Live Zen 12

Twelth Discourse from the series of 17 discourses - Live Zen by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

Seppo’s Grain Of Rice
Seppo addressed the assembly and said, “All the great world, if I pick it up with my fingertips, is found to be like a grain of rice. I throw it in front of your face, but you do not see it. Beat the drum, telling the monks to come out to work, and search for it.”

Setcho says:

The ox-head disappearing, the horse-head appears;
No dust on the mirror of the Patriarch Sokei.
You beat the drum and search for it in vain.
For whom do the spring flowers bloom?

Why is the nature of the mind such that it doesn't know its own limitations, that it thinks it is indispensable?

And the second question:
The words witnessing and awareness do not seem to appear in Zen very much. Is it that witnessing is the ability to watch the mind running along its track without being identified with it, while Zen jolts the mind off its track into the gap of no-thought?

And the third question:
I often have had the feeling that if I could really hear just one word of yours, really see just one gesture of yours, really fall into one small gap of your silence, I would have understood you at last.
Is that so?
Maneesha, it is questioned by many, why the words awareness, or watchfulness, or witnessing do not appear in the Zen anecdotes. The question is relevant…it does not appear in the words and the anecdotes are written in words. You will have to find it between the words, in the silences that happen between masters and disciples, or one master and another master.
Awareness is not something Zen talks about because Zen is awareness.
Zen has nothing to do with any “about.”
Philosophy can talk about awareness, thinkers can talk about watchfulness, teachers can teach what is witnessing, but Zen is awareness.
You have to get hold of it; it is always there in every anecdote – but not so visible, not so tangible, not available to language. If you are trying to find it you will not find it, because every finding is by the mind.
If you forget all about finding awareness and just be silent, you have found it.
Zen is pure awareness.
But certainly it is not mentioned, because it cannot be mentioned. Zen wants not to talk about it, but to transpire your heart, to aflame you; to bring you to the tune, the harmony, the music…where awareness will not be something of an object – where you will be awareness.
In your absolute silence, when the mind is not there, what remains?
The mind is only ripples of the ocean.
When the ripples are gone the ocean which was not visible because of the ripples…suddenly you realize you are it.
Where are you going to find it?
Seppo’s grain of rice
Seppo addressed the assembly and said, “All the great world, if I pick it up with my fingertips, is found to be like a grain of rice. I throw it in front of your face, but you do not see it. Beat the drum, telling the monks to come out to work and search for it.”
We live in such a limited way, our eyes don’t see much and our ears don’t hear much and our hearts don’t feel much. We live at the minimum, just a small candle flame. The universe is vast – in fact its vastness is almost inconceivable by the mind, because the mind cannot conceive anything limitless. There is no beginning and there is no end; there is no boundary anywhere where the universe ends, where you come to a board which says, “Here ends the world.” It does not end anywhere.
Hence all our words – even words like vastness, infinity, eternity – are very small efforts. In the words of Seppo, the whole world that our mind can conceive, compared to the whole real universe, is just like a grain of rice. So small that he says: If I throw it in front of your face, you will not see it. Beat the drum, telling the monks to come out to work, and search for it.
So small…he is saying, “Our conception compared to the reality is so small that because of its smallness we cannot even get hold of it.”
I have told you one story of Bertrand Russell, the only story he has ever written. He was not a storywriter. My own understanding is that this story has come out of one of his dreams. He was a great philosopher.

The story is that the archbishop of England dies and finds himself at the pearly gates of heaven. Naturally he is expecting a great welcome, angels with harps singing Hallelujah. What he finds is just the opposite: a big gate, so big that he cannot find how high it is; he cannot find its height nor can he find its boundaries. He himself looks at himself and a great trembling arises in him – he looks like a small ant standing in front of a vast door which is closed. He knocks on the door and he knows that his knocks will not be heard. For the first time he recognizes that even though he is the archbishop of England, that does not matter. Before the gate of God he is just a small ant.
But he tries hard, he goes on beating on the door. Finally, a window opens and St. Peter looks at him with one thousand eyes. He shrinks. Just the glare of one thousand eyes is enough to make anybody shrink in deep fear. He wants to say something but he cannot find the words. St. Peter says, “Don’t be afraid, whoever you are, wherever you are, because I cannot see you. I have been hearing a small knock continuously for many days, so I thought it was better to look. You just stand up, wherever you are hiding.”
Even the archbishop of England thinks, “This is God…one thousand eyes!”
He says, “Father…” and St. Peter laughs. He says, “I am not God, I am just St. Peter! I am a doorkeeper, but who are you?”
He answers as loudly as possible, but it appears as a whisper in that vast space, “I am the archbishop of England.”
“England?” St. Peter says. “Never heard of it. Talk sensibly. To what solar system do you belong?”
“Solar system?”
We know that we belong to this sun. This is our solar system, all the planets, the moon. So he said, “I belong to the only solar system there is!”
St. Peter laughed. He said, “He does not understand! There are millions and millions of solar systems and trillions of planets. You will have to give me the index number of your solar system.”
The archbishop was a very learned man, but he had never heard that there is an index number!
St. Peter said, “I cannot help. Without recognizing you, from where you have come, who you are, and what is your purpose…. The index number is needed because then I can run to the library of God and ask the librarian whether this index number shows there is some planet in this solar system where some kind of life exists.”
The words index number were enough! The archbishop woke up. He was perspiring. He realized how small we are and how small is our conception.
By the way, before he woke up he had asked St. Peter, “Perhaps Jesus Christ may be of help. You ask Jesus; he knows us, I represent him in England.”
St. Peter said, “Jesus? What are you talking about, who is this fellow?”
The archbishop said, “My God! He is the only begotten son of God!”
St. Peter said, “I don’t know anything about…. The fact is, I have not seen God up to now. It is so vast here inside the door…outside is nothing; inside the door it is so vast that you cannot find anybody. I don’t know who this Jesus is, I don’t know who this God is. All that I know is that I am St. Peter the doorkeeper.”

