Seth Godin – QUotes

The most important question in marketing something to someone who hasn’t purchased it before is,

“Do they trust me enough to believe my promises?”

Without that, you have nothing.

If you have awareness but people haven’t bought from you before, it’s likely they don’t trust you as much as you would hope. If you are extending from one business to another, it’s also likely. In fact, if your value proposition is solid but sales aren’t being made, look for trust issues.

Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.” – Seth Godin

“It doesn’t matter if you’re right, it matters if you are understood.” – Seth Godin (Note – This quote is in reference to creating a new name of for your title/role.)

“The first step is to say it poorly. And then say it again and again and again until you’re able to edit your words into something that works. But mostly, you need to decide that it matters.” – Do the Word – Seth Godin

“You don’t launch a popular blog, you build one. The writing isn’t the hard part, it’s the commitment.” – Seth Godin

“Every day we can wonder and worry about whether a blog post is worth it. Not whether or not the microphone is working, but whether it’s worth using at all.

It’s much easier to spend a lot of time making your microphone louder than it is working on making your message more compelling…” – Seth Godin

“The unhappy theory of business ethics is this: you have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profit. Period. To do anything other than that is to cheat your investors. And in a competitive world, you don’t have much wiggle room here.”  –  Seth Godin

“You will be labeled, like it or not. If you earn the label of a ‘person who builds things, ships them and sells them to someone who values them…’ you’re way ahead of the pack.” – Seth Godin

“For me, doing is at the core of it. If you’ve done something with what you’ve learned, then maybe you know it.” – Seth Godin on February 5, 2014

“The goal, then, isn’t to draw some positioning charts and announce that you have differentiated your product. No, the opportunity is to actually create something that people choose to talk about, regardless of what the competition is doing.” – Seth Godin

“The best experiences and the biggest ideas don’t fit into a category. They change it. They don’t get filed away, they transform us.” – Seth Godin

“Ideas that spread win. Ideas don’t have to be selfish to win, in fact, it turns out that the more generous the interactions an idea produces, the more likely it is to spread.” – Seth Godin

“If you’re not willing to get your ‘worst one ever’ out of the way, how will you possibly do better than that?” – Seth Godin

“I’m not sure there’s any number of Facebook likes that can replace a hug.” – Seth Godin

“More than ever, we express ourselves with what we buy and how we use what we buy. Extensions of our personality, totems of our selves, reminders of who we are or would like to be. Great marketers don’t make stuff. They make meaning.” – Seth Godin

Micro trends matter more than macro ones, but most of all, people matter. Individual human beings with names and wants and interests.” – Seth Godin

“The best way to honor someone who has said something smart and useful is to say something back that is smart and useful. The other way to honor them is to go do something with what you learned.” – Seth Godin

“You know something is important when you’re willing to let someone else take the credit if that’s what it takes to get it done.” – Seth Godin

“The paradox is that by the time you get to be senior, the decisions that matter the most are the ones that would be best made made by people who are junior…” – Seth Godin

“The people who successfully start independent businesses (franchises, I think are a different thing) do it because we have no real choice in the matter. The voice in our heads won’t shut up until we discover if we’re right, if we can do it, if we can make something happen. This is an art, our art, and to leave it bottled up is a crime.”  –  Seth Godin

“If you’d rather be a chooser, enter a market or a transaction where you have something to trade, something of value, something to offer that’s difficult to get everywhere else.  If all you have is the desire to get picked, that’s not sufficient.” – Seth Godin

“A good job is largely anonymous and forgotten (but still important).  A personal job, on the other hand, is humanized.  It brings us closer together.  It might not be remarkable, but it stands out as memorable because (however briefly) the recipient of the work was touched by someone else.  Often, remarkable work is personal too, but personal might just be enough for today.” – Seth Godin

“A remarkable performance is one that exceeds expectations so much that we talk about it. (Remarkable, as in worth making a remark about). In just about every field, it’s possible to be remarkable, at least for a while, and thanks to the increasing number of connections between and among customers, remarkable work spreads your idea.” – Seth Godin

“The wettest, weirdest environment is human interaction. Whatever we build gets misunderstood, corroded and chronic, and it happens quickly and in unpredictable ways. That’s one reason why the web is so fascinating–it’s a collision between the analytic world of code and wet world of people.”  –  Seth Godin

“The quickest way to get things done and make change 

Not the easiest, but the quickest:

Don’t demand authority.

Eagerly take responsibility.

Relentlessly give credit.”

– Seth Godin

“Marketers need to spend less time making promises and more time keeping them.” – Seth Godin

“If you’re considering word of mouth, stability and lifetime value, it’s almost always true that the easier it is to get someone’s attention, the less it’s worth.” – Seth Godin

“Giving your team cover for their cowardice is foolish. Give them a platform for bravery instead.” – Seth Godin

“The only real help is self-help. Anything else is just designed to get you to the point where you can help yourself.”  –  Seth Godin

“Marketing yourself to a new person often involves being charismatic, clever and quick–but most jobs and most relationships are about being consistent, persistent and brave.” – Seth Godin

“If you are love with the perfect, prepare to see it swept away. If you are able to dream of the impossible, it just might happen.” – Seth Godin

“Confusion sets in when you’re not sure if your product or service is bought or sold, or worse, if you are a salesperson just waiting for people to buy.” – Seth Godin

“My problem with the search for the badge of real is that it trades your goals and your happiness for someone else’s.” – Seth Godin 

“Leaps look good in the movies, but in fact, success is mostly about finding a path and walking it one step at a time.” – Seth Godin

“When you focus on delighting an audience you care about, you strip the masses of their power.”  – Seth Godin

“More time on the problem isn’t the way. More guts is. When you expose yourself to the opportunities that scare you, you create something scarce, something others won’t do.” – Seth Godin

 “… outsiders are way more likely to approach your organization with fabulous projects if they think they’re likely to both get a good reception and succeed when they get to market.” – Seth Godin

“The internet revolutionizes both sides of the equation.  … Legions of unsophisticated marketers are getting both sides of the equation wrong.”

