This Coolness is Your Meditation – Osho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This coolness is your meditation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Osho

From Nothing to Lose but Your Head, Chapter Twelve

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

You can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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

When You are a Witness then You are Not – Osho

This word “witnessing” is a most significant word. There are hundreds of techniques to achieve centering, but witnessing is bound to be a part, a basic part, in every technique. Whatsoever the technique may be, witnessing will be the essential part in it. So it will be better to call it “the technique of all techniques”. It is not simply a technique. The process of witnessing is the essential part of all the techniques.

One can talk about witnessing as a pure technique also. For example, J. Krishnamurti: he is talking about witnessing as a pure technique. But that talk is just like talking about the spirit without the body. You cannot feel it, you cannot see it. Everywhere the spirit is embodied; you can feel the spirit through the body. Of course, the spirit is not the body, but you can feel it through the body.

Every technique is just a body, and witnessing is the soul. You can talk about witnessing independent of any body, any matter; then it becomes abstract, totally abstract. So Krishnamurti has been talking continuously for half a century, but whatsoever he is saying is so pure, unembodied, that one thinks that one is understanding, but that understanding remains just a concept.

In this world nothing exists as pure spirit. Everything exists embodied. So witnessing is the spirit of all spiritual techniques, and all the techniques are bodies, different bodies. So first we must understand what witnessing is, and then we can understand witnessing through some bodies, some techniques.

We know thinking, and one has to start from thinking to know what witnessing means because one has to start from what one knows. We know thinking. Thinking means judgment: you see something and you judge. You see a flower and you say it is beautiful or not beautiful. You hear a song and you appreciate it or you don’t appreciate it. You appreciate something or you condemn something.

Thinking is judgment. The moment you think, you have begun to judge. Thinking is evaluation.

You cannot think without evaluation. How can you think about a flower without evaluating it? The moment you start thinking you will say it is beautiful or not beautiful. You will have to use some category because thinking is categorizing. The moment you have categorized a thing – labeled it, named it – you have thought about it. Thinking is impossible if you are not going to judge. If you are not going to judge, then you can just remain aware – but you cannot think.

A flower is here, and I say to you, “See it, but don’t think. Look at the flower, but don’t think.” So what can you do? If thinking is not allowed, what can you do? You can only witness; you can only be aware. You can only be conscious of the flower. You can face the fact. The flower is here – now you can encounter it. If thinking is not allowed you cannot say, “It is beautiful. It is not beautiful. I know about it,” or, “It is strange – I have never seen it.” You cannot say anything. Words cannot be used because every word has a value in it. Every word is a judgment.

Language is burdened with judgment; language can never be impartial. The moment you use a word, you have judged. So you cannot use language, you cannot verbalize. If I say, “This is a flower– look at it, but don’t think!” then verbalization is not allowed. So what can you do? You can only be a witness. If you are there without thinking, just facing something, it is witnessing. Then witnessing means a passive awareness. Remember – passive. Thinking is active. You are doing something. Whatsoever you are seeing, you are doing something with it. You are not just passive, you are not like a mirror – you are doing something. And the moment you do something, you have changed the thing.

I see a flower and I say, “It is beautiful!” I have changed it. Now I have imposed something on the flower. Now, whatsoever the flower is, to me it is a flower plus my feeling of its being beautiful. Now the flower is far away. In between the flower and me is my sense of judgment, my evaluation of its being beautiful. Now the flower is not the same to me. The quality has changed. I have come into it. Now my judgment has penetrated into the fact. Now it is more like a fiction and less like a fact.

This feeling that the flower is beautiful doesn’t belong to the flower, it belongs to me. I have entered the fact. Now the fact is not virgin. I have corrupted it. Now my mind has become part of it. Really, to say that my mind has become part of it means: my past has become part, because when I say, “This flower is beautiful,” it means I have judged it through my past knowledge. How can you say that this flower is beautiful? Your experiences of the past, your conceptions of the past, that something like this is beautiful – you have judged it according to your past.

