The Great Zen Master Ta Hui 34

ThirtyFourth Discourse from the series of 38 discourses - The Great Zen Master Ta Hui by Osho.
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Enlightenment: The Key

Some take sitting wordlessly with eyes shut beneath the black mountain, inside the ghost cave, and consider it as the scene on the other side of the primordial buddha, the scene before their parents were born – they also call it “silent yet ever illuminating,” and consider it Ch’an. This lot don’t seek subtle wondrous enlightenment: they consider enlightenment as falling into the secondary. They think that enlightenment deceives people, that enlightenment is a fabrication. Since they’ve never awakened themselves, they don’t believe anyone has awakened.
There’s a kind acting as teachers spreading false talk who tell students, “Just preserve stillness.” Asked, “What thing is this, preserving? Who is the still one?” they say, “The still one is the basis.” Yet they don’t believe that the enlightened one exists: they say that the enlightened one is an offshoot, and quote this from Yang Shan:
A monk asked Yang Shan, “Do people these days still make use of enlightenment or not?” Yang Shan said, “Though enlightenment is not absent, nevertheless it falls into the secondary: don’t talk of dreams in front of fools.” Then they understand this literally as a real doctrine, and say that enlightenment is secondary.

Such people scarcely realize that Kuei Shan himself had a saying to alert students; indeed,it’s very cogent: “Enlightenment is the standard for investigating the ultimate truth through to the end.”
Where do those false teachers put these words? It’s impossible that Kuei Shan was bringing doubts and error to later people by having them fall into the secondary.
Enlightenment is certainly the key, but almost all the traditions are against it – and there is a reason why they are against it. The most fundamental reason is that if enlightenment is a reality, God becomes an unreality. If your own illumination is the ultimate, then nothing can be above it. Then man’s own consciousness becomes the highest reality.
Religions and traditions believing in God cannot allow enlightenment. It goes against all their fictions. Their fictions can exist only in the darkness, not in the light. To keep their fictions alive, to keep their dreams real, they don’t allow human beings to be awake. You don’t hear of Christian mystics as enlightened, you don’t hear of Jewish mystics as awakened. In fact, enlightenment is the alternative of God.
All that belongs to the ritualistic religions is endangered by enlightenment, because enlightenment has no ritual, it has no prayer, it has no scriptures. It so totally believes in you, its respect for humanity is so absolute and irrevocable… It is natural that all the priests are going to be against it, because the whole profession of the priests depends on fictions, and enlightenment destroys fictions.
All theologies are fabrications of the mind, and enlightenment is a transcendence going beyond the mind. All that belongs to the mind is a nightmare. Where do your gods exist? Where is your heaven, your hell? Where are your angels and your ghosts? They all constitute the entity called the mind.
Enlightenment is the greatest revolution you can conceive of because it destroys all fictions, all rituals, all gods, all traditions, all scriptures. It leaves you with only the essential consciousness of your own being. Its trust in consciousness is so total that there is no need of anything else.
It has not been said as clearly as I am putting it…I want to make it absolutely clear that the very idea of enlightenment is against all religions. Or, in other words, the only authentic religion is that of enlightenment. All other religions are part of the marketplace; they are businesses exploiting human helplessness, exploiting human weakness, exploiting human limitations.
Religions have done so much harm to man that it is unparalleled. Nothing else has been so dangerous. In every possible way they have been preventing man from even hearing the word enlightenment. You should not become aware that raising your hands to the sky is stupid – there is no one to answer your prayers, no prayer has ever been answered.
All your gods are your own creations. You sculpt them, and you never think about it – that you go on worshipping things which you have created. The Christian Bible says, “God created man in his own image.” The truth is just the contrary: man has created God in his own image. And then – the ultimate foolishness – you worship your own image. In fact, if you were a little intelligent, you could just purchase a mirror and worship.
All your gods are nothing but your own reflections. There is no need to go to a temple or to a church; you can just keep a small mirror. Perhaps ladies are very intelligent about it – they go on looking again and again in the mirror, they believe in the mirror.
