The Heart Sutra 03

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

Here, O Sariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form; the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness.

Here, O Sariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they are not produced or stopped, not defiled or immaculate, not deficient or complete.
Knowledge is the curse, the calamity, the cancer. It is through knowledge that man becomes divided from the whole. Knowledge creates the distance.
You come across a wildflower in the mountains, you don’t know what it is; your mind has nothing to say about it, the mind is silent. You look at the flower, you see the flower, but no knowledge arises in you – there is wonder, there is mystery. The flower is there, you are there. Through wonder you are not separate, you are bridged.
If you know that it is a rose or a marigold, or something else, that very knowing disconnects you. The flower is there, you are here, but there is no bridge – you know! Knowledge creates distance. The more you know the bigger the distance; the less you know the less the distance. And if you are in a moment of not knowing, there is no distance, you are bridged.
You fall in love with a woman or a man – the day you fall in love there is no distance. There is only wonder, a thrill, an excitement, an ecstasy – but no knowledge. You don’t know who this woman is. Without knowledge, there is nothing to divide you; hence the beauty of those first moments of love. You have lived with the woman for only twenty-four hours; knowledge has arisen. Now you have some ideas about the woman: you know who she is, there is an image. Twenty-four hours have created a past. Those twenty-four hours have left marks on the mind: you look at the same woman, there is no longer the same mystery. You are coming down the hill, that peak is lost.
To understand this is to understand much. To understand that knowledge divides, knowledge creates distance, is to understand the very secret of meditation. Meditation is a state of not knowing. Meditation is pure space, undisturbed by knowledge. Yes, the biblical story is true – that man has fallen through knowledge, by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge. No other scripture of the world surpasses that. That parable is the last word; no other parable has reached to that height and insight.
It looks so illogical that man has fallen through knowledge. It looks illogical because logic is part of knowledge. Logic is all in support of knowledge. It looks illogical, because logic is the root cause of man’s fall. A man who is absolutely logical, absolutely sane, always sane, never allows any illogic in his life is a madman. Sanity needs to be balanced by insanity; logic needs to be balanced by illogic. The opposites meet and balance. A man who is just rational is unreasonable – he will miss much. In fact he will go on missing all that is beautiful and all that is true. He will collect trivia, his life will be a mundane life. He will be the worldly man.
That biblical parable has immense insight. Why has man fallen through knowledge? – because knowledge creates distance, because knowledge creates “I” and “thou,” because knowledge creates subject and object, the knower and the known, the observer and the observed. Knowledge is basically schizophrenic; it creates a split. And then there is no way to bridge it. That’s why the more knowledgeable man has become, the less religious he is. The more educated a man, the less the possibility is for him to approach godliness.
Jesus is right when he says, “Only children will be able to enter into my kingdom.” Only children… What is that quality that a child has and you have lost? The child has the quality of non-knowledge, innocence. He looks with wonder, his eyes are absolutely clear. He looks deep, but he has no prejudices, no judgments, no a priori ideas. He does not project, hence he comes to know that which is.
The other day we were talking about the distinction between reality and truth. The child knows the truth, you know only the reality. The reality is that which you have created around yourself – projecting, desiring, thinking. The reality is your interpretation of truth. Truth is simply that which is; reality is that which you have come to understand – it is your idea of the truth. Reality consists of things, all separate. Truth consists of only one cosmic energy. Truth consists of oneness, reality consists of “many-ness.” Reality is a crowd, truth is integration.
Before we enter into the sutras, this has to become the foundation: that knowledge is a curse. J. Krishnamurti has said, “To negate is silence.” To negate what? – to negate knowledge, to negate mind, to negate this constant occupation inside you; to create an unoccupied space. When you are unoccupied you are in tune with the whole. When you are occupied you have fallen out of tune. Hence, whenever it happens that you can attain a moment of silence, there is immense joy. In that moment life has significance, in that moment life has a grandeur beyond words. In that moment life is a dance. In that moment if even death comes it will be a dance and a celebration, because that moment knows nothing but joy. That moment is joyous, it is blissful.
Knowledge has to be negated – but not because I am saying so or because J. Krishnamurti says so or because Gautam Buddha has said so. If you negate because I am saying so, then you will negate your knowledge, and whatsoever I am saying will become your knowledge in its place; you will substitute it. The negation has not to come from the mind, otherwise the mind is very tricky. Then whatsoever I say becomes your knowledge, you start clinging to it. You throw away your old idols and you replace them with new ones. But it is the same game played with new words, new ideas, new thoughts.
Then how to negate knowledge? Not by other knowledge: just seeing the fact that knowledge creates distance, just seeing this fact intensely, totally, is enough. Not that you have to replace it with something else; that intensity is fire, that intensity will reduce your knowledge to ashes. That intensity is enough. That intensity is what is known as “insight.” Insight will burn your knowledge, and it will not be replaced by other knowledge. Then there is emptiness, shunyata. Then there is nothingness, because then there is no content; there is undisturbed, undistorted truth.
