The Emptiness and the Unknown are One – Osho

In meditation, when the ‘I’ drops temporarily and an emptiness is created within, after it a frustration is felt when that emptiness is not filled by the entry of the unknown. How can one learn to live with that emptiness?

Emptiness is the unknown. Don’t wait and don’t hope that something is going to fill the emptiness. If you are waiting, hoping, desiring, you are not empty. If you are waiting that something, some unknown force, will descend upon you, you are not empty – this hope is there, this desire is there, this longing is there. So don’t desire for something to fill you. Simply be empty. Don’t even wait. Emptiness is the unknown. When you are really empty the unknown has descended upon you. It is not that first you become empty and then the unknown enters. You are empty, and the unknown has entered. There is not a single moment’s gap. The emptiness and the unknown are one.

In the beginning it appears to you as emptiness; that is only appearance, because you have always been filled by the ego. Really, you are feeling the absence of the ego; that’s why you feel empty. First the ego disappears – but the feeling that the ego is no more creates the feeling of emptiness. Just the absence… something was there, and now it is not there. The ego has gone, but the absence of the ego is felt. First the ego will disappear, and then the absence of the ego will disappear. Only then will you be really empty. And to be really empty is to be really filled.

That inner space which is created by the absence of the ego is the divine. The divine is not to come from somewhere else; you are already that. Because you are filled with the ego you cannot realize it, you cannot see it, you cannot touch it. A filmy barrier of the ego prevents you.

When the ego has dropped, the barrier has dropped. The curtain is no more there. Nothing is to come; whatsoever is to come is already there. Remember this: that nothing new is going to come to you. Whatsoever is possible is already there, actual. So the question is not of achieving; the question is only of discovering. The treasure is there, just covered – you uncover it. When he became a realized man, Buddha was asked so many times, ‘What have you gained? What have you achieved?’

Buddha is reported to have said, ‘I have not achieved anything. Rather, on the contrary, I have lost myself. And that which I have achieved was already there, so I cannot say I have achieved it. I was unaware of it. Now I have become aware. But I cannot say I have achieved it. Rather, on the contrary, now I wonder how it was possible that I didn’t know it before. And it was always there just by the corner – just a turning was needed.’

The divinity is not a future. Your divinity is the present. It is here and now. This very moment you are that – unaware, not looking in the right direction, or not tuned to it, that’s all. A radio is there: the waves are passing right now, but if the radio is not tuned to a particular wave, the wave is unmanifest. You tune the radio and the wave becomes manifest. A tuning is needed.

Meditation is a tuning. When you are tuned, that which is unmanifest becomes manifest. But remember, don’t desire, because the desire will not allow you to be empty. And if you are not empty nothing is possible, because the space is not there, so your own unmanifest nature cannot be revealed. It needs space to be revealed. And don’t ask how to live with emptiness. That is not the real question. Just be empty. You are not yet empty.

If once you know what emptiness is, you will love it. It is ecstatic. It is the most beautiful experience possible to mind, to man, to consciousness. You will not ask how to live with emptiness. You are asking that as if emptiness is something like a misery. It appears so to the ego. The ego is always afraid of emptiness, so you ask how to live with it as if it is some enemy. Emptiness is your innermost center. All the activity is on the periphery; the innermost center is just a zero. All the manifest is on the periphery; the deepest core of your being is the unmanifest vacuum.

Buddha has given it a name – shunyata. It means nothingness or emptiness. That’s your nature, that’s your being, and out of that nothingness everything comes, and everything goes back to it. That emptiness is the source. Don’t ask to fill it, because whenever you ask to fill it you will create more and more ego – ego is the effort to fill the emptiness. And even this desire that now something must descend upon you – a god, a divinity, a divine power, some unknown energy – this is again a thought. Whatsoever you can think about God is not going to be God; it is simply going to be a thought.

When you say the unknown, you have made it the known. What do you know about the unknown? Even to say that it is the unknown, you have known some quality about it – the quality of its being unknown. The mind cannot conceive the unknown. Even the unknown becomes known, and whatsoever the mind says is going to be just a verbalization, a thought process. God is not the word ‘God’. The thought of God is not God. Ans when there is no thought, only then will you come to feel and realize what it is. Nothing else can be said about it. It can only be indicated. And all indications are erroneous because they are all indirect.

This much can be said – that when you are not…. And you are not, only when there is no desire, because you exist with desire. Desire is the food through which you exist. Desire is the fuel. When there is no desire, no longing, no future, and when you are not, that emptiness is the fullness of existence. In that emptiness the whole existence is revealed to you. You become it.

So, don’t ask how to live with emptiness. First be empty. There is no need to ask how to live with it. It is so blissful – the deepest bliss it is. When you ask how to live with emptiness, you are really asking how to live with oneself. But you have not known yourself. Enter more and more into it.

In meditation sometimes you feel a sort of emptiness; that is not really emptiness. I call it just a sort of emptiness. When you are meditating, for certain moments, for a few seconds you will feel as if the thought process has stopped. In the beginning these gaps will come. But because you are feeling as if the thought process has stopped, this is again a thought process, a very subtle thought process. What are you doing? You are saying inside, ‘The thought process has stopped.’ But what is this? This is a secondary thought process which has started. And you say, ‘This is emptiness.’ You say, ‘Now something is going to happen.’ What is this? Again a new thought process has started. Whenever this happens again, don’t become a victim of it. When you feel a certain silence is descending, don’t start verbalizing it, because you are destroying it. Wait – not for something – simply wait. Don’t do anything. Don’t say, ‘This is emptiness.’ The moment you have said, you have destroyed it. Just look at it, penetrate into it, encounter it, but wait – don’t verbalize it. What is the hurry? Through verbalization the mind has again entered from a different route, and you are deceived. Be alert about this trick of the mind.

In the beginning it is bound to happen, so whenever this happens again, just wait. Don’t fall in the trap. Don’t say anything – remain silent. Then you will enter, and then it will not be temporary, because once you have known the real emptiness you cannot lose it. The real cannot be lost; that is its quality.

Once you have known the inner treasure, once you have come in contact with your deepest core, then you can move in activity, then you can do whatsoever you like, then you can live an ordinary worldly life, but the emptiness will remain with you. You cannot forget it. It will go on inside. The music of it will be heard. Whatsoever you are doing, the doing will be only on the periphery; inside you will remain empty.

And if you can remain empty inside, doing only on the periphery, whatsoever you do becomes divine, whatsoever you do takes on the quality of the divine because now it is not coming from you. Now it is coming directly from the original emptiness, the original nothingness. If then you speak, those words are not yours. That’s what Mohammed means when he says, ‘This Koran is not said by me. It has come to me as if someone else has spoken through me.’ It has come out of the inner emptiness. That’s what Hindus mean when they say, ‘The Vedas are not written by man, they are not human documents, but the divine, the God himself has spoken.’

These are symbolic ways of saying something which is very mysterious. And this is the mystery: when you are deeply empty, whatsoever you do or speak is not from you – because you are no more. It comes from the emptiness. It comes from the deepest source of existence. It comes from the same source from which this whole existence has come. Then you have entered the womb, the very womb of existence. Then your words are not yours, then your acts are not yours. It is as if you are just an instrument – an instrument of the whole.

If emptiness is felt only momentarily, and then it comes and goes like a flash, it is not real. And if you start thinking about it, even the unreal is lost. Not to think in that moment takes great courage.

It is the greatest control I know. When the mind becomes silent and when you are falling empty, it takes the greatest courage not to think, because the whole past of the mind will assert. The whole mechanism will say, ‘Now think!’

In subtle ways, indirect ways, your past memories will force you to think – and if you think, you have come back. If you can remain silent in that moment, if you are not tempted by the mechanism of your memory and mind…. This is the real Satan – your own mind which tempts you. Whenever you are falling empty, the mind tempts you and creates something to think about – and if you start thinking, you are back.

It is said that when one of the great masters, Bodhidharma, went to China, many disciples gathered around him. He was the first Zen master. One disciple, who was to become his chief disciple, came to him and said, ‘Now I have become totally empty.’

Bodhidharma slapped him immediately and said, ‘Now go and throw this emptiness also! Now you are filled with emptiness – throw this also. Only then will you be really empty.

