Compassion: Overflowing Meditation

Osho on Enlightened Buddhist Master Atisha

Atisha ‘Atisa DIpankara Srijana’ was a Buddhist religious leader and master. He is generally associated for his work carried out at the Vikramshila monastery in Bihar. He was one of the major figures in the spread of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism in Asia and inspired Buddhist thought from Tibet to Sumatra. He is recognised as one of the greatest figures of classical Buddhism.

Atisha was from a royal king family. But due to his serious attraction towards spirituality he never liked this royalty. The palace was not more than a prison for him. Inspite of his parents reluctance for his spiritual search, he managed to move out of the palace and started the search of a master and succeeded.

Osho saysAtisha is really very very scientific. First he says: Take the whole responsibility on yourself. Secondly he says: Be grateful to everyone. Now that nobody is responsible for your misery except you, if it is all your own doing, then what is left? BE GRATEFUL TO EVERYONE.

Osho Says……

Meditation is the source; compassion is the overflow of that source.

The nonmeditative man has no energy for love, for compassion, for celebration. The nonmeditative person is disconnected from his own source of energy; he is not in contact with the ocean. He has a little bit of energy that is created by food, by air, by matter — he lives on physical energy. Physical energy has limitations. It is born at a certain moment in time, and it dies at another moment in time. Between birth and death it exists. It is like a lamp that burns because of the oil in it — once the oil is exhausted, the flame goes out.

The meditative person comes to know something of the infinite, becomes bridged with the inexhaustible source of energy. His flame goes on and on, his flame knows no cessation. It cannot disappear, because in the first place it never appears. It cannot die, because it is unborn. How to bridge oneself with this inexhaustible source of life, abundance, richness? You can call that inexhaustible source God or you can call it truth or anything that you wish to call it. But one thing is absolutely certain; that man is a wave of something infinite. If the wave looks inward it will find the infinite. If it goes on looking outwards it remains disconnected — disconnected from its own kingdom, disconnected from its own nature. Jesus calls this nature the kingdom of God. He again and again says, “The kingdom of God is within you. Go within.”

Meditation is nothing but a bridge to go within. Once meditation has happened, the only thing that remains to happen is compassion. Buddha, the original master in Atisha’s line, said that unless compassion happens, don’t remain contented with meditation itself. You have gone only halfway, you have yet to go a little further. Meditation, if it is true, is bound to overflow into compassion. Just as when a lamp is lit it immediately starts radiating light, it immediately starts dispersing darkness, once the inner light is lit, compassion is its radiation. Compassion is the proof that meditation has happened. Love is the fragrance that proves that the one-thousand-petaled lotus in the innermost core of your being has bloomed, that the spring has come — that you are no more the same person you used to be, that that personality has ceased and individuality is born, that you are not living any more in darkness, that you are light.

These sutras are practical instructions, remember it.

Atisha is not a philosopher, no wise man ever is. He is not a thinker; thinking is only for the mediocre, the foolish. The wise does not think, the wise knows.

Thinking is an effort to know; it is guesswork, groping in the dark, shooting arrows in the dark. Wisdom is knowing. And when you know, you need not guess. You are not guessing that this is morning and the birds are singing and the trees are bathed in sunlight. You are not guessing it, you are not thinking that it is so. If somebody is guessing it, then he must be blind or at least drunk. It is an experience, and every experience is self-validating.

Atisha is not a speculative thinker. What he is saying is not a philosophy or a system of thought. It is how he has attained; he is showing you the way. And the buddhas can only show the way — you will have to walk on it, nobody else can walk for you.

Nobody else can do it for you; no proxy is possible in existence. Yes, others can communicate how they attained, what pitfalls to avoid, how to go on judging whether you are moving in the right direction or not, what energies to use and what energies to discard, what is helpful and what is a hindrance. They can give you little hints about the path — and I say “little hints”; they cannot give you a complete map either, because each individual will have to follow a path that is a little bit different, and each individual will come across unique experiences that nobody has come across before and nobody may ever come across again. Each individual is so unique that no absolute map can be given, only hints, vague hints, indications.

You are not to cling to these instructions. Just understand them, absorb them, and don’t be a fanatic. Don’t say, “This has to be like this. If it is not like this then I am not going to follow it, then something is wrong.” It will be something like this, but in a very vague way. It will have a similar fragrance but it will not be exactly the same; similar, yes, but not the same. One has to be aware of it. If one is not aware, then one becomes a fanatic — and fanatics have never arrived, their very fanaticism prevents them. These are small hints. These are not mathematical, these are not like two plus two is four. In the world of the mysterious, sometimes two plus two is three, sometimes two plus two is five. It is very rarely that two plus two is four, very rarely; it is the exception, not the rule. It is not mathematics, it is music. It is not logic, it is poetry.

