Buddha Emptiness of Heart 03

Third Discourse from the series of 8 discourses - Buddha Emptiness of Heart by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

A layman asked Bankei, “Though I am grateful for your teaching of birthlessness, thoughts from constantly applied mental habits readily come up, and I get lost in them and have difficulty remaining continually unborn. How can I apply wholehearted faith?”
Bankei replied, “If you try to stop arising thoughts, the stopping mind and the stopped mind become split in two and you never have any peace of mind. Just trust that thoughts are originally nonexistent but temporarily arise and cease, conditioned by what is seen and heard, and have no real substance.”
Another layman asked, “When I wipe out arising thoughts, they keep coming up from the traces, never stopping. How can I control these thoughts?”
Bankei replied, “Wiping out arising thoughts is like washing blood with blood; though the first blood may be removed, the washing blood still stains; no matter how much you wash, the stain is not removed.
“This no-mind is originally unborn and undying and without illusion. Not realizing this, thinking that thoughts are existent things, you roam around in the routines of birth and death.
“Realizing that thoughts are only temporary appearances, you should let them be as they start and stop, without grasping or rejecting them. It is like images reflected in a mirror; since the mirror is clear and bright, it reflects whatever comes before it, but doesn’t keep the images.
“The enlightened no-mind is infinitely brighter and clearer than a mirror and is also radiantly aware, so all thoughts dissolve in that light without leaving a trace. If you can believe and trust in this truth, no matter how much they come up, it won’t be a hindrance.”
Maneesha, Gautama the Buddha marks a milestone in the history of consciousness. The society and the religion and the civilization that existed before him could not be the same after him.
It is just a Christian obsession to make Jesus Christ the line that divides the past from the present-day society. And it is also due to the fact that the East has never written history. It has never been interested in historical facts for the simple reason that if everything is illusory, changing, what does it matter who comes to rule? What does it matter what happens in the outside world? It is not the real thing.
As far as the eternal and the real is concerned, it is timeless, there is no question of history at all. History can be only of outside events, it cannot be of the inner. And because the whole concentration of the East was on the inner, it never bothered about history. Its concentration was directed more towards how to express the inner to those who are blind, to whose who are living in darkness. How to bring light to them?
We don’t know how many buddhas have remained silent. We don’t know how many buddhas preceded Gautam Buddha. We have simply not been concerned about that kind of thing – birth, death…all those things are ephemeral. But the Western attitude is outward. And because Christianity became the world’s greatest religion, it has made Jesus Christ the dividing line between the primitive, barbarian society and the society which exists now. That’s why we always refer to Jesus – “Before Christ,” or “After Christ.”
Bertrand Russell was writing the history of the world. He was confronted with the idea that it is absolutely unjustified to divide the development of society with the name of Jesus. The real division happened twenty-five centuries ago with Gautam Buddha. An authentic history should refer to Gautam Buddha. Any incident has to be described as either “Before Gautam Buddha,” or “After Gautam Buddha.”
There is no comparison between Jesus and Gautam Buddha. He was not even claiming that he was enlightened; he had not even heard what meditation is. He was only claiming that he was the last prophet of the Jews. His contribution to history is nothing. But Gautam Buddha’s contribution to human consciousness is immense, immeasurable.
Bertrand Russell was a very impartial man. But still, childhood prejudices dominate you even in your eighties, nineties. He had long before denied his Christianity. He had written a book, Why I Am Not A Christian, and before the Christian religion expelled him, he had expelled the religion himself. So he was not an orthodox Christian, or even a Christian, but when the question came before him, of what to do with Jesus Christ and Gautam Buddha, he writes in his diaries: “For days I could not sleep. I knew that it was Gautam Buddha, but my deep conditioning, of which I had never been aware, insisted that it had to be Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is ours; Gautam Buddha is a foreigner.” Finally he conceded to his conditioning.
