Take It Easy Vol 1 10

Tenth 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.

The first question:
What exactly is boredom? If I don't do something, even something needless, a panic arises, a huge fear. What is it that causes this frenzy of movement? Why am I so uncomfortable with this feeling?
The frustration of boredom increases when I think that what I would do is equally a meaningless frenzy. I feel caught.
Boredom is one of the most important things in human life. Only man is capable of boredom; no other animal is capable of being bored. Boredom exists only when mind starts coming closer and closer to enlightenment. Boredom is just the polar opposite of enlightenment. Animals cannot become enlightened; hence, they cannot become bored.
Boredom simply shows that you are becoming aware of the futility of life, its constant repetitive wheel. You have done all those things before, nothing ever happens. You have been into all those trips before, nothing comes out of it. Boredom is the first indication that a great understanding is arising in you about the futility, meaninglessness, of life and its ways.
Now, you can respond to boredom in two ways. One is what is ordinarily done: escape from it, avoid it, don’t look eye to eye into it, don’t encounter it. Keep it at your back and run away; run into things which can occupy you, which can become obsessions; which take you so far away from the realities of life that you never see boredom arising again.
That’s why people have invented alcohol, drugs. They are ways to escape from boredom. But you cannot really escape; you can only avoid for a while. Again and again the boredom will be coming, and again and again it will be louder and louder. You can escape in sex, in overeating, in music; you can escape in a thousand and one ways, but again and again, the boredom will arise. It is not something that can be avoided; it is part of human growth. It has to be faced.
The other response is to face it, to meditate on it, to be with it, to be it. That’s what Buddha was doing under the bodhi tree, that’s what all Zen people have been doing down the ages.
What exactly is meditation? Facing boredom is meditation. What does a meditator do? Sitting silently, looking at his own navel, or watching his breathing, do you think he is being entertained by these things? He is utterly bored! That’s why the Zen master moves with a stick in his hand – because those bored people are bound to fall asleep. There is no other escape, so only one escape is left: at least they can fall asleep. They cannot escape. They have themselves, of their own accord, become part of the Zen training and the discipline – they cannot escape. But one escape is always available: you can fall asleep, then you forget all about it. That’s why in meditation one feels sleepy.
The whole effort in meditation is this: be bored but don’t escape from it – and keep alert, because if you fall asleep you have escaped. Keep alert! Watch it, witness it. If it is there, then it is there. It has to be looked into, to the very core of it.
If you go on looking into boredom without escaping, the explosion comes. One day, suddenly, looking deep into boredom, you penetrate your own nothingness. Boredom is just the cover, the container in which is contained your inner nothingness, shunyata. If you escape from boredom, you are escaping from your own nothingness. If you don’t escape from boredom – if you start living with it, if you start accepting it, welcoming it – that’s what meditation is all about: welcoming boredom, going into it on one’s own; not waiting for it to come, but searching for it.
Sitting for hours in a yoga posture, just watching your breathing, one gets utterly bored. And the whole training of meditation is such that it helps boredom. In a Zen monastery you have to get up at the same time in the morning every day, year in, year out. It doesn’t matter whether it is summer or winter. You have to get up early, three o’clock, you have to take a bath, you have to drink the same tea, and you have to sit… The same gestures followed again and again. And the whole day is also a very, very fixed routine: you will eat your breakfast at a certain time, then you will meditate again, then you will have a meal at a certain time, and the same food will be served…
Everything helps boredom: the same clothes, the same monastery, and the same master every day with his stick walking around. Every evening you have a session with the master, and the questions he asks are such boring questions to meditate on: What is the sound of one hand clapping? Just think of it – it will drive you mad! What is the sound of one hand clapping? There is no answer to it, you know it; everybody knows there is no answer to it. And the master goes on insisting, “Go on repeating, go on meditating on it.”
It is all well managed. The boredom has to be created immensely, tremendously. The boredom has to be allowed as totally as possible, has to be helped, supported from every side: the same evenings, the same work, the same chanting of the mantra, the same time to go to bed again – and this goes on, this wheel. Within a few days you are utterly bored and you cannot escape. There is no way to escape. You can’t go to the movie, you can’t look at the TV; you can’t have anything that can help you to avoid it. You are thrown into it again and again.
Great courage is needed to face it. It is almost like death; in fact, much harder than death, because when death comes you become unconscious. In the monastery you are stirring all sorts of boredoms. What happens? There is the secret of all meditations: if you go on watching, watching, watching, boredom becomes bigger and bigger, more and more intense, and then the peak…nothing can go on forever. There is a point from where the wheel turns. If you can go to the very extreme, to the very peak, then the change, transformation, enlightenment, satori, or whatever you want to call it, happens. Then one day, suddenly, the boredom becomes too much. You are suffocating; you are almost being killed by it. You are surrounded by an ocean of boredom. You are over-flooded by it and there seems to be no way to escape. The very intensity and totality of it, and the wheel turns. Suddenly boredom disappears and there is satori, samadhi. You have entered your nothingness.
Now there will no longer be any boredom, you have seen the very nothingness of life. You have disappeared. Who can be bored? With what? You exist no more. You are annihilated.
You ask: “What exactly is boredom?” It is a great spiritual phenomenon. That’s why buffaloes are not bored; they look perfectly happy, enjoying. Only man is bored, and even in man, only very talented, intelligent people are bored. The stupid people are not bored. They are perfectly happy doing their jobs, earning money, making a bigger bank balance, raising their children, reproducing, eating, sitting in the movie, going to the hotel, participating in this and that. They are enjoying, they are not bored. They are the lowest types; they really belong to the world of buffaloes. They are not yet human.
A man becomes human when he starts feeling bored. You can see it: the most intelligent child will be the most bored child, because nothing can keep his interest for long. Sooner or later he stumbles upon the fact and asks, “Now what? What next? This is finished. I have seen this toy, I have looked into it, I have opened it, I have analyzed it, now I am finished with it, what is next?” Soon he starts finishing things. By the time he becomes a young man, he is already bored.
Buddha was utterly bored. He left his kingdom when he was only twenty-nine, at the peak of his youth. He was utterly bored: with women, with wine, with wealth, with the kingdom, with everything. He had seen all, he had seen through and through. He was bored. He renounced the world not because the world is wrong, remember. Traditionally it is said he renounced the world because the world is bad – that is absolute nonsense. He renounced the world because he became so bored with it.
It is not bad, neither is it good. If you are intelligent, it is boring. If you are stupid, you can go on. Then it is a merry-go-round; then you move from one sensation to another. You are interested in trivia and you go on repeating and you are not conscious enough to see the repetition that yesterday you were doing this, and today you are also doing it, and you are imagining doing the same thing again tomorrow. You must be really unintelligent. How can intelligence avoid boredom? It is impossible. Intelligence means seeing things as they are.
Buddha left the world out of boredom; utterly bored, he ran away from the world. And what was he doing for six years sitting in those forests? He was getting more and more bored. What can you do, sitting in a forest watching your breath, looking at your navel, day in, day out, year in, year out? He created that boredom to its ultimate peak, and one night it disappeared. It disappeared of its own accord.
If you reach to the peak, the turn comes. It comes! And with that turn of the tide, light enters into your being; you disappear, only light remains. And with light comes delight. You are full of joy – you are not, but full of joy – for no reason at all. Joy simply bubbles up in your being.
The ordinary person is joyous for a reason: he has fallen in love with a new woman or a new man and he is joyous. His joy is momentary. Tomorrow he will be fed up with this woman and he will start looking for another. The ordinary man is joyous because he has got a new car; tomorrow he will have to look for another car. It goes on and on…and he never sees the point of it, that always, finally, you are bored. Whatever you do, finally you are bored, every act brings boredom.
The intelligent person sees it. The sooner you see, the more intelligence you show. Then what is left? Then only boredom is left, and one has to meditate over it. There is no way to escape from it. Then go into it. See where it leads. And if you can keep going into it, it leads into enlightenment.
Only man is capable of boredom, and only man is capable of enlightenment.

