Buddha: The most Godly and the most Godless

Buddha Purnima

Today is the day when Gautam Siddharth was born in the body, attained enlightenment after 42 yrs and became the BUDDHA, the ultimate peak of consciousness, the ultimate relaxation of being and left the body after 40 yrs i.e. attained Mahaparinirvana. All the three utmost important events of His life i.e. birth, enlightenment and death, happened on the full moon of Hindu month of Vaisakha.

Osho has spoken on BUDDHA at most. He always mentions BUDDHA and His teachings during his talks especially when it is related to meditation and compassion, even if he is talking on someone else, he would bring BUDDHA in between. Osho says I love Gautama the Buddha because he represents to me the essential core of religion. He is not the founder of Buddhism — Buddhism is a byproduct — but he is the beginner of a totally different kind of religion in the world. He’s the founder of a religionless religion. He has propounded not religion but religiousness. And this is a great radical change in the history of human consciousness.

Osho has dedicated many discourse series to BUDDHA like The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, The Diamond Sutra, The Discipline of Transcendence, The Heart Sutra and many more.

Osho further says Before Buddha there were religions but never a pure religiousness. Man was not yet mature. With Buddha, humanity enters into a mature age. All human beings have not yet entered into that, that’s true, but Buddha has heralded the path; Buddha has opened the gateless gate. It takes time for human beings to understand such a deep message. Buddha’s message is the deepest ever. Nobody has done the work that Buddha has done, the way he has done. Nobody else represents pure fragrance. Other founders of religions, other enlightened people, have compromised with their audience. Buddha remains uncompromised, hence his purity. He does not care what you can understand, he cares only what the truth is. And he says it without being worried whether you understand it or not. In a way this looks hard; in another way this is great compassion.

GAUTAM BUDDHA is like the highest peak of the Himalayas, like Gourishanker… one of the purest beings, one of the most virgin souls, one of the very rare phenomena on this earth. The rarity is that Buddha is the scientist of the inner world — scientist of religion. That is a rare combination. To be religious is simple, to be a scientist is simple — but to combine, synthesize these two polarities is incredible. It is unbelievable, but it has happened. Buddha is the richest human being who has ever lived; rich in the sense that all the dimensions of life are fulfilled in him. He is not one-dimensional.

There are three approaches towards truth. One is the approach of power, another the approach of beauty, and the third the approach of grandeur. The scientific approach is the search for power; that’s why Lord Bacon said ‘knowledge is power’. Science has made man very powerful, so much so that man can destroy the whole planet earth. For the first time in the history of consciousness man is capable of committing a global suicide, a collective suicide. Science has released tremendous power. Science is continuously searching for more and more power. This too is an approach towards truth, but a partial approach. Then there are poets, mystics, people with the aesthetic sense. They look at truth as beauty — Jalaludin Rumi and Rabindranath Tagore and others, who think that beauty is truth. They create much art, they create new sources of beauty in the world. The painter, the poet, the dancer, the musician, they are also approaching truth from a totally different dimension than power. A poet is not like the scientist. The scientist works with analysis, reason, observation. The poet functions through the heart — irrational… trust, love. He has nothing to do with mind and reason.

The greater part of religious people belong to the second dimension. The Sufis, the Bauls — they all belong to the aesthetic approach. Hence so many beautiful mosques, churches, cathedrals, temples — Ajanta and Ellora — they were created by religious people. Whenever religious activity predominates, art is created, music is created, great painting is created; the world becomes a little more beautiful. It doesn’t become more powerful, but it becomes more beautiful, more lovely, worth living. The third approach is that of grandeur. The old Bible prophets — Moses, Abraham; Islam’s prophet Mohammed; Krishna and Ram — their approach is through the dimension of grandeur… the awe that one feels looking at this vastness of the universe. The Upanishads, the Vedas, they all approach the world, the world of truth, through grandeur. They are full of wonder. It is unbelievably there, with such grandeur, that you can simply bow down before it — nothing else is possible. One simply feels humble, reduced to nothing.

These are the three dimensions ordinarily available to approach towards truth. The first dimension creates the scientist; the second, the artist; the third, the prophets. The rarity of Buddha consists of this — that his approach is a synthesis of all the three, and not only a synthesis but it goes beyond the three.

