This Coolness is Your Meditation – Osho

[A sannyasin asked about watching ‘a lot of shit going through his head]

It is natural, so don’t feel in any way depressed by it. If you do, it is impossible to get rid of it because you lose all energy in it. People who become interested in meditation, sooner or later start feeling hopeless, because the chatter of the mind seems non-ending; it goes on and on, and the more you try to finish with it, the more it bubbles up. Don’t be in a hurry, and don’t take any negative attitude about it.

Even shit can be used; it can become good manure. So don’t be negative about it. We are going to use it. There is no better fertilizer than it, and when you see a rose flower coming, it is out of a fertilizer. Meditation arises out of the mind. It is no-mind but it is based in the mind. It is just like a lotus born out of mud, just ordinary mud.

And the second thing: don’t try to stop it. Be loose. Tell the mind to just go on and to finish its trip. Remain unconcerned, as if it is none of your business, as if it is just a traffic noise—and it is. It is an engine that goes on continuously from the time of your birth to your death. It goes on making noises, chattering, rehearsing, projecting, remembering the past, desiring the future. Accept it in aloofness.

By and by you will see that there arises a distance and the distance between you and the noise of the mind goes on becoming bigger and bigger and wider and wider. One day suddenly you realize that it is not there. There is a tremendous silence. For moments you will realize that everything stops, and then starts again, but you remain aloof. Remain aloof even to the stopping, because if you rejoice too much in it you are immediately distracted. The mind will come in again and the whole functioning will start. If it stops that is okay. If it starts again, that too is okay.

But this is how the distance is created—and this distance is meditation. As I see it, nothing is needed. Simply be unconcerned and watch. That word ‘watch’ is a little too positive—watchfulness plus aloofness. Then the danger of that positive watching is avoided—a passive watchfulness.

Much is going to happen. Change to orange and forget the old identity. Now you are part of my family.

This word himalaya is very meaningful. Him means cool, ice-cool, and laya means a house—a house of coolness. That’s why we call the mountain Himalaya—the house, the very abode of ice-coolness. And anand means bliss.

Bliss and coolness go together. If you attain to bliss you will become cool, and if you attain to coolness you will attain to bliss. Bliss has no excitement in it. It is simple coolness, silence. It has no fever, no passion in it. So remember these two things – they are going to help you.

Remain cool whatsoever the situation, whatsoever the excitement, suddenly remember that you have to be cool, and relax, and catch hold of your inner coolness. If somebody is insulting you, remember that you have to be cool, and this man is giving you an opportunity. Be thankful to him and don’t be distracted by him. If you can remain cool and indifferent where ordinarily you get easily excited and passion is aroused, when anger comes and distracts you and you become feverish, suddenly you will see that bliss is showering all around you.

You manage coolness, God manages bliss. You take one step, and he takes one step towards you immediately. It is fifty/fifty.

This coolness is your meditation.

.. It is flowing… it is not deadness. Just remain cool like a cool breeze. The moment that you see that your flowing is becoming feverish, stop, because then you are going out of your being. Flow to the extent that you can retain your coolness, and then there is no problem.

Prem means love and dhyana means meditation, and love is going to be your meditation—love meditation.

Be loving as much as you can. Just go on remembering that you have to be loving – to the trees, to the rocks. Even if you are sitting in an empty room, be loving to the empty room. But whatsoever you do and wherever you move, carry a climate of love around you, and by and by you will start feeling it working.

It is everybody’s capacity. Nothing is to be learned about it. Everybody is born with it, just as we are born with the capacity to breathe. But somehow society has destroyed the capacity to love, because love is very dangerous for the society. It is the greatest rebellion there is. Society cannot exist, or this society cannot exist, if people are really loving.

Wars and exploitation and all nonsense will be impossible if people are loving, so society does not want anybody to be loving. But unless you love, God remains unavailable, and unless you move deep in love, you cannot move in God.

