What is the Zen Attitude towards Death?

What is the Zen attitude towards death?

Laughter. Yes, laughter is the Zen attitude towards death. And towards life too, because life and death are not separate. Whatsoever is your attitude towards life will be your attitude towards death, because death comes as the ultimate flowering of life. Life exists for death. Life exists through death. Without death there will be no life at all. Death is not the end but the culmination, the crescendo. Death is not the enemy, it is the friend. It makes life possible.

So the Zen attitude about death is exactly the same as is the Zen attitude towards life – that of laughter, joy, celebration. And if you can laugh at death, in death, you are free from all. You are freedom then. If you cannot laugh at death you will not be able to laugh in life either. Because death is always coming. Each act in life, each move in life, brings death closer. Each moment that you live, you get closer to death. If you cannot laugh with death, how can you laugh with life and in life?

But there is a difference between the Zen Buddhists and the other religions. Other religions are not that deep. Other religions also say that there is no need to fear death, because the soul is immortal. But in the very idea of the immortality of the soul, your mind is seeking eternity and nothing else. In the very idea of immortality you are denying death, you are saying there is no death. You are saying “So why be afraid? There is no death. I am going to live – if not as this body, still I am going to live as this soul. My essential being will continue. So why fear death? Death will not be destroying me. I will remain, I.will persist, I will continue.” The other religions compromise with your desire to remain for ever. They give you a consolation. They say, “Don’t be worried. You will be in some other body, in some other form, but you will continue.” This seems to be a clinging.

But the Zen approach towards death is utterly different, immensely profound. Other religions say death is not to be worried about, not to be feared, because the soul is eternal. Zen says: There cannot be any death, because you are not. There is nobody to die. See the difference – there is nobody to die. The self exists not, so death cannot take anything away from you. Life cannot give you anything, and death cannot take anything away. There is no purpose in life and no purpose in death. There is nobody to die. Other religions say you will not die, so don’t be worried about death. Zen says: You exist not – for whom are you worrying? There is nobody in life and there will be nobody in death. You are pure emptiness. Nothing has ever happened there.

Zen does not compromise with your desire for eternity. It does not compromise for your security; it does not compromise with your ego in any form. Zen is utterly radical, it cuts the very root. Zen says: The idea to survive for ever is idiotic. What are you going to do if you survive for ever? Are you not yet finished with your doing? Have you not yet become frustrated enough with your doing? Have you not seen the foolishness and the stupidity of your being? What does it bring to you except misery? The more you are an ego, the more miserable you are. Can’t you see it, that the ego functions like a wound? It hurts. Still you want to continue this wound, still you want to continue this wound for ever and ever. You don’t want to be cured. Ego is illness, to be egoless is to be cured. But you want to be saved for ever.

In your very idea of remaining forever, being saved for ever, there is a kind of miserliness. Other religions say: Save. Save yourself. Zen says: Spend. Spend yourself. Because to be utterly spent is to be saved.

A Christian was walking with Mulla Nasruddin, they had gone for a morning walk. And the Christian showed Mulla Nasruddin his church. He said, “This is my church. Look.” And on the church there was a big board – on the board was written: Jesus Saves! Mulla Nasruddin looked at it and said, “So what! My wife saves better.”

Saving of any kind is a miserly attitude towards life. Spend – don’t hoard. Relax your clinging. Don’t keep your hands clenched like fists. Open them, be spent. Be spent like a flower which has released its fragrance to the winds. Be spent like a candle which has lived its night, danced, and now is no more. The Buddhist word for nirvana means ’putting out the candle’. When you are utterly spent, when you have authentically lived and spent yourself totally and there is nothing left in you except emptiness, you have arrived home. Because emptiness is the home.

You are the world. When you are not, you have come home.

The Zen attitude towards life is that of laughter, of living, of enjoying, of celebrating. Zen is not anti-life it is life-affirmative. It accepts all that is. It does not say deny this, deny that. It says all is good: live it, live it as totally as possible. Being total in anything is to be religious. Being partial in anything is to be worldly. And live so totally that when death comes you can live death totally too. Laugh so totally that when death comes you can have your last laugh.

A great master, Lo-shan, was coming closer to his death. When he sensed that death was close, Lo-shan called everyone into the Buddha-hall and ascended the lecture seat. First he held his left hand open for several minutes. No one understood, so he told the monks from the eastern side of the monastery to leave. Then he held his right hand open. Still no one understood, so he told the monks from the western side of the monastery to leave. Only the laymen remained. He said to them, ’If any of you really want to show gratitude to Buddha for his compassion to you, spare no efforts in spreading the Dharma. Now, get out! Get out of here!’ Then, laughing loudly, the master fell over dead.

Now this man, Lo-shan, is going to die. He gathers all his disciples. He opens one of his hands, nobody understands. He is saying, “With an open hand I lived, with an open hand I am going. Totally I lived, totally I am going. I was never closed. Now death is knocking on the door, my doors are open.” Then he raised his other hand. People did not understand. Then he said to the people, “Buddha had such immense compassion on you.”

What is the compassion of Buddha? The compassion of Buddha is this – that knowing perfectly well that you will not understand, he tried. That is his compassion. Knowing perfectly well that it is impossible to understand something that Buddha says, he tried his whole life to help you to understand. That is his compassion. He is trying to help you see that which you cannot see. Trying to bring into language and words that which cannot be reduced to words. Trying to do the impossible, that is his compassion.

Lo-shan said to the people, “Do one thing also – spread Buddha’s word, his dharma. Whatsoever he has said, go on spreading it.” Maybe somebody may understand sometime. Even if one understands in thousands, that’s enough. Even if one blooms in millions, that is enough. One person flowering fills the whole earth with his fragrance. Yes, a single individual flower of consciousness transforms the whole quality of consciousness on the earth. It raises the consciousness of the whole earth.

And then he told them, “Now, get out! Get out of here!” What does he mean by “Get out, get out of here!”? He is telling them: The mind in which you are, get out, get out of the mind. The ego in which you are, get out of the ego. But Zen masters have their own ways of expression. First, he threw out half the monks from one gate, then the other half from another gate. Then only laymen remained. And now he tells them, “Get out! Get out of here!” Then, laughing loudly, the master fell over dead.

What is his laughter? Why is he laughing? There is a Zen parable:

Thus he arrived before a great castle on whose facade were carved the words “I belong to no one and to all. Before entering you were already here. When you leave you will remain.”

He is laughing at the ridiculousness, absurdity. The absurdity of everything and all. Everything is so contradictory. Life exists through death, love exists through hate, compassion exists through anger. And only those who are not can be. And those who are cannot be. It is so absurd, it is so contradictory. He is having his last laughter at this whole situation of so-called life. It is not logical, that’s why he is laughing. It is so illogical. What can you do with such an illogical phenomenon? You can have a good laugh.

Another master, Etsugen, shortly before he died, called his monks together. It was December first. “I have decided to die on the eighth of this month,” he told them. “That’s the day of the Buddha’s enlightenment. If you have any questions left about the Teaching, you’d better ask them before then.”

Because the master continued with his regular duties during the next few days, some of the monks thought he was having a little fun at their expense. Most, however, were struck with grief.

By the evening of the seventh, nothing unusual had happened. Nonetheless, Etsugen had them all assemble and taught them for the last time about the Buddha’s enlightenment. He then arranged his affairs and went into his room.

At dawn he took a bath, put on his ceremonial robes, and sitting erect in the lotus posture composed this death poem:

Shakyamuni descended the mountain.

I went up.

In my teaching,

I guess I’ve always been something of a maverick.

And now I’m off to hell – yo-ho!

The inquisitiveness of men is pure folly.

Then, shutting his eyes, and still sitting, he died.

A Zen master can die any moment. He can decide. Why? Because he is already dead. The day he became enlightened, he died. Now only the visible form goes on living – inside, all is emptiness. He is thoroughly dead. So any day he can drop this form. It is just a soap-bubble: a small prick and it will be gone. And you cannot choose a better day to die than Buddha’s enlightenment day, because that day Buddha died.

About Buddha there is a beautiful story. He was born on a certain day, the same day he became enlightened, and the same day he died. The birth, the enlightenment and death, all these three great things happened on the same day. This is very indicative – it says birth, enlightenment and death are all the same. It has a message: They are all alike. They are not different, their quality is the same.

Birth is a kind of death. When a child is born out of the womb, if the child can verbalize what is happening he will say, “I am dying.” Because he has lived for nine months in the womb in such comfort, in such luxury, in such convenience. No worry, no problem, no work. Everything is available, you need not even ask for it. He need not even breathe on his own, the mother breathes for him. He need not eat, the mother eats for him. He simply lives. It is paradise.

Psychologists say that the search for paradise is nothing but the memory, the nostalgia, of the womb. Because you have lived in those nine months at the highest peak of comfort, luxury. And the whole search for paradise is for nothing but how to enter into that kind of warm womb again.

In India, the innermost part of the temple is called garbha, womb – very meaningfully. Where the deity of the temple sits, the innermost shrine, is called garbha – the womb. In ordinary life also we are searching the same comfort. When you feel a room is cozy, what do you really remember when you say that the room is cozy? Warm, alive, receptive, welcoming. You are not a stranger, you are a welcome guest. You are reminded of something of those nine months. Science goes on improving comfort, luxury, but not yet have we been able – and I think we will never be able – to create the womb situation again.

The child has lived in such abundance, it is just a continuous celebration. In silence, in utter silence. Now he is being thrown out. And he does not know anything about the outside world, whether there is any world or not. He is thrown out of his home. If the child can say anything he will say “I am dying.” You call it birth, you who are outside – but ask the child, just think of the child. The child will think, ”I am being uprooted, I am thrown out. I am being rejected.” The child clings, the child does not want to go out. The child feels it a kind of death. On one side it is death, on another side it is birth.

And so is enlightenment, again. On one side, on the side of the mind, it is death. The mind feels “I am dying.” The mind clings. The mind tries in every way to prevent this enlightenment happening. The mind creates a thousand and one questions, doubts, inquiries, distractions. Wants to pull you back – “Where are you going? You will die.”

This happens here every day. Whenever a person starts moving closer to meditation, fear arises. Great fear. His whole being is at stake, he starts trembling. Actual trembling arises in his being. Now he is facing the abyss – on one side it is death, on another side it will be birth. If the mind dies he will be born as consciousness. If thought dies he will be born as samadhi, as no-thought. If the mind disappears he will be born as no-mind. If this noise of the mind disappears then he will be born as silence. On one side it will be death, another side birth.

And so is death. Each death is also a birth, and each birth is also a death.

This story of Buddha’s being born on a certain day at a certain time, then at the same time and the same day becoming enlightened, at the same time and the same day dying, is meaningful. It simply says that all these three things are the same. One thing is missing, I would like to add that too. If you really fall in love then the whole list is complete. All these four things, then your whole life is complete. If I am to write Buddha’s story again, I will add this too, that he fell in love on the same day at the same time. Because that too is a birth and a death. The people who were writing Buddha’s story were not so courageous. They have dropped the idea of love, that seems to be dangerous.

These are the four greatest things in life, the four directions of life. This is the whole sky of life.

Etsugen decided to die on Buddha’s enlightenment day. Many Zen monks have been deciding to die on that day. And they die on that day. And they don’t commit suicide and they don’t take any poison – they just collapse. But their collapse is beautiful. They collapse with a smile, with laughter.

And this is a tradition in Zen, that before a master dies he has to compose a death poem. That too is very significant. Death should be received with poetry, with joy. That is your last statement, your testament. It should be in poetry. It should be poetry – prose won’t do, prose will look a little too worldly. Something more, something of a song. Etsugen wrote this poem. “Shakyamuni” is the name of Buddha.

Shakyamuni descended the mountain.

I went up.

He is saying “I have been just the opposite of Buddha.” Only a Zen master can say that. Otherwise, followers are followers – they are imitators, they are carbon-copies. But real followers are not, they are authentic beings. They live their life. They live with great respect for the master, with immense respect for the master, but they live their life. In fact, that immense respect for the master will make you capable to live your own life.

Buddha lived his own life. If you are really respectful towards him you will live your own life, that’s how you will pay your homage.

Shakyamuni descended the mountain

I went up.

In my teaching

I guess I’ve always been something of a maverick.

And now I’m off to hell – yo-ho!

The inquisitiveness of men is pure folly.

He is saying “Now I am off to hell.” He is joking. Only a Zen master can joke at the last moment. Only a Zen master can have the guts to say, “Now I am off to hell.” In fact, Zen people say that wherever a master is, there is heaven. If he is in hell, hell will be heaven. Heaven is his climate; he carries it with himself.

“Then, shutting his eyes, and still sitting, he died.” So silently, so poetically, so radically.

And the third story.

When the master, Tenno, was dying, he called to his room the monk in charge of food and clothing in the temple. When the monk sat down by the bed, Tenno asked, “Do you understand?”

Now, he has not said anything and he asks, “Do you understand?”

“No,” the monk was puzzled and said.

Tenno laughed, and said, “Do you understand?”

The monk said, “No.” And was more puzzled.

Then Tenno, picking up his pillow, hurled it through the window, and said, “Do you understand?”

And the monk said, “No. And you are making me more and more confused.”

Then he said, “Okay, then I will do the real thing.” He closed his eyes, gave a lion’s roar, and died.

He was dying. This disciple was not yet insightful. He was dying – if you have loved your master, if you have really loved your master, you will know what is happening to him. That’s why he asked, “Do you understand?” He is asking “Have you not come to know that I am dying? Has it not reached to your heart yet that I am dying?” At the last moment he is testing his disciple. Even death is being used as a kind of teaching. Even death is being used as the last effort to awaken the disciple. Then he laughed, and asked “Do you understand?” The laughter was so total, if the disciple had looked into the eyes of the master and heard the laughter, there was the whole teaching of Buddha in it, all the scriptures in it. The totality of it. And he would have seen that the master is leaving the body.

But he must have got into thinking. The master asked, “Do you understand?” And he has not said anything – what does he mean by “Do you understand?” The disciple must have gone into his mind. Because he had gone into his mind, the master laughed to bring him out of his mind. Because nothing brings you out of your mind like laughter.

Somebody has asked “Why, Osho, do you go on telling jokes?” That’s why. Nothing brings you out of your mind like laughter. When you have a good laugh the logic disappears – at that moment, at least. And the jokes are so absurd. They are jokes because they are absurd; you laugh because they are ridiculous, you laugh because they don’t follow the rules of logic, they go just against it. They take such an unexpected turn that your thinking could not have concluded. Because of that unexpected turn, because of that sudden leap . . . the whole joke goes in one way, then comes the punchline. And the punchline is a leap, it is discontinuous.

 A joke is a great meditation.