“They invest a lot in hoopla, spin and hype to get strangers to notice them (once), making the cost of a connection high, and then, once they borrow a little attention, they put everything into a one shot transaction, which few people engage in, and those that do create little value, because the permission asset is then discarded.” – Seth Godin

“Mostly, the best way to be the next Mark Zuckerberg is to make difficult choices.” – Seth Godin 

“It’s not enough to be aware of the domain you’re working in, you need to understand it. Noticing things and being curious about how they work is the single most common trait I see in creative people. Once you can break the components down, you can put them back together into something brand new.” -Seth Godin

“Anyone who takes responsibility for getting something done is welcome to ask for the authority to do it.” – Seth Godin

 “More and more people now have jobs that require them to confront the risk of appearing stupid on a regular basis.” – Seth Godin

“The goal isn’t to do work and hand it in just before it’s due. The goal is to do the work as beautifully as you can, faster than anyone else, so you can do more work.” – Seth Godin

 “The internet has opened the door for millions of businesses to do things differently, because there are other assets now, assets that can transcend location. Your permission to talk to customers, your reputation, your unique products–you can build a business around them online.” – Seth Godin

“The reason business writing is horrible is that people are afraid.  Afraid to say what they mean, because they might be criticized for it.  Afraid to be misunderstood, to be accused of saying what they didn’t mean, because they might be criticized for it.” – Seth Godin

“The next time you have a choice between chasing the charts (whichever charts you keep track of) and doing the work your customers crave, do the work instead.” – Seth Godin

“We happily give up our freedom and our income in exchange for having someone else take responsibility for telling us what to do next.” – Seth Godin

“We must be talented, powerful and resilient creatures indeed given how much we manage to produce despite the constant undercutting, ridicule and needless censorship we aim at ourselves.”  – Seth Godin

“When you delight the weird, the overlooked and the outliers, they are significantly more likely to talk about you and recommend you.” – Seth Godin

“It takes a lot of guts to stop measuring things that are measurable, and even more guts to create things that don’t measure well by conventional means.” – Seth Godin

“It’s easy to be afraid of taking a plunge, because, after all, plunging is dangerous. And the fear is a safe way to do nothing at all. Wading, on the other hand, gets under the radar. It gives you a chance to begin.” – Seth Godi


जिन खोजा तिन पाइया, गहरे पानी पैठ,
मैं बपुरा बूडन डरा, रहा किनारे बैठ।

पावस देखि रहीम मन, कोइल साधे मौन.
अब दादुर वक्ता भए, हमको पूछे कौन.
अर्थ : वर्षा ऋतु को देखकर कोयल और रहीम के मन ने मौन साध लिया है. अब तो मेंढक ही बोलने वाले हैं। हमारी तो कोई बात ही नहीं पूछता. अभिप्राय यह है कि कुछ अवसर ऐसे आते हैं जब गुणवान को चुप रह जाना पड़ता है. उनका कोई आदर नहीं करता और गुणहीन वाचाल व्यक्तियों का ही बोलबाला हो जाता है

Trust – story – totality

I love an ancient Indian story:
Narada, the great Indian mystic, is going to see God. Playing on his VEENA, he passes a forest, and comes across a very old sage sitting under a tree.
The old sage says to Narada, “You are going to God — please ask one question from me. I have been making all kinds of efforts for three lives, now how much more is needed? How much longer do I have to wait? When is my liberation going to happen? You just ask him!”
Narada laughed and said, “Okay.”
As he progressed, just by the side, under another tree, a young man was dancing with his EKTARA, singing, dancing — very young. May have been only thirty. Jokingly, Narada asked the young man, “Would you also like any question to be asked of God — I am going. The old man, your neighbor, has asked.”
The young man did not reply. He continued his dance — as if he had not listened at all, as if he was not there at all.
After a few days, Narada came back. He told the old man, “I asked God. He said three lives more.”
The old man was doing his JAPA on his beads. He threw the beads. He was in a rage. He threw the scriptures that he was keeping with him, and he said, “This is absolutely unjust! Three lives more?!”
Narada moved to the young man who was again dancing, and he said, “Although you had not answered, and you had not asked, just by the way I asked God about you too. But now I am afraid — whether to tell it to you or not? Seeing the rage of the old man, I am hesitating.”
But the young man did not say anything; he continued to dance. Narada told him; “When I asked, God said, ‘Tell the young man that he will have to be born AS many times as there are leaves on the tree under which he is dancing.’”
And the young man started dancing even more ecstatically, and he said, “So fast?! There are so many trees in the world and so many leaves… only this much? Only these leaves? Only this many lives? I have already attained! When you go next, thank him.”
And it is said the man became liberated that very moment. That very moment he became liberated! If there is such test, such totality of trust, time is not needed. If there is no trust, then even three lives are not enough. And my feeling is that old man must be around somewhere on the M.G. Road! He cannot have become liberated yet. Even three lives won’t do. Such a mind can’t become liberated. Such a mind is what hell is.

Trust – Story

“A man just got married and was returning home with his wife. They were crossing a lake in a boat when suddenly a great storm arose. The man was a warrior, but the woman became very much afraid because it seemed almost hopeless — THE BOAT WAS SMALL AND THE STORM WAS REALLY HUGE, AND ANY MOMENT THEY WERE GOING TO BE DROWNED. But the man sat silently, calm and quiet, as if nothing was happening.