You have to see what I am saying, you are not to learn what I am saying. Here, sitting with me every day, listening to me, don’t start collecting knowledge. Here, listening to me, don’t start hoarding. Listening to me should be an experiment in insight. You should listen with intensity, with totality, with as much awareness as is possible for you. In that very awareness you will see a point, and that very seeing is transformation. Not that you have to do something else afterward; the seeing itself brings mutation. If some effort is needed, that simply shows you missed. If you come tomorrow and ask me, “I have understood that knowledge is the curse, that knowledge creates distance. Now, how do I drop it?” – then you missed. If the “how” arises, then you missed. The “how” cannot arise, because the “how” is asking for more knowledge. The “how” is asking for methods, techniques: “What should be done?” And insight is enough; it need not be helped by any efforts. Its fire is more than enough to burn all knowledge that you carry within you. Just see the point.
Listening to me, go with me. Listening to me, hold my hand and move into the spaces that I’m trying for you to move into. And see what I am saying, don’t argue. Don’t say yes, don’t say no. Don’t agree, don’t disagree. Just be with me in this moment – and suddenly the insight is there. If you are listening attentively… And by attention I don’t mean concentration; by attention I simply mean you are listening with awareness, not with a dull mind; you are listening with intelligence, with aliveness, with openness. You are here, now, with me. That’s what I mean by attention: you are nowhere else. You are not comparing in the mind what I am saying with your old thoughts. You are not comparing at all, you are not judging. You are not there judging inside, within you, whether what I am saying is right or not, or how much is right.
Just the other day I was talking to a seeker. He has the quality of a seeker but is burdened by knowledge. While I was talking to him his eyes became full of tears. His heart was just going to open, and in that very moment the mind jumped in and destroyed the whole beauty of it. He was just moving toward the heart and opening, but immediately his mind came in. Those tears that were just on the verge of dropping, disappeared. His eyes became dry. What had happened? – I said something with which he could not agree. He was agreeing with me, up to a certain point. Then I said something which goes against his Jewish background, which goes against the Kabbala, and immediately the whole energy changed. He said, “Everything is right. Whatsoever you are saying is right, but this one thing: that God has no purpose, that existence exists purposelessly – with this I cannot agree, because the Kabbala says just the opposite: that life has purpose, that God is purposive, that he is leading us toward a certain destiny, that there is a destination.”
He may not have even looked at it this way – that he missed in that moment because comparison came in. What does the Kabbala have to do with me? When you are with me, put away all your knowledge of the Kabbala, of Yoga, of Tantra, of this and that. When you are with me, be with me. If you are totally with me… And I am not saying that you are agreeing with me, remember. I am not saying that you are agreeing with me: there is no question of agreement or disagreement.
When you see a roseflower, do you agree with it or disagree with it? When you see the sunrise, do you agree or do you disagree? When you see the moon in the night, you simply see it! Either you see it or you don’t see it, but there is no question of agreement or disagreement.
Be with me that way; that is the way of being with a master. Just be with me. I’m not trying to convince you about anything. I’m not trying to convert you to some theory, philosophy, dogma, to some church, no! I’m simply sharing what has happened to me, and in that very sharing, if you participate, it can happen to you too. It is infectious. Insight transforms.
When I am saying knowledge is a curse you can agree or disagree – and you have missed! Just listen to it, just see into it, go into the whole process of knowledge. You see how knowledge creates distance, how knowledge becomes a barrier, how knowledge stands in between, how knowledge goes on increasing and the distance goes on increasing, how innocence is lost through knowledge, how wonder is destroyed, crippled, murdered through knowledge, how life becomes a dull and boring affair through knowledge. Mystery is lost, and with the mystery godliness is lost.
Mystery disappears because you start having the idea that you know. When you know, how can there be mystery? Mystery is possible only when you don’t know.
Remember, man has not known a thing! All that we have gathered is just rubbish. The ultimate remains beyond grasp. What we have gathered are only facts, truth remains untouched by our efforts. And that is the experience not only of Buddha, Krishna, Krishnamurti and Ramana; that is the experience even of Edison, Newton, Albert Einstein. That is the experience of poets, painters, dancers. All the great intelligences of the world – they may be mystics, they may be poets, they may be scientists – are in absolute agreement about one thing: that the more we know, the more we understand that life is an absolute mystery. Our knowledge does not destroy its mystery. It is only stupid people who think that because they know a little bit, now there is no more mystery in life. It is only the mediocre mind that becomes too attached to knowledge; the intelligent mind remains above knowledge. He uses it, certainly uses it – it is useful, it is utilitarian – but knows perfectly well that all that is true is hidden, remains hidden. We can go on knowing and knowing, but existence remains unexhausted.
Listen with insight, attention, totality, and in that very vision you will see something, and that seeing changes you. Don’t ask how.
That is the meaning when Krishnamurti says, “To negate is silence.” Insight negates. And when something is negated and nothing is posited instead, something has been destroyed and nothing has been put, replaced in its place, there is silence – because there is space. There is silence because the old has been thrown and the new has not been brought in. That silence Buddha calls shunyata. That silence is emptiness, nothingness. And only that nothingness can operate in the world of truth.
