Tao The Pathless Path Vol 1 03

Third 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 Confucius was roaming on Mount T’ai, he saw Jung Ch’i Ch’i walking on the moors of Ch’ang in a rough fur coat with a rope round his waist, singing as he strummed a lute.

“Master, what is the reason for your joy?” asked Confucius.

“I have many joys. Of the myriad things which heaven begot, mankind is the most noble – and I have the luck to be human.
This is my first joy.
People are born who do not live a day or a month, who never get out of their swaddling clothes, but I have already lived to ninety. This is my joy.
For all men, poverty is the norm and death is the end. Abiding by the norm, awaiting my end, what is there to be concerned about?”

“Good!” said Confucius, “here is a man who knows how to console himself.”
This is a beautiful parable, and not only beautiful but very subtle. If you look only on the surface, you will miss the meaning. Taoist parables are not on the surface. They are very deep, and they have to be penetrated and looked into and meditated upon; then only will you know the real meaning. This parable, on the surface, seems to be in favor of Confucius. On the surface it seems that the parable is saying that Confucius is wise. The reality is just the opposite.
There is a diametrical opposition between the Taoist attitude and the Confucian attitude. Confucius is as far from the Taoist vision as possible. Confucius believes in law; Confucius believes in tradition; Confucius believes in discipline. Confucius believes in character, morality, culture, society, education. Tao believes in spontaneity, individuality, freedom. Tao is rebellious; Confucius is very conformist.
Taoism is the profoundest non-conformism that has ever been evolved anywhere in the world, at any time in history; essentially it is rebellion. So there has been a rebellion, and the Taoist mystics, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu, go on ridiculing the Confucian attitude. This is a parable of ridicule. You will understand it when I explain it to you. Their ridicule is also very subtle, not gross. First let us understand the surface meaning.
When Confucius was roaming on Mount T’ai, he saw Jung Ch’i Ch’i walking on the moors of Ch’ang in a rough fur coat with a rope around his waist, singing as he strummed a lute.
Singing, music, dancing are all the language of joy, of happiness. It is an expression that a person is not miserable. But it may be just an appearance, it may be just projected, it may be just cultivated; deep down the situation may be just the opposite. Sometimes it happens that you laugh because you don’t want to cry. Sometimes it happens that you smile because tears are coming, and if you don’t smile, they will start rolling down your cheeks. Sometimes you maintain an attitude, a cultivated face, a mask, that you are happy because what is the point of showing your unhappiness to the world? That’s why people look so happy. Everybody thinks he is the unhappiest person in the world because he knows his reality, and he knows only the faces of others, their cultivated faces. So everybody deep down thinks, “I am the most miserable person, and why am I the most miserable person when everybody is so happy?”
Singing and dancing are certainly a language of joy, but you can learn the language without knowing what joy is. That’s what humanity has done: people have learned gestures – empty gestures.
But Confucius is deceived. He asks:
“Master, what is the reason for your joy?”
The mask has deceived Confucius; the man may be joyful, may not be joyful. The man has to be looked into directly – through his nature, not through his expression. The expression can be false: people have learned expression. Sometimes, have you noticed? Somebody is smiling – on the lips there is a beautiful smile – but look into the eyes, and the eyes say just the opposite. Somebody says something to you, “I love you.” Look at the face, and at the eyes, and the very vibe of the person, and it seems that he hates you. But just to be polite he is saying, “I love you.”
Confucius looked only at the appearance: that is the first thing to be remembered; and he was deceived – deceived so much that he called the man “master.”
He asks: “Master, what is the reason for your joy?” Now again, joy has no reason, joy cannot have a reason to it. If joy has any reason, it is not joy at all: joy can only be without any reason, uncaused. A disease has a reason, but health? Health is natural. If you go and ask the doctor, “Why am I healthy?” he cannot answer you. If you go to the doctor and you say, “Why am I ill?” he can answer you because illness has a cause. He can diagnose your case, and he can find the reason you are ill; but nobody has been yet able to find a reason why a man is healthy. Health is natural, health is as it should be. Illness is as it should not be; illness means something has gone wrong. When everything is going well, one is healthy. When everything is in tune, one is healthy. When one is harmonious with the whole, one is healthy. There is no reason for it.
But Confucius asked: “Master, what is the reason for your joy?” Again Lieh Tzu is joking about Confucius, that’s how they are very subtle people. He is saying that the whole Confucian wrong attitude is there in the very question: Confucius thinks there are reasons for joy. There cannot be reasons for joy. Joy simply is – unexplained, unexplainable. When it is, it is; when it is not, it is not. When it is not, you can find the reasons why it is not; but when it is, you cannot find any reasons why it is. If you can show reasons why it is, then your joy is cultivated, not real, not true, not authentic. It is not flowing from your innermost core; it is just that you are managing it, you are manipulating it, you are pretending it. When a joy is a pretended joy, you can find a reason. But when the joy is truly there, it is so mysterious, it is so primal, that you cannot find any reason in it.
If you ask a Buddha, “Why are you happy?” he will shrug his shoulders. If you ask Lao Tzu, “Why are you blissful?” he will say, “Don’t ask. Rather than asking why I am blissful, inquire why you are not.”
