The Great Zen Master Ta Hui 21

TwentyFirst Discourse from the series of 38 discourses - The Great Zen Master Ta Hui by Osho.
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Understanding Right Where You Are

If you want to study this path, you must understand right where you are. As soon as you rely on the slightest knowledge, you miss the scene right where you’re standing. When you’ve completely comprehended the scene right where you are, then all kinds of knowledge – all without exception – are things right where you are.
Thus the Patriarch said, “At the very moment one speaks of knowledge, knowledge itself is mind. And this very mind itself is knowledge.”
Since knowledge is right now, if right now you don’t go another moment, but do away with your knowledge right where you are, then you’ll join hands and walk along together with the patriarchs. If you cannot yet be like this, don’t go wrong in your knowledge.
Ta Hui is learning every day the language of the mystics. A few holdovers are still there, but they are only because of old habit. He has come to the new experience, but he has not yet clarified his old language. He will manage to do it…because if you can manage to experience the truth, you cannot continue with the knowledge, the words and the language accumulated before you became enlightened. For a few days they linger on their own momentum, but whatever he is trying to say now is not of the intellect. Intellect never speaks that way.
The intellectual approach is purely verbal and empty. The experiential approach is non-verbal, but so full, so pregnant with immense meanings, significances and indications of your future growth.
The sutra this morning is Understanding Right Where You Are.
Mind is never where you are. It is always wandering, running in all directions. Even if you are sitting in a lotus posture with closed eyes, like Gautam Buddha, that does not mean you are meditating – you may be thinking of all kinds of rubbish and garbage. Your mind is not changed just because your body is still, just because you are sitting in a certain posture.
This has caused great misunderstanding for those who have been following the path. Your body posture does not change your mind, but if your mind changes, your body posture automatically changes. Seeing this again and again, the vast majority of seekers start from the wrong end. Because the body is visible, and the mind or no-mind is not visible, it was a logical understanding that sitting in a certain pose, you will attain to a certain state of mind. It is not so, but millions of followers of yoga are under the same mistaken impression.
If you move to the no-mind, in utter silence, your body is bound to become still, unmoving. The body carries your tensions, and when you are relaxed inside, the body immediately reflects your relaxation, but not vice-versa. You can distort your body in strange postures, hoping that enlightenment will come. I have never seen a single enlightened yogi…and I have been in search, looking in the Himalayas, and all over the country. They are perfect in their gymnastics – they could have joined any circus and would have impressed the people with their performance – but inside they are very ordinary, in the same ignorance, the same unawareness.
It is now my considered opinion that if the inner changes, the outer will follow the change. The outer is not essential – it is just a shadow of the inner – so if you change the outer, there is no necessity for the inner to change.
Ta Hui says: Understand right where you are.
It does not matter where you are – in the marketplace, working as a carpenter, or as a doctor, or as a surgeon. Whatever your profession, whatever your activity, understanding has to come to you amid the hubbub of the world. You should not escape to the mountains, to the Himalayas, to attain to understanding. The Himalayas can’t give it to you, but they can give something that can keep you under a fallacy your whole life.
Deep in the Himalayas there is eternal silence – snow that has never melted. The cold is so much that you will not even find birds. Everything is absolutely quiet… This quietness of the Himalayas has been attractive for centuries, because surrounded by this quietness and silence and serenity, you start feeling yourself becoming silent. But this silence is fallacious; it is only a reflection of a vast surrounding circumstance.
Many people who have gone to the Himalayas are afraid to come back to the world. I have asked them, “Why are you afraid? You have attained silence; now the world cannot take it away.” But they know better. Once in a while when people come to them, very trivial things can disturb them. Somebody traveling into the Himalayas comes to the cave of a yogi but does not touch his feet, and anger immediately arises in him. It is just the opportunity that he is missing; he has not gained anything.
Ta Hui is right. Don’t go anywhere. Understanding has to be acquired wherever you are. Then you can depend on it; you can rely on it; it will be with you wherever you will be. Nothing can disturb it, because you have gained it among all disturbances.
If you want to study this path, you must understand right where you are.
Your body is in one place, your mind is roaming all over the world. This is not the way of the seeker. Your mind should also be where your body is.
