The Heart Sutra 05

Fifth Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - The Heart Sutra by Osho.
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Therefore, O Sariputra, in emptiness there is no form, nor feeling, nor perception, nor impulse, nor consciousness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or objects of mind; no sight-organ element, and so forth, until we come to: No mind-consciousness element; there is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, and so forth, until we come to: there is no decay and death, no extinction of decay and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path. There is no cognition, no attainment and no non-attainment.
Nothingness is the fragrance of the beyond. It is the opening of the heart to the transcendental. It is the unfoldment of the one-thousand-petaled lotus. It is man’s destiny. Man is complete only when he has come to this fragrance, when he has come to this absolute nothingness inside his being, when this nothingness has spread all over him, when he is just a pure sky, unclouded.
This nothingness is what Buddha calls nirvana. First we have to understand what this nothingness actually is, because it is not just empty – it is full, it is overflowing. Never for a single moment think that nothingness is a negative state, an absence, no. Nothingness is simply no-thingness. Things disappear, only the ultimate substance remains. Forms disappear, only the formless remains. Definitions disappear, the undefined remains.
So nothingness is not as if there is nothing. It simply means there is no possibility of defining what is there. It is as if you move all the furniture from your house outside. Somebody comes in and he says, “Now, here is nothing.” He had seen the furniture before; now the furniture is missing and he says, “Here there is no longer anything. Nothing is.” His statement is valid only to a certain extent. In fact, when you remove the furniture, you simply remove obstructions in the space of the house. Now pure space exists, now nothing obstructs. Now there is no cloud roaming in the sky; it is just a sky. It is not just nothing, it is purity. It is not only absence, it is a presence.
Have you ever been in an absolutely empty house? You will find that emptiness has a presence; it is very tangible, you can almost touch it. That’s the beauty of a temple or a church or a mosque – pure nothing, just empty. When you go into a temple, what surrounds you is nothingness. It is empty of everything, but not just empty. In that emptiness something is present – but only present for those who can feel it, who are sensitive enough to feel it, who are aware enough to see it.
Those who can see only things will say, “What is there? Nothing.” Those who can see nothing will say, “All is here, because nothing is here.”
The identity of “yes” and “no” is the secret of nothingness. Let me repeat it; it is very basic to Buddha’s approach: nothingness is not identical with no, nothingness is the identity of yes and no, where polarities are no longer polarities, where opposites are no longer opposites.
When you make love to a woman or to a man, the point of orgasm is the point of nothingness. At that moment the woman is no longer a woman and the man is no longer a man. Those forms have disappeared. That polarity between man and woman is no longer there, that tension is no longer there; it is utterly relaxed. They have both melted into each other. They have unformed themselves, they have gone into a state which cannot be defined. The man cannot say “I,” the woman cannot say “I”; they are no longer “I’s,” they are no longer egos – because egos are always in conflict, the ego exists through conflict, it cannot exist without conflict. In that moment of orgasm there are no longer any egos. Hence the beauty of it, hence the ecstasy of it, hence the samadhi-like quality of it.
It happens only for a moment but even that moment, a single moment of it, is more valuable than your whole life – because in that moment you come closest to the truth. Man and woman are no longer separate; this is a polarity. Yin and yang, positive and negative, day and night, summer and winter, life and death – these are polarities. When yes and no meet, when opposites meet and are no longer opposites, when they go into each other and dissolve into each other, there is orgasm. Orgasm is the meeting of yes and no. It is not identical with no; it is beyond both yes and no.
In a sense it is beyond both; in a sense it is both together, simultaneously. The merger of the negative and the positive is the definition of nothingness. And that is the definition of orgasm too, and that is the definition of samadhi too. Let it be remembered.
The identity of yes and no is the secret of emptiness, nothingness, nirvana. Emptiness is not just empty; it is a presence, a very solid presence. It does not exclude its opposites; it includes it, it is full of it. It is a full emptiness, it is an overflowing emptiness. It is alive, abundantly alive, tremendously alive. So never for a single moment let dictionaries deceive you, otherwise you will misunderstand Buddha.
If you go to the dictionary and look for the meaning of nothingness, you will miss Buddha. The dictionary only defines the ordinary nothingness, the ordinary emptiness. Buddha is talking about something very extraordinary. If you want to know it you will have to go into life, into some situation where yes and no meet – then you will know it. Where the body and the soul meet, when the world and godliness meet, where opposites are no longer opposites – only then will you have a taste of it. The taste of it is the taste of Tao, of Zen, of Hasidism, of Yoga.
The word yoga is also meaningful. It means coming together. When a man and woman meet, it is a yoga: they come together, they really come close, they start overlapping and then they disappear into each other. Then they don’t have centers any more. The conflict of the opposites has disappeared and there is utter relaxation.
This relaxation happens only momentarily between a man and a woman. But this relaxation can happen with the total, with the whole, in a nontemporal way. It can happen in an eternal way. In love you have only a drop of its ecstasy. In ecstasy you have the whole ocean of love.
This nothingness can be achieved only if there are no thought-clouds in you. Those are the clouds that are hampering your inner space, obstructing your inner space. Have you watched the sky? In summer it is so clean and clear, so crystal clear – not a speck of a cloud. And then come the rains, and thousands of clouds come, and the whole earth is surrounded with clouds. The sun disappears, the sky is no longer available. This is the state of the mind: the mind is constantly clouded. It is the rainy season of your consciousness; the sun is no longer available, the light is hidden, hindered, and the purity of space and the freedom of space are no longer available. Everywhere you find yourself defined by the clouds.
When you say, “I am a Hindu,” what are you saying? You are getting caught by a cloud, the thought that you are a Hindu. When you say, “I am a Mohammedan” – or a Christian or a Jaina – what are you saying? You are becoming identified with a thought-cloud, you are losing your purity. That’s why I say a religious man is neither Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Christian – he cannot be. He’s a summertime of consciousness, he has no clouds: the sun is there, bright, unhindered, and there is infinite space around him, there is silence around him. You will not find the vibe of the cloudy consciousness.
