The Great Zen Master Ta Hui 18

Eighteenth Discourse from the series of 38 discourses - The Great Zen Master Ta Hui by Osho.
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Contemplating “No”

A monk asked Chao Chou, “Does a dog have buddha-nature or not?” Chao Chou said, “No.” This one word “No” is a knife to sunder the doubting mind of birth and death. The handle of this knife is in one’s own hand alone: you can’t have anyone else wield it for you: to succeed you must take hold of it yourself. You consent to take hold of it yourself only if you can abandon your life. If you cannot abandon your life, just keep to where your doubt remains unbroken for a while: suddenly you’ll consent to abandon your life, and then you’ll be done. Only then will you believe that when quiet it’s the same as when noisy, when noisy it’s the same as when quiet, when speaking it’s the same as when silent, and when silent it’s the same as when speaking. You won’t have to ask anyone else, and naturally you won’t accept the confusing talk of false teachers.
During your daily activities twenty-four hours a day, you shouldn’t hold to birth and death and the buddha path as existent, nor should you deny them as non-existent. Just contemplate this: A monk asked Chao Chou, “Does a dog have buddha-nature or not?” Chao Chou said, “No.”
There seems to be a misunderstanding on the part of Ta Hui. Perhaps it is something to do with his unconscious, because he has been speaking in a sarcastic way against Gautam Buddha. Now the pendulum has moved to the other extreme – because the answer of Chao Chou was not “No,” but “Yes.”
It is possible, when you are unconsciously trying to get rid of guilt, that you can read things which are not there or you can miss things which are there. Your mind is never reading what is actually the case; it is continuously interpreting according to its own prejudices. One thing is certain, that Ta Hui is feeling guilty for a misbehavior. He has been disrespectful to a man who has done no harm to him.
But there was a reason to be disrespectful: Ta Hui was an intellectual, he was a man of mind. And all the people who are confined to their minds are bound to be offended by men like Gautam Buddha, whose whole insistence is that mind is wrong and no-mind is right.
All intellectuals are bound to condemn such an attitude, just to defend themselves. They don’t know anything about no-mind; they know only what mind is. But they have achieved honors, respectability, prestige and power through the mind, and anybody who says that mind is not a power but a bondage, that mind is not a prestige but sheer stupidity, that mind is not your honor but simply an indication that you belong to the lowest of human beings… The real power belongs to the man of no-mind; hence, intellectuals always have felt offended by the mystics.
Ta Hui started his journey as an intellectual. Although he was part of a tradition that was created by Bodhidharma in China in the name of Gautam Buddha, somewhere in his unconscious there was a vengefulness which was coming up again and again in sarcastic remarks like, “the old pale face,” “the barbarian.” To call Gautam Buddha a barbarian is such nonsense, and in time he must have realized what he had done. Now he wants to put things right, but he is in such a hurry to put things right that he starts misreading things – with all good intentions. Remembering this, you have to understand what he is saying:
A monk asked Chao Chou, “Does a dog have buddha-nature or not?”
It is an ancient strategy. It is not only Chao Chou who has been asked; thousands of other masters since Gautam Buddha have been asked the same question, and the disciples have been receiving the same answer. The answer has always been “Yes,” because Gautam Buddha had answered “Yes.” The same question was asked to him: “Does a dog have buddha-nature or not?” – because he was teaching that all beings have buddha-nature. It is very natural to ask, “All beings…? You mean dogs and donkeys and buffaloes? Do you really mean all beings?”
If he was saying all human beings, then too it would be questionable. What about Adolf Hitler? What about Ronald Reagan? But he is saying all living beings, and so naturally the question arises – it is not only about dogs, but simply about the lower categories of animals. And how can Gautam Buddha say, “No”? It will contradict his whole fundamental attitude about life, it will contradict his reverence for life.
Whether life exists in the form of a dog or in the form of a Gautam Buddha, it does not matter. It is life. Just the form is constantly changing; the life inside, which is absolute and eternal, is exactly the same as it is in Gautam Buddha. His “Yes” accords with his reverence for life. To him, there is no God except life.