But all your gods are the same, all your rituals are created by crafty priests. None of your scriptures are even first-rate literature; they are very third-class contributions. But just because they are holy… Who makes them holy? There are people who have their vested interests…
It is a long chain from God to the prophets, to the messiahs, to the holy scripture, to the church. But the only reality in this whole long line of fictions is the priest, and his whole effort through the ages has been to exploit you. And not only to exploit – exploitation is possible only if certain conditions are fulfilled: you have to be made to feel guilty.
Strange ways have been invented to make you feel guilty. The Hindus say that you are suffering, in misery, not because of your stupidities, not because of your unconsciousness, not because of your unmeditativeness, not because you have made no effort to become enlightened, but because of the evil acts you have done in millions of past lives. Now you cannot undo them; there is no way backward. That burden you have to carry, and under that burden you lose all your dignity, all your pride. All that you can do is pray to God to help you, to save you.
Christians – because they don’t have the idea of many, many lives, but only one life – cannot use the same strategy. They have found their own strategy: the Hindu is suffering because of millions of past lives; the Christian is suffering because Adam and Eve, faraway, back in the very beginning, disobeyed God. The idea is so farfetched… In what way can I be responsible if Adam disobeyed God?
But Christianity goes on insisting – and Christianity means half of humanity – that you were born in sin because your forefathers, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. You are born of sinners; hence, you are miserable. And you will remain miserable unless you repent and unless you are forgiven. Only the son of God, Jesus, can save you. He is going to plead on your behalf; he is going to be your advocate. You have just to believe in him and at the last day of judgment he will choose the people who believe in him, and will ask God to forgive them. The remainder of humanity is going to fall into eternal hell.
These are great strategies to bring people into the fold of Christianity…because that is the only way to save your future; otherwise there is no hope. Every religion has in some way taken away your beauty, your greatness, has destroyed the very idea that you have any worth, any meaning, any significance, that you have any potential.
Enlightenment is a rebellion against all traditions, against all priests, against all religions, because it declares that there is nothing higher than man’s consciousness. And man is not suffering because some stupid man in the past disobeyed a fictitious God; man is not suffering because of millions of lives of evil acts. Man is suffering for the simple reason that he does not know himself. His ignorance about himself is the only cause of his suffering, misery, torture.
Enlightenment brings everything to a very simple and scientific conclusion. It pinpoints that all that you need is to learn the art of awareness.
Ta Hui is right to say that enlightenment is the key, the only key which opens all the realities and all the blessings and all the potentials which have been hidden within you. You are a seed: enlightenment is nothing but finding the right soil and waiting for the spring to come.
Enlightenment is such a radical standpoint.
It is not another religion.
It is the only religion.
All other religions are pseudo.
Ta Hui says,
Some take sitting wordlessly with eyes shut beneath the black mountain, inside the ghost cave, and consider it as the scene on the other side of the primordial buddha, the scene before their parents were born – they also call it “silent, yet ever illuminating,” and consider it Ch’an. This lot don’t seek subtle wondrous enlightenment: they consider enlightenment as falling into the secondary.
This word secondary has to be understood because it has a context, and without the context you will not be able to grasp the meaning. Gautam Buddha has said, “To experience enlightenment is primary, but to say anything about it is secondary.” To know it is fundamental, but to say anything about it – howsoever articulate, howsoever intelligently worded – falls into the secondary, into the nonessential. The essential is the experience; the expression is nonessential.
But this is one of the great misfortunes of humanity, that even great truths are destined to be misunderstood by people. What Buddha is saying is one thing; what people hear is another. There is a school which says enlightenment is secondary, and Gautam Buddha himself has said it. Don’t be bothered by it. Certainly Gautam Buddha has said it, but he has not said that enlightenment is secondary. He has said that to say anything about it is to go wrong…even the very word enlightenment, and you have gone far away from the experience.
And you know in your ordinary life there are situations… When you see a beautiful rose, is it the same to experience the beauty of the rose and to say that it is beautiful? Can the word beautiful contain your experience of the rose? You experience love, but is it possible to say through the word love exactly what you experience in the silences of your heart? The love that you experience and the word love are not synonymous. The word is not even an echo of your authentic experience. And these are ordinary realities: beauty, love, gratitude.
Enlightenment is the ultimate experience of being one with the whole. There is no way to say it.