When you say, “I am a Communist,” what are you saying? You are saying that you have been reading Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao; that you have become too attached to Das Kapital; that you have become identified with the idea of class struggle – the poor and the rich and the conflict; that you have become too attracted, hypnotized by a dream, an utopia: that someday in the future a classless society can be created; that you have become too obsessed with this utopia and you are ready to do anything for it. Even if you have to kill millions of people you are ready – for their own sakes, for their own good. This is a cloudy state.
When you say “I am an Indian,” it is again the same. When you say “I am a Chinese,” it is again the same. If you really want to be religious you will have to slowly, slowly drop these identities. No idea should ever possess you. No book should be your Bible. No Veda should define you, no Gita should confine you. You should not allow any philosophy, theology, dogma, theory, hypothesis to overcrowd you. You should not allow any smoke around your flame of consciousness. Only then are you religious.
If you ask a religious man who he is he can only say, “I am a nothingness,” because nothingness is not an idea, it is not a theory. It simply indicates a state of purity.
Remember, perception has nothing to do with knowledge. In fact, when you perceive through knowledge you don’t perceive rightly. All knowledge creates projections. Knowledge is a bias, knowledge is a prejudice. Knowledge is conclusion – you have concluded even before you have gone into it.
For example, if you come to me with a conclusion already in your mind – it may be for me, it may be against me, that doesn’t matter – if you come to me with a conclusion then you come with a cloud. Then you will go on looking at me through your cloud, and naturally your cloud will throw shadows on me. If you have come with the idea, “This is the right man,” then you will find something which goes on supporting your idea. If you have come with the idea, “This is a wrong man, dangerous, evil,” then you will go on finding something which supports your idea.
Whatsoever idea you bring is self-perpetuating, it goes on finding proofs for itself. And the man who has come with a prejudice will go with his prejudice strengthened. In fact, he has never come to me.
To come to me one needs to be unclouded, with no prejudice for or against, with no a priori judgment. You just come to see what is there, you don’t bring any opinion. You have heard many things but you don’t believe any. You simply come to see with your own eyes, you come to feel with your own heart. That is the quality of a religious man.
If you want to know truth you will have to drop all kinds of knowledge that you have gathered down the ages, in many, many lives. Whenever somebody comes to truth with knowledge he cannot see it, he is blind. Knowledge blinds you. If you want to have clear eyes, drop knowledge. Perception has nothing to do with knowledge.
Truth and knowledge don’t go together. Knowledge cannot contain the immensity of life and existence. Knowledge is so tiny, so small, and existence is so vast, so enormous – how can it contain existence? It cannot. And if you force existence into your patterns of knowledge you will destroy the beauty of it and you will destroy the truth of it. Once existence is converted into knowledge it is no longer existence. It is as if a person is carrying a map of India and thinks that he is carrying India. No map can contain India.
The picture of the moon is not the moon. The word God is not God; the word love is not love either. No word can contain the mysteries of life. And knowledge is nothing but words and words and words. Knowledge is a great illusion. That’s why Buddha says: “Allow nothingness to settle in you.”
Nothingness means a state of not-knowing, a state where no cloud floats in your consciousness. When your consciousness is unclouded, then you are nothing. Nothing goes perfectly well with truth – only nothing goes perfectly well with truth. Knowledge cannot contain the mystery of being; knowledge is against the mysterious. “The mysterious” means that which is not known, that which cannot be known, that which is basically, intrinsically, essentially unknowable – not only unknown, but unknowable. How can the unknowable be reduced to knowledge? Knowledge goes on collecting pebbles on the shore and goes on missing the diamonds. Knowledge is mediocre, borrowed, never authentic, never original. To know truth you need an insight, original insight. You need eyes which can see through and through; you need transparent vision.
So only when the mind is entirely naked of knowledge, empty of knowledge, does it come to know. When there is no knowledge, there is knowledge, because when there is no knowledge there is knowing. When the mind is entirely naked of knowledge, nude, silent, non-functioning; when the mind is in waiting, with no idea for what, just a pure waiting, expectant but not knowing for what, waiting for the guest but with no idea, waiting for the knock of the guest with an open door but with no idea who this guest is… How can you know it beforehand?
If you carry a blueprint of God you will go on missing God – because you have not known him before. Yes, others have known, but whatsoever they have said are only maps. I can give you only a map. All knowledge is a map. Don’t start worshipping the map, don’t start creating a temple around the map. That’s how temples have been created. One temple is devoted to the Vedas, another to the Bible, another to the Koran – these are maps! These are not the real country, they are only charts. When I say something to you, I have to use words. Words reach you, you jump upon the words, you start hoarding the words – the mind is a great hoarder – and then you start thinking that you know.
This is not the way to know. The way to know is to discard all knowledge. And discard it in a single blow! Don’t go slowly, gradually. If you see the point it can happen in this very moment. In fact, to see the point is to let it happen. You need not do anything in particular, you need not even drop knowledge. Just seeing the point – that knowledge cannot make you a knower, in fact it will hinder you – the revolution. Seeing this – the transformation.
So when the mind is naked, is silent, is nonfunctioning, is in utter waiting, then there comes truth. Then there is truth. It need not come from anywhere, it has always been there. But you were so full of knowledge, hence you went on missing it.
Nothingness can know truth because in nothingness intelligence functions totally. Only in nothingness does intelligence function totally. That’s why – you see the miracle! – children are so intelligent and old people, by and by, become so dull. Children learn things so fast! The older you become, the more difficult it becomes to learn. If you are old and you want to learn Chinese, you will take thirty years; and a child learns within two or three years.
Now scientists say that a child can learn at least four languages very easily if he is just exposed to four languages – very easily! This is the minimum. The maximum has not yet been decided: how many languages a child can learn together if he’s exposed to them. It happens: if the family is multilingual it happens very easily. If the town is multilingual it happens very easily. In Mumbai it happens easily: the child will learn Hindi, English, Marathi, Gujarati, very easily. The child needs only to be exposed. He is so intelligent that he immediately sees the point of it and learns it. The older you become, the more difficult.
It is very difficult, they say, to teach an old dog new tricks. It need not be so. If you remain a nothingness, then it need not be so – because then you remain a child your whole life.
