The Deepest Freedom – Dipa Ma

The Deepest Freedom

“Gradually I became acquainted with suffering,

the cause of suffering,

the arising of suffering,

and the end of suffering.”

DIPA MA BELIEVED, unconditionally, that enlightenment—total liberation of the mind and heart—is the purpose of human life and the primary reason for meditation practice. She never tired of reminding her students: “You must practice to know at least one stage of enlightenment. Otherwise you have not made use of your human life.”

In the Theravada tradition, little is written about the actual experience of enlightenment. The reticence of many teachers on this subject is largely to avoid setting up an attitude of striving. This chapter brings enlightenment experiences out into the open, with the aim of showing that there is nothing secret or supernatural about them. Although it might be inferred from these stories that enlightenment can happen rather easily, there are also stories of awakening taking many years or even decades.

While there is no “right way” on this path, and consequently nothing to judge, compare, or anticipate, Joseph Goldstein offers this important caveat: “The experience of enlightenment is about letting go of ‘self.’ Over the years, I’ve seen people who have experienced enlightenment use it to create more self. They attach to the experience and identify with it. This is missing the point, and it can create a lot of suffering.”

Kamikaze yogi

My first two three-month retreats were blasting through, “bliss bomb”–type retreats, where I described myself as a kamikaze yogi. But my third three-month retreat was weeping from the first day until the end. At times, I would have such incredible internal aching and tearing apart that I thought I couldn’t sit more than five minutes. At first, when I reported this to Dipa Ma, she suggested I just “note it.”

But finally there was a certain point where I really thought I was going to explode if I sat any longer. Dipa Ma sat down next to me, took my hand, held it and caressed it with love and gentleness, like caressing a baby. While she was doing this, she assured me, “If you make it through this, you will earn great merit.”

Doing this, she gave me an absolute transmission of her confidence and love. My doubt disappeared; I totally believed her words. I went back to the hall and sat on my cushion, and . . . something just opened up. I don’t know how much I should describe of it. I started to have experiences like you see in the classical texts on enlightenment. She was guiding me with special resolutions during this time.

I am grateful that she kept me practicing. Even though for two and a half months I was racked with restlessness and achiness and wanted to “roll up the mat” and go home, she kept me going.

-Anonymous

Did you get enlightened?

Dipa Ma came to teach a class at my school for three weeks. At the end of the class, we were to do a weekend intensive retreat with her. The day before the intensive she said to me, “You are going to have a ‘realization experience’.” I wondered, “What is this supposed to mean?”

That night, I meditated for a while, and then I got up because I was getting very sleepy. I went back to my room, and something shifted. I realized I needed to go back and meditate some more, so I went back to meditate, and I got extremely concentrated.

There was simply the watching of my breath. I was noting every microcosm of the rising and falling, every little bit, and I had the ability to watch the intentions of thoughts coming. It was like a bubble that would break, then the thought would be there, then it would pass, and there would be stillness, then another intention of the thought would arise, then break like a bubble on the surface of water and so on. It was not me doing this, because I absolutely had no capacity for that level of concentration. I think it was simply by Dipa Ma’s grace. There was incredible stillness, and a huge amount of space in between thoughts where nothing was going on.

Then there was a huge shift in awareness, as if I went “out” somewhere where attention reversed. There was no body anymore, just the arising and passing away of things. It completely blew me away.

The next day Dipa Ma asked me, “Well, did you get enlightened?” Later, because I was so new at meditation—I didn’t have a background or context for this experience—a lot of fear came up. First there was this incredible insight, then fear arose when I saw that everything was being annihilated moment after moment. My mind became so confused; I didn’t have the ability to watch the confusion, and it was a long time before the experience matured in me. It was three years before I had the desire to meditate again.

-Anonymous

Enlightenment was rather matter-of-fact to Dipa Ma’s Indian students. Jack Engler recalls that they practiced within the context of their families and daily life. “When Dipa Ma recognized a certain kind of ripeness in them, she would say, ‘Arrange your affairs, see if you can get two weeks off from the family, and come and stay in this room next to me and just devote yourself for ten or fourteen days to this practice.’ That’s when enlightenment happened to them. That is all the intensive practice they did, and even then, some of them had to return home during that time to take care of family matters.”

Just two or three days

I took my mother [Dipa Ma’s sister Hema] every evening to the monastery, and once I met a Burmese lady there who told me about her practice at home with her small children. She worked in the day, and she did meditation at night when her children were asleep. Within two months, she said, she finished the first stage [of enlightenment].

So I took that example while I was teaching full time and studying in my master’s program. I got up at 4 AM and meditated until 5:30 AM. I went to school until 3:30 PM, then I took my mother to the monastery. After that I would do my homework until 9 PM. Then I would do walking meditation for an hour with my dog. Then I would sit for another hour until 11 PM. At 11, I went to sleep.

All the time, on the bus to school, during my classes, everywhere, I practiced noting [mentally noting each sensory experience]. After about two or three weeks, Munindra told me to take my vacation and come and meditate. I told him it was impossible to take time off school, and he said, “Well, just two or three days will do.” So I went for Thursday through Sunday. Since there was so little time, I decided to stay up all night Thursday, and I kept meditating into Friday.

On Friday night at about 1 AM, I thought something “went wrong.” In the morning, I told my mother and Dipa Ma that something strange had happened. They started laughing and laughing. They told me it was the first stage, and they were very glad for me.

-Daw Than Myint

Okay, a tiger is coming

On the very first day I met her, Nani [Dipa Ma] gave me meditation instructions and told me, “You can practice at home.” I went home that afternoon and immediately started practicing for twenty days. During the twenty days of meditation, I felt I had a high fever, I felt like a hot iron was penetrating my body. Then I saw snakes everywhere, and tigers were jumping at me. I reported this to Nani, and she told me, “Don’t worry. Don’t take any medicine. You have a fever, but it is not a disease: it will spontaneously leave. Just be mindful of it. Just feel it and note it. When snakes or tigers come, don’t worry. Just notice, ‘Okay, a tiger is coming.’ That is all.”

Then I began having vivid pictures of dead bodies. I saw many, many dead bodies in an arid place, and I had to walk on the dead bodies. I was terrified. Nani said, “Don’t fear. Just make a mental note of ‘seeing.’ These visions are from our many births. What we have done in previous births often comes to mind in meditation.” From her instruction, I noted, “seeing a dead body,” and “walking on dead bodies.” I also kept noting, “I’m seeing in my mind.”

Soon there was just awareness, everything stopped, my mind became clear and peaceful, and I came to awaken. All my pains were eradicated. I came to understand what was my body, what was my mind, and what was the way of meditation. There was no turning back. After twenty days, I left my seat and went out into the world.

-Jyotishmoyee Barua

This most precious thing

When I was doing my research in Calcutta, Dipa Ma brought her neighbor to me, a sixty-five-year-old woman whose name was Madhuri Lata. She had raised her family, her children were gone, and, unlike most Indian families, she was alone with her husband, with no extended family living in the same household. Her husband had said to her, “You have nothing to do now. This ‘aunt’ of yours, Dipa Ma, teaches this meditation practice. Why don’t you talk with her? It’ll give you something to do.”

