Immediacy, the Whole Insistence of Zen – Osho

God is. Truth is. Love is. There is no way to say it, and there is no way to hide it. There is no word which can express it, and there is no methodology of how to keep it unexpressed. That is the dilemma of the mystic. He has to say it, and it cannot be said. He cannot keep quiet about it; he cannot keep silent. It overfloods him; it starts overflowing; it is beyond him to keep silent. He has to say it, and nobody has ever been able to say it.

God is not a word, neither is truth a word, nor is love a word. And they are not just silences either, because their isness is a singing isness; they are songs. It is not just dull and dead there. It is full of joy, it is overflowing joy. It is celebration, it is ecstasy, it is orgasm, because it is a meeting of the opposites, because it is a meeting of the polarities, because it is a marriage, a marriage of yin and yang, day and night, summer and winter, life and death, sound and silence.

So when it happens, you cannot say it, but you have to sing it, and that is the beauty of the song. It has something of the word and something of silence in it. That is the beauty of poetry, the beauty of dance. Something is visible, something is invisible; the manifest and the unmanifest meet there, embrace each other, are fulfilled in each other.

If you simply say and use words and there is no silence in those words, your words will be like dead stones. They can hit somebody’s head, you can argue with them, but you cannot convert. They don’t have that quality of silence which becomes conversion. When a word has a silence at its innermost core, when a word is luminous with silence, it brings conversion.

Then it is a gospel, then it is good news. Then somebody, who is saying something with silence in it, is not throwing a dead rock at you, but is throwing a flower. It will also hit you, but it will also caress you, and it will go deeper because you can be vulnerable to it and it will reach to your very heart. Because how can you protect yourself against it? You will be nondefensive.

So remember, all the mystics have been singing and dancing, celebrating. They go on saying, “We cannot say it,” and they go on saying all the same.

There is a difference in saying and saying. When you say without knowing it, without realizing it, it is just gibberish, just words and words and words, without any soul in them; it is a corpse; there is no aliveness in it. Those words stink – they stink of death. There is no heartbeat of life. When you know, when you have experienced, when you have fallen into that abyss called God, when you are transformed by that surrender, when you are totally immersed in it, when your every cell is bathed in it, then you say; but your words are not mere words.

They carry silence. They are vehicles of silence; they are gestures of silence. We have a special name for it in the East: mahamudra – the great gesture.

Look at my hand. If it is empty, if there is nobody behind it who has experienced, then it is an ordinary gesture. But if there is somebody behind it who has known, who has lived, who has experienced, then raising this hand is a great gesture, mahamudra. Then the ordinary hand becomes extraordinary. Then ordinary words are no more ordinary words. You cannot go to the dictionary to find their meaning. When a word is full of silence, you will have to go within yourself to find its meaning, not to a dictionary, not to a library. You will have to go within yourself. The meaning will be found in your experience.

The word of a man who knows is loaded, loaded with great fragrance. You will have to decode it in your innermost core of being, into the innermost shrine of your being. Truth is a transcendence, transcendence of all duality. So those who say truth cannot be said, only say a half-truth; and those who say that truth can be said only in silence, they also say a half-truth.

Zen brings the whole truth to the world. Zen is a great blessing to the world; it brings the whole truth.

The whole truth is: Truth cannot be said, and yet can be said. If not said, then showed, indicated. The ordinary duality is transcended. We are always moving from one pole of the duality to the other. Sometimes we say, “Yes, it can be said”; this is one pole. Then we become aware, “How can it be said?” – the other pole. Then we keep silent, but then again we become aware that there is something left: “Yes, it can be said.” This way it goes on moving, it swings.

Zen says truth is a transcendence, transcendence of all duality. The duality between the word and the silence is also to be transcended.

The Bible says in the beginning there was the word. The Vedas say in the beginning there was silence, eternal silence, and the silence brooded over the sea, and it was dark. And the Bible says there was the word. The first thing that happened in existence was the word. God said let there be light, and there was light. Both are half-truths.

If you ask the Zen people . . . They have not written any Bible or any Veda yet, and they will never try, because they don’t believe in scriptures. They say it is beyond the scriptures; it is a transmission beyond the scriptures. But if they ever write a Bible, or if they are forced to, like Lao Tzu was once forced to write the Tao Te Ching because the king wouldn’t allow him to leave the country unless he wrote his experiences . . .

Lao Tzu wanted to go to the Himalayas, to die there; certainly, there cannot be any more beautiful a place to die. Those eternal peaks, those snow – covered virgin peaks, where can you find a better place to disappear in God? What better moment? He wanted to go – he was very old and he wanted to go to the Himalayas to rest and disappear there, nobody ever knowing about him. He wanted to disappear absolutely alone. He wanted his death to be private.

And death is a private thing. Nobody else can be with you when you die; it is absolutely internal. So he wanted to escape and go away from the crowds. He was afraid too many people will surround him and his death will become a public affair.

But the king insisted, “First you write whatsoever you have known.” And he ordered the guards on the boundary saying that “This man is not to be allowed to go out.” So he was caught at a guard post, and for three days he sat in the guards’ room and wrote down the Tao Te Ching.

If somebody, forces a Zen Master to write down a Bible, a Veda, then they will say there was song in the beginning. Neither word nor silence, but song. There was song in the beginning, and God sang and danced. Not “Let there be light”: God sang and danced. And that dance became the beginning of creation.

That dance continues. That dance is what existence is.

The song has a mystery about it because it is a meeting, a marriage of opposites. In the song there is sound and silence. The song says something, but says in such a way that you cannot grasp it. Not that it doesn’t say anything. It makes much available, but you cannot grasp it, you cannot just possess it. If you try to possess, you will kill it. You cannot have a song in your fist; otherwise the song will be killed. It is too delicate; you cannot be that rough with it.

A song has to be preserved in the heart, not in the fist. About a song you have to be receptive, not aggressive. You can keep an argument in the fist; it is hard, rocklike, it will not die. You can keep and possess an argument, you can become the possessor of an argument. That’s why the ego enjoys very much to have arguments, proofs, logic, philosophies. The ego feels very much fulfilled: “I know so much.”

The song cannot be possessed that way; the ego cannot be its possessor. The song can penetrate your being, but the ego has to give way. If the ego comes in between, the song will be shattered. You may get fragments of it, and you may start interpreting those fragments, but you will miss the unity of it. And it was in the unity.

A song has not to be thought about. If you start thinking, about a song, you are already missing it. When you listen to music, how do you listen? Do you bring your mind in? If you bring your mind in, where is the music? Music and the mind both cannot exist together. That is the mystery of music: you have to put your mind aside. You cannot argue with music; you cannot nod your head in agreement or disagreement. You cannot say, “Yes, I agree,” or “No, I don’t agree.” There is no question of agreement or no agreement. With music you simply become one. If you want to feel it you have to put your head aside. The heart has to open towards it. It goes directly to the heart, it showers on the heart. It helps the flower of the heart to open and bloom. It is a nourishment for the inner lotus.

The Zen people will say, “There was song in the beginning, and then God sang and God danced, and that’s what he has been doing since then.” Each moment it is a dance. Look around. Can’t you hear these birds? These are not birds; don’t be deceived by them. These are not birds. It is God singing, the God of the beginnings – because it is always a beginning. Each moment is a beginning. Never think that the beginning was somewhere in the past. This is the beginning, and it is always the beginning and there is no end. It is God singing.

