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The Essence of Zen
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OSHO : Ah, This!, Chapter 5

Dogo had a disciple called Soshin. When Soshin was taken in as a novice, it was perhaps natural of him to expect lessons in Zen from his teacher the way a schoolboy is taught at school. But Dogo gave him no special lessons on the subject, and this bewildered and disappointed Soshin.
One day he said to the Master: "It is some time since I came here, but not a word has been given me regarding the essence of the Zen teaching."
Dogo replied: "Since your arrival I have ever been giving you lessons on the matter of Zen discipline."
"What kind of lesson could it have been?"
"When you bring me a cup of tea in the morning, I take it; when you serve me a meal, I accept it; when you bow to me, I return it with a nod. How else do you expect to be taught in the discipline of Zen?"
Soshin hung his head for a while, pondering the puzzling words of the Master.
The Master said: "If you want to see, see right at once. When you begin to think, you miss the point."

Sujata has written to me: How odd of God to choose the Jews!

Sujata, God has a tremendous sense of humor! Religion remains something dead without a sense of humor as a foundation to it. God would not have been able to create the world if he had no sense of humor. God is not serious at all. Seriousness is a state of disease; humor is health. Love, laughter, life, they are aspects of the same energy.

But for centuries people have been told that God is very serious. These people were pathological. They created a serious God, they projected a serious God, out of their own pathology. And we have worshipped these people as saints. They were not saints. They needed great awakening; they were fast asleep in their seriousness. They needed laughter -- that would have helped them more than all their prayers and fasting; that would have cleansed their souls in a far better way than all their ascetic practices. They did not need more scriptures, more theologies; they needed only the capacity to laugh at the beautiful absurdity of life. It is ecstatically absurd. It is not a rational phenomenon; it is utterly irrational.

Moses went up the mountain. After a long time God appeared. "Hello, Moses. Good to see you. Sorry you had to wait, but I think you will feel it was worth it because I have something very special for you today."
Moses thought for a second and then said, "Oh, no, Lord, really. Thank you, but I don't need anything right now. Some other time perhaps."
"Moses, this is free," said the Lord.
"Then," said Moses, "give me ten!"

That's how the Jews got the Ten Commandments.

Sujata, Zen has something Jewish in it. It is really very puzzling why Zen did not appear in the Jewish world. But the Chinese also have a tremendous sense of humor. Zen is not Indian, remember. Of course, the origin is in Gautam the Buddha, but it went through a tremendous transformation passing through the Chinese consciousness.

There are a few very wise people who think that Zen is more a rebellion against the Indian seriousness than a continuity of it. And they have a point there; a certain truth is there. Lao Tzu is more Jewish than Hindu -- he can laugh. Chuang Tzu has written such beautiful and absurd stories; nobody can conceive of an enlightened person writing such stories, which can only be called, at the best, entertainment. But entertainment can become the door to enlightenment.

Zen is originally connected with Buddha, but the color and the flavor that came to it came through Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu and the Chinese consciousness. And then it blossomed in Japan; it came to its ultimate peak in japan. Japan also has a great quality: of taking life playfully. The consciousness of Japan is very colorful.

Zen could have happened in the Jewish world too.

Something like it really did happen -- that is Hassidism. This story must have come from Jewish sources, although it is about Jesus. But Christians have no sense of humor. And Jesus was never a Christian, remember. He was born a Jew, he lived as a Jew, he died as a Jew.

Jesus is hanging on the cross singing, "Da-di-li-da-dum-dein...."
Suddenly Peter hisses from underneath, "Hey, Jesus!"
Jesus goes on, "Da-di-dum-da-dum-da-dei...."
Peter, now more urgently, "Hey, Jesus, stop it!"
Jesus continues happily with "Di-duah-duah...."
Finally Peter yells, "For God's sake, Jesus, cut it out! Tourists are coming!"

Try to understand Zen through laughter, not through prayer. Try to understand Zen through flowers, butterflies, sun, moon, children, people in all their absurdities. Watch this whole panorama of life, all these colors, the whole spectrum.

Zen is not a doctrine, it is not a dogma. It is growing into an insight. It is a vision -- very light-hearted, not serious at all.

Be light-hearted, light-footed. Be of light step. Don't carry religion like a burden. And don't expect religion to be a teaching; it is not. It is certainly a discipline, but not a teaching at all. Teaching has to be imposed upon you from the outside and teaching can only reach to your mind, never to your heart, and never, never to the very center of your being. Teaching remains intellectual. It is an answer to human curiosity, and curiosity is not a true search.