So when you ask such a question as “Does a dog have buddha-nature or not?”, without even asking Gautam Buddha I can answer on his behalf: Yes! A dog has a buddha-nature. That is the very essence of his philosophy. And this master Chao Chou is an enlightened master; he cannot say “No.”
But it seems Ta Hui cannot say “Yes,” because again that will remind him, “I am doing the same thing again. I have called him ‘pale face’, I have called him ‘the barbarian’, and now I am doing even worse. I am calling him equal to a dog!”
It is because of his past utterances that he reads “No,” where there is “Yes.” This should be a great lesson to you: you can read things which are not there. Just because you want to read them, you can read them. You can go on missing things which are there if you don’t want to see them. Your mind is not only a receptacle, not only a vehicle to receive information, it is also a continuous censor.
Scientific work on the mind is almost unbelievable; they say that it does not allow ninety-eight percent of information to enter, but keeps it outside, and it allows in only the two percent which fits with it. Ninety-eight percent… If the mind does not hear, or hears from one ear and allows it to go out from the other ear, then it is a man’s mind. If it is a woman, then she hears from both ears and allows it to go out from the mouth. That is the only difference – but that difference is there. Mind retains only the two percent which fits with its expectations, with its conditionings, with its prejudices.
And that’s actually the case with Ta Hui. He reads “No” – which is impossible! I cannot say “No”. How can Gautam Buddha say “No”? And how can Master Chao Chou say “No”? Anybody who knows life and the potential of every living being for growing someday, sometime, somewhere, finally into an ultimate luminous being, is bound to say “Yes.” So I will read “Yes” instead of “No.”
“Does a dog have buddha-nature or not?” Chao Chou said,
This one word
– “Yes” –
is a knife to sunder the doubting mind of birth and death. The handle of this knife is in one’s own hand alone: you can’t have anyone else wield it for you: to succeed you must take hold of it yourself. You consent to take hold of it yourself only if you can abandon your life.
Many things are implied in these few sentences. This one word “yes” is a knife to sunder the doubting mind of birth and death. Without knowing, how can you believe that you were before you were born? And how can you believe that you will be after you have died? But if Gautam Buddha says, “Yes, a dog has buddha-nature,” that means Buddha is accepting the eternity of life, and that forms go on changing.
Evolution is not something discovered by Charles Darwin. Evolution is an Eastern concept discovered by the mystics – and in the East they have really gone deeper. Charles Darwin is only superficial; he thought that man has come from the monkeys, and he was laughed at all over the world. The idea looks strange…but the mystic’s idea does not look strange. He does not say that man has come from the monkeys; he says that the essence of consciousness has passed through many forms, and it has passed through the forms of monkeys too.
According to me, not every man has come to be a man from being a monkey; different people have traveled different lines of evolution. All are coming from different animals, and that is one of the reasons why they are so unequal. A man who is coming from monkeys is bound to carry some traits, some characteristics, of the monkeys. Another man coming from horses will have different characteristics.
There are millions of animals in the world, and every person has moved through different forms. It is not a highway, with the whole of humanity coming from the same source. If that were the case, all people would have been equal. Somebody is a genius, somebody is a born idiot – certainly they are coming from different sources.
Gautam Buddha himself remembers his past lives: in one life, he says, he was an elephant, and after the life of the elephant he was born as a man. And the reason why the elephant was born as a man…he tells a beautiful incident:
The forest in which the elephant lived suddenly caught on fire. It was a summer night and a strong wind was blowing, and the whole forest was on fire. The elephant, just like the other animals, started moving out of the forest. Because the fire was all around, it was very difficult to find a way out of it, particularly for such a big animal like the elephant.
Finally he comes under a big tree which has not yet caught fire, and just to take a little rest, he stands under the tree and looks all around to see in which direction he should move to get out of the fire. As he takes up one of his feet to move, suddenly a small rabbit comes just underneath his foot, thinking it is a shelter. Of course the rabbit cannot see the elephant – the elephant is too big.
In the dark night every animal is so shaken and frightened; the rabbit is trembling, afraid for his life, and the elephant will kill the rabbit if he puts his foot down. If he does not put his foot down to move – and the fire is approaching closer! But the elephant finally decides to sacrifice his own life, and not to kill the rabbit. Just because of this decision, the consciousness takes a jump from the elephant form into human form.
People are coming from different sources for different reasons. The theory of reincarnation is basically a more scientific approach to evolution than that of Charles Darwin. It is well known that different animals have different characters. If you read Aesop’s fables or the ancient Panchtantra, which is the most ancient book of parables – and researchers think that the fables of Aesop are all taken from Panchtantra. In fact, historically, there has never been any man with the name Aesop; these are the stories of Panchtantra told by Gautam Buddha, who is also called Bodhisattva.
As the word bodhisattva moved from India – Alexander was the first to take the name of Buddha to the West – it became bodhisat. It is always a problem: whenever a word moves from one language to another language, and then another language, it goes on changing its form. It is Bodhisat which becomes Aesop, but it has gone through at least five or six languages before it turns up as Aesop.
All the stories are told by Buddha himself. All the stories are about animals – animals talking – and each story has tremendous significance. If you look in the animal world, for example, the elephant has a memory which is far stronger than any human being. He never forgets; it is just not in his nature to forget anything. The elephant will recognize its master even after thirty years.
It happened…

Gautam Buddha’s cousin-brother, Devadatta, was very jealous of Gautam Buddha and his enlightenment, and his thousands of disciples. He was a very intellectual man himself, and he became a disciple of Gautam Buddha in the hope that Gautam Buddha would choose him as his successor. First, he was Gautam Buddha’s cousin-brother, very close; secondly, he was as intelligent as you can hope a person to be – very erudite, very scholarly.
Time went on and Buddha started becoming old. Finally one night Devadatta told him, “It is time you should declare the name of your successor because you are getting old. Without a successor your disciples will break apart into small groups after your death.”
Buddha said, “Do you have somebody in mind?”
Devadatta was in much difficulty. He had not thought that this was going to be the case, but he was very ambitious, so finally – although he was feeling embarrassed – he said, “Yes, I offer myself. I belong to the same family; our blood is the same and I have grasped everything that you have said. I can represent you perfectly well, and I don’t think anybody else can be a competitor to me.”
Buddha said, “The very idea is egoistic. I can only choose someone who has never thought about being chosen, who is so innocent that he could not even think of it. Certainly you cannot be my successor, so forget all about it.”
But Devadatta could not accept this situation, which looked to him like a humiliation. He revolted against Buddha, and took five hundred disciples away with him – but that did not make much difference. Buddha had thousands of disciples, and if five hundred had gone with Devadatta, that did not make even a dent in the great commune that Gautam Buddha had created.
These five hundred were the people who were also ambitious, who wanted position, who wanted to be declared enlightened – although they were not enlightened – and who were jealous of people who were being declared as enlightened. These were the people who had entered the great commune of Gautam Buddha with some egoistic ambition – they left.
But Devadatta could not sit silently; he had not left just to retire to the Himalayas. He started conspiring against Gautam Buddha. He made many efforts to kill him. And that’s what I wanted to tell you about. He had caught a mad elephant, not knowing that that elephant used to be a friend of Gautam Buddha when he was a child. It had belonged to Gautam Buddha’s royal palace, and it was so heartbroken when Gautam Buddha left the palace that it simply escaped to the forest and started behaving in a crazy way – the shock was too much. He had loved him as a child, and they were really great friends. They were always moving together; in the great garden near the river they were always found together.
It was almost forty years afterward that Devadatta found this mad elephant in the forest. He managed to catch hold of it, and he thought that this would be a great opportunity; he would take it to where Gautam Buddha meditates under a tree and leave it there, because that elephant has killed many people… He was not aware that that elephant had gone mad because Gautam Buddha had left him forty years before.
So the elephant rushed at Gautam Buddha, and he would have killed him. But as he recognized Buddha, all his madness disappeared. He bowed down, touched Buddha’s feet with his head, and sat at his feet, putting his head in his lap. Forty years of separation…! Buddha opened his eyes and he could not believe that his old, old friend…he had forgotten! And Devadatta could not believe it. He thought it was a miracle. He became so afraid that after that he stopped making any effort to kill Gautam Buddha. But he had no idea what had really happened. It was not a miracle; it was simply the memory of the elephant.