Mind means your past, your memories. The past has come upon the present. You have destroyed a virgin fact; now it is distorted. Now there is no flower. The flower as a reality in itself is no more there. It is corrupted by you, destroyed by you. Your past has come in between. You have interpreted. This is thinking. Thinking means bringing the past to a present fact. That’s why thinking can never lead you to the Truth – because Truth is virgin and has to be faced in its total virginity. The moment you bring your past in you are destroying it. Then it is an interpretation, not a realization of the fact. You have disrupted it. The purity is lost.

Thinking means bringing your past to the present. Witnessing means no past, just the present; no bringing in of the past. Witnessing is passive. You are not doing anything – you are! Simply, you are there. Only you are present. The flower is present, you are present – then there is a relationship of witnessing. When the flower is present and your whole past is present, not you, then it is a relationship of thinking.

So start from thinking. What is thinking? It is the bringing of the mind into the present. You have missed the present then you have missed it totally! The moment past penetrates into the present, you have missed it. When you say, “This flower is beautiful,” really, it has become the past. When you say, “This flower is beautiful,” it is a past experience. You have known, you have judged. When the flower is there and you are there, even to say that this flower is beautiful is not possible. You cannot assert any judgment in the present. Any judgment, any assertion, belongs to the past. If I say, “I love you,” it has become a thing that is past. If I say, “This flower is beautiful.” I have felt, I have judged – it has become past.

Witnessing is always present, never the past. Thinking is always the past. Thinking is dead, witnessing is alive. So the next distinction: first, thinking is active – doing something; witnessing is passive – non-doing, just being. Thinking is always the past, the dead which has gone away, which is no more; witnessing is always the present – that which is. So if you go on thinking, you can never know what witnessing is.

To stop, end thinking, becomes a start in witnessing. Cessation of thinking is witnessing. So what to do? – Because thinking is a long habit with us. It has become just a robot like, mechanical thing.  It is not that you think; it is not your decision now. It is a mechanical habit – you cannot do anything else. The moment a flower is there, the thinking has started. We have no non-verbal experiences; only small children have. Non-verbal experience is really experience. Verbalization is escaping from the experience.

When I say, “The flower is beautiful,” the flower has vanished from me. Now it is my mind, not the flower I am concerned with. Now it is the image of the flower in my mind, not the flower itself. Now the flower itself is a picture in the mind, a thought in the mind, and now I can compare with my past experiences and judge. But the flower is no more there. When you verbalize, you are closed to experience.

When you are non-verbally aware, you are open, vulnerable. Witnessing means a constant opening to experience, no closing. What to do? This mechanical habit of so-called thinking has to be broken somewhere. So whatsoever you are doing, try to do it non-verbally. It is difficult, arduous, and in the beginning it seems absolutely impossible, but it is not. It is not impossible – it is difficult. You are walking on the street: walk non-verbally, just walk, even if just for a few seconds, and you will have a glimpse of a different world – a non-verbal world, the real world, not the world of the mind man has created in himself.

You are eating: eat non-verbally. Someone asked Bokuju – Bokuju was a great Zen Master – “What’s your sadhana?”

So Bokuju said, “My sadhana is very simple: when I am hungry, I eat; when I am sleepy, I sleep –and this is all.”

The man was just bewildered. He said, “What are you saying? I also eat and I also sleep, and everyone is doing the same. So what is in that that you call it sadhana?”

Bokuju said, “When you are eating you are doing many things, not only eating. And when you are sleeping, you are doing everything else except sleeping. But when I eat, I simply eat; when I sleep, I simply sleep. Every act is total!”

Every act becomes total if you are non-verbal. So try to eat without any verbalization in the mind, with no thinking in the mind. Just eat, and then eating becomes meditation – because if you are nonverbal you will become a witness. If you are verbal you will become a thinker. If you are non-verbal you cannot do anything about it, you cannot help it – you will be a witness, automatically. So try to do anything non-verbally: walk, eat, take a bath or just sit silently. Then just sit – then be a “sitting”! Don’t think. Then even just sitting can become meditation, just walking can become meditation.

