The Great Zen Master Ta Hui 35

ThirtyFifth Discourse from the series of 38 discourses - The Great Zen Master Ta Hui by Osho.
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A Talk to the Assembly (Part One)

Do you want to attain true one suchness of mind and objects? It requires an abrupt, complete break: pick out the one inside your skull that’s doing the false thinking, take the eighth consciousness, and cut it off with one blow.
Haven’t you read Master Yen T’ou’s saying? “As soon as there’s something considered important, it becomes a nest.”
All of you people have spent your whole lives inquiring after this matter – without any attainment – sitting in your nests your whole lives without being able to come out, totally unaware of your error. Those who’ve become infatuated with the words and phrases of the ancients take amazing words and subtle phrases as their nest. Those who take delight in the verbal meaning of the scriptures take the scriptures as their nest.
All the above have things they consider important where their infatuations lie. Lacking the qualities of great men of power to step back and recognize their error, they think of what they consider important as extraordinary, as wondrous and subtle, as peace and security, as the ultimate, as liberation.
For those who entertain such thoughts, even if Buddha appeared in the world, it would be to no avail. With nothing considered important, naturally you’re full of rawboned power, without desire or dependence, and master of the dharma.
Every man creates a certain psychological security, unaware of the fact that his security is his prison. People are surrounded by all kinds of insecurities; hence the natural desire is to create a protection. This protection becomes bigger and bigger as you become more alert to the dangers you are living through. Your prison cell becomes smaller; you start living so much protected that life itself becomes impossible.
Life is possible only in insecurity.
This is something very fundamental to be understood: life in its very essence is insecurity. While you are protecting yourself, you are destroying your very life. Protection is death, because only those who are dead in their graves are absolutely protected. Nobody can harm them, nothing can go wrong for them. There is no longer any death for them – all that has happened. Now nothing more is going to happen.
Do you want the security of a graveyard? Unknowingly that’s what everybody is trying to do. Different are their ways, but the goal is the same. By money, by power, by prestige, by social conformity, by belonging to a herd – religious, political – by being part of a family, a nation, what are you seeking? Just an unknown fear surrounds you, and you start creating as many barriers as possible between you and the fear. But those same barriers are going to prevent you from living.
Once this is understood, you will know the meaning of sannyas. It is accepting life as insecurity, dropping all defenses and allowing life to take possession of you. This is a dangerous step, but those who are capable of taking it are rewarded immensely, because only they live. Others just survive.
There is a difference between survival and living. Survival is only a dragging – dragging from the cradle to the grave. When is the grave going to come? In the space between the cradle and the grave, why be afraid? Death is certain – and you don’t have anything to lose, you come without anything. Your fears are just projections. You don’t have anything to lose, and one day what you have is bound to disappear.
If death was uncertain there would be some substance in creating security. If you could avoid death, then naturally it would be perfectly right to create barriers between you and death. But you cannot avoid it. Ta Hui has said in his previous sutras, “Accepting the unavoidable is one of the fundamentals of coming to illumination.” Death is there; once accepted it loses all fear, nothing can be done about it. When nothing can be done about it, then why be bothered?
It is a well-known fact that soldiers going to the war field are trembling. Deep down they know that all will not be returning back in the evening. Who is going to return and who is not going to return is not known, but it is possible that perhaps they themselves may not be returning home. But psychologists have been observing a strange phenomenon: as they reach the war front, all their fears disappear. They start fighting very playfully.
Once death is accepted, then where is the sting in it? Once they know that death is possible at any moment – then they can forget all about it.
I have been with many army people – I had many friends – and it was strange to see that they are the most joyous people, the most relaxed. Any day the call can come, “Join the forces” – but they play cards, they play golf, they drink, they dance, they enjoy life to the full.
One of the generals used to come to me. I asked him, “You are prepared almost every day for death, and still…how can you manage to be happy?”
He said, “What else is there to do? Death is certain.”
Once the certainty, unavoidability, inescapability is accepted, then rather than crying and weeping and complaining and dragging yourself toward the grave, why not dance? Why not make the most of the time that you have between the cradle and the grave? Why not live every moment to such totality that if the next moment never comes, there is no complaint? You can die joyously because you have lived joyously.
But very few people have understood the inner working of their own psychology. Rather than living, they start protecting. The same energy that could have become a song and a dance becomes involved in creating more money, more power, more ambition, more security. The same energy that could have been a tremendously beautiful flower of love becomes just an imprisonment in a marriage. Marriage is secure – by law, by social convention, by your own idea of respectability and what people will say. Everybody is afraid of everybody else…so people go on pretending.
Love disappears; it is not in your hands. It comes just like the breeze comes, and it goes just like the breeze goes. Those who are alert and aware dance with the breeze, relish it to its deepest potential, enjoy its coolness and fragrance, and when it is gone they are not sorry and sad. It was a gift from the unknown, it may come again. They wait…it comes again and again. They learn slowly a deep patience and waiting.
But most human beings down the centuries have done the very opposite. Afraid that the breeze may go out, they close all the doors, all the windows, all possible cracks from where it can escape. This is their arrangement for security. This is called marriage. But now they are shocked. When all the windows and the doors are closed and they have plugged even small cracks, instead of having a great, cool, fragrant breeze they have only a stale dead air.
Everybody feels it – but it needs courage to recognize that they have destroyed the beauty of the breeze by capturing it. In life nothing can be captured and imprisoned. One has to live in openness, allowing all kinds of experiences to happen, being fully grateful as long as they last, thankful – but not afraid of tomorrow.
If today has brought a beautiful morning, a beautiful sunrise, songs of birds, great flowers, why be worried about tomorrow? – because tomorrow will be another today. Maybe the sunrise will have different colors, maybe the birds may change their songs a little, maybe there will be rainclouds and the dance of the rain – but that has its own beauty, that has its own nourishment.
It is good that things go on changing, that every evening is not the same, that every day is not exactly a repetition. Something new…that is the very excitement and ecstasy of life; otherwise man will be so bored. And those who have made their life completely secure are bored. They are bored with their wives, they are bored with their children, they are bored with their friends. Boredom is the experience of millions of people, although they smile to hide it.
Friedrich Nietzsche is right when he says, “Don’t think I am a happy man. I smile just to prevent my tears. I become busy in smiling so I can prevent my tears. If I don’t smile, tears are bound to come.” Completely wrong attitudes have been taught to people: hide your tears, remain always at a distance, keep others at least at arm’s length. Don’t allow others too close, because then they may know your inner misery, your boredom, your anguish; they may know your sickness.
The whole humanity is sick for the simple reason that we have not allowed life’s insecurity to be our very religion. Our gods are our security, our virtues are our security, our knowledge is our security, our relationships are our securities. We are wasting our whole life in accumulating security bonds. Our virtues, austerities, are nothing but an effort to be secure even after death. It is creating a bank balance in the other world.
But meanwhile a tremendously beautiful life is slipping out of your hands. The trees are so beautiful because they don’t know the fear of insecurity. The wild animals have such grandeur because they don’t know that there is death, there is insecurity. The flowers can dance in the sun and in the rain because they are not concerned about what is going to happen in the evening. Their petals will fall, and just as they had appeared from an unknown source, they will disappear back into the same unknown source. But meanwhile, between these two points of appearance and disappearance, you have the opportunity either to dance or to despair.
Ta Hui is saying that people go to the churches and to the temples and to the mosques, not because they are religious, but because they are cowards. Because they cannot live, they are finding ways to protect themselves.

