Take It Easy Vol 1 01

First Discourse from the series of 14 discourses - Take It Easy Vol 1 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

A rest on the way back
From the Leaky Road
To the Never-leaking Road;
If it rains, let it rain;
If it blows, let it blow.

My self of long ago,
In nature non-existent;
Nowhere to go when dead,
Nothing at all.

When asked, he answered;
No question, no answer;
Then master Daruma
Must have had
Nothing in his mind.

Our mind –
Without end,
Without beginning,
Though it is born, though it dies –
The essence of emptiness!

All the sins committed
In the Three Worlds
Will fade and disappear
Together with myself.
Religion is irrational – by the irrational and for the irrational. Reason cannot contain it; reason is so small.
Religion is the vast sky of existence; reason is a tiny human phenomenon. Reason has to be lost, has to be dropped. Only by going beyond the mind does one start understanding what is. That’s the radical change. No philosophy can bring that radical change – only religion.
Religion is non-philosophic, anti-philosophic, and Zen is the purest form of religion. Zen is the very essence of religion; hence it is irrational, it is absurd. If you try to understand it logically you will be bewildered. It can only be understood illogically. It has to be approached in deep sympathy and love. You cannot approach Zen through empirical, scientific, objective concepts. They all have to be dropped. It is a heart phenomenon. You have to feel it rather than think it. You have to be it to know it. Being is knowing – and there is no other knowing.
That’s why religion has to choose a different kind of language. Religion has to talk in parables, in poetry, in metaphors, in myth. Those are indirect ways of hinting at the truth – only hinting at the truth, no direct pointing; just whispering, not shouting. It comes to you in a deep rapport.
These small poems of the Zen master, Ikkyu, are of immense importance. They are not great poetry, remember, because that is not the concern. The poetry has been used as a device so that your heart can be stirred. The poetry is not the goal. Ikkyu is not concerned with creating great poetry. He is not really a poet, he is a mystic, but rather than speaking prose, he speaks in poetry – for a certain reason.
The reason is poetry has an indirect way of hinting at things. Poetry is feminine; prose is masculine. Prose, the very structure of it, is logical; poetry is basically illogical. Prose has to be clear-cut; poetry has to be vague – that’s its beauty, its quality. Prose simply says what it says; poetry says many things. Prose is needed in the day-to-day world, in the marketplace. But whenever something of the heart has to be said, prose is always found inadequate, and one has to fall back to poetry.
There are two languages in language. Each language consists of two languages: one is prose, the other is poetry. Prose has become very predominant because it is utilitarian. Poetry has disappeared by and by, because it has no utility. It is needed only when you are in love. It is needed only when you are talking of love, death, prayerfulness, truth, godliness. These are not commodities; they are not sold in the marketplace, they are not purchased either.
Our world, slowly, slowly, has become linear. The other language, the deeper language, has lost its meaning for us, and because of the disappearance of the second language, the language of poetry, man has become very poor, because all richness is of the heart. Mind is very poor, mind is a beggar, mind lives through trivia. The heart is an opening to the profundities of life, to the depths of existence, to the mysteries of cosmos.
Remember this: there are two languages in language, two ways of speaking, two levels of linguistic usage. There is a language of clear truths, concepts and formulas: the language of pure logic, objective information, exact science. But that is not the language of the heart, and that is not the language of love, and that is not the language of religion.
Science and religion are diametrically opposite. They belong to different dimensions of existence. They don’t overlap each other’s grounds, each other’s fields. They simply never meet! They don’t crisscross. And the modern mind has been trained for science; hence religion has become almost out of date, of the past. There seems to be no future for religion.
Sigmund Freud has declared that there is no future for the illusion called religion. But if there is no future for religion, there is no future for man either. Science is going to destroy humanity – because humanity can live only through the poetic, the metaphoric. Life gathers significance only through the heart. Man cannot live by mind alone; man cannot live by calculation, mathematics alone. Mathematics can serve, but cannot be the master. The head can only be the servant. As a servant it is very useful, but when it pretends to become the master it is dangerous, it is fatal.
The language of objective science lives in the world of facts. Things are as they are: you say what you mean, as precisely as you can, and as unequivocally. Speaking, then, is deciphering a puzzle, defining, prescribing limits: this is this, not that. It is water, not steam and not ice. Here is here, not there. One is one, two equals two, dead is dead. This is the world of facts – dull and dead, stale and stagnant.
It is impossible to live just in the world of facts, because then you will never be able to relax. In fact, it is meaningless to live in the world of facts – from where will you get meaning, from where will you get value? Then a rose has no beauty; it is only a botanical fact. Then love has no splendor; it is only a biological fact.
How can one live in facts? Living in facts, life starts becoming meaningless. It is not an accident that modern philosophical minds are talking continuously about meaninglessness. We have created it by deciding to live only in one language: the prose language.
It is a good thing that we have this language, the language of facts, the language of prose. Our world cannot do without it, true. It is needed, but it cannot be the goal of life; it can only serve. But we never use it when we want to pour out our hearts and say what is really in us, hidden and almost impossible to name.
A man is certainly poor if he has not felt the inadequacy of ordinary language. If there is somebody so unfortunate that he has not felt the inadequacy of ordinary language it simply shows he has never felt love, he has never felt any meditative moment, he has not known ecstasy. His heart beats no more; he is just a corpse. He lives and yet does not live. He moves, walks, but all his gestures are empty; they contain nothing.
If a man has not felt the inadequacy of the prose language – the empirical language, the language of facts, mathematics – that simply shows that he has not experienced any mystery of life, he has really not been living. Otherwise, how can you avoid the mysteries? It simply shows that he has never seen the full moon in the night, has never seen the beauty and the splendor of human eyes, has never laughed, has never cried, does not know what tears signify. He is a robot; he is not man, he is not human; he is inhuman. He is just a machine; he works, he earns, and then he dies. He reproduces and then he dies – but in vain. He cannot say why he lived in the first place.
It is true that this kind of language is needed, it is a need, but even if all the needs are fulfilled, the ultimate need remains unfulfilled by it: the need to celebrate, the need to rejoice, the need to have a dialogue with the stars and the ocean and the sand, the need to hold hands, the need to fall in love, the need to dance and sing. Ordinary language cannot fulfill that ultimate need, and that ultimate need is what is specific to humanity. A man is man only insofar as he lives in that ultimate need.
In questions of love and death and of God and man, the first language is not only inadequate but also dangerous. If you use the first kind of language for the ultimate concerns of life, by and by your very language will destroy them. That’s how we have destroyed godliness. That’s how we have destroyed all that is beautiful and significant. Use wrong language, and sooner or later you will be trapped by that wrong language, because your mind lives through language. You know only that which comes into your language; you know only that which you can clearly think about.
If you have dropped the vague world of heart, the vague world of feelings, sensations, emotions, ecstasy, then naturally you are closed to godliness. And then if you say God is dead, it seems to be absolutely true. Not that God is dead – only you are dead to godliness. To be alive to godliness is to move into poetry. Poetry is the rainbow bridge between man and godliness, between man as mind and godliness as mystery. That is the opening, the door, the threshold.
Have you ever seen Khajuraho, Konarak, or other beautiful temples of India? In the old scriptures it is said that on each temple’s threshold there should be a statue, a sculpture of lovers. It is very strange. Those scriptures don’t specifically say why; they simply mention it for the architects, that it is a must. On each temple’s threshold, on the door, there must be at least one couple in maithun – in orgasm, in deep love, their limbs intertwined with each other, in great ecstasy.
Why on the door? Because unless you know love, you cannot know the bridge between man and existence. And the door is a symbol: the door is the threshold between the world of mind and the world of no-mind. It is love that bridges the world of mind to no-mind. It is only through love that we come to know the orgasmic mysteries of life.
It is very significant, although many temples are not built that way. People have been avoiding it; they are too moralistic and stupid. But the ancient prescription is of great significance: only love can be the threshold, because only love will make your poetry alive.
If you use only the first kind of language, you will be destroying something very delicate in you. You will become more and more accustomed to the rocks and less and less aware of the flowers.
There is a second language, deep below the first, like a much older structure wide around the first. It is the language of what cannot really be said. Yes, poetry is the language of what really cannot be said. Still it has to be said. There is an urgency to say it, and poetry is the language of that which cannot be said.
That which can be said can be said through prose. How will you say that which cannot be said if you don’t have poetry? It is the language of what cannot really be said, the language that you speak so as not to have to be completely silent, the language of emotion and ecstasy.
These small poems of Ikkyu may not be very poetic. In fact, R. H. Blyth, writing about these doka of Ikkyu, says: “Ikkyu’s little poems are not of great poetical value, yet they portray for us a man of deep sincerity, too honest perhaps to be a great lyrical poet.” The purpose is not poetry. The purpose is to convey something which cannot be conveyed through ordinary language. Poetry is being used as a vehicle, remember. Don’t think in terms of literature: think in terms of ecstasy.
And sometimes ecstasy can be expressed through small words. Just the other day I was reading William Samuel. He writes:

Pondering the enigma of communication one day out in the back-country of my hills, I witnessed the happy reunion of a father and his five-year-old son who had been lost in the woods for many hours. I knew the boy would be found – and I knew I knew – but despite the positive knowing, I was unable to allay the father’s fears or bring him to understand the truth I saw. Then, even as I wondered – even as I asked about this inability to communicate when it seemed so important to do it – I saw the little boy and the father find each other.
Oh, such a reunion! A barefoot ragamuffin came running out of the woods shouting with all his might, “Daddy! Daddy!” and I saw the father, unashamedly sobbing, sweep the child into his arms. All he could say was, “Hallelujah! Praise God!” again and again. “Hallelujah! Praise God!”

There are moments when something has to be said and nothing can be said. There are moments when tears say much more than words. There are moments when laughter says much more than words. There are moments when gestures say much more than words. There are moments when silence speaks more than words. All the laughter, all the tears, all the gestures and silences are contained in the second language, the language of poetry.
William Samuel also writes:

Once in China, I was given a simple verse to read and then to give my interpretation. I was ready to give an answer immediately but was informed that I had twenty-eight days to think about it. “Why so long?” I asked, with the usual impatience of a Westerner.
“Because nothing has been read once until it has been read twelve times,” was the answer. “Read and re-read.”
I did. Twelve times twelve to make twelve readings – and I heard a melody I could not have heard otherwise. Since then I have known why it is that certain lines in the Bible, or any other book, that have been read countless times will one day, upon just one more reading, suddenly take on a grand new significance.

That is the whole secret of mantras. A mantra is a condensed poem; it is essential poetry. Just by reading it, you can’t understand it. Not that you don’t understand intellectually – it is simple, the meaning is apparent – but the apparent meaning is not the real meaning. The apparent meaning comes from the first reading, and the hidden meaning will have to be waited for. You will have to repeat it in deep love, in great, prayerful moods, and sometime it will suddenly erupt from your own unconscious, it will be revealed to you. A melody will be heard, and that melody is the meaning – not the meaning that you had deciphered from the first reading, on the first reading. And one never knows when it will happen.
Hence, in the East, people have been reciting the Koran, the Bhagavadgita, the Dhammapada. They keep reciting; every day, morning and evening, they keep reciting. They recite as many times as possible. They don’t even keep count; what is the point of keeping count? But with each recitation, something goes deeper into you, the groove is deepened. And one day the melody is heard. When you have heard the melody, you have come to know the real mantra. You have stumbled upon the second hidden layer, the real poetry in it that cannot be understood, that can only be heard; that cannot be understood, that can only be experienced.
These small poems of Ikkyu are like mantras. Don’t try to understand them intellectually. Rather, play with them with deep love, sympathy, rapport. And, slowly, slowly, like a fragrance, like a melody, something will arise in you and you will be able to see what this man wants to convey. He wants to convey that which cannot be conveyed; he wants to say that which cannot be said. And he has been able to convey it.
This man Ikkyu was a strange master. Zen masters are strange masters. A religious person is bound to become strange, because he lives in a totally different way, he lives in a separate reality. He starts existing here as an outsider. He becomes a stranger to this ordinary world because he is here and yet not of it. He lives here, but untouched, uncontaminated, unpolluted by it. He lives here, and lives in such a way that he is untouchable. He does not escape from the world. He lives in the ordinary world in an extraordinary way.
I have heard a few stories about Ikkyu. One is this, which will give you some taste of the man. Before we enter into his poems, it is better to have some taste of the man.

One summer day while working, perhaps weeding, Ikkyu got so tired, and being hot, came up to the temple porch and aired himself in the cool breeze. He felt so fine that he went into the temple and took the buddha from the shrine, and binding him to a pole outside, said, “Now, you too, cool yourself!”

It looks absurd, binding a wooden buddha to a pole, and saying to the buddha, “Now, you too, cool yourself!” But look, something deep is there. For Ikkyu, nothing is dead anymore, not even the wooden buddha. All is alive. And he has started feeling for everything as he feels for himself. Those boundaries of “I” and “you” are no longer relevant. He has come to the one.
And now another, just the polar opposite of this story:

One night, a very cold winter night, he was staying in a temple. And then suddenly, in the middle of the night, the priest of the temple heard noise and saw light, so he came running: “What is happening?”
He saw Ikkyu sitting there; he was burning a wooden buddha. The priest was aghast. He said, “Are you mad or something? What have you done? This is sacrilege! There can be no other sin greater than this. You have burnt my buddha!”
Ikkyu took a small stick and started poking in the ashes.
The priest said, “Now what are you doing, and what are you trying to do?”
Ikkyu said, “I am trying to find the bones of the buddha.”
The priest said, “You must be absolutely mad, how can you find bones in a wooden buddha?”
And Ikkyu laughed and he said, “The night is long and very cold, and you have so many wooden buddhas. Why don’t you bring a few more and you can also warm yourself up.”