Socrates is a child even when he is dying, because he is still vulnerable, open, ready to learn; ready to learn even from death. When he is lying on the bed and the poison is being prepared – at six o’clock he will be given the poison, as the sun will be setting – he is so excited, like a child. His disciples are crying and weeping, and he is so excited. He gets up again and again and goes out to inquire of the man who is preparing the poison: “How long will it take?” – his eyes are so curious. And the man is going to die! – this is no time to be so curious. The man is going to have his last breath within minutes, and he is so excited, so ecstatic. One disciple asks, “For what are you getting so excited? You are going to die!” And Socrates says, “I have known life, and I have learned much from life. Now I would like to know death and learn from death. That’s why I’m excited.”
Even death becomes a great experience to one who is innocent. Socrates is innocent. The West has not produced another man comparable to Socrates. Socrates is the Buddha of the West.
You can always remain capable of learning if you remain a child. What creates dullness in you, stupidity, mediocrity? Knowledge. You accumulate knowledge; you become less and less capable of knowing.
Renounce knowledge. I teach you renunciation of knowledge. I don’t teach you renunciation of the world; that is stupid, foolish, meaningless. I teach you renunciation of knowledge. And a strange thing happens…

I have come across people who have renounced the world. In the Himalayas I met a Hindu fakir – very old, he must have been ninety years old or even more. For seventy years he had been a sannyasin, for seventy years he had lived outside society. He had renounced society, he had not been back to the plains for seventy years. When he was just a young man of twenty he went to the Himalayas, and he had not gone back to the country again. He had never been in a crowd again, but he was still a Hindu. He still thought of himself as a Hindu.
I told him, “You renounce society but you have not renounced your knowledge, and the knowledge was given by the society. You are still a Hindu. You are still in the crowd – because to be a Hindu is to be in a crowd. You are still not an individual; you have not become a nothing yet.”
The old man understood. He started crying. He said “Nobody has said this to me.”

You can renounce the society, you can renounce wealth, you can renounce the wife, the children, the husband, the family, the parents – it is easy, nothing much in it. The real thing is to renounce knowledge. These things are outside you, you can escape from them – but where and how will you escape from something that is inside you, that is clinging there? That will go with you. You can go to a Himalayan cave and you remain a Hindu, you remain a Mohammedan, you remain a Christian. Then you will not be able to see the beauty and truth of the Himalayas. You will not be able to see that virginity of the Himalayas. A Hindu cannot see it, a Hindu is blind.
To be a Hindu means to be blind; to be a Mohammedan means to be blind. You may use different instruments to become blind, that doesn’t matter. One is blind because of the Koran, another is blind because of the Bhagavad Gita, and somebody else is blind because of the Bible – but eyes are full of knowledge.
Buddha says: “Nothingness allows intelligence to function.”
The word buddha comes from buddhi – it means intelligence: when you are a nothing, when nothing confines you, when nothing defines you, when nothing contains you, when you are just an openness, then there is intelligence. Why? – because when you are nothing fear disappears, and when fear disappears you function intelligently. If fear is there you cannot function intelligently. Fear cripples you, paralyzes you.
You go on doing things because of fear; that’s why you cannot become a buddha, which is your birthright. You are virtuous because of fear, you go to the temple because of fear, you follow a certain ritual because of fear, you pray to God because of fear. And a man who lives through fear cannot be intelligent. Fear is poison to intelligence. How can you be intelligent if there is fear? The fear will go on pulling you in different ways. It will not allow you to be courageous, it will not allow you to step into the unknown, it will not allow you to become an adventurer, it will not allow you to leave the fold, the crowd. It will not allow you to become independent, free; it will keep you a slave. And we are slaves in so many ways. Our slavery is multidimensional: politically, spiritually, religiously, we are slaves in every way, and the fear is the root cause of it.
You don’t know whether God exists or not, and still you pray? This is very unintelligent, this is foolish. To whom are you praying? You don’t know whether God is or not. You don’t have any trust, because how can you have any trust? – you have not known yet. So just out of fear you go on clinging to the idea of God. Have you seen it? – when there is much fear you remember God more. When somebody is dying, you start remembering.

I have known a follower of J. Krishnamurti. He is a very renowned scholar, known all over the country. And for at least forty years he has been a Krishnamurti follower, so he does not believe in God, he does not believe in meditation, he does not believe in prayer.
Then one day it happened that he fell ill, he had a heart attack. By chance I was in the same town. His son phoned me and said, “My father is in a very dangerous situation. If you can come it will be a great solace to him. These may be his last moments.”
So I rushed. When I went into the room, he was lying down on the bed with closed eyes chanting, “Rama, Rama, Rama.”
I could not believe it! For forty years he had been saying, “There is no God, and I don’t believe…” And what happened to this old man? I shook him up and asked, “What are you doing?”
He said, “Don’t disturb me. Let me do what I want to do.”
But I said, “This is so much against Krishnamurti.”
He said, “Forget about Krishnamurti! I am dying and you are talking about Krishnamurti!”
“But what about your forty years, wasted? And you had never believed that a japa – a chant – could help, or a prayer could help.”
He said, “Yes, that’s true. I had never believed, but now I am facing death. There is great fear in me. Maybe – who knows – God is, and within minutes I will be encountering him. If he is not, then there is no problem; nothing is lost by my repeating, ‘Rama, Rama.’ If he is, something is gained. At least I can say to him, ‘At the last moment I had remembered you.’”

Have you seen it? – whenever you are in misery you start remembering God more. When you are in danger you remember God. When you are happy and everything is going smoothly, you forget all about God. Your God is nothing but your fear projected.
Buddha says: “Out of fear there is no possibility of intelligence.” And fear is there for a very fundamental reason – because you think you are. That’s why there is fear. The ego brings fear as a shadow. The ego itself is illusory, but the illusion casts a big shadow on your life. Because you think “I am,” hence there is fear: “Maybe if I do something wrong I will be thrown in hell, then I will suffer.” If you think “I am,” then naturally you think to make some provisions for the future life, for the other world – do something good, accumulate a little punya.