It is like a small spring in the mountains: when there is no hindrance, the spring flows; when there are rocks in the way, it cannot flow. When the rocks are removed… You don’t create the spring – you only remove the negative; you only remove the obstacle. The spring was there, but because of the rock it was not able to flow. When you remove the rock you are not creating the spring – the spring was already there. By removing the rock you have removed the negative, the obstacle, and the spring flows. Now if somebody asks, “Why does the spring flow?”… Because the spring is there, that’s why it flows. If it is not flowing, then there is a cause to it. Let this sink deep into you because it is your problem too.
Never ask why you are happy, never ask why one is blissful, otherwise you have asked a wrong question. Never ask why there is a God. If you ask, you have asked a wrong question; and all the answers that can be given are bound to be wrong because a wrong question provokes wrong answers. “Why is God?” That is irrelevant; it is simply the case.
Confucius is asking something, and by asking that, he is showing his presuppositions: Confucius believes that everything has a cause. If everything has a cause, then only science can exist. Then there is no possibility for religion. Science is the inquiry into the cause-and-effect relationship, an inquiry into causation, an inquiry into causality. That is the whole scientific attitude: they say that if something is there, there must be a cause for it – you may know, you may not know, but the cause is bound to be there. “If we don’t know today, we will know tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, but the cause is bound to be known, because the cause must be there.” This is the scientific attitude: everything can be reduced to its cause.
And what is the religious attitude? Religion says that nothing can really be reduced to its cause. That which can be reduced is not essential. The essential simply is – it exists without any cause; it is mysterious. This is the meaning of mystery: there is no cause to it.
Confucius is asking a question according to his presuppositions, according to his philosophy: “Master, what is the reason for your joy?” Why is he asking? So that, if the reason is known, others can also cultivate it. If somebody says, “By standing on my head I become very peaceful,” you also can stand on your head, and you can become peaceful. Somebody says, “I am happy because I have renounced the world,” so you also renounce the world, and you become happy. Then happiness becomes something that can be manipulated. This is how people are – imitating each other.
In fact there is no cause for happiness. The day you understand this, you can be happy any moment. If there is a cause, then the cause will take time: you will have to practice it; you will have to practice long. And the whole radical attitude of Tao is that you can be happy this moment.
What does this mean? This means that there is no cause, so there is no need to practice. It is just a question of allowing it – it is already there if you allow it. If you don’t allow it, you function like a rock: if you allow the flow, the rock is removed. It is only a question of allowing it.
God is there if you allow him – that’s all.
If you don’t allow, God will not enter because he cannot destroy your freedom; he protects your freedom. If you say, “no,” he is not going to enter into your being. If on your door it is written that nobody is allowed without permission, he will wait. He is not even going to ask your permission – he will simply wait because even to ask your permission is to interfere with your freedom. He will wait. He will not ring the bell. He will simply wait. God is everywhere, waiting, and he waits so silently; that’s why his presence is not felt, he looks almost absent. Can’t you see it? God seems to be the most absent thing in the world. That’s why atheists can exist, and they can say, “Where is your God? We don’t see…” He is so noninterfering; he allows you total freedom. And total freedom implies in it to go against even God.
Your nature is that of bliss. You are made of the stuff called bliss. But you have to allow it, you have to relax, you have to be in a let-go; no cause is there – just a let-go is needed. Hence, theoretically, it can happen at this very moment – not even a split second has to be wasted. If there is a cause, then a long time will be needed, and even then one never knows – you may succeed, you may not succeed.
See the difference between the Hindu attitude and the Taoist attitude. The Hindu, the Jaina, the Buddhist, all say: “Past lives, karma, have to be removed. Much has to be done; great discipline is needed – only then will you be able to attain.” Ashtavakra, Lao Tzu, Bodhidharma, Lin Chi all say, “Nothing is needed, just allow it. Relax – allow it, and this very moment it will start pouring into you.”
Confucius says: “Master, what is the reason for your joy?” “Tell me how you have attained it. Tell me what was your process – what methodology you followed; what principles, what disciplines, what scriptures. How have you attained it?” Now Confucius is greedy. He wants to attain to the same state where song is natural, and music flows, and one is celebrating. He is tremendously enchanted by this man because he is …in a rough fur coat with a rope around his waist, singing as he strummed a lute.
A poor man has nothing to be happy for, has nothing to be happy about. If he were miserable, it would be understandable; if he were depressed, it would be understandable – Confucius would have passed him, not even noticing his existence. But this poor man who has nothing, …a rope around his waist… singing? Singing a song of joy? Strumming a lute? Confucius is enchanted, magnetized, but he asks a wrong question.
A Taoist will never ask such a question. Joy is, and simply is; it has no cause to it, hence no methods are possible, only understanding.
That man said,
“I have many joys.”
If you have many joys, you have not understood what joy is because joy is only one. There cannot be many joys. There can be many diseases, but there cannot be many “healths.” You may have your disease, I may have mine, somebody else has his own; but when I am healthy, you are healthy, somebody else is healthy – what is the difference? Can you make a distinction between my health and your health? There is no possibility of it: health is universal, disease is personal. Disease is of the ego, health is not of the ego. Disease is of the body, of the mind; health is of the beyond, and the beyond is one. My body differs from yours – naturally I will have a different disease, you will have a different disease, but health? Health is simply one. It has the taste, the same taste always, eternally the same.

