The Second Zen Stick

Deeksha in Vrindavan
Deeksha in Vrindavan

My first Zen stick happened when I was around three years old. It is one of the earliest memories I have. Of course I had never heard the term and it would be another twenty-three years or so until I would.

I was sleeping in my bed in a room with no one else present and suddenly, how could it be otherwise, I felt a whack on the top part of the back of my head. I sat up and looked around the room but there wasn’t anyone there.

Twenty-three years later I met a ferocious Zen master who carried a Zen stick made out of her words. Her name was Deeksha. Deeksha was the boss, the mom, the coordinator of the Vrindavan kitchen in the ashram.

Sumati and I had arrived from Japan with our pockets full of money saved from working and wanted to make a contribution to the ashram. Sheela gladly accepted but suggested that we save some for our own expenses and then assigned both of us to work in Vrindavan. Deeksha was not only in charge of the public ashram restaurant but also had her own band of handymen for whatever projects that came up. It was almost as though she had her own empire within the ashram; this certainly was no secret from Osho. Sumati went into the kitchen and I became a handyman.

Deeksha was known for her passion, energy and insults as well as being extremely capable of organizing work. She was also one of the most generous people in the ashram, often using her personal money to come to the aid of her friends and workers. But no one wanted to be called on the carpet by Deeksha. One day you could be leading a crew of carpenters working on building bookshelves for Osho’s library and the next day you could be banished to the bakery that was offsite and away from the ashram.

On one particular day during the lecture, a deep meditation had descended. It was one of those discourses that Osho would take you by the hand and lead you ever deeper into your interiority.  With this sense of being came a peace that knew no fear. I lingered longer than usual after the discourse bathing in the majesty.

When I left Buddha Hall, someone had been summoned to find Purushottama and bring him to Deeksha. I knew what awaited me but there was a calm easy feeling that accompanied my walk. I remember that she was standing with her back to the kitchen wall and she let fly all of her quivers. She was extremely animated and I have no idea what she said, but what I remember was that it was as if love was pouring from her in what would look like to an onlooker as anger. The energy that issued forth just washed over and through and yet didn’t touch me. I was a witness to a raging Zen master but inside was the same peace that I had left Buddha Hall with. From that moment I knew it was possible to be in the marketplace but not of the marketplace. I remained untouched.

Years after we had left Poona and even after the Ranch had closed I would think about Deeksha and feel some regret that she had not had a Deeksha like I had. Deeksha offered me an opportunity that no one else in the ashram could. It was easy to see why Osho gave her so much freedom and so much responsibility.  In his Buddhafield even the wildest, fiercest expressions were love.

-purushottama

This story is from a collection of stories and essays from along the Way titled From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva.

Deeksha Is My Device – Osho

You want us to be individuals, but during work in the ashram we have to be very disciplined. Discipline and individualism — are they not diametrically opposite?

I would like you to be individuals, but not individualists. And there is a great difference. The individualist is not an individual yet. The individualist who believes in individualism is only an egoist. And to be an egoist is not to be an individual. Just the contrary: the individual has no ego, and the ego has no individuality.

The ego is such an ordinary phenomenon — everybody has it! There is nothing special about it, there is nothing unique about it. Everybody has the ego. It is so common! The uncommon thing is egolessness.

Only an egoless consciousness attains to individuality. And by individuality I simply mean the literal meaning of the word: individual means indivisible, individual means integrated; individual means one who is not many, who is not a crowd, who is not multi-psychic; one who has attained to unity, one who has become a crystallized being. Gurdjieff uses the word ‘crystallization’ for individuality. But the basic requirement for crystallization is to drop the ego, because ego is a false entity. It won’t allow you to be real; it won’t allow you to be authentically real. It won’t allow you to grow. It is false, it is a deception, it is an illusion. You are not separate from existence, but the ego goes on pretending separation.

And the other word that you have used in the question also has to be understood: discipline. Discipline does not mean anything imposed upon you. Nothing is imposed in this commune. If you enter this commune it is at your own choice. The doors are open — you can leave any moment. In fact, entry is difficult and we make every possible effort to help you to leave. Nobody is hindered from leaving, although every possible effort is made to hinder you from entering. Entry is very difficult.

If you choose to become part of this commune it is your decision — your readiness to commit yourself, to be involved.

Out of this decision a discipline arises. You can choose to get out of the commune, but once you are in the commune it means that you have taken a responsibility. And it is only through responsibility that one grows. By fulfilling one’s responsibility totally, growth becomes possible.

