Take It Easy Vol 1 05

Fifth 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.

Of heaven or hell we have
No recollection, no knowledge;
We must become what we were
Before we were born.

Rain, hail, snow and ice
Are divided from one another;
But after they fall,
They are the same water
Of the stream in the valley.

Should you seek
The way of the Buddha
All night long,
Searching, you will enter
Into your own mind.

When they ask you,
“Where is your country?
What is your native place?” answer,
“I am a man
Of Original Inactivity.”

The figure of the Real Man
Standing there –
Just a glimpse of him,
And we are in love.
Man can live in two ways: the natural and the unnatural. The unnatural has great attraction in it because it is new, unfamiliar, adventurous. Hence, every child has to leave his nature and go into “un-nature.” No child can resist that temptation; to resist that temptation is impossible. Paradise has to be lost. The losing of it is inbuilt; it cannot be avoided, it is inevitable. And, of course, only man can lose it. That is man’s ecstasy and agony, his privilege, his freedom and his fall.
Jean-Paul Sartre is right when he says: Man is condemned to be free. Why condemned? – because with freedom, choice arises: the choice of being natural or being unnatural. When there is no freedom, there is no choice.
Animals still exist in paradise; they never lose it. But because they never lose it, they can’t be aware of it. They can’t know where they are. To know where you are, you will have to lose it first. That’s how knowing becomes possible: by losing.
You know a thing only when you have lost it. If you have never lost it, if it has always been there, you naturally take it for granted. It becomes so obvious that you become oblivious to it.
Trees are still in paradise, and the mountains and the stars, but they don’t know where they are. Only man can know. A tree can’t become a buddha. Not that there is any difference between the inner nature of a buddha and a tree, but a tree can’t become a buddha, a tree is already a buddha! To become a buddha, the tree first has to lose its nature; it has to go away from itYou can only see things from a certain perspective. If you are too close to them, you cannot see them. What Buddha has seen, no tree has ever seen. It is available to trees and to animals, but only a buddha becomes conscious of it – and paradise is regained.
Paradise is only when it is regained. Nature’s beauties and mysteries are revealed only when you come back home. When you go against your nature, when you go farthest from yourself, only then, one day, does the return journey start. When you become thirsty for nature, when you start dying without it, you start returning.
This is the original fall. Man’s consciousness is his original fall, his original sin. But without the original sin, there is no possibility of a buddha or a christ.
The first thing to be understood is: man can choose. He is the only animal in existence who can choose, who can do things which are not natural, who can do things which should not be done, who can go against himself and against existence, who can destroy himself and all his bliss, who can create hell.
By creating hell, the contrast is created, and then one can see what heaven is. Only through the contrast, is there the possibility to know.
So remember, there are two ways: one can live naturally or one can live unnaturally. When I say one can live naturally, I mean one can live without improving upon oneself in any way. One can live in trust – that’s what nature is. One can live in spontaneity, one can live without being a doer, one can live in inaction, what Taoists call wei-wu-wei, action through inaction.
Nature means you are not to do anything; it is already happening. The rivers are flowing – not that they are doing something. And the trees are growing – not that they have to worry about it, not that they have to consult any guide for it. The trees are blooming – not that they have to think and plan about the flowers, of what color, of what shape. It is all happening.
The tree is blooming in a thousand flowers without a single worry, without a single thought, without a single projection, without any blueprint. It is simply blooming! Just as fire is hot, the tree grows. It is natural, it is in the very nature of things. The seed becomes the sprout, and the sprout becomes the plant, and the plant becomes the tree, and one day the tree is full of foliage, and then another day buds have started appearing and the flowering and the fruits…and all is simply happening!
The child growing in the mother’s womb is not doing anything; he is in wu-wei. But it is not that nothing is happening. In fact, so much is happening that never again will so much ever happen in his life. Those nine months in the mother’s womb contain so much happening that if you live ninety years, that much happening won’t be contained by you.
Millions of things are happening. The child is conceived only as an invisible cell; then things start happening, things start exploding. The child is not sitting there in that small cell like a little man and thinking and planning and worrying, and suffering from insomnia. There is nobody!
To understand this is to understand Buddha, that things can happen without your ever being worried about them. Things have always already been happening. And even when you become a doer, you become a doer only on the surface; deep down, things go on happening.
When you are fast asleep, do you think you are trying to breathe? It is happening. If man had to breathe, had to remain constantly aware to breathe, nobody would ever be able to live, not even for a single day. One moment and you forget and it is gone. You forget to breathe in, and you are finished. Then how will you go to sleep? You will have to be constantly alert; you will have to wake yourself up many times in the night to see whether you are still breathing or not.
You eat food, and then forget all about it. And millions of things are happening: the food is being digested, broken down, destroyed, changed, transformed chemically; it will become your blood, your bones, your marrow. Great work goes on. The blood is circulating continuously, throwing all the dead cells out of the body.
How much is going on within you without your doing at all. Doing remains on the surface. Man can live on the surface in an artificial way, but deep down in the innermost core you are always natural. Your artificiality becomes simply a layer upon your nature. But the layer thickens every day – more thoughts, more plans, more activity, more doing. More of the doer, the ego, and a crust grows. And that is the crust Buddha calls samsara, the world.
