The void needs no reliance, Mahamudra rests on nought.
You cannot find more significant words ever uttered. Try to understand every nuance of what Tilopa is trying to say.
The void needs no reliance….
If there is something, it needs a support, it needs a reliance. But if there is nothing, emptiness, there is no need for any support. And this is the deepest realization of all the knowers: that your being is a non-being. To say it is a being is wrong because it is not something, it is not like something. It is
like nothing: a vast emptiness, with no boundaries to it. It is an anatma, a no-self; it is not a self inside you.
All feelings of self are false. All identifications that “I am this and that” are false.
When you come to the ultimate, when you come to your deepest core, you suddenly know that you are neither this nor that – you are no one. You are not an ego, you are just a vast emptiness. And sometimes if you sit, close your eyes and just feel who you are – where are you? And go deeper and you may become afraid, because the deeper you go, the deeper you feel that you are nobody, a nothingness. That’s why people become so scared of meditation. It is a death. It is a death of the ego – and the ego is just a false concept.
Now physicists have come to the same truth through their scientific research deepening into the realm of matter. What Buddha, Tilopa and Bodhidharma reached through their insight, science has been discovering in the outside world also. Now they say there is no substance – substance is a parallel concept of self.
A rock exists; you feel that it is very substantial. You can hit somebody’s head and blood will come out, even the man may die; it is very substantial. But ask the physicists: they say it is a no-substance, there is nothing in it. They say that it is just an energy phenomenon; many energy currents crisscrossing on this rock give it a feeling of substance. Just as you draw many lines crisscrossing on a piece of paper: where many lines cross a point, a point arises. The point was not there; two lines crossing and a point arises: many lines crossing and a big point arises. Is that point really there? Or just lines crossing give an illusion of a point being there?
Physicists say that energy currents crisscrossing create matter. And if you ask what are these energy currents – they are not material, they have no weight, they are non-material. Non-material lines crisscrossing give an illusion of a material thing, very substantial like a rock. Buddha achieved this illumination twenty-five centuries before Einstein, that inside there is nobody; only energy lines crisscrossing give you a feeling of the self. Buddha used to say that the self is just like an onion: you peel it, one layer comes off, another layer is there. You go on peeling, layer by layer, and what remains finally? The whole onion is peeled and you find nothing inside.
Man is just like an onion. You peel layers of thought, feeling, and finally, what do you find? A nothing.
This nothingness needs no support. This nothingness exists by itself. That’s why Buddha says there is no God; there is no need for a God because God is a support. And Buddha says there is no creator because there is no need to create a nothingness. This is one of the most difficult concepts to understand – unless you realize it.
That’s why Tilopa says:
Mahamudra is beyond all words and symbols.
Mahamudra is an experience of nothingness – simply you are not. And when you are not, then who is there to suffer? Who is there to be in pain and anguish? Who is there to be depressed and sad?
And who is there to be happy and blissful? Buddha says that if you feel you are blissful you will become again a victim of suffering, because you are still there. When you are not, completely not, utterly not, then there is no suffering and no bliss – and this is the real bliss. Then you cannot fall back. To attain nothingness is to attain all.
My whole effort with you is also to lead you towards nothingness, to lead you to a total vacuum.
The void needs no reliance, Mahamudra rests on nought. Without making an effort, but remaining loose and natural, one can break the yoke – thus gaining liberation.
The first thing to understand is that the concept of self is created by the mind – there is no self in you.
It happened: a great Buddhist, a man of enlightenment, was invited by a king to teach him. The name of the Buddhist monk was Nagasen, and the king was a viceroy of Alexander. When Alexander went back from India, he left Minander as his viceroy here; his Indian name is Milanda. Milanda asked Nagasen to come and teach him. He was really interested, and he had heard many stories about Nagasen. And many rumors had come to the court: “This is a rare phenomenon! Rarely it happens that a man flowers, and this man has flowered. He has an aroma of something unknown around him, a mysterious energy. He walks on the earth, but he is not of the earth.” He became interested; he invited him.
The messenger who went to Nagasen came back very much puzzled, because Nagasen said, “Yes, if he invites, Nagasen will come – but tell him there is no one like Nagasen. If he invites I will come, but tell him exactly that there is no one like ‘I am.’ I am no more.” The messenger was puzzled, because if Nagasen is no more, then who will come? And Milanda was also puzzled. He said, “This man talks in puzzles. But let him come.” And he was a Greek, this Milanda, and the Greek mind is basically logical.
There are only two minds in the world, the Indian and the Greek. The Indian is illogical, and the Greek is logical. The Indian moves into the dark depths, wild depths, where are no boundaries, everything is vague, cloudy. The Greek mind walks on the logical, the straight, where everything is defined and classified. The Greek mind moves into the known. The Indian mind moves into the unknown, and even more into the unknowable. The Greek mind is absolutely rational; the Indian mind is absolutely contradictory. So if you find too many contradictions in me, don’t be bothered. It is the way… in the East contradiction is the way to relate.
Milanda said, “This man seems to be irrational, gone mad. If he is not then how can he come? But let him come, I will see. I will prove: just by coming he is proving that he is.”
Then came Nagasen. Milanda received him at the gate and the first thing he asked, he said, “I am puzzled: you have come and still you said that you are not.”
Nagasen said, “Still I say. So let us settle it here.”
A crowd gathered, the whole court came there, and Nagasen said, “You ask.”
Milanda asked, “First tell me: if something is not, how can it come? In the first place it is not, then there is no possibility of its coming – and you have come. It is simple logic that you are.” Nagasen laughed and he said, “Look at this ratha” – the bullock cart on which he had come. He said, “Look at this. You call it a ratha, a cart.”
