Isan No Footprints in the Blue Sky 04

Fourth Discourse from the series of 8 discourses - Isan No Footprints in the Blue Sky by Osho.
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Once, to Kyozan, Isan commented: “All the buddhas in the samadhi enter a speck of dust and turn the great wheel of the law.”
Kyozan said to him, “How about you?”
Isan responded, “There is someone; making him an example, we can get it from him.”
Kyozan pointed to a water bottle and said, “Please get in it.”
Isan’s response was: “All the buddhas by their occult powers are at present in the mouth of the bottle, turning the great wheel of the law. Can you see them doing it?”
Kyozan then said, “This is the turning of all the buddhas. How will you turn it?”
Isan observed, “It cannot be done if we are separated from the thing itself” – at which Kyozan made his bows.
Maneesha, before I discuss the sutras, something of great importance has to be understood. Zen is neither Buddhism nor Taoism; it is a crossbreed. When the great Bodhidharma met the masters of Taoism in China, the meeting and their dialogues created something new, which has the flavor of Buddhism in it but is not dependent on Buddhist literature. It has also the flavor of Tao in it, but is not dependent on Taoist tradition. It is independent of both the parents.
As all crossbreeds are better than the parents – even philosophical systems, theological ways, meditation, function in the same way as fruit, as animals, as human beings – the crossbreed by nature itself takes the best of both the parents and leaves all that is nonessential.
Zen’s greatness and height is because it has left all the nonessentials of Buddhism and all the nonessentials of Taoism. Two great peaks have merged into a higher peak, which has only the flavor of both. But the synthesis of the flavors makes it a totally new phenomenon.
Hence the traditional Buddhist will not give any credit to Zen. He will simply laugh and will say, “It is just crazy.” The traditional Taoist also will say the same thing: “It is crazy. It is not part of our system.” But this became a great opportunity to rebel against all traditions. Zen is pure rebellion.
But unfortunately, the way history moves, even the very rebellious people… Gautam Buddha himself was a great rebellious mind; he rebelled against Hinduism, he rebelled against Jainism, he rebelled against the whole past of India. He had the guts and the genius to do it.
But this is the unfortunate part: sooner or later Buddha had to die and his words would then fall into the hands of the scholars. He could not prevent it – although his last premonition was this: “Don’t make me an institution. Don’t make me a tradition! I have been against the traditional way; I don’t want to myself become a tradition, but I will not be here to prevent you. So my last words are: Don’t make my statues, don’t make my temples, don’t write my scriptures – so that I can disappear just like the birds’ footprints in the blue sky. Don’t be worried that my disappearance will be in any way a disturbance in the evolution of humanity. Better buddhas will be coming, greater revolutionaries will be coming. I don’t want to stand in their way.”
But nobody listens. The moment he died, the next thing his disciples did was to collect all that he had said in forty-two years’ of continually speaking, morning and evening. And he had not allowed anybody to take notes, for the simple reason that these notes would become scriptures. But the words were so profound that the first gathering – just the second day after Buddha’s death – decided that all the enlightened disciples should gather together. There were five hundred enlightened disciples. This was called the first great meeting and they decided that everybody should relate his experience, “So we can somehow collect the great treasure that is going to disappear if we don’t collect it now.”
One can understand their concern that Buddha should not be lost for the future generations. But one can also understand that although they were enlightened, they could not agree about Buddha’s last statement, his last words, and they did not even feel that they were disagreeing. So each person who had heard whatever Buddha had said related whatever he remembered. There were great troubles because somebody said something and somebody else contradicted it saying that Buddha had said something else.
Soon it was clear that they were not all agreeing. Thirty-two schools arose; thirty-two different schools and traditions – each claiming to be the right tradition – and they started to make Buddha’s statues, scriptures. In the whole world nobody else’s statues exist more than Buddha’s.
When the Arabians and Persians came into contact in Mongolia with the statues of Buddha, they had never seen anybody’s statue, so Buddha’s statue became to them exactly the word that symbolizes statue: buth. Buth is a form of buddha; they did not make any distinction because there were no other statues – only Buddha’s statues – so buddha became synonymous with buth. Even today in Urdu, in Persian, in Arabic, buth means statue. It is derived from Buddha, the man who has forbidden making his statues.
Buddhism became a tradition and again somebody of the same genius and greatness had to revolt against the tradition. It was not a revolt against Buddha; it was a revolt against the traditionalism, the ritualism. The priests with whom he had been fighting his whole life had come back; the scholars had again become important.
Bodhidharma rebelled against the Buddhist tradition, and part of his rebellion was meeting with the Tao and bringing all the flowers of Tao and creating a new experience. But he was as unaware of the fact as Buddha was. Buddha was saying, “Don’t make a tradition of me,” but the tradition was made. Bodhidharma rebelled against the tradition, but was not aware that he also would fall into the same trap of the human mind. He became a tradition himself.