Thought cannot operate there. Thought works only in the world of things, because thought is also a thing – subtle, but it is also material. That’s why thought can be recorded, that’s why thought can be relayed, conveyed. I can throw a thought at you; you can hold it, you can have it. It can be taken and given, it is transferable, because it is a thing. It is a material phenomenon.
Emptiness cannot be given, emptiness cannot be thrown at you. You can participate in it, you can move into it, but nobody can give it to you. It is nontransferable. And only emptiness operates in the world of truth. Truth is known only when mind is not. To know truth mind has to cease, it has to go out of functioning. It has to be quiet, still, unmoving.
Thought cannot operate in truth, but truth can operate through thoughts. You cannot attain to truth by thinking, but when you have attained it you can use thinking in its service. That’s what I am doing, that’s what Buddha has done, that’s what all the masters have done.
What I am saying is a thought, but behind this thought is emptiness. That emptiness has not been produced by thought, that emptiness is beyond thought. Thought cannot touch it, thought cannot even look at it.
Have you observed one phenomenon? – that you cannot think about emptiness, you cannot make emptiness a thought. You cannot think about it, it is unthinkable. If you can think about it, it will not be emptiness at all. Thought has to go for emptiness to come; they never meet. Once emptiness has come, it can use all kinds of devices to express itself.
Insight is a state of no-thought. Whenever you see something, you always see when there is no thought. Here also, listening to me, being with me, sometimes you see. But those moments are gaps, intervals. One thought has gone, another has not come, and there is a gap; and in that gap something strikes, something starts vibrating. It is like somebody playing on a drum: the drum is empty inside, that’s why it can be played upon. That emptiness vibrates. That beautiful sound that comes out is produced out of emptiness. When you are, without a thought, then something is possible, immediately possible. Then you can see what I am saying. Then it will not be just a word heard, then it will become an intuition, an insight, a vision. You have looked into it, you have shared it with me.
Insight is a state of non-thinking, no-thought. It is a gap, an interval in the process of thought, and in that gap is the glimpse, the truth.
The English word empty comes from a root which means at leisure, unoccupied. It is a beautiful word if you go to the root. The root is very pregnant: it means at leisure, unoccupied. Whenever you are unoccupied, at leisure, you are empty. And remember, the proverb that says that the empty mind is the Devil’s workshop is just nonsense. Just the opposite is the truth: the occupied mind is the Devil’s workshop. The empty mind is God’s workshop, not the Devil’s. But you have to understand what I mean by “empty”– at leisure, relaxed, non-tense, not moving, not desiring, not going anywhere, just being here, utterly here. An empty mind is a pure presence. And all is possible in that pure presence, because the whole existence comes out of that pure presence.
These trees grow out of that pure presence, these stars are born out of this pure presence; we are here – all the buddhas have come out of this pure presence. In that pure presence you are in God, you are God. Occupied, you fall; occupied, you have to be expelled from the Garden of Eden. Unoccupied you are back in the garden, unoccupied you are back at home.
When the mind is not occupied by reality, by things, by thoughts, then there is that which is. And that which is, is the truth. Only in emptiness is there a meeting, merging. Only in emptiness do you open to truth and truth enters in you. Only in emptiness do you become pregnant with truth.
These are the three states of the mind. The first is content and consciousness. You always have contents in the mind – a thought moving, a desire arising, anger, greed, ambition. You always have some content in the mind; the mind is never unoccupied. The traffic goes on, day-in, day-out. While awake it is there, while asleep it is there. While awake you call it thinking, while asleep you call it dreaming – it is the same process. Dreaming is a little more primitive, that’s all – because it thinks in pictures. It does not use concepts, it uses pictures. It is more primitive; like small children think in pictures. So in small children’s books you have to make big pictures, colorful, because they think through pictures. Through pictures they will learn words. By and by those pictures become smaller and smaller, and then they disappear.
The primitive man also thinks in pictures. The ancientmost languages are pictorial languages. Chinese is a pictorial language: it has no alphabet. It is the ancientmost language. In the night you again become primitive, you forget your sophistication of the day and you start thinking in pictures – but it is the same.
The psychoanalyst’s insight is valuable – that he looks into your dreams. Then there is more truth, because you are more primitive; you are not trying to deceive anybody, you are more authentic. In the day you have a personality around you which hides you – layers upon layers of personality. It is very difficult to find the true man. You will have to dig deep, and it hurts, and the man will resist. But in the night, just as you put your clothes away, you put your personality away too. It is not needed because you will not be communicating with anybody, you will be alone in your bed. And you will not be in the world, you will be absolutely in your private realm. There is no need to hide and no need to pretend. That’s why the psychoanalyst tries to go into your dreams, because they show much more clearly who you are. But it is the same game played in different languages; the game is not different. This is the ordinary state of the mind: mind and content, consciousness plus content.
The second state of the mind is consciousness without content; that’s what meditation is. You are fully alert, and there is a gap, an interval. No thought is encountered, there is no thought before you. You are not asleep, you are awake – but there is no thought. This is meditation. The first state is called mind, the second state is called meditation.