For example, you are here now. Your body certainly is here, but only if you fall into a deep silent communion with me, and your mind is utterly quiet, receptive, with no ideas of its own, no prejudices, will your mind also be here now. If you can remain in this state moment to moment, enlightenment is not far away. It can happen any moment. It happens when your body and mind are in such a harmony, in the present, in this moment…then you give opportunity for your ultimate potential to explode.
But mind’s ways are very strange, very subtle, very cunning. It starts making a goal of enlightenment – enlightenment is not a goal. It starts thinking in terms of ambitions: enlightenment becomes its ambition – and ambition needs time, ambition needs future, ambition needs tomorrows.
So you may be sitting silently in meditation, but your mind is far away, searching for enlightenment. It is not different from any other ambition – ambition for money, ambition for power, ambition for respect. It does not matter at all what the object of your ambition is; every object of your ambition takes you away from your enlightenment. Nothing can take you to enlightenment, because enlightenment is your nature.
A man, completely drunk, staggering, somehow reached home in the middle of the night, but he could not figure out whether the house was his or somebody else’s. Looks like it is his…but he’s not certain. He knocked on the door, and an old woman, his mother, opened the door. Again the same problem: the old woman looks like his mother – but only looks like. He fell at her feet and started asking her, “Help me find my home. Help me find my mother. She must be waiting.”
A crowd gathered, and they were laughing: this is strange, he is holding his mother’s feet and asking her to help him find his mother; she must know his house because she lives in this neighborhood somewhere.
And then another drunkard came with a bullock cart, and he said, “Don’t waste your time. Just come into my bullock cart and I will take you to your house and to your mother.” Now, the mother was trying hard, the neighbors were trying hard, saying, “If you go into this bullock cart…. That man seems to be more drunk than you are; wherever he leads you will be going away from your mother and from your house, because this is your house, and this is your mother.”
Something similar is the case with the human mind. It cannot feel at rest wherever it is. It is always looking for the right place, the right experience, but it cannot be here. Of course, how can it be here? Thousands of years of continuously being taught that you are sinners, has made a deep unconscious impression that as you are, you are not right. Wherever you are, you are not in the right place.
All the religions have succeeded only in one thing: in rejecting you, your place, your time, your life. And they have all given you great ambitions – ambitions for heaven. It is strange that nobody says to these religions, “You are all against greed, but heaven means nothing but the ultimate greed. You are all against fear, you all want us to be fearless – but what is your hell and hellfire?”
Between hell and heaven, they have taken away the reality of your being, the existential status of where you are. Avoiding hell, you are running to catch hold of heaven. You are running, but that which you are running for is within you. If you stop running and drop all the ambitions for greed and power and prestige, and just relax into your ordinariness – then, this very moment, this very body the Buddha, and this very place the lotus paradise. That’s what Ta Hui is saying.
If you want to study this path, you must understand right where you are. Everything is there – wherever you are, the whole of existence is centered there.
As soon as you rely on the slightest knowledge, you miss the scene right where you are standing.
Now this is from a man of great knowledge, of great acquaintance with scriptures.
As soon as you rely on the slightest knowledge, you miss the scene right where you are standing.
Because knowledge is taking away your mind and creating a screen between you and reality, like a cloud covering your eyes. You become interested in that knowledge, and you forget your reality, your presence, your here-nowness.
When you have completely comprehended the scene right where you are, then all kinds of knowledge – all without exception – are things right where you are.
You need not be worried. If you can discover yourself in the present moment, you are not only discovering your being, you are also discovering all the buddhas of the past, of the present, of the future, too – because it is the same experience, it is the same music, it is the same dance. Finding it within yourself, you have become a contemporary of all the buddhas of all time.
Thus the Patriarch…and by patriarch, Zen people refer to Bodhidharma. He was their main source from where others learnt the art of being real, authentic, sincere, from whom people learnt awareness. He was the man who introduced India’s greatest contribution to the world, the art of dhyan, to China.
Thus the Patriarch said, “At the very moment one speaks of knowledge, knowledge itself is mind. And this very mind itself is knowledge.” Since knowledge is right now….
That’s what I was saying – that his intellectual past still shadows his language. For example, first he said, If you want to study this path… That is the language of a teacher, not the language of a master. What has a master to do with studying? The master would have said… “If you want to follow this path…” Now again he misunderstands: although what he is saying is right, it is just that his language is too much under the impact of his past.