A person who is coming from the body of an elephant into the body of a man will have a tremendous memory. In the same way, all the animals have their own special talents. I am saying this for the first time – that every human being has come from a different animal. Charles Darwin’s idea that all have come from the monkeys is wrong. If it was so, then all will show the same characteristics – which is not so.
A dog can be born as a human being, or may go through a few other life-forms – may become a lion, may become a deer and then come as a human being. But if he comes from a lion, then he will have tremendous courage; then he will have the courage to be a rebel. If he is coming from a sheep, he will become a Christian – particularly a Catholic – because a sheep cannot do anything else. You cannot say that Jesus Christ was wrong when he said, “I am the shepherd and you are my sheep” – he must have recognized that all these guys have come from sheep.
Charles Darwin’s idea is right, but not in the details; in the details he has not been able to work it out. I agree with him on this essential point that man has evolved out of animals, but I don’t agree with him that all human beings have evolved from the same animal – monkey, ape, or chimpanzee. Human beings have come from all different directions. It is a gathering of all kinds of animals, and if you watch people you can find from where each person is coming. Just a little watchfulness is needed, alertness, and you can feel that this man seems to be related to a certain species.
Ta Hui is saying, This one word “yes” is a knife to sunder the doubting mind of birth and death.
Now you can see: “No” cannot do that, only “Yes” can do it. If Chao Chou had said, “No. Dogs are dogs and buddhas are buddhas and there is no bridge between them” – then dogs die as dogs, then there is no evolution for dogs. Then elephants die as elephants, and there is no evolution for elephants. This seems too much. It is man’s monopolistic ideology that only man has the capacity to evolve and nobody else…
I have heard…

Somewhere in Sweden in a railway station there is a statue of a dog. It is not more than a hundred years old. The master of the dog used to come to that railway station every day to catch a train for a nearby city. The dog would come with him and would go on looking until the train moved far away beyond the horizon. When the train was gone he would return home, but he would always be present exactly at the time the master used to come back in the evening.
One day the master never returned. He had had a heart attack and died. The dog was waiting – the message had come, but how to explain to the dog? The dog was searching for the master in every compartment of the train. All the people of the railway staff were really feeling sad for the dog. They had all known him for years. It was a daily routine, which he had never missed: he had always come at the right time, and if the train was late he would sit exactly where the master’s compartment used to stop.
They tried to chase him away, but he would come back again and again and sit there. One train passed, another train…and he would search in every compartment with tears rolling down from his eyes. Seven days continuously…the dog searched every train, every compartment, and tears were continuously coming to his eyes and he refused to eat. The whole staff of the railway station was immensely concerned; they could not believe that a dog could have so much love. Even human beings don’t show so much love.
The dog died sitting at the same place where he used to meet his master every day for years. The station staff contributed money and there they have raised a statue of the dog, and the whole story is written on the marble base on which the marble statue of the dog stands. It is not just about one dog…there are many dogs who have proved immensely loving, trusting, who have even sacrificed their lives for their masters.

To stop the gates of evolution for every other kind of being and to keep them open only for human beings is simply ugly. What is the difference between human beings and other animals, except for the bodies? The form of your bodies is different, but the no-form consciousness within you is the same.
If Chao had said “No,” then all the statements following it would not be right. They can be right only with my correction, with “Yes.” Then,
This one word becomes…a knife to sunder the doubting mind of birth and death. The handle of this knife is in one’s own hand alone: you can’t have anyone else wield it for you: to succeed you must take hold of it yourself. You consent to take hold of it yourself only if you can abandon your life…
If you are ready even to abandon your life, you will rise to the ultimate peak of your consciousness. That’s why the path is called the razor’s edge, because it is risky. One has to risk everything to find that ultimate splendor. It cannot be found without risking everything for it; you cannot hold something back. Without holding anything back – if you are ready to abandon your life, you can find it this very moment.
If you cannot abandon your life, just keep to where your doubt remains unbroken for a while.
He is suggesting a beautiful meditation again. If you cannot abandon your life because of your doubts, because of – who knows? If you abandon your life and nothing happens, no enlightenment, then you cannot even complain! You cannot even go to the police station and report that, “These people are deceiving. They say, ‘Abandon your life!’ – I abandoned my life and no enlightenment, nothing.”
