Self-remembering vs Witnessing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have heard…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Osho

From The Sword and the Lotus, Discourse Ten

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Mind is the Unreal – Osho

It seems as if everything I perceive in or out of meditation is my own creation or projection. I can’t distinguish between what I see, feel or am creating.

Osho, what is?

There is no need to distinguish between thoughts, dreams and reality. If you try, you will feel more confused. There is no way to distinguish, because as far as mind is concerned everything appears in the mind as a thought. It may be real, it may not be real; but the moment anything appears in the mind it appears in the form of thought.

You cannot distinguish, and there is no need. And don’t go on that journey, because that journey becomes a journey of thinking, and meditation is lost. Rather, on the contrary, remain centered in your witnessing. Don’t be worried by the objects in the mind; whatsoever they are, they are mind stuff. You simply remain more centered in your witnessing. Just be the watcher. Don’t try to distinguish. Whatsoever appears in the mind, just watch it. Watch it appearing, watch it being there, watch it disappearing.

Sooner or later, when you are really centered… and this can happen any moment. That moment remains always unpredictable. Whenever you feel centered the whole mind disappears: thought, dreams, reality – all. Suddenly you are in emptiness; there is no object for you. In the mind there is nothing – pure emptiness. Then open your eyes and look: whatsoever there is, is real.

When you are a witness and the mind has completely dropped, then only is known that which is – call it God, the real, the truth, or whatsoever you like to call it. Mind will never allow you to know the real. Mind is the disturbance. And if you get too much caught in it, then you will be trying to solve puzzles. You can go on solving and creating and solving and creating new ones, but it never comes to any end. Thinking is not going to lead you to reality; a no-thought awareness is. So don’t try to distinguish. Just watch, irrespective of what it is. Mind is the unreal.

For example: if you are standing before a mirror, something appears in the mirror. It may be real; it may be a reflection of something real outside the mirror, but in the mirror it is just a reflection; it may not be real at all. You may be seeing your own dream reflected. You may be projecting. That too is unreal. Whatsoever appears in the mirror is unreal, because the mirror simply reflects. The mind is a mirror, it only reflects. Drop the mind, drop the mirror, and then see. Whatsoever there is, is real, because now the disturbing factor is no longer there.

My whole effort here is to help you to become witnesses.

So please don’t try to get into thinking, contemplation; otherwise you will become more and more confused. And there is no way to get out of thinking through thinking. It goes on creating itself endlessly. The only way is not to get into it. So watch, and remain alert. Whatsoever passes the mind, don’t try to decide what it is. Watch as if everything is a dream. That is the concept of the Hindu notion of maya – illusion. Everything is unreal. So there is no need to be worried, there is no need to distinguish. Whatsoever appears in the mind, because it appears in the mind it is unreal. Mind is the faculty of the unreal.

So drop the mind. Be more centered in the witnessing soul. Just be a watcher. By and by silence will pervade, will permeate your soul. By and by you will come closer and closer to home. By and by everything will fall in line and you will center into yourself. Any moment the centering happens. Suddenly the mind is not there and your eyes are clear, clear of the mind. Then whatsoever you see is real. And this world that you have seen before will not be there as you have seen it before. It will be totally new. It will be something never known before. Everything will be the same and yet not the same – because you have changed. You are no more drunk with the mind. You are alert, aware.

So, let me say it in this way: the more aware you are, the more reality you can know; the less aware, the less is the possibility to know the reality. So the basic thing hangs on being aware. If you are totally aware, whatsoever you know is the reality.

-Osho

From The Search, Chapter Eight

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.

Don’t Abandon Existence – Osho

Is it not necessary to desire, to long and to seek truth and avoid the untrue, to seek truth ad renounce the false?

Divyananda, there is no way to seek truth because truth is not far away. Truth is not “there” somewhere so that you have to go to it, so that you have to reach to it; truth is not to be sought because truth is the very being of the seeker. How can you seek the seeker? How can you know the knower? That is impossible. You cannot encounter yourself. You are the truth.

