All Moons in the One Moon

I cannot understand the philosophy of Zen. What should I do to understand it?

Baula, Zen is not a philosophy at all. To approach Zen as if it were a philosophy is to start in a wrong way from the very beginning. A philosophy is something of the mind; Zen is totally beyond the mind. Zen is the process of going above the mind, far away from the mind; it is the process of transcendence, of surpassing the mind. You cannot understand it by the mind; mind has no function in it.

Zen is a state of no-mind; that has to be remembered. It is not Vedanta. Vedanta is a philosophy; you can understand it perfectly well. Zen is not even Buddhism; Buddhism is also a philosophy.

Zen is a very rare flowering – it is one of the strangest things that has happened in the history of consciousness – it is the meeting of Buddha’s experience and Lao Tzu’s experience. Buddha, after all, was part of the Indian heritage: he spoke the language of philosophy; he is perfectly clear, you can understand him. In fact, he avoided all metaphysical questions; he was very simple, clear, logical. But his experience was not of the mind. He was trying to destroy your philosophy by providing you with a negative philosophy. Just as you can take out a thorn from your foot with another thorn, Buddha’s effort was to take out the philosophy from your mind with another philosophy. Once the first thorn has been taken out both thorns can be thrown away and you will be beyond mind.

But when Buddha’s teachings reached China a tremendously beautiful thing happened: a crossbreeding happened. In China, Lao Tzu has given his experience of Tao in a totally non-philosophical way, in a very absurd way, in a very illogical way. But when the Buddhist meditators, Buddhist mystics, met the Taoist mystics they immediately could understand each other heart to heart, not mind to mind. They could feel the same vibe they could see that the same inner world had opened they could smell the same fragrance. And they came closer, and by their coming closer, by their meetings and mergings with each other, something new started growing up; that is Zen. It has both the beauty of Buddha and the beauty of Lao Tzu; it is the child of both. Such a meeting has never happened before or since.

Zen is neither Taoist nor Buddhist; it is both and neither. Hence the traditional Buddhists reject Zen and the traditional Taoists also reject Zen. For the traditional Buddhist it is absurd, for the traditional Taoist it is too philosophical, but to those who are really interested in meditation, Zen is an experience. It is neither absurd nor philosophical because both are terms of the mind; it is something transcendental.

The word “zen” comes from dhyan. Buddha used a certain language, a local language of his times, Pali. In Pali dhyan is pronounced “jhan”; it is from jhan that “zen” has arisen. The word comes from jhan; jhan comes from the Sanskrit dhyan.

To understand Zen you need not make a philosophical effort; you have to go deep into meditation. And what is meditation all about? Meditation is a jump from the mind into no-mind, from thoughts to no-thought. Mind means thinking, no-mind means pure awareness. One simply is aware. Only then, Baula, will you be able to understand Zen – through experience, not through any intellectual effort.

Yoka says:

There is one nature, perfect and penetrative, present in all natures, one reality which includes all, comprising all realities in itself. The one moon is reflected wherever there is water. And all moons in water are comprised in the one moon.

The moment you move beyond the mind, suddenly you have moved from the many to the one. Minds are many, consciousness is one. On the circumference we are different, at the center we are one. That one can be called Brahma, can be called God, the absolute, the truth, nirvana.

Zen calls it no-mind for a particular reason. If you call it God, then people start thinking in terms of a person, they start imagining a person – of course the supreme most person, but their idea of personality is derived from human personality; it is a projection, it is not truth.

The Bible says God created man in his own image; that is not true. Man has created God in his own image; that is far more true. The God that we have created is our idea, it is anthropocentric. If horses were philosophers, then God could not be a man, then God would be a supreme horse.

If donkeys were philosophers – and who knows? – they may be; they look very serious, always brooding, as if in deep contemplation, thinking of great things . . .  Watch a donkey and you will be certainly aware of this simple fact that donkeys are great thinkers. They are constantly somewhere else far away, involved in great esoteric things; that’s why people think they are fools. They are not fools; they are philosophers. If donkeys think, if they are theologians, theosophists, philosophers, then God will be a supreme donkey. God cannot be a man, that’s impossible. They cannot imagine God to be a man.

Hence Zen avoids any anthropocentric terminologies, any words that can become associated with our circumference. It does not call God Brahma because that is a philosophical term; maybe the best philosophical term, but even the best philosophical term is still philosophy, and philosophy is something of the mind – you can think about Brahma.

In India we have been thinking about Brahma for centuries and there are as many interpretations of Brahma as there have been philosophers. Shankara interprets it in one way, Nimbarka in another, Ramanuja still in a different way, and so on and so forth. Not even two philosophers agree and the dispute still continues. Philosophers go on quarreling. They never come to any conclusions, they cannot, because mind has no capacity to conclude about the One.

Even Shankara, the greatest non-dualist, remains a dualist deep down. He talks about Brahma, the One, but to talk about the One he has to bring in maya, illusion; then One becomes two. If you want to talk about the real you will have to talk about the unreal; that is a necessity, an absolute necessity. Without talking about the unreal you cannot talk about the real; without the unreal the real loses all meaning. Human languages are dualistic, hence Shankara got into trouble, great trouble. He tried to sort it out but he could not, and for one thousand years many philosophers who have followed Shankara have tried to find a way out, but they have not been able to. Even if you say that maya means illusion, maya means that which does not exist, you have to talk about it. To define Brahma, you have to use illusion as a support, otherwise who will define it? How will you define it? The One remains indefinable; the One needs something else to define it. So, although the philosophy of Shankara is thought to be non-dualist, it is not. No philosophy can be non-dualist.

Zen is neither dualist nor non-dualist; it is not a philosophy at all. It simply says, “Move from the mind into the no-mind and see.” It believes in seeing.

Yoka says:

The spirit operates naturally through the organs of sense. Thus, the objective world is perceived. This dualism mists the mirror. But when the haze is removed, the light shines forth. Thus, when each individual spirit and the objective world are forgotten and emptied suchness affirms truth.

When all words are gone, your mirror has no more dust on it, no more mist on it. When you look at things you collect impressions; that is the dust – that’s what you call thinking. When you see a rose flower, the rose flower is outside you but it makes a reflection inside you. The rose flower will fade away by the evening, the petals will fall and disappear, but the inner rose flower, the rose that has become imprinted in your memory will continue. It will remain forever with you, you can always remember it. And if you are a sensitive, aesthetic, artistic person you can visualize it again and again; you can imagine it as if it is true. In fact, if you try you will be surprised: you can even experience the fragrance of the rose again. If you create the whole situation in your imagination: the garden, the green grass, the dew on the grass, and you are walking with naked feet on the grass . . . and the sweet smell of the earth and the cool air and the birds singing; you just create the whole atmosphere… and then suddenly you discover a beautiful rose flower hidden behind a bush . . . and the fragrance! And then suddenly you will see: the fragrance has come back to you; the imprint is there. The outer rose is gone, but the inner rose is alive.

Now scientists, particularly brain experts, have discovered that if certain spots in the brain are touched by electrodes, certain memories become immediately active. Those memories are Lying there deep frozen; touched by the electrode they start becoming alive. A very strange experience. If your brain is touched by an electrode at the point where the rose memory is lying deep, suddenly you will forget the present; you will be again in the same garden. Maybe twenty years have passed, but it will be again as real as if you were in the garden again: the same smell, the same wind, the same coolness, the same flower. And if the electrode is taken out, the memory disappears. Put the electrode back again in the same spot and again the memory starts revealing itself.

And one thing more has been discovered: you can do it thousands of times. Again and again the same memory comes, and again and again the memory repeats itself from the very beginning. The moment you remove the electrode it seems that there is an automatic rewinding; the memory coils back into the same original state. Touch it again with the electrode and as the electricity starts flowing the memory begins from the beginning: you are entering the garden again . . . and the same sequence of events. And this can be done thousands of times. In fact, scientists say there is no limit to it; it can be done millions of times.