Now this man is a strange man. One time he binds the wooden buddha on a hot summer day to a pole and says, “Now, you too, cool yourself.” Another time he burns a wooden buddha because the night is too cold. And he says to the priest, “Look at me: the buddha inside is shivering.” In fact, both the stories are the same, from two different angles the same.
A man of realization, a man who has understood, makes no differences. Distinctions are lost, divisions disappear, all boundaries become meaningless. A man of realization starts living in the unbounded, in the infinite.
Now, these doka…
A rest on the way back
From the Leaky Road
To the Never-leaking Road;
If it rains, let it rain;
If it blows, let it blow.
Each word has to be penetrated with sympathy. “The Leaky Road” means this world, the world of desires. Through desires we are leaking our energy. Through desires we are wasting our being; through desires we are disappearing down the drain.
This world is the Leaky Road. Man simply wastes himself here. Nothing is gained out of it, never; in fact you come as emperors and you die as beggars. This is a Leaky Road! Each child is born as an emperor and soon the kingdom is lost, the purity, the innocence is lost. Each child is Adam in the Garden of Eden, and each child has to be expelled from the Garden.
He starts moving into the world of desires. Ten thousand desires are there. They cannot be finished, they cannot be fulfilled; they bring only frustration and more frustration. Each desire is a new trap of the frustration. You hope again and you are trapped, and each desire only brings a great frustration. But by the time it comes, you start desiring again. You move from one desire to another desire. You can go on moving for millions of lives, in fact that’s how we have been moving.
Ikkyu calls it the Leaky Road. And the Never-leaking Road is the world before we and it were born or the world when we and it are no more.
In Zen, this is one of the most fundamental meditations: to search for the face that you had before you were born, or, to search for the face that you will have when you are dead. Just to think about it brings great realizations. Just meditate upon it constantly and one starts feeling something faceless. That is your original face: facelessness. You had no face before you were born; you had no body, you had no mind, you had no name, no form – no namarupa – neither name nor form. You were, but you were not identified with anything.
To realize it again, amidst all this noise of the Leaky Road, amidst all these people who are just running after desires, chasing one desire and then another and then another; to recognize and to realize the original face when you were neither a body nor a mind, but only a pure consciousness, a witness, is the goal of all meditation. That is called the Never-leaking Road. If you can remain in that state, your life energies will not leak.
And the way back is the return to that source, to that original face. All religions are the way back. Religion means a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn, an about-turn, an absolute about-turn. We are rushing away from the original source, we are rushing from ourselves. We have to return; we have to come to our original source because only there is peace and contentment and bliss. Only there is fulfillment.
The source is the goal – they are never separate. Only the source can be the goal. When one has come back to one’s original source, one has achieved all that life can give, all that life is meant to give.
Life is losing the paradise; religion is regaining it. Rushing into the world of desires is Adam falling from grace; returning back is Christ. They are the same person. Adam and Christ are not two separate persons; they are the same person, only their direction has changed. Adam is on the Leaky Road, going away from the source, farther and farther away from the source. Christ is turning back, has taken the turn.
The Christian word conversion means exactly that: turning back. Conversion does not mean a Hindu becoming a Christian, or a Mohammedan becoming a Christian. Conversion means Adam becoming Christ. It has nothing to do with Christianity; it has something to do with Christhood itself. By becoming a Christian you don’t become converted, nothing changes. You were a Hindu and you were rushing into the world of desires, then you become a Christian and you go on rushing into the same world – just the label on you changes. Now you are no longer called a Hindu, you are called a Christian. Or you can be a Christian and can get converted to being a Hindu; that is not conversion either.
Conversion means a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn: Adam turning back, the way back.
Buddhists have an even more beautiful word for it. It is called paravritti – that exactly means about-turn and exactly a hundred and eighty degrees. Less than that won’t do. If you miss by even a single degree you will still be rushing into the world.
That is the meaning of my sannyas too: the way back.
And the rest means our short human life, so short that rain or wind, grief or passion, are of little moment or meaning.
Now listen to the doka: A rest on the way back from the Leaky Road To the Never-leaking Road; if it rains, let it rain; if it blows, let it blow.
Our human life is so momentary. There is no point in getting disturbed about it. Somebody has insulted you and you make so much fuss – and it is so momentary! It is not going to stay; all is going to be lost. Or somebody has succeeded and goes mad. Or somebody has accumulated much wealth and cannot walk on the earth, he starts flying.

In the ancient days in Rome there was a tradition, a beautiful tradition. It should be followed in every country. Whenever a Roman conqueror would come back after he had conquered new countries, had been a great soldier, and was coming home with great success and victory, the masses, the crowds, the mob, would shout in joy. He was greeted like a god. The tradition was that a servant used to walk just behind him and continuously remind him: “Don’t be deceived by the people. Don’t be deceived, sir, by the people! Don’t be deceived by the fools, otherwise you will go mad.” A servant, a slave, had to repeat it continuously just at the back of the conqueror so that he would remember; otherwise it is very easy when success comes to go mad.