Nobody before or after Bertrand Russell has confronted the problem. It still continues. Even the non-Christians have accepted the idea that history is divided by Jesus Christ.
I want to make it clear to you that Gautam Buddha is the dividing line from the past – his past, not our past. Now the time has come again; twenty-five centuries are enough. And that is what his calculation was, that after twenty-five centuries a new humanity should start, a new man, a new culture, a new vision, a new consciousness. According to him we are living in a very fortunate time – a time of tremendous crisis, but of great challenges and uncountable possibilities.
I am talking about Zen simply to make the point that all religions are now out of date. Zen has no clinging with the past. It is not a by-product of the past, but rather an opening towards the future. I am not unnecessarily wasting my time and your time. It is not just by chance that I have chosen to speak on Zen.
We have come to a point of departure from the society in which we have lived, a moment of tremendous departure for consciousness. The way man has felt up to now has not been healthy. The way societies have structured themselves has been very sick. The whole civilization is almost non-existential.
When H.G. Wells was asked, he said that civilization is a good idea, but somebody has to do it – it has not happened yet. We are still living in the shadows of barbarianism. Gautam Buddha has not been heard, he has not been received around the world. It seems almost as if he is a mythological figure. He is one of the most integrated persons, the most awakened human beings that we have produced.
The future can be a discontinuity with our past only if the buddha is not a difficult and arduous achievement – and he is not. We can create a society where everyone is a buddha. I don’t say Buddhist, that is an ugly word. The future has not to be dominated by any “ism.” But just the purity and grandeur of the man Buddha is so alluring; he has touched the highest peak possible to man. And he has made it possible now for every man to touch that highest peak. Whenever one man reaches to a certain point in consciousness, that point becomes easily available to anybody who wants to seek it. Gautam Buddha is a pioneer. You don’t have to go through all the difficulties which he moved through. He had to, because there was no precedent. But for you there are a thousand and one precedents.
Zen has produced the finest masters, and they are all proclaiming a discontinuity with the past and bringing a new man – the buddha, the awakened man, a man who lives consciously. We are doing this great experiment. These are not ordinary discourses or talks. I am not interested in any philosophy or any political ideology. I am interested directly in transforming you who have gathered around me.
This transformation is a simple phenomenon, once understood. What has been asked by a layman to the master Bankei is significant for you all.
Bankei is in a way a very simple man, not speaking in philosophical jargon but in day-to-day language, making very clear points. Even a little intelligence is enough to understand him. He is a man who has been on the hilltops of consciousness and has returned to the world to convey the message.
A layman asked Bankei,
“Though I am grateful for your teaching of birthlessness, thoughts from constantly applied mental habits readily come up, and I get lost in them and have difficulty remaining continually unborn. How can I apply wholehearted faith?”
Faith is a wrong translation. Unfortunately all these translations have been done by Christian missionaries. There must have been a word which was something like trust, not faith. But to the Christian both seem to be synonymous.
Just a few days ago a man from Japan who is translating one of my books on the Dhammapada – Gautam Buddha’s greatest scripture, “the path of religiousness” – wrote to me, “I was surprised: you don’t know Japanese, you don’t know Pali, you don’t know Sanskrit. And in your talks on the Dhammapada, in many places you have changed words which have been put there by the Christian missionaries.” He was simply amazed because he looked in the Japanese translations and he found that I was right every time. He could not believe how a man who does not understand Japanese can say that instead of faith, there should be the word trust.
I can understand his difficulty, but it is not a difficult matter for me. I am not a commentator. When I speak on anyone, I have no commitment except to my own understanding, to my own illumination. And when I say that something is changed in a wrong way, translated wrongly, it does not mean I understand the Japanese or Chinese from which the translation has been done. It simply means that I know the very heart of Gautam Buddha. I know the emptiness of that heart, it is my own experience. No master who has touched the emptiness of the heart can talk in terms of faith. Faith is only for the blind.