There are a few people here, only a few, who go on trying to deceive the commune. They are simply befooling themselves; nobody is befooled! They don’t want to work; they try to avoid it in every possible way. They find excuses, they even fall ill just to avoid work. But this is so stupid! You have entered the commune to work upon yourself. You have entered the commune to make a concentrated effort to become an integrated individual. You have entered the commune for your spiritual growth, for enlightenment. And if you avoid…and that seems to be the real question behind the apparent question.

You say, “Individualism and discipline — are they not diametrically opposite?”

They are not! An individual is always a disciplined phenomenon. One who is not disciplined is not an individual; he is just a chaos, he is many fragments. All those fragments are functioning separately, even in opposition to each other. That’s how people are ordinarily: one part of the mind going to the south, another part going to the north; one part saying one thing, another part opposing it. You know it! I am simply stating a fact — you can observe it. One part says “Do this.” Another part immediately says “No!” Something says “Yes,” and something immediately destroys it by saying “No.”

This is your situation! You are not an individual in such a situation, when you cannot even say a total yes or a total no? Your no is always halfhearted and your yes too — and you think you are an individual?

An individual means one who can function as a totality, as an organic unity. How are you going to become an organic unity? It can only be through conscious discipline.

That’s what Buddha is saying again and again: perseverance, effort, a conscious, deliberate effort to grow — and total effort, not lukewarm. You have to boil at a hundred degrees. Yes, sometimes it is painful, but it all depends on you, on how you interpret it. If you really want to grow it is not painful — it is tremendously pleasant. Each step deeper into discipline brings more and more joy, because it gives you more and more soul, being.

Discipline means readiness to learn; hence the word ‘disciple’, they come from the same root. Who is a disciple? — One who bows down, surrenders, and is ready to learn. And what is discipline? — The readiness, the openness, the vulnerability, to learn.

Entering into this commune you are entering into a buddhafield. It is a surrender, it is a trust! I am here to make you individuals, but you will have to pass through many, many devices. Many fires you will have to pass through, many tests. Only then, slowly, slowly, will you be welded into one unity. And you have remained a multiplicity for so long, for so many lives, that unless concentrated effort is made, unless you are attacked from every nook and corner, unless your sleep is broken in every possible way, you are shaken and shocked, the individual is not going to be born.

The work that is happening in the commune is not really what it appears from the surface. It is something else — it is a device! We have to use devices.

Somebody comes to me and wants to become part of the commune, and I say to him, “Go to Deeksha.” Deeksha is my device! I have given her total power — and I have given her total power because she is so loving, so soft, so caring. She wounds people, but she heals also. By one hand she hammers, by the other she consoles. She is a device.

And when I say to you, “Go and work with Deeksha,” and she shouts at you and in every possible way she provokes you, it is discipline to watch —- not to act in your old ways, as you have always acted. And she is so motherly that it is very simple to react to her as you have been reacting to your own parents. It is very simple that she will create a reaction in you that your mother creates in you. Mothers are intolerable creatures — and Deeksha is a perfect mother!

I know, it is difficult but growth is difficult. Many more devices are going to be created. You will be sent to many dimensions. No corner of your being has to be left undeveloped, otherwise you will become lopsided.

And the first principle of discipline is surrender. Apparently it looks contradictory, because that’s what you have been told: that if you surrender, then you are no longer an individual. And I say to you, if you cannot surrender you are not an individual. Only an individual can surrender. Surrender is such a great phenomenon, only a man of great will can surrender. It is the ultimate in will. To drop your will is bound to be the ultimate in will. To put yourself aside, absolutely aside, and to say to something such a total yes — which your mind resists, your old habits resist….

And sometimes you are right — and that’s where the whole beauty lies. You are right, and still you have to surrender to something which does not appear at all right logically.

Deeksha is crazy! You may be far more intellectual, far more rational — but you have to surrender to Deeksha. Her craziness is her quality — that’s why I have chosen her. I have got many more rational people: I could have chosen a Ph.D. who would have convinced you that he is right. But when you are convinced and you follow, it is not surrender. When you are not convinced at all, you see the apparent stupidity of a certain thing, and still you surrender, that is a great step, a great step of getting out of your past.

This commune is a lab, this commune is an alchemical process. You come here as a crowd and I have to weld you into unity. Much hammering is going to happen, and you will come out of this whole process as pure individuals.

Discipline is the way to create individuality. But remember: to be an individual is not to be an individualist. Individualism is an ego trip. And the people who believe in individualism are not individuals, remember — remember well. Deep down they know they are not individuals, hence they create a facade of philosophy, of logic, of argument, because deep down they don’t feel they are individuals. They pretend on the outside that they are individuals — they believe in individualism. Believing in individualism is not becoming an individual. Belief is always false.