Can’t you hear the silence of the trees? It is God, silent.

In the birds he is singing, in the trees he is silent. Birds cannot exist without the trees, and, let me tell you, the trees cannot exist without the birds either. The birds sing for the trees, and the trees are silent for the birds, and there is a marriage. They are tied together. If trees disappear, birds will disappear. Kill all the birds of the world, and you will one day see the trees are disappearing. Everything is intertwined, everything is interlinked. This is what we mean by the word “ecology” – everything is together.

It is God singing, it is God silent.

Once you understand that God is both, then this highest possibility opens for you. This is the first principle, that you need not divide, all division is false, that you need not create any duality, because existence is nondual, because existence is one.

And all our misery is because we are divided. Why do you feel so thrilled when you are in love? What happens? Is the thrill just chemical, hormonal? No, it is not. The thrill isexistential. When you are in love, at least with one person you feel to be one, at least with one person you have dropped duality, at least with one person you are no more separate, at least with one person the boundaries are not there. You have removed the boundaries. Two spaces have come so close, they overlap. You feel so thrilled with love, so blissful with love, because it is an experience of God, a very limited experience of course.

And if it is so beautiful to be one with one person, how much more beautiful will it be to be one with the whole, to be one with all the persons, men and women, trees and birds and animals and the clouds and the mountains and the stars? How will it be? How much more beautiful? The beauty cannot be imagined, because the difference will not be only of quantity, it will be of quality. It will be utterly different.

Love can at the most be only a glimpse of a ray, not the ray itself, but only a glimpse in the lake. A ray of the sun playing on the lake, and you see the glimpse. That glimpse is love. When you find out the real ray, it becomes prayer. When you start moving through that ray, upwards, you start climbing on that ray and you start reaching towards the source of all light, then you are growing in spirituality. One day you are dissolved into that light. You yourself have become that light. That is the orgasm I talk about. That’s ecstasy.

And Zen people say that when you know, you have to say, knowing well that it cannot be said. You have to sing it.

Zen Masters have been very creative. Either they were singers, dancers, or painters, or in some sort of art, calligraphy, pottery. Whatsoever they could do they did. That became the gesture of their expression. They were not inactive people. Deep down they were not doers, and on the surface, they were not inactive at all. Deep down they were just instrumental to the divine. No doer, no idea of doing anything – just being, but on the surface very creative. The world would have been far richer if every religion had developed such a school as Zen. For example, Hindu monks have lived a very uncreative life. Jaina monks have lived a very uncreative life. Except Zen, even Buddhists have lived a very uncreative life. So has been the case with the Catholics.

Zen brings creativity. And remember, if you want to be one with the creator, you will have to learn some was of creativity. The only way to be one with the creator is to be in some moment of creativity, when you are lost. The potter is lost in making his pottery; the potter is lost while working on the wheel. The painter is lost while painting. The dancer is lost; there is no dancer, only the dance remains. Those are the peak moments, where you touch God, where God touches you.

Now, the scholar, the so-called scholar, becomes wordy. He goes on learning more words, more words, more information, more scriptures. He has no silence. That is a very lopsided phenomenon. Then against the scholar there are a few saints, who keep quiet; they don’t even say a single word. That too is moving to the other extreme. They become uncreative. Of course, they are silent, better than the scholar – at least they will not throw their rubbish into other people’s heads, at least they are not committing any crime – but in a higher sense they are also criminals because they are not benefiting existence. They are parasites. They are not making existence richer by their being here. They are not helping God in his dance, in his song.

Zen brings the highest synthesis. Don’t be afraid of speaking, but don’t go on speaking if you don’t know. Don’t be silent. Just being silent will not help.

It has to be understood because too many times this comes to your mind too: Why go on speaking? Why not keep quiet? But your silence will be YOUR silence. The words will go on moving, revolving inside you. You will become a madhouse inside. You may look silent from the outside; you will not be silent inside. How can you simply drop those words, those old habits of many lives? The mind will go on chattering, the mind will go on saying things, repeating things. The mind is like an automaton; even if you don’t want to talk the mind goes on. If you don’t talk to others it goes on talking to itself. It creates both the parties: it talks from one side and answers from another side; it goes on playing the game. From the outside one can be easily silent, but from the inside?

And if you are silent from the inside, you will be surprised that your silence becomes so loaded with ecstasy that you have to sing. There is no other way. That you have to dance, that you have to share. When you have you have to share. If you have it at all you will have to share. If you don’t have it you can keep quiet, but what is the point of keeping quiet if you don’t have it?

There are two types of people: one who goes on talking without having it, and one who goes on keeping silent without having it. Both are in the same boat.

There is a third type of person, who has come to know it, who has really become silent and in the silence he has heard the soundless sound, in the silence God has delivered his message to him. God has spoken to him. He has had a dialogue with God himself. The silence has filled his heart with so much juice, with so much life, with life abundant, that he is bursting.

He has to say it. There is no way to get rid of it.

And his saying will have a totally different significance because words will not be mere words. If such a person sits silently, even his silence will be a sharing. If such a person keeps completely silent, you will see his silence is singing all around him. You will feel the vibe. His silence is saying something. He is indicating from his silence too. If he speaks he speaks. If he is silent, then too he speaks.

If you don’t sing it, remember, you don’t have it. If it does not overflow in a thousand and one gestures, then it is not there. You cannot hold it if it is there. And you cannot possess it if it is there; it is not your property. You cannot become the owner of it. You cannot hoard it, you cannot be miserly about it. If it is there at all, it drowns you utterly. It possesses you. You cannot possess it; it possesses you. And then it leads you into a thousand and one gestures. In a thousand and one streams you start flowing, and whatsoever you do becomes an expression.

I have heard a very beautiful legend. The legend is, there was a great Master in India, the twenty-seventh successor of Gautam the Buddha; his name was Hanyatara. A king in south India requested him to come to his court. The king himself came, bowed down to Hanyatara, touched his feet, and said, “Please, come to my court, to bless us. And this has been my desire, to listen to some sutras of Gautam the Buddha by a man who is a Buddha himself, so I have been avoiding scholars, pundits, professors. I have been avoiding, I have been waiting, because those sutras that Buddha uttered are so pregnant that only a man who has attained to that consciousness will be able to give expression to them.”

Hanyatara came to the court with an attendant. The king was thrilled; it was his dream for his whole life one day to have a Buddha in his court, in his palace. The whole palace was decorated, the whole town was decorated; the whole capital was celebrating. It was a great day of celebration. But the king was puzzled, a little bewildered: Hanyatara sat silently, not saying a single word, and the attendant recited the sutra. Now, this was not the purpose at all. The king could have found better people to recite the sutra than the attendant. He was just an attendant who looked after Hanyatara, just used to do small errands, a very ordinary man, not even a great scholar. His grammar was faulty, his pronunciation was not exactly as it should be. He was an ordinary man. Just out of respect, the king kept silent. When the sutra was finished, he touched the feet of Hanyatara and said, “Sir, enlighten me about this; otherwise I will remain puzzled. Why did not you recite the sutra?”

And Hanyatara said, “What, I did not recite the sutra? Then what else was I doing the whole time here? You fool!”

The king was even more puzzled, because he had kept quiet, he had not said a single word.