When you read a logical treatise, you read with a different mind. If you read poetry you need a totally different approach. In logic there is a clear-cut process, the process of syllogism — you know that this is so, and this is so, therefore this is bound to be so. There is a “therefore.” In poetry there is no “therefore.” Poetry takes quantum leaps. Poetry is a vision, not a logical process; a song, not a syllogism. Yes, even the song has some intrinsic logic in it, but it is not on the surface. And it is not for those who are on the path, it is only for those who have arrived.

Once you have arrived you will see the whole logicalness of each step that you had taken, but not before it. You will see why you had to jump, why you had to take a certain step. When you were taking that step, nothing was clear, nothing was absolutely certain or guaranteed. You were taking that step according to your feeling, not according to your thinking. But later on, recapitulating, looking back, thinking can be revived. Now you can search for the undercurrent of logic. Those who have arrived are very logical. But those who are on the path, if they try to be logical, they will never survive. This is one of the paradoxes to be understood. Hence the statements of Buddha, Tilopa, Saraha and Atisha are really very logical, but only for those who have arrived. The logic can be felt only backwards. When you are progressing towards the goal, the ultimate, everything is vague, hidden behind a cloud. It is like the early morning mist. In the afternoon, in the full noontide, the mist will have disappeared. But that full noontide has yet to happen.

So think, meditate, feel these instructions, but don’t take them in dead seriousness. There are bound to be a few differences. A few things are going to happen on your way which did not happen on Atisha’s way. A few things are going to happen on your way which have not happened on my way. There are as many ways in the world as there are people. Nobody can stand in your place; even those who are standing very close to you are not standing in exactly the same place. Your angle of vision is bound to be a little bit different from the angle of vision of somebody who is standing just by your side holding your hand. No two persons can see the world in exactly the same way, it is impossible. And everybody has to move from his own place, his own space.

Now, Atisha existed one thousand years ago. He must have seen a totally different world, he must have walked through a totally different world, with a different kind of language — where a different kind of understanding was prevalent, where different attitudes and approaches were still valid. They are no more valid, they are no more relevant, that world has disappeared. Atisha’s world exists no more. Still, his instructions are of tremendous importance, taken nonfanatically. Taken fanatically, you miss the whole point. One has to be very very loose and relaxed. While thinking about the past buddhas, one has to be available to them, open to them, but unclinging and detached, knowing perfectly well that centuries have passed, knowing perfectly well that “I am not Atisha, so how can I follow these instructions absolutely?”


Atisha is not telling you to follow his instructions absolutely. He is simply giving a glimpse of his vision and the way he has arrived at it. He is simply sharing his poetry with you, his compassion with you. Remember it — otherwise it is very easy for people to become fanatics. Why do millions of people in the world become fanatics? For a simple reason: by becoming a fanatic you avoid all experimenting, by becoming a fanatic you escape from thinking on your own, feeling on your own. By becoming a fanatic you throw all responsibility on somebody else’s shoulders — Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Atisha. Remember, your responsibility is such, it cannot be given to anybody else, it cannot be thrown on somebody else. Your responsibility is absolutely yours. You will have to think, you will have to feel, you will have to meditate, you will have to walk, for yourself.

And let me remind you again: you may come across scenes which Atisha has never come across. If you go to the Himalayas and you want to climb Everest, there are many ways to climb it, many sides. From one side you may come across beautiful valleys and rivers and trees. From the other side you may not come across any river, you may not come across trees at all, you may come across only rocks and rocks. From the third side you may come across glaciers, virgin snow that has never melted. And you all will reach the top. Those who have reached the top will always be considerate and liberal. They cannot be stubborn, they cannot say, “This is the only path,” because from the top they can see that there are many paths. They can see many pilgrims arriving, reaching from different routes. And each route has its own world.

Atisha followed a certain route. But he was very fortunate to have three enlightened masters; he reached Everest by at least three routes. His vision is very comprehensive, his vision is wide, it is not narrow. Jesus says, “My path is narrow but straight.” He followed only one master. Naturally his path is very narrow and straight. It is not the case with Atisha; his path is very zigzag and very wide. It contains many paths in it, it is a great synthesis.


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

Discourse Series: The Book of Wisdom

Chapter #5

Chapter title: Sowing White Seeds

15 February 1979 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, Mahavira, Shiva, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu, Bodhidharma, Nansen, Joshu, Ma Tzu, Hyakujo, Atisha, Patanjali, Kabir, Nanak, Saraha, Tilopa and many other enlightened Masters” in 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. The Mustard Seed: My Most Loved Gospel on Jesus
  4. The Path of Love
  5. Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
  6. When the Shoe Fits
  7. Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen, with Basho’s Haikus
  8. Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy
  9. The White Lotus
  10. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1
  11. The Tantra Vision, Vol 1
  12. Ma Tzu: The Empty Mirror
  13. Nansen: The Point of Departure
  14. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1
  15. Joshu: The Lion’s Roar
Spread the love

Leave a comment