Hence all seeking is futile, but one learns only through seeking. One learns this tremendously important fact, that all seeking is useless, only through seeking; there is no other way to learn it. You seek and you fail, you seek again and you fail; slowly slowly it becomes clear to you that seeking itself is the cause of missing it. Then seeking drops of its own accord. And when there is no longing, no desire, when you are utterly silent, when the very mind of the achiever has disappeared, you are surprised that what you have been seeking all along has always been with you.

Yoka says:

It is not necessary to look for truth or avoid illusion.

Why? – because to look for it is to begin in a wrong direction and to avoid illusion is foolish because illusion means that which is not. How can you avoid that which is not and how can you seek that which is? That which is is, and that which is not is not.

Yoka also says:

We know that both are comprised in emptiness, that they have no form and bounds. Non-form is neither empty nor non-empty. It is the true reality of Buddha.

One has simply to become utterly empty. And when I say “utterly empty” I mean one has not to be just empty “utterly empty” means empty of everything and also empty of emptiness. Otherwise the mind is so cunning it can now cling to a new idea of emptiness.

A disciple of Yoka was coming again and again to him, bringing his experiences that were happening in his deep meditation, and Yoka was hitting him. Whatsoever he said he would be hit, irrespective of what he was saying. He was bringing beautiful experiences: the rising of the kundalini, a great experience of light, a beautiful inner fragrance, the sound of one hand clapping – whatsoever he had heard that people had achieved through meditation he was bringing – but he was being hit again and again.

One day he came with absolute trust: “Now the Master is going to accept my experience, to recognize it – the time has come,” because that day he was going to say, “I have achieved emptiness.”

That is the ultimate. What more can there be? What can there be beyond emptiness? He was very happy that for the first time he was not going to be hit – but even before he had spoken, the Master hit him.

He said, “This is too much! I have not even uttered a single word!”

Yoka said, “It doesn’t matter what you say, it does not matter whether you say it or not – I know. I knew the moment you entered in the room that you were again here with some foolish idea.”

He said, “But sir, you should have listened. This is not a foolish idea; this is the experience of all the Buddhas!”

So Yoka said, “Yes, so you say. It seems you are hankering for another hit!”

And the disciple said, “Sir, I have experienced emptiness!”

Yoka laughed, hit him and said, “Throw it away! It is all nonsense!”

The disciple said, “How can I throw emptiness? I can throw everything else!” That was the first time that he argued with the Master; obviously, his argument seems to be logical. You can throw the experience of light because you are the experiencer. You can throw the experience of energy – you are the experiencer. Any experience can be thrown, but how can you throw the experience of emptiness? There is nothing to throw!

The disciple said, “How can I throw emptiness?”

Then the Master hit him hard and said, “Then carry it out – but do something. Either throw it or carry it out.”

And the disciple said, “What are you asking me? I cannot carry it out because it is just empty, and I cannot throw it either.”

The Master said, “Now you are clinging to the idea of emptiness. This is not emptiness – this is not true emptiness. Now you are full of the idea of emptiness. Once it was light, once it was energy, once it was fragrance now it is emptiness. It is nothing but labels changing. And unless you throw this too you will not be truly empty. A truly empty person is neither empty nor nonempty. There is nothing to experience, not even emptiness. And in that state of silence when there is nothing to experience – no object, no content, but only consciousness, only the observer and nothing to observe only the seer and nothing to see – one attains truth.”

Yoka says:

Our spirit is like a clear mirror thus it reflects the universe harmoniously. Our spirit and the universe are one.

Once you are utterly empty you are a mirror. You are not only aware of your inner truth; you become aware of the truth of the whole existence. And they are not two; they are two aspects of the same phenomenon, two sides of the same coin – the outer and the inner.

All manner of troubles arise if we abandon existence to obtain emptiness; that too is sickness.

Listen to these tremendously significant words of Yoka. Yoka is one of the great Zen Masters. He says: 

All manner of troubles arise if we abandon existence to obtain emptiness; that too is sickness. It is like throwing oneself into the fire to escape drowning. 