The master laughed. Loud was his laughter, total was his laughter. He wanted to bring this disciple out of his mind – he had gone too much into thinking. He was thinking “Why has he asked, ‘Do you understand?’ What does he mean?” He has asked a simple question – a question to provoke the disciple to be alert of the master’s situation, what is happening to him. If the disciple was really in tune with the master, that would have been a shock: “Do you understand?” And he would have opened his eyes and he would have looked into the being of the master and would have felt that the master is ready to leave the body. But he went into thinking and missed the point. Hence the master tried again by laughing. And asked, “Do you understand?” Still the disciple was more puzzled, because he could not see why the master is laughing. He started thinking “Why?”

The moment you bring the question “Why?” you are moving into the rut, the dead rut, of the mind. Once you have asked why, you miss the meditative moment. Seeing that the disciple is very gross, he had to be gross. He had to throw his pillow out of the window – he had to do something absolutely meaningless, just to shock. But the disciple was more puzzled, even more puzzled.

Then he gave a lion’s roar. And died. It is said that for many centuries the roar was heard in his monastery. Whenever people would sit silently and meditate they would hear the lion’s roar. This was his last shock. And then he died. Why did he do this, this lion’s roar? Maybe nothing is bringing him out of his mind – this utterly absurd thing, a lion’s roar for no reason at all, may bring him out of the mind. And then he died. If nothing else brings him out of his mind, then death will bring him. And if even for a single moment you can taste the space called no-mind, then you know that there is nobody to die.

Nobody lives, nobody dies. Nothingness lives, nothingness dies. You are not. Have a good laugh at this situation. You are not and you exist. You are not and you are. This is the cosmic joke.

You ask me, What is the Zen attitude towards death?

Laughter. But that is their attitude towards life too.

-Osho

From This Very Body the Buddha, Discourse #8

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Nobody Comes Running – Osho

I love the expression, “Take one step towards Allah, and he will come running a thousand steps towards you.” It seems to suggest that receptivity is not a totally inactive waiting but requires a certain participation. Even to receive a flower, doesn’t one need to hold out one’s hand? Or am I on the wrong track again?

Yes, Maneesha, you are on a wrong track again. That saying comes from Mohammedism, “Take one step towards Allah, and he will come running a thousand steps toward you.”

But in the world of Zen there is no Allah, and as far as your inside is concerned, just take one step and you are the Allah. Nobody comes running. On the contrary, you come to a standstill. Just one step, inside – that Mohammedan saying is still about the outside God – you take one step and God will come running towards you. But that kind of God does not exist, so don’t unnecessarily waste your step! Save it, you will need it to go in. And the moment you go one step in, you are the Allah. In the world of Zen that kind of statement is not applicable at all.

-Osho

From Ma Tzu: The Empty Mirror, Discourse #2

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Is Thinking Necessary? – Toni Packer

This is the sixth day of the November 87 Seven-day Retreat.

Several questions have come up in meetings, probably more than we can go into in depth this morning, but I will mention them anyways.

One is: Isn’t thinking necessary in our day-to-day living? So we will look at that and look at thought which is sticky.

Another question concerns partial awareness: Is there such a thing as partial awareness? Being aware partially?

Then there was a question several people asked, What is love? Is there any place for love in this work?

And there were questions about fear and the fear of dying, the fear of death.

We will start out with the question: Isn’t thinking necessary in our day-to-day living?

One wonders where does such a question come from? Does it come out of observation in our day-to-day living? Or does it come out of the assumption that thought is bad? There shouldn’t be thought. And so, one may continue to think if the mind is empty of thought (which seems to be a goal) certainly one may think this is one’s own spiritual goal – not to have disturbing thoughts – then how will I live my day-to day-living?

We do have enormous amounts of assumptions. Some more available to us than others. Others are very tacit, subliminal assumptions, particularly if we have gone through spiritual training where there seems to be a quite universal demand about cutting thoughts. Just recently, I read in one magazine, issued by a spiritual organization, several articles in which this was emphasized – cut, cut, cut, when thoughts come up. Or don’t get involved in the complexes of thinking, just this (Toni thumps the table)! If you understand that, there is no need to think! And one may find, that one who for many years has trained in that way, that that sort of the thinking atrophies in a way. One thinks along given lines, which one has done before one entered a spiritual organization; now one has a new line to think along. And the leader, the teacher, the authority, the spiritual guide will do the thinking for one, if it’s necessary.

So one doesn’t have to bother one’s mind. I am not saying that facetiously. It does go on.

One knows oneself; one asks questions and expects answers. Questions which one can explore oneself. Not that it isn’t helpful and okay to explore a question together. And yet to see the question, where it comes from, and to listen in the light of the question. No one can do that for one. We re-emphasize this because we are so used to having someone else lead us, do our thinking and guiding for us, which is probably the single most obstructive thing in our life. Relying on someone else and therefore not the openness, the innocency, of looking and listening oneself.

So is thinking necessary in our day-to-day living? Well, we can watch – of course it is. We wouldn’t find our way into the kitchen if we didn’t have memory of how to get there. And that memory does not need to be prompted. It is there, when the bell rings. (Laughter.) How to get here, how to drive home, how to find one’s address, one’s house, and in our daily work, and learning a new skill, studying, all of this requires memory and thinking and memorizing new information.

I personally feel that it is important to be aware of what is going on in the world, close to one’s home as well as in distant areas. To be aware what we human beings are involved in, enmeshed in, worldwide, close at home and all over the globe. Not to see it with an axe to grind or to prove something that one has already concluded but to look freshly all the time and to not be opaque within, as one watches the news. The news in depth, documentary, the past, of the past wars, to not just watch or read what is happening out there but simultaneously be transparent to what goes on within oneself in this closest and most intimate of all laboratories that is available to us – our own thoughts and feelings and emotions and conflicts, upheavals, turmoil, and so forth. To be intimate with it; open to see what goes on in oneself. Not hesitant or fearful to discover the truth of one’s moment-to-moment thoughts and feelings and turbulence, conflicts, contradictions because they are what make up the turbulence, contradictions, and conflict in this world, and vice versa.

If that transparency and that openness to what is happening, not from a point of view but open, if that takes place, our thinking about relationship among human beings personally and universally will be intelligent. It will not happen according to party lines. You will not be defensive of a system that one may have been educated in, an ideology or religious doctrine. One will understand and think intelligently about all doctrine, all indoctrination, and what it does to human beings, to us – by observing within and outside. And when there is this openness, and the clarity of watching and looking and asking questions and discussing with interested friends, then our thinking will be intelligent. It will not be partisan, distorted, defensive, or aggressive; it will reflect what is actually happening.

But it does not happen if there is not awareness of the thinking process itself. And that no matter how much one reads about it, or hears about it, that has to be observed, caught as it happens. And this is what we devote so much time and energy to here, all of us.

When the mind is open, not closed in opinion or defense or fear, but open to listen and to think and to look, then one can discover that certain thoughts do not close up the mind. They can go on and the mind remains open. Right now, we are certainly thinking. Examples are given at times which mean memory is used to remember an incident, to bring it in as an example – that is memory and thought – and yet in speaking or listening, the mind need not close up.

The sound of the airplane, or the breathing of participants here, the changing of a posture, the rustling of clothes, the creaking of a joint, that’s all there. One doesn’t need to label it, and therefore it doesn’t need to disturb the listening. And yet there is a certain focusing on what is being said. Focusing means gathering attention and listening to what is being said and not labeling what else is heard.

If one thought, well this airplane, is this flying toward Boston? I flew over here once and I saw this place down here; I actually did! (Laughter.) It was amazing. I could see these lakes; it was almost frozen and there was sparkling sunshine like we have had. And usually, I have an image of not having any idea about geography and direction and where I am, but when I looked out there, that image must not have been there because something was recognized which looked like Hemlock Lake, and sure enough it was. One could see these lakes like fingers. That is what they are called. And there were these three fields, three patches of openness in the midst of the bare trees. The house was not visible; we were too high.

So coming back, hearing the airplane, will one think, is this the plane to Boston? And get involved in the memory of how nice it was, beautiful site, and the lovely colors, then one cannot also pay attention to listening. But if a sound is heard without being labelled, and the associations do not take place because the attention, the energy and attention is in listening – to the words that are being said – then the sounds do not disturb. They do not close down the mind or narrow it down.

The mind does get almost instantly closed up or narrowed down when there is what we call sticky thought about oneself, one’s pains, or one’s hopes, one’s desires. What injustice has been done to one. An angry incident coming up which the mind goes over and over, wanting some satisfaction from the person that did one wrong. Thought in which the self is threatened, or wants to maintain itself, prove itself, or aggrandize itself. Those thoughts do not allow for an open mind. All the energy and emotions are so intense and absorbing that the outside doesn’t seem to exist anymore, neither the awareness of the process itself.

Or can that dawn at any moment? Can one wake up in the midst of sticky thoughts which close down the mind so that the bird is not heard? Of course, of course, one can wake up. Waking up can happen at any moment. It happens on its own. It’s unfathomable. It has no cause. One comes to, sees the anger, sees the jealousy, or whatever is agitating the mind, or the desire. Then what happens?

People often tell me, “I don’t like to look because it is too painful what I see; it’s too ugly. It makes me shiver or shudder at myself.” And with that one withdraws from looking. Maybe a moment of awareness and then the mind going off on some other track. Why? Why? Why this fear of looking at oneself? Why this feeling of revulsion? One isn’t afraid of looking at other people and criticizing them heartily. (Laughter.) Actually, I think that to the extent that we hate to do it in ourselves, we are that much more engaged in criticizing and analyzing others. Finding fault with what we observe in others. There we can safely look and tackle it. Why not within oneself? What is the threat? What is threatened? What is so threatening about it?

Let us take the hypothetical case that we had no ingrained image about ourselves – how we should be – which we have nurtured and thought about and has been inculcated into us for years and years and is in the air. The moral images of a society, of a family, or a racial collective, they are taken in by osmosis. Those standards and images – how one ought to be – are there in us, in our memory. And what we see does not correspond to what we think we should be, or what we maybe always have believed we are. We can so deceive ourselves. A strong image about what we are like distorts our vision or ignores what behavior manifests; it is ignored. It is not seen. It is rationalized or just doesn’t come into awareness. And therefore, what deep down ails us – the conflict of contradiction in ourselves between what we actually think and do, and what we think we ought to be thinking and doing – that conflict deepens and widens and grates more and more.

This is the human disease. The difference between what actually is happening (the awareness of that) and what we think we are, and living (trying) desperately (or not so desperately) to live up to that. It is so fraught with emotion too, because when we are little, we are chided, reminded, reprimanded, punished. If an adult was treated like we treat children, in this respect, we would explode. Well, children explode too but even that they are often not allowed to do. Constantly being told what to do; what not to do; this is right; this is wrong – by us parents who may do the same things and not be aware of it. It is always so obvious when maybe one is invited to a party where there are many adults with many children. Adults talking noisily, laughing hilariously, and making all kinds of noise, but when the kids get too noisy, “Quiet down, be quiet!” And sometimes not so gently when the children are reminded once or twice, and then they are sent to their rooms, with a noisy command. Being yelled at to be quiet! We don’t notice these things until we begin to notice them.

My husband Kyle said, while we were with our grandchildren a few years ago at his . . ., “One should really be grandparents before one is parents.” Because when it’s not your children, then you can have this openness, and you see what happens. How parents worry about the image that the kids project. “My child will he look like that . . .how will he look in school? Will he behave like this forever?” All these fears and anxieties of making children behave properly, all the while not observing, not taking the time to see the whole thing what happens. Giving attention at a certain segment of the whole thing and then maybe disapproving or stepping in, not having seen what went on before. What oneself did and said before that may have agitated a child.

So we are coming back to wondering whether it is not possible to see oneself, even if it is painful? To look at what is revealed in awareness, if it is painful or frightening or ugly. Realizing that one is observing a human being – in action, in relationship, under stress.

It is not necessary to immediately identify and say, “This is me and I should be that way.” Then the trouble starts; the difficulty begins, and one will ignore or escape. If one remains with it and comes to some profound understanding of how we operate and react, then we will not need this tremendous outlet to blame others, see fault in others.

We realize our common inheritance and common patterns, common bondage, and maybe, common freedom from it. Because if it is possible in one human being to see anger in oneself and have it end in the seeing . . .[all human beings can] be free of it. Drop it. It has flared up but it can be dropped instantly, the angry thought, while you may still convulse for a while. And one gives the time to slow down again, to come back into balance. But an angry thought or a grudge can be dropped instantly, as it is seen. If this is possible for one human being, it is possible for all human beings. Why shouldn’t it be? At least one cannot assume that this is for an elite. Then one is stuck with a new idea.

Actually, one doesn’t immediately escape from something that is seen but looks caringly and feels the feelings of sorrow or anger or fear without naming them, without reacting positively or negatively – just that – the reality, the actuality of it, the aliveness of it. A joy comes into this world – the joy of discovering what is true, what is actually happening – and not this conflict and dilemma of needing to hide or escape, and pretending, being hypocritical.

Maybe we can leave that and go on to the next question which was about whether there can be partial awareness? Or whether a lot of the awareness that we seem to experience is partial awareness? Before we get into it, let us just say that thinking about oneself, remembering what one did and then thinking about it, is not awareness, even though it often masquerades for awareness. One may think very honestly and perceptively, as we say, about oneself. Be able to analyze it very astutely. Remembering and then bringing to bear one’s knowledge about other behavior in oneself, memories, and so forth; but it is not awareness. It is thinking and analyzing.

Which reminds me, using this as an example. Once taking a walk with a psychoanalyst, a close friend, who was telling me about some recurring problem that we both had witnessed. We were together at the time. A recurring problem that this person had in relationship. And in taking our walk together, she was analyzing very honestly and non-defensively how this comes about this clash in the relationship, this repetitive clashing. And since it was apparent that it was some concern, over some particular concern that I had witnessed, I think this is why she was explaining how it happened. And at one point I asked, “Would it be possible to see this as it happens because it happens over and over and over again? Just be aware of it as it happens. Not analyzing it afterwards but seeing it at the moment.” She said instantly, “I don’t want to use my energies that way.” It was an amazing response. It was not deliberated. It came so quickly and maybe, now I am analyzing, (laughter) there is pleasure in our clashes and our angry explosions with each other. We don’t want to let go of that. It gives some release, a feeling of power over each other. One has to observe that for oneself. It is easy afterwards to say why it happened, but why can’t one see it as it happens? And is there attachment? That is a question which one has to ask oneself, ask of oneself. Attachment to the very thing that we are suffering from, only partially suffering from; the other side of it is pleasure. Pleasure in the suffering, in the anger, in the outlet, in the release, in the violence, in the domination and power. It all reveals itself when the mind is not judgmental but open to look. Asking questions and then being quiet in the looking.

So back now to partial awareness. I think it is a very worthwhile inquiry whether, as one feels there is awareness of something, whether the mind is really open to the whole. To the whole situation. One may be minutely occupied with a job. Maybe one is working in the kitchen. One is cutting the carrots, scrubbing them under the water, paying attention. We talked about it the other day. Feeling the water, the coldness of it and the texture of the carrot, seeing its shape and little dark ridges, slicing it and so forth. Being there, being attentive, as attentive as one can be, and all the while, not noticing that somebody else wants to get to the sink. (Laughter.)

