Live Zen 15

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

Chokei and Hofuku Discuss the Buddha’s Words
Chokei one day said, “Even if you say that the arhats still have three poisons, you should not say that the Tathagata has two languages. I do not say that the Tathagata has no language but that he does not have two languages.”
Hofuku said, “What is the Tathagata’s language?”
Chokei said, “How can a deaf person hear it?”
Hofuku said, “I know you are speaking from a secondary principle.”
Chokei said, “What is the Tathagata’s language?”
Hofuku said, “Have a cup of tea.”

Setcho’s commentary is:

Who speaks from the first, who from the second principle?
Dragons do not lie in puddles;
Where dragons lurk,
Waves arise when no wind blows.
Oh! You, Chokei Zen monk
You’ve bruised your head on the dragon gate.

With three pounds of drums, she pecks on the lotus leaf. Knowing a spiral when she hears one, she'll be beaten anyway.

My mind is coming to the boil! It is compelled to try and decipher these stories, even though that feels like reading the epitaph on one's own gravestone.
So I get my mind out, use it, give up, and put it away.
Then I get it out again, give up and put it away.
Then it gets out, uses me, gives up and puts me away.
I'm going insane or going in Zen! Help!
No, don't – keep doing it!
Or don't stop not doing what you don't do!
Osho, I take my head off to you.
Maneesha, before Nivedano beats his drum and Niskriya cuts your head, I have to explain a few things of which you may not be aware.
First is the word arhata. It simply means one who has overcome the enemies. In a better version, from where it is derived, it is called arihanta, which makes it clear that it has not only overcome the enemies: ari means the enemy and hanta means one who has murdered.
And what are the enemies? There are three enemies: covetousness, anger and folly.
In India, Hinduism is the sanatan, the eternal religion. One knows not when it started, who started it. Out of Hinduism, as a rebellion, two other religions have been born: one is Jainism, another is Buddhism. Jainism believes only in arhatas. Their word for it is arihanta; they don’t know anything of the bodhisattva. The attitude of Jainism is, once a man has killed all the enemies – greed, jealousy, anger, lust – then there is no point for him even to speak a single word; he has nothing to convey. If anything is conveyed, it is conveyed by his presence. He is just like a well. If you are thirsty you go to the well, the well is not going to go running after you.
Perhaps this was one of the reasons Jainism remained a very small religion. Although it has a very refined, sophisticated philosophical understanding, it has had no masters; it had only arhatas. They have achieved and their work was done. Compassion was not compulsory. Why should they bother about anybody’s misery, suffering, darkness? Everybody anyway has to fight it on his own; you cannot force anybody to be enlightened. What is the point?
Jainism has created many arhatas, great pinnacles of consciousness, but it has a very dry approach, a very inhuman approach. It does not consider at all those who are still struggling with darkness, blindness, who are still finding the path, who may be even going astray. The moment a man becomes an arhata, he cuts all his relationships with humanity, even the relationship of having a disciple.
Gautam Buddha created another rebellion which culminated finally in Zen. It differed from Jainism only on this point: it brought a new concept, bodhisattva. A bodhisattva is one who has realized his being, who has become awakened, but his work has not ended; on the contrary, now his real work begins. Up to now he was struggling for himself, now he will struggle for others.
According to Gautam Buddha – and I agree with him totally – a man of enlightenment cannot resist the temptation to encourage others to seek…to enhance, to support, to enrich and to share his own light with others. It is simply impossible for him…. The Jaina attitude seems to be very self-centered: you have arrived, your work is finished.
The story will help you to understand better…

Gautam Buddha dies and at the gates of paradise there is great celebration, because very rarely…in millions, perhaps one person comes to such a great peak of consciousness that the doors of paradise open for him. It is symbolic. And there was great rejoicing to welcome him, but he refused to enter the gate.
He said, “Please, close the gates. I will stand outside. Until every living being has passed inside, I cannot come in. I am going to be the last. Although it is a long waiting, I will wait. My love says I can wait, my compassion says I should wait. It is cruel on my part, when others are just to be awakened, not to awaken them but enter into the luxuries of paradise. I will come, but I will be the last. You please keep the doors closed.” And the story is, the doors are closed; Buddha is standing outside, waiting for every human being to pass by.

