No Fear, no Thinking
Osho on Fear
YAGYU TAJIMA NO KAMI MUNENORI WAS A TEACHER OF SWORDSMANSHIP TO THE SHOGUN.
In Zen, and only in Zen, something of great import has happened. That is, they don’t make any distinction between ordinary life and religious life; rather, they have bridged them both. And they have used very ordinary skills as UPAYA, as methods for meditation. That is something of tremendous import. Because if you don’t use ordinary life as a method to meditation, your meditation is bound to become something of an escape. In India it has happened, and India has suffered badly. The misery that you see all around, the poverty, the horrible ugliness of it, is because India always thought religious life to be separate from ordinary life. So people who became interested in God, they renounced the world. People who became interested in God, they closed their eyes, sat in the caves in the Himalayas, and tried to forget that the world existed. They tried to create the idea that the world is simply an illusion, illusory, a MAYA, a dream. Of course, life suffered much because of it. All the greatest minds of this country became escapists, and the country was left to the mediocres. No science could evolve; no technology could evolve.
But in Japan, Zen has done something very beautiful. That’s why Japan is the only country where East and West are meeting: Eastern meditation and Western reason are in a deep synthesis in Japan. Zen has created the whole situation there. In India you could not conceive that swordsmanship could become an UPAYA, a method for meditation, but in Japan they have done it. And I see that they have brought something very new to religious consciousness.
Anything can be converted into a meditation because the whole thing is awareness. And of course, in swordsmanship more awareness is needed than anywhere else because life will be at stake every moment. When fighting with a sword you have to be constantly alert — a single moment’s unconsciousness and you will be gone. In fact, a real swordsman does not function out of his mind, he cannot function out of his mind — because mind takes time. It thinks, calculates. And when you are fighting with a sword, where is time? There is no time. If you miss a single fragment of a second in thinking, the other will not miss the opportunity: the other’s sword will penetrate into your heart or cut off your head. So thinking is not possible. One has to function out of no-mind, one has to simply function, because the danger is so much that you cannot afford the luxury of thinking. Thinking needs an easy chair. You just relax in the easy chair and you go off on mind trips.
But when you are fighting and life is at stake and the swords are shining in the sun and at any moment a slight unawareness and the other will not lose the opportunity, you will be gone forever, there is no space for thought to appear, one has to function out of no-thought.
That’s what meditation is all about if you can function out of no-thought, if you can function out of no-mind, if you can function as a total organic unity, not out of the head, if you can function out of your guts….
It can happen to you. You are walking one night and suddenly a snake crosses the path. What do you do? Do you sit there and think about it? No, suddenly you jump out of the way. In fact you don’t decide to jump, you don’t think in a logical syllogism that: here is a snake; and wherever there is a snake there is danger; therefore, ergo, I should jump. That is not the way! You simply jump! The action is total. The action is not corrupted by thinking, it comes out of your very core of being, not out of the head. Of course, when you have jumped out of the danger you can sit under a tree and think about the whole thing — that’s another matter! Then you can afford the luxury.
The house catches fire. What do you do? Do you think whether to go out or not to go out — to be or not to be? Do you consult a scripture about whether it is right to do it? Do you sit silently and meditate upon it? You simply get out of the house. And you will not be worried about manners and etiquette — you will jump out of the window. Just two nights ago a girl entered here at three o’clock in the night and started screaming in the garden. Asheesh jumped out of his bed, ran — and only then he realized that he was naked. Then he came back. That was an act out of no-mind, without any thought. He simply jumped out of the bed. Thought came later on. Thought followed, lagged behind. He was ahead of thought. Of course, it caught hold of him so he missed an opportunity. It would have become a satori — but he came back and put on his gown. Missed!
