Tao The Pathless Path Vol 1 01

First Discourse from the series of 14 discourses - Tao The Pathless Path Vol 1 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

When Lieh Tzu was eating at the roadside on a journey to Wei,
he saw a hundred-year-old skull.
Picking a stalk he pointed to the skull and, turning to his disciple Pai Feng, said,
“Only he and I know that you were never born and will never die. Is it he who is truly miserable, is it we who are truly happy?”
I rejoice in Lieh Tzu – he is one of the most perfect expressions for the inexpressible.
Truth cannot be expressed: that inexpressibility is intrinsic to truth. Thousands and thousands of people have tried to express it – very few have succeeded even in giving a reflection of it. Lieh Tzu is one of those very few; he is rare.
Before we start entering into his world, a few things have to be understood about him, about his approach. His approach is that of an artist, a poet, a storyteller – and he is a master storyteller. Whenever somebody has experienced life, his experience has flowered into parables, which seem to be the easiest way to hint at that which cannot be said. A parable is a device, a great device; it is not just an ordinary story. The purpose of it is not to entertain you; the purpose of it is to say something for which there is no other way to say it. Life cannot be put into a theory – it is so vast; it is so infinite.
A theory by its very nature is closed. A theory has to be closed if it is a theory; it cannot be open-ended, otherwise it will be meaningless. A parable is open-ended: it says and yet it leaves much unsaid; it only hints. That which cannot be said can be shown. It is a finger pointing to the moon. Don’t cling to the finger – that is irrelevant – look at the moon. These parables in themselves are beautiful, but that is not their purpose; they go beyond, they are transcendental. If you dissect the parable itself, you will not come to much understanding.
It is like the navel in the body of man. If you go to the surgeon and ask him what the purpose of the navel in the body is, and if he dissects the body, he will not find any purpose for it. The navel seems almost useless. What is the purpose of the navel? It was purposeful when the child was in the womb: its purpose was that it related the child to the mother; it connected the child with the mother. But now the child is no longer in the womb; the mother may have died, the child has become old, now what is the purpose of the navel? It has a transcendental purpose; the purpose is not in itself. You will have to look everywhere, all around, to find what this indicates – where it points. It indicates that the man was once a child, that the child was once in the womb of a mother, that the child was connected with the mother. This is just a mark that the past has left behind.
As the navel shows something about the past, a parable shows something about the future. It shows that there is a possibility of growing, of being connected with existence. Right now that is only a possibility, it is not yet actual. If you just dissect the parable, it becomes an ordinary story. If you don’t dissect it, but just drink the meaning of it, the poetry of it, the music of it – forget the story, just carry the significance of it – soon you will see that it points toward a future, toward something which can be but is not yet. It is transcendental.
In the West, nothing like the parables of Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Buddha exists, only the parables of Jesus. And even Jesus’ parables seem to be such that he must have carried them from the East. There are Aesop’s parables, but they are also reflections of the greatest book of parables of the East, Panchtantra. The parable is an Eastern invention, and of tremendous import.
The first thing to be understood about Lieh Tzu is that he is not a theoretician, he will not give you any theory; he will simply give you parables.
A theory can be dissected; its meaning is in it, it has no transcendence, the meaning is immanent. A parable cannot be dissected; dissect it, and it will die. The meaning is transcendental. It is not in the parable; it is somewhere else – it has to be. You have to live a parable, then you will come to its meaning. It has to become your heart, your breathing; it has to become your inner rhythm. So these parables are tremendously artistic, but are not mere art: great religion is contained in them.
Lieh Tzu is not a theologian either; he does not talk about God. He talks God, but he does not talk about God. Whatsoever he says comes from the source, but he does not talk about the source – let it be very clear to you. There are two types of people: one who talks about God, he is the theologian; one who talks God, he is the mystic. Lieh Tzu is a mystic. The man who talks about God has not known God. Otherwise why would he talk “about” God? The “about” shows his ignorance. When a man talks God he has experienced. Then God is not a theory to be proved or disproved – no; then God is his very life – to be lived.
To understand a man like Lieh Tzu you will have to live an authentic life. Only then, by your own experience, you will be able to feel what he means by his parables. It is not that you can learn the theories and become informed; that information will not help. Unless you know, nothing is going to help. So if these parables create a thirst in you to know, a great desire to know, a great hunger to know; if these parables lead you on an unknown journey, on a pilgrimage – then only, only by treading the path, will you become acquainted with the path.
Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lao Tzu, the three Taoist masters, only talk about “the way” – “Tao” means the way – they don’t talk about the goal at all. They say: “The goal will take care of itself; you need not worry about the goal.” If you know the way you know the goal, because the goal is not at the very end of the way, the goal is all over the way – each moment and each step it is there. It is not that when the way ends you arrive at the goal; each moment, wherever you are, you are at the goal if you are on the way. To be on the way is to be at the goal. Hence they don’t talk about the goal; they don’t talk about God, they don’t talk about moksha, nirvana, enlightenment – no, not at all. Their message is very simple: you have to find the way.
Things become a little more complicated because they say that the way has no map; the way is not charted; the way is not such that you can follow somebody and find it. The way is not like a superhighway; the way is more like a bird flying in the sky – it leaves no marks behind. The bird has flown but no marks are left; nobody can follow. So the way is a pathless path. It is a path, but it is a pathless path. It is not ready-made, available; you cannot just decide to walk on it, you will have to find it. And you will have to find it in your own way; nobody else’s way is going to function. Buddha has walked it, Lieh Tzu has walked it, Jesus has walked it, but those ways are not going to help you because you are not Jesus, and you are not Lao Tzu, and you are not Lieh Tzu. You are you, a unique individual. Only by walking, only by living your life, will you find the way. This is something of great value.
That’s why Taoism is not an organized religion – cannot be. It is an organic religion, but not an organized religion. You can be a Taoist if you simply live your life authentically, spontaneously; if you have the courage to go into the unknown on your own, individual, not leaning on anybody, not following anybody, simply going into the dark night not knowing whether you will arrive anywhere or you will be lost. If you have the courage, that risk is there – it is risky, it is adventurous.
Christianity, Hinduism, Mohammedanism are super-highways: you need not risk anything; you simply follow the crowd, you go with the mob. With Tao you have to go alone, you have to be alone. Tao respects the individual and not the society. Tao respects the unique and not the crowd. Tao respects freedom and not conformity. Tao has no tradition. Tao is a rebellion, and the greatest rebellion possible.
That’s why I call Tao “the pathless path.” It is a path, but not like other paths. It has a very different quality to it: the quality of freedom, the quality of anarchy, the quality of chaos. Tao says that if you impose a discipline on yourself, you will be a slave. The discipline has to arise out of your awareness; then you will be a master. If you impose an order on your life, it will be just a pretension: the disorder will remain deep in the very core of your being; the order will be on the surface, at the center there will be disorder. This is not going to help. The real order arises not from the outside, but from the innermost core of your being. You allow disorder, don’t repress it. Face it; take the challenge of disorder – and by taking the challenge of disorder and living it, living dangerously, an order arises in your being. That order is out of chaos, not out of any pattern. This is a totally different gestalt: it is born into you and it is fresh; it is not traditional, it is virgin; it is not secondhand. Tao does not believe in a secondhand religion and in a secondhand god. If you take the God of Jesus you become a Christian, if you take the God of Krishna you become a Hindu, if you take the God of Mohammed you become a Mohammedan. Tao says until you find your God, you are not on the way.
All these ways simply distract you from the real way. Following others, you are going astray. Following any pattern of life, you are becoming a slave. Following any pattern, you are imprisoning yourself. And godliness, or Tao, or dharma, or truth, is possible only to one who is absolutely free, unconditionally free.
Of course, freedom is dangerous because there is no security in it, no safety in it. There is great safety when you are following the crowd – the crowd protects you. There is great safety when you are following the crowd because in the very presence of so many people you feel that you are not alone – you cannot be lost. Because of this security you are lost; because of this security you never search and you never seek and you never inquire. Truth cannot be found unless you have inquired, unless you have inquired on your own. If you take borrowed truths, you become knowledgeable; but to be knowledgeable is not to know.
Tao is very much against knowledge. Tao says that even if you are ignorant and the ignorance is yours, it is good; at least it is yours, and it has an innocence in it. But if you are burdened with accumulated knowledge, scripture, tradition, then you are living a false, pseudo life. Then you are not really living, you are just pretending that you are living. You are making impotent gestures, empty gestures. Your life has not the intensity, the passion – cannot have the passion. That passion arises only when you move on your own, alone, into the vast sky of existence.
Why can you not move alone? Because you don’t trust life. You move with Mohammedans, you move with Hindus, you move with Jews, because you don’t trust life, you trust crowds. To move alone one needs great trust in life – trees, rivers, sky, the eternity of it all – one trusts this. You trust man-made conceptions; you trust man-made systems; you trust man-made ideologies. How can man-made ideologies be true?
Man has created these ideologies just to hide the fact that he does not know, to hide the fact that he is ignorant. Man is cunning, clever, and he can create rationalizations; but these rationalizations are bogus – you cannot move with them into truth. You will have to drop them. Tao says that ignorance is not the barrier to truth – knowledge is the barrier.
Let me tell you a few anecdotes. In Samuel Beckett’s great work, Waiting for Godot, this small incident happens. Ponder over it.