You understand? You can be filled by the idea of emptiness. Then it will hover on you, it will become a cloud. He said, ‘Throw this emptiness also, and then come to me.’ If you say you are empty, you are not empty. Now this word ‘empty’ has become meaningful and you are filled with it. The same I say to you – throw this emptiness also.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #56, Q1

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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In Your Hands – Osho

Techniques are shortcuts, revolutions, but are not these against tao, swabhav, the nature?

They are. They are against tao, they are against swabhav. Any effort is against shabhav, tao; effort as such is against tao. If you can leave everything to swabhav, tao, nature, then no technique is needed, because that is the ultimate technique. If you can leave everything to tao, that is the deepest surrender possible. You are surrendering yourself, your future, your possibilities. You are surrendering time itself, all effort. This means infinite patience, awaiting.

If you can surrender everything to nature then there is no effort, then you don’t do anything. You just float. You are in a deep let-go. Things happen to you, but you are not making any effort for them – you are not even seeking them. If they happen, it is okay; if they don’t happen, it is okay – you have no choice. Whatsoever happens, happens; you have no expectations and of course, no frustrations.

Life flows by, you flow in it. You have no goal to reach, because with the goal effort enters. You have nowhere to go, because if you have somewhere to go, effort will come in; it is implied. You have nowhere to go, nowhere to reach, no goal, no ideal; nothing is to be achieved – you surrender all.

In this surrendering moment, in this very moment, all will happen to you. Effort will take time; surrender will not take time. Technique will take time; surrender will not take time. That’s why I call it the ultimate technique. It is a no-technique. You cannot practice it – you cannot practice surrender.

If you practice, it is not surrender. Then you are relying on yourself; then you are not totally helpless; then you are trying to do something – even if it is surrender, you are trying to do it. Then technique will come in, and with technique time enters, future enters.

Surrender is non-temporal; it is beyond time. If you surrender, this very moment you are out of time, and all that can happen, will happen. But then you are not searching for it, not seeking it; you are not greedy for it. You have no mind for it at all: whether it happens or not, it is all the same to you.

Tao means surrender – surrender to swabhav, to nature. Then you are not. Tantra and Yoga are techniques. Through them you will reach to swabhav, but it will be a long process. Ultimately after every technique you will have to surrender, but with techniques it will come in the end; with tao, in tao, it comes in the beginning. If you can surrender right now, no technique is needed, but if you cannot, and if you ask me how to surrender, then a technique is needed. So, rarely in millions and millions of men, one can surrender without asking how. If you ask ‘how’, you are not the right type who can surrender, because the ‘how’ means you are asking for a technique.

These techniques are for all those who cannot get rid of this ‘how’. These techniques are just to get rid of your basic anxiety about ‘how’ – how to do it. If you can surrender without asking, then no technique is needed for you. But then you would not have come to me, you could have surrendered any time, because surrender needs no teacher. A teacher can teach only technique.

When you seek, you are seeking technique; every seeking is a seeking for technique. When you go to someone and ask, you are asking for a technique, for a method. Otherwise there is no need to go anywhere. The very search shows that you have a deep need for technique. These techniques are for you. Not that without technique it cannot happen. It can happen, but it has happened to very few persons. And those few persons are also really not rare: in their past lives they have been struggling with techniques, and they have struggled so much with techniques that now they are fed up, they are bored. A saturation point comes when you have asked again and again ‘How? How? How? – and ultimately the ‘how’ falls. Then you can surrender.

In every way technique is needed. A Krishnamurti, he can say that no technique is needed – but this is not his first life. And he couldn’t have said this in his past life. Even in this very life many techniques were given to him, and he worked on them. You can come to a point through techniques where you can surrender – you can throw all techniques and simply be – but that too is through techniques.

It is against tao, because you are against tao. You have to be deconditioned. If you are in tao then no technique is needed. If you are healthy then no medicine is needed. Every medicine is against health. But you are ill; medicine is needed. This medicine will kill your illness. It cannot give you health, but if the illness is removed, health will happen to you. No medicine can give you health. Basically every medicine is a poison – but you have gathered some poison; you need an antidote. It will balance, and health will be possible.

Technique is not going to give you your divinity, it is not going to give you your nature. All that you have gathered around your nature it will destroy. It will only decondition you. You are conditioned, and right now you cannot take a jump into surrender. If you can take it, it is good – but you cannot take it. Your conditioning will ask, ‘How?’ Then techniques will be helpful.

When one lives in tao, then no yoga, no tantra, no religion is needed. One is perfectly healthy; no medicine is needed. Every religion is medicinal. When the world lives in total tao, religions will disappear. No teacher, no Buddha, no Jesus will be needed, because everyone will be a Buddha or a Jesus. But right now, as you are, you need techniques. Those techniques are antidotes.

You have gathered around yourself such a complex mind that whatsoever is said and given to you, you will complicate it. You will make it more complex, you will make it more difficult. If I say to you, ‘Surrender,’ you will ask, ‘How?’ If I say, ‘Use techniques,’ you will ask, ‘Techniques? Are not techniques against tao?’ If I say, ‘No technique is needed; simply surrender and God will happen to you,’ you will immediately ask, ‘How?’ – your mind.

If I say, ‘Tao is right here and now: you need not practise anything, you simply take a jump and surrender,’ you will say, ‘How? How can I surrender?’ If I give you a technique to answer your ‘how’, your mind will say, ‘But is not a method, a technique, a way, against swabhav, against tao? If divinity is my nature, then how can it be achieved through a technique? If it is already there, then the technique is futile, useless. Why waste time with the technique?’ Look at this mind!

I remember, once it happened that one man, a father of a young girl, asked composer Leopold Godowsky to come to his house and give an audition to his daughter. She was learning piano. Godowsky came to their house; patiently he heard the girl playing. When the girl finished, the father beamed, and he cried in happiness and asked Godowsky, ‘Isn’t she wonderful?’

Godowsky is reported to have said, ‘She is wonderful. She has an amazing technique. I have never heard anyone play such simple pieces with such great difficulty. She has an amazing technique. Playing such simple pieces with such great difficulty, I have never seen anyone do before!’

This is what goes on happening in your mind. Even a simple thing you will make complicated, you will make difficult for yourself. And this is a way of defense, this is a defense measure, because when you create difficulty you need not do it – because first the problem must be solved and then you can do it.

If I say surrender, you ask how. Unless I answer your ‘how’, how can you surrender? If I give you a technique, your mind immediately creates a new problem. ‘Why the technique? Swabhav is there, tao is there, God is within you, so why this endeavor, this effort?’ Unless this is answered, there is no need to do anything.

Remember, you can go on in this vicious circle continuously for ever and ever. You will have to break it somewhere and come out of it. Be decisive, because only with decision is your humanity born. Only with decision do you become human. Be decisive. If you can surrender, surrender. If you cannot surrender, then don’t create philosophical problems; then use some technique.

In both the ways the surrender will happen to you. If you can surrender right now, it is okay. If you cannot surrender, then pass through techniques – that training is needed. It is needed because of you, not because of swabhav, not because of tao. Tao needs no training. It is needed because of you. And the techniques will destroy you. You will die through the techniques, and the innermost nature will evolve. You have to be shattered completely. If you can shatter it in a jump – surrender. If you cannot, then piecemeal – through techniques work on it.

But remember one thing: your mind can create problems which are tricks – tricks to postpone, to postpone decision. If the mind is not settled, you don’t feel guilty. You feel, ‘What can I do? Unless something is absolute, clear-cut, transparent, what can I do?’ Your mind can create clouds around you, and your mind will not allow you to be transparent ever – unless you decide. With decision clouds disappear. Mind is very diplomatic, mind is political, and it goes on playing politics on you. It is very tricky, cunning.

I have heard, once Mulla Nasrudin came to visit his son and daughter-in-law. He had come for three days, but then he stayed for one week. Then the one week passed, and he stayed for one month. Then the young couple started worrying – how to get rid of the old man? So they discussed how to get rid of him, and they hit upon a plan.

The husband said, ‘Tonight you prepare soup, and I will say that there is too much salt in it, it cannot be eaten, it is impossible to eat. And you have to say that there is not enough salt in it. We will argue and we will start quarrelling, and then I will ask my father what his opinion is, what he says. If he agrees with me, then you get mad and tell him to go away. If he agrees with you, I will get sore and I will tell him to go away immediately.’

The soup was prepared, and as it was planned, they started quarrelling and arguing. And then the climax came. They were just on the verge of hitting each other and Nasrudin was sitting silently watching. And then the son turned towards him and said, ‘Pa, what do you say? Is there too much salt or not?’