Swordsmanship became one of the UPAYAS, one of the basic methodologies. Because the very thing is so dangerous that it doesn’t allow thinking. It can lead you towards a different type of functioning, a different type of reality, a separate reality. You know of only one way to function: to think first and then to function. In swordsmanship, a different-type of existence becomes open to you: you function first and then you think. Thinking is no longer primary, and this is the beauty. when thinking is not primary, you cannot err. You have heard the proverb: it is human to err. Yes, it is true. It is human to err because the human mind is prone to err. But when you function out of no-mind you are no longer human, you are Divine and then there is no possibility of erring. Because the total never errs, only the part; only the part goes astray. God never errs, he cannot err. He is the Whole. When you start functioning out of nothingness, with no syllogism, with no thinking, with no conclusions — your conclusions are limited, they depend on your experience, and you can err — when you put aside all your conclusions, you are putting aside all limitations also. Then you function out of your unlimited being, and it never errs.
It is said that sometimes it has happened in Japan that two Zen people will fight who have both attained to satori through swordsmanship. They cannot be defeated. Nobody can be victorious because they both never err. Before the other attacks, the first has already made preparations to receive it. Before the other’s sword moves to cut off his head, he is already prepared to defend the attack. And the same happens with his attack. Two Zen people who have attained to satori can go on fighting for years, but it is impossible — they cannot err. Nobody can be defeated and nobody can be victorious.
YAGYV TAJIMA NO KAMI MUNENORI WAS A TEACHER OF SWORDSMANSHIP TO THE SHOGUN.
ONE OF THE PERSONAL GUARDS OF THE SHOGUN CAME TO TAJIMA NO KAMI ONE DAY ASKING TO BE TRAINED IN SWORDSPLAY.
‘AS I OBSERVE, YOU SEEM TO BE A MASTER OF THE ART YOURSELF,’ SAID THE TEACHER…
‘AS I OBSERVE…’ said the Master. The disciple has come and he has asked to be trained in swordplay. The Master said, ‘As I observe…’ He focuses his ray of light, his torch, towards this disciple. Now this disciple is under his meditation. He goes through and through — the disciple becomes transparent. That is what happens when you come to a Master: simply his light penetrates you to your very core….’YOU SEEM TO BE A MASTER OF THE ART YOURSELF,’ SAID THE TEACHER. He could not find anything wrong in this man. Everything was as it should be, in tune, humming. This man was a beautiful song; he had already achieved.
‘PLEASE TELL ME TO WHAT SCHOOL YOU BELONG BEFORE WE ENTER INTO THE RELATIONSHIP OF TEACHER AND PUPIL.’
That is the highest relationship in the world — greater than a love relationship, greater than any relationship. Because the surrender has to be total. Even in a love relationship the surrender is not total, surrender is partial, the divorce is possible. But in fact, if you have once become a disciple of a Master, if you have really become a disciple, if you have been accepted, if you have surrendered, there is no possibility of divorce. There is no going back; it is a point of no return. Then the two persons are no more there. They exist like one, two aspects of one, but they are not two.
So the Master says, ‘Before we enter into the relationship of teacher and pupil, I would like to know where you learned this art. How have you become so tuned? You are already a Master.’
THE GUARDSMAN SAID, ‘I DO NOT BELONG TO ANY SCHOOL, I HAVE NEVER STUDIED THE ART.’
‘IT IS NO USE TRYING TO FOOL ME,’ SAID THE TEACHER. ‘MY JUDGING EYE NEVER FAILS.’
Now, listen to this paradox: the judging eye arises only when you have left all judgment. In meditation you have to leave all judging: what is good, what is bad — you have to drop all that division. You simply look. You look without any judgment, without any condemnation, without any appreciation. You don’t evaluate, you simply look. The look becomes pure.
When this look has happened to you and has become an integrated thing in your being. You attain to a capacity which never fails. Once you have become an insider and gone beyond morality, dualism — good and bad, sin and virtue, life and death, beautiful and ugly — once you have gone beyond the dualisms of mind, you attain to the judging eye.
This is the paradox: all judgment has to be left, then you attain to the judging eye. Then it never fails. You simply know it is so, and there is no alternative to it. It is not a choice on your part, it is not a decision, it is a simple revelation that it is so.
IT IS NO USE TRYING TO FOOL ME,’ SAID THE TEACHER. ‘MY JUDGING EYE NEVER FAILS.’
‘I AM SORRY TO DEFY, YOUR HONOR,’ SAID THE GUARD, ‘BUT I REALLY KNOW NOTHING.’