The second question:
It seems that though the society is at present rejecting you, by and by it will accept you.
Please comment.
Siddhartha, why are you worried about the society, its rejecting me or accepting me? Forget about the society! It has always accepted people like me only when they are gone; it always accepts buddhas when they are dead. It accepts only when buddhas cannot do anything; it accepts only when buddhas become just theories. The flame is gone; it is only a memory now. Then they accept, and not only do they accept, they worship. That is what they have always done and what they will always do in the future too.
Nothing has changed fundamentally. The unenlightened remain unenlightened. Why do they reject? They reject out of fear. Just listen to me: just now I was saying something about boredom. Now the ordinary person can’t accept it, that one has to go deep into boredom. He will be afraid. He will say, “What nonsense is this man talking about?” He will become afraid even to listen to it, because who knows? The idea may get into his mind that life is boring. Then all his joys that he was going along so happy with and all those small toys that so delighted him will all be gone. Those toys will be broken! He does not want to do that; he is too obsessed with his toys. He does not want to listen to such things. When I am gone, then he can worship me, because I will not be shouting at him.
Worship is cheap. To be with a living master is hard, arduous; it needs guts. Worship is a polite gesture. Worship says, “You may be right, but we are not ready for it. You must be right; we are not even ready to argue about it, because who knows? If we argue about it, you may prove right. So we don’t argue; we will worship you. You must be right. How can you be wrong? But we don’t want to follow you, yet. We will make a beautiful image of you in the temple. We will bring flowers to your feet, we will repeat your name, and we will go on doing the same stupid things we have been doing before. You will be just decor, a decoration. We will put a beautiful picture of you in the home; it makes the drawing room look so pretty. But that’s all. And once in a while we will even garland your picture, but that’s all.”
This is a polite way of avoiding, a very polite way of saying, “No, we can’t come with you, at least, not yet. Ultimately you may be right, but we are not worried about the ultimate. For the moment, forgive us, and let us live our joys. Life is so enchanting, who cares about enlightenment?”
And any person who comes and throws a stone in your glass house looks like an enemy. Any person who comes and disturbs your sleep and destroys your dreams looks like an enemy. So when a buddha is alive he has to be rejected. If he is not rejected, then he is not a buddha. When he is dead, he has to be worshipped. If he is not worshipped when he is dead, then he is not a buddha.
That’s how we have always been behaving with Buddhas, Krishnas, Christs – that has been our usual procedure. We have found a very, very cunning, clever way. We don’t want to say no, because then we have to enter into the argument with these people – and these people are argumentative. To face them is dangerous because they may convince you, their very being is convincing. One does not want to come close to them. When they are dead, then it is perfectly okay. When Christ is alive, crucify him – and these same people who crucified him now go to the church. The same people! If he comes again, these same people will crucify him. People are people; they are not Jews and not Christians and not Hindus and not Mohammedans. They are just the same people.
There are only two possible categories: the enlightened and the unenlightened. The unenlightened are all the same, and the enlightened are all the same. Their tastes are not different.
It was not that Jews crucified Jesus – it was the mediocre mind, the mind that is afraid, afraid to face reality; the mind that is afraid to go into utter boredom. And utter boredom is a passage: it leads to the temple of celebration.
But don’t be worried about people. Why should you be worried? Is there some doubt in your mind? Are you searching, seeking support from the people? It must be creating a certain restlessness in you: “How can Osho be right if so many people are against him?” You feel a little shaky, afraid, a little trembling arises in you. When you are here with my orange people, it feels good: “Osho must be right because there are so many orange people.”
When you go to M.G. Road, naturally you start thinking. “What am I doing here? These are not orange people, and not only are they not orange, they are dead against all orange people.”
Fear arises in you, doubt arises in you: “Maybe I have fallen in the trap of a magician, of a hypnotist? An intelligent person like me, what am I doing here? Why did I get caught into these meditations? Nobody else is meditating. And I am coming from so far away, and the people who live in Pune don’t care a bit.” Something seems to be unsettled; you become shaky, you tremble. Now, deep in your mind you would like to be with me, but what to do with this crowd that is against me? Now you are creating consolations for yourself.
You ask: “It seems that though the society is at present rejecting you, by and by it will accept you.” You are not really concerned with the society. You want to hear from me that “Yes, don’t be worried, these people are going to follow me,” so you can feel good. “These people will accept me, wait. All these people are going to become orange, just wait, just time is needed.” You want an assurance from me so the presence of those people who are against me does not disturb you.
Look into these things: become very alert to what happens in your mind when you ask a question, why you ask a question. The question may not show anything of the reality of you, but you cannot hide it from me. I don’t answer your questions as much as I answer the reason why the question has arisen in you. So sometimes it feels that I am not directly answering your question; sometimes you may even be surprised that I am going a little roundabout, not direct. Sometimes you may even think that I am avoiding the question that has been asked – it is not so. My whole effort here is not to answer the question on the surface, but in the depth, from where it has arisen, why it has arisen.
There are people who ask questions, and then they make a note that “This is not really my question, I am asking it for others.” But why can’t the others ask it? Why should you be worried about others? Now, this person wants to ask but does not want to show that the question is his.