Two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, are on stage. They are there to wait – just as everybody else in the world is waiting – nobody knows exactly for what. Everybody is waiting, hoping that something is going to happen: today it has not happened; tomorrow it is going to happen. This is the human mind: today is being wasted, but it hopes that tomorrow something is going to happen. And those two tramps are sitting under a tree and waiting, waiting for Godot.
Nobody knows exactly who this Godot is. The word sounds like God, but it only sounds like it. In fact the gods you are waiting for are all Godots. You have created them because one has to wait for something, otherwise how will you tolerate existence? For what? How will you postpone living? How will you hope? Life will become intolerable, impossible, if there is nothing to wait for. Somebody is waiting for money, and somebody is waiting for power, and somebody is waiting for enlightenment, and somebody for something else; but everybody is waiting. And people who wait are the people who miss.
These two tramps are there just to wait. What they are waiting for is the coming of a man, Godot, who is expected to provide them with shelter and sustenance. Meanwhile, they try to make time pass with small talk, jokes, games, and minor quarrels…
That’s what your life is: one is engaged meanwhile with small things. The great thing is going to happen tomorrow. Godot will come tomorrow. Today one is quarrelling – the wife with the husband, the husband with the wife. Small things: “small talk, jokes, games: tedium and emptiness.” Today, that’s what everybody is feeling: tedium, emptiness… “Nothing to be done” is the refrain that rings again and again. They say again and again, “Nothing to be done,” but then they console themselves, “but tomorrow he is coming.” In fact he has never promised them; they have never met him – it is an invention. One has to invent something; out of misery one has to invent the tomorrow and something to cling to. Your gods, your heavens, your paradises, your mokshas, are all inventions. Tao does not talk about them.
This Samuel Beckett play, Waiting for Godot, is very essentially Taoist.
In the midst of the first act, two strangers – Pozzo and Lucky storm onto the stage. Pozzo seems to be a man of affluence; Lucky, the servant, is being driven to a nearby market to be sold. Pozzo tells the tramps about Lucky’s virtues, the most remarkable of which is that he can think. To show them, Pozzo snaps his whip and commands, “Think!” and there follows a long, hysterically incoherent monologue in which fragments of theology, science, sports, and assorted learning jostle in confusion until the three others hurl themselves on him and silence him.