So there can be careful minute attention but on a very small, limited stage. And very often when that kind of awareness takes place, center stage is still the me, aware that it is aware, and quite pleased with itself. (Laughter.) There is an image there of oneself being aware, paying attention. Paying attention all right to this thing but not in a broader sense in which there is no image to hold onto. The image can be seen and let go of. It goes if it’s seen because if it is seen, it is seen for its partiality, for its narrowness and stickiness – its darkness. And when the self-image goes, with its commands that you must be attentive, you must be aware, when that goes, it is seen and understood and doesn’t continue, and the world opens up. There is the sky again and all the people next to one, not so different from oneself. Much more alike than different. Which maybe leads us into our next question on What is love?

Is there any love in this work? somebody asked. Being involved in discovering about oneself and often the despair. The deep grief in seeing what one has done to other people. How hurtful one’s violent emotions have been in the past, maybe just a moment ago, and the real feeling of despair, of frustration, and sometimes of hopelessness. Will this ever change?

See these too are thoughts and judgements about oneself. Why can’t there be just seeing? Like when the sun comes out of the clouds, it covers everything, the beautiful brown grasses, the green grasses, and any kind of trash that may be lying around. It’s equally lit up. No differentiation there, no discrimination there. And actually, an awareness which is not beset by immediately judging, the me coming back and judging: this is bad, this is good, this is ugly and so forth. Awareness is of the same nature, of the same essence; it is non-judgmental. It just illumines what’s there.

Can one quickly catch seeing when a judgement is coming up and not be caught up in it? So that there is no, no duality in this seeing, no owner of these behaviors, no possessor of the anger or sufferer of the pain. That’s made up by thought. We went into this quite in detail yesterday, how thought creates the sufferer of the pain.

In reality, in truth there is just the pain. And that is not the word either; it’s not the concept, the idea. It’s what it is. What is it? Without words, without any duality, no one there, just what’s there! No thought about me being this way or that way. That divides instantly, and then there is no more sun, no more light. Then there are only our prejudices, and fears, and opinions, and standards which shade, throw shade, a shadow.

So the question is really – isn’t it? – whether this constant self-centeredness or self-enclosing, this ongoing enclosing oneself with one’s self-image and its needs and fears and so forth, whether that can end, in the light of awareness? So that there is just what is. There is no duality, no owner, no sufferer, no wanter of something different. Those thoughts as they come up are seen, are spotted, and dissolve like snow on a warm blade of grass.

These moments happen to all of us, I’m sure, at times. A moment when there is no feeling of conflict; there is no feeling of standing against anything. There just being the vast expanse of what is there, including what is happening in this chunk of life which is part of the wholeness of life. And it is when there is not the immediacy of judging and wanting different things or fearing. None of that, it is quiet. It is an abeyance. The energy is gathering in awareness, in attention, in not knowing. In not knowing what is right or wrong. Not interested in right or wrong, just interested in being there. In that state, one may find the welling up of love. Out of nowhere. And belonging to no one. Because belonging and owning is thought, self-enclosing thought, but love, lovingness, has nothing to do with thought. It has nothing to do with possession or wanting or lacking. It is just there when it is there. And it spreads like the sunshine. It covers without any discrimination. That’s not part of it; it’s not partial.

And I don’t think it could ever do harm. How could it? Because it is not self-enclosed. When that love is there – it’s not the word, it’s not a concept. When that’s there, then there is no fear of dying. No fear of death. There is no fear. Because the self-enclosure isn’t there. That’s where fear is born and maintained, in the self-enclosure – what will happen to me?

Fear is born out of the attachment to somebody or something. It even gives rise to the attachment. Fear of being lonely. Fear of not getting what one wants or needs. Fear of not continuing as the story of one’s life, as an image. All of our fear of imagining dying is fear of imaging. Fear of not continuing as me, as I know me. So fear and self are wedded; they are inseparable. Where there is a feeling of self, there is fear. There is also pleasure. And the vehicle for both of them being thought and image. For both pleasure and fear, the vehicle is thought, thinking and imaging about myself in relationship to what will happen to me pleasurably and frighteningly. When there is no self-enclosure, when the self-image is quiet, it’s not there, one can even say there is a dying to it, then there is no fear. What would one be afraid for?

Can one look at these things? Ponder them and go into it deeply? (Pause.) Dying to the idea of oneself which is the creator of fear. Dying to the idea of oneself and seeing it and the vanishing of that – that’s being alive – so that then one is alive. Part, inseparable part of all of life, in which the cyclical, periodic, annual dying is no problem. Not only no problem, but there cannot be a new shoot, a new leaf, a new flower or blade of grass without an old one having ended.

So why are we so afraid of ending? It’s like all thought stuff, image stuff. Can one see that, see it freely without withdrawing? Without commenting on it and withdrawing because of the comments? “I won’t be anywhere, what will happen to me?” Actually, when one is not enclosed in this whole collection of images about oneself, then one is everywhere and nowhere. That is what nowhere means, everywhere. (Pause.)

We will end here for today.

-Toni Packer

From a talk given on the sixth day of the November 87 Seven-day Retreat.

Here you can listen to the talk Is Thinking Necessary?

The Master of the Shouts – Osho

A little note about Rinzai, master of the irrational.

Rinzai, also known as Lin-Chi, was born in the early ninth century and was to become the founder of one of the most significant schools of Zen.

Brilliant as a child, later, when Rinzai became a priest, he studied the sutras and scriptures. Realizing the answer did not lie within them, he went on pilgrimage, visiting Obaku and Daigu, two great masters. After his enlightenment he became priest of a small temple on the banks of the Hu-t’o River.

Maneesha has asked:

Our beloved master, Rinzai became known as the master of the shouts. His specialty consists . . . he used shouts as a method to silence you – a sudden shout. You are asking about God, you are asking about heaven, you are asking about great philosophical or theological problems and the master immediately shouts. Your mind gets a shock, almost an electric shock. For a moment you are not, only the shout is. For a moment the mind stops, time stops – and that is the whole secret of meditation.

Many mystics around the world have used sounds, but in a very superficial way. Rinzai used shouts in a tremendously deep way. His shouts would become just like a sword entering in you, piercing to the very center.

You can understand . . . when you shout Yaa-Hoo! your mind disappears. Yaa-Hoo! has no meaning, but shouting it you get suddenly thrown to your own center, and once you have touched your own center, even for a simple glimpse, your life has started changing.

Rinzai would shout at the disciples to give them a first experience of their centering. You are both a circumference and a center. You live on the circumference; the shout simply pushes you to the center. Once you experience being at the center you suddenly see the whole world changing. Your eyes are no more the same; your clarity and transparency are absolute. You see the same green leaves greener, the same roses rosier, the same life as a festival, as a ceremony. You would love to dance.

And then the disciples, once they learned that the shout can help them to reach to their very center . . . It was a strange sight when Rinzai started accepting disciples near the river. The disciples would be shouting around the whole valley, and the valley would resound with shouts. You could tell from miles away that you were somewhere close to Rinzai. It was not only that he was shouting, but that shouting was a method to throw you from the circumference to the center.

There are many ways to throw you to the center. Every way is valid if you reach to your center, because your center is the only immortal part in you. Everything else is going to die.

Today Professor Barks is here. He has done a tremendous job in translating Rumi. He has come as close as possible, but I don’t think he knows that Rumi’s whole effort by whirling is to find the center. If you whirl for hours, you will see slowly that something at the very center is not moving at all, and that is you. Your body is whirling, but your consciousness is a pillar of light.

Rumi attained his first enlightenment by whirling for thirty-six hours continuously. People thought he was mad. Even today a small group of his followers continues. They are called whirling dervishes. But the point is the same: whirling, your whole body becomes a cyclone, and your witnessing self becomes the center. Everything moves around you, but the center remains unmoving. To know this unmoving center is to know the very master key of all the mysteries of life.

Rinzai had no idea about Rumi, neither did Rumi have any idea about Rinzai, but both were working on the same strategy – somehow to force you to the center. As your consciousness becomes deeper, as it becomes an easy thing to go to the center just like you go in your house and come out, you have become a buddha.

Then slowly, slowly your center starts changing your circumference. Then you cannot be violent, then you cannot be destructive; then you are love. Not that you love – you are love. Then you are silence, then you are truth, although the old you has disappeared. That was your circumference, that was the cyclone that is gone. Now, only the center remains.

Rinzai’s method is far simpler than Rumi’s. Very few people will be able to whirl for hours, but shouting is a simpler method. Anybody can shout and can shout wholeheartedly, and it can be very intense and urgent. Whirling you will take hours to find out the center; shouting, a split second and you are at the center.

The anecdote…

Rinzai became known as the master of the shouts. On one occasion a monk asked, “What about the cardinal principle of the Buddha-dharma?”

Now, he is asking something important. What is the cardinal principle of the religion of Buddha?

Rinzai shouted – the monk bowed.

“Do you say that’s a good shout?” Rinzai asked.

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

“What is my offence?” Rinzai asked.

The monk replied, “It won’t be pardoned a second time.”

Rinzai gave another shout.

The first shout of Rinzai was perfectly good. The monk bowed down because he felt a great relief by moving from the circumference to the center. But Rinzai was a little suspicious. Because everything in this world becomes traditional, it had started becoming traditional that Rinzai will shout and you have to bow down to show that you have understood it, that it has reached to your center. It was becoming a tradition.

This is very unfortunate. Everything becomes a habit, a ritual, a tradition, and loses all meaning. Now, his bowing down may be true or may be just a mannerism. That’s why Rinzai asked, “Do you say that’s a good shout?”

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

What does he mean by this? The monk is saying, “You have been found being unsuccessful. Your shout missed.”

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

“What is my offense?” Rinzai asked.

The monk replied, “It won’t be pardoned a second time.”

The monk is saying, “Your shout missed.” He is not saying that shouting at him a second time will not be pardoned; he is saying, “Your being a failure will not be pardoned – It won’t be pardoned a second time. The first time I forgive you; you missed, you did not reach to my center. I bowed down because you tried, you tried hard. But the second time it will not be pardoned.”

Anybody reading it will think that he is saying, “If you shout a second time it will not be pardoned.” That is not the case. He is saying, “Your failure will not be pardoned a second time.”

Rinzai gave a shout – and the anecdote ends suddenly. After the shout there is silence. The second shout succeeded. Now the monk is silent, Rinzai is silent.

There have been long progressions for reaching to yourself, like yoga. But devices like Rinzai’s are very simple, don’t require any discipline as a prerequisite. Anybody . . . no need of having a certain character; good or bad, sinner or saint, it does not matter. What matters is to reach to the center, because at the center you are neither a sinner nor a saint. Your being a sinner or a saint are all on the periphery. Our whole society lives on the periphery; all our divisions are very superficial.

I am reminded of a great follower of Buddha, Nagarjuna. He lived naked. Perhaps Nagarjuna is the greatest logician that has walked on the earth. Aristotle is no comparison to him, neither is Shankara; Nagarjuna’s argumentation is the most refined. But he used to live naked – a beautiful man – and even kings and queens were disciples to him. In a certain capital the queen was his disciple. She asked him, “You will have to give me a favor. I want to take away your begging bowl.”

He said, “That is not a problem. You can have it.”

She said, “That is only half of it. I have prepared a begging bowl for you. This one you give to me; it will be a present, the most precious to me in the whole world. And I have made a begging bowl which you cannot reject, you have to accept it.”

He said, “I have not seen it either.”

She said, “Seeing or not seeing is not the question. First, give me the promise that you will not reject it.”

So he said, “Okay, I will not reject it.”

She brought out the bowl, and it was made of solid gold, studded with diamonds. Nagarjuna said, “You don’t understand the situation. Whether I reject it or not, I will not be able to keep it even for a few hours. A naked man carrying a begging bowl made of solid gold, studded with great diamonds – do you think I will be able to keep it? But I have promised, so I will accept it.”

A thief was watching the whole transaction. He followed Nagarjuna. He knew that this fellow lives outside the city in a dilapidated temple, and every afternoon after he has taken his food, he goes to sleep. This is a very good time to take this begging bowl away. Anyway, somebody is going to take it away . . .

So he went and he was hiding behind a wall by the side of a window watching that somebody else does not enter inside. Nagarjuna made his place to sleep and he had complete awareness that somebody had been following him.

“Why keep him unnecessarily waiting? Anyway, I am going to sleep and he will take the begging bowl. It is better to give it him. Why make him a thief?” So he threw the begging bowl outside the window where the thief was sitting.

The thief could not believe it. This is really a strange man. A strange desire arose in the thief that it would be good to have a little time to sit at this man’s feet, so he asked from the window, “Can I come in?”

Nagarjuna said, “What do you think I have thrown the begging bowl for? – to bring you in. Come in. That was just an invitation.”

The thief could not understand, but was very much impressed by the man.

Nagarjuna said, “I did not want to make you a thief, that’s why I have thrown the begging bowl. Now you can have it.”

The thief said, “It is so precious; you are a man of great mastery over yourself. I also hope one day I will not be a thief but a master like you.”

Nagarjuna said, “Why postpone it? It is a very simple secret. You can become a master.”

He said, “You don’t understand. I am a thief; I am a born thief. I cannot resist the temptation.”

Nagarjuna said, “It does not matter at all. You can remain a thief. I will give you a small meditation: whatever you do, even if you go to steal in the palace, just be a witness of what you are doing. I don’t want you not to be a thief; do whatever you want to do, but do it with full awareness. Just be a witness.”

He said, “This seems to be simple. I have been going to many saints. They say, ‘First you drop stealing, otherwise you cannot be religious.’ You are the first man who is not asking me to drop stealing.”

Nagarjuna said, “Those saints that you have met are not saints. No saint will ask you to drop stealing. Why? Do it perfectly well. Just remain a witness.”

The thief could not understand the strategy. After the third or fourth day he came back to Nagarjuna and said, “You are very clever. In these four days there have been so many opportunities to steal, but as I go to steal, to take something, immediately my hand relaxes. The moment I witness myself stealing it seems to be so embarrassing that I pull my hand back. For four days I have not been able to steal anything.”

Nagarjuna said, “Now it is your problem; I have nothing to do with it. You can choose. You can choose witnessing, or you can choose stealing.”

The man said, “Only in these four days have I been able to feel my own dignity. I cannot drop witnessing. I am coming with you.”

What witnessing does is again throw you back to your center. At the center you are a buddha. On the periphery, who you are does not matter. Once you start living at the center, slowly, slowly your circumference will start changing its colors. It will become as pure as you are at the center. It will become as compassionate as you are at the center. It will take all the fragrance of the center in all your activities.

The authentic religion does not preach morality. Morality comes on its own accord. The authentic religion teaches you to be centered in yourself. Then everything that is good follows, and what is bad simply does not arise. It is not a question of choice; choicelessly you are good. It is not that you are being good; you cannot be otherwise.

This is the miracle of Zen.

