Death is Making Love with God – Osho

Is there a difference between the Shunyavada of Nagarjuna and Avyakritopadesh, the unspoken and the undefinable teaching of Lord Buddha? 

There is no difference at all. If a difference appears to be there, that is only because of the formulation. Nagarjuna is a great philosopher, one of the greatest of the world. Only a few people in the world, very few, have that quality of penetration that Nagarjuna has. So, his way of talking is very philosophical, logical, absolutely logical. Buddha is a mystic, not a philosopher. His way of saying things is more poetic than philosophical. The approach is different, but Nagarjuna is saying exactly the same thing as Buddha. Their formulation is certainly different, but what they are saying has to be understood.

You ask — the question is from Omanath Bharti — “Is there any difference between shunyavada…” shunyavada means the theory, the philosophy of nothingness. In English there is no word which can be equivalent, appropriately equivalent, to shunya. Shunya means emptiness; but not negative, very positive emptiness. It means nothingness, but it does not mean simply nothingness; it means no-thing-ness. Shunya means void, void of everything. But the void itself is there, with utter presence, so it is not just void. It is like the sky which is empty, which is pure space, but which is. Everything comes in it and goes, and it remains.

Shunya is like the sky — pure presence. You cannot touch it although you live in it. You cannot see it although you can never be without it. You exist in it; just as the fish exists in the ocean, you exist in space, in shunya. Shunyavada means that everything arises out of no-thing.

Just a few minutes ago I was telling you the difference between truth and reality. Reality means the world of things, and truth means the world of no-thing, nothing — shunya. All things arise out of nothing and dissolve back into nothing.

In the Upanishads there is a story:

Svetaketu has come from his master’s house, back to his parents. He has learned all. His father, Uddalaka, a great philosopher, looks at him and says, “Svetaketu, you go outside and bring a fruit from yonder tree.”

He goes out, brings a fruit. And the father says, “Break it. What do you see in it?” There are many seeds in it. And the father says, “Take one seed and break it. What do you see in it?”

And he says, “Nothing.”

And the father says, “Everything arises out of this nothing. This big tree, so big that one thousand bullock carts can rest underneath it, has arisen out of just a seed. And you break the seed and you find nothing there. This is the mystery of life — everything arises out of nothing. And one day the tree disappears, and you don’t know where; you cannot find it anywhere.”

So does man: we arise out of nothing, and we are nothing, and we disappear into nothing. This is shunyavada.

And what is Buddha’s avyakritopadesh, the unspoken and the undefinable teaching? It is the same. He never made it so philosophically clear as Nagarjuna has made it. That’s why he has never spoken about it. That’s why he says it is indefinable; it cannot be brought to the level of language. He has kept silent about it.

You know the Flower Sermon? One day he comes with a lotus flower in his hand and sits silently, saying nothing. And the ten thousand disciples are there, the ten thousand bhikkhus are there, and they are waiting for him to say something, and he goes on looking at the lotus flower. There is great silence, and then there is great restlessness too. People start becoming fidgety — “What is he doing? He has never done that before.”

And then one disciple, Mahakashyapa, smiles.

Buddha calls Mahakashyapa, gives him the lotus flower, and says to the assembly, “What can be said I have said to you, and what cannot be said I have given to Mahakashyapa.”

This is avyakritopadesh, this is the indefinable message. This is the origin of Zen Buddhism, the transmission. Something was transmitted by Buddha to Mahakashyapa, something which is nothing; on the visible plane nothing — no word, no scripture, no theory — but something has been transmitted. What?

The Zen monks have been meditating on this for two thousand five hundred years: “What? What was transmitted? What exactly was given?” In fact, nothing has been given from Buddha to Mahakashyapa; Mahakashyapa has certainly understood something. He understood the silence, he understood the penetrating silence. He understood that moment of clarity, that moment of utter thoughtlessness. He became one, in that moment, with Buddha. That’s what surrender is. Not that he was doing it: Buddha was silent and he was silent, and the silences met, and the two silences dissolved into each other. And two silences cannot remain separate, remember, because a silence has no boundary, a silence is unbounded, a silence is simply open, open from all sides. In that great assembly of ten thousand monks there were two silences that day — Buddha and Mahakashyapa. The others remained outside. Mahakashyapa and Buddha met: that’s why he smiled — because that was the greatest sermon that Buddha had ever preached. Not saying a single thing and he had said all, all that could be said – and all that could not be said, that too.

Mahakashyapa understood and laughed. In that laughter Mahakashyapa disappeared totally, became a Buddha. The flame from the lamp of Buddha jumped into Mahakashyapa. That is called the ‘transmission beyond scriptures’ — the Flower Sermon. It is unique in the history of human consciousness. That is what is called avyakritopadesh: the unspoken word, the unuttered word.

Silence became so substantial, so solid; silence became so real, so existential; silence became tangible in that moment. Buddha was a nothing, Mahakashyapa also understood what it means to be a nothing, to be utterly empty.

There is no difference between Nagarjuna’s shunyavada and Buddha’s unuttered message. Nagarjuna is one of the greatest disciples of Buddha, and one of the most penetrating intellects ever. Only very few people — once in a while, a Socrates, a Shankara — can be compared with Nagarjuna. He was very, very intelligent. The uttermost that the intellect can do is to commit suicide; the greatest thing, the greatest crescendo that can come to the intellect is to go beyond itself — that’s what Nagarjuna has done. He has passed through all the realms of intellect, and beyond.

The logical positivists say that nothing is merely an abstraction. In the various instances of negative assertions — for example: this is not sweet, I am not healthy, I was not there, he did not like me, etcetera, etcetera — negation has no substance of its own. This is what the logical positivists say. Buddha does not agree, Nagarjuna does not agree. Martin Heidegger, one of the most penetrating intellects of the modern age, does not agree.

Heidegger says there is an actual experience of nothing. It is not just something created by language; there is an actual experience of nothing. It is inseparably bound up with being. The experience that attests to this is that of dread. Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, also asks, “What effect does nothing produce?” and answers, “It begets dread.”

Nothing is an actual experience. Either you can experience it in deep meditation, or when death comes. Death and meditation are the two possibilities of experiencing it. Yes, sometimes you can experience it in love too. If you dissolve into somebody in deep love you can experience a kind of nothingness. That’s why people are afraid of love — they go only so far, then panic arises, then they are frightened. That’s why very few people have remained orgasmic — because orgasm gives you an experience of nothingness. You disappear, you melt into something and you don’t know what it is. You go into the indefinable, avyakrit. You go beyond the social. You go into some unity where separation is no longer valid, where ego exists not. And it is frightening, because it is deathlike.

So it is an experience, either in love, which people have learned to avoid — so many go on hankering for love, and go on destroying all possibilities for it because of the fear of nothingness — or, in deep meditation when thought stops. You simply see there is nothing inside, but that nothing has a presence; it is not simply absence of thought, it is presence of something unknown, mysterious, something very huge. Or, you can experience it in death, if you are alert. People ordinarily die in unconsciousness. Because of the fear of nothingness they become unconscious. If you die consciously… And you can die consciously only if you accept the phenomenon of death, and for that one has to learn for the whole life, prepare. One has to love to be ready to die, and one has to meditate to be ready to die. Only a man who has loved and meditated will be able to die consciously. And once you die consciously then there is no need for you to come back, because you have learned the lesson of life. Then you disappear into the whole; that is nirvana.

The logical positivists look very logical, but they miss something —because reality is far more than logic. In ordinary experience we come only to what they say: this chair is here, this will be removed, then you will say there is no chair there. It simply indicates absence – the chair has been removed. These are ordinary instances of nothingness: there was once a house and then it has been dismantled, it is no longer there. It is only an absence.

But there are nothingnesses deep inside your being, at the very core. At the very core of life, death exists. Death is the center of the cyclone. In love you come close to that, in meditation you come close to that, in physical death also you come close to that. In deep sleep, when dreams disappear, you come close to it. It is very life-giving, it is life-enhancing. A man who cannot sleep deeply will become ill, because it is only in deep sleep, when he dies into his deepest depth, that he regains life, energy, vitality. In the morning he is again fresh and full of zest, gusto — vibrant, again vibrant.

Learn to die! That is the greatest art to be learned, the greatest skill there is.

Heidegger’s standpoint comes very close to Buddha’s, and his language is very modern, that’s why I’m quoting him. He says: “Every being, so far as it is a being, is made out of nothing.” There is a parallel Christian doctrine too — very neglected, because Christian theologians cannot manage it, it is too much. The doctrine is creatio ex nihilo: the creation is out of nothing.

If you ask the modern physicist he will agree with Buddha: the deeper you go into matter, things start disappearing. A moment comes, when the atom is divided — thing-hood completely disappears. Then there are electrons, but they are not things anymore, they are no-things. It is very difficult to understand. But physics, modern physics, has come very close to metaphysics — because it is coming closer and closer to reality every day. It is approaching through matter, but coming to nothing. You know matter no longer exists in modern physics. Matter is just an illusion: it only appears, it is not there. The solidity of it, the substantiality of it, is all illusion; nothing is substantial, all is flux and energy. Matter is nothing but energy. And when you go deeper into energy, energy is not a thing, it is a no-thing.

Death is the point at which knowledge fails, and we become open to being — that has been the Buddhist experience down the ages. Buddha used to send his disciples, when somebody had died, to see the body burning on the funeral pyre: “Meditate there, meditate on the nothingness of life.” Death is the point at which knowledge fails, and when knowledge fails, mind fails. And when mind fails, there is a possibility of truth penetrating you.

But people don’t know. When somebody dies you don’t know what to do, you are very embarrassed. When somebody dies it is a great moment to meditate.

I always think that each city needs a Death Center. When somebody is dying and his death is very, very imminent he should be moved to the Death Center. It should be a small temple where people who can go deep in meditation should sit around him, should help him to die, and should participate in his being when he disappears into nothing. When somebody disappears into nothing great energy is released. The energy that was there, surrounding him, is released. If you are in a silent space around him, you will go on a great trip. No psychedelic can take you there. The man is naturally releasing great energy; if you can absorb that energy, you will also kind of die with him. And you will see the ultimate — the source and the goal, the beginning and the end.

“Man is the being by whom nothing comes into the world,” says Jean-Paul Sartre. Consciousness is not this or that object, it is not any object at all; but surely it is itself? “No,” says Sartre, “that is precisely what it is not. Consciousness is never identical with itself. Thus, when I reflect upon myself, the self that is reflected is other than the self that reflects. When I try to state what I am, I fail, because while I am speaking, what I am talking about slips away into the past and becomes what I was. I am my past and my future, and yet I am not. I have been the one, and I shall be the other. But in the present, there is nothingness.”

If somebody asks you, “Who are you?” what are you going to say? Either you can answer out of the past, which is no more, or you can answer out of the future, which you are not yet. But who are you right in this moment? A nobody, a nothingness. This nothingness is the very core, the heart — the heart of your being.

Death is not the ax that cuts down the tree of life, it is the fruit that grows on it. Death is the very substance you are made of. Nothingness is your very being. Attain to this nothingness either through love or meditation, and go on having glimpses of it. This is what Nagarjuna means by shunya. This is what Buddha transferred that day when he delivered the Flower Sermon. This is what Mahakashyapa understood when he laughed. He saw nothingness, and the purity of it, the innocence of it, the primal innocence of it, the radiance of it, the immortality of it — because nothingness cannot die. Things die; nothingness is immortal, eternal.

If you are identified with anything, you will suffer death. But if you know that you are death, how can you suffer death? Then nothing can destroy you; nothingness is indestructible.

A Buddhist parable narrates that the king of hell asked a newly arrived spirit whether during life he had met the three heavenly messengers. And when he answered, “No, my Lord, I did not,” he asked whether he had ever seen an old man bent with age, or a poor and friendless sick man, or a dead man?

Buddhists call these three ‘the messengers of God’: old age, sickness, death — three messengers of God. Why? — because only through these experiences in life do you become aware of death. And if you become aware of death and you start learning how to go into it, how to welcome it, how to receive it, you are released from the bondage, from the wheel of life and death.

Heidegger says, and so does Soren Kierkegaard, that nothingness creates dread. That is only half of the story. Because these two people are just philosophers, that’s why it creates dread.

If you ask Buddha, Mahakashyapa, Nagarjuna, if you ask me, death looked at only partially creates dread; looked at absolutely, totally, it frees you from all dread, from all anguish, from all anxiety, it frees you from samsara… because if you look partly then it creates fear that you are going to die, that you will become a nothing, that soon you will disappear. And naturally you feel nervous, shaken, uprooted. If you look at death totally, then you know you are death, you are made of it. So nothing is going to disappear, nothing is going to remain. Only nothingness is.

Buddhism is not a pessimistic religion as has been thought by many people. Buddhism is the way to get rid of both optimism and pessimism, to get rid of duality.

Start meditating on death. And whenever you feel death close by, go into it through the door of love, through the door of meditation, through the door of a man dying. And if some day you are dying — and the day is going to come one day — receive it in joy, benediction. And if you can receive death in joy and benediction, you will attain to the greatest peak, because death is the crescendo of life. Hidden in it is the greatest orgasm, because hidden in it is the greatest freedom.

Death is making love to God, or God making love to you. Death is cosmic, total orgasm.

So drop all ideas that you carry about death — they are dangerous. They make you antagonistic to the greatest experience that you need to have. If you miss death you will be born again. Unless you have learned how to die, you will go on being born again and again and again. This is the wheel, samsara, the world. Once you have known the greatest orgasm, then there is no need; you disappear, and you remain in that orgasm forever. You don’t remain like you, you don’t remain as an entity, you don’t remain defined, identified with anything. You remain as the whole, not as the part.

This is Nagarjuna’s shunyavada, and this is Buddha’s unspoken message, the unspoken word. They are both the same.

-Osho

From The Heart Sutra, Discourse #2

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Life is an Occasion for Meditation – Osho

The essential teaching of Gautam the Buddha is not a teaching at all, but an awakening.

A way to become more aware. He does not give you a doctrine about existence, but he gives you a methodology to see that which is. He is not concerned with God; he is not concerned with the other world beyond. His whole concern is you – the awareness within.

Hence Buddha has been misunderstood by almost everybody. The religious people have not been able to understand him because he does not talk about God. They have not been able to appreciate him because he does not talk about the other world. And all the religions have depended on the other world. They are against this world and for some illusory world somewhere there in the future – beyond this life, beyond this body, beyond this moment. Their whole world is a fantasy world. They persuade people to sacrifice the real for the unreal, they persuade people to sacrifice that which is for that which is not yet and may not ever be. They persuade people to sacrifice the present for the future – how can they understand Buddha? Because he does not talk about the other world at all. He is not an other-worldly one.

But he has not satisfied the materialists either, the atheists either. Because they think this is all that there is – eat, drink, be merry. And Buddha says: This is not all that there is. You are living only on the surface of things. There is a depth to things – but that depth can be known, fathomed, only if depth to you go deeper into your own being, into your own consciousness.

The more conscious you are, the more intensely you live. The more conscious you are, the more reality becomes available to you. You earn reality only through being conscious. When one is absolutely conscious, one is absolutely real.

Naturally, the materialists, the this-worldly people, cannot agree with Buddha, because they say, “This is all. The surface is all, the outside is all, there is no inside to it.”

So nobody is agreeing with him. The religious don’t agree, the irreligious don’t agree. His approach is a very radical approach – it is against the worldly, it is against the other-worldly. He brings a new light; he brings a new understanding. That understanding he calls ‘mindfulness’.

You have to understand this word ‘mindfulness’. If you can understand this single word ‘mindfulness’ you will have understood Buddha’s whole being, his whole approach. And he is one of those who have known. If you want to ask anybody, ask a man like Buddha.

But his approach is a methodology, not a doctrine. It is a way of life. People live like robots, they live mechanically. Buddha says: Live non-mechanically. Each of your acts has to be luminous with awareness. And then each act starts revealing reality to you.

And he does not make any distinction between the profane and the sacred – there is none. The profane is the sacred, if you live it consciously.

Just going for a morning walk – if you can walk consciously, this is prayer. There is no need to go to any church. Prayer has no relationship with a church or a temple, prayer has something to do with your quality of awareness. You can do a thing prayerfully, and the thing may be anything, cleaning the floor, cooking the food, washing the clothes, taking a bath, going to sleep.

It reminds me of one of the most beautiful stories about Buddha’s closest disciple, Ananda. Ananda lived with Buddha for forty years – and he lived like a shadow. He never left Buddha for a single moment, not even in the night; he would sleep in the same room where Buddha was sleeping. He had taken a promise from Buddha…

When Buddha became enlightened, Ananda came to him to be initiated. He was a cousin brother of Buddha and older than Buddha. He asked Buddha, “I am your elder brother. Once I am initiated, I will be your disciple. Then whatsoever you say, I will have to do – then I cannot say no.

That is the meaning of disciplehood – a person decides, “Now I will say yes to my master, whatsoever he says. If he says ’Jump and kill yourself’ I will jump and kill myself.” Surrendering the no is the secret of disciplehood.

So Ananda said, “I am going to be your disciple. Before I become your disciple, as your elder brother I want one promise. Right now I am your elder brother and I can order you” – the old Indian tradition – “you are my younger brother and I can say this to you. You have to give me this promise, that you will never tell me to leave you. I will stay with you; wherever you go I will be with you. I will follow you like a shadow, I will serve you like a shadow. Even in the night I will be sleeping just by your side, continuously ready to serve you.”

Buddha promised. And Ananda lived with Buddha for forty years. No other disciple lived so close. But because he was so close, he started taking Buddha for granted – naturally. He was so close, he started forgetting Buddha. He was so close that he never tried what Buddha was saying. And the day came when Buddha dropped his body…

Many who had come after Ananda had become enlightened. Ananda was not yet enlightened. He wept bitterly. His misery was great; there was no consolation. Now suddenly he became aware that forty years had been a wastage. “I lived with this man – a rare opportunity, very rare. To find a Buddha is rare, and to live with a Buddha for forty years continuously – it has not happened before, it may not happen again. Forty years in a long time. And still I have missed.”

