The Centre is the Master

One friend asks how a person should find the internal centre that is mentioned by Lao Tzu and develop its hunger.

Sit with your eyes closed and think, “Where is the centre of my body?” We live through our body, but it is an unfortunate fact that we do not give any thought to the centre of our body. We are completely ignorant of the pivot on which the body functions. Many people believe the head to be the centre of all body functions because it is in the brain that all activities seem to take place.

The fact is, however, that the brain forms much later. When the child is conceived, there is no brain and yet life functions. But that which is formed later, cannot be the centre. People who are emotional, like most women, artists, poets, feel the centre to be the heart because whatever these people have known and experienced — love, beauty and the like — are things that have had a direct impact on their heart. That is why, when people talk of love, their hand inadvertently goes to their heart. So those who are emotional take the heart to be the centre of the body.

But the heart does not beat until the child takes its first breath. The child hears the mother’s heart beat within. Therefore, the sound “tick-tick” causes not only children but also adults to fall asleep. The sound of water dripping, or the ticking of a watch, induces sleep. Doctors say that the ticking of a clock is a very good tranquilizer. The heart in the embryo does not function like a heart and yet the child is alive.

Therefore, the heart also is not the centre. Lao Tzu says, “The navel is the centre and not the heart or the brain.” The child is joined to the mother by its navel. The first glimpse of life comes through the navel. This is scientifically correct.

So, search within. Lao Tzu says, “Keep searching within and bring your consciousness to the level of the navel centre. That is the first step of sadhana.” When the authentic centre and the centre of your understanding become one, you will become a united, integrated whole. When the centre of your mind, the centre of your consciousness and your authentic centre concentrate and converge into a single focus, you will find that your life has changed. You are now a new person altogether.

Lao Tzu’s disciples have, for ages, been carrying out a simple experiment to prove that you cannot grow unless you locate your centre within. The experiment is this. Take two small tanks of equal dimensions. Fill them with water. Insert an iron rod in the middle of one tank, leaving the other as it is. Put two identical fish and put one in each tank. Given the same conditions and the same diet, you will be surprised to find that the fish in the tank with the iron-rod in the centre develops quickly, whereas the growth of the fish in the other tank, which is without the central rod, is slower. The fish in the former tank swims around and around the rod, while the fish in the second tank has no centre. It swims here and there listlessly in the absence of a centre and is also more prone to illness.

This experiment has been religiously carried out by the followers of Lao Tzu for hundreds of years and it has always been found that the fish in the tank with the centre rod has always been well-developed and healthy, whereas the fish in the other tank was stunted in growth and unhealthy.

The followers of Lao Tzu maintain that a person who succeeds in locating his centre finds his consciousness revolving around and around this centre. It is only then that his consciousness begins to develop. Those who do not find their centres remain stunted and lifeless, like the fish in the second tank, because they have no centre, no base around which they can revolve and develop. They cannot find their direction: where they should go, what they should do. By revolving round the same circumference, the consciousness develops.

Lao Tzu says: “Your consciousness becomes concentrated when it discovers the navel centre. Then it begins to revolve around it.” Lao Tzu says: “When you walk, keep your attention on the navel. When you sit, keep your mind on the navel; when you get up, be aware of the navel. Do what you will, but let your consciousness always move around the navel.” Become a fish and go round and round the navel, and you will soon discover a new, powerful consciousness arising within you. The results are wondrous!

There are many experiments you carry out. You are sitting on a chair. Now, Lao Tzu says your way of sitting on the chair is wrong, therefore, you get tired. He says, “Do not sit on the chair.” This does not mean you are not actually to sit on the chair; that you should sit on the ground. Lao Tzu says, “Sit on the chair but do not put your weight on the chair. Put all your weight on the navel.”

You can carry out the experiment right away. It is only a matter of emphasis. When we put all our weight on the chair the emphasis is in the chair. The chair becomes the all in all. You are merely like a coat hanging on a peg. If the peg breaks, you fall down, like a coat which has no centre of its own and which depends on the peg for its centre. Lao Tzu says you will tire yourself this way because you are not acting like an animate, conscious being and are depending entirely on an inanimate object.

Lao Tzu says: “Sit on the chair but be fixed at your own centre at the navel.” Hang everything on the peg of the navel. Hours will go by and you will find no sign of fatigue. If a man begins to live by hanging his consciousness on the peg of the navel-centre, all mental-fatigue vanishes. A unique freshness pervades his mind, a serene calmness flows within him and he gains a self-confidence which only those who have found their centre attain.

So the first step in this sadhana is to find your centre and to continue your efforts till the consciousness reaches not only the navel but two inches below the navel. Then one should begin to keep this centre always in mind. When one breathes in, this centre should rise up; when one breathes out, this centre should go down. Then, a constant japa begins: the rising of the centre with the incoming breath and the falling of the centre with the outgoing breath. If this becomes a conscious act, it yields great results. This is very difficult of course in the beginning, because remembrance is the most difficult thing to do. Constant remembrance is even more difficult. You might say, “That is not such a difficult thing at all. I can recollect the name of a person even after six years!” This is not remembrance. This is recollection smriti.

Understand the difference. Recollection means you know something; you pass it on to your memory for recording. The memory stores this information and reproduces it on demand. Remembrance smaran means, constant, non-stop remembering. Try it a little: Observe the rising and falling of your abdomen as the breath comes and goes for just five minutes. After two seconds you will find that you have forgotten. You have started to do something else. Then you will be perturbed. You could not concentrate for even two seconds? The respiration was going on as usual; the abdomen also rose and fell accordingly, but you were not there. Then again bring back your remembrance.

If you strive continuously, your remembrance will increase — second by second. When you find that you can observe the breath constantly without a simple break for three minutes — and this short interval of three minutes will seem like three year — then you will find that you have begun to experience the centre correctly. Then you will feel the body to be separate from the centre.

This centre is the centre of energy. One who is united to this centre, reaches infinite exaltation because he is constantly receiving infinite energy. So, keep a constant remembrance of the navel centre and let your consciousness revolve around it constantly. That is the temple. Keep circling around this temple. Whatever the state within you — whether there is anger or hatred, jealousy or misery or happiness — whatever the state, your first duty is to return to the navel. Then do whatever you wish.

Someone gives you news of the death of a loved one. Go back to the navel. Then let the news go within you. “Then,” Lao Tzu says, “No one’s death will cause a blow to the mind.” You may not have observed, or perhaps you have or maybe you realised later on, recollecting the incident — that whenever you have been given news of great joy or sorrow, the first effect has always been on the navel. You are walking on the road, or cycling, or going in a car, and suddenly an accident occurs. The first impact is on the navel. It begins to tremble. Then, the whole body begins to tremble.

Lao Tzu says, “Whenever anything happens, go back first to the navel centre.” Your first work is remembrance of the navel. Then, do what you like. Then happiness will not make you mad with joy, and sorrow will fail to make you unhappy. Then your centre will stand apart from the happenings that take place on the periphery. Then you remain the witness only. Yoga says, “Practice the sadhana of witnessing.” Lao Tzu says. “Remember the navel centre constantly and the witness state will result by itself.”

You will step outside of birth and death the day you become conscious of your navel centre, because this centre arises before birth and is the only thing that remains after death, when all else is lost. So he who knows and recognizes his navel centre, knows that there is no birth for him nor death. He becomes beyond birth and death.

