The Miracle of Ordinariness
BANKEI WAS PREACHING QUIETLY TO HIS FOLLOWERS ONE DAY WHEN
HIS TALKING WAS INTERRUPTED BY A PRIEST FROM ANOTHER SECT. THIS
SECT BELIEVED IN THE POWER OF MIRACLES, AND THOUGHT THAT
SALVATION CAME FROM REPEATING HOLY WORDS.
BANKEI STOPPED TALKING, AND ASKED THE PRIEST WHAT HE WANTED
THE PRIEST BOASTED THAT THE FOUNDER OF HIS RELIGION COULD
STAND ON ONE BANK OF THE RIVER WITH A BRUSH IN HIS HAND AND
WRITE A HOLY NAME ON A PIECE OF PAPER HELD BY AN ASSISTANT ON
THE OPPOSITE BANK OF THE RIVER. THE PRIEST ASKED, “WHAT MIRACLES
CAN YOU DO?”
BANKEI REPLIED,”ONLY ONE. WHEN I AM HUNGRY I EAT, AND WHEN I AM
THIRSTY I DRINK.”
The only miracle, the impossible miracle, is to be just ordinary. The longing of the mind is to be extraordinary. The ego thirsts and hungers for the recognition that you are somebody. Somebody achieves that dream through wealth, somebody else achieves that dream through power, politics, somebody else can achieve that dream through miracles, jugglery, but the dream remains the same: I cannot tolerate being nobody.
And this is a miracle — when you accept your nobodiness, when you are just as ordinary as anybody else, when you don’t ask for any recognition, when you can exist as if you are not existing. To be absent is the miracle.
This story is beautiful, one of the most beautiful Zen anecdotes, and Bankei is one of the superb masters. But Bankei was an ordinary man.
Once it happened that Bankei was working in his garden. Somebody came, a seeker, a man in search of a master, and he asked Bankei, “Gardener, where is the master?” Bankei laughed and said, “Wait. Come from that door, inside you will find the master.” So the man went round and came inside. He saw Bankei sitting on a throne, the same man who was the gardener outside. The seeker said, “Are you kidding? Get down from this throne. This is sacrilegious, you don’t pay any respect to the master.”
Bankei got down, sat on the ground, and said, “Now then, it is difficult. Now you will not find the master here because I am the master.”
It was difficult for that man to see that a great master could work in the garden, could be just ordinary. He left. He couldn’t believe that this man was the master; he missed. We are all in search of the extraordinary. But why are you in search of the extraordinary? It is because you also long to be extraordinary. With an ordinary master, how can you become extraordinary, exceptional?
Bankei was talking, lecturing, and one man stood and asked about miracles. He belonged to some other sect, a sect which worked through mantras, holy names. Remember that a mantra is a secret technique to achieve more power. A mantra is not spiritual, it is political, but the politics are of the inner space, not of the outer.
The mind can become powerful if you narrow it down; narrowing is the method. The more narrow the mind, the more powerful it becomes. It is just like the sun’s rays falling to the ground. If you focus those waves, those rays, through a lens, fire can be created. Those rays were falling all spread out but now they have been narrowed down through the lens. They have become one-pointed, concentrated; now fire is possible.
The mind is energy, in fact, the same energy that comes through the sun, the same subtle rays. Ask the physicists. They say the mind has a voltage of electricity, that it is electrical.
If you can focus the mind through a lens, the mantra is a lens, and you go on repeating Ram, Ram, Ram, or Om, Om, Om, or anything, just one word — if you go repeating and repeating and repeating it, and the mind’s whole energy is centered in that one word — it becomes a lens. Now all the rays are passing through that lens. Narrowed to one point it becomes powerful, you can do miracles. Just by thinking you can do miracles.
But remember, those miracles are not spiritual.Power is never spiritual. Powerlessness, helplessness, to be nothing, is spiritual;.power is never spiritual. This is the difference between magic and religion; magic is after power, religion is after nothingness.
A mantra is a part of magic not of religion at all, but everything is a big mess, mixed up. People who are doing miracles are magicians, not spiritual in any way. They are even anti-spiritual because they are spreading magic in the name of religion, which is very dangerous.
