Joshu The Lions Roar 01

First Discourse from the series of 8 discourses - Joshu The Lions Roar by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

Joshu, also known as Chao-Chou, was born in 778. When he first met Nansen, Joshu entered the master’s room in the monastery. Nansen was lying down, and his first question to Joshu was: “Where have you come from?”
”From the Jui-hsiang temple,” replied Joshu. (“Jui-hsiang” means holy image).
“Do you still see the holy image?” Nansen asked.
“No, I don’t,” replied Joshu, “I only see the Tathagata lying down.”
At this, Nansen got up, saying, “Are you a monk who has a master or one without a master?”
“With a master,” replied Joshu.
“Who is your master?” Nansen asked.
“Early spring is cold,” said Joshu. “I am so glad that you are well.”
Nansen called the senior monk and said, “Give him special treatment.”
Maneesha, Joshu is one of those exceptional people who become enlightened without any formal initiation. They are nobody’s disciple. It is a very exceptional case. But the story of Joshu is going to be very beautiful. His each statement is so poetic, so pregnant, that unless you listen in utter silence, you will miss its fragrance, its meaning, its penetrating insight into reality.
Joshu is one of the most loved masters in the Zen tradition. There have been great masters, but nobody has been loved so much as Joshu – and he deserved it. His working on people, on disciples, was so soft, so delicate, that only a poet can manage it…a great craftsmanship in carving buddhas out of the stones of humanity.
Every man is just a big rock. It needs a craftsman, a great artist, a sculptor, who with loving hands removes all that is unessential and leaves only that which is absolutely essential.
That absolutely essential is our buddha.
You will see the working of Joshu and you will fall in love with the man, in this anecdote Maneesha has brought.
Joshu, also known as Chao-Chou, was born in 778. When he first met Nansen, Joshu entered the master’s room in the monastery. Nansen was lying down, and his first question to Joshu was: “Where have you come from?”
It has to be understood that the same questions have been asked by different masters to different disciples again and again. They don’t mean exactly what you understand. When Nansen, lying down, says, “Where have you come from?” it does not mean that he is asking Joshu’s address. He is asking his original source. He is asking, “From where have you suddenly appeared into existence? Where have you been before your birth? Where have you been before your parents were born?” Certainly somewhere….
”From the Jui-hsiang temple,” replied Joshu. (“Jui-hsiang” means holy image).
Now there is something to be told to you which is not directly said in this anecdote. There used to be a very ancient temple, Jui-hsiang, meaning holy image – a temple of Buddha. But it has disappeared through natural disaster, in an earthquake. That must have been before Joshu was born. His statement that he is coming from Jui-hsiang temple…and Jui-hsiang temple exists no more!
In Japan the earthquake is a daily experience. That’s why wood and bamboo have become so important in Japan. You cannot make houses of marble; any moment the earthquake can come and then it will be very dangerous, it will kill. You can make only very thin walls; most of the walls are made of paper. You have to use very lightweight material, so even if the earthquake comes it cannot kill you. Just because of those earthquakes, bamboo has taken on a special significance in Japanese life.
Joshu’s saying that he is coming from Jui-hsiang temple means that he remembers his past life, that he was a priest in the Jui-hsiang temple which exists no more.
“Do you still see the holy image?” Nansen asked.
…because it was said that that temple had a really beautiful image. Just because of earthquakes, in Japan they started making Buddha statues of wood. India has never known any images of wood, but China and Japan had to change from marble to wood. The wooden image could survive an earthquake. Wood is not so hard, it is soft; but a stone image is bound to get shattered.
Nansen asked him – he did not say anything about his past life. He could see that what Joshu was saying was right.
When you encounter a master, before you tell him anything about your being, he knows it. You cannot lie, you can only be authentic and true. Nansen did not ask for any proof, for any validation, for any argument, even though that temple had disappeared long before. On the contrary, he asked, “Do you still see the holy image? We have heard it had a very beautiful image of Buddha which was destroyed. Do you still see it?”
“No, I don’t,” replied Joshu, “I only see the Tathagata lying down.”
Nansen was lying down. Now without saying directly that “You are the buddha; now what have I to do with any holy image?”…this subtleness, this beauty! Joshu says, “I only see the Tathagata” – Tathagata is another name of Gautam Buddha – “lying down in front of me. Who cares about images when you are facing the buddha himself?” All that is implied in it. He has already accepted Nansen as an enlightened being.
At this, Nansen got up, saying, “Are you a monk who has a master or one without a master?”
Seeing Joshu’s great insight, that he declares that the Tathagata is lying in front of him, so who bothers about images…this is not an ordinary man. Nansen simply got up and asked,
“Are you a monk who has a master or one without a master?”
“With a master.”
Remember the word with. He is saying, “I am already with the master. What are you talking about?” He did not say, “I don’t have a master” and he did not say, “I have a master.” He said, “With a master.”
That’s why I told you that he never became formally a disciple. His clarity, his enlightenment was so close when he came to Nansen that there was no need for him to be initiated. He was going to explode into light any moment. The season was ripe, the time was right. Any moment the fruit is going to fall down from the tree, as it becomes completely ripe. It is only a question of a few moments.
His answer is of tremendous beauty. He does not say, “I don’t have a master” and he does not say, “I have a master.”
“With a master,” replied Joshu.
“Who is your master?”
Nansen is poking him, to see whether he is simply talking like a parrot or he really knows.
“Early spring is cold,” said Joshu. “I am so glad that you are well.”
He did not answer the question, “Who is your master?” but simply indicated that, “I am with a master. Early spring is very cold and I am so glad that you are well.” Such an indirect and delicate, so sweet an answer.
Nansen called the senior monk and said, “Give him special treatment.”
He should not be thought just an ordinary monk. There were thousands…“Give him special treatment.” He is almost enlightened and he does not need any guidance.” Special treatment just means, give him opportunity, space, love, an atmosphere of friendliness, so he can blossom into a flower. He is already bursting to be a flower. He cannot remain a bud much longer, so give him special treatment.
On both sides it is a very special encounter. Nansen did not ask him to become a disciple. He accepted him as a guest. He gave him the same treatment as he would have given to an enlightened person. Neither did Joshu ask Nansen to accept him as a disciple. There is no need – Nansen will do everything that is necessary. All these formalities of being a disciple are put aside. Joshu can see Nansen, his radiant buddhahood, and he is absolutely satisfied that just sitting by his side is enough. No formality is needed. On both sides it is understood that it is an informal relationship.
Joshu is a master soon to reach to his ultimate peak, and Nansen is happy to give him special treatment. It is very rare, perhaps the only case, because I have not come across any case in which the master says, “Give him special treatment.” But it happens, rarely, that such a ripe person comes. Even if he had not come, he would have become a buddha. Now that he has come it does not mean that Nansen should take advantage of his coming and make him his disciple. All those are marketplace values. Nansen is happy that Joshu is going to flower soon, and Joshu is happy that Nansen is well, healthy, and he has found a living buddha. Nothing is said directly, but everything is understood clearly by both.

Soseki, a Zen poet, wrote:
At those times when I cannot decide
the way back
where I came from,
anywhere I go
becomes the road home.
He is saying, if you don’t know from where you have come, don’t be worried. Just go on: any road is going to end up at your home.
In this world, you should think of a center and a circumference. From the center to the circumference you can join many different lines. You don’t know from where you have come, you don’t know the center…no need to worry. Just stick to one path that is going inward and you will reach.
Soseki is very representative; this is the case with everybody. You don’t know your center…and I go on insisting, “Go to the center.” And I know perfectly well that you don’t know your center. So where will you go? But I know that wherever you go, just go – if you go with your full energy, then you are going to end up at the very source of your being. This is such a valid experience of thousands of mystics that there is no anxiety about it.
I have not told you where the center is. I know only one thing, that if you go inward with your totality and urgency, you will reach it. Nobody has ever missed. The moment you are total and there is urgency the center pulls you – the center itself pulls you toward itself. You don’t go, you are being pulled.
It is just that you have to be together. That togetherness is the problem. People are so fragmentary that even when I say totality, urgency, you think perhaps it is for somebody else – “I am not going to die this moment.” But that somebody else may be you! Some moment you are going to die – why not this moment? Who knows?
And in the moment of death, if you have not been going and coming, in and out, and you have not made the path clean from the circumference to the center, you will not be able to in the moment of death. It has to be done when you are alive, so fully alive that you can gather all your energy and go toward the center. Totality and urgency are the absolute prerequisites. If you go in a lousy way, just with a curiosity in the mind – “Let us see, what is in?” – you will not enter in.
A curious mind has no way inward. To reach your center a tremendous intensity is needed. You have to gather yourself, all that you have, into a single spearhead. Then don’t be worried: go with speed, and wherever you reach will be the center of your being. You cannot go anywhere else.

Maneesha has asked:
Does where we have come from have some significance in relation to where we are going?
No, Maneesha, because it is the same place. Where you have come from and where you are going is the same place. These are not two places, so there is no question of any significance.
There is no need to bother about from where you have come. That is a long route, a very long route. A few people have done that, and it creates a tremendous anguish that you cannot even conceive. One life is enough to make anybody insane, but remembering backward, other lives…and you don’t know how many hundreds or thousands of lives you have lived, because for four million years you have been here on this planet. And that is also not the end.
To those who have been concerned with that problem, it is a necessary question: from where have we come to this planet and in what way? Life must have come to this planet from another planet which was dying either because of a natural disaster, or because the beings who lived there destroyed it by creating something like nuclear weapons. But something must have happened on some planet. There are five hundred planets on which life can exist. We must have come as seeds from some other planet.
So even if you go backward…which is a very difficult process, but possible if you are stubborn enough, like Mahavira. He is a very stubborn man. I don’t think there is any parallel. He lived naked and he would not speak. For twelve years he was absolutely silent – so silent that one day he was standing by the side of a river under a tree meditating…And he would never meditate sitting, simply because sitting is a very comfortable position. He did not like Gautam Buddha’s posture; that was too comfortable. In that comfortable posture there is so much possibility of your falling into dreams, into sleep. But standing, it is very difficult to fall into dreams or sleep. You have to remain awake. Mahavira is the only man who has meditated standing.
So he was meditating under the tree. And a man brought his cows to the river, and as the cows were drinking water, and Mahavira was standing to the side under the tree, somebody came running to the man – he had brought almost a hundred cows – and told him, “Your house is on fire, you are required immediately.” But to leave these hundred cows in the forest…Then he saw a good point, that this man was standing there. So he told Mahavira, “You are standing here anyway, just keep a little watch over my cows and I will be coming back soon.” He did not bother even to consider that Mahavira had not answered, and he had no idea who he was.
Mahavira was in his meditation. He did not bother about anybody’s cows. He did not bother about his own kingdom, he had left it – he has to look after the cows? And the cows went into the shade under the trees, behind the hedges. When the man came back, there was not a single cow, and this man was standing there. He asked, “Where are my cows?” And Mahavira would not speak. The man said, “You are a strange fellow. Do you hear me or not?”
But Mahavira remained just like stone. The man said, “My god, it seems he is deaf and dumb both! Neither he speaks nor he listens, and I left my cows in his care and all are gone. The forest is deep, with wild animals. How am I going to find one hundred cows alone?” He went into the forest to look.
But the cows had not gone very far; they were just behind Mahavira, resting under big trees. When they had rested there, they again came back, close to Mahavira. The man came back from the forest very frustrated. There had not been a sign of a single cow and here he saw all hundred cows standing next to Mahavira! He said, “This man seems to be a thief. He was playing a really great game: to me he was pretending that he is deaf and dumb, so I go into the forest and meanwhile he has gathered all the cows! If I had gone farther, he would have escaped. He was just waiting for the sun to set.” Just pure imagination of his own….
He became so angry that he took two pieces of wood and hammered them into Mahavira’s ears – “I will give you a lesson. This deafness, this dumbness – you will be really deaf.” Still, Mahavira stood there. He did not say anything. Both ears were gone, blood was flowing….
The story is tremendously beautiful. At this point it seems it becomes more metaphorical. In Indian mythology the god of the clouds and the lightning is called Indra. Indra was watching what was happening, and he was very concerned that an innocent man who had not done anything was being punished without reason or rhyme. So Indra came down from the clouds and told Mahavira, “You have decided to remain silent for twelve years. You will not survive if such things go on happening. I can appoint two bodyguards who can look after you.”
This dialogue must have happened just mind-to-mind, because Mahavira would not speak. But mind-to-mind he said to Indra, “I am grateful that nature – and you represent nature – takes care of the innocent. But don’t be worried, it won’t happen again and again. It has not happened before. And I cannot afford two bodyguards; I want to be absolutely alone. These ears and these eyes, this body is going to be burned on a funeral pyre one day, so what is there to be worried about?”
Indra said, “You are very stubborn.”
And Mahavira told him, “Without being stubborn I cannot enter into my past lives. These twelve years of silence are just an effort to pierce all barriers and reach to the place from where I have come. Unless I know from where I have come, how can I go back to the source? How can I make the circle complete?”
That was Mahavira’s attitude: first you have to know from where you have come. But that is not my attitude because there is no need to get into that unnecessary trouble. It is not small; it is tremendous, because it is not only remembering, it is really living your past lives. Everything becomes so complex and dense; you are surrounded by black clouds upon clouds. You need a tremendous willpower to go on and on to find the place from where you have come. This is unnecessary torture, and I am never in favor of any unnecessary torture.

I have heard about a man who was driving his car near New Delhi. He asked an old man who was sitting under a tree, collecting wood, “How far is New Delhi?”
The old man said, “The way you are going, if you go directly, it is very far. You will have to go around the whole earth because you have left Delhi eight miles behind. Now it is up to you: if you are stubborn, then go ahead. If you are sensible, just turn the car around and go back.”
My approach is, when the thing can be done in a simple way and without any torturing…It is absolutely absurd – forget about where you are coming from. One thing is certain, you have come. Now the best way and the easiest way is to look where you are going, because ultimately you will find that the point you reach is also the point from where you have come. This is the way life becomes a perfect circle.
So I don’t see any necessity, Maneesha, to remember from where you are coming. But both Buddhism and Jainism, and only these two religions, have worked out ways to enter into the past. Jainism has gone very deep into the science of remembering the whole past. And because of this arduous methodology adopted by Mahavira, Jainas have remained a very small minority. Who is going to suffer so much? Life in itself is enough suffering; why invite more suffering, suffering that you have forgotten, that you have passed? How many wives you had…just remembering all those wives will not give you any insight but only migraine! How many husbands…all kinds of idiots, and just to remember them will be living a ghost life. There is no need.
Buddhism tried a little, but did not go very far into it. After Buddha, a very few monks tried but it never became a specialty of Buddhism. But Jainism is a very particular case. Buddhism became a world religion – the whole of the Far East became Buddhist – while Jainism remained a small community in India. Only three and a half million is their number today. If Mahavira has converted one couple twenty-five hundred years ago, that one couple would have produced three and a half million by this time!
So you can understand that Mahavira could not convince many people. He was offering such an arduous way that only a few adventurers who loved the impossible became interested in him. Buddha and Mahavira were contemporaries. Buddha’s path is more soft, more human; Mahavira is absolutely dry, very stern. Buddha’s path moves through a garden; Mahavira chooses to move through deserts where even drinking water will not be available. But just different, unique personalities….
Maneesha, you need not be unnecessarily trying to find out where you come from. You already have migraine, do you want it more? Poor Maneesha suffers from migraine. I suffered from migraine for almost fifteen years, so I know what it means. It is almost as if your head is splitting in two. The desire arises to hit the head against the wall.
But a strange incident happened….
I was in Jalgaon, very close to here, and it is one of the hottest places in summer. I had just reached there, it must have been two o’clock in the afternoon, and I was so tired and I had a migraine. So I told my host that first I would like to take a shower.
I went into his bathroom, and they had their taps wrongly fitted. I thought it was cold water but it was hot water, and I turned it full on, on my head. And then I jumped – because it was not cold, it was absolutely hot! But in that jump I forgot about the migraine. Since then it has not come. What happened I don’t know; I simply forgot, the shock was so much. That day I understood the wise saying, that if you have a small trouble the only way to cure it is to find a bigger trouble. Then you will forget about it.
That day I understood why Mulla Nasruddin used to wear his shoes one size too small. The owner of the shoe shop asked him again and again, “Why do you suffer? You always come limping, and again ask for the size that is not for you – it is one size too small. And all day long the whole town knows how much suffering you are going through. Just think – one size smaller shoe!”
Nasruddin said, “You don’t know the philosophy behind it. Because of this shoe, no trouble, no anxiety touches me. This is such an anxiety that I don’t have anything left except the shoes and waiting to die. Nothing else matters. And besides, when I reach home in the evening and I take the shoes off…what relief! Where else can you get such relief?!”

It is almost what was being done, unknowingly, in the EST program. For eight hours you cannot go to the bathroom. After two or three hours it starts becoming difficult, and there comes a moment when you cannot contain it anymore. But you have committed to the program and you cannot get up and go to the bathroom. The bathroom is locked and everybody will laugh at you, that you are not courageous enough. So everybody is trying to be courageous enough.
Then suddenly somebody, in spite of himself, just looks down and he sees – what is he doing? He does not want to do it, but now it is not under his control. The bladder can contain only a certain quantity of water, now it is a flood. But it brings such a great relief. And once one person does it, everybody else is doing it. And they tell their friends, “It is something to experience – the relief! We have never known such a relief.”
So Maneesha, there is no need to know such kinds of relief. Simpler ways are available, and I am in favor of the simple and the obvious. Just find out where you are: that is the point from where you started going out and to where you have to go back.
Your original source is also your ultimate goal.

Now it is time for Sardar Gurudayal Singh.
Poor Sardar Gurudayal Singh has to wait so long and contain himself. I have known him for thirty-five years. He would have become enlightened any day, but just because of the jokes…he is a joke addict. He thinks, “If I become enlightened, then what about tomorrow’s jokes? So postpone; enlightenment is not something that you are going to lose. Any day you can become enlightened, but meanwhile enjoy the jokes first.”