You know, the name of this town – Pune – comes from punya, virtue. Accumulate a little virtue, accumulate something in your account, in your bank balance so you can show God: “Look, I have been a really good boy. I have done these things: fasted so many days, have never looked at anybody’s woman with any evil eye, have never been a thief, have donated so much money to this temple and to that church. I was always behaving as I was expected to behave.” One starts accumulating virtue just in case it is needed in the other world.
But this is out of fear. Your good people, your bad people are all living out of fear. An intelligent person lives without fear. But to live without fear you will have to see into the fact of your ego. If there is no ego, if “I am not,” then where can fear exist? Then, “I cannot be thrown into hell because I am not in the first place, and I cannot be rewarded in heaven because I am not in the first place. I am not, only God is, so how can I be a sinner or a saint? If only God is, then what is there for me to fear? I am not born, because I am not in the first place; and I will not die, because I am not in the first place. So there is no birth, no death. I am not separate, I am one with this existence. As a wave I may disappear, but as the ocean I will live. And the ocean is the reality, the wave is just arbitrary.”
Nothingness knows no fear, no greed, no ambition, no violence. Nothingness knows no mediocrity, no stupidity, no idiocy. Nothingness knows no hell, no heaven. And because there is no fear, there is intelligence.
This is one of the greatest statements to be remembered: intelligence is when fear is not. Then action has a totally different quality to it. When you act out of your nothingness the action has a totally different quality to it. It is divine, it is godly. Why? – because when you act out of nothingness it is not a reaction, when you act out of nothingness it is not a plan, when you act out of nothingness it is not rehearsed. When you act out of nothingness it is spontaneous, then you live moment to moment. You are a nothingness: a situation arises and you respond to it. If you are an ego you never respond, you always react.
Let it be explained to you. When you are an ego you always react. For example, if you think you are a very, very good man, you think you are a saint, and then something happens – somebody insults you – now, will you be responding to this insult or reacting? If you think you are a saint you will think thrice about how to react, what to do so you can save your sainthood too; otherwise this man can destroy it just by insulting you. You cannot be spontaneous, you have to look back, you have to ponder over it. And time is passing. It may even be a single moment, but time is passing. It cannot be spontaneous, it cannot be in the moment. And you act out of the past. You think, “This is too much. If I become angry” – and anger is coming – “if I become angry my sainthood will be lost. That is too much to pay for this.” You start smiling. To save your sainthood you smile.
This smile is false; it is not coming from you, it is not coming from your heart. It is just there, painted on the lips. It is pseudo. You are not smiling, it is only your mask that is smiling. You are deceiving. You are a hypocrite. You are pseudo. You are phony. But you have saved your sainthood: you acted out of the past, out of your particular image and idea of your being. This was a reaction.
The man of spontaneity does not react, he responds. What is the difference? He just allows the situation to function over him, and he allows the response to come out, whatsoever it is.
The man who lives out of the past is predictable, and the man who lives moment to moment is unpredictable. And to be predictable is to be a thing. To be unpredictable is to be freedom – that is the dignity of man. The day you are unpredictable… Nobody knows, not even you; remember, not even you… If you already know what you will do, then it is no longer response. You are already ready, it is rehearsed.
For example, you are going for an interview. You rehearse: you think what is going to be asked and how you are going to answer it. It happens every day, it is so clear-cut.
Every evening I see people – both kinds of people are there: when somebody has come here readymade, has thought over what he is going to say to me, has prepared it already; the script is ready, he has just to replay it, he has decided everything about what he is going to ask. And I can see the difficulty of the person, because when he comes in front of me, when he sits by the side of me, it is a different situation. A change starts happening. The climate, the presence, his love for me, my love for him, others’ presence, the trust that is there very tangibly, the love that is flowing, a meditative state – and it is absolutely different than he had been thinking before. Now whatsoever he has prepared looks irrelevant; it does not fit. He becomes fidgety, restless – “What to do?” And he does not know how to act spontaneously, how to act out of this situation.
He comes in front of me but I see the phoniness of it. His question does not come from his heart. It is just from the throat, it has no depth. His voice has no depth. He himself is not certain whether he wants to ask it anymore or not, but he has prepared it, maybe for days. So the mind goes on saying, “Ask it. You have prepared it.” And he sees the irrelevance of it. Maybe it has already been answered. Maybe in answering somebody else I have answered it. Maybe the very situation is such that his mind has changed and it is no longer meaningful.
But he acts out of the past: that is reacting. It will look awkward. He feels embarrassed if he has nothing to ask. And he cannot cry because he is a phony person, and he cannot simply say, “Hello,” and he cannot say, “I would like just to sit in front of you for one minute, and I have nothing to say.” He cannot act out of this moment. He cannot be herenow; he feels embarrassed. He has to ask, otherwise what will people think? – “Then why, in the first place, had you asked for darshan if you had nothing to ask?” So he asks. He is no longer behind it. It is a rotten old question which no longer has meaning – but he asks.
Sometimes – you may have seen – to a few people I go on answering and take a long time, and to a few people I answer in a very short way. Whenever I see that somebody is phony, his question is phony, is a prepared question, then it is meaningless to answer him. Just out of respect for him I talk a little bit to him, but I am no longer interested. And the phony questioner is also not interested in what I am saying – because he is no longer interested even in his question, so how can he be interested in the answer?
But there are other people… By and by the phoniness disappears and sannyasins become more and more true, authentic. Then somebody simply sits there and laughs. That’s what is coming in that moment. He does not feel embarrassed, he does not feel that it is out of place. It is not. The prepared script is out of place.
Facing a nothingness, you have to be nothing. Only then can there be a meeting, because only similars can meet. Then there is great joy, then there is great beauty. Then there is dialogue. Maybe not a single word is uttered, but there is dialogue. Sometimes somebody comes and simply sits and starts swaying, closes his eyes, goes inward – that is the way to come toward me. He goes inside himself and simply jumps into me and allows me to jump into him, or simply touches my feet, or simply looks into my eyes. Or sometimes a great question also arises, but it is in the moment – then it is true, then it has immense power, then it comes from your very deepest core. It has relevance.
When you act out of nothingness, you respond; it is no longer a reaction. It has truth, it has validity in it, authenticity. It is existential. It is immediate, spontaneous, simple, innocent. And this action does not create any karma.