So let this be your constant remembrance. Even when you touch things, even a chair, touch them as if they are your beloved. In the beginning it will look crazy, but by and by you will get the knack of it, and everything else will become crazy.

-Osho

From Nothing to Lose but Your Head, Chapter Twelve

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.

From In a Thought to Out of Mind

In a thought.
Watch a thought.
Watch mind.
Out of mind!

In a thought.

Ordinarily we live in thought. So even “in ‘a’ thought” is a step, because with ‘a’ thought there is already enough awareness separate to recognize having been in ‘a’ thought. But when we are in thought we are simply lost. But it is through this recognizing “in a thought” that we are gradually gaining strength of consciousness for the next step.

 

Watch a thought.

With this newfound seeing we begin to witness, we begin with watching a thought. It is however very fleeting. Either we enter into the stream of the thought and are lost until we remember and are once again at the beginning, or by watching the thought; the thought peters out and vanishes.

Watch mind.

There is a big shift that happens when we move from watching a thought to “watching mind.” Watching mind means we are not getting into the separate thoughts but watching the energy of mind, the movement of mind. It is seen as an object, as a whole. It is in this seeing the whole of mind that we find ourselves in the next step.

Out of mind!

It is from this “out of mind” that we are able to let all the contents of mind unpack itself and still remain the witness.

The sages don’t talk of no-mind in order to create a far off goal to be reached but rather so that it can be recognized when we stumble into it.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

Meditation is the Bridge Between Yoga and Advaita

Hakuin begins his Song of Meditation, “All beings are from the very beginning Buddhas.” Nisargadatta Maharaj tells us to take as a hypothesis that we are the “absolute”, because it is not yet our experience. Osho begins his discourse series on The Heart Sutra with these words, “I salute the Buddha within you. You may not be aware of it, you may not have ever dreamed about it — that you are a Buddha, that nobody can be anything else, that buddhahood is the very essential core of your being, that it is not something to happen in the future, that it has happened already.” But he goes on to say “But you are fast asleep, you don’t know who you are. Not that you have to become a Buddha, but only that you have to recognize it, that you have to return to your own source, that you have to look within yourself.”

This paradox that we are already Buddhas but that we do not recognize it is at the heart of much confusion today. It is here where those who are professing a neo-advaitan philosophy clash with the gradualists, with the yogis. But there should be no conflict. It is just that each side is only seeing half of the situation. We Are already enlightened but it is Not yet our experience. We have not Realized our enlightenment and until we do Realize our natural state then the work continues.

It is important for the neo-advaitans to understand that just intellectually knowing that we are already enlightened does not a Buddha make. And in order to uncover that sleeping Buddha there is a transformation yet to take place. And it is also important for the yogis to understand that we are from the very beginning Buddhas and that our work is not to make us into something that we are not already, but to uncover our already existing true nature. Hence it is not a question of becoming but of uncovering.

So what is the bridge between this gulf of understanding?  What is needed for the transformation from the potential to the realized to take place? When Nisargadatta Maharaj was asked what he did before his enlightenment was realized, he said that he accepted the words of his guru “that he was the absolute” and he meditated on the “I am” for three years.  J. Krishnamurti has said that “seeing is transformation.” He says that it is the observation of the mind itself that is the transformation. And Osho’s entire life work was to illuminate ‘meditation’ as the bridge between our current state of living in the mind and the awakened life of no-mind.

So if my enlightenment is only in words, only in concepts and not in my daily life then perhaps it would be best to continue on the journey back to Self and that journey must pass through no-mind.  On the other hand if I see enlightenment as a goal in the future of becoming then too it would be good to come home to Being and out of the goals in the world of mind.

Meditation is the way in.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

The More He Kills Me, The More Grateful I Become – Yoga Chinmaya

An interview Maneesha conducted with Yoga Chinmaya around 1977, which was published in the darshan diary, The Buddha Disease.