Zen simply means witnessing.

These shouts throw you to the center, and once you have learned to be at the center, you will know that on the periphery you are always a beggar, and at the center you are always an emperor. And who wants to be a beggar?

Religion is the alchemy of transforming beggars into emperors.

A great Zen poet, Ikkyu, wrote:

Crazy madman,
Blowing up a crazy wind,
Wandering here and there,
Amidst brothels and wine shops.

Is there an enlightened monk
Who can match me
Even for a single word?

I paint the south; I paint the north;
I am painting the west and east.

He is saying “People think I am crazy . . . ” Crazy madman, blowing up a crazy wind, wandering here and there, amidst brothels and wine shops.

An authentic buddha is not afraid of brothels and wine shops. The saints who are afraid are really repressed people; they are not transformed beings.

Is there an enlightened monk who can match me?

A buddha can move with absolute freedom in the marketplace. Those who renounce the world are the cowards, the escapists, and they have destroyed all the religions of the world. All the religions are in the hands of the cowards.

An authentic religious man is a lion, and he is so centered in himself that he is not worried about being anywhere. He is so certain of his purity, of his eternity, of his divinity that he knows that if a thief comes to him, it is the thief who will have to change; if a prostitute comes to him, it is the prostitute who will have to change.

Our so-called saints are so much afraid. Their fear shows their repressions. A repressed man is not a religious man; he is simply sick, he needs psychiatric treatment.

-Osho

From Rinzai: The Master of the Irrational, Discourse #1

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

 

Dhyana has no Gate

Kinzan, Ganto and Seppo were doing zazen when Tozan came in with the tea. Kinzan shut his eyes.
Tozan asked, “Where are you going?”
Kinzan replied, “I am entering dhyana.”
Tozan said, “Dhyana has no gate, how can you enter into it?”

A monk asked Joshu, “What is the way without mistakes?”
Joshu said, “Knowing one’s mind, seeing into one’s nature, is the way without mistakes.”

A monk asked Ganto, “When the three worlds are attacking us, what shall we do?”
“Sit still!” said Ganto.
The monk was surprised and said, “Please explain a little more.”
“Bring me Mount Ro,” said Ganto, “And I will tell you.”

On another occasion, Zuigan asked Ganto, “What is the eternal and fundamental principle of things?”
Ganto replied, “Movement.”
Zuigan asked, “What is this movement?”
Ganto said, “When you see things move, can’t you see this eternal and fundamental principle of things?”
Zuigan was lost in thought, and Ganto said, “If you agree to this, you are still in the dust of this world, if you disagree, you will be always sunk in life and death.”

Maneesha, these small anecdotes are small only in size; in depth, no ocean can compete with them. It is a miracle that in such small dialogues, the greatest of experiences, which are inexpressible, are expressed. Look at this small anecdote:

Kinzan, Ganto and Seppo . . .

all masters,

. . . were doing zazen when Tozan came in with the tea.

Zazen, as you know, means simply sitting and doing nothing. Not even thinking, because thinking is also doing. Simply not doing anything – physical, mental, or spiritual – just being like a flame, unwavering, without any wind around.

. . . Tozan cane in with the tea. Kinzan shut his eyes. Tozan asked, “Where are you going?”

Do you see the point? By closing your eyes, certainly you are going inwards, but exactly where? Because just the word ‘inward’ is not indicative of any destination. The inwardness is as vast as outwardness.

“Where are going?”

Kinzan replied, “I am entering dhyana”

Meditation.

In an ordinary way, his answer is perfect. But Zen is not ordinary, never for a single moment. It is always and always extraordinary – because Tozan immediately said:

“Dhyana – meditation – has no gate; how can you enter into it?”

Now, great masters – just at tea time – talking of great things. Teatime becomes absolutely sacred. Tozan’s point is that dhyana has no gate; it is all openness, it is the whole sky inside – how are you going to enter? From what gate? It has no gate.

Of the remaining three, nobody said anything. It is true; there is no gate inside. And this is also true, that just by sitting silently, doing nothing, without any gate, you enter in. The gate is not a necessity. Can’t you enter this Buddha Hall without a gate? Inside there is no wall, no question of a gate; hence the remaining three masters did not say a single word. Tozan has uttered an ultimate question; only silence can be the answer.

A monk asked Joshu,

“What is the way without mistakes?”

Joshu said, “Knowing one’s mind, seeing into one’s nature, is the way without mistakes.”

Mind can commit mistakes but once you are beyond mind, there is no one to commit mistakes.

Mind can go wrong, but beyond mind there is no way of going wrong. Beyond mind, you are simply drowned into your own nature.

A monk asked Ganto, “When the three worlds are attacking us, what shall we do?”

By the Three Worlds is meant heaven, earth, and hell. And they are all attacking us, throwing us this way or that way, pulling this way or that way.

When the three worlds are attacking us, what shall we do?

Ganto said, “Sit still!”

The monk was surprised and said, “Please explain a little more.”

A little more is not possible. Sit still is more than enough already. Sit still and there is no hell, no heaven, no earth. Just one single universe, all boundaries dissolved, all divisions disappeared. Now what more can be said? But the poor monk could not understand. He asked, “Please explain a little more.”

Ganto said, “Bring me Mount Ro . . .

Ro is Japanese for Mount Sumeru – I have explained it to you, the gold mountain in heaven, a thousand times bigger than the Himalayas. Nobody knows its end and nobody knows its beginning. Ganto said, “Bring me Sumeru and I will tell you.” He is saying to the monk, “Don’t ask stupid questions; otherwise, I have to answer stupidly. Don’t be idiotic; otherwise out of compassion I have to be idiotic with you, just so you have companionship.”

Nobody can bring Mount Sumeru. It is just a mythology, it exists nowhere. And even if it exists, how can you bring it?

Asking a question that assumes something more can be said about meditation than “Sit still” is asking something absolutely impossible.

Sit still and all three worlds disappear. In this moment, listening to the cuckoo, all has disappeared. There is only a deep silence, in, deepening within your being.

On another occasion, Zuigan asked Ganto, “What is the eternal and fundamental principle of things?”

Ganto replied, “Movement”

Change.

Zuigan asked, “What is this movement?”

Ganto said, “When you see things move, can’t you see this eternal and fundamental principle of things?”

A rosebush growing, bringing roses . . . a cuckoo suddenly starts singing, and each moment everything is growing that is living. The bamboos are becoming bigger, and even the Himalayas are becoming bigger. Howsoever slow the change . . . the Himalaya becomes one foot higher every year. But in this eternity that is too much. Finally, you can imagine, if it does not stop growing it will become absolutely impossible for another Edmund Hillary to reach Mount Everest. But existence is growing. Trees are growing, you are growing, your consciousness is growing.

Nothing is static. Movement is the fundamental question, and Ganto has put it correctly: When you see things move, can’t you see this eternal principle of things? Life is growth, in short. The moment you stop growing, you are dead.

Life has to be a river, always moving. The moment you become frozen somewhere, the movement is stopped, life disappears.

Even your going in is growing every day, deeper and deeper and deeper. You have to find the eternal source of your being. It is a great dive inside. And every day, every moment, you can go on growing in it. There is no end to it. You don’t simply become a buddha and stop. If you stop, then you become just a stone statue.

I sometimes wonder: all these stone statues of Buddha around the world – are these real people who have stopped growing and become stones? Will they ever understand and start growing again, and talking and walking?

Even Gautam Buddha has accepted that there is something still beyond him. He is not the end, he is only the beginning. A true understanding, an honest expression – Buddha says, “I am only born, now the growth begins.”

Zuigan was lost in thought . . .

Listening to Ganto,

. . . and Ganto said, “If you agree to this, you are still in the dust of this world.”

This is a very beautiful point to be remembered. If you agree to this, to what I have said, remember: agreement means movement has stopped. You have already agreed. If you agree to this, you are still in the world.

And if you disagree, you will always be sunk in life and death.

What a great insight, that even agreement or disagreement are not allowed. You are to grow beyond all dualities, it does not matter what the duality is. Because every duality means choosing one against the other, and growth stops.

Life is a choicelessness. Never choose. Just be, and allow your being to grow to unknown skies, to unknown spaces. And you will find your buddhahood bringing more and more flowers, showering more and more blessings, bringing greater and greater ecstasies. And there is no end to it.

Manzan wrote a poem:

One minute of sitting, one inch of buddha.

Like lightning, all thoughts come and pass.

Just once look into your mind depths:

Nothing else has ever been.

Two points he is making in his small poem. One minute of sitting – even one minute of sitting without doing anything, no thought is stirred inside you, all is utterly silent – one inch of buddha. You have found at least one inch of buddhahood. And you don’t need much more. Each moment, go on. And whatever you have found will also go on growing. From one inch to one yard, and from one yard to one mile, and from one mile to one light year, and it will go on and on. Buddhahood is a pilgrimage which ends nowhere.

And what is the meaning of sitting? Like lightning, all thoughts come and pass. Just remain watchful. Don’t make any judgment or identification. Just like lightning, let them come and go. You remain in your depths, just silent and witnessing, and you will be surprised: nothing else has ever been, except your inner depth. Your innermost silence is the stuff existence is made of.

Maneesha is asking:

Osho,

The story of Zuigan seems to hit the nail on the head, doesn’t it?

Is it not so, that we are literally “lost in thought” and found again in meditation?

Maneesha, ordinarily what you are saying is absolutely right. In thought, you are lost, in meditation you are found. But if you want to listen to the answer in Zen language, there is no losing and no finding.

There is simply silence.

You are not.

These songs of cuckoos pass through you just as through a hollow bamboo.

In thoughts, you start imagining that you are. When thoughts are not there, don’t start imagining that now you are really. Once thoughts are gone, you are also simply a thought; you are also gone.

Then what remains is only a pure consciousness, without any “I” attached to it.

You don’t find yourself; you simply lose yourself, both the ways: either you lose yourself in thoughts or you lose yourself in no-thought. But losing yourself in thought is very ordinary; losing yourself in no-thought has a splendor and an eternity of joy and bliss. You are not there, but there is a dance of pure consciousness. It is not your dance – you are gone with your thoughts. You were nothing but the combination of your thoughts. As one by one your thoughts disappear, part by part you melt away. Finally, you are no more.

And this is the moment – when you are no more – that the ultimate is in your hands.

It is a strange situation:

When you are, your hands are empty.

When you are not, your hands are full.

When you are, you are simply misery, anguish. When you are not, there is bliss. You cannot say, “I am blissful”; there is only bliss.

There is only silence.

There is only truth.

-Osho

From Zen: The Solitary Bird, Cuckoo of the Forest, Discourse #11

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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Immediacy, the Whole Insistence of Zen – Osho

God is. Truth is. Love is. There is no way to say it, and there is no way to hide it. There is no word which can express it, and there is no methodology of how to keep it unexpressed. That is the dilemma of the mystic. He has to say it, and it cannot be said. He cannot keep quiet about it; he cannot keep silent. It overfloods him; it starts overflowing; it is beyond him to keep silent. He has to say it, and nobody has ever been able to say it.

God is not a word, neither is truth a word, nor is love a word. And they are not just silences either, because their isness is a singing isness; they are songs. It is not just dull and dead there. It is full of joy, it is overflowing joy. It is celebration, it is ecstasy, it is orgasm, because it is a meeting of the opposites, because it is a meeting of the polarities, because it is a marriage, a marriage of yin and yang, day and night, summer and winter, life and death, sound and silence.

So when it happens, you cannot say it, but you have to sing it, and that is the beauty of the song. It has something of the word and something of silence in it. That is the beauty of poetry, the beauty of dance. Something is visible, something is invisible; the manifest and the unmanifest meet there, embrace each other, are fulfilled in each other.

If you simply say and use words and there is no silence in those words, your words will be like dead stones. They can hit somebody’s head, you can argue with them, but you cannot convert. They don’t have that quality of silence which becomes conversion. When a word has a silence at its innermost core, when a word is luminous with silence, it brings conversion.

Then it is a gospel, then it is good news. Then somebody, who is saying something with silence in it, is not throwing a dead rock at you, but is throwing a flower. It will also hit you, but it will also caress you, and it will go deeper because you can be vulnerable to it and it will reach to your very heart. Because how can you protect yourself against it? You will be nondefensive.

So remember, all the mystics have been singing and dancing, celebrating. They go on saying, “We cannot say it,” and they go on saying all the same.

There is a difference in saying and saying. When you say without knowing it, without realizing it, it is just gibberish, just words and words and words, without any soul in them; it is a corpse; there is no aliveness in it. Those words stink – they stink of death. There is no heartbeat of life. When you know, when you have experienced, when you have fallen into that abyss called God, when you are transformed by that surrender, when you are totally immersed in it, when your every cell is bathed in it, then you say; but your words are not mere words.

They carry silence. They are vehicles of silence; they are gestures of silence. We have a special name for it in the East: mahamudra – the great gesture.

Look at my hand. If it is empty, if there is nobody behind it who has experienced, then it is an ordinary gesture. But if there is somebody behind it who has known, who has lived, who has experienced, then raising this hand is a great gesture, mahamudra. Then the ordinary hand becomes extraordinary. Then ordinary words are no more ordinary words. You cannot go to the dictionary to find their meaning. When a word is full of silence, you will have to go within yourself to find its meaning, not to a dictionary, not to a library. You will have to go within yourself. The meaning will be found in your experience.

The word of a man who knows is loaded, loaded with great fragrance. You will have to decode it in your innermost core of being, into the innermost shrine of your being. Truth is a transcendence, transcendence of all duality. So those who say truth cannot be said, only say a half-truth; and those who say that truth can be said only in silence, they also say a half-truth.

Zen brings the whole truth to the world. Zen is a great blessing to the world; it brings the whole truth.

The whole truth is: Truth cannot be said, and yet can be said. If not said, then showed, indicated. The ordinary duality is transcended. We are always moving from one pole of the duality to the other. Sometimes we say, “Yes, it can be said”; this is one pole. Then we become aware, “How can it be said?” – the other pole. Then we keep silent, but then again we become aware that there is something left: “Yes, it can be said.” This way it goes on moving, it swings.

Zen says truth is a transcendence, transcendence of all duality. The duality between the word and the silence is also to be transcended.

The Bible says in the beginning there was the word. The Vedas say in the beginning there was silence, eternal silence, and the silence brooded over the sea, and it was dark. And the Bible says there was the word. The first thing that happened in existence was the word. God said let there be light, and there was light. Both are half-truths.

If you ask the Zen people . . . They have not written any Bible or any Veda yet, and they will never try, because they don’t believe in scriptures. They say it is beyond the scriptures; it is a transmission beyond the scriptures. But if they ever write a Bible, or if they are forced to, like Lao Tzu was once forced to write the Tao Te Ching because the king wouldn’t allow him to leave the country unless he wrote his experiences . . .

Lao Tzu wanted to go to the Himalayas, to die there; certainly, there cannot be any more beautiful a place to die. Those eternal peaks, those snow – covered virgin peaks, where can you find a better place to disappear in God? What better moment? He wanted to go – he was very old and he wanted to go to the Himalayas to rest and disappear there, nobody ever knowing about him. He wanted to disappear absolutely alone. He wanted his death to be private.

And death is a private thing. Nobody else can be with you when you die; it is absolutely internal. So he wanted to escape and go away from the crowds. He was afraid too many people will surround him and his death will become a public affair.

But the king insisted, “First you write whatsoever you have known.” And he ordered the guards on the boundary saying that “This man is not to be allowed to go out.” So he was caught at a guard post, and for three days he sat in the guards’ room and wrote down the Tao Te Ching.

If somebody, forces a Zen Master to write down a Bible, a Veda, then they will say there was song in the beginning. Neither word nor silence, but song. There was song in the beginning, and God sang and danced. Not “Let there be light”: God sang and danced. And that dance became the beginning of creation.

That dance continues. That dance is what existence is.

The song has a mystery about it because it is a meeting, a marriage of opposites. In the song there is sound and silence. The song says something, but says in such a way that you cannot grasp it. Not that it doesn’t say anything. It makes much available, but you cannot grasp it, you cannot just possess it. If you try to possess, you will kill it. You cannot have a song in your fist; otherwise the song will be killed. It is too delicate; you cannot be that rough with it.

A song has to be preserved in the heart, not in the fist. About a song you have to be receptive, not aggressive. You can keep an argument in the fist; it is hard, rocklike, it will not die. You can keep and possess an argument, you can become the possessor of an argument. That’s why the ego enjoys very much to have arguments, proofs, logic, philosophies. The ego feels very much fulfilled: “I know so much.”

The song cannot be possessed that way; the ego cannot be its possessor. The song can penetrate your being, but the ego has to give way. If the ego comes in between, the song will be shattered. You may get fragments of it, and you may start interpreting those fragments, but you will miss the unity of it. And it was in the unity.

A song has not to be thought about. If you start thinking, about a song, you are already missing it. When you listen to music, how do you listen? Do you bring your mind in? If you bring your mind in, where is the music? Music and the mind both cannot exist together. That is the mystery of music: you have to put your mind aside. You cannot argue with music; you cannot nod your head in agreement or disagreement. You cannot say, “Yes, I agree,” or “No, I don’t agree.” There is no question of agreement or no agreement. With music you simply become one. If you want to feel it you have to put your head aside. The heart has to open towards it. It goes directly to the heart, it showers on the heart. It helps the flower of the heart to open and bloom. It is a nourishment for the inner lotus.

The Zen people will say, “There was song in the beginning, and then God sang and God danced, and that’s what he has been doing since then.” Each moment it is a dance. Look around. Can’t you hear these birds? These are not birds; don’t be deceived by them. These are not birds. It is God singing, the God of the beginnings – because it is always a beginning. Each moment is a beginning. Never think that the beginning was somewhere in the past. This is the beginning, and it is always the beginning and there is no end. It is God singing.

Can’t you hear the silence of the trees? It is God, silent.

In the birds he is singing, in the trees he is silent. Birds cannot exist without the trees, and, let me tell you, the trees cannot exist without the birds either. The birds sing for the trees, and the trees are silent for the birds, and there is a marriage. They are tied together. If trees disappear, birds will disappear. Kill all the birds of the world, and you will one day see the trees are disappearing. Everything is intertwined, everything is interlinked. This is what we mean by the word “ecology” – everything is together.

It is God singing, it is God silent.

Once you understand that God is both, then this highest possibility opens for you. This is the first principle, that you need not divide, all division is false, that you need not create any duality, because existence is nondual, because existence is one.

And all our misery is because we are divided. Why do you feel so thrilled when you are in love? What happens? Is the thrill just chemical, hormonal? No, it is not. The thrill isexistential. When you are in love, at least with one person you feel to be one, at least with one person you have dropped duality, at least with one person you are no more separate, at least with one person the boundaries are not there. You have removed the boundaries. Two spaces have come so close, they overlap. You feel so thrilled with love, so blissful with love, because it is an experience of God, a very limited experience of course.

And if it is so beautiful to be one with one person, how much more beautiful will it be to be one with the whole, to be one with all the persons, men and women, trees and birds and animals and the clouds and the mountains and the stars? How will it be? How much more beautiful? The beauty cannot be imagined, because the difference will not be only of quantity, it will be of quality. It will be utterly different.

Love can at the most be only a glimpse of a ray, not the ray itself, but only a glimpse in the lake. A ray of the sun playing on the lake, and you see the glimpse. That glimpse is love. When you find out the real ray, it becomes prayer. When you start moving through that ray, upwards, you start climbing on that ray and you start reaching towards the source of all light, then you are growing in spirituality. One day you are dissolved into that light. You yourself have become that light. That is the orgasm I talk about. That’s ecstasy.

And Zen people say that when you know, you have to say, knowing well that it cannot be said. You have to sing it.

Zen Masters have been very creative. Either they were singers, dancers, or painters, or in some sort of art, calligraphy, pottery. Whatsoever they could do they did. That became the gesture of their expression. They were not inactive people. Deep down they were not doers, and on the surface, they were not inactive at all. Deep down they were just instrumental to the divine. No doer, no idea of doing anything – just being, but on the surface very creative. The world would have been far richer if every religion had developed such a school as Zen. For example, Hindu monks have lived a very uncreative life. Jaina monks have lived a very uncreative life. Except Zen, even Buddhists have lived a very uncreative life. So has been the case with the Catholics.

Zen brings creativity. And remember, if you want to be one with the creator, you will have to learn some was of creativity. The only way to be one with the creator is to be in some moment of creativity, when you are lost. The potter is lost in making his pottery; the potter is lost while working on the wheel. The painter is lost while painting. The dancer is lost; there is no dancer, only the dance remains. Those are the peak moments, where you touch God, where God touches you.

Now, the scholar, the so-called scholar, becomes wordy. He goes on learning more words, more words, more information, more scriptures. He has no silence. That is a very lopsided phenomenon. Then against the scholar there are a few saints, who keep quiet; they don’t even say a single word. That too is moving to the other extreme. They become uncreative. Of course, they are silent, better than the scholar – at least they will not throw their rubbish into other people’s heads, at least they are not committing any crime – but in a higher sense they are also criminals because they are not benefiting existence. They are parasites. They are not making existence richer by their being here. They are not helping God in his dance, in his song.

Zen brings the highest synthesis. Don’t be afraid of speaking, but don’t go on speaking if you don’t know. Don’t be silent. Just being silent will not help.

It has to be understood because too many times this comes to your mind too: Why go on speaking? Why not keep quiet? But your silence will be YOUR silence. The words will go on moving, revolving inside you. You will become a madhouse inside. You may look silent from the outside; you will not be silent inside. How can you simply drop those words, those old habits of many lives? The mind will go on chattering, the mind will go on saying things, repeating things. The mind is like an automaton; even if you don’t want to talk the mind goes on. If you don’t talk to others it goes on talking to itself. It creates both the parties: it talks from one side and answers from another side; it goes on playing the game. From the outside one can be easily silent, but from the inside?

And if you are silent from the inside, you will be surprised that your silence becomes so loaded with ecstasy that you have to sing. There is no other way. That you have to dance, that you have to share. When you have you have to share. If you have it at all you will have to share. If you don’t have it you can keep quiet, but what is the point of keeping quiet if you don’t have it?

There are two types of people: one who goes on talking without having it, and one who goes on keeping silent without having it. Both are in the same boat.

There is a third type of person, who has come to know it, who has really become silent and in the silence he has heard the soundless sound, in the silence God has delivered his message to him. God has spoken to him. He has had a dialogue with God himself. The silence has filled his heart with so much juice, with so much life, with life abundant, that he is bursting.

He has to say it. There is no way to get rid of it.

And his saying will have a totally different significance because words will not be mere words. If such a person sits silently, even his silence will be a sharing. If such a person keeps completely silent, you will see his silence is singing all around him. You will feel the vibe. His silence is saying something. He is indicating from his silence too. If he speaks he speaks. If he is silent, then too he speaks.

If you don’t sing it, remember, you don’t have it. If it does not overflow in a thousand and one gestures, then it is not there. You cannot hold it if it is there. And you cannot possess it if it is there; it is not your property. You cannot become the owner of it. You cannot hoard it, you cannot be miserly about it. If it is there at all, it drowns you utterly. It possesses you. You cannot possess it; it possesses you. And then it leads you into a thousand and one gestures. In a thousand and one streams you start flowing, and whatsoever you do becomes an expression.

I have heard a very beautiful legend. The legend is, there was a great Master in India, the twenty-seventh successor of Gautam the Buddha; his name was Hanyatara. A king in south India requested him to come to his court. The king himself came, bowed down to Hanyatara, touched his feet, and said, “Please, come to my court, to bless us. And this has been my desire, to listen to some sutras of Gautam the Buddha by a man who is a Buddha himself, so I have been avoiding scholars, pundits, professors. I have been avoiding, I have been waiting, because those sutras that Buddha uttered are so pregnant that only a man who has attained to that consciousness will be able to give expression to them.”

Hanyatara came to the court with an attendant. The king was thrilled; it was his dream for his whole life one day to have a Buddha in his court, in his palace. The whole palace was decorated, the whole town was decorated; the whole capital was celebrating. It was a great day of celebration. But the king was puzzled, a little bewildered: Hanyatara sat silently, not saying a single word, and the attendant recited the sutra. Now, this was not the purpose at all. The king could have found better people to recite the sutra than the attendant. He was just an attendant who looked after Hanyatara, just used to do small errands, a very ordinary man, not even a great scholar. His grammar was faulty, his pronunciation was not exactly as it should be. He was an ordinary man. Just out of respect, the king kept silent. When the sutra was finished, he touched the feet of Hanyatara and said, “Sir, enlighten me about this; otherwise I will remain puzzled. Why did not you recite the sutra?”

And Hanyatara said, “What, I did not recite the sutra? Then what else was I doing the whole time here? You fool!”

The king was even more puzzled, because he had kept quiet, he had not said a single word.

The king said, “Please, explain it to me. I don’t understand. I am an ordinary, ignorant person.

I may not know the ways of the Buddhas.”

And Hanyatara said, “I sat silently, breathing in, breathing out. That was my sutra. What else is there in life? Breathe in, breathe out. Be alert, aware. When I breathed in, I was aware; when I breathed out, I was aware. It was all awareness! What else is a sutra? Awareness. If you had listened to the rhythm of my breathing you would have understood. I have recited it!

Words are one way to recite it. Breathing silently, but with full awareness, is another way to recite it – and far better a way. I have been very expressive today, as I have never been before.

Thinking that you have been waiting for so long, I thought, ‘Why not give the real thing?’ ” The king was thrilled, seeing the compassion. Now he felt there was a certain rhythm in his silence. Now he became aware, retrospectively of course, that this man was not silent in the ordinary way. He had seen silent people; sometimes he himself had sat in silence. This was a different silence. There was a song, certainly there was a song. There was a fragrance around this man. There was a vibe of a different quality; he was vibrating. Strange it was, but now he remembered, yes, it was there. And the way he was breathing was no ordinary way. Not that he was doing anything special in the breathing: his breathing was pure, natural, like a small baby.

When you breathe, your breathing is never natural. If you are a little angry, your anger changes your breathing. If you are full of passion, lust, your lust changes your breathing. If you are greedy, your greed is reflected in your breathing. Continuously your mind mood infiltrates breathing and changes it. You can watch it. When you are angry, try not to disturb the breathing, and you will be completely unable to be angry. Just try not to change the breathing. Let the breathing remain as it was before you became angry, and then try to be angry. It will be impossible. The breathing has to change first. Through the breathing the body changes; the mind first affects the breathing. When you are in a moment of lust, watch, keep the breathing natural, and you will suddenly find the lust has disappeared, the moment came and passed.

By and by you will be able to see each mood is reflected in your breathing, so your breathing is never natural, because there is some mood or other. The natural breathing means there is no mood: that means there is no mind – neither anger nor greed nor lust nor jealousy nor love nor hate. No – mood means no-mind. In that state of no-mind the breathing is natural. Then there is a song to it, then there is a totally different quality to it. Then it is pure life. Then the flame is without smoke.

Yes, the king remembered, there was something strange, something was happening. He had missed it. He started crying. He said, “I have missed it. Why didn’t you tell me before?

Now I know there was something, and I had even felt it, but my consciousness is not so developed, so I could not understand what was happening.

“And I was too concerned about that foolish sutra. I was continuously thinking about why you were not reciting the sutra and why this attendant was reciting the sutra. I was so much concerned about the sutra that I missed.

“But I am grateful that you showed such compassion, that you showed your being so naked, so true, so authentic.”

He presented a great diamond, the most valuable he had, to Hanyatara, and then he said to Hanyatara, “I have three sons. Sir, be kind enough. I will call them. Bless them.”

Thinking that young people are young people, and the youngest was only seven, they may disturb the sutra reciting, he had not called them to participate before.

The three young princes came in.

Rather than blessing them, Hanyatara showed the diamond that the king had presented to him to the first prince, the eldest. He must have been somewhere near fifteen. The prince looked at the diamond and said, “A great diamond, of the finest water, purest water. Where could you get it? It is rare. It is no ordinary diamond.”

Yes, his understanding about the diamond was perfectly true. It was a rare diamond, of the most perfect water. Even Hanyatara had never seen such a thing.

Then he called the second prince, who must have been near about ten, and the second prince looked at the diamond, and he said, “Not only the finest, not only the best, it is certain that it belongs to my father because in this kingdom nobody can have such a diamond. It is rare. Sir, it does not belong to you, it cannot. To protect this diamond you will need a great army, otherwise you cannot have it. Just this attendant won’t do.”

Yes, his understanding was also very correct.

And then the third son was called. He was only seven. He looked at the diamond, looked at Hanyatara  and laughed and said, “What? Do you want to befool me?” He was only seven, and he said, “Do you want to befool me? You cannot! Because the real diamonds are never of the outside. And what are you trying to show me? You have the real diamond within YOU. I can see it! This is just a stone that you have in your hand. Throw it, sir!”

And it is said that Hanyatara hugged this small boy.

This boy’s name was Bodhitara, and Hanyatara changed his name to Bodhidharma. He became the twenty-eighth successor of Buddha; he was the first patriarch of Zen in China, this small boy Bodhitara, whose name Hanyatara changed to Bodhidharma.

Hanyatara said, “This boy has looked into the deepest reality anybody can look into. Dharma means ‘the ultimate reality’. He has penetrated to the ultimate reality.” He said to the king, “Even you could not see who I am. That’s why you missed my sermon, my silent sermon. That’s why you missed my silent song. I was singing here but you missed. But this boy, yes, I cannot befool him. This boy is going to be my successor.”

And then he said to the king, “Sir, forgive me. I have not come for you and I have not come because you requested me to. I had to come because of this boy. I have been in search of this boy! This has been a promise from the past life, and this has been a decided gesture: in the past life I told this boy, ‘I will seek you and find you and I will show you a diamond, and that will be the moment of your examination. If you can see my inner diamond and you are not befooled, you will be my successor.'”