Don’t abandon existence. Don’t abandon the ordinary existence in any effort for some illusory truth, for some illusory longing for God. Leave that for the fools. The intelligent person simply lives moment to moment with no desire to seek anything, with no expectation of finding anything. He simply lives moment to moment, joyously. His life is very ordinary; he has no desire to be extraordinary. He has no desire to be a Buddha, hence he is a Buddha. He has no desire to be extraordinary, hence he is extraordinary. Because every ordinary person has the desire to be extraordinary; only extraordinary people don’t have that desire.

If we try to grasp truth or if we wish to escape error and illusion, we practice discrimination, an artificial and erroneous attitude.

Once you say, “This is truth and that is untruth,” you have started discriminating – and to discriminate is the disease of the mind. That is the function of the mind: to discriminate. “This is right, that is wrong. This is true, that is false. This is worldly, that is spiritual. This is materialist, that is religious.” Once you start discriminating there is no end to it and you are in the grip of the mind. Drop discriminating and you are out of the grip of the mind. To be out of the grip of the mind is to be free, is to know what freedom is.

Most men forget spirit treasure, they have to recourse to dualist thinking and abandon the true nature of spirit. To pass the barrier of Zen by means of zazen, we should finish with reason, knowledge, illusion. Then we shall attain to supreme wisdom and enter into the palace of nirvana.

Nirvana is not somewhere else; it is your inner space. Just get out of the clutches of the mind. Your mind is like an octopus: if somehow you get free of one of the legs of the octopus, there are other legs. There are gross legs and there are subtle legs, and by the time you start getting free of the other legs you are getting entangled into other legs. It goes on and on in circles.

The man who escapes from the world, what is he saying? In the East for thousands of years people have been renouncing the world because they say it is illusion. If you truly understand that it is illusion, then what is there to renounce?

These fools even come to me and they ask, “What kind of sannyas are you teaching people? Sannyas means renunciation. They should leave the world, but they live in the world. Not only do they live in the world, they live more deeply and totally in the world than other worldly people! What kind of sannyas is this?” They think I am teaching a wrong kind of sannyas.

I am teaching the ultimate sannyas, not a wrong kind but for the first time the right kind. The wrong kind has prevailed for a long time, for centuries. See the stupidity of the whole thing: you call something illusory and then you escape from it. If it is illusory there is no need to escape. It should be so simple! If it is real then why escape? If it is real then how can you escape?

Nobody renounces their dreams. Or do you renounce them every morning when you wake up – “I renounce all my dreams. I renounce all the treasures that I had in my dreams. I renounce the kingdom of my dreams”? You don’t renounce them, otherwise people would laugh at you – you have gone mad! Dreams are dreams.

And these so-called spiritual people have been telling the world that the world is a dream – renounce it. What nerve – to call it a dream and in the same breath to say, “Renounce it”! Either it is not a dream or it is a dream – make sure what it is. And either way you cannot renounce it. If it is a dream there is no point in renouncing; if it is a reality, how can you renounce reality? – Because reality is synonymous with God.

Hence I teach: Rejoice! There is no need to renounce anything – there is nothing to be renounced. Rejoice, and rejoice more totally! Rejoice in a multi-dimensional way. Dance, sing, be blissful. Let laughter be your life, let love be your life. That is the only true way to know what is.

-Osho

From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter 14

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.

Darkness Has Its Own Joy – Osho

Sometimes running here and there, talking, laughing, working, reading, writing and cleaning – The fact is: When the door closes behind and the eyes are shut – it is dark.

Thoughts or no thoughts, feelings or no feelings it is dark. Morning or night any time inside it is dark. Looking inside for the looker it is dark. Is ‘I’ darkness? Who is writing this question? 

Yes, Prasad, ‘I’ is darkness, the ego is darkness, and if you look within and the looker is there, it will remain dark. Morning or evening won’t make any difference, thoughts or no thoughts won’t make any difference, because the ‘I’ itself is the essential thought, the fundamental thought – the looker.

It contains all thoughts and all feelings. You can look, but you have already divided yourself in two: the looker and the looked-upon. And this division is darkness, this duality is darkness, this split is darkness.

Oneness is luminous, oneness is light; twoness is darkness.