One day a man came to me and he said, “One of my friends has suddenly become impotent. I have come for him. Is there some help?”
I told the man, “Why didn’t you tell your friend that he could have come himself and told me that one of his friends has become impotent, because I see perfectly well that you are your friend.”
He became very worried; he started perspiring. I said, “Don’t perspire! But why can’t you face it? If you have become impotent, don’t be so impotent that you cannot even ask the question. At least save that much potency, face the problem.”

There are a few people who go on thinking… And it is not just that they are deceiving, they really think that they are asking to help others. Yoga Chinmaya often asks questions saying that “This is to help others.” Deep down the question is his, but he cannot accept that “It is my question.” That hurts: “I am asking such a question? I should not be asking such a question. I have lived with Osho so long, I should not be asking such a question.” But the question is there and it has to be asked, so one finds a clever way to ask it.
Now, on the surface it seems Siddhartha is worried about the society. Deep down, he is worried about himself. He wants an absolute promise that “You are on the right track, and the others are wrong. Just wait! They will not only worship me, they are going to worship you, too. You are going to be my apostles; you are my Luke and Thomas and Mark. Wait, just wait! You have done such a great work by becoming a disciple to a madman. Just wait – these foolish people will not only worship your master, they are going to worship you too. Then they will recognize; then they will see what a great opportunity they have missed.”
Just go deep into your own fear and let the fear be expressed clearly in your question. At least find the cause of your questions. If you can find the cause of your questions, out of one hundred, ninety-nine questions will simply disappear because in the very cause you will find the answer. To go deeply into a question, to its very roots, is to find its answer. And the one question that will not find an answer from yourself…asking it will be of great import – that will become a bridge between me and you.
Always go into the unconscious roots of your question.

