hours you will be dead. Because the whole body breathes – it is porous. Existence continuously renews you.

And inside who are you? Inside is an emptiness. When one realizes this emptiness, the ego simply disappears – it is a myth, it is a dream, it is a fallacy. Because you have never looked within, you have created a false ego.

There is a necessity, because no man can live without a center. And you don’t know your own center. So the mind creates a false center; that false center is the ego. When you move inwards and look for the ego, you will never find it there. The deeper you go, the more you will laugh because the ego is not there. You are not there. Sometimes, just close your eyes and look for the ego. Where are you? Who are you? And emptiness surrounds you from everywhere; nobody is there inside. And this moment is the most beautiful and ecstatic moment possible when you feel that there is no ego.

When there is no ego, you are empty. And when you are empty, the Divine rushes towards you. You have created the situation.

-Osho

From Returning to the Source, Discourse #2

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

The Garden of Tathagata – Osho

What is the goal of meditation? 

Prageeta, there is no goal of meditation. Meditation is the dropping of all goals; hence it can’t have a goal of its own; that would be against its very nature. Goals exist in the future; meditation is to be in the present. There is no meeting ground between the present and the future – the future exists not – how can the non-existential meet the existential? That is impossible. The future is our creation, it is our imagination. We create it for a certain purpose; the purpose is to avoid the present. We don’t want to be in the present, we want to escape from the present. The future gives us an escape. To live in the future is to be an escapist.

Whatsoever the goal – it does not matter what that goal is – it may be God-realization, it may be attainment of nirvana – still it is a goal and any goal is against meditation. But our whole mind exists in the future; our mind is against the present. In the present the mind dies. How can the mind exist in the present? If you are utterly now, utterly here, there is no question of mind. You cannot think because thinking needs space and the present has no space in it. It is just like a needle point: it cannot contain anything, not even a single thought.

Hence if you want to live in the mind, either you have to live in the past or in the future; these are the two ways. The old-fashioned, the orthodox, the conventional – the Christians, the Mohammedans, the Hindus – they live in the past, and the so-called revolutionaries, the progressives, the avant-garde, they live in the future. The communists, the socialists, the Fabians, the utopians, all kinds of idealists, they live in the future. On the surface they seem to be very different – the Catholic and the communist seem to be antagonistic – t deep down they are not antagonistic at all. They belong to the same category, they are doing the same work: they both are escaping from the present.

The Hindu lives in the golden age that has passed; his golden age was somewhere far far away in the past, it is only a memory, it has never been there. That past is simply a creation of imaginative people, but it helps them to escape from the present. Hindus call it ramrajya – the kingdom of God. It existed in the past and since then man has been falling down. Hence Hindus cannot agree with Charles Darwin, with the idea of evolution. Hindus have a totally different idea: the idea of involution, not evolution. Man is not progressing, man is regressing Man is falling every day, man is going downhill. The peaks are left in the past – the golden peaks, the sunlit peaks.

The communist lives in the future; his golden age has still to come. It will come one day, somewhere far away in the future when the state withers away, when the society becomes classless, when there is no exploitation when there is no need for any government, when people live in equality. That will be the kingdom of God – but that is in the future; that too is never going to happen.

The communist and the Hindu both are doing the same thing; they are partners in the same business: the business is how to escape from the present, how not to live in the present. Hence you will see a strange thing happening: Hindus are against me, Mohammedans are against me, Christians are against me, communists are against me. On one thing they all agree – at least on one thing they all agree. At least I am happy that I give them one point to agree about! But in fact they agree because my insistence is against the past and against the future, my insistence is on being in the present. Hence meditation cannot allow any desire for goals.

I can understand your question, Prageeta, because the mind always asks, “Why are you doing it?” It can’t do anything simply, spontaneously – the “why” is always there. You don’t know any action in your life which is spontaneous, you don’t know any response. All that you do is not action in fact but reaction. You do it because there are reasons for doing it, there are motives for doing it, there are desires behind it. Something is either pushing from behind or pulling from the front. You are never acting out of freedom, you are a slave. Hence you always ask “Why?”

A man was sent by his psychiatrist to the mountains just for a change to rest, to relax, to enjoy nature. The next day his telegram arrived: “I am feeling very happy. Why?”