Someone else was asking Bokuju, “Give me some technique of meditation.”

Bokuju said, “I can give you a technique, but you will not be able to meditate – because you cannot practice a technique with a verbalizing mind.”

Your fingers can move on a rosary, and you can go on thinking. If your fingers just move on the rosary with no thinking, it becomes a meditation. Then, really, no technique is needed. The whole life is a technique. So Bokuju said, “It would be better if you be with me and watch me. Don’t ask for a method. Just watch me – and you will come to know.”

The poor fellow watched for seven days. He began to be more confused. After seven days he said, “When I came, I was less confused. Now I am more confused. I have watched you for seven days continuously – what is there to be watched?”

Bokuju said, “Then you have not watched. When I walk, have you seen? – I simply walk. When you bring tea in the morning for me, have you watched? – I simply take the tea and drink it: just drinking there is NO Bokuju – just drinking. No Bokuju – just drinking of the tea. Have you watched? If you have watched, then you must have felt that Bokuju is no more.”

This is a very subtle point – because if the thinker is there, then there is ego; then you are a Bokuju or somebody else. But if only action is there with no verbalization, no thinking, there is no ego. So Bokuju says, “Have you really watched? Then there was no Bokuju – just drinking of the tea, walking in the garden, digging a hole in the earth.”

Buddha, because of this, has said, “There is no soul” – because you have not watched, you go on continuously thinking that you have a soul. You are not! If you are a witness, then you are not. The “I” forms itself through thoughts. So one thing more: accumulated thoughts, piled-up memories, create the feeling of ego – that you are.

Try this experiment: cut your whole past away from you – no memory. You don’t know who your parents are; you don’t know to whom you belong – to which country, to which religion, to which race. You don’t know where you were educated, whether you were educated or not. Just cut the whole past – and remember who you are. You cannot remember who you are. You are, obviously. You are, but who are you? In this moment, you cannot feel an “I”. The ego is just accumulated past. The ego is your thought condensed, crystallized.

So Bokuju says, “If you have watched me, I was not. There was drinking of the tea, but no drinker.  Walking was there in the garden, but no walker. Action was there, but no actor.”

In witnessing, there is no sense of I; in thinking there is. So if the so-called thinkers are so deeply rooted in their egos. It is not just a coincidence; artists, thinkers, philosophers, literary persons if they are so egoistic, it is not just a coincidence. The more thoughts you have, the greater the ego you have. In witnessing there is no ego, but this comes only if you can transcend language. Language is the barrier. Language is needed to communicate with others; it is not needed to communicate with oneself. It is a useful instrument – rather, the most useful instrument. Man could create a society, a world, only because of language – but because of language, man has forgotten himself.

Language is our world. If for a single moment man forgets his language, then what remains? Culture, society, Hinduism, Christianity, communism – what remains? Nothing remains. If only language is taken out of existence, the whole humanity with its culture, civilization, science, religion, philosophy, disappears.

Language is a communication with others; it is the only communication. It is useful, but it is dangerous – and whenever some instrument is useful, it is in the same proportion dangerous also.  The danger is this: that the more mind moves into language the farther away it goes from the center: So one needs a subtle balance and a subtle mastery to be capable of moving into language, and also to be capable of leaving language, of going out of language, of moving out of language.

Witnessing means moving out of language, verbalization, mind. Witnessing means a state of no-mind, no-thinking. So try it! It is a long effort, and nothing is predictable – but try, and the effort will give you some moments when suddenly language disappears. And then a new dimension opens. You become aware of a different world – the world of simultaneity, the world of here and now, the world of no-mind, the world of reality.