The outer reality goes on changing, but the mind goes on collecting dust. Your consciousness is a mirror, and you are carrying so much dust from this life and from other lives – such a thick layer of dust! That’s why you cannot understand Zen: because you cannot understand yourself, because you cannot understand life, because you cannot understand existence. Zen is not philosophy; it is existential, not philosophical.

 . . . When the haze is removed, says Yoka, the light shines forth. Thus when each individual spirit and the objective world are forgotten and emptied suchness affirms truth.

When all is emptied – you have forgotten all the memories, you have forgotten even your individual existence, your separate existence; you are no more an island, you have melted into the whole; you are not like an ice cube floating in the water, you have become water itself – this is what Zen is. Then suddenly truth is revealed.

Vision is clear, says Yoka.

These four lines are of tremendous importance.

Vision is clear. But there are no objects to see. There is no person. There is no buddha.

This is the ultimate declaration of Zen. This is the lion’s roar!

Vision is clear.

This is a strange phenomenon. When there are objects to see, your vision is not clear because those objects are making impressions on you. Your vision cannot be clear; it is full of mist. When vision is clear, there are no objects at all, just clarity, just pure consciousness with no content, just seeing and nothing to see, just watchfulness and nothing to watch. A pure observer, a pure witness and nothing to witness.

There is no person.

And when there is nothing to witness, nothing to see, you cannot exist as a separate entity. The “In can exist only with the “thou”; if the “thou” disappears, the “I” disappears. They are part of each other, they are always together like two sides of a coin; you cannot say ”one.” This is what many stupid religious people go on doing: they go on saying to God, “I am not. Thou art.” That is sheer stupidity. In the very saying you are, otherwise who is saying “Thou art”?

There is a famous poem of Jalaluddin Rumi; I agree with him up to a point and then my disagreement starts. On the really essential point I cannot agree with him. My feeling is he must have written that poem before he became enlightened. He was an enlightened man, but the poem is decisive – it must have been written before he became enlightened. The poem is beautiful, because sometimes poets say things almost like seers, but remember they are almost like seers. There is bound to be some flaw, it can’t be flawless. You may not be able to find the flaw.

Listen to the story of the poem.

Jalaluddin says:

A lover comes to his beloved’s home, knocks on the door.

The beloved asks, “Who is there?”

And the lover says, “I am – your lover.”

The beloved says, “The house of love is so small, it cannot contain two, so please go back. When you are no more, then come again. The house of love cannot contain two, it can only contain one.”

So far so good!

The lover goes to the forest, he becomes an ascetic. He meditates, he prays to God. His prayer is only one: “Dissolve me!” Many moons come and go, months pass, years pass, and one day he comes back. He knocks again on the door, and the beloved asks the same question: “Who is there?”

And he says, “Now I am no more, only you are.”

And Rumi says:

The doors open and the lover is received in the home of love.

There I don’t agree – it is too early! Then who is the person who is saying “I am no more”? Even to say that “I am no more,” you are needed. It is as foolish as if you went and knocked at somebody’s house and he leaned out of the window and said, “I am not at home.” That is self-contradictory; you cannot say that. To say it is to prove that you are.

Jalaluddin must have written this poem before he became enlightened. He should have corrected it. But these enlightened people are crazy people. He may have forgotten all about the poem, but it needs correction. I can do the correction. I would like to say that the beloved says, “Go back again because you are still there. First you were positively there, now you are negatively there, but it makes no difference.”

The lover goes back. Now there is no point in praying because prayer has not helped. In fact, prayer cannot help: in prayer the duality persists. You are praying to somebody; God becomes your “thou.” God cannot help. Now he becomes a Zen monk – not a devotee but a real meditator. He simply goes deep within himself, searching and seeking. “Where is this ‘I’?” He tries to find out where it is. And anybody who goes in is bound not to find it because it is not there; it is non-existential; it is only a belief. So he searches and searches and finds it nowhere.

So he comes back, knocks on the door. The beloved asks the same question: “Who is there?” And there is no answer because there is nobody to answer. Just silence. She asks again, “Who is there?” but the silence deepens. She asks again, “Who is there?” but the silence is absolute. She opens the door. Now the lover has come, but he is no more; there is nobody to answer. He has to be taken inside the home, taken by the hand. He is completely, utterly empty.

This is what Zen people call “emptied suchness.”

Vision is clear. But there are no objects to see. There is no person. There is no buddha.

Everything has disappeared. Zen has achieved the ultimate peak of enlightenment; hence it can say that there is no enlightenment either because if the enlightened person goes on thinking, “I am enlightened,” he is not enlightened. If he claims enlightenment then he is not enlightened, because every claim is an ego claim. Enlightenment is not a claim, it is a silent presence.

Baula, don’t try to understand Zen. Go within yourself to find out who you are, where you are. You will not find anybody there, just pure emptiness. And then vision is clear. No person, no Buddha. All is silent, utterly silent. There is nothing to say. In that silence one becomes truth. Not only that one knows truth, one becomes truth. That is the only way to know it.

-Osho

From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Discourse #16

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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The Unity of Emptiness – Osho

The world is there because of you – you create it, you are a creator. Every single being creates a world around himself, it depends on his mind. The mind may be illusory, but it is creative – it creates dreams. And it is up to you to create a hell or heaven.

If you leave this world you will not be able to leave it. Wherever you go you will create the same world again, because the world is constantly coming out of you just as leaves are coming out of the tree.

You don’t live in the same world, you cannot because you don’t have similar minds. Just by the side of you somebody may be living in heaven, and you may be living in hell – and you feel that you are living in the same world? How can you live in the same world when minds differ?

So, the first thing to be understood is that you cannot leave the world unless the mind disappears. They are related, they depend on each other, they make a vicious circle. If the mind is there . . . And a mind is always a particular mind. When the mind is no more a particular mind, when it becomes a Mind with a capital M it is no more mind, it has become consciousness. A mind is always a particular mind and it carries a particular aroma around it – that is your world.

The mind creates the world and then the world creates the mind, helps the mind to remain the same. This is the vicious circle. But the source is in the mind; the world is just a by-product. The mind is substantial; the world is just the shadow of it. And you cannot destroy the shadow, but everybody tries to destroy it.

If this wife doesn’t suit you, you think another wife will. You are trying to change the world, and you are the same. You will just turn the next wife into an exact replica of the old. You will again create, because the wife will be just a screen.

And you will be surprised: people who have married many times, their experience is really strange. A person who has been married ten times recognizes the fact that “How does it happen? In such a wide and big world, I always stumble upon the same type of woman? Even by accident it seems impossible! Again, and again!”

The problem is not the woman, the problem is the mind. The mind is again attracted to the same type of woman, again creates the same relationship, again finds the same mess and the same hell.

And the same happens in everything you do. Do you think you will live happily in a palace? You are wrong! Who is going to live in the palace? You will live there. If you are not happy in your hut, you will not be happy in your palace. Who will live in the palace? Palaces don’t exist outside you.

If you can live happily in a hut, you can live happily in a palace, because you create the world around you. Otherwise, as the hut pinches you the palace will pinch – even more so because it is a bigger thing. It will be a hell, just the same – more decorated, but a decorated hell is not a heaven. And even if you are forcibly thrown into heaven you will try to find an exit, or you will create your hell there.

I have heard about one man, a great businessman, a dress manufacturer. He died. Somehow, by some technical mistake, he entered heaven. He met his old partner there. The old partner was as sad as he was on this earth. So the businessman said, “What does it mean? You are in heaven, and so unhappy?”

The partner said, “It is okay, but personally I prefer Miami.”