The student remains outside the temple of Zen because he remains curious. He wants to know answers and there are none. He has some stupid questions to be answered: "Who made the world? Why did he make the world?" And so on and so forth. "How many heavens are there and how many hells? And how many angels can dance on the point of a needle? And is the world infinite or finite? Are there many lives or only one?" These are all curiosities -- good for a student of philosophy but not good for a disciple.

A disciple has to drop curiosity. Curiosity is something very superficial. Even if those questions are answered, nothing will have happened to your being; you will remain the same. Yes, you will have more information, and out of that information you will create new questions. Each question answered brings ten more new questions; the answer creates ten more new questions.

If somebody says: "God created the world,"
then the question is: "Why did he create the world?

And why a world like this, so miserable? If he is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, could he not see what he was doing? Why did he create pain, disease, death?" Now, so many questions....

Philosophy is an exercise in futility.

A student comes out of curiosity. Unless he becomes a disciple he will not become aware that curiosity is a vicious circle. You ask one question, you are given the answer, the answer brings ten more new questions, and so on and so forth. And the tree becomes bigger and bigger; thicker and thicker is the foliage. And finally the philosopher has only questions and no answers at all.

Surrounded by all those stupid questions...stupid I call them because they have no answers; stupid I call them because they are born out of childish curiosity. When one is surrounded by all those questions and there is no answer, one loses sharpness, one loses clarity, one is clouded. And one is no more intelligent. The more intellectual one becomes, the less intelligent he is.

The professor who had committed his wife to a mental institution was talking to the chief of staff. "How will we know when my wife is well again, doctor?"
"We have a simple test we give all our patients," he replied. "We put a hose into a trough, turn on the water, give the patient a bucket, and tell him to empty out the trough."
"What does that prove?" inquired the professor.
"Elementary, sir," the doctor assured him. "Any sane person will turn off the hose."
"Isn't science wonderful!" he replied. "I never would have thought of that!"

He must be a professor of philosophy; he can't be less than that.

The professor only knows questions. He is lost in the jungle of questions. The philosopher remains immature. Maturity is of consciousness, not of intellectuality. It is not of knowledge, it is of innocence.

Yes: not to know is the most intimate. And to function out of that not-knowing is to function in an enlightened way. To respond out of not-knowing is to respond like a Buddha. That is true response because it is not clouded, not distorted, not contaminated, not polluted and poisoned by your mind and your past. It is fresh, it is young, it is new. It arises to the challenge of the present. It is always in synchronicity with the new, with the present. And the present is always new, it is always moving -- it is dynamic. All your answers are static, and life is dynamic.

Hence Zen is not interested in answers -- or in questions.

It is not interested in teaching at all. It is not a philosophy; it is a totally different way of looking at things, at life, at existence, at oneself, at others. Yes, it is a discipline.

Discipline simply means a methodology of becoming more centered, of becoming more alert, of becoming more aware, of bringing more meditativeness to your being; not functioning through the head, not even through the heart, but functioning from the very core of your being, from the very innermost core, from the center of your being, from your totality. It is not a reaction -- reaction comes from the past -- it is a response. Response is always in the present, to the present.

Zen gives you a discipline to become a mirror so that you can reflect that which is. All that is needed is a thoughtless awareness.

The first thing to be dropped is curiosity, because curiosity will keep you tethered to the futile. It will keep you being a student; it will never allow you to become a disciple.

Boris, who was from Russia, had been in America only a few months. He did not speak English very well.
One day he was asked, "Boris, what is it that you are most anxious to see in America?"
"Well," replied Boris, "I weesh most to meet the most famous Mrs. Beech, who had so many sons in the last war."

Get it? He must have heard all the Americans calling each other "sonofabitch, sonofabitch...." So he is very much interested, anxious, curious, to know about Mrs. Beech, the famous Mrs. Beech.

Curiosity is always like that. It is foolish, but it can keep you tethered to the mind. And don't think that there is some curiosity which is spiritual, metaphysical. No, nothing like that exists; all curiosity is the same. Whether you inquire about "the famous Mrs. Beech" or you inquire about God it is all the same. Inquiry from the mind will have the same quality -- of childishness.

There is a totally different kind of esquire that arises from the deeper recesses of your being.

Zen is interested in discipline, not in teaching. It wants you to be more alert so you can see more clearly. It does not give you the answer; it gives you the eyes to see. What is the use of telling a blind man what light is and all the theories about light? It is futile. You are simply being stupid by answering the curiosity of a blind man. What is urgently needed is treatment of his eyes. He needs an operation, he needs new eyes, he needs medicine. That is discipline.