There is another question on similar lines:
In your last lecture you called Yudhishthira, the Dharmaraj, an irreligious person simply because he lost his wife in gambling. But what about one of your own followers who is mad after wine and women? Not only this but he smokes charas and ganja freely. In what sense is he following a religion superior to that of Yudhishthira? Please explain.
The question is from Sohan Bharti. He is a new sannyasin; he took sannyas just a few days ago. He must be having a very, very strong Indian mind, deeply conditioned.
Now, staking a woman in gambling – and he says, “Simply because he lost his wife in gambling!” A wife in India is just a thing, furniture, so what is wrong in it? In fact, Yudhishthira and his brothers were behaving with the wife with that attitude that “she is property.” There were five brothers and the five had divided the wife; the wife had five husbands. You can’t divide a person like a property. This is such a horrible thing to think about: a woman has been divided by five men as if she is a piece of land!
And then, finally, he staked her as a bet in gambling and lost her. Can you think of any woman staking her husband in gambling? Would you say, “So what, it’s just a husband – why not?” But there is no such story in India. You would never have forgiven that; you could not have conceived of it.
The husband in India is called swami – master. And the wife is called dasi – servant, a slave. This is ugly. But Sohan Bharti’s Indian mind must have been hurt when I said it, because this man, Yudhishthira, is thought to be a great religious man, one of the great religious leaders of the Hindus. To me he is not even human! What to say about his being religious? He is not even human, he is inhuman.
And he asks: “But what about one of your own followers who is mad after wine and women?” Then he is perfectly human; nothing inhuman about it. What is wrong in being mad after a woman? It is natural. Yes, one can go beyond it, but one goes beyond only when one has gone through. And everybody is in search of some kind of wine, some kind of intoxicant, to drown one’s miseries, one’s anxieties.
Morarji Desai is trying to create prohibition in India. Now, he himself is intoxicated with power. That is a far more dangerous intoxication than ordinary wine; when you drink alcohol you harm only yourself, nobody else, but when you drink the alcohol of power, you harm millions.
If a person is smoking charas and ganja freely, he is simply harming himself. Yes, he is doing harm, but he is simply harming himself. That is his birthright, to harm himself. He is committing a slow suicide, but that is his birthright. He is not harming anybody; he is not trying to force his ganja on you or his charas on you.
Now, Morarji Desai is trying to force his idea on the whole country! That is bossy, that is irreligious. Who are you to direct everybody’s life? Nobody should be so arrogant. You can say what you feel, but it should not be imposed as a law. I also know that alcohol is not good, but you should go and teach people, tell people that alcohol is not good. Nobody should try to impose it by violence. To make it a law is violence: it means now the police will be behind it, bullets will be behind it.
What does it mean when you make a law? It means now you are not capable of converting people, persuading people; now you are trying to do things by force, by power, by violence. This is undemocratic, this is absolutely undemocratic.
And nobody sees the power trip, the alcoholic, intoxicating state of power. Whenever somebody gets into power, he is drunk!
I am not saying that people should drink alcohol or use charas and ganja, but I am saying that it is everybody’s birthright. One has to be allowed at least one thing: to do harm to oneself if one wants to, if one decides that way. You make it dear that this is harmful, that’s all. Nothing else can be done; you cannot be the deciding factor.
So, if you ask me, “What higher religion is your follower following?” I will still say that he is better than Yudhishthira because at least he is not staking his wife in gambling. He may be staking himself, he may be foolish, but I cannot say that he is harming anybody else. Yudhishthira had no respect for the woman. And if you don’t have any respect, how can you have any love? Love and respect go together.
Don’t pretend that you love your woman if you don’t respect her. If you respect, only then do you love. If you don’t respect, you only exploit her; your relationship is that of lust, not of love. Yudhishthira had to be exploiting this poor woman. Just think of the idea, of the horrible idea, using her like a thing. She was being used like a thing, and now she was being staked like a thing. And that’s what happened: Yudhishthira lost her. The others who had won immediately tried to undress her then and there. And then Yudhishthira and the four brothers were all sitting silently there, watching: “Now you cannot do anything, now she is somebody else’s property. Whatsoever they want to do, they can do.” What kind of respect? What kind of love? It is ugly, irreligious, and inhuman.
Remember, I am not saying that my follower – I don’t know who this follower is, may be just a figment of your imagination – is doing very well if he is doing these things, but still if you compare him with Yudhishthira he is far better, he is just harming himself.
The other has to be respected as an end, is never to be used as a means. The woman is equal to man. But for the Indian mind it is very difficult to accept the equality of the woman. So many so-called saints of India have been condemning the woman, down the ages, in such words that it seems unbelievable that these people had any sense of respect, of love, of sympathy, of compassion.
The Indian saints have been saying that the woman is the door to hell. The woman is not the door to hell; it depends on you. She can be a door to hell if you decide to go to hell, and she can be a door to heaven if you decide to go to heaven. Don’t forget that the same is also true about you. If women are the door to hell, only men must go there – then where do women go? And how can they go? They will not find any door. Men must be functioning as a door for them, too.
Nobody is a door to heaven or hell. You create your heaven and hell. But these so-called saints were so afraid of woman and their fear shows in their condemnation.