And then there is a third state. When the content has disappeared, the object has disappeared, the subject cannot remain for long – because they exist together. They produced each other. When the subject is alone it can only hang around a little while more, just out of the momentum of the past. Without the content the consciousness cannot be there long; it will not be needed, because a consciousness is always a consciousness about something. When you say “conscious,” it can be asked “About what?” You say, “I am conscious of…” That object is needed, it is a must for the subject to exist. Once the object has disappeared, soon the subject will also disappear. First go the contents, then consciousness disappears.
Then the third state is called samadhi – no content, no consciousness. But remember, this no-content, no-consciousness, is not a state of unconsciousness. It is a state of superconsciousness, of transcendental consciousness. Consciousness now is only conscious of itself. Consciousness has turned upon itself; the circle is complete. You have come home. This is the third state, samadhi; and this third state is what Buddha means by shunyata.
First drop the content – you become half-empty; then drop consciousness – you become fully empty. And this full-emptiness is the most beautiful thing that can happen, the greatest benediction.
In this nothingness, in this emptiness, in this selflessness, in this shunyata, there is complete security and stability. You will be surprised to know about this complete security and stability when you are not. All fears disappear – because what is the basic fear? The basic fear is the fear of death. All other fears are just reflections of the basic fear. All other fears can be reduced to one fear: the fear of death, the fear: “One day I may have to disappear, one day I may have to die. I am, and the day is coming when I will not be” – that frightens, that is the fear.
To avoid that fear we start moving in such a way so that we can live as long as possible. And we try to secure our lives – we start compromising, we start becoming more and more secure, safe, because of the fear. We become paralyzed, because the more secure you are, the safer you are, the less alive you will be.
Life exists in challenges, life exists in crises, life needs insecurity. It grows in the soil of insecurity. Whenever you are insecure, you will find yourself more alive, more alert. That’s why rich people become dull: a kind of stupidity and a kind of stupor surrounds them. They are so secure, there is no challenge. They are so secure, they need not be intelligent. They are so secure – for what do they need intelligence? Intelligence is needed when there is challenge, intelligence is provoked by challenge.
So because of the fear of death we strive for security, for a bank balance, for insurance, for marriage, for a settled life, for a home; we become part of a country, we join a political party, we join a religious church – we become Hindus, Christians, Mohammedans. These are all ways to find security. These are all ways to find some place to belong to – a country, a church. Because of this fear politicians and priests go on exploiting you. If you are not in any fear, no politician, no priest can exploit you. It is only out of fear that he can exploit because he can provide – at least he can promise – that this will make you secure: “This will be your security. I can guarantee it.” The goods may never be delivered – that’s another thing – but the promise… And the promise keeps people exploited, oppressed. The promise keeps people in bondage.
Once you have known the inner emptiness, there is no fear because death has already happened. In that emptiness it has happened. In that emptiness you have disappeared. How can you be afraid anymore? About what? About whom? And who can be afraid? In this emptiness all fear disappears because death has already happened. Now there is no longer any death possible. You feel a kind of deathlessness, timelessness. Eternity has arrived. Now you don’t look for security; there is no need.
This is the state of a sannyasin. This is the state where a man need not be a part of a country, need not be a part of a church, or stupid things like that.
It is only when you have become nothing that you can be yourself.
It looks paradoxical. You need not compromise, because it is out of fear and greed that one compromises. And you can live in rebellion because there is nothing to lose. You can become a rebellion; there is nothing to fear. Nobody can kill you, you have already done that yourself. Nobody can take anything away from you; you have dropped all that which can be taken away from you. Now you are in nothingness, you are a nothingness. Hence the paradoxical phenomenon: that in this nothingness arises a great security, a great safety, a stability – because there is no more death possible.
With death, time disappears. With death all the problems that are created by death and by time disappear. In the wake of all these disappearances, what is left is a pure sky. This pure sky is samadhi, nirvana. Buddha is talking about this.
These sutras have been addressed to one of Buddha’s greatest disciples, Sariputra. Why to Sariputra?
The first day I told you that there are seven planes, seven rungs of the ladder. The seventh is the transcendental: Zen, Tantra, Tao. The sixth is the spirituo-transcendental: Yoga. Up to the sixth, method remains important, “how” remains important. Up to the sixth, discipline remains important, ritual remains important, techniques remain important. Only when you reach to the seventh do you see that to be, nothing is needed.
Sariputra is addressed in these sutras because Sariputra was at the sixth center, the sixth rung. He was one of the greatest disciples of Buddha. Buddha had eighty great disciples; Sariputra is one of the chief among those eighty. He was the most knowledgeable man around Buddha. He was the greatest scholar and pundit around Buddha. When he had come to Buddha, he himself had five thousand disciples.
When he had come to Buddha for the first time he had come to argue, to debate with and defeat Buddha. He had come with his five thousand disciples – to impress. And when he stood before Buddha, Buddha laughed:

Buddha said to him, “Sariputra, you know much, but you do not know at all. I can see you have accumulated great knowledge, but you are empty. You have come to discuss and debate and to defeat me, but if you really want to discuss with me, you will have to wait at least one year.”
Sariputra said, “One year? For what?”