The woman was trembling and she said, “Are you not afraid? This may be our last moment of life! IT DOESN’T SEEM THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO REACH THE OTHER SHORE. Only some miracle can save us, otherwise death is certain. Are you not afraid? Are you mad or something? Are you a stone or something?”

THE MAN LAUGHED AND TOOK THE SWORD OUT OF ITS SHEATH. The woman was even more puzzled — what he is doing? Then he brought the naked sword close to the woman’s neck — so close that just a small gap was there, it was almost touching her neck.

He said, “ARE YOU AFRAID?”

She started to giggle and laugh and said, “WHY SHOULD I BE AFRAID? If the sword is in your hands, why should I be afraid? I know you love me.”

He put the sword back and said, “This is my answer. I know God loves me, and the sword is in His hands, and the storm is in His hands — so WHATSOEVER IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS GOING TO BE GOOD. If we survive, good; if we don’t survive, good — because EVERYTHING IS IN HIS HANDS, AND HE CANNOT DO ANYTHING WRONG.”

This is the trust one needs to imbibe. SUCH TREMENDOUS TRUST IS CAPABLE OF TRANSFORMING YOUR WHOLE LIFE! And ONLY such tremendous trust is capable of transforming your life — less than that won’t do.”

Trust – Quotes

“If you want to learn anything, learn trust – nothing else id needed. If you are miserable, nothing else will help – learn trust. If you don’t feel any meaning in life and you feel meaningless, nothing will help – learn trust. Trust gives meaning because trust makes you capable of allowing the whole descend upon you.”

Doubt, Belief, Faith and Trust | Sitting Quietly, Doing Nothing

…And your readiness means that doubt should simply disappear from the mind. It should not be suppressed, you should not try to defeat it, because defeated it will remain in you; suppressed, it will remain part of your unconscious and it will go on affecting you. Don’t fight your doubting mind, don’t suppress it. Rather, on the contrary, you simply bring more and more energy into trust. You simply be indifferent to your doubting mind, nothing else can be done.
Indifference is the key: you simply be indifferent. It is there – accept it. Bring your energies more and more towards trust and love – because it is the same energy which becomes doubt; it is the same energy which becomes trust. Remain indifferent to doubt. The moment you are indifferent your cooperation is broken, you are not feeding it – because it is through attention that anything is fed. If you pay attention to your doubt, even if you are against it, paying attention to it is dangerous because the very attention is the food; that is your cooperation. One has just to be indifferent, neither for nor against: don’t be for doubt, don’t be against doubt.
So now you will have to understand three words. One word is ”doubt,” another word is ”belief,” the third word is ”trust” or ”faith”. Doubt is a negative attitude towards anything. Whatsoever is said, first you look at it negatively. You are ` against it, and you will find reasons, rationalizations how to support your ”againstness.” Then there is the mind of belief. It is just like the mind of doubt only standing upside down; there is not much difference. This mind looks at things positively and tries to find reasons, rationalizations how to support it, how to be for it. The mind who doubts suppresses belief; the mind who believes suppresses doubt – but they both are of the same stuff; the quality is not different.
Then there is a third mind whose doubting has simply disappeared – and when doubt disappears, belief also disappears. Faith is not belief, it is love. Faith is not belief because it is not half, it is total. Faith is not belief because there is no doubt in it, so how can you believe? Faith is not a rationalization at all: neither for nor against, neither this nor that. Faith is a trusting, a deep trusting, a love. You don’t find any rationalizations for it, it simply is so. So what to do?
Don’t create belief against faith. Just be indifferent to belief and doubt both, and bring your energies towards more and more love; love more, love unconditionally. Not only love me, because that is not possible: if you love, you simply love more. If you love, you simply exist in a more loving way – not only towards the master, but towards everything that exists around you: towards the trees and the stones, and the sky and the earth. You, your being, your very quality of being, becomes a love phenomenon. Then trust arises.

Mindfullness and Acceptance

The Guest House This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, Some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! . . . The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. — Jalal Al-Din Rumi

This is one of the hardest truths to recognize, that one remains the same —that
whatsoever we do, we remain the same. There is no “improvement.” The whole ego is
shattered because the ego lives through improvement, the idea of improvement, the
idea of reaching somewhere someday. Maybe not today but tomorrow, or the day after
tomorrow. To recognize the fact that there is no improvement in the world, that life is
just a celebration, it has nothing like business in it —once you understand this, the
whole ego trip stops, and suddenly you are thrown back to this moment.
Rest in natural great peace

This exhausted mind

Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thought, Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves In the infinite ocean of samsara.

Nature of Mind

Mind is never peaceful — no-mind is peace. Mind itself can never be peaceful, silent. The very nature of the mind is to be tense, to be in confusion. Mind can never be clear, it cannot have clarity, because mind is by nature confusion, cloudiness. Clarity is possible without mind, peace is possible without mind, silence is possible without mind — so never try to attain a silent mind. If you do, from the very beginning you are moving in an impossible dimension.