Madhuri, who had mild developmental delays, went to Dipa Ma, and Dipa Ma gave her the basic instructions [to place her attention on the rise and fall of the abdomen with each inhalation and exhalation and] to note to herself “rising, falling, rising, falling.” Madhuri said, “Okay,” and started to go home, down four flights of stairs and across the alley to her apartment. She didn’t get halfway down the stairs before she forgot the instructions. So, back she came. “What was I supposed to do?” she asked. “Rising, falling, rising, falling,” said Dipa Ma. “Oh, yes, that’s right.”

Four times, Madhuri forgot the instructions and had to come back. Dipa Ma was very patient with her. It took Madhuri almost a year to understand the basic instructions, but once she got them, she was like a tiger. Before she began to practice, Madhuri was bent over at a ninety-degree angle with arthritis, rheumatism, and intestinal problems. When I met her, after her enlightenment experience, she walked with a straight back. No more intestinal problems. She was the simplest, sweetest, gentlest woman. After she told me her enlightenment story, she said, “All this time, I’ve wanted to tell someone about this wonderful thing that happened to me, and I’ve never been able to share this before, this most precious thing in my life.”

-Jack Engler

All emotion is from thinking

Despite severe emotional difficulties, a Vietnamese monk, Venerable Khippa-Panno, was able to attain insight with Dipa Ma’s encouragement. In 1969, he had gone on a retreat during which, for five days, he was unable to stop laughing and crying. His teacher, deciding Khippa-Panno had gone mad, told him to stop the retreat and return home. When Dipa Ma heard this, she invited Khippa-Panno to practice with her.

For a whole month, I practiced at her house. She advised me, “You will overcome this difficulty. If everything is noted, all your emotional difficulties will disappear. When you feel happy, don’t get involved with the happiness. And when you feel sad, don’t get involved with it. Whatever comes, don’t worry. Just be aware of it.” On a later retreat, when I felt the craziness come, I remembered her words. I had so much difficulty with the emotions that I wanted to leave the retreat, but I remembered her faith in me, and her saying, “Your practice is good. Just note everything, and you will overcome the difficulty.” With this knowledge of her confidence in me, my concentration got deeper. Soon I came to see that all emotion was from thinking, nothing more. I found that once I knew how to observe the thoughts that led to the emotions, I could overcome them. And then I came to see that all thoughts were from the past or the future, so I started to live only in the present, and I developed more and more mindfulness. . . . I had no thoughts for a period of time, just mindfulness, and then all my emotional difficulties passed away. Just like that! And then I had an experience. I wasn’t sure what it was. It was only a moment, and there wasn’t anyone to confirm it at the time. My emotional problems have never returned. Later, in 1984, when I saw Dipa Ma in America, she took me aside and asked about my meditation. When I told her, she told me that I had completed the first stage [of enlightenment]. She told me like a mother would tell a child. -Venerable Khippa-Panno

From Dipa Ma, Chapter Six, Schmidt, Amy. Windhorse Publications Ltd. Kindle Edition.

 

Meditation is Love – Dipa Ma

Meditation is love.” Dipa Ma

Dipa Ma Barua was a Buddhist Icon and Master Teacher.

Dipa Ma was a woman of extraordinary wisdom, concentration, and loving kindness. She was a rare example of a mother and grandmother who became a realized Buddhist Master through her unwavering determination and heart. Dipa Ma taught many of the Vipassana Buddhist teachers in the West, and the stories about her continue to inspire Buddhists and spiritual seekers today.

 

About Dipa Ma

Born 1911- Died 1989

Taught Vipassana Buddhism in Myanmar/Burma, India and USA.

Gotama Buddha’s familiar story follows the archetypal hero’s journey: he left behind wife and child and renounced the ordinary world to seek the holy life. Dipa Ma followed a similar path, but with an unexpected turn. Ultimately she took her practice home again, living out her enlightenment in a simple city apartment with her daughter. Her responsibilities as a parent were clarified by her spiritual practice; she made decisions based not on guilt and obligation but on the wisdom and compassion that arose from meditation. Instead of withdrawing to a cave or a forest hermitage, Dipa Ma stayed home and taught from her bedroom—appropriately enough, a room with no door.

Nani Bala Barua, later known as Dipa Ma, was born in 1911 in a village on the plains of Chittagong in what is now Bangladesh. The indigenous Buddhist culture there traces its lineage in an unbroken line back to the Buddha. By the time Dipa Ma was born, meditation practice had almost disappeared among her clan, but they continued to observe Buddhist rituals and customs.

Though intensely interested in Buddhism from a young age, like most Asian women of her era Dipa Ma had little opportunity to undertake serious spiritual training. However, by midlife she came to devote herself fully to meditation, attaining profound levels of insight in only a short time. She found a way to incorporate her family into her spiritual journey and went on to teach specific techniques for practicing mindfulness in the midst of everyday activities.

Dipa Ma’s influence has been widely felt in the West, in part due to her relationship with the three founders of the Insight Meditation Society. She was a primary teacher of Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg, as well as one of Jack Kornfield’s teachers. Kornfield recalls that Dipa Ma’s first questions were always, “How are you feeling? How is your health? Are you eating well?” No matter who showed up or what state they were in, Dipa Ma reached out to them with love. Both Salzberg and Goldstein call her “the most loving person I have ever met.”

IMS teacher Michele McDonald-Smith considers meeting Dipa Ma a turning point in her life. “At the time I met her,” McDonald-Smith says, “there were mostly male role models—male teachers, male buddhas. To meet a woman householder who lived with her daughter and grandson—and who was that enlightened—it was more profound than I can put into words. She embodied what I deeply wanted to be like. For me as a woman householder, I immediately felt, ‘If she can do this, I can do this, too.’”

For lay people who are committed to dharma practice but unlikely to leave home, work and family to live in a temple or monastery, Dipa Ma is a vivid example of what is possible. Even the name she went by suggests her identity as an enlightened householder. After giving birth in middle age to a much-longed-for child, a daughter named Dipa, Nani Bala Barua got the nickname “Dipa Ma,” meaning “mother of Dipa.” The word dipa means “light or lamp of the dharma,” thus the name “mother of light” united the two salient features of her life—dharma and motherhood.

Dipa Ma’s early life followed the expected path of a village girl in East Bengal. At age twelve, she married Rajani Ranjan Barua, an engineer twice her age, who left one week after their wedding to take a job in Burma. After two lonely years in her in-laws’ home, she was sent to Rangoon to join her husband. To the couple’s great disappointment, the young Dipa Ma was unable to become pregnant and to add to this difficulty, her mother died while she was still adjusting to her new life. Although she was eventually able to bear children, she lost two as infants and then fell seriously ill herself. Through it all, Rajani was patient, loving, and wise. The couple adopted her much younger brother, Bijoy, and Rajani suggested to his grieving wife that she treat every person she met as her own child.

Dipa Ma raised her younger brother, gave birth to Dipa, and looked after her husband. However, in her mid-forties, after Bijoy had grown up and left home, Rajani died suddenly, leaving Dipa Ma devastated. For several years she was confined to her bed with heart disease and hypertension, scarcely able to care for herself and her young daughter, and she believed she would soon die if she did not find a way to free herself from her burden of grief. She resolved to learn meditation, convinced it was the only way she could save herself. Soon after, she dreamed of the Buddha softly chanting these verses from the Dhammapada:

Piyato jayati soko,
piyato jayati bhayam
piyato vippamuttassa,
natthi soko kuto bhayam.

Clinging to what is dear brings sorrow.
Clinging to what is dear brings fear.
To one who is entirely free from endearment
There is no sorrow or fear.

Awakening from the dream, Dipa Ma felt a calm determination to devote herself fully to meditation practice. She turned over everything she had been left by her husband to a neighbor, whom she asked to care for her daughter, and arranged to go to the Kamayut Meditation Center in Rangoon, intending to spend the rest of her life there.

Early in the morning during her first day at the center, Dipa Ma was given a room and basic instructions and told to report to the meditation hall late that afternoon. As she sat in meditation through the day, her concentration rapidly deepened. Later, on her way to the meditation hall, she suddenly found herself unable to move. For several minutes, she couldn’t even lift a foot, which puzzled her. Finally she realized that a dog had clamped its teeth around her leg and wouldn’t let go. Amazingly, her concentration had become so deep even in those first few hours of practice that she had felt no pain. Eventually, the dog was pulled away by some monks. Dipa Ma went to a hospital for rabies injections and then returned home to recuperate.

Once home, her distraught daughter would not allow her to leave again. With her characteristic practicality and resourcefulness, Dipa Ma recognized that her spiritual journey would have to take a different form. Using the instructions given at her short retreat, she patiently meditated at home, committing herself to the diligent practice of awareness, moment by moment.

After several years, Munindra, a family friend who lived nearby, encouraged Dipa Ma, then fifty-three years old, to come to the meditation center where he was studying under the renowned teacher Mahasi Sayadaw. By her third day there, Dipa Ma entered into much deeper concentration. Her need for sleep vanished, along with her desire to eat. In the following days, she passed through the classic phases of the “progress of insight,” which precede enlightenment. On reaching the first stage, her blood pressure returned to normal, her heart palpitations decreased dramatically, and the weakness that had made her unable to climb stairs was replaced with a healthy vigor. Finally, as the Buddha had predicted in her dream, the grief she had carried for so long vanished.

For the rest of the year, Dipa Ma went back and forth between home and the meditation center, where she rapidly progressed through further stages of enlightenment. (As described in the Visuddhimagga, the Theravada tradition recognizes four such stages, each producing distinct, recognizable changes in the mind.) People who knew her were fascinated by her change from a sickly, grief-stricken woman to a calm, strong, healthy, radiant being.

Inspired by this transformation, Dipa Ma’s friends and family including her daughter, joined her at the meditation center. One of the first to arrive was Dipa Ma’s sister, Hema. Although Hema had eight children, with five still living at home, she managed to make time to practice with her sister for almost a year. During school breaks, the two middle-aged mothers would have as many as six children between them. They lived together as a family, but followed strict retreat discipline, practicing silence, no eye contact, and no eating after noon.

In 1967, the Burmese government ordered all foreign nationals to leave the country. The monks assured Dipa Ma that she could get special permission to stay, an unprecedented honor for a woman and single mother, someone with essentially no standing in society. However, though she wanted to stay in Rangoon, Dipa Ma decided to go to Calcutta, where her daughter would have better social and educational opportunities.

Their new living conditions were modest, even by Calcutta standards. They lived in a small room above a metal-grinding shop in the center of the city. They had no running water, their stove was a charcoal burner on the floor, and they shared a toilet with another family. Dipa Ma slept on a thin straw mat.

Soon word spread in Calcutta that an accomplished meditation teacher had come from Burma. Women trying to fit spiritual training in between the endless demands of managing their households appeared at Dipa Ma’s apartment during the day, seeking instruction. She obliged by offering individualized teaching tailored to full lives—but with no concessions to busyness.

Dipa Ma’s long career of guiding householders had already begun in Burma. One of her first students, Malati, was a widow and a single mother who was caring for six young children. Dipa Ma devised practices Malati could do without leaving her children, such as bringing complete presence of mind to the sensation of her infant nursing at her breast. Just as Dipa Ma had hoped, by practicing mindfulness when she nursed her baby Malati attained the first stage of enlightenment.

In Calcutta, Dipa Ma addressed similar situations again and again. Sudipti was struggling to run a business while caring for a mentally ill son and an invalid mother. Dipa Ma instructed her in Vipassana practice, but Sudipti insisted that she couldn’t find time for meditation because she had so many family and business responsibilities. Dipa Ma told Sudipti that when she found herself thinking about family or business, she could simply think about them mindfully. “Human beings will never solve all their problems,” she taught. “The only way is to bring mindfulness to whatever you are suffering. And if you can manage only five minutes of meditation a day, you should do that.”

At their first meeting, Dipa Ma asked Sudipti if she could meditate right then and there for five minutes. “So I sat with her for five minutes,” Sudipti recalls. “Then she gave me instructions in meditation anyway, even though I said I had no time. Somehow I found five minutes a day, and I followed her instructions. And from this five minutes, I became so inspired. I was able to find longer and longer times to meditate, and soon I was meditating many hours a day, into the night, sometimes all night, after my work was done. I found energy and time I didn’t know I had.”

Another Indian student, Dipak, remembers Dipa Ma teasing him: “Oh, you are coming from the office; your mind must be very busy.” But then she would fiercely command him to change his mind. “I told her that working in a bank there was a lot of calculating, and that my mind was always restless,” said Dipak. “It was impossible to practice; I was too busy.” Dipa Ma was firm, however, insisting that, “If you are busy, then busyness is the meditation. And when you do calculations, know that you are doing calculations. Meditation is always possible, at any time. If you are rushing to the office, then you should be mindful of rushing.”

Householder practice under Dipa Ma could be as demanding as monastic life. Loving but tough, Dipa Ma asked that students follow the five precepts and sleep only four hours a night, as she did. Students meditated several hours a day, reported to her several times a week, and at her instigation undertook self-guided retreats. Joseph Goldstein recalls how the last time he saw Dipa Ma, she told him he should sit for two days—meaning not a two-day retreat but one sitting for two days straight. “I started to laugh, because it seemed so beyond my capacity. But she looked at me with deep compassion, and she just said, ‘Don’t be lazy!’”

Dipa Ma’s path wasn’t attached to a particular place, teacher, lifestyle, or the monastic model. The world was her monastery; mothering and teaching were her practice. She embraced family and meditation as one, in a heart that steadfastly refused to make divisions in life. “She told me, ‘Being a wife, being a mother—these were my first teachers,’” recalls Sharon Kreider, a mother who studied with Dipa Ma. “She taught me that whatever we do, whether one is a teacher, a wife, a mother—they are all noble. They are all equal.”