Buddha said, “You will have to remain silent for one year; that will be the price to be paid. If you can remain silent for one year then you can discuss with me, because what I am going to say to you will come out of silence. You need a little experience of it. And I see, Sariputra, you have not even tasted a single moment of silence. You are so full of knowledge, your head is heavy. I feel compassion for you, Sariputra. You have been carrying such a load for many lives. You are not a brahmin only in this life, Sariputra, you have been a brahmin for many lives. And for many lives you have carried the Vedas and the scriptures. It has been your style for many lives.
“But I see a possibility. You are knowledgeable, but yet the promise is there. You are knowledgeable, but your knowledge has not completely blocked your being; there are a few windows still left. I would like, for one year, to clean those windows, and then there is a possibility of our meeting and talking and being. Be here for one year.”
This was strange. Sariputra had been traveling all over the country, defeating people. That was one of the things in India: knowledgeable people used to travel all over the country and defeat others in great debates and discussions, marathon debates. And that was thought to be one of the greatest things to do. If somebody had become victorious all over the country and he had defeated all the scholars, that was a great ego satisfaction. That man was thought to be bigger than kings, emperors. That man was thought to be greater than the rich people.
Sariputra was traveling. And naturally, you cannot declare yourself the victorious one if you have not defeated Buddha. So he had come for that. So he said, “Okay, if I have to wait for one year, I will wait.” And for one year he was sitting there in silence with Buddha. In one year, the silence settled in him.
And after one year Buddha asked him, “Now we can discuss and you can defeat me, Sariputra. I will be immensely happy to be defeated by you.”
And Sariputra laughed and touched Buddha’s feet and said, “Initiate me. In this one year’s silence, listening to you, there have been a few moments when the insight has happened to me. Although I had come as the antagonist, I thought, ‘While I am here sitting for one year, why not listen to this man, to what he is saying?’ So out of curiosity I started listening. But sometimes those moments came and you penetrated me, and you touched my heart, and you played on my inner organ, and I have heard the music. You have defeated me without defeating me.”

Sariputra became Buddha’s disciple, and his five thousand disciples also became Buddha’s disciples. Sariputra was one of the very well-known scholars of those days. These sutras are addressed to Sariputra.
Here, O Sariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form; the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness.
Here, O Sariputra… What does Buddha mean by “here”? He means his space. He says, “From the vision of my world, from the transcendental standpoint, the space where I exist and the eternity where I exist…”
Here, O Sariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form… This is one of the most important assertions. The whole Buddhist approach depends on this: that the manifest is the unmanifest; that the form is nothing but the form of emptiness itself, and the emptiness is also nothing but the form, the possibility of the form. The statement is illogical and obviously appears to be nonsense. How can form be emptiness? They are opposites. How can emptiness be form? They are polarities.
One thing has to be understood before we can enter into the sutra rightly: Buddha is not logical, Buddha is dialectical.
There are two approaches toward reality: one is logical. Of that approach, Aristotle is the father in the West. It simply moves in a line, a clear-cut line. It never allows the opposite; the opposite has to be discarded. This approach says A is A and never not A. A cannot be not A. This is the formulation of Aristotelian logic – and it looks perfectly right, because we have all been brought up with that logic in the schools, colleges, universities. The world is dominated by Aristotle: A is A and never not A.
The second approach toward reality is dialectical. In the West that approach is associated with the names of Heraclitus, Hegel. The dialectical process says: life moves through polarities, through opposites – just as a river flows through two banks which oppose each other, but those opposing banks keep the river flowing between them. This is more existential. Electricity has two poles, positive and negative. If Aristotle’s logic is of existence, then electricity is very, very illogical. Then existence itself is illogical, because it produces new life out of the meeting of a man and a woman, which are opposites – yin and yang, male and female. If existence followed an Aristotelian logic, a linear logic, then homosexuality would have been the norm and heterosexuality would have been perversion. Then man would love man and woman would love woman. Then opposites could not meet.
But existence is dialectical. Everywhere, opposites are meeting. In you, birth and death are meeting. Everywhere, opposites are meeting – day and night, summer and winter. The thorn and the flower, they are meeting; they are on the same branch, they come out of the same source. Man and woman, youth and old age, beauty and ugliness, body and soul, the world and godliness – all are opposites. This is a symphony of the opposites. Opposites are not only meeting but creating a great symphony – only opposites can create a symphony. Otherwise life would be a monotony, not a symphony. Life would be a boredom. If there were only one note continuously being repeated, it would be bound to create boredom. There are opposite notes: thesis meeting with the antithesis, creating a synthesis; and in its own turn, synthesis again becomes a thesis, creates an antithesis, and a higher synthesis evolves. That’s how life moves.
This approach of Buddha’s is dialectical, and it is more existential, more true, more valid.