What is your thinking? What do you mean when you say, “I am thinking”? It is a “hysterical, incoherent monologue in which fragments of theology, science, sports, and assorted learning jostle in confusion…” until death comes and silences you. What is your whole thinking? What can you think? What is there to think? And through thinking how can one arrive at truth? Thinking cannot deliver truth. Truth is an experience, and the experience happens only when thinking is no longer there.
So Tao says that theology is not going to help; philosophy is not going to help; logic is not going to help; reason is not going to help. You can go on thinking and thinking, and it will be nothing but inventions – the pure inventions of the human mind to hide its own stupidity. Then you can go on and on; one dream can lead into another and that dream can lead you into another dream within dream within dream – that’s what all philosophy is, what all theology is.
I have heard a Taoist parable:

A man of the State of Cheng was one day gathering fuel when he came across a startled deer which he pursued and killed. Fearing lest anyone should see him, he hastily concealed the carcass in a ditch and covered it with plantain leaves, rejoicing excessively at his good fortune. By and by, he forgot the place where he had put it; and, thinking he must have been dreaming, he set off toward home, humming over the affair on his way.
Meanwhile, a man who had overheard his words acted upon them and went and got the deer. Later, when he reached his house, he told his wife, “A woodman dreamt he had got a deer, but he did not know where it was. Now I have got the deer, so his dream was a reality.”
“It is you,” replied his wife, “who have been dreaming you saw a woodman. Did he get the deer? And is there really such a person? It is you who have got the deer. How, then, can his dream be a reality?”
“It is true,” assented the husband, “that I have got the deer. It is therefore of little importance whether the woodman dreamt the deer or I dreamt the woodman.”
Now when the woodman reached his home, he became much annoyed at the loss of the deer, and in the night he actually dreamt where the deer was and who had got it. So next morning he proceeded to the place indicated in his dream – and there it was. He then took legal steps to recover possession. When the case came up, the magistrate delivered the following judgment: “The plaintiff began with a real deer and an alleged dream. He now comes forward with a real dream and an alleged deer. The defendant really got the deer which the plaintiff said he dreamt, and is now trying to keep it; while, according to his wife, both the woodman and the deer are but the figments of a dream, so that no one got the deer at all. However, here is the deer, which you had better divide between you. Nothing else can be done.”
When the Prince of Cheng heard this story, he cried out “The magistrate himself must have dreamt the case!”

Dream within dream within dream – this is how the mind goes on. Once you start dreaming, there is no end to it; and what you call thinking is better called dreaming – it is not thinking.
Remember, truth needs no thinking, it needs experience. When you see the sun and the light you don’t think about it, you see it. When you come across a rose you don’t think about it, you see it. When the fragrance comes to your nostrils you smell it – you don’t think about it. I am here; you are looking at me; there is no need to think about me. Whenever you are close to reality, thinking is not needed – then reality is enough, then the experience is enough. When you are far away from reality, you think: you substitute thinking. A man who has eaten well is not going to dream in the night that he has been invited to a feast. A man who has fasted in the day is bound to dream in the night that he has been invited to a feast. A man who is sexually satisfied is not going to dream about sexual objects. That’s all of Freudian psychology: you dream about things which are missing in your life, you dream to compensate. That’s the whole Taoist approach too. What Freud says about thinking, about dreaming, the Taoist approach says about thinking as such. Dreaming is only a part of thinking and nothing else.
Thinking is dreaming with words, dreaming is thinking with pictures – that’s the only difference. Dreaming is a primitive way of thinking and thinking is a more evolved way of dreaming – more civilized, more cultured, more intellectual, but it is the same; only the pictures have been replaced by words. In a way because pictures have been replaced by words, it has gone even further away from reality because reality is closer to pictures than to words.
Lieh Tzu is not a thinker. Let that sink in deep; that will help to understand his parables. Lieh Tzu is a poet, not a thinker; and when I say “poet,” I mean one who believes in experiencing, not in speculations.
The poet is in search. His search is for the beautiful, but beauty is nothing but truth glimpsed. Truth, when you just glimpse it for a moment, appears as beauty. When truth is realized totally, then you come to know that beauty was only the function of truth. Wherever truth exists, there exists beauty – it is a shadow of truth. When truth is seen through screens, it is beauty; when beauty is naked, it is truth.
The difference between the poet and the mystic is not much. The poet is coming closer, the mystic has arrived. For the poet, there are only glimpses of truth; for the mystic, truth has become his very life. The poet is only sometimes transported to the world of truth and then falls back again. For the mystic, truth has become his abode: he lives there; he lives as truth.
Poets come closest to religion. Thinkers, philosophers, logicians, theologians, scientists, are very far away. Their whole approach is verbal. The poetic approach is more existential, and the mystic’s approach is existential par excellence; it is absolutely existential.
Tao means to exist on the way, and to exist in such a way that the way and you are not two. This existence is one – we are not separate from it. The separation, the idea of separation, is very illusory. We are joined together; we are one whole. We are not islands; we are one continent. You are in me, I am in you. The trees are in you, you are in the trees. It is an interconnected whole.
Basho has said it is as if it were a vast spider’s web. Have you tried it? Touch the spider’s web anywhere and the whole web starts shaking, trembling; the whole vibrates. Touch a leaf on the tree and you have made all the stars vibrate with it. You may not be able to see it right now, but things are so deeply related that it is impossible not to touch the stars by touching a leaf, a small leaf of a tree.
The whole is one – separation is not possible. The very idea of separation is the barrier. The idea of separation is what we call the ego. If you are with the ego, you are not on the path, you are not in Tao. When the ego is dropped, you are in Tao. Tao means an egoless existence, living as part of this infinite whole, not living as a separate entity.
Ordinarily we have been taught to live as separate entities; we have been taught to have our own will. People come to me and they ask me, “How should we develop our willpower?” Tao is against will; Tao is against willpower because Tao is for the whole and not for the part. When the part exists in the whole, everything is harmonious. When the part starts existing on its own, everything becomes disharmonious – there is discord, conflict, confusion. When you are not fused with the whole, there is confusion. If the fusion is not happening with the whole, there is bound to be confusion. Whenever you are not with the whole, you are unhappy.
Let this be the definition of happiness: to be with the whole is to be happy. To be with the whole is to be healthy. To be with the whole is to be holy. To be separate is to be unhealthy. To be separate is to be neurotic. To be separate is to fall from grace.
The fall of man is not because he has disobeyed God. The fall is because he thinks he is. The fall is because man thinks that he is a separate entity. This is foolish: you could not have existed if your parents were not there, and your parents’ parents, and their parents’ parents, back to Adam and Eve. If Adam and Eve had not existed you would not be here. So you are connected with the whole past.
Adam and Eve are just a myth. The past has no beginning – cannot have any beginning; the very idea of beginning is absurd. How can things suddenly begin? It is a beginning-less procession of events. You are connected with the whole past, and you are connected with the whole future too because without you the future will not be the same. You may be nobody, but you will leave your mark. The whole future, the whole eternal future, will have a certain quality because you existed. Maybe you existed only for seventy years, and in those seventy years maybe you existed consciously only for seven seconds, but still you will leave a mark: the whole will not be the same. If you had not been, things would have been completely different; things will now be totally different because you have existed. You will continue. You may not do anything special, anything big and great – just an ordinary life – but still you will affect the whole destiny of existence.
Past, future – you are connected: this is the dimension of time. And then in space you are connected with everything. These trees, the sun, the moon, the stars – you are connected with everything. If the sun goes out of existence or simply becomes cool, as one day it is bound to because energy is being dissipated every day… A few scientists think that within four thousand years it will cool down – or forty thousand years, or four million years – that doesn’t matter, some day the sun will cool down. The moment the sun cools down, we will all cool down immediately. We will lose life because life needs warmth; so the sun is continuously giving you life. Remember, in life there is no process which is one-way – cannot be. There is give and take: all roads go both ways. If the sun is giving life to you, you must be giving life to the sun in some way or other.
Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples that the moon feeds on man – this was what he meant. You feed on animals, you feed on trees – everything is food for something – so why should man be an exception? Gurdjieff has some point there. Everything is food for something else, so why should man be the only exception that is not food for anything? He is the eater of all of existence – and he is not food for anything? That is not possible; things are linked. So Gurdjieff invented a beautiful theory that man is food for the moon – the moon feeds on man, on man’s consciousness.
It has some truth in it because the full-moon night drives people crazy. That’s why mad people are called lunatics; luna means the moon – moonstruck; a lunatic is moonstruck. The ocean goes wild. There is a possibility that man also goes wild on the full-moon night because ninety per cent of man is ocean and nothing else. Ninety per cent of you is just ocean; you are made of ocean. Ninety per cent is water, and this water has the same salts as the ocean in exactly the same proportion. So when the ocean goes wild, something must be happening in your body too.
Ninety per cent is ocean within you – something must be going wild. Poets say that they write beautiful poetry at the full moon; lovers say that something becomes tremendously romantic. It is a well established fact now that more people go mad on the full-moon night than on any other night. The least go mad on the no-moon night, and the most go mad on the full-moon night.