And the other also came to the same conclusion within days. They again became partners there, and they wanted to start a business firm to manufacture dresses.

The same is going to happen wherever you go, because you are the world. You create a world around you, then the world helps the mind which has created it. The son helps the father, the son helps the mother, your shadow helps the substance – then the mind is strengthened more, then again you create the same world on the same lines. From where to start a transformation? How to change?

If you look, the first look will say to change the world, because it is so apparent around you. Change it! And that’s what you have been doing for many lives: continuously changing the world, changing this and that, changing houses, bodies, wives, husbands, friends – changing, but never looking to the fact that you remain the same, so how can you change the world?

That’s why a false tradition of renunciation came into existence all over the world. Escape from the house and go to the monastery. Escape from the market, go to the Himalayas. Escape from the world! To the Himalayas you can go easily, but how can you escape from yourself? You will create the same world there – the same! It may be a miniature world, it may not be so vast, but you will do the same. You are the same – how can you do anything else?

Deeper insight reveals that: change the mind, then the world changes. Then wherever you are a different world is revealed. You go deeper, and then you understand that if you want to be really without the world around you . . . Because howsoever beautiful the world is, sooner or later it will become a boredom and you will be fed up. Even if it is a heaven you will start longing for the hell, because the mind needs change. It cannot live in the eternal, it cannot live in the non-changing, because the mind hankers for some new curiosity, some new sensation, some new excitement. It is not possible for the mind to stop time and to remain timelessly.

That’s why the mind cannot live in the now, the here, because now is not a part of time. It never changes, it is eternal. You cannot say it is unchanging, it is not permanent, it eternal. It is simply as it is. Nothing happens there. It is emptiness.

Buddha has called it sunyata – absolutely empty. Nothing happens there, nobody comes, nobody goes. There is nobody, because if somebody is there then something or other will happen.

Mind cannot live in the eternal now. Mind wants change and goes on hoping, and goes on hoping against all hope. The whole situation is hopeless, but mind goes on hoping.

I have heard:

Mulla Nasruddin remained unemployed for many, many years because he wanted to be an actor and he had no talent. But every day, religiously, he would go to the agent. Hopefully he would knock at the door, enter the office, and inquire, “Has something happened? Am I booked somewhere?”

And the agent would say always the same: “I cannot do anything, nothing is possible.”

Days passed, weeks passed, then years passed and the Mulla’s knocking became a routine. Whatsoever the season, the climate, good or bad, but one thing was certain for the agent – that Mulla would come. And he would again ask hopefully, and the man would again say the same thing: “Nasruddin, I cannot do anything, nothing is possible.”

Then one day the knock was different, a little sad. And when Mulla came in, even the agent was surprised: “Why is he so sad?”

Mulla said, “Listen, for two weeks don’t book me anywhere because I’m going for a vacation.”

This is how mind functions – goes on hoping, not for many years; but for many lives! You knock on the same door with the same inquiry and desire, and it is always no. What have you gained through mind except nos?

Yes has never come that way, it cannot come. Mind is a futile effort. It is desert like, nothing grows on it, nothing can grow. But it goes on hoping. Even a desert dreams, and dreams of beautiful gardens, rivers flowing, brooks and waterfalls. Even a desert dreams . . . and that is the dream of the mind.

One has to be alert. There is no need to waste any more time – no need to knock on the agent’s door. Enough you have lived with the mind. Nothing have you achieved through it. Is it not the right time to be alert and aware?

Of course, you have gathered many miseries and many hells – if you call them achievements then it is okay – anguish, frustration. And wherever you move with the mind something goes wrong, because mind is the mechanism of the wrong. You look: something goes wrong.

Mulla Nasruddin’s son was entered into the school. The teacher was talking about geography and she talked and explained the shape of the earth and everything. And then she asked Mulla Nasruddin’s son, “What is the shape of the earth?”

He remained silent, so just to provoke his answer she said, “Is it flat?”

The son said, “No.”

She became more hopeful; she said, “Then is it a globe, round-shaped?”

Nasruddin’s son said, “No.”

Then she was surprised. She said, “Only two are the possibilities: either it is flat or it is global, and you say no to both. So what is your idea?”

The son said, “My Dad said it is crooked!”

For the mind everything is crooked, not because everything is crooked – the way the mind looks, anything that penetrates the medium of the mind becomes crooked. Just as you put a straight thing into water, a straight staff, and suddenly you see the medium of the water has done something; it is no more straight. You bring it out of the water; it is again straight. Put it in again . . .

And you know that the staff remains straight even in water, but your eyes still say that it is not straight. A hundred times you can bring it out and put it in. Even if you know well that the staff remains straight, the medium will again give you the false information that it is no more straight.

You have known many many times that the misery is created by the mind, but again you fall a victim. Mind creates misery. It cannot create anything else because it cannot encounter reality. It can only dream – that is the only capacity for the mind. It can only dream. And dreams cannot fulfill, because
whenever they come against the reality they are shattered.

You live in a house of glass, you cannot face reality. Whenever reality comes your house is shattered, and many houses you have lived in are shattered. You carry their ruins in the mind, the anguish that resulted. And that has made you very sour, very bitter.

Taste anybody and you will taste him bitter. And that is the experience of others about you also: everybody tastes bitter. Come closer and everything goes bitter; remain distant, everything looks beautiful. Come closer, everything goes bitter – because when you come closer, minds penetrate
each other and everything is crooked, then nothing is straight.

This has to be realized as your experience, not as a theory from me or Sosan. Sosan can’t help, neither can I. It MUST become your own experienced phenomenon. Experienced, it becomes a truth – and then many things start changing, then you drop the mind.

And when the mind drops, all worlds disappear. When the mind drops, objects disappear; then they are no more objects. Then you don’t know where you end and where things start, then there are no boundaries. Boundaries disappear.

In the beginning you feel as if everything has gone blurred, but by and by you settle in the new phenomenon which is of no-mind. Then stars are there, but they are part of you, no more objects. Flowers and trees are there but they flower in YOU, no more outside. Then you live with the totality.

The barrier is broken – the barrier was your mind. Then for the first time there is no world, because world means the totality of objects. For the first time there is a universe, and universe means one. Remember the word ’uni.’ This you call a universe? Wrongly. Don’t call it a universe, for you it is a multiverse. Many worlds, no more one, it is not yet.

But when the mind drops, worlds disappear. There are no objects. Boundaries mingle and meet into each other. The tree becomes the rock, the rock becomes the sun, the sun becomes the star, the star becomes the woman you love, and everything is meeting and mingling into each other. And you are not there, separate. You are in it throbbing at the very heart, pulsating. Then it is a universe.

Mind drops, objects disappear – the source of dream has disappeared. What have you been doing? You have been trying to get a better dream, to no avail of course. But the whole effort of the mind is to get a better dream. Don’t think that mind can give you a better dream – a dream is a dream. Even if better, it will not be a satisfactory thing, it cannot give you a deep contentment. A dream is a dream.

If you are feeling thirsty you need real water, not dream water. If you are hungry you need real, substantial bread, not dream bread. For a few moments you may be able to deceive yourself, but how long?

Every night it happens: you are hungry, the mind creates a dream – you are eating, you are eating delicious things. For a few minutes it is okay even for a few hours it is okay, but how long? Can you stay in this dream forever and ever? It helps sleep, you don’t get disturbed. Otherwise hunger will disturb you, you will have to get up and go to the fridge. It helps: you can go on sleeping, feeling that you are eating; there is no need to go anywhere. But by the morning you will know that your mind deceived you.

Your whole life is just like a dream, and you are substituting dream objects for the reality. So every day everything is shattered, every day you are shocked into reality, because the reality goes on bumping from here and there. You cannot avoid it! A dream is a very fragile thing; the reality goes on bumping in and breaking.