Language must evaporate. So try to do ordinary acts, bodily movements, without language. Buddha used this technique to watch the breath. He would say to his bhikkhus, “Go on watching your breath. Don’t do anything: just watch the breath coming in, the breath going out, the breath coming in, the breath going out.” It is not to be said like this – it is to be felt. Mm? The breath coming in, with no words. Feel the breath coming in, move with the breath, let your consciousness go deep with the breath. Then let it move out. Go on moving with your breath. Be alert!

Buddha is reported to have said, “Don’t miss even a single breath. If a single breath is missed physiologically, you will be dead; and if a single breath is missed in awareness, you will be missing the center, you will be dead inside.” So Buddha said, “Breath is essential for the life of the body, and awareness of the breath is essential for the life of the inner center.”

Breathe, be aware. And if you are trying to be aware of your breathing, you cannot think, because the mind cannot do two things simultaneously – thinking and witnessing. The very phenomenon of witnessing is absolutely, diametrically opposite to thinking, so you cannot do both. Just as you cannot be both alive and dead, as you cannot be both asleep and awake, you cannot be both thinking and witnessing. Witness anything, and thinking will stop. Thinking comes in, and witnessing disappears. Witnessing is a passive awareness with no action inside. Awareness itself is not an action.

-Osho

Excerpt from The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol. 1, Chapter 15

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can read the entire discourse question from which this is an excerpt Witnessing: The Base of all Techniques.

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.

From In a Thought to Out of Mind

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

In a thought.

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

 

Watch a thought.

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

Watch mind.

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

Out of mind!

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

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

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

Sitting for the Sheer Joy of It

That which sees is not the mind. That is why Osho has us begin with watching anything. In the beginning it is helpful to watch the clouds passing, watch the leaves falling, watch a stream flowing or even watch the traffic of cars. This is watching the outside world but it is the beginning.

We can then move to watching the activities of the body, watching without identification. This is the magic of the walking meditation. It is allowing us to experience watching the body walking which is strengthening the watcher, the one that sees.

Watching the breath is another way to strengthen this watchingness. We watch the coming and going of the breath and we are coming out of the identification with breathing.

Moving deeper we begin to watch the comings and goings of the mind. The very effort to watch the mind while we are still identified is how we begin to come out of mind. It does not need to be a serious affair, we are not against the mind. We are just interested in finding, discovering the One who sees. This One who sees is always present in watching. The mind does not watch. The ego cannot watch. Our identification with someone who we perceive watching cannot watch. Always in the background the One who sees is present. We have the power to come out of mind because we have the power to identify with mind. It is not that some power makes us identify, we do that ourselves. Watching the activity of the mind without grasping, without rejecting, without judging we begin to become less identified. Slowly, slowly the One who sees becomes less identified.

Osho has said that if we are able to witness the mind without identification then we can easily move into watching the subtle feelings, the heart, also without grasping. Without choosing the feelings we like, without rejecting the feelings that we find hard to witness and without judging ourselves when we forget again and again.

The above description is Osho’s directions but it has also been my own experience of meditation.

Although I must say that there was a long period of time in which I thought I didn’t need to meditate regularly because I meditated all day long, that was a delusion. Although it was not harmful because it was just an extended period of watching the outside. But at some point I could no longer ignore the quiet invitation to begin to sit and watch the inner world on a regular basis. I was not watching because of some duty to practice; I was watching as an exploration as an experiment. Now I am sitting for the sheer joy of it.

So we can begin from exactly where we are, this very moment, by watching what we are capable of, and slowly, slowly the watchingness deepens. We are also very fortunate because Osho has devised his active meditations to jumpstart this awakening and he has illustrated 112 meditation techniques, that are doors in. And finally he has distilled all meditation down to the art of watching, witnessing.

This is the incredible gift that Osho has left us.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

 

The Journey from non-being to No-Being

We must first come to the recognition that we live outside of our center. We live outside of our body. We know our body from the exterior. We know our senses by sensing objects. Without objects we have no knowledge of ourselves. By our contact with outside objects our body exists. If we had no contact we would have no knowledge of ourselves.