Chinmaya was one of the first disciples of Osho and has been living in the ashram with the two dozen or so other Indian sannyasins for some years now. Over the past year particularly, he as come to be regarded – not unkindly – as the ashram’s pundit, or Mulla Nasrudin alternately. The questions he puts to Osho in the morning discourse are invariably lengthy and very intellectual, setting Chinmaya up for the inevitable Zen whack from Osho and friendly chaffing from fellow-sannyasins!

Well-loved – particularly by Indian sannyasins – Chinmaya has something of a following himself, and has established a reputation for being able to produce deeply significant and highly esoteric reasons for the most innocent of happenings around Osho!

It was interesting to talk with him about his first meeting with Osho because at that time Osho was professor at the University of Jabalpur.

Coming from a family who followed the orthodox Hindu tradition Chinmaya remained discontent with that way of life and started searching intently by himself…

Chinmaya: In 1965, I came across a very small article written by Osho – he used to write articles for magazines and newspapers, Sunday articles. I came across this article – ‘Love, non-violence, meditation and samadhi’ – and it struck me very deeply because I was well-acquainted with previous literature about yoga and bhakti and had been in contact with a few yogis and wandering monks.

I immediately caught the quality and joyousness of Osho and felt that I had to meet this man. I read his first book of meditation ‘The Path of Self-Realisation’ originally in Hindi, so I had grasped this basic attitude towards religious experience, about an approach to life that was against all techniques, all gurus, scriptures, traditions, patterns, disciplines, and I was a very staunch student to yoga, so I became more curious. This man seemed to be very much a stirrer-up of debate and yet very charismatic.

Chinmaya procured Osho’s address and made his way to where he lived…

Chinmaya: Finally I was in front of his bungalow and read the name-plate ‘Acharya (teacher) Rajneesh’, and I relaxed.

Slowly I opened the gate and entered into the beautiful rose garden which he himself used to maintain and has mentioned many time. I entered the main building and just gave a sharp knock on the door and hear the sound, “Please come in.” I pushed the door open and just in front of me Osho was sitting.

I was attracted immediately because he was so healthy and shiny and beautiful… and so young! He was writing on a pad – perhaps some article for a magazine. Immediately he put his pen aside and welcomed me.

He asked what my occupation was and what I practised in religion and he listened very carefully to my description of what I was practising. I told him that I had read a few of his articles and books and that I had many questions that I would like to ask him because I was a yoga student and he was so much against techniques. He was against even concentration, all physiological techniques, breath techniques, meditation techniques, visualisation techniques, feeling and sound techniques.

He slowly explained how the techniques are harmful, how they are violent, how they manipulate the human brain and how risky that is.

So he talked for about one and a half hours and then he said, “Enough for today!” I said, “No! I still have half my questions unanswered!” He said to come again next morning.

Maneesha: Can you describe a little more about him as a person?

Chinmaya: He used to always sit on a mattress bed and visitors would sit with him on the same mattress. He used to always have a bare chest and wear a white lunghi.

I found him tremendously magnetic and just radiating energy, bubbling over with energy. It was as if you were near a cyclone of energy. He was so robust and healthy and strong that you completely forgot who you were, where you were… the past just disappeared because he took your attention completely at every level. He was so refreshing, so rejuvenating to be near, that all problems, all the past, was completely forgotten. For the first time you felt that you could solve everything in life and I felt for the first time that here was a man who could reply to all my thousands of questions!

I used to meditate about life, about problems, existence, different kinds of life, about the causes of misery, and for over ten years I used to write diaries about my contemplations. My diaries were full of queries – one query leading to another and one question leading to deeper and deeper and deeper questions. I used to raise my hands in a lovely place far away from the city and used to pray, “Who is there on earth who can reply to my questions?”

In questioning I used to go deeper and deeper and came to a point of futility and helplessness. Then I used to be left in silence and nowhereness.

Later on I became aware that I was following a very specific meditation procedure – that was the ‘koan’, a Zen method. After the questioning and relaxing into silence I used to go into meditation and I had many experiences which I would not decode at that time – I used to feel my head becoming bigger and bigger and bigger.

