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Empty Heart, Empty Mind - Zen Looks at Sufism
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OSHO : Rinzai: Master of The Irrational, Chapter 2

On one occasion Rinzai said: "Whoever comes to me, I do not fail him: I know exactly where he comes from. If he should come in a particular way, he would be as if he had lost himself. If he should not come in a particular way, he would have bound himself without a rope. Never ever speculate haphazardly. Understanding and not understanding are both wrong. I say this straight out. Anyone in the world is free to denounce me as he will."

The master further said: "Each statement must comprise the gates of the three mysteries, and the gate of each mystery must comprise the three essentials. There are temporary expedients, and there is functioning. How do all of you understand this?"

The master then stepped down.

Maneesha, Rinzai is right. The way you walk, the way you talk, the way you see -- all your gestures indicate your inner reality. It cannot be otherwise, because whatever is shown on the circumference must be coming from the center.

Rinzai is saying: "I can see the person in his wholeness, and whether he is enlightened or not, just by the way he walks or the way he talks." This statement is significant in the sense that enlightenment is not an intellectual phenomenon; it is existential. It transforms your total being.

So whatever you do, it does not matter what it is -- even if you don't do anything but simply sit down silently -- you cannot deceive a man of enlightenment. He will be able to see through and through, straight into your being. Whether you are silent or speaking does not matter. Even if you are sleeping...the enlightened man sleeps in a different way than the unenlightened. It simply shows that all our actions, gestures, words, silences, arise through our being. All these waves come from the very center.

The unenlightened person creates a different aura around himself. He has no presence; he is almost absent. He is a somnambulist, as if walking in sleep, stumbling in the darkness.

The enlightened man simply is a man whose inner being is full of light. He does not stumble, he does not grope. He has nothing to choose.

This I emphasize: the enlightened man is choiceless. He has not to choose what is good and what is bad. Whatever comes out of his spontaneity is bound to be good, is bound to be beautiful, is bound to be a tremendous grace. His every action or inaction is not only a blessing to himself -- he has so much of it that he can bless the whole world.

The enlightened man has become part of the abundance of cosmic reality.

He is no more a miser, a small island. He has become a vast continent. He is no more an individual.... First he dropped his personality and attained individuality; then he drops his individuality too and attains to cosmic reality. At that point, he is everywhere and nowhere. Everything around him changes.

So if you see such a man and if your vision is clear, there is no need for him to say to you that he is enlightened.

There is a small incident: One of Gautam Buddha's disciples, Manjushri, became enlightened. He had been meditating for almost twenty years, and those who had already become enlightened immediately recognized him. Sariputra told him: "Why don't you go and tell the master?"

Manjushri laughed. He said: "Do I have to go to the master for recognition? I know that whenever he comes across me, he will see it. I don't have to say it." And that's how it happened.

The next morning, when Gautam Buddha was going for a morning walk, he came by the side of the tree where Manjushri used to meditate. He stopped, he looked around, and he said: "Manjushri, you should have come and announced your enlightenment. Do you think you can hide fire? All around you there are flames declaring your enlightenment. All around you flowers have blossomed, which may not be visible to the ignorant, but anybody who is enlightened will recognize you whether you say it or not."

Manjushri touched Gautam Buddha's feet and he said: "This was the reason that I did not come to you. If it is authentic, if I am not in a hallucination, if I am not imagining that I have become enlightened, then it is better that Gautam Buddha himself recognizes it, rather than my going to him. He knows hundreds of people who have become enlightened under him. If he passes by me without recognizing it, that simply means my time has not come yet, I am simply imagining."

And that was not the only incident -- because under Gautam Buddha more people became enlightened than under any man in history. Ten thousand monks continuously followed him, and all they were doing the whole day was simply meditating, just witnessing their minds. In time, in season, the right climate, the right moment...one by one they started exploding.

My experience is that it is very much a triggering process. If one person becomes enlightened and you are sitting close by him, something may trigger in you. Just his changed energy can give a push to your own energy.

Our enlightenment is not something of a kind that has to be achieved; it is already there, it is our very nature. It is the simplest thing in the world, and that has made it the most difficult.

Going within yourself just needs a small push, and that push need not be physical.

It is not physical; it is more something like magnetic energy, or something more like electricity. You don't see it, but it can travel from one person to another person, if the other person is ready enough. He will be surprised by the explosion.

Gautam Buddha allowed ten thousand people to be always with him simply to create an energy field. Somebody is a step ahead of you, somebody is two steps ahead of you, somebody is very close to the explosion. If he explodes, he can create a chain reaction and those who are just behind him may catch the fire. Hence in Zen it is called the transmission of the lamp, or transmission of the light.

But nobody can act like an enlightened man; it is not possible, because enlightenment has no particular form. Each enlightened being is so unique that you cannot imitate. And imitation takes you away from yourself. The more you imitate, the less is the possibility of your becoming enlightened.

So one has to learn how to be with an enlightened man. It is not something to be learned; it is not something like a teaching or a discipline. It is a way of receptivity, of opening, of allowing the master to enter in you.

We are ordinarily very afraid. We keep a distance from each other, and we keep our defenses. We are afraid that somebody may offend us. Defense is necessary. Somebody may humiliate us, somebody may hurt us, so we go on creating defensive measures around our being, and we always keep a little distance even from those we love.

Adolf Hitler never married for the simple reason that he could not allow anybody in his room while he was asleep, because who knows, everybody is a stranger.... He got married just three hours before his death, when the enemies were bombing Berlin and it became absolutely certain that there was no possibility now except defeat. It was only a question of hours.

In the middle of the night he called a priest into his bunker and got married. His friends said to him: "What is the point now that you are preparing poison?"

He said: "Now there is no danger; I will die married. This woman has always been hankering to be married, and I was postponing it." Now there was no point in any defense. He got married and the next thing they did was they both took poison and went on a spiritual honeymoon.

