The Dhammapada Vol 3 03

Third Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - The Dhammapada Vol 3 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

Want nothing.
Where there is desire,
say nothing.

Happiness or sorrow –
whatever befalls you,
walk on
untouched, unattached.

Do not ask for family or power or wealth,
either for yourself or for another.
Can a wise man wish to rise unjustly?

Few cross over the river.
Most are stranded on this side.
On the riverbank they run up and down.

But the wise man, following the way,
crosses over, beyond the reach of death.

He leaves the dark way
for the way of the light.
He leaves his home, seeking
happiness on the hard road.

Free from desire,
free from possessions,
free from the dark places of the heart.

Free from attachment and appetite,
following the seven lights of awakening,
and rejoicing greatly in his freedom,
in this world the wise man
becomes himself a light,
pure, shining, free.
Man lives in misery – not because he is destined to live in misery but because he does not understand his own nature, potential, possibilities of growth. This non-understanding of oneself creates hell. To understand oneself is to be naturally blissful, because bliss is not something that comes from the outside, it is your consciousness resting in its own nature.
Remember this statement: your consciousness resting in itself is what bliss is all about.
To be relaxed in one’s own being is to be wise. The English word wise does not connote the same depth, profundity and significance as the word buddha. Wherever you come across the words wise man remember it is a translation for buddha. Buddha has a totally different meaning in the East. It is not just wise, it is far more than that. Wisdom is greater than knowledge, buddhahood is the ultimate. Buddhahood means awakening. Knowledge means objective knowledge – knowing that which is outside you. It can never be more than information, because you cannot see things from their insides, you can only watch them from the outside; you will remain an outsider. Science is that kind of knowledge. The very word science means knowledge – knowledge from the outside. That which you know is an object, you are separate from it. Knowing the other is knowledge.
You can go round and round, you can watch it in every possible way. You can weigh and calculate, and dissect and analyze, and you can come to logical conclusions, which will be useful, utilitarian. They will make you more efficient, but they will not make you wise. Wisdom is subjective knowledge; not knowing the object but knowing the knower – that is wisdom.
Buddhahood is a transcendence of both. In buddhahood there is no object, no subject; all duality has disappeared. There is no knower, no known; there is no observer and nothing as observed – there is only one. Whatsoever you want to call it you can call it: you can call it God, you can call it nirvana, you can call it samadhi, satori, or whatever… But only one remains; the two have melted into one.
In English there is no word to express this ultimate transcendence. In fact there are many things which cannot be expressed in Western languages, because the Eastern approach toward reality is basically, fundamentally, tacitly different. Sometimes it happens that the same thing can be looked at in the Eastern and in the Western way, and on the surface the conclusions may look similar, but they cannot be. If you go a little deeper, if you dig a little deeper, you will find great differences – not ordinary differences but extraordinary differences.
Just the other night I was reading a famous haiku of Basho, the Zen mystic and master. It does not look like great poetry to the Western mind or to the mind which has been educated in a Western way. And now the whole world is being educated in the Western way; East and West have disappeared as far as education is concerned. Listen to it very silently, because it is not what you call great poetry but it is great insight – which is far more important. It has tremendous poetry, but to feel that poetry you have to be very subtle. Intellectually, it cannot be understood; it can be understood only intuitively.
This is the haiku:
When I look carefully,
I see the nazunia blooming
by the hedge!
Now, there seems to be nothing of great poetry in it. But let us go into it with more sympathy, because Basho is being translated into English; in his own language it has a totally different texture and flavor.
The nazunia is a very common flower – it grows by itself by the side of the road, a grass flower. It is so common that nobody ever looks at it. It is not a precious rose, it is not a rare lotus. It is easy to see the beauty of a rare lotus floating on a lake, a blue lotus – how can you avoid seeing it? For a moment you are bound to be caught by its beauty. Or a beautiful rose dancing in the wind, in the sun… For a split second it possesses you. It is stunning. But a nazunia is a very ordinary, common flower; it needs no gardening, no gardener, it grows by itself anywhere. To see a nazunia carefully a meditator is needed, a very delicate consciousness is needed; otherwise you will bypass it. It has no apparent beauty, its beauty is deep. Its beauty is that of the very ordinary, but the very ordinary contains the extraordinary in it, because all is full of godliness – even the nazunia flower. Unless you penetrate it with a sympathetic heart you will miss it.
When for the first time you read Basho you start thinking, “What is there so tremendously important to say about a nazunia blooming by the hedge?”
In Basho’s poem the last syllable – kana in Japanese – is translated by an exclamation point because we don’t have any other way to translate it. But the kana means, “I am amazed! I am in awe! This nazunia is unbelievably beautiful. I had never thought that a nazunia flower can be so beautiful.”
What has happened? – this nazunia flower is so beautiful that all lotuses, roses and all great flowers have simply faded away from Basho’s consciousness, this nazunia has taken possession of him. The kana means “I am amazed.” Now, from where is the beauty coming? Is it coming from the nazunia? – because thousands of people may have passed by the side of the hedge and nobody may have even looked at this small flower. And Basho is possessed by its beauty, is transported into another world. What has happened? It is not really the nazunia, otherwise it would have caught everybody’s eye. It is Basho’s insight, his open heart, his sympathetic vision, his meditativeness. Meditation is alchemy: it can transform the base metal into gold, it can transform a nazunia flower into a lotus.
“When I look carefully…” And the word carefully means attentively, with awareness, mindfully, meditatively, with love, with caring. One can just look without caring at all, then one will miss the whole point. That word carefully has to be remembered in all its meanings, but the root meaning is meditatively. And what does it mean when you see something meditatively? It means without mind, looking without the mind, no clouds of thought in the sky of your consciousness, no memories passing by, no desires… Nothing at all, utter emptiness.
When in such a state of no-mind you look, even a nazunia flower is transported into another world. It becomes a lotus of paradise, it is no longer part of the earth; the extraordinary has been found in the ordinary. And this is the way of Buddha: to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, to find all in the now, to find the whole in this – Buddha calls it tathata.
Basho’s haiku is a haiku of tathata: this nazunia, looked at lovingly, caringly through the heart, unclouded consciousness, in a state of no-mind… And one is amazed, one is in awe. A great wonder arises. How is it possible? This nazunia – and if a nazunia is possible then everything is possible. If a nazunia can be so beautiful, Basho can be a buddha. If a nazunia can contain such poetry, then each stone can become a sermon.
“When I look carefully, I see the nazunia blooming by the hedge! Kana…” I am amazed. I am dumb. I cannot say anything about its beauty – I can only hint at it.
A haiku simply hints. The poetry describes, the haiku only indicates – and in a very indirect way.
