Bodhidharma 16

Sixteenth Discourse from the series of 20 discourses - Bodhidharma by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

You say that our true buddha-nature and all virtues have awareness for their root. But what is the root of ignorance?

The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions and evils, is rooted in the three poisons: greed, anger and delusion. These three poisoned states of mind themselves include countless evils, like trees that have a single trunk but countless branches and leaves. Yet each poison produces so many more millions of evils that the example of a tree is hardly a fitting comparison.

The three poisons are present in our six sense organs as six kinds of consciousness, or thieves. They’re called thieves because they pass in and out of the gates of the senses, covet limitless possessions, engage in evil and mask their true identity. …

But if someone cuts off their source, rivers dry up. And if someone who seeks liberation can turn the three poisons into the three sets of precepts and the six thieves into the six paramitas, he rids himself of affliction once and for all.

But the three realms and the six states of existence are infinitely vast. How can we escape their endless afflictions if all we do is behold the mind?

The karma of the three realms comes from the mind alone. If your mind isn’t within the three realms, it’s beyond them. …

And how does the karma of these six differ?

Mortals who don’t understand true practice and blindly perform good deeds are born into the three states. … Those who blindly perform the ten good deeds and foolishly seek happiness are born as gods in the realm of desire. Those who blindly observe the five precepts and foolishly indulge in love and hate are born as men in the realm of anger. And those who blindly cling to the phenomenal world, believe in false doctrines and hope for blessings are born as demons in the realm of delusion. …