The legend is of tremendous value. First, the silent sermon. Yes, sometimes a mystic can be silent – but he is not silent! His silence is a very telling silence. He may not do anything, he may not even move his eyes, he may not move any of his limbs, but still his presence goes on doing a thousand and one things. Just to be in his presence, just to breathe with him in the same rhythm, and something is transferred: his song, his silence, his dance. You will never be the same again.

Truth is not hidden, from the very beginning. Truth is unhidden; only your eyes are closed. Truth is being preached from every tree and from every bird and from every rock and from every star; just your eyes, your ears, your sensitivity is not there. You are deaf. Truth is not dumb; you are deaf. And truth is not hiding anywhere.

A man came to a Zen Master and asked, “Sir, where should I go to find the truth?” And the Zen Master said, “You just keep looking in front of your nose and go on, and you will find it. It is just in front of your nose! Truth is just in front of you. In fact, wherever you look it is truth, you just need to know how to look for it. But you are looking for other things; that’s why you go on missing.

That great king missed Hanyatara’s sermon. It was a Zen sermon, the same as Buddha preached to the first Zen Master, Mahakashyap, sitting silently, holding a flower in his hand.

This second sermon, of Hanyatara to the king, was even more subtle. He was not even holding a flower in his hand. He was just breathing in and out, a natural breathing, an ordinary breathing, unaffected by the mind. And truth was there and the sutras were recited there through his breathing, but the king missed.

You may have come across a Buddha in your life – or you may have come across many Buddhas in your past lives – but you have missed because you were not sensitive enough to feel that vibe. That vibe is subtle. You were not aware enough to move to that height, to feel the presence.

Be a little more alert. The sermon is preached constantly. From everywhere God is speaking to you. Even when everything is silent he is speaking through silence. His song is eternal.

Zen says, “Truth is not hidden, from the very beginning, so you are not to uncover truth, you are only to uncover your eyes.” You just have a curtain on your eyes. Just pull your earplugs out. Your ears are plugged; hence you cannot hear.

How to unplug the ears? How to open the eyes? How to drop barriers that don’t allow you to become sensitive enough? What is the way? The way is immediacy. Be immediate, be in the moment.

Otherwise Buddhas can go on shouting from the housetops, and you will not hear – or you will hear something which has not been said at all.

A few scenes. First scene:

Warden: “Can’t you see the sign ‘NO FISHING HERE’?”

Angler: “Yes, and I don’t agree. There is good fishing here! Just look at this lot I have landed today. Whoever put that sign up must be crazy.”

The second scene:

The Dean of Women was lecturing to a class on the subject of sex morality. “In moments of temptation, ask yourself just one question: Is an hour of pleasure worth a lifetime of shame?”

One of the girls raised her hand naively and asked, “How do you make it last one hour?”

The third scene:

Ethel was shapely out shy, and visited a doctor for the first time. He ushered her into his private office and said, “Now, my dear, please get completely undressed.” Ethel blushed and replied, “Okay, Doctor, but you first.”

Fourth scene:

The following ad appeared in the Personal column of a London paper: “My husband and I have four sons. Has anyone any suggestions as to how we may have a daughter?” Letters poured in from all over the world. An American wrote, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.” A Buddhist from Thailand suggested that they should seek the help of Buddha.

A South African recommended a special diet. An Indian proposed yoga.

A Frenchman merely wrote, “May I be of service?”

And the last and the fifth scene:

A lion tamer had quit without notice, and the circus manager needed someone to replace him for the next night’s show. He put an ad in the local paper, and the next morning two  applicants showed up outside his office. One was a rather ordinary looking young man, and the other a ravishing redheaded beauty. Neither one of them looked very much like a lion trainer, but the manager was desperate. “All right,” he said. “Here is a whip, a chair, and a gun. Let us see what you can do with the big Leo over there. We will let you have the first try, miss, but be careful. He is a mean one.”

The ravishing redhead strode past the whip, the chair, and the gun, and empty-handed, fearlessly entered the cage. Big Leo rose, snarling, then came charging across the cage towards her with a ferocious roar. When the lion was almost upon her the girl threw open her coat. Underneath, she was stark naked. Leo skidded to a stop and crawled the rest of the way on his belly. He nuzzled the girl’s feet with his nose, purred, and licked her trim ankles. The astonished circus manager grinned happily and turned to the pop-eyed young man.

“Well, young fella,” he asked, “think you can top that?”

“Yeah,” panted the applicant. “Just get that stupid lion out of there.”

Truth is all around, but your interpretations are your interpretations. God is speaking all the time, but you hear not, or even if you hear, you hear something else. You hear according to you, your mind comes in, and hence you go on missing.

Unless the mind is dropped you will not be able to know what truth is. Truth cannot be discovered by mind; mind is the barrier. It is because of the mind that you have not been able to discover it. It is not a question of how to train the mind to know the truth. The more the mind is trained and becomes capable, the less is the possibility to know the truth. The more skilled a mind, the farther away you are from the truth.

Mind is the barrier. No-mind is the door.

How to attain to no-mind? The only way – the only way – is to be in the present. The only way is not to think of the past, not to think of the future. And you cannot think of the present. That is the whole secret: you cannot think of the present; there is not space enough for thought to move. Thought needs room to move. Can you think anything right now? If you think it, either it will be of the past or of the future.

This moment of silence. If you think, “Yes, this is a moment of silence,” it is already past. Or you say, “How beautiful!” It is already past. Utter a word “beautiful,” and it is already past. You cannot think. Thinking stops when you are in the present. So that is the only key, and it is a master key; it unlocks all the doors of being. Immediacy, that is the whole insistence of Zen.

-Osho

From The First Principle, Discourse #7

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

On Hearing This, Kyozan was Enlightened – Osho

Once when he was still with his Master, Kyozan said to Isan, “Where does the real  Buddha dwell?”

Isan replied, “By means of the subtlety of thoughtless thought, contemplate the boundless spiritual brightness. Contemplate it until returning to the ground of being, the always abiding nature, and its form of the undichotomous principle. This is the real Buddha.”

On hearing this, Kyozan was enlightened.

It is a very strange incident.

Western education everywhere has made us very limited and one-dimensional. So if you read this you will simply laugh. You can understand each word and its implications, but that is not the real thing that is happening between Isan and Kyozan.

Once when he was still with his Master, Kyozan said to Isan, “Where does the real  Buddha dwell?”

Isan replied, “By means of the subtlety of thoughtless thought, – when the mind is thoughtless and just empty, that is the temple of the buddha – contemplate the boundless spiritual brightness. Contemplate it until returning to the ground of being, the always abiding nature, and its form of the undichotomous principle. This is the real Buddha.”

Always move into unity with the cosmos. Dichotomy is division; undichotomy is no division, no division of any kind. Contemplate it, and this very contemplation . . . you will not find the buddha; you will find you are the buddha. There will not be two, because that will create dichotomy. There will not be you standing looking at buddha. You will merge in silence, disappear in the oceanic experience of consciousness, the eternal serenity of existence. There is no knower and nothing is known, but everything is. This ‘isness’ is buddha.

On hearing this, Kyozan was enlightened.

This makes difficulty for the modern mind. How can one become enlightened just by listening to a few lines? You can go on reading these lines again and again, you will not become enlightened; you will simply become crazy.

Underneath, something else is happening. While the master is speaking, the disciple is not only listening because he has ears. The disciple is listening with his total being, every fiber of his being; not only with ears, he is also listening with his eyes, looking at the master; he is also feeling the master, his vibe. It is a total phenomenon. He has forgotten himself and disappeared in the tremendous statement.

The moment you forget yourself and only a silent consciousness remains, you have come home. Enlightenment is not something special; it is hidden in you, your hidden splendor. It is just that you are so much occupied with the outside world that you can forget anything, particularly those things which are very obvious.

In the first world war rationing was introduced and everybody had to appear before the rationing officer to get a ration card. Thomas Alva Edison, a world-famous figure – all your facilities and comforts, most of them are because of Edison; he discovered one thousand things – he was also standing in the queue. And as he was coming closer to the top of the queue, people were leaving, taking their cards, and finally the clerk shouted, “Now it is time for Thomas Alva Edison.”

Edison looked here and there; he could not see anybody. A long queue was behind him. Somebody from the back said, “As far as I know, the man who is standing in front of you is Thomas Alva Edison.”

Edison said, “Perhaps I may be, but for fifty years nobody has used my name in front of me.” He was so famous; in the university he was called ‘the professor’, nobody used his name. And he was so engrossed and engaged in his experiments, he had no time to meet people, to talk to people. He was a man who was absolutely alone in the crowd. He had forgotten his own name – fifty years is a long time.

If nobody uses your name, you will also forget, or you may think, “Perhaps I have heard this name somewhere far away, far back, as an echo, but I cannot guarantee it. I have to find witnesses.”

Now, if your name is not used by others out of respect and love, you are not going to use it yourself. Naturally, not being used for fifty years – and a name is an arbitrary device – Edison forgot his.

But you have forgotten your innermost being. His loss was not much of a loss, just a label. Your loss is far deeper and greater. For centuries you have lived, but you don’t know who you are.

The explosion of enlightenment is: Suddenly you become aware of your eternal being.

-Osho

From Kyozan, A True Man of Zen, Discourse #1

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Dive a Little Deep – Osho

Dogen said:

In the practice of the highest supreme wisdom, it is most difficult to meet prominent masters. Whether men or women, they must be those who have realized something indescribable . . . This is the realization of the essence of the Way. Therefore, they lead and benefit others, setting aside no causality or making no difference between the self and others.

Once we have met a master, we must practice the Way, aloof from worldly relations and grudging a spare time, even in thinking, non-thinking and neutral thinking. Therefore, we should train ourselves as singleheartedly as if we were saving our head from a burning fire. A Zen master who has dropped away his body and mind is none other than ourselves.

It is inevitably by sincerity and piety that we realize and receive the essence of our master’s Law. These qualities neither come from outside nor rise from inside, but from attaching more importance to the law than to our body, or from renouncing the world and entering the way. If we attach a little more importance to our body than to the Law, we shall be unable to realize and receive the Way.

. . .  When someone has realized the great Law and the essence of the Buddhas and patriarchs, we serve him, reverently prostrating ourselves . . .

Sakyamuni-buddha said: “When you meet a master who expounds the supreme wisdom, do not consider his birth, look at his appearance, nor dislike his faults or worry about his behavior. Rather, out of respect for his great Wisdom, treat him with a large sum of money or celestial meals and flowers, or reverently prostrate yourself before him three times a day, giving him no cause for worry; and you will surely find the supreme bodhi-wisdom.”

Dogen continued, . . . Both men and women can realize the way. In any case, the realization of the Way should be respected, regardless of sex. This is an extremely excellent rule in the Way . . . Even a little girl of seven can become the teacher of the four classes of Buddhists . . . If she practices and realizes the Law . . . We should make a venerative offering to her as if to the Buddhas.

This is a traditional manner in Buddhism. I feel sorry for those who have never known or received it personally.

Maneesha, it is one of the most ancient problems – how to recognize the master? Because without the master there is almost no way. I say almost, because perhaps one person in a million may reach to the truth without the master. But it is just accidental, it cannot be made a rule, it is just an exception that simply proves the rule.

And the great concern of masters has been to explain to people the ways of recognizing the master, because the master is the Way. Unless you have seen someone self-realized, you will not trust yourself that you can be realized. Once you have seen a buddha, an enlightened one, a tremendous flame suddenly starts blossoming in you, “If this beauty, this grace, this wisdom, this blissfulness can happen to any man, then why can it not happen to me?”

As far as human beings are concerned, we have the same seeds and the same potentiality. But a seed can remain a seed and may never become a flower, although there was every possibility available. But rather than disappearing in the soil, the seed can remain safe, hiding in a stone cave, thinking that it is too rainy outside, worrying that it is too sunny outside, fearing the unknown. It feels cozy in the closed silence of the cave, but there it cannot grow, there it will simply get rotten. There it will simply remain something . . . it could have been a beautiful manifestation, it simply remains unmanifested, a song unsung, a poetry unwritten, a life unlived.

It is very essential to find a man who can provoke in you the challenge to attain to your heights. The master is nothing but a challenge – if it has happened to me, it can happen to you. And the authentic master – there are so many teachers propounding doctrines, beliefs, philosophies – the authentic master is not concerned with words; is not concerned with beliefs, atheism or theism; is not concerned even with God, or heaven and hell. The authentic master is concerned only with one single thing – to provoke you to see your potentiality, to see inwards. His presence makes you silent, his words deepen your silence, his very being slowly starts melting your falseness, your mask, your personality.

What is the problem of the seed? It is the problem of you, too. The problem of the seed is that the cover is protective. In losing the cover it becomes vulnerable. The seed is perfectly happy covered, but it does not know that there are more skies beyond skies to be discovered, that unless it goes to the beyond it has not lived; because it has not known the world of stars, and it has not lived as a flower dancing in the rain and in the sun and in the wind, it has not heard the music of existence. It remained closed in its safety and security.

And exactly the same is the problem with man. Every man is a bodhisattva. The word ‘bodhisattva’ means, in essence a buddha. The distance between a bodhisattva and a buddha is the distance between the seed and the flower. It is not much; it just takes a little courage to bridge the distance.

But hidden in the darkness of a cave, who is going to give you the encouragement? Who is going to pull you out from your security? The master’s function is to give you a taste of insecurity, to give you a taste of openness. And once you know that openness, insecurity . . . They are basic ingredients of freedom; without them you cannot open your wings and fly in the sky of infinity.

It is absolutely essential to avoid the teachers, they are fake masters. It is very difficult, because they speak the same language. So you have not to listen to the words, you have to listen to the heart; you have not to listen to their doctrines, their logic and arguments, you have to listen to their grace, their beauty, their eyes; you have to listen to and feel the aura that surrounds a master. Just like a cool breeze it touches you. Once you have found your master, you have found the key to open the treasure of your potentialities.

Dogen is talking about this ancient and eternal problem. Dogen says:

In the practice of the highest supreme wisdom, it is most difficult to meet prominent masters.

It is difficult, and if it was difficult in Dogen’s time it has become more difficult nowadays. The world has become more worldly, education has become irreligious, science predominates – and science does not believe in the insight of your being. Our whole culture for the first time in history is absolutely materialistic. It does not matter whether you are in the East or in the West, the same educational pattern has spread all over the globe.

Although you may go traditionally, formally – just as a social conformity – to the temple, to the mosque, deep down you don’t have any trust, deep down there is only doubt. Deep down you are going into the temple not because of any realization, not because you have to show your gratitude to God. You are going there out of fear of the society in which you live – you don’t want to be an outcast. It is simply a social conformity.

