Joshu The Lions Roar 07

Seventh 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.

When Tosu was in Tojo province, Joshu asked him, “Aren’t you the master of Tosu hermitage?”
Tosu said, “Give me some tea, salt, and cash!”
Joshu went back to the hermitage, and that evening saw Tosu coming back with some oil. Joshu said to him, “I heard much of Tosu, but all I find is an old man selling oil.”
Tosu said, “You see the old oil-seller, but you don’t know Tosu.”
Joshu said, “Well, how about Tosu?”
Tosu held up the bottle and said, “Oil! Oil!”
At the funeral of one of his monks, Joshu joined in the procession and commented, “What a long procession of dead bodies follows in the wake of a single living person!”
Maneesha, Zen believes in a life which you are not acquainted with, a love that you have not even dreamt of. It lives in a totally different dimension, a dimension where everything is a dance, a celebration.
Zen is the only religion of life. Others are worshippers of the dead. Life contains millions of things, from the very small trivia to the greatest sacred peaks of consciousness. Zen does not renounce anything but transforms it as a stepping stone toward the higher.
It is the only life-affirmative religion that has arisen during the past centuries. Its affirmation is total. All other religions are religions of denial. Anything that seems to be a hindrance, they escape from it. Zen tries to turn it from a hindrance into a help – and it has succeeded. Its success is of profound interest for the coming new man.
The new man will not think of Christianity as a religion, or Hinduism or Mohammedanism or any other religion, because they are all carrying a dead past. Life has escaped from them long before. They have not laughed for centuries; they have not been in tune with the universal music. They have forgotten the language of dance.
Zen alone seems a possibility for the future man. It will survive – when all other religions are gone, Zen will be the only religion around the earth. In fact, all other religions are already dead. Just because of old habit, old conditioning, we go on carrying them, but they have not contributed anything to human consciousness. Rather than contributing they have destroyed much. They have enslaved man, they have oppressed man, they have put man against man; they have created immense violence, war, massacre.
Zen is a religion of flowers, is a religion of songs, is a religion of ecstasy. It has nothing in it which in any way tries to avoid life in any form. It lives life in its totality – and the miracle is that by living totally, each moment becomes so precious…there is no way to measure the beauty of the moment when a person is total, herenow.
These two anecdotes are very small, but great is their significance. The first will look very strange unless you understand that in each activity, a Zen master almost disappears in the action itself. His totality is so great that you can almost say that only the dance remains; the dancer disappears.

Once the great dancer Nijinsky was asked, “What are the greatest moments in your life?”
Nijinsky said, “The greatest moments in my life are those moments when only the dance remains and the dancer disappears.”
The same answer was given by Picasso. While he was painting, somebody asked him. He said, “Don’t ask me anything right now. While I am painting I am just a painter; I am not that great Picasso you have heard about. And when the deepest moments come, then even this painter disappears. Only the painting remains.”