If you can just concentrate your mind and transcend its falsehood and evil, the suffering of existence will automatically disappear. And once free from suffering, you’re truly free.
The sutras for this evening…. Bodhidharma is facing the ultimate question which nobody has ever been able to answer. The ultimate question is ultimate because it cannot be answered. Every philosophy, theology, mysticism, finally comes to the ultimate question, and there is no answer for it.
But even a man like Bodhidharma, a man of tremendous courage, intelligence, awareness, still has not the ultimate courage to say that there is no answer to this question. He tries – just as millions of philosophers, thinkers, mystics, have always tried but have always failed.
He also tries as if there is an answer and he knows it, but whatever he says is not the answer and the question remains untouched. What he says is exactly what is written in the scriptures of the Buddhists. Here he is no longer responding to the question immediately, out of his own awareness; otherwise he would have simply laughed and recognized that there is no answer for it.
I could have simply said, “I don’t know.” But to say, “I don’t know” needs the greatest courage in the world. Even Bodhidharma does not have that ultimate courage. But I have got it! I will not in any way try to camouflage – through philosophical jargon, or theological hypotheses – to hide the fact that there is no answer and create an illusion of an answer.
Whatever Bodhidharma says here is only an illusion. He is trying his best to rationalize it, to support it from the scriptures. Perhaps he may have been able to pacify the disciples, but he cannot pacify me!
First I will read the disciples’ question. Their question is more important than the answer of Bodhidharma. Their question at least has a sincerity, an authenticity. Bodhidharma’s answer is just to hide the fact that ultimate questions remain questions. This is the whole reason why we call the essential religion “mysticism.” If everything can be answered, then there is no question of any mystery.
Existence is a mystery because you can go on answering, but finally you cannot answer the ultimate question. And it is not far away; it soon comes up. You can answer all superficial things, but as you go deeper the ultimate question is coming closer. And the moment the ultimate question comes, I have not yet come across a single man in the whole history of mankind who has had the courage to say, “I don’t know.”
The question:
You say that our true buddha-nature and all virtues have awareness for their roots. But what is the root of ignorance?
From where does the ignorance come in? In other words, in other symbols which will be more easily understood….
The religions that believe in God can go on answering questions up to the point where it is asked, “Who created existence?” They have a ready-made answer: God created it. Now comes the ultimate question: “Who created God?” Because if everything needs a creator, then God must need a creator. And if God needs no creator, then why bother about God? Then why can’t you accept existence itself – without a creator? If you have to accept somewhere or other, then it is better to stop with existence as the ultimate, because at least we know it – we are part of it.
God is just a hypothesis. Existence is reality. But all the religions have moved from reality to the hypothesis, and then they are faced with a problem which nobody has been able to answer. And nobody will ever be able to answer it, because any answer is going to lead into an infinite regress.
If you say that God Number One was created by God Number Two, the question remains the same: “Who created God Number Two?” You can go on and on and on. But whatever the number, the question will still remain relevant, “Who created this God?” And this is the same question from which we have started, “Who created the universe?”
So God has not been of any help. The hypothesis has not done any service. God is simply a futile hypothesis. It is just a pretension of an answer, but it is not a true answer because the question remains the same. A true answer means the question should disappear. That is the criterion.
In Buddhism there is no god. In the place of god is the ultimate awareness, the buddhahood, the buddha-nature. This is only a different language.
Now the disciples are asking: We can understand that the buddha-nature and all virtues have awareness for their root. But from where has the ignorance come in? Why in the beginning the ignorance? Why not the awareness from the very beginning? This is the same question, only a different theological framework. And any answer to it – without any exception, without knowing about it – I can say is going to be wrong.
We have simply to accept the mystery that we are born in ignorance and the possibility is intrinsic in us to dispel this ignorance and become aware. We are born in misery, but with an intrinsic potential to overcome it, to transcend it, to become blissful, to become ecstatic. We are born in death, but with the possibility of going beyond death into immortality.
But if you ask from where the death comes in, from where the ignorance comes in, from where the misery comes in, you are asking an ultimate question. There is no answer for it. It simply is the case. It is better to use Buddha’s expression, “suchness.” Such is the case.
But Bodhidharma could not say that. He started answering. The only right answer would have been, “I don’t know.” And Bodhidharma would have done a tremendous service to humanity. He missed! Whatever he is saying is very childish. It has to be very childish, because it is not possible that a man like Bodhidharma will not be aware of the fact that he does not know the answer. Nobody knows the answer. Nobody can know the answer because nobody can be before the beginning.
Just think of it for a single moment: you cannot be before the beginning. If you are before the beginning, then it is not the beginning. You are already there, so the beginning must have been before you were there. And unless somebody can be before the beginning, there is no witness who can say, “God created the world.”
Who can say from where ignorance came? All that we can say is that existence is drowned in ignorance and slowly, slowly, a few courageous beings are moving into awareness, rising above the darkness of life and attaining to the light which is eternal.
In another reference, Gautam Buddha makes it clear…although he also never recognizes at any point that it is a mystery and he doesn’t know.
I want you to understand that it remains a mystery and it will always remain a mystery. By its very nature there is no way to know the beginning.
But in a different context, Buddha has come very close. He says, “Ignorance has no beginning, but an end. And consciousness has a beginning, but no end.” This way he completes the circle. I will repeat it, so that you can deeply feel it: Ignorance has no beginning, but an end. And because ignorance ends, awareness has a beginning, but it has no end. It goes on and on forever.
With this, Buddha is recognizing the fact that it is better not to ask about the beginning of ignorance and not to ask about the end of awareness. These two things will remain forever mysterious. And these are the most important things in existence.
If the question was asked of me, I would simply say, “I don’t know,” because that is the most sincere answer. It simply means that it is a mystery.
But Bodhidharma starts trying to answer the question, and you can see it does not even touch the question at all. The ignorant mind – now the question is from where the ignorance comes, and he has already accepted it, without answering:
The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions and evils, is rooted in the three poisons: greed, anger and delusion.
Is this the answer? He is saying the ignorant mind is rooted in certain things: delusion, anger, greed. But was this the answer? Was the disciple asking it? Was he asking for this kind of explanation?
The question was, “What is the root of ignorance?” And if you answer that for example greed, anger and delusion are at the root of ignorance, you are simply postponing the answer. Again the question will arise, “From where comes the greed? From where comes the anger and from where the delusion?” And then you fall into a vicious circle. Then you start saying, “They come from ignorance. It is because man is ignorant; that is why he is greedy, that is why he is angry, that is why he is deluded.” And when we ask from where this ignorance comes, “It comes from anger, from greed and delusion.” Whom you are trying to befool?