Buddha has said: "I am a physician, not a philosopher." And Zen is absolutely a treatment. It is the greatest treatment that has come to humanity, out of the work of thousands of enlightened people -- very refined. It can help to open up your eyes. It can help you to feel again, to be sensitive to the reality. It can give you eyes and ears. It can give you a soul. But it is not interested in answers.

Meditate over this beautiful story:

Dogo had a disciple called Soshin. When Soshin was taken in as a novice, it was perhaps natural of him to expect lessons in Zen from his teacher the way a schoolboy is taught at school.

Yes, it is natural in a way, because that's how we are conditioned. Knowledge is given to us in the form of questions and answers. From the primary school to the university that's how we are taught, conditioned, hypnotized. And naturally, after one third of your life is wasted in that way, you become accustomed to it. Then you start asking profound questions in the same way as one asks: "How much is two plus two?" You start asking about love, life, God, meditation -- in the same way!

In fact, even that ordinary question is not answerable. If you ask the real mathematicians, even this simple question "How much is two plus two?" is not answerable, because sometimes it is five and sometimes it is three. It is very rarely four. It is an exception that two plus two comes to be four, very exceptional, for the simple reason that two things are never the same. It is an abstraction: you add two and two and you say four.

Two persons and two persons are four different persons, so different that you cannot create an abstraction out of them. Even two leaves and two other leaves are so different that you cannot simply call them four leaves; they are not the same. Their weights are different, their colors are different, their shapes are different, their tastes are different. No two things in the world are the same. So how can two plus two be four? It is just an abstraction; it is lower mathematics. Higher mathematics knows that this is only utilitarian, it is not a truth. Mathematics is an invention of man; it is a workable lie.

What to say about love, which goes beyond all mathematics and all logic? In love, one plus one becomes one, not two. In deep love, the two-ness disappears. Mathematics is transcended; it becomes irrelevant. In deep love, two persons are no more two persons, they become one. They start feeling, functioning, as one unit, as one organic unity, as one orgasmic joy. Mathematics won't do, logic won't do, chemistry won't do, biology won't do, physiology won't do. Love is something which has to be experienced in a totally different way. It cannot be taught in the ordinary ways of teaching; it cannot become part of pedagogy.

But the disciple, Soshin, was a novice, a newcomer.

...It was perhaps natural of him to expect lessons in Zen from his teacher the way a schoolboy is taught at school.

It is natural in a state of unconsciousness.

Remember, there are two natures. One is when you are asleep; then many things are natural. Somebody insults you, you become angry, and that is natural -- but only in unconsciousness, in sleep. You insult the Buddha, he does not become angry -- that is higher nature, a totally different kind of nature. He is functioning from a different center altogether. He may feel compassion for you, not anger. He functions through awareness, you function through unawareness.

In sleep you cannot do anything of any value, you cannot do anything valuable. Whatsoever you do is all dream. You imagine, you think you are doing good.

Just the other day somebody asked: "I want to do good, I want to be good. Osho, help me."

I cannot help you directly to do good or to be good; I can help you only indirectly. I can help you only to be more meditative. And on the surface it may seem that your question is about something else and my answer is totally different: you want to be good and I talk about meditation. How are they related? If you are asleep you may think you are doing good, you may do harm. You may think you are doing harm, you may do good. In your sleep everything is possible.

You will become a do-gooder -- and do-gooders are the most mischievous people. We have suffered much from these do-gooders. They don't know who they are, they don't know any silent state of consciousness, they are not aware, but they go on doing good. What to say about good? A sleepy person cannot even be certain of doing harm. He may think he is doing harm and the result may be totally different.

That's how acupuncture was discovered.

A man wanted to kill somebody; he shot him with an arrow. And that man, the victim, had suffered his whole life from a headache. The arrow hit him on the leg and the headache disappeared, totally disappeared. He was puzzled.

He went to his physician saying: "You have not been able to treat me and my enemy has treated me. He wanted to kill me, but something went wrong -- my headache has disappeared. I am grateful to him."

Then the physicians started thinking about it, how it happened. That's what acupuncturists go on doing now.

You can go to Abhiyana. You may have a headache and he may start putting needles all over your body. Those needle points were discovered because of this accident. Five thousand years have passed; in these five thousand years acupuncture has developed tremendously. Now there is much scientific support for it.

In Russia they are working on acupuncture very seriously because it has great potential: it can cure almost all diseases. Those needles can change the currents of your body electricity.

That man must have suffered from too much electricity in the head. The arrow hit a certain meridian, a certain electric current in his leg, and the electricity changed its course; it was no longer going to the head. Hence the headache disappeared.