The phenomenon of the doer, of the ego: this is losing nature, going against nature, going away from nature. One day you have gone so far away that you start feeling suffocated. You have gone so far away that schizophrenia arises in your being. Your circumference starts falling apart from the center. That is the point of conversion, the point when religion becomes relevant, the point when you start searching for a way out, the point where you start thinking, “Who am I?” The point where you start looking back: “Where am I coming from, what is my original face, what is my nature? I have gone too far and now it is time to go back. One step more and I will fall apart. I have broken all the links; only a small bridge has remained.”
All neurosis is nothing but this. That’s why psychology itself cannot cure neurosis. It can give you beautiful explanations about it; it can satisfy you, console you, solace you; it can teach you how to live with your neurosis; it can help you not to worry too much about it. It can give you a pattern of life in which neurosis can exist and you can also exist – it can teach you a kind of coexistence – but it cannot dissolve it. Only religion can dissolve it. And unless psychology takes a quantum leap and becomes religion, it will remain partial.
Why can religion cure the neurosis? Why can religion cure schizophrenia? – because it can make you whole, one. The circumference is no longer against the center; they are holding hands, they are embracing each other. They are one, they function in one rhythm, they vibrate as one vibration. That is real health, and wholeness, and holiness. That’s where buddhahood arises – a man has become sane again.
Unless you are a buddha you will remain insane, more or less. Insanity is bound to remain a part of your being. You can manage to live with it somehow, but it is going to be just somehow. It is a management; you cannot relax about it.
Have you not observed? Everybody is afraid of going mad. One keeps oneself in control, but the fear is always there: “If something goes wrong, if one thing more goes wrong, then I may not be able to control myself any longer.” Everybody is on the verge of it. People are just about ninety-nine percent on the verge. One percent more, any small thing, the last straw on the camel – the bank fails, your woman leaves and escapes with somebody else, the business dwindles – and you are no longer sane, all sanity gone. It must have been just a facade, that sanity that goes so easily. It must have been very thin, fragile. In fact, it was not there.
The change between the ordinary man and the insane is only of quantity, not of quality. Unless you become a buddha or a christ or a krishna – these are all names of the same state of consciousness, where center and circumference function in a dance, in a symphony – unless that symphony arises, you will remain phony, you will remain false, you will remain arbitrary, you will not really have a soul. And it is not that you cannot have it; it is always yours just for the asking. Jesus says: “Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you. Ask, and it shall be given” – just for the asking you will get it.
But there is great attraction in the unnatural, because the unnatural is alien, the unnatural is opposite to you, and the opposite always attracts, the opposite always intrigues, the opposite is always there as a challenge. You would like to know…
That’s why a man becomes interested in a woman, a woman becomes interested in a man. That’s how people become interested and attracted to each other: the opposite. And the same follows deep down. Your natural being seems to be already yours, so what is the point of getting hold of it, of being it? One wants something new.
And that which you have, you lose all interest in. That’s why you are missing godliness, because you already have godliness and you cannot be interested in it. You are interested in the world, in money, in power and prestige – those things you don’t have. Godliness is already given. Godliness means nature. Who bothers about nature? Why think about it when in the first place you already have it? We are interested in that which we don’t have. And the unnatural attracts: one becomes focused on the unnatural and the artificial, and one rushes from one unnatural style of life to another unnatural style of life.
And remember: not only are the so-called worldly people unnatural, the so-called religious are also unnatural. That is the great understanding that Buddha brings to the world – and that understanding has become a ripe fruit in Zen. That is the fundamental contribution of Buddha.
A man remains artificial in the so-called world: earning money, power, prestige. Then one day he becomes religious, but he is moving into another kind of unnaturalness. Now he practices yoga, stands on his head – all stuff and nonsense. What are you doing there, standing on your head? Can’t you stand on your feet? But to stand on your feet seems so natural that it has no attraction.
When you see somebody standing on his head, you think, “Yes, he is doing something. Here is a man.” And you are attracted – he must be gaining something that you have not known yet, and you would also like to practice it.
People start doing all kinds of stupid things, but those are all again the same. The pattern is the same, the gestalt is the same. The change is very slight; the quality is the same.
You were earning money, now you are more interested in heaven, the next life. You were interested in what people think about you, now you are interested in what God thinks about you. You were interested in making a beautiful house here, now you are interested in making a beautiful house in paradise, in the other world.
You were being unnatural; you were eating too much, now you start fasting. Just see how one changes from one unnatural attitude to another unnatural attitude. You were eating too much, you were obsessed with eating, you were continuously stuffing yourself, then one day you are fed up with this – literally fed up with this – so you start fasting. Now, again, a thrill arises in you; now again you can hope something is going to happen. And you can go to the extreme of fasting, which is as much against nature as eating too much.
To be natural is just in the middle. Buddha has called his way “the middle way,” because the natural exists just exactly in the middle between opposite extremes.
You have been chasing women your whole life, and then one day you decide to become a celibate and move to a Catholic monastery, or become a Hindu monk and go to the Himalayas. Now, this is the same person who was continuously chasing women; now he is tired of it. Now he wants to drop it absolutely, he wants to move into the opposite direction. He escapes into a monastery. Now he enforces celibacy on himself, which is as unnatural as the first attitude. But one unnaturalness leads to another and one can go on in circles… Beware of it.
To be natural has no appeal, because to be natural means your ego will not be satisfied in any way. And Buddha is preaching only one single thing: to be ordinary, to be nobody, to be natural.
