Mahaparinirvana: The Ultimate Enlightenment

Everything is moving. The breath that is within you will be in me a little later. And the breath is life, so your life and my life cannot be different, because the same breath you breathe I breathe. I exhale, you inhale it; you exhale, I inhale it. Your heart and my heart cannot be very different. They are breathing and beating the same ocean of vitality around. I call this my breath, but by the time I have called it, it is no more mine — it has moved, it has changed the house, now it is somebody else’s breath. What you call your life is not yours. It is nobody’s — or it is everybody’s. When somebody looks at reality, then he sees that the whole is an organic unity. The sun is working for you, the ocean is working for you, the stars are working for you. The people milling around the world are working for you and you are working for them. You will die and worms will eat your body, you will become their food. You are getting ready, ripe, to die, to become food for somebody else. And this has to be so — because you have made so many things your food, finally you have to become their food. Everything is food for somebody else. It is a chain… and you want to cling to life. And the apple, it also wants to cling to the life; and the wheat, the wheat also wants to remain itself. Then life will cease.

Life lives through death. You die here, somebody becomes alive there; I exhale, somebody inhales. Just like a rhythmic exhalation, inhalation, is life and death. Life is inhalation, death is exhalation. When you are ripe you will fall down on the earth. Then the worms will eat you and the birds of prey will come and they will enjoy you. You enjoyed many foods, now you will be enjoyed in turn. Everything melts, meets, merges. So why be worried? This is going to happen, this is already happening. Only the whole lives, individuals are false. Only the ultimate lives — all else are just waves in it, they come and they go. When one sees reality just in front of the nose, suddenly there is no problem, no anxiety, because the whole goes on living whether you live or not. Your death is not a problem then, your life is also not a problem then. You will live in the whole in many many millions of ways. Sometimes you will be a fruit… that is the meaning of the Hindu concept of millions of YONIS. Sometimes you were an animal and sometimes you were an insect and sometimes you were a tree and sometimes you were a rock — and life goes on.

So you are nobody, in a sense, and you are everybody in another sense. You are empty in one sense and you are full in another sense. You are not in one sense, and you are the all in another sense — because you are not separate. Separation brings anxiety. If you are anxious, in anguish, that means you are thinking you are separate — you are unnecessarily creating problems for yourself. There is no need, because the whole goes on living; the whole never dies, it cannot die. Only parts die — but that death is not really a death, it is a rebirth. Here you die, there you are born.




Then why be worried about perfection? That too is an egoistic goal. This is very deep to be understood, because even religious people try to be perfect. But who are you to be perfect? Only the whole can be perfect, you can never be perfect. How can you be perfect? Even a Buddha has to fall ill, he has to die. You cannot be perfect! The very goal of perfection is an ego trip. The whole is already perfect, you need not be worried about it — and in the whole you are also perfect.

Two words have to be understood: one is perfection, another is wholeness. A real religious person is concerned with wholeness, never with perfection, and a pseudo religious person is concerned with perfection, never with wholeness. Wholeness means, “I am not, the whole is.” And it is perfect, because how can it be otherwise? There is no comparison, there is nobody else.

But if you are thinking in terms of perfection, morality, ideals, character, you have to be perfect, then you will go mad. All perfectionists go mad — that is their ultimate, final end — because as a separate unit you will remain imperfect, you cannot be perfect. How can you be perfect? Because your energy comes from the whole, it goes to the whole — you are not. A wave has to remain a wave, it cannot become the ocean. And if it tries too hard, it will go mad.

That’s why in the world of religion you see the most egoistic people possible, because they are trying to be perfect about everything. They insist on perfection. They cannot be relaxed, they will always be tense. And always something will be wrong and they have to put it right — and they will always remain in anxiety. Go to the madhouses, and you will find there ninety percent perfectionists. A man of understanding remains relaxed. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care. No, he cares but he knows the limitations. He cares, but he knows that he is just a part. He never thinks himself to be the whole, so he is never worried. He enjoys whatsoever he is doing, knowing well that it is going to remain imperfect, it cannot be perfect. But he enjoys doing it, and by enjoying it, whatsoever perfection is possible happens without creating any worry in him. He loves it, knowing well that it is not going to be the absolute thing. It cannot be; something will remain incomplete, it is the nature of things.

That’s why in the East we have always believed — and believed in a very true thing — that whenever somebody becomes perfect he is not born again, he disappears from this world. He has to, because in this world only imperfection is possible. He no more fits here, he is not needed, he dissolves into the whole.

Even a Buddha to the very last moment of his life remains imperfect, but not worried about it. That’s why Buddhists have two terms for NIRVANA. The ultimate enlightenment they call MAHAPARINIRVANA, and enlightenment they call NIRVANA. NIRVANA means a Buddha is in the body. He has attained to illumination, he has become a knower, but he is still in the body, the body of imperfection. He is still in the world of imperfect parts. This is NIRVANA, enlightenment. Then when he leaves the body, when he simply disappears into the ultimate emptiness, it is MAHAPARINIRVANA, it is the great enlightenment. Now imperfection disappears, now there is no individuality, now he is whole. Only the whole can be perfect. Now Buddha can be perfect, because now he has dissolved into the whole, he is oceanic.

So remember this well, because all perfectionism is an egoistic effort, you go mad after everything. Try to do it as well as you can, but don’t be crazy about it; do as well as you can and accept the limitation. The limitation is going to be there, even about your character, morality, everything! Even a saint has to give a little space for the sinner, because where will the sinner go? So it is possible, ninety-nine percent a saint, but one percent of the sinner will be there. And the reverse happens: you can become a ninety-nine percent sinner but one percent of the saint will be there. It has to be so, because where will you leave the other? You can force it to the very extreme, but the one percent of the other will remain there. And if you go mad about it, it is not going to help.

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A man of understanding accepts limitations. He accepts the possibilities, that which is possible. He knows the impossible, he never tries for the impossible. He relaxes and enjoys the possible. And the more he enjoys, the more perfection comes to his life. But it is no more a worry, it is graceful — and this is the difference. If you come to a really religious man you will feel a grace around him, effortless. He has not done anything to himself, he has simply relaxed into the ultimate, and you feel the effortlessness around him.

If you come to a person who is a perfectionist, a pseudo religious man, then everything you see will be man-made, there will be no grace. Everything clear-cut, every movement calculated, cunning. Everything he is doing is a discipline not a spontaneity. He lives in a code; his own code becomes his imprisonment. He cannot laugh, he cannot be a child, he cannot be a flower. Whatsoever he is, so much effort he has put into it that everything has become tense and gone wrong. It is not a spontaneous flow.

And this should be the criterion — if you move towards a Master this should be the criterion — that he is a spontaneous flow. Only then can he help you to become a spontaneous flow on your own part. If he is an enforced perfectionist he will cripple you, he will kill you completely. He will cut you in many ways, and by the time he thinks you are perfect, you are dead. Only a dead thing can be perfect, a living thing is bound to remain imperfect. Remember this.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series:

Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing

Chapter #10
Chapter title: No Yesterday, No tomorrow, No today
30 October 1974 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘Nirvana, Mahaparinirvana, Enlightenment, Awakening, Death’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
  2. The Diamond Sutra
  3. The First Principle
  4. The Heart Sutra
  5. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  6. The Tantra Vision, Vol 1, 2
  7. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
  8. The Path of the Mystic
  9. Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi
  10. The Great Zen Master Ta Hui
  11. The Transmission of the Lamp
  12. The Invitation
  13. Take It Easy, Vol 1
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