And it is good, it is for your good, that the reality breaks your dreams, shatters them to pieces. But you again start collecting those pieces and creating other dreams. Drop it! Enough you have done that. Nothing has been achieved. Now no more of it!

Once you understand that dreaming has to be stopped, the world of objects disappears. The world will be there, but not of objects. Then everything becomes alive, everything becomes subjective.

That is the meaning of religious people who say that everything is God. What are they saying? God is just a metaphor. There is nobody sitting somewhere in heaven, controlling, managing, engineering. God is just a metaphor – the metaphor that the things in the world are not like things, they are persons. Deep inside a subjectivity is there. Everything is alive and throbbing. And this throbbing is not a fragmented process, this throbbing is a WHOLE throbbing.

Of course you feel the beat of the heart near the heart, at the heart. But you think it is only in the heart? Then you are wrong – the whole body is throbbing. The heart only indicates, the whole body is throbbing. That’s why when the heart stops, the body is dead. It was not the heart really that was throbbing, the whole body was throbbing through the heart; the heart was just an indicator.

You are throbbing, but the whole is throbbing through you – you are just an indicator, a heart. The universe throbs and beats through you. You are not, the universe is.

And the universe is not a totality of objects, it is a subjectivity. It exists as a person. It is alive, conscious. It is not a mechanical arrangement. It is an organic unity.

Now try to understand these words of Sosan:

When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.

Things are objects because of the subject; the mind is such because of things.

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 faster than thought. It is not possible to create anything faster 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..

This is what the meaning of Sosan is. When the mind disappears, objects vanish. When the objects vanish, you vanish, the ego vanishes. They are related.

Understand the relativity of these two, and the basic reality: The unity of Emptiness.

You exist because of your objects around you. Your boundary exists because of the boundaries of other things around you. When their boundaries are lost, your boundary is lost – you are relative to each other, you are together.

Your mind and your objects outside are joined together, they have a bridge. If the one bank disappears the bridge falls. And with the bridge the other bank also disappears, because there is no possibility for one bank to exist without the other. This is the meaning of relativity.

And then there is a unity – unity of emptiness. You are empty and the flower is empty, because there is no boundary to the flower, then how can there be a center? This is one of the deepest realizations of Buddha, and only Buddhists have asserted this so beautifully. They say there is no atma, no self.

And this was very much misunderstood, because Hindus say that their whole religion is based on atma, the self, the supreme self. And Buddha says, “When there is no boundary, how can the self exist?” When there is no boundary and the mind has become totally silent, how can the ‘I’ exist? Because the ‘I’ is a noise. How can you say “I am” when the whole is? When the figure and the background have become one, how can you say “I am”?

This is the emptiness of Buddha – anatta. This word is beautiful – anatta, no-selfness. You are no more and still you are. Really, for the first time you are as the whole, but not as the individual, not as the defined, demarcated, fenced. You are as the whole, but you are not as an individual, as a marked, defined separateness. You are no more an island; you are the vast expanse of emptiness.

And the same is with the flower, and the same is with the tree, and the same is with the bird and with the animal, and the same is with the rock, stars and the sun. When your self disappears, the self disappears from everywhere, because it was your self-reflected, it was your self-resounded by the universe, it was your madness reflected. Now it is no more there.

Sosan is saying that when there is emptiness there is unity. If you are, how can there by any unity? Your very being separate creates the disunity.

Mohammedans say that they love Hindus, they are brothers; Christians say they love Jews, they are brothers. Everybody is a brother, but how can you be a brother when you are a Christian? How can you be a brother when you are a Hindu? Your demarcation, your boundary, carries the enmity in it. At the most you can tolerate the other, but you cannot be one with the other. And just saying ’brother’ doesn’t help, because nobody can fight as dangerously as brothers.

Saying that I am a Hindu, I am making myself separate from the whole. Saying that I am powerful, I am separating myself from the universe. Saying that I am extraordinary, I am separating myself from the universe. This is what Chuang Tzu says: Be just the ordinary. That means don’t separate in any way, don’t make clear-cut definitions about yourself. Live with liquid boundaries, which are always ready to meet and melt.

Understand the relativity of these two, and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness. In this emptiness the two are indistiguishable . . .

They cannot be distinguished; they cannot be felt as separate – separate from the other. They are separate, but this separateness is totally different. You can distinguish, but this separateness is not of the ego.

It is just like a wave in the ocean. You can distinguish. The wave is the wave, not the ocean – still it is the ocean. The wave cannot exist without the ocean. The ocean is waving in it, the ocean is pulsating in it. It is separate as a form, and still not separate as existence. You remain separate, and still, you are not separate. This is the most fundamental paradox a man comes to experience when he experiences no-selfness, anatta.

. . .  And each contains in himself the whole world.

Not separate, you don’t lose anything, you gain the whole. And you are always afraid of losing. You always think, “If I lose myself then I am no more. What am I going to gain?” You lose, and you gain the whole. And you lose nothing but your misery, your anxiety, anguish. What have you got to lose?! You don’t have anything to lose – only your suffering, your bondage.

. . .  And each contains in himself the whole world.

When you lose, you become the whole world. All is yours. You are beggars because of yourselves; you can be emperors. Mind is the begging bowl.

I have heard one Sufi story. It is one of the oldest Sufi teachings.

A beggar came to an emperor’s palace. The emperor was just in the garden so he heard the beggar. The man on the gate was going to give something, but the beggar said, “I have one condition. I always take from the master, never from servants.”

The emperor heard. He was taking a walk so he came to look at this beggar, because beggars don’t have conditions. If you are a beggar, how can you have conditions? “Seems to be a rare beggar.” So, he came to look – and he was a rare beggar. The emperor had never seen such an emperor-like man before; he was nothing. This man had some glory around him, a grace. Tattered his dress was, almost naked, but the begging bowl was very, very precious.

The emperor said, “Why this condition?”

The beggar said, “Because servants are themselves beggars and I don’t want to be rude to anybody. Only masters can give. How can servants give? So if you are ready, you can give and I will accept it. But then too I have a condition, and that is: my begging bowl has to be completely filled.”

A small begging bowl! The emperor started laughing. He said, “You seem to be mad. Do you think I cannot fill your begging bowl?” And then he ordered his ministers to bring precious stones, incomparable, unique, and fill the begging bowl with them.

But they got into a difficulty, because the more they filled the begging bowl, the stones would fall in it and they would not even make a sound, they would simply disappear. And the begging bowl remained empty.

Then the emperor was in a fix, his whole ego was at stake. He, a great emperor who ruled the whole earth, could not fill a begging bowl! He ordered, “Bring everything, but this begging bowl has to be filled!”

His treasures . . . for days together all his treasuries were emptied, but the begging bowl remained empty. There was no more left. The emperor had become a beggar, all was lost. The emperor fell to the beggar’s feet and said, “Now I am also a beggar and I beg only one thing. Tell me the secret of this bowl, it seems to be magical!”

The beggar said, “Nothing. It is made of human mind, nothing magical.”

Every human mind is just this begging bowl. You go on filling it, it remains empty. You throw the whole world, worlds together, and they simply disappear without making any sound. You go on giving and it is always begging.

Give love, and the begging bowl is there, your love has disappeared. Give your whole life, and the begging bowl is there, looking at you with complaining eyes. “You have not given anything. I am still empty.” And the only proof that you have given is if the begging bowl is full – and it is never full. Of course, the logic is clear: you have not given.

You have achieved many, many things – they have all disappeared in the begging bowl. The mind is a self-destructive process. Before the mind disappears, you will remain a beggar. Whatsoever you can gain will be in vain; you will remain empty.

And if you dissolve this mind, through emptiness you become filled for the first time. You are no more, but you have become the whole. If you are, you will remain a beggar. If you are not, you become the emperor.