Through a mantra the mind is narrowed; it is more narrowed, more powerful, and then anything can be done. There is only one thing you will miss — you will miss yourself. All miracles will be possible, the ultimate miracle you will miss. You will miss yourself because through narrowing down you can achieve an object. The more the mind is narrowed, the more it becomes fixed to an object; it becomes objective. You are hidden behind and the object is outside.
So if you are a man of mantras you can say to this tree, “Die,” and the tree will die; you can say to a man, “Be healthy,” and the disease will disappear, or, “Be unhealthy,” and the disease will enter — many things you can do. You can become somebody, and people will recognize you as a man of power but never a man of God.
A man of God is born when the mind is not narrowed at all, when the mind is not flowing in one direction but is overflowing in all directions. There is no lens, no mantra, just the energy flowing in all dimensions everywhere. That flowing energy, that energy overflowing everywhere, will make you alert about yourself because then there is no object. Only you, only subjectivity exists, and through you, you will become aware of God, not through any power.
This man asked Bankei, “What type of miracles can you do? My master, through mantra, through the holy name, can do miracles. He will stand on one bank of the river, and disciples will stand on the other bank with a paper in their hands, a half-mile distant, and he will write from here and the words will come on the paper on the other bank. This our master can do. What can you do?”
And Bankei said, “We know only one miracle here, and that is when I feel hungry I eat, and when I feel sleepy I sleep. Only this much.” Not much of a miracle. Your mind will say, “What type of a miracle is this? It is nothing to be proud of.” But I say to you Bankei has said the real thing. That’s what a Buddha can do, that’s what a Mahavira is doing, that’s what a Jesus is to do. Only then is he a Christ, otherwise not. What he is saying is such a simple thing. He says, “When I am hungry I eat.” Is it so difficult that he calls it a miracle? I say it is difficult for you; for the mind it is the most difficult thing — not to interfere. When you feel hungry the mind says, “No, this is a religious day and I am on a fast.” When you don’t feel hungry the mind says, “Eat, because this is the time every day that you eat.” And when the stomach is overfilled the mind says, “Go on eating, the food is delicious.” Your mind interferes.
What is Bankei saying? He is saying, “My mind has stopped interfering. When I feel hungry I eat, when I don’t feel hungry I don’t eat. Eating has become a spontaneous thing; the mind is not a continuous interference.
When I feel sleepy I go to sleep.” No, you are not doing this. You go to sleep as a ritual, not when you feel sleepy. You get up as a ritual because it is brahmamuhurta, and you are a Hindu and you must get up before sunrise. Because you are a Hindu, you get up. Who is this Hindu? It is the mind. You cannot be a Hindu, you cannot be a Mohammedan; there is no sect for you but the mind. The mind says, “You are a Hindu, you must get up,” so you get up.
When the mind says, “Now it is time to go to sleep,” you go to sleep. You follow the mind, not nature.
Bankei is saying, “I flow with nature; whatsoever my whole being feels, I do it. There is no fragmentary mind manipulating it, manipulation is the problem. You go on manipulating and this disturbance, interference, this manipulation from the mind is the problem.
Even in dreams you go on manipulating — ask the psychologists; they say while awake, you continue manipulating. The mind doesn’t allow you to see what is there, it projects; the mind doesn’t allow you to hear what is being said to you, it interprets.
Even in dreams you are false because the mind goes on playing tricks on you. Freud discovered that our dreams are also false. You want to kill your father so in the dream you don’t kill your father. You want to poison your wife but you don’t poison your wife even in a dream, you poison some woman who somehow resembles your wife. The mind is interfering continuously.
I have heard that one man was saying to another, to his friend, “Did I dream last night! What a dream! I went to Coney Island — What delicious ice cream, such a tasteful dinner.I have never eaten such a thing in my whole life.”
The other man said,”You are kidding.You call that a wonderful dream? Last night I dreamt that on one side was Elizabeth Taylor, on the other side was Marilyn Monroe, both in the nude.
The other became excited and said, “Then why didn’t you call me?” The man said: “I called you, but your wife said you had already left for Coney Island.” Even in dreams the mind goes on creating the world — Coney Islands, Elizabeth Taylors – – and you become jealous even about another’s dream:Why didn’t you call me?
Bankei is saying: “We know only one miracle. We allow nature to have its own course, we don’t interfere.” Through interference comes the ego: the more you interfere, the more you manipulate, the more you feel you are somebody.
Look at the ascetics — their egos are so refined and subtle, so shiny. Why? It is because they have interfered the most; you have not interfered so much. They have killed their sex, they have destroyed their love, they have suppressed their anger, they have completely destroyed their hunger and the feeling of the body. They have reason to be egoists: they are somebodies. Look in their eyes, there is nothing except ego.
Their bodies may be almost dead but their egos are at the supreme-most peak. They have become Everests.
These monks and saints will not be able to understand what Bankei means.He says, “We know only one miracle — to allow nature to have its own course.
We don’t interfere.” If you don’t interfere, you will disappear. Fighting is the way to be there.
People come to me and ask how to drop the ego. I tell them, Who will drop it? If you try to drop it you will be the ego, and someday you will claim that you have dropped the ego. And who is this claimer, who is claiming it? This is the ego, and the most subtle ego always tries to pretend egolessness.
I also know only one miracle, to let nature have its course, to allow it. Whatsoever is happening, don’t interfere, don’t come in the way, and suddenly you will disappear. You cannot be there without resistance, fight, aggression, violence; the ego exists through resistance. This has to be understood very deeply — the more you fight, the more you will be there.
Why do soldiers feel so happy fighting? Fighting is not such a beautiful thing, war is just ugly, but why do soldiers feel so happy fighting? If you have once been to a war you will never be happy again in peace because the ego comes to such a peak fighting. Why, in competition, do you feel so happy? It is because something, your ego, arises; fighting, you become stronger.
But fighting with another is never so ego-fulfilling because you may be defeated — the possibility is there — but fighting with yourself you cannot be defeated. You are always going to be the winner, “There is nobody else except you. Fighting with another there is fear, the fear of being a failure; fighting with yourself there is no fear, you are alone. You are going to win today or tomorrow, but finally you will win because there is nobody else.
The ascetic is fighting with himself; the soldier is fighting with others; the businessman, fighting with others; the monk, fighting with himself. The monk and the ascetic are more cunning, they have chosen a path where victory is inevitable. You are not so calculating, your path is hazardous. You may be a success, you may be a failure, and your success can turn into a failure any moment because there are so many fighters around you, and you are such a small, tiny existence — you can be destroyed.
But fighting with yourself you are alone, there is no competition. So those who are very cunning escape from the world and start fighting with themselves. Those who are not so cunning, are more simple, are in the world and go on fighting with others. But the basic essential thing remains the same — fighting.
Bankei is saying, “I am not a fighter; I don’t fight at all. When I feel hungry I eat, when I feel sleepy I go to sleep; when I am alive I am alive, and when I die I will die. I don’t come in the way.” And he says,”This is the only miracle we know.”
But why call it a miracle? Animals are doing it already, trees are doing it already, birds are doing it already; the whole existence is doing it already. Why call it a miracle? Man cannot do it.
The whole existence is a miracle except man. The Christian story seems to be very meaningful: that man has been turned out of the Garden of Eden seems to be very relevant, most significant. The whole existence is a continuous miracle, it is a continuum; miracles are happening every moment. Existence is miraculous but man has been turned out.
Why has man been turned out? The story says because he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge and God had forbidden it. God said, “don’t eat the fruit of this tree, the tree of knowledge. All the trees are open to you except this one.”
But the Devil persuaded. Of course he persuaded Eve first; the Devil always enters through the woman. Why? It is because woman is the weakest point of man, the weakest link from where the Devil can enter. To enter man directly is difficult because he will give a good fight, it will be difficult, but through woman the Devil can persuade man.
So the Devil said to woman, to Eve, “This is the only fruit worth eating, and that’s why God has prohibited it. If you eat this fruit you will be like gods. You will be a god yourself.”