Once your life is gone, it is gone; you cannot complain. The risk is total. You cannot hold back a little bit, so that if it does not happen you can at least inform others, “Don’t believe such a thing. I have abandoned almost ninety-nine percent of my life. Just one percent I am keeping to inform others, as a warning.” But that is not the way it works: either you risk one hundred percent, or you don’t risk at all.
But if you doubt, then there are other ways. There is no need to feel hopeless. If you cannot abandon your life, just keep to where your doubt remains unbroken for a while…
Just remain alert to your doubt. It cannot remain forever on the screen of your mind. That’s the beauty of all the meditations: they can finally can be reduced to watchfulness. From any direction you can come to watchfulness. Just watch the doubt, and go on looking at it. It will not remain there forever. Even if it remains for just a few seconds, that will be a great achievement. Soon it will disperse in the smoke, leaving a silent space behind it.
…suddenly you will consent to abandon your life…as the doubt disappears without any effort on your part. If you repress the doubt it will remain. Don’t repress, just watch – and it will disappear into thin air, and you will be ready suddenly to abandon your life.
And then you will be done. Only then will you believe that when quiet it is the same as when noisy, when noisy it is the same as when quiet, when speaking it is the same as when silent, and when silent it is the same as when speaking.
Once you are ready to abandon even your life, which is our deepest longing… We can abandon money, we can abandon family, we can abandon everything – but when it comes to abandoning life, that is the last thing we would like to save.
The question is not that you actually have to commit suicide…just your willingness…and the miracle happens. Not that you have really to abandon it – just your willingness, “I am ready to abandon it.” But don’t try to deceive, because that means deep down you know you are not going to abandon it: you are just talking about it because it is not really needed that you abandon it. You cannot deceive on that point.
If you are willing to abandon it, then suddenly all dualities in life will disappear; then silence and noise both will look exactly the same: neither silence has any appeal to you, nor has noise any disturbance. Then life and death are the same to you: neither life makes you cling to it, nor death makes you run away from it.
You won’t have to ask anyone else, and naturally you won’t accept the confusing talk of false teachers.
During your daily activities twenty-four hours a day, you should not hold to birth and death and the buddha path as existent, nor should you deny them as non-existent.
What he is saying is that all these categories of existence or non-existence, life and death, misery and happiness, all these categories belong to the mind. A person who is ready to abandon life is naturally ready to abandon mind, because mind is only a small part of your life. It is not all of it.
Once you are ready to take the jump, the jump is no more needed. Only your readiness is needed…but your readiness should be total, and in that readiness you can live your ordinary life doing whatever you have always been doing. Your doing and your non-doing will not be opposed any more; your speaking and your being silent will not be opposed; the world and renouncing it will not be opposed. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you will do it without any disturbance and without any clinging – absolutely balanced.
The word that Buddha uses for this experience is sammasatiright remembrance. You are just full of a remembrance of your own eternal being. The moment you have renounced dualities, you have entered the path of the eternal, you have become an immortal.
Just contemplate this: A monk asked Chao Chou, “Does a dog have buddha-nature or not?” Chao Chou said,
Why contemplate this? If a dog has buddha-nature, obviously you also have it; and if a dog one day is going to become a buddha, then your destination is also not far away. There are many implications in it: if a dog has a buddha-nature, then you have it, then your enemies have it, then all living beings have it – so there is no question of superiority or inferiority.
It is only a question of when one decides to wake up. It is up to you whether you want to have a little more sleep – then turn over and pull the blanket up. But even while you are asleep inside the blanket, enjoying a beautiful morning, you are a buddha. It is up to you.
Buddha decided to sit under a tree; you have decided to lie down in bed – but there is no essential difference. If Buddha can become enlightened under a tree, you can become enlightened under a blanket. It will really be better, because you will be opening a new possibility for future humanity; otherwise people will think that you always have to sit under a tree. And particularly in the cold winter, and in the rainy season, and in all kinds of trouble they will go on postponing buddha-nature.
I say to you that there is no problem: you can be perfectly cozy under your blanket and become a buddha there. There is no problem, because becoming a buddha has nothing to do with sitting under a tree, it is not a pre-requisite; nor do you have to sit in a lotus posture – what does buddhahood have to do with a lotus posture? And if the lotus posture is essential, then dogs cannot become…impossible! How can a dog manage to sit in a lotus posture?
