The Laughter of Buddha
Today is the day when Gautam Siddharth was born in the body, attained enlightenment after 42 yrs and became the BUDDHA, the ultimate peak of consciousness, the ultimate relaxation of being and left the body after 40 yrs i.e. attained Mahaparinirvana. All the three utmost important events of His life i.e. birth, enlightenment and death, happened on the full moon of Hindu month of Vaisakha.
Osho has spoken on BUDDHA at most. He always mentions BUDDHA and His teachings during his talks especially when it is related to meditation and compassion, even if he is talking on someone else, he would bring BUDDHA in between. Osho says I love Gautama the Buddha because he represents to me the essential core of religion. He is not the founder of Buddhism — Buddhism is a byproduct — but he is the beginner of a totally different kind of religion in the world. He’s the founder of a religionless religion. He has propounded not religion but religiousness. And this is a great radical change in the history of human consciousness.
Osho has dedicated many discourse series to BUDDHA like The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, The Diamond Sutra, The Discipline of Transcendence, The Heart Sutra and many more.
Osho further says Before Buddha there were religions but never a pure religiousness. Man was not yet mature. With Buddha, humanity enters into a mature age. All human beings have not yet entered into that, that’s true, but Buddha has heralded the path; Buddha has opened the gateless gate. It takes time for human beings to understand such a deep message. Buddha’s message is the deepest ever. Nobody has done the work that Buddha has done, the way he has done. Nobody else represents pure fragrance. Other founders of religions, other enlightened people, have compromised with their audience. Buddha remains uncompromised, hence his purity. He does not care what you can understand, he cares only what the truth is. And he says it without being worried whether you understand it or not. In a way this looks hard; in another way this is great compassion.
WHY ARE DESIRES A “NO-NO,” BUT LONGING FOR THE HEIGHTS OKAY? I GET LOST IN THE SUBTLETIES OF THE WORDS. THE BUDDHA MADE A SUPREME VOW NOT TO RISE FROM MEDITATION UNTIL ATTAINING ENLIGHTENMENT. FOR THREE DAYS AND NIGHTS HE HAD VISIONS AND HALLUCINATIONS, INCLUDING ONES OF HELL, DEMONS, ETCETERA. WHAT KIND OF EFFORT IS THIS?
Jyotirmaya, when Buddha made that vow he was not a buddha; he was as ignorant as you are. In ignorance, whatsoever he has done, please forgive him. Don’t take much note of it. In ignorance everybody goes on doing stupid things. That vow is stupid.
Truth is not something that you can force by your willpower. Taking a vow that “I will not rise from meditation until attaining enlightenment” shows violence and ignorance. But Buddha was not Buddha at that time, he was Siddhartha Gautama — stumbling, groping in the darkness as everybody else is groping. He was not in any way different from you. He had himself yet not learned the art of being in the middle; he was an extremist. This is extremism.
For six years he tried hard and failed. That hard work upon himself did not yield any result; it cannot. That’s why when he became a buddha he was very much against hard effort, he was very much against extremes. He had lived through all kinds of extremes: he had lived like an ascetic, tortured himself. For six years he suffered as much as a human being can suffer — but truth cannot be bought by your suffering. It is not a commodity and it is not possible to attain to it just by sheer force of willpower. You can sit for three days or three lives under a tree, and you won’t attain it. He didn’t attain it, remember. What he attained was hallucinations, visions of hell, demons, etcetera. That was his punishment, so beware of it.
How he became enlightened is a totally different story. After three days, when he was tired, utterly tired of his effort, and he saw the frustration, the failure… those six years’ continuous torturing himself, and no gain, no success. He had not moved even an inch nearer to truth; he was still where he had started. Only one thing had happened: he had become weaker because he had been fasting. He had become ugly; he had become just bones, all flesh had disappeared. He had become just a skeleton. He looked like he had come out of a grave. No gain, no success… all efforts had failed. Then one evening he saw the futility of human effort. He saw the futility of human ego — because all efforts are egoistic: “I will attain.”
The ‘I’ is always behind all your achievements, desires of achievement. The ‘I’ is very ambitious: it wants to be successful in this world, it wants to be successful in the other world. It wants to have money, it wants to have God too. It wants to have power; it wants to have liberation, moksha, truth, nirvana. It wants to have everything.
Buddha saw it and in that seeing he dropped that mad effort and he dropped the very source of ambition. It was a full-moon night. He laughed at himself, at the whole stupidity of six years. He relaxed, he sat under a tree. For the first time after six years, just sitting not to achieve anything, just sitting, not meditating.
Hence in Zen, meditation is called ZAZEN. Zazen means just sitting doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.
That evening he sat there under the tree with no desire, because all desires had failed. The worldly desires had failed, the otherworldly desires had failed.
You will be surprised to know:
enlightenment is not a success. Enlightenment happens only when you have totally failed. Enlightenment is born out of total failure –
because if you succeed, the ego remains. When the failure is total, absolute, irrevocable, categorical, when there is no going back, the ego disappears. Ego lives, feeds on success; it cannot live in failure. It leaves you. That evening the ego disappeared. The full moon rose. He watched the full moon, he enjoyed the full moon. For six years he had not seen the moon at all, he was so much preoccupied with his own spiritual attainment. The night was cool and beautiful. The forest was silent, and just by the side was flowing the river Niranjana. He enjoyed the reflection of the moon in the Niranjana. He enjoyed the silence. Then he fell asleep. He slept without any dreams, because all dreams are by-products of desires.
In the morning when it was dawn and the birds started singing he was awakened by their songs. Lying under the tree, nowhere to go, nothing to do, he watched the sun rise above the horizon; the east becoming red and a beautiful morning and the cool breeze…. And something happened, something clicked.
He became enlightened — not out of six years’ effort but only one night’s effortlessness. Not out of six years’ constant striving of the ego, but only one night’s state of no ego, no desire. And in the morning he was enlightened. Then again he laughed. He laughed because he saw that he was always enlightened but could not see the fact, the truth of it, because he was so much concerned with attaining it.
If you are so much concerned with attaining it you will not be able to see that it is already the case.
You are all buddhas. Nobody is born otherwise, everybody is born a buddha. It is not a question of achieving, Jyotirmaya, remember it: buddhahood, enlightenment, is not a question of attainment. It is a question of becoming silent, still, egoless, desireless, so that you can see with unclouded eyes who you are. You are a buddha already, you ARE enlightened.
He laughed in the night because his whole life had failed; it was ridiculous. In the morning he laughed because he was searching for something that was already inside his soul; there was no need to seek and search for it. In fact, seeking and searching was keeping him away from it.
Seek, and ye will not find; seek not and it is yours.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Golden Future
Chapter title: The sacred makes you speechless
17 May 1987 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on ‘Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, Lao Tzu and many other enlightened Masters’ in many of His discourses. More on them can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles:
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
- Tao: The Three Treasures
- Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
- The Mustard Seed: My Most Loved Gospel on Jesus
- The Path of Love
- Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
- When the Shoe Fits
- Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen, with Basho’s Haikus
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega
- Sermons in Stones
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Divine Melody