The king said, “Please, explain it to me. I don’t understand. I am an ordinary, ignorant person.

I may not know the ways of the Buddhas.”

And Hanyatara said, “I sat silently, breathing in, breathing out. That was my sutra. What else is there in life? Breathe in, breathe out. Be alert, aware. When I breathed in, I was aware; when I breathed out, I was aware. It was all awareness! What else is a sutra? Awareness. If you had listened to the rhythm of my breathing you would have understood. I have recited it!

Words are one way to recite it. Breathing silently, but with full awareness, is another way to recite it – and far better a way. I have been very expressive today, as I have never been before.

Thinking that you have been waiting for so long, I thought, ‘Why not give the real thing?’ ” The king was thrilled, seeing the compassion. Now he felt there was a certain rhythm in his silence. Now he became aware, retrospectively of course, that this man was not silent in the ordinary way. He had seen silent people; sometimes he himself had sat in silence. This was a different silence. There was a song, certainly there was a song. There was a fragrance around this man. There was a vibe of a different quality; he was vibrating. Strange it was, but now he remembered, yes, it was there. And the way he was breathing was no ordinary way. Not that he was doing anything special in the breathing: his breathing was pure, natural, like a small baby.

When you breathe, your breathing is never natural. If you are a little angry, your anger changes your breathing. If you are full of passion, lust, your lust changes your breathing. If you are greedy, your greed is reflected in your breathing. Continuously your mind mood infiltrates breathing and changes it. You can watch it. When you are angry, try not to disturb the breathing, and you will be completely unable to be angry. Just try not to change the breathing. Let the breathing remain as it was before you became angry, and then try to be angry. It will be impossible. The breathing has to change first. Through the breathing the body changes; the mind first affects the breathing. When you are in a moment of lust, watch, keep the breathing natural, and you will suddenly find the lust has disappeared, the moment came and passed.

By and by you will be able to see each mood is reflected in your breathing, so your breathing is never natural, because there is some mood or other. The natural breathing means there is no mood: that means there is no mind – neither anger nor greed nor lust nor jealousy nor love nor hate. No – mood means no-mind. In that state of no-mind the breathing is natural. Then there is a song to it, then there is a totally different quality to it. Then it is pure life. Then the flame is without smoke.

Yes, the king remembered, there was something strange, something was happening. He had missed it. He started crying. He said, “I have missed it. Why didn’t you tell me before?

Now I know there was something, and I had even felt it, but my consciousness is not so developed, so I could not understand what was happening.

“And I was too concerned about that foolish sutra. I was continuously thinking about why you were not reciting the sutra and why this attendant was reciting the sutra. I was so much concerned about the sutra that I missed.

“But I am grateful that you showed such compassion, that you showed your being so naked, so true, so authentic.”

He presented a great diamond, the most valuable he had, to Hanyatara, and then he said to Hanyatara, “I have three sons. Sir, be kind enough. I will call them. Bless them.”

Thinking that young people are young people, and the youngest was only seven, they may disturb the sutra reciting, he had not called them to participate before.

The three young princes came in.

Rather than blessing them, Hanyatara showed the diamond that the king had presented to him to the first prince, the eldest. He must have been somewhere near fifteen. The prince looked at the diamond and said, “A great diamond, of the finest water, purest water. Where could you get it? It is rare. It is no ordinary diamond.”

Yes, his understanding about the diamond was perfectly true. It was a rare diamond, of the most perfect water. Even Hanyatara had never seen such a thing.

Then he called the second prince, who must have been near about ten, and the second prince looked at the diamond, and he said, “Not only the finest, not only the best, it is certain that it belongs to my father because in this kingdom nobody can have such a diamond. It is rare. Sir, it does not belong to you, it cannot. To protect this diamond you will need a great army, otherwise you cannot have it. Just this attendant won’t do.”

Yes, his understanding was also very correct.

And then the third son was called. He was only seven. He looked at the diamond, looked at Hanyatara  and laughed and said, “What? Do you want to befool me?” He was only seven, and he said, “Do you want to befool me? You cannot! Because the real diamonds are never of the outside. And what are you trying to show me? You have the real diamond within YOU. I can see it! This is just a stone that you have in your hand. Throw it, sir!”

And it is said that Hanyatara hugged this small boy.

This boy’s name was Bodhitara, and Hanyatara changed his name to Bodhidharma. He became the twenty-eighth successor of Buddha; he was the first patriarch of Zen in China, this small boy Bodhitara, whose name Hanyatara changed to Bodhidharma.

Hanyatara said, “This boy has looked into the deepest reality anybody can look into. Dharma means ‘the ultimate reality’. He has penetrated to the ultimate reality.” He said to the king, “Even you could not see who I am. That’s why you missed my sermon, my silent sermon. That’s why you missed my silent song. I was singing here but you missed. But this boy, yes, I cannot befool him. This boy is going to be my successor.”

And then he said to the king, “Sir, forgive me. I have not come for you and I have not come because you requested me to. I had to come because of this boy. I have been in search of this boy! This has been a promise from the past life, and this has been a decided gesture: in the past life I told this boy, ‘I will seek you and find you and I will show you a diamond, and that will be the moment of your examination. If you can see my inner diamond and you are not befooled, you will be my successor.'”

The legend is of tremendous value. First, the silent sermon. Yes, sometimes a mystic can be silent – but he is not silent! His silence is a very telling silence. He may not do anything, he may not even move his eyes, he may not move any of his limbs, but still his presence goes on doing a thousand and one things. Just to be in his presence, just to breathe with him in the same rhythm, and something is transferred: his song, his silence, his dance. You will never be the same again.

Truth is not hidden, from the very beginning. Truth is unhidden; only your eyes are closed. Truth is being preached from every tree and from every bird and from every rock and from every star; just your eyes, your ears, your sensitivity is not there. You are deaf. Truth is not dumb; you are deaf. And truth is not hiding anywhere.

A man came to a Zen Master and asked, “Sir, where should I go to find the truth?” And the Zen Master said, “You just keep looking in front of your nose and go on, and you will find it. It is just in front of your nose! Truth is just in front of you. In fact, wherever you look it is truth, you just need to know how to look for it. But you are looking for other things; that’s why you go on missing.

That great king missed Hanyatara’s sermon. It was a Zen sermon, the same as Buddha preached to the first Zen Master, Mahakashyap, sitting silently, holding a flower in his hand.

This second sermon, of Hanyatara to the king, was even more subtle. He was not even holding a flower in his hand. He was just breathing in and out, a natural breathing, an ordinary breathing, unaffected by the mind. And truth was there and the sutras were recited there through his breathing, but the king missed.

You may have come across a Buddha in your life – or you may have come across many Buddhas in your past lives – but you have missed because you were not sensitive enough to feel that vibe. That vibe is subtle. You were not aware enough to move to that height, to feel the presence.

Be a little more alert. The sermon is preached constantly. From everywhere God is speaking to you. Even when everything is silent he is speaking through silence. His song is eternal.

Zen says, “Truth is not hidden, from the very beginning, so you are not to uncover truth, you are only to uncover your eyes.” You just have a curtain on your eyes. Just pull your earplugs out. Your ears are plugged; hence you cannot hear.

How to unplug the ears? How to open the eyes? How to drop barriers that don’t allow you to become sensitive enough? What is the way? The way is immediacy. Be immediate, be in the moment.