Somebody asked Buddha, “What is the taste of your buddhahood?” He said, “Go and taste the sea, and taste it from anywhere – from this bank, from any bank of any beach. Or go to the middle of the ocean and taste it there, or go to the other shore – and you will find the taste always the same: the same salty taste. Buddhahood has one taste.” Whosoever has become a Buddha has come to the same taste. Health has the same taste. When the child is healthy, the young man is healthy, and the old man is healthy, then too it has the same taste. When the woman is healthy, the man is healthy – the same taste.
But diseases are different. Now, medical science says that even when two persons are suffering from the same disease, even then the two diseases are not the same. Hence sometimes it happens that you are suffering from some disease – maybe tuberculosis – and your wife is suffering from the same disease, tuberculosis, but the same medicines don’t work. You need one medicine; your wife needs some other medicine. That’s why the physician is needed; otherwise the chemist would be enough. If once it was decided that tuberculosis needed this medicine, then what would be the point in going to the physician? The chemist could supply it.
Now, more and more, as medical science is going deeper into the phenomena of health and disease, they are becoming aware that each disease has a personality in it: it belongs to the person. So now they say: don’t treat the disease, treat the person. Don’t be too much concerned with the disease. Look to the person: his total personality, his way of life, his attitudes, his habits, patterns. Look into them, and then you will find that the name TB may be the same – because it would be very difficult to have separate names for everybody – but each person who suffers from tuberculosis suffers differently, and a different treatment is needed.
Diseases are personal, but health? Health is impersonal, universal. So is joy. Misery is a disease; joy is health, well-being. Now Confucius has asked a wrong question, and provoked a wrong answer. And, of course, the man does not know anything about joy.
He says: “I have many joys.” Many? Then something has gone wrong. Joy is one. When you say you have many joys, you don’t know what joy is. You may be talking about pleasures; you may be talking about your so-called “moments of happiness” which are not really moments of happiness, but only of less misery. A person is very miserable, then one day he feels less miserable, and he says, “I am very happy.” That is just relative; he does not know what happiness is.
He knows only sometimes very intense misery, sometimes not so intense. When it is not so intense, he says, “I am happy.” You can observe it in yourself. Have you ever known what happiness is? Do you know the taste of it? You have known only different stages of misery.
Sometimes the misery is such that it is unbearable. Sometimes it is bearable, within control – you can tolerate it. You move from less misery to more misery, from more misery to less misery. But you have not known what happiness is. Once you have known what happiness is, then there is no need to be miserable at all – because then you have the key. You can open that door any moment you decide to open it. But you cannot open the door of happiness – that simply shows that you don’t have the key. You just know relative states of the same phenomenon: sometimes it is very dark, and you cannot see at all, and sometimes it is not so dark, it is dim. But you have not known what light is. Light is not a relative state of darkness – light is not less darkness, remember light is a totally different kind of energy; it has nothing to do with darkness. Darkness and light cannot exist together in the same room. Light is a positivity, darkness is a negativity – so is misery.
“I have many joys.” Said the man, “Of the myriad things which heaven begot, mankind is the most noble – and I have the luck to be human.
This is my first joy.”
On the surface, it looks very meaningful, appealing, because it is so fulfilling to the human ego. Man has always been thinking himself the most superior creation of God. Man has always thought of himself as next to God, and he feels very happy. But how is happiness possible through the ego? Unhappiness comes through the ego. This is one of the greatest egoist points: that man is next to God. And you say that just to be polite; deep down you know that God is next to you.
The very idea of “I” has in it an implication of being the first, and then everything is secondary. Friedrich Nietzsche is truer than many other people, he says, “I cannot allow God to exist because then I am secondary, and I cannot be secondary; I cannot accept my status as secondary. If God is, then I will always be secondary. However I grow, and wherever I reach, I will be secondary – I will never be primary, the first.” This is not acceptable, so he says, “God is dead and man is free.” He says, “God is the bondage.” This is true – in a way. In a way, I say, because that’s how everybody thinks deep down: every ego wants God to be second.
Even when you are a great worshipper, a great so-called “religious” person, you are trying every moment to manipulate God according to you. “Do my will!” That’s all that your prayer means: “Do according to me. Listen to me.” Your whole effort is to convert God into your servant. You call him “Lord,” “Master,” but those are just bribes; you are trying to manipulate him. You say, “I am nobody, you are all,” but deep down you know who is who. In fact, even when you fight for your God, it is your God. Even when you sacrifice yourself on some pedestal, on some altar, it is to your God that you sacrifice. When you bow down to an image of God in a temple, in a mosque, in a church, it is to your image that you have created it; it is your God. You are bowing down in front of your own creation. You are bowing down as if before a mirror. You are reflected there and you say, “How beautiful!” When a Christian says, “How beautiful Christ is,” when a Hindu, “How beautiful Krishna is,” and when a Buddhist says, “How beautiful Buddha is”… The Buddhist will not accept that Christ is beautiful because that does not fulfill his ego. The Christian will not accept that Buddha is beautiful – that does not fulfill his ego. The Hindu cannot believe that Christ or Mohammed or Moses is beautiful – that does not fulfill his ego.
Remember: we are fulfilling our egos in every way possible – gross or subtle, direct or indirect. A religious person is one who knows this, becomes aware of this, and in that awareness the ego disappears.
A religious person has no idea who is superior. A religious person cannot say, “I am superior to the tree, I am superior to the animal, I am superior to the bird.” A religious person cannot say, “I am superior.” A religious person has come to know “I am not,” and in that experience of “I am not.” joy flows in; the rock has been removed.
Now this man says: “I have many joys. Of the myriad things which heaven begot, mankind is the most noble…” Why? Why is mankind the most noble? If we look at human history, mankind seems to be the most ignoble. Look at the animals: they have not been so violent, so murderous; they have not been so insane. Have you ever seen any animal turning into a politician, trying to become a president of a country? They are not insane: they live naturally. They die naturally. Animals in the wild never go mad. Sometimes they go mad when they are forced to live in a zoo – the zoo is a human creation. Animals never commit suicide, but sometimes in the zoo they do. Animals never turn homosexual in the natural wild state, but in the zoo they do. In the zoo they become murderous, dangerous. Yes, they kill, but they kill only when they want to eat. Man kills for no reason. A man goes to the wild and kills a tiger and he says, “This is play. This is game. I was hunting.” Have you ever heard of any lion hunting? They never hunt as man hunts. When a lion is hungry, of course he kills, and that’s a natural way for him.
I have heard…