Seppo is saying, if you are searching for truth, please stop. Truth is so vast you will be lost. Rather than searching for any truth, just be yourself.
In your very being you will find the seed of the whole universe.
In your own heartbeat you will find the universal heartbeat.

Setcho’s commentary:
The ox-head disappearing, the horse-head appears;
No dust on the mirror of the Patriarch Sokei.
You beat the drum and search for it in vain.
For whom do the spring flowers bloom?
Setcho is saying, The ox-head disappearing, the horse-head appears…Rather than simply saying that you are a mirror: one thing appears; one thing disappears.
No dust on the mirror of the Patriarch – one who knows himself, no dust gathers on him.
You beat the drum and search for it in vain – you will not find it. For whom do the spring flowers bloom?
Once in a while, Setcho’s commentaries come very close to truth. He is saying that you are just a mirror: things appear and disappear; you keep your mirror dustless, clean. For those who are mirror-like clean, the spring flowers bloom.
I have told you the incident of one of Gautam Buddha’s disciples becoming enlightened. Everybody else became aware that something had happened because on the disciple flowers went on showering like rain.
These flowers are not the flowers that you see with your eyes, these are the flowers that you feel with your heart. And the more the silence grew, the more the flowers showered.
Setcho is right:
For whom do the spring flowers bloom?
They bloom for you, but you are asleep. They bloom for you, but your mirror is so full of dust you cannot reflect them, you cannot appreciate them – you cannot sing a song in their praise.
Setcho has referred to Patriarch Sokei as a mirror. Patriarch Sokei is also known as Eno and Hui-Neng. Hui-Neng is his more well-known and famous name.
When Sokei’s master, the fifth patriarch Obai Gunin was growing old, he wished to nominate his successor. Obai’s head monk, Shinshu presented a poem demonstrating his degree of attainment. It ran:

The body is the bodhi tree,
The mind is like a mirror,
Every now and then dust and polish it,
And let no dust settle on it.
In Zen, whenever a master chooses his disciple, this is the way: anybody who can present a small poetry which contains the truth, will be accepted.
This poetry – The body is the bodhi tree because the flower of awakening blossoms in the body, it has its roots in the body…. The mind is like a mirror, Every now and then dust and polish it, And let no dust settle on it – apparently seems to be very great and philosophical. It seems to be that Shinshu should be accepted as the successor. But he was not accepted. This will show you the depth of Zen and its approach toward life and existence:
Sokei said:
Bodhi by nature is no tree.
The mirror is inherently formless.
There is originally nothing.
On what then can the dust settle?
Shinshu’s poem was beautiful, but has not the depth of Sokei’s poem: Bodhi by nature is no tree…. A tree grows. Bodhi is your nature – it is already there, fully grown. Each one of you is a totally fulfilled buddha. Whether you know it or not, that does not make any difference.
And talking about the mirror is not right, because your consciousness is formless; it cannot be a mirror. And because there is originally nothing, on what then can the dust settle?
With this poem Sokei became the sixth patriarch, the sixth great master after Bodhidharma.