Remember, the word karma means action, a particular action. Not all actions create karma, remember. Buddha lived after his enlightenment for forty-two years. He was not sitting all the time under the bodhi tree doing nothing. He did a thousand and one things, but karma was not created. He acted but it was no longer reaction, it was response.
If you respond out of nothingness it leaves no residue, it leaves no traces on you, karma is not created. You remain free. You go on acting and you remain free. It is as if a bird flies into the sky, leaving no traces, no footprints. The man who lives in the sky of nothingness leaves no footprints, leaves no karma, no residue. His act is total. And when the act is total, it is finished, it is complete. A complete act does not hang around you like a cloud; only incomplete acts hang around you.
Somebody insulted you – you wanted to hit him but you didn’t. You saved your sainthood, you smiled and blessed the man and went home. Now it is going to be difficult: now the whole night you will dream that you are hitting the man. You may even kill him in your dreams. For years it will hang around you; it is incomplete. Anything incomplete is dangerous. When you are phony everything becomes incomplete. You love a woman but not enough to make it complete. Even while making love you are not entirely there; maybe you are still rehearsing. Maybe you have been reading sex manuals which are available. Maybe you have been reading Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra, or Masters and Johnson or the Kinsey Report, and you have been learning how to make love. And you are ready, knowledgeable! Now this woman is just an opportunity to practice your knowledge. So you are practicing your knowledge, but it is going to be incomplete because you are not in it. And then it is unsatisfying, then you feel frustrated – and the cause is your knowledge.
Love is not something to be practiced. Life need not be practiced; life has to be lived, in utter innocence. Life is not a drama – you need not prepare, you need not go into a rehearsal for it. Let it come as it comes, and be spontaneous.
But how can you be spontaneous if the ego is there? Ego is a great actor, ego is a great politician; ego goes on manipulating you. The ego says, “If you really want to act in a polished way preparation is needed. If you really want to act in a cultured way you have to rehearse it.” The ego is a performer, and because of this performer you go on missing the joy, the celebration, the blessing of life.
Buddha says: “When action comes out of nothing it creates no karma.” Then it is so total that its very totality… The circle is complete and finished. You never look backward. Why do you go on looking backward? – because there are things incomplete. Whenever something is complete you don’t look back. It is finished. The full point has been achieved, there is nothing more to do about it. Act out of nothingness and your action is total, and the total action leaves no memory – no psychological memory, I mean. The memory is left in the brain, but there is no psychological hang-up. And a man who has no hang-ups is my definition of a sannyasin.
When an act is utterly complete, you are free of it. When an act is total, you slip out of it – like a snake slips out of the old skin and the old skin is left behind. Only incomplete acts become karma, remember it. But to have a complete act, it has to come out of nothingness.
There are three levels of awareness: awareness of the self, awareness of the world, and awareness of the intervening fantasy between the self and the world. Fritz Perls called this intermediate level the DMZ – demilitarized zone – and it functions to keep us from being totally in touch with ourselves and with our world. The DMZ contains our prejudices, the prejudgments through which we view the world and other people and ourselves. If we look at the world through our biases, we cannot see the truth of it. We cannot see that which is. We create an illusion; that’s what Hindus call maya.
If we look outside with judgments, a priori prejudices, then we create a world of our own, which is maya, illusion, a projection. If we look at ourselves through these judgments and knowledge and opinions, we create another illusion – the ego. Then we cannot see what reality is there inside us. We cannot see what is out there, and we cannot see what is in here. When the outside is missed we create illusion, maya; when the inside is missed we create the ego, ahankar. And both of these things happen through the DMZ – the demilitarized zone.
Gurdjieff used to call this zone the “zone of the buffers.” DMZ is a beautiful name for it. The bigger the DMZ is, the more pathological the person is, the more neurotic. The smaller the DMZ is, the healthier, psychologically sane a person is. And when the DMZ completely disappears and there is no thought intervening between you and the world – not a single thought – that’s what Buddha means by nothingness. Then the person is utterly sane, holy, whole.
Before we enter the sutra, a few things about this ego. The illusion of the self has to be understood.
The first thing: the ego is not a reality, it is just an idea. You don’t come with it when you come into the world, you don’t bring it with you. It is not part of your being. When a child is born he does not bring the ego into the world. The ego is something that he learns, it is not part of genetics.
Gordon Alport calls the self proprium, and it can be defined by considering the adjective form propriate, as in the word appropriate. Proprium refers to something that belongs to or is unique to a person. The self is created because each nothingness is unique, each nothingness has its own way of flowering. Because of this uniqueness there is the possibility of creating an ego.
I love in my way, you love in your own way. I behave in my way, you behave in your own way. There is a difference between people, but only a difference in ways. The roseflower flowers in one way and the marigold in another, but both flower. The flowering is the same, the nothingness is the same. But each nothingness functions in a unique way. Because of this there is a possibility to create the ego.
There are seven doors from where the ego enters, seven doors from where we learn the ego. Those doors have to be understood, because if you understand them you will be able to drop the ego – because those doors, understood perfectly well, can be closed. Then the ego is no longer created. Seen rightly, understood perfectly well – that the ego is just a shadow – it starts disappearing on its own.
The first door Alport calls “the bodily self.” We are not born with a sense of self. The child in the mother’s womb has no sense of the self. He is one with the mother; he is utterly one, joined, bridged with the mother. The mother is his whole existence, his cosmos. He does not know that he is separate. The separation comes when the child comes out of the womb, when his bridge with the mother is cut and the child has to breathe on his own. In fact, the breathing is not something that the child is going to do. How can he do? He cannot even breathe yet, so he is not yet there. The breathing happens. It is not that the child is doing it, it is a happening. It comes out of nothingness: the child starts breathing. Those few seconds are very, very valuable, critical, dangerous. The parents, the doctor, the nurses who are looking after the birth are all in a great waiting: whether the child is going to breathe or not.
The child cannot be forced, the child cannot be persuaded, and the child cannot do anything on its own. If it is going to happen, it is going to happen. It may not happen, it may happen. Sometimes children never breathe, then we think they are born dead.