I used to stay with a friend in a house in Surat. This friend belongs to a strange Mohammedan sect, and Surat is their headquarters; their high priest lives in Surat. I could not believe what intelligent people can do…the community is very rich and very intelligent; all are educated people. Just talking to him I came to know that in their society, when somebody dies, his friends and his family give money to the high priest. Sometimes lakhs of rupees are given to the priest as a representative of God; because the man is going on a pilgrimage, his life after death should be taken care of.
The priest writes a letter to God, a letter of recommendation: “This man has to be taken care of. A good place” – according to the donations – “should be arranged for him in heaven.” That letter is put in the pocket of the dead man, the dead man is put in the grave, and the money – of course – goes in the pocket of the priest.
I asked the friend, “Do you think that money in some strange way reaches to God?”
He said, “That’s the belief.”
I took him to their graveyard one night, to a new, fresh grave. We opened it, and he said, “This is very sacrilegious.”
I said, “I don’t belong to your religion; don’t be worried, all the responsibility is mine.” And I pulled out the letter from the pocket of the dead man. I said, “The letter is here. The fellow has forgotten to take the letter. Now what will he do?” A character certificate…in the twentieth century! We are still primitives.
And the priest himself I have met. He is a well-educated person, he has a doctorate in literature. I told him, “At least it is your responsibility, being an intelligent person, educated, not to lead people into false securities. People are giving their whole life’s money to have a secure place in the other world, but they have not lived here.”
He could not deny it to me: “This is not good – but I am just a representative of a long heritage. My father was a priest, my grandfather was a priest. It is our family profession.”
I said, “It may be your family profession, but it is more of a crime than a profession. You are an intelligent man, you should expose this hypocrisy.”
But he said, “I have thought about it many times. As far as I’m concerned, I’m already too rich…centuries of accumulation. I can expose it – that the whole money goes into the pocket of the priest – but I stop myself because this gives people great consolation and security. I don’t want to disturb their consolation and their security.”