If you can see this point, then the first anecdote will become clear to you, because it is a little out-of-the-way….
When Tosu was in Tojo province, Joshu asked him, “Aren’t you the master of Tosu hermitage?”
Tosu said, “Give me some tea, salt, and cash!”
He did not answer the question. That is one of the important things to understand: Zen answers in its own way, not in the ordinary way. We expect dialogues to happen. Joshu and Tosu both are prominent masters. Joshu asked him, “Aren’t you the master, Tosu?” Without saying anything about himself, Tosu said, “Give me some tea, salt and cash!” What does it mean?
It means, “You are a great master, you don’t need to be answered. You can see for yourself that Tosu is standing before you. To answer you will be insulting, suggesting that you could not see for yourself the radiance of Tosu, his presence, his energy field, his aura. No, I will not insult a great master like Joshu.” That’s why he simply ignored the question.
This ignoring of the question would be taken anywhere else in the world as an insult – but in Zen, this ignoring of the question has a totally different meaning. It is showing great respect: “What are you talking about? You have eyes to see. Just as I can recognize you, you can recognize me; hence the question is irrelevant and I am not going to insult you by answering it.” Rather than answering, Tosu asked, “Give me some tea, salt and cash. I am a poor Zen master.”
Tosu was a very poor Zen master because he lived in a hermitage on a faraway mountain where it was very difficult for people to reach. He had become known as the master of Tosu Hermitage, but he was very poor. So rather than bothering about saying, “I am Tosu,” he is showing his poverty. He was known as the poorest master – one of the greatest souls, but the poorest in the sense that he had not much of a following. He lived in such a strange place that nobody bothered to go there, it was too far away. And his behavior was very strange….
Joshu had just gone there to see him, hearing about him so much. There were many rumors about him and why he did not get disciples: “He himself is responsible because he behaves in such a way that disciples escape! In the first place nobody goes to that faraway hermitage. But sometimes somebody gathers courage, and Tosu behaves in such a way that the man loses heart and tries somehow to escape this strange man!”
Joshu has gone to see Tosu, and Tosu is showing his poverty by asking him, “Give me some tea! Don’t bother about Tosu – in this very moment I need some tea, some salt, and cash!”
A man of immense understanding – he trusts Joshu that he will understand: “In this moment, don’t ask unnecessary questions. I have not got even tea or salt or any cash. You are a great master, you have thousands of followers. I am a poor master, I don’t have any followers. Nobody else is responsible for that; I am responsible. I behave in a way that they cannot understand. But I cannot change myself. I have to remain myself; I have to retain my integrity. Whether any disciple remains with me or not does not matter; I am alone enough.
“But in this moment you must be carrying some cash – you have traveled so far from your monastery. So give me some tea – you must be carrying tea and salt; you have been on a long journey. And a little cash won’t do any harm.”
Showing his poverty – that was his fame, that he is the poorest man yet one of the greatest masters. By showing his poverty he is saying, “You can see for yourself that Tosu is standing before you, asking for cash. Even the poorest have salt, but I don’t even have salt.”
Joshu went back to the hermitage and that evening he saw Tosu coming back with some oil. He had remained in Tosu’s hermitage the whole day, waiting for him to come. But he had disappeared somewhere. In the evening Joshu saw him coming back with some oil. He was so poor, there was no oil even for a lamp in the night. So he must have gone to the nearby village to ask for some oil, and he was coming with a bottle of oil.
Joshu said to him, “I heard much of Tosu, but all I find is an old man selling oil.”
Tosu said, “You see the old oil-seller, but you don’t know Tosu.
You are looking only at the outside, you are not looking in my eyes. You are not looking into my very being.”
Joshu said, “Well, how about Tosu?”
Tosu held up the bottle and said, “Oil! Oil!”
In this moment there is no Tosu but only a bottle of oil. As far as Tosu is concerned he is an absence. He is just an emptiness, a nothingness. In this moment at least he has something: “In the morning when you came I had nothing, so I asked you for some tea, some salt and a little cash. For the night, I don’t have any oil. I am not a oil-seller; I have begged this oil from the town. And in this moment, in my emptiness, there is no other thought than simply ‘Oil! Oil!’ and nothing else.”
It is easier to understand Nijinsky when he says, “I disappear in my dance. The dance becomes so intense that I am no more.” Out of such experiences Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, a Sufi mystic, simply made whirling his only method. His followers are called whirling dervishes. They whirl for hours – it is not easy. Jalaluddin Rumi himself whirled for thirty-six hours continuously, and in the whirling he became enlightened because in the whirling he got lost; only whirling remained. There was no one inside. There was utter emptiness and silence.
It is easy to understand Jalaluddin Rumi, or Picasso, or Nijinsky. It is a little more difficult to understand Tosu when he says, “What are you asking about Tosu? At this moment there is only oil. In the morning there was not even oil; I had asked you for some cash…”
This small anecdote between two masters of similar experience, similar greatness, can be of great help to you. Any activity, if it becomes so total that you are completely absorbed in it, becomes a meditation. Losing yourself and remaining conscious – that is the simplest formula for meditation.
At the funeral of one of his monks, Joshu joined in the procession and commented, “What a long procession of dead bodies follows in the wake of a single living person!”
The man who had died was a master, and a master is more alive even in his death than you are in your life. The master never dies. That is the very secret that has made him a master – that he knows there is no death. He has got hold of eternity in his hands. He carries immortality in his very depths. You can burn his body, but you cannot burn his eternity, his immortality.
Joshu is right when he says, “Look at the strange procession! In the wake of one living man…and that living man is lying down in the coffin; thousands of dead bodies are following.”
To the man of understanding, unless you are utterly conscious you can’t claim that you are alive. At the most you can say you are surviving, just at the minimum. You have not known the Himalayan peaks of life; you have not known the Pacific depths of your consciousness. So thin is your consciousness that it is a miracle that you manage for seventy years to breathe, to walk, to talk, to do all kinds of things. And your roots remain neglected. You don’t know even that you have roots. You never nourish your roots.
Do you understand that attention is food for consciousness? In a very unconscious way you are aware that if nobody pays attention to you, you start feeling a little embarrassed. If the whole city decides one day that nobody will take note of you, as if you are not, you yourself will start suspecting whether you are alive or dead: “Do I exist or am I only dreaming?” You need attention continuously.
And that is the struggle between parents and children, husband and wife, and friends. What is the struggle? – “Give me more attention!” I have seen wives taking newspapers away from their husbands’ hands: “While I am here, what do you mean by reading the same newspaper the whole day? How many times have you read it?” And the poor fellow was simply reading it to avoid getting into any conversation with the wife; because every conversation ends in a fight.
Nobody can argue with a woman. As far as I know, up to now nobody has been able because the woman does not allow you to argue. She has her own, totally different methodology. She throws things, she breaks plates, she beats small children – that is her argument. And the husband has to agree with her; otherwise she will burn down the whole house! He has to say, “Yes, you are right.” And he knows that she is not right at all, but what to do? She has taken such a position that it is better to agree in the very early stages. Later on, it becomes more and more difficult and the distance becomes bigger and she becomes more and more insane.
You cannot argue with insane people. And the woman has found that it is very beneficial to her: the husband has to agree at some point, without fail. She has only to press more and more, give him as much pain in the neck as possible and finally she is always the winner. So, husbands who are intelligent enough accept defeat from the very beginning.
That’s why there is only one kind of husband in the world, and that is henpecked; there exists no other kind, a single category. It is better not to get into the argument at all.

Two men used to sit in a pub, late in the night after everybody else had gone. When the pub would be closing, then, very reluctantly they would leave. They were strangers, but by and by – because every night they were the only ones, the last to get out of the pub – one finally asked the other, “What is the matter? Why do you go on sitting here?”
The other man said, “It is very simple, that’s why I have not asked you. It is my wife. Until she is asleep, I have to remain here. If I find her awake, then there is bound to be difficulty. She will create some kind of trouble.” And then he asked the first man, “Why are you sitting here? I think the problem must be the same.”
The other man said, “No, I am not married. It is because there is nobody at home, just an empty, dark house.”
The man who had a wife said, “You idiot! You are the luckiest man. You should enjoy the darkness of your house! Listen to me, I am more experienced. You are wasting your time here in the pub. I have to, but you don’t have to stay here.”

But this is the problem. The people who have not known women will never know that they are a different kind of creatures – very nice to look at, very good to meet at the beach, but just keep a distance. Once you come closer, into their grip, then you know – “My god!”
Hindus have a temple in Calcutta, perhaps the most famous temple of India. It is a temple of the Mother Goddess Kali, a black woman, ferocious, with four hands. In one hand she has a naked sword, in another hand the head – just the head, freshly cut, the blood is dripping – standing on the chest of her own husband.
I have often been to the temple, because the people who have created it must have known some psychology. The way the society is managed, the man thinks he is the master. The woman allows him to think, because she knows exactly who the master is – let him enjoy! Just an idea, no harm in it – let him enjoy thinking that he is the master. He calls himself a “husband.” Husband means the farmer, and the woman is the earth, and he farms the earth. Let him enjoy all these fictions, but the reality is totally different.
These men, these women, quarreling, fighting, never come to know what life in its purity is. They don’t have time. And strangest of all…I have heard many people, playing cards or chess, or going to the movie…you ask them for what and they say, “We are going to kill time.” And nobody objects!
What are you saying? Time is killing you! From where did you get the idea that you can kill time? You cannot even catch hold of time. Time is fleeting, so fast that you can’t see it. The speed is beyond your visualization. How can you kill time? But millions of people around the world are killing time in different ways, as if life has been given to them just to destroy.
These people only think they are alive, because they have not known the secrets of life. They have not known the silences of the heart. They have never gone into the deepest source of their being. They have never nourished their roots by giving attention to them.
The deeper you go, taking your total attention, the more alive you are. And then a change comes: from time, you move into timelessness. In time, you are bound to die. In time things are born and things have to die. If you want to avoid the vicious circle of life and death and the whole agony, the anguish, then you have to move from time to timelessness.
And that is a small step. The moment you reach within your very center, you have moved beyond time. You have reached into eternity.
That eternity is your buddha.
This is the essential religion. All the prayers of other religions, all their scriptures, all their rituals, are not only useless but dangerous – dangerous in the sense that they are preventing you from finding the essential religion. They are fake religions. Those fake religions have lost their ground, but just because of old habits we continue – going to the church, going to the temple, going to the synagogue.
And all these religions are in the hands of a worldwide priesthood. It does not matter whether that priest is a rabbi, or a bishop, or a pundit; it is a great conspiracy against humanity. The priest, who goes on giving you toys in the name of religion, keeps you engaged, gives you the feeling that you are doing something religious. He keeps you, as Karl Marx says, under the influence of a certain kind of drug, opium.
I don’t agree with Karl Marx on a thousand and one things, but on this point that the priesthood, religion, has been the opium of the people, I agree with him absolutely, unconditionally, categorically. They keep you dead. They never allow you the chance to have a look into the eternal life.
Joshu is right when he says,
“What a long procession of dead bodies follows in the wake of a single living person!”
You can be a living person only if you are rooted in your center. If you are not rooted in the center and are living only on the circumference, you are just so-so alive, lukewarm, without any intensity, without any urgency, without any joy. Your life is just an empty word.
You have to find your authentic life. It is there, hidden in you, but you go on running everywhere else. You never think of going inward. The very idea seems to be strange – “What is there inward? Just a skeleton, blood, bones.” What is the point of unnecessarily creating fear for yourself? If you see your skeleton, you will be really afraid! But that is not what we mean by the inward. By the inward we mean going beyond all that is material. Your skeleton is matter, your blood is matter, your bones are material. By going inward we mean going beyond this skeleton that you think you are.
And the going is so simple. Just a little intelligence and you can be alive, a dancing life full of songs and full of flowers. At least for my people I would like to say, never settle for less. Find out the total secret of your being, because in finding the whole secret of your being you will find the whole secret of the universe. Then life becomes a totally different phenomenon, a continuous celebration, each moment a festival. Each moment the opening of a new dimension, a new mystery. The whole of life becomes so full of miracles that naturally a deep gratitude arises in you, to bow down not to any god but to this universe which contains the trees and the animals and the birds.
This universe is your home. You come out of this universe and you go back into this universe. Prayer is meaningless. Only gratitude…you don’t even have to use the word, just the feeling of gratitude.
But the feeling of gratitude will arise only when you have experienced the mysteries, the splendor, the whole garden of flowers that is given to you. And you had not asked for it; you don’t in any way deserve it, you have not earned it. It is a sheer gift, from the abundance of existence itself.
Existence is heavy, so loaded with splendor it wants to share.
It cannot share unless you are centered in your being. It can share its secrets only with a buddha. And you have every opportunity to become a buddha.
Gido wrote:
There could never be an accurate painting
of blossoms in the air…
Obviously, because the blossoms are always dancing in the air, in the rain, in the sun. How can there be an accurate painting? All photographs will be dead, all paintings will be dead.
There could never be an accurate painting
of blossoms in the air.
Put down your brush
and look again closely:
it is in the blank space
of the background
that the figure materializes.
What Gido means to say is that everything is flowing and changing. There can never be an accurate photograph, because by the time the photograph is taken and the positive is made from the negative, you have changed. You have become older; photographs don’t become old. You are no more the same person.
And that applies to your experience of the world. Everything is in change, continuously shifting, except one thing: that is your witness. So put down the brush and your camera – just look. And in looking, remember not to get lost in the seen. Remember the seer – that is the only permanent point you can depend on. That is the only security, the only certainty, the only thing you can rely on. Everything else is going to shift and change. It is all a flux, all around.
It is beautiful – if you understand it as a flux, it is perfectly beautiful. It becomes a disappointment when you start making it permanent. A meeting of a man with a woman is beautiful, but the moment you start thinking of marriage, you are starting to destroy something beautiful that was growing. The moment you reach the marriage registrar’s office…there is still time; escape before you go inside!

I have heard about a couple who had gone to the registrar’s office, and they were filling out the form to be married. The man signed after the signing by the woman, and the woman immediately said to the magistrate, “I want a divorce!”
He said, “Are you mad or something? You have just now filled out the form! What has happened that makes you ask for a divorce?”
The woman said, “Look at this paper!” On the paper, the man had signed in such big, capital letters…The woman had signed in small, normal letters but the man had signed as if it were a headline in a newspaper!
The woman said, “This is enough. I don’t want to get into trouble with this man. He has shown his reality and it is already a conflict. It is better to move out from the very beginning.”

It is a tremendous experience to go to the registrar’s office and watch what goes on happening there day by day. One man, ninety-five years old, went to the registrar’s office with his wife, ninety-three years old. They wanted a divorce. The registrar could not believe it. He said, “When did you get married?”
The man said, “It is so long ago, perhaps seventy years before? But we are not certain. It seems, with the way we have lived in agony and continuous conflict, as if we have been married since eternity. I cannot think of any time in the past when I was not married to this woman.”
The magistrate said, “If you have managed for that long, now it is only a question of a few months, maybe a few years. You are at the very end of the rope. Now what is the point? And if you wanted to divorce because of agony and struggle, why did you not come before?”
They both said, “We were waiting for all our children to die. Today our last son died; now we are finished. Now, at least for a few months or a few years, we can live peacefully. We waited and waited, and hoped that one day all would be dead so we would not be deserting our children. We suffered all kinds of agony, but this hope that one day we could divorce kept us alive. Now don’t refuse us. We have lived our whole life just for this divorce, just to have a few moments of independence, of freedom.”

Things become difficult because you ask and expect something unnatural. You cannot make anything permanent in this world, any relationship. The moment you try to make anything permanent, you are getting into troubled waters unnecessarily, because it is against nature. Nature is a flux. Movement, and continuous movement, is its very nature.
Only one thing is unmovable, and that is your very center.
So first get deeply rooted in your center, and your life will blossom in thousands of flowers. Life can be such a delight if you don’t ask anything against nature. Just be in a let-go. Things change – let them change. Allow them, help them change. Just remember: one thing never changes and that is your original reality. That is enough. You are safe, secure; you don’t need any other insurance.

Maneesha has asked:
We were told that our total participation in the Yaa-hoo is needed for your work on us. Is it that a crescendo of sound in the Yaa-hoo, and the intense experience of silence in the last stage of meditation, lead to exactly the same space – the “sea of consciousness”?
Yes, Maneesha, Yaa-Hoo can lead even deeper because Yaa-Hoo can become more intense, one-pointed. It can hit, deep down. You just watch when you make the sound Yaa-Hoo. It is not a word, it means nothing. It is simply my finding, among many sounds which have been used by different mystics in different times. I have found that Yaa-Hoo goes the deepest.
It has never been used. Hoo has been used; it has been used as part of Allah-Hoo. If you repeat “Allah,” which is the name Sufis give to God – if you repeat it continuously, Allah, Allah, Allah, soon you will find it is becoming “Allah-hoo, Allah-hoo, Allah-hoo Allah-hoo.” Then Sufis dropped the “Allah.” There is no need, you can just shout “Hoo” and it hits at the very center of your being.
But my finding is that “Hoo” only touches your being and immediately comes back. It does not go deep, like an arrow, penetrating. For that, my experience with Yaa-Hoo has made me absolutely certain that it goes deepest in you. It goes just like a sword. It all depends with how much intensity, urgency, totality, you do it.
It is not a mantra. It is simply using sound to reach the soundless silence. After Yaa-Hoo you are left in a deep silence. So it is part of my work on you, and as you get deeper into it, you will find changes happening to you.