So, whenever a meditator goes in, first he always encounters darkness, and that darkness is frightening – who wants to go into that darkness? One becomes afraid, one wants to escape from it. In the beginning it is always so, but if you go on and go on and go on, and you stop even asking for light… Why should you ask? If it is dark, it is dark. And darkness is perfectly right – and when darkness is perfectly right, darkness is absolutely bright.

Accept it. Love it. Embrace it. Feel one with it. And the moment the split disappears, when there is no looker and the looked-upon, no observer and the observed, then suddenly there will be light – and a light which needs no fuel, a light which is eternal.

But if you are divided, then that light won’t happen to you.

So, what is to be done? You have to love this darkness, you have to fall into this darkness and disappear. Don’t search for the light. The search for the light will keep you distant, unloving, unavailable to the darkness, and that will be a barrier to light. Don’t search for light. If it is dark, it is dark. This is what Buddha calls tathata. If it is dark, it is dark; don’t ask for something else, let it be dark, enjoy it. What is wrong with darkness?

But we are conditioned in such a way that we cannot enjoy a few things. We have been brought up in such a way that we can enjoy only light, not darkness. Now this is missing something tremendously beautiful and something tremendously alive.

Darkness has its own joy, light has its own joy, and the person who understands will enjoy both. And he will not create any conflict and he will not choose. Darkness has silence in it, which no light can ever have. Darkness has a stillness in it, utter stillness, which no light can ever have. And darkness has infinity: unbounded it is, it knows no boundaries. Light has always boundaries to it: it is never infinite, it is finite. Light comes and goes; darkness abides, darkness is eternal.

It is because of this experience that in India we have painted Krishna as dark – his other name, shyam, means dark, ‘the black one’.

Darkness has depth. Whiteness is shallow, whiteness always looks superficial. Start enjoying darkness. Feel its infinity, feel its spaciousness, feel its eternity. Be touched by it and be moved by it – it is so velvety, it has a beauty of its own. And unless you are capable of loving darkness, you have not earned the right to know light.

The light that you know is the outside light; it is against darkness. And the light that you will know when you transcend inner darkness will not be against darkness, it will contain all that darkness has – and something more, and plus. Remember it: the light outside is not the true light; the true light will have all the qualities of this light and all the qualities of this darkness and still will be more than the sum total of both of them. It is a great splendour where dualities meet and merge into each other, where dualities pour all their beauties into each other and a new beauty arises: the beauty of unity, integration.

So, remember it: whatsoever you know about light and darkness – both have to be left behind. When you close your eyes, you have left the light outside; now you enter darkness. Love it. Sing a song with it. Have a dance with it. Don’t fight with it, don’t be afraid of it, don’t keep a distance from it. And don’t go on looking for light. Forget about light. This darkness is there – it has to be enjoyed; one has to be grateful to God for this darkness, this silence, this stillness, this velvety expanse. And then, one day, the observer and the observed are no more two.

When you love something, the duality disappears. If you love darkness, you become darkness. And when there is no duality, there comes a luminousness of a totally different quality. It is not the light that comes from the sun, and it is not the light that comes from electricity, and it is not the light that comes from the moon; then you have come to the very source of all light and all darkness, then you have come to the very root, the very ground, of being.

It is beautiful that the darkness is arising in you. You have taken a great step. Now, don’t go on fighting with it; otherwise, the next step will be hindered.

That’s what I was saying the other day: if the myth of Sisyphus were written by a Zen Master, it would have been totally different – the gods would have been defeated. You cannot punish a Zen Master. Sisyphus would have enjoyed, would have danced, would have been ecstatic, because there is no goal, so there is no failure. When the rock starts slipping back towards the valley, he would have listened to the sound echoing, re-echoing, in the valleys. He would have enjoyed it, and he would have started the downward journey with great joy because he knows the beauties of the valley too. Yes, there are beauties of the hilltop, the sunlit hilltop, and the openness of the sky, but there are beauties of the valley too: the shelter, the security, the beautiful birds, and the rivers, and the friends, and the pub. Sisyphus would have come back dancing from the hill, thinking of the pub and the friends and the beloved. And his children must have been waiting, and his woman – and it was time. And he would have had a beautiful, restful night, and in the morning he would have begun again: he would have taken the rock back to the top, another day, another challenge. Another day, another adventure, and in the morning he would have started again, whistling a song. The story would have been totally different.