Once a lion and a fox entered a restaurant – maybe the Vrindavan café. They took seats and the fox ordered, but the fox ordered only for one. So the waiter asked, “And what about your friend?”
And the fox said, “What do you think? If he was hungry, should I be sitting here?”

He is not hungry – that is certain. When animals are hungry they kill, but they don’t kill as game, they don’t kill for fun; they are not interested in killing in itself. Of course they are interested in food – nothing is wrong in it. Man kills for no reason. Animals don’t kill for ideologies: they don’t say, “I am a Communist and you are a Capitalist. I will kill you.” They don’t say, “I am a Fascist and you are a Communist so I will kill you.” They don’t have any ideologies, and they don’t kill because they are Christians, Hindus and Mohammedans.
Man kills for any excuse, for any excuse whatsoever. Hindus can kill Mohammedans, Mohammedans can kill Hindus, Christians can kill Mohammedans, and Buddhists, and so on and so forth. And for what? For abstract doctrines, principles – nobody is ready to live for those doctrines, but everybody is ready to kill others for those same doctrines. If somebody insults the Bible, the Christian is ready to kill him, and if you ask him, “Are you living your Bible?” he will say, “It is very difficult.” He is not interested in living it, nobody is interested in living it; but if it comes to killing, then everybody becomes very interested.
Down the centuries, in three thousand years, there have been five thousand wars. No, no animal is so ignoble – animals have a natural nobility. Man is very cunning.
The man said: “…mankind is the most noble – and I have the luck to be human. This is my first joy.” This is not joy. This is the pleasure that comes from feeling egoistic, from thinking, “I am somebody.” And remember, this cannot lead you to real happiness because deep down there is comparison. If you are feeling superior, at any moment you can feel inferior.
Once I heard a religious man, a saint, a very well known saint in India, teaching his disciples, saying, “Always look to people who don’t have as much as you have, and you will feel very happy. If you have a house, always look to people who don’t have a house.” Naturally, you will feel happy. “If you have only one eye, look at the person who is blind, and you will feel happy.” But what type of happiness is this? And what type of religion is this? Naturally you cannot throw away the other aspect of the coin. You have one eye – when you look at the blind person, you feel happy. But when you come across a man who has two beautiful eyes, then what will you do? You will feel unhappy. In your so-called happiness, unhappiness is implied.
No, through comparison nobody comes to joy. Joy is a non-comparative state. Don’t compare.
I have heard…

A father took his son to see a show which featured fifty of the most beautiful, naked performers in the country.
”Phew! Phew! Phew! Father kept muttering all during the performance.
“What’s the matter, Pop, don’t you like the show?” the boy asked.
“Sure I do,” he replied, “I was thinking of your mother.”