When you are an individual you need not believe in individualism. When it is a truth of your being, belief is not needed. Belief is needed only to cover things: you don’t know about God and you believe in God. The believer is an atheist. He may be a Christian, a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Buddhist, it doesn’t matter: a believer is an atheist. He does not know about God, and still he believes. That means he is even trying to deceive God! He is a hypocrite, he is a parrot. […] The believer is a parrot. The believer knows nothing. The believer is an atheist in disguise. He is trying to befool himself, the world and even God.

The man who believes in individualism is not an individual. The man who is really an individual need not believe — he knows it, so what is the point of believing? Belief is always needed in ignorance, and individualism is a belief. To be an individual is an experience! Individualism is very cheap, but to be an individual needs arduous discipline. It needs great perseverance, work, watchfulness. It comes only out of years of effort in awareness, in meditation.

And whatsoever is happening here in this commune is nothing but different ways to introduce you to meditation. In the kitchen, in the carpentry shop, in the soap workshop, in the boutique — whatsoever is happening, apparently it looks as if it is the same ordinary thing as happens everywhere else. It is not. If you go and see the carpenters working, of course they go on working like any other carpenters anywhere else — but with a different quality. That quality cannot be seen. You will have to become a participant, only then will you slowly feel it. That quality is of trust, love.

My sannyasins are here because they love me, for no other reason. They are simply here with me to be here with me. For the sake of being here with me they are ready to do anything. But whatsoever they are doing is only the outer part. You will see the body of the work but you will not be able to see the spirit of the work. For that you will have to become a participant.

And, it seems that you are still a spectator. Maybe you are working in the commune, but still you have not become a participant — otherwise such a question would have been impossible.

-Osho

Excerpt from The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Volume 1, Chapter Six  

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.

Osho on Deeksha and the Three Gachchhamis

 

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 – God only. 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, Chapter Twenty-One

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.

 

Setting the Time in the Timeless

DSC_0050In the spring of 1981 Deeksha took a group of her workers and a few others to New Jersey to prepare a large house which had been known as Kip’s Castle for the arrival of Osho a month later. The Castle was a 9,000 square foot, 30-room mansion, complete with turrets and a small chapel. There was a lot to do within a very short period of time. The main house and carriage house had to be completely remodeled. The castle was in Montclair sitting on the first ridge with an incredible view of New York City. You could even see the Statue of Liberty on a clear day. Our nearest neighbors were Salvatorian Fathers who lived in a monastery next door.

Osho arrived on June 1st. Because of his bad back, we had installed an electric chair to take him up the entrance stairs at the side of the house, inside was an elevator. He took one long look at the chair and walked up the stairs; he never used it.Castle stairs

The atmosphere of living and working at the Castle was so very different from Poona. Because of the small group compared to the throngs in Poona, Osho was free to walk around the grounds and check out our work. I remember one day running very quickly around the back of the house and almost running into him. I came to a skidding stop.

Soon after his arrival he started having driving lessons so that he could get his driver’s license. He would occasionally pick someone from the group (that would gather to see him off) to accompany him. Most everyone that rode with him was scared to death. Of course Osho was a fearless driver and that is what terrified the passengers. Before too long, the musicians began to gather for his departure and arrival which soon blossomed into mini celebrations. He would often give some small gift to someone who he picked out for that day. He once gave me a rather nice pen, which would later be used to write book orders. Our work schedule was not so demanding by this time because we had already completed work on his living quarters.

When he first arrived he shared a floor of the house with a tenant who had a lease from before the purchase. I forget the fellows name but he had a big dog. Occasionally Osho and he would meet in the elevator.

One day I was downstairs in the main office when Vivek came down. She said that she needed help programming the VCR that had just been purchased. I looked around and as there was no one else present said that I would be happy to.

I followed her up the stairs and into a room that had been outfitted for Osho to watch videos. He was sitting in his comfortable chair beaming as we entered. On the floor was the new VCR with its LED time flashing at 12:00.

Setting the clocks on these machines just required pushing the correct button until the clock moved around to the correct time. And on this VCR, like on most, there was one button for fast changing of the time and one for slow.

I sat on the floor and explained how to do so, while setting the time. The difficulty was that as I was focusing on the time (so that I did not go past the needed setting); there was a tremendous expansiveness taking place. It took a lot of awareness to remain grounded in time and simultaneously be dissolving into the timeless. And of course Osho would ask a question here and there to make it even more interesting.

I think I missed the mark the first time and passed the correct time, but I was sure not to do so on the second go round.

-purushottama

 

This story is from a collection of stories and essays from along the Way titled From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva.