Take It Easy Vol 1 13

Thirteenth 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.

Since the journey of life
Is little but grief and pain,
Why should we be so reluctant
To return to the sky of our native place?

To write something and leave it behind us,
It is but a dream.
When we awake we know
There is not even anyone to read it.

Though we do not preach the doctrine,
Unasked the flowers bloom in spring;
They fall and scatter,
They turn to dust.

We are born, we die.
All are the same,
Sakyamuni, Daruma,
The cat and the ladle.

To harden into a buddha is wrong;
All the more I think so
When I look at a stone buddha.
A fable is told of a centipede with arthritis who sought the advice of a wise old owl. “Centipede,” the owl said, “you have a hundred legs, all swollen up. Now if I were you, I would change myself into a stork. With only two legs you will cut your pain by ninety-eight percent, and if you use your wings you can stay off your legs altogether.”
The centipede was elated. “I accept your suggestion without hesitation,” he said. “Now just tell me, how do I go about making the change?”
“Oh,” said the owl. “I wouldn’t know about the details, I only make general policy.”

Buddhism is not interested in general policy. It is not interested in philosophical speculation. It is interested in the details of life, its sufferings and their causes. It does not give you outlandish solutions; it does not provide you with new dreams. It simply looks face to face into life. It does not bring God in, or heaven and hell. It does not create a theology at all, because all theology is an effort to escape from the real problems of life.
So sometimes it happens to philosophers, to theologians, that Buddhism seems to be not a religion at all, because it does not talk about paradise, it does not talk about the eternal soul. It talks about the suffering, the misery, the frustration, the anxiety, the anguish of life.
Many have thought that Buddhism is pessimistic. It is not. It simply wants to face the life as it is, and life is misery, and life is anguish. The easy way to avoid it is to escape into abstraction, to move into some dreamlands, to start thinking about something else, to spin and weave theories so that you can hide the fact, the wound of life.
Buddhism is very earthly, earthbound, factual. It wants you to encounter life, because only through encountering the anguish of life is there a possibility of transcendence. But people don’t want to face life. They are afraid; they are frightened. Deep down they know that life is anxiety, and facing it means becoming anxious, troubled. Facing it means it will become impossible to live, you will be paralyzed by fear, paralyzed by death, because life is death and nothing else. Everything is dying every moment, disappearing into death.
Buddhism says escaping into abstractions is not going to help. Going into the details of life is really going to help. It is hard, it is arduous, it needs guts, but that’s the only way to face it.
Down the ages, priests have been exploiting people. They have been giving people easy escape routes, deceiving people. Priests have never allowed people to become literate, to become intelligent, because if people become literate and intelligent they will be able to see through the whole game that priests have been playing. The priests have depended on the ignorance of human beings, and have tried to keep human beings as ignorant as possible. The religious scriptures were not allowed to people; they could not read them.
In India, only Brahmins were allowed to read the Vedas, because if people are allowed to read the Vedas, then how long can you pretend that there is something in it? There is nothing! People will see it, and once they have seen it, how are you going to deceive them? How are you going to exploit them? The power of the priests and the politicians depends on the ignorance of men.
Buddhism brings a totally different light. Buddhism says forget about the Vedas and the Upanishads; don’t be worried about them. Your life is enough to go into – that is the real Veda. The only book that has to be read is the book of life, and the only wisdom that is possible is through reading the book of life. Become intelligent. Buddhism is the religion of intelligence. The word buddha comes from buddhi. Buddhi means intelligence. It is only through intelligence that one can become aware.
Priests were very angry at Buddha; they uprooted his religion from this country. And the day that priests succeeded in uprooting Buddhism from this country, this country fell from intelligence, became stupid, and has remained stupid ever since. This country’s greatest flowering was Buddha. It was the culmination of centuries of work, effort; it was a culmination, a climax. The days of Buddha were the days of the greatest peak of this country; this country knew the sunlit peaks. Once Buddha and his roots were destroyed in this country, it fell from those sunlit peaks into the dark valleys.
But priests were very happy. People were again ignorant. People were again asking them what to do and what not to do, and they were dishing out old recipes which have never worked.
I have heard…

An illiterate millionaire decided to leave his money to a small local college. The son was not ready to be cut out of the will. He knew that his father was ignorant and a prude, so he said to the old man one day, “Father, I hope you are aware that at that college, the one you’ve decided to give all your money to, the boys and girls matriculate together!” The father looked startled, and the son continued, “Not only that,” he said, “but both boys and girls use the same curriculum!”
Now the father’s face began to darken, and the son leaned forward to whisper, “But the worst of all, Father, before a girl can graduate she has to show her thesis to the dean!”
“That settles it,” roared the father. “That school won’t get a penny from me!”

The priests have lived on that down the ages – just big words. People don’t know what those words mean. Big words uttered with great solemnity and seriousness, and people have been thinking something great is happening. Nothing has happened! People have remained ignorant, people have remained miserable. Nothing has happened through the concept of God and heaven and soul and all that. Nothing has happened; people have remained irreligious, and in fact, have become more and more dull. The more they have believed in these big words, the duller they have become.
Buddhism brings a totally different dimension. It says religion is not in books. It says religion is not in great words, big words, or complicated philosophies. Religion has nothing to do with linguists, with language experts. Religion has something to do with the quality of your life. If you can bring intelligence into your life, religion explodes.
Nobody can give it to you; only you can give this gift of intelligence to yourself. Everybody is carrying in himself the potential. The potential has to be polished; the potential has to be worked out, helped, nourished. Each man is born as a seed of great intelligence. Each man is born as a buddha. There is no need to beg for knowledge or wisdom; you contain it. Just search within.
But priests are not interested in it, because if a person starts searching within he will stop going to the temple, to the mosque, to the church. If he starts looking within he will not ask the priest, the rabbi, the pundit. For what will he ask anybody? He will have his own light; he will be a light unto himself.
That’s why priests were so angry at Buddha. They were not as angry at Mahavira, and Jainism has continued in India, but they were very much against Buddha. What happened? This man must have brought some new light. This man must have been a breakthrough in human consciousness. What was his contribution? His contribution was this: that each man can be a light unto himself; that no man needs to follow anybody, to imitate anybody; that no man needs to take orders from anybody, commandments from anybody. And if you continue to take commandments from somebody, you will remain less than a man, you will remain a robot.
Religion is not obedience: religion is rebellion. Through the religion of obedience, what has happened? People have become more and more sophisticated, cultured; they have become pretenders, hypocrites, but deep down they remain the same. Nothing really has happened. Just the surface has become more shining; something like a decor, a decoration has happened. But human consciousness has remained primitive, unevolved.
I have heard…

There was a convention of missionaries from all parts of the world. Each one reported how with his fiery speeches, his pioneer work, and his exemplary conduct, he had converted the natives to Christianity.
Among those reporting was a missionary from the cannibal area of Africa. He, too, boasted of his progress with the natives. After all the reports had been submitted, a question was directed to the missionary from the cannibal area: Had he stopped the cannibals from eating human flesh?
The missionary answered that he had not stopped cannibalism, but while formerly they were eating, with their hands, he had achieved the great goal of having them eat with knives and forks.

That’s how religion has succeeded. People remain the same: they are still cannibals, but now, instead of eating, with their hands, they eat with knives and forks.
Buddhism wants to change your very roots. It is a transformation. It is a way of living on another plane of consciousness. These sutras are just glimpses of those details.
The first sutra:
Since the journey of life
Is little but grief and pain,
Why should we be so reluctant
To return to the sky of our native place?
Life is a journey from nowhere to now here. Nothing is attained through it. Nobody has ever attained anything through life. People run, and they run fast, and they go on gathering speed, but they never reach anywhere. They work hard, they labor hard, but nothing ever happens out of that work, nothing is created.
Millions of people have lived before you, and where are they? Disappeared into the dust, dust unto dust. And we will disappear into the same dust sooner or later. All our achievements will fall into dust and disappear. Thousands of civilizations have existed and disappeared with no trace.
Life seems to attain nothing. It is much ado about nothing, much fuss about nothing; a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
This is the first encounter that one has to go through. If you want to understand Buddha, you have to look eye to eye into life. Don’t shirk. Don’t look sideways, look directly into life. What is the meaning of life? What does it attain? What does it come to, finally? To nothing! It is just like a great dream with beautiful palaces, and a great kingdom, and by the morning, when you awake, all is gone and gone forever. In fact, it was not there at all, you had only believed that it was there.
Your success is your belief…

Just the other day I was reading about a man, a madman. He was put into a hospital and treated. His problem was that he believed that he was Alexander the Great. One day, after three years of treatment, psychoanalysis, psychiatry, electric shocks and insulin shocks and all that, the doctor came to the patient and said, “Now you are cured. You can go home.”
The man started crying and he said, “Yes, I know I am cured. But what kind of cure is this? When I came I was Alexander the Great, and now I am nobody, just nobody! What kind of cure is this? When I came, I was so elated. When I came, I was somebody special. Now you have reduced me to nobody! And you call it “cure”? Cure me again, back to my old state. At least I was somebody.”

Your success is your belief; your fame is your belief, they are projected dreams. Now there is a consensus among those who work in the deepest depths of the human mind that all human beings are neurotic. It is not that a few people are neurotic, everybody is neurotic. The difference is only of degree.
Pascal is reported to have said that man is a mad animal; the only animal who has gone mad, berserk, off the track, astray. Pascal has said that is the original sin, that man is no longer a natural animal. Something unnatural has happened to him, something at the very core of his being; he has become alienated from himself, from his own source.
The normal people that you see walking on the roads, doing their business at the office and the factory, are just normal for the name’s sake. Nobody is normal. Only once in a while, a Buddha, a Christ, a Krishna, is normal, once in a while. All people are abnormal. And what is the abnormality? They go on believing in this dream of life. They go on believing in new dreams. If one dream is frustrated, they immediately create another. They never give a gap.
One desire fails you, and immediately you are ready to move into another desire. In fact, before a desire starts failing, you start creating a new desire so you have some house to abide in. One hope disappears, you create another hope, but you keep hoping. You see death happening everywhere, and still you go on hoping. “Hoping against all hope”: this is the neurosis. Seeing that everything falls into dust and disappears, you still dream of becoming famous, successful.
Life is a journey from nowhere to nowhere: a vicious circle, a dream journey. It is not a sweet dream, but a nightmare. Want and woe, grief and pain, suffering and suffering, and to what do you attain? Just see the taste on your tongue: what taste have you attained? Just suffering and suffering.
All joy is just a hope. Suffering is reality, joy is a hope, and the hope never happens. The hope is like the horizon: it only seems to be happening there somewhere, but it never happens in you. You go on rushing toward the horizon and the horizon goes on rushing away from you. It does not exist; it exists only in your idea.
To be utterly frustrated with life is the beginning of wisdom. To see the futility of life is the beginning of a totally new journey, the inward journey. Otherwise, you go on being enamored of one thing or another.
Just look: you have lived thirty years, forty years, fifty years, sixty years, and what is the gain? Look into your hands: they are empty.

When Alexander died he told his ministers, “When you carry my body through the streets, leave my hands hanging outside the coffin.”
They were puzzled. They said, “For what? Nobody has ever heard of it. And that is not done.”
And he said, “But it has to be done.”
“For what?” they inquired.
And Alexander said, “So that people can see that I am also going with empty hands. I worked hard, I struggled hard, but nothing is the only taste on my tongue. My hands are empty. I would like people to see that Alexander is dying as an utter failure!”

Everybody dies that way, but to recognize it that late is meaningless. To recognize it in the middle of life is of great import, because then the radical change becomes possible. Buddha realized it when he was only twenty-nine. He was still young, married just a few years, and his child just one month old. Suddenly one day, he saw the dream disappearing. And how did it happen?
He was passing…he was going to participate in a celebration, the annual celebration of the youth of his country. And on the way he saw an old man. He asked his charioteer, “What has happened to this man?”
And the charioteer said, “Sir, this happens to everybody sooner or later. Everybody becomes old.”
Buddha asked, “So am I also going to become old?”
Just see: he is not concerned about the philosophy of old age – why old age happens, how it can be prevented – he is immediately concerned with his own being. He asked, “So am I also going to become old?”
And the charioteer said, “It is difficult, sir, to say, but I cannot lie either. Everybody is going to become old, including you. Nobody is an exception.”
And Buddha said, “Then turn the chariot back to the palace. Why am I going to participate in the festival of youth? For what purpose? I have become old. If I am going to become old, I have become old! I am no longer young; that youth was a dream. If it is going to disappear like that, it is meaningless to think about it, to cling to it.”
Returning home, they came across a dead man. The dead body was being carried and Buddha asked, “What has happened to this man?”
And the charioteer said, “The next step – after old age this happens. One dies.”
Buddha was so young and so radiant, and something changed in his very chemistry. His face became pale. He closed his eyes. The charioteer was very afraid. And Buddha said, “Then, if life is going to disappear like that, before it disappears I have to search. Now I cannot waste a single moment.”
Just when they were entering the palace door, they came across a sannyasin, an ochre-robed sannyasin. And Buddha asked, “What has happened to this man? Why is he in ochre?”
And the old man said, “This man has become aware of old age, this man has become aware of death; hence he has renounced all that stupidity that everybody lives through. He has become a sannyasin; he has renounced hopes. He is searching within. Before death comes he wants to know what this life is, from where it comes, to where it goes.”
That very night Buddha escaped from the palace. He became a sannyasin. What is sannyas? Sannyas is the recognition in the midst of life that life is a fleeting dream.
Since the journey of life is little but grief and pain, why should we be so reluctant to return to the sky of our native place? Everybody knows there is suffering. We pretend there is not, but pretensions are pretensions. Only very stupid people can pretend for long. The more intelligent you are, the sooner the recognition comes that life is fleeting; it is just a soap bubble. And that, too, full of suffering! Have you not suffered? But what keeps you alive then? If life is such a suffering, why don’t you collapse? Why do you go on and on? What keeps you going on? Hope.
Hope is there like the horizon waiting ahead. It says, “Up to now life has been suffering, but that has not to be the case for ever. Tomorrow things will be better. With this woman you are suffering; with another woman things will be better. With this job you are not happy; with another job you will be happy. With this rotten car you are feeling miserable, but there are beautiful cars; you can have a better one. With this much money, of course, how can one be happy? But money can be earned.” Just being nobody you are feeling that life has no meaning, but become somebody and life will start having meaning and color.
These hopes go on and on pulling you, somehow keeping you together. Hope is the glue that keeps you together: otherwise, you will fall into pieces. And what I am saying is not speculation. Just look into your life and you will see the truth of it. What is keeping you together? It is not life that is keeping you together; life has been hitting you hard from every nook and corner, from every direction life is hammering you. It is hope. Hope functions like a buffer. The shocks of life are absorbed by hope, and one goes on living and waiting for tomorrow. And tomorrow never comes. Whatsoever comes is never that which you had been hoping for.
You go on thinking that everybody else is happy except you, and that is also the situation of everybody else. They think you are happy. It is a mutual deception; the grass is always greener on the other side of the hedge. And so is the case with your neighbor too: he thinks the grass is greener in your lawn.
People go on pretending to others that they are happy. They have to, otherwise it will be impossible to live a single moment. Deep down they are suffering and they are full of tears, and on the surface they go on maintaining a smile. But that smile becomes a poisonous phenomenon. You see everybody else smile and you see everybody so happy that you think, “Only I am suffering. If I do a little more work, if I work a little harder, if I become a little more aggressive in my ambitions, I will reach. Look! Others have reached; somebody has become the prime minister, somebody has become the president. I can also work it out; I still have life left.”
This is the whole game that goes on.

Somebody asked George Bernard Shaw, “What is politics?”
And George Bernard Shaw said, “The king of the mountain game. One kid gets atop a big pile of dirt and the others try to displace him. That’s politics.”

But one who has reached somewhere pretends that he has attained. Nothing has been attained. But now he has to save his face too, otherwise people will say, “Then what have you been doing? If nothing has been attained by becoming the president of a country and you have devoted your whole life for it, how stupid you have been!” So when a person becomes the president of a country, he goes on smiling, and he goes on pretending that whatsoever he wanted he has achieved. This is just a face-saving device. Deep down he knows all has failed; deep down he knows now there is no hope. But what is the point of saying it to people? They will just laugh and think you are stupid. And they will think, “Your whole life you worked for this position, for this power, and now you have arrived and you say you have attained nothing, that your whole life has been a wastage?”
Nobody wants to see that “My whole life has been a wastage” – it goes against the ego. So those who arrive on those big piles of dirt, who reach the top, they start declaring that they have attained.
In life there is no attainment; there cannot be. That is not the nature of life. Life fails, it fails utterly. Whether you fail or succeed makes no difference, the failure is the same. Those who fail, certainly fail; but those who succeed also fail, and in the same proportion. To see this is of great import.
A great thinker, Ruskin, has said that in life there are only two disappointments: to desire a thing and not to get it, and to desire a thing and to get it. Only two disappointments: if you don’t get it, you are disappointed, but if you do get it, then too, you are disappointed. Because whatsoever you were hoping is not attained through it. It is something else. That hope was your projection; it was not reality.
It is like you saw a colored stone shining in the morning sun and you thought, “This is a Kohinoor!” and you rushed. Not only you, but many rushed; the whole town became involved in it. And the more people got involved the more you thought, “There must be something in it. When so many people are rushing toward it, there must be something in it because so many people can’t be wrong.”
Remember always: so many people can’t be right. It is very rarely that a person is right; so many people can’t be right. Whenever you see a crowd going to some place, forget all about it; just drop the idea. So many people can’t be right. The majority consists of very, very mediocre people. But one starts believing in the crowd.
I have heard…

A speculator in oil leases died and went to heaven, only to find the place so crowded that he could barely find room inside the door. The speculator hit upon a trick which he hoped would relieve the congestion. He produced a scrap of paper and a pencil from his pocket and scribbled a note: “Oil discovered in hell,” which he dropped on the floor.
Soon the note was picked up and read. The man who read it whispered to a few other persons and slipped away. Those in whom he had confided similarly whispered to others and followed him. There was a regular exodus in the direction of the reported strike.
Watching the procession, the man who had started the rumor grew more and more restive. At length he could stand it no longer. “There may be something in this thing, I’d better look it over,” he said as he joined the stampede.

Even if you create a rumor and many people start believing in it, finally you will believe in it too. It is a very, very mutual deception. Create a lie, let people believe in it, and finally you will believe in it. So many people believing in it – there must be something in it. You must have been wrong thinking that it is a lie. You must have accidentally stumbled upon a truth, otherwise so many people can’t believe in it.
So many people rushing toward a colored stone on the street in the morning sun, and all are thinking that it is a diamond, a very valuable diamond. But when you reach… If you don’t reach, of course you suffer. You will always carry the wound. If you reach and it is just a colored stone, then too you suffer.
Failure fails, success fails too. To see this is to let hope evaporate. It does not matter whether you die rich or poor. It does not matter whether you die as a sinner or a saint. It does not matter whether you die well known or unknown, famous or notorious. Death comes and destroys everything.
Death is very democratic; it does not believe in hierarchies. It does not bother whether the person was a peon or a prime minister. It simply comes, and dust falls into dust and disappears. It won’t help you in any way that you are rich; it won’t help you in any way that you are famous; it won’t help you in any way that you are a great emperor, this or that.
If you can see it while you are alive, then something is possible – something which is beyond life and death.
I have heard…

There was a fellow, an army man, posted in the South Pacific, who happened to contract, in the usual way, a very strong and particularly annoying venereal disease, and moreover, it was not the ordinary type of venereal disease, but something completely out of the ordinary in every respect.
To begin with, this fellow’s private parts became so swollen he had to wear pants fourteen sizes larger than usual. And they turned the most peculiar shade of purple, and also orange with polka dots and stripes all around as well! It was, in short, a mess, and nobody knew what to do. The doctors he consulted had no idea how to treat it; the best they could offer was to cut it off, which the fellow said he would absolutely never allow. So it came to the point when he decided to go back to the island from where he had got this peculiar disease, because he figured they would be familiar with it, which it turned out was correct. They knew exactly what it was – boy, was he relieved!
“You mean you won’t have to amputate it?” he asked the island doctor.
“That’s right,” the doctor said.
“I knew it, I knew those doctors in the States were full of baloney!” he told the doctor. “They all said that it would have to be amputated.”
“Oh, no,” the doctor soothed, “it will fall off by itself in a few days.”

But what consolation is that?
Success fails, failure fails – all fails. And the ultimate is death. It is not a consolation that you will be dying rich. It is not a consolation that you will be dying famous. It makes no difference. Beggar or king, poor or rich, death comes and simply effaces your whole life.
That is the meaning of Ikkyu’s sutra: Since the journey of life is little but grief and pain, why should we be so reluctant to return to the sky of our native place?
He raises a very pertinent question, that life is misery, suffering, an utter failure. Still, …why should we be so reluctant to return to the sky of our native place?
One would think that when life is such a failure, people would start turning inward, easily. That is not the case. And there is a strange mechanism working. My own observation is that if life were not such a suffering people would be moving inward more easily. Because life is such a suffering, they go on hoping more and more. To deny suffering they create bigger hopes. They cannot turn back. To deny suffering, to make suffering look small, they create bigger mountains of hopes, and those hopes go on pulling them outward and outward.
This strange phenomenon has to be understood. Whenever you are in suffering, you need a great dream to come out of it, a great hope, some kind of inspiration, some vision in the future, some paradise somewhere, so that you can pull yourself together again and jump out of the misery. But that big hope is going to become a big misery again, and then you will have to come out of it and you will have to create a still bigger hope. This is how one goes on and on, away and away from oneself.
Watch people, and watch yourself; it is very difficult to drop misery, very difficult. One clings to it. Is there nothing else? Just think if there are two alternatives available to you. One is: be empty, there will be no misery and no joy. And the other is: don’t be empty, be somebody, something, but you will have to suffer, misery will be there. And you will always choose misery instead of emptiness. Emptiness frightens people more than misery. And the innermost core is empty. Nothingness scares people more than suffering. Nobody wants to be a nothing, and our innermost nature is nothingness, hence we cannot accept it. We go on searching; we go on trying to become somebody, something. And if we cannot have joy, at least we can have pain. If we cannot have pleasure, we can cling to agony. But there is one consolation: at least there is something to cling to; we are not just empty.
That’s why people are so reluctant.
I observe every day… Couples come to me: they are both miserable, but not ready to leave each other. At least life seems to be full, maybe full of misery, but at least full; full of poison, but the cup is full. An empty cup, not even poison to fill it, seems to be more difficult to accept. The woman feels that to be alone will be more difficult than to be with a man who is simply creating misery for her and nothing else. And the man thinks that to be alone in the dark nights, and nobody around, will be more miserable than the nagging woman who is driving him crazy. At least somebody is there to nag him, somebody is there to look forward to, somebody is there to be afraid of, somebody is there to escape from; at least somebody is there. You can do something with somebody. You can sit in the hotel late in the night and enjoy the time because of the woman who is at home, you can escape from her. But if there is nobody, even escape becomes difficult, even that joy of escape is no longer available.
I see them in misery, they say they are in misery, and they have been in misery for seven years, ten years, and not for a single day has there been any happiness, and they are tired and they are weary, but when I tell them to separate, that it is so simple, why create misery for each other? They say, “No, we cannot separate, we cannot leave each other.” Then suddenly they start thinking they love each other. This is strange.
If you love each other, then why do you create misery for each other? But the moment somebody suggests separating, suddenly a great desire arises and great understanding, “No, I love the woman and she loves me so much.” And they start thinking of days which have never been there, and beauties which have never been there. And they start hoping again that maybe tomorrow things will be different.
Ten years they have tried hard. Nothing has happened. But they say, “One day more, and who knows?” People go on hoping. And this hope ultimately leads you into death and nowhere else.
To drop hope is to become religious. To attain to a spiritual hopelessness is to become free of misery. Remember, the word hopelessness is of infinite beauty. It is not just absence of hope; it is absence of hope and hopelessness both, because when the hope has disappeared, how can you be hopeless? To be hopeless, hope is needed; it is the shadow of hope. When the hope has gone completely and you have seen it through and through and you have dropped it, hopelessness also disappears of its own accord – you are left without hope, without hopelessness – and the purity of it and the benediction of it.
Then only does one come to know one’s inner sky: it is as empty as the sky. And that is our native place. That is from where we come, and that is where we should go, and that is where we should be. To be in that state is to be without suffering and agony.
Keep it in mind: pleasure is only when it is not; when it is, it is not. Pleasure always disappears, so we have always to search for it. That is the original sin. Don’t taste an apple because you are going to have to go looking for another one right after, and then there is no end to it. One thing leads to another, and you become entangled in ten thousand things, then it becomes very, very difficult to come back home. You have invested yourself in so many things that it becomes almost impossible to get out of those entanglements.
The religious person is one who is not entangled anywhere, who has no hope, who has no future, who does not live in the tomorrows, who lives now here. In the beginning I told you life is a journey from nowhere to nowhere; with the religious person life becomes a journey from nowhere to now here.
I am reminded of a small story…

There was a great atheist. He had written in his drawing room with big letters: God is nowhere. Then a child was born to him, and the small child was slowly growing, learning words. Nowhere was a big word for the small child and he was trying to spell the sentence, so he said, “God is now here.” He made two words out of nowherenow, here. But it became a transformation in the life of the father.
Hearing the child reading, “God is now here,” the father attained to a kind of satori. He had never thought about that. Now here was nowhere! “Nowhere can turn into now here?” Suddenly he was awakened to a totally different kind of space. The innocence of the child became a door, an opening.

Life is from nowhere to nowhere, but it can be from nowhere to now here. That’s all meditation is about: turning nowhere into now here.
To be now and to be here – and suddenly you are transported from time into eternity. Then life disappears, death disappears. Then for the first time you know what is. You can call it God, or you can call it nirvana – those are all words – but you come to know that which is. And to know it is to be liberated, to be liberated from all agony, from all suffering, from all nightmares.
To be now here is to be awake. To be somewhere else is to be in a dream – then and there are parts of a dream. Now and here are not parts of a dream but reality, part of reality, part of existence.
To write something and leave it behind us,
It is but a dream.
When we awake we know
There is not even anyone to read it.
Whatsoever we are doing is so futile, as if in a dream somebody wants to write a poem with the idea that when he will awake in the morning he will be able to show the poem to others, and they will love it and enjoy it. But when he awakes in the morning, there will be no poem, and all those people he had seen in the dream will not be found again; there will be no one to read it. But that is all our life consists of.
To write something and leave it behind us, it is but a dream. When we awake we know there is not even anyone to read it. The idea of being remembered in history, having a name, leaving a name behind, is carried by almost everybody. That is a vicarious kind of immortality: you want to live through others’ memories. You know death is coming; now the only way to live is: live through others’ memories, do something so others will remember you. If you can do something good, good; otherwise do something bad, but do something so that others will have to remember you.
This gives a kind of consolation: “I will be gone, but I will be remembered.” But what is the point? Even if people remember you for centuries, what is the point? You are gone, and you are gone! Their remembrance will not re-create you; their remembrance will not give you any life. Who bothers to remember anybody?

I have heard that in a school the teacher was telling about Adam and Eve, and a small boy was getting very excited about the whole story. It was a history class and the teacher was teaching history from the very beginning, from Adam and Eve, and she asked the boy, “Johnny, you look so interested in the story – what is the matter?”
And Johnny said, “I would have loved to be Adam.”
The teacher said, “You are not happy being what you are – why would you have loved being Adam?”
He said, “For one thing at least, if I was Adam I would not have to read history.”

Who wants to read history? Who is interested in some stupid kings, some stupid prime ministers, who bothers? If you were a prime minister, do you think somebody is going to bother about you? Just small children will be forced to read about you; they have to be forced, threatened, punished, or rewarded. And then, too, once they have taken the examination they will forget all about you. Moreover they will be angry at you and will never be able to forgive you. Could you not have just lived like an ordinary man? Why did you become a prime minister? Just to torture children?
But everybody has that idea of leaving a name, footprints on the sands of time. All is nonsense. Live the moment. Live the moment in its truth, in its now hereness, and forget all about the future. There is no other time, and there is no sense in any tomorrow.
Though we do not preach the doctrine,
Unasked the flowers bloom in spring;
They fall and scatter,
They turn to dust.
Ikkyu says Buddha has not preached the doctrine, he has simply shown it, not said it. Though we do not preach the doctrine… The ultimate truth cannot be preached; it can be shown but not said, it can be indicated. And it is everywhere! It is happening all around.
The dead, pale leaf falling from the tree is a sermon about the whole life, a sermon about death. The morning dewdrops, disappearing, evaporating in the sun are a sermon on life. That’s how life disappears. Don’t be too much attached to it. Don’t become possessive about it. It is going to happen to you too, you are not more than dewdrops on grass leaves.
Have you seen a dewdrop slipping out of a grass leaf, going, going, going, and gone? Mahavira has used that exact metaphor. That’s what life is: a dewdrop on a grass leaf, slipping slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly. One moment it was there, another moment it is gone. One moment we are here, and another moment we have gone.
For this simple moment, we make so much fuss, so much violence, ambition, struggle, conflict, anger, hatred. Just for this small moment! Just waiting for the train in a waiting room at a station, and creating so much fuss: fighting, hurting each other, trying to possess, trying to boss, trying to dominate – all politics. Then the train comes and you are gone forever. You will never be heard of again, never be seen again, and you will never see those people you were fighting with, and you will never see the woman you tried to possess, and you will never see the man you nagged to death.
See it. Buddhism is not a doctrine. It is simply an effort to spell life as it is. It simply opens the book of life to you to read, and it is everywhere!
Though we do not preach the doctrine, unasked the flowers bloom in spring; they fall and scatter, they turn to dust. That is the whole of Buddhism, the whole taste of Buddhism: flowers blooming one moment, another moment they are gone, fallen into dust, disappeared. We arrive on the earth, the spring comes and we bloom, and then we are gone, and dust is left behind. All the chatter, all those miseries and agonies we unnecessarily suffered, those nightmares of defeat and victory, of failure and success, all that turmoil was for no purpose at all.
Buddhism is a simple indication toward life. Buddha says look at life! Dhamma is preached every moment; it is in every grass leaf and in every star. Just see: life is momentary, and death comes, inevitably comes. Seeing it, how can you become possessive? Seeing it, how can you become jealous? Seeing it, how can you become money minded? Seeing it, how can you become a miser? Seeing it, how can you go on killing each other?
Seeing that life is so momentary will be a transformation. A silence will descend suddenly, and not a practiced silence. There is no need to practice. Just seeing this point, a silence will descend in you, a peace will arise in you. In that very moment of silence and peace, you will be able to see, your eyes will become clear.
Though we do not preach the doctrine,
Unasked the flowers bloom in spring;
They fall and scatter,
They turn to dust.

We are born, we die.
All are the same,
Sakyamuni, Daruma,
The cat and the ladle.
We are born, we die. All are the same… This is the great democracy of death. We are all equal; death is absolutely communist. Life differentiates; death never. Life makes people different; death turns them into oneness, alike. Life depends on boundaries, distinctions, definitions; death comes and effaces all.
We are born, we die. All are the same… There is no difference: Sakyamuni, Buddha, Daruma, Bodhidharma, …the cat and the ladle! A dog dies or a buddha dies, there is no difference.
See this penetration of death. Death takes away everything, so why cling? What is the point in clinging? When death is going to take everything away, why not un-cling on your own? In that un-clinging you will be able to see something which is of absolute value. If you un-cling from everything – from the body, from the mind, from the property, from the land, from the wife, from the husband, from the children, from country, from religion, church – if you un-cling from everything, then what is left for death to take away? You have dropped them yourself; you have dropped them of your own accord. Then what is left for death? Nothing is left.
This dying, dying to all and everything, this un-clinging, is the meaning of sannyas, renunciation. Then nothing is left for death, you have already dropped it. No work is left for death; you have conquered death. Now death cannot take anything away from you. Whatsoever it could take away has already been renounced. Now what is left in you? Only a witnessing is left, a silent awareness, uncontaminated by possessions, uncontaminated by desires and longings.
This awareness is buddhahood. This awareness is the ultimate experience. And this awareness is what we are all searching for, but searching for in wrong ways. This is awakening.
To harden into a buddha is wrong;
All the more I think so
When I look at a stone buddha.
But remember, don’t harden yourself. This has to be remembered because it happens. If you see life is fleeting, death is coming, one need not possess anything, you start becoming hard because you think if you are hard enough you will be able to renounce. You are not renouncing by understanding, you are renouncing by hardness. You miss the point. Then again ego arises, because all hardness is ego.
That’s why monks become too egoistic. They think they have renounced the world – as if they have done something great. Thinking that they have done something great shows their ignorance. If the world is momentary, what have you done? You have simply seen its momentariness, that’s all.
In the morning you don’t go shouting in the neighborhood, “I have renounced the palaces of my dream!” People will laugh; people will say you are mad. A dream is a dream! You cannot renounce it. You cannot catch hold of it nor can you renounce it. A dream is a dream. If you know it, it disappears; if you don’t know it, it remains.
Those people who say they have renounced their children, their wives, their family, their world, their money, their bank balances, are simply saying that those dreams are still real for them. They are escaping from those dreams, but those dreams are following them; those dreams will haunt them wherever they go. They may sit in a Himalayan cave, but those dreams will go on coming again and again. They are there; they have left them deep down in the world, but they are realities. They are afraid. Why this fear? Nobody is ever afraid of a dream; once known, all fear disappears.
These people harden. Go and see how hard a Jaina monk is. His whole effort is to shrink, he lives in a kind of shut-upness; he closes himself from everywhere. He is so afraid of life that he will not look at a woman; he is so afraid of life that he will not stay in a householder’s house. He is so afraid that he remains hiding behind himself, closes all doors and windows. He becomes very hard; he becomes almost stone.
This hardness is not liberation. This hardness is not nirvana; it is a kind of suicide. Afraid of death, he has committed suicide, but what kind of gain is this? Afraid of life, he has not reached to some higher plane of consciousness, he has relapsed back. Out of fear, he has become paralyzed.
He will fast because he is afraid that if he eats well then sexuality will arise; if you eat well, natural energy is created and your biology goes on creating sex hormones. He is afraid of food, hence he fasts. He is afraid of seeing a woman because he knows his mind. Looking at a beautiful face, again something will be stirred in him, something will arise. He knows those desires are there. He has renounced objects, but those desires are inside. You can renounce objects, but how can you renounce desires? They are part of your being.
So he is afraid. If he comes in contact with an object of a desire, the presence of the object may help the desire to bubble up, to surface. He cannot sit with a woman alone and be at ease; he will be very restless. Now, what kind of liberation is this? This is not a higher stage, but a lower stage than ordinary, a pathological stage. To protect himself he hardens himself, he becomes thick.
That’s why you will not find intelligence at all in the so-called saints. They become thick; they have to become thick, because even intelligence is a danger. They have to become more and more unintelligent: they relapse into a certain kind of idiocy. They eat less, they fast more, they sleep less; they torture their bodies in a thousand and one ways. If it is cold, they will sit naked so the skin becomes hard. If it is hot they will sit by the side of a fire, so slowly, slowly all sensitivity is lost, because with sensitivity they are afraid sensuousness can come any moment. If you are sensitive, sensuousness is just behind it. They become like stones rather than becoming like flowers.
A buddha has to be like a flower: infinitely sensitive, open. A buddha cannot remain in a shut-upness; a shut-upness is a state of pathology. A buddha is utterly open, available to the winds and the sun and the moon, available to the whole. He has seen the futility of life, now there is no fear. He has seen all the dreams through and through. He has looked, meditated upon them, and has gone beyond them. The only sign of a buddha is his softness, his delicateness, his utter delicateness.
Ikkyu is right. This sutra is of great importance, remember it: To harden into a buddha is wrong; all the more I think so when I look at a stone buddha.
I have heard about Ikkyu: a young monk came to see him and the master asked, “What do you desire from me?”
The young monk said, “I have come in search of enlightenment.”
Ikkyu asked, “Where have you been before? Have you been to somebody else?”
He said, “Yes, I have been with a certain master.”
“And what have you learned there?”
The monk said, “I will show you – I have learned yoga postures.” And he sat in a siddhasana – in a buddha posture – with closed eyes, unmoving.
Ikkyu laughed, hit him hard on the head, and said, “You fool! We don’t need any more buddhas – we have many stone buddhas in this place. You get away from here. No more stone buddhas here!”
And it was true, because he used to live in a temple where there were ten thousand stone buddhas. He said, “We are tired of taking care of these ten thousand. Now we don’t want any more. Get lost!”