If you are comparing, your comparison is going to create trouble. Remember: joy is not out of comparison – never.
But this man said: “I have many joys. Of the myriad things which heaven begot, mankind is the most noble – and I have the luck to be human. This is my first joy.”
This is not much of a joy. It is just a titillation of the ego: you feel good, you feel superior. But a person who needs to be superior to feel good is a person who is carrying a volcano within him. A person who has to be superior to feel happy is suffering deep down from an inferiority complex. Only an inferior person thinks in terms of superiority. A real person, an authentic person, is neither superior nor inferior. He simply is – unique; nobody is lower than him and nobody is higher than him.
All of existence is equal. The trees and the rocks, and the animals and the birds, and men and women, and God – all are sharing the whole of existence on equal terms. The moment you see this tremendous equality, this oneness, you are joyful. And then your joy has no cause, it is uncaused.
“People are born who do not live a day or a month, who never get out of their swaddling clothes. But I have already lived to ninety.
This is my joy.”
Comparing: somebody was born and died, somebody was young and died, and this man is comparing: “I am ninety years of age, I have lived my life, so what is there to be miserable about? I am happy, I have lived more than others.” But if those others had not died, then? If he were alone in the world, then would this man be happy? Just think. The whole world disappears, only this man is left. There are no animals, no birds, no rocks – he cannot compare himself, and he cannot call himself “the superior man.” There are no young people dying, no children dying – he cannot compare himself – that he has lived ninety years of age. If he is left alone, will he be happy? All his happiness will disappear because it was coming from comparisons.
Tao says that if you are alone, absolutely alone, and your happiness still remains the same, then you have attained – otherwise you have not attained.
A comparative happiness is pseudo happiness. “I have a big car and you don’t have one. Because you don’t have one, I am happy.” This is something foolish. How can I be happy because you don’t have a car? What has it to do with my happiness that you don’t have a car? “I have a big house and you don’t have a big house, so I am happy.” This happiness seems more interested in making others unhappy rather than in being happy oneself. “You don’t have a car, you don’t have a good house – I am happy because you are miserable.” Look at the logic of it, the mathematics is simple: “I am happy when people are miserable, so if people are more miserable, I will be happy; if the whole world is going to hell, I will be supremely happy.” This is the logic, and this is what man has been doing.
In Kolkata, I used to stay in a house, the most beautiful house in Kolkata. The owner was madly in love with his house. It was a marble mansion, really beautiful, built with taste, with very aristocratic taste, and in Kolkata to have ten acres of garden in the middle of Kolkata was something impossible – and he had it. He was really in deep love with it, and whenever I stayed with him, he would take me to the swimming pool, to the garden, to the lawn; he would show me this and that – what improvements he had made since I had last been there. But the last time I went he was very miserable. I said, “What is the matter? You have not taken me anywhere. Have you not done anything new?”
He said, “My interest is gone. Can’t you see that next door, my neighbor has made a better house? Unless I can make a bigger house than his, I will remain unhappy.”
This man had the same house, but his happiness had disappeared.
“What has your happiness to do with your neighbor? If he has made a bigger house, how does it concern you? Your house remains the same! And you are no longer happy. Then certainly,” I told him, “it was not your house that you were happy with. You were happy because of the neighbor’s poor house.”

Watch. Always watch. It is violence to be happy because somebody is miserable. This is how people start moving in the wrong direction – become oppressors, become exploiters, become dangerous. They are a curse on the earth. But their whole logic is the same.
What this man is saying is: “I am happier than others. Look: many people have died when they were young, and I am still alive, healthy, and I am ninety years of age. This is my joy.”
“For all men, poverty is the norm and death is the end. Abiding by the norm, awaiting my end, what is there to be concerned about?”
Now he says “Almost all men are poor, so that is the norm – to be poor; and naturally everybody is going to die, so I am going to die. I am poor, I am going to die – everybody is going to die, everybody else is poor, so why be miserable? That’s why I am happy.”
This is not happiness.
“Good!” said Confucius…
Confucius was very much impressed, he said:
“Good! Here is a man who knows how to console himself.”
In this sentence, Lieh Tzu has played a trick. He says that Confucius was very much impressed. He said: “Good! Here is a man who knows how to console himself.”
…because for Confucius, to be satisfied in life is the goal; to have consolation is the goal. To ask for more, Confucius says, is to ask for the impossible. This is all that a man can have, and this man knows how to console himself, and he is happy, and he is singing.
But to the Taoist, consolation is negative – it is not contentment. Contentment has nothing to do with consolation; contentment is a totally different dimension. Try to understand it: consolation means somehow rationalizing one’s situation – trying not to be worried, trying not to be too much concerned – creating buffers around oneself. That’s what Gurdjieff used to call “buffers,” everybody creates buffers around himself so that life is not so shocking.
They use buffers on the railway trains or springs on the cars, so that when you are moving on a hilly road – and life is a hilly track – you don’t go on bumping. Those springs function as buffers. If the road is rough, the roughness is absorbed by the springs, by the buffers – it does not reach you.
So-called “philosophies of consolation” are buffers. You see that you are poor; a great unhappiness arises in you – you create the buffer: “So many people are poor, millions of people are poor, so why be worried about it? This is how things are.” You have created a buffer. You are ill; misery arises – you go to the hospital and see the people there, and you will feel very happy. You have created a buffer: at least you are not as ill as others are. You have lost one leg – just go to the street and see a beggar who has lost both legs; then feel consoled.
These are buffers: always look to those who don’t even have as much as you have. That way life becomes less shocking, you live more conveniently, more comfortably, and you are not touched. By and by, between you and life there is such a distance created by the buffers that nothing ever reaches you. You live encapsulated inside your buffers, philosophies, consolations. Life ends one day – you can console yourself: “Everybody has to die.” Nothing special is happening to you; God is not especially unkind to you, it happens to everybody. Or you can start believing in the theory of reincarnation: that you will be born and the soul is eternal – again a buffer. Or you can think that it is only the body that dies, and what is the body? Nothing but bones, marrow, flesh, blood; it is nothing of worth, it is useless, a dirty bag – so let it die. But your pure soul is going to be forever and ever – a buffer is created.
These buffers don’t allow you to see what reality is; they are the way you console yourself. But Confucius believes that consolation is the end: if a man can console himself, he has known the art of life. That’s what Confucius thinks – that the whole art of life is how to live in this miserable world in comparative ease, not too burdened, comparatively. Yes, there is misery, but one can protect oneself from misery by creating conceptions, rationalizations. And humanity has been moving from one rationalization to another – always it finds a new rationalization.
For example, in the East this rationalization is very ancient: if you are miserable, they say, you must have done something wrong in your past life. Something has gone wrong in your past; you have done some wrong karma, hence you are miserable. Now things are explained, so one has to suffer. You have sown, now you are reaping.
I have heard about a man who was a very good tailor.