The natural man is the enlightened man. To be natural is to be enlightened. To be as natural as animals and trees and stars, to have no imposition upon oneself, to have no idea of how one should be, is to be enlightened. Enlightenment is a state of being natural.
It is not something like an achievement. When you think of enlightenment you always think of it as an achievement. People come to me and they ask, “Osho, how are we going to achieve enlightenment?” It is not a state of achievement because whatsoever you achieve or you can achieve will be artificial. The natural need not be achieved: it is already there. It has never been otherwise.
You are not to achieve enlightenment; you are simply to drop the achieving mind. You have to relax into it. It is available; from the very beginning it is available. Relax into it.
An enlightened person is not somebody who has reached to the pinnacle, who has reached to the topmost rung of the ladder. You are all ladder climbers; you need a ladder. It may be in the marketplace or in the monastery – it makes no difference – but you need a ladder. You carry your ladders with you. Wherever you can find a place, you simply fix your ladder and you start climbing. And nobody asks, “Where are you going? Where is this ladder going to lead you?” But after one rung there is another rung. And you are curious: “Maybe something is there!” so you go one step more. Another rung is waiting for you, and you become curious and you start moving.
That’s how people move in the world of money, that’s how people move in the world of politics. And it is not only that you have to move: because many people are going on the same ladder, you have to push others. You have to pull their legs, you have to make a place for yourself, you have to make space for yourself; you have to be aggressive, you have to be violent. And when there is so much violence and so many people fighting, who bothers where they are going? People must be going somewhere when so many people are interested.
And if you become too much of a thinker, you will lose the race. So there is no time to think about it, to think “What is the point of it all?” Thinkers are losers, so one has not to think; one has just to rush and go on rushing.
And the ladder is non-ending – rung upon rung, rung upon rung. The mind can go on projecting new rungs. And when you move into a monastery the same continues. Now a spiritual hierarchy is there and you start moving in the hierarchy. You become very serious and the same competitiveness comes in.
This is just an ego game, and ego can play its game only in the artificial. Wherever you see a ladder, beware – you are in the same trap. Enlightenment is not the last rung of a ladder. Enlightenment is getting down from the ladder, getting down forever and never asking for any ladder again, becoming natural.
I have to use the word becoming which is not true. It should not be used, but that’s how language is: it is made by those ladder-climbers. You cannot become natural because whatsoever you become will be unnatural. Becoming is unnatural; being is natural. So, forgive me, I have to use the language, the same language, which is not meant to be used for something which is natural. So you have to understand it. Don’t be caught by words.
When I say become natural, I am simply saying: stop becoming, and fall, relax into being. You are already there!
Why do people go on moving in circles? First, they have become very, very skillful in it, and nobody wants to drop his skill, because the skill gives you a feeling of confidence, it gives you a feeling of strength. There are millions of people in the world who go on in the same rut again and again because they have become skillful. If they change, in the new space they may not be so skillful – they will not be – so they go on running in the circle. And they go on becoming more and more bored. But the more they move in the circle, the more skillful they become. Then they can’t stop themselves, and they can’t stop because of others too, because others are rushing by. If they stop, they will be defeated. It is really a mad world.
Then one feels very good repeating the same thing again and again. Monotony is very consoling. People who are bewildered and frightened by too much change find relief in monotony. That’s why teenagers like beat music, and some mental patients repeat the same act or word over and over.
You can go and see in a mental asylum, and you will be surprised that all the mad people are some kind of mantra doers, they have their mantras. Somebody is washing his hands continuously: day in, day out, just washing his hands. It is his mantra: it keeps him engaged, it keeps him occupied, it keeps him unafraid. And he knows how to do it; it is a simple act. If he stops doing it he becomes frightened with nothing to hang onto. If he stops doing it, he is empty with nothing to cling to. If he stops doing it, he does not know who he is. He has his identity as the hand washer. He knows himself perfectly well who he is when he is washing his hands. Once he stops it, difficulties arise.
In a mental asylum, those people who have devised their own mantras – in action, in words – are just consoling themselves. This is the whole secret of transcendental meditation and its success in America. America is today a great mental asylum; it needs something to repeat, monotonously, continuously; it helps people. Just the same gesture, the same posture, the same mantra – you know that territory perfectly well. You go on moving in it. It keeps you away from yourself. Transcendental meditation is not meditation, and it is not transcendental, either. It is just a consolation: it keeps you unaware of your insanity. Only an insane person can be convinced to repeat a mantra, otherwise not.
So people go on doing the same thing that they have done down the ages, in so many lives. Just watch yourself: you fall into one love, then into another, then into another…this is transcendental meditation, the same act. And you know that the first time it was frustration, the second time it was frustration, the third time it was frustration – and you know beforehand the fourth time is also going to be frustration. But you don’t want to see it, you don’t want to look into it, because if you look into it then you are left alone with nothing to do.
Falling in love keeps you engaged, keeps you on the run, keeps you moving. At least you can avoid yourself, you can escape from yourself. You need not look into the deepest question: Who are you? You know that you are a great lover, so you go on counting how many women you have loved. There are people who keep count; they go on keeping count: three hundred and sixty, three hundred and sixty-one, three hundred and sixty-two… They have not loved a single woman. And there are people who keep count of their mantras, how many times they repeat the mantra. There are people who go on writing in their books: Rama, Rama, Rama… They go on writing it.