A similar situation is found in Tennyson’s famous poetry; comparing the two will be of great help to you. Basho represents the intuitive, Tennyson the intellectual. Basho represents the East, Tennyson the West. Basho represents meditation, Tennyson mind. They look similar, and sometimes the poetry of Tennyson may look more poetic than Basho’s because it is direct, it is obvious.
Flower in the crannied wall
I pluck you out of the crannies
hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
little flower – but if I could understand
what you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.
A beautiful piece, but nothing compared to Basho. Let us see where Tennyson becomes totally different. First: “Flower in the crannied wall I pluck you out of the crannies…”
Basho simply looks at the flower, he does not pluck it out. Basho is a passive awareness: Tennyson is active, violent. In fact, if you have really been impressed by the flower, you cannot pluck it. If the flower has reached your heart, how can you pluck it? Plucking it means destroying it, killing it – it is murder! Nobody has thought about Tennyson’s poetry as murder – but it is murder. How can you destroy something so beautiful? But that’s how our mind functions; it is destructive. It wants to possess, and possession is possible only through destruction.
Remember, whenever you possess something or somebody, you destroy something or somebody. You possess the woman? – you destroy her, her beauty, her soul. You possess the man? – he is no longer a human being; you have reduced him to an object, into a commodity.
Basho looks carefully, just looks, not even gazes concentratedly; just a look, soft, feminine, as if afraid to hurt the nazunia.
Tennyson plucks it out of the crannies and says: “…I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, little flower…” He remains separate. The observer and the observed are nowhere melting, merging, meeting. It is not a love affair. Tennyson attacks the flower, plucks it out, root and all, holds it in his hand. Mind always feels good whenever it can possess, control, hold. A meditative state of consciousness is not interested in possessing, in holding, because all those are the ways of the violent mind.
And he says, “little flower.” The flower remains little, he remains on a high pedestal. He is a man, a great intellectual, a great poet. He remains in his ego: “little flower.”
For Basho, there is no question of comparison. He says nothing about himself, as if he is not. There is no observer. The beauty is such that it brings a transcendence. The nazunia flower is there, blooming by the hedge – kana – and Basho is simply amazed, is struck to the very roots of his being. The beauty is overpowering. Rather than possessing the flower, he is possessed by the flower; he is in a total surrender to the beauty of the flower, to the beauty of the moment, to the benediction of the herenow.
“…little flower…” says Tennyson, “…if I could but understand…” That obsession to understand! Appreciation is not enough, love is not enough; understanding has to be there, knowledge has to be produced. Unless knowledge is arrived at, Tennyson cannot be at ease. The flower has become a question mark. For Tennyson it is a question mark, for Basho it is an exclamation point. And there is the great difference: the question mark and the exclamation point.
Love is enough for Basho – love is understanding. What more understanding can there be? But Tennyson seems to know nothing of love. His mind is there, hankering to know: “…but if I could understand what you are, root and all, and all in all…” And mind is compulsively perfectionist. Nothing can be left unknown, nothing can be allowed to remain unknown and mysterious: “…root and all, and all in all…” has to be understood. Unless mind knows everything it remains afraid – because knowledge gives power. If there is something mysterious, you are bound to remain afraid because the mysterious cannot be controlled. And who knows what is hidden in the mysterious? Maybe the enemy, maybe a danger, some insecurity? And who knows what it is going to do to you? Before it can do anything it has to be understood, it has to be known. Nothing can be left as mysterious. That is one of the problems the world is facing today.
The scientific insistence is that we will not leave anything unknown, and we cannot accept that anything can ever be unknowable. Science divides existence into the known and the unknown. The known is that which was unknown one day; now it is known. And the unknown is that which is unknown today, but tomorrow or the day after tomorrow it will be known. The difference is not much between the known and the unknown; just a little more endeavor, a little more research, and all the unknown will be reduced to the known.
Science can feel at ease only when everything is reduced to the known. But then all poetry disappears, all love disappears, all mystery disappears, all wonder disappears. The soul disappears, godliness disappears, the song disappears, the celebration disappears. All is known… Then nothing is valuable. All is known… Then nothing is of any worth. All is known… Then there is no meaning in life, no significance in life. See the paradox: first the mind says, “Know everything!” – and when you have known it the mind says, “There is no meaning in life.”
You have destroyed the meaning and now you are hankering for meaning. Science is very destructive of meaning. And because it insists everything can be known, it cannot allow the third category, the unknowable – which will remain unknowable eternally. And in the unknowable is the significance of life.
All the great values of beauty, of love, of godliness, of prayer, all that is really significant, all that makes life worth living, is part of the third category: the unknowable. The unknowable is another name for God, another name for the mysterious and the miraculous. Without it there can be no wonder in your heart – and without wonder, a heart is not a heart at all, and without awe you lose something tremendously precious. Then your eyes are full of dust, they lose clarity. Then the bird goes on singing, but you are unaffected, unstirred, your heart is not moved – because you know the explanation.
The trees are green, but the greenness does not transform you into a dancer, into a singer. It does not trigger poetry in your being, because you know the explanation: it is chlorophyll that is making the trees green. So nothing of poetry is left. When the explanation is there, the poetry disappears. And all explanations are utilitarian, they are not ultimate.
If you don’t trust the unknowable, then how can you say that the rose is beautiful? Where is the beauty? It is not a chemical component of the rose. The rose can be analyzed and you will not find any beauty in it. If you don’t believe in the unknowable… You can do an autopsy on a man, a postmortem – you will not find any soul. And you can go on searching for God and you will not find him anywhere, because he is everywhere. The mind is going to miss him, because the mind would like him to be an object and God is not an object.
God is a vibe. If you are attuned to the soundless sound of existence, if you are attuned to one hand clapping, if you are attuned to what the Indian mystics have called anahat – the ultimate music of existence – if you are attuned to the mysterious, you will know that only godliness is, and nothing else. Then God becomes synonymous with existence.
But these things cannot be understood, these things cannot be reduced to knowledge – and that’s where Tennyson misses, misses the whole point. He says: “…little flower – if I could but understand what you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is.” But it is all “but” and “if.”
Basho knows what God is and what man is in that exclamation mark, kana: “I am amazed, I am surprised ‘…nazunia blooming by the hedge!’” Maybe it is a full-moon night, or maybe it is early morning – I can actually see Basho standing by the side of the road, not moving, as if his breath has stopped. A nazunia… And so beautiful. All past is gone, all future has disappeared. There are no more questions in his mind but just sheer amazement.
Basho has become a child: again those innocent eyes of a child looking at a nazunia, carefully, lovingly. And in that love, in that care, is a totally different kind of understanding – not intellectual, not analytical.