“All things in the universe are impermanent…” says Yoka. So don′t be worried. All things are impermanent: pleasure and pain, friendship and enmity, poverty and richness, success and failure, birth and death. All is in a flux, all is impermanent, so why be worried?
Everything goes on changing. Don′t cling – clinging brings misery, clinging shows your misunderstanding. The moment you cling to something, you are living with the idea that it can be permanent. Nothing can be permanent, and nothing can be done about it. It is just the nature of things to be impermanent.
You are trying to catch hold of the rainbows. They are beautiful, but you cannot catch hold of them. And one moment they are there, and another moment they are gone. So don′t cling to anything, because everything is impermanent.
And don′t desire anything – because even if you get it, you will lose it. If you don′t get it, you will be frustrated. If you get it and lose it, you will be frustrated. Either way you will be in misery, you are inviting misery. So don′t desire anything, and don′t cling to anything.
Whatsoever comes, accept it. Buddha calls it tathata, suchness. Just accept it; live through it silently, without being disturbed by it. Misery comes, it will go; happiness comes, it will go. Everything passes away, nothing abides; so there is nothing to worry about.
Go on passing through all kinds of experiences, and then you will know that one can pass through the world uncontaminated, uncorrupted. One can live in the palaces without clinging, then he is a sannyasin; and one can live in a hut and can cling to the hut, then he is not a sannyasin.
That′s why I don′t tell you to renounce the world, I simply say: be watchful. That is the essence of Buddha′s message.