He is a rationalist. He’s not like Jesus and he is not like Krishna — he’s absolutely a rationalist. Einstein, Newton or Edison cannot find any flaw in his reasoning. Any scientist will be immediately convinced of his truth. His approach is purely logical, he convinces the mind. You cannot find a loophole in him…Yes, you can look for loopholes in Jesus, there are many — because Jesus believes, trusts, he has faith. He is simple like a child. There is no argument in him. The proof exists but there is no argument for it. His whole being is his proof. But it is not so with Buddha. You may not be at all in harmony with his heart, you may not believe him at all, you may not look at the proof he is, but you will have to listen to his argument. He has both the proof and the argument. He himself is the proof of what he is saying, but that is not all. If you are not ready to look at him he can force you, he can convince you; he is a rationalist.

Even a man like Bertrand Russell, who was an atheist, purely logical, has said, ‘Before Buddha I start feeling hesitant. With Jesus I can fight.’ He has written a book ‘Why I Am Not A Christian’ — a great argumentative book. It has not yet been replied to by Christians; his argument still holds. But before Buddha he suddenly feels hesitant, he is not so certain about his ground — because Buddha can convince him on his own ground. Buddha is as much an analyst as Bertrand Russell. You need not be a religious person to be convinced by Buddha, that’s his rarity. You need not believe at all. You need not believe in god, you need not believe in the soul, you need not believe in anything — still you can be with Buddha, and by and by you will come to know about the soul and about the god also. But those are not hypotheses. No belief is required to travel with Buddha. You can come with all scepticism possible. He accepts, he welcomes, and he says, ‘Come with me.’ First he convinces your mind, and once your mind is convinced and you start travelling with him, by and by you start feeling that he has a message which is beyond mind, he has a message which no reason can confine. But first he convinces your reason. Buddha’s religion is supra-rational, but not against reason. This has to be understood in the very beginning. It has something to do with the beyond, supra-rational, but that supra-rational is not against the rational. It is in tune with it. The rational and the supra-rational are a continuity, continuous. This is the rarity of Buddha.

Krishna says to Arjuna, ‘Surrender to me.’ Buddha never says that. He convinces you to surrender. Krishna says, ‘Surrender to me, then you will be convinced.’ Buddha says, ‘Be convinced first, then surrender comes like a shadow. You need not worry about it, don’t talk about it at all.’ Because of this rational approach he never brings any concept which cannot be proved. He never talks about god.

H. G. Wells has said about Buddha, ‘He is the most godly and the most godless man in the whole history of man.’ Yes, it is so — most godly and most godless. You cannot find more godly a person than Buddha. Every other personality simply fades before him. His luminosity is superb, his being has no comparison, but he does not talk about god. Because he has never talked about god, many think that he is an atheist — he is not.

He has not talked about god because there is no way to talk about god. All talk about god is nonsense. Whatsoever you can say about god is going to be false. It is something that cannot be said. Other seers also say that nothing can be said about god, but at least they say this much — that nothing can be said about god. Buddha is really logical, he will not say even this, because he says, ‘Even to say that nothing can be said about god, you have said something. If you say, “God cannot be defined,” you have defined him in a negative way — that he cannot be defined. If you say, “Nothing can be said,” that too you are saying.’ Buddha is strictly logical. He will not utter a single word.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the greatest thinkers of this age, one of the greatest of all the ages also, has said, ‘That which cannot be said must not be said. That which cannot be said, one must be silent thereof.’ Because to utter something about something which is unutterable is a sacrilege.

Buddha is not an atheist but he never talks about god. That’s why I say he is a rarity. He brings many people to god — he brought more people than anybody else has done. Millions of people were brought to become godly in his presence, but he never uttered the word. Not only god, but even soul, self — he has no theory about it. He simply says, ‘I can show you the way how to go in. You go and see.’

He says, ‘Buddhas can only indicate the path, they cannot provide you with a philosophy. You are there, go in and see.’

One man came to Buddha. He was a great scholar, a sort of professor, had written many books, was known all over the country. Maulingaputta was his name. He said to Buddha, ‘I have come with dozen questions and you have to answer them.’

Buddha said, ‘I will answer, but you will have to fulfill a requirement. For one year you will have to be with me in total silence, then I will answer — not before it. Right now I can answer but you will not receive the answers because you are not ready, and whatsoever I say you will misinterpret because you have too many interpretations crowding your mind. Whatsoever I say will have to pass through your mind. For one year you just be silent so that you can drop the knowledge. When you are empty, whatsoever you want to ask I will answer, I promise you.’