Otherwise Buddhas can go on shouting from the housetops, and you will not hear – or you will hear something which has not been said at all.

A few scenes. First scene:

Warden: “Can’t you see the sign ‘NO FISHING HERE’?”

Angler: “Yes, and I don’t agree. There is good fishing here! Just look at this lot I have landed today. Whoever put that sign up must be crazy.”

The second scene:

The Dean of Women was lecturing to a class on the subject of sex morality. “In moments of temptation, ask yourself just one question: Is an hour of pleasure worth a lifetime of shame?”

One of the girls raised her hand naively and asked, “How do you make it last one hour?”

The third scene:

Ethel was shapely out shy, and visited a doctor for the first time. He ushered her into his private office and said, “Now, my dear, please get completely undressed.” Ethel blushed and replied, “Okay, Doctor, but you first.”

Fourth scene:

The following ad appeared in the Personal column of a London paper: “My husband and I have four sons. Has anyone any suggestions as to how we may have a daughter?” Letters poured in from all over the world. An American wrote, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.” A Buddhist from Thailand suggested that they should seek the help of Buddha.

A South African recommended a special diet. An Indian proposed yoga.

A Frenchman merely wrote, “May I be of service?”

And the last and the fifth scene:

A lion tamer had quit without notice, and the circus manager needed someone to replace him for the next night’s show. He put an ad in the local paper, and the next morning two  applicants showed up outside his office. One was a rather ordinary looking young man, and the other a ravishing redheaded beauty. Neither one of them looked very much like a lion trainer, but the manager was desperate. “All right,” he said. “Here is a whip, a chair, and a gun. Let us see what you can do with the big Leo over there. We will let you have the first try, miss, but be careful. He is a mean one.”

The ravishing redhead strode past the whip, the chair, and the gun, and empty-handed, fearlessly entered the cage. Big Leo rose, snarling, then came charging across the cage towards her with a ferocious roar. When the lion was almost upon her the girl threw open her coat. Underneath, she was stark naked. Leo skidded to a stop and crawled the rest of the way on his belly. He nuzzled the girl’s feet with his nose, purred, and licked her trim ankles. The astonished circus manager grinned happily and turned to the pop-eyed young man.

“Well, young fella,” he asked, “think you can top that?”

“Yeah,” panted the applicant. “Just get that stupid lion out of there.”

Truth is all around, but your interpretations are your interpretations. God is speaking all the time, but you hear not, or even if you hear, you hear something else. You hear according to you, your mind comes in, and hence you go on missing.

Unless the mind is dropped you will not be able to know what truth is. Truth cannot be discovered by mind; mind is the barrier. It is because of the mind that you have not been able to discover it. It is not a question of how to train the mind to know the truth. The more the mind is trained and becomes capable, the less is the possibility to know the truth. The more skilled a mind, the farther away you are from the truth.

Mind is the barrier. No-mind is the door.

How to attain to no-mind? The only way – the only way – is to be in the present. The only way is not to think of the past, not to think of the future. And you cannot think of the present. That is the whole secret: you cannot think of the present; there is not space enough for thought to move. Thought needs room to move. Can you think anything right now? If you think it, either it will be of the past or of the future.

This moment of silence. If you think, “Yes, this is a moment of silence,” it is already past. Or you say, “How beautiful!” It is already past. Utter a word “beautiful,” and it is already past. You cannot think. Thinking stops when you are in the present. So that is the only key, and it is a master key; it unlocks all the doors of being. Immediacy, that is the whole insistence of Zen.

-Osho

From The First Principle, Discourse #7

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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Find Out What Your Path Is – Osho

Will you please tell us why Krishnamurti is against techniques, whereas Shiva is for so many techniques. 

Being against techniques is simply a technique. Not only Krishnamurti is using that technique, it has been used many times before. It is one of the oldest techniques, nothing is new about it.

Two thousand years ago Bodhidharma used it. He introduced into China what is now known as Chan or Zen-Buddhism. He was a Hindu monk, a monk from India. He believed in no-technique. Zen is based on no-technique. Zen masters say that if you do something you will miss, because who will do? You? You are the disease, and out of you nothing else can be born. Who will make the effort? Your mind, and your mind has to be destroyed – and you cannot destroy the mind itself with help from the mind. Whatsoever you do, your mind will be more strengthened.

So Zen says there is no technique, no method, there is no scripture and there can be no guru. But the beauty is that Zen has created the greatest of gurus and Zen masters have written the best scriptures in the world. And through Zen thousands and thousands of people attained nirvana – but they say there is no technique.

So it has to be understood that no-technique is really one of the foundational techniques. The emphasis is on “no” so that your mind is negated. Mind can have two attitudes – yes or no. These are the two possibilities, the two alternatives, just as they are in everything. No is the feminine and yes is the male. So you can use the method of no, or you can use the method of yes. If you follow the method of yes, then there are many methods – but you have to say yes and there can be many yes’s. If you follow no, then there are not many methods, only one, because there cannot be many no’s.

Look at this point: there are so many religions in the world, so many types of theists. There are at least three hundred religions in existence right now. So theism has three hundred temples, churches, scriptures. But there is only one type of atheism, there cannot be two. Atheists have no sects. When you say there is no God, the thing is finished. You cannot differentiate between two no’s, you cannot make any difference. But when you say, “Yes there is God,” then there is a possibility of difference.

Because my yes will create my own God and your yes will create your own God. Your yes may be said to Jesus, my yes may be said to Krishna – but when you say no, then all no’s are similar. That is why on the earth there are no sects in atheism.

Atheists are all alike. They don’t have any scripture; they don’t have any church. When they don’t have any positive attitude there is nothing to differ about, a simple no is enough. The same has happened about techniques: no has only one technique, yes has one hundred and twelve, or many more even are possible. You can create new combinations.

Someone has said that the method I teach, the dynamic method of meditation, is not included in these one hundred and twelve methods. It is not included because it is a new combination, but all that is in it is there in the hundred and twelve methods. Some parts are in one technique, some other part is in some other technique. These hundred and twelve are the basic methods. You can create thousands out of them. There is no end to it. Any number of combinations is possible.

But those who ay there is no method can have only one method. You cannot create much out of no. So Bodhidharma, Lin Chi, Bokuju, Krishnamurti, have only one method. Really Krishnamurti comes just after a succession of Zen masters. He is talking Zen. Nothing is new about it. But Zen always looks new, and the reason is because Zen doesn’t believe in scriptures, doesn’t believe in tradition, doesn’t believe in techniques.

So whenever no arises again it is fresh and new. Yes believes in tradition, in scriptures, in masters.

Whenever yes is there, it will have a long beginningless tradition. Those who have said yes, Krishna or Mahavir, they go on saying that they are not saying anything new. Mahavir says, “Before me twenty-three teerthankaras have taught the same.” And Krishna says, “Before me, this seer gave this message to that seer, that seer gave the message to that and it has been coming down. I am not saying anything new.”

Yes will always be old, eternal. No will always look new, as if it has suddenly come into being. No cannot have traditional roots. It is unrooted. That is why Krishnamurti looks new. He is not.

What is this technique of “denying technique”? It can be used. It is one of the subtlest ways to kill and destroy the mind. Mind tries to cling to something that is a support; mind needs support to be there, it cannot exist in a vacuum. So it creates many types of supports – churches, scriptures, Bible, Koran, Gita – then it is happy, there is something to cling to. But then with this clinging the mind remains.