I have heard a story that a rabbi used to go around the famous condemned city, Sodom, shouting to people from every corner of every street, “Stop your sins! Don’t do this! Don’t do that! Avoid sex, avoid this, avoid that…” for years.
One day, one of the disciples of the rabbi asked, “You never become tired? Nobody listens to you, nobody has ever listened or paid any attention to you, but you continually go on shouting around the town. People are tired of you, but are you not tired? From where do you get this energy? Do you still think, do you hope, that you will be able to convert these sinners?”
He said, “What are you talking about? I am not worried about them. If I go on shouting against them, at least I can save myself. If I don’t shout, there is every possibility they will convert me. I may start doing the same things that they are doing, that is my fear. So I go on shouting! The more I shout, the more I become convinced. I am not worried about whether they are convinced or not. The more I shout, the more I convince myself that I am on the right track. And then I can easily repress those desires which are also in me. And if I don’t say anything against them, there is every possibility I may become just like these people.”

Your so-called saints who have been talking against women are afraid. They know if they don’t talk, if they don’t go on condemning, they will fall into some kind of relationship with women. They are afraid of their desires, they are afraid of their own sexuality. By condemning women they are simply creating an atmosphere around themselves, they are simply trying to repress their sexuality and nothing else. But the Indian mind has become accustomed to this, that’s why you can ask such a question: “In your last lecture you called Yudhishthira, the Dharmaraj, an irreligious person simply because he lost his wife gambling.”
Now, Sohan Bharti must not be behaving humanly with his own wife. How can he behave respectfully with his own wife if he has this idea? Look deep into your question. If you cannot respect women, you cannot respect anybody else. It is from women you come; the woman mothered you for nine months, then she took every care, she loved you for years. And then again you can’t live without a woman; she is your solace, your warmth. Life is very cold; the woman becomes your warmth. Life is very uninspiring; the woman becomes your inspiration. Life is very, very arithmetical; the woman becomes your poetry. She gives grace to your life. She takes care of you. She loves you, she goes on loving you, tremendously, totally. And you say “…simply because he lost his wife gambling?”
He must have been a man without heart. Instead of a heart, there must have been a hard rock.