But for centuries these kind of answers have befooled people. Perhaps nobody questioned these irrelevant answers – either because they were so much impressed, so much overwhelmed by the individuality of a man like Bodhidharma, or perhaps they could not figure out that Bodhidharma is simply creating more smoke around the question, so they cannot see their question clearly. He is throwing dust into their eyes. It is not an answer.
But this is not only the case with Bodhidharma. This is the case with everyone…with Gautam Buddha, with Mahavira, with Confucius, with Lao Tzu, with Zarathustra, with Jesus, with Moses…with everyone without exception. Whenever they come close to the ultimate question, they start talking nonsense. And these are very sensible people, very intelligent people.
But the ultimate question can be answered not by intelligence but by innocence, can be answered only by an innocent person, a person who does not care for any respectability, for any wisdom, for any enlightenment, who can risk everything for his sincerity.
These people were not able to risk their wisdom. They could not say, “I don’t know.” But that is the only authentic answer, because that gives you the sense that you have come to the ultimate: now begins the mystery – and it is unsolvable. There is no way to reduce it into knowledge. It is not an unknown which can be made known by efforts, by intelligence, by practice, by discipline, by any method, by any ritual.
The mystery can be lived, but cannot be known. It remains always, unknowable. It remains always, a mystery.
One man, a great contemporary, G.E. Moore, has written a book, Principia Ethica. And perhaps he is the only man in the whole of history, who has thought so deeply just to define the word good. Because without defining good, there can be no ethics and no morality. If you cannot define what is good, then how you can decide what is moral, what is immoral; what is right, what is wrong.
He took a fundamental question, without knowing that it is the ultimate question and he got into trouble. And he was one of the most intelligent people of our contemporary world. He looks at it from every direction inquiring for almost for two hundred and fifty pages, just on a single question, “What is good?” And he was utterly defeated in defining such a simple word as good. Everybody knows what is good, everybody knows what is bad, everybody knows what is beautiful and everybody knows what is ugly. But when it comes to definition – you will be in the same trouble.
He was thinking that everybody knows what is good…there must be some way to find the secret and define it. But finally, after two hundred and fifty pages of very concentrated thinking, of the keenest logic and rational analysis he comes to the conclusion that good is indefinable. These two hundred pages have been just going round and round and reaching nowhere. Good is indefinable.
Croce has done the same work on “beauty”…one thousand pages. He has gone far deeper than G.E. Moore has gone into “good.” And after one thousand pages, comes the last statement: that beauty is indefinable.
Everybody knows that the most difficult problem is that it is very difficult to find a man who does not know what beauty is and what ugliness is. But don’t insist on a definition. Even the greatest minds have failed.
This is accepting failure, when they say beauty is indefinable. G.E. Moore became so frustrated that he said, “Don’t blame me that I have not been able to define what is good. Even simpler questions – this is a very complex question – are indefinable. For example, what is yellow…?”
That is what G.E. Moore asks, “Can you define what yellow is?” You all know what yellow is. There is no doubt about it. You can all indicate towards a marigold flower…this is yellow. But he is not asking for indications; he is asking, “How have you come to know that this is yellow? What is the definition? What is the criterion that this marigold flower fulfills? Why it is not red? Why is it yellow? You must have certain definitions. Why is something red and something blue and something green and something yellow…on what grounds?”
And then he says, “If yellow cannot be defined and although everybody knows what it is, nobody says, then perhaps all our knowledge is just very superficial.”
Perhaps we have never inquired deeply into anything; we have never gone to the very rock-bottom. Otherwise my own understanding is everything is indefinable, because everything is mysterious. It is not only a question of beauty, or good, of ignorance, or awareness – everything, the whole existence consists only of indefinables. To recognize this is to recognize our ultimate ignorance. And to be able to recognize our ultimate ignorance, you need an absolutely selfless, egoless innocence, because that has been missing.
Bodhidharma is doing the same as everybody else has done. And it is not a new thing – for centuries philosophers have been indulging in simple questions.
You all know two plus two is four. But you have never gone deep into inquiry, whether it is so, or just hearsay. You have heard people saying two plus two is four, so you are repeating it generation after generation.
Bertrand Russell, one of the greatest mathematicians of our age, and perhaps of all ages, has written a book, Principia Mathematica. It takes him two hundred and fifty pages to go into the question, whether or not two plus two is four. You cannot even conceive what he will be writing in two hundred and fifty pages…. Two plus two is simply four and forget all about it. Two hundred and fifty pages…such a dense, logical argumentation that his book is one of the most unreadable books in the world.
Just a few crazy people like me, who don’t care whether it is readable or unreadable…. I have seen in many university libraries that the book has not even been opened. Many pages are joined – nobody has cut them, because even to read two pages is enough! It is one thousand pages in all and one-fourth has gone only in discussing whether or not two plus two is four.
And the conclusion? The conclusion is that it is only a belief. It cannot be said with certainty, that two plus two makes four. It is a utilitarian concept. It is good, workable, but Bertrand Russell has not been left unchallenged – even on that. Another mathematician, Godel, challenged it. Because Godel says there is no possibility of two plus two being four. There is no possibility at all. And Godel has the same quality of genius as Bertrand Russell. He is not in any way a smaller genius – perhaps a greater genius. His argument is very clear and Bertrand Russell has not been able to answer it.
Godel argues that you can put two chairs and two chairs together and naturally, there are four chairs. but two in itself is just an abstract symbol. Two chairs is another matter. Two is just a concept. It is as hypothetical as God, or the devil. Have you seen two anywhere? Have you met with two and said hello? Have you ever seen two with two meeting and hugging each other?
And Godel’s criticism is that two things in existence are never exactly the same; something is always different. You cannot find two people the same; you cannot find even two leaves in the whole forest exactly the same. Then how can two leaves which are not equal, together with two other leaves which are also not equal, be four? They can be three, they can be five, they can be anything, but not four!
And I understand Godel is right. Of course my understanding comes from a totally different dimension. To me, Godel is more appealing because that makes existence mysterious. You cannot even count on such simple answers as two and two are four. Everything is pragmatic. But as far as reality is concerned, it remains unknowable.
So you have to remember this. I will go through the answers of Bodhidharma, but it is not the answer. It may be useful to go into it: it may help you to understand something else but it is not the answer to the question.
But it is not Bodhidharma’s fault. There is no answer. His only fault is that he is not recognizing that he doesn’t know. And I cannot forgive him for that because I love him and I respect him and I wanted him to be sincere. Had he said, “I don’t know,” he would have risen far above the thousands of other mystics and buddhas and bodhisattvas and arhatas. He would have become absolutely unique, but he could not manage.
The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions and evils, is rooted in the three poisons: greed, anger and delusion. These three poisoned states of mind themselves include countless evils, like trees that have a single trunk but countless branches and leaves. Yet each poison produces so many more millions of evils that the example of a tree is hardly a fitting comparison.

