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Osho World:Meditation Zone

        


FAQs - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 


Is meditation for...? 

A look at some common misconceptions about meditation and what sorts of people can do it.

Serious people

Spiritual people
Knowledgeable people
True believers
Skeptical people
People who know nothing
Enlightened people
Philosophical people
Businessmen
Young people
Older people
People with a sense of humor


Serious people


"I don't want you to be serious. I am so against seriousness --  it is a spiritual sickness. Laughter is spiritual health. And laughter is very unburdening. While you laugh, you can put your mind aside very easily. For a man who cannot laugh the doors of the Buddha are closed. To me, laughter is one of the greatest values. No religion has ever thought about it. They have always been insisting on seriousness, and because of their insistence the whole world is psychologically sick.
"Osho - The Language of Existence, Discourse 5

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Spiritual people


Is meditation for Spiritual People?

"What I am doing here is very simple, very ordinary, nothing spiritual in it, nothing sacred. I am not trying to make you holy persons, I am simply trying to make you sane, intelligent, ordinary people who can live their lives joyously, dancingly, celebratingly." 
- from Zen: The Special Transmission, Discourse 1

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Knowledgeable people

Is meditation just for people who know a lot about "new age" philosophy?

"I am not imparting information to you, because it kills wonder. And wonder is such a valuable treasure; no information is of such worth. I am not here to help you to learn about anything; on the contrary, my work is to help you unlearn. If you become knowledgeable, naturally whatsoever you know has no surprise for you in it anymore. Your awe and wonder disappear, it becomes old. You know it -- how can you still feel wonder for it? You can feel wonder only if you remain in a state of not-knowing. 
"That's what I call meditation: the state of not-knowing. I cleanse you. I don't allow any dust to gather on your mirrors. I want you to remain fresh and young. The moment you become knowledgeable you will lose wonder. The moment you become knowledgeable you have lost contact with me. This place is not for pundits and scholars. This place is for people who have the quality and the courage of remaining ignorant before the immense mystery of existence."

- from: The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Volume 12, No. 4

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True believers


Do you have to believe in some kind of religion or philosophy before you can meditate?

"Belief is the enemy of trust. Trust life! Don't believe beliefs -- avoid them! Avoid beliefs -- Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Seek on your own. You may come to find the same truth. You will, because the truth is one. Once you have found it you  can say yes, The Bible is true -- but not before. Once you have found it you can say yes, the Vedas are true -- but not before. Unless you have experienced it, unless you become a witness to it personally, all Vedas and all Bibles are useless. They will burden you, they will not make you more free...

"The search is difficult because the truth is unknown. The search is difficult, because the truth is not only unknown, it is unknowable. The search is difficult because the seeker has to risk his whole life for it.

...."If you are following scriptures you are following named rivers. If you are following a certain religion, a sect, a church, then you have a map -- and there cannot be any map for the truth. There cannot be any map because truth is private and not public. Maps become public; they are needed so that others can also follow. On the map, superhighways are shown, not small footpaths; and religion is a footpath, not a superhighway. You cannot reach God as a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan. You reach as you, authentically you, and you cannot follow anybody's path."

- from: The Search, Discourse 1

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Skeptical people

Can a sceptical person be a meditator?

No-saying is a good beginning, but not a good end. No-saying is the seed; yes-saying is the flowering of it. The yes has to come through the no -- the no is the womb of the yes. If you cannot say no, your yes will be impotent. It won't have any meaning at all, it won't transform your life. It will be just on your lips, not in your heart.

That's what has happened to the whole of humanity. People have been forced to become yea-sayers, theists, God-believers, without ever knowing the taste of no. The yes has been forced upon them. They have not arrived at the yes, the yes has been handed over to them, it is borrowed. It is a mere belief, and all beliefs are blind. They keep you blind, they keep you in darkness. They keep you stuck and stagnant.