Now, the man who wanted to do harm did a great, beneficial act for the whole of humanity -- not only for that man -- because in these five thousand years, millions of people have been helped by acupuncture. The whole credit goes to that unknown person who wanted to kill.

In your unconsciousness it is difficult to decide what the outcome will be. You move in a dark dark night. All is accidental.

Sindenburg had lived a virtuous life; he was even president of the synagogue. But when he entered heaven the angel in charge said: "You can't stay here."
"Why?" asked Sindenburg. "I always tried to be a good man."
"That is it," explained the angel. "Everyone here was a good man, but they all committed at least one sin. Since you didn't sin at all, the rest of the souls will resent you."
"But," protested Sindenburg, "isn't there something I can do?"
"Well," considered the angel, "you can have six more hours on earth to commit a sin, but you must do somebody a real injury."
Sindenburg went back to earth and suddenly he saw a middle-aged woman looking at him. They started talking; she invited him home with her. Soon they were making love like two teenagers.
Six hours later Sindenburg said: "I am sorry, but I have to go now."
"Listen!" cried the woman. "I never married or even had a man. You just gave me the best time I had in my whole life. What a good deed you did today!"

Now he came to do some real injury and what he has really done is a good deed. The woman is immensely happy and grateful. And those six hours are gone; now there is no more time left. Again he will be in trouble!

In sleep you cannot do good -- you cannot even do bad! All is accidental.

And when a person comes to a Master he comes almost fast asleep. He comes out of curiosity, accidentally. He expects much, and his expectations are natural in his state.

He expected lessons in Zen....

Now that is absolutely foolish: there are no lessons in Zen. Zen, in the first place, is not a teaching but a device to awaken you. It is not information, it is not knowledge. It is a method to shake you up, to wake you up. Teaching means you are fast asleep and somebody goes on talking about what awakening is -- and you go on snoring and he goes on talking. You are asleep, he is asleep; otherwise he will not talk to you. At least when he sees that you are snoring he will not talk to you.

When I was a student at university I had a great teacher, a very well-known philosopher. For three years nobody had joined his class -- he was the head of the department. And people were afraid to join his class because he was a non-stop talker. Sometimes two hours, three hours, four hours.... And he had this condition: he would say to every student: "If you want to participate in my classes, if you want to take my subject, then this must be remembered: that I can start my lecture when the period starts, but I cannot stop when the period is over. Unless I am totally finished with the subject...and how can it be managed within forty minutes? Sometimes it takes two hours, sometimes it takes only half an hour. So whenever it is finished, that is the end."

He also told me the same. I wanted to join his class -- I was intrigued by the old man. He said: "Listen! Don't blame me later on. Sometimes I speak for four hours; five hours also I have spoken."

I said: "You don't be worried about that. I can speak longer than you." And I told him: "Remember that when I start speaking I forget who is the teacher and who is the student. I don't care! So you also keep it in mind that if I start speaking you cannot stop me."

"And secondly: the time of your periods is such that those are the hours when I sleep. From twelve to two I must sleep; that I have done my whole life. I can sleep longer -- I have slept from eleven to five, the whole day -- but this much is absolutely necessary, that I cannot miss. So I will sleep -- you can go on talking."

He said: "How can you sleep when I am talking?"

I said: "I use earplugs! You go on talking. I am not concerned with your talk at all, that is up to you. You enjoy it to your heart's content -- I will be sleeping. And you cannot object to that."

He agreed to my condition, I agreed to his condition. And that's how we became great friends: he would speak and I would sleep.

Now this person must be fast asleep himself, otherwise why...because I was the only student in his class! To whom was he talking? He was unburdening himself. And he was very happy to find a student who would at least remain in the class -- although asleep, but at least he was there.

This is what goes on in the whole world! Priests are asleep talking to their congregations. Professors are asleep talking to their students -- metaphysically asleep; I am not talking about the ordinary sleep. Metaphysically everybody is snoring.

Zen is not a teaching, because it knows you are asleep. The primary thing is not to teach you; the primary thing is to wake you up. Zen is an alarm.

But Soshin naturally expected some lessons in Zen from his teacher the way a schoolboy is taught at school.

Remember, if Zen is not a teaching then you cannot call the Zen Master a teacher either.

He is not a teacher, he is a Master. And there is a great difference between a teacher and a Master. But when you first come in close contact with a Master you think of him as a teacher -- maybe a great teacher, but still you think in terms of his being a teacher. And the reason is in your expectation that he is teaching something: that he is teaching great philosophy, that he is teaching great truths.

