Gradual or Sudden Enlightenment – Osho

Do wisdom and understanding increase gradually or do they come as explosions?

Understanding never comes, neither as a sudden phenomenon nor as a gradual one, because it is always there. You have it right now. It is not going to happen somewhere in the future. You are carrying it within you, just as a seed carries the tree, a woman carries a child. You are carrying it right now. Now it depends on you: if your intensity is total you will achieve it suddenly, if your intensity is not total you will achieve it by and by, in steps. But understanding never comes to you – you are understanding. Enlightenment is not something that happens to you – you are enlightenment.

Remember this; then it is a choice, your choice. If you desire it totally, in that fire of total desire all that covers that understanding burns; suddenly the light is there. But it is up to you. It is not part of the nature of enlightenment to happen gradually or to happen suddenly.

Don’t throw off the responsibility, that’s how people create philosophies and schools. In Japan two schools of Zen exist: one believes in sudden enlightenment, another believes in gradual enlightenment – as if these are the qualities of enlightenment, as if they belong to enlightenment. They don’t belong to enlightenment. Enlightenment is always there; it is for you to choose. If your desire is total not even a single moment is lost. But if your desire is not total it means that you yourself are not willing it to happen right now. You want to postpone it, you want it tomorrow, some other day. Then you go on playing tricks.

If you are really sincere there is no time gap, it can happen this very moment. Not even a single moment is to be lost, because it is already the case. One has just to look within. But if you don’t want it right now then you can wait for millennia.

I would like to tell you an old story. It happened in Ceylon.

There was a great Buddhist Master who taught his disciples for almost eighty years. When he was a hundred and twenty he said one day, “Now, I am going to die after seven days.” So thousands of his disciples gathered for his last darshan, to see him for the last time.

The old man, before closing his eyes and dissolving within wards, asked them, “Does somebody want to accompany me? If somebody wants nirvana, enlightenment, right now, then he should simply raise his hand and that will do.”

People knew that he was a man of his word, and he was not joking. He had never joked in his whole life, he was a serious man. He meant what he said. They started looking at each other – thousands of people and not a single hand was raised.

One man stood up and he said, “Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to accompany you right now because there are many things to be done. I have many things to fulfill, many things to pass through, many karmas to be accounted for. As yet I am not ready for it, but someday I would like to be enlightened. Can you give some key hints? – because you will be no longer here.”

And the Master had been giving key hints his whole life, for eighty years. Still they wanted something to be said about it so that they could postpone and plan and think about the future. And the old Master was ready. If somebody had been ready he was ready to take him with himself. But nobody was ready.

People are cunning, because the mind is cunning. And the greatest cunningness of the mind is that it always throws responsibility onto something else. If enlightenment is gradual then what can you do? Nothing can be done; it is gradual, it will take a long time. If enlightenment is sudden then why has it not happened to you? You will ask, “Then why has it not happened to me if it is sudden? No, it cannot be sudden. But if it is sudden and there is no need to do something for it to happen, then what can be done? I will wait – whenever it happens it happens.”

You simply want to escape from the responsibility of your own choice. Sartre has said one thing that is really beautiful. He said, “Man is free to choose but man is not free not to choose.” You can choose either way but don’t be befooled – you have no freedom not to choose, because even when you think you are not choosing you are choosing the opposite.

A man came to me and he said, “I am not yet ready for sannyas. I am ready seventy per cent, eighty per cent, but twenty per cent I am not ready, so how can I take sannyas? I’m not total.”

So I said, “Okay. But still you are choosing, and now you are choosing a minor part of your mind – the twenty per cent which says, ‘Don’t take.’ Now you are choosing the twenty per cent against the eighty per cent.”