It is miraculous how the child breathes the first breath: he has never done it before, he cannot be prepared for it. He does not know that the mechanism to breathe exists. The lungs have not functioned ever before, but the breath comes and the miracle starts. But the breath is coming out of nothingness, remember. Later on you will start saying, “I am breathing.” That is absurd. You are not breathing: breathing is happening. Don’t create the idea of “I,” don’t say, “I am breathing.” Nobody is breathing. It is not within your capacity to do or not to do.
You can try: stop breathing for a few seconds and you will know that it is also difficult to stop. Within seconds a great rush comes from nowhere and you start breathing again. Or stop the breathing outside; try for a few seconds and suddenly you see a great rush. It is beyond you. The breathing wants to come in.
It is “nothing” that is breathing in you, or you can call it God – it makes no difference, it is the same. Nothing or God, they mean the same. Nothing in Buddhism means exactly what God means in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism. God is a nothing.
We are not born with a sense of self. It is not part of our genetic endowment. The infant is not able to distinguish between self and the world around it. Even when the child has started breathing, it takes months for him to become aware that there is a distinction between his inside and the outside. Gradually, through increasingly complex learning and perceptual experiences, a vague distinction develops between something “in me” and other things “out there.”
This is the first door from which the ego enters: the distinction that there is something “in me.” For example: the child feels hunger, he can feel it coming from inside. And then the mother slaps the child, and he can feel it is coming from the outside. Now a distinction is bound to be felt by and by, that there are things which come from inside, and there are things which come from outside. When the mother smiles he can see the smile is coming from there, and then he responds, he smiles. Now he can feel the smile is coming from within, somewhere inside. The idea of inside and outside arises. This is the first experience of the ego.
In fact there is no distinction between the outside and the inside. The inside is part of the outside and the outside is part of the inside. The sky inside your house and the sky outside your house are not two skies, remember; they are one sky. And so is it the case with you there and me here. We are not two; we are two aspects of the same energy, two aspects of the same coin. But the child starts learning the ways of the ego.
The second door is self-identity. The child learns its name, realizes that the reflection in the mirror today is of the same person as the one seen yesterday, and believes that the sense of me or self persists in the face of changing experiences. The child goes on knowing that everything changes. Sometimes he is hungry, sometimes he is not hungry; sometimes he is sleepy and sometimes he is awake; and sometimes he is angry, and sometimes he is loving – things go on changing. One day it is a beautiful day, another day it is dark and dismal. But he stands before the mirror…
Have you watched a small baby sitting before a mirror? He tries to catch hold of the child inside the mirror because he thinks the child is “there outside.” If he cannot catch hold, then he goes around and looks at the back of the mirror – maybe the child is hiding there? But by and by he starts knowing that it is he who is reflected. And then he starts feeling a kind of continuity: yesterday it was the same face, today it is also the same face in the mirror. When children look for the first time into the mirror they become fascinated with the mirror. They don’t leave it. They go again and again to the bathroom to look at who they are.
Everything goes on changing. One thing seems to be unchanging: the self-image. The ego has another door from where it is entering: the self-image.
The third door is self-esteem. This is concerned with the child’s feeling of pride as a result of learning to do a thing on its own: doing, exploring, making. When a child learns anything – for example he has learned a word, daddy; then he goes on saying, “Daddy, daddy,” the whole day. He does not miss a single opportunity when he can use the word. When the child starts learning to walk, he tries the whole day. He falls again and again, he stumbles, he is hurt, but again he stands – because it gives pride: “I can also do something! I can walk! I can talk! I can carry things from here to there!”
The parents are very worried because the child is a disturbance. He starts carrying things. They can’t understand: “Why? For what? Why have you taken that book from there?” The child is not interested in the book at all. It is all nonsense for him. He cannot conceive why you go on looking in this thing continuously – “What are you searching for there?” But his interest is different: he can carry a thing.
The child starts killing animals. An ant, and he will immediately jump on it and kill it. He can do something! He is enjoying doing; he can become very destructive. If he finds a clock, he will open it – he wants to know what is inside. He becomes an explorer, an inquirer.
He enjoys doing things because that gives a third door to his ego: he feels proud, he can do. He can sing a song, then he is ready to sing the song to anybody. If any guest comes he is present, waiting for somebody to give a hint so he can sing the song. Or he can dance, or he can do a mime, or something! Whatsoever it is, he wants to do something to show that he is not just helpless, that he can also do. This doing brings ego in.
The fourth is self-extension, belonging, possession. The child speaks of my house, my father, my mother, my school. He starts increasing the field of “mine.” Mine becomes his key word. If you take his toy – he is not much interested in the toy; he is more interested in, “The toy is mine, you cannot take it!” Remember, he is not much interested in the toy. When nobody is interested he will throw the toy in the corner and will escape to play outside. But once somebody wants to take it, he does not want to give it. It is his – “mine.”
“Mine” gives a sense of “me”; “me” creates “I.” And remember, these doors are not only for children, they remain that way your whole life. When you say my house, you are being childish. When you say my wife, you are being childish. When you say my religion, you are being childish. When a Hindu starts fighting with a Mohammedan about religion, they are children. They don’t know what they are doing. They have not really become mature and grown up. Children are constantly arguing, “My daddy is the greatest daddy in the world!” And so the priests go on fighting, “My concept of God is the best, the most powerful, the real! Others are just so-so.”
These are very childish attitudes, but they linger around you for your whole life. You are very interested in your name. When I change people’s names, a few people are very stubborn; they don’t want it. A few people write letters to me: “I want to take sannyas, but please, don’t change my name.” Why? My name! It seems to be something like a great wealth. And there is nothing in the name. But for thirty years, forty years, your ego has survived with that name. It is very difficult for the ego to close a door. That’s why the name is changed: so that you can see that the name is arbitrary, it can be changed any day. And that’s why I change your name without any fuss about it.
In other religions the name is also changed. If you become a Jaina monk they will make much fuss about it – a great procession and celebration; somebody is becoming a monk! Now he will become very attached to this new name. So much celebration and so much festivity, and so much honor and respect; so much fuss about it, then the whole point is lost. I simply change it as a matter of fact, just to give you an idea that it is nothing; it is arbitrary, it can be changed very easily. You can be called A, you can be called B, you can be called C – it doesn’t matter. In fact you are nameless; that’s why it doesn’t matter. Any name will do, it is only utilitarian.