He stopped eating food, he stopped all kinds of other activities. He decided to become enlightened before it was too late – it was already late. Day and night, he was trying to be aware…

And a great council was going to be arranged soon – all the enlightened disciples were going to gather together to collect the sayings of Buddha. Ananda was not invited. And he was the most reliable source, obviously – nobody had lived with Buddha so long, nobody had as much information as he had. Nobody had listened to Buddha so much – morning and evening, day and night, he was always there, just watching. Whatsoever Buddha had said, he had heard it. And he had a miraculous memory, absolute memory – he had the power of absolute recall. But still he was not invited to the council.

It was not possible to invite him. He had known Buddha, his word was reliable, his memory was perfect – but he had no inner validity. He himself was not yet a Buddha. Yes, to collect facts he was the right person. But what about truth? And facts and truths are different dimensions. A fact may be a fact and yet may not be true. And a truth may be true, yet may not be a fact.

Truth is not the sum total of all the facts – truth is something more. Facts are mundane, superficial.  Truths are not on the surface, they are inner. Ananda could say everything factual, but he had no inner validity. He himself was not a witness. So even those who had not lived with Buddha were called to the council, but not Ananda.

He worked hard, he staked all. Each moment he was trying to be aware, alert, mindful.

And the last night came – tomorrow morning the council was going to gather. Ananda was going mad: it had not happened yet. He was becoming more and more tense and he was putting in all that one could put, all that was humanly possible. He was ready to die for it.

The middle of the night had come and nothing had happened yet. And he was driving himself crazy. For days he had not eaten, he had not slept, he had not taken a bath – there was no time to waste. One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock, four o’clock in the morning… and he was just on the verge of either going mad or becoming enlightened. It looked more like madness: he was exploding, he was falling apart.

Then suddenly he remembered, Buddha had always said: Be aware, but in a relaxed way. Be aware, but without any tension. Attention without any tension. Calm and quiet. Alert, but with no strain.

That memory came in the right moment – he relaxed. He was so tired, dead tired, that he went to bed. When he was just going to put his head on the pillow – fully aware, relaxed – he became enlightened. The moment his head touched the pillow, he became enlightened.

He slept, for the first time in his whole life, a different kind of sleep. He was asleep as far as the body was concerned, but his inner light was aflame. Deep within his being, he was alert and aware.

Morning came, and he was still asleep. Other monks came to see whether he had been able to make it. They looked in the room, and it had the same fragrance as that of Buddha – the same luminosity, the same grace and grandeur. And Ananda was fast asleep but his face had the light, the light that comes from within. Even in his sleep he was mindful. There was grace, there was a silence surrounding the room, there was a new space.

He was invited immediately. He asked the other monks, “Why? What has happened now? Why were you not asking me to come to the council?” And they said, “Just one day ago, your memory was just the memory of the outside of things. Now you know from the inside – you yourself have become a Buddha.

Buddhahood means when you become so alert that even in your sleep the alertness continues as an undercurrent. Even when you die, you die fully alert – now there is no way to lose your alertness, your alertness has become your nature.

This is the essential message of Buddha. And unless you understand this, you will miss all the sutras of Ikkyu. Many have commented on the sutras, and particularly the Western commentators go on missing the point – because they think what the sutra is saying is a philosophy. The best commentator is R. H. Blyth – but even he misses, because he also seems to have no inner validity. He thinks these sutras are pessimistic. They are not. Pessimism has nothing to do with Buddha. They look pessimistic because they go against your so-called optimism.

Buddha does not give you any hope. But his message is not that of hopelessness. He takes away hope, and with hope he takes away hopelessness too. That is very difficult to understand, unless you have an inner validity. He destroys all optimism, but remember, he is not a pessimist. Once there is no optimism, how can there be pessimism? – they go together. His vision of life is not dismal, but it looks dismal to people.

Even R. H. Blyth, who is the most perceptive commentator from the West on Ikkyu’s sutras, goes on missing the point. He goes on showing where Buddha is wrong, he goes on saying where Ikkyu is morbid.

If you look at the sutras themselves, without making any effort to be mindful, you will miss the whole point. These sutras are just a device to make you mindful.

Buddha gave an example of just how mindful we should be. He told of a person who was ordered to walk through a very crowded marketplace with a water jug, full to the brim, balanced on his head. Behind him walked a soldier with a big sword. If a single drop of that water were to fall, the soldier would cut off his head. Assuredly, the person with the jug walked pretty mindfully. But it has to be mindful in an easy way. If there is too much forcing or strain, the least jostling will cause the water to spill. The person with the jug has to be loose and rhythmic, flowing with the changing scene, yet staying very attentive in each moment.

That is the kind of care we should take in developing awareness: a relaxed alertness.

These two words look diametrically opposite – they are. Because whenever you are relaxed you lose alertness, and whenever you are alert you lose relaxedness. And unless they both happen together you will go on missing Buddha’s message. It is a very strange message – it wants you to bring this polarity together. It is the highest synthesis of human consciousness: one polarity is relaxedness, another polarity is alertness, attentiveness.

If you are only attentive then sooner or later you will be tired of it. You cannot be attentive for twenty-four hours; you will need holidays. You will need alcohol, drugs, to drop out of that attentiveness.

That’s what is happening in the West. People have become more attentive; attentiveness has been cultivated. The whole educational mechanism forces you to become more attentive. Those who are more attentive succeed, those who are less attentive fail. It is a very competitive world – if you want to succeed you have to be very attentive. But then it tires you. Then the tension becomes heavy on the head, then it drives you neurotic. Then madness becomes a very, very natural by-product of it.

Many more people go neurotic in the West than in the East. The reason is clear: in the West, attentiveness has been practiced, down through the ages. It has paid much. The technology, the scientific progress, affluence – all that has come through being attentive. In the East, people have remained in a relaxed state. But if you are relaxed without being attentive, it becomes lethargy. It becomes passivity, it becomes a kind of dullness. Hence the East has remained poor, unscientific, non-technological, starving.

If Buddha’s message is rightly understood, there will be a meeting of East and West. In Buddha, both can meet. His message is of relaxed attentiveness. You have to be very very relaxed, and yet alert. And there is no problem; it is possible.

And I say it to you from an inner validity: It is possible. And only this possibility will make you a whole man, a holy man. Otherwise you will remain half – and a half man is always miserable, in one way or other. The West is miserable spiritually, the East is miserable materially. And man needs both – man needs a richness of the inner and the outer, both.

With Buddha, a new age can dawn. And the secret is simple: learn relaxed awareness. When you are trying to be attentive, simultaneously keep in mind that the body should not become tense. It should be relaxed, loose, in a kind of let-go.

I like this story of Ananda becoming enlightened when his head touched the pillow. You cannot find a better place to become enlightened. Remember it.

And Buddha has not given you any objects to meditate upon. He has not told you to meditate on God, he has not told you to meditate on a mantra, he has not told you to meditate on an image. He has told you to do the small things of life with a relaxed awareness. When you are eating, eat totally – chew totally, taste totally, smell totally. Touch your bread, feel the texture. Smell the bread, smell the flavour. Chew it, let it dissolve into your being, and remain conscious – and you are meditating. And then meditation is not separate from life.

And whenever meditation is separate from life, something is wrong. It becomes life-negative. Then one starts thinking of going to a monastery or to a Himalayan cave. Then one wants to escape from life, because life seems to be a distraction from meditation.

Life is not a distraction; life is an occasion for meditation.

Walking, just be watchful of the breath going in, the breath going out. You are putting one of your feet ahead: watch, feel it from within. You are touching the earth: feel the touch of the earth. And the birds are singing and the sun is rising… One has to be multi-dimensionally sensitive. This will help your intelligence to grow; this will make you more brilliant, sharp, alive. And religion should make you more alive, more sensitive. Because life is God, and there is no other God.

Buddha would have agreed with Toscanini…

On Toscanini’s eightieth birthday, someone asked his son what his father ranked as his most important achievement. The son replied, “For him, there can be no such thing. Whatever he happens to be doing at the moment is the biggest thing in his life – whether he is conducting a symphony or peeling an orange.”

Peel an orange as if you are conducting a symphony, and you will be coming closer and closer to Buddha. Peel an orange as if you are painting the greatest painting in the world – with that alertness, with that care, with that love, with that totality. Peel an orange and be multi-dimensionally aware of it – the smell that is coming from it, the feel, the touch, the taste. Then a small orange, an ordinary orange, is transformed – transformed by the quality of the consciousness that you bring to it.

And if life can be lived in this way then religion is not life-negative – it affirms. It does not take you away from life – it takes you into it, to the deepest core of it. It takes you into its mysteries.

That’s my approach too. And any religion that has to be maintained separate from life – a prayer that you have to do in the temple, and a meditation that you can do only in a Himalayan cave – is not worth much, because you cannot do it for twenty-four hours. Even the man who lives in a Himalayan cave will have to go to beg for his food, will have to collect wood for the winter that is coming, will have to protect himself because the rain is there, will have to think of something because in the night the wild animals are there. Even in that cave he will have to do a thousand and one things. You cannot simply meditate for twenty-four hours; it is not possible.

But Buddha makes it possible. He says: Don’t separate meditation from life – let them be together. Turn each opportunity of life into meditation. Do it fully aware, alert, watchful, witnessing.

A disciple had come to see Ikkyu, his master. The disciple had been practicing for some time. It was raining, and as he went in, he left his shoes and umbrella outside. After he paid his respects, the master asked him on which side of his shoes he had left his umbrella.

Now, what kind of question…? You don’t expect masters to ask such nonsense questions – you expect them to ask about God, about kundalini rising, chakras opening, lights happening in your head. You ask about such great things – occult, esoteric.

But Ikkyu asked a very ordinary question. No Christian saint would have asked it, no Jain monk would have asked it, no Hindu swami would have asked it. It can be done only by one who is really with the Buddha, in the Buddha – who is really a Buddha. The master asked him on which side of his shoes he had left his umbrella. Now, what do shoes and umbrellas have to do with spirituality?

If the same question was asked to you, you would have felt annoyed. You would have felt that this man is no master at all. What kind of question is this? What philosophy can there be in it?

But there is something immensely valuable in it. Had he asked about God, about your kundalini and chakras, that would have been nonsense, utterly meaningless. But this has meaning. The disciple could not remember – who bothers where you have put your shoes and on which side you have put your umbrella, to the right or to the left. Who bothers? Who pays so much attention to umbrellas? Who thinks of shoes? Who is so careful?

But that was enough – the disciple was refused. Ikkyu said, “Then go and meditate for seven years more.”

“Seven years?” the disciple said. “Just for this small fault?

Ikkyu said, “This is not a small fault. Faults are not small or big – you are just not yet living meditatively, that’s all. Go back, meditate for seven years more, and come again.”

This is the essential message of Buddhism: Be careful, careful of everything. And don’t make any distinction between things, that this is trivia and that is very very spiritual. It depends on you. Pay attention, be careful, and everything becomes spiritual. Don’t pay attention, don’t be careful, and everything becomes unspiritual.

Spirituality is imparted by you, it is your gift to the world. When a master like Ikkyu touches his umbrella, the umbrella is as divine as anything can be. And if you touch even God, God will become trivia. It depends on your touch.

Meditative energy is alchemical. It transforms the baser metal into gold; it goes on transforming the baser into the higher. The more meditative you become, the more you see God everywhere. At the ultimate peak, everything is divine. This very world is the paradise, and this very body the Buddha.

-Osho

From Take It Easy, Discourse #26

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.

The Path of Intelligence – Osho

Can the intellect be a door to enlightenment, or is enlightenment only achieved through surrender? 

Enlightenment is always through surrender, but surrender is achieved through intelligence. Only idiots cannot surrender. To surrender you need great intelligence. To see the point of surrender is the climax of insight; to see the point that you are not separate from existence is the highest that intelligence can give to you.

There is no conflict between intelligence and surrender. Surrender is through intelligence, although when you surrender intelligence is also surrendered. Through surrender intellect commits a suicide. Seeing the futility of itself, seeing the absurdity of itself, seeing the anguish that it creates, it disappears. But it happens through intelligence. And especially in concern with Buddha, the path is of intelligence. The very word buddha means awakened intelligence.

In the Heart Sutra one-fourth of the words used mean intelligence. The word buddha means awake, bodhi means awakening, sambodhi means perfect awakening, abhisambuddha means the fully awake, bodhisattva means ready to become fully awake. All go back to the same root, budh, which means intelligence. The word buddhi, intellect, also comes from the same root. The root budh has many dimensions to it. There is no single English word that can translate it; it has many implications. It is very fluid and poetic. In no other language does any word like budh exist, with so many meanings. There are at least five meanings to the word budh.

The first is to awake, to wake oneself up, and to awaken others, to be awake. As such, it is opposed to being asleep, in the slumber of delusion from which the enlightened awakens as from a dream. That is the first meaning of intelligence, budh — to create an awakening in you.

Ordinarily man is asleep. Even while you think you are awake, you are not. Walking on the road, you are fully awake — in your mind. But looked at from the vision of a Buddha, you are fast asleep, because a thousand and one dreams and thoughts are clamoring inside you. Your inner light is very clouded. It is a kind of sleep. Yes, your eyes are open, obviously, but people can walk in a dream, in sleep, with eyes open. And Buddha says: You are also walking in sleep — with eyes open.

But your inner eye is not open. You don’t know yet who you are. You have not looked into your own reality. You are not awake. A mind full of thoughts is not awake, cannot be awake. Only a mind which has dropped thoughts and thinking, which has dispersed the clouds around it — and the sun is burning bright, and the sky is utterly empty of clouds — is the mind which has intelligence, which is awake.

Intelligence is the capacity to be in the present. The more you are in the past or are in the future, the less intelligent you are. Intelligence is the capacity to be here-now, to be in this moment and nowhere else. Then you are awake.

For example, you are sitting in a house and the house suddenly catches fire; your life is in danger. Then for a moment you will be awake. In that moment you will not think many thoughts. In that moment you forget your whole past. In that moment you will not be clamored at by your psychological memories — that you had loved a woman thirty years before, and boy, it was fantastic! Or, the other day you had been to the Chinese restaurant, and still the taste lingers on, and the aroma and the smell of the freshly cooked bread. You will not be in those thoughts. No, when your house is on fire you cannot afford this kind of thinking. Suddenly you will rush to this moment: the house is on fire and your life is at stake. You will not dream about the future, about what you are going to do tomorrow. Tomorrow is no longer relevant, yesterday is no longer relevant, even today is no longer relevant! — only this moment, this split moment. That is the first meaning of budh, intelligence.

And then there are great insights. A man who wants to be really awake, wants to be really a Buddha, has to live each moment in such intensity — as you live only rarely, rarely, in some danger.

The first meaning is opposite to sleep. And naturally, you can see reality only when you are not asleep. You can face it, you can look into the eyes of truth — or call it God — only when you are awake. Do you understand the point of intensity, the point of being on fire? Utterly awake, there is insight. That insight brings freedom, that insight brings truth.

The second meaning of budh is to recognize — as to become aware of, acquainted with, to notice, give heed to. And so, a Buddha is one who has recognized the false as the false, and has his eyes opened to the true as the true. To see the false as the false is the beginning of understanding what truth is. Only when you see the false as the false can you see what truth is. You cannot go on living in illusions, you cannot go on living in your beliefs, you cannot go on living in your prejudices if you want to know truth. The false has to be recognized as false. That is the second meaning of budh — recognition of the false as false, of the untrue as untrue.

For example, you have believed in God; you were born a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan. You have been taught that God exists, you have been made afraid of God — that if you don’t believe you will suffer, that you will be punished, that God is very ferocious, that God will never forgive you. The Jewish God says, “I am a very jealous God. Worship only me and nobody else!” The Mohammedan God also says the same thing: “There is only one God, and no other God; and there is only one prophet of God — Mohammed —and there is no other prophet.”

This conditioning can go so deep in you that it can go on lingering even if you start disbelieving in God.

Just the other day Mulla Nasruddin was here, and I asked him, “Mulla Nasruddin, since you have turned into a communist, you have become a comrade, what about God?”

He said, “There is no God! — and Mohammed is the only prophet.”

A conditioning can go so deep: Mohammed remains the prophet.

You have been brought up to believe in God, and you have believed. This is a belief. Whether God exists or not has nothing to do with your belief. Truth has nothing to do with your belief. Whether you believe or not makes no difference to truth. But if you believe in God you will go on seeing — at least, thinking — that you see God. If you don’t believe in God, that disbelief in God will prevent you from knowing. All beliefs prevent, because they become prejudices around you, they become thought-coverings — what Buddha calls avarnas.

The man of intelligence does not believe in anything, and does not disbelieve in anything. The man of intelligence is simply open to recognizing whatsoever is the case. If God is there he will recognize — but not according to his belief; he has no belief. Only in a nonbelieving intelligence can truth appear. When you already believe you don’t allow truth any space to come to you. Your prejudice is enthroned, already enthroned. You cannot see something which goes against your belief; you will become afraid, you will become shaky, you will start trembling. You have put so much in your belief — so much life, so much time, so many prayers, five prayers every day. For fifty years a man has been devoted to his belief; now suddenly how can he recognize the fact that there is no God? A man has put his whole life into communism, believing that there is no God; how can he come to see if God is there? He will go on avoiding.

I’m not saying anything about whether God is or is not. What I am saying is something concerned with you, not with God. A mind, a clear mind, is needed, an intelligence is needed which does not cling to any belief. Then you are like a mirror: you reflect that which is, you don’t distort it. That is the second meaning of budh.

An intelligent person is neither a communist nor a Catholic. An intelligent person does not believe, does not disbelieve. That is not his way. He looks into life, and whatsoever is there he is ready to see it. He has no barriers to his vision; his vision is transparent. Only those few people attain to truth.