No, a real Master is not a teacher: a real Master is an awakener. His function is totally different from a teacher; his function is far more difficult. And only very few people can stay with a Master because to wake up after millions of lives is not an ordinary feat; it is a miracle. And to allow somebody to wake you up needs great trust, great surrender.

So in Zen, first, people are accepted only as novices, as beginners. Only when the Master sees some quality in them which can be awakened, when he sees something very potential, then they are accepted and initiated into higher things. Otherwise they remain novices for years, doing small things: cleaning the floor, cooking the food, chopping wood, carrying water from the well. And the Master goes on watching and he goes on helping them to become a little more alert while they are chopping wood, while they are carrying water from the well, while they are cleaning the floor.

You will see here in this commune at least one thousand sannyasins doing different kinds of things. When Indians come here for the first time they are puzzled, because their idea of an ashram, of a religious commune, is totally different. People should be sitting praying, doing bhajan. They can't conceive that people should be working, cooking food, weaving, doing pottery, painting, photography, creating music, poetry, dancing. They can't believe their eyes when they see the commune for the first time. They come with certain expectations. And they want you to look serious, religious, holy. And you look so joyous! You look so loving, so warm. They expect you to be utterly cold -- as cold as corpses. And you are so warm and so loving and so alive that they are shocked for the first time.

Zen does not believe that people should just live a holy life, a virtuous life, doing nothing -- just turning beads or repeating some mantra. Zen believes in creativity. Zen believes in the ordinary world. It wants to transform the mundane into the sacred.

So the first message given to the beginners is to start work but be alert.

And it is easier to be alert while you are working than while you are simply chanting a mantra, because when you are chanting a mantra every possibility is that the mantra will function as a tranquilizer. When you repeat a single word again and again it creates sleep because it creates boredom. When you repeat a certain word again and again it changes your inner chemistry. It is one of the ancientmost ways of falling asleep.

If you cannot fall asleep in the night, if you suffer from sleeplessness, then methods like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation are perfectly good. That method has nothing to do with meditation; it is neither meditation nor transcendental. It is simply a non-medicinal tranquilizer. It is good as far as it can bring sleep and without any drug -- I appreciate it -- but it has nothing to do with meditation.

You can repeat your own name again and again and you don't need to pay the fees to anybody and you don't need any initiation. Just repeat your own name; repeat it fast so that nothing else enters your mind, only your name resounds. Repeat loudly inside so that from your toes to the head it is resounding inside. Soon you will get bored, fed up. And that is the moment when you start falling asleep because there seems to be no other escape.

All mothers know it. It is one of the ancientmost methods women have been using with their children, on their children. They didn't call it Transcendental Meditation; they used to call it "lullaby." The child tosses and turns, but the mother goes on repeating the same line again and again. And finding no other escape outside, the child escapes inside; that means he falls asleep. He says: "I am so fed up that unless I fall asleep, this woman is not going to stop." And soon he learns: the moment he falls asleep the woman stops, so it becomes a conditioning; then it becomes a conditioned reflex. Slowly slowly, the woman just repeats the line one or two times and the child is fast asleep.

This you can do to yourself. It is a process of auto-hypnosis; good as far as sleep is concerned but it has nothing to do with meditation. In fact, it is just the opposite of meditation, because meditation brings awareness and this method brings sleep. Hence I appreciate it as a technique for sleep, but I am totally against it if it is taught to people as a method of meditation.

Soshin expected lessons in Zen from his teacher the way a schoolboy is taught at school. This is your story. This is everybody's story. Each seeker comes with such expectations.

Sometimes foolish people come to me and they ask: "What is your teaching in short?" Which of your books contains your total teaching?"

I have no teaching! That's why so many books are possible. Otherwise how can so many books be possible? If you have a certain teaching, then one or two books will do. That's why I can go on talking for ever, because I have no teaching. Every teaching will sooner or later be exhausted; I cannot be exhausted. There is no beginning and no end...we are always in the middle. I am not a teacher.

Everybody grows physically but psychologically remains a child. Your psychological age is never more than thirteen, even less than that. It was a shock when it was discovered for the first time in the First World War that man's average psychological age is only twelve or thirteen at the most. That means you may be seventy but your mind is only thirteen. So if somebody looks at your body you look so old, so experienced, but if somebody looks into your mind you are carrying the same childish mind still.

Your God is nothing but a projected father; it is a father fixation.

You cannot live without the idea of a father. Maybe your actual father is dead and you cannot conceive of yourself without a father. You need an imaginary father in heaven who takes care of you, who looks after you. And, certainly, the ordinary father is bound to die one day or other so you need a heavenly father who is eternal, who will never die, so he will become your safety and security.