So Nasrudin dipped his spoon in the soup, tasted it, meditated a moment upon the taste, and then said, ‘It suits me perfectly.’ He didn’t take any side. The whole plan was futile.

Your mind goes on working in this way. It will never take any side, because the moment you take a side, action has to be there. It will not take any side; it will go on arguing. It will never decide anything; it will be always in the middle. Whatsoever is said will be argued, but it will never become a decision. And you can argue ad infinitum; there is no end to it. Only decision will give you action, and only action will become transformation.

If you are really interested in a deep revolution within you, then decide – and don’t go on postponing. Don’t be too philosophical; that is dangerous. For a seeker it is dangerous. For one who is not seeking really but just passing time, it is good, it is a good game. Philosophy is a good game if you can afford it. But I don’t see that anyone can afford it because it is wasting time.

So be decisive. If you can surrender, then surrender. Then there is no ‘how’ to it. If you cannot, then practice some technique, because only then through technique will you come to a point where surrender will happen.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #58, Q1

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt In Your Hands (Book of Secrets #58, Q1).

Osho’s Book of Secrets Meditations

All 112 of Shiva’s meditation techniques (Vigyan Bhairava Tantra)

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On Reincarnation – Osho

I want to say one thing to you: the whole idea of reincarnation is a misconception. It is true that when a person dies his being becomes part of the whole. Whether he was a sinner or a saint does not matter, but he had also something called the mind, the memory. In the past the information was not available to explain memory as a bundle of thoughts and thought waves, but now it is easier.

And that’s where, on many points, I find Gautam Buddha far ahead of his time. He is the only man who would have agreed with my explanation. He has given hints, but he could not provide any evidence for it; there was nothing available to say. He has said that when a person dies, his memory travels into a new womb – not the self. And we now can understand it, that when you are dying, you will leave memories all around in the air. And if you have been miserable, all your miseries will find some location; they will enter into some other memory system. Either they will enter totally into a single womb – that’s how somebody remembers one’s past. It is not your past; it was somebody else’s mind that you have inherited.

Most people don’t remember because they have not got the whole lump, the whole heritage of a single individual’s memory system. They may have got fragments from here and there, and those fragments create your misery system. All those people who have died on the earth have died in misery. Very few people have died in joy. Very few people have died with the realization of no-mind. They don’t leave a trace behind. They don’t burden anybody else with their memory. They simply disperse into the universe. They don’t have any mind and they don’t have any memory system. They have already dissolved it in their meditations. That’s why the enlightened person is never born.

But the unenlightened people go on throwing out, with every death, all kinds of misery patterns. Just as riches attract more riches, misery attracts more misery. If you are miserable, then from miles, misery will travel to you – you are the right vehicle. And this is a very invisible phenomenon, like radio waves. They are traveling around you; you don’t hear them. Once you have the right instrument to receive them, immediately they become available. Even before the radio was there, they were traveling by your side.

There is no incarnation, but misery incarnates. Wounds of millions of people are moving around you, just in search of somebody who is willing to be miserable. Of course, the blissful does not leave any trace. The man of awakening dies the way a bird moves into the sky, without making a track or a path. The sky remains empty. Blissfulness moves without making any trace. That’s why you don’t get any inheritance from the buddhas; they simply disappear. And all kinds of idiots and retarded people go on reincarnating in their memories and it becomes every day thicker and thicker.

Today, perhaps, it has come to the point to be understood and to be dissolved; otherwise it is too thick to allow you to live, to allow you to laugh.

Your own consciousness has no wounds.

Your own consciousness knows nothing of misery.

Your own consciousness is innocent, utterly blissful.

To bring you in touch with your own consciousness, every effort is being made to detract you from the mind. The mind contains all your misery, all your wounds. And it goes on creating wounds in such a way that, unless you are aware, you will not even find how it creates them. […]

I teach you the watcher.

The only way to get out of misery patterns, whether ancient or new, is witnessing. I say it is the only way, because nobody has escaped from the mind without becoming a witness. Just witness, and suddenly you will start laughing at your own misery. All our miseries are so superficial – and most fundamentally, they are all borrowed.

And everybody is giving his misery to everybody else he comes in contact with. People are talking continuously about their miseries, about their troubles, about their conflicts. Have you ever heard anybody talking about his joyous moments? About his dances and songs? About his silences and blissfulness? No, nobody talks about these things. People go on sharing all their wounds, and whenever you are talking about your misery to somebody, without your knowing, you are transferring a miserable pattern. The person may be thinking that he is only listening to you, but he is also catching the vibe of misery, the wounds.

When I said that you carry other people’s wounds, my statement meant that your own consciousness has no wounds. If everybody becomes alert, meditative, there will be no wounds in the world. They will simply disappear. They will not find any house, any shelter. This is possible. If it is possible for me, it is possible for everybody.

-Osho

Excerpt from The Zen Manifesto, Discourse #5

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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The Phenomenon of Suicide – Osho

I come from a family where there are four suicides on the maternal side, including my grandmother. How does this affect one’s death? What help to overcome this perversion of death which runs as a theme through the family? 

The phenomenon of death is one of the most mysterious and so is the phenomenon of suicide. Don’t decide from the surface what suicide is. It can be many things. My own understanding is that people who commit suicide are the most sensitive people in the world, very intelligent. Because of their sensitivity, because of their intelligence, they find it difficult to cope with this neurotic world.

The society is neurotic. It exists on neurotic foundations. Its whole history is a history of madness, of violence, war, destruction. Somebody says, “My country is the greatest country in the world” — now this is neurosis. Somebody says, “My religion is the greatest and the highest religion in the world” — now this is neurosis. And this neurosis has gone to the very blood and to the bones, and people have become very, very dull, insensitive. They had to become, otherwise life would be impossible.

You have to become insensitive to cope with this dull life around you; otherwise you start falling out of tune. If you start falling out of tune with the society, the society declares you mad. The society is mad, but if you are not in adjustment with it, it declares you mad. So, either you have to go mad, or you have to find a way out of the society; that’s what suicide is. Life becomes intolerable. It seems impossible to cope with so many people around you – and they are all insane. What will you do if you are thrown into an insane asylum?

It happened to one of my friends; he was in a mental asylum. He was put there by the court for nine months. After six months — he was mad, so he could do it — he found a big bottle of phenol in the bathroom and he drank it. For fifteen days he suffered diarrhea and vomiting, and because of that diarrhea and vomiting he came back into the world. His system was purified, the poison disappeared. He was telling me that those next three months were the most difficult — “The first six months were beautiful because I was mad, and everybody was also mad. Things were going simply beautifully, there was no problem. I was in tune with the whole madness around me.”

When he drank phenol, and those fifteen days of diarrhea and vomiting, somehow by an accident his system got purified, his stomach got purified. He could not eat for those fifteen days — the vomiting was too much — so he had to fast. He rested in bed for fifteen days. That rest, that fasting, that purifying helped — it was an accident — and he became sane. He went to the doctors, told them “I have become sane”; they all laughed. They said, “Everybody says so.” The more he insisted, the more they insisted, “You are mad, because every madman says so. You simply go and do your work. You cannot be released before the court’s order comes.”

“Those three months were impossible,” he said, “nightmarish!” Many times he thought about suicide. But he is a man of strong will. And it was only a question of three months, he could wait. It was intolerable! — somebody was pulling his hair, somebody was pulling his leg, somebody would simply jump upon him. All that had been going on for six months, but he had also been part in it. He was also doing the same things; he was a perfect member of that mad society. But for three months it was impossible because he was sane and everybody was insane.

In this neurotic world, if you are sane, sensitive, intelligent, either you have to go mad, or you have to commit suicide — or you have to become a sannyasin. What else is there?

The question is from Jane Ferber; she is Bodhicitta’s wife. She has come to me in the right time. She can become a sannyasin and avoid suicide.

In the East suicide does not exist so much, because sannyas is an alternative. You can respectfully drop out; the East accepts it. You can start doing your own thing; the East has respect for it. Hence, the difference between India and America is of five times: for one Indian committing suicide, five Americans commit suicide. And the phenomenon of suicide is a growing phenomenon in America. Intelligence is growing, sensitivity is growing, and the society is dull. And the society does not provide an intelligent world — then what to do? Just go on suffering unnecessarily?