One cannot accept anything without asking “Why?” Now one thing about happiness has to be understood: misery may have causes, happiness has no cause. And if it has a cause it is nothing but misery masquerading as happiness. When happiness is true – that’s what is meant by bliss – it has no cause, no causality. It is beyond cause and effect; it is beyond the chain of cause and effect. You cannot answer why.

Buddha was asked many times, “Why are you so blissful, so peaceful?” And he always said, “Such is the nature of awareness – tathata. ”

Now his answer has to be deeply pondered over. He says, “There is no ‘why’ to it – such is the case. The trees are green and the flowers are red, and the man who is awakened is blissful. There is no ‘why’ to it.”

But the people who were asking again and again…. I think he must have been asked the same question thousands of times by different people. The people may look different from the outside, but deep down they are all unconscious, so the same question arises again and again out of their unconscious mind: “Why? There must be some reason. Have you discovered some treasure? Have you found some Kohinoor? Have you found some alchemy so that you can transform baser metal into gold? Have you found some secret that can make you immortal? Why are you so blissful?”

The people who are asking are saying something about themselves; they are not really asking why Buddha is blissful – they can’t understand Buddha – they know only themselves. They know they are miserable and that their misery has a cause, and once in a while when they feel happy that happiness is also caused by something. You win a lottery and you are happy; without the lottery how can you be happy? And Buddha has not won any lottery. In fact he has renounced his palace and kingdom and all the riches. The people must be searching, trying to find out: “There must be something that he has found which he is hiding and not telling us. What is it? Why do you look so happy?”

Prabhu Maya has asked me a question – the same question that Buddhas have always been asked is being asked again and again here too. She asks, “Osho, I have recently been discovering the phoniness behind the smile I sometimes wear. Now I wonder about you – the same face, the same smile every morning, year in, year out. Is it for real?”

I can understand her question because whenever she is smiling she knows it is phony, and I am constantly smiling. Naturally, year in and year out, it must be phony; otherwise there must be some hidden cause for it which is not visible to you. Either it is phony or I have discovered something which I am not telling you, which I am hiding from you.

Even Ananda, Buddha’s closest disciple, asked one day when they were walking through a forest. It was autumn and leaves were falling from the trees and the whole forest was full of dry leaves and the wind was blowing those dry leaves about and there was a great sound of dry leaves moving here and there. They were passing through the forest and Ananda asked Buddha, “Bhagwan, one question persists. I have been repressing it, but I cannot repress it anymore. And today we are alone; the other followers have been left behind so nobody will know that I have asked you. I don’t want to ask it before others. My question is: Are you telling us all that you have discovered or are you still hiding something? – Because what you are telling us does not clarify your bliss, your peace. It seems you are hiding something.”

And Buddha laughed and he showed a fist to Ananda and asked, “Ananda, do you see what it is?”

He said, “Yes, I can see it is a fist – your hand is closed.”

Buddha said, “A Buddha is never like a fist.” He opened his hand and he said, “A Buddha is like an open hand – he hides nothing. There is nothing to hide! I have said everything, I am absolutely open.”

Ananda still insisted, “But we cannot explain your constant bliss – and I have been watching you day in, day out. In the day you are blissful; in the night when you go to sleep you are blissful. Your face seems so innocent even in sleep. Even in sleep you look so peaceful, so serene, so tranquil, so calm, as if not a dream is passing within you. You are always a still pool with no ripples. How is it possible? I have also tried, but I can do only a little bit and then I feel tired.

If you are trying you will feel tired.

Prabhu Maya, if you try to wear a smile you will feel tired because wearing a smile means making great effort. You have to practice it like Jimmy Carter… then it is not a smile at all; your mouth is simply open, your teeth are simply showing, that’s all.

I have heard that his wife has to close his mouth every night because once a rat went in his mouth. She phoned the doctor and the doctor said, “I am coming, but it will take time. Meanwhile you hang cheese in front of his mouth.”

When the doctor came he was very surprised: she was hanging up another rat! He said, “What are you doing? I told you to hang cheese in front of his mouth!”

She said, “That’s right, but a cat has entered behind the rat, so first the cat has to be taken out!”