On Humor

Nansen said to the assembled monks: “Old Master O (‘O’ was Nansen’s own lay name) is going to sell himself. Will anyone buy him?”
A monk came out and said: “I will!”
Nansen said: “Don’t make me dear; don’t make me cheap. How will you buy me?”
The monk was silent.
On another occasion Nansen was asked by a monk: “Where will the master be gone in a hundred years’ time?”
Nansen said: “I’ll be a water-colored ox.”
The monk said: “May I follow you or not?”
Nansen said: “Well, if you do, bring a mouthful of grass with you!”Maneesha, life can be taken as a drama, as a play, or can be taken very seriously. Those who take it very seriously suffer immensely, unnecessarily. They suffer if they fail, they suffer if they are victorious, they suffer if they are poor, they suffer if they are rich.
One of the richest men in India told me that he feels very guilty. The country is dying in poverty and his riches go on growing. And he is not courageous enough to stop this growing of riches; deep down he still wants more. On the one hand he can see the country is suffering from poverty, on the other hand is his desire to have more and more; between these two he is crushed.
The poor suffer, the rich suffer. It seems those who take life seriously, whatever their profession and whatever line they take in life, are bound to suffer, with anxiety, with frustration, at each step, because existence has no obligation to fulfill your desires.
And your desires are immense, almost infinite. Because of your desires life becomes a competition, and wherever there is competition, there is anxiety and angst; and at the end everybody is aware deep down there is death. Life is a misery, a struggle, an anguish and it finally ends in death, which is simply darkness. Nobody knows what happens after death.
Zen is not for those who are serious.
Zen is only for those who can take life as fun. This looks strange because religion has always been thought to be a serious phenomenon. Zen has taken a departure from that attitude. It takes life as fun, and not only life but death too.
The moment you start seeing life as nonserious, a playfulness, all the burden on your heart disappears. All the fear of death, of life, of love — everything disappears. One starts living with a very light weight or almost no weight. So weightless one becomes, one can fly in the open sky.
Zen’s greatest contribution is to give you an alternative to the serious man. The serious man has made the world, the serious man has made all the religions. He has created all the philosophies, all the cultures, all the moralities, everything that exists around you is a creation of the serious man. Zen has dropped out of the serious world. It has created a world of its own which is very playful, full of laughter, where even great masters behave like children. You can see this in the sutra that Maneesha has brought.
Nansen said to the assembled monks… They have come to hear about the ultimate truth, and Nansen said to the assembled monks: “Old master O (‘O’ was Nansen’s own lay name) is going to sell himself. Will anyone buy him?”
Strange start to a sermon!
You cannot think a rabbi would do it in a synagogue — although buying and selling is a very Jewish interest. In no temple, in no mosque, in no church is a sermon going to begin this way where the master comes on the stage and says: “Old master O,” and ‘O’ is his own childhood name, “is going to sell himself. Will anyone buy him?”
Before we enter into the discussion, remember that Nansen uses his childhood name, “O.” He could have used “Nansen,” he could have said: “I want to sell myself.” He could not say “I” because a man of the status of Nansen knows there is no “I.” He cannot use the word “Nansen,” because it is the name of his old age when he became a monk, the name of his maturity. He uses the word “O,” which was his childhood name. He has again become a child; he is again as innocent and as ignorant as a child, he knows nothing. His using the name “O” is significant.
And his saying that he is going to sell himself reminds you that if you are going to sell yourself, do you think you will get any price? Perhaps man is the most worthless creature. A cow, a horse, an elephant…even in death an elephant is worth thousands of rupees, just his bones. Man in his death is so useless and so disgusting that people are in a hurry to take him to the funeral pyre.
His family are crying and the neighbors are preparing the stretcher on which the dead man is to be carried to the burning ghats. They are in a hurry; the sooner it is finished the better. Otherwise this crying and weeping and all this hullabaloo will continue. And if this man stays long, he will start stinking. There is no value in him; if you take him to the market you will be beaten.
I’m reminded of Diogenes again.
He used to live naked; he was a very healthy and beautiful man. Even Alexander the Great felt a little jealous. He had everything, but the beauty of Diogenes, his marble-like body, his statue-like firmness….
He was lying one day by the side of the river which was his resting place. Four thieves, whose function was…because in those days almost all over the world man was sold and purchased. Women particularly had a good price, and healthy strong men also had a good price. Slaves were an accepted fact almost all over the world. So these four thieves were engaged in the business of catching hold of people and taking them to the marketplace.
They saw this man and discussed among themselves: “This man will fetch a good price, perhaps the best ever. But he seems to be too strong even for four persons. He will kill us if we try to catch hold of him; he looks dangerous.”
And Diogenes was listening because they were discussing what to do just behind the bushes. Diogenes said: “You idiots! You don’t have to do anything! Just come out! Follow me!”
They said: “But where?”
He said: “To the marketplace where you want to sell me! There is no need to catch hold of me. I am coming on my own. Let this be also an experience. Anyway I am good for nothing.”
The thieves became very afraid seeing the strangeness of the man.
“Even to follow him is dangerous; he may turn, or jump and hit somebody.” They kept their distance.
Diogenes said: “Don’t be afraid! Just stay close! Are you taking me to the marketplace or am I taking you?”
With great fear they came close to him. And in the marketplace where people, men and women, were auctioned, Diogenes jumped on the table and shouted at the crowd that had come to purchase people: “Here is a master for sale! Is there any slave who is ready to purchase him?”
There was great silence, the man certainly was a grandeur in himself. Even kings had come to purchase but they had to think twice whether to purchase this man. He could be dangerous, he could be ferocious if he can jump on the table and declare himself: “Here is a master! Is there anyone ready to purchase him?”
Finally one king dared to purchase him, and he said: “To whom is the money to be given?” Diogenes showed those four persons who were hiding in the crowd. “Give the money to these four people. They have brought me here. And bring your chariot closer so I can come in the chariot.”
Now slaves are not supposed to order kings, but even this king felt a weakening of the heart. He told his charioteer to bring the chariot close by.
Diogenes jumped on the chariot and sat by the side of the king, and the king was trembling.
He had purchased unnecessary trouble. This man can simply take him by the neck and throw him out of the chariot. “Rather than purchasing a slave I have purchased a master; he was right.”
But Diogenes said: “Don’t be afraid; I’m not going to do any of the things that you are thinking. I am a peace-loving man. Let us make an agreement: I shall not disturb you, you should not disturb me.”
The king was very willing. He said: “I am absolutely ready, I will not disturb you. You can have a part of the palace, and whatever you need will be provided. But please keep the agreement, don’t disturb me. I am a man with a very weak heart, and you seem to be very dangerous.”
Diogenes said: “Don’t be worried. As far as killing is concerned, I am absolutely against it; harassing anybody — I am absolutely against. You will find in me a great master; you can learn much. You have purchased the only master who has ever been sold, and I have sold myself. In fact I needed some disciples. Now you, your wife, your brothers, your children, all are my disciples — agreed?!”