Keep constant remembrance. Seek the centre and keep incessant remembrance smaran. The first thing is to find the centre, second is to keep on remembering it, and third is to remember the frequent loss of the remembrance. “This is going to be rather difficult however. People come to me and say, “I try to keep my attention on the nabhi, the navel, but I cannot. What should I do?”

To this I say: Keep attention on the fact that you have lost attention. Make it a part of your meditation. Be attentive to inattention also: don’t let it pass unnoticed by you. Whenever you slip, be conscious of the slip and you will go back to remembrance, the current of meditation will join the mainstream again.

Now, the last thing. When the remembrance is complete and the centre becomes clear to you — when you experience the centre — then surrender everything to the centre. Say to the centre, “You alone are the master. Release me!” This surrender is easy.

Surrender is very difficult until the centre is experienced. People say, “Surrender to God,” but we have no knowledge of God. How is surrender to an unknown entity possible? And even if God is known, you still remain the owner of your surrender. If you feel sometime that God is not to your taste, you will withdraw your surrender. We are the givers and we are the withdrawers — what can God do? But the surrender that can be withdrawn is no surrender; in fact, it was never surrender.

Lao Tzu’s method is different. Lao Tzu says: “The day the centre is known and felt, you begin to understand and experience that the centre is the master that does not need your assistance. The breath comes and goes; sleep comes, then awakening; birth happens, then death. The current of life flows on from the centre, without your help.” Then the question of surrendering does not arise because surrender just happens.

So the third and last stage of sadhana is to experience the surrender to the centre. Then there is no way for the ego to save itself. In the state of such surrender a person reach s the highest attainment.

-Osho

From The Way of Tao, Vol. 2, Chapter 7

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Hara, the Third Eye and Zen – Osho

I heard you say that the center of our Buddhahood is at the hara  point inside the body. Is there also a sleeping buddha energy in our hearts and in the third eye? 

Do we all have the same potential of remembering, each one with his or her unique expression of creativity? 

Please comment. 

The hara center is the source of all your energy. It can grow just like a tree grows from the roots into different branches.

According to a different calculation of Patanjali, the energy can be divided into seven centers, but the original source remains the hara. From the hara it can go up.

The seventh center is in the head, and the sixth center is what you call the third eye. The fifth center is in our throat, and the fourth center is exactly in the middle: the heart. Below the heart there are three centers, above the heart there are three centers. But all these seven centers grow like a tree from the original source of the hara. That’s why, in Japanese, suicide is called hara-kiri. People don’t cut their throats, they don’t cut their heads. They simply pierce a small knife into the hara center – just exactly two inches below the navel – and the person dies. And you will not know at all that somebody has committed suicide. Just the energy is released from the body, the source is opened.

I am trying to take you to the very original source. From there, it is up to you to bring your energy into any center you want.

Between the first center, the hara, and the seventh center in the head, the energy can move just like the energy moves into different branches of a tree – from the roots to the uppermost flowering. The hara is the source. When it blossoms, it reaches suddenly to the seventh center, piercing your heart, your throat, and at the seventh center it blossoms as a lotus. Man is also a flowering tree.

These are different ways of looking at things. Patanjali’s yoga is one of the ways; Zen is a totally different approach. To me, Zen seems to be more scientific, while Patanjali seems to be more intellectual and philosophical. Zen begins from the very source.

The buddha is not lying anywhere else other than in the hara; he is not lying in the heart. The energy can be brought to the heart, then the expression will be love. The energy can be brought to the third eye, then you will be able to see things which are not ordinarily visible – auras of people, auras of things, a certain kind of X-ray energy that goes deeper into things. If the same energy moves into the seventh center, according to Patanjali, samadhi is attained – you become enlightened.

But these are different calculations. Rather than talking about samadhi, I would rather encourage you to enter into the source of energy from where everything is going to happen. I don’t like to talk about the flowers much, because that talk will remain simply conceptual. My approach is more pragmatic.

I want you to experience your sleeping energy. And the moment you reach there, it awakens. It sleeps only if you are not there. If your awareness reaches to the source, it wakes up, and in its waking is the Buddhahood. In its waking you become for the first time part of existence: no ego, no self, a pure nothingness.

People are afraid of the word ‘nothingness’. In the second question that fear is clear.

The second question is:

Though you have infused the sutras with life and humor, for me, Zen remains the stark beauty of the desert, and I long for something else.

Why can’t I drop the idea that my way is not via emptiness, but fullness? I still carry this longing for some kind of union, a melting outwards rather than dissolving into nothingness inside.

With whom are you going to melt outside? You don’t know even who you are. And who has told you that Zen is a “stark beauty of the desert”? Zen is perhaps the most beautiful path, full of flowers, songs, joy and laughter.

But the idea of nothingness creates a certain fear of dissolving into a desert. It is just your mind that makes the difference between emptiness and fullness. In realizing either, you will be realizing the other too, because they are two aspects of one thing, of one phenomenon which can either be called nothingness, or can be called fullness.

Zen has chosen rightly to call it nothingness, because fullness can give you misunderstandings. The moment you think of fullness you start imagining. The moment you think of melting into someone outside, immediately a God, a paradise, a heaven, and all kinds of imaginations arise. And those imaginations will prevent you from going anywhere.

I am not helping your imagination at all. I am trying to uproot your imagination in every possible way. I want to leave you without images, in utter silence, in nothingness, because that is the only way to attain fullness.

When the dewdrop disappears in the ocean, it is not that it becomes nothing. Yes, it becomes nothing but it also becomes the ocean. In its disappearing as a dewdrop, on the other side it is also becoming the whole ocean. So the fullness and nothingness are not two things, only two concepts of the mind, but in reality, only two ways of saying one thing. Emptiness, or nothingness, is better because it does not allow any imagination to arise.

Fullness is dangerous. If rightly used there is no problem. Fullness will also dissolve God, and paradise, and heaven and hell, and incarnation. But mind is capable of using the idea of fullness in a way that it cannot use the word ‘nothingness’. To prevent the mind from using the word ‘fullness’ and preventing you from realizing the reality, from Gautam Buddha onwards the word ‘nothingness’ has been chosen. But nothingness is not absence; nothingness is not dead. Nothingness is fullness, but so full that you cannot define it, and you cannot make a limit or a boundary to it.

Unbounded fullness and nothingness, in experience, mean exactly the same. But for the beginner, the word ‘fullness’ is dangerous – and everybody is a beginner.

Begin with something which is less capable of taking you astray from reality. Fullness can be used only by a master who knows that nothingness and fullness are synonymous. But for the beginner it is dangerous, because for him fullness means something opposed to nothingness. If ‘fullness’ is synonymous with ‘nothingness’, then there is no problem. Then the desert becomes the ocean, then there is only beauty and song and dance.

Nothingness gives the idea to the mind that everything will be lost. You will be lost, but the truth is, the moment everything is lost, including you, you have gained the whole universe – all the stars within you, and the vast universe inside your heart. It is not losing anything, so don’t be worried about nothing.

The questioner goes on:

Is this just my refusal to grow up? Am I fooling myself? Are we all to embrace the Zen Manifesto no matter what ‘type’ we feel we are?