Eve couldn’t resist, the temptation was too much. She persuaded Adam. Adam tried to say it was not good because God had prohibited it, but when it is a problem of choosing between your wife and God, you will choose your wife.
Really, there is no real alternative because she will create such trouble, in twenty-four hours, such trouble… God cannot create so much trouble So finally Adam had to eat, and the moment he ate the fruit he became conscious of the ego; he became aware that “I am.”Immediately he was thrown out of the Garden of Eden. It is a beautiful story; the story is really a key to all the secrets.
This knowledge has turned you out of the miraculous world that you are in. Before this Adam was like a child — naked but not aware that he was naked; naked but not aware that there was some guilt in it. He loved Eve but the love was natural; he was never aware that something wrong was going on or that there was some sin.
There was no sin; before knowledge there is no sin. A child cannot commit sin; only an old man can be a sinner, so all sinners are old. A child cannot be a sinner. How can it be a sinner? A child is innocent because a child is not aware of himself, that he is.
Adam was like a child, Eve was like a child; they enjoyed but there was no one who was enjoying. They were part of this mystery, of the miracle. When they felt hungry they ate, when they felt sleepy they slept, when they felt like loving they loved. But everything was a natural phenomenon, the mind was not there as the manipulator. They were part of this universe — flowing like rivers, flowering like trees, singing like birds — they were not separate. Separation came with the knowledge that “I am.”
The first thing Adam and Eve did was to try to hide their nakedness; the childhood was lost. Whenever a child begins to feel that he is naked, that is the point where Adam and Eve were turned out of the Garden of Eden.
It has always been my feeling that the answer to the Christian story exists in Mahavira — not in Jesus, but in Mahavira — because if by eating the fruit of knowledge Adam became aware and felt guilty that he was naked, then the answer exists in Mahavira. The moment Mahavira became silent the first thing he did was to become naked.
And I say Mahavira entered the Garden of Eden again, he became a child again. The Christian story is half, the Jain story is the other half; they make the whole. The whole existence is a miracle; you have fallen out of it.
Bankei said, “We know only one miracle; we have entered in this great miracle again. We are no more separate as egos, we are not individuals. Hunger is there but there is no one who is hungry. Sleep comes but there is no one who is sleepy. The ego is not there to resist or to decide; we flow, we drift.” Nothing is wrong and nothing is good. This is the beyondness, the transcendental attitude where no evil exists and no good. You have become innocent.
Your saints cannot be innocents because their goodness is forced too much; their goodness is already ugly. Their goodness is managed, controlled, cultivated, it is not innocent.
I have heard about one old woman. She served a buddhist monk for thirty years, did everything for that monk; she was just like a mother and a disciple both. And the buddhist monk meditated and meditated and meditated. The day the old woman was going to die she called a prostitute from the town and said, “Go to that monk’s hut. Enter the hut, go near him, caress the monk, and just come and tell me how he reacts. This night I am going to die, and I want to be certain whether I was serving a man who is innocent. I am not certain.”
The prostitute became afraid. She said, “He is such a good man, so saintly, we have never seen such a saintly man.”
Even the prostitute felt guilty to go there and touch this man, but the old woman bribed her. She went, she opened the door. The monk was meditating. It was midnight; in that isolated part nobody was near. The monk opened his eyes, looked at the prostitute, jumped to his feet and said, “why are you coming in ? Get out!”
His whole body trembled. The prostitute went nearer. The monk jumped out of the hut and cried, “This woman is trying to seduce me!”
The prostitute returned, she told the whole thing and the old woman sent her servants to burn the hut of the monk. She said, “This man is of no use; he has not become innocent yet. He may be a saint but his saintliness is ugly, it is manipulated. Why should he see a prostitute so suddenly? A woman was entering not a prostitute; why should he think that she had come to seduce him? He should have been at least gentlemanly. He should have said, ‘Come, sit, why have you come?’ He should have at least shown a little compassion. And even if she had embraced him, why should he be afraid? He has been telling me for thirty years, ‘I am not the body.’If he is not the body then why should he be so much afraid of the body? No, his saintliness is cultivated, it is a pose. It is not from the inner, it is from the outer. He has managed it all right, but inside he is not innocent, he is not childlike.”