Once somebody asked George Gurdjieff: "Why do all the religions teach: Respect your parents?"

Gurdjieff said: "For a simple reason: if you respect your parents you will respect God, because God is nothing but the ultimate parent. If you don't respect your parents you will not be bothered with God either. "

A great insight: God is the great father; you are just small children searching for a lost father, searching for a lost childhood, searching for the security of childhood. Your behavior is childish.

A young father was shopping at a department store with his daughter when the little girl suddenly said: "Daddy, I gotta go."
"Not right now," replied the father.
"I gotta go now!" shouted the girl.
To avoid a crisis a saleslady stepped up and said: "That's all right, sir, I will take her."
The saleslady and the little girl went off hurriedly, hand in hand. On their return, Tony looked at his daughter and said: "Did you thank the nice lady for being so kind?"
"Why should I thank her?" retorted the little girl. "She had to go too!"

Just watch your reactions and you will be surprised: they are childish. Your manners, howsoever sophisticated from the outside, deep down are childish. Your prayers, your church-going, are all childish.

Zen is not concerned with your childish state of mind. It has no desire to nourish it any more. Its concern is maturity; it wants you to become mature, it wants you to become ripe. Hence it has no idea of God -- no father in the sky. It leaves you totally alone because only in aloneness is maturity possible. It leaves you totally in insecurity. It gives you no security, no guarantee. It gives you all kinds of insecurities to move into.

And that's what sannyas is also: a quantum leap into insecurity, a quantum leap into the unknown, because only with that encounter will you become mature. And maturity is freedom, maturity is liberation.

But Dogo gave him no special lessons on the subject....

There are none.

...And this bewildered and disappointed Soshin.

Naturally. He was expecting and expecting and waiting, and no special lessons were given. He wanted a few simple principles so he could cling to them, so that he could hold onto them, so that they would become his treasure, his knowledge. And the Master had not given any special lesson. Naturally he was disappointed. If you are expecting anything you are bound to be disappointed. Expectation always brings disappointment, frustration.

One day he said to the Master: "It is some time since I came here, but not a word has been given me regarding the essence of the Zen teaching. "

People are in a hurry. I have come to know people who have meditated three days, and on the fourth day they ask: "Three days we have been meditating, why has nothing happened yet?"

As if they are obliging existence by meditating for so long -- three days, one hour every day; that means three hours. And if you actually look, in their meditation they were just daydreaming; with closed eyes they were daydreaming. They call it meditation! And just because for three days they have been sitting for one hour -- with great difficulty, somehow managing, great noise inside, no silence, no peace, no consciousness, just desires, thoughts, memories, imagination, constant traffic, a crowd -- then they come on the fourth day saying: "Osho, what is happening? Three days have passed and nothing has happened yet."

Time should not be taken into account at all -- three years, not even three lives. You should not think in terms of time, because the phenomenon of meditation is non-temporal. It can happen any moment, it can happen right now; it may take years, it may take lives. It all depends on your intensity, on your sincerity, and it all depends on your totality.

A pretty young woman stepped onto a crowded streetcar, and seeing that all the seats were taken she asked: "Would one of you gentlemen make room for a pregnant woman?"
A middle-aged man quickly stood up and gave her his seat. After she was seated he solicitously asked her: "How long have you been pregnant?"
"About fifteen minutes, and God, am I tired!"

Fifteen minutes pregnant! Even that is okay, but three days of meditation is even more stupid.

Soshin said one day to the Master....

There must be some anger, frustration, disappointment. Has he chosen a wrong person to be with? No special teaching has been given yet -- and the ego always wants something special.

"It is some time since I came here," he said: "but not a word has been given me regarding the essence of the Zen teaching."

In the first place, there is no Zen teaching as such. Zen is a method of awakening, not a theology. It does not talk about God: it forces you into God. It hits you in many ways so that you can be awakened into God. To be asleep is to be in the world: to be awake is to be in God. Methods are there, devices are there, but no teaching at all.

In a little New Mexico town, a pretty young tourist overheard a virile Navajo saying "Chance!" to every passing female.
Finally her curiosity got the better of her and she walked up to him and said "Hello," to which he answered "Chance!"
"I thought all Indians said 'How!'"
"I know how -- just want chance!" he replied.

All teachings are concerned about how to do it, why to do it, for what purpose, for what goal. Zen simply gives you a chance, an opportunity, a certain context, a space in which you can become awakened. And that's exactly my work here: to create an opportunity, a space, a context, where you are bound to be awakened, where you cannot go on sleeping forever.

Dogo replied: "Since your arrival I have ever been giving you lessons on the matter of Zen discipline."
"What kind of lesson could it have been?"