The fourth question:
“I am life, love, joy. Here I give you life, love, joy.” Osho, when I heard you say this two mornings ago, my body trembled with awe and also a deathlike fear of getting lost in you or of missing out completely.
Why am I finding it so hard to receive this life, love, joy, from you?
Chintana, everybody finds it hard, because to receive joy, to receive light, love, goes against your ego. The ego wants to be the donor, not the receiver; the ego always wants to give, not to receive. It is easier to give love; it is very difficult to receive it. To be at the receiving end ego feels very hurt.
It is always difficult, and it is going to be still more difficult if you are with a Buddha or a Christ or a Krishna, because you have nothing to give to them. You have to take from them and have nothing to give them in return. Your ego feels annihilated.
If you can give me something in return, it will not feel so bad, but what can you give? And whatsoever you can give will be just a token and nothing else, because whatsoever you have is nothing.
Just the other night a sannyasin gave me a seashell, must have found it on some beach. I loved the gesture. It is nothing, but shows great love for me. Not only love, something else too. You receive so much from me, you would like to give something in return so it remains balanced. And all that you can give, all, I say, can’t be more than seashells.
So, fear arises in everybody. You have to drop that fear; when you are receiving from me, you are not really receiving anything from me, because I am not there. I am just a passage. If you are receiving anything from me, you are receiving from existence, not from me. Forget all about me! You need not even say a thank you.
Whenever a sannyasin comes to me and says, “Thank you, Osho, for all that you have done for me” I feel a little uneasy, because what is he saying? There is nobody to receive this thankfulness.
Remember Jesus: he was passing through a crowd and a poor woman, an ill woman, rushed behind him and touched his garments. And she was healed – immediately, instantly, so deep was her trust. She had come from a great distance in much agony and pain and suffering. But such was her trust that she believed if she could even touch the garments of Jesus all would be cured – and all was cured.
Jesus looked back and the woman said, “How should I thank you, Lord? You have healed me! I had come ill and I am now healthy and whole.”
Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.” And he said not to thank him, but to thank God.
Never be worried. Don’t feel that you are becoming grateful toward me. I am just a vehicle, a passage, a window. And if the sun has penetrated through the window to you, feel thankful to the sun, forget about the frame of the window. I am just the frame and nothing else. You can receive from me as much as you want, as much as you can dare, as much as you need.
Remember always, you are receiving from existence. From wherever we receive, we always receive from existence. It is the only giver; there is no other.
You ask me: “‘I am life, love, joy. Here I give you life, love, joy.’ Osho, when I heard you say this two mornings ago, my body trembled with awe and also a deathlike fear of getting lost in you or of missing out completely. Why am I finding it so hard to receive this life, love, joy, from you?”
Feel fortunate that you are standing on that verge from where, if you receive, you will be transformed. If you don’t receive, you will suffer all your life. The memory will haunt you. If you have come to me, and you don’t dissolve, the memory will haunt you. You will never be at ease with life again. You have tasted something of the beyond; now life will feel almost tasteless. Going back, hiding, back into your old caves of the mind, is dangerous. And the mind tends to do that. Beware of it. Take the jump! When I give you the call, take the jump.
Remember always that it is not from me as a person that you are taking anything, because the person no longer exists. It is only a presence. It looks like a person to you, because you cannot yet see the presence. Once you accept this love, this joy, this life, that is happening here, you will forget about me as a person, you will start feeling me as a presence. You will forget my boundaries – they are arbitrary – and you will start seeing the unbounded, which is true, which is truth.
The person is just a wave in the ocean; presence is the ocean itself. Let me be just a door, an opening. And that’s exactly what I am, and that’s exactly what a master is supposed to be.
Put your ego aside, and open up. Receive it! A disciple has to be feminine to receive godliness; a disciple has to be just a womb, become a womb. That’s why it happens almost always that women are the best disciples in the world.
Buddha had fifty thousand disciples, and forty thousand were women. This was also true with Mahavira. Why? Why does a woman easily become a disciple, very easily, naturally? She knows how to receive.
For a man it is a little more difficult. For a man it takes a little longer because he has no physical womb; he does not know how to receive. He also has a spiritual womb, but that is unconscious. The woman has a spiritual womb and a physical womb too, so she is conscious of being a womb. She receives, and gives birth to a child. She knows that she can receive with great joy, in exhilaration, in ecstasy. But man ordinarily is a donor, biologically a donor. His ego is hard; he never thinks in terms of receiving, in terms of surrendering and trusting.
That’s why it is difficult for man to surrender; it takes him a little longer. And whenever a man surrenders to a master, you will see in the man disciple some feminine grace arising. Many women have reported to me again and again, “What is happening to your men disciples? They are turning feminine.” That is true. Whenever somebody becomes a disciple, naturally a feminine grace arises. He becomes less aggressive; his aggression slows down. His ego is no longer so prominent. And, slowly, slowly, spiritually he comes to recognize his womb.
Only when you have recognized your womb can you connect with a master – that’s what sannyas is all about. When I say to some new person, “You are ready for sannyas,” and he hesitates, and he says, “But I have not thought about it.”
Just the other night it was happening. You must remember Mark – I had told him that I never miss a Mark. Last night he came to see me, and he tried, but I didn’t miss him. He was so perfectly womblike, but he was not aware of his own womb. It is hidden deep in the recesses of the unconscious. And the moment he surrendered, a great grace arose in him. His face changed, became luminous.
The problem with you, Chintana, is you are a woman but you have fallen into wrong company. She has been a Catholic nun, and that is the difficulty. She has forgotten about her biological womb also. A nun has to forget; a nun has to forget her biological receptivity. A nun has to become a non-woman.
So Chintana has almost turned into a man as all nuns do. She has lived in wrong company. Those people have enforced a certain structure upon her being. She is a soft woman deep inside, but on the outer side the character of a nun, the armor of a nun, has made her hard. It is fortunate that she has come here. Slowly, slowly that hardness is disappearing; her woman is arising, her womb is taking possession of her again. The nun is going away. But when you have practiced a certain thing for years, it takes time, it lingers.
That Catholic nun, the shadow of that Catholic nun, is around Chintana yet. That is what is making her so hesitant about taking the ultimate jump. In fact, she must have had a great religious desire, otherwise why should she have become a nun? She must have been a seeker for many lives, otherwise nobody becomes a monk or a nun. It is out of people’s search. And the search was such that she was not contented there; naturally, she moved to the opposite polarity.
My sannyasins are a totally opposite polarity from being a Catholic nun or monk. Now, here, she can relax. But the conditioning is there and it will go, slowly, slowly. Don’t cooperate with that conditioning. It is on the way, it is dying. Let it die.
Once the nun has disappeared from Chintana’s consciousness, she will bloom into a beautiful flower. And the day is not far off.