I have told you the story. There was a blind man who was a great logician, in Buddha’s time. There is no difficulty; eyes are not needed to be a logician. And because he was a great logician, nobody could prove to him that light exists. He argued, and argued so clearly, “You are either just befooling yourself, or you want me to be humiliated as a blind man. But I say there is no light.”
And his reasoning was very clear, crystal clear. He said, “I am ready for every experiment. I want to touch it – bring me to where there is light. I want to taste it. I am ready to smell it, I am ready to hear the sound of it.”
Naturally the people were at a loss. What to do with this man? He is blind but he is a great debater. As far as arguments are concerned he is always a winner, because nobody can manage to make the sound of light; nothing like that exists…the taste of light, or the touch of light.
Once Gautam Buddha was just on the way towards the capital city of Vaishali, and he passed the village where the blind man lived. People thought, “This is a good opportunity. Perhaps this is the last opportunity – if this man can even defeat Buddha through his argumentation, then we are finished! Perhaps light does not exist. Perhaps we are dreaming about light.”
That’s what he used to say to people, “You are dreaming. Just cool down, be alert: there is no light, all is darkness.”
They brought the man to Buddha. They thought that Buddha would argue with him, but instead of arguing, Buddha said, “You have brought him to a wrong person. He does not need more argumentation, because no argumentation can prove light. He needs a physician, a surgeon.”
Buddha had his own personal physician, the best physician of those days, given to him by the king of Vaishali. The physician followed him continuously for forty-two years, till his last breath, just like a shadow taking care of him. He was fragile.
He said to his physician, “Take this case in your hands. I will be leaving tomorrow morning, but you remain behind until you are finished with this case.”
The physician looked into the man’s eyes and he said, “It will not be much time. I will soon catch up with you. His eyes are only covered with a thin layer which can be removed. Within a few weeks, he will be able to see light.”
And after six weeks the physician came with the man to another village where Buddha had gone. The man came dancing. He fell unto the feet of Gautam Buddha and he said, “Just forgive me. I could not believe something which was not my experience; I am not a man of faith. But now that I can see light, a tremendous trust has arisen in me. In your compassion you did not argue about it but you simply diagnosed the case and handed me over to the physician.”
Faith is for the blind; trust is for one who has tasted something of the ultimate. The faithful are the followers. I don’t want anybody here to believe or to have faith. I want you to trust in yourself; that if Gautam Buddha can become an Everest of consciousness, he has proved the point that every human consciousness has the same potential. Trust in it, trust in yourself.
This distinction has to be remembered. Belief is always in somebody else’s ideology, and faith is in somebody else’s personality.
Trust is in your own potentiality.
And because a man brings you to your potentiality, you have a tremendous gratitude towards him, not faith. But unfortunately only Christian missionaries have been doing the work of translating; nobody else is interested in translating. And unconsciously, they bring their own conditioning – which is of faith – into their translations. One can immediately say who is the translator of any passage. Is he a Christian, or a Mohammedan, or a Hindu, or a Jaina? Or is he a man of his own understanding, not belonging to any organized religion? Only a man who knows the truth can give a translation the flavor of truth.
Christians know only faith – “Have faith in Jesus Christ.” But why should one have faith in Jesus Christ? Do you want to be crucified? – because that must be the ultimate attainment! And I don’t think you will resurrect; neither did Jesus resurrect, he just escaped from the cave.
He was fortunate enough that his country, Judea, was under the Roman empire. So the Roman governor Pontius Pilate was not interested at all in crucifying an innocent neurotic. A man who claims, “I am the only son of God” can only be thought of as neurotic. But it is not harmful, let him think it – he is not doing any harm to anybody. Pontius Pilate was of the opinion that Jesus was innocent; he had not committed any crime, and if he enjoys the idea that he is the only begotten son of God, let him enjoy!
If you are jealous, you can have some other idea, “I am the only father of God.” I don’t think anybody can refute you, nobody has any evidence. It is just the same as being the son of God. You can be the father of God, or the brother of God. It is, first of all, your imagination, hallucination – it is innocent.
If you meet somebody who says to you, “Do you know, I am the father of God” do you think he needs to be crucified? A very nice fellow, he just simply utters in your ear a truth in which he believes. You know that he has gone off the tracks, but that does not mean that he needs a crucifixion. He has to be enjoyed, entertained – give him a party where he can declare “I am the father of God.” Applaud him, and dance with him, because it is so rare to find a God and you have found the father of God! Maybe he can give you some clue where God is hiding.
The Jews were too serious. Unnecessarily they harassed Jesus; he had not done any harm to anybody. But every organized religion has an ego, a great ego. Jesus was making Judaism a laughingstock. Riding on his donkey, moving from town to town, declaring “I am the only begotten son of God” – it was not a crime, but it was hurtful to the ego of the Jews. “This man sitting on the donkey…a poor carpenter’s son, and it is well known that he is not born of his own father. To accept him as our last prophet…?”
It was difficult to the ego of the Jews; otherwise it was an innocent affair. There was no need to be angry with the poor fellow. He needed psychiatric treatment, just good nourishment, care, and perhaps he might have come out of his neurosis.
If I meet him anywhere, just a single “Yaa-Hoo” and he will come down from the donkey: “You can take my donkey, I don’t want to argue!” He simply needed a little hypnotic treatment, a reconditioning, a reprogramming, and he would have been perfectly healthy and would have laughed at the idea himself. But half of humanity believes and has faith in Jesus. This shows the retardedness of mankind.
Certainly this phrase “wholehearted faith” is a Christian interpretation. It is not the insight of those who are working on the path which Gautam Buddha traveled. It is not a path of belief or faith. In fact you have to throw away all your beliefs and all your faiths. You have to be clean, unburdened, because you are going to touch the heights. All these burdens will hamper your progress. You are going to know truth itself, so don’t carry any ideas of truth because those ideas of truth will stand between you and the truth. Be completely clean – that is the meaning of the empty heart of the buddha.