Since knowledge is right now… Instead of knowledge, a man who has come to his own being will say, “Since knowing…” not knowledge – and the difference is great. The words come from the same root, and I would like you to understand it clearly: knowing is always in the present, knowledge is always of the past. Knowledge means knowing has become part of your memory, it is dead; it is no more alive, it is no more breathing, it has no more any heartbeat.
For example, when you are seeing a sunset and you are overwhelmed by its beauty, in that moment there is knowing. You don’t even say to yourself, “How beautiful!” – because even the words how beautiful will be a disturbance, will take you away from the present. If you simply stand before the setting sun, with all the colors spread over the horizon, shadows, reflections in the ocean, it is so enchanting that you almost stop breathing. You are in a state of awe. Those few moments are knowing. Tomorrow you will tell somebody what a beautiful sunset you have seen the day before – that will be knowledge. Now it is only words.

I have told you the story of Lao Tzu. He used to go for a morning walk in the mountains. An old friend used to follow him, and one day the friend told him, “I have a guest in my house, and he also wants to come for the morning walk.”
Lao Tzu said, “I have no objection, just make sure that he does not start talking. Knowing should remain knowing, it should not be converted into dead knowledge.”
The friend said, “I will take care of it.” He convinced his guest that it is a great opportunity to be for two hours in the morning with Lao Tzu. “It is rare and invaluable, but the condition is that you should not speak.”
The guest said, “That is not a problem. I will keep completely silent.” And then they started. It was still dark and when they reached the peak of the mountain, the sun was rising. The birds started chirping, the trees started coming out of their sleep…flowers all around, wild flowers opened their petals and their fragrance. The man forgot that he was not supposed to speak – and he did not think that this was much speech. He simply said, “How beautiful.”
Lao Tzu looked at his old colleague and friend with such stern eyes… When they were back home he told his friend, “Please don’t bring your guest again tomorrow because he is too talkative” – and in two hours he had said only two words, How beautiful!
Lao Tzu said to his friend, “I was present, he was present, you were present, the sun was present, the songs of the birds were present, the fragrance of flowers was present – there is no need to say anything. I was also aware… I am not saying that it was not beautiful; I am saying that by saying it is beautiful, you have reduced its multidimensional beauty into two ordinary words. You have made knowing into knowledge.”

The difference is very subtle. Knowing is a living, flowing experience, still vibrating in your heart. Knowledge is of the past – it may be just one minute past. Knowledge is part of the memory; knowing is part of awareness.
So when he says, Since knowledge is right now, he really means, since knowing is right now – because knowledge can never be right now. If right now you don’t go another moment, but do away with your knowledge right where you are, then you will join hands and walk along together with the patriarchs, with the buddhas, with the awakened ones.
It is the most immediate approach to existence. You don’t have to pray to God, you don’t have to believe in a messiah, you don’t have to have faith in a holy book, you don’t have to go through tortuous disciplines. You have just to be this very moment alert, awake. Then, whatever is happening around you, you listen to it, but you don’t make it a knowledge. You don’t say, “The birds are singing” – you listen to the song. You relish the song, you absorb it into your being, but you don’t reduce it into words.
If this becomes your way of life, your very style of existence, then any moment – whenever you will be absolutely attuned, your totality present here and now – the explosion is going to happen. Look at the beautiful trees, but don’t say they are beautiful. Is not looking enough? Is it necessary to bring language in? Can’t you enjoy the beauties around you directly, without any language? Just try it.
You have thousands of opportunities every day. Even in the fast hubbub of a marketplace, to be alert, without making any judgment…it is one of the most wonderful experiences that even the noises in the marketplace don’t disturb you. On the contrary, they seem to have a beauty of their own, a life of their own.
Whether you are sitting or working, chopping wood or carrying water from a well, just be alert to everything that is going on around you, without reducing it to knowledge. If you can avoid words and knowledge, which are like dust in your eyes…they don’t allow you to see that which is. And that which is, is the only authentic name for God. It is not a goal somewhere else; it is always available, just you are not available to it.
So the whole process of dhyan, chan, or Zen, is simply to make you available to the existence which is always available to you. Just a meeting, an introduction with the reality in which you are existing – so simple and so obvious – and you will not be able to find even traces of all your miseries and afflictions and agonies. They were nightmares, and you were asleep; that’s why they were happening. Now you are awake, and all the nightmares have disappeared.