The fifth question:
Yesterday you said a major difference between Buddhism and Christianity, Hinduism, etcetera, was that in the former there were no a priori concepts, and in the latter a predetermined image of God conditioned one's experiencing of that God, which in turn reinforces the initial image: a vicious circle. However, in the Buddhist way, not holding a priori images, holding non-images, obviously still conditions one to experience God as no-thing, void, which then in turn reinforces the initial non-image – still a vicious circle. Please comment.
Don’t play with words; see a simple fact. Buddhism is not giving you an image of nothingness, there cannot be any image of nothingness. Can you imagine nothingness? Try. How will you imagine nothingness? What image? Nothingness simply means: no thing, no image. You cannot make an image of no image. Buddhism is not saying create an image of nothingness. In the first place, it cannot be created. If you create an image of nothingness, then certainly you are conditioned again; then God will look like nothingness. But Buddhism is not saying to create an image of nothingness. Buddhism is simply saying avoid all images. And if you can create the image of nothingness, that is included in “all images.” Avoid all images; just keep your inner space clean and open, mirrorlike, and then see whatsoever is seen.
Buddhism is simply saying: Don’t decide before knowing. That is the meaning of don’t have an a priori image: don’t decide before knowing. Let knowing happen, and let the decision come through knowing. Don’t believe beforehand, because your belief will contaminate your knowing, and you will never be able to know whether what you have known is really there, or is there because of your belief. Your belief can create it.
Man’s mind has great potential to create imagination. That’s why hypnosis works. Have you watched a hypnotist working? He can hypnotize a person, and he can just put a small pebble on the hand of the person and can say, “This is burning coal, red hot burning coal.” And the man who is in deep hypnosis simply believes it, because deep hypnosis means your faculties to doubt have been put to sleep. He believes, and the belief creates reality. His hand will burn – from the cold pebble! He will shriek, he will scream in pain; he will throw away the pebble. Not only that – a blister will arise on his palm.
Now what has happened? When this man is dehypnotized, the blister will be enough proof that a burning coal had been in his hand. And you know that there was no burning coal, nothing like that, just an ordinary cold pebble. But the belief has created the reality.
Vice versa also happens: you can put a burning coal in the hand of a deeply hypnotized person, in a deep trance, and you can say, “This is a cold pebble,” and there will be no blister, the man will not scream and there will be no mark left. That’s how people fire walk.
Now, what Buddhism is saying is: belief can create a certain kind of reality. Buddhism is not saying believe in nothingness, because that will create, certainly. But how can one believe in nothingness? You can’t create the image of nothingness.
Nothingness simply means no image. So don’t play with words. Logically, it looks relevant, your question looks relevant, that Buddhism creates the belief, the image of nothingness; then God appears as nothingness, and so it is the same vicious circle. It is not. Buddhism simply takes all the beliefs away. It does not create any belief; it leaves you in a state of no-belief.
Remember: it does not create disbelief either. It simply leaves you in a state of no-belief. No-belief is not disbelief. Buddhism is not atheist; Buddhism is not theist. Buddhism does not say anything about God. Buddhism says be silent, utterly silent, utterly imageless, empty, your eyes completely clean of all dust.
Now you can say, “This cleanness will be the dust in the eyes” – then you are playing with words. If I say, “Let your eyes be clean, then you will be able to see better,” you can say, “But cleanness will be there. How can I see better? Cleanness will be a disturbance just like any dust!”
Logically, linguistically, you are right. Existentially, you are not right. Cleanliness does not mean any thing; cleanliness simply means there is no dust, all is clean. When I say, “Nothing is written on this paper,” will you say, “Then nothing is written on this paper, so something is written?” You say nothing is written on this paper – nothing at least is written on the paper. Now you are creating an unnecessary puzzle for yourself.
When I say nothing is written on the paper, I am simply saying nothing is written on the paper, the paper is empty. But you can start a philosophical argument: “At least nothing is written on the paper, so the paper is not empty because nothing is there.” Nothing is nothing, sir.
There is a beautiful story…

Alice reached the king. When she reached the king, the king asked, “I am waiting for a messenger. Did you meet somebody on the way coming toward me?”
Alice said, “Nobody, sir.”
The king thought that she had met somebody who is known as “Nobody.” Alice simply said, “Nobody, sir.” She is saying, “I have not met anybody,” but the king must have been a great linguist, a philosopher. He thought, “So she has met Nobody on the way.”
After a few minutes he asked, “But it seems Nobody walks slower than you, otherwise he must have arrived by now.”
Alice thought, “He is saying, ‘Nobody walks slower than you,’” that he was condemning her. So she said, “No, sir, nobody walks faster than me!”
And the king said, “But then it puzzles me: if Nobody walks faster than you, then why has he not arrived yet?”
Out of desperation Alice said, “Sir, ‘Nobody’ is nobody!”
And the king said, “Of course, Nobody has to be Nobody – but why has he not arrived yet?”
And so it goes on…

Buddhism is not saying nobody is there inside, not in the sense the king took it. Buddhism is saying there is simply nobody, it is empty.
And beliefs gather around. And then you start looking through the beliefs. Then those beliefs change the color of reality. Then you start seeing things as they are not. Drop all belief systems. And remember: Buddhism is not a belief system; you are not to replace it. It is not saying to drop Christianity and replace it with Buddhism. Then you would not be doing anything except choosing one disease for another. Then you would move from one prison into another, from one bondage into another.
That’s why Ikkyu says Buddhism is not an “ism.” It is not a religion in the ordinary sense of the term. It is not a church: it is an insight. It is not an organization: it is an understanding. It is not a philosophy: it is a realization.
Once you understand the point, this problem will not arise. But if you have a philosophical bent of mind, you can go on creating such unnecessary questions and solving them, and you can get very messed up.
It happened:

Dashing young Edward was walking through the park one afternoon when he heard a female voice cry out, “Get down, you beast! If you put your filthy paws on me once more I’ll never come on the grass again.”
He rushed behind the hedge from whence the voice had come, hoping to rescue a fair maiden from a foul creep, but instead discovered a little old lady talking to her pet dog.

These are your ideas, your interpretations. Drop all ideas, drop all interpretations. Ikkyu is not saying to accept Buddha’s interpretation instead. Listen to what he says: “Sakyamuni, this mischievous guy – how many people has he misled?” Not that Buddha has misled anybody, but people have been misled, that is true, people like you. They start creating images of nothing, they start believing in nobodies, they start believing in nothingness, they create a belief around nothingness, and then nothingness is lost. Then your nothingness is no longer empty, it is full of nothingness. Then you miss the point.