The fifth door is self-image. This refers to how the child sees himself. Through interaction with parents, through praise and punishments, he learns to have a certain image of himself – good or bad.
The child is always looking at how the parents react to him. If he is doing a certain thing, do they praise it or do they punish him? If he feels punished he thinks, “I have done something wrong. I am bad.” If he does something good and is praised, he thinks, “I am good, I am appreciated.” He starts trying to do more and more good, so that he is appreciated. Or, if the parents are really very difficult and impossible people, and their demands are such that the child cannot fulfill them, then he takes the other route, he starts doing all that they call “bad.” He reacts and rebels.
These are the two ways – the door is the same: either you praise him and he feels good that he is somebody; or if you don’t praise him easily then he says, “Okay, then I will show you.” Then too he will make his presence felt. He will start destroying things, he will start smoking, he will start doing things which you don’t like. And he will say, “Now you see? You have to take note of me; you have to notice me. You have to know that I am somebody and I am here, and you cannot just neglect me.” The good guy and the bad guy are born this way, the saint and the sinner.
The sixth is self as reason. The child learns the ways of reason, logic, argument. He learns that he can solve problems. Reason becomes a great support to his self – that’s why people argue. That’s why educated people think that they are somebodies. Uneducated? – you feel a little embarrassed. You have a great degree – you are a PhD or a DLitt – and you go on showing, exhibiting your certificate: you are a gold medalist, you have topped the university, and this and that. Why? – because you are showing that you have become a rational being, well-educated, educated in the best of universities, educated by the best of professors: “I can argue better than anybody else.” Reason becomes a great support.
And the seventh is propriate striving, life-goal, ambition, becoming: what and who one is through what or who one wants to become. Future concern, dreams and long-range goals appear – the last stage of the ego. Then one starts thinking about what to do in the world to leave a mark in history, to leave a signature here on the sands of time. To become a poet? To become a politician? To become a mahatma? To do this or to do that? Life is running fast, slipping fast, and one has to do something, otherwise soon one will become nothing and nobody will ever know that you had existed. One wants to become an Alexander or a Napoleon. If it is possible, one wants to become a good guy, famous, well-known, a saint, a mahatma.
If it is not possible, then too one wants to become somebody. Many murderers have confessed in the courts that they had not murdered somebody because they were interested in murdering him, but they just wanted their names on the front page of the newspapers.

A man murdered somebody from behind. He came and stabbed him, and he had not even seen the man before. He was absolutely unknown to him; they were not acquainted, there was no friendship, no enmity. He had never met him. And this time also, he had not seen the face of the man whom he had murdered. He had not seen him, he simply murdered him from behind. The man was sitting on the beach looking at the waves, and this man came and killed him.
The court was puzzled, but the man said, “I was not interested in the man whom I killed. He was irrelevant, anybody would have done. I had gone there to kill somebody. If this man had not been there, then somebody else…” But why? And he said, “Because I wanted my photo and my name on the front page of the newspapers. My desire is fulfilled. I am talked about all over the country, I am happy. Now I am ready to die. If you sentence me to death I can die happily: I was known, I was famous.”

If you cannot become famous, you try to become notorious. If you cannot become Mahatma Gandhi, you would like to become Adolf Hitler – but nobody wants to remain a nobody.
These are the seven doors through which the illusion of the ego strengthens, becomes stronger and stronger. And these are the seven doors – if you understand – through which the ego has to be sent out again. Slowly, slowly from each door you have to look deep into your ego and say goodbye to it. Then nothingness arises.
The sutra:
Therefore, O Sariputra, in emptiness there is no form, nor feeling, nor perception, nor impulse, nor consciousness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or objects of mind; no sight-organ element, and so forth, until we come to: No mind-consciousness element; there is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, and so forth, until we come to: There is no decay and death, no extinction of decay and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path. There is no cognition, no attainment and no non-attainment.
A tremendously revolutionary statement.
Therefore, O Sariputra…
First we have to understand the word therefore. Therefore is perfectly relevant in a syllogism, in a logical argument. There has been no argument preceding it, and Buddha says: Therefore, O Sariputra…
Scholars have been very worried about why he uses therefore. Therefore is part of a syllogism: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is a mortal. It is part of logic. But there has been no proposition, no argumentation, and suddenly Buddha says: Therefore… Why?
The scholars cannot understand it, because there had been no argument on the surface. But there has been a dialogue between the eyes of Buddha and Sariputra. There has arisen an understanding. Listening to Buddha talking about emptiness, nothingness, Sariputra has risen to that level of nothingness.
It can arise in you here, you can feel it, its wings fluttering around you.
Looking into his eyes Buddha feels, sees that Sariputra has understood: now the argument can go further. On the surface there has been no argument. There has been no debate, discussion, but there has been a dialogue. The dialogue is between these two energies: Buddha and Sariputra. There has been a unity, they have been bridged. In that bridge, in that moment of bridging, Sariputra has looked into Buddha’s emptiness. Now Buddha says to Sariputra, “Therefore… You have looked, Sariputra, now I can go further into it, into more detail. Now I can say a few things to you which would not have been possible before.”
Therefore, O Sariputra, in emptiness there is no form, nor feeling, nor perception…
Because there is nobody to feel, so how can there be feeling? When the ego is not there, there is no feeling, no knowledge, no perception. No form arises because the sky is completely cloudless. You can see a form in a cloud. Have you not seen sometimes? – a cloud looks just like an elephant, and then it changes into a horse and then into something else, and it goes on changing. It takes so many forms.
But have you ever seen any form arising in the pure sky? No form ever arises.
…there is no form, nor feeling, nor perception, nor impulse…
And when there is nobody inside, how can impulse arise? How can desire arise?
…nor consciousness…
When there is no content, when there is no object, the subject also disappears. That consciousness which is always of the object is no longer found there.
…no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind…
Buddha says, “Everything disappears into that nothingness, Sariputra. And now you can understand, Sariputra; therefore I am saying it. You have seen it. You have looked into me. You have been on the very verge of it. You have peeped into the abyss, the eternal, the abysmal depth.”