There is no question of type. All types are just superficial. At the innermost core there is only one existence. The Zen Manifesto is not for a particular type, it is for all – for men and for women, and for black and white, and for Hindu and Mohammedan, and for Christian and Buddhist. It does not matter what kind of conditioning you have been brought up in, Zen is simply a technique of entering into your veryness. The entrance is so deep that nothing remains, and all is found.

Gurdjieff has written a book, All and Nothing. I would like to withdraw the word ‘and’, because all is nothing; there is no question of ‘and’. Whatever type you are – introvert, extrovert – it does not matter, you are all part of the same existence. And when you relax into existence, all your differences disappear; only oneness remains. You can call that oneness whatever you like, but basically it is nothingness. You can give it any color; you can call it by any name, but don’t start calling it by another name from the beginning, because that can take you astray. Somebody may think that he can call it God, then he will start worshipping a God which is man manufactured.

For the beginner, nothing is the most secure path to avoid the mind playing games. Nothing is beyond the reaches of the mind, so it cannot play games with it. But anything else you name it, mind is capable of playing games with it.

The whole effort of meditation is not to allow the mind to play games. It has been playing games for centuries. One has to come to the point of seeing all the games of the mind: all the gods, all the messiahs, all the prophets, all the religions, all the philosophies.

Existence is available to a silent being, not to the learned, not to the well informed, not to the scholar. It is available to the innocent, and meditation is a way of becoming innocent again. Getting back your childhood, being reborn, knowing nothing, a silence, a joy, a blissfulness arises which is indestructible, which is eternal.

-Osho

From The Zen Manifesto: Freedom from Oneself, Chapter Seven

The Zen Manifesto

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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Go Beyond Through Experiencing – Osho

Is the quality and expression of one’s enlightenment richer, deeper and more creative if one allows oneself to complete one’s worldly trips, rather than dropping them in the name of spirituality?

Certainly! How can you drop if you have not lived your life totally? If you have not known sex, how can you drop it? It will linger, it will surround you in subtle ways; it will become an undercurrent in your unconscious. How can you drop anger if you have not lived it?

Nothing can be dropped without experiencing it in totality. Only total experience helps you to go beyond.

The spirituality that comes without experiencing life is impotent. That is the difference that I want to bring to your consciousness. That kind of spirituality has existed on the earth down the ages… and that’s why man is so ugly. It is because of that kind of spirituality. It has made you repressed; it has not transformed you. It was against this, against that – against everything! It was against life, it was anti-life. It has not allowed you to live your life joyously – to see, to feel, to experience, and to go beyond through experiencing.

Knowledge liberates – not the knowledge that you gather from scriptures, but the knowledge that comes through experience. You become angry again and again and again… and you start feeling the foolishness of it, the utter ridiculousness of it, the poisonousness of it, the destructiveness of it. One day the fruit is ripe – not that you decide: ”I will never be angry” – but just the fruit is ripe and it falls of its own accord. And anger disappears as if it had never existed in you; it simply evaporates.

Live your life. Live a life of variety, a multi-dimensional life, and you will be richer. And, naturally, when a man has lived in all the dimensions of his life and comes to enlightenment, his experience is going to be richer. At least his expression is going to be richer.

And finally: you can only come to enlightenment when you have lived truly. Those who think that they have come to enlightenment without living life are only deceiving themselves and nobody else. They are carrying the whole world in them – unlived, it remains there. Seeds they are carrying.

Patanjali divides samadhi, enlightenment, into two types: samadhi with seed and samadhi without seed. What he calls sabeej samadhi – samadhi with seed – is when you have not lived and subtle desires are still hankering to be fulfilled. You have repressed the seed but it is there, and it will assert itself when the right season arrives. When the spring comes, it may start sprouting again.

You can repress your sex for your whole life, but even at the moment of death it may assert itself.

Repression is not revolution. Revolution is through experience. Maturity is through experience.

Enlightenment is ultimate maturity, beyond which there is none else. How can you find a shortcut to it? – there is none. You have to go through the whole life… tasting its sweetness and its bitterness, feeling its agonies and its ecstasies, watching its ups and downs, the sunlit peaks and the dark nights in the valley, the sadness and the joy of it – all has to be lived.

You have to be a sinner and a saint! One who is only a saint is a poor saint, and one who is only a sinner is a poor sinner – you have to be saintsinner or sinnersaint. You have to live all that God makes available to you. You have to live it unconditionally. And then one day… the quantum leap, the enlightenment.

-Osho

Excerpt from Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind, Chapter Four  

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Go Beyond Through Experiencing.

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

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The Four Spheres of Teilhard de Chardin and The Heart Sutra – Osho

Teilhard de Chardin divides human evolution into four stages. The first he calls geosphere, the second, biosphere, the third, noosphere, and the fourth, christosphere. These four stages are immensely significant. They have to be understood. Understanding them will help you to understand the climax of the Heart Sutra.

The geosphere. It is the state of consciousness which is absolutely asleep, the state of matter. Matter is consciousness asleep. Matter is not against consciousness; matter is a state of consciousness asleep, not yet awakened. A rock is a sleeping Buddha; one day or other the rock is going to become a Buddha. It may take millions of years—that doesn’t matter. The difference will be only of time, and time does not matter much in this eternity. That’s why in the East we have been making statues out of stone—that’s very symbolic: the rock and the Buddha are bridged through a stone statue. The rock is the lowest and Buddha is the highest. The stone statue says that even in stone is hidden a Buddha. The stone statue says that Buddha is nothing but the rock come to manifestation; the rock has expressed its whole potential.

This is the first stage: geosphere. It is matter, it is unconsciousness, it is sleep, it is pre-life. In this state there is no freedom, because freedom enters through consciousness. In this state there is only cause-and-effect. Law is absolute. Not even an accident is possible. Freedom is not known. Freedom enters only as a shadow of consciousness; the more conscious you become, the more free. Hence Buddha is called a mukta—utterly free. The rock is utterly in bondage, fettered from everywhere, from all sides, in all dimensions. The rock is soul in imprisonment; Buddha is the soul on wings. There are no longer any chains, any bondages, any imprisonments; no walls surround Buddha. He has no borders to his being. His being is as vast as existence itself. He is one with the whole.

But in the world of the geosphere, cause-and-effect is the only dhamma, the only law, the only Tao. Science is still confined to the geosphere, because it still goes on thinking in terms of cause-and-effect. Modern science is a very rudimentary science, very primitive, because it cannot conceive of anything more than matter. Its conception is very limited, and hence it is creating more misery than it solves. Its vision is so finite; its vision is so tiny, small, that it cannot reconcile itself with the totality of existence. It is looking from a tiny hole and thinks that’s all. Science is still confined to the geosphere. Science is still in bondage, it has not yet got wings. It will get wings only when it starts moving beyond cause-and-effect.

Yes, little sparks are there. The nuclear physicist is entering into the world which is beyond cause-and-effect, crossing the boundary. Hence, the principle of uncertainty is arising, arising with great force. Cause-and-effect is the principle of certainty: you do this and this is bound to happen. You heat the water to a hundred degrees and the water evaporates—that’s cause-and-effect. The water has no freedom. It cannot say, “Today I am not in the mood, and I am not going to evaporate at a hundred degrees! I simply say no!” No, it cannot say that; it cannot resist, it cannot fight against the law. It is very law-abiding, very obedient. Some other day, when the water is feeling very happy, it cannot say, “You need not bother too much. I am going to evaporate at fifty degrees. I am going to oblige you.” No, that is not possible.