Maneesha: Osho felt to you to be absolutely unique at that time?

Chinmaya: Yes. Later on I became aware that he was working on the minds of people for the first ten, twelve years of public contact after enlightenment and postgraduation. He had in his mind how he would go step by step dealing with the consciousness of Indian citizens who were in contact with him.

At that time he was using negation and debate, challenging people and their ideas and beliefs, challenging the intelligentsia of the nation – and hitting hard. He used to disturb them terribly – just as if he wanted to wash out the rubbish from their minds so that he could put out his new vision and ideas.

Maneesha: What was so disturbing about him, if in effect what he was saying at this stage was not unlike what Krishnamurti was saying?

Chinmaya: His life was entirely different from Krishnamurti’s. For many years – at least twenty years – Osho used to live in guru fashion – long hair, lungis and a big cover sheet over his chest and wooden sandals. He looked like a spiritual man. By all means, the outer appearance and the inner personality – he was the perfect spiritual man, whereas Krishnamurti looked very much like a layman.

Osho used to talk more about god; he used the words ‘god’ and ‘mukti’ and he used to emphasize meditations more than Krishnamurti did. He used to say that the relaxation of body and mind is a very gradual process which leads to the inner silence and emptiness.

He used to have deeper public contact – like going to religious festivals, religious discourses, where many spiritual heads would be; he was entering the traditional fields of religion in India. He would meet different spiritual leaders on the stage as one of them but always against them – firing!

He was more into the practical problems of religion rather than remaining aloof and just talking. He used to take initiative on the practical dimension – holding meditation camps, going for spiritual tours. And he was talking not only to the very sophisticated but moving into lower public life too.

Krishnamurti was always very reserved and limited in his contact whereas Osho – Acharya Rajneesh he used to be called at that time – would even go to inaugurate a shop, a juice drink shop! He would go for picnics with his students when he was a professor and would attend many seminars of his students and professors and philosophers. He used to go for drives to the forest, to picnics and boating and would always take groups with him.

He always attracted young people to him and they started slowly becoming crazily in love with him.

Chinmaya continued to explore everything of a spiritual nature for he felt that Osho had no practical approach at that time that one could use in everyday life. He visited gurus and pundits in the Himalayas and stayed for some time at Muktananda’s ashram but decided he was coming too confined to a specific system.

In 1968 he was asked by a group of Osho’s followers to conduct yoga classes in Mumbai – a move supported by Osho.

Osho had resigned from his post as professor in August 1966 and begun to travel extensively around India. By 1970 Osho had moved his headquarters to Mumbai…

Chinmaya: Before coming to Mumbai to make his headquarters he had been talking to a group of sixty thousand about being aware of socialism, and in the mornings was leading meditation classes.

One morning he came and we were expecting the old techniques – ‘relax your body, relax your breathing, relax your thoughts’ and this and that, but he said, “Today I’m going to introduce you to a completely new method of meditation!” We became alert and then he described his first chaotic meditation. Suddenly there were explosions – cries and noises and sounds of panting and falling down and dancing and banging into each other! People were even tearing at their clothes – people were crazy in the second stage.

We were shocked completely by this sudden experience with a new technique, but he encouraged us to continue it.

At the end of April, 1971, just before visiting Ahmedabad, Osho called me and said that a new phase of his spiritual work would start – the work between master and disciples. He said that we should find a new name for him and especially asked me to bring a list of possible names. He liked the name ‘Bhagwan’ and immediately ordered me to change his names in recent publications and called me one evening to announce the change of name in public and to explain why he had changed from Acharya Rajneesh to Bhagwan Rajneesh.

It caused much controversy all over India because the word ‘Bhagwan’ is highly respected; no man would dare to call himself god. Many articles appeared against the change and Osho received hundreds and hundreds of letters against it. After one month he suddenly wrote a press note of about fifteen lines, saying:

“I am nobody – only he is. Whatsoever, the existence, the infinite reality, states, I just respond to it. So I am not a person. Not a messiah, not a teerthanka – but I am nothing less!”