Tennyson intellectualizes the whole phenomenon, and destroys its beauty. Tennyson represents the West, Basho represents the East. Tennyson represents the male mind, Basho represents the feminine mind. Tennyson represents the mind, Basho represents the no-mind.
Let this become your basic understanding, then we can go into the sutras of Gautama the Buddha.
Want nothing.
Where there is desire,
say nothing.
A simple statement, but the import is great. Want nothing – because this is what all the awakened ones have come to know: that misery is created by desiring. Misery is not a reality, it is a by-product of desire. Nobody wants to be miserable; everybody wants to destroy misery, but everybody goes on desiring, and by desiring one goes on creating more and more misery.
You cannot destroy misery directly, you have to cut the very roots. You have to see from where it arises, from where comes this smoke. You have to go down deep into the soil, to the roots. Buddha has called it tanha – desiring.
The mind constantly desires. The mind never stops even for a single moment desiring; all day it desires, all night it desires, in thoughts it desires, in dreams it desires. Mind is the constant process of desiring more and more.
Mind remains eternally in discontent. Nothing satisfies it, nothing at all. You may attain to whatsoever you wanted to attain, but the moment you attain it, it is finished. The very moment of attainment and your mind is no longer interested in it. Watch and see the tricky mind. For years it may have been thinking to purchase a certain house, a beautiful house; for years it may have worked hard. Now the house is yours – and suddenly nothing is left in your hand. All those dreams, all those fantasies that you had about this house have flown away, and within hours, or at the most within days, you will again desire another house. The same trap, the same track, and you go round and round in circles.
You wanted to have this woman, now you have her; you wanted to have this man, now he is yours – and what have you gained? All those fantasies have flown away. Instead you are frustrated! The mind only desires. It knows only how to desire; hence it cannot ever allow any contentment. Contentment is the death of the mind, desire is its life.
Buddha says: Want nothing. That means be contented. That means whatsoever is, is more than you need; whatsoever is, is already so profound, so beautiful: the nazunia flower by the hedge! You are living in such a tremendously beautiful world, with all the stars and the planets and the sun and the moon; with the flowers and the mountains and the rivers and the rocks and the animals, the birds and the people. This is the most perfect world possible, it cannot be improved upon. Enjoy its beauty. Relish the celebration that goes on around you. It is a continuous celebration.
The stars go on dancing, the trees go on swaying ecstatically. The birds go on singing. The peacocks will dance and the cuckoo will call… And all this goes on and you remain miserable – as if you are determined to be miserable. You have decided, you have staked all that you have, to remain miserable; otherwise there is no reason to be miserable. The thisness of existence is so beautiful, the nowness of existence is so incredibly beautiful, that all that you need is just to relax, rest, be. Let the separation between you and the whole disappear.
The separation is created by desiring. Desiring means complaint. Desiring means all is not as it should be. Desiring means that you are thinking you are wiser than existence. Desiring means you could have made a better world. Desiring is stupid. Non-desire is wisdom. Non-desire means a state of contentment, each moment living totally and contentedly.
Want nothing. Where there is desire, say nothing. Buddha is not saying that just by not wanting anything, desire is going to stop immediately. You have become habituated to it, it is an ancient habit – for lives and lives you have desired. It has become autonomous. Even without you it goes on by itself, it has its own momentum. So just by understanding that desire creates misery, that there is no need for desire, that one can simply be and enjoy the sun and the wind and the rain, desire is not going to stop so easily.
Hence Buddha says: Where there is desire, say nothing. If desire arises in you just watch it, don’t say anything. Don’t express it, don’t repress it. Don’t condemn it, don’t fight with it. Don’t evaluate it, don’t judge it. Just watch – carefully. The nazunia by the hedge… Just look at it, with no prejudice for or against.
If listening to buddhas you become anti-desire, then you have not understood them, because anti-desire is again desire. If you start desiring a state of no-desire, it is getting into the same rut from the back door. Non-desiring cannot be desired; that will be a contradiction in terms. All that can be done is to watch desire, carefully. And in that very watching, slowly, slowly, desire dies on its own accord.
This is the existential experience of all those who have become awakened. I am a witness to it – I say to you not because Buddha says so: I say to you because this is my own experience too. Watching desire, slowly, slowly desire dies on its own accord. You don’t kill it, you don’t fight with it, you don’t condemn it, because if you condemn it slips, dives deep into your unconscious; then it starts residing there, and it controls you from there.
If you repress desire, you will have to constantly repress and you will have to be constantly on guard. In the day maybe you can succeed in repressing it, but in dreams it will surface again. That’s why psychoanalysis has to study your dreams. It can’t believe you when you are awake, it can’t trust you when you are awake – it has to look into your dreams. Why? – because your dreams will say what you have been repressing. And whatsoever is repressed becomes very powerful, because it enters your unconscious sources and from there it goes on pulling your strings. And when the enemy cannot be seen it is more powerful – naturally, obviously.
Buddha is not saying fight desire, Buddha is not saying be against desire. He is simply stating a fact: that desire is stupidity, that desire creates misery, that desire will never allow you to be blissful. So watch desire. Say nothing about it: simple, very simple watching. Don’t sit like a judge.
Happiness or sorrow –
whatever befalls you,
walk on
untouched, unattached.
And happiness will come and sorrow will come, because these are the seeds that you have sown down the ages, and whatsoever you have sown you will have to reap. So don’t be disturbed. If happiness comes, don’t become too excited; if sorrow comes, don’t become too depressed. Take things easily.
Happiness and sorrow are separate from you; remain unidentified. That’s what he means: …walk on untouched, unattached, as if they are not happening to you but happening to somebody else. Just try this small device, it is a valuable recipe: as if they are not happening to you but to somebody else, maybe to a character in a novel or in a movie, and you are just an onlooker. Yes, unhappiness is there, happiness is there, but it is there – and you are here.
Don’t become identified, don’t say, “I am unhappy,” simply say, “I am the watcher. Unhappiness is there, happiness is there – I am simply the watcher.”
It will be of great importance if some day in the future we start changing the patterns of our languages, because our languages are very deeply rooted in ignorance. When you feel hungry, you immediately say, “I am hungry.” That creates an identification and gives you a feeling as if you are hungry. You are not. Language should be such that it does not give you this wrong notion “I am hungry.” What is really the case is: you are watching that the body is hungry; you are a watcher that the stomach is empty, that it desires food – but this is not you. You are the watcher. You are always the watcher. You are never the doer. You always go on standing as a watcher far away.
Get more and more rooted in watching – that’s what Buddha calls vipassana, insight. Just see with inner eyes whatsoever happens, and remain untouched, unattached.