Dipa Ma became not only the “patron saint of householders,” as one student called her, but also the embodiment of being the practice rather than doing the practice. For Dipa Ma there was simply the practice of being present, being fully awake, all the time, in every situation; she was a living demonstration that the real nature of mind is presence. Joseph Goldstein said that with Dipa Ma there was no sense of someone trying to be mindful; there was just mindfulness doing itself.

“Her mind didn’t make distinctions,” says meditation teacher Jacqueline Mandell. “Meditation, mothering, and practice all flowed into each other in an effortless way. They were all the same. They were one whole. There were no special places to practice, no special circumstances, no special anything. Everything was dhamma.” She urged her students to make every moment count and emphasized bringing mindfulness to cooking, ironing, talking, or any other daily activity. She often said that the whole path of mindfulness is simply awareness of whatever you are doing. “Always know what you are doing,” she would say. “You cannot separate meditation from life.”

While some teachers make the greatest impact through their words, with Dipa Ma it was, Mandell says, “her natural agile attention: shifting from teaching meditation to parenting to grand-parenting to serving tea. A simple presence: all seemed quite ordinary within her completely natural way.” Though Dipa Ma was generous with her instruction, she was often silent or spoke only a few simple words; her students found refuge in her silence and in the unshakeable peace that surrounded her.

By the time she died in 1989, Dipa Ma had several hundred Calcutta students and a large group of Western followers. A continual stream of visitors came to her apartment from early morning until late at night. She never refused anyone. When her daughter urged her to take more time for herself, Dipa Ma would reply, “They are hungry for the dhamma, so let them come.”

Dipa Ma is remembered not only for her seamless mindfulness and her direct instruction, but also for transmitting dharma through blessings. From the moment she arose each morning she blessed everything she came in contact with, including animals and even inanimate objects. She blessed every person she met from head to toe, blowing on them and chanting and stroking their hair. Her students remember being bathed in love, a feeling so strong and deep they didn’t ever want it to end. To this day, one of Dipa Ma’s students, Sandip Mutsuddi, carries her picture in his shirt pocket over his heart. Several times a day, he pulls the picture out to help him remember her lessons and to offer his respect. He has been doing this every day since her death.

Lay practitioners often feel torn between spiritual practice and the requirements of family, work, and social life. We know that our recurrent dilemmas cannot be resolved by separating parts of our lives and weighing one against the other, yet we become easily lost in that moment of dilemma. Perhaps the image of Dipa Ma can reside in our hearts as a reminder that we do not have to choose. Each dilemma can be accepted as a gift, challenging us to find, again and again and yet again, the middle way in which nothing is outside of our compassion. And perhaps the very process of opening to such challenges will produce a form of family practice that reflects how the dharma can be lived in our particular time and place.

(Originally published in Buddhadharma Magazine, Spring 2003, by Amy Schmidt and Sara Jenkins) http://www.lionsroar.com/mother-of-light-the-inspiring-story-of-dipa-ma/

All of this and more can be found at dipama.com.

What is Morality? – Osho

Please talk about morality.

Shantam Divyama, the question about morality is immensely significant, because morality is not that which has been told to you for centuries. All the religions have exploited the idea of morality. They have been teaching in different ways, but the basic foundation is the same: unless you become moral, ethical, you cannot become religious.

By morality they mean that you have to be truthful, you have to be honest, you have to be charitable, you have to be compassionate, you have to be nonviolent. In one word, all these great values have first to be present in you, only then you can move towards being religious.

This whole concept is upside down. According to me, unless you are religious you cannot be moral.

Religion comes first, morality is only a by-product. If you make the by-product into the goal of human character, you will create such a troubled, miserable humanity – and for such a good cause. You are bringing the cart before the bullocks – neither the bullocks can move, nor the cart can move; both are stuck.

How can a man be truthful if he does not know what truth is? How can a man be honest if he does not know even who he is? How can a man be compassionate if he does not know the source of love within himself? From where will he get the compassion? All that he can do in the name of morality is to become a hypocrite, a pretender. And there is nothing more ugly than to be a hypocrite. He can pretend, he can try hard, but everything will remain superficial and skin-deep. Just scratch him a little bit, and you will find all the animal instincts fully alive, ready to take revenge whenever they can get the opportunity.

Putting morality before religion is one of the greatest crimes that religions have committed against humanity.

The very idea brings a repressed human being. And a repressed human being is sick, psychologically split, constantly in a fight with himself, trying to do things which he does not want to do.

Morality should be very relaxed and easy – just like your shadow; you don’t have to drag it with you, it simply comes on its own. But this has not happened; what has happened is a psychologically sick humanity. Everybody is tense, because whatever you are doing there is a conflict about whether it is right or wrong. Your nature goes in one direction; your conditioning goes just in the opposite direction, and a house divided cannot stand for long. So everybody is somehow pulling himself together; otherwise the danger is always there, just by your side, of having a nervous breakdown.

I do not teach morality at all. Morality should come on its own accord. I teach you directly the experience of your own being. As you become more and more silent, serene, calm and quiet, as you start understanding you own consciousness, as your inner being becomes more and more centered, your actions will reflect morality. It will not be something that you decide to do; it will be something as natural as roses on a rose bush. It is not that the rose bush is doing great austerities, and fasting, and praying to God, and disciplining itself according to the Ten Commandments; the rose bush is doing nothing. The rose bush has just to be healthy, nourished, and the flowers will come in their own time, with great beauty, effortlessly.

A morality that comes with effort is immoral. A morality that comes without effort is the only morality there is.

That’s why I don’t talk about morality at all, because it is morality that has created so many problems for humanity – about everything. They have given you ready-made ideas about what is right, what is wrong. In life, ready-made ideas don’t work, because life goes on changing, just like a river – taking new turns, moving into new territories… from the mountains to the valleys, from the valleys to the plains, from the plains to the ocean.

Heraclitus is right when he says, “You cannot step in the same river twice,” because it is always flowing. The second time you step in, it is different water. I agree with Heraclitus so much that I say unto you, you cannot step in the same river even once – because when your feet are touching its surface, the water underneath is flowing; as your feet are going deeper, the water on the surface is flowing; and by the time you have touched the bottom, so much water has gone… it is not the same water, that your step can not be said to be entering into the same river.

Life is just like the river – a flux. And you are all carrying fixed dogmas. You always find yourself unfit, because if you follow your dogmas, you have to go against life; if you follow life, you have to go against your dogmas.

Hence my whole effort is to make your morality spontaneous. You should be conscious and alert, and respond to every situation with absolute consciousness. Then whatever you do is right. It is not a question of actions being right or wrong, it is a question of consciousness – whether you are doing it consciously or unconsciously like a robot.

My whole philosophy is based on growing your consciousness higher, deeper, to the point when there is no unconsciousness inside you; you have become a pillar of light. In this light, in this clarity, to do anything wrong becomes impossible. It is not that you have to avoid doing it; even if you want to do it, you cannot. And in this consciousness, whatsoever you do becomes a blessing.

Your action out of consciousness is moral, out of unconsciousness is immoral… it may be the same action.