This technique of no-technique insists on destroying all supports. So it will insist that there is no scripture. No Bible can be of help because the Bible is nothing but words; no Gita can be of any help because whatsoever you come to know through Gita will be borrowed, and truth cannot be borrowed. No tradition is of any help because truth has to be achieved authentically, individually. You have to come to it, it cannot be transferred to you. No master can give it to you because it is not something like property. It is not transferable; it cannot be taught because it is not information. If a master teaches you, you can learn only words, concepts, doctrines. No master can make you a realized one. That realization has to happen to you and it has to happen without any help. If it happens through some help then it is dependent and then it cannot lead you to ultimate freedom, to moksha.

These are the parts of this no-technique. Through these criticisms, negations and arguments, supports are destroyed. Then you are left alone with no guru, no scripture, no tradition, no church, nowhere to move, nowhere to go, nowhere to be dependent. You are left in a vacuum. And really, if you can conceive of this vacuum and are ready to be in it, you will be transformed. But mind is very cunning. If Krishnamurti says to you that these are things – no support, no clinging, no master, no scripture, no technique – you will cling to Krishnamurti. There are many clinging to him. The mind has again created a support and then the whole point is lost.

Many people come to me and they say, “Our minds are in anguish. How to come to the inner peace, how to attain the inner silence?” And if I give them some technique they say, “But techniques cannot help because we have been listening to Krishnamurti.” Then I ask them, “Then why have you come to me? And what do you mean when you ask, ‘How to attain silence?’ You are asking for a technique and you are still going to listen to Krishnamurti. Why? If there is no master and if the real cannot be taught, then why are you going on listening to him? He cannot teach you anything. But you go on listening to him and you are being taught. And you have now started to cling to this no-technique. So whenever someone gives you technique, you will say, ‘No, we don’t believe in techniques.’ And you are still not silent. So what has happened? Where have you missed the train? If you really need no-technique, if you don’t have any technique – you must have attained. But you have not attained.”

The basic point has been missed; the basic point is that for this no-technique technique to work you must destroy all support, you must not cling to anything. And it is very arduous. It is almost impossible. That is why so many people for these last forty years have been listening to Krishnamurti but nothing has happened to them. It is so arduous and difficult, almost impossible to remain unsupported, to remain totally alone and to be alert that the mind is not allowed to create any support. Because mind is very cunning, it can create subtle supports again and again. You may throw away Gita, but then you fill the space with Krishnamurti’s books. You may laugh at Mohammed, you may laugh at Mahavir, but if someone laughs at Krishnamurti you get angry. Again in a roundabout way you have created a support, you are clinging.

Non-clinging is the secret of this method. If you can do it, it is good; if you cannot do it, then don’t deceive. Then there are methods. Use them! Then be clear that you cannot be alone so you will take someone’s help. Help is possible. Through help also, transformation is possible.

These are the opposites – no and yes, these are opposites. You can move from either but you must decide about your own mind and its working. If you feel that you can be alone….

Once it happened that when I was staying in a village a man came and he said to me, ”I am confused. My family is trying to arrange a marriage for me.” He was a young man, just fresh from university. He said, “I don’t want to be involved in all that. I want to become a sannyasin, I want to renounce all. So what is your advice?” I told him, “I never went to ask anybody, but you have come to take my advice. When you have come to take advice it shows that you need support, that you need. It will be difficult for you to live without a wife. That too is a support,”

You cannot live without a wife, you cannot live without your husband, but you think you can live without a guru? Impossible! Your mind needs support in every way. Why do you go to Krishnamurti? You go to learn, you go to be taught, you go to borrow knowledge. Otherwise there is no need. Many times it has happened that friends will say, “It would be good if you and Krishnamurti meet.” So I tell them, “You go and ask Krishnamurti and if he wants to meet, I will come. But what is going to be there? What will we do? What will we talk about? We can remain silent. What is the need? But they say, “It would be good if you both meet. It would be good for us. We will be happy to listen to what you say.”

So I tell them a story.

Once it happened that a Mohammedan mystic, Farid, was traveling. When they came near the village of Kabir, another mystic, the followers of Farid said that it would be very good if they both meet. And when it became known to Kabir’s disciples, they also insisted that, As Farid was passing, they should invite him in. So Kabir said, “It is okay.” Farid also said, “It is okay. We will go, but don’t say anything when I enter Kabir’s hut, remain quite silent.”

For two days Farid stayed in Kabir’s hut. There was total silence. They sat silently for two days and then Kabir came to the edge of his village to give a send-off to Farid – and in silence they departed. The moment they departed the followers of both started asking. The followers of Kabir asked him, “What was this? It became a boredom. You were sitting silently for two days, not even a single word was spoken, and we were so eager to hear.” Farid’s followers also said, “What was this? It seems weird. For two days continuously we were watching and watching and waiting and waiting for something to come out of this meeting. But nothing came out.”

Farid is reported to have said, “What do you mean? Two persons who know, cannot talk; two persons who don’t know, can talk much, but it is useless, even harmful. The only possibility is one person who knows, talking to one who doesn’t know” And Kabir said, “Whoever uttered a single word would have proved that he didn’t know.”

You go on asking for advice, you go on searching for supports. Realize it will that if you cannot remain without support, then it is good to find a support, a guide, knowingly. If you think that there is no need, that you are enough unto yourself, then stop seeking Krishnamurti or anybody. Stop going and remain alone.

It has happened also to persons who were alone but the phenomenon is very rare. Sometimes to one person in millions it happens – and that too is not without any cause. That person may have been seeking for many lives; he may have been finding many supports, many masters, many guides, and now a point has come where he can be alone. Only then it happens. But whenever it happens to a person, that he achieves the ultimate alone, he starts saying that it can happen to you also. It is natural.

Because it happened to Krishnamurti alone, he goes on saying that it can happen to you. It cannot happen to you! You are in search of support and that shows that alone you cannot do it. So don’t be deceived by yourself! Your ego may feel good that, “I don’t need any support!” Ego always thinks in terms of, “I alone am enough,” but that ego will not help. That will become the greatest barrier possible. No-technique is a technique but only for very specific people; for those who have struggled in many lives and have now come to a point where they can be alone, that technique is a help. And if you are that type of person, I know well you will not be here. So I am not worried about that person, he will not be here. He cannot be here. Not only here, he cannot be anywhere with any master, listening, seeking, searching, practicing. He will not be found anywhere. So we can leave him, we need not discuss him.

These techniques are for you. So this is how I will conclude. Krishnamurti is talking for the person who cannot be there and I am talking for persons who are here. Whatsoever Krishnamurti is saying is absolutely right but the persons to whom he is saying it are absolutely wrong. The person who can be alone, who without any method, any support, any scripture, any guru, can reach, is not going to listen to Krishnamurti because there is no need, there is no meaning. And those who are going to listen, they are not of that type, they will be in deep difficulty – and they are. They need support and their mind goes on thinking that there is no need for support. They need a guru and their mind goes on saying that the guru is a barrier. They need techniques and logically they have concluded that techniques cannot help. They are in deep trouble, but the trouble is created by themselves.