The excitement continued for about eight months and then everybody settled.

Chinmaya said that the outcry was, in part, because Osho had become such an active, social figure and a threat to many…

Chinmaya: About three-quarters of the intelligentsia were focused on him. They were disturbed – and magnetised – by him. Everyone became alert that this man would do something explosive and every field was thinking that he belonged to their field.

Politicians used to think that he would take over the Government of India, educationists were thinking he would start hundreds of educational institutions all over India. Culturists, literary people, thought of him as the top authority but they were not completely adjusted to him.

They used to regards him as a genius, as a scholar, a revolutionary, a unique thinker – unparalleled – but they were not ready to accept him as a god or as a buddha or as someone other-worldly. Those who were opposing him on religion were popes – shankaracharyas – who had vested interest in religion, and he was trying to uproot them from the establishment.

Osho closed himself in his Mumbai residence, only meeting seekers, devotees, disciples. He stopped all interviews to VIP’s and press reporters and he was not in any way interested in scholars. Then he started having thousands of disciples. Those who were deeply into religious life and practical spirituality were feeling his divinity even in his lectures on life problems, on education and culture. He used to bring the flowering of god-consciousness to everything.

Chinmaya became Osho’s secretary for three years, organizing lectures, meditation programmes and camps…

I used to see him a lot at this time – I used to sit with him for approximately one to two hours a day and I used to have conversations and consultations with him. In the first early years I also used to travel with him for lectures and camps.

Before residing with him I was living in his ideas, his expressions, in the world of his words and, a little bit, the world of his meditation. But then I started living with him, my relationship became of being to being, the words and his wisdom became secondary and a spiritual closeness became deeper and deeper. Slowly, slowly I started dropping scholarship and knowledge and mind trips and became concerned with inner silence and spiritual questions.

Maneesha: You must be the most-often-mentioned sannyasin in Osho’s discourses now! Do you think Osho is saying certain things about you as a device for you?

Chinmaya: Osho wants to explode my ego forever. I constantly feel that he’s on my head all the time just like a volcano trying to explode and wash out my ego forever. His compassion, which is also a divine fire, is burning me so that the impure gold is being passed through the furnace of spiritual fire so that in the final process only absolutely pure gold comes out.

The more he kills me, the more grateful I become… tears of gratefulness overflow from my eyes.

Text and photos from The Buddha Disease, Chapter 10

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.

This was first seen on Osho News.

You can read more about Yoga Chinmaya here.

The Deepest Freedom – Dipa Ma

The Deepest Freedom

“Gradually I became acquainted with suffering,

the cause of suffering,

the arising of suffering,

and the end of suffering.”

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

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

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

Kamikaze yogi

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

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

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

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

-Anonymous

Did you get enlightened?

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

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

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

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

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

-Anonymous

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

Just two or three days

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

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

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

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

-Daw Than Myint

Okay, a tiger is coming

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

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

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

-Jyotishmoyee Barua

This most precious thing

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

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

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

-Jack Engler

All emotion is from thinking

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

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

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

 

Meditation is Love – Dipa Ma

Meditation is love.” Dipa Ma

Dipa Ma Barua was a Buddhist Icon and Master Teacher.

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

 

About Dipa Ma

Born 1911- Died 1989

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without Boundaries – Osho

Things are there around you because of you. You attract them. If you feel hell around you, it is you who has attracted it. Don’t be angry about it and don’t start fighting with it; it is useless. You attracted, you invited – you have done it! And now your desires are fulfilled: whatsoever you needed is around you. And then you start fighting and getting angry. You have succeeded!

Remember always that whatsoever is happening around you is rooted in the mind. Mind is always the cause. It is the projector, and outside there are only screens – you project yourself. If you feel it is ugly then change the mind. If you feel whatsoever comes from the mind is hellish and nightmarish, then drop the mind. Work with the mind, don’t work with the screen don’t go on painting it and changing it. Work with the mind.