In the forest the chariot was moving towards the kingdom. Not to agree with this man was very dangerous because there was only the charioteer and the king, and he was enough for both. So whatever he said the king went on saying: “Yes, absolutely agreed.”
And as they were entering the kingdom, Diogenes jumped out of the chariot, said good-bye to the king and said: “I was just joking! For those four poor men I had to play this role. My river has come. If you want sometime some advice you are welcome. Take note of my address: this river, and do you see that dog?”
He had only one dog as a friend.
Because of this dog as a friend, his name became “Diogenes the Cynic.”
The friendship with the dog also came in a very special way. One day he was running towards the river with a begging bowl, just as Buddha had a begging bowl. He was thirsty, but just as he was reaching to the water, a dog came running, overtook him and started drinking the water.
He said: “My God! Why am I carrying this bowl? The dog is in a better position!” He threw the begging bowl in the river and learned the way of drinking water like the dog.
The dog certainly became very friendly to the man, so he invited the dog to share with him whatever he got for food. The dog was his only companion, and he would talk to it.
Even when Alexander was standing by his side, he was making a joke of it.
Alexander said: “I’m going to conquer the world.”
Rather than answering him, Diogenes looked at the dog and said: “Do you hear? This fellow is going to conquer the world!” Then to Alexander: “Before conquering the world you will be finished. If you are as wise as this dog, you would rest here, because what will you do after conquering the world?”
Alexander had to concede: “After conquering the world I will certainly rest and relax.”
Diogenes said: “Look at my dog, how relaxed! You can come on this side, I have no objection; I don’t possess this river. I don’t know who possesses this river, but we both live here and we welcome you. There is no need to take so much trouble to conquer the world and then rest; why not begin rest now?”
Alexander said: “I can understand your logic, and I am not able to answer it. But now that I have started my journey of conquering, I will have to go and fulfill my desire.”
Diogenes said: “It is up to you, but remember the day you die that I have told you life is very short and the world is very big. Most probably you will die before you have conquered the world.”
And Diogenes was right, Alexander died at the age of only thirty-three, and the last memory in his mind was of Diogenes: “That wise man told it right. Even his dog agreed by waving his tail: ‘You are right. If he wants to rest he should begin now.'”
Diogenes is not historically very much in the line of the great Greek philosophers: Socrates, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Heraclitus.
Nobody mentions Diogenes much for the simple reason that he was not a man who took the world seriously.
Somewhere he found a lamp, an old lamp, which somebody may have thrown away. So he lit the lamp and, still with his dog, carried it day and night always lighted even in full daylight and people would say: “It is strange, Diogenes; why are you carrying this lamp in the full sunlight?”
And he would say: “I am in search of an authentic man. Just to see into his eyes, I keep this lamp. Up to now I have failed.”
The day he died in Athens, the dog was sitting by his side and the lamp was there, and somebody asked: “Diogenes, you are dying; can you say something about what happened to the authentic man? Did you find any authentic man?”
And his last words were: “Unfortunately I did not find an authentic man, but fortunately nobody has stolen my lamp; that much I can say in favor of humanity. I am a naked man, I sleep and anybody could have stolen it.” He never took life seriously but lived with as much joy and glory as any Buddha.
This man Nansen is saying that “Old master O is going to sell himself. Will anyone buy him?”
A monk came out and said: “I will!”
Nansen said: “Don’t make me dear; don’t make me cheap. How will you buy me?”
He’s posing a question which is very central to Gautam Buddha’s whole experience: being exactly in the middle. To be exactly in the middle is to transcend the extremes, right and wrong, dark and light, day and night, life and death, good and bad. Just be in the middle, exactly in the middle and you have flown to the beyond. The beyond begins from the middle, never from the extreme. That’s the point he is trying to make. He is saying: “Good, if you want to purchase me, Don’t make me dear and don’t make me cheap. How will you buy me?”
The monk was silent. He could not find an answer to it. A man like Nansen can be purchased if you are totally balanced in the middle. If you can show that you are centered in the middle, neither this nor that but just the middle point of everything in the world, Nansen is yours.
The monk was silent. His silence is not an answer, his silence is a failure; in the game he could not manage to answer the master rightly. He could have purchased Nansen by just touching his feet, with gratitude, with love. But remaining silent like a dead tree he missed the point.
The master is always for sale, you just need to have an empty heart.
Otherwise where will you allow the master to live? It is not only Nansen, every master is for sale. But you need the heart, the receptivity, the sensitivity, the balance, the space to contain the master.
By receiving the master in your heart you will be transformed totally. On the surface it looks as if you are purchasing the master, but in fact it is always the master who purchases you. It is always the master who is victorious; the disciple has to be defeated, defeated in his ego, defeated in his personality, defeated in his falsehood. The defeat of the disciple is the victory of the master. They both are two sides of the same coin.
On another occasion Nansen was asked by a monk: “Where will the master be gone in a hundred years’ time?”
Stupid question, because Zen does not move from this moment, thisness. A hundred years? The question is stupid but out of compassion the master answers even that. But you can see the playfulness.
“Where will the master be gone in a hundred years’ time?”
The master goes nowhere, has never been anywhere else than here. Now and here are his abode. To ask him: “Where will you be?” is absurd. You don’t understand the simple fact of Zen that it belongs only to eternity. And eternity is in this very moment, it is neither past nor future. If you can be here without wavering towards the past or the future, the mystery of existence opens its doors. But to ask a master a question like this…what can be done? Almost the whole world is full of mediocre people.
Nansen said: “I’ll be a water-colored ox.”
He is just making a joke, showing his sense of humor, not telling the person that: “You are stupid!” But the final result is that, without saying it, he has said it.
The monk said: “May I follow you or not?”
Nansen said: “Well, if you do, bring a mouthful of grass with you!”
This playfulness, not taking even the stupid question seriously, shows a tremendous insight into existence. You can understand only as a child. When there is no thought but pure innocence shining like a mirror, then everything is as clear as it could be. No question arises, no answer is needed.
This innocence of a child becomes the explosion of enlightenment.
Enlightenment is not an answer to anything, it is simply bringing you to this moment with your total consciousness. It is not an answer to any question, it is simply coming back home. You have gone astray; everybody has gone far away from his own home, searching for the home.
In Indian languages the people who are vagabonds, who don’t stay in one place, who go on moving, the gypsies…. Those gypsies which you find in Europe originated in Rajputan, in Rajasthan. They are Indians; but because they could not remain in one place, they ended up in Egypt. Because of Egypt they got the name “gypsy.” Egypsy it must have been in the beginning, then the “e” was dropped in Europe and they became “gypsies.”
“Gypsies” in India is a beautiful word: it is khanabados. Its meaning is a man who carries his home on his own shoulders. Khana means “home,” bados means “on the shoulders.”
We are carrying our home on our own shoulders, but we are searching unnecessarily for it here and there, running…not looking in the moment where we are. If you can just stay for a second, you will suddenly find this is the place you have always been in, but you never looked at it.
Zen takes away all goals from your life, all problems from your life, all questions from your life because they make you serious. It gives you the moment, and the joy that arises when you are centered in the moment…rejoice, dance, sing!
Life is to be just like a lotus flower. Seriousness destroys all the flowers.
You will be surprised to know that in Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram — and he was one of the most serious persons in the world, so serious that even tea was a sin — he had a few flower pots, but he removed the roses and started growing wheat. Such seriousness! The country is poor, so he is growing wheat in his pots as if that wheat will destroy the poverty. And he has destroyed the roses. Nobody raised a question in his ashram that: “This is stupid. These few pots of wheat will not fulfill anything; only, you have destroyed a few beautiful roses.”
But that is what the serious person always does. He takes away your smiles, your laughter, because: “So many people are sick, how can you laugh? So many people are poor and you are laughing! So many people are in the madhouses, and you are laughing. So many people are criminals and you are laughing. The third world war is hanging over you and you are telling jokes!”
The serious person destroys everything, takes away all joy, all smiles, all love, all roses and makes everyone a dead weight, makes everybody’s life meaningless. Where roses don’t grow life cannot be a joy.
Jesus is right when he says: “One cannot live by bread alone.” And Mahatma Gandhi used to read Jesus continuously. At least three times in his life he was just on the verge of being converted into Christianity. But perhaps he was interpreting the statement of Jesus the way the Christian missionaries have been for two thousand years. ‘You cannot live by bread alone,’ they interpreted as, ‘You need God, just bread will not do.’
My interpretation is: “You need roses, just wheat will not do.”
And with bread, with wheat, roses seem to be complementary, parallel. With wheat and God, the distance is so vast, that anybody who interprets it as “You need God,” is forgetting completely that God is a fiction. The rose is not. God is only a concept, the rose is a reality. So I say you cannot live by bread alone, you need roses too. In fact, you need bread only to have roses; otherwise what is the point of just going on eating if you don’t have any roses?
Only roses can bring smiles to your faces, and joy into your hearts. But the serious person has been the maker of the whole of society up to now. It has to be changed. Life has to be made fun, a play, a beautiful drama. And a person who can make life a drama, a beautiful story, a fiction will be able also to make death a fiction. His life will be simply a dance of love , of gratitude, of peace, of silence.
That is the whole work of Zen, a great point of departure from the old traditional religions.
A Zen poet, Sekiso, wrote:
With your tall, golden staff tinkling,
You have come all the way down.
Talking for days
About things
Not of the world,
Your words have been all we needed.
Sumptuous the colors of the halls
And the temple buildings,
Lush and dense around them
The serene beauty of the forest
And the arbored walks.
Lovely! Our hearts are open,
Not a grain of sand in our friendship.
May it go just like this!
In the floating world of things
Needles hide in the carpet.
The memory of this visit
Should be handed down forever.
There is something beyond happiness
Inside the gate of this mountain.
Nansen used to live on a mountain. Sekiso is one of his followers.
He is saying there is something beyond happiness. Happiness is of the body, of the physiology, of the biology. But there is something beyond happiness, which is not of the body at all, neither of the mind, but of your innermost empty heart. A bliss arises there, mysterious and miraculous.
But it makes everything in existence clear, gives you eyes for the first time. Before that you have been blind and in darkness. In fact it also gives you life for the first time; before that you were only superficially living. Now you are living in the depths of eternity, your empty heart.
That was Nansen’s teaching. Inside the gate of this mountain… There was a gate that still stands on the mountain where Nansen lived. Now even the mountain is called Nansen in his memory. Sekiso is saying that if you are seeking something beyond happiness this is the right gate. Here lives a man who can point you to the path of blissfulness, of a joy that is not of this world.
Maneesha has asked: “Osho, We hear you say each night: ‘Go inside — don’t be afraid. You will meet no one else but yourself.’ Why the fear of meeting our self?”
Maneesha, it is a significant question. Nobody wants to meet himself because there is so much risk in it. You have painted your face, you have a beautiful mask on your face. You will be afraid to see your real face, your original face. The mask helps you accord to people’s opinions of what is beautiful. You have gathered a personality that is also according to people’s opinion: how you should sit, how you should behave, what you should wear, everything society has forced upon you.
And it is a great blackmail because if you follow society they will give you respectability, you will be honored. If you don’t follow society, you will lose respect, you will be treated almost as an outcast.
This is the fear of meeting yourself, because the society has covered your self in many layers according to its own convenience.
Whatever it wants from you, it has made you. You have become a commodity, useful, efficient, serviceable. You have become a slave. The fear is that if you find yourself, the authentic being, then you will be in trouble. You will have to drop all that is false. And all that you have right now is false.
And your authentic being will not be respected by the society: it will be condemned, it will be crucified, it will be poisoned. Society does not like original people; society wants slaves, not masters, and the man who knows himself can never be enslaved.
So your fear is that it is cozy and comfortable to belong to the crowd; you have your respect, your honor. Finding yourself you don’t know what you are going to find; it is going to be something absolutely unknown. Society has created so much distance between your real being and the unreal false personality that covers your real being.
You are trained as a personality, you are born as an individuality.
Now your training is your investment. You may be forty years old, you may be fifty years old. For fifty years you have trained yourself as a personality. If you find your real self, these fifty years have gone down the drain. You have to begin from ABC and against the whole of society. The individual is always rebellious, and the personality is always a beautiful slave. Hiding behind the beautiful slave is an ugly reality? That is the fear.
You will have to stand alone. You will have to encounter the whole society that surrounds you. Nobody wants you to be yourself, everybody wants you to be according to his convenience. And they have succeeded, by education, by changing you from childhood into a civilized, cultured being. And you have left your reality in your childhood, fifty years back, sixty years back.
Now it is too long a distance and too dangerous, too risky; you have respectability, you have honor, all will be lost. So it is better to go on keeping hold of the false and ignoring the real. But one thing is to be remembered, through the false you can never be blissful. That which is not authentic cannot give you peace. You will be guilty in your own eyes.
A man was surrounded by his friends on his sixtieth birthday. And they were all drinking and singing and dancing when suddenly the man disappeared. So one of the friends went out in the garden to look for him. “What happened, why has he gone out? He is not supposed to, he has to be here, it is his birthday.”
And the man was sitting there under a tree. The friend approached him and asked him: “Why are you so sad?”
He said: “You are the cause of it!”
The man said: “I? What have I done to you?”