He was caught stealing and he was sentenced to two years in jail. The mayor of the town went to see him because he was the best tailor in the town, and the whole town was suffering from his absence. The mayor loved this tailor. When he went to see him in the jail, he was doing some needlework, sewing something, his old habit – what else to do? So the mayor asked, ‘So, I see you are sewing something?’
And the tailor said “No sir, reaping.”

The whole philosophy of karma is that you have sown already, now you are reaping; you have done something, and it is a natural consequence. It consoles… So nobody is doing anything unjust to you – God is not unjust, fate is not unjust, the world is not unjust, the society is not unjust; it is your own karma, so what can you do? One has to pass through it and one has to keep one’s equanimity, one’s equilibrium. And don’t do such a thing again, otherwise in the next life you will suffer again. So that is the only thing that can be done: you cannot change the past, but you can still manage the future, a beautiful consolation.
It has helped the East to remain poor, miserable. It has helped the East to remain ugly, ill, unhygienic. It has helped the East to console itself, and that consolation has turned into a tremendous lethargy. There is nothing you can do – you have to tolerate it. All that is needed is to beware of the future. So the past has to be accepted and the future has to be feared; that’s all. But even in poverty, in misery, the East seems to be happier than the West. Why? Because the East has a beautiful buffer, a strong buffer, to protect itself.
Each society has to create these consolations in different ways. In the West now, psychoanalysis is one of the most consoling processes. You go to the psychoanalyst, and he throws the whole responsibility on your mother; you feel unburdened. You say, “So what can I do?” You cannot change your mother the same as you cannot change your past, your mother is your past – what can you do? Next time, be a little more alert! Don’t enter anybody’s womb, that’s all. This has happened: you were born to such and such a mother, and she has spoiled your life. One feels good that you are not responsible; you feel good. It is just a calamity that has happened, and whatsoever has happened, has happened; accept it. Long years of psychoanalysis simply prepare you to accept it; they simply make you alert that things have been this way and nothing can be done about it. All their explanations are rationalizations. And they find answers for whatsoever you ask.
If you smoke, they have answers for why you smoke. Your mother must have taken away the breast sooner than you wanted, hence you are smoking. So you are not responsible; what to do? Your mother took away the breast, now the cigar is a substitute breast – and it is, a little. They find very clever explanations! It seems it is a little true, because from the breast flows warm milk and from the cigarette flows warm smoke. There is a certain similarity, and you do hold the cigar in the same way you hold a breast in your mouth.
But when it comes to them, themselves, then it is troublesome. It is said that Freud used to explain everything through sex – whatsoever you would do, he would find a sexual explanation. If, in your dream you were climbing a mountain, it was sexual: you were climbing a woman. If, in your dream you were driving fast, it was nothing, it was sexual: you wanted to penetrate a woman fast. He found sex in every explanation. As in the East every explanation has been found through the soul, and it has become a very consoling process; so Freud analyzed everything through sex.
Sometimes he would be in difficulty: he himself was a chain smoker, so he had to say… Once somebody asked him, “What is the meaning of your cigar smoking?”
He said, “Sometimes a cigar may be just a cigar.”
Of course the disciple was not satisfied, and the disciple said to the other disciples, “That simply shows that it is a rationalization on the part of Sigmund Freud for his cigar smoking.”
He wanted to protect himself. Now it would be too much to think that he had some complex behind this smoking. Everybody has a complex, so everybody has to give in to the consolation that because of this complex… But Freud could not have a complex, otherwise it would become a disturbing thing to him. “I am the greatest psychoanalyst ever, the founder of psychoanalysis, and I am smoking, and I know what it is.” So he says, “Sometimes a cigar is a just a cigar.”
This way of explaining things has become very prevalent in the West. It has almost taken on epidemic proportions. Psychoanalysis is always trying to get to the “why” of everything, as if by knowing the “why” anything is solved. Why are you so miserable? Go to the psychoanalyst, he will find a “why” for it. “Your father was such, your mother was such, your childhood was such – that’s why,” and you become happy. You become happy because now you have a rationalization.
I have heard the shortest psychiatric joke ever. Listen, it is very small. Be careful!