The Greeks could not envision it; the logical mind cannot envision it, an illogical mind is needed to envision that beauty. Yes, when you go in and there is darkness, don’t become the Greek Sisyphus, remember what I am telling you. Love the darkness: it is a gift. All is a gift from God. Feel grateful to God that he has given you such a beautiful darkness of your own – so virgin, so pure, uncontaminated. Relax into it, and as you relax, it disappears. When you have relaxed totally, it is no more found. Then you have arrived at the very source of all darkness and all light, but that source has a totally different quality of light. It is not this light – it has something of it. It is not this darkness – it has something of it, but it is immensely vast. That’s why the mystics have always felt it difficult to say what it is.

Ineffable it is, inexpressible it is, and indefinable it is.

But, Prasad, you have taken a great step; going into darkness is a great step. Zen people call it ‘the great doubt’, and the Christian mystics call it ‘the dark night of the soul’. But the morning is just arriving, just following. The dark night of the soul has the morning following just on the heels of it, just following like a shadow. Don’t be too worried about the darkness, don’t become too obsessed by it; otherwise, you will miss the morning that is following it – and is just coming on the heels.

This is the way to look at life, and then thorns are no more thorns; they also have a beauty of their own. Then the cactus is as beautiful as any rose. And your heart expands when you can see the beauty of a thorn. To see the beauty of a rose is not much – anybody can see it; nothing is required of you. The rose is so obviously there – even a stupid person can see the beauty of it. But to see the beauty of the thorn great intelligence is needed, much is required of you; it is a challenge. Unless you have found beauty everywhere, you will not find God. Unless you are at home everywhere, you will never be at home.

So, in darkness, be at home. Whatsoever arises in you has to be accepted with joy as a gift. And I know it is difficult sometimes to think that this is a gift when you are ill, when it is all dark, when you are miserable, when love is broken. How can you see the beauty of it when a beloved dies? Death has happened – it is difficult to see the beauty. That only shows that you have a very, very narrow definition of beauty, that you have imposed some definition on reality. Drop that imposition. Let reality be freed.

Just the other day I was reading about a Hassid mystic, Zusia. He is one of the most beautiful Hassid mystics. He was going into the hills, and he saw many birds, caught by a man, in a cage. Zusia opened the cage – because birds are meant to fly – and all the birds flew away. And the main man came rushing out of his house and he said ‘What have you done?’ And Zusia said ‘Birds are meant to fly. Look how beautiful they look on the wing!’ But the man thought otherwise; he gave Zusia a good beating. His whole day’s work had been destroyed, and he had been hoping to go to the market and sell the birds, and there were many many things to be done – and now Zusia had destroyed the whole thing. He gave him a really good beating, but Zusia was laughing, and Zusia was enjoying – and he was beating him! Then he thought this man must be mad. And Zusia started moving.

When the man had finished, Zusia asked ‘Have you done it, or would you like to do a little more? Are you finished? Because now I have to go.’ The man could not answer. What to answer? This man was simply mad! And Zusia started singing a song. He was very happy – happy that the birds were flying in the sky and happy that he was beaten and yet it didn’t hurt, happy that he could receive it as a gift, happy that he could still thank God. There was no complaint. Now, he had transformed the whole quality of the situation.

This has to be learned. Slowly, slowly a man has to become so wide that all is accepted, yes, even death, only then the song bursts forth. Yes, even the darkness, only then the light arrives. The moment you have accepted the night totally and there is no seeking and hankering for the morning, the morning has come. This is how it comes, this is the way of its coming.

-Osho

From The Sun Rises in the Evening, 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.

What Is, Is, What Ain’t, Ain’t – Osho

Veet Kalpu means – and it has to be remembered by and by – that you start dropping your imagination. What is, is, what ain’t, ain’t. Let that be your mantra.