That’s why in India we have been calling beggars swamis. Swami means a master, an emperor. You cannot find a better word for sannyasins. When I was thinking what name to give to the new sannyasins, I couldn’t improve on it. Swami seems to be the best.

It means one who has thrown himself so completely he is no more; he has become the whole world, the master of all. Otherwise even emperors remain beggars; they go on desiring, asking and suffering.

If you do not discriminate between coarse and fin you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.

If you don’t distinguish between coarse and fine, good and bad, beauty and ugliness, this and that – if you don’t distinguish, if you don’t discriminate, you simply accept the whole as it is. You don’t put your mind in it, you don’t become a judge. You simply say, “It is so.”

The thorn is there, you say, “It is so.” The rose is there, you say, “It is so.” A saint is there, you say, “It is so.” A sinner is there, you say, “It is so.” And the whole knows; nobody else can know why a sinner exists. There must be some reason, but that is a mystery for the whole, not for you to bother about.

The whole gives birth to saints and sinners, thorns and roses – only the whole knows why. You simply fall into the whole and you don’t make any discriminations. You will also know why, but only when you have become the whole.

The mystery is solved when you have become the mystery itself. You cannot solve it remaining yourself. If you remain yourself, you will become a great philosopher. You will have many answers and no answer; you will have many theories but no truth. But if you become the mystery itself, you will know. But that knowledge is so delicate it cannot be put into words. That knowledge is so paradoxical it defies all language. That knowledge is so contradictory – because opposites lose boundaries, they become one – no word can say it.

The figure means the word and the background means the silence. In that knowledge the figure and the background have become one, the silence and the word have become one. How can you say it? But still it has to be said, because there are many who are thirsty for it. Even hearing about it, it may be that somebody’s heart starts on a journey. That’s why Sosan is saying these things.

Sosan knows they cannot be said, because whenever you say it you have to make discrimination. Whenever you say something, you have to choose a word. Whenever you have to say something, you prefer this to that and the mind enters.

But nobody has tried better than Sosan. He is incomparable. You cannot find another man who has put that silence into words so beautifully. Even a Buddha will feel jealous. This Sosan is really a Master – Master of silence and Master of words. He has put something into this world which doesn’t belong to this world. He has penetrated into words a deep silence of his experience.

Listen to his words – not only listen, imbibe. Let them melt into your heart. Don’t memorize them. Let them move into your bloodstream and become your blood and bones. Imbibe, eat them, digest them, and forget them. And they have tremendous power to transform.

-Osho

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

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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By Itself Nothing has Existence – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: As I listen to you, I find that it is useless to ask you questions. Whatever the question, you invariably turn it upon itself and bring me to the basic fact that I am living in an illusion of my own making and that reality is inexpressible in words. Words merely add to the confusion and the only wise course is the silent search within.

Maharaj: After all, it is the mind that creates illusion and it is the mind that gets free of it. Words may aggravate illusion; words may also help dispel it. There is nothing wrong in repeating the same truth again and again until it becomes reality. Mother’s work is not over with the birth of the child. She feeds it day after day, year after year until it needs her no longer. People need hearing words, until facts speak to them louder than words.

Q: So we are children to be fed on words?

M: As long as you give importance to words, you are children.

Q: All right, then be our mother.

M: Where was the child before it was born? Was it not with the mother? Because it was already with the mother it could be born.

Q: Surely, the mother did not carry the child when she was a child herself.

M: Potentially, she was the mother. Go beyond the illusion of time.

Q: Your answer is always the same. A kind of clockwork which strikes the same hours again and again.

M: It can not be helped. Just like the one sun is reflected in a billion dew drops, so is the timeless endlessly repeated. When l repeat: ‘I am, I am’, I merely assert and re-assert an ever-present fact. You get tired of my words because you do not see the living truth behind them. Contact it and you will find the full meaning of words and of silence — both.

Q: You say that the little girl is already the mother of her future child. Potentially — yes. Actually — no.

M: The potential becomes actual by thinking. The body and its affairs exist in the mind.

Q: And the mind is consciousness in motion and consciousness is the conditioned (saguna) aspect of the Self. The unconditioned (nirguna) is another aspect and beyond lies the abyss of the absolute (paramartha).

M: Quite right — you have put it beautifully.

Q: But these are mere words to me. Hearing and repeating them is not enough, they must be experienced.

M: Nothing stops you but preoccupation with the outer which prevents you from focussing the inner. It cannot be helped; you cannot skip your sadhana. You have to turn away from the world and go within, until the inner and the outer merge and you can go beyond the conditioned, whether inner or outer.

Q: Surely, the unconditioned is merely an idea in the conditioned mind. By itself it has no existence.

M: By itself nothing has existence. Everything needs its own absence. To be, is to be distinguishable, to be here and not there, to be now and not then, to be thus and not otherwise. Like water is shaped by the container, so is everything determined by conditions (gunas). As water remains water regardless of the vessels, as light remains itself regardless of the colours it brings out, so does the real remain real, regardless of conditions in which it is reflected. Why keep the reflection only in the focus of consciousness? Why not the real itself?

Q: Consciousness itself is a reflection. How can it hold the real?

M: To know that consciousness and its content are but reflections, changeful and transient, is the focussing of the real. The refusal to see the snake in the rope is the necessary condition for seeing the rope.

Q: Only necessary, or also sufficient?

M: One must also know that a rope exists and looks like a snake. Similarly, one must know that the real exists and is of the nature of witness-consciousness. Of course it is beyond the witness, but to enter it one must first realise the state of pure witnessing. The awareness of conditions brings one to the unconditioned.

Q: Can the unconditioned be experienced?

M: To know the conditioned as conditioned is all that can be said about the unconditioned. Positive terms are mere hints and misleading.

Q: Can we talk of witnessing the real?

M: How can we? We can talk only of the unreal, the illusory, the transient, the conditioned. To go beyond, we must pass through total negation of everything as having independent existence. All things depend.

Q: On what do they depend?

M: On consciousness. And consciousness depends on the witness.

Q: And the witness depends on the real?

M: The witness is the reflection of the real in all its purity. It depends on the condition of the mind. Where clarity and detachment predominate, the witness-consciousness comes into being. It is just like saying that where the water is clear and quiet, the image of the moon appears. Or like daylight that appears as sparkle in the diamond.

Q: Can there be consciousness without the witness?

M: Without the witness it becomes unconsciousness, just living. The witness is latent in every state of consciousness, just like light in every colour. There can be no knowledge without the knower and no knower without his witness. Not only you know, but you know that you know.

Q: If the unconditioned cannot be experienced, for all experience is conditioned, then why talk of it at all?

M: How can there be knowledge of the conditioned without the unconditioned? There must be a source from which all this flows, a foundation on which all stands. Self-realisation is primarily the knowledge of one’s conditioning and the awareness that the infinite variety of conditions depends on our infinite ability to be conditioned and to give rise to variety. To the conditioned mind the unconditioned appears as the totality as well as the absence of everything. Neither can be directly experienced, but this does not make it not-existent.

Q: Is it not a feeling?

M: A feeling too is a state of mind. Just like a healthy body does not call for attention, so is the unconditioned free from experience. Take the experience of death. The ordinary man is afraid to die, because he is afraid of change. The jnani is not afraid because his mind is dead already. He does not think: ‘I live’. He knows: ‘There is life’. There is no change in it and no death. Death appears to be a change in time and space. Where there is neither time nor space, how can there be death? The jnani is already dead to name and shape. How can their loss affect him? The man in the train travels from place to place, but the man off the train goes nowhere, for he is not bound for a destination. He has nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to become. Those who make plans will be born to carry them out. Those who make no plans need not be born.

Q: What is the purpose of pain and pleasure?