The man said: “Not today, remember twenty-five years back?”
The man said: “Twenty-five years back? Just tell me yourself, what is the problem?” He was a very well-known criminal lawyer.
The man said to him: “Twenty-five years ago, remember, I had come to you to ask that if I kill my wife, how much imprisonment…? And you told me: ‘At least twenty-five years. Even though I try my hardest, you will go for twenty-five years, so don’t do such a thing.’ Now twenty-five years have passed, and I am feeling that today I would have been free. If I had not listened to you, you idiot, today I would have come out of the jail. Now there is no hope. I lived with a woman for these twenty-five years whom I wanted to kill.”
But everybody is living with things which they wanted to drop. It is not only a question of a woman or a man. But they go on living with them; it seems risky to drop anything.
Society wants you to be very orthodox, traditional. “Just follow the footpaths of your parents, don’t try to make your own path. Don’t try to become yourself.” That is told from all sides and corners of the society. Your teachers will tell it, your priests will tell it, your parents will tell it, your friends will tell it.
But my effort here, Maneesha, is exactly that you should go inside. And there is no need to be afraid. You will meet no one else but yourself. And the sooner you do it the better, because nobody knows about tomorrow. At least know yourself in authenticity.
Live, even if few years are left, in your truth, whatever the consequences.
At least you will be a blissful person. You may not be respected, may be condemned, but who cares about condemnation? That is their opinion, and they are free to have their opinion.
You should care only about one thing, that you are happy, that you are blissful, that you are silent, that you are at ease with existence. Don’t bother about anybody, any religion, any society, any culture, any education. They are all strategies to create personalities out of individuals.
My work is to undo their work, and bring out the individual in its pure beauty. Your authentic being is related to the eternity of life, your false being is not related to anything. It is just a cover that the society has put over you.
The fear arises, Maneesha, because one is afraid to be alone. But my experience is, the only bliss in life is to be alone, not taking any notice whatever the world says. They are free to say it, you need not be disturbed. You enjoy your life according to your own insight, you live your life according to your own intuition.
And you will be able to die. A life of fulfillment always ends in a death of tremendous revolution. Death is no more there, you enter into eternity; death becomes a door, not an end. But it is a door only for the real; for the unreal it is an end.
Before you go on the marathon race to find yourself, just for the journey, to remember that it is a joyful and playful experience, it is not a serious thing….
Cecil B. Baloney, the famous Hollywood movie director, is shooting his new film on location in Ireland.
The next scene is to be a street fight, and Cecil gets a bright idea for making it very realistic.
He beckons to Rock Hunk, the star of the movie, and he says: “Now, for this street fight, I want to try something new. You see that local couple coming down the street? Go and insult the wife. Then, when the man goes to hit you, we will start rolling the camera. It will be pure realism!”
Hunk shrugs and walks up to the couple, who turn out to be Paddy and Maureen O’Murphy, doing their shopping.
“Hey, buddy, is this lady your wife?” asks Hunk sternly.
“Yes,” replies Paddy. “Why?”
“Well,” says Rock: “she is one of the ugliest women I have ever seen!”
Paddy turns to look at Maureen. “You see,” says Paddy, “he thinks so too!”
Farmer O’Reilly goes to see the doctor for his yearly check-up.
After the examination the doctor says: “You are good and healthy, but there is one thing I have to tell you. You must start wearing underwear, for two reasons. First, it is more hygienic, and second, it is warmer.”
So Farmer O’Reilly buys himself some underwear and puts them on.
The next day he is out in the fields when he needs to take a shit. So he climbs off the tractor, pulls down his pants, but of course forgets about his underwear.
When he has finished, he pulls up his pants, takes a look behind him, and mumbles: “The doc was right, it is more hygienic.”
Then he climbs back onto his tractor, and sits down.
“Right again!” exclaims O’Reilly in surprise. “It is warmer too!”
On an ocean cruise in the south Pacific the ship sinks, leaving only twelve survivors, who are lucky enough to reach a small island nearby.
They are two French businessmen and their secretary, two Italian businessmen and their secretary, two American oil executives and their secretary, and two British businessmen and their secretary.
After a week, the two Frenchmen reach an agreement. One man gets the secretary on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and the other Frenchman gets her on alternate days. On Sunday, naturally, she gets both of them.
After a week, one Italian businessman shoots the other Italian so that he can have the secretary all to himself.
After a week, the two American executives and their secretary are still waiting for instructions from head-office in Texas.
But after two days, the two British businessmen shoot their secretary, so that they can have each other!
Nivedano…. (Nivedano beats the drum to signal the beginning of a guided meditation. First a short period of “Gibberish.” A drumbeat signals the end of that meditation.)
Be silent. Close your eyes. Feel the body to be completely frozen. Now, look inwards, with total urgency, as if this is your last moment.
Go deeper with all your consciousness as a spear forcing into the center of your being. This center belongs to eternity. At this center you suddenly become a Buddha, because you also become eternal.
The Buddha is the highest peak of your consciousness, the very Everest. And unless you have reached to this Everest, you have not fulfilled your potentiality.
You are not born to be just mediocre human beings. Your destiny is to be gods. Less than that won’t do. And it is not a question of becoming a Buddha, it is simply a question of remembering. It is your very nature.
To make it absolutely clear…Nivedano….
(Nivedano beats the drum again, at which point every lies down in a relaxed let-go.)
Relax. Remain a witness of the body and the mind, just a witness because that is the only quality that belongs to eternity. That is the only quality, that is your nature. It is not given to you. It is your very self.
Just watch silently and peacefully. You are neither the body nor the mind. And then suddenly a great explosion happens, your witness takes the form of the Buddha.
This evening has been beautiful on its own. But thousands of stars have been added to it by your witnessing selves. At this moment there are not ten thousand Buddhas, but only one ocean of consciousness. All separation disappears.
This is the greatest splendor that is available to you, and only to you. Except man no other animal can reach to this point of buddhahood. It is your privilege.
Thousands of flowers are showering on you, of peace, of silence, of love, of joy. The clouds have come to confirm it.
Before Nivedano calls you back, gather as many flowers, as much fragrance as you can, because you have to live the Buddha twenty-four hours. It is not a question of a few minutes’ meditation. A few minutes of meditation is just a remembrance, every day deepening more and more into the nature of your being.
But you have to live it twenty-four hours in every action, in every word, in every silence, in every gesture. If you can live the way a Buddha is supposed to live, your life will become a dance, a poetry, a music.
Nivedano…. (A final drum-beat brings everyone back to the sitting position.)
Come back. But come back as Buddhas. Even in your coming, show the grace of the Buddha, silently, peacefully. Sit down for a few minutes, to recollect the experience, the space you have visited, the path that you have followed.
And make it a point to remember in your ordinary day-to-day life that you are carrying a Buddha within you, that you are pregnant with a Buddha. And you have to be careful about it. It is a very delicate affair.
Okay, Maneesha?
Yes, Osho.
Can we celebrate the ten thousand Buddhas?
Yes, Osho.