A tough, old-time Indian fighter came straggling back into camp with seven Shoshone arrows piercing his chest and legs.
A doctor examined him and remarked, “Amazing stamina. Don’t they hurt?”
The old-timer grunted, “Only when I laugh.”

In fact, they should not hurt even then – and they don’t hurt to a buddha. Not that if you pierce the buddha with an arrow there is no hurt; the hurt is there. He may feel it even more than you, because a buddha’s sensitivity is at the optimum – you are insensitive, dull, half dead. The scientists say that you only allow two percent of information to reach you; ninety-eight percent is prevented, outside. Your senses don’t allow it in. Only two percent of the world reaches to you; ninety-eight percent is excluded.
To the buddha, a hundred percent of the world is available, so when an arrow pierces a buddha it hurts a hundred percent; to you it hurts only two percent. But there is a great difference: a buddha is a watcher. It hurts, but it does not hurt him. He watches as if it is happening to somebody else. He feels compassion for the body. He feels compassion, his compassion for his body, he will do whatsoever he can do for the body, but he knows that he is not the body.
So, in a way it hurts him more than it hurts you, in another way it hurts not at all. He remains aloof, unconcerned. It is a very paradoxical state. He cares for the body, but yet remains unconcerned – unconcerned about the consequences. He takes every possible care because he respects the body. It is such a valuable instrument, it is such a beautiful servant, it is such a good house to live in – he takes care but he remains aloof.
Even when the body is dying a buddha goes on watching that the body is dying. His watchfulness remains to the very last. The body dies and the buddha goes on watching that the body has died. If one can watch to such an extent, one goes beyond death.
Do not ask for family or power or wealth,
either for yourself or for another.
Can a wise man wish to rise unjustly?
The things of the world do not matter – wealth, power, prestige don’t matter. The buddha cannot ask for them for himself or for another. That distinction has to be remembered. Ordinarily it is thought that a buddha will not ask for himself, but he can ask for others. No, he will not ask for others either. That’s where Christianity and Buddhism have diametrically opposite visions.
There is a story:

A woman came to Buddha crying, weeping, carrying the dead body of her only son. People had told her that if she went to Buddha he may do some miracle; he was such a compassionate man. Buddha asked the woman, “Do one thing: go into town, bring some mustard seeds. One condition has to be fulfilled: they should be brought from a house where nobody has ever died.”
The woman was very happy; this was not a problem because their whole village was growing mustard seeds. So every house was full of mustard seeds. She rushed from one house to another, but in her excitement that her son was going to be revived again she forgot completely that the condition was impossible, it could not be fulfilled.
By the evening she had knocked on all the doors, and everybody said, “We can give you as many mustard seeds as you want, but they will not help because we cannot fulfill the condition: somebody has died in our family – not only one but many persons really. My father died, my father’s father died… And thousands of others before.” Somebody’s wife had died, somebody’s mother, somebody’s brother, sister, somebody’s son… She could not find a single family where nobody had ever died.
By the evening, when she came she was a totally different woman – she came laughing. In the morning she had come crying and weeping; she was almost mad because her only son had died. Buddha asked her, “Why are you smiling?”
She said, “Now I know – you tricked me, you befooled me, but I could not see the point at that time. Everybody has to die, so it is not a question now that my son has died. He had to die one day or other. And it is good, in a way, that he has died before me: if I had died before him, he would have suffered. It is better for me to suffer than for him to suffer. So it is good, perfectly good.
“Now I have come for initiation. Initiate me into sannyas because I would like to know: is there anything beyond death or not? Is death all or does something survive? I am no longer interested in my son.”
Buddha said, “That was the purpose of sending you, so that you can be awakened.”