Of course it is possible under a blanket, and I think most of you will prefer it under a blanket. It was just coincidental that poor Gautam Buddha was sitting under a tree. He had no idea that the same can happen under a blanket. In fact the same question was asked to him by his wife…

After twelve years, when he came back to the palace, he knew that his father would be very angry. He was the only son, born when the father was very old, and all his father’s hopes were dependent on him. The old man was just waiting for him to be ready to take charge of the whole kingdom – he was tired and he wanted to retire – and just before that Gautam Buddha escaped from the palace.
Just one day before Gautam Buddha left, a child had been born to his wife. It is such a human story, so beautiful: before leaving the palace, he just wanted to see at least once the face of the child, his child, the symbol of his love with his wife. So he went into the chamber of his wife. She was asleep, and the child was covered under a blanket. He wanted to remove the blanket and to see the face of the child, because perhaps he will never come back again.
He was going on an unknown pilgrimage. Nothing can be known of what will happen to his life. He is risking everything, his kingdom, his wife, his child, himself, in search of enlightenment – something he has only heard of as a possibility, which has happened before to a few people who have looked for it.
He was as full of doubts as any one of you, but the moment of decision had come…. That very day he had seen death, he had seen old age, he had seen sickness and he had also seen a sannyasin for the first time. It had become an ultimate question in him: “If there is death, then just wasting time in the palace is dangerous. Before death comes I have to find something that is beyond death.”
He was determined to leave. But the human mind, human nature… He just wanted to see the face – he has not even seen the face of his own child. But he was afraid that if he removes the blanket, if Yashodhara, his wife, wakes up – there is every possibility she will wake up – she will ask, “What are you doing in the middle of the night in my room? – and you seem to be ready to go somewhere.”
The chariot was standing outside the gate, everything was ready; he was just about to leave, and he had said to his charioteer, “Just wait a minute. Let me see the child’s face. I may never come back again.”
But he could not look because of the fear that if Yashodhara wakes up, starts crying, weeping, “Where are you going? What are you doing? What is this renunciation? What is this enlightenment?” One never knows about a woman – she may wake up the whole palace! The old father will come, and the whole thing will be spoiled. So he simply escaped…
After twelve years, when he was enlightened, the first thing he did was to come back to his palace to apologize to his father, to his wife, to his son who must be now twelve years of age. He was aware that they would be angry. The father was very angry – he was the first one to meet him, and for half an hour he continued abusing Buddha. But then suddenly he became aware that he was saying so many things and his son was just standing there like a marble statue, as if nothing was affecting him.
The father looked at him, and Gautam Buddha said, “That’s what I wanted. Please dry your tears. Look at me: I am not the same boy who left the palace. Your son died long ago. I look similar to your son, but my whole consciousness is different. You just look.”
The father said, “I am seeing it. For half an hour I have been abusing you, and that is enough proof that you have changed. Otherwise I know how temperamental you were: you could not stand so silently. What has happened to you?”
Buddha said, “I will tell you. Just let me first see my wife and my child. They must be waiting – they must have heard that I have come.”
And the first thing his wife said to him was, “I can see that you are transformed. These twelve years were a great suffering, but not because you had gone; I suffered because you did not tell me. If you had simply told me that you were going to seek the truth, do you think I would have prevented you? You have insulted me very badly. This is the wound that I have been carrying for twelve years.
It was not that you had gone in search of truth – that is something to rejoice in; not that you had gone to become enlightened – I would not have prevented you. I also belong to the warrior caste. Do you think I am that weak that I would have cried and screamed and stopped you?
“All these twelve years my only suffering was that you did not trust me. I would have allowed you, I would have given you a send off, I would have come up to the chariot. First I want to ask the only question that has been in my mind for all these twelve years, which is that whatever you have attained…and it certainly seems you have attained something.
“You are no longer the same person who left this palace; you radiate a different light, your presence is totally new and fresh, your eyes are as pure and clear as a cloudless sky. You have become so beautiful…you were always beautiful, but this beauty seems to be not of this world. Some grace from the beyond has descended on you. My question is that whatever you have attained, was it not possible to attain it here in this palace? Can the palace prevent the truth?”