Then one starts thinking, “Why not drop it all? Why not finish it? Why not give the ticket back to God?” In America, if sannyas becomes a great movement, the rate of suicide will start falling, because people will have a far better and more creative alternative of dropping out. Have you watched it happen that hippies don’t commit suicide? It is the square world, the conventional world where suicide is more prevalent. The hippie has dropped out. He is a kind of sannyasin — not yet fully alert to what he is doing but on the right way; moving, groping, but in the right direction. The hippie is the beginning of sannyas. The hippie is saying, “I don’t want to be a part of this rotten game, I don’t want to be a part of this political game. I see things, and I would like to live my own life. I don’t want to become anybody’s slave. I don’t want to be killed on any war front. I don’t want to fight — there are far more beautiful things to do.”

But for millions there is nothing; the society has taken away all possibilities for their growth. They are stuck. People commit suicide because they are feeling stuck and they don’t see any way out. They come to a cul-de-sac. And the more intelligent you are, the sooner you will come to that cul-de-sac, that impasse. And then what are you supposed to do? The society does not give you any alternative; the society does not allow an alternative society.

Sannyas is an alternative society. It looks strange that in India the suicide rate is the lowest in the world. Logically it should be the highest, because people are suffering, people are miserable, starving. But this strange phenomenon happens everywhere: poor people don’t commit suicide. They have nothing to live for, they have nothing to die for. Because they are starved, they are occupied with their food, shelter, money, things like that. They cannot afford to think about suicide, they are not yet that affluent. America has everything, India has nothing.

Just the other day I was reading… Somebody has written: “Americans have a smiling Jimmy Carter, Johnny Cash and Bob Hope. And Indians have a dry, dull, dead Morarji Desai, no cash, and very little hope.”

But still people don’t commit suicide: they go on living, they enjoy life. Even beggars are thrilled, excited. There is nothing to be excited about, but they are hoping.

Why is it happening so much in America? — the ordinary problems of life have disappeared, the mind is free to rise higher than the ordinary consciousness. The mind can rise beyond body, beyond mind itself. The consciousness is ready to take wings and the society does not allow it. Out of ten suicides, about nine are sensitive people. Seeing the meaninglessness of life, seeing the indignity that life imposes, seeing the compromises that one has to make for nothing, seeing all the taciturnity, looking around and seeing this — “a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing” — they decide to get rid of the body. If they could have wings in the body, they would not decide so.

Then suicide has another significance too; it has to be understood. In life everything seems to be common, imitative. You can’t have a car that others don’t have. Millions of people have the same car as you have. Millions of people are living the same life as you are living, seeing the same film, the same movie, the same TV as you are, reading the same newspaper as you do. Life is too common, nothing unique is left for you to do, to be. Suicide seems to be a unique phenomenon: only you can die for yourself, nobody else can die for you. Your death will be your death, nobody else’s. Death is unique!

Look at the phenomenon: death is unique — it defines you as an individual, it gives you individuality. The society has taken your individuality; you are just a cog in the wheel, replaceable. If you die nobody will miss you, you will be replaced. If you are a professor in the university, another will be the professor in the university. Even if you are the president of a country, another will be the president of the country, immediately, the moment you are no more. You are replaceable.

This hurts — that your worth is not much, that you will not be missed, that one day you will disappear and soon those people who will remember you will also disappear. Then, it will be almost as if you had never been. Just think of that day. You will disappear… Yes, for a few days people will remember — your lover will remember you, your children will remember you, maybe a few friends. By and by, their memory will become pale, faint, will start disappearing. But maybe while those people with whom you had a certain kind of intimacy are alive, you may be remembered once in a while. But once they are also gone, then… then you simply disappear, as if you had never been here. Then there is no difference whether you have been here or have not been here.

Life does not give you unique respect. It is very humiliating. It drives you into such a hole where you are just a cog in the wheel, a cog in the vast mechanism. It makes you anonymous.

Death, at least, is unique. And suicide is more unique than death. Why? — because death comes, and suicide is something that you do. Death is beyond you: when it will come, it will come. But suicide you can manage, you are not a victim. Suicide you can manage. With death you will be a victim, with suicide you will be in control. Birth has already happened – now you cannot do anything about it, and you had not done anything before you were born — it was an accident.

There are three things in life which are vital: birth, love, and death. Birth has happened; there is nothing to do about it. You were not even asked whether you wanted to be born or not. You are a victim. Love also happens; you cannot do anything about it, you are helpless. One day you fall in love with somebody, you cannot do anything about it. If you want to fall in love with somebody you cannot manage, it is impossible. And when you fall in love with somebody, if you don’t want — if you want to pull yourself away — that too seems to be difficult. Birth is a happening, so is love. Now only death is left about which something can be done: you can be a victim or you can decide on your own.

A suicide is one who decides, who says, “Let me at least do one thing in this existence where I was almost accidental: I will commit suicide. At least there is one thing I can do!” Birth is impossible to do; love cannot be created if it is not there; but death… death has an alternative. Either you can be a victim or you can be decisive.

This society has taken all dignity from you. That’s why people commit suicide — because their committing suicide will give them a sort of dignity. They can say to God, “I have renounced your world and your life. It was not of worth!” The people who commit suicide are almost always more sensitive than the others who go on dragging, living. And I’m not saying to commit suicide, I am saying there is a higher possibility. Each moment of life can be so beautiful, individual, non-imitative, non-repetitive. Each moment can be so precious! Then there is no need to commit suicide. Each moment can bring such blessing, and each moment can define you as unique — because you are unique! Never before has there been a person like you, and never again will there be.

But the society forces you to become part of a big army. The society never likes a person who goes in his own way. The society wants you to be part of the crowd: be a Hindu, be a Christian, be a Jew, be an American, be an Indian — but be part of a crowd; any crowd, but be part of a crowd. Never be yourself. And those who want to be themselves… and those are the salt of the earth, those people who want to be themselves. They are the most valuable people on the earth. The earth has a little dignity and fragrance because of these people. Then they commit suicide.

Sannyas and suicide are alternatives. This is my experience: you can become a sannyasin only when you have come to the point where, if not sannyas, then suicide. Sannyas means, “I will try to become an individual while alive! I will live my life in my own way. I will not be dictated to, dominated. I will not function like a mechanism, like a robot. I will not have any ideals, and I will not have any goals. I will live in the moment, and I will live on the spur of the moment. I will be spontaneous, and I will risk all for it!”

Sannyas is a risk.

Jane, I would like to say to you: I have looked into your eyes; the possibility of suicide is there too. But I don’t think you will have to commit suicide — sannyas will do! You are more fortunate than the four people in your family who committed suicide. In fact, every intelligent person has the capacity to commit suicide, only idiots never commit. Have you ever heard of any idiot ever committing suicide? He does not care about life; why should he commit suicide? Only a rare intelligence starts feeling the need to do something, because life as it is lived is not worth living. So, either do something and change your life — give it a new shape, a new direction, a new dimension — or why go on carrying this nightmarish burden, day-in day-out, year-in year-out? And it will continue… And medical science is helping you to continue it even longer — a hundred years, a hundred and twenty years. And now those people are saying that a man can live to nearabout three hundred years, easily. Just think if people have to live for three hundred years: the suicide rate would go very high — because then even mediocre minds would start thinking that it is pointless.

Intelligence means seeing deeply into things. Has your life any point? Has your life any joy? Has your life any poetry in it? Has your life any creativity in it? Do you feel grateful that you are here? Do you feel grateful that you were born? Can you thank your God? Can you say with your whole heart that this is a blessing? If you cannot, then why do you go on living? Either make your life a blessing… or why go on burdening this earth? Disappear. Somebody else may occupy your space and may do better. This idea comes to the intelligent mind naturally. It is a very, very natural idea when you are intelligent. Intelligent people commit suicide. And those who are more intelligent than the intelligent people — they take sannyas. They start creating a meaning, they start creating a significance, they start living. Why miss this opportunity?

Heidegger has said: “Death isolates me and makes of me an individual.” It is my death, not that of the multitude to which I belong. Each of us dies his own death; death cannot be repeated. I can sit an examination twice, or thrice; compare my second marriage with my first, and so on and so forth. I die only once. I can get married as many times as I like, I can change my jobs as many times as I like, I can change my town as many times as I like… but I die only once. Death is so challenging because it is at once certain and uncertain. That it will come is certain, when it will do so is uncertain.

Hence there is great curiosity about death, about what it is. One wants to know about it. And there is nothing morbid about this contemplation of death. Accusations of that kind are merely the device of the impersonal ‘they’ — the crowd — to prevent one escaping its tyranny and becoming individuals. What is necessary is to see our life as a being towards death. Once this point has been reached, there is a possibility of deliverance from the banality of everyday life and its servitude to anonymous powers. He who has so confronted his death is stabbed awake thereby. He perceives himself now as an individual distinct from the mass, and is prepared to take over responsibility for his own life. In this way, we decide for authentic against inauthentic existence. We emerge from the mass and become ourselves at last.

Even to contemplate death gives you an individuality, a form, a shape, a definition — because it is your death. It is the only thing left in the world that is unique. And when you think about suicide it becomes even more personal; it is your decision.

And remember, I am not saying that you should go and commit suicide. I am saying that your life, as it is, is leading you towards suicide. Change it.

And contemplate death. It can come any moment, so don’t think that it is morbid to think about death. It is not, because death is the culmination of life, the very crescendo of life. You have to take note of it. It is coming — whether you commit suicide or it comes … but it is coming. It has to happen. You have to prepare for it, and the only way to prepare for death — the right way — is not to commit suicide; the right way is to die each moment to the past. That’s the right way. That’s what a sannyasin is supposed to do: die each moment to the past, never carry the past for a single moment. Each moment, die to the past and be born in the present. That will keep you fresh, young, vibrant, radiant; that will keep you alive, throbbing, excited, ecstatic. And a man who knows how to die each moment to the past knows how to die, and that is the greatest skill and art. So when death comes to such a man, he dances with it, he embraces it! — it is a friend, it is not the enemy. It is God coming to you in the form of death. It is total relaxation into existence. It is becoming again the whole, becoming one again with the whole.

So don’t call this perversion.

You say: “I come from a family where there are four suicides on the maternal side, including my grandmother.”

Don’t condemn those poor people, and don’t think for a moment that they were perverts.

“How does this affect one’s death? What helps to overcome this perversion of death which runs as a theme through the family?”

Don’t call it a perversion; it is not. Those people were simply victims. They could not cope with the neurotic society, and they decided to disappear into the unknown. Have compassion for them, don’t condemn. Don’t abuse them, don’t call names — don’t call it perversion or anything like that. Have compassion for them and love for them.

There is no need to follow them, but feel for them. They must have suffered a lot. One does not decide very easily to drop life: they must have suffered intensely; they must have seen the hell of life. One never decides easily for death, because to survive is a natural instinct. One goes on surviving in all kinds of situations and conditions. One goes on compromising — just to survive. When somebody drops his life that simply shows it is beyond his capacity to compromise; the demand is too much. The demand is so much that it is not worth it; then only one decides to commit suicide. Have compassion for those people.

And if you feel that something is wrong then something is wrong in the society, not in those people. The society is perverted! In a primitive society nobody commits suicide. I have been to primitive tribes in India: for centuries they have not known of anybody committing suicide. They don’t have any record of anybody ever having committed suicide. Why? The society is natural, the society is not perverted. It does not drive people to unnatural things. The society is accepting. It allows everybody his way, his choice to live his life. That is everybody’s right. Even if somebody goes mad, the society accepts it; it is his right to go mad. There is no condemnation. In fact, in a primitive society, mad people are respected like mystics — and they have a kind of mystery around them. If you look into a madman’s eyes and into the eyes of a mystic, there is some similarity — something vast, something undefined, something nebulous, something like a chaos out of which stars are born. The mystic and the madman have some similarity.

All madmen may not be mystics, but all mystics are mad. By ‘mad’ I mean they have gone beyond mind. The madman may have fallen below mind, and the mystic may have gone beyond mind, but one thing is similar — both are not in their minds. In a primitive society even the madman is respected, tremendously respected. If he decides to be mad, that’s okay. Society takes care for his food, for his shelter. Society loves him, loves his madness. Society has no fixed rule; then nobody commits suicide because freedom remains intact.

When society demands slavery and goes on destroying your freedom and crippling you from every side and paralyzing your soul and deadening your heart… one comes to feel it is better to die than to compromise.

Don’t call them perverts. Have compassion for them; they suffered a lot, they were victims. And try to understand what happened to them; that will give you an insight into your own life. And there is no need to repeat it, because I give you an opportunity to be yourself. I open a door for you. If you are understanding you will see the point of it, but if you are not understanding then it is difficult. I can go on shouting and you will hear only that which you can hear, and you will hear only that which you want to hear — that which you want to hear.

A psychologist friend has come: he has written a long question. He says: “Why do you go on saying drop the ego? Nobody has ever been able to drop the ego.”

Now how does he know it — that nobody has ever been able to drop the ego? He says it has not succeeded. How do you know? It has succeeded, although it has succeeded only with very rare and few people. But it has succeeded, and it has succeeded only with rare people because only those rare people allowed it to succeed. It can succeed with everybody, but people don’t allow it to succeed. They are not ready to lose their egos.

He is a psychologist, and he says, “Osho, I see in you too a great ego.” As a psychologist he says, “I see a great ego in you.”

Then you have not seen me at all. Then you have seen something which is your projection.

The ego goes on projecting itself. The ego goes on creating its own reality around itself, its own reflections.

Now, if you can see so deeply into me why have you come here? — you can see deeply into yourself. If you have such great insight, what is the point in coming here? — it is pointless. And if you have decided already that the ego cannot be dropped, that it is not possible, then you have taken a decision without even trying.

And I am not saying the ego can be dropped! I am saying the ego exists not! How can you drop something which doesn’t exist? And Buddha has not said that the ego has to be dropped, he is saying the ego has to be only looked into — and you don’t find it, hence it disappears.

What can you do then — when you go inside your being and you don’t find any ego, you find silence there; no self-dominating, no center like an ego there? Dropping the ego does not mean that you have to drop it. Dropping the ego is only a metaphor. It simply means that when you go in, you look in and you don’t find anything, the ego disappears. In fact, even to say ‘disappears’ is not right, because it was not there in the first place. It is a misunderstanding.

Now, rather than going into yourself you are looking at me. And you think you have looked into me! And because you are a psychoanalyst or a psychologist, then you decide. And your decision will become a barrier — because the ego does not exist in me! And I would like to declare: the ego does not exist in you! Even to this psychologist friend I will say: the ego does not exist in him. The ego exists not! It is a non-existential idea, just an idea.

It is like when you see a rope in the dark and you think it is a snake, and you start running, and you are out of breath, and you stumble upon a rock and you get a fracture, and by the morning you come to know that it was only a rope. But it worked tremendously! The snake was not there, but it affected your reality. A misunderstanding is as real as understanding. It is not true, but it is real! That is the difference between reality and truth. A snake seen in a rope is real, because its results, its consequences are going to be real. If you have a weak heart it can be very dangerous seeing a snake in a rope: you can run so fast that you can have heart failure. It can affect your whole life. And it looks so ridiculous; it was just a rope.

What I am saying, or what Buddha is saying is: Just take a lamp and go inside. Have a good look at whether the snake exists or not. Buddha has found it does not exist in him. I have found it does not exist in me. And the day I found it does not exist in me, I looked around into everybody’s eyes and I have never found it. It is an unfounded idea. It is a dream.

But if you are too full of the dream, you can even project it on me. And I cannot do anything about it. If you project, you project. It is as if you are wearing glasses, colored glasses, green glasses, and the whole world looks green. And you come to me and you say, “Osho, you are wearing a green dress.” What can I do? I can only say, “You just take off your glasses.” And you say, “Nobody has ever been able to take off his glasses. It has never happened!” Then it is difficult.

But it is not a problem for me; it is going to be a problem for you. I feel sorry for you, because if this is your idea then you will suffer your whole life — because ego creates suffering. An unreal idea, thought to be real, creates suffering. What is suffering really? Suffering is when you have some ideas which don’t correlate with the truth. Then there is suffering.

For example, you think stones are food and you eat them; then you suffer, then you have a great stomachache. But if it is real food then you don’t suffer, then you are satisfied. Suffering is created by ideas which don’t go with reality; bliss is created when you have ideas which go with reality. Bliss is a coherence between you and the truth; suffering is a dichotomy, a division between you and the truth. When you are not moving with truth you are in hell; when you are moving with truth you are in heaven — that’s all. And that is the whole thing to be understood.