When Ma Tzu attained to emptiness he went to his master, bowed down and said, “Sir, now I have attained emptiness.” He had been waiting for this moment for years and years, to go one day and tell the master. Now the moment had come, he had attained. And the master slapped him.
He said, “What nonsense are you talking? Go out and empty your mind of this emptiness. Empty your mind of emptiness! Go out! How can you have emptiness inside you? Because then emptiness becomes something.”
And Ma Tzu understood, and that very moment the illumination happened. He bowed down, and he said, “Yes, I had started clinging to emptiness. I was cherishing it as something great. Again the ego was coming from the back door. Now it was claiming, ‘I have attained emptiness.’”

One has to be empty of emptiness, too. One has to be simply without any beliefs; then the reality is as it is, then you know its suchness.

The last question:
I very strongly believe in God. Why do you condemn belief?
I am not condemning belief: I am simply explaining it to you, that belief is the barrier to God. Belief is not a bridge, but a barrier. It is your belief that is hindering you from God. If belief is dropped, immediately you are in God, you are God.
And why is there any need to believe? You don’t believe in the sun, do you? You don’t believe in the earth, do you? You know the earth exists, so there is no point in believing. You only believe in things which you don’t know. Belief is out of ignorance. Buddha does not believe in God because he knows God! You don’t know God, that’s why you believe in God. And if you go on believing, beware – you will never come to know.
Belief simply means you are hiding your ignorance. Rather than destroying it, you are hiding it, decorating it, making it a little comfortable, convenient, acceptable. You are worried that you don’t know God, so you cling to a belief, and you make yourself feel that you know. Repeating your belief constantly, again and again, you start creating a kind of autohypnosis that “I know, I believe!”
Just look at your question: “I very strongly believe in God.” Just belief won’t do? It has to be strong – and then very strong! What does it show? You can’t hide. The truth shows itself: you are very afraid of your ignorance. Deep down you know that “I don’t know.” You have to push that ignorance, you have to fight with it, so you have to believe strongly.
Just think: somebody comes to you and says, “I love you very strongly!” What in the world does he mean? Love is not enough? Has it to be very strong? If love is there, it is enough. If love is there, there is no need even to say it. Silence is its expression.
But when somebody says, “I love you very strongly, very, very strongly,” then there is one thing certain, that he is afraid that his love is not there. He is managing it somehow, creating it somehow. He is making great effort to create it; that’s why he calls it strong, because he knows his unloving nature is difficult to repress. He has to fight with his unloving nature.
Your very words, “Very strongly I believe in God,” shows that you don’t know God at all; otherwise, there will be no need for strength. There will be no need for belief. God simply is. How can you believe or disbelieve? It is not left to you. But we go on hiding.
Just listen to this story:

Farmer Jim was very worried about the poor performance of his prize bull for which he had paid an astronomical sum. He talked to all his friends every time he went to the market, and one day learned from a cousin that there was an amazing vet way down in the West Country.
He was so depressed about the bull that he decided this last resort was the answer, so he set off to Cornwall to find the vet. At last he found the chap who urged him to give his bull a great big pill once a day.
A few months later he met his cousin who asked him how he had got on. “Oh, it was marvelous,” he said. “He gave me these pills for the bull and I had no sooner started him off on them than he hit the jackpot. In fact,” he said, “I’m making a fortune out of the local farmers – they can’t get their cows round here fast enough!”
“What are these pills then?” asked his cousin.
“Oh!” said Farmer Jim, “huge, great green jobs like bombs – with a peppermint taste!”

Do you see the point? Do you get it? You cannot hide it: that peppermint taste will say everything. Very strong belief? That is the peppermint taste.
You don’t know anything about God. That’s why you are worried about why I am condemning belief. Your belief must be feeling shaken; the fear is that if the belief is gone, you will again be ignorant. But that is my work here. Excuse me, but that is my work here – to make you absolutely as you are. If you are ignorant, you are ignorant. It is better to be that which you are, because only from that authentic reality can you be bridged to ultimate reality. With your false beliefs… All beliefs are false. Belief as such is false; knowing is true, believing is false.
I am here to make you ignorant again. If you cooperate with me, this will happen: you will become ignorant, innocent. Your knowledgeability will disappear – and in that very disappearance you will find for the first time the mystery of life dancing around you, and the benediction of that mystery. That mystery is godliness.
Godliness can never be a concept. Godliness cannot be reduced to an idea. Godliness cannot be reduced to a belief. Become ignorant. I have never heard of pundits and scholars reaching godliness. Sinners have been known to reach, but not scholars. The original sin is the sin of knowledge.
Remember the biblical story again and again. It is one of the most precious parables of human history. Adam has been turned out of the Garden of Eden because he has eaten of the Tree of Knowledge. His sin is his knowledge.
You will have to vomit your knowledge. Vomit the apple! Become innocent and ignorant again. You will be attaining to a second childhood – and fortunate are those who can attain to second childhood, because through it, and only through it, is one bridged to existence. But then there is no belief. One knows.
And remember, knowing and knowledge are different. Knowledge consists of beliefs, knowing consists of experience.
Enough for today.

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