There is nothing wrong in saying no. No has as much beauty as yes. No is the way to arrive at yes. Use the no as a stepping-stone. Don't let it become a habit; be conscious about it, that's all. I cannot say to you to start saying yes, because that will be not yet ripe for you. Go on saying no as long as the no remains significant to you. The no will destroy all that is false, borrowed. It will negate all beliefs. It will create an empty space in you.

In the East we call the whole process NETI, NETI -- neither this nor that. We have never condemned it. It cleans you of all rubbish, it purifies you. It is a fire. Passing through it is a necessary step you cannot avoid. Those who avoid passing through it, their yes is just parrotlike. You can teach the parrot anything and he will go on repeating it. He does not mean it. He has no heart within it, he simply says the words -- empty words, hollow words....
 
You ask any question, the answer is the same. It has nothing to do with the questions, it has nothing to do with the reality, it is not a response. It is just  like a gramophone record. It goes on repeating meaninglessly. 

The people who have been conditioned to say yes -- yes to God, yes to the religion, yes to the society, yes to the parents -- their yes is bogus, it has no substance. It is not even a shadow. Even shadows have something in them, but this yes is absolutely a nonentity. Parents teach you to respect the parents, say yes to them, be obedient. Of course, that is their vested interest. And the priest says: Respect the priest, respect the Bible, the Koran, the Gita, respect the tradition, respect convention. That is his vested interest. And so on, so forth... 
One need not believe in God, one need not be a yea-sayer. One should learn the process of saying no. So don't be worried. Say no boldly, courageously. Risk everything for the no. Slowly slowly, you will become aware that the no has limits. There are points when you cannot say no. When you explore the possibilities of saying no, you will come across certain spaces where no-saying is impossible and yes arises within your heart on its own accord, not as a conditioning, not because somebody has told you. Now it is your own flowering. And then that yes has beauty, then that yes has truth, that yes makes you a religious person. Otherwise you remain just imitators.

You can imitate Christianity or Hinduism or Mohammedanism -- it does not matter whom you imitate. I have seen Christians becoming Hindus, Hindus becoming Christians -- they are the same people. Not only that, I have seen Catholics become communists -- they still remain the same people. I have seen communists become religious -- but still they are the same people. Just the object of worship changes. Gods go on changing. One God fails, another God is replaced -- but the worshipper is the same.

Whether you worship Mohammed or Marx, Mahavira or Moses, it is not going to make any difference. If your yes has not come as a growth to you, then it is absolutely useless. Pass through this fire of no-saying, but remember only one thing: don't let it become a habit. It can become a habit, that is the danger. The danger is not in no-saying. The danger is that your no-saying may become mechanical. So say it consciously, that's all I can advise you -- say it consciously!

- from Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Volume 10, No. 8

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People who know nothing


Is meditation for people who know nothing?

"The ignorant person can remember that he is ignorant -- he has nothing to lose; but the learned, he cannot recognize that he is ignorant -- he has much to lose. The knowledgeable person is the real fool. The ignorant person is innocent; he knows that he knows not, and because he knows that he knows not, because he is ignorant, he is just on the threshold of wisdom. "Because he knows he knows not, he can inquire, and his inquiry will be pure, unprejudiced. He will inquire without any conclusions. He will inquire without being a Christian or a Mohammedan or a Hindu. He will simply inquire as an inquirer. His inquiry will not come out of ready-made answers, his inquiry will come out of his own heart. "His inquiry will not be a by-product of knowledge, his inquiry will be existential. He inquires because it is a question of life and death to him. He inquires because he really wants to know. He knows that he knows not -- that's why he inquires. His inquiry has a beauty of its own. He is not a fool, he is simply ignorant. The real fool is one who thinks he knows without knowing at all."

- from Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Volume 2, No. 7

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Enlightened people


Is meditation for enlightened people?

"It is said about Bodhidharma, who introduced Zen into Japan and China, that when he became enlightened he continued meditating. Some of his disciples asked, 'Why do you meditate? You have attained.' "He said, 'Because of you. Unless I meditate, you will think, "What is the point of meditating? The master is not meditating, so we can leave it." But it will be dangerous for you. For me there is no point now; I simply sit so that I can help you to sit.' "Buddha said to his disciples, 'When you become enlightened, don't throw the discipline away, because there are many foolish people around thinking that discipline is not needed.'