I can understand his concern and I don’t think he was just trying to defend himself. He was sincere. But such are our consolations given in different ways by different religions, different priests, different politicians. Everybody is making your life secure – and everybody is destroying you.
An authentic religious person simply drops the idea of security and starts living in utter insecurity, because that is the nature of life. You cannot change it. That which you cannot change, accept – and accept it with joy. Don’t unnecessarily hit your head against the wall; just pass through the door.
Ta Hui, in his last sutras, is giving you his standpoint.
Do you want to attain true one suchness of mind and objects? It requires an abrupt, complete break…
These are the words to be remembered: It requires an abrupt, complete break… It requires a discontinuity of the way you have been living up to now. You have to stop living in ostrich logic.
The ostrich is a very logical animal. Whenever the ostrich sees any enemy, a hunter, he puts his head deep into the sand. Seeing no enemy, he feels completely secure. In fact, he has become more insecure. If he was looking at the enemy, then there would be possible ways to escape, or at least an effort could be made. But when he is standing there, his head in the sand, eyes closed, he is absolutely vulnerable.
This has become many people’s lifestyle – ostrich style. Whatever seems to be dangerous, they ignore it; they don’t look that way. They believe that if they don’t see it, it disappears.
Have you ever consciously looked at death? Have you ever gone to the cemetery and sat there and thought about the people who are lying in their graves? No…you will go only one time and one way – you will not come back. Why are graveyards and cemeteries and funeral grounds made outside the city, out of the way? – so that you don’t have to come across them. In fact, the graveyards should be made exactly in the middle of the city, so you have to come across them many times every day, knowing perfectly well that the people who are sleeping in those graves were also one day living just like you, and one day you also will be lying in the same kind of grave.
The insecurity has to be made absolutely clear. In that clarity there is a possibility of acceptance; there is no other way. You cannot escape, so don’t waste time in escaping.
The same time has to be used in coming to know a deeper life which knows no death, a deeper love which is not ephemeral, a love that has nothing to do with infatuation of any kind, a love that is just like a heartbeat to you, not addressed to anybody in particular. It is not loving someone, it is simply loving, it is being love – that is eternal.
But an abrupt and complete break is needed in our lifestyles. Our lifestyles are based on cowardly, fearful attitudes toward life.
Pick out the one inside your skull that’s doing the false thinking, take the eighth consciousness, and cut it off with one blow.
By an abrupt, complete break Ta Hui simply means that if you are intelligent enough, you will change in a single blow. You will not say, “I will change gradually, slowly, part by part;” you will not say, “Change will take time.” You will say, “I have seen it; now there is no question of changing. I have changed.”
There is a Buddhist story…