But the fear of not keeping people at a distance is always there. One has to become aware of being with a master. You have to drop your defenses, that's all. You have simply to be open and available. Keep your doors open. At the right moment the master is going to step in -- not physically, but just his spiritual energy is going to give a new dance to your being.

Rinzai's statement is significant.

On one occasion Rinzai said: "Whoever comes to me, I do not fail him. I know exactly where he comes from."

He does not mean the place from which he is coming, but the space from which he is coming, in what space he is, in what state of consciousness.

If he should come in a particular way, he would be as if he had lost himself.

He will come stumbling, fumbling. He will look...in his eyes you will find that he is simply lost. He does not know where he is going or why he is going. Almost exactly that is the situation for the majority of humanity. Nobody has the sense of direction; they are all just groping.

Rinzai is saying: "I never fail anybody. I simply see straight to which place this man is coming from, in which space he is. I see whether he is hesitant, doubtful, uncertain, looking for guidance, or is full of knowledge which is borrowed, and has a great ego as if he knows."

If he should not come in a particular way, he would have bound himself without a rope.

Everybody looks as if they are free; nobody is handcuffed, nobody is bound by a rope. But look a little closely: you are bound by too many ropes, which are pulling you in certain directions, and perhaps in contradictory directions. That creates split personalities, that creates fragmentary personalities.

You may call those ropes love, you may call those ropes ambitions, desires, jealousies, hate -- it does not matter what you call them, they are all ropes. But if your mind has any content in it, that content becomes your rope.

Only a contentless mind knows what freedom is.

From the outside everybody looks free, but Rinzai is talking about the ropes that are invisible. And you can understand, you can see your own ropes -- your fixations with the mother, with the father, with the wife, with the husband, with the children, with your friends, with your enemies.

It happened when Mahatma Gandhi was shot in 1948. Jinnah was the man who had fought Gandhi his whole life for a separation of the country into two parts -- a separate and sovereign country for Mohammedans. He was sitting in his garden reading a newspaper when his secretary came running and told him that Gandhi had been shot, he was dead. The secretary could not believe that Jinnah had tears in his eyes. He did not say anything, he simply went back into his room. In fact, at the same moment Jinnah died. He became sick and he never came out of his room.

Many times he was asked: "Why should you be so much concerned? You were perfectly healthy. This news of Gandhi...."

Jinnah said: "Now I can see that even with enemies there is a certain relationship. Without Gandhi I am no more. And if Gandhi can be shot by a Hindu, I can be shot by a Mohammedan any moment." He had never had guards around his home before Gandhi was shot. He had refused, saying that: "Even to conceive that any Mohammedan will do any damage to my life is just absurd. I have fought for them, I have given them their country." But the day Gandhi died, he immediately ordered that guards should be put around his home.

Nobody could understand that it would be such a shock to him. He himself could not understand it: "I should rather be happy that Gandhi is dead, but my eyes are full of tears. Without Gandhi I have lost myself. Fighting with him was my whole life. Half of my life is finished. Now I have to live a crippled life" -- and he never became healthy again, he died just a few months afterwards.

If you look around yourself you will find many ropes -- almost a net.

And if there was one rope only, it would be easy to cut it and be free. There are so many ropes...your whole personality consists of ropes. Even though those ropes make you a prisoner -- they give you nothing but misery and trouble, they don't allow you to have your dignity and your mastery -- somehow they are long-time acquaintances and to drop them feels like you are cutting something of your own being. They have become your second nature.

It happened in the French Revolution that the revolutionaries opened the doors of a great prison thinking that they were doing something great. That prison was meant only for people who were to be imprisoned for their whole lives, the very dangerous criminals, so their handcuffs had no keys, because there was no need, they would never be free. So after handcuffs were put on and chains on their feet, the keys were thrown in a well which was just in the center of the prison.

The revolutionaries tried to cut off their handcuffs, their chains, and they could not believe that the prisoners were so resistant. Somebody had lived for forty years, somebody for fifty years -- there was even a man who had been there for seventy years, and he said: "Now the eyes cannot tolerate even to come out in the light. We have been living in dark cells, and after seventy years the world must have changed too much. Even our own friends and wives, most of them must be dead. Even our children won't recognize us.

"It is so cozy and comfortable here -- no work, the food is given. It is rotten, but it is given at least every day, you don't have to work for it; you don't have to look for employment. And we have become so accustomed to our small dark cells that we cannot conceive now of another kind of life." But revolutionaries are revolutionaries; they are stubborn people. They forced them. They cut their chains and their handcuffs and forced them out of jail. But they were surprised that by the evening they were all back.

It is something so important, it is far more important than the French Revolution itself. The prisoners begged them: "Don't force us. Outside does not exist for us. The gap is too big -- seventy years -- and we are living very happily." A few of them said: "We cannot sleep without the chains." They have become almost like teddy bears.

The same is the situation of almost everyone: your chains have become teddy bears. However dirty, smelly, greasy and Italian, but on every airport, on every railway station you will find children dragging their teddy bears. They will not leave them because they cannot sleep without them. With them it feels so warm and they have been such friends, no quarrel.

We are all accustomed to many ropes.

Rinzai is saying: "If he should not come in a particular way, he would have bound himself without a rope."

Only if he comes like a lion roaring, alone, no more part of the crowd, no more dependent on the crowd, no more a Christian, no more a Hindu, no more a Buddhist -- if he has thrown all the scriptures and all the conditionings away, he will come in his full glory, a man in his total dignity.

This dignity is not a comparative thing. It has nothing to do with anybody else; it is not relative. It is his own nature come to full blossoming. He has thrown all hindrances away.

If you come across a man who has no ropes, no chains, no conditionings, you will immediately see the difference between yourself and that person. His freedom will be almost tangible and you will see your slavery clearly in comparison to him. Of how many things you are a slave! Your slavery is multidimensional. But you go on living because everybody else is also living in the same way. You think perhaps this is the only way of life.