I am reminded of an old story: A king was getting old, and he told his only son, who was going to succeed him, “Before I die you have to learn the art of morality, because a king has to be a model for everyone else in the kingdom; nothing should go wrong in your actions. So I am sending you today to my old master. I am old, he is even older than me, so don’t waste time. Learn everything intensely, totally, without wasting a single moment.”

The prince went to the master and he was surprised – surprised by the fact that the master was a master of archery: “And what has archery to do with morality? Has my father gone senile?” But he had come to the mountains, so he thought, “It is better to see the old man at least once.”

He went in. The old man was immensely beautiful and graceful, surrounded by an aura of silence and peace. He had been thinking he was going to meet a warrior, an archer, but here was a sage. He was getting even more puzzled. He asked the old man, “Are you the master archer?” He said, “You are right.”

The prince said, “I have been sent by my father, the king, who is your disciple, to learn morality from you. I cannot see any connection at all between morality and archery.” The old man laughed and he said, “Soon you will see.”

The prince said, “I am in a hurry. My father is old, and before he dies I want to fulfill his desire.” The master said, “Then get lost, because these things cannot be learned in a hurry. Patience, infinite patience is the very foundation of learning any art, whether it is archery or it is morality.”

Looking at the old man’s eyes the prince remained, and he said, “When are my lessons going to start?” The old man said, “Just now they have started. Patience is your first lesson. And about the second lesson I should make you aware. The second lesson is that you will be cleaning the floors, cleaning in the garden, collecting the old leaves, throwing them out. Be very careful, because I may hit you with a wooden sword at any moment. Although it is wooden, it hits really hard. It has given many people fractures.”

The prince said, “But I have come here to learn morality, not to get fractures!” The old man said, “That will come in its own time, this is only the beginning.” Puzzled, confused… but he knew his father, that if he went back empty-handed the old man would be really enraged. He had to learn. On both sides two mad, old people…. “And this man is trying to teach me morality by hitting me! But let us see what happens.”

And the master started hitting him. He would be washing the floor, and suddenly a hit would come. He would be cleaning the path in the garden, and suddenly a hit would come. But he became surprised, within a week, that a certain intuition was arising in him. Even before the old man had approached him, he would jump out of his way. Whatever he was doing, some part of his consciousness was continuously alert the old man, where he was. And the old man used to walk so silently that it was almost impossible to remain conscious. But he started being conscious, because getting so many hits, his whole body was hurting.

It continued for one month. But in one month he became so capable that the old man was no longer able to hit him. The old man said, “You are really the son of your father. He was also very keen, intense, and total in learning; it won’t take much time. Your first lesson is finished today, because for twenty-four hours I have been trying to hit you, but you have been found always alert, and saved yourself.

“From tomorrow morning you will have to be more alert, because the wooden sword will be replaced by a real sword. The wooden sword at the most could have given you a fracture, but the real sword may even cut off your head. So more awareness will be needed.”

But this one month had been of such great learning… he was never aware that inside him there was so much possibility of intuitive awareness. He was trained, well-trained intellectually, but he had no idea of any intuitiveness. And he was not afraid even of the real sword, because he said, “It is the same. If you cannot hit me with the wooden sword, you cannot hit me with the real sword either. It makes no difference to me.”

For one month the old man was trying in every possible way to hit him with the real sword, and naturally the prince became more and more alert – had to become, there was no other alternative.

And one complete month passed, and the old man could not even touch him. He was very happy, and he said, “I am immensely satisfied. Now the third lesson. Up to now I was hitting you only while you were awake. From this evening, remember that in the night when you are asleep I may hit you at any time. Again it will start with the wooden sword.”

The prince became a little worried – awake it was one thing, but when you are asleep? But these two months had given him tremendous respect, trust in the old man and his art, and also a confidence about his own intuition. And he thought, “If he says it, then perhaps intuition never sleeps.”

And that proved to be the truth. The body sleeps, the mind sleeps, but the intuition is always awake; its very nature is awareness, but we never look at it He had to look, he had to remain alert, even asleep.

The old man started hitting him, and a few times he got really bad hits. But he was grateful, not angry, because after each hit he was becoming more and more alert, even in sleep – just like a small flame, something remained alive in him, alert and watchful. And just in one month he was again able to protect himself even in his sleep. As the old man would come close, very silently, making no noise, no footstep sounds, the young man would jump up out of his bed. He may have been fast asleep, but something remained awake.

And in the next lesson the real sword in appeared his sleep. The next morning the old man said, “Now the last lesson – I will be hitting you with a real sword. And you know my sword, just a single hit and you are finished. You have to gather all your consciousness.” The young man was a little worried, a little afraid, because the game was becoming more and more dangerous.

In the early morning sun the old man was reading a book, sitting under a tree in the rising sun, and the young man was gathering the old leaves from the garden. Suddenly a thought came to him, “This old man has been hitting me for months; it will be a great idea… I should try to hit him and see whether he is alert or not.”

And he was just twenty or twenty-five feet away, when he was just thinking this in his mind – he had not done anything yet – and the old man said, “Boy, I am very old, and your teaching is not finished yet. Don’t have such ideas.” The prince could not believe it. He came and touched his feet, and said, “Forgive me, but I had not done anything, I was only thinking… just an idea.”

The old man said, “When you become fully alert even the sound of your thoughts is heard. It is the question of awareness. You don’t have to do anything, you just think and I will know. And soon you will become capable of the same – just a little more patience .”

And soon the day came when he started suddenly becoming aware that the old man was thinking of hitting him… for no reason. The old man was sitting reading his book, but the idea came so clearly that he went to the master, and said, “So you are going to hit me again? Just a few seconds before I heard the idea.” The master said, “You are right, I was just thinking to finish the page and come. Now there is no need for you to be here. I know your father is old and is waiting for you.”

But the young man said, “What happened about morality?” The old man said, ”Forget all about it.

A man who is so alert can only be moral. He cannot harm anybody, he cannot steal, he cannot be unkind, cruel; he will be naturally loving and compassionate. You forget all about morality!”

This awareness is what I call religiousness. The prince went back. The father was waiting and waiting, and he said, “Have you learned the whole art of archery?” The young man said, ”You sent me to learn the art of morality. From where have you got the idea of archery?” The king said, ”I sent you to learn morality, archery was only a device.”

There are many devices, many ways and methods of meditation to create awareness, to wake up your sleeping intuition. And once it is awake, then there is no need to tell you what is good, what is moral, what is bad, what is immoral; your awareness will be decisive on its own. And it will be spontaneous, fresh and young, and always to the point, because all principles become dead. And if you try to fit your life according to principles, you also become dead.

That’s what has happened to Christians, to Hindus, to Mohammedans, to Jainas, to all the people around the world – they are living according to dead principles. And those dead principles don’t fit with the reality – they cannot fit. Only a spontaneous consciousness…. The difference is something like this: you have a photograph of yourself of the last year, or maybe of your childhood, and if you don’t know that it is your picture of your childhood, you may not even recognize it – because you have changed so much. That picture is dead, it is not growing; you are growing.