Before you start doing something you must try to understand what type of mind you have got, because ultimately the guru is not meaningful, ultimately our mind is meaningful. The ultimate decision is going to come through your mind, the destiny is to be fulfilled through your mind – so understand it, without any ego confusing you. Just understand if you need support, guidance, techniques, methods to work with. If you need them, find them. If you don’t need them, there is no question: be alone, unclinging, move alone, unclinging. The same will happen through both ways.

Yes and no are two opposites and you have to find out what your path is.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #76, Q3

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Utterly Empty and Yet Utterly Full – Osho

My question concerns the quantum leap. How to jump, where to jump and who or what is doing the jumping? 

Jamia, the meaning of the quantum leap is that you find nobody there inside you who can jump.

You find no place where you can jump and you find no means to jump. That is the meaning of a quantum leap. The quantum leap is not a leap, it is a disappearance. The quantum leap is utter discontinuity with the past. If it is continuous it is just a leap, not quantum. That is the meaning of the word “quantum”.

You have been somebody up to now; if you do something, then you will remain continuous with the past because the doer will be the past. If you ask how to take the quantum leap, who will use the methodology? The old, the past, the mind, the accumulated mind will use the methodology. But how will you become new? It is the old trying to become new. You may have new clothes, a new face, new varnish, but you will remain the same; you continue.

A quantum leap is a moment of understanding that the past is no more there, that it is just a memory, just a figment of imagination now; it has no reality. If the past is no more there, who are you? – because you consist only of your past.

Krishnamurti says, “The process of thought creates the thinker.” And he is right – it is not vice versa.

Ordinarily you think, “I am a thinker, hence the process of thought.” It is not so. There is no thinker in you but only a process of thought. And when you think about the whole process of thought and you take it together, the thinker is born.

The thinker is not there. Let thoughts disappear, and as thoughts disappear, the thinker will disappear. If there is no thought, there is no thinker inside. So ‘thinker’ is nothing but another name for the whole thought continuum.

If you can understand this – that the past is just nothing but thoughts – suddenly a great emptiness will arise in you, a great abyss. You are not, nobody is there inside. This is what Buddha calls anatta, no-self, no ego. In that moment when you cannot find yourself, the quantum leap has happened.

The Emperor Wu of China asked Bodhidharma, “My mind remains very tense, in anxiety. I am always feeling restless, uneasy. I never find any peace of mind. Help me, sir.”

Bodhidharma looked into his eyes. And that was not an ordinary look – Bodhidharma was a very ferocious Master. The king was a very brave man, had fought in many battles and won, but he started trembling when Bodhidharma looked into his eyes.

And he said, “Okay, come tomorrow, early in the morning at four o’clock, and bring your mind to me and I will put it at ease forever.”

When the king was going down the steps, Bodhidharma shouted again, “Listen, don’t forget to bring your mind! Come at four o’clock and bring your mind. And I am going to put it at ease forever!”

The king was a little puzzled. “What does he mean, ‘Bring the mind, don’t forget’? Can I come without the mind too? I and my mind are the same. This man looks mad! And the way he looked at me… those ferocious eyes… And he looks murderous too! And going alone, early in the morning at four o’clock when it is dark, to this madman… and one never knows what he will do, how he will treat me.”

But he could not sleep. Many times he decided not to go, but there was a great attraction too, something like a great magnetic pull. The man was ferocious, but there was great love in his eyes too. Both were there – his eyes were like swords and also like lotuses. He could not resist. He said, “I have to take this risk.” And at four o’clock he had to go.

Bodhidharma was waiting with his big staff. He told the king, “Sit in front of me. And where is your mind? I told you to bring it with you!”

And the king said, “What nonsense are you talking about? If I am here, so is my mind. Mind is something inside me. How can I forget it? How can I ‘bring’ it?”

Bodhidharma said, “So, one thing is certain: that mind is inside. So close your eyes and go inside and try to find it. And whenever you catch it, just tell me and I will put it at rest forever. But first it has to be caught, only then can I treat it.” The king closed his eyes. The whole thing was stupid, but there was nowhere to go now – it had to be done. He closed his eyes. And the Master was sitting there with his staff – and he might beat or he might hit, so it was no ordinary situation. He could not go to sleep. He had not slept the whole night – he had been thinking of whether to come or not to come . . . And the presence of the Master and the silence of the forest and the darkness of the night and the whole weird situation: that this man could even cut his head… He became very alert. The danger was such that he became very attentive. For the first time in his life he looked inside himself – what the book, The Secret of the Golden Flower, calls “turning the light inwards”. For the first time he looked inside, he searched inside. He really searched, sincerely he searched. And the more he searched, the more aware he became that there is no mind, there is nobody inside. It is an empty house; we had only believed in it. We have accepted others’ belief about the soul, the self, the ego. We never looked at it, we never checked it. And the more he found that there is nobody to be found, the more happy, joyous, he became. His face relaxed; a great grace surrounded him. Hours passed, but for him there was no question of time at all. He was sitting and sitting, and enjoying this blissfulness that he was tasting for the first time in his life.

Something immensely delightful was descending on him.

Then the sun started rising, and with the first rays of the sun, Bodhidharma said to him, “Sir, it is time enough! Now open your eyes. Have you found yourself inside or not?”

And the king opened his eyes, looked at the Master, saw the beauty, saw that the ferociousness was out of compassion, saw the love, bowed down, touched the feet of the Master and said, “You have put it at rest forever. It is not there. Now I know that I was creating an unnecessary fuss about something which doesn’t exist at all.”

This is the quantum leap. Searching inside you find you are not. Then there is no question of “how” and no question of “where”. It has already happened.

Jamia, I would like to tell you: just close your eyes for a few hours every day, become as alert as Emperor Wu became, remember me just in front of you with a sword in my hand, ready to cut you at any moment if you fall asleep, and go in. And, one day the quantum leap. You will know only when it has happened. You don’t do it, it is nothing of your doing, it is a happening. You can’t do it because you are the hindrance – how can you do it? There is nowhere to jump, nobody to jump, no method to jump. When all these three things have been realized, it has happened.

Then one lives as an emptiness, utterly empty and yet utterly full.

-Osho

From The Secret of Secrets, Discourse #8, Q4

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

This is the Existential Centering – Osho

You said that awareness created centering and crystallization, but I personally feel that awareness brings a feeling of deep void within me. Please explain the relationship between centering and inner void.

As man is, he is without a center – without a real, authentic center. He has a center, so to speak, but the center is false. He only thinks he has a center. The ego is a false center. You feel that it is there, but it is not. If you go to find it, you will not find it at all.

Bodhidharma reached China 1100 years after Buddha. He was a Buddha himself. The Emperor Wu came to receive Bodhidharma. When no one was there, he asked Bodhidharma, “I am very, very disturbed. My mind is never at ease. What can I do? Tell me. Make my mind at peace, at ease. I am in deep conflict; an inner struggle continues – so do something.” Bodhidharma said, “I can do something. Come early in the morning at four o’clock, but remember to bring your self.”

The Emperor felt: “Either this man is mad or I have not understood what he is saying.” He said, “Of course, I will come. I will come with my self.”

Bodhidharma still insisted, “Do not forget. Bring your self with you. Otherwise, whom am I going to put at ease?”