And unless saintliness becomes childlike, it is not saintliness at all, it is just a sinner hiding, hiding through a facade.
Bankei has said, “We know only one miracle.” What is that miracle? It is to be childlike. Whenever a child feels hungry he starts crying — he is hungry. Whenever he feels sleepy, he goes to sleep.
We try to manage even a child; we destroy him.In the West now there are books, guides for mothers. And what type of world is there going to be when a guide is needed even for a mother — guidelines that say: After three hours give milk, never before, but each three hours, give. The child is crying, but that’s not the point because the guidebook says after three hours. The mother is waiting, and when the three hours are completed she will feed the child.
Even motherhood is not enough, a guide is needed; and a child’s authentic cry is not to be trusted, as if the child may be trying to deceive. Why should the child deceive? If he is hungry, he is crying.
But we are trying to destroy childhood. Sooner or later he will follow us, he will also look at the clock, and when the three hours are complete he will give a cry that he is hungry. This hunger will be false, and when hunger goes false everything goes false.
We go on forcing children to go to sleep when we think it is time. But sleep is not to be manipulated by time, sleep is something inner. When the child feels sleepy he will go to sleep, but mother and father go on forcing the child to go to sleep, as if sleep can be ordered.
Children must think that you are foolish, they think that something has gone wrong in your mind. How can a child force sleep? He can pretend, so when you are there he can close the eyes and when you have gone he can open the eyes, because sleep cannot be forced. Nobody, not even you, can force sleep. If you don’t feel sleepy how can you go to sleep?
But this is how society destroys. That’s how the Devil persuades, that’s how we bring every child out of the Garden of Eden. Remember, not only were Adam and Eve born in the Garden, every child is born there because that is the birthplace, and then society brings the child out. So society is the Devil. Society persuades: Do this, do that, and bring the child out. Make him an ego, make him a manipulator.
And the only miracle that is possible is to enter this Garden of Eden again, to become childlike, to allow nature its flow. Don’t block it, don’t stand in the way, don’t push it; just flow with it. You are nature, you are Tao; you are part of the continuous mystery that is happening. Bankei was right, it is difficult for us because we have become so much addicted to the mind and its manipulation. And even if I say to you, be natural, you will try to be natural and then you will miss. How can one try to be natural? If I say don’t do anything you try not to do anything; if I say be inactive then you make every effort to be inactive, but the effort is the activity. So this has to be understood: no effort is needed. Any effort on your part and you will miss the miracle.
Then what is to be done? Nothing is to be done, just a simple feeling — allow nature. In the beginning it will be difficult because you have always been jumping in the way, always interfering. In the beginning it will be difficult but for just three weeks allow nature. When you feel hungry, eat, when you feel sleepy, go to sleep.
When you don’t feel hungry, don’t eat. It is not a fast, remember, because a fast is from the mind, and you are feeling hungry but you are on a fast. There is no harm if you don’t feel sleepy; there is no harm because the body doesn’t need it, so don’t force it. Stay awake, enjoy, go for a walk, have a little dance in the room or sing or meditate, but don’t force sleep. When you feel sleepy, when the eyes say: Now go to sleep….
And don’t force yourself in the morning to come out of bed; allow your inner being, give it a chance. It will give you the indication, the eyes will open by themselves.
For a few days there will be difficulty but within three weeks… and I say within three weeks if you don’t interfere; if you interfere, then three lives are not enough. Don’t interfere and just wait for things to happen, and allow them. Within three weeks you will fall into nature again, and suddenly you will see that you have been existing in the Garden of Eden and Adam has never been expelled — he only thinks he has. That’s what the knowledge of the fruit means.
You simply think that you have been expelled. Where can you be expelled to? The whole nature is the Garden of Eden — where can you be expelled to? The whole house is God so where can you be expelled to? Bankei said, “I have entered the Garden again.”