Maybe Gurdjieff had a point when he said that the moon feeds on your consciousness. It may be just fiction, but even fictions have some part of truth in them. And when a man like Gurdjieff creates a fiction, it has to have some truth in it.
The whole is connected. We are eating, we are being eaten: from one side we take, to the other side we give. You eat an apple; one day, the apple tree will eat from your body, your body will become fertilizer. When you are eating the apple, you may never have thought that your father or your grandfather may be in the apple, or that you may be eating your grandmother or grandfather. And, some day, your children will eat you.
Everything is connected. This connectedness is what is meant by the word Tao: the connectedness, the interconnectedness, the interdependence of all. Nobody is separate, hence the ego is absurd. Only the whole can say “I,” the part should not say “I.” If it must be said as a linguistic formality then it is acceptable, but one should not claim the “I.”
When you exist separately from existence, you exist in misery because you become disconnected; and nobody else is responsible for it – it is you. When you are happy, watch what happens. Whenever you are happy, you don’t have an ego. In those moments of happiness, joy, bliss, suddenly the ego disappears – you are melting into the whole. Boundaries are less clear, boundaries are more blurred. When the boundaries are totally blurred as if the river has disappeared into the ocean, when all boundaries are blurred and you are one, throbbing with the whole, there is happiness.

It is said somewhere, once there lived a king. The king had everything that could be desired: wealth, power, even health. He had a wife and children whom he loved, but he did not have happiness. Sad and worried he sat upon his throne…
It is natural. The more you have of this world, the less you have of happiness because the more you have of this world, the stronger becomes your ego, the more strengthened is your ego, more crystallized – hence unhappiness. It is never heard of that kings have been happy, very rarely. It is not just a coincidence that Buddha and Mahavir left their kingdoms and became beggars. By becoming beggars they declared, “Now we have become emperors” – because they became happy.
A sannyasin is a person who has learned the way of Tao, and he says “I am no longer. Only the whole is.” This is the meaning of Jesus’ saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” “Poor in spirit” means a man who has no ego, so poor that he has not even the idea of “I.” But, from the other side, he is the richest person. That’s why Jesus says: “Those who are last here will be the first in my Kingdom of God.” The poorest will become the richest. Remember, that by “poor” no financial concept is meant; “poor” means a person who is nothing. By becoming nothing you become part of the whole.
The king must have been very unhappy. “I must have happiness,” said the king. The royal physician was summoned. “I want happiness. Make me happy, and I shall make you wealthy. If you do not make me happy, I shall cut off your head,” said the king.
The physician was at a loss. What to do? How to make somebody happy? Nobody knows the way; nobody has ever been able to make somebody else happy. But the king was mad, and he might kill the physician. The physician said, “I will have to meditate, sir, and consult the scriptures. Tomorrow morning I will come.” He meditated the whole night and in the morning he came upon the conclusion: “It is very simple.”
He had consulted the books, but happiness was not mentioned in the medical books. The problem was difficult, but then he invented something – he prescribed a remedy. He said, “Your Majesty, you must find the shirt of a happy man and take it from him. Then you will have happiness and you will know what happiness is.” A simple remedy: find the shirt of a happy man and wear it.
The king was very happy listening to this; he said, “So simple?” He told his chief minister, “Go and find a happy man and bring his shirt as immediately as possible.”
The minister went. He went to the richest man, and he asked for his shirt, but he said, “You can take as many shirts as you like, but I am not a happy man. You can have as many shirts as you want, but I am unhappy myself, and I will send my servants too to look for a happy man and his shirt. Thank you for your remedy.”
He visited so many people, but nobody was happy. They were all ready; they said, “We can give our lives if the king can become happy. What of shirts? We can give our whole lives, but we are not happy – our shirts won’t do.”
Then the minister was very miserable. What to do? Now he would be at fault – the physician had played a game, so he was very much worried. Then somebody said, “Don’t be so worried, I know a happy man. You must have heard of him somewhere, sometimes – he plays on his flute in the night, just by the side of the river. You must have heard him.”
He said, “Yes, sometimes in the middle of the night, I was enchanted – such beautiful notes. Who is this man? Where is he?”
The man said, “In the night we will go and find him. He always comes, every night.”
So they went in the night and the man was playing on his flute and it was tremendously beautiful. The notes were so blissful that the minister was happy. He said, “Now I have found the man!”
When they reached there, the man stopped playing. He said, “What do you want?”
The minister said, “Are you happy?”
He said, “I am happy, I am happiness. What do you want?”
The minister danced with happiness. He said, “Now just give your shirt!” And the man remained silent. The minister said, “Why are you silent? Give your shirt! The king needs it.”
The man said, “That’s impossible because I don’t have any shirt. You can’t see because it is dark, but I am sitting naked. I would have given you my shirt – I can give my life, but I don’t have any shirt.”
“Then why are you so happy?’ the minister asked, “Then how are you so happy?”
The man said, “The day I lost all – shirt and all… I became happy the day I lost it all. In fact I don’t have anything, and I don’t have even myself. I am not playing this flute; the whole is playing through me. I am a nonentity, a nothingness, a nobody…”