A man asked another man, “Are you a psychiatrist?”
And the other man said, “Why do you ask?”
And the man said, “So, you are a psychiatrist!”

“Why,” a continuous why, as if having a why is going to explain anything. It simply postpones understanding: it pushes the same problem a little further back, and again the why can be asked. Hindus say that you did something wrong in the past life. Ask why, and they have to go to another past life. Then ask why, and the mahatma will become very angry and he will say, “Stop! You are going beyond! These are things to be experienced, not asked about.” What is the point of saying, “I have done something wrong in the past life, why? Then something else in another life, and why? Why did I do the wrong thing in my first life?” It is useless. But as in the East religion became a consolation, so psychoanalysis is becoming a consolation in the West.
Psychoanalysis is almost an obsessive compulsion to analyze each and every thing and to find the cause of it. Particularly in America it has become almost a collective neurosis; everybody is going to the psychoanalyst or the psychiatrist – anybody who can afford it is going. Those who are not going to the psychiatrist are poor people, they cannot afford it. When women meet in their clubs, they talk about their psychiatrist: what he has said and how profound his analysis is. Everything is reduced to the lowest common denominator. If you ask the psychoanalyst, “What is the cause of this lotus?” he will say, “The mud.” If you have spiritual experiences, what is the cause? He will go to sex – the mud, the lowest denominator.
These things help, in a way. If you find that all is sublimated sexuality, you are at ease. So you don’t need to worry about it, you don’t need to be in search of it – this is just sublimated sexuality. You are okay wherever you are. If Buddha attained to bliss, it is nothing but sexual. These mahatmas who are experiencing sahasras are experiencing nothing but sexuality, fantasy; so nothing is wrong. You can go on reading your Playboy and enjoy your sexual fantasy, because Buddha’s experience was also nothing but a sublimated sexual fantasy. Consolations…
I have heard a Second World War story about a priest who repeatedly preached to the troops about predestination.

The priest told the soldiers not to worry about their future or fate on the battlefield because if they were predestined to be killed, a bullet would find its mark no matter where they were; or, on the other hand, if they were to be spared, no bullet would hit them.
Sometime later, in the heat of battle, with bullets spraying around him, the priest hotfooted it to the nearest and biggest tree. A soldier was behind it. He inquired of the priest about his predestination sermons and why he should be seeking shelter now.
“You do not fully understand the principles and theories of predestination,” the priest replied, “I was predestined to run and hide behind this tree.”

Explanations and explanations, clever consolations, places to hide.
Life has to be faced. It is rough; there is much pain, but the pain has to be faced. There is misery; it has to be encountered, it has to be passed through without any explanations and without any consolations. If you can live your life without any theorization about it – directly, immediately, moment to moment – one day, you will come to that source of joy which is not a consolation, which is a contentment. And what is the difference? Contentment is a positive state of your being, a consolation is just negative. I have one eye, others don’t have even one – I feel consoled. I am miserable, others are even more miserable – I am consoled. I am young, others are old – I am consoled. I am old, others have died young – I am consoled. Consolations and consolations, but all are empty.
Confucius believes in consolations, Lieh Tzu believes in contentment, and the difference has to be remembered. Contentment comes only when you are not comparing, when you are simply within yourself, totally in yourself – centered, rooted. By being in your being, you suddenly realize that the whole is yours, and you are of the whole; you are not separate. The ego has disappeared; you have become universal. In that moment, there is great contentment, great benediction. But that benediction, that contentment, does not come through rationalization; it comes through realization – that is the difference.
Consolation is a rationalization, contentment is a realization.
So there are three states of mind. Discontent – a state of comparison; comparing with those who have more than you, and then there is discontent. Somebody has a beautiful car and you are walking on foot; you are a pedestrian, then you are discontented. The second stage is comparison – you are a pedestrian, and you see a beggar who has no feet: comparing with that one who has less than you, but still comparison. Discontent is one aspect of the coin; comparison, the so-called contentment is the other aspect of the same coin. And the name of the coin is comparison. When you have thrown away the coin completely – all comparison and discontent – then suddenly you are in a state of no-comparison: that is real contentment. Then you don’t compare who has more, who has less. In fact, then it is not a question of having, then it is a question of being. Having never helps.
I was reading the other night some very strange statistics which Bill Bright records in his beautiful book, Jesus and the Intellectual.