This should be followed in every country. A person should follow Jimmy Carter, Morarji Desai, just reminding them: “Don’t be deceived by the success. It is momentary; it is just a bubble, a soap bubble. Don’t let it get into your head.”
Success gets into the head, and so does failure. It hurts. And all is momentary. This rest is momentary. Just think of the infinities: before your birth there was infinity – beginningless time preceded you – and after your death endless time is going to succeed you. And between these two infinities, what are you, what is your life? A soap bubble, just a moment’s dream.
Don’t allow it to affect you. If one can keep aware, and is not affected by success and failure, praise and insult, enemies and friends, then one is moving back to the original source. One becomes a witness.
A rest on the way back from the Leaky Road to the Never-leaking Road; if it rains, let it rain; if it blows, let it blow. Don’t get disturbed about it. Ponder over it, contemplate over it. It is a great secret, one of the great secrets of buddhas: just to be alert that all is trivial, momentary, a midsummer dream. It is going, it is already going, you cannot hold on to it. There is no need to cling to it; there is no need to push it. It is going of its own accord, good or bad, whatsoever it is, is going. All is going; the river is flowing. Remain undisturbed, detached, just a witness. This is meditation.
My self of long ago,
In nature non-existent;
Nowhere to go when dead,
Nothing at all.
Again, try to understand each word: My self of long ago… Before birth we were non-existent, and we will be so again after death. No self was there, and no self is going to be there after death.
Buddha insists very much on this vision of no-self, because all our desires hang around the concept of the self: “I am.” If I am, then a thousand and one desires will arise. If I am not, then how can desires arise out of nothingness?
This is one of the greatest contributions of Buddha to the world. As far as the idea of no-self is concerned, he has surpassed all other masters – Krishna and Christ and Zarathustra and Lao Tzu – he has surpassed all.
This is one of the most fundamental meditations. If it can settle in you that “I am not,” then suddenly the world disappears. To know that “I am not” is to know that there is no need to do anything, to be anything, to possess anything, to attain anything. When there is no self, ambition is irrelevant. If there is a self, then ambition is relevant.
That’s why all other religions except Buddhism have fallen in a trap. The trap is: they try not to desire the things of this world, but then they start desiring things of the other world. But it is the same – desire is the same. It does not matter what you desire. It makes no difference at all what the object of your desire is, desire is the same.
You desire money or you desire meditation: desire is the same. Only the object has changed. And the object is not the problem; the problem is the desire itself, desiring itself. Somebody desires long life here, a beautiful body here, success, name, fame; somebody else desires eternal life with God in paradise. What is the difference? The only difference seems to be this: that the first man is not as greedy as the second; the second is greedier.
That’s why your so-called spiritual people are very greedy people. It is not just an accident that India is very greedy – it is so spiritual! That spirituality creates new greed. In fact, the so-called mahatmas go on teaching people: “Don’t desire things of this world because they are momentary; desire things of the other world, because they are eternal.” And this they call renunciation? Is this renunciation? This is getting more desirous. This is asking for eternal gratification.
Worldly people are simple people; they are satisfied with momentary desires. And the otherworldly seem to be absolutely greedy: they are not satisfied with this world; they need another world where eternal pleasure exists, where beauty never fades, where life is always young, where one lives and lives and never becomes old.
This is greed; this is pure greed transplanted into another world. This is greedier than the first. Avoid this so-called spiritual materialism; it is utterly materialistic. It does not change your life; it can’t change it. It simply nourishes your old mind. It poisons you even more.
Buddha says the basic meditation is to see that “I was not and I will not be, so how can I be in the middle of two nothingnesses? If I was not before and I will not be again after death, then how can I be right now?” One cannot exist between two nothingnesses; then this too must be a nothingness – we have not seen it rightly.
My self of long ago… Before birth we were non-existent, no-self, and we shall be so after death again. Therefore we are in this condition at the present moment, without a thing in the world we can call our own, not even our own selves. This goes to the deepest core of the problem.
Don’t dispossess things. Dispossess your self, and then things are automatically dispossessed. If I am not, then how can the house belong to me? If I am not, then how can I possess a woman or a man? If I am not, then how can I possess a child? If I am not, then how is possession possible? There is nobody to possess. See the difference.
Other religions have said: “Renounce possessions!” Buddha says: “Renounce the possessor.” Certainly, it goes infinitely deeper. You can renounce the possessions, but the possessor remains, and with the possessor the blueprint to possess again – the possessor will bring his possessiveness by the back door.
You can see it happening: a man renounces his worldly life, moves to a Himalayan cave, but then he possesses that cave. And if somebody else comes and starts living in the cave, he will throw him out. He will say, “Get out! This is my cave.” And this man has renounced his house, his wife, his children. Now the same possessiveness has entered in a new form. It does not matter what you possess, but if you possess then you remain on the Leaky Road. Dispossessing things does not mean escaping from things. Things are there, they will be everywhere. In the Himalayan cave things will also be there – the mountains, the trees – and you can start possessing them. If you sit under a certain tree, you start possessing it. This is your tree; no other ascetic can come and meditate there; he has to find his own tree. Or you start possessing the temples, the mosques, the churches. Or you start possessing philosophies: Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan. Or you start possessing scriptures: the Gita, the Koran, the Bible. Or you start possessing concepts of God: “This is my concept of God. Your concept is wrong and my concept is right.”
Buddha cuts the root. He says there is nobody to possess. Just see the beauty of it and the tremendous import of it. He simply cuts the roots. He does not cut the branches and the leaves as they will sprout again because the roots remain intact. Cut the root and the whole tree dies. Don’t drop possessions; drop the possessor. And then you can live in the world and there is no problem. Just live in the world and don’t possess because there is nobody to possess.
That’s why I don’t tell my sannyasins to renounce the world. I say renounce the ego and live in the world. The world cannot do you any harm. All the harm that happens, happens through the ego. That’s what Buddha calls “self”; it is his word for ego: atta – the self.
My self of long ago, in nature non-existent… Buddha worked for six years continuously in search of the self. You have heard the famous teaching of all the ages: Know thyself. Buddha worked hard. For six years he tried from every nook and corner, from every angle, from every possible side, to penetrate into this reality of the self. But he could not find it. Know thyself, and the day you know, you will know there is no self.
That day when you know that there is no self, there is utter emptiness inside, absolute emptiness, silence undisturbed, virgin silence. You have known; there has never been anybody, it is just a dream.
In the night you dream and you think you have become an emperor. And in the morning you find yourself in the same old bed, and you are not an emperor. But the mind can imagine; the mind is a great imaginative force. The self is mind’s imagination. It does not exist in reality.
Those who have penetrated deep into their own being have come to know utter silence. Nobody has been found there. And that is the greatest realization: to find nobody there. Then all problems disappear, because the problem creator has disappeared.
My self of long ago, in nature non-existent; nowhere to go when dead, nothing at all.
Nothing means no thing at all.
There is a famous Zen anecdote…