The old physics, the old science, had no glimpse about the principle of uncertainty. The principle of uncertainty means the principle of freedom. Now, little glimpses are happening.

Now they are not so certain as they used to be. Now they see that at the deepest, in matter too there is a certain quality of freedom. It is very difficult to say whether the electron is a particle or a wave: it behaves both ways, sometimes this way, sometimes that way. And there is no way to predict it. It is a quanta. And not only that—its freedom is such that sometimes simultaneously it behaves like a wave and like a particle. That is utterly impossible for the old scientist even to conceive or understand. Aristotle would not be able to understand it; Newton would not be able to understand it. That is impossible to see. That is saying that something is behaving like a line and a dot simultaneously; it is illogical. How can something behave like a dot and a line? Either it is a line or it is a dot.

But now the physicist is starting to have glimpses of the innermost core of matter. In a very, very roundabout way they are stumbling on one of the greatest factors of life: freedom.

But in the geosphere it doesn’t exist. It is sushupti.

The word sushupti means absolute sleep—not even a dream stirs. The rocks are not even dreaming, they cannot dream. To dream they will have to be a little more conscious. The rock is simply there. It has no personality; it has no soul—at least not in actuality. It cannot even dream; its sleep is undisturbed. Day, night, year-in, year-out, it goes on sleeping. For millennia it has slept, and for millennia it will sleep. Not even a dream disturbs it.

In yoga we divide consciousness into four stages. They are very, very relevant to de Chardin’s division. The first is sushupti, deep sleep. The geosphere corresponds to that. The geosphere is more like death than like life. That’s why matter appears to be dead. It is not. It is waiting for its life to grow, it is like a seed. It appears dead: it is waiting for its right moment to explode into life. But right now it is dead. There is no mind. Remember, in the last stage also there will be no mind again. A Buddha is in a state of no-mind, and the rock is also in the state of no-mind. Hence the significance of a stone statue: the meeting of two polarities. The rock being in a state of no-mind means the rock is still below mind. Buddha is in a state of no-mind: that means Buddha has gone beyond mind. There is a similarity, just as there is a similarity between a child and a saint. The child is below mind, the saint is beyond mind. The rock will have to go through all the turmoil of life the Buddha has passed through. He has gone and gone and gone, and gone beyond, utterly beyond. But there is a similarity: he again exists in a state of no-mind. He has become so fully conscious that the mind is not needed. The rock is so unconscious that the mind cannot exist. In the rock the unconscious is absolute; hence the mind is not possible. In the Buddha the consciousness is absolute and the mind is not needed. Let me explain it to you; it is one of the most important things to learn, to understand.

Mind is needed only because you are not really conscious. If you are really conscious, then there is insight, there is no thinking. Then you act out of insight, you don’t act out of your mind. Mind is not needed then. When you see a thing as true, that very seeing becomes your action.

For example, you are in a house and the house is on fire. You see it—it is not a thinking. You simply see it, and you jump out of the house. You don’t wait, you don’t ponder, you don’t brood over it. You don’t inquire, you don’t consult books, you don’t go to ask somebody’s advice about what to do.

You are coming from an evening walk, and just on the road you come across a snake. You jump! Before any thinking enters, you jump. It is not out of thinking that you jump, it is out of insight. The great danger is there—the very danger makes you alive, intense, conscious, and you take the jump out of consciousness. It is a no-mind jump.

But these moments are rare in your life because you are not yet ready to live your consciousness intensely and totally. For Buddha, that is his normal way. He lives so totally that the mind is never needed, never consulted.

The first sphere, the geosphere, is a no-mind sphere. There is no self, obviously, because without the mind the self cannot exist. Again, in the fourth, there will be no self – because without the mind how can the self exist? The mind needs to function out of a center; hence it creates the ego, the self. The mind has to keep itself in control; the mind has to keep itself in a certain pattern, order. It has to hold itself. To hold itself it creates a center, because only through the center can it keep control. Without a center it will not be able to keep control. So once the mind comes in, ego is on the way. Sooner or later the mind will need the ego.

Without the ego the mind will not be able to function. Otherwise who will control, who will manage, who will manipulate, who will plan, who will dream, who will project? And who will be there to be referred to as a constant thing?—Because the mind goes on changing. One thought after another… it is a procession of thoughts. You will be lost if you don’t have any ego: you will not know who you are, and where you are going, and for what.

In the geosphere there is no mind, no self, and no time. It is below time. Time has not entered yet. The rock knows no past, no present, no future. And so is it the case with Buddha. He also is beyond time. He knows no past, no present, no future. He lives in eternity. In fact that is the real meaning of being in the present. Being in the present does not mean that space which is between past and future. In the dictionary that is the meaning given: the space between past and future is called the present. But that is not the present. What kind of present is this? It is already becoming past; it is going out of existence. This moment, if you call it ‘present’, the moment you have called it ‘present’ it is already gone into the past; it is no longer present. And that moment you were calling ‘future’—the moment you called it ‘future’ it has become the present and is moving towards becoming a past. This present is not a real present.

The present that is between past and future is just part of past and future, of the time procession.

The present that I talk about, the now that I talk about, or the Buddha talks about, or Christ when he says, “Don’t think of the morrow. See the lilies in the field—they toil not, they spin not, and look how beautiful they are. How incredibly beautiful! Even Solomon was not so beautiful arrayed in all his glory. Look at the lilies of the field…” Those lilies are living in a kind of nowness; they don’t know the past, they don’t know the future.

The Buddha knows no past, no future, and no present. He knows no division. That’s the state of eternity. Then the now is absolutely there. There is only now, and only here, and nothing else. But the rock is also in that state—unconscious, of course.

The second sphere is the biosphere. It means life, pre-consciousness. The first sphere was matter, the second sphere is life: trees, animals, birds. The rock cannot move, the rock has no life anywhere, not visible anywhere. The tree has more life, the animal still more, the bird still more. The tree is rooted in the ground, cannot move much. It moves a little bit, sways, but cannot move much; it has not that much freedom. A little freedom is certainly there, but the animal has more freedom. He can move, he can choose a little more freedom–where to go, what to do. The bird has even a little more freedom—it can fly. This is the sphere called the biosphere, the life sphere. It is pre-consciousness; just rudimentary consciousness is coming into being. The rock was absolutely unconscious. You cannot say the tree is so absolutely unconscious. Yes, it is unconscious, but something of the consciousness is filtering in, a ray of consciousness is coming in. And the animal is a little more conscious.

The first state corresponds with Patanjali’s sushupti—deep, deep sleep. The second state corresponds with Patanjali’s swabana, the dream state. Consciousness is coming like a dream.

Yes, dogs dream. You can see—you can watch a dog asleep and you will see he is dreaming.

In dream sometimes, he will try to catch flies. And sometimes you will see he is sad, and sometimes you will see he looks happy. Watch a cat, and sometimes she is jumping on a mouse in her dream, and you can see what she is doing in the dream—eating the mouse, cleaning her mustache. You can watch the cat: dream has entered, things are happening in the world of consciousness. Consciousness is surfacing. Cause-effect is still predominant, but not so much as in a rock. A little freedom becomes possible, and hence accidents start happening. The animal has a little bit of freedom. He can choose a few things, he can be temperamental: he can be in a good mood and be friendly towards you; he can be in a bad mood and will not be friendly towards you. A little bit of decision has come into his being, but a very little bit, just the beginning. The self is not yet integrated. It is a very loose self, hodgepodge, but it is coming up. The structure is taking shape, the form is arising.