‘IF YOU SAY SO, THEN IT MUST BE TRUE, BUT I AM SURE YOU ARE THE MASTER OF SOMETHING….’
Now this point has to be understood: it makes no difference what you are a Master of, the taste of Mastery is the same, the flavor is the same. You can become a Master of archery, or you can become a Master of swordsmanship, or you can become a Master Just of the ordinary tea ceremony — it makes no difference. The real thing is that you have become a Master. The art has gone so deep that you are not carrying it anymore; the art has gone so deep that now there is no need to think about it — it has become simply your nature.
‘…BUT I AM SURE THAT YOU ARE THE MASTER OF SOMETHING… Maybe you aren’t a Master of swordsmanship, but you are a Master ‘…SO TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF.’ ‘THERE IS ONE THING,’ SAID THE GUARD. ‘WHEN I WAS A CHILD I THOUGHT THAT A SAMURAI SHOULD NEVER BE AFRAID OF DEATH, SO GRAPPLED WITH THE PROBLEM. AND NOW THE THOUGHT OF DEATH HAS CEASED TO WORRY ME.’
But that is what the whole of religion is all about.
If death no longer bothers you, you have become a Master. If you have tasted something of the deathless, something of your innermost nature — you have known something of the eternal. To know the deathless is the whole business of life. Life is an opportunity to know the deathless.
‘…AND NOW THE THOUGHT OF DEATH HAS CEASED TO WORRY ME.
‘THAT’S IT!’ EXCLAIMED THE TEACHER. ‘THE ULTIMATE SECRETS OF SWORDSMANSHIP LIE IN BEING RE/EASED FROM THE THOUGHT OF DEATH. YOU NEED NO TECHNICAL TRAINING, YOU ARE ALREADY A MASTER.’
When you are fighting with a sword, if you are afraid of death, thinking will continue.
Now let me tell you one basic truth: thinking is out of fear. All thinking is out of fear. The more you become afraid, the more you think. Whenever there is no fear, thinking stops. If you have fallen in love with someone, there are moments with your beloved or your lover when thinking stops. Just sitting by the lake, doing nothing, holding hands, looking at the moon or the stars, or just gazing into the darkness of the night, sometimes thoughts stop because there is no fear. Love dispels fear just as light dispels darkness. If even for a moment you have been in love with someone, fear disappears and thinking stops. With fear, thinking continues. The more you are afraid, the more you have to think — because by thinking you will create security; by thinking, you will create a citadel around you; by thinking you will manage, or try to manage, how to fight. A swordsman, if he is afraid of death, cannot be a real swordsman because the fear will make him tremble. With just a slight trembling inside, a slight thinking inside, he will not be able to act out of no-mind.
There is a story.
A man in China became the greatest archer. He asked the king, ‘Declare me as the greatest archer of the country.’ The king was just going to decide and declare him when an old servant of the king said, ‘Wait, sir. I know a man who lives in the forest who never comes to the town. He is a greater archer. So let this young man go to him and learn from him for at least three years. He does not know what he is demanding. He is like a camel who has not yet come across a mountain. Archers don’t live in the capitals, the real archers are in the mountains. I know one, and I know for certain that this man is nothing.’
Of course, the man was sent. He went. He could not believe that there could be a greater archer than him. But he found the old man and, he was! For three years he learned from him. Then one day, when he had learned everything, the thought arose in him that, ‘If I kill this old man, then I will be the greatest archer.’
The old man had gone to cut wood and he was coming back carrying wood on his head. The young man hid behind a tree, waiting to kill him. He shot an arrow. The old man took a small piece of wood and threw it. It struck the arrow and the arrow turned back and wounded the young man very deeply. The old man came, took out the arrow, and said, ‘I knew this. I knew that some day or other you were going to do this. That’s why I have not taught you this secret. Only one secret I have kept for myself. There is no need to kill me, I am not a competitor. But one thing I must tell you — my Master is still alive, and I am nothing before him. You will have to go deeper into the mountains. He is a man of one hundred and twenty years, very old — but while he is alive, nobody can pretend and nobody should even think of declaring. You must be with him for at least thirty years. And he is very old, so go fast! Find the old man!’