But there is one problem, because you think you are the mind. So how can you drop it? So you feel you can drop everything, change everything, repaint, redecorate, rearrange, but how can you drop yourself That is the root of all trouble. You are not the mind, you are beyond mind. You have become identified, that’s true, but you are not the mind.

And this is the purpose of meditation: to give you small glimpses that you are not the mind. Even for a few moments the mind stops… you are still there! On the contrary, you are MORE, overflowing with being. When the mind stops it is as if a drainage which was continuously draining you has stopped. Suddenly you are overflooded with energy. You feel more!

If even for a single moment you become aware that the mind is not there but “I am,” you have reached a deep core of truth. Then it will be easy to drop the mind. You are not the mind, otherwise how can you drop yourself? The identification has to be dropped first, then the mind can be dropped.

The whole Gurdjieff method is how to get unidentified. When next time when a desire comes, look at it. Say within yourself, “Okay, I will watch where this mind is moving.” And you will feel a distance, you are looking at it. Who is this looker, the spectator? And the desire moves and creates dreams.

Sometimes you may forget, sometimes you may become one with the desire. Pull yourself together again, look at the desire again: the desire is moving on its own. It is as if a cloud has entered, a thought has come into the sky of your being. Just look at it, watch it. And remember, if you can be unidentified even for a fragment of a second – the desire is there and you are here and there is a distance – suddenly there is illumination, a light has happened to you.

Now you know that the mind works on its own, it is a mechanism. You can drop it! You may not use it, you may use it; you are the master. Now the slave, the mechanism, is put in its place; it is no more the master. Then dropping is possible. When you are different from it, only then is dropping possible.

Meditation, witnessing, silently sitting and looking at the mind, will be of much help. Not forcing, simply sitting and looking. Not doing much, just watching as one watches birds flying in the sky. Just Lying down on the ground and watching, nothing to do, indifferent. Not your concern really, where they are going; they are going on their own.

Remember, thoughts are also just like birds: they are moving on their own. And sometimes it happens that people who are around you, their thoughts enter into your sky, your thoughts go on entering into their sky. That’s why sometimes you feel that with some man suddenly you become sad; with some other man suddenly you feel an upsurge of energy and happiness and delight. Just looking at somebody, being near to him, something changes in your mood.

It happens even with places. You go into a house and suddenly a gloom settles on you. You go in another house, and suddenly you feel light as if wings have come to you, you can fly, you are weightless. You enter a crowd and you are no more yourself, something has changed. You enter another crowd, again something has changed.

This is the base of satsang: being with a Master who has no thoughts. Just being with him, sometimes his no-thought, his no-mind, will knock at your door. In some moments… it cannot be manipulated, one has to wait, one has just to pray and wait and watch. It cannot be forced because it is not a thought. A thought is a thing; it can be thrown at you. No-thought is not a thing, it cannot be thrown.

A thought has its own movement and propulsion. Whenever you are near a person who has too many thoughts, he will fill you with his thoughts. Just being near he will go on pouring his mind in you – whether he speaks or not, that is not the point. Continuously, thoughts, like sparks, are falling from his head all around – you catch them.

And sometimes you are even aware that this is not your thought. But when it comes you become filled with it, you become identified even with that. This is not your anger; somebody else was angry and you felt something within you. Somebody was hateful and the hate hit you. Everything is infectious, and mind is the most infectious disease in the world. No flu can compete with it, it goes on infecting people all around.

If you can see, you can see just sparks falling from the head of a person. They have different colors.

That’s why so many mystics became aware of auras, because if a gloomy person comes he brings a gloomy aura. You can see it if your eyes are clear. You can see when a happy person comes around you. Even if you have not seen him – he is coming from behind you, you have not seen him – but suddenly you feel something happy is happening around.