The animal is past-oriented; it lives out of the past. The animal has no idea of the future—it cannot plan for the future, it cannot think ahead. Even if sometimes it thinks ahead, that is very, very fragmentary. For example when the animal is feeling hungry it can think ahead, a few hours ahead–that he will get food. He has to wait. But the animal cannot think about one month, two months, three months into the future. The animal cannot conceive of years; it has no calendar, no time concept. It is past-oriented. Whatsoever has been happening in the past it expects to happen in the future too. Its future is more or less the same as the past; it is a repetition. It is past-dominated. Time is entering through the past; self is entering through the past.

The third sphere is the noosphere; mind, self-consciousness arises. The first was unconsciousness, the second was pre-consciousness, the third is self-consciousness.

Consciousness comes, but there is a calamity with it—the self. It cannot come otherwise; the self is a necessary evil. Consciousness comes with the idea of ‘I’. Reflection starts, thinking starts, personality comes into existence. And with mind comes future orientation: man lives in the future, animals live in the past.

Developed societies live in the future; undeveloped societies live in the past. Primitive people still live in the past. Only civilized people live in the future. To live in the future is a higher state than to live in the past. Young people live in the future, old people start living in the past. Young people are more alive than old people. New countries, new cultures, live in the future. For example, America lives in the future, India lives in the past. India goes on carrying five thousand, ten thousand years of past. It is such a burden, it is so difficult to carry it, it is crushing, but one goes on carrying it. It is the heritage, and one is very much proud of the past.

To be proud of the past is simply an uncivilized state. One has to reach into the future; one has to grope into the future. The past is no more, the future is going to be—one has to prepare for it.

You can watch it in many ways. The Indian mind is thrilled only by past events. Still, people go on playing the drama of Rama every year, and they are very thrilled. Thousands of years have passed and they have been playing the same drama again and again and again, and again they will play it. And they are very thrilled. They were not so thrilled when the first man walked on the moon; they were not so thrilled as they were and have always been thrilled by the drama of Rama. They know the story, they have seen it many times, but it is their heritage; they are very proud of it.

You will be surprised to know that there are Hindu mahatmas and Jaina mahatmas in India who have been trying to prove that man has not walked on the moon, that the Americans are deceiving. Why?—Because the moon is a god. How can you walk on the moon? And there are people who listen to them and follow them.

A Jaina monk came to see me once in Gujarat and he said, “Support me… and I have got thousands of followers!” And he did have. And the whole thing, the theme of his life, was that the Americans have been deceiving, that those photographs are all photographic tricks that have been produced, that those rocks that have been brought from the moon have been brought from Siberia or from somewhere on the planet. Nobody has ever gone and nobody can ever go to the moon, because in the Jaina shastras, in the Jaina scriptures, it is written that the moon is a god. How can you walk on God? This is past-orientation. This is very deadening.

That’s why India cannot grow, it cannot evolve, it cannot progress. It is stuck with the past.

With the noosphere, with mind, self-consciousness, reflection, thought, personality, future-orientation comes into being. And the more you start preparing for the future, the more anxious, of course, you become. So Americans are the most tense people, restless. Indians are very restful, so restful that they don’t have any efficiency at all. Do you know that when Indians change an electric bulb, three Indians are needed? —One to hold the bulb and two to turn the ladder. Very restful people, relaxed; they don’t suffer from any anxiety, they don’t know what anxiety really is.

Anxiety enters with the future, because you have to plan. You cannot just go on repeating the old ways of your life. And when you do something new there is a possibility of a mistake, more possibility of a mistake. The more you try the new, the more anxious you become. That’s why, psychologically, America is the most disturbed country, India the most undisturbed.

Animals don’t have anxiety. To live in the past is a lower state of mind—of course more comfortable, more convenient. And the Hindu mahatmas go on saying to the world, “Look how peaceful we are. No neurosis exists. Even if we starve, we starve very, very silently. Even if we die, we die very, very acceptingly. And you are going mad!”

But remember, progress comes through anxiety. With progress there is anxiety, there is trembling—of going wrong, of doing something wrong, of missing the point. With the past there is no problem: you go on repeating it. It is a settled past, the ways of it are perfectly known. You have traveled on them; your parents have traveled on them, and so on and so forth, backwards to Adam and Eve. Everybody has done it; there is no possibility of going wrong. With something new, anxiety, fear, fear of failure enters.

This third sphere, the noosphere, is the sphere of anxiety, tension. If you have to choose between the second and the third, choose the third, don’t choose the second. Although there is no need to choose between the third and the second, you can choose between the third and the fourth; then choose the fourth. Always choose the higher.

Remember, when I condemn the Indian mind, I am not condemning Buddha and I am not condemning Krishna. They have chosen the fourth: they are also at rest, they are also relaxed—but their relaxation comes from dropping time itself, not by living in the past. They are utterly relaxed; they have no anxiety, no neurosis. Their mind is a calm, ripple less lake – but not by choosing the second but by choosing the fourth; not by remaining below mind but by going beyond mind. But that’s how things go.

People have seen Buddha in India, and they have seen the silence, and they have seen the benediction of the man, and they have seen the grace, and they have seen that life can be lived in such relaxation… why not live such a life? But they have not made any effort to go to the fourth stage. On the contrary, they relapsed from the third and settled in the second stage. It gives something like Buddha’s silence; but it is ‘something like’, it is not exactly that. It is always easier to settle in the past and become more convenient and comfortable. Buddha has not settled with the past; he has not even settled with the future. He has not settled with time itself—he has dropped time, he has dropped the mind that creates time. He has dropped the ego that creates anxiety.

Indians have chosen to drop the future because that seems to create anxiety: “Future creates anxiety? You can drop the future.” Then you will slip back, you will relapse into the previous state. Drop the ego, and then you go beyond.

The third sphere is like what Patanjali calls wakefulness. The first is sleep, the second is dream, the third is wakefulness—your wakefulness of course, not the wakefulness of a Buddha. Your so-called wakefulness: eyes are open but dreams are roaming inside you; eyes are open but sleep is there inside you. You are full of sleep even when you are awake. This is the third state. And it is always helpful; if you become tired of the day, you fall into a dream—it gives you relaxation. Then you fall into deep sleep; it gives you even more relaxation. In the morning you are again fresh. You fall backwards to become restful because that is what you know already, and that is there in your system; you can go into it.

The fourth state has to be created; it is not in your system. It is your potential but you have never been in it before. It is arduous; it is going upstream, uphill. The fourth state is the christosphere—you can call it the Buddhasphere, it means the same thing; you can call it the

Krishnasphere, it means the same. With the third state there is kind of freedom, a pseudo-freedom, the freedom known as choice. This has to be understood, it is of great importance.

At the third stage you simply have a pseudo kind of freedom, and that freedom is the freedom of choice. For example, you say, “My country is religiously free.” That means you can choose: you can go to a church or to a temple, and the country and its law will not create any trouble for you. You can become a Mohammedan or a Hindu or a Christian—you can choose. ‘The country is free’ means you can choose your life, where you want to live, what you want to do, what you want to say. The choice of expression, the freedom—that you can say whatsoever you like, that you can do whatsoever you like, that you can choose any religious or political style; you can be a communist, you can be a fascist, you can be a liberal, you can be a democrat, and all that nonsense. You can choose. It is only a pseudo-freedom. Why do I call it pseudo freedom?—Because a mind which is full of thoughts cannot be free.