Now this man comes from faraway America. Listening to my tapes, he started feeling for me. He has come here, but if this is his way of looking at things he will miss. And remember, it is not a problem for me. If you think I am a great egoist, thank you — it is not a problem for me. This is your idea, and you are perfectly entitled to have ideas. But if you are so certain about it, what is going to happen?

He says, “I have been to many holy saints of many religions, and they were all egoists.”

You must be wearing the same glasses everywhere. You go on creating your own reality, which is not true. That’s why Buddha insists so much on nothingness, on no-mind – because when the mind has no thoughts you cannot project anything. Then you have to see that which is. When you don’t have any ideas, when you are simply empty, a mirror mirroring, then whatsoever comes in front of you is mirrored. And it is mirrored as it is. But if you have ideas, then you distort. Thoughts are the media for distortion.

If you can see ego in me, you are really doing a miracle. But it is possible… and you can enjoy. But it is only you who will be harmed by your idea, nobody else. If this idea persists, then there will be no possibility of being bridged with me. At least for these few days that you are here, put your ideas aside. And one thing is certain: your psychology has not helped you, otherwise you would not need to be here at all.

Just the other day he was sitting in front of me and talking about his problems. And sometimes I wonder… he has so many problems, and he is a group leader. What will he be doing with people? What kind of help can come from him? And he has such a fat body and he cannot even change that; and he goes on stuffing himself. And these were his problems. And he was so afraid that he was insisting again and again to Laxmi that he needed a private interview, because, “I cannot say things before people.” Why? People will be seeing you, that you are fat. It doesn’t matter whether you say it or not. Everybody has eyes and they can see that you are fat, and that you go on stuffing. How will you avoid Vrindavan people? They will know.

He wanted to have a private interview so that he could tell his problems, and the problem was fatness — “I go on eating and I cannot stop; what should I do?” Your psychology has not even been of that much help, and you think your psychology is capable of knowing me, of seeing me? Don’t be deceived by your own games.

And you have not been to any holy men. I am not saying that they were not holy; I am simply saying that you may have been there, but you have not been with them. If you cannot be with me, how can you be with them? You have not been with any holy man. Wherever you went, you went with your psychology, with all the knowledge that you have gathered around yourself. And it is of no use to you. It is worthless! And you go on advising people. You will create the same kinds of traumas, complexes, in other people too. A therapist can be of help only when his advice is not only for others, but when his advice is his life, when he has lived it and has seen its truth.

You say that the teaching of the ages to drop the ego, drop the mind, has not worked. It has worked! It has worked for me; that’s why I say it has worked. I know it has not worked for you. But there is nothing wrong in the teaching, something is wrong in you; that’s why it is not working in you. It has worked in millions of people. And sometimes it happens that your neighbor may be an enlightened being and you may not be able to see.

It happened…

A seeker came from America. He had heard there was a great Sufi mystic in Dacca, in Bangladesh, so he came rushing — as Americans come. He came rushing: he simply jumped on Dacca! He caught hold of a taxi-driver and said, “Take me to this mystic!”

The taxi-driver laughed. He said, “You are really interested? Then you have found the right man. If you had asked any other taxi-driver, nobody would have known. I know this man. I have lived with this man for almost fifty years.”

“Fifty years? How old is he?” the American asked.

The taxi-driver said, “He is also fifty years old.”

He thought, “This man seems to be crazy!” He tried other taxi-drivers, but nobody knew the man so he had to come back to this crazy man.

And he said, “I had told you that nobody knows him. You come with me and I will take you.” And he took him — and Dacca is an old city and small streets and tiny — and he went zigzag here and there, for hours. And the American was feeling very happy, because the goal was coming closer and closer and closer. After three, four hours, they stopped before a small house, a very poor man’s house. And the taxi-driver said, “You wait, and I will arrange for the master.”

Then a woman came and she said, “The master is waiting for you.” And the man went in, and the taxi-driver was sitting there.

And he said, “Come on, my son, what do you have to ask?”

The American could not believe it. He said, “You are the master?”

He said, “I am the master, and I have lived with this man for fifty years; nobody else knows about it.” And it turned out that he was the master.

… But you have your ideas: “How can a taxi-driver be a master?” Just think of me as a taxi-driver… You will not believe — will you? Will this psychologist friend believe? It will be impossible.

You have ideas. Because of your ideas you go on missing many things that are around. The earth is never empty of masters. There are people everywhere, but you can’t see! And when you want to see them you go to the Vatican because you have some idea that the pope must be enlightened. In fact, how can an enlightened person be a pope? No enlightened person will agree to that nonsense. He may prefer to be a taxi-driver.

Please drop your ideas while you are here, for these few days. Open yourself, don’t be prejudiced from the very beginning that, “This has never happened.” This has happened! This has happened in me. You just look into my eyes, just feel me, and this can happen in you. There is nothing that is hindering it except these ideas, this knowledge. That’s why I say knowledge is a curse. Get rid of your knowledge and you will get rid of your pathology!

-Osho

From The Heart Sutra, Discourse #4

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

 

A Meditation Before Sleep – Osho

When you go to sleep tonight and every night following, before going to sleep put off the light, sit on your bed, close your eyes and exhale deeply through the mouth with the sound ‘O’ – Ooooo. Go on exhaling with the sound ‘O’, as deeply as possible. Your stomach goes in, the air moves out, and you go on creating the sound ‘O’. Remember, I am not saying aum, I am saying simply ‘O’. It will become aum automatically. You need not make it, then it is false. You simply create the sound ‘O’. When it becomes more harmonious and you are enjoying it, suddenly you will become aware it has become aum. But don’t force it to become aum, then it is false. When it becomes spontaneously aum then it is something vibrating from within. And this sound aum is the deepest sound, the most harmonious, the most basic.

When it happens and you enjoy and you flow in its music, your whole body and your brain relax. With the sound aum you will go on relaxing and your sleep will have a different quality, altogether different. And your sleep has to be changed, only then can you become more alert and aware. So we will start by changing the sleep.

In the night put the light off, sit on the bed, exhale deeply through the mouth with the sound ‘O’. When you have exhaled completely and you feel that now no more exhalation is possible, the whole breath has gone out, stop for a single moment. Don’t inhale, don’t exhale – just stop. In that stop you are the divine. In that stop you are not doing anything, not even breathing. In that stop you are in the ocean.

Just remain in the stop for a single moment and be a witness – just look at what is happening. Be aware where you are: witness the whole situation that is there in that single stopped moment. Time is no more there, because time moves with breaths; breathing is the process of time. Because you breathe you feel the time moving. When you don’t breathe you are just like a dead man. Time has stopped, there is no process anywhere, everything has stopped… as if the whole existence has stopped with you. In that stopping you can become aware of the deepest source of your being and energy. So for a single moment stop. Then inhale through the nose, but don’t make any effort to inhale.

Remember, make all the effort to exhale, but don’t make any effort to inhale; just let the body inhale.

You simply relax your hold and let the body take the inhalation. You don’t do anything. That too is beautiful and works wonders. You have exhaled, stopped for a moment, then you allow the body to inhale. You don’t make any effort to inhale; you simply watch the body taking the inhalation.

And when you watch the body taking the inhalation you will feel a deep silence surrounding you, because then you know your effort is not needed for life. Life breathes itself. It moves by itself of its own cause. It is a river; you unnecessarily go on pushing it. You will see that the body is taking the inhalation. Your effort is not needed, your ego is not needed – you are not needed. You simply become a watcher, you simply see the body taking the inhalation. Deep silence will be felt.

When the body has taken a full inhalation, stop for a single moment again. Again watch.

These two moments are totally different. When you have exhaled completely and stopped, that stopping is just like death. When you have inhaled totally and then stopped, that stopping is the climax of life. Remember, inhalation is equivalent to life, exhalation equivalent to death.

That’s why the first thing a child does when born is to inhale, and the last thing the same child will do when old, dying, will be to exhale. On this earth, the first thing you did while entering life was inhalation, and the last thing you will do will be exhalation. No one can die inhaling. When you die you have to exhale, you die with exhalation. And no one can be born with exhalation, you have to start by inhalation.

Those who know, and those who have watched their inner life process deeply, they say – and you will come to feel it yourself – that with every inhalation you are born again and with every exhalation you die. So death is not something in the end, and birth is not something in the beginning; every moment there is birth and death, every moment you die and are born again. And if you die beautifully you are born again more beautifully, if you die totally you are born totally.