A woman is in deep love with Gautam Buddha’s philosophy. She is a princess, and Gautam Buddha is in the town. She has just come from the discourse; she is full of the great ideas that Gautam Buddha was talking about. In ancient days in India it was customary…it was a loving gesture but may have become, by and by, part of women’s slavery. She was giving a shower to her husband, rubbing his body.
She said, “By the way” – because her mind was still filled with Gautam Buddha. She said, “My brother has been thinking to become a follower of Gautam Buddha.”
Her husband laughed. He said, “That’s ridiculous. Thinking? – how many years has he been thinking?”
The woman said, “As far as I know, nearabout five years he has been thinking.”
The man said, “He will never become…he will go on thinking. A person who can think for five years can think for fifty years.”
These are not matters to be thought about; either you understand or you don’t. These are abrupt quantum leaps. The moment you see the snake on the road you don’t think whether to move away or to jump, you do something abruptly.
When you see the house is on fire, you don’t sit there for five years thinking about what to do. Once you have seen the house is on fire you don’t even bother to put on your dress properly. If you are taking a shower, you will jump out of the bathroom window naked. This is not a time to follow social etiquette. It does not matter whether it is Pune or anywhere else – when the house is on fire, you don’t think of the police commissioner! The idea simply does not come to your mind.
The man said, “Your brother is simply enjoying the idea that one day he will become a follower and perhaps attain the blissful state of buddhahood. But I can say to you it is not going to happen. These things happen abruptly.”
Naturally the wife was offended, because her brother has been criticized. To defend her brother she said to her husband, “Can you do what you are saying? Can you do it abruptly? – because you are also listening to Gautam Buddha.”
The man did not answer; he simply jumped out of the bathroom window. The woman said, “What are you doing?”
He said, “Forget all about it.”
She said, “At least take the clothes…!”
He said, “Abrupt means abrupt.”
People on the street could not believe that the prince was naked. They asked him, “What has happened?”
He said, “I have become discontinuous with my past life!”
He reached Gautam Buddha, naked. Gautam Buddha said, “At least you could have put on some clothes.”
He said, “The situation was such that I had to do it abruptly. Initiate me this very moment!”
The wife came running behind, the family came running behind, saying “What are you doing? It was just a playful argument.”
The man said, “What I have done I cannot undo.”
And this man, because of his courage and a sudden understanding, became one of the enlightened disciples of Gautam Buddha. His name was Sariputta. He is one of the most loved characters in the Buddhist tradition. Certainly he was a man worthy to be loved and respected.