The third meaning of the root budh, intelligence, is to know, to understand. The Buddha knows that which is; he understands that which is, and in that very understanding is free from all bondage — to know in the sense of to understand, not in the sense of knowledgeability. Buddha is not knowledgeable. An intelligent person does not care much about information and knowledge. An intelligent person cares much more for the capacity to know. His real authentic interest is in knowing, not in knowledge.

Knowing gives you understanding; knowledge only gives you a feeling of understanding without giving you real understanding. Knowledge is a pseudo-coin, it is deceptive. It only gives you a feeling that you know, and you don’t know at all. You can go on accumulating knowledge as much as you want, you can go on hoarding, you can become very, very knowledgeable. You can write books, you can have degrees, you can have PhD’s, DLitt’s, and still you remain the same ignorant, stupid person you have always been. Those degrees don’t change you; they can’t change you. In fact, your stupidity becomes more strong… it has degrees now! It can prove itself through certificates. It cannot prove through life, but it can prove through the certificates. It cannot prove in any other way, but it will carry degrees, certificates, recognitions from the society; people think you know, and you also think you know.

Have you not seen this? The people who are thought to be very knowledgeable are as ignorant as anybody, sometimes more ignorant. It is very rare to find intelligent people in the academic world, very rare. I have been in the academic world, and I say it through my experience. I have seen intelligent farmers; I have not seen intelligent professors. I have seen intelligent woodcutters; I have not seen intelligent professors. Why? What has gone wrong with these people?

One thing has gone wrong: they can depend on knowledge. They need not become knowers, they can depend on knowledge. They have found a secondhand way. The firsthand needs courage. The firsthand, knowing, only few people can afford — the adventurers, people who go beyond the ordinary path where crowds move, people who take small footpaths into the jungle of the unknowable. The danger is they may get lost. The risk is high.

When you can get secondhand knowledge, why bother? You can just sit in your chair. You can go to the library or to the university, you can collect information. You can make a big pile of information and sit on top of it. Through knowledge your memory becomes bigger and bigger, but your intelligence does not become bigger. Sometimes it happens when you don’t know much, when you are not very knowledgeable, that you will have to be intelligent in some moments.

I have heard…

A woman bought a tin of fruit but she could not open the tin. She did not know how to open it. So she rushed to her study to look in the cookbook. By the time she looked in the book and found out the page and reference, and came rushing back ready to open the tin, the servant had already opened it.

She asked, “But how did you do it?”

The servant said, “Madam, when you can’t read, you have to use your mind.”

Yes, that’s how it happens. That’s why farmers, gardeners, woodcutters, are more intelligent, have a kind of freshness around them. They can’t read, so they have to use their minds. One has to live and one has to use one’s mind.

The third meaning of budh is to know, in the sense of understanding.

The Buddha has seen that which is. He understands that which is, and in that very understanding is free from all bondage. What does it mean? It means you are afraid.

For example, these Heart Sutra talks are making many people feel fear. Many people have sent their messages: “Osho, no more! You make us afraid of nothingness and death.” Prageet is very afraid. Vidya is very afraid, and many more. Why? You don’t want to get rid of fear? If you want to get rid of fear you will have to understand fear. You want to avoid the fact that the fear is there, the fear of death is there.

Now Prageet, on the surface, looks a strong man — a Rolfer — but deep down he’s very much afraid of death; he is one of the most afraid persons around here. Maybe that’s why on the surface he has taken the stance of strength, power, a bully. That’s what a Rolfer is!

I have heard that recently the devil in hell is appointing Rolfers: they torture people for their own sakes, and they torture very technically. If you are afraid inside, you will have to create something strong around you, like a hard shell, so nobody comes to know that you are afraid. And that is not the only point — you also will not know that you are afraid because of that hard shell. It will protect you from others, it will protect you from your own understanding.

An intelligent person does not escape from any fact. If it is fear he will go into it – because the way out is through. If he feels fear and trembling arising in him, he will leave everything aside: first this fear has to be gone through. He will go into it, he will try to understand. He will not try how not to be afraid; he will not ask that question. He will simply ask one question: “What is this fear? It is there, it is part of me, it is my reality. I have to go into it, I have to understand it. If I don’t understand it then a part of me will always remain unknown to me. And how am I going to know who I am if I go on avoiding parts? I will not understand fear, I will not understand death, I will not understand anger, I will not understand my hatred, I will not understand my jealousy, I will not understand this and that…” Then how are you going to know yourself?

All these things are you! This is your being. You have to go into everything that is there, every nook and corner. You have to explore fear. Even if you are trembling it is nothing to be worried about: tremble, but go in. It is far better to tremble than to escape, because once you escape, that part will remain unknown to you, and you will become more and more afraid to look at it because that fear will go on accumulating. It will become bigger and bigger if you don’t go into it right now, this moment. Tomorrow it will have lived twenty-four hours more. Beware! — it will have got more roots in you, it will have bigger foliage, it will become stronger; and then it will be more difficult to tackle. It is better to go right now; it is already late.

And if you go into it and you see it… And seeing means without prejudice. Seeing means that you don’t condemn fear as bad from the very beginning. Who knows? — it is not bad. Who knows that it is? The explorer has to remain open to all the possibilities; he cannot afford a closed mind. A closed mind and exploration don’t go together. He will go into it. If it brings suffering and pain, he will suffer the pain but he will go into it. Trembling, hesitant, but he will go into it: “It is my territory, I have to know what it is. Maybe it is carrying some treasure for me? Maybe the fear is only there to protect the treasure.”

That’s my experience, that’s my understanding: if you go deep into your fear you will find love. That’s why it happens that when you are in love, fear disappears. And when you are afraid you cannot be in love. What does this mean? A simple arithmetic — fear and love don’t exist together. That means it must be the same energy that becomes fear; then there is nothing left to become love. It becomes love; then there is nothing left to become fear.

Go into fear, Prageet, Vidya, and all others who are feeling afraid. Go into it, and you will find a great treasure. Hidden behind fear is love, and hidden behind anger is compassion, and hidden behind sex is samadhi.

Go into each negative thing and you will find the positive. And knowing the negative and the positive, the third, the ultimate happens — the transcendental. That is the meaning of understanding, budh, intelligence.

And the fourth meaning is to be enlightened and to enlighten. The Buddha is the light, he has become the light. And since he’s the light and he has become the light, he shows the light to others too, naturally, obviously. He is illumination. His darkness has disappeared, his inner flame is burning bright. Smokeless is his flame. This meaning is opposite to darkness and the corresponding blindness and ignorance. This is the fourth meaning: to become light, to become enlightened.

Ordinarily you are a darkness, a continent of darkness, a dark continent, unexplored. Man is a little strange: he goes on exploring the Himalayas, he goes on exploring the Pacific, he goes on reaching for the moon and Mars; there is just one thing he never tries — exploring his inner being. Man has landed on the moon, and man has not landed yet in his own being. This is strange. Maybe landing on the moon is just an escape, going to Everest is just an escape. Maybe he does not want to go inside, because he’s very much afraid. He substitutes with some other explorations to feel good, otherwise you will have to feel very, very guilty. You start climbing a mountain and you feel good, and the greatest mountain is within you and is yet unclimbed. You start going, diving deep into the Pacific, and the greatest Pacific is within you, and uncharted, unmapped. And you start going to the moon — what foolishness! And you are wasting your energy in going to the moon, and the real moon is within you — because the real light is within you.

The intelligent person will go inwards first. Before going anywhere else he will go into his own being; that is the first thing, and it should have the first preference. Only when you have known yourself can you go anywhere else. Then wherever you go you will carry a blissfulness around you, a peace, a silence, a celebration.

So, the fourth meaning is to be enlightened.

Intelligence is the spark. Helped, cooperated with, it can become the fire, and the light, and the warmth. It can become light, it can become life, it can become love: those are all included in the word enlightenment. An enlightened person has no dark corners in his being. All is like the morning — the sun is on the horizon; the darkness of the night and the dismalness of the night have disappeared, and the shadows of the night have disappeared. The earth is again awake. To be a Buddha is to attain to a morning, a dawn within you. That is the function of intelligence, the ultimate function.

And the fifth meaning of budh is to fathom. A depth is there in you, a bottomless depth, which has to be fathomed. Or, the fifth meaning can be to penetrate, to drop all that obstructs and penetrate to the very core of your being, the heart. That’s why this sutra is called the Heart SutraPrajnaparamita Hridayam Sutra — to penetrate.

People try to penetrate many things in life. Your urge, your great desire for sex is nothing but a kind of penetration. But that is a penetration into the other. The same penetration has to happen into your own being: you have to penetrate yourself. If you penetrate somebody else it can give you a momentary glimpse, but if you penetrate yourself you can attain to the universal cosmic orgasm that remains and remains and remains.

A man meets an outer woman, and a woman meets an outer man: this is a very superficial meeting — yet meaningful, yet it brings moments of joy. When the inner woman meets the inner man… And you are carrying both inside you: a part of you is feminine, a part of you is masculine. Whether you are man or woman does not matter; everybody is bisexual.

The fifth meaning of the root budh means penetration. When your inner man penetrates your inner woman there is a meeting; you become whole, you become one. And then all desires for the outer disappear. In that desirelessness is freedom, is nirvana.

The path of Buddha is the path of budh. Remember that ‘Buddha’ is not the name of Gautama the Buddha, Buddha is the state that he has attained. His name was Gautam Siddhartha. Then one day he became Buddha, one day his bodhi, his intelligence bloomed.

‘Buddha’ means exactly what ‘Christ’ means. Jesus’ name is not Christ: that is the ultimate flowering that happened to him. So is it with Buddha. There have been many Buddhas other than Gautam Siddartha.

Everybody has the capacity for budh. But budh, that capacity to see, is just like a seed in you — if it sprouts, becomes a big tree, blooms, starts dancing in the sky, starts whispering to the stars, you are a Buddha.

The path of Buddha is the path of intelligence. It is not an emotional path, no, not at all.

Not that emotional people cannot reach; there are other paths for them — the path of devotion, Bhakti Yoga. Buddha’s path is pure Gyan Yoga, the path of knowing. Buddha’s path is the path of meditation, not of love.

And just like budh, there is another root, gya, at the basis of gyanam. Gyanam means cognition, knowing. And the word prajna, which means wisdom — prajnaparamita – the wisdom of the beyond, or sangya, which means perception, sensitivity, or vigyanam which means consciousness — these roots come from gya. Gya means to know.

You will find these words repeated so many times in the sutra — not only in this sutra, but in all the sutras of the Buddha. You will find a few more words, repeated very often, and those words are ved — ved means to know; from ved comes the Hindu word veda — or man, which means mind; manan which means minding; or chit, which means consciousness; chaitanya, which again means consciousness. These words are almost like paving stones on the Buddha Way. His path is that of intelligence.

One thing more to be remembered: the sutra, it is true, points to something that lies far beyond the intellect. But the way to get to that is to follow the intellect as far as it will take you.

The intellect has to be used, not discarded; has to be transcended, not discarded. And it can be transcended only when you have reached to the uppermost rung of the ladder. You have to go on growing in intelligence. Then a moment comes when intelligence has done all that it can do. In that moment say goodbye to intelligence. It has helped you a long way, it has brought you long enough, it has been a good vehicle. It has been a boat you crossed with: you have reached the other shore, then you leave the boat. Then you don’t carry the boat on your head; that would be foolish.

The Buddha’s path goes through intelligence but goes beyond it. A moment comes when intelligence has given you all that it can give, then it is no longer needed. Then finally you drop it too, its work is finished. The disease is gone, now that medicine has to go too. And when you are free of the disease and the medicine too, then only are you free. Sometimes it happens that the disease is gone, and now you have become addicted to the medicine. This is not freedom.

A thorn is in your foot and is hurting. You take another thorn so that the thorn in your foot can be taken out with the help of the other. When you have taken the thorn out you throw both; you don’t save the one that has been helpful. It is now meaningless. The work of intelligence is to help you to become aware of your being. Once that work has happened and your being is there, now there is no need for this instrument. You can say goodbye, you can say thank you.

Buddha’s path is the path of intelligence, pure intelligence, although it goes beyond it.

-Osho

From The Heart Sutra, Discourse #8

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.

Right Initiation Cannot be Given – Osho

In spiritual quest, deeksha, initiation, holds a very important place. Its special ceremonies are carried out under special conditions. Buddha and Mahavira used to give initiation. How many types of initiation are there? What is their significance and use and why are they needed?

A little talk on initiation will be useful. For one thing, deeksha, initiation, is never given; initiation takes place, it is a happening. For example, a person stays with Mahavira and it takes years for his initiation to take place. Mahavira tells him to stay, to be with him, to walk with him, to stand in such a way, to sit in such a way, to meditate such a way. Then a moment comes when the person is fully prepared. Then Mahavira is only the medium. Perhaps it is not proper even to say that he is the medium – rather, in a very deep sense he remains only a witness and initiation takes place in front of him.

Initiation is always from the divine, but it can happen in the presence of Mahavira. Now the person to whom it is happening sees Mahavira in front of him, but the divine he cannot see. It happens to him in front of Mahavira so naturally he becomes grateful to Mahavira – and this is fitting also. But Mahavira does not accept his gratitude. He can only accept his gratitude if he acknowledges that he initiated him.

So there are two types of initiation. One is that which happens and which I call ”right” initiation, because in this you establish your relationship with the divine. Then your journey through life takes a new turn: you become someone else now; you are no longer the same that you were; everything within you is transformed. You have seen something new. Something new has happened to you, a ray has entered you, and now everything within you is different.

In the real initiation the guru stands aside like a witness and he can confirm that initiation has taken place. He can see the full process but you see only half. You can only see what is happening to you; he sees that from where the initiation takes place. So you are not a complete witness of the happening; all you can say is that a great transformation has taken place. But whether initiation has taken place or not, whether you have been accepted or not, that you cannot say for certain.

Even after you are initiated you will still wonder, “Have I been accepted? Have I been chosen? Have I been accepted by the divine? Can I now take it that I am his? On my part I have surrendered, but has he taken me to him?” This you cannot know at once. You will come to know after some time, but this interval can be long also. So the second person, whom we call the guru, can know this because he has watched the happening from both the sides.

Right initiation cannot be given, nor can it be taken. It comes from the divine; you are merely the recipient.

Now the other type of initiation, which we may call false initiation, can be given as well as taken.The divine is completely absent there; there is only the guru and the disciple. The guru gives, the disciple takes, but the third, real factor is absent.

Where there are only two present – the guru and the disciple – the initiation is false. Where three are present – the guru, the disciple and he from whom it takes place – everything changes. This giving of initiation is not only improper but also dangerous, fatal, because in this illusion of initiation right initiation cannot take place. You will merely live under the illusion that initiation has taken place.

A seeker came to me who had been initiated by someone. He said, “I have been initiated by such and such a guru and I have come to you to learn meditation.”

I asked him, “Why then did you take initiation? And if you did not even attain meditation, what have you obtained from your initiation? All you received is clothes and a name. If you are still seeking meditation, then what is the meaning of your initiation?”

The truth is that initiation can only happen after meditation. Meditation after initiation has no meaning. It is like a man who proclaims that he is healthy and still he knocks at the physician’s door and asks for medicine. Initiation is the acceptance obtained after meditation. It is a sanction given of your acceptance – a consent. The divine has been advised of you and your entrance into his realm has happened. Initiation is only a confirmation of this fact.

Such initiation is now lost, and I feel it should be revived again: initiation where the guru is not the giver and the disciple is not the recipient – and the giver, God. This can be; this should be. If I am a witness to someone’s initiation I do not become his guru. Then his guru is the divine. If he is grateful it is his business. But to demand gratefulness is senseless and to accept it is meaningless.

Gurudom, the web of the so-called gurus, was created by giving a new form to initiation. Words are whispered in the ears, mantras are given, and anybody initiates anyone. Whether he himself is initiated is also not certain; whether the divine has accepted him is not known. Perhaps he too has been initiated in the same manner. Someone had whispered into his ears, he whispers into someone else’s, and this one in his turn will whisper into someone else’s ears again.

Man creates lies and deceptions in everything – and the more mysterious a happening the more deceptions there are, because there is nothing substantial to show as proof.

I intend carrying out this method also. About ten or twenty people are preparing for it. They will take initiation from the divine. The others who are present will be the witnesses, and their work will be to confirm whether the initiation has been accepted by the divine; that is all. You will experience but you will not be able to recognize at once what has taken place. It is so unfamiliar to you, how will you recognize that the thing has happened? Confirmation can be made by the presence of the enlightened one. This alone is the basis of its evaluation.

So the supreme guru is the paramatman – existence. If the gurus in between would step back initiation would be easier, but the intermediary guru stands fixed. His ego exults at making a god of himself and displaying himself. Many kinds of initiations are given around this ego. They have no value, however, and in terms of spirituality they are all criminal acts. If some day we should start punishing spiritual criminals, these should not go unpunished.

The unsuspecting seeker takes it for granted that he has been initiated. Then he goes about with pride that he has received his initiation, that he has received his mantra, and that all that was to happen has happened to him. So all his search for the right happening stops.

When anyone approached Buddha he was never initiated immediately; sometimes it took years. Buddha would keep on postponing by telling him to perform this practice and that. Then, when the moment came, he would tell him to stand up for initiation.

There were three parts to Buddha’s initiation. One who came for it went through three types of surrender. First he said, “I surrender unto Buddha – Buddham sharanam gachchhami.” By this he did not mean Gautam Buddha; this meant surrendering himself to the awakened one.

Once a seeker came up to Buddha and said, “I surrender unto buddha.” Buddha listened and remained silent.

Then someone asked him, “This man says, ’I surrender unto buddha,’ and you were only listening to him?”