Lao Tzu refused his whole life to say anything about it: “You can talk about everything, but don’t mention the ultimate experience” – because he cannot lie, and to say anything about the ultimate truth is a lie.
Gautam Buddha was right, but he was not taking into consideration the stupid people who are always in the majority. He would never have thought that there would be a school quoting him, saying that enlightenment is secondary; the real thing is to worship, the real thing is to pray. Gautam Buddha has denied… His last words were, “Don’t make statues of me, because I don’t want you to be worshippers, I want you to be buddhas. And a buddha praying before a stone statue is simply ridiculous.”
But such is the ignorance of man that the first statues made of any man were those of Gautam Buddha. There had been statues, but those were of fictitious gods. Gautam Buddha is the first historical person whose statues were made, and made on such a great scale that even today he has more statues in the world than anybody else. And the poor fellow had said, “Don’t make my statues, because I am not teaching you to worship, I am teaching you to awaken. No worship is going to help; it is simply a waste of time.”
But the priest is interested in worship; hence Buddha’s words were not taken care of, and priests started making statues. Rituals were created, and he had been fighting for forty-two years continuously against rituals, against temples, against scriptures. Exactly what he had been fighting against was done afterward – and done with all good intentions by people who thought they were doing some service to humanity, by people who thought that they were followers of Gautam Buddha.
It is a strange history. Every master has been betrayed, without exception, by his own people in different ways. The betrayal of Judas was very ordinary, superficial. But the betrayal of those who have created statues of Buddha, made temples of Buddha, created scriptures in the name of Buddha, brought everything back against which that man had fought for forty-two years continuously… From the back door everything has come in.
These people say…and they are many, and of many different sectarian ideologies. There are thirty-two buddhist sects in the world, and they all think they are teaching exactly what Gautam Buddha has said. But there are only a few who can be said to have understood Gautam Buddha – because the only way to understand him is to become him, is to become an awakened being.
Except for that, there is no way to understand Buddha. You cannot study him from scriptures and you cannot persuade him by your prayers. You can be in his company only by being awakened the same way as he was. On those same sunlit peaks of consciousness you will be able to understand him. In other words, the day you understand yourself you will have understood the message of this strangest man who has walked on the earth.
The priests have been trying to misquote him, to distort him, to interpret him for their own interests.
They consider enlightenment as falling into the secondary. They think that enlightenment deceives people…
The fact is, only enlightenment does not deceive people. Except enlightenment, everything in the name of religion deceives people.
…that enlightenment is a fabrication…
And I say again to you: only enlightenment is the ultimate reality. Other than that, everything else is a fabrication.
All your gods, all your messiahs, all your prophets are nothing but your own imagination, your own projection. They are fulfilling certain needs in you, but those needs are sick. They are providing you with father-figures.
It is not strange that people call God “the father,” because everybody feels alone in the world, unprotected. Always death is walking by your side; it can grab you any moment. Life is so insecure and unsafe that you need some insurance, some guarantee. God comes in handy; he is your father. In times of trouble you can always rely on him, although he has never helped anybody.
Even Jesus on the cross is praying. Finally he freaks out and shouts at the sky, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” But still he goes on looking, hoping that God will be coming on a white cloud to save him, with angels playing on their harps, singing “Alleluia!” But not a single white cloud appears.
Jesus can be taken as the greatest example of all those who believe in fictions. He believed too much… The sky is not responsible for his beliefs, and if the sky is not fulfilling his expectations, only he is responsible – nobody else. He had immense belief, but he was not enlightened; he did not trust. He believed in a God; he believed madly that he was the only son of God.
These very ideas show that the man was a little neurotic. Instead of helping him and giving him the right treatment, there were other idiots who crucified him…but crucifixion is not a treatment. So one sort of idiots crucified him and another sort of idiots, in their imagination, have resurrected him. Now half of humanity is following a man who was a mental case.
But why has he been able to influence so many people? The reason is not that he had a great, convincing philosophy – he had no philosophy at all! The reason is that humanity at large is also neurotic. It feels very good to believe in Jesus Christ, to believe in God; it creates a protection – just in your mind. You will be deceived, finally you will be disillusioned, but to be disillusioned at the time of death is meaningless. Then there is no time is left to do anything else.