The whole night the Emperor could not sleep. It was such a strange thing. I looked weird. What does this man mean? And then he began to feel doubtful about whether to go or not, and it was to be in the early hours, at four o’clock in the morning. And Bodhidharma had said to come alone: “Let your self only be with you; no one else.” So no one could know what he was going to do, and he looked mad. It was even dangerous. But still, he was tempted. This man was really a different type of being. He attracted! He was magnetic! So the Emperor couldn’t stay at home, he came. When he was coming near, Bodhidharma said, “You have come, but where is your self?”

Wu said, “You make me puzzled. The whole night I couldn’t sleep. What do you mean by ‘my self’? I am here.”

So Bodhidharma said, “Give me your self. I will make it silent, at peace, at ease. Close your eyes and find out where it is. Point it out to me and I will make it disappear totally, and there will be never any problem again.”

So the Emperor Wu closed his eyes and sat before Bodhidharma. The morning was absolutely silent. No one was there. He could even hear his own breath; he could hear his own heartbeat. And Bodhidharma was there constantly telling him, “Go in and find out where it is. If you cannot find it, then what can I do?” And he searched and searched and searched for hours together. Then he opened his eyes, and he was a different man.

He said, “I do not find it anywhere. It is all void. There is no self.”

Bodhidharma said, “If there is no self and there is void, are you disturbed now? Is someone at a dis-ease inside? Now where is the anguish you were talking about? So much talking about it, and now where is it?”

Wu said, “It is nowhere, because the person has disappeared, so how can dis-ease exist without him? I tried and tried, but it is nowhere to be found. Really, I was myself in deception. I always thought ‘I’ am inside. I tried to find it, and it is not there. There is simply a void – shunya – an emptiness, a nothingness.”

So Bodhidharma said, “Now go to your home, and whenever you feel that something is to be done with your self, first find out where it is.”

It is a false entity. Because we have never searched for it, it seems to exist. Because we have never gone in, we go on talking about the “I”. It is not there. So the first thing to be understood is that if you meditate, if you become silent, you will feel a void, because you cannot find the ego. The ego was all the furniture; now the furniture has disappeared. You are just a room – rather, a room-ness.

Even the walls have disappeared. They were part of the ego. The whole structure has disappeared, so you will find a void.

This is the first step – when the ego disappears. It is a false entity; it is not there. It only appears to be, and you go on thinking that it is there. It belongs to your thinking, not to your being. It belongs to your mind, not to your existence. Because you think it is there, it is there. When you go to find it, it is not found. Then you feel the void, emptiness. Now persist in this emptiness, remain in this void.

The mind is very cunning. It can play games. If you begin to think and observe this, this voidness, if you begin to think, you will fill it again. Even if you say, “This is void,” you are out of it, already out of it. The void has disappeared – you have come in. Remain with the void; remain void. Do not think. It is difficult, very frightening. One gets dizzy. It is an abyss – an infinite abyss. You are falling down and falling down with no bottom to reach. One gets dizzy; one begins to think. The moment you think, you have found the ground again. Now you are not in the void.

If you can be in the void without escaping it by any thinking whatsoever, suddenly the void will also disappear, as the ego has disappeared – because, really, it is because of the ego that it looks like a void. Ego was the thing which was fulfilling. That was the furniture, and there was no void. Now the ego has disappeared; that is why you feel it as a void. This feeling of emptiness is just because something which was always there is now not there.

If you see me in this chair, then suddenly if you do not find me in the chair, the chair will look empty – not because the chair is empty, but simply because someone was there filling it and now he is no more there. So you see the void, not the chair. You see the void because the absence of something looks like an emptiness. You are still not seeing the chair. You were seeing a person there; now you are seeing the absence of the person. But the chair is still not seen. So when the ego disappears, you feel the void. This is only a beginning, because this void is also the negative part of the ego – the other aspect. This void must also disappear.

It is reported about Rinzai, a Zen Master, that when he was learning with his Teacher, the Teacher always insisted that he should attain the void, the nothingness, the shunya. So one day he came; he had attained it. It was a long effort. To dissolve the ego is a long effort. It was a long journey – difficult, sometimes virtually impossible – but he had attained. So he came, laughing, dancing, happy in ecstasy. He fell down ar his Master’s feet and said, “I have attained. Now the void is there.”

The Master looked at him very unsympathetically and said, ”Now you go and throw this void also. Do not bring it here. Throw this void also. Throw this nothingness, because if you have nothingness it becomes something again.”

Even a void is something. If you can feel it, it is something; if you can know it, it is something; if you can observe it, it is something. Even nothing becomes something if it is in your hands. The Master said, “Throw this void out. Only come to me when even nothingness is not there.”

Rinzai wept. Why couldn’t he see it himself? A void is an attainment, it is something. If you have achieved nothingness, nothingness becomes a thing. When you go deep in the void – without any thinking, without any vibration in the mind – if you remain in this, suddenly the void just disappears and then the Self is known. Then you are centered. Then you have come to the real center. There is the false center, the absence of the false center, and then the real center. By “centering” I mean the ground, the very ground of Being. It is not your center, because you are the false center.

So it is not your center. It is the center – just the center of Being. The very Existence is centered in it. You are the false center; you will disappear. But even in your disappearance, if you begin to feel fulfilled with void, the ego has returned in a very subtle way. In a very subtle way, it has come back. It will say, “I have attained this void,” so it is still there.

Do not allow it to come back. Remain in the void. Do not do anything with the void: do not even think about it, do not even feel anything about it. The void is there: be at ease; let it be there. It will disappear. It is just a negative part. The real thing has disappeared. It is just shadow. Do not catch the shadow; do not cling to the shadow. because the shadow can remain only if the real thing is nearby. Only then can the shadow remain. Ultimately the void disappears, and then there is centering. Then for the first time you are not and YOU ARE – not as you, but as pure Being; rather, as the All. And this point must be noted carefully – that it is not Your center; it is the center of All.

Forget your false center. Go in and dig for it: then it dissolves. It is never found. It is not, so you cannot find it. Then a more arduous thing befalls you: you encounter the void. It is very silent. Compared to the ego world, it is very silent. You are in a deep peace. But do not be satisfied with it. It is false, because it is part of the ego. And if you feel satisfied, the ego will re-enter; it will come back. A part of it was still there. That part will bring it back again, whole. Remain with the void without any thinking.

That is just deathlike. One is dying before one’s own eyes – everything dissolving in a great abyss. And soon you will disappear and only the abyss will be there – not even the knower of the abyss, not even the observer of the abyss, but just the abyss. Then you are centered – centered in the Cosmic Center: it is not your center. For the first time, you are.

Now language will have a different meaning. You are not and you are. Here, yes and no lose their traditional difference, their customary meaning. You are not there as you. Now you are there as the Divine – as the Cosmos itself. This is the existential centering – the centering in the Existence.

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.2, Discourse #2

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Conscious Ignorance – Osho

What exactly do you mean by ‘conscious ignorance’? Is it recognition that one is ultimately, fundamentally ignorant?  Or is there more to it?

Ashoka, conscious ignorance is not ignorance at all. It is the ultimate state of consciousness – how can it be ignorant? It is pure knowing. Of course, there is no knowledge, hence it is called ignorance. But there is knowing, utter knowing, clarity, transparency. No knowledge is gathered, but all is known.

Conscious ignorance means innocence and conscious. If innocence is unconscious, sooner or later it will be corrupted by knowledge. Unconscious mind is always ready to be corrupted, polluted, distracted.