That is the meaning of bodhisattva. Your achievement is not enough if you cannot share it. The more you can share it, the more you have it; the more you can spread the flame, the more hearts you can put on fire, the greater is your enlightenment. The arhata is compared to a small boat in which only he can sit, the bodhisattva is compared to a great boat in which many millions can be carried to the further shore.
There are many names for the bodhisattva according to the dimension in which the word is used. One of the names is tathagata. Tathagata comes from the root tathata. Tathata means suchness, thisness; everything is here and everything is now. There is no past and there is no future; and in your suchness, in your nature, you are already enlightened. Tathagat means one who conceives every being as enlightened: a few are aware of it, a few are not, a few want to play the games of life a little more. A few are attached to their teddy bears, but sooner or later one gets rid of the teddy bear. A tathagata’s approach is to make you aware that what you are clinging to is just dream stuff. If you want to cling you can cling, but remember, there is nothing to cling to.
I told you the Jaina proverb that the thirsty will come to the well, but the well is not supposed to run after thirsty people. Gautam Buddha’s statement parallel to it is, “If the mountain cannot come to me, I will go to the mountain! Obviously it is difficult for the mountain to come to me, but that does not mean that the mountain has to miss me. I will go.”
This small anecdote is concerned with Buddha’s words, and for centuries – twenty-five centuries – his words have been discussed by great masters. Such beauty has blossomed in those words, such rainbows have come out of those words. Gautam Buddha in this sense is very rare. No other person in the whole of history has been commented on by so many and has been showered with so many new meanings. He is certainly alone.
Chokei, another bodhisattva,
…one day said, “Even if you say that the arhats still have three poisons
He is not saying they have, he is saying, “Even if you say that the arhats have still the three poisons…” of covetousness, anger, folly; still…
“…you should not say that the Tathagata has two languages.”
It has been argued again and again between masters. For the contemporary world these beautiful statements, commentaries, have lost their meaning. But unless they are revived, something in you will remain missing. They are so essential to human spirit and its growth.
He is saying that a tathagata cannot be said to have two languages. There have been masters who have said that a tathagata has two languages. So first you have to understand…otherwise, Chokei will not be understood.
Those who have said a tathagata has two languages have their own meaning. A tathagata has to speak with those who do not know and a tathagata has also to speak to those who know. Obviously he needs two languages. When you are with one who knows, you use one language, and when you are with someone who does not know, you have to use a different language.
But Chokei says, “You can say if you want, that the arhatas still have three poisons – which is impossible, because an arhata becomes an arhata by overcoming those three poisons.” You can say that – Chokei allows it – but you cannot say about the Buddha, about the Tathagata, that he has two languages: “I do not say that the Tathagata has no language, but that he does not have two languages.”
Chokei is saying something immensely important. On the one hand he says,
“I do not say that the Tathagata has no language, but…”
I certainly say that he has not two languages.
Hofuku said…
Hofuku is another Zen master – and this is traditional in Zen that masters meet and talk and play with words:
Hofuku said, “What is the Tathagata’s language?”
If you say he has not two languages and you don’t deny him having any language, then what is his language?
Chokei said, “How can a deaf person hear it?”
This is such a beautiful statement with so many implications. I am speaking to you, but do you think if you don’t have ears I will still be speaking? My speaking needs you absolutely.
It is one of the latest scientific discoveries…philosophers have always been discussing it, but their discussions do not have scientific validity. But science has now come to see a point which puzzles the ordinary man. For example: you all have different colors of clothes, but if the light is put off, do you think the white will remain white and the blue will remain blue, the red will remain red and the green will remain green? Once the light is off, all colors disappear. For the colors to be there, the light is needed. And things become more complicated: light may be there, colors may be there, but if there is nobody to see, there will not be any color; the eyes are also needed. These are basic components.
So when you leave your room and lock it, don’t be surprised that everything in your room has changed its color! All has become colorless. But if you look just from the keyhole, again the colors will appear. So it is very difficult to find your room without seeing it! Once you see, things are there – and once you stop seeing, they disappear. Your eyes are needed.
Just look at it this way. A blind man, do you think that for him there is any such thing as color or light? A rainbow may be there, but it is not for the blind man. The stars may be there in the sky, but they are not for the blind man. Great music may be there, but if you are deaf it does not exist for you – and if everybody else is also deaf – then sound does not exist.
You can understand it; our range of seeing is very small, so is our range of hearing. Right now you don’t hear any radio station. All around the earth thousands of radio stations are broadcasting, and those waves are passing by your side. They are available to your ears, but your ears’ range is not so deep that it can catch them.
It happened in the Second World War. A man got a bullet in his head, the bullet was removed, but something happened within his brain system that he started hearing the nearest radio station without any radio, perfectly well and correctly.
First he was puzzled. There is no radio around and he can hear every statement, the time and the songs and everything. He said to the doctors – he was still in the hospital – that something was strange. Nobody believed him, because it had never happened.
But finally they had to try – at least hypothetically try. In another room they put a radio, and one doctor was there taking notes. Another doctor was with the patient taking notes of what was going on in the radio broadcast. They were surprised. He was absolutely accurate.
You might think that it was a great thing; he should have enjoyed! Nobody can enjoy it for twenty-four hours, because there is nothing, no way to put it off. He could not sleep, he could not talk, because the continuous radio broadcast was going through his head. He could not hear people properly. He was going crazy. His ear had to be operated on.
But that gave an insight that although all kinds of waves are passing by – radio waves, television waves…your net is just small and it does not catch them. Either they are above it or they are below it. What we see is just a small range of things. The blind man cannot see the light, but do you think the blind man can see darkness? Ordinarily it is presumed that a blind man must live in darkness; you are wrong. The blind man cannot even see darkness, because he has no eyes to see. If you can see darkness, there is no problem in seeing light, because light and darkness are one phenomenon. Close your eyes and it is dark; open your eyes and it is light. Don’t think that the blind person is just like you, because you close your eyes and you see darkness. The same is not the situation of the person who is born blind, because he has nothing to compare it with – he has never seen light. How can he say, “This is darkness”?
Hofuku said, “What is the Tathagata’s language?”
Chokei said, “How can a deaf person hear it?”
He is saying that only those who are not deaf know the language of Buddha. Those who are deaf may hear his words but will not understand his language, will hear his words but will not understand the meaning – most probably will misunderstand his meaning.
Hofuku said, “I know you are speaking from a secondary principle.”
You have to see why Hofuku said, “you are speaking from a secondary principle.” The first principle is: Buddha is speaking; the second principle is: somebody else is listening. If you are speaking from the standpoint of the listener, then you are speaking from the secondary principle. That cannot be accepted. “Speak from the first principle, from the original source. I am not asking about whether people hear Buddha or not, I am asking whether Buddha speaks or not.”
Chokei said, “What is the Tathagata’s language?”
Again the same question. Unless you speak from the original source, Chokei is going to ask again and again,
“What is the Tathagata’s language?”
Hofuku said, “Have a cup of tea.”
This answer – “Have a cup of tea” – means listen to a buddha or become a buddha. It simply means have a taste of it, don’t talk about it. It is not a question to be discussed, it is something to be experienced like taste: “Have a cup of tea!”
This statement, “Have a cup of tea,” comes in many Zen anecdotes from different directions.

A professor of philosophy went to see Nansen and he asked about great things: God and heaven and hell, and the ultimate truth, and time and space; he was full of words. Nansen listened and said, “Wait. First have a cup of tea.”
The professor felt a little offended. He is asking such great questions and this fellow brings in a cup of tea! Naturally he said, “Don’t change the subject!”
Nansen said, “I am not changing the subject, I am bringing you to the subject.” He prepared the tea, the professor sipped the tea and Nansen asked, “Can I ask you how it tastes?”
Naturally the professor said, “You can taste for yourself. Taste cannot be discussed.”
Nansen said, “You are a nice fellow. Some day perhaps you will understand. At least you are not an idiot. These ultimate truths, the meaning of nirvana and the meaning of enlightenment…you can’t even express the taste of tea and you are talking about enlightenment?”

Religion in the East has never become a theology. It has remained very earthly, very grounded, very pragmatic. And particularly Zen never wavers; it brings you back to the experience. Nothing can be said about the experience. All that is being said is only a net to drag you into the experience. What is said is not true, it is just a pointer showing you the way to where you may find the truth.
It is said about Mahavira – both he and Buddha were contemporaries – that he never spoke, but there are scriptures in which Mahavira’s words are collected. Still, it is said he never spoke. It looks absurd but you have to understand the intricacy of the thing. Mahavira certainly never spoke. He had no great assemblies as Gautam Buddha had. He had only a very small group of chosen people who could understand his silence.
He has not written a single word. Those eleven people whom he selected as his listeners, without his speaking, have written the scriptures. It is a miracle that all those people have written the same thing. Certainly they understood the silence.
Silence itself is a language; it just needs a very silent heart, an empty heart to understand it.
Mind is not the right mechanism to understand great things. It is useful for the mundane, but for the sacred, for the divine, it is simply a hindrance; hence the emphasis of the East on meditation. Meditation is nothing but by and by dropping the mind and coming to a point when you have no mind at all.
In that space of no-mind you can hear a master – who may not be speaking at all, or if he is speaking, then you will be able to understand him. You cannot misunderstand him.
Setcho’s commentary is:
Who speaks from the first,
who from the second principle?
Dragons do not lie in puddles.
Where dragons lurk, waves arise
When no wind blows.
Oh! You, Chokei Zen monk
You’ve bruised your head on the dragon gate.
Setcho has not been able to say anything special. He is simply saying that just as dragons do not lie in puddles, the great buddhas cannot be found in words.
When no wind blows, no waves arise, there is understanding. Then you have come to the first principle, the source. Do not talk about the second principle, because that is irrelevant. There are as many second principles as there are listeners, but the first principle is one.

Maneesha has asked…Choosing the sutras for these discourses she is getting a little taste of Zen: “Osho, With three pounds of drums, she pecks on the lotus leaf. Knowing a spiral when she hears one, she will be beaten anyway.”
So now two things have to be done: first, Master Niskriya, she has spoken something right so give her a reward.
[Niskriya touches Maneesha’s head with his staff and Maneesha bows down to Osho in gratitude.]

Good. And now Nivedano…


Declare to the world with your drum, three times…





She is saying, “My mind is coming to the boil! It is compelled to try and decipher these stories even though that feels like reading the epitaph of one’s own gravestone.”
You are right, Maneesha, I don’t have here a cup of tea – but still you can have a cup of tea. It will not be visible…but from my eyes, from my gestures, from my presence, have a taste. There is no need to be worried about your gravestone.
Walking on the path of Zen is walking toward the greater death, consciously, finding one’s own grave.
Everybody dies, but just as people live unconsciously they die unconsciously. Neither has their life any meaning and significance nor their death. But once you start becoming a little aware…just a small awareness, a small candle flame, and you can see your own death every moment. And beyond your death – the eternal life.
Death is an episode. It happens millions of times, but it is not able to destroy the living energy that you are.
And I can understand your difficulty. You are saying: “So I get my mind out, use it, give up, and put it away. Then I get it out again, give up and put it away. Then it gets out, uses me, gives up and puts me away.
“I am going insane or going in Zen! Help! No, don’t – keep doing it! Or don’t stop not doing what you don’t do! Osho, I take my head off to you.”
Zen is certainly a very crazy way. Unless you are a little crazy, you won’t come to Zen. It is true, when you come to Zen, your craziness will go through an alchemical change. Your insanity will become your greater sanity, your no-mind will become your tremendous wisdom.
But from the outside it is crazy. From the inside it is the only sane thing that has happened on this planet.
Maneesha has made you too silent. I would like your silence to be deeper and the only way to make it deeper is to have a good laugh.

Little Felix is having a test from a child psychologist.
“Now, Felix,” says the shrink, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be a doctor, an artist, or a window cleaner,” replies Felix.
“I see,” says the puzzled shrink, “you’re not very clear about it, are you?”
“What?” says Felix. “I am perfectly clear. I want to see naked women!”

Old Mrs. Grumblebum was going every day to visit her doctor. The doctor – a very patient man – humors her, listens quietly and sometimes gives her medicines.
One day Mrs. Grumblebum doesn’t show up. The next day the doctor asks, “Where were you yesterday? I missed you.”
“I’ll tell you the truth,” she replies, “I was sick!”

At the latest summit talks, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev are continually arguing about whose country is number one, Russia or America.
Finally, in order not to start the third world war, they decided to settle it between themselves by running a marathon race.
The next morning at eight o’clock, the two world leaders start the race. Two and a half hours later, Gorbachev happily passes the finish line, but it is another six hours before Reagan makes it. He is utterly exhausted, but not beaten yet.
The following morning the Washington Post runs the story: “In a very dramatic marathon race our great president came in an excellent second. We hear that Gorbachev also participated, but he came in second to last.”

An English woman and her young son are traveling in a taxi in New York. As the taxi drives down 42nd Street, the boy is fascinated by the heavily made-up ladies walking along the street, accosting male passers-by.
“What are those ladies doing?” asks the boy.
His mother blushes and says, “I expect they are lost and are asking people for directions.”
The taxi driver overhears this and says in a loud voice, “Why don’t you tell him the truth? In other words they are prostitutes.”
The English woman is furious, and her son asks, “What are prostitutes? Are they like other women? Do they have children?”
“Of course,” replies his mother, “that’s where New York taxi drivers come from!”

Three young Catholic girls want to join a nunnery, but it is a very strict order so the girls have to pass an interview before they are admitted.
Mother Superior calls the first girl and asks her, “What would you do if you were stopped by a man on a dark night?”
“I would kneel down and pray to Jesus,” replies the girl. “Good,” says the head nun turning to the second girl. “And what would you do?”
“I would scream and shout for help,” replies the girl. “Good,” says the Holy Mother turning to the last girl who looks very young and innocent. “And what would you do, my dear?”
“I would pull down the man’s pants,” replies the girl. “Ah, dear!” cries the Mother Superior almost in a faint. “And what would you do then?”
“I would pull up my skirt,” she replies.
“Jesus Christ, save us!” croaks the old nun. “And then what?”
“Then,” says the girl, “I would run like hell!”

Now, close your eyes.
For two minutes just be absolutely still,
as if frozen.


Okay, come back.

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