This is the meaning of “the poor in spirit,” one who possesses nothing, who has nothing, who knows nothing, who is nothing. Tao says that when you are nothing, you will become all. Dissolve and you will become whole. Claim that you are all, and you will be miserable.
This Tao, this merging with the whole, this disappearing into the cosmos, cannot be taught. You can learn about it, but it cannot be taught. So Lieh Tzu and other Taoist masters don’t preach anything; they don’t have anything to preach. They talk in parables. You can listen to the story, and if you really listen, something will burst open in you. So the whole thing depends on how you listen.
Lieh Tzu himself was with his master for many years, just sitting silently, not doing anything, just learning to be silent, learning to be passive, learning to be receptive, learning to be feminine – that is how one becomes a disciple. Let me tell you: there are no masters; there are only disciples – because it cannot be taught, so how to say that there are masters? Buddha cannot teach you, Lieh Tzu cannot teach you, so why call them masters? But if there is a disciple, he learns.
A master is not one who teaches you, a master is one in whose presence you can learn. Let the difference be known: a master is not one who teaches you – because there is nothing to teach. A master is one in whose presence it is possible to learn.

A seeker came to Jalaluddin Rumi, the Sufi mystic, and asked, “Will you teach me? Will you teach me, master?”
Jalaluddin looked at him and said, “Will you allow me to teach?”
The man said, “Why should I not allow you to teach? I have come to learn.”
Jalaluddin said, “Because that is the main thing – will you allow me to teach? Otherwise I cannot teach because in fact teaching is not possible, only learning is possible. If you allow, then the learning will flower.”

Lieh Tzu was with his master for many years, just sitting silently, not doing anything, just becoming more and more passive. A day arrived when he was absolutely silent: there was not a ripple of thought in his being, not a wave. His energy was totally there, a reservoir, a placid lake with no waves, no wind blowing – and he understood.
In a single moment it happens. Truth is not a process, it is a happening. It is not gradual; it needs no time to happen. If time is needed, the time is needed only for you because you cannot be silent right now. If you can be silent, it can happen right now. It happens always in silence.
What happens in silence? When you are silent, you are not, the boundaries dissolve, you are one with the total.
Then what is the function of a master? The function of the master is just to be close to you, so that you can have a taste of someone who has tasted the whole – so that he can become a via media. It is difficult for you to taste the whole because you are so full of the ego. Somebody who is egoless, in whom godliness is flowing easily, one who is glowing with godliness, streaming with this energy… Just sitting by his side, sitting silently, waiting, some day you are over flooded.
Let me tell you a Taoist story.

A disciple of Lao Tzu said, “Master, I have arrived.”
Lao Tzu said, “If you say you have arrived, then it is certain that you have not arrived.”
The disciple waited for a few months, then one day he said, “You were right, master. Now, it has arrived.”
First he had said, “I have arrived,” and the master denied it. Then after a few months, one day, suddenly he burst open, and he said, “It has arrived.”
Lao Tzu looked with tremendous compassion and love and patted his head. And he said, “Now it is right. Now, tell me what has happened. Now I would like to listen. What has happened?”
He said, “Up to the day you said, ‘If you say you have arrived, then it is certain that you have not arrived,’ I was making an effort. I was doing all that I could do, I was trying hard. The day you said, ‘If you say you have arrived, then you have not arrived,’ it struck home. How could ‘I’ arrive? Because ‘I’ is the barrier, so I had to give way.”
It can arrive, and Taoists even call it “It.” They don’t call it “he.” They don’t call it “she,” they don’t call it “God the Father,” they don’t call it by any personal name they simply say “It.” “It” is non-personal; it is the name of the whole: Tao means “it.”
“Tao has arrived,” he said, “and it came only when I was not there.”
Lao Tzu said, “Tell the other disciples the situation in which it happened.”
And he said, “The only thing that I can say is that I was not good, I was not bad, I was not a sinner, I was not a saint, I was not this, I was not that. I was not anybody in particular when it arrived. I was just passivity, a tremendous passivity, just a door, an opening. I had not even invited it. Listen! I had not even invited it because even the invitation would have gone with my signature. I had not even invited… In fact, I had completely forgotten about it. I was just sitting. I was not even seeking, searching, inquiring. I was not there, and suddenly it flooded me.”