A man loves a woman, a woman loves a man – then something else has to be understood too. Now biologists say, and psychologists agree, that man is not only man, he is woman too. And woman is not simply woman, she is man too. So when a man and a woman meet, there are not two persons meeting but four persons meeting. The man is meeting with the woman, but the man has a hidden woman in himself; so has the woman a hidden man in herself; they are also meeting. The meeting is on double planes. It is more intricate, more complex, more intertwined. A man is both man and woman. Why? – because he comes out of both. Something has been contributed to you by your father and something has been contributed to you by your mother, whosoever you are. A man flows in your blood and a woman too. You have to be both because you are the meeting of the polar opposites. You are a synthesis! It is impossible to deny one and just be the other. That’s what has been done.
Aristotle has been followed literally, in every way, and that has created many problems for man – and such problems which seem to be unsolvable if Aristotle is to be followed. A man has been taught to be just a man: never to show any feminine traits, never to show any softness of the heart, never to show any receptivity, always be aggressive. Man has been taught never to cry, never weep – because tears are feminine. Women have been taught never to be in any way like the male: never to show aggression, never show expression, to always remain passive, receptive. This is against reality, and this has crippled both. In a better world, with better understanding, a man will be both, a woman will be both – because sometimes a man needs to be a woman. There are moments when he needs to be soft – tender moments, love-moments. And there are moments when a woman needs to be expressive and aggressive – in anger, in defense, in rebellion. If a woman is simply passive, then she will automatically turn into a slave. A passive woman is bound to become a slave – that’s what happened down the ages. And an aggressive man, emphatically aggressive and never tender, is bound to create wars, neurosis in the world, violence.
Man has been fighting, continuously fighting; it seems that man exists on the earth just to fight. In three thousand years there have been five thousand wars! War continues somewhere or other, the earth is never whole and healthy without war. There is never a moment without war. Either it is in Korea, or it is in Vietnam, or it is in Israel, or India, Pakistan, or in Bangladesh; somewhere the massacre has to continue. Man has to kill. To remain man, he has to kill. Seventy-five percent of energy is put into war effort, into creating more bombs, hydrogen bombs, neutron bombs, and so on and so forth. It seems that man’s whole purpose here on earth is war. The war heroes are respected the most. The war politicians become the great names in history: Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong – these names are going to remain. Why? – because they fought great wars, they destroyed. Whether in aggression or in defense is not the point, but these were the warmongers. And nobody ever knows who was aggressive – whether Germany was aggressive or not depends on who writes the history. Whosoever wins will write the history, and he will prove the other was the aggressor. History would be totally different if Adolf Hitler had been victorious. Yes, the Nuremberg trials would have been there, but the Americans and English and French generals and politicians would have been on trial. And history would have been written by Germans; naturally they would have a different vision.
Nobody knows what is true. One thing is certain: that man puts his whole energy into war effort. The reason? – the reason is that man has been taught to be just man, his woman has been denied. So no man is whole. And so is the case with woman – no woman is whole. She has been denied her male part. When she was a small child she could not fight with boys, she could not climb the trees; she had to play with dolls, she had to “play house.” This is a very, very distorted vision.
Man is both, so is woman – and both are needed to create a real, harmonious human being. Existence is dialectical; and opposites are not only opposites, they are complementaries too.
Buddha says: “Here O Sariputra… In my world, Sariputra, in my space, in my time, Sariputra, at the seventh rung of the ladder, in this state of no-mind, in this state of samadhi, in this state of nirvana, enlightenment …form is emptiness… Man is woman and woman is man, and life is death and death is life. Opposites are not opposites, Sariputra; they are interpenetrating each other, they exist through each other.” To show this basic insight Buddha says: “Form is formlessness, and formlessness is form; the unmanifest becomes manifest, and the manifest again becomes unmanifest. They are not different, Sariputra, they are one.” The duality is only apparent. Deep down it is all one.
…emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form; the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness. “The whole of life and the whole existence consists of polar opposites, but only on the surface are they different. These opposites are like my two hands: I can oppose them with each other, I can even manage a kind of conflict, a fight between them. But my left hand and my right hand are both my hands. Within me, they are one. That is exactly the case.”
Why is Buddha saying this thing to Sariputra? – because if you understand this your worries will disappear. Then there is no worry. Life is death, death is life. To be is a way toward not to be, and not to be is a way toward to be. It is the same game. Then there is no fear, then there is no problem. With this insight a great acceptance arises.
Here, O Sariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they are not produced or stopped, not defiled or immaculate, not deficient or complete.
Buddha says: “All dharmas are full of emptiness.” That nothingness exists at everything’s core: that nothingness exists in a tree, that nothingness exists in a rock, that nothingness exists in a star.
Now scientists will agree: they say that when a star collapses it becomes a black hole, nothingness. But that nothingness is not just nothingness; it is immensely powerful, it is very full, overflowing.
The concept, the hypothesis of a black hole, is of immense value in understanding Buddha. A star exists for millions and trillions of years, but one day it has to die. Everything that is born has to die. Man exists for seventy years, then what happens? Exhausted, tired, he disappears, he falls back into the original unity. So it is going to happen to everything sooner or later. The Himalayas will disappear one day, so too will this earth disappear one day, so will this sun disappear one day.
But when a great star disappears, to where will it disappear? It collapses within itself. It is such a big mass; it collapses. Just as if a man walking – an old man – falls on the street and collapses, if you leave the man there, sooner or later his body will disappear, disintegrate into the mud, into the earth. If you leave it there for many years, then the bones will also disappear into dust. The man was there one day, walking, living, loving, fighting, and now all has disappeared into a black hole. So it happens with a star: when a star collapses into itself it becomes a black hole. Why is it called a black hole? – because now there is no mass, there is only pure emptiness, what Buddha calls shunyata. And the shunyata, the pure emptiness, is so powerful that if you come under the impact of it, near it, in its vicinity, you will be pulled, pulled into the emptiness, and you will also collapse and disappear.
For space travel this is going to be a future problem, because there are many stars which have become black holes. And you cannot see it because it is nothing, it is just absence. You cannot see it, and you can come across it. If a spaceship comes near it, under its gravitation it will simply be pulled in. Then there is no way to get out of it, it is impossible to find a way to get out of it. The pull is so big it will be simply pulled in, and it will disappear and collapse. And you will never hear about the spaceship, where it went, what happened to it, what happened to the space travelers.
This black hole is very, very like Buddha’s concept of emptiness. All forms collapse and disappear into blackness, and then when they have rested for a long time, they bubble up – again a star is born. This goes on: life and death, life and death – this goes on. This is the way existence moves.
First it becomes manifest, then becomes tired, goes into unmanifestation, then again revives its energy through rest, relaxation, again becomes manifest. The whole day you work, you become tired; in the night you disappear in your sleep into a black hole. You put your lights out, you slip under your blanket, you close your eyes; then within moments consciousness is gone. You have collapsed withinward. There are moments when even dreams are no longer there; then sleep is the deepest. In that deep sleep you are in a black hole, you are dead. For the time being you are in death, resting in death. And then in the morning you are back again, full of juice and gusto and life, again rejuvenated. If you have a really good, deep sleep without dreams, the morning is so fresh, so vital, so radiant, you are again young. If you know how to sleep deeply, you know how to revive yourself again and again. By the evening again you are collapsing, tired, exhausted by the day’s activities.
The same happens to everything. Man is a miniature of the whole existence. What happens to man happens to the whole existence on a bigger scale, that’s all. Every night you disappear into nothingness, every morning you come into form. Form, no-form, form, no-form; this is how life moves, these are the two steps.
Here, O Sariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they are not produced or stopped… And Buddha is saying nothing has to be done, only understanding is needed. This is a radical statement. It can transform your whole life if you can see it as an insight.
…they are not produced or stopped… Nobody is producing these forms, and nobody is stopping these forms. Buddha does not believe in a God as manipulator, as a controller, as a creator, no. That would be a duality, an unnecessary hypothesis. Buddha says it is happening on its own; it is natural, nobody is doing it. It is not that, as it says in the Bible, first God thinks “Let there be light,” so there is light. And then one day he says “Now, let there be no light,” and the light disappears. Why bring this God in? And why give him such ugly work? And he will have to do it forever and forever: “Let there be light, let there be no light, let there be light… Now let this man be there, now let him die” – just think of him and his boredom! Buddha relieves him, he says it is unnecessary.
It is just natural. Trees bring seeds, then seeds bring trees, and trees again bring seeds. What is a seed? The disappearance of the tree; the tree has moved into no-form. You can carry a seed in your pocket, you can carry a thousand seeds in your pocket, but you cannot carry a thousand trees in your pocket. The trees have form, bulk, mass; the seed has nothing. And if you look into the seed you will find nothing. If you had not seen, not known that a seed becomes a tree, and somebody gives you a seed and says, “Look, this seed is very, very magical – it can become a big tree, and there will be many fruits for many years, and great foliage and flowers and greenery, and birds will come and make nests there,” you will say, “What are you talking about? Out of this small pebble? Do you think I am stupid or something? How can it happen? It can’t happen.”
But you know it happens, that’s why you don’t take any note of it. A miracle is happening. The small seed is carrying the whole blueprint of the tree, of the leaves – the shape and the size and the number – and the branches, and the form of the branches, and the length and the height of the tree, and the life, and how many fruits and how many flowers will come out of it, and how many seeds finally this one seed is going to produce. Scientists say that even a single seed is enough to make the whole earth green. It has immense potentiality. Not only the whole earth – one single seed can fill all the planets with greenery, because one seed can produce millions of seeds, then each seed will produce millions, and so on and so forth. The whole existence can become green out of a single seed. That nothingness is very potential, very powerful, immense, enormous, vast!
Buddha says nobody is producing it and nobody is stopping it. Buddha says there is no need to go to a temple and to pray and tell God, “Do this, don’t do that” – there is nobody.
And what is his message? He says, “Accept it. It is so. It is in the nature of things. It is just natural, things come and go.”
In this acceptance, in this tathata, in this suchness, all worries disappear; you are freed from worries. Then there is no problem. And nothing can be stopped, and nothing can be changed, and nothing can be produced. Things are as they are and things will be as they will be, so there is nothing for you to do. You can just watch these things happening. You can participate in these things. Be. In that being there is silence, in that being there is joy. That being is freedom.
These are:
…not defiled or immaculate… This existence is neither impure nor pure. There is nobody who is a sinner and nobody who is a saint.