If you have lived for fifty years and your mind has been conditioned by your parents and the teachers and the society, do you think you can choose? You will choose out of your conditioning. How is it going to be a choice? First, you have been conditioned.

It is like when you hypnotize somebody. You can take somebody to Santosh, our hypnotist, and he can hypnotize him and tell him, “Tomorrow morning you will go to the market and you will purchase a certain kind of a cigarette, a certain brand.” He can suggest this to that person in deep hypnosis. Tomorrow morning he will get up and he will not have any idea that he is going to purchase a certain brand of cigarettes in the market, because the conditioning has entered into the unconscious, has been put in the unconscious. His conscious mind is unaware. He will not even have any idea of why he is going to the market. But he will find some rationalization: he will say, “Let us go shopping today.” Why today? He will say, “This is my freedom. Whenever I want to go I will go. Who are you to prevent me? This is my freedom.” And he’s unaware, completely unaware that this is not freedom at all. And he will go to the market with the idea that he is free, and he may not even think for a single moment that he’s going to purchase a certain brand of cigarettes. Then suddenly he comes across a shop and he says to himself, “Why not purchase a packet of cigarettes? You have not smoked for so long.” And he is thinking that he is thinking it! And he goes to the shop and he says, “Give me this brand of cigarettes, 555.” Why not Panama? Why not Wills? Why not Berkeley? He will say, “This is my choice! I am free to choose!” And he will purchase 555, and he remains free—at least in his idea. He’s not free, he has been conditioned.

You have been conditioned as a Hindu, a Christian, as a Mohammedan, as an Indian, as a Chinese, as a German—how can you be free? You have been conditioned by your parents, by your society, by your neighborhood, by your school, college, university—how can you be free? Your freedom is pseudo. It is bogus—it only gives you the feeling of freedom and makes you happy; otherwise there is no freedom in it. When you go to the church are you going out of your freedom? When you go to the Hindu temple are you going out of your freedom? Look into it and you will find it is not out of freedom; you were born in a Hindu family.

Sometimes it can happen—you were born in a Christian family and still you want to go to a Hindu temple. That too is a conditioning—a different kind. Maybe your parents were too Christian, too much, and you could not absorb that much nonsense. There is a limit. You became antagonistic, you started rebelling against it; you became a reactionary. They used to pull you to the church. And they were powerful, and you were a small child, and you could not do anything; you were helpless. But you were always thinking, “I will show you.” The day you became powerful you stopped going to church.

Now this idea, “I will show you,” has been implanted by their obsession with the church. It is again hypnosis—in the reverse order, but it is still hypnosis. You are reacting, you are not free. If you want to go to church you will not be able to go, you will find yourself pulling away. You will not go because this is the church your parents used to take you to. You cannot go to this church; you will become a Hindu. You will start doing things which your parents had never wanted you to do just to show them. This is reaction. The first is obedience, the second is disobedience, but there is no freedom in either.

And one thing more: it is not only a question of conditioning that you are not free. When you choose between two things—maybe nobody has conditioned you about those two things; there are millions of things for which you have not been conditioned at all. When you choose between two things your choice is out of confusion, and out of confusion there can be no freedom. You want to marry this girl or that—how are you going to choose? You are confused.

Every day I receive letters from people: “I am torn apart between two women. What should I do? This woman is beautiful bodily, in proportion, has very, very beautiful eyes, a kind of charm; the body is vibrant, radiant, alive— but psychologically she is very ugly. The other woman is psychologically beautiful, but physically ugly. Now what to do?” And you are torn apart.

I have heard about a man who was thinking to marry. He was in love with a woman, but she was very poor. She was beautiful, but she was very poor. And another woman was in love with him who was very rich but very ugly. But one thing was beautiful in her too—her sound, her voice. She was a great singer.

Now he was torn apart. The beautiful woman had not that voice, that singing voice; and he was a lover of music. She had a beautiful face, but form was not so important to him as voice.

And then he was poor, and he wanted a woman who brings much money with her so there would be security; he could go into his music totally, wholeheartedly, so he need not worry about money and things like that. He wanted to devote his whole life to music. That woman had two things: the money and a beautiful voice—but she was utterly ugly. It was very difficult to look at her, her face was repulsive. The poor woman was beautiful, but her voice was ordinary and she had no money. So if he chose that woman he would have to drop his love affair with music. He would have to become a clerk in some stupid office, or a teacher or something. And then he would not be able to devote himself to music. Music needs total devotion, music is a very jealous mistress—it does not allow you to go anywhere, it wants to absorb you utterly, totally. So he was torn apart. And finally his love for music won, and he married the ugly woman.

He came home, they went to sleep. The dark nights were okay because he was not looking at the woman, so there was no problem. But in the morning, when the sunrays filtered in and he was awake, and he looked at the face of the woman, it was so repulsive. He shook the woman hard and said, “Sing! Sing immediately! Sing immediately!” —Just to protect himself from that ugliness.

People write to me: “We are torn apart between two women, or between two men. What should we do?”

This confusion arises because you are motivated. There is a motivation: money, music, security. There is no love; that’s why you are torn apart. If love is there, intense love is there, passionate love is there, then there would be no choice. That passion itself would decide. You would not be choosing, you would not be torn apart. But people are not that intelligent and not that intense. They live very lukewarm, so-so; they don’t live intensely; their lives have no fire.

Real freedom happens only when your life becomes so total in each moment that there is no need to decide; that totality decides. Do you follow me? —the totality itself decides. You are not facing two alternatives: whether to marry this woman or that. Your heart is totally with one. There is no motive so you are not divided, and there is no confusion. If you decide out of confusion you will create conflict. Confusion will take you into deeper confusions. Never decide out of confusion.

That’s why Krishnamurti goes on talking about choicelessness. Choicelessness is freedom.

You don’t choose, you simply become totally intense. You just become absolutely alert, aware, attentive.

For example, you are listening to me: you can listen in a lukewarm way — half asleep, half awake, yawning, thinking a thousand and one things, planning, the last night still hanging around you, hangovers of a thousand and one types—and you are listening too. Then there is a question of whether I am telling the truth or not. If you are passionately listening, if you are utterly here-now, that very passion will decide. In that intensity you will know what truth is. If I say something which is true; it will immediately strike in your heart. Because you will be so intelligent, how can you miss it? Your intelligence will be so alert, how can you miss it? And if there is something which is not true, you will see it immediately. The vision will come, immediate. There will be no decision on your part: “Should I follow this man or not?” That is out of confusion. You have not listened, you have not seen me.

See the point of it! With truth you need not agree or disagree. The truth has to be heard totally, with sensitivity, that’s all. And that very sensitivity decides. You see, you immediately feel the truth of it. In that very feeling you have moved into truth—not that you agreed or disagreed; not that you were convinced by me, converted by me. I’m not converting anybody; truth converts. And truth is not a belief, and truth is not an argument; truth is a presence. If you are present you will feel it. If you are not present you will not feel it.