Now Soshin is even more puzzled and bewildered because the Master says: "Since your arrival I have ever been giving you lessons on the matter of Zen discipline."

Strange are the ways of the real Masters. Indirect are their ways, subtle are their ways. Remember, he does not say "on Zen teaching"; he says "on Zen discipline -- on the matter of Zen discipline."

"What kind of lesson could it have been?"
"When you bring me a cup of tea in the morning, I take it; when you serve me a meal, I accept it; when you bow to me, I return it with a nod."

The Master is saying: "Have you observed me?" That is the essential core of Zen: watching, observing, being aware. The Master is saying: "When you bring a cup of tea in the morning for me, have you watched me -- how I take it, with what gratitude? Have you watched me -- how I accept it with great awareness? It is not just tea!"

Nothing is ordinary in the eyes of Zen; everything is extraordinary because everything is divine. Zen Masters have transformed ordinary things like tea-drinking into religious ceremonies. The tea ceremony is a great meditation; it takes hours.

In every Zen monastery there is a separate place for the tea ceremony, a temple -- a temple for tea!

And when people are invited by the Master they go to the temple in absolute silence. The temple is surrounded by rocks or a rock garden.

Sanantano has just now made a small rock garden around my room, with a small waterfall. He has placed the rocks in such a beautiful way -- he seems to have the insight, seems to have a communion with the rocks. The rocks have come alive and they don't seem to be just put any way, haphazardly; they seem to be in a deep harmony.

Now, Sanantano is going to create many rock gardens in the new commune so you can sit by those rocks...and small bamboo huts for the tea ceremony.

And when a person goes -- when the Master invites someone for tea -- he takes a bath, he meditates, he cools himself down. He prepares himself because it is no ordinary occasion: an invitation from the Master. Then he walks the rocky path with full awareness, slowly. The closer he comes to the temple, the more alert he becomes. He becomes alert to the birds singing. He becomes alert to the flowers, their colors, their fragrance. And as he comes closer to the tea room he starts hearing the noise of the samovar. He goes in. The shoes have to be left outside. He enters very silently, bows down to the Master, sits quietly in a corner listening to the samovar, the humming sound of the samovar...and the subtle fragrance of tea filling the room. It is a prayerful moment.

Then cups and saucers are given. The Master himself gives those cups and saucers...the way he gives. He pours the tea...the way he pours. Then they all sip the tea silently. It has to be sipped with tremendous awareness; then it becomes a meditation.

And if tea-drinking can become a meditation, then anything can become a meditation -- cooking or washing your clothes, any activity can be transformed into meditation. And the real sannyasin, the real seeker, will transform all his acts into meditation. Only then, when meditation spreads over all your life, not only when you are awake in the day -- slowly slowly it starts penetrating and permeating your being in sleep too -- when it becomes just part of you, like breathing, like your heartbeat, then, only, have you attained to the discipline, to the essential discipline of Zen.

The Master said:

"When you bring me a cup of tea in the morning...."

"Have you observed or not? Are you asleep or awake? Can't you see the way I take it? When you serve me a meal...can't you see the way I accept it, with great gratitude, as if you have brought a treasure?

"...When you bow to me, I return it with a nod."

"Have I ever missed? Has it ever been noticed by you that I have not responded immediately? If you have been watching, then this is the real matter of Zen discipline. Do the same, do likewise!

"How else do you expect to be taught in the discipline of Zen?"

But you don't watch, you don't see. You go on rushing, doing things somehow, mechanically. And you go on falling into pitfalls, the same pitfalls again and again.

A nigger walks into a white bar with three friends, goes up to the barman and bets him $25 he can lick his own eye.
The barman thinks: "God-damned stupid nigger, nobody can lick his own eye," so he bets him the $25. The nigger takes out his glass eye and licks it and then bets the barman another $25 he can bite his other eye.
The barman thinks: " Oh boy, is this nigger ever dumb! Nobody could come in here with two glass eyes," and takes him up on the bet. The nigger takes his false teeth out and bites the other eye and the barman turns red with anger: "Smart-ass nigger!"
Then the nigger says: "I will bet you another $25...."
"Wait a minute," says the barman. "No way. You think I'm stupid?"
"Oh, come on," says the nigger. I'll bet you double or nothing I can piss in that shot glass on the table on the other side of the room."
The barman stops, ponders a while and says: "Okay, even a stupid god-damned nigger couldn't do that! You're on. I'll bet you double or nothing!"
The nigger proceeds to piss all over the bar, the floor, everywhere. The barman starts laughing like hell, and wiping it up, says: "Boy, nigger, you are really dumb to think you could piss that far!"
And the nigger replies: "I'm not so dumb -- see those three dudes over there? I bet them $300 I could piss all over the bar and you would wipe it up laughing!"