The three poisons are present in our six sense organs as six kinds of consciousness, or thieves. They’re called thieves because they pass in and out of the gates of the senses, covet limitless possessions, engage in evil and mask their true identity….

But if someone cuts off their source, rivers dry up. And if someone who seeks liberation can turn the three poisons into the three sets of precepts and the six thieves into the six paramitas, he rids himself of affliction once and for all.
All this is okay. But can you see it as an answer to the question? It is true, that if you can change your greed, your anger, your delusion – the poisons – with awareness, they transform into nectar. The same that was your disease, becomes your health. The same that was your bondage, becomes your freedom. All that is needed is to bring awareness into the darkness of your being.
This is true. We have already discussed it many, many times in different ways. But it is not the answer to the question: “From where does the ignorance come?”
This is also true, that if you cut the root then the tree withers away. And the root of your bondage, of your blindness, of your darkness, is your mind. If you cut the root of the mind – and the root of the mind is identity with yourself…when you are angry you say, “I am angry.” That is the root. If you are really aware when you are angry, you will not say, “I am angry.” You will say, “I am seeing anger passing through my mind.” If you can say that, you are a seer, you are a witness. The root is cut.
One Indian sannyasin, who traveled far and wide in the world, was Ramateertha. He had a very strange habit of never using “I.” Instead of using I, he would use the third person for himself. For example, “Ramateertha is thirsty.” He would never say, “I am thirsty.” He would say, “Rama is thirsty.”
With those who knew him, there was no difficulty. But he was continuously traveling all over the world. For many years he was in America and people could not understand when he would say, “Rama has a headache.” They would ask, “Where is Rama?” Or, “Rama is thirsty,” or “Rama is feeling sick.”
In a strange land, he was moving with strange people and they were continuously saying, “This is a strange way of speaking. Why can’t you simply say that you are thirsty? Why make it unnecessarily complicated?” But he was practicing a certain method of cutting the root. By not saying, “I am thirsty, I have a headache, I am feeling sick, I am feeling sleepy,” he was trying to avoid the “I” and trying to be just a watcher. “Rama has hunger; Rama is thirsty” or “Rama is suffering from a headache.” He is just a witness reporting to you that this is what is happening to Rama…if you can do something, do it.
He was trying to pull himself away from whatever was happening in his body, in his mind, in his heart. He was trying to clarify himself completely from all identities. He wanted just to be a witness.
To be a witness is to cut the very root, and you will be liberated. This is perfectly right. But this is not the answer to the question.
I will go on insisting on the fact that Bodhidharma is creating unnecessary verbiage…so much prose. Perhaps the disciples forgot about the question, but I cannot forget and neither can I forgive. Everything that he is saying is right in other contexts, so he is not saying anything wrong. But whatever he is saying, although it is right, is not at all relevant. And just being right is not the question. The answer has to be relevant to the question.
He goes on creating more and more. But the three realms and the six states of existence are infinitely vast. What relation has it to the source of ignorance, from where it comes?
How can we escape their endless afflictions if all we do is behold the mind? The disciples are asking another question. They have been deceived. They think they have received the answer to their first question. They have not received the answer, because there is no answer.
Now they are asking another question:
But the three realms and the six states of existence are infinitely vast. How can we escape their endless afflictions if all we do is behold the mind?
They are caught by Bodhidharma. He has deceived them. He has brought them to a question that can be answered.