But the question the layman is asking to Bankei is important for you all. Except for that one word, the whole question is important to every meditator. I will repeat it.
A layman asked Bankei,
“Though I am grateful for your teaching of birthlessness, thoughts from constantly applied mental habits readily come up, and I get lost in them and have difficulty remaining continually unborn. How can I apply wholehearted trust?”
This is the difficulty of every meditator. In different names the problem is the same. The problem is that in your meditations, for a split second maybe you have the glimpse, a taste of the eternal ecstasy. But you cannot keep remembering it twenty-four hours. Old habits, the old mind goes on interfering in many ways. It is a strange phenomenon because it is experienced only by meditators. Non-meditators never experience it because they don’t have the context.
A meditator experiences, but when he comes back from those deep layers, back to his ordinary world, to the circumference, the mind starts creating doubt: “You have been dreaming. What nonsense is this eternity? Are you mad, that just by closing your eyes you attain to the ultimate truth?” The mind starts creating doubts.
And mind is your old friend – four million years it has taken to develop. Your meditation is very new, very fresh, just a sprouting seed; your mind is a Lebanon cedar, two hundred, three hundred feet tall, almost reaching to the stars.
When you come to the circumference with your experience, suddenly there is a conflict between the new experience and the old, four-million-year-old mind. This mind will be almost like a mountain, and your experience is just a roseflower. So again and again you will get caught by the mind.
That’s what the layman is saying to Bankei: “I understand your teaching, I am grateful for it. But it is very difficult to remember that I have never been born, I have never died, that I am immortality itself. As I come back to the ordinary life, it is too heavy on the new experience which is just a bud opening. It crushes it completely.”
Most meditators drop the idea after a few days, seeing the situation, that it is of no use. It is just a glimpse and then again you are back to your miserable world. And the miserable world is so powerful that you even start suspecting that you were dreaming. Your own experience becomes a faraway echo, as if you have heard somebody else telling you, and not that you have experienced it. It goes against your whole conditioning.
So this question of the layman is the question of all meditators.
Bankei replied, “If you try to stop arising thoughts, the stopping mind and the stopped mind become split in two and you never have any peace of mind. Just trust that thoughts are originally nonexistent but temporarily arise and cease, conditioned by what is seen and heard, and have no real substance.”
He is saying that every meditator comes to this point: he has known a small space of thoughtlessness, so the natural conclusion seems to be that if he can stop the thought process, then he will have that open sky again. But with what are you going to stop the thought process? Even this idea of stopping the thought process is of the mind. So your mind becomes split in two: the stopper and the stopped.
Now you will never have any peace. Your own mind is continuously in struggle: one part is trying to stop it, another part is revolting against stopping. And remember, the part that is trying to stop it is very new and the part that you are trying to stop is very ancient. In this struggle, in this wrestling, you are not going to win. Your defeat can be said to be absolutely certain.
Many people have started meditation and then they stopped because finally they see this and say, “What is the point of having one simple glimpse of joy? It makes life even more terrible in comparison.” If a blind man for one second sees the light and becomes blind again, now his blindness will be intolerable. Now he knows there is light, and he is unable to see it because he has gone blind again.
A meditator has to remember not to struggle with the thoughts. If you want to win, don’t fight. That is a simple rule of thumb. If you want to win, simply don’t fight. The thoughts will be coming as usual. You just watch, hiding behind your blanket; let them come and go. Just don’t get involved with them.
The whole question is of not getting involved in any way – appreciation or condemnation, any judgment, bad or good. Don’t say anything, just remain absolutely aloof and allow the mind to move in its routine way. If you can manage…and this has been managed by thousands of buddhas, so there is not a problem. And when I say this can be managed, I am saying it on my own authority. I don’t have any other authority.
I have fought and have tortured myself with fighting and I have known the whole split that creates a constant misery and tension. Finally seeing the point that victory is impossible, I simply dropped out of the fight. I allowed the thoughts to move as they want; I am no longer interested.
And this is a miracle, that if you are not interested, thoughts start coming less. When you are utterly uninterested, they stop coming. And a state of no-thought, without any fight, is the greatest peace one has ever known. This is what we are calling the empty heart of the buddha.
Another layman asked, “When I wipe out arising thoughts, they keep coming up from the traces, never stopping. How can I control these thoughts?”
It seems that Bankei has authentic disciples interested in meditation, because all their questions are the eternal questions of meditators. The questioner is saying, “When I wipe out arising thoughts, they keep coming up from the traces, never stopping. How can I control these thoughts?”
The very idea of control is of fight. The very idea of control makes you involved. You don’t have to stop them, you don’t have to wipe them out. They will come back! You don’t have to control them, because the very effort of controlling them will keep you engaged in the process of controlling…and a strange fact to be remembered is that the master is as much a slave to his own slave as the slave is a slave to the master. If you manage to control your thoughts, you are stuck with control. You cannot leave that place, you cannot go away for a holiday. You are controlling your thoughts and your thoughts are controlling you.
You cannot move into meditation by controlling.
You can move into meditation only by being indifferent, just a watcher. Whether it comes or not makes no difference; just let the thoughts flow on their own accord and you stand aloof, just watching. The word watching simply means being a mirror, reflecting and not making any commentary. No mirror makes any commentary. No mirror says to you, “Aha, how beautiful!” It is not interested in whether you are beautiful or weird, sane or insane, standing on your feet or on your head. It makes no difference to the mirror, the mirror simply reflects.
The watcher is a mirror. It simply watches and remains empty. No content is caught by the mirror. Things come and go, the mirror does not cling to anything. The mirror is not in favor of something or against it. It has no notions about what passes before it.