Morality is like photographs. Religion is like a mirror. If a child is facing it, it reflects the child; if an old man is facing it, it reflects the old man. It is always spontaneous, in the moment, responding to reality. A conscious human being is just like a mirror – he reflects reality and responds accordingly. His response is moral.

So I am changing the whole emphasis from action to awareness.

And if more and more people can become aware, the world will be a totally different place. A man of awareness will not go to war. Although religious scriptures say that to sacrifice yourself for your nation, for your religion is virtuous, a man of consciousness cannot follow that dead idea. To him, the nation itself is an immoral idea, because it divides humanity – and war is certainly immoral. You may find good names, good words – sometimes it is religion, sometimes it is political ideology, sometimes it is Christianity, sometimes it is communism – good ideas, but the reality is turning human beings into butchers.

You are killing people whom you have never even met. And you know perfectly well that just as you have left a wife behind, crying, who will be waiting for you, just as you have left your old mother and father back at home, hoping that their son comes back alive, just as you have left small children… the man you are killing has also a wife, has also children, has also an old father and mother. And he has done no harm to you; neither have you done any harm to him.

If the world becomes a little more conscious, soldiers will throw away their arms and hug each other, sit down together under a tree and gossip. The politicians cannot force all the armies to kill, to murder. Neither can the popes, the religious leaders convince anybody that for God’s sake you have to kill. Strange… because God has created everybody. Whomsoever you are killing, you are killing God’s creation. If it is true that God created the world, then there should be no war – it is one family; there should be no nations.

These are immoral things: the nations, the religions, anything that discriminates against people and creates conflict.

A man of awareness will not be greedy, because he will be able to see that his greed will create poverty; and the people who will be starving and dying through poverty are his brothers and sisters. It does not matter whether they live in Ethiopia or in India; it does not matter whether their skin is white or black.

Authentic morality is a by-product of consciousness. And the art of consciousness is religion. There is no Hindu religion, there is no Christian religion, there is no Mohammedan religion; there is only one religion, and that is the religion of consciousness – becoming so aware, so enlightened and awakened, that you have eyes to see clearly and can respond according to that clarity.

A man of consciousness cannot be deceived by words. Mohammedans say that if you die in a religious war… how can there be a religious war? War is basically irreligious. But Christians, Mohammedans, and all other religions say that if you die in a religious war, your reward will be great in the other world. For this immoral act of killing people, you will be rewarded. But beautiful words “religious war”, cover it up.

A man of awareness sees deeply and penetratingly through your words. Neither your God can deceive him, nor your holy books can deceive him, nor your nations, nor your politicians. He lives according to his consciousness. He has an individuality, a very crystal clear individuality – a pure mirror, unclouded by anything, with no dust covering it.

But for thousands of years just mere words, and sometimes such stupid, trivial causes, have been killing people. Christianity in the middle ages burnt thousands of women. They created a fiction – the fiction of the devil. There is no devil. There is no God! But people have lived in unconsciousness, and whatsoever the leaders, the so-called saints, go on saying, people have been told to believe: if you don’t believe you will suffer in hell; if you believe you will be rewarded.

People’s intelligence has been destroyed. They have been kept retarded. Otherwise it would be impossible to burn thousands of living women for a strange reason – that these women are having sexual intercourse with the devil. Now nobody is having sexual intercourse with the devil. Only in the middle ages, suddenly, the devil became so much interested in women, and that too, only in Europe…!

A special court was created by the pope, so that if anybody suspects any woman, that she is having some friendship with the devil, you have just to report to the court and the woman will be immediately imprisoned, tortured. And the torture was so intense. They had invented special methods of torture.

Just five, six years ago, something went wrong with my back. There were so many body workers in the commune, and they all tried, but nobody succeeded in fixing it. Finally the best expert in the world from London was called, and he suggested a machine called traction. The machine was brought, and I was put on the machine. And while they were fixing their belts, I remembered that I have read that this traction machine was created in the middle ages by the Christian priests, to torture women. It pulls your legs to one side and your hands to another side. Naturally it pulls your backbone – so if the backbone has slipped somewhere it comes into line.

It was just an accidental invention. One old woman they were torturing had been suffering for twenty years from a bad back, and after their traction, she could not believe it when she stood up – her pain was gone. That’s how the traction machine was transferred from the church to the hospital. It is really torturous, and if you are using it just to torture, then you can go on pulling…. Sometimes even hands were broken, legs were taken out. The torture was so much that the women thought it was better to confess, because while they went on saying, “I have nothing to do with the devil, I don’t know the devil,” the torture continued. It would stop only when you confess that you are having sexual intercourse with the devil.

Thousands of women confessed that they have been having sexual intercourse with the devil. And once they had confessed before the court, then there was no problem. The punishment was to burn the woman alive at the crossroads in the middle of the city.

Nobody ever bothered about whether there was any devil. It was just a word – nobody had seen the devil. If you had tortured these women to make a confession that they are having intercourse with God, they would have confessed that too! There is a limit to what one can tolerate suffering.

Just mere words… but why have people enjoyed killing, suffering, torturing? Because they themselves are unhappy… so unhappy, so miserable. They cannot see anybody else being blissful, being joyous. They want everybody else to suffer more than they are suffering.

Morality has been a very good device to torture people: you don’t have to torture them, they torture themselves – even to make love to your own wife is a sin. They don’t say it about somebody else’s wife, sex is sin; and anything connected with sex becomes sin. Now sex, is something natural – there is no way to avoid it. So you are putting man into a dilemma: fixing in his mind that sex is immoral, and giving him a nature which is sexual and sensuous.

It has been discovered that millions of men around the world suffer from migraine after making love. And I was reading a report of a Christian scientist – because he is Christian, his mind is conditioned himself. He is trying to find all kinds of causes why men suffer from migraines.

He has been working on the project for one year continually. Just now he has produced his report, giving many, many causes – physiological, chemical – and the reality is so simple, there is no need of any investigation. The reality is that you have divided men’s mind into two parts. One part says, “What you are doing is wrong. Don’t do it”; the other part says, “It is impossible to resist the temptation. I’m going to do it.” These two parts start struggling, conflicting.

Migraine is nothing but a conflict, a deep conflict, in your mind. No aboriginal suffers from migraine after making love. Catholics suffer more than anybody else, because their conditioning is so deep that it creates a split in their mind. What they have been saying for centuries is without any base, without any evidence, but they go on repeating it. And once… even if a lie is repeated too often, it starts looking as if it is true.

One should be very much aware about words.

A man goes into a bar and begins to tell a Polish joke. The man sitting next to him, a big, hulking, powerhouse of a man, turns and says menacingly,“I’m Polish. Now you just wait a minute till I get my sons.”

He then calls out, “Ivan, come out here; and bring your brother.” Two men, bigger than the first, appear from the back room. “Joseph,” the man calls out, “You and your cousin come in here,” Two more men, the biggest of all, come in through the back door. All five men crowd around the man

“Now,” says the first Polish man, “Do you want to finish that joke.”

“No,” says the man.

“No? And why not?” says the Polish man, opening and closing his fist, “Are you scared?”