…no forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables…no sight-organ element, and so forth… No mind-consciousness element…
When you are in that state you cannot even say “I am in this state of nothingness” because if you say this you have come back.
…until we come to…
If you say, “I have experienced nothingness,” that means you have come back to the world of form. The mind has started functioning again. In that moment you are not separate from nothingness, so how can you say, “I am experiencing nothingness?” Nothingness is not like an object: it is not separate from you, you are not separate from it. The observer is the observed there; the object is the subject there. The duality has disappeared.
…there is no ignorance…
…Buddha says. There is no knowledge, there is no ignorance either, because ignorance can only be when you think in terms of knowledge. It is comparison with knowledge. When you call a man ignorant what do you mean? You are comparing him with somebody who is knowledgeable. But there is no knowledge so there cannot be any ignorance.
…there is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance…
And Buddha says: “Remember, I am not saying that ignorance disappears. Ignorance has never been there; it was a shadow of knowledge, it was a shadow of the mind addicted to knowledge.”
When you bring a light into a dark room, what do you say? – that the darkness disappears, goes out from the room, escapes from the room, runs away? No, you cannot say that – because darkness does not exist in the first place. How can it go out? Light comes and darkness is not found, because darkness was just the absence of light.
So there is no ignorance, and no extinction of ignorance. There is no knowledge and there is no non-knowledge. One simply is innocent of all – knowledge, ignorance; just innocent, virgin. To be free of knowledge and to be free of ignorance is to be virgin, to be pure.
…there is no decay and death…
…Because there is nobody to die. And remember, there is no extinction of decay and death. And Buddha is not saying that death disappears, because death has never been there in the first place. To say that death has disappeared would be wrong. Buddha is very, very perfect in his assertion, very careful. He has not uttered a single word which can be refuted by anybody who knows reality. He has not compromised. He has not compromised with the listener. He has said the most perfect thing that can possibly be said.
There is no suffering…
Now he comes to the ultimate revolutionary statement.
You must have heard about the four noble truths of Buddha. The first noble truth is suffering: that everybody is suffering, that the whole existence is dukkha, suffering, pain, misery, agony.
And the second noble truth is: its origination is in craving – tanha, desire. Suffering exists: the first noble truth – arya satya; the second noble truth is that suffering has a cause and the cause is in desire. We suffer because we desire.
And the third noble truth is: this desiring can be stopped. It is possible – nirodha; it can be stopped. By looking deep into desiring it can be stopped, and when desiring stops suffering disappears. And the fourth noble truth is: there is an eightfold path that leads to the stoppage, nirodha, of desiring, and consequently of suffering.
This is Buddhism’s most fundamental philosophy, and in this statement Buddha denies that too! He says:
There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, and no path.
Nobody has ever stated such a revolutionary thing. Buddha reaches the uttermost peak of revolution; everybody else falls short.
Now, scholars have always been worried that this is contradictory. Buddha teaches that there is suffering, and then one day he says, “There is no suffering.” He teaches that there is a cause for why suffering is, and then one day he says, “There is no origination.” He teaches that there is a possibility – nirodha – that it can be stopped, and one day he says, “There is no stopping.” And he says – and the whole of Buddhism depends on that saying – that there is an eightfold path, astangik marga: right vision, right exercise, right meditation, right samadhi, and so on and so forth; the eight-limbed path which leads you to the ultimate truth. And now one day he says, “There is no path. The reality is a pathless reality.” Why this contradiction? The first statement is made to those who do not know that they are not. The first statements are made to ordinary people, full of ego. This statement is made to Sariputra in a particular space, in a particular state.
Therefore, O Sariputra… Now I can say this to you. I could not have said it before, you were not ready. Now you have looked into me, and looking into me you have seen what nothingness is. You have had a taste of it. Therefore, Sariputra: Tasmat, Sariputra! Now it is possible to say to you that there is no suffering, that it is a dream; people are suffering in dream. And there is no causation – people are desiring in a dream. And there is no stopping – people are exercising, doing methods, meditating, Yoga, etcetera, in a dream. And the whole path exists in the dream. Now it can be said to you because you are awake, Sariputra. Your eyes are opened; now you see the ego does not exist.
And to get out of the ego is to get out of sleep. To get out of the ego is to get out of darkness. To get out of the ego is to be free. In that freedom it can be said that there is no path. It is like a dream.
In dream you are suffering, and when you are suffering in a dream, it is so real. And you are searching: “Why am I suffering?” And then you come across a great sage – in the dream – and the sage says, “You are suffering because you are desiring. You are so much infatuated with money; that’s why you are suffering. Drop this desire and the suffering will disappear.” You understand it, it is very logical. You know it, you have experienced it yourself that whenever you desire, suffering comes. The more desire is there, the more suffering. The greater the desire, the bigger the suffering. You understand it. Then you ask, “Then how to stop it?” And the great sage says, “Stand on your head, do Yoga, do chaotic meditation, do Kundalini, do Nadabrahma, do encounter group and do Leela and do Primal Therapy and all.” The great sage says, “Do these things; these will help. You will become more understanding of your desire, and you will be able to drop the desire.”
So the sage gives you a well-formulated eightfold path. He says, “This is the way.” One day, when you are really awake… And remember, these things help you to awaken. Now even if you stand on your head in a dream there is a possibility your dream will be broken. Try! Try tonight! When you are in a dream, just stand on your head in the dream, and suddenly you will see that you are awake. Do Kundalini in a dream – you will be awake. And if you are not, at least your husband will be awake, the neighbors will be awake, something is going to happen.
All methods are just to wake you. But when you are awake…
Therefore, Sariputra…
And now Buddha can say this to Sariputra; he is awake. He can say, “Now I can tell you the truth – that nobody exists, neither the disciple nor the master, nor the dream, nor the suffering, nor the sage, nor the cause, nor the stopping. There is no path.”
This is the ultimate statement of truth.
But this can be made only at the highest stage, at the seventh rung of the ladder. Sariputra reached to that rung on this day. That’s why “Therefore – tasmat – Sariputra.
Enough for today.

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