Bankei was going to die. The disciples were very worried and they asked, “What should we do? What should we do with your body? Should we preserve it? Should be burn it, as Hindus do, as Buddhists do? Should we bury it in the ground, as Mohammedans and Christians do? We don’t know who you are, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Mohammedan? You have confused us too much we don’t know who you are, so what should we do?”
Bankei said, “Wait, let me die first. Why are you in such a hurry? The mind always jumps ahead. Why are you in such a hurry? And you call yourselves my disciples? Let me die and do whatsoever you like, because Bankei will not be there. Whether you bury, whether you burn, or whether you preserve, it makes no difference to Bankei; Bankei will not be there. But let me die first then do whatsoever you like. It makes no difference but don’t jump ahead. The mind has a tendency to jump ahead, always to jump ahead.
“One minister invited his congregation for a garden party. He forgot a little old lady. Just at the eleventh hour he remembered, so he phoned because that lady was dangerous, very religious, and very religious people are always dangerous. He was afraid that she might create trouble or mischief. She was one of the oldest members of his congregation and contributed to the church and everything. She could create trouble. So he phoned and told the old lady, “Come. Just by mistake I forgot, but forgive me and you must come.” The old lady said, “It is too late now, I have already prayed for rain.”
There was going to be a garden party and she had not been invited, and she had already prayed for rain so it was too late. See, it was no use; now, nothing could be done. The mind goes on jumping ahead, that is the way of the mind. Make jumps less and less, or if it is very difficult for you, then allow the mind to jog but don’t jump ahead. Jogging is meditation, it is a jogging; you are jumping on the same ground and the mind is accustomed to jump ahead.
It may be difficult to stop it completely, so do half-half — don’t jump ahead, jump on the ground, jog. Half is cut. Then, by and by, slow down; then stand, then sit down. When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is the miracle.
But I know Bankei will not appeal to you. Sai Baba can appeal to you because with Sai Baba your mind has a logic, a tuning. With Bankei your mind cannot be tuned, it has to be dropped — only then can that tuning happen. With Sai Baba you can understand things — with logic it is the same — what your mind says is that a miracle is happening.
This is not religion at all, this is simply magic. And there is no difference between a Houdini and a Sai Baba. The only difference, if there is any, is that Houdini was more honest than Sai Baba because he simply said that he was a magician, that these were tricks. And all that Sai Baba can do, any magician can do, but you will not pay much respect to a magician because he is so sincere and honest that he says, “These are tricks.” So you say, “Okay, so these are tricks; no miracle.”
When somebody says, “These are not tricks, this is a miracle, divine power manifesting through me,” then your mind starts jumping. Then you think, “If I can become a close disciple of this man then I also can become somebody, I can also do something.”
If you have come in search of such a miracle from me you have come to the wrong person. I am Bankei reborn. I know only one miracle — to be here and now: when feeling hungry, to eat; when feeling sleepy, to sleep; just to be ordinary and just to be part of the cosmos.
If you are in search of such a miracle much can happen near me, but if you are not in such a search nothing will happen near me. And remember, you will be responsible for it because your whole search is wrong, and then there can be no tuning with me. So decide clearly in your mind, come to an understanding of what type of miracle you are searching for.
I can make you most ordinary, I can make you simple human beings, I can make you like trees and birds. There is no magic around here, only religion, but if you can see, this is the greatest miracle.
“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.”
…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.
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
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.
Can we celebrate the ten thousand Buddhas?
1. Abandon all future, and start living moment to moment rejoicing in the small things of life.
2. Start living this moment and you will see that the more you live, the less problems there are.
3. A buddha lives moment to moment — and if you start living moment to moment, you become a buddha. This is the answer: live moment to moment and you become a buddha. A buddha is one who lives moment to moment, who does not live in the past, who does not live in the future, who lives here now. Buddhahood is a quality of being present here and now — and buddhahood is not a goal, you need not wait, you can become just here and now.
4. Live in the moment for the sheer joy of living it. Then each moment has the quality of an orgasm. Yes, it is orgasmic. This is how my sannyasins have to live, with no should, with no ought, with no must, with no commandment. You are not here to be with me to become martyrs, you are here to be with me to enjoy life to its fullness. And the only way to live, love, enjoy, is to forget the future. It exists not.