This is not the only way of life. In fact, it is not a way of life at all. It is a way of missing life. Without blossoming into your full potential, you have dragged yourself from the cradle to the grave, but you have not lived.

I have heard about a man who died, then he recognized that: "My God, I was alive!" -- but now it was too late.

Most people will realize only when death strikes: "I have lived without living. I have not danced, I have not blossomed, I have not known myself, and death has come." And death means all doors are being closed. Now one knows nothing of what is going to happen. There is no more future. You cannot plan for tomorrow, and all yesterdays are gone -- great opportunities to become awakened, great opportunities to become a Buddha.

You have missed.

Rinzai goes on: "Never ever speculate haphazardly. Understanding and not understanding are both wrong."

This a tremendously important statement: Understanding and not understanding are both wrong. Ordinarily you will say: "Understanding is right and not understanding is wrong." But I will support Rinzai. He is right. It is not a question of understanding or not understanding, it is a question of realizing.

For example, a blind man can understand what light is intellectually, but what is that understanding? A blind man can write a treatise on light, on colors, and can be very logically right. But what is that understanding? He has never seen colors.... And this is the situation.

People are writing about God, describing in detail as if they have seen God, quarreling with others because they have a different conception of God. For thousands of years people have been fighting about God, about heaven and hell, and nobody seems to realize the fact that these are all hypotheses. Nobody has seen God. So if somebody says: "I understand about God," it is as futile as not understanding about God.

The question is knowing -- directly, straightforwardly. The question is being one with the truth, not knowing the truth from far away, from others' experience, from scriptures. You cannot borrow truth; it is not a commodity.

You have to become the truth.

Even if a person says: "I have seen truth," it is wrong, because you cannot see truth -- truth is not something material -- neither can you see God. If you see, it is hallucination.

That's why Buddha has said to his disciples: "If I meet you on the way, just don't hesitate, cut off my head and throw me out of the way. Pass me without looking back" -- because in meditation it is always possible that the last barrier will be the master. That is your last love, your great love affair. You may pass through all other small matters, psychological fixations, but what are you going to do with the last rope?

It happened in Ramakrishna's life: Ramakrishna was a great devotee, and the path of devotion is full of imagination. Mind has the capacity to hypnotize itself and can see the object of imagination just standing before it.

You should pay attention to the fact that no Mohammedan or Christian ever experiences Krishna, no Hindu ever experiences Jesus. They all see what they imagine, what they believe in, what is their hypothesis.

If you continuously go on insisting on a certain hypothetical concept of God, one day you will see that hypothesis becoming a reality.

Ramakrishna was a devotee of the Mother Goddess of Calcutta. An enlightened man, Totapuri, was just passing by. He looked at Ramakrishna and he felt great compassion for the poor fellow. He told Ramakrishna: "You think that you have experienced the Mother Goddess."

Ramakrishna said: "See, I have talked with her, and not one day, but every day." He was an honest man, and what he was saying was absolutely true.

Totapuri laughed and he said: "Listen, that Mother Goddess is nothing but pure imagination. Unless you drop that you will never become enlightened. So sit down. I will remain here for three or four days, just for you. I have to help you in somehow dropping the Mother Goddess."

Now that was a very difficult matter. Ramakrishna had loved the Mother Goddess his whole life, danced before her. And he was not a traditional fellow; he was very untraditional, very loving, very innocent -- so much so that twice the trustees of the temple in which he used to worship, where he was the priest, had to call him saying: "This is strange what you are doing...."

First he would taste the food that was to be offered to the goddess, and then he would offer it. Now this is absolutely wrong according to the Hindu tradition. First you should offer it to the god and then you can distribute it, you can eat it.

But Ramakrishna said: "My mother always used to taste it first and then she would give it to me. I don't care about anybody, I know what the reason was. The reason was whether it is worth giving. Is the taste right? Is the sweetness not too much or too little? I cannot offer it without tasting it first."

He used to fight with the Mother Goddess. Nobody could understand what was happening. He would lock the temple for three or four days and would tell the Mother Goddess: "Remain inside the temple, because you are not doing anything for your devotees. So many people come and they ask you and their prayers are not answered. I am the priest here; it is my duty to take care. Now remain locked up. After three or four days I will see you again."

The trustees said: "You are here as the salaried priest. Your work is to worship every day."

He said: "That is not the question. The question is that the Mother Goddess has to listen to me. When she listens I prepare such good food for her and bring so many roses and so many flowers. When she is really listening to the prayers I dance the whole day. But when she is not listening, becomes adamant, then I am also a man of some dignity...."

Totapuri said to Ramakrishna: "You sit in silence. You don't have any other ropes that I can see, just this one rope. So when you see the Mother Goddess arising in your imagination, just take the sword and cut the mother in two pieces. They will fall, and with them will fall the last barrier."

Ramakrishna said: "From where am I going to get the sword?"

Totapuri said: "From where have you got this Mother Goddess? -- From the same place. It is your imagination. That is also your imagination; only imagination is needed to cut it."

It took three days, because he would go into meditation and the Mother Goddess would be standing there, and he would forget all about Totapuri. He would forget all about the sword, and tears would start flowing from his eyes, and Totapuri would shake him saying: "What are you doing?"

Ramakrishna said: "What to do? -- Because once I see her, she is so beautiful.... Don't force me to cut her."

Totapuri said: "Listen, I can see even from the outside: your face immediately changes when you see the mother. I have brought a piece of glass, and the moment I see that you are seeing the mother -- because your tears start flowing, your face becomes so beautiful -- I will make a cut just on your third eye center with the glass. I have to do this because tomorrow I leave. I cannot waste any more time. This is the last chance: either you do it or I am finished with you."