Once I stayed in a man’s house. I was surprised at his great library. I asked, “What kind of scriptures do you have?”
He said, “Only one kind of scripture: I go on writing Rama, Rama, Rama – that’s my mantra. From the morning to the evening I do only one thing; I have written it millions of times, and these are all my records.”

And that man is respected very much. Now, he is just a madman, utterly mad. If he is stopped from doing this nonsense, he will immediately go mad. This mad activity is keeping him sane in some way. Ninety-nine percent of your religion is nothing but a device to keep you somehow sane.
Buddha is a totally different kind of person. He is the arch enemy of showbiz. He is somebody who wants to tell the truth, and wants to tell it as it is. He shatters all rubbish, religious ideologies. He simply shocks you to the very roots. And if you become available to him, he can become a door – a door back home, a door, a threshold that can make you able to fall back into nature.
In every complicated culture, in every complicated civilization, there are professional liars and professional truth-tellers, but they are not very different; they are the same people. The professional liars are called lawyers, and the professional truth-tellers are known as priests. They simply repeat scriptures.
Buddha is neither a liar nor a professional truth-teller. He simply makes his heart available to you; he wants to share. Hence, the whole Indian priesthood was against him. He was thrown out of his own country, his temples were burnt, his statues were destroyed. Many Buddhist scriptures are available now only in Chinese translations or Tibetan translations. Their originals are lost; they must have been burnt.
Thousands of Buddhists were killed in this nonviolent country. They were burnt alive. Buddha shocked the professional truth-tellers very deeply. He was bent upon destroying their whole business. He simply made it an open secret.

Listen to these words of Ikkyu. They describe the Buddhist approach profoundly.
Of heaven or hell we have
No recollection, no knowledge;
We must become what we were
Before we were born.
Everything finally returns to its source. That’s the law of nature. Nature moves in a perfect circle, so everything has to return to its source. Knowing the source, you can know the goal because the goal can never be other than the source.
You plant a seed, and the tree arises. It will take years, and the tree will spread its wings in the sky and will have dialogues with the stars, and will live a long life…and finally what happens? The tree produces seeds again and the seeds fall into the earth and again new trees arise. It is a simple movement.
The source is the goal!
Your body will fall back into the earth and will become part of the earth because it comes from the earth. Your breath will disappear into air because it comes from the air. The water that is in your body will go back into the sea from whence it came. The fire that is in you will go into fire. And the consciousness that is in you will move into the consciousness of the whole. Everything goes back to its source. This fundamental has to be remembered – because by knowing it, by understanding it, you drop all other goals, because then all other goals are arbitrary.
Somebody says, “I want to become a doctor, an engineer, a scientist, a poet.” These are all artificial goals that you have fixed upon yourself. The natural goal is the innocence that you had in your mother’s womb, or go even deeper: the nothingness from where you came, that is the natural goal. And to live naturally means to know this; otherwise, you are bound to create some artificial goal.
Somebody wants to become enlightened – that is an artificial goal. I am not saying that people don’t become enlightened, but I am saying not to make it a goal. People become enlightened only when they have fallen back to their original source; when they have become natural they are enlightened.
Let me repeat again: enlightenment is a natural state. It is not some supra-conscious state, supra-mental. Avoid Sri Aurobindo and his terminology; that is all a mind game. It is not something very special; it is very ordinary. It is so ordinary that there is nothing to brag about in it.
Everything finally returns to its source, so heaven and hell are arbitrary goals, created, invented by the priests to dominate people. A great strategy – it worked for thousands of years. Buddha wants to burn hell and heaven and the whole ideology surrounding it.
There is a beautiful anecdote in one great Sufi woman’s life, Rabiya al Adabiya:

One day she was found running in the marketplace – she was known as a mad woman. She was carrying a pot of water in one hand and a burning torch in the other. People gathered together and asked, “What is the matter? Where are you going? And why are you carrying this burning torch and the water in your hand?”
She said, “I want to drown hell with this water, and I want to burn your heaven with this torch. Unless these two are utterly destroyed, man will never know what religion is.”