Now it is time for Sardar Gurudayal Singh. If Sardar Gurudayal Singh leaves his material body, he will have to come as a ghost, a holy ghost, just to help all these people with a total laughter.
Don’t laugh superficially, because that is wasting time. Laugh as totally as possible, bringing your whole consciousness to it. The jokes are just to trigger you.
Soon I will have to drop jokes, because I must have told more jokes then anybody else in the whole history of man. In fact, I have told more jokes than there are! So sooner or later we have to change the technique, from jokes to spontaneous laughter.
Why unnecessarily waste time with a joke when we can laugh without it? It is just for Sardar Gurudayal Singh that I am postponing, day by day, because he is old and any time he may pop off. At least in his lifetime, I think to continue the jokes. Anyway, when he is not here it will be so embarrassing to tell jokes in his absence.

It is Thanksgiving weekend, the big national holiday in America, and at the Sons of Columbus annual picnic, Grandpa Risotto gets up and makes an announcement.
“And-a now,” he says, “for the winner of the grand-a prize! This beautiful apple pie baked by Mrs. Alucchi!”
Grandad Piesta is sitting at the back of the picnic a little drunk, and shouts out, “Fuck Mrs. Alucchi!”
“Ah!” says Grandpa Risotto. “That’s-a second prize!”

An Englishman, an Italian and a German are exploring the Amazon jungle in Brazil, when they are captured by cannibals. They are tied to bamboo poles and carried to “Spoon-em-out,” the village cook.
“Hmm!” says Spoon-em-out, prodding the naked bodies expertly. “I don’t think we can cook them all together in the soup. But this one,” he says, poking the Italian, “we can eat for dinner tonight. He is greasy enough to be fried immediately.
“This one,” continues Spoon-em-out, jabbing the Englishman, “we can boil up for the sick people. He has no salt and almost no taste, like tofu!
“And this one,” grimaces Spoon-em-out, eyeing the German, “we will soak in water for a week. Then he might be less tough and easier to digest!”

Sidney Silicon, the San Francisco yuppie, is jogging on a foggy morning along the cliff-tops around the bay.
He loses his way in the fog, gets too close to the edge, trips, and falls over the cliff. He manages to grab hold of a small branch which is sticking out halfway down, and there he hangs, suspended in space.
“Help!” screams Sidney. “Is anybody there?”
There is a long silence, and then a loud voice booms from above, “Yes, my son, I am here. I am God! Just let go of the branch and my angels will catch you and bring you to paradise.”
Some seconds go by, and then Sidney shouts again, “Is there anybody there?”
“My son,” booms the voice from above, “I told you, I am God and I am here! Trust me!”
“I know,” says Sidney, “that you are there. But isn’t anybody else there?”






Be silent. Close your eyes, feel your body to be completely frozen.
Now look inward, with your total consciousness, with great urgency, as if this is going to be your last moment. Just like a spear, go on piercing toward the center.

This moment that you are at the center, you are a buddha. This buddha nature is the only thing that remains forever.
Witnessing is another name of buddha nature. Just remain unwavering at the center and witnessing whatever comes before the mirror.

To make it more clear, Nivedano…


Relax. Just witness: you are not the body, you are not the mind. You are only the witness. This experience of being only the witness is what we metaphorically call the buddha.
As silence becomes deeper, as your separateness from existence disappears…as this Buddha Auditorium contains only consciousness as an ocean, the evening becomes tremendously beautiful. It becomes a festival.
Thousands of flowers will be showering on you. Gather as much fragrance, as many flowers as possible, to bring back. Slowly slowly, you have to bring the buddha back to your circumference. In your every activity, in your every gesture, every word, every silence, you have to show the buddha.
This is the highest achievement in existence.
Bring as much of your self-nature as possible.



Come back, but remember: each movement of sitting up should be that of a buddha – peaceful, graceful, a beauty unto itself. Blissful, grateful, sit for a few moments just recollecting where you have been, just remembering the golden path that you traveled to the center and back.
Your meditation has to become your very heartbeat. Twenty-four hours a day you have to remind yourself: nothing should happen through you which will not be suitable for a buddha. And soon you will see the great transformation happening.

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