So don’t think that you are not choosing. That’s not possible. You have to choose whatsoever you do; even if you don’t choose you will be choosing. Choice is there. One is free to choose but one is not free not to choose. If the mind says it is gradual, it is a choice; if the mind says it is sudden, that too is a choice. When you say it is sudden it means that you would like to drop every effort, so you choose sudden enlightenment. Then there is no need to do anything – when it happens it happens, nothing can be done because it is a sudden thing. Just like lightning in the sky, whenever it happens it happens – you cannot make preparations for it. It is not like electricity in the house that you put on and off, it does not depend on you. It is a sudden phenomenon, when it happens it happens. You have to wait for it. If you are thinking about reading a telegram when the electricity happens in the sky, then you have to wait. When it happens you can read it. What can you do?

People who want to escape from effort will choose sudden enlightenment. People who want to escape from the great, total responsibility of it, that it can happen right now, will choose the philosophy of gradualness.

I don’t say anything about enlightenment – I’m saying something about you. It is for you to feel your desire: total desire – enlightenment is sudden, partial desire – enlightenment is gradual. It has nothing to do with the nature of enlightenment.

Remember this.

-Osho

From Tao: The Three Treasures, V.1, Chapter 10

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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Awake! – Osho

One of the most important things to be understood about man is that man is asleep. Even while he thinks he is awake, he is not. His wakefulness is very fragile; his wakefulness is so tiny it doesn’t matter at all. His wakefulness is only a beautiful name, but utterly empty.

You sleep in the night, you sleep in the day; from birth to death you go on changing your patterns of sleep, but you never really awake. Just by opening the eyes don’t befool yourself that you are awake. Unless the inner eyes open, unless your inside becomes full of light, unless you can see yourself, who you are, don’t think that you are awake.

That is the greatest illusion man lives in. And once you accept that you are already awake, then there is no question of making any effort to be awake.

The first thing to sink deep in your heart is that you are asleep, utterly asleep. You are dreaming, day in, day out. You are dreaming sometimes with open eyes and sometimes with closed eyes, but you are dreaming, you are a dream. You are not yet a reality.

And, of course, in a dream whatsoever you do is meaningless, whatsoever you think is pointless, whatsoever you project remains part of your dreams and never allows you to see that which is. Hence Buddha’s insistence…and not only Gautama the Buddha but all the buddhas have insisted on only one thing: Awake! Continuously, for centuries, their whole teaching can be contained in a single word: Be awake!

And they have been devising methods, strategies; they have been creating contexts and spaces, and energy fields in which you can be shocked into awareness. Yes, unless you are shocked, shaken to your very foundations, you will not awaken. The sleep has been so long, it has reached to the very core of your being; you are soaked in it. Each cell of your body and each fiber of your mind have become full of sleep. It is not a small phenomenon. Hence great effort is needed to be alert, to be attentive, to be watchful, to become a witness.

If on any one single theme all the buddhas of the world agree, this is the theme: that man as he is, is asleep, and man as he should be, should be awake. Wakefulness is the goal, and wakefulness is the taste of all their teachings. Zarathustra, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Buddha, Bahauddin, Kabir, Nanak — all the awakened ones have been teaching one single theme, in different languages, in different metaphors, but their song is the same. Just as the sea tastes of salt — whether the sea is tasted from the north or from the east or from the west, the sea always tastes of salt — the taste of buddhahood is wakefulness.

But you will not make any effort if you go on believing that you are already awake; then there is no question of making any effort. Why bother? And you have created religions, gods, prayers, rituals, out of your dreams — your gods are as much part of your dreams as anything else. Your politics is part of your dreams, your religions are part of your dreams, your poetry, your painting, your art — whatsoever you do, because you are asleep, you make it according to your own state of mind.

The Bible says God created man in his own image — the truth seems to be just the opposite: man has created God in his own image. Your gods are false because you are false. Your religion is pseudo because you are pseudo. Your scriptures cannot have any significance because you don’t have any significance.

Two priests are playing golf. The younger one misses an easy putt and says, “Shit!” The older one berates him for this, saying that if he continues to use profanity like that God will certainly blast him with a thunderbolt. They keep playing and the younger priest misses another putt, and again says, “Shit!”