Buddha’s insight is utterly revolutionary: he says nothing can be impure and nothing can be pure; things are just as they are. It is all mind games that we play around, and we create the idea of purity – and then comes impurity. We create the idea of the saint – and then in comes the sinner.
You want sinners to disappear? They can disappear only when your saints have disappeared, not before that. They exist together. You want immorality to disappear? – then morality has to go. It is morality that creates immorality. It is the moral ideals that create condemnation for a few people who cannot follow them, who cannot go with them. And you can make anything immoral – just create an idea: this is moral. You can make a holy cow out of anything, and then it becomes a problem.
Buddha says nothing is ever defiled and nothing is ever immaculate. Purity, impurity are mind attitudes. Can you tell about a tree whether it is moral or immoral? Can you say about an animal that he’s a sinner or a saint? Try to see this ultimate vision: there is no sinner, no saint, nothing moral, nothing immoral. In this acceptance, where is the possibility of worrying? There is nothing to improve either! And there is no goal, because there is no value. This journey is a journey without any goal. It is a pure journey; it is a play, a leela. And there is nobody behind it, doing it. All is happening, and there is nobody doing it. If the doer is there then the problem arises – then pray to the doer, then persuade the doer, then become friends with the doer. Then you will be benefitted, and those who are not friends with the doer will be deprived – they will suffer in hell. That’s what Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans think. Mohammedans think those who are Mohammedans are going to heaven and those who are not, poor fellows, they are going to hell. And the same is the case with Christians and Hindus: the Hindus think those who are not Hindus have no chance; the Christians think those who don’t come through the church, those who don’t pass through the church, are going to suffer eternal hell: not limited, unlimitedly, forever.
Buddha says there is no sinner, no saint; nothing is pure, nothing is impure, things are as they are. Just try to persuade a tree, ask the tree, “Why are you green? Why are you not red?”
And if the tree listens to you, she will become neurotic – “Why am I not red? Why? Really, the question is relevant. Why am I green?” Condemn the green and praise the red, and sooner or later you will find the tree on some psychiatrist’s couch being analyzed, helped. First you create the problem, and then comes the savior. It is a beautiful business.
Buddha cuts the very root. He says you are the way you are. There is nothing to improve, nowhere to go. And this is my whole approach too: you are as perfect as you can be, more is not possible. The “more” will only create trouble for you. The idea of “more” will drive you mad. Accept nature, live naturally, simply, spontaneously, moment-to-moment, and there is holiness – because you are whole, not because you have become a saint.
…not defiled or immaculate, not deficient or complete. Nothing is complete and nothing is incomplete; these values are meaningless. Says Buddha: “Here, O Sariputra, where I exist, nothing is good, nothing is bad. Here, where I exist, samsara and nirvana are the same. There is no distinction between this world and that world. There is no distinction between the profane and the sacred. Here, where I exist, all distinctions have disappeared, because distinctions are made by thought. When thought disappears, distinctions disappear.”
Sinners are created by thought, and saints are created by thought. Good and bad are created by thought. It is thought that makes distinctions. Buddha says: “When knowledge disappears, thought disappears. There is no duality. It is all oneness.”
There is a famous saying of Sosan:
In the higher realms of true suchness
there is neither self nor other than self.
When direct identification is sought,
we can only say “not two.”
One in all, all in one:
if this is realized,
no more worry about your not being perfect.
One in all, all in one; if this is realized, no more worry about your not being perfect. There is no perfection, no imperfection. See it, and see it right now! Don’t come later on and ask me how to do it. There is no “how” either. “How” brings knowledge, and knowledge is the curse.
Without the distorting media of thought you fall into unity with the whole. Without thought functioning between you and the real, all distances disappear, you are bridged. And that’s what man is constantly hankering for. You are feeling uprooted, uprooted from the whole. That is your misery. And you are uprooted because of this distorting media of thought. Drop this distorting media of thought, drop these mediums, look into reality as it is, with no idea in your mind, with no idea of how it should be. Look with innocence. Look with not-knowing and all worries disappear. In that disappearing of the worries you become a buddha.
You are a buddha! But you are missing because you are carrying distorting mediums around you. You have perfect eyes and you are wearing glasses. Those glasses are distorting, they are coloring, they are making things as they are not. Throw away the glasses! That’s what it means when we say “Throw away the mind.” Negate the mind and there is silence – and in that silence you are divine. You have never been anything else, you have always been that. But the recognition comes back, the realization comes back. You suddenly see the point: you were trying to put legs on a snake. There was no need in the first place – the snake is perfectly perfect! Without legs, he moves perfectly. Just out of compassion you were trying to put legs on it. If you succeed you will kill the snake. It is fortunate that you can never succeed.
You are trying to become knowledgeable and that’s why you are losing your perception, your knowing, your capacity to see. That’s what I mean by “putting legs on a snake.” Knowing is your nature. There is no need to have knowledge to know. In fact, knowledge is the hindrance, knowledge is the curse.
Negate knowledge and be – and you are a buddha, and you have always been a buddha.
Enough for today.

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