A man came to a Zen master and asked, “Does a dog have buddha-nature?”
Now you cannot ask such a question anywhere else. If you ask a Christian, “Does a dog have christ-nature?” he will be absolutely enraged. You are insulting Christ, the only begotten son of God. This is not only profane, this is sacrilegious. But in Buddhism you can ask; there is no problem about it.
The disciple asked the master, “Has a dog the same nature as Buddha?”
And the master’s answer is very strange and very puzzling, and down the centuries people have been contemplating it; it has become a koan to meditate over.
The master said, “Mu.” Mu means nothing. Now the problem is: what does he mean by saying mu? It can also mean no; it can mean nothing, it can mean no. Is he saying that the dog has not the same nature as Buddha? That is not possible from a Zen master. Then what does he mean by mu? He does not mean no; he means nothing. He is saying: “Buddha is nothing, so is the dog.” He is saying yes by saying no.
He is saying: “Yes, the dog has the same nature as Buddha, but Buddha is nothing! So is a dog. There is no self, either in Buddha or in a dog. There is nobody there inside. Buddha is empty and so is the dog. Only the forms are different, dreams are different. The dog is dreaming it is a dog, that’s all. You are dreaming you are a man, somebody is dreaming he is a tree. But inside there is nobody, just pure silence.”
This silence is samadhi. When you start having a glimpse of this silence, your life starts changing. Then you live for the first time in a poetic way. Then death creates no fear in you. Then nothing can disturb you or distract you.
The master’s reply, mu, really means yes. But he didn’t say yes for a certain reason. The yes would have been misunderstood, the man would have thought that the dog also has the same self as the Buddha; that’s why he didn’t use the word yes. He said no. But he does not mean that the dog has not the same nature. He means both have nothingness inside. The form differs.

For a Buddhist, and particularly a Zen Buddhist, there is nothing profane and nothing sacred.
Listen to this story…

It was a solemn, dignified gathering of deeply concerned people assembled to learn the Truth. They had gathered, they believed, to hear the final secrets of the universe. At long last they were face to face with the Absolute, the Ultimate, finally, they thought, to hear the gems of wisdom for which prince and pauper have struggled since the beginning of time.
Imagine the dignity of it all, the solemnity, the air of expectancy that filled the room as the master entered. An electrified hush descended. The room became a cathedral. Every eye was upon the master and there were those who thought they saw his aura. There were those who saw angels hovering near.
The master sat down and prepared to speak. The audience leaned forward and with bated breath prepared to catch his every word. Finally, after what seemed an interminable time, The Master of Righteousness opened his mouth and taught them saying, “Today, this very moment, I am wearing fuzzy underwear.” And that was all that he taught that day.