M: Do they exist by themselves, or only in the mind?

Q: Still, they exist. Never mind the mind.

M: Pain and pleasure are merely symptoms, the results of wrong knowledge and wrong feeling. A result cannot have a purpose of its own.

Q: In God’s economy everything must have a purpose.

M: Do you know God that you talk of him so freely? What is God to you? A sound, a word on paper, an idea in the mind?

Q: By his power I am born and kept alive.

M: And suffer, and die. Are you glad?

Q: It may be my own fault that I suffer and die. I was created unto life eternal.

M: Why eternal in the future and not in the past. What has a beginning must have an end. Only the beginningless is endless.

Q: God may be a mere concept, a working theory. A very useful concept all the same!

M: For this it must be free of inner contradictions, which is not the case. Why not work on the theory that you are your own creation and creator. At least there will be no external God to battle with.

Q: This world is so rich and complex — how could I create it?

M: Do you know yourself enough to know what you can do and what you cannot? You do not know your own powers. You never investigated. Begin with yourself now.

Q: Everybody believes in God.

M: To me you are your own God. But if you think otherwise, think to the end. If there be God, then all is God’s and all is for the best. Welcome all that comes with a glad and thankful heart. And love all creatures. This too will take you to your Self.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter #39, By Itself Nothing has Existence.

You can read more from Nisargadatta Maharaj here.

You can read more from U.G. Krishnamurti here.

Not Twoness

One summer day when I was Junior High School age, I must have been 13 or 14, I was sitting across the street from the house of two brothers who were friends of mine. They were eating lunch and I was waiting for them to finish so that we could continue on our day’s routine of playing in the neighborhood, riding our bikes, smoking in the woods, all the things that we liked to do.

While I was sitting on the ground under a big tree with stick in hand and drawing circles in the dirt, time stopped, and for a brief moment a window of nowness opened. In that moment, all movement of time came to a standstill, and I was being in the eternal now. It was as if a portal into reality had opened. I knew it was significant but that was all I knew. It only lasted a couple of moments, seconds probably, but it made a deep impression in my consciousness. Of course, at the time, I would not have used such terminology as eternal now, portal, consciousness. In fact, I didn’t even mention the experience to my friends when they came out of their house, but this was my first experience of what we could call Oneness. In that moment, there was no separation, no demarcation, only beingness, conscious beingness.

Looking back, I can see that this experience unconsciously became a litmus test, a North Star, that guided my life on through experimentation with drugs, psychedelics, and finally, to discovering meditation. I would be willing to bet that every one of us who has found themselves interested in a life of discovery, anyone who is reading this now, has had some brush with naked reality.

It is clear that this reality I stumbled upon is always present, it is only that most of the time I am not present to meet it and dissolve into it. Meditation has been the key to shining a light on what it is that is standing between my consciousness and this experience of nowness, and that is mind, thought. It is thought, the me, which obscures the perception of reality. It has been my experience that through meditation the movement of thought becomes illuminated. And it is this ‘seeing’ of thought that is the exit.

For many years following this first awakening, I was unconsciously searching to replicate that profound happening, beginning with becoming unconscious through alcohol. Unconsciousness is a type of oneness, as is sleep, but it is unconscious, and so is missing a key element of the experience that had happened years before. Next it was on to smoking marijuana, certainly much closer to the happening but dependent on a foreign substance, not a natural state. Then it was on to psychedelics, which were incredibly helpful in seeing how mind works, first in seeing thought in action, and then in seeing that I was the one who was supporting the movement of thought through identification.

This discovery of the workings of mind inevitably led to discovering meditation, first through the teachings and being of Meher Baba, and eventually, of course, to Osho.

I arrived in Poona in 1976 and every nook and corner of the Ashram was exuding Oneness. Upon entering the gate, one was absorbed into the vastness that lived in Lao Tzu house. We sang in Music Group and were lost in ecstasy. We did our groups and had glimpses of being outside of our little ego selves. We did the active meditations and rays of sunshine would find their way out from the center of our being. And, of course, we sat in discourse and darshan and the sun itself lovingly dismantled all the clouds obscuring the brilliance of our inner light, the Oneness within.

At the Ranch we witnessed Oneness in action. We saw what could happen when a group of meditators worked without the need for approval or compensation. We worked and loved the working, but this oneness was a group oneness, a collective. It did give us another opportunity to experience a certain type of oneness, but because it was a group oneness, it was a oneness that was by definition opposed to the ‘not group,’ to the outside, and therefore could not be sustainable, definitely could not be eternal.

It was after the Ranch that I realized I had to dive deep into inquiry, into meditation. I had to find that oneness that had been experienced so many years before for myself, without the aid of drugs or others. I had to rediscover exactly what was standing in the way of my own experiencing of oneness in this moment.

And so, it was time for doubling down on meditation. It was time to discover for myself what is this ‘witnessing’ that Osho keeps talking about. Do I really know for myself? And in this quest, I became deeply attracted to self-inquiry and the path of advaita, non-duality.

In one of the discourses where Osho is talking about advaita, he says something that had a strong impact on me. He says, and I am paraphrasing here, that advaita means not-two, and so it is easy to translate that as one, or oneness, but he says that there is a difference in how the two words or phrases feel or act on you. When you say or think the word ‘one’ or ‘oneness,’ there is a contraction, a solidification, it feels like an object. But when you say ‘not-two,’ there is a letting go, and so is a much better pointer to the actual experiencing of oneness.

Similarly, in a workshop that Jean Klein, a Western Advaita teacher gave in Boulder, Colorado, in one of those moments when meditation is exuding all around, I asked Jean, “So is this it, just more and more subtle?” And Jean responded, “I would say less and less conditioned.”

And that is the key. It is not that we need to be searching for this thing called ‘oneness,’ but that we have to simply see what it is that is preventing us from Being in this Eternal Now that we refer to as oneness, or perhaps better described as not twoness. And that takes me back to meditation.

By meditation, I mean closing my eyes, sitting in a not uncomfortable but alert position and watching whatever appears on the screen of my consciousness. Sometimes it is a cacophony, and sometimes it is just a meandering quiet stream. But whichever, I watch, and every time that I forget and I become aware that I have forgotten, I am back to watching. Slowly, slowly I discover how to watch without judging, without grasping, without rejecting, and without analyzing. And in this watchingness, the flow of traffic decreases and occasionally gaps appear, gaps in which there are no thoughts. And when there are no thoughts, there is no movement of time, there are no obstructions to experiencing this same Eternal Now that was stumbled upon so many years ago. But this time it is conscious, it is not accidental, and it does not depend on any circumstance, substance, or any other person. And these moments cannot but infuse our everyday life with more lightness of being.

-purushottama

This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Download a PDF or order the book Here.

Negative Projection, a Technique of Visualization – Osho

Mind itself means projection, so unless you transcend the mind, whatever you come to experience is projection. Mind is the projecting mechanism. If you experience any visions of light, of bliss, even of the divine, these are all projections. Unless you come to a total stopping of the mind you are not beyond projections; you are projecting. When mind ceases, only then are you beyond the danger. When there is no experience, no visions, nothing objective – the consciousness remaining as a pure mirror with nothing reflected in it – only then are you beyond the danger of projections.

Projections are of two types. One type of projection will lead you to more and more projection. It is a positive projection; you can never go beyond it. The other type of projection is negative. It is a projection, but it helps you to go beyond projections.

In meditation, you use the projecting faculty of the mind as a negative effort. Negative projections are good: it is just like one thorn being pulled out by another thorn or one poison being destroyed by another poison. But you must be constantly aware that the danger remains until everything ceases, even these negative projections, even these visions. If you are experiencing something, I will not say it is meditation; it is still contemplation, it is still a thought process. However subtle, it is still thinking. When only consciousness remains with no thought – just an unclouded, open sky – when you cannot say what “I” am experiencing, this much can be said: I am.