It became very clear when in 1917 the Soviet Union went through a revolution. Before the revolution Russia was one of the most orthodox countries in the world. All kinds of superstitions were believed, there were many saints, a great hierarchy in the church. It was absolutely independent from the Vatican; it had its own church. But after the revolution, just within five years, all those beliefs, cultivated for centuries, disappeared. Nobody bothered any more about God.

That does not mean that everybody had understood that there is no God. That simply means the society had changed and you have to change with society – another social conformity. I don’t believe in Russian atheists, just as I don’t believe in any theists, Hindu, Christian or Mohammedan; for the simple reason that their religion is not their own experience, is not their own love affair, it is just a conformity to remain respectable in the crowd.

What is your religion except conformity?

By conformity nobody has found religion. Today it has become almost a universal conformity, because science overrules the mind, logic prevails on our thinking, logic denies anything irrational, science denies anything eternal. Obviously, it has become more and more difficult to find an authentic master. Even to find a teacher is difficult because that too has become out of date. A teacher will be talking about the Upanishads, will be talking about the Bible, will be talking about the Torah, will be talking about the Koran – all are out of date.

Do you think a newspaper twenty centuries afterwards will have any significance? Just within one day its significance is finished. In the morning you were waiting so curiously for the newspaper, by the evening it is thrown out. It has served its purpose: a curiosity to know what is happening around, just a new and more technical way of gossiping.

Now it is no more possible to continue the old type of gossiping because people are living so far away from each other. Newspapers, radio and television are the new forms of gossiping. They spread all kind of nonsense and stupidity to people. This used to be the work of the priest, of the teacher.

Even in the past, as Dogen says, it was very difficult to meet prominent masters. But they have never ceased to be. Even today it is possible, although it has become more difficult to find a master. Because the whole world and its climate, its mind, has turned away from the inner search. One who goes into the inner search today goes alone, without any support from the society. In fact the society creates all kinds of problems for the man who is going in search of himself.

People simply laugh, “Don’t be foolish, go in search of money, go in search of a beautiful woman, go in search of becoming the richest man in the world, go in search of being the prime minister of a country. Where are you going and what will you do even if you find yourself? You will be simply stuck. Once you have found yourself then what are you going to do? You cannot eat it. It is just useless.” The whole endeavor of the centuries has suddenly become completely useless, because so very few people have dared to cross the line, the boundary that the society creates around you.

These few people have found the very source of life, they have found that we are not born with our birth, and we are not going to die with our death. Neither birth nor death … our essence is eternal, beginningless, endless. Births and deaths have happened a thousand-and-one times, they are just episodes, very small things compared to our eternity.

Whenever anybody finds this eternity, it starts transforming him. He becomes a new man in the sense that his vision is clear. He does not belong to any crowd; he cannot be a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan; because he knows in his innermost core that we are all part of one existence. All divisions are stupid. How can a man who has realized himself belong to a crowd, be a member of a crowd? He becomes a peak of consciousness, standing alone like the Everest. He is enough unto himself, and to find him is certainly difficult, but not impossible. You can make it impossible if you go on your search with certain prejudices, with certain criteria already decided by your mind.

For example, a Jaina, even if he comes across a buddha, will not be able to see him. His eyes are covered with his so-called Jainism. He can respect only a man like Mahavira, that is his criterion. And the trouble is, every realized soul is so unique you cannot make criteria. You will have to be more subtle, more intelligent. The Jaina cannot accept Buddha as self-realized because he still wears clothes. His idea of self-realization is that one renounces everything, even clothes; one stands naked.

But please remember, even an actor can stand naked, don’t make it a criterion. Mahavira is unique – he loves to be naked, in the open air, under the sky and the stars. It is beautiful but it is not a criterion. Gautam Buddha eats once a day. Now that is not a criterion, that if somebody eats twice a day he cannot be understood as a buddha. But even our so-called intelligent and our so-called religious people like Mahatma Gandhi make such stupid criteria.

According to him a man of realization cannot drink tea. All the Buddhist masters have been drinking tea, it has been their discovery. It was Bodhidharma who discovered tea. The name ‘tea’ comes from the mountain Tha in China, where Bodhidharma was meditating. And the name has remained the same in different languages . . . just slight changes. In Hindi it is chai, in Marathi it is cha, in Chinese it is tha, in English it has become tea. But a thousand masters have never denied tea as something unspiritual.

On the contrary, Zen has in its monasteries a special teahouse, and when they go for tea it is called a tea ceremony. They have transformed the simple act of drinking tea into a beautiful meditation. You have to leave your shoes outside as if you are entering into a temple. And there is a master who is going to lead the ceremony. Then everybody sits down in the silence of the monastery, the tea is prepared on the samovar and everybody listens to the music of the samovar boiling the tea. It becomes a meditation. Watchfulness is meditation, what you watch does not matter.

Then the master with great grace brings the tea to everybody; pours the tea with immense awareness, consciousness, carefulness, respectfulness, and everybody receives the tea as if something divine is being received. In that silence sipping the tea . . . and this very ordinary thing has become a spiritual experience. Nobody can speak in the teahouse; silence is the rule. When you put down your cups and saucers you also bow down with gratitude to existence. The tea was only a symbol.

But in Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram you could not drink tea, you could not fall in love with a woman. Every day you had to eat with your meal neem leaves, which are the bitterest leaves in the world, just to destroy your taste; because scriptures say that tastelessness is a criterion of spirituality. It can be a criterion of stupidity, it cannot be a criterion of spirituality; otherwise all buffalos will be spiritual.

Have you watched buffalos? They always chew the same grass, showing in no way whether they are happy or unhappy, remaining so content and aloof. And the whole day it continues, chewing and chewing. It cannot be very delicious. You can try, once in a while it is good to try what other species around the world are doing. But I will not say that tastelessness has anything to do with religion. On the contrary, the more you become meditative, the more your taste becomes deeper. Every sense becomes more sensitive, you hear more, you see better, your touch starts becoming warmer.

Just touch a few people’s hands and you will see the difference. Some people’s hands are warm. The warm hands show that they are ready to give, to share; the warmth is their energy moving towards you, it is really a love symbol. But holding some people’s hands will be just like holding a dead branch of a tree, nothing moves in their hands. But these people in the past have been called spiritual. The more dead you are the more spiritual. Don’t eat for the taste’s sake!

You cannot believe that Buddhist scriptures have thirty-three thousand rules for a person to be spiritual. At least I cannot become spiritual, just because I cannot count that many rules. I cannot remember that much – thirty-three thousand rules! Whenever I count, I count on my fingers and after the third finger I always get lost. But that does not mean that I cannot be spiritual, arithmetic has nothing to do with spirituality. And what are those rules?

One instance I will give to you. A young monk is going to spread Buddha’s word to the masses. Before taking his leave, he touches Buddha’s feet and asks him if he has something to say to him, because he will not be able to see him again until the second monsoon comes.

Buddha said, “Yes, I have a few instructions for you. One thing is, never look more than four feet ahead of you.”

The man said, “But why?”

Buddha said, “It is to avoid women. At the most you can see their feet. Then just move on, don’t look at their face. Keep your eyes glued to the ground.”

Now such a man cannot see the stars, such a man cannot see the sunset or the sunrise, such a man is utterly cut off from existence, his sensitivity has been killed. He has eyes but he is almost blind – eyes that can see only four feet ahead. His tremendous capacity for seeing is reduced to only four feet.

The young monk asked, “If once in a while I forget, or if there is some special situation in which I have to see a woman, what should I do?”

Buddha said, “Close your eyes. I am especially concerned, because once you have seen a beautiful woman you can close your eyes but you cannot forget the face.” In fact with closed eyes she becomes more beautiful.

If I were in the place of Gautam Buddha I would give everybody a magnifying glass! Carry it! Whenever you come across a beautiful woman, just look and then her eyes will look like monsters; her nose will become so big that no Jew could defeat it. But this is not spirituality, carrying a magnifying glass . . .

His restriction is nothing but repression, and a repressed person can never enter into his own being. Those repressed feelings and thoughts become a hard shell dividing him from himself, from his own origin. Only an unrepressed, thoughtless, silent being can break away the barrier and reach to his living source. And the moment you reach your living source . . . you don’t have to do anything, it does miracles. It starts changing your attitudes, your approaches, it starts changing everything that you have known about yourself. It brings to you a new beinghood.

To find a master is easy if you are available not only to words, but to silences too; not only to words because the truth never comes through words, but between the words, between the lines, in the silent spaces. If you are searching for a master don’t carry any criterion, any prejudice. Be absolutely available, so that when you come across a master you can feel his energy. He carries a whole world of energy around him. His own experience radiates all around him. If you are open and not afraid of experiencing a new thing, of tasting something original, it is not very difficult to find a master. What difficulty there is, is on your side.

But Dogen’s statement is right:

. . . It is most difficult to meet prominent masters. Whether men or women, they must be those who have realized something indescribable.

That’s what makes them masters: if they know something which cannot be described, if they have some experience which cannot be explained. The master is a mystery. He knows it but he cannot say it. He can share it if you are ready. He can invite you into his own very being. If you are unafraid and fearless, courageous enough to explore the most unknown part of existence, you can become a guest in the master’s home. But remember, the moment you enter into the master’s home the master enters into you. Two consciousnesses cannot remain separate. Once two consciousnesses come close they become one.

And this is the only thing that has to be remembered: if with someone you feel a deep affinity, a deep synchronicity, as if one soul is in two bodies, then don’t miss this man. He is going to lead you to the same incredible, indescribable, inexpressible experience.

This is the realization of the essence of the way.

Finding the master is finding the Way.

Therefore, they lead and benefit others, setting aside no causality or making no difference between the self and others.

A very famous Sufi mystic used to come to a place where I lived for twenty years, and his disciples always wanted me to meet their master. I said, “The only way is: next time your master can stay with me.”

So the next time the Sufi master came he stayed with me, and I asked him first thing, “Are you still Mohammedan?”

He looked surprised and shocked. He said, “Of course.”

I said, “Then you don’t know the indescribable. These divisions between Mohammedans and Hindus and Jainas and Buddhists are divisions of the mediocre and retarded.”

But he said, “I realized God. I see him.” I said, “It is all nonsense.”

Anando has just brought to me . . . There is in America a new species of priests, television priests, that has never existed before. A very famous television priest has become more famous since he has declared that he sees God every night. God is nine hundred feet long! I told Anando, “Write a letter to him from me, ‘Please tell me, do you carry a ladder and something to measure with? or is it just guess work?’” Nine hundred feet, exactly!

We think we live in the twentieth century. Even in America people are not living in the twentieth century, to say nothing of countries like India. Millions worship that man and nobody even bothers that this is so stupid.

Seeing this, another missionary started declaring that he also sees God and he has a long white beard. So I have sent him my picture, “You don’t be deceived, it is me who visits you in your dreams! In the first place, if God is eternal, he cannot have white hair. He will always be young. It is man who becomes old.”

He has even published his picture, which is similar to mine, so I have told him, “Just look at my picture. Just not to be recognized by everybody else I’m wearing the glasses. But it’s me you have been seeing in your dreams. Don’t exploit people by saying that you are seeing God.”

God is not an object. You cannot see God. God is your very consciousness. It is the seer, not the seen. It is you, not some object somewhere. It is your innermost center, which is the only eternal point, unchangeable, immortal, divine in its beatitude, in its blessings.

 

When you come close to a master just remember one thing: withdraw all defenses. Be as empty as possible, so that the master’s energy can penetrate you, can penetrate your being, can touch your heart. And it is an immediate realization. Just as when you fall in love, you don’t think about love, you don’t consult librarians about love, you don’t ask your elders how to fall in love. There is no school that teaches how to fall in love. But people fall in love, it suddenly happens.

Just as love suddenly happens on the lower level, on the physical and biological level … finding the master is a form of the highest love. The moment you come into the area of his influence – which is called the buddhafield, the field of the master – you suddenly start throbbing with a new energy, you suddenly feel a new freshness, a new breeze passing through you, a new song which makes no sound. All that is left for you is to relax in deep gratitude. Don’t even utter the word ‘thank you’, because that is separating. This is not the time to utter a word . . . just a gesture of gratitude.

Once we have met a master, we must practice the way. If the master himself is the Way, how do you practice? You simply watch how the master moves, what gestures he makes, how he responds to situations. Because he is every moment an absolute awareness. His every action is an indication of his innermost being. Watch him! Watch him when he is sleeping, watch him when he is waking, watch him when he is talking, watch him when he is sitting silently, doing nothing.

Watching the master with deep gratitude and love, absorbing his energy silently . . .  It is almost like drinking water when you are thirsty, a deep feeling of contentment comes to you.

. . . aloof from wordly relations and grudging a spare time, even in thinking, non-thinking and neutral thinking. Therefore, we should train ourselves as singleheartedly as if we were saving our head from a burning fire. A Zen master who has dropped away his body and mind is none other than ourselves.

The buddha and you in your deepest consciousness are one. The Upanishads declare: Aham brahmasmi – I am God. It is not out of any egoistic attitude – those people who wrote the Upanishads have not even signed it. We don’t know who wrote those Upanishads. Their statements are so clear – it is impossible to have an ego and make such clear-cut statements about the truth. And when they declared, “Aham brahmasmi,” they were not declaring it for themselves only; they were declaring for everybody, “You are the God.” Don’t search for him anywhere else. You will not find him in any holy place. If you cannot find him within yourself, you cannot find him anywhere else. The moment you find him in you, he is everywhere. Then you will see him in the song of a cuckoo or the chirping of the birds or in a thunderbolt or in this silence. Then he is everywhere.

Once you know him within you, you know him all over. The whole existence becomes one continent. The ego makes you small islands. And remember, no man is an island, because even the small island deep down is joined with the continent. Just one has to go a little deep, dive a little deep.

It is inevitably by sincerity and piety that we realize and receive the essence of our master’s Law.

This word ‘Law’ is a very difficult translation of the word dhamma. It gives a distorted view; the moment you hear the word ‘law’ you remember your courts and constitution, your legal authorities; you don’t remember the word ‘dhamma’.

Dhamma is a Pali translation of the Sanskrit dharma. And ‘dharma’ means: fire is hot – hot is the dhamma of fire; ice is cold, it is the dhamma of ice. And you are a buddha, it is the dhamma of you. Better translated, law should not be used as a translation for dhamma, but rather ‘nature’. It is your nature to be a buddha. It does not matter that sometimes you forget. You can remain in forgetfulness for your whole life or many lives. Still, as an undercurrent the same dhamma, the same buddha, the same consciousness continues.

Once it happened . . . George Bernard Shaw was traveling to some place from London. The ticket checker came and George Bernard Shaw looked into everything, searched his whole suitcase, perspiring. The ticket was not found, although he knew perfectly well that he had purchased a ticket. The ticket checker said, “Don’t be worried. I know you, everybody knows you. You must have put it somewhere. Don’t be worried. I will take care that nobody harasses you.”

Bernard Shaw said, “That is not the problem, my boy. The ticket is not the problem. The problem is how to know where I am going. Do you think I am searching for the ticket for you?”