Zen has a totally different approach toward life. It does not believe in the sacred, it does not believe in the profane. It does not believe in anything, it is all one. Dog and God, it is all one. Buddha, no Buddha, it is all one. The ignorant, the wise, it is all one. The sinner and saint, it is all one.
When asked, he answered;
No question, no answer;
Then master Daruma
Must have had
Nothing in his mind.
Try to go into each word. Mind in its own purity is just a mirror, an empty mirror. It contains nothing. It is a mirror because it is empty, because only emptiness can mirror. If something is contained already, then your reflection will not be the true reflection. When the mirror is absolutely empty, it is the most perfect mirror.
In meditation the mind becomes more and more mirrorlike. Slowly, slowly all the dust of the thoughts disappears, all the clouds of desire disappear – and then there is nothing left, anatta, no-self, nothingness, mu. Mind in its purity is just a mirror, undisturbed by passion and unclouded by thought. Everything appears as it is.
Daruma – Bodhidharma’s Japanese name – answered when questioned, ate when he was hungry, slept when he was tired. The true life of a sage: nothing in the mind, nirvana.
Listen: When asked, he answered… The enlightened person has no readymade answer. He has no thought ready to throw into your heads. He responds; his utterances are his responses. He is a mirror. The disciple comes in front of the master and he responds; he responds to the needs of the disciple. He has no fixed idea; he is not concerned with dishing something out and giving it to everybody. He simply waits there like a mirror. You come and you see your face.
Hence the contradictions of a master. A teacher is consistent; a master is bound to be contradictory, inconsistent. A mirror has to be inconsistent: one moment it is mirroring a cat; another moment it is mirroring a man; another moment it is mirroring tears, another moment, laughter. How can a mirror be consistent? You cannot tell the mirror: “Be consistent! Yesterday I saw tears in you, today I am seeing laughter. Yesterday I looked in you and you were sad, and today you look very happy. Yesterday I saw you were in deep meditation; today I see you are dancing and singing. This is inconsistent!”
Only a photograph can be consistent, not a mirror. The photograph is a photograph. If there are tears, they will remain there forever. The photograph is dead; it does not respond. If a monkey comes, the photograph will go on showing its tears. If a sage comes it will be the same. But remember, with a master it is different. If you are a monkey, then the master will show your face; then his answer will be in response to your being. He responds; he does not reply, he responds.
When asked, he answered; no question, no answer… That’s why it happened that Kabir and Farid, two great Indian masters, met and sat together for two days continuously and not a single word was exchanged. Two mirrors reflecting each other, what can they reflect? Just put two mirrors in front of each other: one mirror will mirror the other mirror, and so on and so forth, mirror and mirror and mirror, but nothing will be mirrored. There is nothing.
Two silences sat together, Farid and Kabir, looked into each other. There was no question, hence there was no answer. There was nobody, hence there was no response.
When asked, he answered; no question, no answer; then master Daruma must have had nothing in his mind. Yes, that is the mind of a master: he has nothing in his mind. To have something in the mind is to remain unenlightened. To have nothing in the mind is to become enlightened. Even if you have enlightenment in your mind, then you are not yet enlightened. To have nothing in the mind is to be enlightened, remember.
Let me repeat it: If you have the idea that you have become enlightened, then you are not yet enlightened. Even this idea is enough to keep you tethered to the road which leaks; even this idea is enough to keep you tethered to the world of desires.
Just the other day, somebody wrote me a letter. He thinks he has become enlightened, so he wants to come and shake hands with me. Shaking hands is perfectly good, but the very idea that you have become enlightened will keep you unenlightened. Wait. When you are ready, I will shake hands with you. Just wait, have a little patience. Let all ideas disappear, even the idea of enlightenment.
The day you come like a mirror, I will shake my being with your being – why hands? Hands won’t do.
…then master Daruma must have had nothing in his mind. Ordinarily, we are walking bundles of solutions to problems that no longer exist. Everybody is so. You are carrying thousands of solutions for problems which are no longer existent, and you call it knowledge. It is hindering your capacity to know. It is not knowledge.
Drop all the solutions that you are carrying. Drop all the answers that you are carrying. Just remain silent. And whenever a question arises, out of that silence you will hear the answer – and that will be the answer. It will not come from you, it will not come from scriptures, it will not come from anywhere. It will come from nowhere and it will come from nobody; it will come from your innermost nothingness.
The other religions call that nothingness God. Buddha often emphasizes the word nothingness, and significantly so, meaningfully so because once you use the word God, people start getting attached to it. Then they have some idea; they ask what God looks like. You cannot ask what nothingness looks like, can you? Once you have the word God, you start asking: “How to make the image? How to create a temple? How to worship? How to pray? What name to give to him?” And then there are many names and many images, and then the fight ensues.
That’s why Buddha emphasizes the word nothingness so much, because it is really beautiful. It does not allow any games to be played with it. It does not allow itself to be corrupted by you. But if you understand rightly, nothingness means God, God means nothingness.
Our mind –
Without end,
Without beginning,
Though it is born, though it dies –
The essence of emptiness!
Mind has to be understood in two ways. One: Mind with a capital M. That is the universal Mind, the cosmic Mind, the Mind of the whole, the whole itself, the consciousness that pervades existence. It is a conscious existence; it is alive, alive to the very core. Everything is alive. You may know it, you may not know it. It may not be tangible to you, it may not be visible to you, but everything is alive. Only life exists.