So exhale as totally as possible; that will give you a death moment. That’s beautiful, because a death moment is the most silent, the most peaceful – that is nirvana. Then let the body inhale to the full, and then stop. That moment is a life moment: the climax of energy, power, bio-energy at its peak. Feel it, and feel both. That’s why I say stop twice: when you have exhaled, then; and when you have inhaled, then – so you can feel both life and death, so you can watch both life and death.

Once you know this is life, this is death, you have transcended both. The witness is neither death nor life. The witness is never born and never dies; only the body, the mechanism. You become the third. These two moments are very significant. This very night you have to do this meditation, for twenty minutes you go on doing this and then fall down and go to sleep.

-Osho

From Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi, Chapter One

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from Viha Osho Book Distributors.

Utterly Empty and Yet Utterly Full – Osho

My question concerns the quantum leap. How to jump, where to jump and who or what is doing the jumping? 

Jamia, the meaning of the quantum leap is that you find nobody there inside you who can jump.

You find no place where you can jump and you find no means to jump. That is the meaning of a quantum leap. The quantum leap is not a leap, it is a disappearance. The quantum leap is utter discontinuity with the past. If it is continuous it is just a leap, not quantum. That is the meaning of the word “quantum”.

You have been somebody up to now; if you do something, then you will remain continuous with the past because the doer will be the past. If you ask how to take the quantum leap, who will use the methodology? The old, the past, the mind, the accumulated mind will use the methodology. But how will you become new? It is the old trying to become new. You may have new clothes, a new face, new varnish, but you will remain the same; you continue.

A quantum leap is a moment of understanding that the past is no more there, that it is just a memory, just a figment of imagination now; it has no reality. If the past is no more there, who are you? – because you consist only of your past.

Krishnamurti says, “The process of thought creates the thinker.” And he is right – it is not vice versa.

Ordinarily you think, “I am a thinker, hence the process of thought.” It is not so. There is no thinker in you but only a process of thought. And when you think about the whole process of thought and you take it together, the thinker is born.

The thinker is not there. Let thoughts disappear, and as thoughts disappear, the thinker will disappear. If there is no thought, there is no thinker inside. So ‘thinker’ is nothing but another name for the whole thought continuum.

If you can understand this – that the past is just nothing but thoughts – suddenly a great emptiness will arise in you, a great abyss. You are not, nobody is there inside. This is what Buddha calls anatta, no-self, no ego. In that moment when you cannot find yourself, the quantum leap has happened.

The Emperor Wu of China asked Bodhidharma, “My mind remains very tense, in anxiety. I am always feeling restless, uneasy. I never find any peace of mind. Help me, sir.”

Bodhidharma looked into his eyes. And that was not an ordinary look – Bodhidharma was a very ferocious Master. The king was a very brave man, had fought in many battles and won, but he started trembling when Bodhidharma looked into his eyes.

And he said, “Okay, come tomorrow, early in the morning at four o’clock, and bring your mind to me and I will put it at ease forever.”

When the king was going down the steps, Bodhidharma shouted again, “Listen, don’t forget to bring your mind! Come at four o’clock and bring your mind. And I am going to put it at ease forever!”

The king was a little puzzled. “What does he mean, ‘Bring the mind, don’t forget’? Can I come without the mind too? I and my mind are the same. This man looks mad! And the way he looked at me… those ferocious eyes… And he looks murderous too! And going alone, early in the morning at four o’clock when it is dark, to this madman… and one never knows what he will do, how he will treat me.”

But he could not sleep. Many times he decided not to go, but there was a great attraction too, something like a great magnetic pull. The man was ferocious, but there was great love in his eyes too. Both were there – his eyes were like swords and also like lotuses. He could not resist. He said, “I have to take this risk.” And at four o’clock he had to go.

Bodhidharma was waiting with his big staff. He told the king, “Sit in front of me. And where is your mind? I told you to bring it with you!”

And the king said, “What nonsense are you talking about? If I am here, so is my mind. Mind is something inside me. How can I forget it? How can I ‘bring’ it?”

Bodhidharma said, “So, one thing is certain: that mind is inside. So close your eyes and go inside and try to find it. And whenever you catch it, just tell me and I will put it at rest forever. But first it has to be caught, only then can I treat it.” The king closed his eyes. The whole thing was stupid, but there was nowhere to go now – it had to be done. He closed his eyes. And the Master was sitting there with his staff – and he might beat or he might hit, so it was no ordinary situation. He could not go to sleep. He had not slept the whole night – he had been thinking of whether to come or not to come… And the presence of the Master and the silence of the forest and the darkness of the night and the whole weird situation: that this man could even cut his head… He became very alert. The danger was such that he became very attentive. For the first time in his life he looked inside himself – what the book, The Secret of the Golden Flower, calls “turning the light inwards”. For the first time he looked inside, he searched inside. He really searched, sincerely he searched. And the more he searched, the more aware he became that there is no mind, there is nobody inside. It is an empty house; we had only believed in it. We have accepted others’ belief about the soul, the self, the ego. We never looked at it, we never checked it. And the more he found that there is nobody to be found, the more happy, joyous, he became. His face relaxed; a great grace surrounded him. Hours passed, but for him there was no question of time at all. He was sitting and sitting, and enjoying this blissfulness that he was tasting for the first time in his life.

Something immensely delightful was descending on him.

Then the sun started rising, and with the first rays of the sun, Bodhidharma said to him, “Sir, it is time enough! Now open your eyes. Have you found yourself inside or not?”

And the king opened his eyes, looked at the Master, saw the beauty, saw that the ferociousness was out of compassion, saw the love, bowed down, touched the feet of the Master and said, “You have put it at rest forever. It is not there. Now I know that I was creating an unnecessary fuss about something which doesn’t exist at all.”

This is the quantum leap. Searching inside you find you are not. Then there is no question of “how” and no question of “where”. It has already happened.

Jamia, I would like to tell you: just close your eyes for a few hours every day, become as alert as Emperor Wu became, remember me just in front of you with a sword in my hand, ready to cut you at any moment if you fall asleep, and go in. And, one day the quantum leap. You will know only when it has happened. You don’t do it, it is nothing of your doing, it is a happening. You can’t do it because you are the hindrance – how can you do it? There is nowhere to jump, nobody to jump, no method to jump. When all these three things have been realized, it has happened.

Then one lives as an emptiness, utterly empty and yet utterly full.

-Osho

From The Secret of Secrets, Discourse #8

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

Death is Making Love with God – Osho

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

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

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

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

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

In the Upanishads there is a story:

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

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

And he says, “Nothing.”

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

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

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

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

And then one disciple, Mahakashyapa, smiles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Osho

From The Heart Sutra, Discourse #2

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

Life is an Occasion for Meditation – Osho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buddha would have agreed with Toscanini…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Osho

From Take It Easy, Discourse #26

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

The Book of Wisdom Editing, The Real Story

One of the issues that sannyasins have had against the management of the Osho Meditation Resort in Pune is concerning the editing of Osho’s discourses. As anyone who was around in Poona 1 knows there has always been a certain amount of editing, basically cleaning up of grammar and syntax (arrangement of words and phrases), etc.

And as I understand it before Osho left the body he asked that names and dates be removed from the discourses. Apparently wanting the discourses not to be held down by personalities or time.

But this editing reached a new level when the beautiful U.S. edition of The Book of Wisdom (both volumes combined into one) came out with three questions from chapter six missing. Personally, I did not have any issues with the editing that preceeded this but I have to admit I was dumbfounded by this one. I could see that the questions were all concerned with sannyas but there were hundreds of questions in other discourses that did as well. So why these?

And this instance also got wrapped up into the outrage over people’s inability of sharing Osho because of copyright and then there was  all of the kerfuffle concerning the Centers and the OSHO trademark. These issues I cannot speak to but I did manage to get to the bottom of The Book of Wisdom.

Yesterday for some reason out of the blue I decided to reach out to Sarito who I knew was intimately involved with the editing of Osho’s books in Pune 2 to ask her if she knew what the story was.

Actually, she was surprised to hear that there were three questions missing and at first assumed that it must have been an error, but she decided to investigate further.

What she found out was that it indeed was a mistake. Someone took the instructions about making the discourse timeless too enthusiastically. This person thought that they should remove the reference to orange and preferred seating in order to make it “contemporary” but Sarito remembers that the criteria was to be more “timeless.”