Ta Hui is suggesting to you also…an abrupt and complete break with your lifestyle, which is nothing but consolation, protection, security, safety, guarantee, insurance.
Haven’t you read Master Yen T’ou’s saying? “As soon as there’s something considered important, it becomes a nest.”
The moment you think something is important – money, knowledge, power – it becomes a cozy nest, and you start living within that small nest. You become a prisoner.
A man of ambition cannot be a free man. A man of desires cannot taste the beauty of freedom. His desires are his chains. And whatever has become important – Yen T’ou is right – that very thing becomes your bondage.
Nothing should be more important to you than your own consciousness. Anything more important than your consciousness makes a prison for you; you become secondary. You humiliate yourself, you yourself fall in your own eyes.
All of you people have spent your whole lives inquiring after this matter – without any attainment – sitting in your nests your whole lives without being able to come out, totally unaware of your error.
The error is that you have made something more important than your own being, you have put something higher than yourself. It may be a god… Don’t put anything as a goal, don’t put anything higher than you. You are the ultimate, nothing can be higher than you. You have to explore yourself, because the moment anything becomes important to you, you stop exploring yourself; you start running after that which is important to you, whatever it is.
Those who have become infatuated with the words and phrases of the ancients take amazing words and subtle phrases as their nest.
What are your so-called learned people? – the pundits, the rabbis, the great scholars. Words, beautiful words, have become so important to them that they have forgotten themselves. Words have become their whole life; they go on accumulating more and more beautiful quotes, statements, but what they are? – just imprisoned in scriptures.
Those who take delight in the verbal meaning of the scriptures take the scriptures as their nest.
It does not matter what it is – it may be money, it may even be enlightenment – if you make it a distant goal, something to be achieved, you have missed the point. Enlightenment is not something to be achieved; it is something that happens to you when you are in a non-achieving mood, when there is nothing important to you, when there is no greed, no desire, no ambition – not even the ambition for enlightenment. Then suddenly you settle within yourself, not going anywhere, because every desire is going away from you.
When there is no going anywhere, your consciousness concentrates at the very center of your being…and the explosion. This explosion is enlightenment, but you cannot make it a goal. This explosion is liberation, but you cannot make it a goal.
All the above have things they consider important where their infatuations lie. Lacking the qualities of great men of power to step back and recognize their error, they think of what they consider important as extraordinary, as wondrous and subtle, as peace and security, as the ultimate, as liberation.
Man is a very self-deceiving animal; he can manage to deceive himself. He can call his imprisonment his palace, he can call his handcuffs his ornaments, he can call borrowed knowledge his experience. It is not a great crime to deceive somebody else, but to deceive oneself is certainly the greatest crime.
One who cannot deceive himself cannot deceive anybody else, and one who can deceive even himself is bound to deceive everybody.
For those who entertain such thoughts, even if Buddha appeared in the world, it would be to no avail.
Those who are infatuated, running after certain projections of their mind, even if they meet Buddha they will not recognize him, because to recognize Buddha one needs an innocent mind, non-ambitious. You can recognize him only if you also have something of the same quality. If you don’t have anything of alertness in you, how can you recognize the ultimate of awareness? You will bypass it.
Thousands of buddhas have happened and millions of people have passed them, without even looking back. They are so infatuated, their eyes are so full of their own greed that they cannot see clearly. And a buddha can be seen only if your eyes have no dust, if your mirror is clean.
With nothing considered important, naturally you’re full of rawboned power, without desire or dependence, and master of the dharma.
With a very simple statement he has made a great invitation to you. You are the most important thing in existence; never put anything above you, otherwise that will become your bondage, your nest. Remain always clear that the greatest thing is throbbing in your own heart. It has to be explored, inquired into, experienced, but the Kohinoor is within you.
The moment your eyes become fixed on something else, you have reduced yourself into something secondary – and you are primary.
It happened that I had to be present in a court because I had made a statement and somebody’s religious feelings were hurt. I cannot conceive how anybody’s religious feelings can be hurt; they must be very weak, they must not have deep foundations. And what I have said he had not even understood.
I had related a small incident in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi used to listen to the Hindu scripture, Ramayana – the story of Rama – and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, who was a Sanskrit scholar, used to read it. There comes a point in the story where Sita, the wife of Rama, is stolen, abducted by his enemy. Finding no other way, Sita used a small strategy to leave some marks on the path, so that Rama could find where the enemy has taken her; she started dropping her ornaments. She was a queen – Rama was a king – so she had many ornaments, immensely valuable, and she went on dropping them on the way.
Rama found the way, but there was trouble. His brother, Lakshmana, was with him. Rama said, “I cannot recognize these ornaments.” His argument was very clear; he said, “You see ornaments only when the person is not worth seeing. Sita is so beautiful that when I see her I forget completely to see anything else, so I don’t recognize these ornaments. Lakshmana, perhaps you can recognize them; you have always been following behind Sita.”
Lakshmana said, “You will have to forgive me. I can recognize only the ornaments she used to wear on her feet.”
This is the incident:

Mahatma Gandhi asked Bhave Vinoba, “What is the matter? Why can’t he recognize…?” And Vinoba Bhave gave the explanation that because Lakshmana was a celibate he could not look at Sita’s face. But because the elder brother’s wife is equal to the mother, Lakshmana had to touch Sita’s feet every day – in the morning – so he could recognize the ornaments which were worn on her feet.
Mahatma Gandhi was very much impressed – so much so that before this moment the word acharya was not used for Vinoba Bhave. It was conferred by Mahatma Gandhi because of this incident, meaning “You are a great teacher” – acharya means a great teacher – “I could not have thought about it this way, but you have a very deep insight.”
I was speaking in Ahmedabad and I said, “Vinoba Bhave himself is a repressed person, trying to be celibate, otherwise I don’t see any problem. Why can’t you see a beautiful woman if you can see a beautiful flower, if you can see a beautiful moon? Beauty is not the problem; the problem is your repressed sexuality. You are afraid to see the face because you know that if you see the face you will be infatuated.”
And I said, “Vinoba Bhave was wrong, and Mahatma Gandhi was wrong in accepting the explanation. The explanation is sick.”
Mahatma Gandhi was dead. I told the court, “I have not made any statement on my own. I have simply said that the statement of Vinoba Bhave shows his own psychology; it does not say anything about the incident. And if it says anything about the incident, then Lakshmana was also sexually repressed. And I’m not saying it; it is a simple conclusion from what Vinoba said. Vinoba is alive, and – if the court agrees – he should be called. I am ready to dispute on the point.”
But the court was convinced: it is simple – unless you are repressed you cannot be so afraid of seeing a woman who is almost your mother. And the man whose religious feelings were hurt… The case was dismissed, but there were thousands of people surrounding the court. The man was so much afraid to come out of the court – because people would have given him a good beating – that he asked the judge for police protection.
I said to the judge, “I need police protection because I am hurting the feelings of the Hindus, and the people surrounding the court are all Hindus. Why should this man be afraid? Certainly he knows that he has brought the case only to harass me – and the people are outside to take revenge.”
But I said to the judge, “Give him protection.” And I said to the man, “Remember, never let your religious feelings get so easily hurt.”
A religious man cannot feel hurt. Even if something is said against his religion, he will give it consideration: it may be right. If it is right, he will change; he will have the courage to change himself. If it is not right, who bothers? – he will ignore it.