The famous maxim of Descartes, “Cogito ergo sum – I think; therefore, I am,” in meditation becomes “Sum ergo sum – I am; therefore, I am.” This “I am-ness” precedes all thinking; you are before you think. Thinking comes later on; your being precedes it, so being cannot be inferred from thinking. You can be without thinking, but thinking cannot be without you, so thinking cannot be the basis upon which your existence can be proved.

Experiences, visions, anything felt objectively is part of thinking. Meditation means total cessation of the mind, of thinking, but not of consciousness. If consciousness also ceases, you are not in meditation but in deep sleep; that is the difference between deep sleep and meditation.

In deep sleep projection also ceases. Thinking will not be there, but simultaneously, consciousness will also be absent. In meditation projections cease, thinking ceases, thoughts are no more there – just like in deep sleep – but there is consciousness. You are aware of this phenomenon: of total absence around you, of no objects around you. And when there are no objects to be known, felt and experienced, for the first time you begin to feel yourself. This is a nonobjective experience. It is not something that you experience; it is something you are.

So even if you feel the divine existence, it is a projection. These are negative projections. They help – they help, in a way, to transcend – but you must be aware that they are still projections, otherwise you will not go beyond them. That is why I say that if you feel you are encountering bliss, you are still in the mind because duality is there: the duality of the divine and the nondivine, the duality of bliss and nonbliss. When you really reach to the ultimate, you cannot feel bliss, because nonbliss is impossible; you cannot feel the divine as divine because the nondivine is no more.

So remember this: mind is projection, and whatever you do with the mind is going to be a projection. You cannot do anything with the mind. The only thing is how to negate the mind, how to drop it totally, how to be mindlessly conscious. That is meditation. Only then can you know, can you come to know, that which is other than projection.

Whatever you know is projected by you. The object is just a screen: you go on projecting your ideas, your mind, upon it. So any method of meditation begins with projection – with negative projection –and ends with nonprojection. That is the nature of all meditation techniques, because you have to begin with the mind.

Even if you are going toward a state of no mind, you have to begin with the mind. If I am to go out of this room, I have to start by going into the room; the first step must be taken in the room. This creates confusion. If I am just going in a circle in the room, then I am walking in the room. If I am going out of the room, then again I have to walk in the room – but in a different way. My eyes must be on the door and I must travel in a straight line, not in a circle.

Negative projection means walking straight out of the mind. But first, you have to take some steps within the mind.

For example, when I say “light,” you have never really seen light. You have only seen lighted objects. Have you ever seen light itself? No one has seen it; no one can see it. You see a lighted house, a lighted chair, a lighted person, but you have not seen light itself. Even when you see the sun you are not seeing light. You are seeing the light returned.

You cannot see light itself. When light strikes something, comes back, is reflected, only then do you see the lighted object and because you can see the lighted object, you say there is light. When you do not see the lighted object, you say it is dark.

You cannot see pure light, so in meditation I use it as a first step – as a negative projection. I tell you to begin to feel light without any object. Objects are dropped, there is just light. Begin to feel light without any objects . . . One thing has been dropped, the object, and without the object you cannot continue to see light for a long time. Sooner or later the light will drop, because you have to be focused on some object.

Then I tell you to feel bliss. You have never felt bliss without any object; whatever you know as happiness, bliss, is concerned with something. You have never known any moment of bliss that is unconcerned with anything. You may love someone and then feel blissful, but that someone is the object. You feel blissful when you listen to some music, but then that music is the object. Have you ever felt a blissful moment without any object? Never! So when I say to feel blissful without any object, it seems to be an impossibility. If you try to feel blissful without any object, sooner or later the bliss will stop, because it cannot exist by itself.

Then I say to feel divine presence. I never say, “Feel God,” because then God becomes an object. Have you ever felt presence without someone being present there? It is always concerned with someone: if someone is there, then you begin to feel the presence.

I drop that someone totally. I simply say, feel the divine presence. This is a negative projection. It cannot continue for long because there is no ground to support it; sooner or later it will drop. First I drop objects, and then, by and by, projection itself will drop. That is the difference between positive and negative projection.

In positive projection, the object is significant and the feeling follows, while in negative projection the feeling is important and the object is simply forgotten, as if I am taking the whole ground from under your feet. From within you, below you, from everywhere, the ground has been taken and you are left alone with your feeling. Now that feeling cannot exist; it will drop. If objects are not there, then the feelings that are directly connected to objects cannot continue any longer. For a while you can project them, then they will drop. And when they drop you alone remain there – in your total aloneness. That point is the point of meditation; from there meditation begins. Now you are out of the room.

So meditation has a beginning in the mind, but that is not real meditation. Begin in the mind, so that you can move toward meditation, and when mind ceases and you are beyond it, then real meditation begins. We have to begin with the mind because we are in the mind. Even to go beyond it, one has to use it. So use the mind negatively, never positively, and then you will achieve meditation.

If you use the mind positively, then you will only create more and more projections. So whatever is known as “positive thinking” is absolutely anti-meditative. Negative thinking is meditative; negation is the method for meditation. Go on negating to the point where nothing remains to be negated, and only the negator remains; then you are in your purity, and then you know what is. Everything that is known before that is just the mind’s imaginings, dreamings, projections.

-Osho

From Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy, Appendix 1

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.

Beyond Duality – Osho

You said that existence is a wholeness, that everything is related, that things are melting into each other, that the tree cannot be without the sun and the sun also cannot exist without the tree. In reference to the above, please explain how ignorance and enlightenment are related to each other.

They are related. Enlightenment and ignorance are two polar opposites. Enlightenment can exist only because there is ignorance. If ignorance disappeared from the world, enlightenment would disappear simultaneously. But because of our dualistic thinking we always think that opposites are opposites. They are complementary, they are not really opposite. They are complementary because one cannot exist without the other. So they are not enemies. Birth and death are not enemies because death cannot exist if there is no birth. Birth creates the base for death to exist but if there were no death, birth could not exist.

Death creates the base – so whenever someone is dying, someone else is being born. At one point there is death, at the next point immediately there is birth. They look opposite, they work in opposition as far as the surface is concerned, but deep down they are friends helping each other. It is easy to understand about ignorance and enlightenment because we think that when a man becomes enlightened, ignorance has disappeared completely. This is the ordinary standpoint about enlightenment – that ignorance has disappeared completely. No. That is not right. Rather, on the contrary, when a person becomes enlightened, enlightenment and ignorance have both disappeared. Because if one is there the other is bound to be there; one cannot exist without the other. They exist together or they disappear together. They are aspects of one thing, two faces of one coin. You cannot make one face of the coin disappear and retain the other.

So when a person becomes a Buddha, really, at that moment both have disappeared – ignorance and enlightenment both. Just consciousness is left, pure being is left, and the conflicting, opposing, helping opposites have disappeared. That is why when Buddha is asked what happens to an enlightened man, he remains silent many times. He says, “Don’t ask this because whatsoever I say will be untrue. Whatsoever I say will be untrue. If I say that he has become silent it means the opposite of silence must exist there, otherwise how can you feel silence? If I say he has become blissful, then anguish must exist side by side. How can you feel bliss without anguish?” Buddha says, “Whatsoever I say will be untrue.” So he remains consistently silent about the state of an enlightened person, because all our terms are dual. If you say light, and if someone insists, “Define it,” how are you going to define it? You will have to bring darkness in, only then can you define it. You will say that light is where darkness is not – or something like that.