It is a tremendously intelligent question, and Gautam Buddha had to agree: “I could have attained it here but I had no idea at that moment. Now I can say that I could have attained it here in this palace; there was no need to go to the mountains, there was no need to go anywhere. I had to go inside, and that could have happened anywhere. This palace was as good as any other place, but now I can say that at that moment I had no idea.
“So you have to forgive me, because it is not that I did not trust you or your courage. In fact, I was doubtful of myself: if I had seen you wake up and if I had seen the child, I may have started wondering, ‘What am I doing, leaving my beautiful wife, whose total love, whose total devotion is for me. And leaving my one-day-old child…if I am to leave him then why did I give birth to him? I am escaping from my responsibilities.’
“If my old father had awakened, it would have become impossible for me. It was not that I did not trust you; it was really that I did not trust myself. I knew that there was a wavering; I was not total in renouncing. A part of me was saying, ‘What are you doing?’ – and a part of me was saying, ‘This is the time to do it. If you don’t do it now it will become more and more difficult. Your father is preparing to crown you. Once you are crowned as king, it will be more difficult.’”
Yashodhara said to him, “This is the only question that I wanted to ask, and I am immensely happy that you have been absolutely truthful in saying that it can be attained here, it can be attained anywhere. Now your son, who is just standing there, a little boy of twelve years, has been continually asking about you, and I have been telling him, ‘Just wait. He will come back; he cannot be so cruel, he cannot be so unkind, he cannot be so inhuman. One day he will come. Perhaps whatever he has gone to realize is taking time; once he has realized it, the first thing he will do is to come back.’
“So your son is here, and I want you to tell me what heritage you are leaving for your son? What have you got to give him? You have given him life – now what else?”
Buddha had nothing except his begging bowl, so he called his son, whose name was Rahul. I will tell you why his name was Rahul; it was the name Gautam Buddha had given him…
He called Rahul close to him and gave him the begging bowl. He said, “I don’t have anything. This is my only possession; from now onward I will have to use my hands as a begging bowl to take my food, to beg my food. By giving you this begging bowl, I am initiating you into sannyas. That is the only treasure that I have found, and I would like you to find it too.”
He said to Yashodhara, “You have to be ready to become a part of my commune of sannyasins,” and he initiated his wife. The old man had come and was watching the whole scene. He said to Gautam Buddha, “Then why are you leaving me out? Don’t you want to share what you have found with your old father? My death is very close…initiate me also.”
Buddha said, “I had come, in fact, just to take you all with me, because what I have found is a far greater kingdom – a kingdom that is going to last forever, which cannot be conquered. I had come here so that you could feel my presence, so that you could feel my realization, and I could persuade you to become my fellow-travelers.” So he initiated all three of them.
He had given his son the name Rahul because in Indian mythology when there is a moon eclipse… The Indian mythology says that there are two enemies of the moon. In the mythology, the moon is a person, a god, and he has two enemies: one is Rahu and the other is Ketu. When the moon eclipse happens, it happens because Rahu and Ketu catch hold of the moon. They try to kill it, but each time the moon escapes from their grip.
Gautam Buddha had given the name Rahul to his son because he thought, “Now this son of mine is going to be my greatest hindrance, he is going to be my greatest enemy. He will prevent me from going to the Himalayas. Love for him, attachment to him, will be my chains.” That’s why he had given him the name Rahul.
They all moved into the forest outside the city, where all his sannyasins were staying. In the first sermon to the sannyasins that evening he told them, “My wife Yashodhara has asked me a question which is of tremendous importance. She has asked me, ‘Was it not possible to become enlightened in the palace as a king?’ And I have told her the truth: ‘There is no question of any place, any time. One can become enlightened anywhere – but at that time nobody was there to say it to me. I had no idea of where it was to be found, whom I had to ask, where I had to go. I just jumped into the unknown.’ But now I can say that wherever you are, if you are courageous enough to risk everything for being alert and aware, enlightenment is going to happen.”