“No,” says the man, “I just don’t feel like having to explain it to five men.”

People are very clever with words. They can hide any kind of reality. He is afraid – those five men can kill him – but he finds a beautiful excuse: “I don’t want to bother myself, explaining to five people the meaning of the joke.”

All the religions have been playing with words, and have not allowed man to be intelligent enough to see through the words. They have created a jungle of words and theologies and dogmas and creeds and cults. And poor man is simply carrying the whole load of it in the name of morality.

I want to tell you, never bother about morality. The only concern for a sincere seeker is awareness, more consciousness. And your consciousness will take care of all your acts. Without any effort, your acts will become moral – just like flowers without any act, without any effort they will blossom around you. Morality is nothing but a conscious man’s life style.

-Osho

From The Razor’s Edge, Chapter 19

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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Being Aware is Enough for Transformation – Osho

It is said again and again that being aware is enough for transformation. How does it work?

It is a significant question, because if you are aware of your cancer, the cancer will not be cured by just being aware of it – that is true. But as far as psychological transformations are concerned, the moment you are aware of them they disappear – because they do not exist as realities, they exist only as illusions.

You have seen a ghost standing in the dark: now you bring light, and you say there is nobody. Just the shape of the tree was giving you the false impression that somebody was standing there. The ghost has disappeared, because in the first place the ghost was not there. Awareness helps, brings transformation, because the illusions that you are suffering from are not realities. If you become aware of a rock, the rock is not going to disappear. But if you become aware of the ego, the ego is going to disappear, because the ego is not a reality.

If you become aware, fear is going to disappear, because fear is not a reality. If you become aware, death is going to disappear, because death is a lie, it is not a reality.

Awareness functions in two ways. One: if something is real and you become aware of it, it becomes tremendously beautiful, it becomes psychedelic, it becomes very colorful. If it is unreal, it disappears. If it is real, it becomes MORE real; if it is unreal, it becomes absolutely unreal.

Awareness is a light. If you bring light into the dark room, darkness will disappear, but the paintings on the wall will appear. When the room was dark, the paintings were not there; although they were there, you could not have seen them – for you they were not there and darkness was there. When you bring light, darkness is there no more and the paintings have appeared.

Something disappears when you become aware, and something appears. Death disappears, deathlessness appears. The ego disappears, egolessness appears. You disappear as a separate entity: God appears. God means, “I am no longer separate.”

“Was you ever in love, Dusty?” asked Walker Long of old Dusty Rhodes one day as they were picking up and putting them down on a railroad right-of-way.

“Yeah, once when I was a young squirt, I was in love,” answered old Dusty.

“Well, you never did get married, did you?” pursued Walker Long.

“Nope, I never did marry,” vouchsafed old Dusty.

“How did that happen?”

“Well, it was like this. The gal I was in love with wouldn’t marry me when I was drunk, and I wouldn’t marry her when I was sober.”

Awareness has its own ways. If you are aware, you will not be able to do many things you have been doing up till now, and you will be able to do many things you have never thought of doing before. If you are aware, you cannot be angry, because anger can exist only in a state of unawareness: that is a prerequisite for anger to exist.

If you are aware, anger is impossible and compassion becomes a natural outcome: the same energy that was becoming anger becomes compassion. If you are aware, sex disappears and love arises: the same energy that was becoming sexuality through unawareness takes on a new manifestation of love through awareness.

As far as psychological transformation is concerned, awareness is enough, analysis is not needed.

That is the difference between Eastern and Western psychology: Western psychology is too concerned with analysis. In the East, for five thousand years psychology has existed; it is the most ancient science in the East. But its concern is totally different; it is not at all interested in analyzing, the whole thing seems to be unnecessary.

And now Western psychology is also becoming aware of the fact that analysis leads nowhere. Have you ever come across a person who is totally analyzed? Even Sigmund Freud was not. Nobody can be totally analyzed. You can analyze one dream, but another day another dream arises. You can go on analyzing – people go to the analyst for years, but dreams don’t disappear, they go on coming; analysis does not make them disappear.

But in the East we know the art of making the disappear. So who bothers? It is as if you see a ghost in the dark – there is no ghost, just the form of the tree – and you start analyzing. You never come close to the tree, you never bring light; you start analyzing the form from far away. You can go on analyzing: nothing is going to happen out of that analysis.

Eastern psychology says: Light a candle, bring the candle to the place, and first see whether the ghost exists at all. If the ghost does not exist, then why bother? Why long long years of analysis?

The analyzed goes on pouring out rubbish, and the analyst goes on dissecting, analyzing, labeling and categorizing the rubbish. Much work goes on, and all futile, much ado about nothing.

Western psychology is based on analysis, Eastern psychology is based on awareness.

Just watch. There is no need to analyze. Become more and more intensely alert. And if you are aware of a problem, half the problem is already solved just by becoming aware of it. Just a slight awareness of the problem, and half the problem is already solved, because you have taken some energy out of it: that energy has become awareness. Become more aware, and the problem becomes dissolved.

Chunk by chunk, the problem disappears as you become aware, because you are pulling back energy which you had been pouring into the problem – that was creating the problem. You are taking your energy back, you are not cooperating any more. You were the creator of the problem: you have taken your energy back.

When all energy has been taken back, a moment comes when the problem flops. First become aware of a problem and then become more and more alert. Nothing else is needed; you need not go to any psychoanalyst.

It is one thing to have a problem, but it is another not even to be aware that you have a problem. That is like the eighty-year-old I heard about in Miami. He was vacationing with another octogenarian in Florida. During their stay they both made the acquaintance of some ladies younger than themselves.

They both fell in love and decided to get married in Florida in a double ceremony. Following the wedding night, they are both in their rocking chairs after breakfast.

The one says, “You know, I better see a doctor.”

The other says, “Why?”

“Well,” the first said, “I couldn’t consummate the marriage.”

“Oh,” said the second. “I better see a psychiatrist.”

“Why?” said the first.

“I didn’t even give it a thought.”

First become aware of your problem, and then go on becoming more and more aware of it. Don’t judge; judgment is an obstacle in becoming aware. Don’t call it any names, don’t evaluate. Don’t say it is good, don’t say it is bad, don’t label, don’t categorize. Just be alert: whatsoever it is, simply mirror it.

If you take a stand and you say, “This is bad,” then you have already blocked your awareness. You have concluded – now you are no longer impartial, you have already made a decision. And the moment you say something is bad, you cannot look at it eye to eye. When you say some man is bad, you can’t face him, you can’t encounter him; you avoid him. When you say something is good you become positively attached; when you say something is bad, you become negatively attached.

Observation means no attachment at all, this way or that, neither negative nor positive. You are simply an impartial mirror-like reflection, you simply reflect whatsoever is. In that awareness, problems melt. In that awareness, lies, falsities and fallacies disappear. And in that awareness, when falsities and appearances have disappeared, reality comes with radiant colors.

You need not take LSD or marijuana or psilocybin. Take a dose of awareness – and life is so beautiful, it is so utterly glorious, it is such an incredible splendor, that no LSD, no marijuana, can add anything to it. All that you need is awareness, and life becomes such a beautiful experience that you cannot imagine that there could be anything better. Ordinary life becomes so luminous.