It happens that way. It can happen to you here, if you just become more and more passive. Tao is the way of the feminine. All other religions are aggressive; all other religions are more male-oriented; Tao is more female. And remember, truth comes only when you are in a feminine state of consciousness – never otherwise. You cannot conquer truth. That is foolish, silly even to think that you can conquer truth. The part conquering the whole! The part can only allow; the part can only be in a let-go.
This let-go will happen if you can do one thing: stop clinging to knowledge, stop clinging to philosophies, stop clinging to doctrines, dogmas. Stop clinging to the churches and the organized religion; otherwise you will have false conceptions, and those false conceptions won’t allow the truth to enter you.
A beautiful parable…

All along the farmyard gables the swallows sat in a row, twittering uneasily to one another, telling of many things. But thinking only of summer and the south, for autumn was afoot and the north wind was waiting.
And suddenly, one day they were all quite gone. And everyone spoke of the swallows and the south.
“I think I shall go south myself next year,” said a hen.
The year wore on and the swallows came; the year wore on and they sat again on the gables, and all the poultry discussed the departure of the hen.
Very early one morning, the wind being from the north, the swallows all soared suddenly and felt the wind in their wings; and a strength came upon them, and a strange old knowledge and a more-than-human faith; and flying high, they left the smoke of our cities.
“I think the wind is about right,” said the hen, and she spread her wings and ran out of the poultry yard. And she ran fluttering out onto the road and some way down it, until she came to a garden.
At evening she came back panting. In the poultry yard she told the other poultry how she had gone south as far as the highroad, and had seen the great world’s traffic going by. She had come to lands where the potato grew and had seen the stubble upon which men live. And at the end of the road she had found a garden, and there were roses in it, beautiful roses, and the gardener himself was there.
“How extremely interesting,” the poultry said, “and what a really beautiful description!”
The winter wore away, and the bitter months went by; and the spring of the year appeared, and the swallows came again.
But the poultry would not agree that there was a sea in the south, “You should hear our hen!” they said.