I am reminded of a doctor who was treating a very rich woman…just for a common cold, but it was not going away. The doctor was tired because every day she was standing in his clinic with the complaint that the cold has not gone – and in fact, there is no treatment for the common cold.
Those who know say, “If you take medicine, it goes in seven days. If you don’t take medicine, it goes in one week.”
But the doctor was tired. Every day the rich lady in her limousine…and as he would hear the limousine being parked in front of his door, he would say, “My God, she is back again. That common cold is going to kill me.”
Finally he became so fed up that he said, “Listen, there is only one cure. I have not told you because it is a little difficult.” The woman said, “No problem. I am ready to do anything, but I want to get rid of this cold.”
So he said, “You do one thing: just behind your palace where you live is a big lake. So get up in the middle of the night, when it is absolutely cold and freezing, drop all your clothes and take a jump into the lake.”
The woman listened breathlessly to what kind of treatment it was. “…and then stand on the shore, naked. Don’t dry the water on your body. Let the breeze take it away.”
And the woman said, “My God, this is treatment for a common cold? This will give me double pneumonia!”
The doctor said, “That is right. I have a treatment for double pneumonia, but I don’t have a treatment for the common cold. So first create double pneumonia; then everything is within control. When you come back, come with double pneumonia and I will treat it. But for the common cold, I just don’t have any other treatment. This is the only treatment. When somebody wants to be treated, then I have to give him this as a last resort. If you can manage to create pneumonia, or double pneumonia…no fear. I have experimented perfectly and have found a valid treatment for them. I guarantee it; you just do what I have told you.”

That is what philosophers have been doing. Whenever you ask them the ultimate question that cannot be answered, they start going into pneumonia, double pneumonia. And ordinary people get puzzled with their words. They either think their question has been answered, or perhaps they have forgotten the question by the time the long sermon ends.
They are asking another question. Now there is no problem; they are asking, “There are so many afflictions and existence is so vast, and one has so many lives and so many evil acts…just by beholding the mind, how can one get free of all that?”
Just a simple cure, so simple: watch your mind and everything is finished. It is unbelievable. People want something complicated, because the problem is complicated….
In millions of your lives in the past you must have done uncountable evil acts, you must have dreamed uncountable evil dreams. If you have not committed crimes, you may have thought to commit them. That makes no difference – whether you actually murder somebody or you simply think of murdering somebody, in both cases your mind is functioning in an evil way. It is vibrating in an evil way, and the mind carries those vibrations for millions of lives. Now so many past evil actions have been accumulated, how can they be dropped just by beholding the mind?
But this is not the ultimate question. This is a very simple question…because you may have dreamed your whole life. In the night you may have dreamed that you lived a hundred-year life. And the time scale between waking and dreaming is different: if you fall asleep in a single second, you can dream a long dream of years’ duration. And when you wake up and look at your watch, you are puzzled: just one minute has passed. In one minute, how could you manage a long, long dream? Years and years have passed in the dream.
In dreams the time scale is different. When you wake up, the time scale is different. We don’t yet know exactly what the time scale is in dreams; otherwise, we might be able to create watches which you can wear when you are asleep which will give you exactly the right time. They will not be in minutes and hours; they will be years, and perhaps light-years because you can dream that you have been on the moon, you can dream that you have been on the farthest star.
It takes four years to reach to the nearest star and four years to come back – and that is about the nearest star! There are stars which will take four million years, five million years to reach, and then five million years to come back. You can manage in a single night; in a single dream, you can reach to the farthest star and you can come back too. You have to come back. You cannot remain there. It is not possible that you can wake up in your room and not find yourself there because you are gone….
I have heard:

Two friends were talking with each other about the dream they had last night. One man said, “Boy, what a beautiful dream…such big fish! In my whole life I have not been able to catch so many big fish. It was such a joy…the whole night, I was going in and in, inside the lake, and finding bigger and bigger fish.”
The other said, “This is nothing. You cannot even conceive what happened last night in my dream.” His friend said, “What happened?”
And the man said, “I am thinking if I should say it or not – because you will not believe it. Even when I am awake, I myself cannot believe it but it happened. Suddenly I found that in my bed, on one side is Sophia Loren. I said, ‘My God, how did she get in?’ and I turned to look at the other side and I found Marilyn Monroe. I said, ‘What is happening? Have I died and reached heaven?’”
By this time the other fellow had become very angry. He said, “You idiot, why did you not call me? When two women came…what were you doing with two women? One is enough for you. You could have chosen. It was your dream of course, so the first choice was for you. But the other woman belonged to me. What kind of friendship is this?”
And the other man said, “I went to your house but they said you had gone fishing.”