The skies suddenly open: a thunderbolt flashes out, and strikes the older priest dead. There is a pause, and the heavenly voice is heard saying in accents of thunder, “Shit!”

Your gods cannot be different from you. Who will create them? Who will give them shape and color and form? You create them, you sculpt them; they have eyes like you, noses like you — and minds like you! The Old Testament God says, “I am a very jealous God!” Now who has created this God who is jealous? God cannot be jealous. And if God is jealous, then what is wrong in being jealous? If even God is jealous, why should you be thought to be doing something wrong when you are jealous? Then jealousy is divine.

The Old Testament God says, “I am a very angry God! If you don’t follow my commandments, I will destroy you. You will be thrown into hellfire for eternity. And because I am very jealous,” the God says, “don’t worship anybody else. I cannot tolerate it.”

Who created such a God? It must be out of our own jealousy, out of our own anger, that we have created this image.

A Jew who has a long run of bad luck goes out into the woods and lifts his voice in prayer and recrimination. “Oh, God,” he asks heaven tearfully, “haven’t I always been a good Jew? Haven’t I always given charity, even to those damn goyim? Didn’t I bring up my family decent? Never drink, swear, gamble; no bad women, nothing! Why do you do this to me God? Why? Why?”

A dark cloud suddenly appears overhead, and a tremendous voice replies, “You piss me off!”

The God certainly cannot be different from you. It is your projection, it is your shadow. It echoes you and nobody else. That’s why there are so many gods in the world. The Hindus have a certain idea about God — the Hindu idea — it reflects the Hindu mind.

If you go back into Hindu scriptures you will be surprised. You will not be able to believe what kind of gods Hindus have created — very sexual. Adultery is very common amongst Hindu gods, and not only do they play their games of adultery in the Hindu paradise, they can’t even leave the earth alone; they come to the earth too, to rape women, to seduce simple women. They don’t even leave the wives of the great seers alone. And because they have infinite power they can even appear as the husbands, they can look like the husbands. And the women have no idea who is hiding behind the facade.

Who has created these gods? — It must have been deep down a very sexual mind.

And the same is the case with all other gods of all other religions. It is because of this that Buddha never talked about God. He said: What is the point of talking about God to people who are asleep? They will listen in their sleep. They will dream about whatsoever is said to them, and they will create their own gods — which will be utterly false, utterly impotent, utterly meaningless. It is better not to have such gods.

That’s why Buddha is not interested in talking about gods. His whole interest is in waking you up.

-Osho

From The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Volume 1, Chapter 5

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

A PDF file of this book can be downloaded from Osho World.

Awakening before Enlightenment

We hear the term ‘awakening’ thrown about today like a rag doll. And as is the case with almost all spiritual terminology, there seems to be levels and levels of meaning for the word ‘awakening.’ It is important to first recognize that we are not necessarily using a common language. When I see what the word ‘awakening’ is being used to point at, from the plethora of spiritual teachers that exists today, it is evident that it is being used to denote many different things.

And it is not just the spiritual teachers who use ‘awakening’ with different meanings; you can find references from the Enlightened Masters as well. There are times in the many books of Osho where he is referring to ‘awakening’ as the final enlightenment and sometimes he is pointing to a step that precedes enlightenment. I find the same situation in the works of J. Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi and Meher Baba. Although if one looks carefully at the context in which the words are being used it is not as confusing as it seems.

However, in writing this I am not interested in repeating the words of those remarkable Enlightened Ones, but rather this understanding that I wish to share is one that has been taking shape over the last twenty years and is only now become sufficiently stabilized that I feel willing to express openly.