And Totapuri said: "When I cut your forehead and blood starts flowing, don't hesitate, just take the sword and cut the mother."

Ramakrishna cut the mother and he remained silent for six days. Totapuri remained for six days, and when Ramakrishna opened his eyes he thanked Totapuri and said: "If you had not come, I would have lived my whole life with the hallucination. My last barrier has fallen away."

Ramakrishna became enlightened after he had cut the last barrier. But even the followers of Ramakrishna don't mention this incident, because this incident makes the whole effort of worshipping futile. If you have finally to cut it, why start it in the beginning?

Neither understanding is needed -- because understanding is intellectual -- nor not-understanding, because that too is intellectual.

You can be a theist, you can be an atheist, that does not matter; both are intellectual standpoints. You have to drop them both and you have to see without any prejudice, without any hypothesis, without any belief system. Only then...then you don't see the truth, you become the truth. And unless you become the truth you are not enlightened.

So see the difference: it is not a question of seeing God, it is not a question of seeing Buddha. It is a question of being a Buddha. There are not three, the one who sees, the one who is seen, and the process of seeing; there is only one.

You are it.

This is the greatest understanding Gautam Buddha brought into the world.

Rinzai is saying:

"I say this straight out. Anyone in the world is free to denounce me as he will."

The master further said: "Each statement must comprise the gates of the three mysteries, and the gate of each mystery must comprise the three essentials. There are temporary expedients, and there is functioning. How do all of you understand this?"

The master then stepped down.

What are the three Mysteries? Our every experience is divided into three: the observer, the observed and the process of observation. You can take it to different dimensions -- the knower, the knowledge, and the process of knowing. Unless these three mysteries become one, when the observer is the observed also....

When you are a god, then all the mysteries disappear, then the whole existence is clearly available to you. All the doors are open, nothing is hidden. The whole splendor of existence is available, but it is available to a consciousness which has come to a peak where there is no subject and no object and nothing relating them, where the three have become one.

This oneness is the buddhahood, is your buddha nature.

In this oneness you become part of the cosmic whole -- and not just a part. It is the strangest experience: when a dewdrop disappears in the ocean, you can say that the dewdrop has become a part of the ocean, but the reality is that the dewdrop has become the ocean. There is no question of being part. Part is still apart, there is a distance. Just pure oneness....

William James gave the right words for this experience: the oceanic experience. You have become the whole ocean.

Rinzai is saying that he will be denounced -- denounced by all devotees, denounced by all those people who keep a distance between you and God. He will be denounced by all those who cannot conceive that you are in your intrinsic reality nothing but a divine force, and the whole existence is a divine dance. "But," he says, "it does not matter if I am being denounced. I have to say the truth."

Zen is the only way of seeing the truth without any belief. If you have a belief already, your belief will become the barrier. One has to be utterly belief-less. I am not saying that you have to be a disbeliever; that is again a belief. Believing or disbelieving, both are belief systems. Theist and atheist are both two extremes of one concept, of one hypothesis. One is saying yes, the other is saying no, but both of them are absolutely unaware of the truth.

That truth cannot be denied, and no evidence can be given, or proof. One has to live it; only life is a proof. When somebody has reached to the point where he is truth, obviously all his actions are bound to change. All his life patterns are going to be different.

Rinzai is right that he can see the moment somebody enters into his temple in what space he is, what are his ropes: Has he any direction in life or is he just going haphazardly like dead wood floating in a river? Has he any consciousness that each moment he is missing the significance and meaning of life or is he just sleepy, keeping himself occupied so that the question, the ultimate question does not arise?

Ikkyu, a great Zen poet, writes:

Forests and meadows,
rocks and grasses
are my companions.
The "wrong ways" of this
"crazy cloud" won't be changed.
Ordinary people call me a fool
but I'm not bothered.
Since I'm already labeled
"heretic" and "demon,"
there's no new punishment
left for my afterlife!

A man of truth is bound to be condemned, because our whole lives are lived on consolations, which are lies. We are all under the opium that religions have been supplying to us. The moment a man comes out of this state of sleepiness, the whole crowd will be against him, because his behavior will change so totally from the crowd's.

The crowd cannot tolerate anybody who behaves differently. The reason is a great fear that perhaps he may be right. And he looks right: his beauty is changed, his grace has changed, his words have an authority which they never had before. His silences are deep. He is surrounded by an aura of a new energy.

This makes people very much afraid -- afraid that "this man may be right; then we have missed our whole lives. This man somehow has to be destroyed." It is not for no reason that Socrates and Anagoras were poisoned and al-Hillaj Mansoor was crucified. Sarmad and Jesus...and there are hundreds of others who have been stoned to death or burned alive, and their only crime was that they had attained the truth.

Now this reminds me that in South America in the early part of this century a small tribe was discovered living in the deep forest -- only three hundred people, but all blind. They had no idea that they were blind because they had never seen anybody with eyes -- and there was no question of seeing because they had no eyes.

A scientific researcher heard about this tribe, so he went into the forest, lived with the tribe to understand them, did not offend them by saying that they are blind, pretended that he was also just like them. He found that the reason why they were all blind was a certain fly. When the child is less than six months old, if that fly stings the child, he will become blind.

So there were children who had eyes, but the fly was a common fly in every house everywhere, so it was impossible for any child to get away. And nobody can remember the past beyond the fourth year or the third year at the most; nobody can remember what happened when they were six months old.

So the whole tribe lived and they lived perfectly well. They managed to farm something, they managed to bring wood for winter. They managed to bring water from the well. They became adapted to the life of blind people. And because the whole society was blind, only this young researcher could find the fly. If after you are six months old that fly bites you, you will not become blind, so only for six months a child has to be protected. But there was no question of protection in the tribe; they had no idea what was happening. A six-month-old child cannot say: "Protect me from the fly."