And death is a myth. Death is an illusion. So is unconsciousness. Even the rock is not unconscious – it is conscious in its own way. It may not be available to us, it may not be possible for us to know whether it is conscious or not, because there are millions of ways of being conscious; man’s way is not the only way: trees are conscious in their own way, and birds in their own, and animals and the rocks.
Consciousness can be expressed in as many ways as possible. This universe has infinities of every expression.
Mind with a capital M is the cosmic Mind that has to be attained. That’s what Buddha calls “nothing,” that’s what he calls mirror-like emptiness.
Then there is another mind that we go on talking about with a lower case m, the small mind. Then, my mind is different, your mind is different; man’s mind is different from the trees’ minds, and the trees’ minds are different from the rocks’ minds. Then there are differences and each mind has its own limitation; it is tiny.
One has to disappear from the tiny to the infinite. The lower case m has to be dissolved into the capital M.
The lower case m, the small mind, is part of time, and the capital M, the cosmic Mind, is eternity. The lower case m is also part of the capital M. Eternity penetrates into time just as the moon is reflected in the lake – not really there, but reflected.
Our small minds are only reflections of the great Mind. When the full moon rises millions of lakes on the earth will reflect it, and the seas and the rivers and the ponds. Wherever there is some water it will be reflected. But the moon is one and reflections are millions, so are our small minds. The Mind is one – you can call it the Buddha Mind, you can call it the Mind of the whole, the cosmic Mind, or the Mind called God. These are just different names for the same reality.
This small mind has a beginning and an end. That great Mind has no beginning, no end.
Now listen to the words: Our mind – without end, without beginning, though it is born, though it dies – the essence of emptiness!
A very contradictory statement. On one side Ikkyu says: Our mind – without end, without beginning…. He is talking about the Mind with a capital M.
Then he says: Though it is born, though it dies… Now he is talking about the lower case m mind, the small mind. The small mind is born and dies; the great Mind continues. The small mind is only a reflection; reflections are born and die.
As a reflection you are born and you will die. If you cling too much to the reflection, you will suffer. That’s what suffering is, that’s what hell is. Don’t get too attached, clinging to the reflection; this body is a reflection, this mind is a reflection, this life is a reflection. If you watch it silently, you will be able to see all these reflections are passing, and then you become aware of the mirror in which these reflections are passing.
That mirror is eternity. To attain to that mirror is to know what truth is.
All the sins committed
In the Three Worlds
Will fade and disappear
Together with myself.
The Three Worlds are the worlds of the past and the present and the future – the world of time. The sutra is of great revolutionary meaning.
All the sins committed in the Three Worlds will fade and disappear together with myself. The moment you know that you are not, then all that you have done in the past, are doing in the present, or will be doing in the future, has also disappeared. When the doer disappears, the doings have disappeared.
In the East, people have been too much concerned with karmas, actions. They have been very much afraid because whatever bad things they have done in the past, they have to pay for them, they have to suffer for them.
Ikkyu is giving you a great key: Don’t be afraid – because you are not, so you have not done anything. How can you? – because in the first place you are not. He is taking the very ground from underneath your feet. With it, all disappears.
All the sins committed in the Three Worlds will fade and disappear together with myself. So the only thing is to go deep into yourself and to see your nothingness. You need not do good things to weigh against the bad things that you have done. You are not to go and do good deeds because whether you do bad or good you remain in the illusion of a doer.
See the difference. Ordinary religions teach you to be moral, do good, avoid sins. Remember those Ten Commandments consist of the ordinary religion: Don’t do this, do that. The extraordinary religion says: Disappear as a doer; don’t be bothered about doing good or bad. And who knows what is good and what is bad?
In fact, nothing is good and nothing is bad, because existence is one – how can there be two? It is all one. Good turns into bad, bad turns into good; one never knows what is what. Things are changing continuously into each other.
You can watch it. You were doing something good, and something bad turns out. A mother tries to protect her child from all the bad things of the world, and just because she is protecting she is forcing the child to go into them – because she is creating the temptation.
Remember the old story: God said to Adam not to eat from this tree. He created the temptation. He must have been a good father, he destroyed the child. Just by saying, “Don’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge,” he created the temptation and the desire, the irresistible desire, to eat from that tree. Now, he wanted to do good, but what happened? The original sin happened.
All people who go on doing good prove to be very mischievous. Do-gooders are the most mischievous people in the world. The world has suffered a lot from them. Their intention is good, but their understanding is nil, and just good intention is not going to do anything.
Those who understand say it is not a question of good and bad: it is a question of the disappearance of the doer. Or we can say it in this way: to remain as a doer is bad; to disappear as a doer is good. Not to be is virtue; to be is sin.
This is Buddha’s understanding. All our doings are just dreams. When one becomes awakened, one simply starts laughing: all the bad, all the good, have been just dreaming.
Listen to this story…