Since then she has to close his mouth every night forcibly. It is dangerous! And the White House is an old building – it has many rats. In fact, who lives in the White House except rats? Who is interested in living in the White House? And because rats live there, cats also live there.

Meditation has no goal; it has no desire to attain anything. The dropping of the achieving mind is what meditation is all about. The understanding of desire and the understanding of the constant ambition for goals for achievement, for ambition brings you to a point, a point of tremendous awareness, when you can see clearly that all goals are false, that you need not go anywhere, that you need not attain anything to be blissful, that to be blissful is your nature. You are missing it because you are running here and there, and in that running, in that hustle and bustle, you go on forgetting yourself.

Stop running here and there and discover yourself. The discovery of yourself is not a goal. How can it be a goal? A goal needs a distance between you and itself.  The discovery of yourself is not a goal because you are already it! All that is needed is that you stop running here and there, you sit silently, you relax, you rest. Let the mind become calm and cool. When the mind is no longer running towards the past and towards the future, when all running has disappeared, when there is no mind as such, when you are simply there doing nothing just being, this is meditation. Suddenly you know who you are. Suddenly you are overflooded with bliss overwhelmed by light, by eternity. And then your life becomes a natural phenomenon. Then you need not wear smiles – a smile becomes natural. Then you need not pretend to be happy.

Only an unhappy person pretends to be happy. A happy person has no idea even that he is happy, he is simply happy. Others may think that he is happy; he has no idea. He is simply just being himself.

Yoka says:

Those who understand always act naturally.

Out of his understanding his actions are natural – his laughter is natural, his smile is natural, his whole life is natural. Your whole life is artificial, arbitrary. You are always trying to do something which is not really there. You are trying to love. Now, trying to love is to start in a wrong way from the very beginning. You are trying to be happy. How can you be happy? It is not a question of trying. You are making all kinds of efforts to be graceful. Now, grace is not an effort; if there is effort, there is no grace. Grace is an effortless beauty. The really graceful person knows no effort.

Yoka says:

Those who understand always act naturally. Most men live in impermanence, the unreal, but the man of Zen lives in the real.

You live in the phony, in the unreal, and when you come across a man of Zen – remember the man of Zen means the man of meditation – then there is a problem for you. Never try to understand the man of Zen according to your ideas; they are irrelevant. You can understand the man of Zen only through meditation. Learn the art of meditation, of being here and now – not for peace, not for bliss, not for anything. Effort without goal… that’s what meditation is: effort without goal.

Now, you only know effort when there is goal. Otherwise you will ask, ”This is illogical – effort without goal? Then why should we make an effort?” You have been making efforts for goals – what have you attained? It is time to try something else. Enough is enough!

Yoka says:

Effort without goal is quite different

Quite different from all that you have done up to now.

It opens the door of truth which leads to the garden of tathagata.

The word tathagata comes from the same word I used just a few moments ago: tathata. Buddha says, “I am peaceful because this is my suchness, my tathata.” Ask him anything and he always says, “This is my nature my tathata.” Slowly slowly it became known to his disciples that tathata is his most important word, his key word. Hence he is called tathagata: one who lives in suchness, one who lives now and knows no other time one who lives here and knows no other space.

If you can also be here and now,

It opens the door of truth which leads to the garden of tathagata. A true student of Zen ignores the branches and the leaves, and aims for the root.

What is the root of your misery? This goal-oriented mind. What is the root of your misery? This constant escape into goals. What is the root of your misery? Your mind is the root of your misery. But you never cut the root; you go on pruning the branches, you go on pruning the leaves. And remember, the more you prune the leaves and the branches, the thicker will be the foliage the tree will become stronger.

I have initiated more than one hundred thousand sannyasins and I have been teaching meditation for twenty years to millions of people, but not a single person has come with a root question to ask. They all come with “How to cut this branch?” and “How to cut this leaf?” Somebody says, I am suffering from anger. What should I do with it?” And somebody says, “I am suffering from too much greed. What should I do about it? How can I drop greed?” Somebody is suffering from jealousy and somebody is suffering from something else – and these are all branches and leaves. Nobody comes and says, “I am suffering from my mind. How should I get rid of it?” And that is the root question.

The day you see the root, things are very easy. Cut the root and the whole thing withers away of its own accord. Anger and greed and sexuality and jealousy and possessiveness – everything disappears.

But you don’t want to cut the root. You are living a very paradoxical life: you go on watering the root, you go on training and refining your mind, you go on making your mind more informed, more nourished, and on the other hand you go on desiring that there should be less anger, less ambition, less greed, less ego. “How to be humble?” you ask. And you go on giving water and you go on giving fertilizers to the roots and you go on cutting the leaves. You cut one leaf and three leaves will come in its place. The tree immediately accepts your challenge and instead of one it brings three leaves!

Hence a society that has been against sex becomes morbid, becomes sexually obsessed. It has happened in India; you will not find such a sex-obsessed country anywhere else for the simple reason that they have been cutting the leaf again and again. They are constantly cutting that leaf and the tree goes on growing more leaves. So sexuality has penetrated in such subtle ways that unless you are very alert you will not be able to see how it has penetrated in different ways, how the Indian mind has become more and more sexual than that of anybody else.

Do you know? India was the first country to think about sexual postures. The Kama Sutra was written in India – the first treatise on sexology. Sigmund Freud came after five thousand years. And Masters and Johnson, and other researchers into sex, are just breaking ground in the West. And they have not yet the sophistication which Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra has – even the French are not as sophisticated. Vatsyayana has discovered almost everything about sex; nothing is left – his treatise is almost complete. And it is a “how to” book; it gives you all the techniques.

Why did India discover the Kama Sutra? The country which has been celebrating celibacy for centuries, which has been teaching and preaching celibacy, this country discovers the Kama Sutra. This country gives birth to a man like Vatsyayana. And then came Pundit Koka, another Vatsyayana. Now, modern pornography is nothing compared to Koka! Modern pornography is very ordinary. Pundit Koka is a perfect pornographer.

But why were these people born in India? And thousands of temples are devoted to the shivalinga; that is a phallic symbol. No other country worships phallic symbols except India. And it is both; it represents man and woman – both. If you go to a Shiva temple observe well. It represents the feminine sexual organ, it represents the masculine sexual organ, and it represents them in a state of meeting, in a state of orgasm. And this is worshipped.

People have completely forgotten what they are worshipping. If you look into Indian scriptures you will be surprised. You will find them so obsessed with sex: on the one hand continuously condemning, and on the other hand continuously, in subtle ways, depicting it. No other country has temples like Khajuraho, Konarak, Puri. Why? Why did this have to happen in India? For the simple reason that if you cut one leaf, three arrive. You cut three and nine leaves arrive. You cut nine – remember it – twenty-seven leaves will arrive. Nature believes in the magic number three. It believes in trinity.

This is not the way to transform a man, this is a way to deform humanity.

So on the surface the Indian tries to show that he is not interested in sex at all and deep down he is boiling with sexuality, he is constantly looking for sexuality. His whole mind is full of sexuality. If we could make windows in the heads of people, then Indian heads would be really worth seeing!

This was bound to happen. Whatsoever you repress, whatsoever you cut, if it is not cut at the roots, it is bound to grow, it is bound to grow in subtle ways. It may start asserting itself in morbid and perverted ways.

Yoko says:

A true student of Zen ignores the branches and the leaves, and aims for the root. Like the image of the moon reflected in a jade bowl I know the true beauty of the jewel of freedom, for myself and for others.

There is only one freedom: the freedom from all goals.

Prageeta, don’t ask me what the goal of meditation is. Try to understand why you are constantly hankering for goals, and in that very understanding meditation will arise in you, meditation will flower in you.

Meditation is not something that you can enforce, that you can practice; it is something very mysterious, tremendously vast. It comes only when your heart opens its doors to understand everything with no prejudice, with no a priori conclusions.

Being here with me, learn to be without goals. My sannyasins have to know perfectly well that we are not working for any goal at all. Our whole point is to live in the present moment so totally that all past and all future disappear. Who cares about that which is already gone? And who cares about that which has not come yet? Enough is the moment unto itself. And that is the way of meditation: enough is the moment unto itself. Living the moment in its totality, in joy, diving deep into it without holding anything back, is bliss. Getting rid of all goals – worldly and other-worldly, material and spiritual – one knows the taste of meditation. It is the taste of absolute freedom.

-Osho

Excerpt from Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Discourse #10

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