Now you can visualize the same story about Jesus Christ. What Christians say… Because nobody knows what kind of man Jesus really was except what the Christians say about him, and they are saying wrong things about him. If he was really a buddha – and he was – then he would not have been interested in reviving people from death. He would not have revived Lazarus from death – what was the point? Lazarus was no longer alive. He must have died a few years later; even if he was revived he would have died a few years later. Death is going to happen; you can at the most postpone it.
A buddha is not interested in postponing. A buddha’s whole effort is to make you alert, aware that death is coming. He is not to protect you from death, he has to take you beyond death. And Jesus is a buddha. My understanding of Jesus is totally different from the Christian interpretation. To me, this is a parable: Lazarus coming back to life simply means Lazarus spiritually reborn.
Buddha has said many times – Jesus has also said – “Unless you are born again, you will not enter into my Kingdom of God.” But “born again” does not mean that you have to be resurrected. “Born again” means a spiritual process of awakening. Jesus must have awakened Lazarus from his sleep, from his metaphysical death.
When you come to me you are metaphysically dead – you are Lazarus. The story says Jesus called Lazarus out of his tomb: “Lazarus, come out!” That’s what every buddha has been doing down the ages: calling Lazaruses to come out of their graves. When I initiate you into sannyas, what am I doing? – calling, “Lazarus, come out of your grave! Be reborn!”
Sannyas is a process of rebirth. Lazarus must have been initiated into the deeper mysteries of life which go beyond death. But to make this beautiful metaphor into an historical event is to destroy the whole poetry of it, the whole significance of it.
A buddha will not ask – for himself or for his family or for anybody else – for power, prestige, possessions, because they are utterly useless.
Can a wise man wish to rise unjustly? That’s impossible. Remember, the wise man is a translation of buddha. An awakened man cannot do anything unjust – it is impossible, it can’t happen in the nature of things. The awakened one can do only the right, the just. And to ask for power, prestige, money, possessions, fame, is stupid. A wise man cannot ask for them, either for himself or for others.
And the buddha knows whatsoever is just is already happening; there is no need to ask for it, there is no need to desire it. Existence is very just and very fair. Aes dhammo sanantano – this is the inexhaustible, eternal law, that existence is very fair and very just. Simply remain natural and existence will go on bestowing a thousand and one blessings on you without your asking for them.
A famous statement of Jesus is: Ask and it shall be given. If you ask Buddha he will say: Ask not and it shall be given. Jesus says: “Knock and the doors shall be opened unto you.” If you ask Buddha he will say: “Knock not, because the doors are already open.” Just look: the nazunia flower, and Basho looking at it carefully…
Few cross over the river.
Most are stranded on this side.
On the riverbank they run up and down.
Buddha says again and again that people are in such a hurry, not knowing where they are going, but in a great hurry they are going somewhere. And they simply go up and down, on this bank, hoping that by running and rushing and remaining occupied they will reach to the other shore.

I have heard that the pope in the Vatican received a phone call, a long-distance phone call, from New York. The bishop from New York phoned in a very nervous, excited, feverish state: “Sir, immediate instructions are needed: a man who looks like Jesus has entered the church, and he says, ‘I am Jesus Christ.’ Now what am I supposed to do?”
The pope pondered over it for a moment and then said, “Look occupied.”