Do all meditations that are available here, but I am giving you a special meditation too: a zazen method.

Every day at least for one hour, sit silently anywhere — go to the river, or to the garden, or here in the ashram, somewhere where nobody is disturbing. Relax the muscles of the body; don’t strain. With closed eyes, tell the mind, ‘Now go on. Do whatsoever you want to do. I will witness and I will watch.’

And you will be surprised — for a few moments you will see that the mind is not working at all. For a few moments — sometimes just for a second — you will see that the mind is not working at all, and in that gap you will have a feel of reality without imagination. But it will be only for a moment, a very small moment, and then the mind will start working.

When the mind starts working and thoughts start running and images floating, you will not become aware immediately — only later on, after a few minutes, will you become aware that the mind is working and you have lost your way now. Then again hold your attention; tell the mind ‘Now go on, and I will be just a witness’ and again the mind will stop for a second.

Those seconds are tremendously valuable. Those are the first moments of reality… first glimpses of reality, first windows… very small. Just small holes and they come and go, but in those moments you will start having the taste of reality.

So continue other meditations, you have to do a few groups, but this is a special method that you have to do on your own. And slowly, slowly, by and by, you will see that those intervals are bigger and bigger. They will happen only when you are tremendously alert.

When you are tremendously alert the mind does not function, because the attention itself functions like a light in a dark room. When the light is there, darkness is not there. When you are present, the mind is absent — your presence is the mind’s absence. When you are not present, the mind starts functioning. Your absence is the mind’s presence.

So when you are present there is no imagination. When imagination is there, you are not there — and you both cannot be together. That has never happened and cannot happen by the very nature of things.

So just do this method on your own, and as I told you, this name will take your whole life to decode… because if you can come to know reality as it is without imagination, you have come home! Then there is nothing else to be achieved .

— Osho

From What Is, Is, What Ain’t, Ain’t, Chapter One

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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.

 

A Mirror without Dust – Osho

Today you said that the way to enlightenment is long and arduous, and also that it is here and now, now or never. As it is here-now, how can it be long and arduous?

That’s why it is long and arduous – because you are not here-now. You are far away from here now. You will have to come, you will have to journey.

When I say truth is not far away, I mean TRUTH is here-now – I don’t mean you are not far away from truth. YOU are far away from truth. Truth is not far away from you, God cannot be far away from you. God exists in you as you. God exists as eternity, not as past or future. God simply is. How can God be far away? There is no place for him to be far away. He is all over the place. He is everywhere… in your breathing, in your heartbeat. But you are not here.

God has not gone away: you have gone away from him.

You have to understand this. For example, in the night you sleep and you dream – you dream you have gone to the moon. You are here, but the dream has taken you far away. In the morning when you awake, you will not find yourself on the moon – you will be here in Poona. But in the dream you were far away from your reality. You have to come back from your dreams… and the journey is arduous because you have invested so much in those dreams, and you are hoping to gain so much from those dreams, and you have lived in those dreams for so long that they have become reality, your reality.

The East calls this dreaming state of mind maya – illusion. And then you can go on searching for God in your illusions and you will not find him. You have to awake. And to be awake is arduous because a thousand and one dreams will be shattered. And in those dreams all your joys, all your so-called successes, ambitions, are involved. Your whole ego is involved. The ego will be shattered.

You are here but the ego has gone to the moon – and the ego can only live through dreams, it can only live through illusions. It is nourished by illusions. The more illusions you have, the more grandiose an ego you have. The greater your illusions, the bigger your ego. It is very difficult to renounce those dreams.

In the East this is called sannyas: to renounce those dreams. When it is said, “Renounce the world,” it is not meant the actual world – the wife, the husband, the children, the house, the marketplace.  No, not at all. What is really meant is this dream world in which you go on constantly moving away from yourself and away from reality. Renounce the dreams! And that is arduous.

Now, let me read your question again:

Today you said that the way to enlightenment is long and arduous, and also that it is here and now, now or never. As it is here-now, how can it be long and arduous?