Your first question, Maneesha: “Why is the nature of the mind such that it does not know its own limitations, that it thinks it is indispensable?”
It is natural to the mind, just as it is natural to everything. You have never thought why you don’t have four hands. You have never thought why God forgot to put two eyes behind, back lights so there is no need of turning. You simply walk backward, forward….
It is said…

When Henry Ford died and encountered God, he was very angry with God…the story is very beautiful.
God said, “I understand you are a great inventor. I would like to ask you one thing: What do you think about my creation?”
Henry Ford said, “Your creation? It is so full of faults. Just look: you have put only two eyes and forgotten about the back lights! You have not given man a reverse gear so he can go backward in time. If you had given him a gear, young men could go into their childhood or into their mother’s womb – or a child could go forward. You have not given man freedom to move in time backward or forward. You seem to be against freedom of movement!”
God was shocked and when Henry Ford said this it is rumored that God had tears in his eyes. Ford said, “You have put the pleasure point in man’s body between two exhaust pipes! Is it in any way sensible? The pleasure point should have been put anywhere else, but not where you have put it – it is so stupid!”
I don’t know whether the story is true or not, but it seems to be true.

It is just the nature of the mind, just as it is the nature of everything. The roseflower never thinks about becoming a lotus; he does not bother that he is so small. The limitation is indispensable, intrinsically. You never ask for a few spare parts so that if one head gets lost, you can put on another head. You never question. Even the question of spare parts does not arise, that this is not a right system; every car comes with spare parts, every small child should come with a bag carrying for himself small spare parts: spare eyes, spare legs…. Fractures happen, eyes lose their eyesight…if you had spare things with you, you could immediately change. We simply accept the situation as it is. This acceptance is natural.
That’s why, Maneesha, the mind never thinks that it has any limitations. It thinks it is infinite – what limitations? It can think of as faraway things as possible. And naturally it thinks it is indispensable. Everybody thinks, “Without me, what will happen to the world?” You may not say it to anybody, but deep down you think that without you, the world cannot run. There will be chaos, everything will be topsy-turvy. It is because of your presence that the sun rises every day; otherwise at least on Sunday it would be on holiday.
The poor fellow, when the whole world is on holiday – and it is his day, Sunday – still he has to do his daily job: rise again, move the whole circle, set down again…. For four billion years, since the earth has existed – we don’t count the time before it…there was time before it, but for at least four billion years the sun has never been late, never been sick, never been on holiday, never gone on a honeymoon. The poor fellow simply goes on doing the routine work.
But at the deepest core of everybody, the feeling is that “Without me, there will be a vacancy which cannot be fulfilled. I am indispensable; nobody can take my place” – and we know already, we have taken somebody’s place!
Before you, so many millions of people have come and gone, sometimes the horse and sometimes the ox. Nothing is indispensable, but it is very fulfilling to the ego to feel indispensable.
We make ourselves indispensable in small ways. We get married. Now you can say to the world, “Without me, what will happen to my wife?” And everybody knows nothing will happen, she will be simply happy, but you are carrying a great burden. Without you, what will happen to the children? Nothing. They will become orphans and Mother Teresa will get the Nobel Prize. You are unnecessarily hindering Mother Teresa.
Because we cannot prove that we are indispensable to the stars and to the moon and to the sun, we create small relationships: father, mother, wife, and husband, and friends. And we make clubs: Lions Club – what will happen to the Lions Club without you? It will be simply a donkey club; you are the only lion! We create the illusion around ourselves that we are indispensable.

One of my professors never in his whole life went on a holiday. I became his student just three months before he was going to retire. He was known all over the university as a man who had a great love for students – he would not go on leave. Even if he was sick, he would come to teach.
I asked him, “What is the matter? Why have you never gone on any holiday?” I did not expect the answer that he gave to me – he was a very sincere man, Dr. Das – he said to me, “Nobody has ever asked this; everybody just appreciated. You are not appreciating; on the contrary, you are asking, questioning. I have to tell you the truth. The truth is that if I had gone on any holiday, nothing would change, everything would run smoothly and my feeling of being indispensable would be destroyed. I wanted to be indispensable: without me the university will be a chaos. And I knew, it would not be a chaos.”
I can understand the poor professor’s problem, because he was a bachelor – old, no wife, no children, nothing else on which he can proclaim his indispensability.
He managed it by not going on holiday. The whole university, all the professors felt it, that certainly he was a superior man. Even on Sundays his office would be open. Any scholar who wanted to come on Sunday too, Dr. Das was available. The whole university was closed, just his office was not closed; it was never closed.
When he retired I went to see him off at the railway station and I said, “You are going? Are you not worried what will happen to the university?”
He looked at me. He said, “Don’t harass me – at least while I am going away. Nothing will happen, everything will be all right. It hurts me so much that I am going and nothing will happen, and you are making me aware of it. Talk about something else.”
I could see that this man, who was a very learned man and very simple, sincere would shrink in Calcutta, somewhere alone. And I don’t think he lived more than four or five months. After retirement he became so useless. I know perfectly well that if he had still been in the university he would have lived. There was no sign of death; he was perfectly healthy. But I could just imagine him in Calcutta somewhere in a small room – because a retired professor cannot manage a palace in Calcutta – in some bachelor’s hostel: an old man, utterly useless, nobody even comes to say to him, “Good morning, Sir.”
The very day he left, I told him, “Be careful not to die too quickly.”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “I am simply saying a psychological truth, which psychology now accepts, that retired people reduce their life span at least five to ten years. When they are not retired they have some utility, some meaning, they are needed by someone.”