So on the third stage, the noosphere, there is pseudo-freedom. Out of confusion, you decide; hence confusion goes on growing. Confusion brings conflict, because there are always two sides in you—to do this or to do that, to be or not to be. And whatsoever you decide, the other side will remain there and wait for its time to take revenge. Freedom happens only at the fourth stage.

The christosphere is the fourth. With the christosphere, no-mind comes into existence—the no-mind of a Buddha, of a Christ, not of a rock. With the fourth comes consciousness, without a center, with no self in it; just pure consciousness with no border to it, infinite consciousness. Then you can’t say “I am conscious.” There is no ‘I’ to it, it is just consciousness. It has no name and no form. It is nothingness, it is emptiness. With this consciousness, thinking is not needed; insight starts functioning, intuition starts functioning. Intellect lives on tuition. Others have to teach you—that’s what tuition is. Intuition nobody has to teach you: it comes from within, it grows out of you, it is a flowering of your being.

This is the quality of consciousness called meditation, intuition, insight, consciousness without a center, timelessness; or you can call it the now, the present. But remember, it is not the present between past and future; it is the present in which past and future have both dissolved.

De Chardin calls it ‘the omega point’, Buddha calls it nirvana, Jainas call it moksha, Christ calls it ‘God the Father’. These are different names. This whole sutra is concerned with the movement from the third to the fourth, from the noosphere to the christosphere, from intellect to intelligence, from self-consciousness to no self-consciousness. The third is like waking, ordinary waking, and the fourth is what Patanjali calls turiya, ‘the fourth’. He has not given it any name, and that seems to be very beautiful. Call it ‘christosphere’, and it looks Christian; call it ‘Krishnasphere’, and it looks Hindu; call it Buddhasphere, and it looks Buddhist. Patanjali is very, very pure; he simply calls it ‘the fourth’. That contains everything. He has not given it a particular name. For three he gives names because they have forms, and wherever form is, name is relevant. The formless cannot have any name—turiya, ‘the fourth’.

This whole Prajnaparamita Sutra is about the movement from the third to the fourth. Sariputra is at the peak of the third: the noosphere—reflection, thinking, self-consciousness. He has traveled to the uttermost into the third; he has reached the maximum of it. There is no more to it. He’s standing on the boundary line.

-Osho

Excerpted from The Heart Sutra, Chapter Nine

The Heart Sutra

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Prajna or Samadhi? – Osho

Beloved Osho,

Once, when Obaku was sitting in Nansen’s reception room, Nansen asked him, “It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Obaku answered, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.”

Nansen then asked, “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own. “

Of course not!” said Obaku.

Nansen then said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water for the moment, let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to?”

To this question, Obaku made no reply.

Maneesha, although this anecdote seems to be very simple, it is not so. In these few words a tremendously important question has been raised. And unfortunately nobody has discussed that question up to now. I would like to go in detail into what I mean. Once, when Obaku was sitting in Nansen’s reception room, Nansen asked him, “It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Before we go into the answer of Obaku, you have to understand the meaning of samadhi and prajna.

It is a very intricate and complex question. Samadhi can be understood watching Ramakrishna. That will give you the basic symptoms which can be observed from the outside.

Ramakrishna used to go into samadhi for hours. Once for six days he was in samadhi. And samadhi to him and to his followers – and there is a great tradition from Patanjali, five thousand years old, which believes in samadhi – means to become perfectly unconscious. To every outsider he was almost in a coma; to the psychologist he had gone deeper into the unconscious layers of the mind.

And there was no way to bring him back.

Automatically, whenever his consciousness surfaced again, he would become aware. And whenever he came out of this samadhi, this deep coma-like unconsciousness, he would weep and cry, “Why have you taken away that great beauty, that great bliss, that great silence that I was experiencing. Time had stopped, the world was forgotten, I was alone and everything was at its perfection. So why have you taken it away?” He was asking the question to existence. “Why don’t you let me continue it?”

Now, Buddha himself would not consider it a samadhi. His samadhi means prajna, and prajna means awareness. You have to become more and more conscious, not unconscious; just two polarities, samadhi and prajna. Prajna is perfect awareness of your being. And samadhi in

Ramakrishna’s case means absolute oblivion. Nobody has gone into the deeper search for what exactly is the difference deep inside.

Both talk about great blissfulness, both talk about eternity, truth, beauty, goodness as their ultimate experience. But one is completely unconscious – you can cut his hand and he will not know – that much unconsciousness; and Buddha is so conscious that before sitting on the floor, first he will look to see if there is any ant or anything that may be killed by his sitting there. In his every act he showed immense awareness.

I have told you the story that one day passing through a street in Vaishali, a fly came and sat on his head. He was talking to Ananda about something. So just automatically the way you do it, he simply waved his hand. Then he suddenly stopped talking to Ananda and again waved his hand. Now there was no fly.

Ananda said, “What are you doing? The fly has gone.”

He said, “The fly has gone, but I acted unconsciously. I waved my hand automatically like a robot. Now I am moving as I should have moved, with full consciousness, awareness.”

So these seem to be two polarities. Both have become a point of great debate as to who is right, because the experience they talk about is the same. My own experience is that mind can be crossed from both ends. One tenth of the mind is conscious, nine tenths of the mind is unconscious. Just think of mind: the upper layer is conscious and nine layers are unconscious. Now mind can be passed from both the ends. You cannot pass from the middle; you will have to travel to the end.

Ramakrishna passed the mind by going deeper and deeper into the unconscious layers. And when the final unconscious layer came, he jumped out of the mind. To the world outside he looked as if he was in a coma. But he reached to the same clear sky although he chose a path which is dark, dismal; he chose the night part of consciousness. But he reached to the same experience.

Buddha never became unconscious in this way. Even walking he was stepping every step fully conscious and gracefully, every gesture fully conscious, gracefully. He transformed his consciousness to such a point that unconscious layers started becoming conscious. The final enlightenment is when all unconscious layers of the mind have become conscious. He also jumps out of the mind.

Both samadhi and prajna are no-mind states, going outside the mind. So the experience is the same but the path is different, very different. One is the white path of light that Buddha followed; one is the path of darkness that Ramakrishna followed. And it is obvious that the people who cannot understand both, who have not followed both the paths and come to the same experience, are going to debate and discuss to no end.

One will say that Ramakrishna’s samadhi is a coma, that he has lost consciousness. Another will say that because Buddha never goes into Ramakrishna-like samadhi, he does not know anything about samadhi. But my experience is, both know the samadhi, both know the prajna.

Ramakrishna first knows samadhi and out of samadhi prajna is born. Buddha knows first prajna and then out of prajna samadhi is born. It is only a question of understanding that existence is always contradictory, made of opposites – night and day, life and death.

Ramakrishna’s path is of unconsciousness. Nobody has deliberately considered the point. And

Buddha’s path is of pure light, of continuous awareness. Even in sleep Buddha sleeps consciously.

So Nansen has raised a very meaningful question.

It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Obaku answered, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.”

Obaku was not a master, Obaku was a scholar. And this question cannot be decided by any scholarship; no intelligence will do, only experience. So what he answers is absolutely irrelevant.

He says, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.” Can you see any relevance to the question? It has nothing to do with samadhi, nothing to do with prajna. He is not only a teacher, but a blind teacher. The question has gone above his head.

