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