That’s why. You are not to go anywhere, you have to come here! You have already gone somewhere. You have moved away from your innermost core. You never come home. And God exists there, but you keep God at your back. Your eyes are roaming far away in distant stars; they never come back. From one star to another you go on hopping. Your mind is a vagabond.

So it is arduous and yet it is easy. The contradiction is only apparent. It is arduous because of you: it is easy because of God. If you think of God you can take it very easily, you can relax. If you depend on yourself, it is very arduous.

That’s why I say if you depend on yourself, if you depend on your effort, you may never come back – because it is through effort that you have gone away. You have to surrender. In that very surrendering, grace descends.

And what can you surrender? What have you got? Why are you so afraid of surrendering? You have got only dreams and nothing else, just soap-bubbles.

Surrender your dreams and the truth is here-now. That’s why I say NOW OR NEVER – – because existence always exists in the now, and the mind exists in the then. Existence is here and the mind is always there, and they never meet. Here and there never meet; now and then never meet. Just look deep down in your mind: it is very rare to come across a contemporary.

Somebody is living five thousand years back; he is still part of the days of Rig Veda. He is still reading Rig Veda. He is still following the Vedic ritual. Five thousand year have passed, but he has not come here, now. He lives there – in the dead, in the gone, in the memory.

Why do you call yourself a Hindu or a Christian, or a Mohammedan or a Jain? To call yourself these things simply means you cling to the past. These are names that come from the past. Here-now you are only a consciousness, neither Hindu, nor Mohammedan, nor Christian. If you get entangled with the past, you are a Hindu, or a Brahmin or a Sudra. Or there are a few other people who think they are very progressive: communists, socialists. They are involved in the future, hence they think they are very progressive. But to be in the past is to be as far away from the present as to be in the future. It makes no difference.

There are two kinds of mind in the world. One: involved with the past, the orthodox mind; and the other: involved in the future, the so-called revolutionary mind – but both are minds. The orthodox thinks the golden age has passed, the Ram-Rajya has passed. And the revolutionary, the so-called revolutionary, thinks the golden age has to come, the Utopia has yet to happen. His eyes are there on the distant future. But there is no difference between these two; they are the same kind of people. Both are avoiding the present, both are escaping from the present, both are denying reality. So a communist or a Mohammedan, a socialist or a Hindu, to me are all in the same boat – the boat of time.

Whom do I call religious? The man who is not more in the boat of time, who starts living in eternity, who lives in the now, who has no past and no future. Who does not go to the Rig Veda and who does not go to Das Kapita – who simply goes in himself. Who looks at the sun that is there on the horizon, and who listens to the birds that are singing right NOW, who looks at the trees that are blooming. Just see that quality of being; here, that collectedness, that integrity, that centering I call religiousness.

Religion does not mean affiliation. Religion means being in reality without any dreams. Dreams come either from the past or from the future. A religious man is an empty man, a hollow bamboo. He allows the reality to live through him, he flows with it. He has no goals, he is not going anywhere. He is just being here, as God is just being here… hence the meeting.

That’s why I say now or never. Now is eternity. By ‘never’ I am denying time: I am saying you will not find God in time.

The present is not part of time that has to be remembered. Ordinarily you have been taught that time has three tenses: past, present, future. That is absolutely wrong. It has no understanding about time. Time has only two tenses – past and future. The present is not part of time: the present is part of eternity. The present is that which abides, which is always. To relax into it is meditation, or call it prayer. And to know it is celebration. Infinite joy starts showering on you, great benediction descends – because with the past and the future all worries disappear, all dreams disappear.

That’s what Ikkyu means when he says the original mind is clean, clean of all ideas. It is a mirror without dust. It simply mirrors that which is.

-Osho

From Take It Easy, V.1, Chapter Four

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

 

What is this You in Yourself? – Osho

So we have to understand what meditation is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never seen before, it is unique.

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

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

So say the scriptures.

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

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

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

Each night one embraces a buddha while sleeping,

Each morning one gets up again with him.

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

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

They never even for a moment part,

But are like the body and its shadow.

If you wish to know the Buddha’s whereabouts,

In the sound of your own voice there is he. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Osho

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

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