Milanda said, “Yes.”
Then he told his followers to remove the bullocks. The bullocks were removed and Nagasen asked, “Are these bullocks the cart?”
Milanda said, “Of course not.”
Then, by and by, everything from the cart was removed, every part. Wheels were removed and he asked, “Are these wheels the cart?”
And Milanda said, “Of course not!”
When everything was removed and there was nothing, then Nagasen asked, “Where is the cart I had come in?… and we never removed the cart, and all that we have removed you confirmed that this is not the cart. Now where is the cart?”
Nagasen said, “Just like this Nagasen exists. Remove parts and he will disappear.” Just crisscrossing lines of energy: remove the lines and the dot will disappear. The cart is just a combination of parts.
You are also a combination of parts, the “I” is a combination of parts. Remove things and the “I” will disappear. That’s why when thoughts are removed from consciousness, you cannot say “I,” because there is no “I” – just a vacuum is left. When feelings are removed, the self disappears completely.
You are and yet not: just an absence, with no boundaries, emptiness.
This is the final attainment, this state is Mahamudra, because only in that state you can have an orgasm with the whole. Now there is no boundary, no self exists; now there is no boundary to you to divide.
The whole has no boundaries. You must become like the whole – only then there can be a meeting, a merger. When you are empty, you are without boundaries. Suddenly you become the whole. When you are not, you become the whole. When you are, you become an ugly ego. When you are not, you have all the expanse of existence for your being to be.
But these are contradictions. So try to understand: become a little like Naropa, otherwise these words and symbols will not carry anything to you. Listen to me in trust. And when I say listen in trust, I mean I have known this. This is so. I am a witness, I bear witness for it. This is so. It may not be possible to say it, but that doesn’t mean that it is not. It may be possible to say something, that doesn’t mean that it is. You can say something which is not, and you may be incapable of saying something which is. I bear witness about it, but you will be able to understand me only if you are a Naropa, if you listen in trust.
I am not teaching a doctrine. I would not have been at all concerned with Tilopa if this was not my own experience also. Tilopa has said it well:
The void needs no reliance Mahamudra rests on nought.
On nothing Mahamudra rests. Mahamudra, the literal word, means the great gesture, or the ultimate gesture, the last that you can have, beyond which nothing is possible. Mahamudra rests on nothing. You be a nothing, and then all is attained. You die, and you become a god. You disappear, and you become the whole. Here the drop disappears, and there the ocean comes into existence.
Don’t cling to yourself – that’s all you have been doing all your past lives: clinging, afraid that if you don’t cling to the ego, then you look down: a bottomless abyss is there….
That’s why we cling to tiny things, really trivial, we go on clinging to them. The clinging shows only that you are also aware of a vast emptiness inside. Something is needed to cling to, but your clinging
is your samsara, is your misery. Leave yourself in the abyss. And once you leave yourself in the abyss, you become the abyss itself. Then there is no death, because how can an abyss die? Then there is no end to it, because how can a nothingness end? Something can end, will have to end –
only nothing can be eternal. Mahamudra rests on nothing.
Let me explain it to you through some experience that you have got. When you love a person, you have to become a nothing. When you love a person, you have to become a no-self. That’s why love is so difficult. And that’s why Jesus says God is like love. He knows something about Mahamudra –
because before he started teaching in Jerusalem, he has been to India. He has been to Tibet also. He met people like Tilopa and Naropa. He remained in Buddhist monasteries. He learned about what it is that these people call nothingness. Then he tried to translate his whole understanding into
Jewish terminology. There everything got messed up.
You cannot translate Buddhist understanding into Jewish terminology. It is impossible, because the whole Jewish terminology depends on positive terms, and the Buddhist terminology depends on absolutely nihilistic terms: nothingness, emptiness. But here and there in Jesus’ words there are
glimpses. He says, “God is love.” He is indicating something. What is the indication? When you love, you have to become nobody. If you remain somebody, then love never happens.
When you love a person – even for a single moment love happens and flows between two persons – there are two nothingnesses, not two persons. If you have ever had any experience of love, you can understand.
Two lovers sitting by each other’s side, or two nothingnesses sitting together – only then the meeting is possible because barriers are broken, boundaries thrown away. The energy can move from here to there; there is no hindrance. And only in such a moment of deep love is orgasm possible.
When two lovers are making love, and if they are both no-selves, nothingnesses, then orgasm happens. Then their body energy, their whole being, loses all identity; they are no more themselves – they have fallen into the abyss. But this can happen only for a moment: again they regain, again they start clinging. That’s why people become afraid in love also.
In deep love people are afraid of becoming mad, or going to die – of what will happen. The abyss opens its mouth, the whole existence yawns, and you are suddenly there and you can fall into it. One becomes scared of love, then people remain satisfied with sex and they call their sex “love.”
Love is not sex. Sex can happen in love, it can be a part, integral part to it, but sex itself is not love – it is a substitute. You are trying to avoid love through sex. You are giving yourself a feeling that you are in love, and you are not moving into love. Sex is just like borrowed knowledge: giving a feeling of knowing without knowing; giving a feeling of love and loving without loving.
In love you are not, the other is also not: then only, suddenly, the two disappear. The same happens in Mahamudra. Mahamudra is a total orgasm with the whole existence.
That’s why in Tantra – and Tilopa is a Tantra master – deep intercourse, orgasmic intercourse, between lovers is also called Mahamudra, and two lovers in a deep orgasmic state are pictured in tantric temples, in tantric books. That has become a symbol of the final orgasm.
Excerpt from Tantra: The Supreme Understanding, Discourse #1
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