The people who say that enlightenment deceives people, the people who say that enlightenment is a fabrication, are people who
Since they have never awakened themselves, they don’t believe anyone has awakened either.
It is like blind people who don’t believe that there is light – and there is no way to convince them. Even the greatest logician will not be able to convince a blind man that there is light, because light is not an argument but an experience. You need eyes – you don’t need great philosophical proofs.
If you are deaf, no music exists for you. If you are crippled, it hurts you that somebody else can dance. And if the majority is crippled – which is the case as far as enlightenment is concerned… If once in a while there is a dancer and millions of people are crippled, they cannot believe that he is real. Maybe he is a dream, maybe an illusion, maybe a magical trick – but he cannot be real. Their own experience does not support his reality.
The awakened ones have found themselves in utter aloneness in a world where everybody is capable of becoming a dancer, but people have chosen to remain crippled, people have chosen to remain blind. There are people who can exploit you only if you are blind, if you are crippled, if you are deaf, if you are dumb. These parasites are your prophets, these parasites are your priests.
Enlightenment is a rebellion against all these parasites.
There is a kind acting as teachers spreading false talk who tell students, “Just preserve stillness.” When asked, “What thing is this, preserving? Who is the still one?” they say, “the still one is the basis.” Yet they don’t believe that the enlightened one exists: they say that the enlightened one is an offshoot, and quote this from Yang Shan
– a great master in his own right.
A monk asked Yang Shan, “Do people these days still make use of enlightenment or not?”
True to his awakened state of consciousness,
Yang Shan said, “Though enlightenment is not absent, nevertheless it falls into the secondary: don’t talk of dreams in front of fools.”
Now these great masters are bound to be misunderstood. What they are saying is absolutely right, and there is no way to improve upon it – they are saying it so beautifully. Yang Shan is not denying enlightenment, but neither is he asserting that it exists, because the phenomenon is so big that it cannot be contained in any positive statement.
The moment you make a positive statement, it has already fallen to the state of secondary, non-essential. But who is going to understand him? – only a man of his own category; otherwise he is bound to be misunderstood.
He says, “Though enlightenment is not absent… He could have said, “Enlightenment exists” – that’s what he is saying, but he is aware that saying anything positively brings limitations. All positive words are limited; hence, out of necessity the awakened ones have used the negatives – nothingness, nobodiness – because nothingness has no limits.
Have you ever thought about nothingness? Its beauty is that it has no limits; otherwise it will become something. It is nothing because it has no limits. It does not mean that it is not: it simply means it is so much, limitless. But to understand that nothingness is not negation…it is a way of indicating that which cannot be said by any positive word.
“Though enlightenment is not absent…” Yang Shan will not say it is present, but he can say, “Though enlightenment is not absent, nevertheless” – because even to say this much is to go against the ultimate experience and its inexpressibility – “nevertheless it falls into the secondary: don’t talk of dreams in front of fools” …because the fools may take the dreams to be real.
It is better to be silent with the fools; at least they cannot misunderstand. But there are great fools who can even misunderstand your silence… There are so many kinds of idiots in the world; their categories are inexhaustible.
I have heard… A man was dying of aids and his gay friends were consoling him, “Everybody who is born has to die.” And one of them said, “At least you should be happy that your results are positive.”
In his mind, the word positive has some value: be happy that you are dying of positive aids, not of some negative disease.
Then they understand this literally as a real doctrine and say that enlightenment is secondary.
Such people scarcely realize that Kuei Shan himself had a saying to alert students; indeed it is very cogent: “Enlightenment is the standard for investigating the ultimate truth through to the end.”

Where do those false teachers put these words? It is impossible that Kuei Shan was bringing doubts and errors to later people by having them fall into the secondary.
I will tell you a strange story.

You will see everywhere in India people bragging that this is the country of Gautam Buddha. But even the people who are bragging don’t know what the brahmins have written about Gautam Buddha.
Of course the man was so charismatic… His teaching was negative: he had no god, he did not believe in consoling you, he was not a man just to give you false pacifications. He called a spade a spade. He was very pragmatic, and committed absolutely to the truth. He denied that the Vedas are holy – which was a shock to the whole country, because the country had believed in the Vedas for centuries. They are the ancientmost scriptures of the world.