In a small dream you can do everything…possible, impossible, everything! The time scale is different. In the morning when you wake up, do you ask how it was possible that just by waking up, all the dreams have disappeared – so many dreams, such beautiful dreams…?
The same is the situation when a man becomes enlightened. All the millions of lives simply evaporate like dreams. It is not a question of fighting with each and every evil act separately – that you have to fight on, doing good, balancing the evil – then it will take millions of lives again before the time you can become awakened.
And meanwhile, in these millions of lives when you are trying to undo your past, you will still be continuing to do something or other and that will go on accumulating. You cannot get out of this trap. The only way to get out of this trap is to wake up.
Nothing else is needed. You don’t have to change your anger, you don’t have to change your greed, you don’t have to change anything. You have simply to be alert and aware. And all the projections of greed, all the projections of anger, all the projections of delusion, will evaporate – just the way, every morning, your dreams evaporate. They are made of the same stuff as dreams are made of.
So it seems a simple method and inconceivable to the rational mind that it can solve anything. Just by watching your mind everything will be transformed and you will discover your buddhahood, your ultimate beauty and joy, your ultimate existence, your greatest ecstasy. How is it possible? That’s what the disciples are asking.
Bodhidharma says:
The karma of the three realms comes from the mind alone. If your mind isn’t within the three realms…
It is no-mind.
…it is beyond them.
The moment you are aware, the mind becomes silent. And all the actions, good or bad, are created only by the mind. They are just like a film that you are seeing on the screen of the mind. Once you wake up, the film disappears. Suddenly there is a blank screen…utterly silent, nothing moving, absolute stillness.
Mortals who don’t understand true practice and blindly perform good deeds are born into the three states. Those who blindly perform the ten good deeds and foolishly seek happiness are born as gods in the realm of desire. Those who blindly observe the five precepts and foolishly indulge in love and hate are born as man in the realm of anger. And those who blindly cling to the phenomenal world, believe in false doctrines and hope for blessings are born as demons in the realm of delusion.

If you can just concentrate your mind and transcend its falsehood and evil, the suffering of existence will automatically disappear. And once free of suffering, you are truly free.
The words he is using are theological, but what he is saying is that those who are living in greed want more and more pleasure. They can project a life of heaven, they can be born in heaven as gods, but this will be only a mind projection. It will be only a belief.

I used to live with a professor and when one day I talked about projection, he was not ready to believe that everything is a projection. He had a younger brother and I had been watching the younger brother, because we had lived almost three months together in the same house. The younger brother had become very much attached to me and I was interested in him because I could see he had a tremendous capacity to be hypnotized.
Thirty-three percent of people are very capable of being hypnotized. It is a very strange percentage – thirty-three percent, because only thirty-three percent of people are talented, too. And only thirty-three percent of people are ever interested in any kind of inner search. And only thirty-three percent of people are open, available, to be hypnotized. There must be some inner connection between all these things. Perhaps the quality of being hypnotized may be the criterion for a man’s possibility of going inwards. Because in hypnosis one goes inwards with the help of others; in meditation, one goes inwards on his own. But the way is the same.
So to prove to this man – who was a professor of logic and never believed in anything unless some evidence was produced – I hypnotized his younger brother. And I was surprised that even in the first sitting, he went so deep that there was no need to have more sittings. I was thinking at least nine sittings and then the experiment could be done. But he went so deep in the first sitting that I told him, “Tomorrow, exactly at twelve o’clock – and tomorrow is Sunday so I will be at home, your brother will be at home, you will be at home – don’t go anywhere. Exactly at twelve o’clock you have to kiss the same pillow you are lying on right now. I am marking the place with a cross; exactly on that cross you have to kiss.”
I repeated it again and again and again. And when I became certain that it had become an imprint in his unconscious mind, before waking him up I made a cross on the corner of his pillow with red ink.
It took almost half an hour to bring him back, he had gone so deep. After waking up, he became normal except for one thing; again and again he used to look at the pillow and particularly at the cross. And then he would also feel embarrassed at what he was doing, because there was no reason to look at the pillow and at the cross. His conscious mind was not aware at all, but his unconscious mind was now projecting something of which he was not aware.
The next day, near about eleven-thirty, he became very restless. Something from the unconscious was going on, telling him to do something which of course he was thinking was insane…to kiss. And I was present, his brother was present and I had told his brother that he had to just sit and watch what happened.
At eleven-fifty, I took the pillow, put it in my suitcase and locked it. And you could see what was happening to that young boy…tears flowing from his eyes. And I asked, “What is the matter? Why you are crying?”
He said, “I don’t know, but don’t put my pillow in your suitcase. I beg you.”
I said, “But what is wrong? I will give it back to you, by the evening when you go to sleep.”
He said, “No, I need it right now.”
“What is the need?”
“I don’t know any need. That is why I am crying, because I cannot give any explanation, but I need the pillow immediately.”
So I gave him the key. He rushed – because it was getting close to twelve – he opened the suitcase, took out the pillow and started kissing that cross almost like mad. Just like any lover who has found his beloved after many years.
I asked him, his brother asked him, “What are you doing?”
He said, “I don’t know, but I feel such a relief. Such a burden has been removed from my heart. But I don’t know what…who has made this cross, why I have such tremendous compulsion that if I don’t kiss the cross I may die. I had to do it exactly at twelve. That was coming from inside me and I don’t know anything about it.”
His brother said, “I accept the evidence.”