5. God is available only when you are unburdened. But they will never know. They will knock at the doors of temples but they will never know where the real temple exists. The real temple is freedom: dying moment to moment to the past and living the present. And freedom to move, to move into the dark, into the unknown — that is the door to the divine!
6. Those two words, “Live dangerously,” are significant. Sannyas is a way to live your life in total danger. What do I mean when I say sannyas is living dangerously? It means living moment to moment without any past. The past makes your life convenient, comfortable, because the past is known; you are familiar with it, you are very efficient with it. But life is never past, it is always present. The past is that which is no more, and life is that which is. Life is always now, here, and all your knowledge comes from the past. Trying to live the present through the past is the way of the coward; it is the calculated way. People call it sanity, but it is very superficial and never adequate. There is no rapport with the present.
7. You are always given a single moment; you are not given two moments together. If you know the secret of living one moment, you know the whole secret of life. Because you will always get one moment — and you know how to live it, how to be totally in it.
8. Whenever you live in total awareness you live moment to moment. You cannot plan, even for the next moment you cannot plan — because who knows, the next moment may never come! And how can you plan it beforehand, because who knows what the situation will be in the next moment? And if you plan too much you may miss it, the freshness of it. Life is such a flux, nothing remains the same, everything moves.
9. Just live the moment with intensity and totality. Live it with as much joy as possible, with as much love as possible, with no fear, no guilt. This existence is yours and this moment is a gift — don’t let it go to waste. And don’t be worried about enlightenment, the moon. This moment, living totally, is enlightenment.
10. The spontaneous man is the way to the real man, to the essential man, to the God within. You cannot decide direction, you can only live this moment that is available to you. By living it, direction arises. If you dance, the next moment is going to be of a deeper dance. Not that you decide but you simply dance this moment. You have created a direction: you are not manipulating it. The next moment will be more full of dancing, and still more will be following.
11. Live when life is there. Be committed to the earth while on the earth; die when death comes. Move with life and move with death. Dying, don’t cling to life. Dying, don’t resist death; dying, die. Living, live; dying, die. Let the moment be total. Float with it, be committed to it. When death comes, then don’t be sad. Then accept death. Then accept it with such totality that even death cannot kill you. A total person cannot be killed, and a divided person never lives. A total person is already beyond death.
12. I don’t promise you anything. I don’t promise you the kingdom of God, I don’t promise you enlightenment — I don’t promise at all. My whole approach is of living moment to moment; enlightened or unenlightened, what does it matter? Living moment to moment joyously, ecstatically, living moment to moment totally, intensely, passionately…. If one lives passionately, the ego dissolves. If one is total in one’s acts, the ego is BOUND to dissolve. It is like when a dancer goes on and on dancing: a moment comes when only the dance remains and the dancer disappears. That is the moment of enlightenment.
13. You have to learn the methods of flowing like a river with existence, each moment. Die each moment to the past, and be born each moment to the new. Unless that becomes your religion, you are going to be in trouble, and your society is going to be in trouble.
14. My vision is that of a goalless life. That is the vision of all the buddhas. Everything simply is, for no reason at all. Everything simply is utterly absurd. If this is understood, then where is the hurry, and for what? Then you start living moment to moment. Then this moment is given to you, a gracious gift from God or the whole or whatsoever you want to call it — Tao, dhamma, logos. This moment is available to you: sing a song, live it in its totality. And don’t try to sacrifice it for any other moment that is going to come in the future. Live it for its own sake.
15. Relaxation means you don’t have any shoulds. You are simply living moment to moment, not according to some future idea of yourself, but according to your reality that is herenow. To live with the reality, moment to moment, is to be sane. To live with the idea is to be insane. The whole earth has become almost a madhouse because of these perfectionists. Perfectionism is a sort of madness; only mad people try to be perfectionists. Sane people never try to be perfectionists.
16. The word tathata is of great profundity. A man who understands what tathata is becomes undisturbed in every situation; nothing can disturb him, he becomes unperturbable. And TATHAGAT means one who has been living moment-to-moment in tathata. Tathagat is one of the most beautiful words possible in any language: one who lives simply according to his nature without being bothered about other people’s nature.