Before we even begin to look at the different meanings we might ascribe to ‘awakening’ let us first acknowledge that all individuals are moving through their awakening at a different pace. It is clear that we did not all begin at the same point. This is illustrated when we see that a sage like Ramana Maharshi realizes his enlightenment at the age of sixteen seemingly without effort. In contrast is the experience of Nisargadatta Maharaj in whom enlightenment happened much later in life. Some were prepared from their very childhood for such an event and some worked through their own efforts at removing the obstacles to the ‘natural state’. Some of us have lived a life centered in meditation from a young age and some of us have stumbled upon it much later in life perhaps after some major crisis that turned our world upside down. So it is important to understand that just because we have not had a certain understanding does not mean that one of our fellow travelers has not and it is equally important to note that if we have experienced some insight or transformation it is not likely that many will understand what we are talking about.

So let us begin with what each of us (at least anyone who is reading this) has probably experienced. For some of us it might have come like a bolt of lightning, for others it may have always been intuited as truth. And that is that life, the world, is very much different than what we were conditioned to believe. Many may describe this realization as an awakening and indeed it is. This awakening would demark the beginning of the journey. It would denote a tremendously important change of direction and priorities in one’s life.

Having changed direction in life, we embark on searching out information, knowledge, understanding and perhaps a teacher to help guide us along the way. We may be fortunate and come across that guide early on or for some it may take many years. And some may not find the guide in whom trust is a natural and spontaneous flowering and so may just wander from teacher to teacher. Regardless even without a guide, and certainly with, it is possible after introduction to meditation, after reading the words of those who have known the greatest mystery, after the necessary inner work, it is possible to come to an “intellectual understanding” of the lay of the spiritual land. Jean Klein refers to it as a “geometric understanding.” One can almost visualize the obstacles that lie before. This understanding often can come as a flash and could certainly be described as an ‘awakening.’ But here, it is important to note, that this intellectual understanding is not the same as being understanding, is not the same as knowingness, it is more like knowledge.

Next we come to what seems to me to be more worthy of such a moniker as ‘awakening.’ This is when one realizes oneself to be out of the mind’s conditioning. The “goose is out.” Here one is being out of the mind and is able to see the mind clearly as an object of perception. It is not that the mind has disappeared, no, but one is not living within the mind. And it is here that witnessing really emerges. In fact this is the witness. The mind is still present but one is not captive to its many grips. But it is important at this stage to allow witnessing its full force through meditation. It is here that the ‘emptying of consciousness’ must take place. If one is not mindful it is extremely easy to slip back into the clutches of the mind. But one is also able to see the horizon. One knows what needs to happen. One cannot make ‘it’ happen but one does need to create the opportunity and with this awakening the taste is known and so it is natural that real earnestness arises.

For what follows we will have to take the words and expressions of those who have known as a hypothesis. We can accept the hypothesis and in our laboratory of meditation discover for ourselves if it is indeed true. The Enlightened Masters have all said that there does come a complete annihilation of the separate ego-mind, one that is irreversible and surely it is ‘this’ that deserves the name “Enlightenment.”

So here we come to the point that has been the fuel for this inquiry for all these years. Without exposure to the presence of an Enlightened Master and, unfortunately for some even with, it is very easy to believe that the “awakening of the witness” is the end of the journey, is itself enlightenment. Some fellow travelers might very well believe that there is no ending of the mind, because that is the limitation of their own experience. They become teachers and this then becomes part of their teaching, thus misdirecting their students. Just as importantly, their unfolding stagnates, believing that they have reached the end thus not allowing the space for “the emptying of consciousness” to take place. This is where the exposure to a fully enlightened master should prove extremely helpful. The master does not allow us to make our house in the sand. He continually goads us to keep on to the very end. May we all continue to the very end, charaiveti, charaiveti (go on, go on to the very end).

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

See a related post The Seeing I.

Below I am including some links to a few postings that could illustrate much more deeply what is being said.

A Geometrical Understanding-Jean Klein

Minor Explosions-Osho

The Stages of the Path-Meher Baba

Spiritual Snakes and Ladders-Osho

Attainment-Ramana Maharshi

The Emptying of Consciousness-J. Krishnamurti

Flowering, Awakening, Self-Realization and Enlightenment-Osho

Charaiveti, Charaiveti-Osho

 

Flowering, Awakening, Self-realization and Enlightenment – Osho

A short time ago you said that spring has come and many sannyasins are ready to flower. Do “flowering,” “awakening” and “self-realization” all mean enlightenment, the ultimate truth? Or is there a difference? And can a person, after attaining, fall back into identification with the mind?