You can forget. Forgetfulness is part of our nature, just as remembrance is. Sometimes you all must have come to a point where you were trying to remember some old acquaintance’s name. You say it is just on the tip of the tongue. What do you mean? If it is on the tip of the tongue, spit it out! You know perfectly well that you know, but it is not coming to expression. The harder you try the more difficult it will become, because the harder you try, the more narrow the passage becomes. Mind becomes tense and old memories cannot get through that tenseness. Finally you give up and just start smoking, and while smoking suddenly it comes. You cannot believe, you had been trying so hard, you knew it was just on the tip of the tongue, and still you could not express it. I say to you the buddha is just on the tip of your tongue. It is only a question of smoking a little. A little relaxation, that’s what the smoking gives.

People smoke cigarettes and cigars not knowing that psychologically it is simply their mother’s breast. That’s why it gives them so much relaxation. From the nipple of the mother’s breast lukewarm milk comes to the child; from the cigarette lukewarm smoke comes in – and you have forgotten everything, you have become again a child, innocent, relaxed. No government can stop people from smoking, because smoking is not really the question. It has a deep psychology behind it.

You can see the psychology without much erudition. Poets sing about the women’s breast more than anything else. Painters paint the woman’s breast more than anything else. There are a few painters who only paint women’s breasts and nothing else. They go on improving . . .

Why this obsession? Why this fixation? The reality is that more and more mothers are not willing to breast feed the child, because to feed the child this way is to misshape the breast. The child goes on pulling, it makes the breast longer, and every woman wants the breast to be shapely, round, a full moon, and these young monsters won’t allow it. They are interested in their work, because a round breast, a sculptor’s idea of a woman’s breast, will kill the child. If the breast is round the child cannot have his nourishment, his nose will be closed. Either he can breathe or he can drink; both together he cannot do. So all those Khajuraho paintings and statues, all those great painters, don’t understand that the poor child’s life is at stake!

Every woman becomes interested, and now it is even being discussed in parliaments around the world, “Should women be forced to feed the child, or should they be given the freedom to choose themselves?” No woman wants to distort her breasts. Unless they find some technological device . . . and it can be done. Just join the breast and the baby’s mouth with a small pipe. And the child is almost on a cigar from the very beginning!

I always see simple solutions to very great problems! Just a small plastic pipe . . . the child will enjoy it and he can continue to enjoy it later on also because he is going to be in companionship with women. Nobody can prevent by law something which has a psychological root. And nobody can prevent you from becoming a buddha, because it is your very nature. It is another matter that you get involved in the small things of the world – power, prestige, respectability – and you forget to give some time to yourself. Just a little time to yourself, forgetting the whole world . . . there is no need to renounce it. I am against renouncing anything.

All the religions of the world have been religions of renunciation. They wanted people to meditate, to renounce the world, to go to the mountains, to the forests, to the deserts where nobody comes along. But that did not work, it does not work. Even if you go to the mountain a crowd will follow you there – in your mind, not outside. Outside you will not see anybody, but with your eyes closed you will think about so many things: your wife, your children, your old parents, your friends and all kinds of stupid things – Lions Club and Rotary Club. Things that you have never thought of before will start coming to your mind, because having nothing else to chew . . . even chewing gum is not available, you have to chew something. People start thinking of strange things.

But this is not realizing oneself. I am against renouncing the world, I want you to be in the world as totally as possible. So just once in a while be on a holiday. Just in the early morning for a few moments renounce everything, forget everything, and just be yourself. In the dark night when everybody is asleep sit on your bed and just be yourself.

This is far more successful. The old renunciation was almost violent. Nobody has pointed it out because nobody wants to be condemned, but I am so much condemned now that I don’t care. All the religions are responsible for millions of women who became widows even while their husbands were alive; children who became orphans although their fathers were alive; old parents who became beggars because their young son on whom they were dependent had renounced the world. Nobody has counted how much harm the very idea of renunciation has done, and what is the gain? Just measure both, there seems to be no gain. All those who have renounced are simply dreaming about the same things, clinging in the same way, jealous in the same way.

I was in the Himalayas and I was just going to sit under a tree, when from another tree a monk, a Hindu monk, shouted, “Don’t sit there. That belongs to my master.”

I said, “My God, even here in this forest . . . You have renounced the whole world, but you have not yet renounced the tree. And the tree belongs to nobody.”

He said, “I am warning you; he is a dangerous man.”

I said, “He has to be dangerous, because renunciation of the world can be done only by violent people.”

How can you leave the world? This is your very sea, in which you are the fish. Leaving it you will die. How can a bird leave the sky? It is his very world. If he leaves the sky he will die. You cannot leave the world, but just on the margin you can take a few holidays, a few moments for yourself . . .  and nobody will even know about it.

These small moments in which you drop the whole world as if it is a dream – and your own being remains the only reality – are the greatest moments of joy, peace, silence, blissfulness. These moments are divine. In these moments you are no more the ordinary human being, you have suddenly transcended humanness, you have transcended all form, you have entered into the formless existence. Your heart becomes the heartbeat of the whole existence.

This is the only practice possible, everything else is non-essential and dangerous. Be ordinary in every way, just keep a few small spaces here and there. The world goes on, you don’t interfere in it, neither do you escape from it. You participate in it, and with participation you go on growing inside in these few moments. Remaining in the world and becoming a buddha, that is my message.

When someone has realized the great Law and the essence of the Buddhas and patriarchs, we serve him, reverently prostrating ourselves.

What can we do when somebody radiates consciousness, radiates the dance of existence? What do we have to offer? In the West people have always been concerned why people in the East touched the feet of their masters. They don’t know it has become a traditional thing. Unfortunately everything becomes traditional; but basically, essentially, it has a great beauty. It is not a question of feet. It is simply a question of a gratitude which cannot be said, but only expressed by touching the feet of the master

Sakyamuni-buddha said: “When you meet a master who expounds the supreme wisdom, do not consider his birth.”

Don’t ask what caste he belongs to, don’t ask about his appearance. He may not look beautiful according to your ideas, he may not come from a high caste, from the Brahmins; he may be a sudra like Kabir or Dadu. He may not have renounced a kingdom like Buddha and Mahavira.

But everybody does not have a kingdom to renounce. I used to know a postmaster, a very poor man. He lived just nearby my house, so we used to talk once in a while. When his wife died – he had no children – he renounced the world. The same people who had never paid any attention to the poor man started touching his feet, and soon he became very famous. After twenty years I met him again through one of his disciples who said, “You should see him.”

I said, “I know him.”

But they said, “He has changed, he is a transformed man. He has renounced millions.”

I said, “I know that in his post office account he had kept thirty-six rupees only. From where did he get millions?” But rumors . . . and he was enjoying those rumors. I said, “I am coming to put him in his right senses.”

I asked him, “Please tell to your disciples how many rupees you had left in your post office account.”

He looked so sadly at me. He said, “It will be better if we meet separately, alone, not with all these people.”

I said, “I have to meet here in front of everybody, because these people think you have renounced millions. Now say clearly how many rupees!”

He said, “Thirty-six.”

The disciples said, “Thirty-six? And you never told us before?”

He said, “I enjoyed the idea that I had renounced millions. And I never said anything . . . I simply did not deny it. So you cannot blame me.”

And I said, “Tell these people the real thing.”

He said, “What real thing?”

The real thing was that before he decided to renounce he asked me to write three speeches for him, one for ten minutes, one for twenty minutes, one for thirty minutes. He said, “I will memorize them completely and for a ten minute occasion I will use one; if twenty minutes are available I will use that one. I don’t think more than thirty minutes will be available to me at conferences.”

I said, “I am asking about those three speeches. Are you using them still or not?”

He said, “My God, you have come here to kill me completely! These people think I am a realized man!”

I said, “Tell these people that those three speeches were written by me.”

He said, “I have to admit it.” But he lost all his fame. Suddenly his disciples disappeared, everybody started laughing about the whole thing. But for twenty years continuously he had maintained his great learnedness with those three speeches.

I brought him back to my home. I said, “I need a gardener. You just do the garden and meditate with the plants, with the roses.” And India has so many beautiful flowers, incomparable, because of the climate. The Indian rose has a fragrance that is not possible in a cold country; the fragrance is not released, it needs the sun. India has so many beautiful flowers, unknown to the world. I had a beautiful garden, so I put him to work.

He said, “I was enjoying being an enlightened one, and unfortunately somebody brought you there. In this old age now I have to become a gardener again.”

I said, “This is far more authentic. Just be a gardener. It is a simple job. You can meditate and you can shower the water on the plants. The showering of water on the plants does not disturb your meditation. The flowers are not disturbing, the trees are very loving and very peaceful. I am giving you a really alive temple.”

Dogen is saying that when you meet a master don’t think about his birth, don’t bother about his appearance. All that is needed is a recognition that this is a man who has realized himself; everything else is non-essential. All that is needed now is a deep gratitude. It is a miracle to find such a man, and you have found him.

Your gratefulness will bring a spring to your being. The master’s experience will start flowing towards you just as rivers flow down from the mountains towards the ocean. Your gratefulness becomes just like an ocean: vast, available. And the master’s heights are like the mountains, from where the Ganges and thousands of other rivers come running, rushing, jumping from rock to rock, from valley to valley, reaching towards the ocean. If you are with a master all that you need is a humbleness, a gratitude. And the master is bound to pour himself into you.

Dogen continued, . . . Both men and women can realize the Way. In any case, the realization of the Way should be respected, regardless of sex, this is an extremely excellent rule in the Way. Even a little girl of seven can become the teacher of the four classes of Buddhists . . . if she practices and realizes the Dhamma . . . We should make a venerative offering to her as if to the Buddhas.

Neither age matters nor birth matters, nor country nor race. What matters is your awareness, and awareness is neither Hindu nor Christian nor Mohammedan. It is just a fire, an eternal fire, invisible to the outside eye but visible when you close your eyes and go inward.

A haiku:

Mountains of green
Mountains of blue arise:
My gratitude wells up
And fills my eyes.

Ryokan wrote:

The thief
Left it behind –
The moon at the window.

This is just what Ryokan wrote after the thief had gone. The whole story is beautiful. One night a thief entered into Ryokan’s small hut. Ryokan had only one blanket which he used day and night to cover his body. That was his only possession. He was lying down but he was not asleep, so he opened his eyes and saw the thief entering. He felt great compassion for him because he knew there was nothing in the house. “If the poor fellow had informed me before, I could have begged something from the neighbors and kept it here for him to steal. But now what can I do?”

Seeing that there was nothing, that he had entered into a monk’s hut, the thief started to go out. Ryokan could not resist. He gave his blanket to the thief. The thief said, “What are you doing? You are standing naked. It is a very cold night!”

He said, “Don’t be worried about me. But don’t go empty-handed. I have enjoyed this moment; you have made me feel like a rich man. Thieves usually enter the palaces of emperors. By your entering here my hut has also become a palace, I have also become an emperor. In my joy this is just a gift.”

Even the thief felt sorry for him and he said, “No, I cannot receive this gift because you don’t have anything. How you are going to pass the night? It is so cold, and it is getting colder!”

Ryokan said with tears in his eyes, “You remind me again and again of my poverty. If it was in my power I would have taken hold of the full moon and given it to you.”

When the thief left he wrote in his diary:

The thief
Left it behind –
The moon at the window.

These haikus are not ordinary poems. These are statements of deep meditativeness.

Maneesha has asked:

Our Beloved Master,

What is the essence of our Master’s Law?

Maneesha, here I am not – just an empty space, a hollow bamboo. If you want to join with me, nothing else is needed. Just be utterly empty and silent. This is your master’s dhamma. And in fact, this is all the masters’ dhamma. Become a hollow bamboo so that you can be turned into a flute and songs of immense beauty can pass through you. They will not be your songs; they will be songs of existence.

-Osho

From Dogen, the Zen Master: A Search and a Fulfillment, Discourse #4

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Be a Rare Person – Osho

Daio wrote:

The sphere of perfect communion
Is clear everywhere.
The water is alive,
The willow eyes are green.
Why are people these days
In such a great hurry?
In each land,
The sphere of perfect communion.
Those who go right in
Are rare.

Daio is saying: everything is so beautiful, the stars and the trees and the birds, why can’t you simply sing and dance and join into the cosmos? Where are you hurrying to? Wherever you go you will be frustrated, because the thing that you are trying to find is hidden within you.

This very moment can become your illumination. Not a single step has to be taken.

In each land,
The sphere of perfect communion.
Those who go right in
Are rare.

Just go right in, be a rare person! Don’t search it outside. This is the whole teaching of all the buddhas.

Maneesha has asked one question:

Our Beloved Master,

I have met someone with enlightened eyes who does not just bring us water to drink, but showers us with it. And yet, and yet . . . are we so neurotic, so complex, so far removed from innocence, that we can only receive that for which we have suffered?

It is the whole wrong training of the religions, of the societies, of the cultures, which says that unless you deserve a thing, unless you are worthy of it, you cannot get it. That is the reason, Maneesha, that if I tell you that you are enlightened, you look here and there. You cannot trust — “My god, I am enlightened! And I have not done anything. I have not tortured myself; I have not prayed. I have not fasted; I don’t know the scriptures.”

But I say to you that for everything except enlightenment you will have to work. If you want money, you cannot sit with closed eyes. If you sit with closed eyes, you may even lose money — somebody may cut your pocket. For money you have to work hard. If you want political power, you have to work hard. You have to be cunning; you have to be dishonest; you have to be a hypocrite. You have to use all kinds of right or wrong means to achieve the end. Only enlightenment, in the whole phenomenon of existence, is without any need to deserve it.

It is already there. You can deny it as long as you want, you can find excuses as long as you want, but finally you will be tired of excuses and you will have to accept it — “Yes, I am enlightened.”

It is just a totally different phenomenon. It is neither money, nor power, nor prestige, nor reputation. You don’t have to learn it; you don’t have to earn it. It is in your very heart; it is your heartbeat. You have just to look into your own being.

-Osho

From The Language of Existence, Discourse #6

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

So Be It – Osho

Ikkyu wrote:

Whether I elevate this message
Or put it down,
Everything under the heavens
Is the imperial domain.
I salute and say,
“So be it . . . so be it.”

That is another version of total relaxation with existence, another version of let-go, another version of suchness, thisness, isness.

He is saying, “Whether I elevate this message or put it down, everything under the heavens is the imperial domain. I salute and say, ‘So be it . . . so be it.’ Whatever happens, my absolute determination, my absolute commitment is that whatever happens is good. So be it.”

It may seem sometimes that something is a misfortune – but still Ikkyu is right. Many times blessings come in disguise, and those who are ready to accept even misfortunes joyfully, they transform the misfortune into a joy. Just by accepting them, without any resistance, is the way of transforming them into a beautiful space.

So be it.

Whatever happens, don’t have any grudge, don’t have any complaint against existence. That is the purest message of Zen.

-Osho

From Rinzai: Master of the Irrational, Discourse #8

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

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