He remained so long there that he fell in love with a woman. He wanted to marry her, but by and by the tribe became suspicious of the man. Although they were blind, they started finding that this man walks in a different way, talks in a different way, knows things that they don't know. He says: "Now it is sunrise"; he says, "now the whole sky is full of stars" -- and those blind eyes could not see any star.

Slowly, slowly they found that this man had some way which was different from them. They forced him, saying: "You have to be honest with us. What is the difference between us and you? -- Because we don't see any sunrise, we don't see any sunset, and you talk about flowers and colors, and you talk about stars. Where are these things? There must be some difference between us and you."

He had to be honest with those poor blind people. He said: "I have eyes and you don't have eyes. Although you are born with eyes, a common fly here destroys the eyes before the child passes the six-month limit. I can be of much help; I can bring medical help to kill these flies and perhaps some way to cure you also, so you can see."

But they refused. They said: "We are so happy as we are, we don't want any disturbance. And as far as your marriage -- the condition is that we will have to destroy your eyes; otherwise we cannot believe a man with eyes.... You can do any harm to us and we will be absolutely vulnerable."

So they gave him time: "You can think for twelve hours. If you want to marry the woman, we will destroy your eyes. We will find them. And if you want your eyes, then you cannot live with us and you cannot marry the woman."

That night he thought many times: "What to do? These idiots don't want to be helped. They are perfectly happy in their blindness." One can understand that there will be trouble if three hundred blind people suddenly get eyes.... You see your wife and you say: "My God! This buffalo is my wife?!" And you see your own face in the mirror and you cannot believe that this is you, because you have never seen your face. Everything is going to be disturbed.

That researcher escaped in the night, dropping the whole idea of helping them, dropping the idea of getting married to the woman. His idea had been that he should get married and then take away the woman to the civilized world where she could be treated, and if he succeeded in treating her, then he could bring a medical team and treat all those three hundred people.

The same is the situation with every Buddha.

He brings a new light, a new life, a new eye. But you start stoning such people. The only crime of Socrates was that he wanted to teach people how to find the truth. The only crime of al-Hillaj Mansoor was that he declared: "Ana'l haq! I myself am God" -- but he was not declaring it as part of an ego-trip, because he was saying: "You are also God, you simply don't know it. I know it."

Al-Hillaj Mansoor's case is particularly special. His teacher was Junnaid, and Junnaid said: "Mansoor, I too know I am God, but I also know the crowd will not tolerate such a declaration. You keep it within yourself; you help people to recognize that they are gods, but don't start declaring that you are God. You will not be tolerated."

But Mansoor was young. Junnaid was old and he had seen what kind of people were all around. Mansoor did not listen to him and started declaring: "I am God, and you are God also; the difference is just that you are not aware and I am aware." He was completely butchered, it cannot be called crucifixion. Jesus' crucifixion was simple. Mansoor was cut piece by piece, legs, feet, hands, eyes, tongue, head -- piece by piece he was just destroyed.

Why does it happen? These people become a danger to our consolations. They start declaring things which we are afraid to know. We don't want to know who we are, because that may disturb everything in our life. We have a settled circumference; if we know the center, we will have to change everything on the circumference. It is risky. And we are living in our misery and in our suffering, but it has become such a familiar way of living. Everybody is living in the same way -- so why take the risk?

But the presence of a man like al-Hillaj Mansoor provokes you to change your life. It irritates people, it annoys people that somebody knows more than they know. They cannot tolerate such a person. To think in this world is the most criminal act; to know in this world is to prepare for your own crucifixion.

Professor Coleman Barks has asked a question:
I feel very grateful for your enlightenment, your wisdom, your daring experiments, your life.
Thank you.
Rumi said: "I want burning, burning...." What is that burning" Shams said: "I am fire." Do you have any word on Shams? From Shams?
What do the burning and the fire have to do with my own enlightenment?

Coleman, you have asked a very dangerous question! -- Because burning has nothing to do with your enlightenment. On the path of enlightenment there is no question of burning.

But because you are in love with Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi.... I also love the man. But you have to understand that Sufism still depends on a hypothetical God. It is not free from the hypothesis of God. And particularly Sufism has the concept of God as a woman. Love is their method -- love God as totally as possible. Now you are loving an impossible hypothesis, and totality is asked. You will feel the same kind of burning, in a more intensive way, as lovers feel on a smaller scale.

Lovers feel a certain burning in their hearts. A deep longing and desire to meet with the beloved creates that burning. To love God is bound to create a very great fire in you. You will be on fire because you have chosen as your love object something impossible; your object of love is hypothetical. You will have to weep and cry, and you will have to pray, and you will have to fast, and your mind has to continuously repeat and remember the beloved.

The mind has the capacity to imagine anything and also has the capacity to hypnotize itself. After long repetition you can even see God, just the way you imagined. It is a by-product of your mind. It will make you very happy, you will dance with joy.

I have been with Sufis and I have loved those people. But they are still one step away from being a Buddha. Even though their poetry is beautiful -- it has to be, because it is coming out of their love -- their experience is a hallucination created by their own mind. In Sufism, mind is stretched to the point that you become almost mad for the beloved. Those days of separation from the beloved create the sensation of burning.

On the path of dhyan, or Zen, there is no burning at all because there is no hypothesis, no God. And it is not a question of love. A man of Zen is very loving, but he has not practiced love; it has come as a by-product of his realization. He has simply realized his own buddhahood. There is no question of another, a God somewhere else in heaven. He has simply reached his own center of life, and being there he explodes into love, into compassion. His love comes after his enlightenment, it is not a method for enlightenment.

But for Sufis, love is the method. Because love is the method, it remains part of the mind.

The effort on the path of Zen is to go beyond mind, to attain no-mind, to be utterly empty of all thoughts, love included. Zen is the path of emptiness -- no God, no love, nothing is to be allowed; just a pure nothingness in which you also disappear.