Consciousness means centering, awareness – you cannot be distracted. You remain in your knowing, but you don’t accumulate knowledge. Knowledge is always of the past: knowing is in the present, is of the present. Like a mirror: the mirror reflects if something comes before it, but when it passes the mirror is empty again. This is conscious ignorance – not that the mirror does not reflect: it reflects, but it doesn’t gather. It is not like a photo plate.

A photo plate becomes knowledgeable. The moment something is reflected in it, it catches hold of it. It becomes attached to it. The mirror remains unattached – available, open, vulnerable, unprotected, with no defense, yet always virgin. This is virginity: when nothing corrupts you. Things come and pass.

You ask me: What exactly do you mean by ‘conscious ignorance’?

It is consciousness, knowing consciousness. Ignorant I am calling it because it cannot claim any knowledge – that’s why. It cannot say “I know.”

When the Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma, “Who are you?” he simply said, “I don’t know.”

This is conscious ignorance. We misunderstood him. He thought, “Then what is the point? If you don’t even know who you are, then what is the difference between me and you? I also don’t know who I am.”

Wu is simply ignorant. Bodhidharma is consciously ignorant. And that word ‘consciousness’ makes all the difference – all the difference that there is in the world. It transforms the whole quality of ignorance. Ignorance becomes luminous. It is full of light – not full of knowledge but full of light.

You ask: Is it recognition that one is ultimately, fundamentally ignorant?

No. One is NOT, so how can one be fundamentally and ultimately ignorant? To think that one is you have already gathered knowledge, you have already claimed. You have already declared to the world that “I am!”

Those who know, they know something totally different. They know that “I am not – God is.” They know that “My existence is arbitrary. My existence is make-believe. ‘I’ as a separate entity has never existed. I am just a wave in the ocean.”

But when the wave is arising and reaching to the clouds, it can believe that “I am.” And the ocean meanwhile is laughing and roaring, and knows that this wave has gone crazy. Soon the wave will disappear in the ocean again. Even when it IS there, it is not separate from the ocean. You cannot separate a wave from the ocean! Can you exist even for a single moment without the universe surrounding you? Not for a single moment.

So who are you? What are you?

Is it recognition that one is ultimately, fundamentally ignorant?

No. The conscious ignorance knows that one is not. There is utter silence inside. Nobody has ever been there. You have dreamt about it; it is your dream. You are nothing but a construct of your dreaming mind.

And, secondly, ignorance does not mean that one is ignorant. It simply means that life is ultimately mysterious. The emphasis is not on your ignorance. Remember it, because the ego is very cunning. It can survive even on the idea of ignorance. It can say, “I am ignorant – fundamentally, ultimately I am ignorant. But I am.”

First it was claiming its existence through knowledge: “My knowledge is valid. Nobody else’s knowledge is valid.” Now it claims, “No knowledge is valid – I am ignorant. But I am.” Now, behind ignorance, the ‘I’ is hiding again. It has taken another face, a new mask, a new persona, but it is the old game being played with new rules. The form has changed but the content is the same – the same dream, the same stupid dream. The same arbitrary ego claiming absoluteness about itself.

No. When I say ignorance, my emphasis is never on I. My emphasis is on the ultimate mysteriousness of existence. Ignorance is ultimate because existence cannot be reduced to knowledge. It is irreducible. It is a mystery, and remains a mystery. You cannot demystify it.

In fact, the more you try to demystify it, the more and more mysterious it becomes. It gathers new dimensions of mysteries.

Just watch: five thousand years of human mind’s evolution – has it helped in any way to demystify existence? Existence has become far more mysterious than it has ever been before. Go back five thousand years: there was a limited number of stars, because by the bare naked eye you cannot count more than three thousand stars in the night. When the night is dark and full of stars and there are no clouds, at the most you can count three thousand stars, not more than that, by the bare naked eye. How many stars are there? Now they say, “We have counted three thousand billion stars. We used to see only three thousand, now there are three thousand billion stars. And this is not the end: this is just the beginning of the counting.”

The existence goes on and on. There seems to be no possibility that it will be ending somewhere.

When the Vedic mystics looked at the sky, it was mysterious. When you look at the sky it is far more mysterious. Medic mystics will feel jealous of you – but you don’t look at the sky.

For thousands of years man believed that life, existence, consists of matter. Now physicists say there is no matter – all is energy. They have not been able to solve the mystery of matter. The mystery has become very deep. Now there is no matter – it is all energy.

And what is energy? Now, even to define it is becoming difficult – because it was possible to define it in contrast with matter. Now there is NO matter. How to define it? Definition is lost. It is there in its sheer mystery. And the efforts that have been made to define it have made it look even more mysterious.

If you go into modern physics, you will be surprised. Mystics look not so mysterious now – with all God and heaven and angels and souls, even then they don’t look so mysterious. The modern world of physics is far more mysterious, incomprehensibly mysterious. And the infinite space….

And Albert Einstein says it goes on expanding… into what? And he says, “We don’t know yet into what. But one thing is certain: it goes on expanding.”

Existence is expanding, into what? Naturally, the question arises. There must be some space beyond it, but that cannot be said. By the very definition of existence that is prohibited, because when we say ’existence’, we mean ALL that is, space included. ALL THAT IS. Then how does it expand? Into what? There is nothing left outside it!

It is almost as mysterious as one day you go to the market and you keep yourself in your own pocket. It is possible to keep yourself in your own pocket? It should be – if existence can expand without there being anything to expand into. All space is in, in its pocket, and it goes on expanding into its own pocket! Looks absurd. Zen koans are nothing compared to it.

Albert Einstein says the world is finite. That too is mysterious. If the world is finite, then there must be something to define it. There must be a boundary! If you call it finite, then there must be a boundary to it. But to make a boundary you will have to accept something beyond the boundary, otherwise the boundary cannot be drawn. The boundary can be drawn only between two things!

You can have a fence around your house because of the neighbor. If there is no neighbor, nothing exists beyond your fence, how are you going to put the fence and where? And how will you decide that “This is the place where we should put the fence” that “this part belongs to me and there is nothing outside it”?

But Albert Einstein says this is how it is: “We can’t explain it, but this is how it is. The world is finite and yet there is no boundary to it. Unbounded finiteness!” Absurd! Illogical!

And not only that: this unbounded finiteness is round in shape – because everything is round. How can an unbounded thing be round? Who will give it the shape of roundness?

The mystery has thickened every day. And Albert Einstein is just on the threshold of existence. It is maddening.

So when I say ‘conscious ignorance’, I don’t mean that you are ignorant: I mean that life is so vast and existence so infinite that there is no way to fathom it. You cannot measure it; it is immeasurable.

What exactly do you mean by ‘conscious ignorance’? Is it recognition that one is ultimately, fundamentally ignorant?  Or is there more to it?

If there is not more to it, then the mystery is solved. There is always more to it! And there will always be more to it. Whatsoever can be said will never be satisfactory – there will always remain more to it.

And I am not saying that you understand what is not said and you understand inside is enough – even that is not enough. Nothing IS enough. That is the meaning when I say existence is mysterious. It simply cannot be understood.

To see this point makes one feel humble. To see this point to let it sink in your heart, one feels like bowing down. To bow down before this mystery that is unfathomable – not only unknown but unknowable – is prayer.

-Osho

From The Perfect Master, V.1, Discourse #8

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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