Hence I say Master Chao Chou could not have said, “No.” That is not the answer of a man of enlightenment. The answer can only be “Yes” – and even if master Chao Chou has to say himself to me, “I had said ‘No’,” I will refuse it. I will not listen even to Gautam Buddha, because the “No” goes against his whole philosophy. His whole philosophy is a tremendous reverence for all life. Hence every living being in every situation has the capacity to blossom into enlightenment.
This should be a great encouragement to you: it is not only for some special people to become enlightened; even a dog has a buddha-nature. All the religions have been doing just the opposite. They have been condemning you: you are born in sin; you cannot redeem yourself; unless a redeemer is sent by God, you are going to live in misery and sin and suffering.
Buddha gives man absolute dignity, freedom, as nobody else before him has ever done. He drops the idea of God just to raise your dignity and your freedom to its ultimate height. He removes God to make you God. There has never been another human being who has loved other human beings as Gautam Buddha has loved them – and not only human beings but all living beings. His love is infinite.
So when I make any correction, I am absolutely certain that my correction is going to be approved by anyone who is enlightened. I am not going to make any compromise. It may be master Chao Chou, it may be Ta Hui, it may be Gautam Buddha – I am not going to make any compromise because my own innermost experience says, “Yes!” Then I don’t bother about anybody, any history, any scripture.

I was speaking in a Buddhist conference in Bodhgaya. One of the most learned Buddhist monks in India is Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan, and he was the president of the conference. When I had spoken he came to my camp, and he told me, “I have heard you a few times before, once in Nagpur, once in Wardha and this was the third time. You are a strange man: you go on saying things which Buddha has not said. I have devoted my whole life” – and he was an old man, nearabout seventy at that time. If he is still alive he must be nearabout one hundred.
“Buddha has not said it; you go on telling stories which I have never found in any scripture – and the trouble is that your story seems to be so right and to the point that it feels that perhaps the people who were collecting the scriptures have forgotten to write it. It fits, I cannot deny it – I cannot say that it goes against the essences of the scripture – but it is not there. So my problem is,” he said, “I cannot deny the truth of your story, but I cannot support its historicity. Do you have any suggestion?”
I told him, “There is no problem. Whenever I tell a story about Gautam Buddha, if it is not in the scripture then put it in your scriptures, because it should be there. If I say something that Gautam Buddha has said and you don’t find it anywhere, manage to put it in the right place, where it should have been and is missing. Because whatever I am saying… I am not a historian and I am not a scholar, but I am speaking from the same space as Gautam Buddha was speaking. So you can accept my word as the authority without any trouble.”
He said, “My God, even if I do it, no other scholar is going to accept it! After twenty-five centuries, a certain scripture has been accepted – and you want me to add something into it. They will kill me.”
I said, “It is better to be killed; it is worth it if you can make the scripture a little more beautiful, a little more truthful, a little more authentic. If you say that what I am saying is not true, then I am ready to argue for it.”
He said, “No, I am not saying that. But please forgive me – I cannot make changes in the scriptures, because that is not allowed by any religion.”
I said, “This is the trouble – that all religions become prisons. Every religion should remain a flowing stream, and new rivers should be allowed to meet. Why make your religions like dead stale ponds? Let it be a river and let continuous new streams go on meeting into it. New people will be becoming enlightened and they will bring fresher insights; the river will become broader and broader, and bigger and more valuable. But this has not happened yet, because people are too much past-oriented and too much afraid of changing anything. The reason is that they don’t have the experience about which they are talking.”
I asked Bhadant Anand, “Do you have the enlightenment that Gautam Buddha had? If you don’t have it, then just listen to what I am saying, because I have it.”

Ta Hui is suffering from his past faults, and he is afraid to say “Yes,” because that means he is saying that buddha-nature and the nature of a dog are just the same. It is because of his own guilt that he cannot say the truth.
But I don’t have any guilt. In fact I don’t have any past. Whatever I am saying is exactly the response in this moment, and I don’t feel even a single part of me to be reluctant. I am saying it with my whole being. That puts my statements in a totally different category. They are not intellectual, they are not historical, they are not scriptural – they are existential.
I am saying it from the same space from where Buddha has spoken, from where Chao Chou has spoken, from where one day Ta Hui is going to speak.

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