It is one of man’s greatest needs to be needed. If nobody needs you immediately the question arises: Why go on living? What is the point? There is nobody who will cry tomorrow, there is nobody who will come to your grave to put a few roses there. You will be forgotten as if you have never been. How many people have been in the world? Who remembers them? The same is going to be the situation with you, with everybody.
We are just signatures on water. Even before we are complete, we start disappearing.
Nobody is indispensable, Maneesha, but the ego will not accept it; it is indigestible. Once you accept it, that you are not indispensable, you will feel a tremendous lightness coming on you, all burden….
I have been in offices where on every table of the clerks, head clerks, superintendents, there are piles of files – and I know why those files go on growing into mountains. The reason is whoever has more files on his table is more indispensable; without him nothing can happen. Files move so slowly that I have to make a maxim. Just as Albert Einstein has discovered that light moves with the greatest speed, I have to make a maxim that files, particularly in India, move with the slowest speed. Dust goes on gathering on them, nobody does anything, nobody wants to do, because if there is no file on your table, what are you doing here? Who are you? – you lose your definition.
It is good to understand that we are not indispensable, and that our minds are very limited. It will bring you closer to truth.

Your second question, Maneesha, I have already answered. You have asked: “The words witnessing and awareness do not seem to appear in Zen very much. Is it that witnessing is the ability to watch the mind running along its track without being identified with it, while Zen jolts the mind off its track into the gap of no-thought?”
Maneesha, Zen simply does not give any substantial support to mind.
For Zen, mind is not.
It is not that the mind has to be dropped.
It is not that the mind has to be stopped from functioning. Yes, these things have to be said because you don’t know anything about no-mind. Once you have a glimpse of no-mind you will start smiling…“I was fighting with a shadow – the mind was not there.”

Your third question: “I often have had the feeling that if I could really hear just one word of yours, really see just one gesture of yours, really fall into one small gap of your silence, I would have understood you at last. Is that so?”
Zen Master Niskriya…
[This time Niskriya has his staff with him!]
Yes, a good hit on Maneesha.
[Niskriya taps her on the head.]
Right! This is the seal of being right.
Now we can have a few really good things. This Maneesha goes on asking serious questions!

Barbara Beanbag has been to market and is walking home carrying a duck.
A drunk comes staggering along in the other direction, stops and says, “Hey! What are you doing with that pig?”
Barbara looks at him coldly and replies, “This is not a pig, it is a duck!”
“I know,” says the drunk, “I was talking to the duck!”

Abraham Grossman, the rich young bachelor, is entertaining a gorgeous woman, Gloria, with dinner in his penthouse.
As his Chinese servant pours the coffee, Gloria asks, “Wu, how do you make such delicious coffee?”
“Me take plenty boiled water,” explains Wu, “and stir in coffee, velly, velly slow.”
“Yes,” says Gloria, “but it is so clear. How do you strain it so cleverly?”
“Me take master’s silk socks…” begins Wu.
“What!” shouts Grossman. “You take my best silk socks to strain the coffee?”
“Oh, no, master,” replies Wu. “Me never take master’s clean socks.”

Kowalski hears a noise in the garden and goes out to find his dog playing with the neighbor’s pet rabbit.
Kowalski manages to get the rabbit out of the dog’s mouth, but finds that it is already dead.
He does not want to upset his neighbor, so he sneaks over the garden fence and puts the rabbit back in its pen, so that the neighbor will think it died peacefully at home.
That evening, Kowalski hears his neighbor freaking out in the garden.
“What is the matter?” asks Kowalski, innocently.
“I have just found my rabbit, dead, in its pen,” replies the neighbor.
“Oh dear!” sighs Kowalski, sympathetically.
“That’s okay,” says the neighbor, “it’s just that I had already buried it yesterday!”

Moishe Finkelstein has bags under his eyes and looks very tired, as he goes into the doctor’s office.
“Doctor,” says Moishe, “I dream every single night. Last night it was terrible! I was in an airplane, I had my parachute on and we were five miles above the earth, to make a new parachuting altitude record.
“I opened the door, took one step forward, pulled the ripcord – what do you think happened?”
“I have no idea,” says the doctor.
Moishe gazes into the distance and says, “My pajamas fell down.”

Now two minutes for silence.

Be still. Close your eyes.
Collect yourself inward, just as if you are a stone statue.

Okay, relax…

Now, come back.

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