But that’s what people learn in the name of religion: to become stone buddhas. My emphasis is that you should be soft, open, feminine, flowerlike, flowing. The more flowing you are, the more sensitive you are, the more alive you are, the more you can be now here. And to be now here is to be really a buddha.
Buddhahood is not a kind of hardening. So wherever you find somebody hard, wherever you find a mahatma absolutely hard, know well that this is the wrong place to be. Look for softness, for love, for compassion, because out of a hard person only violence can arise.
Sometimes it happens: the person may believe in nonviolence, but out of a hard person only violence is possible, nonviolence is not possible. My own understanding of Jaina monks, and I have seen many of them, is that they teach nonviolence, but they live in deep violence. Of course, they don’t kill others, but they kill themselves, and that is the same. They are not aggressive toward others; they have turned their aggression on themselves; they have become their own enemies. They torture themselves, and they enjoy that torture; they are masochists. They need psychiatric treatment.
A real man of awakening is not hard, he is not frozen. He has melted; the ice has disappeared into water. And finally water disappears into vapor. The first stage of buddhahood is melting from the ice as water, and the second stage is disappearing even from water into vapor. Then one becomes part of the sky; then one has come home.
To harden into a buddha is wrong; all the more I think so when I look at a stone buddha. Remember this sutra – because you are in search of buddhahood, that’s why you have gathered around me. That’s why you are here. Knowingly, unknowingly; deliberately, or accidentally you are here for the sole purpose of becoming buddhas. Remember this: don’t become hard.
That’s why my insistence is so much on singing, dancing, chanting, loving. The emphasis is just to keep you flowing, melted. The ego wants to freeze, the ego can be there only if you are hard. The ego disappears if you melt. So all that helps melting is good, and all that helps hardening is bad.
Be alert, because freezing yourself into a certain pattern is very easy, freezing yourself into a certain character is very easy. To live characterlessly, melted, is very difficult, but that is the real challenge. A real man accepts the challenge that “I will not create a character. I will live moment-to-moment, without a character, out of my consciousness, not out of my conscience.”
A man who lives through conscience becomes hard. A man who lives through consciousness remains soft. Why? Because a man who has some ideas about how to live, naturally becomes hard, he has to continuously carry his character around himself. That character is like armor, his protection, his security; his whole life is invested in that character. And he always reacts to situations through the character, not directly. If you ask him a question, his answer is ready-made. That is the sign of a hard person: he is dull, stupid, mechanical. He may be a good computer, but he is not a man. You do something and he reacts in a well established way. His reaction is predictable; he is a robot.
The real man acts spontaneously. If you ask him a question, your question gets a response, not a reaction. He opens his heart to your question, exposes himself to your question; he responds to it. You hear the answer for the first time; he also hears the answer for the first time. It was not managed, it was not prepared; it was not ready-made. Your question stirred it, created the situation for it to happen; all his responses are spontaneous. He does not live according to an ideology. He simply lives without any ideology, just like a river.
A river does not carry a guidebook; it does not carry a map. It does not know where the ocean is; a vague longing for the ocean is enough. Then it starts moving, slowly, slowly finding its way. Sometimes going to the north and sometimes going to the south and sometimes moving to the east and sometimes to the west, zigzag. It is not like a railroad track. Each moment it decides. Wherever it can find a lower space, it moves into it, and feels it is coming closer to the ocean. The ocean is the lowest space, so finding a low place, it is moving toward the ocean. The ocean is far away; you cannot see it, but the river reaches it.
Have you ever heard of any river missing the ocean? Without guidebooks, and without maps, a miracle that no river has ever missed! No river can miss.
Consciousness is a river. Don’t carry guidebooks. Don’t be a Hindu or a Mohammedan carrying guidebooks. Just move slowly, slowly, spontaneously, alert, sensitive, alive to each moment, totally alive, because there is no tomorrow, there is no next moment. This way one comes home one day, one evaporates, one disappears. That is the day when one has come home.
Your disappearance is the beginning of the real appearing in you. Your disappearance is the appearance of godliness. Remember it. This is one of the most important things to remember; otherwise, the so-called spiritual people, sooner or later, harden. And the moment they harden, they have destroyed all possibility. Then they are not becoming more and more intelligent, aware; they are becoming dull and dead.
Never become a mahatma, dull and dead. Be alive. Become innocent of all character, of all ideology, of all perfectionist ideas. The man who is a perfectionist is bound to become a neurotic. All hard people are neurotics; only soft people are divine, and the softer, the more divine.
That’s why you cannot see God, because he is so soft, so soft that he is invisible. You cannot see God because he is so soft, you cannot touch him. You can become gods, but you cannot see him, you cannot touch him.
Enough for today.

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