If you cannot yet be like this, don’t go wrong in your knowledge.
This is just for those who cannot see the obvious, who cannot do the simple. If you cannot yet be like this, don’t go wrong in your knowledge. At least if you cannot do the full process – the full process is dropping knowledge and becoming aware – if you cannot become aware, at least drop knowledge. That will help you immensely to become aware.
If you cannot see right now, at least remove the dust from your eyes. That will help you to see with clarity whatsoever is available to us. And so much is available that only idiots can go to the temples and to the mosques and to the churches and to the synagogues. Any man of a little intelligence will find his temple wherever he is. This whole existence is nothing but a temple, holy ground.
In the story of Moses, when he met God on Mount Sinai, as he reached close to God, he heard a shout. He started trembling because there was nobody, only a green bush, and inside the bush great flames of fire – and the bush was still green. The shout had come from the bush, “Moses, take your shoes off. You are on holy ground.”
I have always wondered why Moses did not ask “Is there any ground which is not holy? Is only this ground surrounding the bush holy?” But perhaps he was so much overwhelmed…and people don’t like to argue if they come across God. It is dangerous, and he had shouted so loudly, Moses may have forgotten all. But whenever I have come across that story, the only question that has arisen in me was how he could accept a division between the holy land and the unholy land. If the whole existence is full of godliness, then in every place, wherever you are, you are on holy ground.
Nanak was far better than Moses. He had gone to the Mohammedans’ holy place, Mecca. It was evening time, and his disciple, Mardana, prepared his bed. They were tired from a long journey, and in the morning they would go into the temple and see Kaaba. But they had done one thing wrong: they were keeping their feet toward Kaaba. Somebody informed the high priest that these two persons had come. Their fame had reached ahead of them. “The master is a man of great understanding and the disciple is so merged with the master that they are almost one – it is difficult to say that they are two – but they are misbehaving by keeping their feet toward Kaaba.”
Mohammedans, living anywhere in the world…there is no question of not keeping their feet toward Kaaba – even when dead their graves are made in such a way that their heads are pointing toward Kaaba.
The high priest was very angry indeed. He came with a few people and said to Nanak, “We have heard you are a master, but this does not show the understanding of a master. You are keeping your feet toward the holy Kaaba.”
Nanak said, “No problem. You can turn my feet wherever you feel God is not; wherever God is, it will be the same. So you can do it – I am just lying down; take my feet and move them wherever you think God is not.”
I think this is an historic incident, because this was enough for the high priest to apologize and say to Nanak, “I am sorry…because I cannot find any place where God is not. And naturally, you are right: wherever you keep your feet, they will be pointing toward God. There is no way to avoid it. Forgive me.”
But the story has a metaphorical ending. The priest is so blind that he calls his men and turns Nanak’s feet almost in a circle, and he is amazed that wherever he turns Nanak’s feet, Kaaba also moves in the same direction. This must be mythological because Kaaba is just a stone. In this world, even men are so dull and dead – one cannot hope that a stone will be so intelligent.
But the metaphor has the same meaning…finally they got the idea. They moved him all around, and Kaaba moved wherever his feet were. It may not have happened, but it is true that wherever his feet were, God was there.
But why did Moses forget about it? If existence is divine, then each moment and each inch of it is divine. There is no need to create cathedrals and great temples – these are done by blind people. Those who have eyes will find this vast starry sky, this beautiful earth, the greatest temple of God. If you look at this whole existence as a holy place, naturally your actions need not be of prayer and ritual. All that your actions need to be is of alertness and awareness in this very moment.
God is available from all sides; just you are not here. He knocks at your door but finds you have gone somewhere else, you are never in your house – perhaps you have completely forgotten where your house is – and you have not informed God of your new address. It will be very difficult, because each moment you will have to inform him of your address. It goes on changing.
But if you can relax right now…
Just listen: the rain has started. Now the trees will be immensely happy, they will dance in the rain. Can you find any moment more precious?
The rains have heard me.
This whole existence is so beautiful. If you can drop your knowledge, your mind, and just merge in the here and now…this is the great principle of all the awakened ones.

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