In 1923, a very important meeting was held at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. Attending this meeting were nine of the world’s most successful financiers: Charles Schwab, president of the largest independent steel company; Samuel Insull, president of the largest utility company; Howard Hopson, president of the largest gas company; Arthur Cotton, the greatest wheat speculator; Richard Whitney, President of the New York Stock Exchange; Albert Fall, a member of the President’s Cabinet; Leon Fraser, President of the Bank of International Settlements; Jesse Livermore, the greatest “bear” on Wall Street; and Iver Kreuger, head of the greatest monopoly.
Twenty-five years later, Charles Schwab died in bankruptcy, having lived on borrowed money for five years before his death; Samuel Insull had died a fugitive from justice and penniless in a foreign land; Howard Hopson was insane; Arthur Cotton had died abroad, insolvent; Richard Whitney had spent time in Sing Sing. Albert Fall had been pardoned so that he could die at home; Jesse Livermore, Iver Kreuger and Leon Fraser had all died by suicide. All of these men had learned well the art of making a living, but none of them had learned how to live.

You can have as much as you desire, but by having, nobody ever attains to life. Life comes only through being, not through having.
There are three types of people: those who have – the worldly; those who renounce – the other-worldly. The first and the second are not opposite to each other, however opposite they may appear. One believes that by having more you will attain to happiness, the other believes that by not having more you will attain to happiness, but both believe in having. The third – the totally different dimension is of being: neither having nor not having.
That’s what I mean by sannyas. Don’t be worldly, don’t be otherworldly. Don’t compare with those who have more, don’t compare with those who have less. Compare not. Just be yourself, allow your being. Be – that being will bring you tremendous joy. That joy will be one, not many. And that joy will not have any cause to it – it will be uncaused, it will be just like well-being, health.
I have heard…

Once there was a man, alone and miserable. He prayed to God and said, “My Lord, send me a beautiful woman; I am very alone, I need company.”
God laughed and said, “Why not a cross?”
The man was very angry and said, “Cross! What for? Do I want to commit suicide? I want only a beautiful woman.”
So he got a beautiful woman, but soon he became even more miserable than before. The woman was a constant pain in the neck.
He prayed again and said, “My Lord, send me a sword.” He was planning to kill the woman and be free of her; he was longing to have the good old days back again.
But again God laughed and said, “What about the cross? Should I send it now?”
The man was in a rage and said, “Don’t you think that this woman was enough of a cross? Please just send me a sword.”
So the sword came. He killed the woman and was caught and ordered to be crucified. He prayed to God and laughed loudly and said, “Forgive me, my Lord, I didn’t listen to you – you were asking to send this cross from the very beginning. Had I listened to you, I would have saved myself so many unnecessary troubles.”

The world, the otherworld; the householder’s life and the monk’s life; so many troubles. If you listen to Tao, then the message is very simple: be rooted in your being, and you will be saved from all the troubles, all the troubles that having brings and the troubles that not having brings. You just be.
Being is the goal of Tao.
One thing more should be understood: being, you already are. There is no becoming; you are not to become. It is already the case – you already have it within you. It just has to be allowed to open so that the perfume is released to the winds; and that is the real song, the joy.
The man was singing, but the song was just a pretension; it came out of consolation – it was not a true song. The man was playing on an instrument, but it was not true music because the true music comes only when you are deeply rooted in yourself. Then you become the instrument and God plays on it.
Remember, if you are searching for consolation you will find it, but it is a false coin. Comfortable, convenient, it is like a drug: you start drinking and you remain miserable. The misery does not change, but through drinking you start forgetting about it. Consolation is a sort of intoxication, and nothing is changed because the door to misery remains open – you still go on comparing. Comparison is the root cause of misery. Be non-comparative – be neither higher nor lower, just be yourself; not thinking in relation to others, just think in terms of your tremendous aloneness – then you are happy.
I have heard…

She had one of those one-in-a-million figures. Luscious, well-developed, neat, with perfect contours. But despite all these gifts she developed a neurosis about peeping Toms.
“What measures do you take to avoid this calamity?” asked her psychiatrist.
“Well, I keep the shades down, I bar the windows and I always undress behind a screen.”
“How do you keep the boys from peeking through the keyhole?”
“I leave the door open.”

Certainly, when you leave the door open nobody can peep through the keyhole; but the door is open, so what is the point? Consolation is like that: the door remains open because consolation depends on comparison and misery also depends on comparison. So the door is open, but you become more and more intoxicated with consolation, more and more suffocated by your own theorizations, rationalizations; more and more insulated. Hiding behind your buffers, you miss life.
Drop comparing.
Now, this parable, read ordinarily, will give you an impression that Lieh Tzu is not saying anything against Confucius. That is their way of saying things; they are very subtle people. He has not uttered a single word against Confucius, and he has demolished the whole Confucian philosophy. So when you are reading these parables, they are not simple parables. They are simple in a way, but they are very profound. You have to dive deep; you have to dig, you have to go into them, and you have to know the difference between discipline and spontaneity.
Whenever anything is of discipline, Tao is against it. Whenever anything is of spontaneity, Tao is for it. Tao is spontaneity, Tao is suchness – Tao is tremendous acceptance of whatsoever is. And in that acceptance one flowers.
Enough for today.

Spread the love