Anyway this book ended up getting published with the questions missing. But Sarito told me that after that “there was a special meeting called to clarify that there was no need to edit Osho in this way, and that henceforth if things seemed too puzzling or ‘dated’ they could be addressed with an introductory editorial note.”

And she went on to say “that the mistake was identified and resolved and that it won’t happen again.” But she also told me that “they were struggling with a surplus of inventory of the book.”

I explained that probably one of the reasons they are struggling with surplus inventory is the word had gone out that the book had been edited in this way and sannyasins were not happy about it. I also suggested that this story should be told just to clear the air on at least this issue. So here we are.

Everyone agrees that the questions should remain and will be put back into any reprints. In the meantime, how do we use up the surplus inventory? Perhaps gifts to libraries or prisons.

-purushottama

Start Witnessing Your Boredom – Osho

For me it’s either high-energy excitement where life is wonderful and a joy to be alone; or very often these days there’s a quietness that’s dull and boring. In the one there’s juice but no awareness, and in the other there’s awareness but no juice. Is there a knack in bringing these two together?

It is a very simple thing. You say you have moments of great ecstasy, full of juice, but you become drowned in that juice; the ecstasy is so overwhelming you forget to be watchful. You become immersed in that ecstasy; the witness is not there. And then you say there are moments when you are sad, bored, but the witness is there.

You just have to put things in their right place. Start from your boredom and sadness, because the witness is there and the witness is going to be the bridge. So when you are sad and bored, just watch it, as if it is something outside of you – it is. You are always a witness – now you are witnessing sadness and boredom.

It is easy to witness sadness and boredom, because who wants to get immersed in boredom? But this is of tremendous importance because you can learn the whole art while you are bored.

Just watch it, and as your witnessing grows you will see there is a distance between you and the boredom, the sadness, the misery, the pain, the anguish. You are not part of all that experience; you are standing high above on the hills, a watcher on the hills, and everything else is moving down deep in the dark valley.

You already have the secret, just practice it more and more. Just sit by the side of a donkey, sit by the side of a buffalo; go on looking at the buffalo and you will be bored! All around you can find objects which will be immensely helpful for you. You need not wait for moments to come, because who knows when the buffalo will come to you? Why not go to the buffalo?

You can just go to our cattle, sit amongst them, and you will be bored. Those cattle will go on munching the grass – do you think you will start munching the grass? You will not get involved in that. Sitting amongst the cattle, amongst the buffaloes, you will find yourself just a witness.

Don’t become sad, don’t become bored. Let the boredom be there, let the sadness be there; you remain just a witness. And it is easier in such situations.

Once you have strengthened your witness, then let those moments of ecstasy, heights… try your witnessing then. It will be a little difficult there; one wants to jump into that groovy space. Who wants to sit on the bank and watch? – because one is afraid one may be simply watching and the moment will go.

Don’t be worried. If you witness, the moment will remain there and will grow deeper, bigger, more colorful. But not at any point have you to become identified with it. Remain detached, just a spectator.

The art is the same; whether it is boredom or ecstasy does not matter. What matters is that you are not involved, you remain aloof, you remain standing there.

There is a Zen story I have loved very much. Three friends had gone for a morning walk, and then they suddenly saw on the hill a Zen monk standing.

One of the friends said, “I think he must have come with his friends; they must have been left behind and he is waiting for them.”

The other said, “I cannot agree with you, because seeing that man I can say one thing is certain; he is not waiting for somebody who has been left behind, because he never looks back. He is just standing like a statue. Anybody who is waiting for somebody who is left behind will once in a while look, to see whether the fellow has come or not. But he is unmoving.

“He is not waiting for any friend. I think… I know this monk; he has a cow and the cow must have been lost in the thick forest. And that is the highest place from where he can look all over the forest and find the cow.”

The third man said, “You have forgotten your own argument. If he was looking for the cow then he would be looking all around. He would not just stand there like a statue, focused in one direction; that is not the way of looking for a lost cow.” He said, “As far as I can tell, he is doing his morning meditation.”

But the other two said that the basic philosophy of Zen is that you can meditate anywhere, you can meditate doing anything. What was the need to go to that hill in the early morning, in the cold, and stand there to meditate? “He could have meditated in his cozy monastery where they have a special meditation temple. He could have been there – what was the need to go? No, we cannot agree.”

They argued; finally they said, “It is better we go to the hill. It will be a waste of time but there is no other way to settle what he is doing.” Such is the curiosity of the human mind – very monkeyish.

Now why trouble yourself? Let him do whatever he is doing. If he is searching for his cow it is his business; if he is waiting for his friend, it is his friend; if he is meditating it is his business – why should you poke your nose into it? But that’s how people are.

They became so excited arguing with each other that they decided, “We have to go.” They forgot that they had come just for a small morning walk, and going to the hill will take hours, then coming down the hill… the sun will be almost directly overhead. But the question… they have to come to a conclusion. And in fact they want to prove that “I am right.” Each of them wants to prove that “I am right.” Now the only man who can decide is that monk.

They reached – huffing, puffing. The monk was standing there with half-closed eyes. That is the Buddhist way – to keep the eyes half closed when you are meditating, because if you close your eyes completely you may doze into sleep; that is more possible than going into meditation. If you keep your eyes fully open you will get interested in thousands of things. A beautiful woman passes by, and meditation is lost, anything can disturb. So keep the eyes half closed so you don’t see exactly what is happening outside, and you have to keep your eyes half open so you don’t fall asleep.

The first man asked, “Master, we have heard much about you but we never had any chance to come to your monastery. Fortunately, we had come for a morning walk and we saw you. We have a question I want you to answer: Are you not waiting for somebody who has been left behind?”

The monk with half-closed eyes said, “I have nobody, I am alone. I was born alone, I will die alone, and between these two alonenesses I am not trying to fool myself that somebody is with me. I am alone and I am not waiting for anybody.”

The second man said happily, “Then certainly your cow has got lost in the thick forest and you must be looking for it.”

The monk said, “It seems strange idiots have come here! I don’t possess a single thing. I don’t have any cow, the monastery has it; that is not my business. And why should I waste my time looking for a cow?”

The third man was immensely happy. He said, “Now you cannot deny: you must be meditating. Is it not so? – you are doing your morning meditation!”

The monk laughed; he said, “You are the worst idiot of the three! Meditation is not done, it is not a doing. You can be in meditation but you cannot do it. It is a state. So certainly I am not doing meditation. I am in meditation, but for that I need not come to this hill; anywhere I am in meditation.

Meditation is my consciousness.

“So you all get lost! And never disturb anybody who is standing with half-closed eyes, remember it.”

But they all three said, “Forgive us – we are stupid, certainly we are stupid to walk miles and to ask you such…. We are feeling embarrassed. But now that we have come and now that we accept we are stupid, just one question from all of the three, not separate: Then what are you doing?”

And the master said nothing.

In that nothing is the witness.

When you witness, you will be surprised that the boredom, the sadness, the blissfulness, the ecstasy – whatever it is – starts moving away from you. As your witnessing goes deeper, stronger, becomes more crystallized, any experience – good or bad, beautiful or ugly – disappears. There is pure nothingness all around you.

Witnessing is the only thing that can make you aware of an immense nothingness surrounding you.

And in that immense nothingness…. It is not empty, remember. In English there is no word to translate the Buddhist word shunyata. In that nothingness… it is not empty, it is full of your witness, full of your witnessing, full of the light of your witness.

You become almost a sun, and rays from the sun are moving into the nothingness to infinity.

One of the Indian mystics, Kabir, has said, “My first experience was that of a sun, and as my experience went on growing… the outer sun is nothing; the inner sun is infinite. Its light fills the whole infinity of existence. And in that moment I am only a witness; I am there.”

So start witnessing your boredom, sadness, because the question is not the object, the question is the art of witnessing. So use any object – anger, hate, love, jealousy – anything will do. If you cannot find anything just put up a mirror and look at your face and witness it. And you will be surprised, immensely surprised; when you are in a complete state of witnessing the mirror becomes empty, you are not there.

In total witnessing the object disappears.

You will be able for the first time to see the mirror just as nothingness.

Start from things which are easier, and then go on moving to things which are groovier. The bridge is simple.

-Osho

From From Death to Deathlessness, Discourse #24

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.