17. Buddha says: Learn sitting silently — become a mirror. Silence makes a mirror out of your consciousness, and then you function moment to moment. You reflect life. You don’t carry an album within your head. Then your eyes are clear and innocent, you have clarity, you have vision, and you are never untrue to life. This is authentic living.
18. Millions live in the past, and the remaining millions live in the future, and it is very rare to find a person who lives herenow. But that is the real person, that is the person who is really alive. Life needs only one thing: to be rooted in the present. There is nowhere else for it to be rooted. Past is memory, future is imagination; both are unreal. The real is this moment — thisness.
19. The way of living unconsciously is called by Buddha the dark way. And the way of living consciously, attentively, moment to moment, bringing your consciousness to each act, each small act, each detail, is the way of light.
20. The buddha is awake even while he is asleep. He has no compartments in his being. He is not many, he is one. Because he is one and he has no clinging to memories and no desires for the future, the present is enough for him. Then he lives moment to moment in its totality; he does not go on living partially. Your dreams simply show that you live partially, and the unlived parts have to be lived in your dreams. If you live totally each moment, then there is no possibility of any dreams.
21. Just being herenow, just living moment to moment with no ideology, with no utopia. The real sannyasin, the real mystic, is not against the past, is not for the future. He is so utterly absorbed by the present that he has no time, no energy, for the past and the future. This is how the rebel is born.
22. Nobody, not even you yourself, knows what is going to happen in the next moment. You start living moment to moment. The calculation is gone. the planning disappears, you float like a white cloud in the sky: moving but without any motivation; moving but not knowing where you are going; moving but remaining in the moment, so totally herenow that past and future make no sense, only present is meaningful.
23. Never plan for the future, because when the future will come, it will come. You just go on living each moment as totally as possible, so when the future becomes present you can live that, too — totally. Don’t plan for it, because it is unpredictable. All your planning is going to be irrelevant. And once you have planned for something and it doesn’t happen, then you are frustrated. And it never happens.
24. Heaven is not somewhere else: it is a way of living. So is hell — a style of life. Hell is living unconsciously; heaven is living consciously. Hell is your own creation, so is heaven. If you go on living unconsciously, through your unconscious desires, instincts, motives — of which you are not the master but only the victim — then you create hell around yourself. But if you start living a conscious life, a life of bringing more and more light to the deep, dark corners of your being, if you start living full of light, your life is moment-to-moment ecstasy.
25. My sannyas is spontaneity, living moment to moment without any prefabricated discipline, living with the unknown, not exactly knowing where you are going. Because if you know already where you are going you are dead. Then life runs in a mechanical way. A life should be a flow from the known towards the unknown. One should be dying each moment to the known so the unknown can penetrate you. And only the unknown liberates.
26. You are nothing but your past. What are you? Just a collection of the past. Drop your past, and you are not. The ego is nothing but a collective name for your whole past; and when you don’t live in the past, you start living egolessly. Then moment to moment you go on dying to the past, you go on renouncing the past, and each moment you are fresh, young, virgin. And in that virginity is God.
27. There is no goal of life, for the simple reason that life is its own goal. The goal is intrinsic, not something outside; not there, far away, but herenow, in this very moment. The very idea of goal is future-oriented. The moment you start living for a goal you stop living in the present, in the immediate. The goal becomes more important. Tomorrow becomes more important, and you have to sacrifice today for tomorrow; and the trouble is, tomorrow never comes, has never come, is not going to come ever. But you go on sacrificing your today — which is your only treasure, which is all that you have got. You risk that which you have for that which is only a mind desire.
28. Life has no goal because life is its own goal. Drop all goals. Drop the very idea of future. Forget completely that there is going to be a tomorrow. Collect yourself from every dimension and direction. Be concentrated herenow, and in that single moment you will be able to know life in its eternity. Then the hunger for living, and living forever, will not be there. Tasting life in a single moment makes you aware that life is eternal. There is no need to desire it, it is already eternal.