Man goes on doing the same; maybe a slightly different situation, but nothing very different. If you are asleep, if you are unconscious, you cannot watch, you cannot observe that again another pitfall...that again you are going into another mistake, another error, that you are again stumbling. Maybe it is a little bit different, because in life nothing is ever the same, but thousands of times you fall and still you don't learn the single thing worth learning. You learn all kinds of things in life except the one thing which can transform you, and that is the art of awareness.

Soshin hung his head for a while, pondering the puzzling words of the Master.

The Master said: "If you want to see, see right at once. When you begin to think, you miss the point."

These are tremendously significant words: "If you want to see, see right at once. When you begin to think, you miss the point."

Because thinking is only a way of missing the point. When you hear the truth, see it immediately. Don't say: "I will think it over." Don't take notes saying: "Back home I will ponder over it." You are missing the whole point! Truth has an immediacy, and you are postponing it by thinking. And what can you think about truth? And whatsoever you think is going to be wrong. Truth is truth and untruth is untruth. You cannot make an untruth truth by thinking for years, and you cannot make a truth untruth by thinking for years. Nothing can be done about it; your thinking is absolutely irrelevant.See it. Seeing is relevant; thinking is not relevant.

That's why in the East we don't have any word to translate the English word "philosophy." We have a word, darshan, which is ordinarily used as a translation for philosophy but it is not right to do that. Darshan means seeing, and philosophy means thinking -- and there is such a tremendous difference, such a vast difference, between the two. What greater difference can there be between two things -- seeing and thinking?

Darshan simply means seeing.

It is not thinking, it is awareness. Silently alert you sit by the side of the Master. He says something -- or shows something rather -- and you see it! If you are silent and aware you are bound to see it, you cannot miss it. If you hang your head and you start thinking, you have forgotten about the Master; you are lost in your own words. You are translating the Master into your own words -- and you cannot translate those heights, those depths. And whatsoever you translate will be something utterly different from what the Master has said.

Three Frenchmen, while practicing their English, got around to discussing the wife of a friend who was childless.
"She is unbearable," said one.
"No, that is the wrong word. She is inconceivable."
"No, no, you are both wrong," said the third. "What you mean is she is impregnable."

Now, you can go on thinking.... When the Master speaks, he speaks from the heights of awareness -- and you listen in the darkness of your valley. Don't translate and don't try to figure it out, what he is saying. Just listen.

Just the other day somebody asked: "Listening to you unquestioningly, accepting it, isn't it a way of being conditioned by you?"

Listening silently does not mean that you are agreeing with me.

It is not a question of agreement or disagreement. Listening silently does not mean that you are accepting me or rejecting me. If you are accepting you are not silent; activity is there -- the activity of accepting. If you are agreeing with me that means you are already translating me. If you are rejecting me that is negative activity; if you accept me that is positive activity. And to be silent simply means no activity at all. You are simply here...just being here, only available, no question of agreeing or disagreeing.

And the beauty of truth is that the moment you hear the truth something inside you responds, says yes. It is not agreement of the mind, remember; it comes from your totality. Every fiber of your being, every cell of your body, nods in tremendous joy: "Yes!" Not that you say yes -- it is not said, it is not verbalized at all. It is silently there. And when you hear some untruth, in the same way there is a no; your whole being says "no." That is not mental either.

This is a totally different approach. The West has not been able to evolve it yet; the East has evolved it. For centuries we have been working on this subtle method, polishing it, polishing it. It has become a mirror.

The East knows how to just sit in silence, without agreeing or disagreeing, because we have discovered one fundamental thing: that truth is already inside you. If you hear the truth from the outside your truth will be awakened, it will be provoked. Suddenly you will say: "Yes!", as if you had known it already. It is a recognition, it is a remembrance. You are simply being reminded by the Master about that which you have forgotten. It is not a question of agreement or disagreement -- no, not at all.

I am not interested in creating beliefs in you and I am not interested in giving you any kind of ideology. My whole effort here is -- as it has always been of all the Buddhas since the beginnings of time -- to provoke truth in you. I know it is already there; it just needs a synchronicity. It just needs something to trigger the process of recognition in you.

The Master speaks not to give you the truth, but to help you to recognize the truth that is already within you. The Master is only a mirror. You see your own original face in deep silence, sitting by his side.

The Master said: "If you want to see, see right at once. When you begin to think, you miss the point."

OSHO : Ah, This!, Chapter 5
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