What else can you do? If Jesus has come, at least look occupied, do something! Let him see that his people are very busy – be busy. Even if there is no business, don’t be worried.
That’s what people are doing – busy without business, looking very occupied. And all that they are doing is just rushing up and down the same bank. This way you cannot reach the other shore.
Few cross…the river. Most are stranded on this side. What does he mean by “this side”? This side means death, time, this momentary existence. That side means deathlessness, timelessness, eternity, godliness, nirvana. One needs guts to cross the stream because the other shore is not visible. In fact, only this shore is visible, the other shore is invisible. This shore is gross, the other shore is subtle. This shore is material, the other shore is spiritual – you cannot see it, it cannot be shown to others.
Even those who have reached the other shore can only call you, invite you, but they cannot give any proofs. I cannot give you any proof of godliness; Buddha has not given, Jesus has not given – nobody who knows can give any proof of godliness. Godliness cannot be proved. You can only be persuaded to come to the other shore and see on your own.
Buddha says again and again: “Ihi passiko! Come and see!”
But the wise man, following the way,
crosses over, beyond the reach of death.
The only effort of any intelligent person in this world should be, first and foremost, how to know something which cannot be destroyed by death – because death can happen any moment, next moment, tomorrow. Because death can happen any moment, the intelligent person’s first effort will be to know something that cannot be destroyed by death, and to be centered into that something which is deathless, to be rooted in that, so you are not destroyed.
But the wise man, following the way, crosses over, beyond the reach of death. Death is the most important phenomenon – far more important than birth, because birth has already happened; now you cannot do anything about it. But death has to happen – something can be done about it, some preparation. You can be ready to receive it, you can be consciously in a state of welcome for it.
You missed the opportunity of birth, don’t miss the opportunity of death. And if you can receive death in a meditative state, you may be able to receive your next birth – which will be followed by death – consciously. If you can die consciously, you will be born consciously. Your next life will have a totally different flavor. And a person can be born only once after he has died consciously – only one more life.
The Christians, the Jews, the Mohammedans, believe in only one life. My interpretation is that when you have died once consciously, and are reborn consciously – that life is the real life; only that is worth counting. All other lives before it were not worth counting. That’s why these three traditions have not counted them. It is not that they don’t know about them – Jesus is perfectly aware of past lives – but they are not worth counting. You were asleep, you were dreaming, you were unconscious. It was not life; you were somehow dragging yourself in sleep.
Buddha used to tell his disciples: Count your life only after you have taken sannyas.
Once it happened…

A great king, Bimbisara, had come to see Buddha. He was sitting at Buddha’s side talking to him and an old man came, bowed down, touched Buddha’s feet, an old sannyasin. And as it was the habit of Buddha to ask, he asked the old man, “How old are you?”
And the old man said, “Just four years old, sir.”
Bimbisara could not believe his eyes, could not believe his ears: “This old man who looks almost eighty, if not more, is saying he is four years old?” He said, “Pardon me, sir, can you repeat it again, how old you are?”
The old man again said, “Four years old.”
Buddha laughed and said, “You don’t know the way we count life: it is four years ago that he became a sannyasin, that he was initiated into the eternal, that he was taken into the timeless. It is only four years ago that he crossed from this shore and reached to the other shore. He has lived for eighty years, but those years are not worth counting; it was sheer waste.”

Nobody has interpreted Christianity, Judaism, Islam, in the way I am interpreting. They all believe in one life, and Christians, Mohammedans and Jews think there is only one life. That is not the case; you have lived many times, but they are not worth counting. Only one life will be worth counting: when you will be born consciously – but you can be born consciously only if you die consciously.
So the first and the most important thing in life is to prepare for death. And what is the way to prepare for death? – what Buddha calls “following the way.” Meditate over this small anecdote:

Nan Yin, a great Zen master, was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella.
After greeting him, Nan Yin remarked, “I suppose you left your wooden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the left or on the right side of the clogs.”
Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nan Yin’s disciple and he studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.

This is the way. One has to be alert and aware of each and every thing that one is doing. Now, Tenno had not done something very serious – he had simply forgotten where the umbrella was, at the right side of the clogs or at the left side. You will think Nan Yin is too hard; it is not so. It is out of compassion that he asked this question.
Nan Yin’s own master, when he had come for the first time to his master, had asked a similar question…

Nan Yin had traveled almost two hundred, three hundred miles into the mountains to reach the master, and do you know what the master asked, the first question? Not very philosophical, not very metaphysical… The moment Nan Yin bowed down, the master asked, “What is the price of rice in your town?” The price of rice…!
But Nan Yin instantly said, “I am no longer there, I am here. I never look back, and I destroy all the bridges that I have crossed. So forget all about the rice and its price!”
The master was tremendously happy. He hugged Nan Yin, he blessed him, and he said, “If you had told me the price of rice in your town, I would have thrown you out of the monastery. I would not have allowed you here, because we are not interested in rice merchants.”

Each master has his own way of seeing into disciples’ inner beings. Now this was a simple question: Nan Yin asked, “Where is your umbrella – on the left or on the right side of the clogs?” Now, nobody can think of Immanuel Kant asking such a question to any of his disciples; nobody can imagine Hegel or Heidegger or Sartre asking such a question to one of his students – impossible!
Only a man like Nan Yin, a man who is a buddha, can ask such a question – so ordinary, yet with such extraordinary insight. He is saying, “When you were putting your umbrella, were you aware? Or did you just do it mechanically?”