Why do religious people get easily hurt? There have been dozens of cases against me all over India in different courts for the same simple reason: somebody’s religious feeling is hurt. Why do you go on carrying such religious feelings that get hurt so easily? These are not religions; these are their securities, their consolations. And because I have said something which takes away the consolation, the security…that’s what hurts.
It is as if I have taken away the protection which was hiding their wound. I have not created the wound, I have simply made them aware of it. They should be grateful to me, not angry, because if the wound is opened to the sun, to the air, there is a possibility of its being healed. But the very recognition is lacking that they are living in an imaginary security.

I used to go to my town and I heard that my old teacher, who taught me in school and who loved me very much, was on his deathbed. So I ran to see him, but his wife said, “Please don’t disturb him. You have disturbed him so much; whenever you come he cannot sleep for a few nights. And this is a very critical moment: he is just on his deathbed.”
I said, “Then I cannot go back. Let me disturb him for the last time! Because there is still time for him to understand.” His fear always had been that I would destroy his securities. He used to worship a Hindu statue of Ganesha, the elephant god. I had said to him, “Your statue of Ganesha seems more like a cartoon than a god. And can’t you see that this seems to be some joke?” The body is of a man, the head is of an elephant, and the belly is so big that Ganesha cannot see his own feet, and on top of it he is riding on a mouse! I said, “Some practical joker must have made this, and you go on worshipping every day…”
He said, “Don’t disturb me! I’m an old man, and when you say such things they enter in my mind, then my worshipping is half-hearted, because I can see that it is right. This heavy man should not sit on the mouse; he could have found any other kind of vehicle. And such a big belly…”
But lifelong security…because it is thought by the Hindus that Ganesh is a very protective god; in your difficulties he will be your savior. So when I pushed past his wife I said, “You get out of the way. I have to see him.”
And as he saw me he closed his eyes. He said, “Just forgive me, don’t say anything. Let me die peacefully.”
I said, “For that very purpose I have come. If you can drop all your nonsense you can die peacefully.”
He said, “You have started again! All that I have got is nonsense according to you, and I don’t have any rational support for it. But it is not the time to argue; let me die believing in things I have always believed in. You have been distracting me continuously my whole life. I love you, and I know your intention is right, but on a poor old man you should show a little compassion.”
I said, “That’s what I have come for. I even had to push your wife out of the way. There is still time. If you can abruptly, in a single blow, drop all your beliefs, and without believing in anything die silently and peacefully, perhaps the last moments of your life will be the crescendo, the highest peak of consciousness. Don’t miss these moments.”
But you will not believe it: he closed his eyes, he closed his ears also. He was not ready to listen to me, because this is the moment to invoke God’s help – death is standing by the side of the bed.

People are living their whole lives in psychological prisons. The authentic religious revolution is an abrupt jump out of your prison cell. Nobody is blocking the way. You are the maker of it, and if you are courageous enough, you can jump out of it.
To know life in its insecurity is to know life in its immense beauty, is to know life in its authenticity. To know life in its insecurity, without any fear, is to transcend death, because life never dies.
Anything that dies is not life; it is only the house in which life was living. The flame of life goes on eternally. Because of your securities and consolations and beliefs you remain unacquainted with the greatest treasure. You live in misery, you die in misery.
It is possible to live in immense bliss and to die dancingly, at ease with existence.

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