Who is there to feel the burning? Who is there to feel the fire?

So although I love Sufis...I don't want, Coleman, to hurt your feelings, but I would certainly say that you will have one day to change from Sufis to Zen. Sufis are still living in imagination; they have not known the state of no-mind. And because they have not known the state of no-mind, however beautiful their personalities may become, they are still just close to enlightenment, but not enlightened. Remember, even to be very close is not to be enlightened.

And the reason is clear: Sufism is a branch, an offshoot of Mohammedanism. It carries almost all that is good in Mohammedanism. But Mohammedanism is the lowest kind of religion. Mohammedanism, Judaism, Christianity -- all are hypothetical.

There have been only two religions which are not hypothetical, Buddhism and Taoism. Zen is a crossbreed of these two, and the crossbreed is always better than both the parents. It is the meeting of Buddha and Lao Tzu; out of this meeting is born Zen. It is not Buddhism, it is not Taoism; it has its own individuality. It carries everything beautiful that comes from Buddha and everything great that comes from Lao Tzu. It is the highest peak that man has ever reached.

Hinduism is a mess: thirty-three million gods! -- What do you expect? Hinduism has remained a philosophical, controversial, hypothetical religion. It has not been able to reach the heights of Buddha. Buddha was born a Hindu but revolted against this mess, searched alone rather than believing. That is one of the most important things to remember. Any religion that begins with belief is going to give you an auto-hypnotic experience.

Only Taoism and Buddhism don't start with a belief. Their whole effort is that you should enter yourself without any concept of what you are going to find there. Just being open, available, without any prejudice, without any philosophy and scripture -- just go in, open-hearted, and when you reach to the point where mind is silent, not a single thought moving....

According to Tao and Buddha, even God is a thought. When there is no thought, you reach the highest Everest of consciousness. At that point you know that every living being has the potentiality of being a god.

Buddha is reported to have said: "The moment I became enlightened, I was surprised: the whole of existence is enlightened, only people don't understand. They are carrying their enlightenment within themselves and they don't look at it."

Buddha has reported his past lives' experiences. When he was not an enlightened man but was just a seeker, he heard about a man who had become enlightened, so he went to see him. He had no idea of what enlightenment is, and he had not come with any prejudice for or against. But as he came close to the man, he found himself bowing down and touching the man's feet. He was surprised! He had not decided to do it -- in spite of himself he was touching the man's feet. That was one surprise. And as he stood up, the second surprise was even bigger: the enlightened man touched his feet. He said: "What are you doing? You are enlightened, it is perfectly right for me to touch your feet. But why are you touching my feet?"

And that man laughed. He said: "Sometime before, I was unenlightened. Now I am enlightened. You are unenlightened now. Someday you will become enlightened. So it is only a question of time. As far as I am concerned, you may not know it but I can see your hidden treasure."

So everybody is a Buddha, either aware of it or unaware of it. No hypothesis comes into the path of Zen.

What Rumi is saying -- "I want burning, burning..." -- is the mind focused on a hypothetical beloved, and the burning desire to meet him, to melt in him. But it is an objective god -- it may be woman or man, it does not matter.

In Bengal, in India, there is a small sect which believes that only Krishna is male and everybody else is female. Because everybody is female and there is a great burning to meet the lover, the god, they sleep with a statue of Krishna in their bed.

But these are all mind games. Except for Gautam Buddha and Lao Tzu, and the people who became enlightened from their lineages, the whole of humanity is living in hypotheses. I appreciate the poetry of Rumi, I appreciate the beauty of many Sufi mystics, but I cannot say that they are enlightened. They are still groping, and their groping will stop only when they drop this hypothesis of God.

The search has to be inwards, not outwards. Any search that is outwards is going to change your personality. It can make it more beautiful, more loving, but it is just imagination.

It happened that one Sufi master who was very much loved...his disciples used to come to me and say: "When our master comes, we want you both to meet."

I said: "On one condition: your master should be my guest for just three days, and you have not to come for three days."

So the master came, as he used to come every year for a month or two to that place. He was a lovely man, very fragrant, very radiant, very joyful. He used to dance and sing and play on instruments. When he came to my house, I closed the door and told the disciples: "Now you disappear, and for three days leave him with me."

The master said: "What do you want?"

I said: "You put your instruments away, and for three days don't think about your beloved God."

He said: "What is the purpose of this?"

I said: "The purpose will be known after three days. Just for three days be normal. You are abnormal."

He said: "You are a strange fellow! I am abnormal?"

I said: "Just drop this idea of a hypothetical God. Have you seen God?"

He said: "I see God everywhere."

I said: "When did it start happening?"

He said: "It took twenty years for me to see God in everyone. Finally, I started seeing."

I said: "That's why I am saying that for three days, don't do anything you have been doing. For these three days take a holiday from your practice of seeing God in everyone."

Just in one day it was finished! The next day he was very angry with me. He said: "Just let me go. You have destroyed my twenty years' effort. For just one night I followed your idea, and now in the morning I don't see any God anywhere."

I said: "A God that you have been seeing for twenty years disappears within a single night -- what is it worth? Can't you see that it is a hypothesis that you have imposed? And twenty years are not needed for such programming -- such programming can be done within hours."

A person can be hypnotized just for seven days continually and told he will see God everywhere, in everyone, and he will be very joyful, very loving.

Within seven days the person can be programmed just like a computer, and he will start seeing God. But this is not the way of truth.

Coleman, it is perfectly good: enjoy Rumi's beautiful poems, enjoy beautiful Sufi stories. I have enjoyed them. But I warn you, don't get lost into them. They are just a game of the mind, a strategy of self-hypnosis.

I said that you have asked a dangerous question. I don't want to hurt your feelings and your love, but I have to say the truth even if it hurts. One day you will feel grateful to me.