The idea of heaven and hell is a political strategy to repress people. It is a simple psychological phenomenon and we know it: people can be persuaded to do things either by reward or by punishment. This is a simple game; parents play it with their children. They say, “If you do what we say, you will be rewarded – you will get more ice cream or more toys or a visit to the movie. And if you don’t follow what we say, you will be punished, you will have to miss one meal.”
Heaven and hell is the same strategy just stretched to its logical conclusion. Man has been made very much afraid of hell, and whenever man is afraid you can dominate him. A fearful man is ready to become a slave. Make any man afraid and you will become the master. You can dominate him then very easily, because a man who is afraid wants to lean on something, wants some consolation, some promise, some shelter.
The priest makes people afraid of hell. That’s why hell has been painted with such ugliness, with such cruelty, violence. The people who have painted hell and have talked about it must have been great sadists. Their ideas are great. And you have been thinking all along that these people were saints. Either they were sadists or they were very cunning and crafty priests.
And for those who will follow the line, who will be obedient, who will not disobey the priest and the politician, heaven is the reward. That, too, has been painted beautifully. And whatsoever was needed at a particular time, in a particular country, has been provided. And that you can see.
The Indian heaven, obviously, is very cool. You can understand it, sitting in Pune! Very cool; constantly, twenty-four hours, cool breezes blow. The sun rises but it is not hot. In other words, it is air-conditioned. And hell is all fire. But the Tibetan hell is different, it has to be, because it was invented by other people to dominate another kind of country. Fire is not allowed at all in the Tibetan hell, because Tibetans love fire; they are dying because of cold. So the Tibetan hell is completely, absolutely snow; the snow never melts, it is eternal, and you will be buried in that snow. In the Indian hell you will be thrown into fire, eternal fire; it burns continuously.
Now see the point. The Indian hell is different from the Tibetan hell. If there is a hell, it can’t be different.
I have heard…

A man died, an Indian; he reached hell. He was very surprised because no Indian believes that he is going to hell. All Indians are such great religious mahatmas. Seeing himself in hell, he thought, “Something has gone wrong – that red tape and some official mistake…”
He said, “What is the matter?”
The man on the gate said, “There is nothing wrong. You have been brought to the place where you belong. Now choose! Which hell would you like to have?”
He said, “Which hell? Are there other hells also apart from the Indian?”
“Of course, there are other hells. You can have the German hell, you can have the Italian hell, you can have the Indian hell, you can have the Japanese…”
He was puzzled. He said, “I had never thought about it. But what is the difference? What is the difference between the Indian and the German hell?”
The man said, “There is no difference on the surface. The fire is the same, the burning is the same, the torture is the same.”
“Then why do you tell me to choose?”
He said, “But there is a subtle difference: in the German hell things are done with German efficiency. And, of course, in an Indian hell, things are done with Indian lousiness.”
The man said, “I will choose the Indian hell!”