Soon it was realized by Ma Tzu that this is a sad story, that Bodhidharma, a man of fire, burning all scriptures, destroying all beliefs… Ma Tzu was also of the same caliber. To revolt is not easy. You need to have tremendous resources within you; otherwise you become futile, your words don’t have the traditional depth. Tradition gives a certain depth, a certain richness, a certain refinement. A single individual, if he stands against all tradition, needs to be of a great genius, of great creativity.
Ma Tzu rebelled against the traditionalism that had grown after Bodhidharma. He introduced totally new ideas, new devices – hitting, shouting. Nobody had ever heard that you can wake up a man just by shouting at the right moment; it was a great contribution to human consciousness that hitting can become a reward.
In the hands of Ma Tzu, Zen became fresh again – as fresh as Buddha wanted it to be. After a thousand years, Buddha would have loved Bodhidharma and Ma Tzu, the people who rebelled. A rebellious spirit loves the very creativity that any rebel brings to any action, thought, meditation, art, music. But Ma Tzu again – it has to be, it seems, a matter of course that every rebellious person also becomes a tradition.
Isan also wanted to rebel against Ma Tzu. It was not against Ma Tzu, but the Ma Tzu that the tradition had created. It is a strange phenomenon: Isan loved Ma Tzu as he loved Buddha and Bodhidharma, but he could not accept the rituals that had grown afterward, when they had died.
But Isan was not that great a genius. He could not be compared to Ma Tzu or Bodhidharma. He was very polite and his politeness prevented his rebelling completely. You cannot be polite and revolutionary; you have to be iconoclastic and you have to hit hard against the dead tradition. Politeness will make you respectable, but not revolutionary. And that is what happened – it is a misfortune. Isan became a respectable master. Because he became respectable he lost the grandeur of a revolutionary.
Whenever a person becomes respectable, he cannot say anything against the mass mind. The collective unconsciousness will feel hurt if he says anything revolutionary, and anything revolutionary will take away the respectability.
He was very respected, and he managed the respect. That’s where he lost the beauty of rebellion. That shows in his sutras: they are not very great or very profound; they are good enough, but very lukewarm. Just because he wanted to rebel against the rituals that had grown after Ma Tzu, Isan left shouting, he left hitting – but he could not substitute anything else in their place. So he became in a way very poor. His humbleness was great, his simplicity was great, but he could not contribute anything new or profound to human consciousness.
You have to remember it: respectability and rebellion don’t go together. If you want respectability, you have to conform to the society – and the society consists of blind people. Even though you have eyes, you have to walk like the blind, you have to keep your eyes closed. If you want respectability from the blind… They can give respectability only to another blind person. A man who has eyes does not belong to the masses, seems to be a stranger. Isan could not gather the courage to be a stranger.
Those who have lived a life of being a stranger come to know strange things, which ordinarily you will not come across in life. Just the other day I received a letter from a sannyasin who was present in a Jaina gathering, which had also one night invited the great poets of the country. One of the greatest poets of contemporary India, Neeraj, was there – he has been here, so you are all acquainted with him – and he was hooted down, forced to leave the stage, and the reason was that he mentioned my name. He introduced himself before the recital saying, “All my poetry belongs to Osho. He is my source of inspiration.”
Thousands of other writers and poets go on repeating what I am saying, but don’t have the courage to make it clear to people from where their inspiration comes. Sheer fear of the crowd! But Neeraj is a man of all the qualities of a lion. He said, “It does not matter even if you shout. This hooliganism, this gunda-ism, won’t make any difference.” He left the stage saying, “Long live Osho!”
People are afraid to come here and you can see the reason: if somebody knows that they have been here, then they must be connected with me in some way or other. There are many people who want to be here, but do not have the guts to face the masses. Even to come to hear me needs courage! Nobody is asked to agree with me; they may disagree with me – but they cannot come to listen to me even for disagreement. They read my books hiding them under the covers of other books because if somebody knows that they are reading my books, their respectability is at risk.
One of the chief ministers of Gujarat used to come here before he became chief minister. After becoming chief minister he stopped coming; not only did he stop coming, he told my secretary, “You should not come to see me for any work in Gujarat because I don’t want anybody to know that I have been influenced by Osho, or have any association with Osho.” Then he was defeated and again he started coming here. When you are defeated there is no need to fear: already people are not in your favor. He came here a few months ago. I told my secretary, “Anyway I am not seeing anybody – and particularly I will not see this man who is such a coward that when he comes to power, he sends the message that it should be kept a secret that he has been following me, attending my camps. I don’t like such cowardly sheepish human beings.”
He understood that that is right. Now he has again become the chief minister and I told one of my sannyasins there, “Ask him: does he want to see me?” He said, “Just don’t mention his name – at least while I am in power!”
To be rebellious you have to live as a stranger amongst your own people. Isan had the possibility of becoming a rebel – and then there would have been some profoundness in his statements. In his anecdotes some new quality, some new dimension, some new flowers may have blossomed. But because of respectability he kept his rebellious spirit dormant. So once in a while something comes out; otherwise he is an example of a rebel who has repressed his rebellion.

A small biographical note:
Isan’s foremost disciple was Kyozan, also known as Yang-shan.
You will be wondering why all these masters have two names. The reason is because of China and Japan; one name is Chinese and one name is Japanese.
Between master and disciple a new sect was established, known as the Kuei-Yang school.
Isan tried his best to rebel against Ma Tzu, so between the master and the disciple – between Isan and Kyozan – a new school was established; its name was Kuei-Yang.
It was characterized by the distinction made between the Zen of meditation based on the Lankavatara sutra, and instantaneous Zen, which completely divorced itself from the sutra.
The Lankavatara sutra is one of the most profound books in the world. It contains the very essentials of Buddha, and hence it is respected and loved throughout all the Buddhist countries. China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Tibet, Taiwan, Korea – the whole Far East loves the Lankavatara sutra. It has tremendous beauty. It is not like other religious books; it has a great poetry in it, it is a creative work of art.
This new sect that Isan and his foremost disciple Kyozan established was against the Lankavatara sutra. It was a difficult task. I don’t think Isan or Kyozan was capable of doing it. Of course, Ma Tzu could have done it. They didn’t have that genius, but still what they did was good. Every rebellion is good, even if it is a small rebellion.
The Lankavatara sutra fundamentally preaches gradual enlightenment, which seems to be more rational, practical, and understandable. Step-by-step you move and discipline yourself, and when the time is ripe and you have come to the point where enlightenment is supposed to happen, it will happen. But it is not an instantaneous thing; it is not like instant coffee. You have to prepare yourself to receive it and that preparation can take years. Twenty years, thirty years it may take for you to become a vehicle for enlightenment.
It was a logical system, hence the Lankavatara sutra had never been opposed. Even people like Ma Tzu and Bodhidharma did not mention it. They simply avoided it. They did what they wanted to do – which goes against Lankavatara sutra – but they did not mention it because they also loved it. Its beauty is so profound that to go against it will look almost like going against yourself. So they did not mention it, they simply bypassed it because their preaching was instantaneous Zen. They were opposing the Lankavatara sutra in the very foundations, but they were capable – Bodhidharma and Ma Tzu, these two persons were certainly capable – of bringing a new insight: Drop the idea of gradualness and bring the idea of instantaneous Zen.
Its implications are great. The moment you drop the gradual Zen, all discipline becomes useless, all rituals become useless, all worshipping becomes useless. The only thing that remains significant is meditation, and to remain in the present as a witness. I agree with them, rather than with Lankavatara sutra.
And that was the effort of Isan – but he was not that great a genius to bring out something great and profound, comparable to Lankavatara sutra. So he was in a difficulty.
The school that evolved through the work of Isan and Kyozan was an effort to formalize the anti-sutra position of Ma Tzu.
Ma Tzu had an anti-sutra position, but Ma Tzu had the quality to create something as a substitute – because you cannot take away from people’s hands something that gives them consolation. You have to substitute something for it, otherwise your work is destructive, not constructive – and both Bodhidharma and Ma Tzu substituted.
Bodhidharma had his own methods, not included in the Lankavatara sutra. Ma Tzu went even further; nobody had ever before heard of his methods of shouting and beating. His effort was so new – that enlightenment is possible if the master hits you at the right moment, or shouts at you at the right moment; his very shout takes your consciousness to the deepest center of your being. What meditation does slowly, slowly, a good shout of the master, unexpectedly, in a situation when the disciple was asking some question, and the master jumps and shouts, or hits him, or throws him out of the door, or jumps over him… These methods were never known. It was purely the very creative genius of Ma Tzu and he made many people enlightened.
Sometimes it looks so hilarious: he threw a man from the window, from a two-story house, and the man had come to ask on what to meditate. And Ma Tzu not only threw him, he jumped after him, fell on him, sat on his chest, and he said, “Got it?”
And the poor fellow said, “Yes” – because if you say “No,” he may beat you or do something else. It is enough – his body is fractured and Ma Tzu, sitting on his chest, says, “Got it?”
And in fact he got it because it was so sudden, out of the blue – he could never have conceived it. He had heard that Ma Tzu hits people, Ma Tzu shouts at people, but he had never heard that he throws them from a two-story building. He had multiple fractures and then Ma Tzu jumped on him and sat on his chest. At that moment he was absolutely in such a shock that the mind stopped functioning – and that was the purpose of the whole thing. Because the mind stopped functioning, and Ma Tzu was sitting on his chest, looking into his eyes – a great silence, the same blissfulness that comes out of meditation… What a strange way!
His anti-sutra attitude – Ma Tzu burned sutras. Buddhists have more scriptures than any religion because thirty-two schools have their own scriptures, commentaries upon commentaries; it is a whole different world of literature. He burned sutras, but he substituted something.
Isan wanted to be another Ma Tzu, but he had not the guts of that man. It is not easy to throw a man out of the window, and the man said, “What about my fractures?” Ma Tzu said, “Forget about the fractures! One day everybody has to die. You have died today. And there are only seven days to choose from – not much of a choice. But you have got it, and that is the essential thing.”
In that utter shock the man simply moved to his center. In shocks that happens. Sometimes it has happened just accidentally: your car turns over on the road, rolls into a valley, takes a few turns. Obviously your mind will stop functioning and if you understand Zen, that is a great opportunity because you will be at the center. Death may occur, but if you know anything about Zen, it will not occur to you. It will occur only to your body – your consciousness will open its wings and fly to freedom.
Zen has to be made available to every person in the world because no one knows – every day thousands of accidents happen, but because you don’t know how to use the accident you miss a great opportunity. You just get multi-fractures and a few months in the hospital – a chance that could have made you a buddha.
I always think that if Ma Tzu were alive today, he may knowingly turn over a car on a cliff and send you rolling down, running after you, pulling you out from the wreckage, and asking you as the first question: “Got it?”
But Isan was not another Ma Tzu because he remained concerned about his respectability. Ma Tzu dropped the idea of respectability. People like Ma Tzu don’t care a bit what the world thinks about them. The world thinks they are crazy – so what? They say, “We think that the world is crazy!”
We are all equal in that way: the world thinks we are crazy; we think the world is crazy. The decisive factor is that our craziness is blissful and ecstatic and intelligent, and their craziness is just retardedness, misery, suffering. So if both are crazy, then too you have to choose our craziness. Your craziness is simply suffering, a tragedy that you go on carrying from the cradle to the grave, from one death to another birth, to another death. This is called the wheel of birth and death. That will come in the sutras.

The sutra:
Once, to Kyozan, Isan commented: “All the buddhas in the samadhi enter a speck of dust and turn the great wheel of the law.”
It is a mythological wheel, which goes on turning, and you go on clinging to some spoke of the wheel. Again and again the same thing happens: the birth, the marriage, the business, the misery, the death – again the birth. But who goes on moving this wheel? That is the question that Kyozan is asking.
“All the buddhas in the samadhi enter a speck of dust and turn the great wheel of the law.”
Kyozan said to him, “How about you?”
That’s where he shows his mildness, mellowness, humbleness. It is a mythological thing – no buddha turns into a speck of dust and no buddha turns the wheel; in fact every buddha is trying to get you out of the wheel. Every buddha is functioning to take you out of this wheel of birth and death. You have died and been born so many times, repeatedly, and you have been doing the same things again and again. You don’t get anything universal, immortal; you are just an actor in a drama. The curtain rises and the curtain falls, and it goes on and on.
It is immensely good that you don’t remember your past lives, otherwise you will go instantly crazy because you have done all these things so many times that you cannot believe that you are such an idiot, so ancient an idiot; that you have been doing all these things for centuries, for many, many births – the same things, nothing has changed, you have not learned a single bit.
Buddha’s work is to help you get out of this vicious circle.
So the question is not right in the first place, but Isan, being always humble and trying to be polite, will not say so. If this question had been asked to Ma Tzu, he would have given such a good beating that the person would have never again asked any question. Ma Tzu declared again and again that “It does not matter what you say, you will still get a hit. Don’t think that I am hitting you because you are saying something wrong! I am hitting you because you are saying something – and I want you to reach the place where nothing can be said.”
So whether you are saying something right or wrong does not matter; it is just superficial. The hit is certain. And in what way will it come? It is spontaneous. Nobody knows whether he will throw you, or hit you on your chest with his leg, and he used to have a big staff… And he was really perhaps the rarest man in the world; he walked like a cow, on all fours, and he looked like a tiger. His eyes were as fiery as any tiger’s can be, and this behavior – walking like a cow his whole life… He never walked like a man; it was below his dignity. He was a very strong man, and you could expect anything from him – anything! One never knew what he was going to do. But still the man was lovable.
If this question had been asked to Ma Tzu, multiple fractures were absolutely certain because the question is utterly baseless.
But Isan was a humble person. So when Kyozan asked him: “How about you?” You are also a buddha. Have you turned into a speck of dust? And do you help the rolling of the eternal wheel of dharma?
Isan responded, “There is someone; making him an example, we can get it from him.”
He avoided the question, “How about you?” because to say “Yes, I am also a buddha,” needs much more humbleness than Isan possessed. To declare yourself a buddha is not a declaration of ego because egolessness is the essential part of a buddha. The moment you say, “I am a buddha,” you are saying, “I am no more.” It is only a different way of saying that you don’t exist – only a pure awareness, a witnessing.
Kyozan pointed into a water bottle and said, “Please get in it.”
If you are a buddha, and you can become a speck of dust, then here is a bottle – enter it.”
Isan’s response was: “All the buddhas by their occult powers are at present in the mouth of the bottle, turning the great wheel of the law. Can you see them doing it?”
Now he is not being relevant. Rather than saying clearly, “Your question is absolutely absurd,” rather than saying, “Yes, I am a buddha, but no buddha turns the wheel; every buddha is trying to stop the wheel of life, so that everybody can be immortal – without any birth and without any death”… So he goes on getting into more trouble. Just because he wants to remain humble, not to be like Bodhidharma…
Bodhidharma told the emperor Wu of China, “You are an absolute idiot!” Anyone else, Wu would have cut off his head, but looking at Bodhidharma he could see that “In comparison to him I am nothing more than an idiot. He is not being rude; he is simply being factual.” That shows the great cultured mind of the emperor. But Isan has not that quality, so he goes on getting into more trouble.
Kyozan brought a bottle and said: “Please get in it.” It should be an example for you that whenever you are getting into any absurdity, stop in the beginning! The deeper you go, the more difficult it becomes to stop it. If you have taken one step into absurdity, you will have to take another step to be consistent with yourself – and where will it end? It is better from the very beginning to say, “This is nonsense!”
But Kyozan was his chief disciple, and between the two of them they have created a new school of Zen. So naturally he could not be rude with Kyozan who was his successor. Isan was too considerate of the other person and that was his failing. That is the reason the Zen people in Japan have ignored him completely. Nobody talks about Isan.
It will give you an insight that you can have respectability among your contemporaries, but nobody will remember you in the coming centuries. You will be forgotten completely, like a name written on water. But those who are condemned by their contemporaries may be remembered for centuries to come.

I am reminded of Socrates. The chief justice, who pronounced the judgment of a death sentence on Socrates by giving him poison – that was the Greek way – called Socrates close to him. Socrates had been arguing for days in the court. Nobody was able to argue with him, for the simple reason that Socrates himself had no position. He never proposed anything – any god that you can discuss, that you can argue against or for. He never proposed anything. So you were in a difficult position: whatever you said, he could contradict it. He was a great genius as far as argumentation was concerned. He contradicted everybody, finished everybody. The chief justice was impressed by him.
But in Greece in those days there were only city states and a very different kind of democracy. The whole city had the right to vote on any decision, and a decision on the fate of Socrates was so important that the whole city gathered. Against his will – the chief justice could see that this man was innocent, and this man was a glory to his land. But fifty-one percent of the people of Athens wanted him to be killed. It was just a question of two percent of the people this way or that way: forty-nine percent of the people were in favor of Socrates’ being released. But that was not the question; the decision depended on the percentage.
The chief justice decided against Socrates, even though he did not want to do such a thing. Before telling the masses who had gathered to listen to the judgment, he asked Socrates, “Of course I have to judge against you because fifty-one percent of the people of the city are against you. Personally I am not in favor of killing you. So I will give you a few alternatives: the first is that you can go out of Athens. There, the law of Athens is no longer applicable. You can be just on the boundary, so people can meet you there.”
Socrates refused. He said, “I cannot go anywhere else. If Athens, which is the most cultured city in Greece, cannot allow me to live, who is going to allow me to live? There I will be more of a stranger. Here I have lived my whole life. I have not harmed anybody – but still fifty-one percent of the people are against me, they want me dead. Anywhere else the same thing will happen.”
The chief justice had to agree that that was true. He said, “The second alternative is: you stop teaching and take a vow of silence.”
Socrates said, “That is impossible! So many people are stumbling in darkness, and I know the way and I can show them the way. No, I cannot remain silent, seeing people stumbling in darkness and blindness. I will have to speak.”
The judge said, “You are making things impossible for me. Then the only alternative is: you have to be ready because by the evening you will be given poison.”
Socrates said, “That is not much of a problem. One has to die one day; perhaps my day has come. I am ready! I just want you to remember that your name will only be remembered in reference to me. Otherwise nobody will ever know that you existed.”

And it is true. Nobody would have known who the chief justice was if Socrates had not been poisoned and killed. But Socrates certainly is going to remain in the memories of men as long as human beings are here on this planet.
Isan is forgotten, purposely because he considered public opinion more, and an authentic master does not consider what the public says. He is not here to agree with someone; he is here to declare his truth. Whether anybody agrees with it or not, it is immaterial. But that is the difficulty. Isan understood humbleness in a very wrong sense. His humbleness became a compromise, his humbleness became a fear. Otherwise it was so clear that he should have told Kyozan in the beginning, “What are you talking about? – buddhas turning into dust? Only buddhas don’t turn into dust! They turn into a more cosmic consciousness.”
But because he did not say anything against Kyozan, Kyozan asked him: “How about you?” Being a humble person, he could not say, “I am also a buddha.” That’s where Kyozan was trying to drive him: to show him whether he is really humble or not. But humbleness does not mean to compromise with lies, to compromise with absurd hypotheses. Humbleness does not mean to have a friendliness toward lies. Humbleness is not a sheep, it has to be a lion. But because he was trying to create a different school from Ma Tzu, he was caught in a difficulty: he could not shout, he could not hit, and all these other things that from the times of Buddha masters used to do. He wanted to create something new and original, and he was not capable of it.
He was a simple man, a humble man – but not very courageous. And humbleness needs more courage than anything else; to be nothing needs more guts than to be something. When he was asked, “How about you?” he should have said, “I am a buddha – and no buddha helps turn the wheel of life and death, no buddha turns into dust. And you are being absolutely absurd: just because I am not Ma Tzu and I am trying to create a new school – you know perfectly well I will not shout and I will not hit you – that does not mean that you can go on asking absurd questions. I can at least say to you, silently, peacefully, lovingly, and without shouting: ‘Don’t be stupid!’” But even that he could not manage.
Kyozan pointed to a water bottle and said, “Please get in it.” That’s what I am saying: Don’t agree with anything stupid, otherwise there is no way to turn back. Now he has accepted that buddhas turn into dust, he has accepted that buddhas turn the wheel of life and death, Kyozan is driving him deeper. He says, “Now, please get in this bottle. You are a buddha.”
Isan’s response was: “All the buddhas by their occult powers are at present in the mouth of the bottle…” Such stupid nonsense! All the buddhas will choose a bottle in Isan’s house and they are all gathered in the neck of the bottle, so Isan cannot enter it because it is blocked. Once you accept any absurdity, then there is no end; you will have to accept more absurdities. You will become more and more of a mess.
And what are all these buddhas doing there? – “…turning the great wheel of the law,” in the bottle! Even I would have hit him as hard as possible and I am a nonviolent person. He is saying, “They are turning the wheel of the law. Can you see them doing it?
Kyozan then said, “This is the turning of all the buddhas. How will you turn it?”
Isan observed, “It cannot be done if we are separated from the thing itself” – at which Kyozan made his bows.
Isan has not proved his mettle, although his last statement is correct – that’s why Kyozan made his bows. Kyozan has asked, “How will you turn it?”
Isan observed, “It cannot be done if we are separated from the thing itself. “I am no more close to the wheel; I am still alive, I have not turned into a speck of dust. That’s why I am separate from the wheel and I cannot turn it.”
But accepting the very idea that buddhas turn into dust, and then their work is only to turn the wheel of life and death, is so strange and so against the very spirit of Zen that Isan needs a good beating. If you meet him somewhere, on my behalf do a good job!