Buddha replied, “He is not surrendering to me, he is surrendering to the awakened one. I am a mere excuse. There have been many buddhas before me, there will be many after me. I am just an excuse. I am just a peg. He is surrendering himself to the awakened one, so who am I to stop him? If he surrenders to me I shall certainly stop him, but he has said three times that he is surrendering himself unto the awakened one.”

Then there is the second surrender which is still more wonderful. In this the person says, “I surrender myself to the assembly of the awakened ones – sangham sharanam gachchhami.” Now what does this assembly mean? Generally the followers of Buddha take it to mean Buddha’s assembly, but this is not the meaning. This assembly is the collective gathering of all awakened ones. There is not only one Buddha who has become awakened; there have been many buddhas before and there will be many buddhas after who will awaken. They all belong to one community, to one collectivity. Now the Buddhists think this term means an association of Buddhists, but this is wrong.

The very first invocation, in which Buddha explains that the seeker surrenders himself to the awakened one and not to him as a person, makes everything clear. The second invocation makes it all the more clear. In this the person offers himself to the community of awakened ones.

First he bows down to the awakened one who is right there in front of him. As he is right there it is easy to approach him, to talk to him. Then he surrenders himself to the brotherhood of the awakened ones that have awakened since long and whom he does not know, and to those who will awaken in the future and whom he does not know. He surrenders to all of them and he proceeds a step further towards the subtle.

The third surrender is to dhamma – religion. The third time the seeker says, “I surrender unto the dhamma – dhammam sharanam gachchhami.” The first surrender is to the awakened one, the second is the brotherhood of the awakened ones, and now the third surrender is to that which is the ultimate state of awakening – to the dhamma. That is, to our nature, where there is no individual, no community; where there is only the dhamma, the law. He says, “I surrender unto that dhamma.”

When these three surrenders were completed then only the initiation was recognized. Buddha was only a witness of this happening. This was not a matter of mere repetition. When these three were completed – and Buddha could see whether they had been completed – only then was the individual initiated. Buddha remained a witness to the happening.

So later on also Buddha would tell the seeker, “Do not believe what I say just because I am an awakened one; do not believe what I say just because I am famous or because I have many followers or because the scriptures confirm it. Now only believe what your inner understanding tells you.”

Buddha never became a guru. At the time of his death, when he was asked for his final message, he said, “Be a light unto yourself. Do not go after others; do not follow others. Be a light unto yourself. This is my last message.”

Such a person as Buddha cannot be a guru. Such a person is a witness. Jesus has said many a time, “On the final day of judgment I shall be your witness.” In other words, on the last day Jesus will testify, “Yes, he is a man who had striven to become awakened. This man wanted to surrender to the divine.” This is talking in symbols. What Christ meant to say is also this: “I am your witness, not your guru.”

There is no guru; therefore, beware of the initiation where someone becomes your guru. The initiation where you become immediately and directly connected with the divine is a unique initiation.

Remember, in this initiation you have not to leave your house and go away, you have not to become either a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian, nor are you required to be tied to someone. You remain where you are in your full freedom; the change will take place only from within.

In the false type of initiation you will be tied to a religion: you will be a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian. You will be a part of an organization. Some belief, some religious order, some dogma, some person, some guru, will catch hold of you and they will kill your freedom.

That initiation which does not bring freedom is no initiation. That initiation which gives you absolute freedom is alone the right initiation.

-Osho

From In Search of the Miraculous, V.2, Discourse #21

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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.

The Deceptions of the Mind – Osho

If I try this method of being aware of my breathing, If I pay attention to my breathing, then I cannot do anything else, the whole attention goes to it. And if I am to do anything else then I cannot be aware of my breathing.

This will happen, so in the beginning choose a particular period in the morning, or in the evening, or at any time. For one hour just do the exercise; do not do anything else. Just do the exercise. Once you become attuned to it, then it will not be a problem. You can walk on the street and you can be aware.

Between ‘awareness’ and ‘attention’ there is a difference. When you pay attention to anything it is exclusive; you have to withdraw your attention from everywhere else. So it is a tension really. That is why it is called attention. You pay attention to one thing at the cost of everything else. If you pay attention to your breathing, you cannot pay attention to your walking or to your driving. Do not try it while you are driving because you cannot pay attention to both.

Attention means one thing exclusively. Awareness is a very different thing; it is not exclusive. It is not paying attention, it is being attentive; it is just being conscious. You are conscious when you are inclusively conscious. Your breathing is in your consciousness. You are walking and someone is passing, and you are also conscious of him. Someone is making noise on the road, some train passes by, some airplane flies by – everything is included. Awareness is inclusive, attention exclusive. But in the beginning, it will be attention.

So first try in selected periods. For one hour just be attentive to your breathing. By and by you will be able to change your attention into awareness. Then do simple things – for example, walking, walk attentively with full awareness of walking and also of breathing. Do not create any opposition between the two actions of walking and breathing. Be a watcher of both. It is not difficult. Look! For example, I can pay attention to one face here. If I pay attention to one face, all the faces will not be here for me. If I pay my attention to one face, then all the rest are bracketed out. If I pay attention only to the nose on that face, then the whole face, the remaining face, is bracketed out. I can go on narrowing down my attention to a single point.

The reverse is also possible. I pay attention to the whole face; then eyes and nose and everything are there. Then I have made my focus wider. I look at you not as individuals, but as a group. Then the whole group is in my attention. If I take you as different from the noise that is going on the street, then I am bracketing out the street. But I can look at you and the street as one whole. Then I can be aware of both you and the street. I can be aware of the whole cosmos. It depends on your focus – on its becoming greater and greater. But first start from attention and remember that you have to grow into awareness. So choose a small period. The morning is good because you are fresh, energies are vital, everything is rising; you are more alive in the morning.

Physiologists say that not only are you more alive, but your height is a little more in the morning than in the evening. If you are six feet tall, then in the morning you are six feet and one half inch and in the evening you go back to six feet. Half an inch is lost because your spine settles down when it is tired. So in the morning you are fresh, young, alive with energy.

Do this: do not make meditation the last thing on your schedule. Make it the first. Then when you feel that now it is not an effort, when you can sit for an hour together completely immersed in breathing – aware, attentive – when you only know this, that you have achieved attention of breathing without any effort; when you are relaxed and enjoying it without any forcing, then you have attained it.

Then add something else – for example, walking. Remember both; then go on adding things. After a certain period you will be capable of being aware of your breath continuously, even in sleep. And unless you are aware even in sleep you will not be able to know the depth. But this comes, by and by this comes.

One has to be patient and one has to start rightly. Know this, because the cunning mind will always try to give you a wrong start. Then you can leave it after two or three days and say, “This is hopeless.” The mind will give you a wrong start. So always remember to begin rightly, because rightly begun means half done. But we start wrongly.

You know very well that attention is a difficult thing. This is because you are totally asleep. So, if you start being attentive to breathing while you are doing something else, you cannot do it. And you are not going to leave the task, you will leave the effort of being attentive to breathing.

So do not create unnecessary problems for yourself. In twenty-four hours you can find a small corner. Forty minutes will do… so do the technique there. But the mind will give many excuses. The mind will say, “Where is the time? There is already too much work to be done. Where is the time?” Or the mind will say, “It is not possible now, so postpone it. Sometime in the future when things are better, then you will do it.” Beware of what your mind says to you. Do not be too trusting of the mind. And we are never doubtful. We can doubt everyone but we never doubt our own minds.

Even those who talk so much of skepticism, of doubt, of reason, even they never doubt their own minds. And your mind has brought you to the state you are in. If you are in a hell, your mind has brought you to this hell, and you never doubt this guide. You can doubt any teacher, any master, but you never doubt your mind. With unflinching faith, you move with your mind as the guru. And your mind has brought you to the mess, to the misery that you are. If you are going to doubt anything, doubt first your own mind. And whenever your mind says something, think twice.

Is it true that you do not have any time? Really? You do not have any time to meditate – to give one hour to meditation? Think twice. Ask again and again to the mind, “Is this the case, that I do not have any time?”

I don’t see it. I have not seen a man who does not have more than enough time. I go on seeing people who are playing cards, and they say, “We are killing time.” They are going to the movies and they say, “What to do?” They are killing time, gossiping, reading the same newspaper again and again, talking about the same things they have been talking about for their whole lives, and they say, “We don’t have any time.” For unnecessary things they have enough time. Why?

With an unnecessary thing mind is not in any danger. The moment you think of meditation, mind becomes alert. Now you are moving in a dangerous dimension, because meditation means the death of the mind. If you move into meditation, sooner or later your mind will have to dissolve, retire completely. The mind becomes alert and it begins to say many things to you: “Where is the time? And even if there is time, then more important things are to be done. First postpone it until later. You can meditate at any time. Money is more important. Gather money first, then meditate at your leisure. How can you meditate without money? So pay attention to money, then meditate later on.”

Meditation can be postponed easily, you feel, because it is not concerned with your immediate survival. Bread cannot be postponed – you will die. Money cannot be postponed – it is needed for your basic necessities. Meditation can be postponed; you can survive without it. Really, you can survive without it easily.

The moment you go deep in meditation, you will not survive on this earth at least – you will disappear. From the circle of this life, this wheel, you will disappear. Meditation is like death, so the mind becomes afraid. Meditation is like love, so the mind becomes afraid. “Postpone,” it says, and you can go on postponing ad infinitum. Your mind is always saying things like this. And do not think I am talking about others. I am talking particularly about you.

I have come across many intelligent people who go on saying very unintelligent things about meditation. One man came from Delhi; he is a big government official. He came only for the purpose of learning meditation here. He had come from Delhi, and he stayed seven days here. I told him to go to the morning meditation class on Chowpatty beach in Bombay, but he said, “But that is difficult. I cannot get up so early.” And he will never think over what his mind has told him. Is this so difficult? Now you will know: the exercise can be simple, but your mind is not so simple. The mind says, “How can I get up in the morning at six o’clock?”

I was in a big city, and the collector of that city came to meet me at eleven o’clock at night. I was just going to my bed, and he came and said, “No! It is urgent. I am very disturbed. It is a question of life and death,” he told me. “So please give me at least half an hour. Teach me meditation; otherwise I might commit suicide. I am very much disturbed, and I am so frustrated that something must happen in my inner world. My outer world is lost completely.”

I told him, “Come in the morning at five o’clock.” He said, “That is not possible.” It is a question of life and death, but he cannot get up at five o’clock. He said, “That is not possible. I never get up so early.”

“Okay,” I told him, “Then come at ten.”

He said, “That will also be difficult because by ten-thirty I am to be present at my office.”

He cannot take one day’s leave, and it is a question of life and death. So I told him, ”Is it a question of your life and death or my life and death? Whose?” And he was not an unintelligent man, he was intelligent enough. These tricks were very intelligent.

So do not think that your mind is not playing the same tricks. It is very intelligent, and because you think it is your mind you never doubt it. It is not yours; it is just a social product. It is not yours! It has been given to you, it has been forced upon you. You have been taught and conditioned in a certain way. From the very childhood your mind has been created by others – parents, society, teachers. The past is creating your mind, influencing your mind. The dead past is forcing itself upon the living continuously. The teachers are just the agents – agents of the dead against the living. They go on forcing things upon your mind. But the mind is so intimate with you, the gap is so small, that you become identified with it.

You say, “I am a Hindu.” Think again, reconsider it. You are not a Hindu. You have been given a Hindu mind. You were born just a simple, innocent being – not a Hindu, not a Mohammedan. But you were given a Mohammedan mind, a Hindu mind. You were forced, encaged, imprisoned in a particular condition, and then life goes on adding to this mind and this mind becomes heavy – heavy on you. You cannot do anything; the mind starts forcing its own way upon you. Your experiences are being added to the mind. Constantly, your past is conditioning your every present moment. If I say something to you, you are not going to think about it in a fresh way, in an open way. Your old mind, your past will come in between, will begin to talk and chatter for or against.

Remember, your mind is not yours, your body is not yours; it comes from your parents. Your mind is also not yours; it also comes from your parents. Who are you?

Either one is identified with the body or with the mind. You think you are young, you think you are old, you think you are a Hindu, you think you are a Jain, you are a Parsi. You are not! You were born as a pure consciousness. These are all imprisonments. These techniques which look so simple to you will not be so simple, because this mind will create constantly many, many complexities and problems.

Just a few days before, a man came to me and he said, “I am trying your method of meditation, but tell me, in what scripture is it given? If you can convince me that it is given in my religious scripture, then it will be easier for me to do.” But why will it be easier for him to do if it is written in a scripture? Because then the mind will not create a problem. The mind will say, “Okay! This belongs to us, so do it.” If it is not written in any scripture then the mind will say, “What are you doing?” The mind goes against it.

I said to the man, “You have been doing this method for three months. How are you feeling?” He said, “Wonderful. I am feeling very wonderful. But tell me… give some authority from the scriptures.” His own feeling is not an authority at all. He says, “I am feeling wonderful. I have become more silent, more peaceful, more loving. I am feeling wonderful.” But his own experience is not the authority. The mind asks for an authority from the past.

I told him, “It is not written anywhere in your scriptures. Rather, many things which are against this technique are written.” His face became sad. And then he said, “Then it will be difficult for me to do it and to continue it.”

Why is his own experience not of any value?

The past – the conditioning, the mind – is constantly molding you and destroying your present. So remember, and be aware. Be skeptical and doubting about your mind. Do not trust it. If you can attain to this maturity of not trusting your mind, only then will these techniques be really simple, helpful, functioning. They will work miracles – they can work miracles.

These techniques, these methods cannot be understood intellectually at all. I am trying the impossible, but then why am I trying? If they cannot be understood intellectually, then why am I talking to you? They cannot be understood intellectually, but there is no other way to make you aware of certain techniques which can change your life totally. You can understand only intellect, and this is a problem. You cannot understand anything else; you can understand only the intellect. And these techniques cannot be understood intellectually, so how to communicate?

Either you should become capable of understanding without intellect being brought in, or some method should be found so that these techniques can be made intellectually understandable. The second is not possible, but the first is possible. 

You will have to start intellectually, but do not cling to it. When I say “Do,” try doing. If something begins to happen within you, then you will be capable of throwing your intellect aside and reaching toward me directly without the intellect, without any effort, without the meditator. But start doing something. We can go on talking for years and years, your mind can be stuffed with many things, but that is not going to help. Rather, it may harm you because you will begin to know many things. And if you know many things you will become confused. It is not good to know many things. It is good to know a little and to practice it. A single technique can be helpful; something done is always helpful. What is the difficulty in doing it?

Deep down somewhere there is fear. The fear is that if you do it, it may be that something stops happening – that is the fear. It may look paradoxical, but I have been meeting so many – so many persons – who think they want to change. They say they need meditation; they ask for a deep transformation, but deep down they are also afraid. They are dual – double; they have two minds. They go on asking about what to do, never doing it. Why then do they go on asking? Just to deceive themselves that they are really interested in transforming themselves. That is why they are asking.

This gives a facade, an appearance that they are really, sincerely interested in changing themselves. That is why they are asking, going to this guru and that, finding, trying, but they never do anything. Deep down they are afraid.

Eric Fromm has written a book, Fear of Freedom. The title seems contradictory. Everyone thinks that they like freedom; everyone thinks that they are endeavoring for freedom – in this world and in “that world” also. “We want moksha – liberation – we want to be freed from all limitations, from all slaveries. We want to be totally free,” they say. But Eric Fromm says that man is afraid of freedom. We want it, we go on saying that we want it, we go on convincing ourselves that we want it, but deep down we are afraid of freedom. We do not want it! Why? Why this duality?

Freedom creates fear, and meditation is the deepest freedom possible. You are not freed only from outward limitations, you are freed from inner slavery – the very mind, the base of slavery. You are freed from the whole past. The moment you have no mind, the past has disappeared. You have transcended history; now there is no society, no religion, no scripture, no tradition, because they all have their abode in the mind. Now there is no past, no future, because past and future are part of the mind, the memory and the imagination.

Then you are here and now in the present. Now there is not going to be any future. There will be now and now and now – eternal now. Then you are freed completely; you transcend all tradition, all history, body, mind, everything. One becomes free of the fearful. Such freedom? Then where will you be? In such freedom, can you exist? In such freedom, in such vastness, can you have your small “I” – your ego? Can you say “I am?”

You can say, “I am in bondage,” because you can know your boundary. When there is no bondage there is no boundary. You become just a state, nothing more… absolute nothingness, emptiness. That creates fear, so one goes on talking about meditation, about how to do it, and one goes on without doing it.

All the questions arise out of this fear. Feel this fear. If you know it, it will disappear. If you do not know it, it will continue. Are you ready to die in the spiritual sense? Are you ready to be not?

Whenever anyone came to Buddha he would say, “This is the basic truth – that you are not. And because you are not you cannot die, you cannot be born; and because you are not you cannot be in suffering, in bondage. Are you ready to accept this?” Buddha would ask, “Are you ready to accept this? If you are not ready to accept this, then do not try meditation now. First try to find out whether you really are or you are not. Meditate on this first: is there any self? Is there any substance within or are you just a combination?”

If you manage to find out, you will find that your body is a combination. Something has come from your mother, something has come from your father, and all else has come from food. This is your body. In this body you are not, there is no self. Contemplate on the mind: something has come from here, something from there. Mind has nothing that is original. It is just accumulation.

Find out if there is any self in the mind. If you move deep, you will find that your identity is just like an onion. You peel off one layer and another layer comes up; you peel off another layer and still another layer comes up. You go on peeling layers off, and ultimately you come to a nothingness. With all the layers thrown off, there is nothing inside. Body and mind are like onions. When you have peeled off both body and mind, then you come to encounter a nothingness, an abyss, a bottomless void. Buddha called it shunya.

To encounter this shunya, to encounter this void, creates fear. That fear is there. That is why we never do meditation. We talk about it, but we never do anything about it. That fear is there. You know deep down that there is a void, but you cannot escape this fear. Whatsoever you do, the fear will remain unless you encounter it. That is the only way. Once you encounter your nothingness, once you know that within you are just like a space, shunya, then there will be no fear. Then there cannot be any fear, because this shunya, this void, cannot be destroyed. This void is not going to die. That which was going to die is no more; it was nothing but the layers of an onion.

That is why many times in deep meditation, when one comes nearer to this nothingness, one becomes afraid and starts trembling. One feels that one is going to die, one wants to escape from this nothingness back to the world. And many go back; then they never turn within again. As I see it, every one of you have tried in some life or other some meditative technique. You have been near to the nothingness, and then fear gripped you and you escaped. And deep in your past memories, that memory is there; that becomes the hindrance. Whenever you again think of trying meditation, that past memory deep down in your unconscious mind again disturbs you and says, “Go on thinking; do not do it. You have done it once.”

It is difficult to find a man – and I have looked into many – who has not tried meditation once or twice in some life. The memory is there, but you are not conscious of it, you are not aware of where the memory is. It is there. Whenever you begin to do something that becomes a barrier, this and that begin to stop you in many ways. So, if you are really interested in meditation, find out about your own fear of it. Be sincere about it: are you afraid? If you are afraid, then first something has to be done about your fear, not about meditation.

Buddha used to try many devices. Sometimes someone would say to him, “I am afraid of trying meditation.” And this is a must: the master must be told that you are afraid. You cannot deceive the master… and there is no need – it is deceiving yourself. So whenever someone would say, “I am afraid of meditation,” Buddha would say, “You are fulfilling the first requirement.” If you say yourself that you are afraid of meditation, then something becomes possible. Then something can be done because you have uncovered a deep thing. So what is the fear? Meditate on it. Go and dig out where it comes from, what the source is.

All fear is basically death-oriented. Whatsoever its form, mode, whatsoever its shape, name, all fear is death-oriented. If you move deep, you will find that you are afraid of death.

If someone came to Buddha and said, “I am afraid of death, I have found this out,” Buddha would say, “Then go to the burning ghat, go to the cemetery, and meditate on a funeral pyre. People are dying daily – they will be burned. Just remain there at the marghat – cemetery – and meditate on the burning pyre. When their family members have gone, you remain there. Just look into the fire, at the burning body. When everything is becoming smoke, you just look at it deeply. Do not think, just meditate on it for three months, six months, nine months.

“When it becomes a certainty to you that death cannot be escaped, when it becomes absolutely certain that death is the way of life, that death is implied in life, that death is going to be, that there is no way out and you are already in it, only then come to me.”

After meditating on death, after seeing every day, night and day, dead bodies being burned, dissolved into ashes – just a smoke remains and then disappears – after meditating for months together, a certainty will arise: the certainty that death is inevitable. It is the only certainty really. The only thing certain in life is death. Everything else is uncertain: it may be or it may not be. But you cannot say that it may be or it may not be for death. It is; it is going to be. It has already occurred. The moment you entered life, you entered death. Now nothing can be done about it.

When death is certain there is no fear. Fear is always with things which can be changed. If death is to be, fear disappears. If you can change, if you can do something about death, then fear will remain. If nothing can be done, if you are already in it, then it is absolutely certain that fear will disappear. When fear of death had disappeared, Buddha would allow you to meditate. He would say, “Now you can meditate.”

So you also go deep into your mind. And listening to these techniques will be helpful only when your inner barriers are broken, when inner fears disappear and you are certain that death is the reality. So if you die in meditation there is no fear – death is certain. Even if death occurs in meditation, there is no fear. Only then can you move – and then you can move at rocket speed because the barriers are not there.

It is not distance that takes time, but the barriers. You can move this very moment if there is no barrier. You are already there but for the barrier. It is a hurdle race, and you go on putting up more and more hurdles. You feel good when you cross a hurdle; you feel good that now you have crossed the hurdle. And the idiocy of it, the foolishness of it, is that the hurdle was placed there by you in the first place. It was never there. You go on putting up hurdles, then jumping over them, then feeling good; then you go on putting up more hurdles, then jumping. You move in a circle and never, never reach to the center.

Mind creates hurdles because mind is afraid. It will give you many explanations as to why you are not doing meditation. Do not believe it. Go deep, find out the basic cause. Why does a person go on talking about food and yet never eat? What is the problem? The man seems mad!

Another man goes on talking about love and never loves, another man goes on talking about something else and never does anything about it. This talking becomes obsessive; it becomes a compulsion. One goes on, one sees talking as a doing. By talking you feel that you are doing something, so you feel at ease. You are doing something – at least talking, at least reading, at least listening. This is not doing. This is deceptive; do not fall into the deception.

I will be talking here about these one hundred and twelve methods not to feed your mind, not to make you more knowledgeable, not to make you more informed. I am not trying to make you a pundit. I am talking here in order to give you a certain technique which can change your life. So whichever method appeals to you, do not start talking about it – do it! Be silent about it and do it. Your mind will raise many questions. Just inquire deeply first before asking me. Inquire deeply first whether those questions are really significant or if your mind is just deceiving you.

Do, then ask. Then your questions become practical. And I know which question has been asked through doing and which question has been asked just through curiosity, just through intellect. So by and by I will not answer your intellectual questions at all. Do something – then your questions become significant. These questions which say, “This exercise is a very simple one,” are not asked after doing. This is not so simple. In the end I must repeat again: You are already the truth.

Only a certain awakening is needed.

You are not to go anywhere else. You are to go into yourself, and the going is possible this very moment. If you can put aside your mind, you enter here and now.

These techniques are for putting your mind aside. These techniques are not really for meditation; they are for putting the mind aside. Once the mind is not there, you are!

I think this is enough for today, or even more than enough.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #4

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.

Underlying Great Doubt there is Great Satori – Osho

Zen is the only revolutionary religion in the world. All the other religions are traditional, orthodox, superstitious, fundamentally based on belief. Any religion that is based on belief is a fiction, because belief simply means a repressed doubt.

Zen is an exception: it does not believe in anything – not even in the scriptures, not even in the sutras of Gautam Buddha. Belief, as such, is denied completely. I agree with it, without any condition; that has been my own whole approach.

Truth has to be experienced, not believed. Once you believe in it you will never experience it. Truth has to be searched for. Out of necessity, you have to doubt all the theories and ideologies propounded by the scriptures and others. If you don’t doubt them, you will be in a sheer confusion. If you believe in them you will stop there, at your belief. Your god will be a belief, not a truth. Your own very self will be just a belief, not something that you have lived, not something that you have danced, not something that you have touched. All beliefs take you away from yourself.

To find out the truth, you have to learn the art of disbelief.

Hence Zen has a very special position. Atheists also disbelieve, but they stop at their disbelief, just as theists stop at their belief. The atheist’s disbelief is only negative belief; it is nothing different. But when Zen talks of disbelief or doubt, it simply means a challenge to explore; not something to settle at, but to begin from there. You have discarded and eliminated all beliefs, all disbeliefs: then your pure consciousness asserts itself on its own accord. And the beauty of spontaneous flowering is the only beauty in the world.

Hakuin says – and Hakuin is one of the masters to be listened to very carefully – My humble advice to you distinguished persons who study the profound mystery of the  Buddha-dharma is this: your close examination of yourself must be as urgent as saving your own head were it ablaze. 

He is saying that your inquiry should be so intense and total… as if it is a question of life and death. If you don’t find it, your life is futile and fruitless. Unless you find it, you cannot blossom and dance and sing in joy. There will not be any rejoicing, any celebration, any festivity in your life. Your life will be a dark, unending night where the sun never rises.

Your efforts to penetrate into your own nature must be as tireless as the pursuit of an indispensable thing; your attitude toward the verbal teachings of the buddhas and patriarchs must be as hostile as that toward a deadly enemy. 

This can be said only by a great master, a buddha himself. He is saying that your attitude toward the verbal teachings of the buddhas and patriarchs must be as hostile as that toward a deadly enemy. The implication is that you should not believe in the word, but look for the experience. The word may be coming from the greatest master, but still, it is a word. And howsoever Buddha may have found himself, his nourishment is not going to be your nourishment. If he has quenched his thirst, all that he can say is, “Water has helped me to quench my thirst.” You can go on repeating ”H20” as a mantra but your thirst will not be quenched.

Zen says: Think of all the great words and great teachings as your deadly enemy. Avoid them, because you have to find your own source.

You have not to be a follower, an imitator. You have to be an original individual; you have to find your innermost core on your own, with no guide, no guiding scriptures.

It is a dark night, but with the intense fire of inquiry, you are bound to come to the sunrise. Everybody who has burned with intense inquiry has found the sunrise. Others only believe. Those who believe are not religious, they are simply avoiding the great adventure of religion by believing. 

In Zen, he who does not bring strong doubt to bear upon the koans is a dissolute, knavish good-for-nothing. Therefore it is said: “Underlying great doubt is great satori; where there is thorough questioning there will be a thorough-going experience of awakening.”

This is a unique quality of Zen. It says that hidden behind a great doubt is your satori, your enlightenment.

What exactly is doubt? Doubt means eliminating anything that is borrowed. It is not saying that something is not true, it says that “It is not my truth. And unless something is my truth, I am not going to discontinue my search.”

Doubt means a great love for truth, which never compromises for any cheap beliefs which are available in the marketplace, in every temple, in every church, in every synagogue. All the religions are telling you just to believe and you will be saved. This is pure nonsense, because millions of people have believed and nobody seems to be saved.

Millions of people are believing today, but the world is a mess. Their belief does not change the world, their belief does not change them, their belief makes no difference at all in their character. It does only one thing: it functions as an umbrella. It keeps them hiding from a great inquiry that is our basic right. They go on repressing the inquiry with belief, saying, “What is the point of knowing the truth? – Krishna has known it. Just read Shrimad Bhagavadgita every day, and that’s all.” Why should you bother to inquire yourself?

Or they say that Buddha has found it and he has told it: now there is no need for you to find it again.

This is what belief means. It takes your individual inquiry away from you. But remember, with the inquiry gone, the individuality is also gone. All the religions together have conspired to take away the dignity of man, because they have taken man’s individuality. They have made people into a crowd, a crowd of believers.

Zen wants you to be an individual seeker. Throw away all the scriptures, burn all the scriptures, never take anybody’s word as your truth. It is a great challenge, and it needs strength, it needs integrity, it needs a love for truth at any cost. Only those who gamble everything for truth are the blessed ones.

The world of religion is not the world of the businessman. It is the world of the gambler, who risks everything on the unknown – he does not know what is going to happen.

I am reminded… A Japanese actor earned much money in Hollywood, and after earning so much money he thought to go back home and relax: “Enough is enough – there is no point to going on earning. There is a little time before death knocks on the doors, and it will be good to rest.”

But before returning to Japan he thought he should go around the world to have a look before he settled in Japan. He went to Paris, and in a gambling place he risked everything that he had earned – millions of dollars, just in one go. Even the owner was trembling, every gambler there was perspiring: “My God, what kind of man is this?”

He did not save a single dollar, he gambled everything, and lost. And then he went to his room and went to sleep.

The next morning, in the newspapers, there was news that a Japanese man had jumped from the seventh floor of a building and had killed himself. In the hotel everybody thought that it must be the Japanese who risked everything, but in this hotel there were not seven stories. And he had gone to his bed, so they went and knocked on the door. The man opened the door. Those people were shocked to see him – he was perfectly alive. They said, “Have you seen the morning newspaper?”

He said, “Yes, I see that some Japanese has committed suicide from a seventh floor. And I knew you all would think I was going to commit suicide, but I’m not the one to accept defeat. I will earn money again, and I will come back to this hotel to put down just as much money – more than this time!”

And he went back to Hollywood. When he came back after earning enough money, more than the first time, that gambling place had closed. It was too risky. The man said, “What is the matter? Just a day before you were open and now you are closed.”

They said, “You can gamble somewhere else. There are many gambling places in Paris, but don’t frighten us. You are a man of strange steel.”

A man who can gamble everything for the unknown result – that’s exactly the situation of a religious man. You are renouncing all the scriptures and all the great masters’ words, and you are going into your own inner world without any guide, without any map, without any companion, alone, on a path never walked by anybody. Your inner path is your path; nobody else can walk on it.

But if one can doubt totally, denying all that is not his own, it creates an immense purity and creates great power, it gives a tremendous freedom – all which are absolutely necessary to inquire into your own being. What is there? Nobody can say it. Only you have to go there, and only you can go there. Hakuin is saying that there will be a thorough-going awakening where there is thorough-going questioning.

Go on questioning everything that the religions have been telling you to believe. Belief is the greatest barrier to the religious man. But just the contrary has been preached: faith and belief are praised by all religions. And the world that we see is the result of this stupid teaching – believing and having faith. Out of a thousand years of believing what have you gained? Where are you? The world has never been in more of a mess than it is today. If you want to get out of the mess, please throw out all that you have believed up to now.

Be utterly naked of belief, and the truth is not very far away. Just turn in and it is there. It does not come by faith, it comes by turning in. Faith is outside, belief is outside. Only turning in brings a transformation in being. 

Do not say, “Since my thoughts are always flying about in confusion, I lack the power to apply myself to genuine concentration on my koan.” 

Suppose that, among the dense crowd of people in the hurly-burly of the marketplace, a man accidentally loses two or three pieces of gold. You will never find anyone who, because the place is noisy and bustly or because he has dropped his pieces of gold in the dirt, will not turn back to look for them. He pushes any number of people about, stirs up a lot of dust, and weeping copious tears rushes around searching for his gold. If he doesn’t get it back into his own two hands, he will never regain his peach of mind.

Hakuin is saying that the loss of even two or three pieces of gold is enough to make you look for them, but you don’t know what a treasure is hidden inside you, what a splendor you are carrying. 

Do you consider the priceless jewel worn in the hair, your own inherent, marvelous Tao, of less value than two or three pieces of gold?

You never bother about who is hidden inside you, what is the source of your being.

Those who have known the source, they are unanimously in agreement that it is the most precious experience that can happen in this world. It is the most universal which gives you a deathlessness, and which gives your life a tremendous freshness, and in each moment a radiance, a grace, a beauty. Your whole life becomes a celebration.

And this is something that nobody can steal away. This is something that nobody can destroy. Even death is incapable of touching it. It is your eternal treasure. From eternity to eternity, it is yours – but you never look at it.

Dangai wrote:

Earth, river, mountain:
Snowflakes melt in air.
How could I have doubted?
Where is North? South? East? West? 

Once you know, doubt commits suicide on its own accord. Never believe; let the doubt die. That is a totally different situation. When you believe, doubt remains alive – in fact, very forcibly alive.

One Christian missionary, Stanley Jones, said to me, “My faith in Jesus Christ is absolute!”

I said, “You simply analyze your own statement. Is not faith enough? Has it to be absolute? What is the purpose of the word ‘absolute’? Faith is enough, if it is there. But it is not there. Just by the side of faith are disbelief, unfaith, doubt – all are there. To cover them up you have to bring a bigger umbrella. Absolute faith simply shows that your doubt is very great. Ordinary people have small doubts; their faith is small. You are a learned scholar, a world-famous scholar – naturally your doubt is going to be very great.”

He said, “I had never looked from this angle, but perhaps you are right.” He was a very honest man. He said, “I will have to think it over.”

When somebody says to somebody else, “I love you absolutely,” then you have to be aware. Don’t get caught in absolute love affairs – just temporary is good. Absolute is going to be a constant murder!

The real lovers don’t even say “I love you.” They will not use the word ‘love’ for their great experience. The word is very small and used too many times; it has lost its freshness. It is my experience that when love starts disappearing, people start saying to each other, “I love you very much.” It is only when love starts disappearing, when they become aware that love is no more there, now only words can continue the misery that they used to call love. Now they have to repeat it continuously.

But if you know, then the moment you have dropped all belief, including disbelief; when your doubt is total, suddenly there is an explosion, as if the fire of your being, which was hidden, has come to its fully-fledged form. Its flames are even reaching out of you. You are on fire! In this case there is no question of doubt and there is no question of belief. You simply know.

Once a Western journalist asked Shri Aurobindo, “Do you believe in God?” It is a very common question. Shri Aurobindo said, “No.”

The man was very much puzzled. He had come to see him from far away just because he had heard that he was a man of God. So the journalist was not going to just leave Shri Aurobindo at that.

He asked, “What do you mean by saying no?”

Aurobindo said, “When you know something, you do not believe. Do you believe in the sun? Do you believe in the starry night? Do you believe in the roses? You see they are there: there is no question of belief.”

Belief arises only in darkness, when you don’t know. And belief keeps you in darkness – because of belief you never try to discover on your own what is the truth.

A haiku:

Butterflies setting out
To cross the sea,
Have disappeared:
My self comes back to me.

He is saying that all our thoughts are nothing but butterflies trying to cross the sea: they will disappear somewhere. Have you watched your thoughts? If you have lived forty or fifty years, how many million thoughts have crossed the sea and disappeared? Every day, you go on creating new thoughts and they go on disappearing into the dust. Only one thing remains with you, and that is your am-ness. Only you remain.

As a Zen poet has said, “Clouds come and go and the sky remains.” It never goes anywhere, it never comes from anywhere. You are the sky. Anything that happens in this sky is just a traffic – no need to be concerned about it, no need to be identified with it.

-Osho

From Turning In, Discourse #6

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.

If You Can See Death, Death Cannot See You – Osho

I have heard one beautiful story. Once there was a great sculptor, a painter, a great artist. His art was so perfect that when he would make a statue of a man, it was difficult to say who was the man and who was the statue. It was so lifelike, so alive, so similar. An astrologer told him that his death is approaching; he is going to die soon. Of course, he became very much afraid and frightened, and as every man wants to avoid death, he also wanted to avoid. He thought about it, meditated, and he found a clue. He made his own statues, eleven in number, and when Death knocked on his door and the Angel of Death entered, he stood hidden among his own eleven statues. He stopped his breathing.

The Angel of Death was puzzled, could not believe his own eyes. It had never happened; it was so irregular. God has never been known to create two persons alike; he always creates the unique. He has never believed in any routine. He is not like an assembly line. He is absolutely against carbons; he creates only originals. What has happened? Twelve persons in all, absolutely alike? Now, whom to take away? Only one has to be taken away. Death, the Angel of Death, could not decide. Puzzled, worried, nervous, he went back. He asked God, “What have you done? There are twelve persons exactly alike, and I am only supposed to bring one. How should I choose?”

God laughed. He called the Angel of Death close to him, and he uttered in his ears the formula, the clue how to find the real from the unreal. He gave him a mantra and told him, “Just go, and utter it in that room where that artist is hiding himself among his own statues.”

The Angel of Death asked, “How is it going to work?”

God said, “Don’t be worried. Just go and try.”

The Angel of Death came, not yet believing how it is going to work, but when God had said, he had to do it. He came in the room, looked around, and not addressing anybody in particular, he said, “Sir, everything is perfect except one thing. You have done well, but you have missed at one point. One error is there.”

The man completely forgot that he is hiding. He jumped; he said, “What error?”

And Death laughed. And Death said, “You are caught. This is the only error: you cannot forget yourself. Come on, follow me.”

Death is of the ego. If the ego exists, death exists. The moment the ego disappears, death disappears. You are not going to die, remember; but if you think that you are, you are going to die. If you think that you are a being, then you are going to die. This false entity of the ego is going to die, but if you think of yourself in terms of nonbeing, in terms of non-ego, then there is no death – already you have become deathless. You have always been deathless; now you have recognized the fact.

The artist was caught because he could not disappear into nonbeing.

Buddha says in his Dhammapada: If you can see death, death cannot see you. If you can die before death comes, then death cannot come to you; and there is no need to make statues. That is not going to help. Deep down you have to destroy one statue, not to create eleven more. You have to destroy the image of the ego. There is no need to create more statues and more images. Religion, in a way, is destructive. In a way, it is negative. It annihilates you – annihilates you completely and utterly.

You come to me with some ideas to attain some fulfillment, and I am here to destroy you completely. You have your ideas; I have my own. You would like to be fulfilled – fulfilled in your ego – and I would like you to drop the ego, to dissolve, to disappear, because only then is there fulfillment. The ego knows only emptiness; it is always unfulfilled. By the very nature, by its very intrinsic nature, it cannot attain to fulfillment. When you are not, fulfillment is. Call it God, or give it a name Patanjali would like – samadhi – the attainment of the ultimate, but it comes when you disappear.

These sutras of Patanjali are scientific methods how to dissolve, how to die, how to commit real suicide. I call it real because if you kill your body that is unreal suicide. If you kill your self that is authentic suicide.

And that is the paradox: that if you die, you attain to eternal life. If you cling to life, you will die a thousand and one times. You will go on… you will go on being born and dying again and again and again. It is a wheel. If you cling, you move with the wheel.

Drop out of the wheel of life and death. How to drop out of it? It seems so impossible because you have never thought of yourself as a nonbeing, you have never thought of yourself as just space, pure space, with nobody there inside.

These are the sutras. Each sutra has to be understood very deeply. A sutra is a very condensed thing. A sutra is like a seed. You have to accept it deep down in your heart; your heart has to become a soil for it. Then it sprouts, and then the meaning.

I can only persuade you to be open so that the seed can fall right in place within you, so that the seed can move into the deep darkness of your non-being. In that darkness of your  non-being, it will start being alive. A sutra is a seed. Intellectually, it is very easy to understand it. Existentially, to attain to its meaning is arduous. But that’s what Patanjali would like, that’s what I would like.

So don’t just be intellectuals here. Get en rapport with me, get in tune with me. Don’t just listen to me; rather, be with me. Listening is secondary; being with me is primary, basic – just to be in my company. Allow yourself to be totally here-now with me, in my presence, because that death has happened to me. It can become infectious. I have committed that suicide. If you come close to me, if you are in tune with me even for a single moment, you will have a glimpse of death.

And, Buddha is right when he says, “If you can see death, death will not be able to see you,” because the moment you see death you have transcended death. Then there is no death for you.

-Osho

Excerpt from Secrets of Yoga, Chapter One (Originally published as Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, V.8).

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.

The Garden of Tathagata – Osho

What is the goal of meditation? 

Prageeta, there is no goal of meditation. Meditation is the dropping of all goals; hence it can’t have a goal of its own; that would be against its very nature. Goals exist in the future; meditation is to be in the present. There is no meeting ground between the present and the future – the future exists not – how can the non-existential meet the existential? That is impossible. The future is our creation, it is our imagination. We create it for a certain purpose; the purpose is to avoid the present. We don’t want to be in the present, we want to escape from the present. The future gives us an escape. To live in the future is to be an escapist.

Whatsoever the goal – it does not matter what that goal is – it may be God-realization, it may be attainment of nirvana – still it is a goal and any goal is against meditation. But our whole mind exists in the future; our mind is against the present. In the present the mind dies. How can the mind exist in the present? If you are utterly now, utterly here, there is no question of mind. You cannot think because thinking needs space and the present has no space in it. It is just like a needle point: it cannot contain anything, not even a single thought.

Hence if you want to live in the mind, either you have to live in the past or in the future; these are the two ways. The old-fashioned, the orthodox, the conventional – the Christians, the Mohammedans, the Hindus – they live in the past, and the so-called revolutionaries, the progressives, the avant-garde, they live in the future. The communists, the socialists, the Fabians, the utopians, all kinds of idealists, they live in the future. On the surface they seem to be very different – the Catholic and the communist seem to be antagonistic – t deep down they are not antagonistic at all. They belong to the same category, they are doing the same work: they both are escaping from the present.

The Hindu lives in the golden age that has passed; his golden age was somewhere far far away in the past, it is only a memory, it has never been there. That past is simply a creation of imaginative people, but it helps them to escape from the present. Hindus call it ramrajya – the kingdom of God. It existed in the past and since then man has been falling down. Hence Hindus cannot agree with Charles Darwin, with the idea of evolution. Hindus have a totally different idea: the idea of involution, not evolution. Man is not progressing, man is regressing Man is falling every day, man is going downhill. The peaks are left in the past – the golden peaks, the sunlit peaks.

The communist lives in the future; his golden age has still to come. It will come one day, somewhere far away in the future when the state withers away, when the society becomes classless, when there is no exploitation when there is no need for any government, when people live in equality. That will be the kingdom of God – but that is in the future; that too is never going to happen.

The communist and the Hindu both are doing the same thing; they are partners in the same business: the business is how to escape from the present, how not to live in the present. Hence you will see a strange thing happening: Hindus are against me, Mohammedans are against me, Christians are against me, communists are against me. On one thing they all agree – at least on one thing they all agree. At least I am happy that I give them one point to agree about! But in fact they agree because my insistence is against the past and against the future, my insistence is on being in the present. Hence meditation cannot allow any desire for goals.

I can understand your question, Prageeta, because the mind always asks, “Why are you doing it?” It can’t do anything simply, spontaneously – the “why” is always there. You don’t know any action in your life which is spontaneous, you don’t know any response. All that you do is not action in fact but reaction. You do it because there are reasons for doing it, there are motives for doing it, there are desires behind it. Something is either pushing from behind or pulling from the front. You are never acting out of freedom, you are a slave. Hence you always ask “Why?”

A man was sent by his psychiatrist to the mountains just for a change to rest, to relax, to enjoy nature. The next day his telegram arrived: “I am feeling very happy. Why?”

One cannot accept anything without asking “Why?” Now one thing about happiness has to be understood: misery may have causes, happiness has no cause. And if it has a cause it is nothing but misery masquerading as happiness. When happiness is true – that’s what is meant by bliss – it has no cause, no causality. It is beyond cause and effect; it is beyond the chain of cause and effect. You cannot answer why.

Buddha was asked many times, “Why are you so blissful, so peaceful?” And he always said, “Such is the nature of awareness – tathata. ”

Now his answer has to be deeply pondered over. He says, “There is no ‘why’ to it – such is the case. The trees are green and the flowers are red, and the man who is awakened is blissful. There is no ‘why’ to it.”

But the people who were asking again and again…. I think he must have been asked the same question thousands of times by different people. The people may look different from the outside, but deep down they are all unconscious, so the same question arises again and again out of their unconscious mind: “Why? There must be some reason. Have you discovered some treasure? Have you found some Kohinoor? Have you found some alchemy so that you can transform baser metal into gold? Have you found some secret that can make you immortal? Why are you so blissful?”

The people who are asking are saying something about themselves; they are not really asking why Buddha is blissful – they can’t understand Buddha – they know only themselves. They know they are miserable and that their misery has a cause, and once in a while when they feel happy that happiness is also caused by something. You win a lottery and you are happy; without the lottery how can you be happy? And Buddha has not won any lottery. In fact he has renounced his palace and kingdom and all the riches. The people must be searching, trying to find out: “There must be something that he has found which he is hiding and not telling us. What is it? Why do you look so happy?”

Prabhu Maya has asked me a question – the same question that Buddhas have always been asked is being asked again and again here too. She asks, “Osho, I have recently been discovering the phoniness behind the smile I sometimes wear. Now I wonder about you – the same face, the same smile every morning, year in, year out. Is it for real?”

I can understand her question because whenever she is smiling she knows it is phony, and I am constantly smiling. Naturally, year in and year out, it must be phony; otherwise there must be some hidden cause for it which is not visible to you. Either it is phony or I have discovered something which I am not telling you, which I am hiding from you.

Even Ananda, Buddha’s closest disciple, asked one day when they were walking through a forest. It was autumn and leaves were falling from the trees and the whole forest was full of dry leaves and the wind was blowing those dry leaves about and there was a great sound of dry leaves moving here and there. They were passing through the forest and Ananda asked Buddha, “Bhagwan, one question persists. I have been repressing it, but I cannot repress it anymore. And today we are alone; the other followers have been left behind so nobody will know that I have asked you. I don’t want to ask it before others. My question is: Are you telling us all that you have discovered or are you still hiding something? – Because what you are telling us does not clarify your bliss, your peace. It seems you are hiding something.”

And Buddha laughed and he showed a fist to Ananda and asked, “Ananda, do you see what it is?”

He said, “Yes, I can see it is a fist – your hand is closed.”

Buddha said, “A Buddha is never like a fist.” He opened his hand and he said, “A Buddha is like an open hand – he hides nothing. There is nothing to hide! I have said everything, I am absolutely open.”

Ananda still insisted, “But we cannot explain your constant bliss – and I have been watching you day in, day out. In the day you are blissful; in the night when you go to sleep you are blissful. Your face seems so innocent even in sleep. Even in sleep you look so peaceful, so serene, so tranquil, so calm, as if not a dream is passing within you. You are always a still pool with no ripples. How is it possible? I have also tried, but I can do only a little bit and then I feel tired.

If you are trying you will feel tired.

Prabhu Maya, if you try to wear a smile you will feel tired because wearing a smile means making great effort. You have to practice it like Jimmy Carter… then it is not a smile at all; your mouth is simply open, your teeth are simply showing, that’s all.

I have heard that his wife has to close his mouth every night because once a rat went in his mouth. She phoned the doctor and the doctor said, “I am coming, but it will take time. Meanwhile you hang cheese in front of his mouth.”

When the doctor came he was very surprised: she was hanging up another rat! He said, “What are you doing? I told you to hang cheese in front of his mouth!”

She said, “That’s right, but a cat has entered behind the rat, so first the cat has to be taken out!”

Since then she has to close his mouth every night forcibly. It is dangerous! And the White House is an old building – it has many rats. In fact, who lives in the White House except rats? Who is interested in living in the White House? And because rats live there, cats also live there.

Meditation has no goal; it has no desire to attain anything. The dropping of the achieving mind is what meditation is all about. The understanding of desire and the understanding of the constant ambition for goals for achievement, for ambition brings you to a point, a point of tremendous awareness, when you can see clearly that all goals are false, that you need not go anywhere, that you need not attain anything to be blissful, that to be blissful is your nature. You are missing it because you are running here and there, and in that running, in that hustle and bustle, you go on forgetting yourself.

Stop running here and there and discover yourself. The discovery of yourself is not a goal. How can it be a goal? A goal needs a distance between you and itself.  The discovery of yourself is not a goal because you are already it! All that is needed is that you stop running here and there, you sit silently, you relax, you rest. Let the mind become calm and cool. When the mind is no longer running towards the past and towards the future, when all running has disappeared, when there is no mind as such, when you are simply there doing nothing just being, this is meditation. Suddenly you know who you are. Suddenly you are overflooded with bliss overwhelmed by light, by eternity. And then your life becomes a natural phenomenon. Then you need not wear smiles – a smile becomes natural. Then you need not pretend to be happy.

Only an unhappy person pretends to be happy. A happy person has no idea even that he is happy, he is simply happy. Others may think that he is happy; he has no idea. He is simply just being himself.

Yoka says:

Those who understand always act naturally.

Out of his understanding his actions are natural – his laughter is natural, his smile is natural, his whole life is natural. Your whole life is artificial, arbitrary. You are always trying to do something which is not really there. You are trying to love. Now, trying to love is to start in a wrong way from the very beginning. You are trying to be happy. How can you be happy? It is not a question of trying. You are making all kinds of efforts to be graceful. Now, grace is not an effort; if there is effort, there is no grace. Grace is an effortless beauty. The really graceful person knows no effort.

Yoka says:

Those who understand always act naturally. Most men live in impermanence, the unreal, but the man of Zen lives in the real.

You live in the phony, in the unreal, and when you come across a man of Zen – remember the man of Zen means the man of meditation – then there is a problem for you. Never try to understand the man of Zen according to your ideas; they are irrelevant. You can understand the man of Zen only through meditation. Learn the art of meditation, of being here and now – not for peace, not for bliss, not for anything. Effort without goal… that’s what meditation is: effort without goal.

Now, you only know effort when there is goal. Otherwise you will ask, ”This is illogical – effort without goal? Then why should we make an effort?” You have been making efforts for goals – what have you attained? It is time to try something else. Enough is enough!

Yoka says:

Effort without goal is quite different

Quite different from all that you have done up to now.

It opens the door of truth which leads to the garden of tathagata.

The word tathagata comes from the same word I used just a few moments ago: tathata. Buddha says, “I am peaceful because this is my suchness, my tathata.” Ask him anything and he always says, “This is my nature my tathata.” Slowly slowly it became known to his disciples that tathata is his most important word, his key word. Hence he is called tathagata: one who lives in suchness, one who lives now and knows no other time one who lives here and knows no other space.

If you can also be here and now,

It opens the door of truth which leads to the garden of tathagata. A true student of Zen ignores the branches and the leaves, and aims for the root.

What is the root of your misery? This goal-oriented mind. What is the root of your misery? This constant escape into goals. What is the root of your misery? Your mind is the root of your misery. But you never cut the root; you go on pruning the branches, you go on pruning the leaves. And remember, the more you prune the leaves and the branches, the thicker will be the foliage the tree will become stronger.

I have initiated more than one hundred thousand sannyasins and I have been teaching meditation for twenty years to millions of people, but not a single person has come with a root question to ask. They all come with “How to cut this branch?” and “How to cut this leaf?” Somebody says, I am suffering from anger. What should I do with it?” And somebody says, “I am suffering from too much greed. What should I do about it? How can I drop greed?” Somebody is suffering from jealousy and somebody is suffering from something else – and these are all branches and leaves. Nobody comes and says, “I am suffering from my mind. How should I get rid of it?” And that is the root question.

The day you see the root, things are very easy. Cut the root and the whole thing withers away of its own accord. Anger and greed and sexuality and jealousy and possessiveness – everything disappears.

But you don’t want to cut the root. You are living a very paradoxical life: you go on watering the root, you go on training and refining your mind, you go on making your mind more informed, more nourished, and on the other hand you go on desiring that there should be less anger, less ambition, less greed, less ego. “How to be humble?” you ask. And you go on giving water and you go on giving fertilizers to the roots and you go on cutting the leaves. You cut one leaf and three leaves will come in its place. The tree immediately accepts your challenge and instead of one it brings three leaves!

Hence a society that has been against sex becomes morbid, becomes sexually obsessed. It has happened in India; you will not find such a sex-obsessed country anywhere else for the simple reason that they have been cutting the leaf again and again. They are constantly cutting that leaf and the tree goes on growing more leaves. So sexuality has penetrated in such subtle ways that unless you are very alert you will not be able to see how it has penetrated in different ways, how the Indian mind has become more and more sexual than that of anybody else.

Do you know? India was the first country to think about sexual postures. The Kama Sutra was written in India – the first treatise on sexology. Sigmund Freud came after five thousand years. And Masters and Johnson, and other researchers into sex, are just breaking ground in the West. And they have not yet the sophistication which Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra has – even the French are not as sophisticated. Vatsyayana has discovered almost everything about sex; nothing is left – his treatise is almost complete. And it is a “how to” book; it gives you all the techniques.

Why did India discover the Kama Sutra? The country which has been celebrating celibacy for centuries, which has been teaching and preaching celibacy, this country discovers the Kama Sutra. This country gives birth to a man like Vatsyayana. And then came Pundit Koka, another Vatsyayana. Now, modern pornography is nothing compared to Koka! Modern pornography is very ordinary. Pundit Koka is a perfect pornographer.

But why were these people born in India? And thousands of temples are devoted to the shivalinga; that is a phallic symbol. No other country worships phallic symbols except India. And it is both; it represents man and woman – both. If you go to a Shiva temple observe well. It represents the feminine sexual organ, it represents the masculine sexual organ, and it represents them in a state of meeting, in a state of orgasm. And this is worshipped.

People have completely forgotten what they are worshipping. If you look into Indian scriptures you will be surprised. You will find them so obsessed with sex: on the one hand continuously condemning, and on the other hand continuously, in subtle ways, depicting it. No other country has temples like Khajuraho, Konarak, Puri. Why? Why did this have to happen in India? For the simple reason that if you cut one leaf, three arrive. You cut three and nine leaves arrive. You cut nine – remember it – twenty-seven leaves will arrive. Nature believes in the magic number three. It believes in trinity.

This is not the way to transform a man, this is a way to deform humanity.

So on the surface the Indian tries to show that he is not interested in sex at all and deep down he is boiling with sexuality, he is constantly looking for sexuality. His whole mind is full of sexuality. If we could make windows in the heads of people, then Indian heads would be really worth seeing!

This was bound to happen. Whatsoever you repress, whatsoever you cut, if it is not cut at the roots, it is bound to grow, it is bound to grow in subtle ways. It may start asserting itself in morbid and perverted ways.

Yoko says:

A true student of Zen ignores the branches and the leaves, and aims for the root. Like the image of the moon reflected in a jade bowl I know the true beauty of the jewel of freedom, for myself and for others.

There is only one freedom: the freedom from all goals.

Prageeta, don’t ask me what the goal of meditation is. Try to understand why you are constantly hankering for goals, and in that very understanding meditation will arise in you, meditation will flower in you.

Meditation is not something that you can enforce, that you can practice; it is something very mysterious, tremendously vast. It comes only when your heart opens its doors to understand everything with no prejudice, with no a priori conclusions.

Being here with me, learn to be without goals. My sannyasins have to know perfectly well that we are not working for any goal at all. Our whole point is to live in the present moment so totally that all past and all future disappear. Who cares about that which is already gone? And who cares about that which has not come yet? Enough is the moment unto itself. And that is the way of meditation: enough is the moment unto itself. Living the moment in its totality, in joy, diving deep into it without holding anything back, is bliss. Getting rid of all goals – worldly and other-worldly, material and spiritual – one knows the taste of meditation. It is the taste of absolute freedom.

-Osho

Excerpt from Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, 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.

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Self-remembering vs Witnessing

The technique of self-remembering seems easier for me than witnessing. Do they both lead to the same goal?

They both lead to the same goal, but the technique of self-remembering is harder, longer and dangerous. Only very few people in the whole history of mankind have attained to enlightenment through the technique of self-remembering.

Many have tried, but utterly failed – it looks easy. The reason is that your self-remembering is not going to be your self-remembering, it will be your ego remembering; that’s why it looks easy.

You don’t know the distinction between the self and the false self. The false self is our ego, and the ego is very subtle, very cunning, and tries in every way to pretend to be the real self. That’s why in the beginning it will look easier than witnessing, because in witnessing there is no place for the ego. From the very beginning the ego is avoided.

In witnessing, the ego cannot enter. But in self-remembering, there is every possibility of the ego pretending to be your Self. Then the more you will practice, the more your ego will become stronger.

If somebody wants to travel on the path of self-remembering, he absolutely needs a master. He cannot move alone, because he cannot make a clear-cut distinction of what is false and what is true.

He knows only the false; he is not acquainted with his true being. Unless he is under a very rigorous master it will be very difficult to create a separation between the ego and the self.

I will explain it to you by an ancient Chinese story….

A great master had a big monastery – five hundred monks – and they were all practicing the path of self-remembering. Self-remembering is one of the paths Buddha has recommended.

One man entered into the monastery – he wanted to become a disciple. The master accepted him, but he was a very simple man from a village, almost uneducated. The master told him, “Your job is cleaning the rice in the kitchen.”

It was a big kitchen – five hundred monks. The poor man was cleaning the rice before sunrise and late into the night. He had no time to go to the sermons, to go to the prayers; he had no time to read the scriptures or listen to the wise talks. Those five hundred monks were great scholars, and the monastery was known all over the country.

Twenty years passed and the man continued just cleaning the rice and doing nothing. He forgot even to count the years – what was the point? He forgot the days, the dates, and finally he became suspicious about his own name. For twenty years nobody had used it, nobody had called him by his name – perhaps it was his name, perhaps it was not. For twenty years continuously he was doing one small thing: cleaning the rice, from the moment he woke up until he went back to bed again.

The master declared that his time to depart from the body had come. He wanted to choose his successor, and the way he did it was this: “Anybody who thinks he has succeeded in self-remembering should write on the wall of my hut some insight which shows that he has seen the truth.”

One person, who was thought to be the greatest scholar in the commune, tried. But he was so afraid to write that sentence there, because it was not his insight. He knew – how could he not know it – he knew it was not his insight, it was just borrowed from scriptures. It was not his experience – and it was difficult to deceive the old man.

In the morning the old man came out, asked the servant to erase what had been written, and said, “Find out who this idiot is who has spoiled my wall.”

It is said that the great scholar had not even signed, out of fear that he would be caught. If the master appreciated that this was really a great insight, then he would come out and say, “I have written it.” Otherwise he would remain silent… who knows? Out of five hundred people anybody could have done it!

Almost one dozen great scholars tried, but none of them had the courage to sign his name. And the master behaved in the same way; he erased the line and said, “None of you has come to the point of self-remembering. You have all been feeding the ego in the name of self. I reminded you again and again, but having a big ego is such a joy. And a spiritual ego, the otherworldly ego, the divine ego, becomes even more delicious. Now I will have to find the person myself.”

In the middle of the night the master went to the man who had come twenty years ago. For twenty years the master had not seen him, he had simply been cleaning rice. He woke the man up. The man asked the master, “Who are you?” Because twenty years… he had just seen him once for a few seconds when he was initiated – “And what is the idea of disturbing my sleep?”

The master said, “I am your master. You have forgotten…? Do you remember your name?”

The man said, “That is the difficulty. The work you have given me is such that it needs no name, no fame, no scholarship, no austerities. It is so simple that I have forgotten everything. I cannot be certain that this is my name. A few names come to my mind and I cannot decide which one is mine, but I am grateful to you.” He touched the feet of the master. “Please don’t change my job. I have forgotten everything, but I have also achieved everything. I know a peace that I had never dreamed of, a silence that no word can express. I have known such moments of ecstasy that even if I had died there would not have been any complaint that life has not been fair to me. It has given me more than I was worthy of. Just don’t change my job. I am doing it perfectly well. Has somebody complained about my work?”

The master said, “No, nobody has complained, but your job has to be changed because I am choosing you as my successor.”

The man said, “I am only a rice cleaner. I don’t know anything about being a master or a disciple. I know nothing. Please forgive me, I don’t want to be your successor because I cannot handle such a big job, I can only handle this rice cleaning.”

The master still insisted, “You have achieved that which others have been trying to achieve but have failed. You have achieved it because you were not trying. You were simply doing your small work. Slowly, slowly there was no need for thinking, no need for emotions, no need for anger, no fight, no comparison, no ambition – your ego died. And with the ego died your name. You are not born with a name. It is the ego that is given a name – that is the beginning of the ego. With the death of the ego, you even forgot your own master, because it was the ego that brought you to me.

“Up to that moment you were on a spiritually ambitious trip. You are absolutely the right person, so take my robe, my hat, my sword, which have always been given by the master to the successor. But remember one thing: take them and escape from this monastery as far away as you can, because your life will be in danger. All these five hundred egoists will kill you. You are so simple and you have become so innocent that if they ask you for the robe, the sword, the cap, you will give them. You simply take them and go as far away as you can into the mountains.

“Soon people will start arriving to you just as bees start finding their way towards the flowers when the flowers blossom. You have blossomed. You need not bother about the disciples, you simply remain silently in a faraway place. People will come to you; you simply teach them whatever you have been doing.”

“But,” he said, “I have received no teaching and I don’t know what to teach them.”

The master said, “Just teach them to do small things, silently, peacefully, without any ambition, without any motivation to gain something in this world or in the other world, so that you can become innocent like a child. That innocence is real religiousness. Not being Hindu, not being Mohammedan, but being utterly innocent – just a tabula rasa, a clean sheet on which nothing is written. No Bhagavad Gita, no Koran, no Bible…”

It is possible… a few people have attained through self-remembering. One of the great masters of this age, George Gurdjieff, used the method self-remembering, but you have to be aware that not a single person of his disciples became enlightened – and he was one of the most perfect masters.

But the problem is that the ego and the self are so close and so similar that whatever you think is your self is most probably, in ninety-nine percent of cases, just your ego. The master’s function is absolutely necessary for this method, because he has to destroy your ego. And he has to be hard, harsh. Unless he destroys your ego, self-remembering is going to lead you, not to enlightenment, but to darker spaces of being.

It will strengthen your ego more – you will become a very strong ego, very assertive. In any ordinary field of life you will be very successful. You can become an Adolf Hitler; you can become a Joseph Stalin… Stalin was not his real name, it was given to him because he was such a strong man. ‘Stalin’ means man of steel.

But these people are not a benediction to humanity, they are a curse. If they had not been there man would have been in a far better space, in a far better consciousness.

So if you feel that it is easier for you, then be very careful. I will still suggest that though witnessing may be difficult in the beginning, it is the most safe method without any dangers. It cannot lead you anywhere other than towards enlightenment. So it can even be practiced without a master.

I would like to give you something in which you are not to be dependent on somebody else.

How long have you lived, how many lives? In all these lives you may have come across many saints, many masters, but where have you reached? Your darkness is the same, your unconsciousness is the same. Perhaps they all gave you methods, but the methods were such that they needed constant supervision. Those methods are called school methods. You have to enter into a monastery, live in a monastery, function under a strict discipline – then perhaps you may be able to achieve something from a school method. And there are such monasteries.

In Europe, there is a monastery in Mount Athos; it is one thousand years old. There are almost three thousand monks inside the monastery, and anybody who wants to become a monk in that monastery can decide to enter, but only his dead body will go out.

If there is such a commitment, only then is a person accepted. Once a person enters Mount Athos, you will never see him till he is dead. This is a school for absolute self-remembering, but you cannot put the whole world in monasteries. Who will take care of these monasteries? Hence my preference is to use a method which keeps you free from any commitment, from any dependence – which keeps you in the world and yet not of the world.

Witnessing is the most simple and the most infallible method; it is the essence of all meditations. Even self-remembering, finally, is witnessing – but at a later stage, when you have dropped the ego. And if you start looking inside yourself, you can understand what I am saying. Can you see your ego and self separately? You simply know one thing: that is I. You don’t know two things: that I is the ego, and that the ego is capable of nursing itself through anything.

I have heard…

A small child was passing by the side of a palace. He had failed his examination and was feeling very angry with the teachers. He was ready to do something, and suddenly, he found a pile of stones by the side of the road. He took one big stone from the pile and threw it at the palace. Now the palace had nothing to do with his failing, nor had the stone anything to do with it, but he was in such anger he wanted to do something; the energy was there, and it needed to be released. The boy went on his way, but what happened to the stone?

As the stone started rising up he looked down – his brothers and sisters and cousins were all there. And the stone said to them, “I am going on a pilgrimage. I have been thinking about it for a long time. God willing, I will succeed in my adventures and come back to you to relate all that I experience on the way.”

All the other stones looked at this stone with their mouths open: “What is happening? He has no wings.” He was just a stone like themselves. They also wanted to fly, but they knew that they could not. “But he is flying, you cannot deny it…” So they all said, “Okay, just remember us; don’t forget us. You are a hero. In the centuries of time sometimes one stone gets wings the way you have, and we are proud that you belong to us, to our family.”

They were even feeling great pride because one of the stones was flying towards the palace. The stone hit against a glass window, and naturally, when a stone hits glass it is the glass that is broken, not the stone – it is just the nature of things. But the stone said to the pieces of glass, “You idiots. I have always said, ‘Never come in my way. Whoever comes in my way will be shattered to death.’ Now look what happened to you. Let this be a lesson to everyone who is listening.”

At that very moment the guard on the gate heard the noise of the stone falling on the floor, the glass being broken… he rushed in. He took the stone in his hands, and the stone said – although the guard could not understand his language, because he talked in Nepalese…! He said, “Thank you my lord, you are the owner of this palace – I can see from your beautiful dress. I will never forget this honor that you have given to me – taken me in your own hands.”

The situation was totally different, but the ego goes on turning every situation in its favor.

The guard was afraid that if the king came to know then he would be caught: “What are you doing? Who has thrown the stone?” He threw the stone back out of the window.

And these are the ways of the ego: the stone said, “Thank you! You are not only a great host; you understand the hurts of other people too. You know I am longing to meet my friends. I want to tell them the whole story of my visiting the palace of the king – the meeting with the king, the conversation with the king, the destruction of the enemies who came in my way.” And as he was falling back into the pile of the stones, he said to them, “Brothers and sisters, I am back. You should all be proud. My name should go down in history, and with me, my family’s name. This pile of stones is no ordinary pile, it is something historical.”

The ego has its ways of fulfilling itself even in situations where it should be shattered. So beware of it.

Self-remembering can be done only in a school where you are devoting yourself to the discipline twenty-four hours a day, because it is the moment you remember yourself… While walking you remember, “I am walking” – then walking is no longer natural. It becomes divided: you are separate, and the walking is separate.

Walking is a simple process, but in life you are doing a thousand and one things which are very complex. If you are going to remember yourself while using a machine, while driving a car… it could be very dangerous because your whole focus is in remembering yourself. You could cause an accident which could be dangerous to you, which could be dangerous to others.

Life has its own wisdom. The body has its own wisdom. For example, try one thing and you will understand what I mean: you have been eating every day your whole life but you have never thought about what happens to the food when it goes down your throat – you forget about it. Don’t forget about it. Just for three days try to remember that the food has gone in. Remember that the food is being digested, that juices, chemicals and other things are coming in from different directions, that the food is being mixed with them and the food is being transformed into different things. It is becoming blood, it is becoming your flesh, it is becoming your bones.

In three days’ time you will have such a disturbed stomach, you cannot imagine. It will take at least three months to get it back to its normal state. You are not needed to remember it. It knows its function, and it does its function perfectly well without your remembering.

That’s why when you are sick it is better to rest, because the body needs you to sleep so it can work better without any disturbance from you.

You must have heard the famous story about a centipede….

A centipede has one hundred legs – that’s why it is called centipede. And for centuries, centipedes have been in the world, walking perfectly well – no problem. But one day a rabbit became curious. He saw the centipede, he tried to count his legs and said, ”My God! One hundred legs! How does he manage to remember which one to put first, which one to put second?

“If I had one hundred legs,” the rabbit thought, “I would get entangled and I would fall immediately; I could not walk at all. This centipede is performing a miracle.”

He said, “Uncle, uncle, wait, wait! I have a question if you don’t mind…”

The centipede said, “There is no hurry. I was just going for a morning walk. You can ask your question.”

He said, “My question is simple: you have one hundred legs…?”

The centipede said, “One hundred? In fact, I have never counted. It would be too difficult for me to count them, but if you say so then perhaps I must have.”

The rabbit said, “My curiosity is: how do you manage to walk with such a trail of one hundred legs? How do you manage which one comes first, then second, then third, then fourth…?”

The centipede said, “I have never thought about it. I will try. Just now – I will try here.”

And then and there he fell on the ground. He called the rabbit and said, “You idiot! Never ask another centipede such a question, otherwise centipedes will die. We cannot live with this curiosity. I have been doing perfectly well up to now, and just as I started becoming alert about what leg is going when… as I started remembering one hundred legs, my mind got very much puzzled.”

Self-remembering is a school method. And school method means you are in a safe monastery, not doing work that could be dangerous. Otherwise your remembering… working in a factory, working in a carpentry shop and trying to remember, you are bound to get into the same position as the centipede.

I don’t want anybody to get into any trouble in the name of spirituality, hence my suggestion again is just pure witnessing – no question of I. And that too, very playfully, not seriously, with a sense of humor.

If you forget, there is no harm. Whenever you remember, again you start. You will forget many times, you will remember many times. There is no question of guilt; it is human.

Very slowly, bigger and bigger gaps of witnessing will arise in you, and as the gaps of witnessing become bigger, your thoughts will become smaller, less. The moment your witnessing comes to a peak – at certain times with a crystal clarity – the thoughts will simply disappear. You will be in an absolute silence. Whatever you are doing will not be disturbed by your silence, but on the contrary, your workmanship, your creative effort will be enhanced.

If you are making statues, or painting, or playing music… with such a mad mind, with all kinds of thoughts running around, and you can still manage to create beautiful music – just think of a silent mind, how much deeper and higher music you could create.

The same applies to every area of life. I make it a point to be remembered that if your meditation is right, everything in your life will start falling into better shape. That is the only criterion. No need to ask anybody else; you can see yourself.

Everything in your life will become better with your meditation. When your meditation is at its highest peak, all your efforts will have a beauty and a grace and a creativeness that you cannot imagine. That’s why I say; don’t divide spiritual life from the ordinary life. Don’t create any division at all. Let this life remain one single whole.

So if your consciousness changes, then everything that surrounds you also changes.

I cannot imagine a man of meditation renouncing his wife. No, a man of meditativeness will love his wife more. Perhaps his love will become more and more purified, less and less sexual, more and more prayerful. But he cannot renounce her, that is ugly.

Leaving a poor woman and escaping – that is not the work of a brave man. It fits to a coward, but not to a man who is meditating.

In my village I loved to sit in an old man’s small shop. He used to sell sweets. I was attracted, not by his sweets, but by the sweetness of the man. He would say, “The cost price of this many sweets is one rupee, and if you are willing, just for my labors and for my family, you can give me one anna more – that is my profit.”

First he would tell the cost price, and then he would tell his profit. And that too he would leave up to you: “If you don’t want to give it to me, you can take it at the cost price – of course, I am a poor man, I cannot give it to you below the cost price. I can give you my labor, I can give you my profit, but I cannot go below the cost price.”

And I inquired – because it was a sweet market and there were many shops, I inquired in other shops about what he was saying cost one rupee. And others were selling for two rupees, two and a half rupees – the same quantity, but not the same quality, not the same love.

While he was preparing his sweets, I used to sit. He even asked me, “You are the only one. Why do you come and sit here?”