Hells can’t be different. But priests were trying to dominate different kinds of people in different situations. Heaven is also different, has been taught by the priests differently. Whatsoever people were asking for has been provided. In the Mohammedan heaven homosexuality is provided for. In the Indian heaven you cannot conceive homosexuality, but in the Mohammedan heaven, homosexuality is provided for because it has been prevalent in Mohammedan countries, and acceptably prevalent. There has been no condemnation about it. These are just rewards. Whatsoever you like will be given to you. All that you have to do is be obedient to the priest.
Buddha says there is no heaven and no hell. And by denying heaven and hell any reality, he has taken the very ground from underneath the feet of all the priests. Naturally, they were angry; naturally, they were absolutely enraged. They are angry with me, and their anger has a reason. It is not irrational, it is very rational, because I am also pulling the very earth from beneath their feet.
I also say to you: There is no heaven and no hell; there is no punishment and no reward in the afterlife. There is nobody to punish you or reward you. Each act has its own punishment and reward intrinsic to it. When you are angry, you are punished in your anger, in your being angry. There is no other punishment than that. When you are loving, in that very loving act, love is its own reward. There is nobody keeping accounts, there is nobody writing down what you are doing here – good or bad, and finally at the last judgment day you will be rewarded or punished. That is stupid. Each moment, each act brings its own reward or punishment. The priest is not needed. Even God is not needed to punish you or reward you.
Existence is autonomous. Just help somebody and you feel such a joy arising in you. Hurt somebody and you are hurt. It is a natural process. It should not be exploited by the priests.
So Ikkyu says: Of heaven or hell we have no recollection…
Ikkyu says: Ordinarily, do you remember anything of hell and heaven before you were born? If you don’t remember anything, then know well you will not be going back to them – because one only goes back to that from where one has come. The source is the goal.
And Ikkyu says: You may not remember much, but I recollect absolutely. In my consciousness, in my awareness, I recollect absolutely – there has never been any hell or any heaven in the beginning, so it is not going to be in the end.
If you go deep down into your source – which is easier to go into because you have been there once. The goal is difficult: thinking about the goal is going to be imaginary because you have never been there.
See Ikkyu’s pragmatic attitude. He says: Don’t bother about the goal, because how can you know about it? You have never been there. It is in the future. But you can go into the source; you come from there. You can go deeper and deeper into your being and touch the very source. It is there. Nothing is ever lost. Seeing that, you will know the goal too.
And those who have gone, layer upon layer into their being, and have touched the very ground, they agree with Ikkyu. That very ground has no hell, no heaven. In fact, you are not there, just pure non-being, emptiness – shunyata – nothingness, no-thingness. We come from that no-thingness, and we will be going back to that no-thingness.
If this is understood through meditations, through your own inner search, then you will never choose any artificial goal. All artificial goals lead you astray. Then one starts relaxing into nature; one becomes one’s original nature; one becomes one’s originality. And in that originality, in that ordinary naturalness, is buddhahood, is enlightenment.
Rain, hail, snow and ice
Are divided from one another;
But after they fall,
They are the same water
Of the stream in the valley.
All distinctions are arbitrary: rain, snow, ice. All distinctions are arbitrary: the same river can become frozen, the same river can flow and become water, and the same river can evaporate, can become vapor and clouds, but it is the same river.
Out of the same nothingness, the trees arise and the animals and man and woman. And these are all distinctions, utilitarian, but not true; necessary, but not absolute. When we disappear, we disappear again into that cosmic-ness, into that oneness, into that simultaneity.
Buddha never uses the word God, because God has become so much associated with wrong things – with the priest, with the temple, with the scripture, with the ritual. So Buddha avoids that word. His word for God is nothingness. And why does he insist on nothingness? Because you cannot pray to nothingness. And when there is no possibility of prayer, the priest will disappear.
You cannot talk to nothingness. It will look so foolish. You can talk to God. You can say, “Father, who art in heaven…” but you cannot say to nothingness, “Nothingness, who art in heaven…” It will look so foolish. You cannot say to nothingness, “Save me!” It will be ridiculous.
You cannot pray to nothingness. You cannot create a ritual, you need not have a priest, you need not go into the scriptures. That’s the beauty of the word nothingness, it simply cuts the very root of so-called religion. It creates a different kind of religiousness – a religiousness which understands but does not pray, a religiousness which falls into silence but does not start talking with existence, a religiousness which knows no dialogue except silence, utter silence.
See the beauty of it. Buddha has chosen one of the really very potential words: shunyata. The English word, the English equivalent, nothingness, is not such a beautiful word. That’s why I would like to make it no-thingness, because the nothing is not just nothing, it is all. It is vibrant with all possibilities. It is potential, absolute potential. It is yet unmanifest, but it contains all.
Rain, hail, snow and ice are divided from one another; but after they fall, they are the same water of the stream in the valley. And so we all disappear into nature when we fall back. In the beginning is nature, in the end is nature, so why in the middle do you make so much fuss? Why in the middle? Becoming so worried, so anxious, so ambitious, creating such despair?
Nothingness to nothingness is the whole journey.
There is a Buddhist expression for it. Buddha used to say: In a cold night, in a cold winter night, dark night, a bird enters into a palace by one window, flutters in the room for a while – the coziness of the room, the king’s palace, the light, the warmth – and then is again out of the room by another window. Buddha says such is the life’s dream – just a moment’s warmth, a moment’s coziness, a moment’s palace and the pleasures of it, and again we plunge into nothingness.
From nothingness we come and to nothingness we move, and just in the middle a momentary dream. Why be so attached to it? Why be so obsessed with it? Seeing it, that we come from nothing and we move to nothing, in the middle also we can be nothing. That is buddhahood: just being nothing, nothing special, nothing extraordinary.
That’s why the Zen monk is the most ordinary man in the world. Chopping wood, carrying water from the well, and he says, “How marvelous! How wondrous!” He continues doing the small things of life. That is the beauty of it. But people start looking for something extraordinary.

Just the other day I was reading a lecture of U.G. Krishnamurti. He says he went to see Ramana Maharshi. He was not attracted because Ramana Maharshi was chopping vegetables. Yes, he was that kind of man, very ordinary. Chopping vegetables! U.G. Krishnamurti must have gone to see somebody extraordinary sitting on a golden throne or something. Ramana Maharshi just sitting on the floor and chopping vegetables, preparing vegetables for the kitchen: U. G. Krishnamurti was very frustrated. “This man knows nothing. This man is very ordinary.” He left the ashram; it was not worth it.