Mukto, there is a difference between flowering, awakening, self-realization, and enlightenment. Enlightenment is the ultimate truth—the seeker disappears but the truth is found. The pilgrim disappears but God is found. It is important to understand the differences…

From enlightenment there is no possibility of falling back, because you are no longer there to fall back. As long as you are, there is a possibility.

Only your absence is the guarantee that you cannot fall back.

Flowering is just the beginning of entering within yourself—just as you enter into a garden. It is immensely important, because without entering you are never going to reach to the center. But in flowering, for the first time you recognize your potential, your possibility. In flowering is the transition period, from human to divine. But one can fall back, because the flowering is so new and so fragile and your past is so old and so strong—it can pull you back; it is still there.

Awakening is getting very close to your center. And as you get closer to the center, falling back becomes more and more difficult because your new experience is gathering power, strength, experience, and the old is losing. But the old is still there; it has not disappeared. Ordinarily people don’t fall from awakening, but the possibility remains: one can fall.

Self-realization is reaching to your center. Many religions have believed that self-realization is the end—for example, Jainism—you have come to your ultimate truth. It is not true. Self-realization is only a dewdrop which has become aware, alert, contented, fulfilled. It is almost impossible to fall back from self-realization—but I am saying almost impossible, not absolutely impossible, because the self can deceive you; it can bring your ego back.

The self and the ego are very similar. The self is the natural thing and the ego is the synthetic, so it happens sometimes that a self-realized man becomes a pious egoist. His egoism is not going to harm anyone, but it certainly prevents him from dropping into the ocean and disappearing completely.

Enlightenment is the dewdrop slipping from the lotus leaf into the vast, infinite ocean. Once the dewdrop has fallen into the ocean, now there is no way even to find it. The question of turning back does not arise.

Enlightenment, hence, is the ultimate truth. What begins as flowering moves on the path of awakening, reaches to self-realization. Then one quantum leap more—disappearing into the eternal, into the infinite.

You are no more, only existence is.

I have told you about Kabir, India’s greatest mystic. When he was young, he became self-realized and he wrote a small couplet:

Herat, herat he sakhi
Rahya, Kabir, herai

“Searching and searching and searching, oh my friend, the searcher is lost. Seeking and seeking and seeking, the seeker is lost.”

Bund samani samund mein
Sokat herijai

“The dewdrop has slipped into the ocean; now there is no way to get it back.”

But it was too early to say that. The dewdrop was still there, slipping towards the ocean, but it had not yet fallen into the ocean.

When Kabir was dying, he became enlightened. He called his son Kamaal and told him, “I have written something wrong. At that moment, that was my feeling—that I had come to the ultimate. Before I die, you write this down, and change it.”

The change is very small in words, but in experience it is tremendous. He has used again the same words:

Herat, herat he sakhi
“Oh beloved, seeking and searching, the seeker is lost.”

Samund samund bund mein
Sokat herijai
“And the ocean has fallen into the dewdrop; now it is impossible to find it.”

Just a little difference in the words… “The dewdrop has fallen into the ocean” – something of the self has remained in it. But “the ocean has fallen into the dewdrop”… that is the tremendous experience and explosion of enlightenment. The first statement was about self-realization; the second statement is about enlightenment.

From enlightenment, falling is simply impossible. You are gone—and gone forever; not even a shadow or a trace of you is left behind.

Up to self-realization the possibility remains—it becomes less and less, but it remains.

You can start being egoistic about your self-realization: “I have known, I am a realized person.

I am a saint, I have encountered God’—but that “I” is there, howsoever pious. Even its shadow is dangerous; it can pull you back.