I said, “I simply like it – to see you work. You work so lovingly, as if you were preparing these sweets for your beloved who is coming after many years – and you don’t know who the customer will be.”

And he laughed. He said, “As far as I know it is the same customer who always comes – different faces, but the customer is the same. That’s why I cannot deceive. I cannot cheat, I cannot exploit because it is the same customer with different faces. I have recognized him.”

His whole life I would describe as the life of a great saint, although nobody in the world would recognize him as a saint because we have this idea so deeply rooted in our minds that a saint should renounce life, get away from life. That anti-life attitude has proved so poisonous that it has destroyed the whole beauty of human existence. It has taken away the whole dignity of man.

Hence I still insist – even if you feel self-remembering is easier – that you try witnessing. Even though it is difficult in the beginning, it becomes very easy as you go ahead.

Gautam Buddha has said, “My teaching is bitter in the beginning but sweet in the end.”

-Osho

From The Sword and the Lotus, Discourse #10

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

 

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

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

What is this You in Yourself? – Osho

So we have to understand what meditation is.

Gautam Buddha, the founder of Zen, the founder of all great meditative techniques in the world, defines it in one word. Somebody asked him one day, ‘Bhagwan, what is meditation? What is it all about?’ And Gautam Buddha said a single word, he said: Halt! That was his definition of meditation. He says, “If it halts, it is meditation.” The full sentence is: “The mad mind does not halt. If it halts, it is meditation.”

“The mad mind does not halt. If it halts, it is meditation.” Meditation is a state of thoughtless awareness: Meditation is a state of non-emotional, non-sentimental, non-thinking awareness. When you are simply aware, when you become a pillar of awareness. When you are simply awakened, alert, attentive. When you are just a pure awareness.

How to enter into it? The Zen people have a special word for the entry, they call it hua t’ou. This Chinese word means ante-thought, or ante-word. The mind, before it is stirred by a thought, is called hua t’ou. Between two thoughts there is a gap, that gap is called hua t’ou.

Watch. One thought passes on the screen of your mind – on the radar screen of your mind one thought passes like a cloud. First it is vague – it is coming, it is coming – then it is there suddenly on the screen. Then it is moving, then it has gone out of the screen, again it becomes vague and disappears… another thought comes. Between these two thoughts there is a gap – for a single moment or a split second the screen is without any thought.

That state of pure no-thought is called hua t’ou – ante-words, ante-thought, before the mind is stirred. Because we are not alert inside, that’s why we go on missing it – otherwise meditation is happening each moment. You have just to see it happening, you  have just to become aware what treasure you are carrying always within you. It is not that meditation has to be brought from somewhere else. The meditation is there, the seed is there. You have just to recognize it, nurture it, take care of it, and it starts growing.

The interval between two thoughts is hua t’ou. And that is the door to enter into meditation. hua t’ou – the word literally means ‘word head’. ’Word’ is a spoken word, and ‘head’ is that which precedes the word. hua t’ou is the moment before a thought arises. As soon as a thought arises it becomes a hua weihua wei literally means ‘word tail’. And then when the thought has gone or the word has gone and there is a gap again, it is again hua t’ou. Meditation is looking into this hua t’ou.

“One should not be afraid of rising thoughts,” says Buddha, “but only of the delay in being aware of them.” This is a tremendously new approach towards the mind, never attempted before Buddha. Buddha says one should not be afraid of rising thoughts. One should only be afraid of one thing – of not being aware of them, of being delayed in awareness.

When a thought arises, if with the thought your awareness is also there – if you can see it arising, if you can see it coming, if you can see it there, if you can see it going – then there is no problem at all. This very seeing, by and by, becomes your citadel. This very awareness brings you many fruits. You can first see, when you see that you are not the thought. Thought is separate from you, you are not identified with it. You are consciousness and it is content. It comes and goes – it is a guest, you are the host. This is the first experience of meditation.

Zen talks about two words: foreign dust. “And this is just where we would begin our training.” Zen says, “For instance, a traveler stops at an inn where he passes the night or takes his meal. And as soon as he has done so, he packs and continues his journey, because he has no time to stay longer. As for the host of the inn, he has nowhere to go.

“The deduction is that the one who does not stay is the guest, and the one who does stay is the host. Therefore, a thing is foreign when it does not stay. Again, in a clear sky when the sun rises and sunlight enters the house through an opening, the dust is seen moving in the ray of light – whereas the empty space is unmoving. Therefore that which is still is voidness, and that which moves is dust. Foreign dust illustrates false thinking and voidness illustrates self-nature – that is, the permanent host who does not follow the guest in the latter’s coming and going.”

This is a great insight. Consciousness is not the content. You are consciousness: thoughts come and go, you are the host. Thoughts are the guests – they come and stay for a while, take a little rest, or their food, or stay overnight, and then they are gone. You are always there. You are always the same, you never change you are eternally there. You are eternity itself.

Watch it. Sometimes you are ill, sometimes you are healthy, sometimes you are depressed, sometimes you are happy. One day you were very very small, a child, then you became young, and then you became old. One day you were strong; one day comes, you become weak. All these things come and go, but your consciousness remains the same. That’s why, if you look inside, you cannot reckon how old you are – because there is no age. If you go inside and look and try to find out there how old you are, there is no age, because there is no time. You are exactly the same as when you were a child or when you were young. You are absolutely the same inside.

For age you have to look at the calendar, at the diary, at your birth certificate – you have to look for something outside. Inside you will not find any age or aging. Inside there is timelessness. You remain the same – whether there is a cloud called depression or the cloud called happiness, you remain the same.

Sometimes there are black clouds in the sky – the sky does not change because of those black clouds. And sometimes there are white clouds also, and the sky does not change because of those white clouds. Clouds come and go, and the sky remains. Clouds come and go, and the sky abides.

You are the sky and thoughts are the clouds. The first thing, if you watch your thoughts minutely, if you don’t miss them, if you look at them directly, will be this understanding – and this is a great understanding This is the beginning of your Buddhahood, this is the beginning of your awakening. You are no more asleep, you are no more identified with the clouds that come and go. Now you know you abide forever.

Suddenly all anxiety disappears. Nothing changes you, nothing will ever change you – so what is the point of being anxious, in anguish? What is the point of being worried? No worry can do anything to you – these things come and go, they are just ripples on the surface. Deep in your depth, not a single ripple ever arises. And you are there, and you are that. You are that being. Zen people call it the state of being a host.

Ordinarily, you have become too much attached with the guests – hence your misery. One guest comes, you become too much attached. And then the guest is packing and is leaving, and then you cry and you weep and you run around and you go with him – at least to see him off, to give him a send-off. And then you come crying and crying – one guest has left and you feel so miserable. And another guest comes and again you fall in with the guest, again you become identified with the guest, and again he is going.

Guests come and go, they don’t stay! They can’t stay, they are not to stay, they are not meant to stay.

Have you watched any thought? It never stays, it cannot stay. Even if you want to make it stay, it cannot stay. Try. That’s what people try sometimes – they try to keep one word in the mind. For example, they want to keep one sound aum in the mind. For a few seconds they remember, and then it is gone, slipped. Again they are thinking of their market, of their wife, of their children…. Suddenly they become aware – where is that aum? It has slipped.

Guests are guests – they have not come to stay there. Once you see that all that happens to you is going to move away from you, then why be worried? Watch: let them be there, let them pack, let them leave. You remain. Can you see the peace that arises if you can feel that you always abide? This is silence. This is an unworried state. This is non-anguish. Suffering ceases the moment identification ceases. Don’t get identified – that’s all. And if you can watch somebody who lives in such eternal timelessness, you will feel a grace, a coolness, a beauty, around him.

It happened – the story is about Buddha, a beautiful story. Listen to it carefully, because you can miss it.

One day, at mealtime, the World Honored One put on his robe, took his bowl and entered the great town of Sravasti to beg for his food. After he had begged from door to door, he returned to his place. When he had taken his meal, he put away his robe and bowl, washed his feet, arranged his seat, and sat down.

Go slowly, as if the film is moving very slowly. It is a Buddha film, and Buddha films move very slowly. Again, let me repeat it…

One day, at mealtime, the World Honored One put on his robe, took his bowl and entered the great town of Sravasti to beg for his food. After he had begged from door to door, he returned to his place. When he had taken his meal, he put away his robe and bowl, washed his feet, arranged his seat, and sat down. 

Visualize Buddha doing all this and then sitting down on his seat.

This shows the Buddha’s ordinary life and daily activities which were similar to those of others and had nothing special about them. There is, however, something which is uncommon, but very few know it.

What is that? What is that uncommon unique quality? – because Buddha is doing ordinary things. Washing his feet, arranging his seat, sitting down, putting away his robe, putting away his bowl, going to bed, coming back – ordinary things everybody is doing.

At the time, one of Buddha’s disciples – a great disciple – Subhuti, who was in the assembly, rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, knelt upon his right knee, respectfully joined the palms of his hands and said to the Buddha: “It is very rare, O World Honored One! It is very rare!”

Now, nothing rare seems to be there on the surface. Buddha coming, putting away his robe, putting away his bowl, arranging his seat, washing his feet, sitting on the seat – there seems to be nothing unusual. And this man, Subhuti….

Subhuti is one of the most insightful disciples of Buddha – all great beautiful stories about Buddha are concerned with Subhuti. This is one of those stories, very rare.

At the time, the elder Subhuti, who was in the assembly, rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, knelt upon his right knee, respectfully joined the palms of his hands and said to the Buddha: “It is very rare, O World Honoured One, it is very rare!

Never seen before, it is unique.

The Tathagata’s daily activities were similar to those of other men but there was here one thing which was different, and those who sat face to face with him did not see it. That day, suddenly Subhuti uncovered it, praised it, and said: “Very rare! Very rare!”

Alas! The Tathagata had been thirty years with his disciples and they still did not know anything about his common acts of daily life. As they did not know, they thought these acts were ordinary and let them pass unnoticed. They thought only that he was similar to others and were, therefore, suspicious of and did not believe what he said. Had Subhuti not seen clearly, no one would really know the Buddha. 

So say the scriptures.

If there was not a Subhuti, nobody would have seen what was happening inside. What was happening inside? Buddha remains the host. Not for a single moment does he lose his eternity, timelessness. Buddha remains meditative. Not for a single moment does he lose his hua t’ou. Buddha remains in his samadhi – even when he is washing his feet, he is washing so alertly, so aware, so consciously. Knowing well that “These feet are not me.” Knowing well that “This bowl is not me.” Knowing well that ’This robe is not me.’ Knowing well that “This hunger is not me.” Knowing well that “All that is around me is not me. I am just a witness, a watcher of it all.”

Hence the grace of Buddha, hence this unworldly beauty of Buddha. He remains cool. This coolness is what meditation is. It has to be attained by being more alert of the host, by being more alert of the guest, by getting disidentified with the guest, by disconnecting yourself from the guest. Thoughts come and go, feelings come and go, dreams come and go, moods come and go, climates change. All that changes is not you.

Is there something that remains unchanging? That’s you. And that is God. And to know it, and to be it, and to be in it, is to attain to samadhi. Dhyana is the method, meditation is the method, samadhi is the goal. Dhyana is the technique to destroy this identification with the guest. And samadhi is dissolving into the host, abiding in the host, getting centered there.

Each night one embraces a buddha while sleeping,

Each morning one gets up again with him.

When rising or sitting, both watch and follow one another.

Whether speaking or not, both are in the same place.

They never even for a moment part,

But are like the body and its shadow.

If you wish to know the Buddha’s whereabouts,

In the sound of your own voice there is he. 

This is a Zen saying: “Each night one embraces a Buddha while sleeping.” The Buddha is always there, the non-Buddha is also there. In you meet the world and nirvana, in you meet God and matter, in you meet the soul and the body. In you meet all the mysteries of existence – you are a meeting-place, you are a cross-roads. On one side the whole world, on the other side the whole of God. And you are just a link between the two.

Now, it is only a question of emphasis. If you go on focusing yourself on the world, you remain in the world. If you start changing your focus, if you shift your focus and you start focusing on consciousness, you are God. Just a small change, as if one changes a gear in the car – just like that.

“Each night one embraces a Buddha while sleeping, each morning one gets up again with him.” He is always there, because consciousness is always there; not for a single moment is it lost.

“When rising or sitting, both watch and follow one another.” The host and the guest, both are there. Guests go on changing, but somebody or other is always there in the inn. It is never empty – unless you become disidentified with the guest. Then an emptiness arises. Then sometimes it happens your inn is empty; there is only the host sitting at ease, not being bothered by any guests. Traffic stops, people don’t come. Those moments are of beatitude; those moments are of great blessing.

“Whether speaking or not, both are in the same place.” When you are speaking, there is also something silent in you. When you are lusting, there is something beyond lust. When you are desiring, there is somebody who is not desiring at all. Watch it, and you will find it. Yes, you are very close, and yet you are very different. You meet, and yet you don’t meet. You meet like water and oil; the separation remains. The host comes very close to the guest. Sometimes they hold hands and hug each other, but still the host is the host and the guest is the guest. The guest is one who will come and go; the guest will go on changing. And the host is one who remains, who abides.

“They never even for a single moment part, but are like the body and its shadow. If you wish to know the Buddha’s whereabouts, in the sound of your own voice there is he.” Don’t go on looking for the Buddha somewhere outside. He resides in you – he resides in you as the host.

Now, how to come to this state of the host? I would like to talk to you about a very ancient technique; this technique will be of tremendous help. To come to this unknowable host, to come to this ultimate mystery of your being, this is the way – one of the very simple ways Buddha has proposed.

Deprive yourself of all possible relationships, and see what you are. Suppose you are not a son to your parents, nor the husband to your wife, nor the father to your children, nor a relative to your kindred, nor a friend to your acquaintances, nor a citizen to your country, and so on and so forth – then you get you-in-yourself.

Just disconnect. Some time once a day, sit silently and disconnect yourself of all connections. Just as you disconnect the phone, disconnect yourself of all connections. Don’t think any more that you are a father to your sons – disconnect. You are no more a father to your son, and you are no more a son to your father. Disconnect that you are a husband or a wife; you are no more a wife, no more a husband. You are no more a boss, no more a servant. You are no more black, no more white. You are no more Indian, no more Chinese, no more German. You are no more young, no more old. Disconnect, go on disconnecting.

A thousand and one connections are there – just go on disconnecting all the connections. When you have disconnected all the connections, then suddenly ask: Who am l? And no answer comes – because you have already disconnected all those answers that would have come.

Who am I? And an answer comes, “I am a doctor” – but you have disconnected with the patients. An answer comes, “I am a professor” – but you have disconnected yourself from your students. An answer comes, “I am Chinese” – but you have disconnected it. An answer comes, “I am a man or a woman” – but you have disconnected it. An answer comes, “I am an old man” – but you have disconnected it.

Disconnect all. Then you are in yourself. Then for the first time the host is alone and there is no guest. It is very good sometimes to be alone without any guest, because then you can see into your hostness more closely, more carefully. The guests create turmoil, the guests create noise, and they come and demand your attention. And they say, “Do this, and hot water is needed, and where is the breakfast? And where is my bed? And there are bed bugs’… and a thousand and one things. And the host starts running after the guest. Yes, of course, you have to take care of these people.

When you are completely disconnected, nobody bothers you – nobody can bother you. Suddenly you are there in all your aloneness – and that purity of aloneness, that pristine purity of aloneness. You are like virgin land, the virgin peak of a Himalaya where nobody has ever traveled. This is what virginity is.

This is what I mean when I say, “Yes, Jesus’ mother was a virgin.” This is what I mean. I don’t agree with Christian theologians – whatsoever they say is all bull. This is what virginity is – Jesus must have been conceived by Mary when she was in such a disconnected state. When you are in such a disconnected state, of course if a child enters he can only be a Jesus, nobody else.

In ancient India there were methods for how to conceive a child. Unless you are tremendously in deep meditation, don’t make love. Let meditation be a preparation for love: that is the whole meaning of tantra. Let meditation be the basis – only then make love. Then you invite greater souls. The deeper you are, the greater soul will be invited.

Mary must have been absolutely disconnected in that moment when Jesus penetrated her. She must have been in this virginity; she must have been a host. She was no more a guest and she was no more clamored at by the guest and no more identified with the guest. She was not the body, she was not the mind, she was not her thoughts, she was not a wife, she was nobody. In this nobodiness she was there, sitting silently – a pure light, a flame without any smoke around it, a smokeless flame. She was virgin.

And I say to you, exactly the same is the case when Buddha is conceived or when Mahavira is conceived, or Krishna is conceived or Nanak is conceived – because these people cannot be conceived in any other way. These people can enter only the most virgin womb. But this is my meaning of being a virgin. It has nothing to do with the foolish ideas that go around – that she never loved a man, that Jesus was not conceived with a man, that Jesus was not the son of Joseph.

That’s why Christians go on saying: “Jesus the son of Mary.” They don’t talk about his father; he was not a father. Son of Mary and son of God – there was no Joseph in-between. But why be so angry about poor Joseph? Why can’t God use Joseph too, if he can use Mary? What is wrong in it? He uses Mary for the womb – that does not spoil the story. Then why not use Joseph too? The womb is half the story, because one egg from the mother has been used. Then why not use another egg from Joseph? Why be so angry at this poor carpenter?

No, God uses both. But the state of consciousness must have been of the host. And really, when you are the host there is no wonder if you receive the greatest guest: Jesus comes in. If you are dis-identified from all the guests, then God becomes your guest. First you become the host, pure host. Then God becomes your guest.

When you are disconnected… you-in-yourself. Now ask yourself: “What is this you-in-yourself’?”  You can never answer this question – it is unanswerable, because it is cut off from all knowable relationships. This way one stumbles upon the unknowable; this is entering into meditation. When you have become settled into it, utterly settled, it becomes samadhi.

-Osho

Excerpt from Zen: The Path of Paradox, V.2, Chapter Three

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