While he was saying this, another of Buddha’s disciples, Sariputta, sitting under a tree, started laughing — a mad laughter. Maulingaputta must have felt embarrassed. He said, ‘What is the matter? Why are you laughing?’

He said, ‘I am not laughing about you, I am laughing about myself. One year has passed. This man deceived me also. I had come with many questions and he said, “Wait for one year,” and I waited. Now I am laughing because now those questions have disappeared. He goes on asking, “Now, bring those questions!” but I cannot bring those questions. They have disappeared. So, Maulingaputta, if you really want your questions to be answered, ask now, don’t wait for one year. This man is deceptive.’

Buddha introduced many people, millions of people, to the inner world, but in a very rational way. This is simple — that first you have to become a receiver, first you have to attain to silence, then communion is possible, not before it.

Buddha never used to answer any metaphysical questions. He was always ready to answer any question about methods, but he was never ready to answer any question about metaphysics. This is his scientific approach. Science believes in method. Science never answers the ‘why’, it always answers the ‘how’. If you ask a scientist, ‘Why is the world there?’ he will say, ‘I don’t know — but I can answer how the world is there.’ If you ask him, ‘Why is the water there?’ he cannot answer, he will just shrug his shoulders. But he can say how the water is there; how much oxygen, how much hydrogen makes the water happen. He can give you the method, the ‘how’, the mechanism. He can show you how to make water, but he cannot show you why. Buddha never asks any ‘why’ questions, but that doesn’t mean that he is an atheist. His approach is very different from other atheists. Theists require you to believe, to have faith, to trust. Buddha says, ‘How can one believe? You are asking the impossible.’ Listen to his argument. He says if somebody is doubtful, how can he believe? If the doubt has arisen already, how can he believe? He may repress the doubt, he may enforce the belief, but deep down like a worm the doubt will go on lurking and eating his heart. Sooner or later the belief is bound to collapse, because it is unfounded; there is no foundation to it. In the foundation there is doubt, and on the foundation of doubt you have raised the whole structure of your belief. Have you watched it? Whenever you believe, deep down there is doubt. What type of belief is this?

Buddha says if there is no doubt then there is no question of belief. Then one simply believes. There is no need for any Krishna to say, ‘Surrender, believe’ — there is no point. If Arjuna has faith, he has; if he has not, then there is no way to bring it. Then at the most Arjuna can play a game of showing, pretending that he believes. But belief cannot be enforced. For those whose faith is natural, spontaneous, there is no question of faith — they simply believe. They don’t know even what belief is. Small children, they simply believe. But once doubt enters, belief becomes impossible. And doubt has to enter; it is part of growth.

Doubt makes one mature.You remain childish unless doubt has penetrated your soul. Unless the fire of doubt starts burning you, you remain immature, you don’t know what life is.

You start knowing life only by doubting, by being sceptical, by raising questions.

Buddha says faith comes, but not against doubt, not as belief. Faith comes by destroying doubt by argument, by destroying doubt by more doubt, by eliminating doubt by doubt itself. A poison can be destroyed only by a poison — that is Buddha’s method. He does not say believe. He says go deep into your doubt, go to the very end, unafraid: Don’t repress. Travel the whole path of doubt to the very end. And that very journey will take you beyond it.

Because a moment comes when doubt starts doubting itself. That’s the ultimate doubt — when doubt doubts doubt itself. That has to come if you go to the very end. You first doubt belief, you doubt this and that. One day when everything has been doubted, suddenly a new, the ultimate doubt arises — you start doubting doubt.

This is tremendously new in the world of religion. And then doubt kills doubt, doubt destroys doubt, and faith is gained. This faith is not against doubt, this faith is beyond doubt. This faith is not opposite to doubt, this faith is absence of doubt. Buddha says you will have to become children again, but the path has to go through the world, through many jungles of doubts, arguments, reasonings. And when a person comes back home, attains back to his original faith, it is totally different. He is not just a child, he is an old man… mature, experienced, and yet childlike.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 1

Chapter #1

Chapter title: The most excellent way

21 August 1976 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, Lao Tzu and many other enlightened Mastersin many of His discourses. More on them can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles:

  1. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
  2. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  3. Tao: The Three Treasures
  4. Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
  5. The Mustard Seed: My Most Loved Gospel on Jesus
  6. The Path of Love
  7. Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
  8. When the Shoe Fits
  9. Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen, with Basho’s Haikus
  10. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega
  11. Sermons in Stones
  12. The Book of Wisdom
  13. The Divine Melody
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