Now the hen has become the knower. She knows what is in the south, and she has not even gone outside the town – just down the road a little bit.
Intellect is a hen… It cannot go very far. But once the hen knows something, it prevents further exploration; it becomes an obstacle.
Drop your intellect, and you will not lose anything. Carry your intellect with you and you will lose all. Drop your intellect, and you will lose only your imprisonment, your falsity. Drop your intellect and suddenly your consciousness will soar high, will be on its wings, and you can go to the very south, to the open seas where you belong. Intellect is the burden on man.
The last thing before we go into a parable: Tao starts with death. Why? There is something significant in the beginning. Tao says that if you understand death you will understand everything because in death your boundaries will be blurred. In death, you will disappear. In death, the ego will be dropped. In death, mind will no longer be there. In death, all that is non-essential will be dropped, and only the essential will remain.
If you can understand death you will be able to understand what Tao is, what the pathless path is – because religion is also a way of dying, love is also a way of dying, prayer is also a way of dying. Meditation is voluntary death. Death is the greatest phenomenon. It is the culmination of life, the crescendo, the highest peak. You know only one peak, and that peak is of sex, and that is the lowest peak of the Himalayas. Yes, it is a peak, but the lowest peak; death is the highest peak.
Sex is birth: it is the beginning of the Himalayas, the lowest peak. The highest is not possible at the beginning. Slowly, slowly, the peaks rise higher and higher, finally they come to the peak. Death is the peak, sex is the beginning. Between sex and death is the whole story of life.
Western psychology starts by understanding sex. Eastern psychology, the psychology of the buddhas, starts by understanding the psychology of death. To understand sex is very primary; to understand death is the ultimate.
By understanding death you can die consciously. If you die consciously you will not be born again – there will be no need. You have learned the lesson; you will not be thrown back again and again into the wheel of life and death. You have known; you have learned – there is no need for you to be sent again to school; you have transcended. If you don’t learn the meaning of death you will have to be thrown back. Life is a situation to learn what death is.
This parable:
When Lieh Tzu was eating at the roadside on a journey to Wei,
he saw a hundred-year-old skull.
Picking a stalk he pointed to the skull and, turning to his disciple Pai Feng, said,
“Only he and I know that you were never born and will never die. Is it he who is truly miserable, is it we who are truly happy?”
A very cryptic statement, a code which has to be decoded. “Only he and I know…” said Lieh Tzu, pointing to the hundred-year-old skull, “…that you were never born and will never die.” Why does he say, “Only he and I”? The skull has died an involuntary death, and Lieh Tzu has died a voluntary death – both are dead in a way.
Lieh Tzu has died through meditation. Lieh Tzu has died because he is no longer an ego, because he is no longer separate from the whole, because he is no longer. This is real death, deeper in fact than the death of the skull. It is not really certain whether the man who has died, and whose skull is lying there for a hundred years, has known. It is not certain – he may not have known; he may have known. But it is certain that Lieh Tzu knows: his death is conscious.
He used the situation. A parable uses a situation. His disciple, Pai Feng, was sitting by his side, the skull was lying there, and he pointed to the skull: “Only he and I know that you were never born and will never die.” Who dies? And who is born? The ego is born and the ego dies. Deep down, where ego is no longer, you are never born and you never die. You are eternal, you are eternity, you are the very substratum, the very stuff that existence is made of – how can you die? But ego is born and ego dies.
You are never born and you can never die, but how to know it? Would you like to wait until death comes? That is very risky because if you live your whole life unconsciously, there is not much possibility that you may become conscious when you die. It is not possible. If your whole life has been a continuity of unconscious living, you will die unconsciously, you will not be able to know. You will die in a coma; you will not be able to observe and see what is happening. You were not even able to see life; how can you see death? Death is more subtle.
If you really want to know, then start becoming alert, aware. Live consciously – learn consciousness; accumulate consciousness. Become a great flame of consciousness; then, when death comes, you will be able to witness it; you will be able to see it and you will know: “The body is dying; the ego is dying, but I am not dying because I am the witness.” That witness is the very core of existence. That witness is what other religions call “God,” and what Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu called “Tao,” the knower, the knowing element, consciousness, awareness, alertness.
Start living a conscious life. Do whatsoever you are doing, but do as if you are a witness to it – watch it, silently go on observing it. Don’t get lost in things; remain alert, remain beyond. Start from small things: walking on the road, eating, taking a bath, holding the hand of a friend, talking, listening – small things – but keep alert. You will forget again and again. Pick it up again, find it out again, remember it again. This is what Buddha called “mindfulness,” what Gurdjieff called “self-remembering.”
Go on remembering that you are a witness. In the beginning it is arduous, hard, because our sleep is long. We have slept for many lives; we have become accustomed to sleep, we are snoring – metaphysically. It is difficult, but if you try, by and by a ray of alertness will enter your being. It is possible – difficult, but possible – not impossible. This is the most valuable thing in life.
“Only he and I know that you were never born and will never die.” I know you will never die because you were never born, but you don’t know it. My knowing is not going to help you – you have to know it. It has to become your own understanding: a light unto yourself.
“Is it he who is truly miserable, is it we who are truly happy?” Then he puts a question to his disciple: “Who is happy, those who are alive or those who are dead? Who is really miserable – those who are dead or those who are alive? And who is really happy?” And he leaves the question. It is a koan: the disciple has to meditate on it.
The parable says nothing, it ends abruptly. Now the disciple has to work it out. Now he has to meditate, he has to be aware of death, of life, of love, of this and that. He has to meditate on the fact: Who is really happy? Are you happy by being just alive? You are not; the whole world is so miserable. So one thing can be deduced, and can be deduced unconditionally, that just by being alive one is not bound to be happy. Just being alive is not enough to be happy – something more is needed to be happy, something “plus.” Life plus awareness: then happiness arises because in awareness, in the light of awareness, the darkness of ego disappears.
When life has a plus point of awareness great things happen. First: the ego disappears. And with the ego, death disappears because only the ego can die – because the ego was born. With the ego gone, birth has disappeared, death has disappeared. With the ego gone, your separation from existence has disappeared.
This is the meaning of the crucifixion: the ego is crucified. When Jesus is crucified, Christ is born – that is the meaning of resurrection. On one side crucifixion; on the other side resurrection.
Die if you really want to be alive – very paradoxical, but tremendously true, absolutely true. As you are, you are neither dead nor alive. You are hanging in between, hence the misery, the tension, the anguish. You are split: you are neither alive nor dead. Either be totally alive – and then you will know what life is – or be totally dead. Then too you will know what life is because with totality the door of Tao opens.
Be total. A man who is asleep cannot be total in anything. You are eating, you are not totally there; you are thinking a thousand and one things, you are dreaming a thousand and one dreams, you are just stuffing mechanically. You may be making love to your woman or to your man – you are not totally there. You may be thinking of other women – making love to your wife and thinking of some other woman. Or you may be thinking of the market, or of the prices of things that you want to purchase, or of a car, or of a house, or of a thousand and one things – and you are making love mechanically.
Be total in your acts, and if you are total you have to be aware; nobody can be total without being aware. Being total means having no other thinking. If you are eating, you are simply eating; you are totally herenow. The eating is all: you are not only stuffing, you are enjoying it. Body, mind, soul all are in tune while you are eating: there is a harmony, a deep rhythm, between all three layers of your being. Then eating becomes meditation; walking becomes meditation; chopping wood becomes meditation; carrying water from the well becomes meditation; cooking food becomes meditation. Small things are transformed: they become luminous acts, and each act becomes so total that each act has the quality of Tao.
When you are total, then you are not the doer. Then godliness is the doer, or the total is the doer – you are just a vehicle, a passage. Becoming that passage is bliss, is benediction.
Enough for today.

Spread the love