- from Hammer on the Rock

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Philosophical people


Is meditation for philosophers?

The old definition of a philosopher is that he is blind, in a dark night, in a dark house where there is no light, and he is searching for a black cat which is not there. But this is not all: he finds her! And he writes great treatises, theses, systems, proves logically the existence of the black cat. Beware of the mind: it is blind. It has never known anything but it is a great pretender. It pretends to know everything. Socrates has categorized humanity into two classes. One class he calls the knowledgeably ignorant: the people who think they know and they are basically ignorant; that is the work of the mind. And the second category he calls the ignorant knowers: the people who think: "We don't know." In their humbleness, in their innocence, descends knowing. So there are pretenders of knowledge -- that is the function of the mind -- and there are humble people who say: "We don't know." In their innocence there is knowledge, and that is the work of meditation and awareness.

- from Medication to Meditation

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Businessmen


Can a businessman be a meditator?

One has to do something in life. Somebody is a carpenter and somebody is a king, and somebody is a businessman and somebody is a warrior. These are ways of livelihood, these are ways of getting bread and butter, a shelter. They can't change your inner being. Whether you are a warrior or a businessman does not make any difference: one has chosen one way to earn his livelihood, the other has chosen something else. 

Meditation is life, not livelihood. It has nothing to do with what you do; it has everything to do with what you are. Yes, business should not enter into your being, that is true. If your being also has become businesslike, then it is difficult to meditate and impossible to be a sannyasin... because if your being has become businesslike, then you have become too calculative. And a calculative person is a cowardly person: he thinks too much, he cannot take any jumps. You cannot carry your cleverness there. 

In fact, cleverness is not true intelligence either; cleverness is a poor substitute for intelligence. People who are not intelligent learn how to be clever. People who are intelligent need not be clever; they are innocent, they need not be cunning. They function out of a state of not-knowing. 

If you are a businessman, that's okay. If Jesus can become a meditator and a sannyasin, and ultimately a christ, a buddha... and he was the son of a carpenter, helping his father, bringing wood, cutting wood. If a carpenter's son can become a buddha, why not you?

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Young people


Is meditation also useful for younger people?"

"In India people say that meditation is only for the old. Once they are on the verge of death then they can meditate, it is not for young people. Meditation is the last thing on the list; do it when you have done everything else. "But remember that the time never comes when you have done everything, when you are too old to do anything else, when all your energy has been wasted, when it is time to meditate. When you are incapable of doing anything how can you meditate? Meditation needs energy, the purest, most vital -- meditation needs energy overflowing." 

- from The Empty Boat, Discourse 5

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Older people


Can older people also meditate?

"The whole point is how to go back to the source from where you have come.  And that's all meditation is about: to return, to come back to the source and fall into it again. You are Buddhas, you have been Buddhas, you will remain Buddhas -- but Buddhahood has three stages. One, before you have lost it, the childhood of a Buddha. Then, you search for it, the youth of a Buddha; then, you attain it, the old age.

"Every child is a Buddha, every young man a seeker, and every old man should be, if things were right, one who has attained. That's why we respect and honor old people so much in the East. If everything goes well, a wise man means one who has come back to the source." 


- from Yoga, the Alpha and the Omega, Volume 5, No. 4

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People with a sense of humor


Is meditation for people who have a sense of humor?

"When you are entering into meditation, it is good to enter with a smiling heart. I have used jokes for the first time in the whole history of mankind, because such beautiful jokes... and nobody has used them for meditation. And they create such a good feeling all around, that one becomes courageous enough. "A laughing heart is more courageous than a serious one. A serious heart doubts, hesitates, thinks twice. The laughing one is the heart of the gambler, he simply jumps in. And meditation is a question of jumping into the unknown."

- from Ma Tzu: The Empty Mirror

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