Once a professor from a university came to see Nan Yin. He threw his shoes – must have been angry or something – slammed the door, came in. At least thirty other disciples were sitting there. Nan Yin looked at the professor; he was a very famous professor, must have expected that Nan Yin would stand up and welcome him. Instead, Nan Yin shouted at the professor and told him to go back and ask forgiveness. “You have misbehaved with the door, you have misbehaved with the shoes! Unless they forgive you, unless I see that you have been forgiven, I will not allow you in – get out!”
Shocked, shattered – but the professor could see the point. Still he tried; he said, “But what is the point of asking forgiveness from the shoes or the door? They are dead anyway, how can they forgive?”
Nan Yin said, “If you can be angry at them and they are dead, if to be angry is okay, then you should be ready to ask forgiveness too – apologize!”
The professor went; for the first time in his life he bowed down to his shoes. And he remembers in his memoirs: “That moment was one of the most precious in my life, when I bowed down to my shoes. Such silence descended on me. For the first time I felt free of the ego, utterly open. The master had done the trick. When I came back, he received me with such joy. He said, ‘Now you are ready to sit by my side, now you are ready to listen to me. Now you are finished; otherwise the thing was incomplete. And never leave anything incomplete, otherwise it goes on hanging around you. You will have a hang-up. If you misbehave with the door and you don’t complete the whole process, you will remain angry somewhere.’”

Moment-to-moment awareness is the way of a buddha. If you can remain aware, moment to moment, you will become perfectly clear that there is something in you which is beyond death, which cannot be burned, cannot be destroyed, which is indestructible. And to know that rock of indestructibility within you is the beginning of a new life.
He leaves the dark way
for the way of light.
The way of living unconsciously is called by Buddha the dark way. And the way of living consciously, attentively, moment to moment, bringing your consciousness to each act, each small act, each detail, is the way of light.
He leaves his home, seeking
happiness on the hard road.
By “home” is meant clinging to security, safety, the familiar, the known. By “leaving the home” he does not mean leaving your family, your children, your wife, your husband – that has been, down the ages, how the Buddhists have interpreted this line. That’s not my interpretation. That is not real home. The real home is something inside your mind: the calculatedness, the intellect, the logic, the armor that you create around yourself against the whole world – that is “the home.” “Leaving the home” means leaving all security, going into the insecure, dropping the known, moving into the unknown, forgetting the comforts of the shore and going into the troubled waters, into the uncharted sea. That is the hard way – but the other shore can be attained only through the hard way.
Those who are lazy, those who are always in search of some shortcut, those who want godliness cheaply, those who are not ready to pay anything in return for the ultimate truth, are befooling themselves and wasting their time. We have to pay with our life, we have to pay with all that we have, we have to surrender totally, we have to become committed intensely and wholly. That is the hard way, and only through the hard way one can cross the stream of existence and can reach to the other shore, the deathless, the eternal.
Free from desire,
free from possessions,
free from the dark places of the heart.
If you are ready to drop all armor of security and comfort, if you are ready to drop all calculative mind, clever mind, cunning mind, if you are ready to drop the mind itself, all dark parts of your heart will disappear. Your heart will become full of light, desire will disappear – “desire” means future. And possessions will not be anymore your clinging – “possessions” means the past.
When there are no more desires, no more clinging to possessions, you are free from past and future. To be free from past and future is to be free in the present. That brings truth, godliness, freedom. That, only that, brings wisdom, buddhahood, awakening.
Free from attachment and appetite,
following the seven lights of awakening,
and rejoicing greatly in his freedom,
in this world the wise man
becomes himself a light,
pure, shining, free.
And as you move more and more into the present, inside you will come across seven lights – what Hindu Yoga calls seven chakras, Buddhist Yoga calls seven lights, seven lamps. As you become more and more detached from the body, detached from possessions, uninterested in desires, your energy starts moving upward. The same energy that is contained at the lowest center, at the sex center… Now, only at the sex center do you sometimes have the experience of light, which you call orgasm, but very rarely even there. Only very rarely, very few people have known that, making love, a moment comes when lovers become full of light. Then the orgasmic experience is not only physical, it has something spiritual in it.
Tantra tries to create that space and context in which the sexual centers start radiating light. And when two lovers are not only exploiting each other’s body but are really worshipping each other’s body, when the other is a god or a goddess and lovemaking is like prayerfulness and meditation – with great reverence one goes into lovemaking – it happens that the two centers meet, the male and the female energies, and great light starts flowing inside your being.
The same can happen on six other, higher points; the higher the point, the greater and brighter the light. The seventh point is sahasrar, the one-thousand-petaled lotus. There the light is so much that Kabir says it is “as if one thousand suns have suddenly arisen” – not one, but one thousand suns.
Free from attachment and appetite, following the seven lights of awakening, and rejoicing greatly in his freedom, in this world the wise man becomes himself a light, pure, shining, free. He himself becomes a light to himself and he becomes a light unto others too. Be a buddha! Life is meaningless without it. Be a buddha! Only then you are fulfilled. Be a buddha! Then you have bloomed. Be a buddha and you will know godliness resides in you.
Enough for today.

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