Mrs. Wimple and her little boy Willie get onto the bus. She pays one fare and walks off down the aisle of the bus, towing Willie by the hand.
“Just a minute, lady,” says the conductor. “You will have to pay the fare for your little boy, too.”
“But he is only three years old,” protests Mrs. Wimple.
“Well,” replies the conductor, “he looks more like seven to me.”
“But he can’t be!” cries Mrs. Wimple. “I have only been married for four years.”
“Look, lady,” replies the conductor, “I only want your money, not a confession!”

There is a nasty accident at the London lunatic asylum, when one of the inmates falls down the well.
Loony Larry sees the situation and suddenly, to everyone’s amazement, lowers himself down to the water on the end of a rope. After an incredible effort, Loony Larry manages to pull his fellow inmate out.
The media get to hear about the event, and the Channel Four News team are soon at the lunatic asylum to interview Loony Larry, the hero.
“That was an outstanding act of human courage and compassion,” says Walter Wicket, the TV reporter, into his microphone.
“Thank you very much,” replies Loony Larry, grinning sheepishly.
“And can you tell me,” continues Walter, “right now where is the man you saved?”
“Oh!” says Larry, pointing to the flagpole. “I just hung him out to dry!”

“My god!” says Doctor Snooze, the hypnotist, to his newly-arrived patient, Herman. “You look ghastly. What has been happening to you?”
“Well, Doc,” explains Herman, sprawling out on the couch. “I just got married and my wife Suzie is so gorgeous that we make love five times every night! And I never get any sleep.”
“I see!” says Snooze. “Well listen, I will show you how to hypnotize yourself so that you can just go to sleep every night.
“When you go to bed, you just lie down and tell each part of your body to go to sleep, piece by piece.”
“Thanks, Doc,” says Herman, “I’ll try it.” And he staggers home.
That night, after a large dinner, Herman goes into the bedroom, leaving Suzie to do the washing up. Herman slips under the sheets and starts hypnotizing himself.
“Toes!” commands Herman, “go to sleep!”
“Feet!” orders Herman, “go to sleep!”
“Legs!” directs Herman, “go to sleep!”
“Body!” yawns Herman, “go to sleep!”
“Head!” sighs Herman, “go to sleep!”
Just then the door opens and Suzie glides into the bedroom wearing a tiny see-through nightgown.
One of Herman’s eyes pops open, and slowly absorbs the gorgeous woman climbing into bed.
“Quick,” he shouts. “Everybody wake up!”





Be silent. Close your eyes, feel the body completely frozen.
Now look inward with your total consciousness, with an urgency, as if this is the last moment of your life. Deeper and deeper – go like a spear. You will reach to the center without fail.
The center of your being is also the center of existence. So many roses blossom, so much beauty, such grace and such splendor. Rejoice in this fortunate moment.
The world has forgotten the language and the golden path that leads you to your own treasure.
Truth is here, good is here, beauty is here. From this source arises everything and to this source everything comes back.
This is the eternal source of existence.
Just a small taste of it and you are no more the same person. You start becoming a buddha.

To make it more clear, Nivedano…


Relax. Let go of the body and the mind.
You are neither, you are just a witness.
This witnessing is the very golden key, the master key that opens all the mysteries of existence.
Feel the buddha as deeply, as intimately as possible. The buddha is another name of your witnessing power, and you have to live it around the clock, in all your activities.
Be graceful, be aware, behave the way Buddha would have behaved.
Go on reminding yourself the whole day long that you belong to the transcendental, that you are not part of the mundane existence.
Your home is of the eternal, of the sacred.

This evening was beautiful in itself. But the presence of ten thousand buddhas witnessing together has made it especially beautiful. In this witnessing you have dissolved your individuality. I can see only an ocean of consciousness without any waves. The Buddha Hall has become one oceanic consciousness.
This is what makes a place holy.
This moment you are at the highest peak of consciousness, of joy, of benediction. Soon you will be called back. Start collecting all the flowers and the fragrance. When you come back, come as a buddha.



Come back, but reminding yourself how Buddha would have come – with grace, with silence, with peace.
Sit for a few minutes just to recollect where you have been, the space, the golden path.
This will prepare you for the lion’s roar.
Buddha has said that a man, when he becomes enlightened, gives a lion’s roar. This series that we have started today is named Joshu-The Lion’s Roar.
Remember your beauty as a lion,
as a tremendous power, as a great aloneness.
The moment you roar,
all the valleys will echo it.
All the hearts which are empty will echo it.
One buddha can trigger off thousands of buddhas in the world. This is going to be your message. To a dying world, you are the last hope.

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