I have heard a very beautiful story about Jesus…

Jesus was walking through Jerusalem when he saw an angry crowd shouting and screaming at a woman. He came closer and heard the mob accusing the woman of adultery. Jesus strode to the front of the mob, held up his arms and said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

The crowd fell silent, but one little old lady pushed to the front, picked up a huge rock, and hurled it at the sobbing woman. Jesus gently took the old lady by the arm and said quietly,

“Mother, why do you always embarrass me?”

Jesus’ mother! She is a virtuous woman—so virtuous that she has given birth to Jesus without any contact with another human being. She stands alone in the whole of history with the claim—even after the birth of the son, of being the VIRGIN Mary. That idea must have got into the old woman’s mind too much. Her virtue, her piousness—God has chosen her to be the mother of His only begotten son-has become a subtle ego in her. The others were not pious. The moment Jesus said, “The first stone has to be hurled by one who is virtuous,” the mob stopped. They were all in the same boat.

And you can see it in your saints… a strange but very subtle ego. Spirituality has become their achievement. Somebody has all the riches of the world, somebody is the most beautiful person, somebody is the strongest, and somebody is the most pious. The question is not what it is by which the ego can get nourished—any idea can make you fall.

One has not to stop until he has reached the point when he is not: when there is no claimer, when one has moved the full circle and has come back to the world, just nobody. Perhaps people may not recognize him as a great saint… and this is my understanding, that the greatest of saints have remained unrecognized, because you understand only the language of the ego. You don’t understand the language of egolessness.

The greatest sage will appear to you just an ordinary man, nothing special, with no claim for any talent, for any possession, for any power, for any genius, for any knowledge – no claim at all. He has become absolutely a zero. But the zero is not negative, it is full of godliness, overflowing with godliness.

-OSHO

From The Hidden Splendor, chapter 16

The Hidden Splendor

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An 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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Meditation Will Make You Awake – Osho

Meditation will make you awake, strong and humble. Meditation will make you awake because it will give you the first experience of yourself. You are not the body, you are not the mind — you are the pure witnessing consciousness. And when this witnessing consciousness is touched, a great awakening happens — as if a snake was sitting coiled up and suddenly it uncoils, as if somebody was asleep and has been shaken and awakened. Suddenly a great awakening inside: for the first time you feel you are. For the first time you feel the truth of your being.

And certainly it makes you strong; you are no longer fragile, not like a frail tree that any wind can overturn. Now you become a mountain! Now you have a foundation, now you are rooted — no wind can overturn a mountain. You become awake, you become strong, and still you become humble. This strength does not bring any ego in you. You become humble because you become aware that the same witnessing soul exists in everybody, even in animals, birds, plants, rocks.

These are only different ways of sleeping! Somebody sleeps on the right side, and somebody sleeps on the left side, and somebody sleeps on the back…these are only different ways of sleeping. A rock has its own way of sleep, a tree a different way of sleep, a bird still a different way — but only differences in the ways and methods of sleeping; otherwise deep down at the core of every being is the same witnessing, the same God. That makes you humble. Even before a rock you know you are nobody special, because the whole existence is made of the same stuff called consciousness. And if you are awake, strong, and humble, this gives you a mastery over yourself.

-Osho

From The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Volume One, Chapter One

Here you can listen the discourse excerpt Meditation Will Make You Awake.

An audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from: http://www.osho.com/Main.cfm?Area=Shop&Language=English or you can read the entire book online at: http://www.osho.com/library/

Both audio and pdf files can be downloaded from: http://www.oshoworld.com/e-books/eng_discourses.asp

The Switch Over

Recently I have been paying attention to the waking up process in the morning and have found that there is a point when there is a switch over from the sleeping-dream – to out of the dream.

At the moment of the switch one is not identified with anything. One simply is.

It is only after some moments that the waking-dream begins, but those moments before it does are suffused with awareness.

Then the day-dream begins and one is once again lost into the world.

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.