One of the greatest thinkers of the world, Voltaire, used to say that you can communicate only if you define your terms first. But that is impossible. If you have to define light, you will have to bring darkness in. And then if it is asked what darkness is, you will have to define it by light, which is undefined. All definitions are circular. They used to say, “What is mind?” and the definition was, “Not matter.” And, “What is matter?” and the definition was, “Not mind.” Both terms are undefined and you are playing a trick with yourself. You define one term by another term which itself needs definition. The whole language is circular and the opposite is necessary.

So Buddha says, “I will not even say that the enlightened person exists.” Because existence is possible only if non-existence is also present. So, he will not even say that you exist after enlightenment, because existence has to be defined by non-existence. Nothing can be said then because all language consists of the polar opposite. That is why in the Upanishads it is said that if someone says that he is enlightened, know well that he is not. Because how can he feel that he is enlightened? Some ignorance must have remained because a contrast is needed.

If you write on a blackboard with white chalk – the blacker the board the whiter will be the writing. You cannot write on a white board with white chalk. If you do, there will be no writing. The contrast is needed. If you feel that you are enlightened that shows that the blackboard is right there – only then could you feel it. If the blackboard has really disappeared, the writing would have also disappeared. It happens simultaneously. So a Buddha is neither ignorant nor wise, he simply is. You cannot put him on any pole of any duality. Both the poles have disappeared.

When they disappear how does it happen? When both poles meet they negate each other and disappear. In another way you can say Buddha is both the most ignorant person and the most enlightened. The polarity has come to its extreme point, there has been a meeting, and the meeting has cancelled both. The minus and plus have come together. Now there is neither minus nor plus, because they cancel each other. The minus has cancelled the plus and the plus has cancelled the minus, they have both disappeared and a pure being, an innocent being is left. You cannot say it is wise, you cannot say it is ignorant – or, you can say it is both.

Enlightenment means the point from where you take a jump into the non-dual. Before that point is duality. Everything is divided.

Someone asked Buddha, “Who are you?” He laughed and said, “It is difficult to say.” But the man insisted. He said something can be said because you are. Something meaningful can be asserted because you are. But Buddha said, “Nothing can be said. I am, but even to say this leads me into untruth.” Then the man took another route. He asked “Are you a man or a woman?” Buddha said, “It is difficult to say. Once I was a man, but then my whole being was attracted towards women. When I was a man, my mind was filled with women, and when women disappeared from my mind, my man also disappeared with them. Now I cannot say. I don’t know who I am and it is difficult to define.”

When duality is no more, nothing can be defined. So if you are aware that you have become wise it means that foolishness persists. If you think that you have become blissful, it means that you are still in the world, in the realm of anguish. If you say that you feel a very deep well-being, a health, that means that disease is still possible. The opposite will follow you; if you carry one the other will follow. You have to drop both. And the dropping happens when both meet. So the basic science of all religion is how to allow your inner opposites to meet so that they disappear and not a trace is left. You will disappear with the disappearance of the opposite. You as you are will no longer be there and something totally new and unknown, something unimaginable, will come into being. That something is called Brahma, you can call it God. Buddha prefers the term “nirvana”. The word “nirvana” simply means cessation of all that was, total cessation of the past. And you cannot use your past experience and knowledge to define this new. This new is indefinable.

Ignorance and enlightenment are also part of duality. For us Buddha looks enlightened because we are in ignorance. For Buddha himself he is neither. It is impossible for him to think in terms of duality.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #76, Q2

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.

Buddha’s Inner Orgasm – Osho

We have always heard that tantra is basically concerned with sex energy and sex center techniques, but you say that Tantra is all inclusive. If there is any truth in the former standpoint, the majority of techniques in Vigyana Bhairava seem to be non-tantric. Is this true?

The first thing is to understand sex energy. As you understand it, it is just a part, one part, one fragment of the life force, but as Tantra understands it, it is just synonymous with life. It is not a part, not a fragment – it is life itself. So when Tantra says “sex” energy it means “life” energy.

The same is true about Freudian concepts of sex energy. Freud was also very much misunderstood in the West. It appeared to people that he was reducing life to sex, but he was doing the same thing that Tantra has been doing for so long. Life is sex. The word “sex” is not confined to reproduction, the whole play of life energy is sex. Reproduction is just a part of that play. Wherever two energies are meeting – negative and positive – sex has entered.

It is difficult to understand. For example: you are listening to me. If you ask Freud, or if you ask Tantra masters, they would say that listening is passive, feminine, and speaking is male. Speaking is a penetration of you and you are receptive to it. Between a speaker and a listener, a sex act is happening because the speaker is trying to penetrate you and the listener is receiving. The energy in the listener has become feminine, and if the listener has not become feminine there will be no phenomenon of listening. That is why the listener has to be totally passive. He should not think while listening because thinking will make him active. He should not go on arguing within because argument will make him active. While listening, he should be simply listening, not doing anything else. Only then can the message penetrate and become illumined. But then the listener has become feminine.

Communication happens only when one party has become male and the other party has become female, otherwise there can be no communication. Wherever negative and positive meet, sex has happened. It may be on the physical plane – positive and negative electricity meet and sex has happened. Wherever polarities meet, opposites meet, it is sex. So sex is a very wide, a very spacious term, it is not concerned only with reproduction. Reproduction is only one type of phenomenon which is included in sex. Tantra says that when the ultimate bliss and ecstasy comes inside you, it means your own positive and negative pole have come to a meeting – because every man is both man and woman, and every woman is both man and woman. You are born not only from woman or from man, you are born out of a meeting of the opposites. Your father has contributed, your mother has contributed. You are half your mother and half your father and they both co-exist within you. When they meet within, ecstasy happens.

Buddha sitting under his Bodhi tree is in a deep inner orgasm. The inner forces have met, they have melted into each other. Now there will be no need to seek a woman outside because the meeting has happened with the inner woman. And Buddha is non-attached to, or detached from, woman outside, not because he is against woman, but because the ultimate phenomenon has happened within. Now there is no need. An inner circle has become whole, now it is complete. That is why such grace comes to Buddha’s face. It is the grace of being complete. Now nothing is lacking, a deep fulfillment has happened, now there is no further journey. He has achieved the ultimate destiny. The inner forces have come to a meeting and now there is no conflict. But it is a sexual phenomenon. Meditation is a sexual phenomenon, that is why Tantra is said to be sex-based, sex-oriented – and all these hundred and twelve techniques are sexual.

Really, no meditative technique can be non-sexual. But you have to understand the wideness of the term “sex”. If you don’t understand you will be confused, and misunderstanding will follow.

So whenever Tantra says “sex-energy” it means the “elan-vital”, the life-energy itself. They are synonymous. Whatsoever we call sex is just one dimension of life-energy. There are other dimensions. And really it should be so. You see a seed sprouting, somewhere flowers are coming on a tree, the birds are singing – the whole phenomenon is sexual. It is life manifesting itself in many ways. When the bird is singing it is a sexual call, an invitation. When the flower is attracting butterflies and bees it is an invitation, because the bees and butterflies will carry the seeds of reproduction. Stars are moving in space . . . No one has yet worked on it but it is one of the oldest Tantra concepts that there are male planets and female planets – otherwise there would be no movement. It must be so because the polarity is needed, the opposite is needed to create magnetism, to create attraction. Planets must be male and female. Everything must be divided into these two polarities. And life is a rhythm between these two opposites. Repulsion and attraction, coming nearer and going far . . . these are the rhythms.

Tantra uses the word “sex” wherever the opposites meet. It is a sexual phenomenon. And how to make your inner opposites meet, is the whole purpose of meditation. So all these hundred and twelve methods are sexual. There cannot be anything else, there is no possibility. But try to understand the wideness of the term “sex”.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #76, Q1

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.

Existence Is Advaita – Osho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Osho

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

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15. How long should inquiry be practised?

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

-Ramana Maharshi

From Who Am I?

Without any Breaks – Annamalai Swami

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

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

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

-Annamalai Swami

From Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 284

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