When you become infatuated with a woman, do you think your woman is just a cross on the pillow? A biological infatuation? A projection from the unconscious, very deep rooted – not by anybody, but by nature itself.
Your hormones, your chemistry, your biology, they are all functioning in a certain conspiracy against your awareness. They are making you restless, they are making you irresistibly attracted towards somebody and it is beyond your power to prevent yourself from this attraction or infatuation. You will be pulled like a puppet.
It is not coincidental that all languages say, people fall in love. People certainly fall in love – fall into unconsciousness, fall into biological hypnosis, fall into the instinctual nature. They are no longer conscious human beings. That’s why this kind of infatuation and love affair finishes very soon. Once you have got the woman, once you have kissed the pillow…finished! A great burden, a great relief, but it was a pillow.
So it was a simple phenomenon, but the woman you have kissed…and you cannot kiss without a preface. It needs some introduction – going to the movies, to the disco, all kind of things as preliminary necessities. Promising all kinds of promises, bringing roses and ice cream – this is the preface. And after all this preface, when you kiss a woman, she is not just a pillow. Now she will cling to you. Now you cannot escape. Now you want to escape but your own preface has created the prison. Now you cannot go against your word.
All the seekers of human consciousness absolutely agree on the point that all your misery or your happiness, your sadness or your joy, is nothing but your projection. It is coming deep from your unconscious mind and the other person is functioning only like a screen. Once it is fulfilled, you are finished. And suddenly, the same woman you were ready to die for…you are ready to kill her.
Strange…such a great change. Love turns into hate so easily. And yet you are not aware that love and hate both are your projections. When one is finished, the other remains there.
It is true that once you are free from suffering, you are truly free. All that Bodhidharma is saying is right. But he has not answered the question.
I want to say to you that nobody has answered the question. And the reason is because life is a mystery. You can go only so far, and then all your mind has to be left behind and you enter into existence where no question is relevant, no answer ever comes to you. But you can enjoy the experience immensely. I am all for experience, not for knowledge.
I feel sad and sorry for Bodhidharma, because he has failed me. If he had said, “I don’t know” he would have raised himself as the highest and the greatest mystic the world has ever known.
But I want to say to you: I don’t know. And I want to emphasize that you should also remember, whenever there is an ultimate question, don’t try to deceive others or yourself. Simply accept your innocence. Say with humbleness, “I don’t know.”
It is not a question of ignorance. It is a question of your awareness that life is a mystery, a miracle. You can taste it but you cannot express anything about the taste. You cannot define it. And this is the greatness of existence. This is where all scientists have failed, this is where all philosophers have failed. This is the only place where mystics have succeeded.
Bodhidharma is a mystic and if he meets me…and somewhere there is a possibility in this eternal life, this unending existence, someday, somewhere I am going to catch hold of him. And he will recognize me because I am wearing the same sandals that he was carrying on his staff – the exact type. My sandals come from the Zen monasteries of Japan. It is particularly Zen – Zen people have everything of their own. Even if they use cups and saucers from the market, first they break them, then they glue them back together. Then they make them unique, then there is no other piece like that – then it becomes Zen, original, and without any other copy anywhere. Just one of a kind.
This sandal that you see has been used by Zen people since Bodhidharma, for almost fourteen centuries. The first sandal was sent to me by a Zen master from Japan as a present.
So he will immediately recognize me. I have just to show him my sandals. And I have to ask him why he missed a great opportunity…when he could have become the greatest mystic in the world. And he had every capacity. He has the genius for it.

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