Thoughts are not your own, they are not you. When you die your thoughts are scattered all around. It has happened, and next time you go near a dying man, watch – it is an experience in itself. When a man is dying, just sit and watch what happens to your mind. You will be surprised; thoughts which have never been there, thoughts you are not accustomed to, thoughts which are unknown, suddenly bubble up in you – pop! The man is dying and he is throwing his thoughts all around, like a dying tree throwing its seeds. It is in a panic; before the tree dies it should throw seeds so other trees come up.

Never go near a man who is dying if you are not aware, because then the dead will influence you. Basically, never be near a man where you feel gloomy, sad, unless you are aware. If you are aware then there is no problem. Then the gloom comes and passes; you never get identified with it.

Have you ever felt, going in a church, people praying, you feel immediately different. So much prayer, even not very real, just a Sunday prayer, but still they are doing it, even for a few moments the windows open – they are different. A fire catches you, you feel sudden changes within you.

Be aware! And then see how thoughts enter in the mind, how you get identified and become one with them. And they are moving so fast, the speed is so great, because there is nothing more speedy than thought. It is not possible to create anything more speedy than thought. It takes no time to reach anywhere. It jumps from one infinity to another; space doesn’t exist for it.

Thoughts are there, moving with fast speed. Because of the fast speed you cannot see two thoughts separately. Sit, close your eyes, slow down all processes of the body. Breathing slows, heartbeat slows, blood pressure slows. You slow down everything; you relax, because if everything slows, thought has to slow down, because it is a compact whole. When everything is slow, thought has to get slow.

That’s why in deep sleep thought stops; because everything is so slow and thought is so speedy a thing that there comes a breaking – the process cannot continue. The man is so slow and thought is so speedy, they cannot get together. Thought disappears. In deep sleep, only for a few hours, two hours at the most in the night, thought stops, because you are completely relaxed.

Relax and just watch: as the thought process slows you will be able to see gaps. Between two thoughts there is an interval – in that interval is consciousness. Between two clouds there is an interval – in that interval is the blue sky.

Slow down the thought process and look in the intervals, and pay more attention to the intervals than to the clouds. Shift the attention, change the gestalt. Don’t look at the figure, look at the background.

If I put a blackboard, a big blackboard the size of this wall here, and mark it with a white point and ask you what you see, ninety-nine percent the possibility is you will not see the blackboard, you will see the white dot – because we see the figure, not the background.

Such a big blackboard, but if I ask you, “What do you see there?” you will say, “I see a little white spot.” Such a big blackboard is not seen and only a little white spot, which is almost invisible, is seen? Why? Because this is the fixed pattern of the mind: to look at the figure, not at the background; to look at the cloud, not at the sky; to look at the thought, not at the consciousness.

This gestalt has to be changed. Pay more attention to the background and less attention to the figure. You will be nearer reality. In meditation this has to be done continuously. The mind, because of old habit, will look at the figure. You just shift again… Look at the background.

You are here, I am here. We can look at each other in two ways. I can look at the background; in the background are the trees, plants, greenery, the sky – the vast universe is your background. Or I can look at you, you are the figure. But mind always looks at the figure.

That’s why it happens if you go to a person like Sosan, Jesus or Buddha, you feel that their eyes are not looking at you. You are just the figure and they are looking at the background. Their gestalt is different. You may feel that their eyes are cold because they are not paying attention to you.

You are just a cloud. Persons like Buddha, when they look; you are there, but just as a small part of the background. And vast is the background, and you are just a dot. But you would like somebody to look at you, at the small dot, as if you are the universe, as if nothing exists beyond you.

Buddha’s love will look cold. You need a hot love, eyes which look at you and forget the whole. That is not possible for a Buddha. You have your place, but you are still a small dot. Howsoever beautiful, you are just part of a vast background – whole attention cannot be given to you.

That’s why the ego feels very much hurt near a Buddha, because the ego wants the whole attention: “Look at me, I am the center of the world.” But you are not the center of the world. Really there is no center in the world, because the center is possible only if the world is limited. If it is a finite circle then the center is possible – and it is an infinite circle.