Sufism is nothing. You can find good poetry anywhere. And if you want, bring any Sufi to me and I will take away all his experience within one hour. These are abnormal people, hypnotizing themselves.

The real thing is to come to a point of dehypnotizing yourself, because every society has already hypnotized you. A Hindu thinks Krishna is a god, and never bothers that Krishna stole sixteen thousand women from different people. He was married only to one woman. But sixteen thousand women -- any beautiful woman, and his soldiers would catch hold of her; he just had to make a sign that they should take her to the palace.

Krishna behaved with women like they were cattle, and he never thought that they have children, they have husbands, they have their old parents, or their husband's parents, and he is destroying their whole family life. And what is he going to do with sixteen thousand women? He is not a bull. Even a bull will be tired. Sixteen thousand -- it is a record. Still, no Hindu will question the point.

Rama is God to the Hindus, and nobody questions that he killed one poor untouchable, a young man, just because he heard somebody reciting the Vedas. The Hindu society has maintained the caste system for five thousand years, and the untouchable, the sudra, the last, is not allowed to read any religious scripture. He is not allowed to be educated either. Untouchables are not allowed to live in the city; they have to live outside the city. They do all the dirty work of the city and they live the poorest life in the world. Their whole dignity and manhood is taken away.

And this young man had not read anything, he simply heard some brahmin reciting the Rig Veda. Just hiding behind the trees out of curiosity, he was caught hold of, and when he was brought to Rama because he had committed this great crime, Rama told his people: "Melt some lead and pour it into both his ears, because he has heard the Veda, which is prohibited."

The man certainly died. When you pour burning lead into the ears, you cannot expect the man to remain alive. He fell dead then and there. And no Hindu questions it. Even people like Mahatma Gandhi just go on repeating the name of Rama; he is a god.

And this is the situation all over the world, with every religion. I have looked in all nooks and corners, and except Zen I don't find any religious phenomenon which is absolutely pure and which has not committed a single crime against humanity. It has only contributed more beauty and more grace and more love and more meditativeness.

So it is perfectly good, Coleman; enjoy the poetry, but don't think that these poetries are coming out of enlightenment. They have not even heard the word enlightenment. No word exists in Persian, in Urdu, in Arabic, equivalent to enlightenment. They have "God realization," realization of the beloved -- but the beloved is separate from you.

The whole point is that even if you find a god which is separate from you, millions of others must have found him before.

You will be in a crowd. And what are you going to do when you meet God? -- Say: "Hello, how are you"? There is nothing much in just meeting -- you will look embarrassed and God will look embarrassed: Now what to do with this Professor Coleman? "It was very good...you were doing good translations, but why have you come here?"

Now don't do any such thing, creating any embarrassment for God. There exists no God. What exists is godliness, and that godliness surrounds you. We are all in the same ocean.

An ancient story is: A young, very philosophical-minded fish asked other fish: "We have heard so much about the ocean; where is it? I want to meet the ocean."

Everybody shrugged their shoulders; they said: "We have also heard about the ocean, but we don't know where it is."

An old fish took the boy aside and told him: "There is no other ocean anywhere. We are in it. We are born in it, we live in it, we die in it. This is the ocean."

And I say unto you, the same is true with us. We are born in godliness, we live in godliness, we die in godliness. Just one thing has to be remembered: either you can pass through this tremendous experience of life asleep, or fully awakened.

Meditation is the only way to make you aware. And once you are fully aware, all around is the ocean of godliness. The very life, the very consciousness is divine. It expresses in all the forms -- in the roses and in the lotuses and in the birds and in the trees. Wherever life is, it is nothing but godliness. We are living in the ocean of godliness. So don't search anywhere. Just look within, because that is the closest point you can find.

Sufism is beautiful but is not the ultimate answer, and you should not stop at Sufism. It is a good training to begin with. End up with Zen.

And it is a great, surprising thing, that from the peaks of Zen you will be able to understand Sufism more than you can understand by living in the Sufi circles. Some distance is needed, and Zen gives you the distance. From that distance you can witness all the religions. What are they doing? -- Playing games, beautiful games, but games are games after all.

You are asking: "What do the burning and the fire have to do with my own enlightenment?" Nothing at all. You are enlightened in this very moment; just enter silently into your own being. Find the center of your being and you have found the center of the whole universe. We are separate on the periphery but we are one at the center. I call this the buddha experience.

Unless you become a Buddha -- and remember, it is the poverty of language that I have to say "Unless you become...." You already are. So I have to say, unless you recognize, unless you remember what you have forgotten....

Every child in its innocence knows, and every child goes astray because of so much knowledge being poured in by the parents, by the priests, by the teachers. Soon the child's innocence is completely covered with all kinds of bullshit.

The whole effort of meditation is to cut through all the dust that society has poured upon you and just to find that small buddha-nature you were born with.

The day you find the buddha-nature you were born with, the circle is complete. You have again become innocent.

Socrates in his last days said: "When I was young I thought I knew much. As I became older I started thinking I knew everything. But as I became still older and my consciousness became sharper, I suddenly realized I don't know anything."

It is a beautiful story that in Greece there is -- used to be, now it is ruins -- the temple of Delphi. And the oracle of the temple of Delphi declared that Socrates was the wisest man in the whole world. The people who had known Socrates rushed to tell him: "The oracle has declared you the wisest man in the world!"

Socrates said: "The oracle for the first time is wrong. I know nothing."

The people were very much in a puzzle. They went back to Delphi and told the oracle: "You say he is the wisest man and he says he knows nothing."

The oracle said: "That's why he is the wisest man in the world. He has again become a child. He has come back home."

Maneesha has also asked a question.
You have been speaking on the empty heart of Zen. Last night we spent an evening listening to Rumi's expression of the Sufi heart. Could you talk of the difference between the two?