Once upon a time there lived a working man who detested coffee. His wife did not know this, however. He had never told her. She loved coffee very much and took great delight in packing a thermos of the stuff in his lunch box every morning.
He always carried the box and the thermos to work, but being a frugal man brought them home again in the evening, the thermos of coffee still untouched. Then, to save a penny, and because his wife loved coffee as much as he detested it, he poured the java back into the coffee pot when she wasn’t looking. He was excused from the evening coffee on the grounds that it kept him from sleeping well.
One night the wife dreamed that her husband was unfaithful to her. The next night she had the same dream. It angered her, but she said nothing. A week or so later, the dream happened a third time, causing her much jealousy and anguish.
“It is true,” she thought. “It must be true. The worm is unfaithful to me!” So she set out to avenge herself. This she did by putting a pinch of arsenic in his thermos every morning until she killed herself.
At the husband’s trial of acquittal, the judge said, “It is always the same: those who believe the dream murder themselves.”

The greatest dream is that “I am” – and that has become our suicide. Now it will look very paradoxical. The idea that “I am” has proved very suicidal. And if you disappear as a self, if you commit that spiritual suicide, for the first time you will start living. For the first time you will be born to eternal life, for the first time you will know something which is not of time.
And then there is nothing good, nothing bad. Then a man eats when he is hungry, sleeps when he is tired, answers when a question is raised. Then a person has no idea how to live; then a person lives without mind. Then a person lives with nothingness in him, and this is the goal of Buddhism. To live as nothingness is nirvana.
Enough for today.

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