I have heard about a Hassid rabbi…Hassidism comes closest to Zen. It is a small branch of rebellious Jews. They are not accepted by the orthodox, by the organized religion, but they have a small lineage of very beautiful people. If Judaism has contributed anything to humanity, it is Hassidism – although they will not accept it. They condemn the Hassids because they are doing everything unorthodox, untraditional – not conforming to the organized religion, being independent and rebellious.
This Hassid mystic was walking in the middle of the night towards the river, just to sit silently there. A watchman of a great palace used to see him come every night at midnight. Finally it became impossible to resist, and the watchman stopped the Hassid and asked him, “I have been watching for months. Not even a single night have you missed; you go every night at midnight towards the river. What are you doing? I have seen you, I have followed you, because it is my work to keep watch around the palace and at first I was suspicious. This man comes every night, passes by the palace…so I have followed you, but you simply don’t take any note of the palace or anybody following you. You simply go to the river and sit on the bank for hours. What are you doing there?”
The Hassid said, “I am also a watchman. Just as you are watching the palace, I am watching my own mind.”

As the watching grows, without any struggle, the thoughts disappear. And when the heart is empty, you are the buddha.
Bankei replied, “Wiping out arising thoughts is like washing blood with blood…”
I told you, he is a very simple man. Without philosophical jargon, he has managed simply, in ordinary day-to-day language, to say something very significant.
Wiping out arising thoughts is like washing blood with blood; though the first blood may be removed, the washing blood still stains; no matter how much you wash, the stain is not removed.
Fighting with thoughts is simply removing thoughts with thoughts, washing blood with blood. This idea is also a thought, that there should be no thoughts, that “I don’t want any thoughts.” That is also a thought. The watcher is not allowed to have even this prejudice. If they are there, he is happy. If they are not there, he is happy. He is simply unconcerned.
This no-mind is originally unborn and undying and without illusion. Not realizing this, thinking that thoughts are existent things, you roam around in the routines of birth and death.
Bankei is saying, if you know a silent moment when there is no thought, you will be able to see that these thoughts are not realities. They are made of the same stuff as dreams are made of. They are waking dreams. You don’t have to fight with them, you have just to watch silently. As your watching becomes deeper, they will start disappearing. And in their place arises the experience of no-mind, of emptiness, originally unborn and undying and without illusion. Not realizing this, thinking that thoughts are existent things, you roam around in the routines of birth and death.
It is your mind which has been taking you through birth and death in a circle, again and again, one misery after another misery. You have to jump out of this circle – and the only way to jump out is simply to witness.
Realizing that thoughts are only temporary appearances, you should let them be as they start and stop, without grasping or rejecting them.
Don’t do anything at all.
It is like images reflected in a mirror; since the mirror is clear and bright, it reflects whatever comes before it, but does not keep the images.
Just be a mirror.
The enlightened no-mind is infinitely brighter and clearer than a mirror and is also radiantly aware, so all thoughts dissolve in that light without leaving a trace. If you can believe and trust in this truth, no matter how much they come up, it won’t be a hindrance.
Again, I object to the word belief. There is no need. You are watching and you are seeing that the thoughts are disappearing like shadows. It is your experience. This sentence again brings the Christian mind in. If you can believe and trust in this truth…. Truth needs no trust, no belief. You simply know it. And once you have come to know it, you have attained freedom.
This knowing is not something like knowledge. This knowing is a transformation. You have moved from the mind to no-mind. You have moved from the body to no-body. You have moved from form to formlessness. It is a transformation. There is no question of believing or trusting or having faith. But I can understand the poor translator’s difficulty. He is doing his best, but his conditionings pop up here and there, unintentionally.
I don’t blame these translators, but they have created a difficulty for the West. Just reading them, the Western mind will not be able to understand exactly where they have translated wrongly. I can see where they are wrong. And I can indicate to you that when you see, you see; when you know, you know – no belief, no faith. Those are words belonging to the world of the blind. We are entering into the world of the buddhas.

A haiku…just a small statement, but far more valuable than great holy scriptures:
When the dreamer wakens
he is absolute absence.
You wake up every day – you have this experience – and the moment you wake up, dreams are absent. This is not the ultimate waking. When you wake up in meditation, not only are dreams absent, you are absent. Your absence makes it the empty heart of the buddha.

Maneesha has asked:
Yesterday, I remembered to remember my emptiness more often than any other day. I remembered at the tailor's – a crucial criterion. I even remembered during rush hour at Mariam canteen – the ultimate test.
I have understood you to say that through making an effort, by and by we will instill in ourselves a self-perpetuating awareness that finally does not need our active remembrance; it will have become a constant backdrop to all we do.
This must be different from simply cultivating a good habit, but just how is it different?
Maneesha, it is absolutely different from cultivating a good habit. You are not cultivating anything, you are simply remembering. You are remembering your own experience. In cultivating a good habit, you don’t know whether it is really good or just a social convenience. You don’t know who has decided that it is good, because in every society, culture, civilization, different things are thought to be good and different things are thought to be bad.
Cultivating a good habit is cultivating something borrowed – that is the difference. I am not telling you to cultivate, I am telling you to remember your own experience as much as possible. Whenever it is possible, remember it. Give it more nourishment.
It is just like watering a rosebush, giving nourishment to your own experience. The good habit is not your experience.
You should have a look at “good habits.” They are all social conveniences. And they create a certain personality in you which is not authentic; it does not arise from your self. It comes from others – parents, teachers, priests, social leaders.
Anything that comes from outside you, beware of it! However good it may seem, anything cultivated makes you a hypocrite. I want you to be non-hypocritical. I want you to be authentically yourself. It is not a cultivation, it is simply a remembrance of your own intrinsic nature.
The buddha is not a foreigner to you; he is sitting exactly at the center of your consciousness. We have to constantly look within so that it becomes almost natural, a flowing current. You don’t have to do anything, it is there. That’s why I say it is the simplest thing and, unfortunately, because it is the most simple and the most obvious, it has been neglected. Nobody bothers about who you are. You yourself don’t bother.

There was a great fair, and Mulla Nasruddin went to the fair. There was no place in any hotel. One manager took pity on him and said, “If you are ready to share a room, I can manage to convince this person, who is a gentleman – it is a two-bed room which he is occupying.”
Nasruddin had no objection; he said, “It is perfectly good for me, if he is ready.”
The other man was perfectly ready also, and he said, “There is no problem. A tired man, going from hotel to hotel…there is no problem. I am going to sleep, and he is going to sleep.”
Nasruddin entered the room, said to the man, “Hi!” And then, wearing his shoes, his turban, his coat, everything just as he was when he had come in, he went to bed. The man looked a little surprised! And of course, with shoes and turban and coat you cannot sleep, you cannot relax. So Mulla was moving from side to side, and because of his movement the other man could not sleep. The other man said, “Listen, fellow, I have never seen anybody sleeping in his shoes.”
Mulla Nasruddin said, “Neither have I heard of anybody, but I am in trouble: I love to sleep naked just as you are sleeping naked…”
The man said, “What is the trouble?”
“The trouble is, I recognize myself with my turban, with my coat, with my shoes. If I am naked, in the morning who is going to decide who is who? You are naked, I am naked. Neither do I know who I am, nor do you know.”
The man said, “The problem is really great! But some solution has to be found, because I have to sleep.”
So he found a small toy that some baby must have left behind before they occupied the room. He took the toy and he said, “Let’s do one thing: I will tie it to your foot, so you will know that you are the man with the toy.”
Nasruddin said, “A great genius you are! Otherwise I was thinking I would die this night, suffocating, in the coat and the shoes.” So he removed everything and the man tied the toy to his foot. Nasruddin started snoring immediately.
Then the man had an idea…”Let us see what happens.” He changed the toy, tied it to his own foot, and went to sleep. In the morning there was havoc! Nasruddin was running out in the open – the whole hotel gathered.
The manager said, “What is the matter?”
He said, “The matter is so metaphysical. I had gone to sleep with the idea that I am the man with the toy. Certainly I am not the man with the toy; the other man has the toy. The problem is, if I am not Nasruddin, who am I? Certainly I am not Nasruddin because I had the toy; that was my symbol.”
The other fellow was awakened and asked, “Do you know who you are?” He said, “I know only that I am the man with the toy.”
Nasruddin said, “I had told you before that it was going to create trouble! Now for my whole life I am going to live not knowing who I am. You are Nasruddin, okay – what about me?”

We can laugh, but that is how we know ourselves. What is your identity? Just a certain face, which goes on changing. Fortunately it does not change in jumps – it does not know about sudden enlightenment, it only knows about the gradual. It goes on changing, but very gradually so you don’t feel that it is a different face.
When you go to bed you have one face; when you wake up in the morning, it is not the same face. But because the change is so gradual, you don’t take note of it. Otherwise everything is changing: your mustache is growing, your beard is growing, your face is becoming older. Everything in you is a flux – but it is very gradual, so it seems almost at a standstill. Otherwise, you don’t have any identity. If things were jumping so fast that in the night you go to sleep and in the morning you wake up and find somebody else’s face…You look in the mirror – “My god, this was never my face!” Or you had been a man and now you are a woman….
Nature has managed things to change very gradually but the change is happening, you have to be reminded. And you can feel this change only if you know something within you which is unchanging. Against the unchanging, you can see the changing.
That witness is the only unchanging element in the whole of existence. And when you become a witness and a great clarity arises in you, even small changes in you are taken note of, they reflect. You don’t take any care of any change, but your mirror goes on reflecting how you are becoming older, how you are moving from life to death, from death to another womb. Your mirror in its clarity will allow you to know that you are a river, not a tank of water where nothing is moving.
Maneesha, the good habit has to be cultivated; you have to force it upon yourself. It is just a thin layer – just a small scratch and you will forget your good habit and your natural response will come out. And your natural response is going to be barbarous because you have never gone beyond your barbarousness.
Meditation, to me, is the only civilization, the only culture, the only religion. It takes you beyond everything, above the clouds, and you can see everything in you from a bird’s-eye view. You need not repeat anything; now you can be original, responsible. And to me that is the only good in existence: to respond with awareness, to respond spontaneously, not through cultivation.

I have heard about a man who was of such an angry temper that he killed his boy because he had disobeyed. And he forced his wife to jump into the well because she was trying to protect the child. The whole village gathered and the man was very much ashamed. He was so much ashamed that he said, “I will renounce the world. I am going to become a saint.” A Jaina monk was in the city. He went to the monk, and the monk said, “It is a very difficult path.”
The man said, “Nothing is difficult for me. You can understand – I killed my child, I forced my wife to jump into the well. Do you think anything is difficult for me?”
The Jaina monk said, “You will have to be naked.”
The man immediately threw his clothes; even the monk was shocked and surprised. But he did not understand that this was also his angry temper. The monk initiated him, and he became very famous. He was given the name Shantidas; the name means “servant of peace.”
After twenty years…he was in New Delhi. One of his friends from the village happened to be in New Delhi, so he thought, “It will be good to see how far Shantidas has gone.” So he went to see him – there was a big crowd of worshippers. Shantidas looked at him…and he recognized him, but he did not show any sign of recognition. A man of his stature cannot recognize a villager, although they have been friends. The other man immediately understood: “Nothing has changed, because he has looked at me as if he has not recognized me – but he has recognized me. I can see it on his face.”
So the man came close and said, “I have a simple question to ask. What is your name?”
This irritated Shantidas very much. He said, “You don’t read the newspapers? The whole capital knows my name. My name is Muni Shantidas.”
The man said, “My memory is very bad. Will you please repeat it?”
Now this was too much. He said, “I have told you! And I will repeat it, but remember: if you ask again…You know me perfectly well. My name is Shantidas.”
The man said, “Just once more.”
And Shantidas took his staff and said, “Once more and I will kill you!”
The man said, “There is no need to do that great work. I just wanted to know whether you had changed.”
Twenty years of cultivation of all the virtues, and just a little scratch and the old man comes out. All our morality, all our cultivation is superficial. My interest is not in any superficial cultivation but in a revolution, radical, which comes out of your meditation.

Before we go into meditation…You will be going to a faraway space within yourself. Just go laughing and joyous. Seriousness I hate – I am really serious! I want my buddhas to be dancing and singing and enjoying. I want my buddhas not to be marble statues but living and breathing and loving.

Paddy and Seamus are at the bar of the Pickled President pub. Paddy is telling Seamus all about his recent trip to America.
“You know,” says Paddy, “that guy Ronald Reagan, the president of America?”
“Yes,” replies Seamus, scratching his head. “He’s that old goat with the pet chimpanzee, right?”
“Right,” says Paddy. “Well, he has got an office in this place called the White House.”
“Really?” says Seamus. “Is it like the White House pub?”
“Probably,” says Paddy, “but in his office, on his desk, he has got a button. He just has to push the button, and – boom! – the world is finished!”
“That doesn’t sound like a good idea at all,” says Seamus, slurping at another beer. “My grandfather is less senile than that Ronald Reagan, and we don’t even allow him to push the buttons on the television!”

Pope the Polack finds that his Catholic Christian empire is crumbling. He orders all the Vatican researchers to try and find a solution to this impending disaster.
One day, Cardinal Catzass comes charging into the papal office.
“I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” screams Catzass. “In one of the old manuscripts, it says that God has left his final message on a tiny planet at the edge of the universe, called Hysteria.”
Desperate, Pope the Polack empties out the safe of Banco Vaticano, and gives the money to the Russians to build him a rocket to take him to Hysteria.
After weeks of training, Pope the Polack, Cardinal Catzass, and a chimpanzee pilot, blast off from earth and hurtle through space towards the distant planet.
Light years later, they land at a tiny spaceport in the middle of the Hysteria desert, and the Polack pope does his thing kissing the dirt. On a signpost is written the words: “God’s last message – forty miles.”
In full regalia, with his shepherd’s staff, rocket-shaped hat, and space suit, Pope the Polack sets off, trudging through the desert. Cardinal Catzass waves the incense-burner as they go.
Ten hours and twenty miles later, both the Polack pope and Cardinal Catzass are on their hands and knees, gasping for water.
The next morning sees the pair of Polacks pulling themselves slowly through the sand.
That night, they reach the top of a small rise and look at the hills in the distance. There, in flashing neon lights, the whole hillside is lit up with God’s final message to the universe.
It reads: “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

It is midnight in a dark alley behind the Hoochee Koochee pub, and the fearless lawyer, Harry Hypojerk is wandering around drunk.
Suddenly he is approached by a shabby looking guy named Fred the Freak, who is wearing a large black overcoat, a big hat, and sunglasses.
“Hey,” says Fred the Freak, “are you a lawyer?”
“Yes,” slobbers Harry, straightening up his tie, “I am.”
“And,” says Fred the Freak, “do you handle criminal cases?”
“Yes, I do,” replies Harry, wobbling a bit.
“Would you even help a thief?” asks Fred the Freak.
Harry blinks his eyes, adjusts his coat, and says, “Certainly, sir.”
“Okay,” says Fred the Freak, pulling out his gun. “Then you can start by helping me with your wallet!”






Be silent.
Close your eyes, feel your body to be completely frozen.
Look inwards, as deeply as you can reach. At the very end you will find your life source.
This life source is connected with the universal life.
To experience this is to be a buddha, utterly empty of the world but absolutely full of blissfulness, of benediction, of gratitude…of a deep prayer to existence, of thankfulness.
Look as closely as you can to the source of your life, the center of your consciousness, because you have to remember it later on while you are on the circumference of life…doing all kinds of things, but never for a single moment losing touch with your innermost life source.
Doing everything, but as a buddha.
The very awareness that “I am the buddha” is going to change your whole life pattern.

To make it more clear, Nivedano…


Just watch the body, the mind.
They are not you, you are the watcher. And the watcher is another name for the buddha.

This is a blissful evening – ten thousand people just drowned in an oceanic consciousness of watchfulness.
Ten thousand buddhas – there has never been such an assembly.
Be very careful and cautious that you don’t lose this watchfulness when you come back from the center to the circumference.



Come back, but come with all the experience, full of joy, peace and silence.
With grace and gratitude, sit down as a buddha for a few moments.
This is going to be your final posture; slowly, slowly, you will be settled in your buddha nature. And if we can create ten thousand buddhas, that is enough to save humanity – ten thousand buddhas reaching to every nook and corner of the world, simply spreading love, compassion, awareness.
And I don’t think that if the world has so many buddhas, it can be destroyed by criminal politicians.
This is a crucial moment, of great responsibility and also of great challenge.
It is not only a question of your being a buddha, it is a question of saving this whole planet in its all beauty and greatness.
In the past, people used to be buddhas just for their own sake. Today, times are different. You have to be a buddha not only for your own sake, but for the sake of saving the whole world from nuclear weapons and the holders of nuclear weapons.
We have to create a great consciousness around the globe. That is our only protection against destructive science and the criminal politicians.
Remember: your responsibility is great, but it has to be a joy, not a duty. It has to be your love, your sharing of blissfulness, aliveness, your songs, your dances, your joy.
I am not telling you to be missionaries, I want you to be the mission. Missionaries have only carried borrowed knowledge. I want you to be the mission in the sense that you will be spreading your own experience. You will be radiating your own buddhahood. A wildfire has to be created around the globe, of consciousness.
This is the only hope for humanity, the only hope for the universe, to have this small planet so alive, so beautiful, so lovely. This is for the first time, that you are required to be buddhas not just for you, but to create an atmosphere in which a third world war cannot happen.

Can we celebrate the ten thousand buddhas?

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