The reality is that what the Sufis call the heart is just part of their mind. The mind has many capacities: thinking, feeling, imagination, dreaming, self-hypnosis -- these are all qualities of the mind. In fact there is no heart as such; everything is being done by the mind.

We have lived with this traditional division, that imagination and feeling and emotions and sentiments are of the heart. But your heart is just a pumping system. Everything that you think or imagine or feel is confined into the mind. Your mind has seven hundred centers and they control everything.

When Zen says empty heart it simply means empty mind. To Zen, heart or mind are synonymous. The emphasis is on emptiness. A mind that is empty becomes the door to the divine that is all around -- but first it has to be empty.

Sufism is a beautiful imagination. Zen has nothing to do with imagination. Everything has to be emptied out. The name of Rumi is beautiful in a sense: not in Persian but in English,, "roomy" means empty. The room either can be full of furniture or it can be without furniture, simply a room. That empty room contains the whole space, the whole existence.

Sardar Gurudayal Singh must be waiting. Coleman has asked a very serious question, and Sardar Gurudayal Singh is thinking, what happened about his time?

Betty Cheese, the wife of Chester, and Miss Goodbody, the unmarried schoolteacher, go on holiday together in Jamaica. They are lying around on the beach, thoroughly enjoying themselves, when Miss Goodbody says: "I think I will send a postcard to my boyfriend, Herbert."
"That's a good idea," says Betty. "I will send one to Chester." So the two girls run off and buy a couple of postcards.
Miss Goodbody writes on hers: "Dearest Herbert, The place is beautiful, wish you were here."
Betty Cheese writes: "Dearest Chester, The place is here, wish you were beautiful!"

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev are scowling at each other across the conference table in Geneva. They are perched on the brink of nuclear war, in a dispute over who has control of the small oil-producing country, Abu Dhabi.
"Look here, Reagan," says Mr. Gorbachev. "Why should we destroy the whole world just because of a small piece of real estate?"
"You are right," replies Reagan. "But how can we settle this argument without a war?"
"Simple," says Gorbachev. "You and I can have a contest of courage right now -- man to man."
"Great!" says the senile president of America. "What shall we do?"
"Well, in Russia," says Gorbachev: "we settle things like this: we just stand in front of each other, and each one of us gets to take a good kick at the other, right between the legs. Whoever can get up the quickest afterwards is the winner."
"Great idea!" says Reagan. "Let us get started."
The two men stand up, and Gorbachev goes first. He winds up and lets fly a mighty kick that nails Ronald right in the nuts. Reagan screams, falls over, and rolls around on the ground with his eyes popping out. After about five minutes of this, he manages to drag himself to his feet.
"Okay," gasps Ronnie: "now it's my turn."

Herbert Hoop reaches the age of thirty-two and decides to take out a life-insurance policy. He goes along to the Ripoff Insurance Agency and is shown into the doctor's office for a complete physical examination.
After a thorough check-up, the doctor tells Herbert to get dressed.
"All the tests came out fine," says Doctor Bandaid. "But if you don't mind me making a personal observation, you have absolutely the smallest prick I have ever seen. Do you have any problems with it?"
"Well," says Herbert: "I have been married for ten years and we have two lovely kids and a good sex life. The only problem I have with my prick is that I have difficulty finding it in the daytime."
"Really?" says Bandaid. "And what about at night?"
"That is no problem," replies Herbert. "Then there's two of us looking for it."

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 your body to be completely frozen. Now look inwards with your total consciousness and with a great urgency as if this is going to be your last moment of life. Pierce the center like a spear. It is not far away, just one step.

The moment you reach your center you will find a tremendous silence, a great serenity, and a joy that you have never known before. Flowers will start showering on you, because existence rejoices very much. Any evolution of consciousness -- when ten thousand people are at their center, it is a momentous event.

This moment you are the Buddha. You don't have to become, you have always been. Your work consists in bringing this Buddha from your hidden center to the periphery of your life, to your activities, to your relations.

Slowly, slowly bring the Buddha from the center to the circumference...and you have passed through the greatest revolution possible. I know no other authentic revolution than this.

Just witness carefully. Buddha is not in front of you, you are the Buddha. Be careful about it. If you see the Buddha outside, cut the head off the Buddha immediately. Your witnessing is the Buddha. Your very isness, your very life, your very being is the Buddha.

To make it more clear,


(Nivedano beats the drum again, at which point every lies down in a relaxed let-go.)

Now witness. You are not the body, you are not the mind, you are just a witness, a witness of emptiness, a witness of nothingness, and suddenly from the very center of your being arises a great blissfulness, a great ecstasy.

At this moment the Buddha Auditorium has become a silent lake of consciousness. You have melted into each other. You are just part of the ocean. Don't ask where the ocean is. Thisness, suchness is the ocean. To be here now is the ocean, and the oceanic consciousness is the ultimate freedom.

Before Nivedano calls you back, gather as much experience and the flowers and the fragrance and persuade the Buddha to come with you. He comes...he is your intrinsic nature. Just as he can be at the center, he can be at the circumference.

That fortunate day certainly comes one day that your whole life becomes filled up. All your activities, all your gestures become so graceful, so divine. Your very silence becomes such a song. Your unmoving center becomes such a dance.

And one who knows his center, also knows his eternity, his immortality. Buddhas don't die, neither are they born. They simply appear and disappear into the same ocean just like waves.

Nivedano.... (A final drum-beat brings everyone back to the sitting position.)

Come back, but come as Buddhas, peacefully, silently, gracefully. Sit for a few minutes to collect the space you have been in, the path you have trodden.

You have to go deeper and deeper every day, you have to bring more and more of the Buddha to the circumference of your life.

It happens, certainly -- I say it with absolute authority because it has happened to me. Why cannot it happen to you? It is our birthright, just you have to claim it.

Okay, Maneesha?

Yes, Osho.

OSHO : Rinzai: Master of The Irrational, Chapter 2

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