Somewhere along the way our center has been touched and we have become aware of its existence. It may just be a dim flame but we know deep down that it is there. We have the power to move into our center. It is only because of what interests us that we remain on the periphery.

We can move to the center by retracing our steps out. We have made and do make the journey out all day long. Our attention moves from our center out through the senses and chases dreams. Our mind is the sixth sense. By becoming aware of the outward movement of our energy and attention it comes to a halt. When the movement is seen in awareness, the movement ceases.

From where does the thought of “I” arise. What is it pointing to? Is it pointing to this body that people see from the outside? Does it point to this collection of memories, thoughts and dreams that are circulating and referred to as “mind?” Is it not pointing to somewhere deep inside?

Let’s make contact there. Let us feel what it is like to inhabit our bodies. We need not worry about reincarnation let us first learn to incarnate this body here and now. We can move our attention to our interiority. We can feel our bodies from the inside. We can sense ourselves behind the senses. We can find ourselves behind the mind.

It is from this interior position that we are able to allow the unconscious mind to let go of all of its content. By not getting involved but remaining a witness the mind lets go of all of its collectibles, all of its memories, dreams and fears. Without either rejecting or grasping, without judging, we remain a witness and stay rooted in our center, in our interiority, in our being.

It is in this center that the witness grows, that we create our soul. Up until this point we have had no soul. We have had no center. There was not anyone home. Now the fire is lit and we are tending the flame.

The next step will be to let go of this center but we cannot let go of what we do not have. We must first become crystallized. We must first come into Being before we can let go into No-being.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

On Meditation – Jean Klein

You will feel in your meditation that there is still a residue of the idea of finding something, but we have very often repeated that the seeker is the sought. What you are fundamentally you can never objectify because you are it. An object is a fraction; it appears in your wholeness, in your globality. When you really come to the understanding that the seeker is the sought, there is a natural giving up of all energy to find something. It is an instantaneous apperception. I don’t say perception, because in perception there is a perceiver and something perceived. An apperception is an instantaneous perceiving of what is perceiving. So it can never be in a relation of subject- object, just as an eye can never see its own seeing. That is why I said you will first find yourself behind yourself. I say behind yourself because you know yourself mainly in subject- object relationship, in your factory, in your forehead. The energy which strikes the factory in a certain moment and makes the factory work is localized behind, so stay with the energy behind and you will find a glimpse of non- subject- object relationship. This glimpse is seen with your whole intelligence which is there in the absence of the person, the thinker, the doer. Understanding, being the understanding, is enlightenment.

( Silence)

You can never perceive your globality, your wholeness. If there is a perceived, it is not your wholeness. Your globality, your wholeness, is it’s own perceiving. So it is clear your globality can never be perceived, it can never be an object. It is non- dual. It must be clear for the mind that what you are looking for is the looking itself. When you really see this with your intelligence and love and understanding, there is a natural giving up of all projected energy. All energy directed towards finding something comes back to its homeground. This moment of equilibrium, you must live. It is purposeless because it is what you fundamentally are.

In this non- dual non- state you cannot speak of relation. You must visualize this relationless state, you must love it, you must approach it with your whole intelligence. This is the only thing that you should remember; everything else that has been said can be put in the waste basket!

– Jean Klein

From Transmission of the Flame, pp. 65-66

The Deepest Freedom – Dipa Ma

The Deepest Freedom

“Gradually I became acquainted with suffering,

the cause of suffering,

the arising of suffering,

and the end of suffering.”

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

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

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

Kamikaze yogi

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

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

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

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

-Anonymous

Did you get enlightened?

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

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

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

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

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

-Anonymous

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

Just two or three days

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

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

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

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

-Daw Than Myint

Okay, a tiger is coming

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

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

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

-Jyotishmoyee Barua

This most precious thing

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

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

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

-Jack Engler

All emotion is from thinking

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

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

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