Soseki wrote:
Virtue and compassion together
make up each one’s integrity.
Nothing that comes through the gate
from outside
can be the family treasure.
Throwing away the whole pile
in your heart,
with empty hands you come,
bringing salvation.
Beautiful poetry – and significant too.
Virtue and compassion together
make up each one’s integrity.
Compassion in fact is another name of virtue. All acts of virtue are acts of compassion. They are not two, only two words for the same quality.
Nothing that comes through the gate
from outside
can be the family treasure.
He is saying, “Nothing that comes from the outside can be considered your treasure. Your treasure is already inside; it does not have to come from outside.”
Throwing away the whole pile
– that comes from outside –
in your heart,
with empty hands you come,
bringing salvation.
If you can throw away everything that comes from outside, your empty heart, your empty being is the greatest treasure, which brings salvation to you.
That’s what we are doing in our meditations. Our meditations are concentrated Zen. In a very simple and joyful way, with a great playfulness, we are trying to find the treasure inside. There is no need to be serious about it. It is there – just a little moving inward, a single step in fact, and you have arrived at home.

Maneesha has asked:
These days when you say the word witness, it has the same impact that the words love or relationship once had. I listen as if it is actually food to nourish something vital inside.
Is that the art of the master – to arouse appetites one never knew one had?
Yes, Maneesha. The whole function of the master is to make you aware of your own thirst, of your own appetites, of your own longings that you have avoided facing.
The whole art of the master is exactly to make you thirsty, hungry to reach your own being – because unless you reach your own being you will remain blind and you will remain in darkness. You will suffer birth and you will suffer death, and you will suffer all that happens between these two.
…to take you beyond suffering, to allow you the freedom of the whole sky, to create an intense urgency because one never knows: I may not be here tomorrow; you may not be here tomorrow. Tomorrow is so uncertain – one has to gather all his forces in this moment if he wants to do something.
Reaching your center is not something that can be postponed. Everything else can be postponed, but not your entering into your center because that is the very purpose of life. That is the only goal worth anything. And it is your source, so if you make an intense effort to search for it, you are bound to find it.
Nobody can miss being a buddha; one can only postpone. You can postpone for tomorrow, for another life – but sooner or later, this century or another century, you cannot ultimately avoid coming into contact with your own nature. So why not do it now?
But before you do it – because you may come back, or you may not come back… Nivedano does not allow you to go too far. The moment he sees that now a few people are going too far, immediately they are called back.
And it is a very perfect time for Sardar Gurudayal Singh to have a good laugh because who knows? – one may or may not come back to laugh again. So before entering in, have a good laugh. This laughter will help you to be lightweight; this laughter will make your meditation a joyful, a beautiful, nonserious playfulness.
All the religions down the ages have made meditation a great seriousness. I consider it to be one of the misfortunes because nobody wants to be serious – life is making people serious enough – and on top of it, nobody wants to get into any serious trouble.
But meditation is not serious. It is just one of the easiest, most silent things, a dancing toward your being.

But anyway, first comes Sardar Gurudayal Singh.

Bonzo, the Australian boundary rider, hangs up his saddle for the last time.
“Come on, Bill,” he says to his old faithful dog, “I’ve had enough of this. I’m going to become a truck driver.”
Bonzo practices his driving skills for many days and finally goes for his truck driving test.
“Now, tell me,” says the examiner, “what would you do if a kangaroo hopped in front of your truck?”
“I would stop,” replies Bonzo, “and shoo it away.” “Good,” says the examiner, “and supposing you ran over a prickly pear and got a puncture, what would you do?”
“I would have a few beers, eat the prickly pear, change the wheel, and then carry on,” replies Bonzo.
“Good,” says the instructor. “And one more question: Supposing you are driving along a two-lane highway and you see a truck coming toward you. At the same time another truck is overtaking you, and then you see another truck overtaking the truck coming toward you. There is no chance of avoiding a huge collision. What would you do?”
“Well,” says Bonzo, smiling gleefully, “then I would wake up Bill.”
“Really?” asks the examiner. “Who is Bill?”
“Bill is my dog,” replies Bonzo.
“Really?” says the examiner. “And what good would that do, waking up your dog?”
“It wouldn’t do any good,” replies Bonzo. “But Bill loves to see a good smash!”

Gorgeous Gloria leaves the city one sunny morning for a drive in her little red Alfa Romeo sports car. She is speeding through the country lanes when suddenly there is a loud banging noise from the engine. Gloria pulls the car over to the side of the road and gets out.
Obviously the car is not going any further and it is getting late, so Gloria walks to a nearby farmhouse to explain her trouble.
Old Zeb, the farmer, offers a room to Gloria and she sleeps there for the night.
The next morning, Gloria wanders into the barn and watches Zeb’s daughter milking a cow.
“That looks like fun,” says Gloria. “Can I try?”
“Sure,” replies the girl, getting up from the milking stool.
Gloria sits down beside the cow, grabs its tits and starts squeezing. A couple of minutes later she asks the girl, “Hey, how long do you have to pull on these things before they get hard?”

Rear Admiral Kowalski, the commander-in-chief of the Polack navy, decides to make a snap inspection of the Polack fleet. So he takes a small seaplane with Captain Cliffski, the ace pilot, to fly to the naval harbor.
While they are in the air, Rear Admiral Kowalski takes the controls of the plane and starts to guide the seaplane toward a nearby runway.
“Ahem! Excuse me, sir,” says Captain Cliffski, “but this plane can only land on water, not on the ground.”
“Oh yes! Silly me!” says the old Polack sea dog, and he immediately turns the plane toward the harbor and makes a perfect touchdown on the water.
As he gets out of his seat, Rear Admiral Kowalski turns to Captain Cliffski.
“I want to thank you, captain,” he says, “for being so polite and tactful in telling me I was about to make a big mistake. You saved me from making a real fool of myself!”
Rear Admiral Kowalski then salutes smartly, opens the door and steps out – straight into the sea!






Be silent. Close your eyes. Feel your body to be completely frozen.
Now look inward, gathering all your consciousness, all your life energy – almost like a spear, piercing toward the center of your being. It is a single step; all that you need is a great urgency.
Deeper and deeper… Remember, at the center only the witness remains, just like a small flame of awareness.
It seems as if the body is miles away – and the mind is even farther away. You are just a witness, and this witnessing makes you a buddha.
I don’t teach Buddhism, I teach the Buddha.
I don’t want you to learn any philosophy, any teaching. I want you to know that you are Buddha himself.
This moment, just witnessing, such a great silence has descended over you – a great fragrance of a new dimension. Flowers start showering… Just hold on to the center.

To make it clear, Nivedano…


Relax, remain just a witness. That is the only quality that goes on with you eternally. That is your eternity. That is your real life.
The body will go down into the earth. In you, only one thing is immortal and that is your witnessing quality.
The evening was beautiful in itself. The presence of ten thousand buddhas enjoying the splendor of witnessing has made it immensely great.
I can see the Buddha Auditorium turning into a lake of consciousness. You are disappearing as a separate individual, relaxing into the cosmos, without any ripples. Gather as much experience…because you have to bring the buddha to your ordinary life.
We are not the renouncers, we are the ones who rejoice. I want my buddhas to be singing, to be dancing, to be loving, to be blossoming in all colors, in all dimensions. The whole life is ours; there is nothing to abandon, but everything to be transformed, refined, made better.
At this moment you are the most fortunate people on the earth. You have to spread this cool fire around the globe. Only this cool fire can prevent this earth from destruction.
And the time is very short: just twelve years. Either the life-affirmative are going to win, or the life-negative, life-destructive are going to destroy. It has never been so urgent to be a buddha as it is today.



Come back, but come as a buddha – with the same grace, with the same silence, with the same dance in the heart.
Just sit down as nobodies for a few moments to recollect the golden path that you have followed in going to your center, and you have come back from the same path again.
The buddha goes on coming closer and closer to your circumference. Soon he will become your circumference too. That day will be of great rejoicing.

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