But Buddha was so impressive, his personality was such a great argument, his presence was so convincing, that although there were many who wanted to have a dispute with him, they remained silent because they had no guts.
Once he was dead, the Hindus, the priests, wrote a very strange and very ugly story in one of the Hindu Puranas. They were in a dilemma: what to do with Gautam Buddha? The man does not believe in God – and you cannot prove that God exists. He does not believe in the Vedas, that they have anything sacred in them – and you cannot prove it. He does not believe in your rituals – he calls them foolish. He is against all kinds of priesthood; he does not want anybody to stand between individuals and existence – there should be an immediate meeting and communion – no mediator in between, no commission agents.
The man’s influence was great. The brahmins could not say that he was wrong because then they would have to prove it. They could not ignore him either, because the whole country was overwhelmed by his presence. But priests are a cunning race. They created a holy scripture – invented a story – that when God created the world he created heaven and hell, and he gave to the devil the charge of hell. But thousands of years passed and nobody reached hell because people were innocent, nobody committed any sin; everybody was going into heaven – and the devil was bored sitting alone.
Finally he went to God and he said, “What kind of stupidity is this? Why have you created hell? – just for me? And I am there in charge, but where are the people? Thousands of years of waiting, and not a single customer. I want to resign. You can appoint somebody else.”
God persuaded him, “Don’t be worried. You go back. I will be born as Gautam Buddha, and I will teach wrong ideologies to people and then they will start falling into hell automatically.”
And the story says that since then, since Gautam Buddha, hell is overcrowded. In fact, many people have to wait outside in a queue.

Do you see the cunningness? They accept that Gautam Buddha has the impact of a god, they accept that he has influenced millions of people, but they managed to plant the idea that whoever follows Gautam Buddha – although he is one of the incarnations of God – will fall into hell. And slowly, slowly they convinced the people.
After Gautam Buddha’s death, within just five hundred years, there was not a single buddhist left in India. Who is going to follow a man, howsoever beautiful he may be, if the ultimate result is going to be hell?
The situation became so strange that in the memorial temple where Gautam Buddha became enlightened – his lovers had raised a beautiful temple by the side of the bodhi tree under which he was sitting when he became enlightened – there was not even a single buddhist left to take care of it.
The memorial temple has been in the possession of a brahmin family for almost two thousand years. Even today the temple is the possession of a brahmin family. They don’t believe in Buddha, but there was no other way…no buddhist was left. Even the tree under which Buddha had become enlightened was destroyed by the Hindus – and these are the so-called religious people. The tree that exists today is not the original tree; it is one of the branches of the original tree.
It was just a coincidence that King Ashoka sent his daughter, Sanghamitra, who had become a sannyasin of Gautam Buddha, to Sri Lanka to spread the message. He sent with her a branch of the bodhi tree. And the bodhi tree is a strange tree, in a way it is an eternal tree: it never dies unless you destroy it, because from every branch new roots go on growing. It is a tree of its own kind. Those new roots go into the earth, so around the tree many children of the tree start growing. The tree can become so big that thousands of people can sit under it, because it goes on and on spreading its new generations. Even if the old original tree dies, its descendants will still be alive.
So that branch was brought to Sri Lanka by Sanghamitra, and it was planted there. Sanghamitra must have been a great, an impressive woman; she converted the whole of Sri Lanka to Buddhism. And when the original tree was destroyed, just when India became free, a branch from Sri Lanka was brought back. It is a descendant that is now in the place where the original tree must have been.
Buddhists were killed, burned alive. Those who could, escaped out of India, and that’s how China became Buddhist, Korea became Buddhist, Taiwan became Buddhist, Japan became Buddhist, Burma became Buddhist, Thailand became Buddhist. The whole East turned toward Gautam Buddha, except his own land. India became absolutely without any influence of Gautam Buddha. The old priests came back, the Vedas became again holy. Old, meaningless rituals again became significant.
There have been people in the world who could have transformed humanity, but there are so many parasites who would not like you to become enlightened because your enlightenment means their profession is destroyed.
Enlightenment is the very essence of human dignity, human grandeur. It is certainly the key, as Ta Hui is saying. It is the golden key. And for anybody in the world who really wants to be religious, except enlightenment there is no other way.

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