The ordinary tree that you have passed your whole life – coming home, going to the office, you have always been passing the tree – for the first time you see the greenery of it. For the first time you see the luminous presence of the tree, the utter beauty of it.

Life is such a gift, and we go on missing it. And the reason is, between us and life there are so many lies crowding. Your awareness will destroy those lies: they will disappear, and reality will be nakedly encountered.

And to know reality in its utter nakedness is to know God.

-Osho

From Unio Mystica, Vol. 2, Chapter Ten

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 Viha Osho Book Distributors.

Investigate “I Am” – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Maharaj: Rajneesh [Osho] is not a small personality or small principal. He is tremendous ‒ he is very big. He is a great sage.

When you already have a guru [Rajneesh], why do you visit other sages? Since you already have a great sage as your guru, you should not sit here or come here. I do not like those shiftings from gurus to gurus. I do not like wanderers. What is the difference between Maharaj and Rajneesh [Osho]? Once you remove the letters (that is, the names) what is the difference? You investigate that wanderer’s “I”, before you investigate others. What is the product after you remove its name? What are you without the name or the label?

You investigate the investigator—investigate “I Am”.

Before you take up the assignment of inquiring about others, inquire about yourself first and see if you are real or unreal. The letters “I Am” are written spontaneously with a certain ink. What is that ink which was used to write that which you are? In that ink with which the letters “I Am” were written, in that ink the title of Tej Sesh Bhagavan is confirmed by the Vedas. Sesh means the leftover, the remains. What is the leftover that means what you are? [Maharaj then asked someone to leave and not to listen to these talks.] One who has understood one’s mystery as to what is, that one will not discuss or argue the largeness or smallness of anybody.

You have become a slave to a concept, and having become a slave to one concept you are fully involved and are immersed in more concepts. You are drowning in concepts. Having got caught up with the concept that you are, the first concept, you started giving names and titles and ideas to others and you became enmeshed therein. Although one may call oneself a jnani, one enjoys entertaining himself with a number of concepts. That Taj Sesh Bhagavan has spontaneously come and will spontaneously go. What are you going to get for yourself as “I Am”? In what position or concept did you stabilize yourself as “I Am”? The firm conviction that I am this, the three states—waking state, deep sleep and the knowledge “I Am”—are the aspects of that Tej Sesh Bhagavan. You are not that.

Question: Then who am I?

Maharaj: The prominent and firm reply is only you are. You throw the hooks with bait into the water to catch fish. In that way you, with the concept that you are, throw in the bait and haul in lots of concepts for yourself. So when the question followed by the answer is there, then anything which is refused (what remains) is that rejection.

Prior to any other recognition, you already are. If you are not, other people are not. You are supporting yourself on the intellect of the body and having stabilized in the body or the intellect, you are creating or inviting a lot of concepts, and in the concepts you are bogged down. You are talking about others, let me know what you are. I am asking about you. What are you? You are the observer.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From Consciousness and the Absolute, June 9, 1981.

You can read more from Nisargadatta Maharaj here.

The Right Use of Energy – J. Krishnamurti

What is this energy which we all have?  This energy is thinking, feeling; it is interest, enthusiasm, greed, passion, lust, ambition, hate.  Painting pictures, inventing machines, building bridges, making roads, cultivating the fields, playing games, writing poems, singing, dancing, going to the temple, worshipping—these are all expressions of energy; and energy also creates illusion, mischief, misery.  The very finest and the most destructive qualities are equally the expressions of human energy.  But, you see, the process of controlling or disciplining this energy, letting it out in one direction and restricting it in another, becomes merely a social convenience; the mind is shaped according to the pattern of a particular culture, and thereby its energy is gradually dissipated.

So, our problem is, can this energy, which in one degree or another we all possess, be increased, given greater vitality—and if so, to do what?  What is energy for?  Is it the purpose of energy to make war?  Is it to invent jet planes and innumerable other machines, to pursue some guru, to pass examinations, to have children, to worry endlessly over this problem and that?  Or can energy be used in a different way so that all our activities have significance in relation to something which transcends them all?

Surely, if the human mind, which is capable of such astonishing energy, is not seeking reality or God, then every expression of its energy becomes a means of destruction and misery.  To seek reality requires immense energy; and, if man is not doing that, he dissipates his energy in ways which create mischief and therefore society has to control him.  Now, is it possible to liberate energy in seeking God or truth and, in the process of discovering what is true, to be a citizen who understands the fundamental issues of life and whom society cannot destroy?  Are you following this, or is it a little bit too complex?

You see, man is energy, and if man does not seek truth, this energy becomes destructive; therefore society controls and shapes the individual, which smothers this energy.  That is what has happened to the majority of grown-up people all over the world.  And perhaps you have noticed another interesting and very simple fact:  that the moment you really want to do something, you have the energy to do it. What happens when you are keen to play a game?  You immediately have energy, have you not?  And that very energy becomes the means of controlling itself, so you don’t need outside discipline.  In the search for reality, energy creates its own discipline.  The man who is seeing reality spontaneously becomes the right kind of citizen, which is not according to the pattern of any particular society or government.

– J. Krishnamurti

From Think on These Things, Chapter 24

 

Not Biting the Hook – Pema Chodron

In Tibetan there is a word that points to the root cause of aggression, the root cause also of craving. It points to a familiar experience that is at the root of all conflict, all cruelty, oppression, and greed. This word is shenpa. The usual translation is “attachment,” but this doesn’t adequately express the full meaning. I think of shenpa as “getting hooked.” Another definition, used by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, is the “charge”—the charge behind our thoughts and words and actions, the charge behind “like” and “don’t like.”

Here’s an everyday example: Someone criticizes you. She criticizes your work or your appearance or your child. In moments like that, what is it you feel? It has a familiar taste, a familiar smell. Once you begin to notice it, you feel like this experience has been happening forever. That sticky feeling is shenpa. And it comes along with a very seductive urge to do something. Somebody says a harsh word and immediately you can feel a shift. There’s a tightening that rapidly spirals into mentally blaming this person, or wanting revenge or blaming yourself. Then you speak or act. The charge behind the tightening, behind the urge, behind the story line or action is shenpa.

You can actually feel shenpa happening. It’s a sensation that you can easily recognize. Even a spot on your new sweater can take you there. Someone looks at us in a certain way, or we hear a certain song, or walk into a certain room and boom. We’re hooked. It’s a quality of experience that’s not easy to describe but that everyone knows well.

Now, if you catch shenpa early enough, it’s very workable. You can acknowledge that it’s happening and abide with the experience of being triggered, the experience of urge, the experience of wanting to move. It’s like experiencing the yearning to scratch an itch, and generally we find it irresistible. Nevertheless, we can practice patience with that fidgety feeling and hold our seat.

–  Pema Chodron

From Practicing Peace in Times of War
http://pemachodronfoundation.org/store/buy-books/#peace

Thank you to Shambhala Publications for Heart Advice of the Week.
www.shambhala.com/heartadvice/