But I would like to say to you: This man, Ramana Maharshi, is one of the greatest buddhas ever born to the world. That was his buddhahood in action.
U. G. Krishnamurti must have been in search of a pretender. He could not see the ordinariness and the beauty of it and the grace of it. And this same man, U. G. Krishnamurti, lived with Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh for seven years – and that chap was just stupid – and practiced yoga with him. And after seven years he recognized that he has nothing. But only after seven years – it took him seven years! That simply shows that he also has a mighty dull mind. Seven years to see that Shivananda has nothing – seven seconds are more than enough! And with Ramana Maharshi, seven seconds were enough, because he saw him chopping vegetables or reading jokes, looking at cartoons. That’s how the ordinary mind, the egoistic mind functions.
The ego is always searching for something bigger, some bigger ego. And the true sage has no ego; he is an ordinary man. He is utterly ordinary: that is his extraordinariness!
Should you seek
The way of the Buddha
All night long,
Searching, you will enter
Into your own mind.
Should you seek the way of the Buddha all night long. The ordinary mind is interested in the outside. The outside is intriguing, wondrous, worth exploring. So we explore it for money, for prestige, for other things, and then one day when we are finished with the so-called worldly things, we start looking for a master, for Buddha, for Christ – still outside! We start looking for the way, but still outside. And the buddha is not found outside, and the way is not found outside.
To go seeking outside is to go farther and farther away from the way, because the way is inside, the buddha is inside.
Should you seek the way of the Buddha all night long… And you can go on seeking all night long, this dark night of millions of lives, and you will not find anything – except this truth. If you stumble upon it you are fortunate.
Searching, you will enter into your own mind. If you can find only one thing out of all kinds of frustrations – that there is nothing to be found in the outside, nothing at all – and seeing it, realizing it, you turn in, then your own mind is the whole thing; then inside you is all:
Searching, you will enter into your own mind. By and by, as you go deeper into your own mind, you penetrate from mind to no-mind. The superficial layer is of the mind, but the inner content is of no-mind. The superficial layer is of the ego, the inner content is of egolessness. If you enter in, first you will come across mind, thoughts, desires, fantasies, imagination, memory, dreams, and all that stuff. But if you go on penetrating, soon you will come to silent spaces, thoughtless spaces. Soon you will start coming closer and closer to the innermost core of your being which is timelessness, which is nowhere-ness, which has no time and no space.
When you come to a point where you can’t see any time and you can’t see any space, you have arrived. But this arrival is arriving back to your own nature. You have not arrived to something new: you have arrived to that which was already given and has been always yours.
When they ask you,
“Where is your country?
What is your native place?” answer,
“I am a man
Of Original Inactivity.”
When you have arrived at this point you can understand that there is no need to do anything; all is happening. There was never any need to do anything; all was already happening. You were unnecessarily worried. You carried all those weights because you were ignorant. Otherwise, things were happening.
The world is running so smoothly and so beautifully and so perfectly, but because we think we are separate from it the problem arises: How to run our lives? If you know that you are part of it, there is no need to worry. This cosmos, such an infinite cosmos, running so perfectly well – can’t you remain in it without any worry? But the separation is there.
You have taken one thing for granted: that you are separate. Going deep inside, that separation disappears. That is the meaning when I say: Egolessness arises. Ego means separation. Ego means, “I am separate from the whole.” Ego means the part is claiming to be the whole in its own right. Ego means the part is claiming, “I have my own center and I have to survive and fight and struggle for myself. If I don’t fight for myself, who is going to fight for me? If I don’t try to survive, I will be killed.”
Insecurity arises because of the ego. When the ego is gone there is simply security. In fact, there is no insecurity and no security; all those dualities have disappeared. To live in that is to live nirvana, is to live enlightenment.
When they ask you, “Where is your country? What is your native place?” answer, “I am a man of Original Inactivity.” It does not mean that you will not be doing anything. For example, I am speaking – this is doing. But still I say to you: I am not doing it, because there is no doer in it. Speaking is happening just like trees are flowering or birds are singing, just as new leaves are coming to the trees. Seeing you, seeing your questions, new answers are coming into me. Otherwise, there is nothing in my mind. It is a response; you call me, I respond.
What I am saying to you is what you have provoked in me; there is nobody saying it. There is nobody: while I am walking, there is nobody walking; while I am eating, there is nobody eating. Eating is happening, walking is happening, talking is happening, listening is happening, but there is nobody behind it. There is pure nothingness, a mirror-like nothingness. Not that activity disappears, but the doer is found no more.
Buddha disappeared when he was forty. Still he lived up to eighty-two years, forty-two more years. And he did all kinds of things, but there was no doer; it was all natural. Natural means that which happens of its own accord.
That’s why Zen people say: When you feel hungry, eat, and when you feel tired, sleep.

A great master died and his chief disciple, who was known all over the country as an enlightened person himself, started crying. Many had gathered and it was very shocking to them, because they had been thinking this man was enlightened. In fact, because of this man the old master had become famous; otherwise, nobody would have known him. He was a very silent man, a man of few words, few and far between. Because of this disciple – this disciple had a charisma, this disciple had a magnetism – the old master had become known.
And now this disciple is crying? People felt this was not right. They told him, “Please don’t cry, otherwise what will people think? So many people are coming to see the old master, to give him the last send-off, and seeing you, an enlightened person, crying will have a very, very bad effect on them.”
But the enlightened person said, “But what can I do? Tears are coming and I am no longer there to prevent them. When laughter comes, I laugh. And when tears come, tears come. When it happens, it happens. I am not there to prevent, I am not there to create; the doer is no longer there.”

In this state, this natural state, this utterly ordinary state – Ramana Maharshi chopping vegetables, or this Zen man crying, or Bodhidharma laughing – there is nobody behind it. You just watch: you also do a few things when there is nobody behind it, and those are the only things which bring bliss to you.
Have you not observed some moments in your life when you are not there? The morning, the sun is rising, and it is cool and the birds are singing, and suddenly you lose track of yourself, and you become so absorbed in the rising sun and in the beautiful morning that for a moment you forget that you are. Immediately, there is beauty. The beauty does not arise out of the sunrise, because there will be many who are passing by the same road and they are not looking at the sunrise. It has happened to you because you are not there.
Making love, sometimes you disappear. When you disappear there is orgasm, there is great beauty and great joy and great blessing, ecstasy, but only when you disappear. If you are looking for orgasm then there is no beauty, then there is no grace, because you are there continuously hankering. How can orgasm happen when you are there? Orgasm is when you are not. Ecstasy is when you are not, beauty is when you are not, godliness is when you are not, love is when you are not.
But these moments come to everybody, because this is a natural phenomenon. You can avoid, but not always. Sometimes in spite of you it happens. A child giggling, and suddenly something opens in you. Doing nothing, sitting in your room, and suddenly something drops like a weight from the head – and it is there! Yes, I call it “it.” It is there: the benediction.
This is original inactivity. Ikkyu says: Let this be your land. This is where you really belong, this is from where you come, and this where you should relax and be.
The figure of the Real Man
Standing there –
Just a glimpse of him,
And we are in love.
A tremendously beautiful sutra. The figure of the Real Man: this is the figure of the real man: original inactivity, doing without the doer, being there without being there. Action flows, but it is natural; it is a happening, not a doing. This flow, this spontaneity, this responsiveness, this oneness with the total, with the whole, is what Ikkyu calls the original man or the real man.
You are unreal – as you are, you are unreal. Let me remind you. Man can live in two ways: real, unreal; natural, artificial. Everybody has become unreal. It takes great effort to remain unreal; hence, unreality is agonizing. It is very arduous to remain unreal. It is a constant work, because you have to go against nature. It is going up-current, it is pushing the river; with your tiny hands pushing the gigantic river. You feel tired, you feel washed out, you feel dissipated. And sooner or later you will feel defeated; the river will possess you and you will be thrown with the current of the river.
Being real means going with the river, flowing with the flow, allowing the flow to flow through you.
The figure of the Real Man standing there… And once you have seen the figure of the real man in you… And it is always standing there, waiting for you to look back. The figure of the Real Man standing there – Just a glimpse of him, and we are in love.
Just a glimpse of him… and suddenly all hatred, all anger, all aggressiveness, all violence, disappears. Just a glimpse of the Real Man…of your reality, of your authenticity, of your naturalness …and we are in love. In fact, we are love. Then life takes a new color, a new aroma, a new fragrance, a new flavor. The flavor is called love.
Buddha has said that when a man attains to the insight, from the outside there is only one indication to know whether he has attained or not, that is love. I would like to say to U.G. Krishnamurti: You should have looked in the eyes of Ramana Maharshi. He looked only at the hands which were chopping vegetables. He should have looked into his eyes to see with what love he was chopping the vegetables. He should have looked into his eyes to see what love he was. He was the real man.
There is only one indication and that is love. But to understand love you have to be a little silent, a little loving, a little open. If you are full of prejudices about how the enlightened man should be, then you will go on missing. You should not have any prejudices.
Just look into the eyes of a real man, and suddenly something will start stirring in your heart too. Tears will come to your eyes, your energy will have a great delight, your heart will throb with new vigor, your soul will spread its wings.
Just a glimpse of him, and we are in love. A single glimpse transforms the whole life. Once you have looked into your innermost core, you are never the same again. Then your life is nothing but love. Then you live love; then you are love.
And that love is not the love that you know. What you know is nothing but lust camouflaged as love. What you know is a kind of exploitation, a mutual exploitation of two persons who are not capable of being alone. They exploit each other and help each other to be together. Real love arises only when the real man has been looked into, when the real man has been encountered. Then love is a state of being, not a relationship. Then you give because you can’t do anything else. Then you share – not that you decide to share, then you find sharing happening. Then you bloom in love, then great lotuses open up and the fragrance is released.
Buddha has said two words: pragya and karuna. Pragya means samadhi, wisdom, enlightenment; and karuna means love, compassion. These two are two aspects of the one phenomenon of encountering the real man.
Look in! You have looked out enough. You have searched out enough. You have lived in the dark night for many, many lives; it is time, it is the right time to look in. You have become very artificial, very unnatural.
Let me introduce you to yourself. Become acquainted again with who you are. And a single glimpse transforms, and transforms forever.
And again I would like to repeat: this transformation is not something special – it is very ordinary because it is just your nature. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you. Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and ye shall find.
Enough for today.

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