Nansen then asked – immediately, which shows what I am saying – “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own.” Anybody could have seen that this is so stupid, it has nothing to do with the question. He could have said, “I don’t know,

I have not experienced either samadhi or prajna. I don’t know whether they end up into the same experience or they lead to different experiences. It is not my own experience, so I can’t say anything.”

That would have been more honest. But looking at his answer, Nansen immediately asked, “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own.”

Even this absurd opinion that you have expressed, I think even this one is not your own. “Of course not!” said Obaku.

Seeing the situation he must have felt it is better to say that this is not my opinion. Nansen then said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water for the moment... Nansen lived on top of a high mountain for thirty years. To bring water to that height, he had to go miles down to bring water up. To us it may look a little strange that he was asking a price for water. He says, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water, for the moment, let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to?”

Zen monks use straw sandals, the same shape as my sandals, but they are made of straw, very beautiful, very aesthetic and very cheap. Nansen is saying, Who has paid for your straw sandals? They look so new. You don’t deserve these straw sandals; they are specially meant for Zen masters. And as for giving you water, I will not ask anything for it, but it has been wasted on a man who does not even know what samadhi is, what is prajna, and still has the guts and the nerve to give an absolutely irrelevant answer; an answer, too, that is not his own. Such a borrowed state is all of scholars, pundits, rabbis.

Nansen exposed Obaku completely to the very innermost core of his being just by asking a small question. But the question is not small, and it is a question which nobody has explained the way I am telling you, that the experiences are not two. Just, the paths leading to the experiences are very different, contrary paths.

One follows the darkness, goes deeper and deeper into the darkness of the mind and the unconscious, reaches to the very end of the mind and jumps out of it. And another tries every possible way to make the unconscious also conscious. And when everything becomes conscious in him, he also takes a jump.

Perhaps Buddha’s method is more scientific. There is no question of right and wrong. Both lead to the same space, but Buddha’s method of prajna is more scientific in the way that you cannot miss because you are aware. Ramakrishna’s path is groping in the dark. He may reach to the dawn, he may not reach. And once he has gone into unconsciousness, all is darkness, he cannot see where he is going. It is just by chance that he finds the door out of the mind, just by chance.

Science does not believe in chance, it has to be a certainty. That’s why you will not find more Ramakrishnas in the world, because it is just a coincidence that groping in the dark you find the door and get out of the mind. It happened to Ramakrishna but you will not find another parallel in the whole history of mankind.

Thousands of mystics have reached to the same point. But they have all followed the path of prajna, because when you have a light with you, you need not grope. When you have a light with you, a consciousness, like a torch showing the path, your reaching to the goal has more certainty.

And once you have known the path, then it is very easy. Only the first time are you going into the unknown. But the unknown is not dark; you keep a torch in your hand. Ramakrishna is going into the unknown without a torch. Ramakrishna’s samadhi in a way is special. He is alone of that kind. He is a rare specimen who went into his depths without taking a single candle. It is more than probable that you will not find the door.

When Buddha was asked about it, he said, “There was a palace with one thousand doors; only one door was real, the remaining were fake; they appeared like doors, but when you went close to them, they were just painted doors, there was a flat wall with no opening.

“A blind man got lost in the palace. He went around groping and groping. He touched many painted doors, but they were not really doors and the time he reached the real door, the only one, a fly came to sit on his head. So he became engaged in waving it away and passed the door.”

Nine hundred and ninety-nine doors, and a chance comes; that chance is very fragile, it can be missed by anything: your head starts itching or you become so tired of groping and touching that you say, “Take a chance, leave this one, go ahead.”

So Buddha said, “My path is not of such groping. In my palace all the doors are real. And there is no need to grope because I give you eyes of meditation and a light that burns like a fire within you, which is your very life. With that light and silence of meditation you can find the door. There are a thousand doors, every door is capable of taking you out.”

I am absolutely certain that Buddha is right; but that does not mean that Ramakrishna is wrong. But Ramakrishna cannot be the rule, he can only be the exception. Buddha is providing for everybody, not for exceptions. A rule has to be for everybody. You cannot make a rule on a single exception. Of the followers of Ramakrishna not even a single one has attained samadhi. But Buddha’s followers even today, continuing as a chain, master to disciple in different countries, are attaining prajna.

Whether you call it samadhi or you call it prajna, it is the same; the meaning of both is ultimate wisdom.

Buddhists don’t believe Ramakrishna to be enlightened. One very old Buddhist monk… he was an Englishman, and when he was just a child, his father was appointed to some post in Kalimpong where the child came in contact with Buddhist masters. He became a Buddhist at the age of eighteen. His whole family resisted; they were Christians and said, “What are you doing listening to the Buddhist masters?”

He could see that Christianity is very childish. It has nothing much to give to you. What can you do even if Jesus did walk on water? Even if you learn to walk on water, what spirituality can you attain through it? Even if you can turn water into alcohol, which is a crime, it does not help anyone to be spiritual. What are the teachings of Christians which can be compared to Gautam the Buddha? None comes close to him. He certainly is the Everest of the Himalayas.

So a Buddhist won’t accept Ramakrishna as enlightened. But talking to Buddhist monks and particularly this English monk, I asked him, “Have you ever tried forgetting Buddha’s method and giving some time to using Ramakrishna’s method?”

He said, “No, I have never tried it.”

I said, “Then saying that Ramakrishna never achieved samadhi is going beyond the limits of your experience.”

I have tried both ways, going on the path of light and going on the path of absolute darkness. Nobody does that because once you have reached the path, then why should you bother about other paths?

You have reached the station in a rickshaw, now are you going to come back and try a taxi? People will think you are mad. You have reached, now there is no need to try whether a taxi also reaches the station or not.

But I am a little crazy. Seeing the argument going on for centuries, I decided that the only way to come to a conclusion is, follow both the paths: one time the path of light and another time the path of darkness. When I was following the path of darkness, almost all my friends, my professors thought that I had gone mad. “What is the need if you have reached to the light in the day, what is the need to continue traveling in the night after reaching?”

I said, “There is a need because there is no other way to conclude whether Ramakrishna was also in the same state of consciousness as Buddha.”

But neither has any Buddhist tried nor have any of Ramakrishna’s disciples tried. And I am nobody’s disciple, I am just an outsider; I don’t belong to any religion or any organization. But to come to a conclusion, seeing that for centuries people have been discussing it, I could not conceive any way that it could be decided by argument; the only way to decide it was to follow both the paths.

And now the meditation that I have been teaching to you is a combination of both the paths. It is neither a meditation dependent only on prajna, just being aware; nor is it a meditation just to forget all and drown yourself in deep rest and darkness. I am using both. I am telling you to forget the world, I am telling you forget the body, forget the mind, you are not these things, but keep your light alive as a witness. So you are going on both the paths together.

There is no problem. In fact it is more significant, because you will be achieving the space that

Ramakrishna achieved and that Buddha achieved. And you will have a good laugh that for centuries scholars have been unnecessarily wasting their time. It is always good to experiment because this is not a philosophical question. It is a question of inner experimentation; it is as scientific as any science.

But in a very nice way Nansen said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water, because I have to carry the drinking water for miles, Let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to? Who has paid the money for your straw sandals? Return the money. You are just a teacher; don’t pretend to be a master. To this question, Obaku made no reply.

-Osho

From Nansen: The Point of Departure, Chapter Seven

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