It is absurd to think of a center. There is no center in the world; the world exists without any center. And it is beautiful. That’s why everybody can think, “I am the center.” If there is a center then it is impossible.

That’s why Mohammedans and Christians and Jews will not allow Hindu assertions that “I am God – Aham Brahmasmi.” They say, “This is heresy. What are you saying? Only God is the center. Nobody else is the center.” But Hindus can assert playfully that “I am God,” because they say there is NO center, or everybody is the center.

But when you ask that the whole attention should come to you, this is the mind, the old habit of the mind, not to look at the background, just to look at the figure.

In meditation you have to shift from the figure to the background, from the star to the sky. The more this shift happens, the more you will feel you are not the mind, the more you will feel easily it can be dropped…

It is just like dropping a dress. You have made it so tight that it feels like a skin. It is not, it is just like a dress you can drop it easily. But one has to understand that one is the background, not the figure. And when this mind drops, says Sosan, then the objective world simply vanishes.

What does he mean? Does he mean that if you are in deep meditation, if you have reached the goal of no-mind, then these trees will disappear, vanish? Then this house will no more be here? Then you will not be sitting here? If I have attained, will this chair I am sitting on vanish?

No. Objects disappear as objects; not this chair, not that tree – they remain, but they are no more limited. Now they have no boundaries. Then this chair is meeting with the sun and with the sky, then the figure and the background has become one. There is no figure separate from the background, their identities are lost. And they are no more objects, because you are no more a subject there.

Krishnamurti goes on saying something very beautiful: that in deep meditation the observer becomes the observed. This is true, but you will feel that this looks absurd. If you are looking at a flower, does Krishnamurti mean that you become the flower? Then how will you get back home? And somebody may pluck you and you will be in trouble.

“The observer becomes the observed.” Does it mean that you become the flower? No – but still, in a sense, yes. You don’t become the flower in the sense that you can be plucked and somebody can carry you and you are no more a man. No, not in that sense. But when there is no mind, there is no boundary to you which separates you from the flower, no boundary to the flower which separates it from you. You have both become a subjective pool, you are merging and meeting. You remain you, the flower remains the flower, nobody can mistakenly pluck you – but there is a merging.

It happens only in your life sometimes in a few moments when you love a person. That too is rare, because man’s mind never leaves him even in love. It goes on creating its own nonsense, creating its own world. And the lover is no more allowed such closeness that he reaches to the background. The figure, the ego, always stands in between. But a few times it happens.

Of course, it must be happening in spite of you. It is so natural that even if you have made all the arrangements, sometimes the reality bumps into you. With all your arrangements, with all your dreams, sometimes it penetrates you; sometimes you are not on guard. Sometimes you forget, or you are so much occupied in a certain thing that a window opens and you are not looking at that window and the reality enters in.

A few moments, in love, this happens, when the observer has become the observed. This is a beautiful meditation: if you love a person then sit with the person and look into each other’s eyes – not thinking anything, not thinking who he is, not creating a thinking process, just looking into each other’s eyes.

There may be a few glimpses when the observer will become the observed, when you will be lost and you will not know who you are – whether you have become the beloved or the beloved has become you. Eyes are beautiful doors to enter into each other.

And why do I say only in love it is possible? Because only in love are you not on guard. You relax. You are not afraid of the other, you can be vulnerable, you can afford it. Otherwise you are always on guard, because you don’t know what the other will do; you don’t know whether he will hurt you. And if you are not on guard the hurt can go very deep.

In love you can look into each other’s eyes. There will be some glimpses when the background and the figure dissolve into each other. You will be shaken to your very foundations. Suddenly you will have a glimpse: you are not, still you are. Somewhere deep there has been a meeting.

This happens to a real meditator with the universe itself – not that he becomes a tree, but still he becomes a tree. When he is with a tree, boundaries are not there. And when he becomes tuned to this no-boundary land, then he moves without boundaries.

-Osho

From Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing, Chapter Five

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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