The young man traveled, now very desperate. It seemed to be impossible to become the greatest archer in the country. He found the old man. He was very ancient, one hundred and twenty years old, completely bent, he could not stand upright. But the young man was surprised because there was no bow, no arrow, with him. And he asked, ‘Are you the old man who is the greatest archer?’
The old man said, ‘Yes.’
‘But where are your bow and arrows?’
The old man said, ‘Those are playthings. Real archers don’t need them once they have learned the art. They are just devices to learn; once you have learned, you throw them. A great musician will throw his instrument because he has learned what music is. How to carry the instrument is foolish, childish.’
And the old man said, ‘But if you are really interested in becoming an archer, then come with me.’
He took him to a precipice. A rock was there overlooking a very deep valley. The old man went ahead of the young man and stood just at the very edge. With a slight trembling he would topple down into the valley. He called the young man to come close to him. He started perspiring, he started trembling, it was so dangerous to be there.
At just two feet away he said, ‘I cannot come that close.’ The old man started laughing and he said, ‘If you tremble so much with fear, how can you become an archer? Fear must disappear totally, with no trace left behind.’
The young man said, ‘But how can it be? I am afraid of death.’
The old man said, ‘Drop the idea of death. Find someone who can teach you what a deathless life is and you will become the greatest archer — never before.’
Fear creates trembling; fear creates thinking. Thinking is a sort of inner trembling. When one becomes unwavering, the flame of consciousness remains there, undistracted, untrembling.
‘THAT’S IT!’ EXCLAIMED THE TEACHER. ‘THE ULTIMATE SECRETS OF SWORDSMANSHIP ARE IN BEING RELEASED FROM THE THOUGHT OF DEATH. YOU NEED NO TECHNICAL TRAINING, YOU ARE ALREADY A MASTER.’
But he was not aware of his own mastery. He may have been hiding many other things and because of that he was hiding his treasures also. Once exposed to a Master, he became alert. And the Master said, ‘There is no need for any techniques. You are already a Master.’
As I see in you, everybody is carrying the deathless within him. You may know it, you may not know it, that is not the point — but you are carrying it within you. It is already there, it is already the case. Just a slight understanding of it and your life can be transformed. And then there is no need of any techniques; religion is not technology. Everybody is born with a secret treasure but goes on living as if he were born a beggar. Everybody is born an emperor but goes on living like a beggar. Realize it! And the realization will come to you only if by and by you drop your fear. So whenever fear comes to you, don’t suppress it, don’t repress it, don’t avoid it, don’t get occupied in something so that you can forget about it. No! When fear comes, watch it. Be face to face with it. Encounter it. Look deep into it. Gaze into the valley of fear. Of course you will perspire, and you will tremble, and it will be like a death, and you will have to live it many times. But by and by, the more your eyes become clear, the more your awareness becomes alert, the more your focus is there on the fear, the fear will disappear. Like a mist. And once fear disappears, sometimes, even for only a moment, suddenly you are deathless.
There is no death. Death is the greatest illusion there is, the greatest myth — a lie. For even a single moment, if you can see that you are deathless then no meditation is needed. Then live that experience, then act out of that experience, and the doors of eternal life are open for you.
Much is being missed because of fear. We are too attached to the body and we go on creating more and more fear because of that attachment. The body is going to die, the body is part of death, the body is death — but you are beyond the body. You are not the body; you are the bodiless. Remember it. Realize it.
Awaken yourself to this truth — that you are beyond the body. You are the witness, the seer. Then death disappears and fear disappears, and there arises the tremendously glorious life — what Jesus calls ‘life abundant,’ or ‘the kingdom of God.’
The kingdom of God is within you.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Ancient Music in the Pines
Chapter title: The Ultimate Secrets of Swordsmanship
25 February 1976 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘fear, death, meditation, awareness, consciousness, awakening, transformation, love’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Art of Dying
- The Book of Wisdom
- Come Follow To You
- The Discipline of Transcendence
- The Empty Boat
- From Death to Deathlessness
- The Invitation
- The Heart Sutra
- The Guest
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- The Mustard Seed: My Most Loved Gospel on Jesus
- The Razor’s Edge
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra