The Psychology of the Buddhas

Birthday of Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud

6th of May is the birthday of a person who has revolutionized the field of psychology by introducing psychoanalysis, i.e the dialogue between patient and the psychoanalyst. He was a well-known neurologist and a respected personality of his times. His work on dreams, libido, sex and death drive are extraordinary.

Some of his famous works are: seduction theory, the unconscious mind, The Ego and the Id, The Interpretation of Dreams, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life., Psychosexual development, Id, ego and super-ego, LibidoDeath drive, and Repetition compulsion, Freud and religion and many more.

Freud was the heavy smoker; he says smoking increases his working capability. But this became the cause of mouth cancer. In later age this cancer grew up and Freud was in much pain, so he voluntarily wanted to die, for which his friend  Max Schur convinced Freud’s daughter and final gave morphine and induced the death of Freud.

Osho supports Freud in a context and says Hindus create one kind of neurosis, and Jews create another kind of neurosis, and both have created great religions in the world. And I absolutely agree with Sigmund Freud that these so-called religions are nothing but collective obsessions. A Buddha, a Jesus, a Lao Tzu, a Zarathustra, they are not religious people in the sense Christians, Mohammedans and Buddhists are. They are very balanced, they are so whole, they are so tranquil, they cannot become parts of crowds, they cannot fall that low.

Osho Says….


The first thing: all the psychologies are of the mind. The psychology of the Buddhas will be of the no-mind. It is going to be diametrically opposite to the ordinary psychologies in every aspect, in every direction, because it is a totally new dimension — never touched before, never even thought about before. It is easy to study the mind. It is very difficult, almost impossible, to study the no-mind.

The no-mind reminds me of a modern painting.

One modern painter was exhibiting his works of art. A man was standing before a painting for almost half an hour. The painter was moving around the exhibition, explaining to people when they had any questions about a painting.

This man was absolutely absorbed by the painting, and the painter came many times, but felt it was not right to disturb him. But finally he had to, because the painting was nothing but an empty canvas. He asked the man, “Are you interested in the painting?”

The man said, “I am certainly interested, because I am wondering, where is the painting? It is an empty canvas, but if it is being exhibited there must be a painting, somewhere, in some way. Are you the painter?”

The man said, “Yes, I am the painter and I am here to explain it to you: this is a painting of a cow eating grass.”

There was no cow and there was no grass. The man said, “But I don’t see the cow.”

The painter said, “She has eaten and gone home.”

The man said, “But I don’t even see the grass!”

The painter said, “The cow has eaten the grass and gone home, so there is no cow and no grass. That’s why I have left the canvas empty.”

The study of no-mind is just the study of an empty canvas. The thoughts are gone, the emotions are gone, the sentiments are gone, the moods are gone. Nothing is left except a pure, empty space. So we have to study this empty space in a different way than we study the ordinary mind — because the ordinary mind has contents, and this empty space has no content. It has a certain quality, but it has no content. It has a certain fragrance, but it has no content. There is nothing objective; it is pure subjectivity.

All scientific studies are objective; they need something to study. In this empty space there is no object; you don’t have anything to study. So a new dimension has to be explored with totally different approaches. So first, let me say a few things about ordinary psychology — what it has discovered, where it is — because that will help you to understand the emptiness, the spaciousness of the no-mind.

Sigmund Freud was the first man in the West who came to discover the unconscious mind. In the East it has been known for centuries, so it was not a discovery — Sigmund Freud was just not aware that it had been discovered long before. He is not really the founder. It was discovered so long ago that we don’t even know the name of the person who discovered the unconscious mind. Freud came to the unconscious mind via dreams. He found that people say things when they are awake which are not true: they say things which they are supposed to say, they behave the way they are expected to behave. They are not sincere, they are not authentic. Their whole conscious mind is hypocritical — because for centuries they have been told how to be, what to say, what to do, what is respectable; their conscious mind has been conditioned by the centuries. Listening to them you cannot discover the real content of their being. You can simply reach to the surface of their mask, but not to their original face. Because the person says one thing but does another, he’s continuously lying — and each lie needs more lies to protect it.

That gave Freud some idea that it would be better, perhaps…. Man cannot deceive in his dreams because he has no control over dreams, and the conditioning of the society has not reached to his dreams.

You may see a beautiful woman, and you may behave like a perfect gentleman with her, but that is not your truth. In a dream you can rape the woman, you can make love to the woman. You will not bother that she is not your wife, because dreams don’t believe in your social codes and mores and behavior patterns. Dreams don’t know that marriages exist. Dreams are not aware that the woman is not yours, she is somebody else’s wife. In a dream you simply do what you feel like doing — you are true. That’s why Freud started studying the dreams of people. And he was surprised that dreams contain tremendous treasures to help to understand the real man, to take away his mask and to see something real. But there is a difficulty with dreams — they are pictorial. The conscious mind is linguistic. The conscious mind is educated, cultured, civilized; the unconscious mind, in sleep, is primitive. Civilization has not touched it at all.

And who cares what you dream? You may murder somebody, you cannot be caught for the crime….Only in one society, a small aboriginal commune in Thailand… of which Sigmund Freud was not aware, otherwise his theories about dreams would have been different. For centuries that tribe has accepted dreams as part of reality. If you misbehave in your dream, in the morning you have to go the person you misbehaved with, and you have to make an apology. You have to bring fruits and sweets to offer him, and say to him how nasty you have been in your dream: “Please forgive me. Until you forgive me, I will not be able to feel right again.” Naturally, he is forgiven, because the person has not been harmed, he knows nothing about your dream. But that is the only society in the whole world which takes dreams seriously, as being almost parallel to reality. And everything that happens in the dream has to be told to the elders of the society the first thing in the morning, whatever it is. You may have raped a woman — you have to say it. You have to say who is the woman, and you have to apologize to the woman, to her husband, to the family.

Strangely enough, this is the only tribe in the whole world which dreams very rarely — because they don’t repress their dreams. On the contrary, they express them and they settle them, so nothing remains hanging. They have done whatever they could do; they have offered an apology, they have presented some gift, whatsoever they could manage, and they have been forgiven. The dream thing is settled — that dream is finished. So it is very rare in that community for people to dream, very rarely will a person dream. But in Western society where Sigmund Freud was working, out of eight hours of sleeping, you are dreaming six hours. Only for two hours here and there are you not dreaming. Six hours is a lot of time — and dreams have their own chronology, so in six hours you can dream of sixty years. In six hours you can manage to dream as much as you want. Dreaming does not follow the same time scale. So sometimes it may happen that you have just fallen asleep for a few seconds, and you are awakened by some noise or something. And you wonder that only a few seconds have passed on your watch but you had such a long dream — in a few seconds such a long dream is not possible. It is possible because the dream does not follow the same time scale. So in six hours you are going through so much garbage, and that garbage is accumulated by our repressions.

That aboriginal community in Thailand has no repression. Even the dream has to be given expression, so you are free of it. It is psychologically healthy. Nobody has ever gone mad in that community. Nobody has ever murdered anybody in that community. Nobody has ever committed suicide in that community. And the last and the most emphatic thing to remember is that that is the only community in the whole of history which has never fought a war. It does not know that wars exist. Perhaps wars have something to do with your repressions. After each ten, twenty years the whole humanity is so full of repressions that a great explosion into a war is an absolute necessity; otherwise you all will go mad. War is a civilized way to go mad and yet retain the idea that you are sane.

Listening to people’s dreams, Freud came to see that people are living an absolutely false life. And this false life is created by your religions, by your moralities, by your educational system. They have not given you any method of transformation — they have simply given you a false face to cover your original face. In dreams people are doing all kinds of things. They are embarrassed, when they are awake, even to accept what they did in their dreams. So Freud discovered a layer within and below the conscious mind — he called it the unconscious mind, because you are not aware of it. And his whole life’s work was concerned with how to sort out dreams and how to make those dreams conscious. It is one of the great findings of Freud that once a dream becomes conscious it loses its grip on you; hence psychoanalysis became of great importance. Nothing else has to be done; the dream just has to be brought fully to the conscious mind. You have to accept in all its minute details, that it is your dream, that you are carrying such thoughts within you. You should not deny it. If you deny it, it will remain within you. If you accept it, it evaporates.

The idea is that if all the dreams evaporate, your unconscious becomes clean, without garbage; and that gives you a tremendous feeling of well-being. You are not carrying something against yourself. You are not creating a division between your conscious mind and the unconscious mind; you are no longer split. When there is no dream left — which Sigmund Freud did not succeed in doing…. He helped people to lessen the quantity of dreams, but he was not able, even with a single patient, to make him completely free of dreams. So there is not a single person in the whole world who is fully psychoanalyzed. There are people who have been in psychoanalysis for fifteen years or twenty years, and still they go on digging and more and more rubbish goes on coming.

This was the reason why Carl Gustav Jung got an idea that perhaps below the unconscious mind there is another mind which goes on supplying more and more dreams. You go on analyzing, dispersing, but something keeps welling up and the unconscious is never clear, never clean; hence he came to the idea of the collective unconscious. The idea of the collective unconscious is very important. It means that there is a point in your mind where you are connected with all the minds around you. This mind is collective, it is not just your own. And there is constant traffic within the collective mind: so you may get rid of dreams in your unconscious mind, but the collective mind goes on supplying more and more junk. And the collective mind is like a continent. Everybody else is involved in it; not only the present people, but centuries that have passed and the people who have lived — all have left impressions on the collective unconscious.

There is a possibility Jung never explored — that perhaps the collective unconscious has something to do with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Perhaps you are carrying the collective unconscious mind of many lives… since the first life was born in the ocean as a fish and then developed through many forms up to the ape, and from ape to man. All those memories are there. Somebody has to work with the collective mind through Charles Darwin’s approach. And that will also give a tremendous insight into Eastern religions and their idea of rebirth — that you had many births before, and not necessarily only human. You have been in other forms of life. Gautam Buddha says in one of his lives he was an elephant, and he relates many stories of his past lives in which he was different animals. Perhaps all three — Carl Gustav Jung, Charles Darwin, and the Eastern idea of rebirth — are significant as far as the collective mind, the collective unconscious, is concerned. And it is so full: from so many dimensions so many rivers are filling it; it is oceanic. And unless it is cleaned, you can never have a clean unconscious mind because this collective mind will go on supplying new stuff.

Jung stopped at the collective unconscious. The East has not stopped there. The East has these ideas — the unconscious mind, the collective unconscious mind — and it has one more mind, the deepest, the very base: it can be called the cosmic collective unconscious. It is not only concerned with life, it is concerned with existence itself. There, the whole existence is supporting you. The whole existence is giving energy to the collective unconscious, which is a smaller thing; and the collective unconscious is giving to the unconscious, which is smaller still.

But this is all in darkness. Western psychology has gone only into the darker part of the mind, and in that too it has not reached yet to the cosmic unconscious. This is going below, into the basement. The Eastern psychology has a similar pattern above the conscious mind. Just as there is an unconscious mind below the conscious mind, above the conscious mind there is a superconscious mind. Western psychology has not even dreamed about it. Above the superconscious mind there is the collective superconscious mind, and above that there is the cosmic superconscious mind. It seems very logical, and very mathematical that if there is a basement, a foundation in the dark, then there must be something above. Things are always balanced in nature.

If a tree has roots and you only study the roots and forget the tree, you will be utterly wrong. The roots go downwards, deeper and deeper in the darkness; the tree goes upwards. It is strange that the roots go downwards and the tree goes upwards — in different directions. At a certain point where the roots and the tree join there is a meeting point, and a departure point too. You have to learn about the tree, its foliage, its flowers, its fruits; otherwise just studying the roots will be incomplete. Unless you know the tree too, you will not understand the meaning of the roots. The meaning of the roots is in the flowers, it is not there in the roots themselves.

Just as through dreams Freud reached to the unconscious mind, through meditation man can reach to the superconscious mind. And as meditation deepens he can reach to the collective superconscious mind — which joins us again, but on a conscious level. At the highest point of meditation you reach to the cosmic superconscious. That joins you with the whole cosmos. But as you are going higher you are losing your ego. With the cosmic superconscious mind you are, but you are no more an ego. Nothing separates you from the whole. This is the point where Al-Hillaj-Mansoor said, ‘ana’l haq’, I am God, myself. Or the Upanishads say, ‘aham brahmasmi’, I am the whole. I am the ultimate. I am the absolute. The emphasis is not on the “I”, the emphasis is on the absolute, the ultimate. The “I” has to be used only because of the language.

These are the seven stages of the mind: three below the conscious mind and three above the conscious mind. Only one thing remains which is beyond all these, and that is the state of no-mind. That comes only when you become an observer of the superconscious, of the collective superconscious, of the cosmic superconscious. You are simply a witness.

Things are becoming more and more beautiful, more and more majestic, miraculous — there is every danger you may be lost. You may become too attached to the beauties that you are coming across. Here again, I remind you that the master is a need: to push you, to tell you that this is nothing, there is something more ahead.

When you become a witness of the cosmic superconscious mind, mind disappears with all its seven forms. The whole tree disappears as if it had never existed, and there is pure space. This pure space is not empty. It is full, overfull with all the potentialities. It is the very source of all creation. Everything has come out of it and one day will go back into it.

Buddha has called it nothingness. That word “nothingness” gives a certain negative color. It is better to call it pure space, which is natural. It does not give you any idea of the negative or of the positive, just spaciousness.

I will tell you two stories. One is a Sufi story of a mystic who used to see a woodcutter going to the forest every day. The woodcutter was old, very old, but there was no other way: he had no son, no family, all had died. He had survived longer than he needed to. Just for his needs he had to continue to cut wood and sell it.

He always came to the mystic to touch his feet and go into the forest, and in the evening he would return with the load. It was really heavy for him, and every day it was becoming more and more difficult.

One day the mystic said, “Wait! You have become too old, and now this work is not for you. I will show you a simpler way. Today don’t cut the wood, just go a little farther, and soon you will come to a mine of copper. Collect some copper, and that will give you enough money to live at least for seven days; you need not come again for seven days. So once a week you can come and collect copper.”

The man went, found the mine, and thanked the mystic. He was immensely happy because the burden was too much, and he was becoming so ancient, weak, old, and he could not see well.

After a few days the mystic said, “You are a strange man! I was thinking that finding the copper mine you would think — you would become curious to go a little farther…. Perhaps there is something more. But it seems you have lost all curiosity, all adventurousness.

“So I have to say to you again, go a little further and you will find a silver mine. You can collect silver, and that will be enough for a whole month. No need to come every week, you are getting too old, once a month you can come.”

The man went ahead, found the silver, thanked the mystic and said, “Your compassion and grace is so great, I cannot repay it in any way. I am a poor old man.”

The mystic said, “Don’t be worried about it. Just remain curious about finding something more.”

The old man said, “What? Is there more, too? But this is enough — once a month.”

The mystic said, “No. If you go ahead you will find a gold mine. That will suffice for the whole year.”

Next day the man came, and he went and found the gold. But the mystic said, “My life is going to come to an end. I will not always be here to tell you to go ahead. So I should rather tell you now not to stop at the gold, because just a little further there is a diamond mine. And that will suffice not only for you, but for a few of your relatives and friends. You can feed the whole neighborhood. But don’t stop there.”

The woodcutter said, “But what can be worth more than diamonds?”

The mystic said, “Can’t you see me sitting here? There must be something more than diamonds; otherwise I would not be sitting here, I would be simply carrying diamonds to the market. Don’t you want to reach where I have reached? It is beyond the diamonds, just a little further.”

The poor woodcutter could not understand — what can be more than diamonds? But he went a little further, and he was surprised: he found the same mystic sitting under a tree!

The mystic said, “So you have come! Now there is no need to go back. You can also sit under the tree.” In Eastern mythology there is a tree called kalpavriksha. If you sit under that tree, whatever you desire is fulfilled immediately. It is a symbol. It is a symbol of the contented mind, that really never desires anything so there is no question of discontent. The old man sat with the master and was surprised that he had no desire, that he did not want anything — diamonds, gold, silver, nothing — that all was fulfilled, that suddenly he had come to a place where nothing was needed.

The mystic said, “How does it feel?”

The woodcutter said, “But you are a tricky man! Why did you not say it in the beginning? Why did you make me go from one place to another, from one mine to another?”

The mystic said, “If I had told you in the beginning you would not have believed me. It was to create trust. Because I proved trustworthy about the copper, the silver, the gold, the diamonds — that’s why you have been able to follow my instruction to go further. Otherwise, everybody argues, `What can there be beyond diamonds?’

“You trusted: `If the man is right up to diamonds, there must be something more. And if he is saying so, I am going.’ This is the same tree I have always been sitting under. I could have told you anytime but you would not have listened.”

This is the first story; to remind you that man has to move through meditation from consciousness to superconsciousness, from superconsciousness to collective superconsciousness, from collective superconsciousness to cosmic superconsciousness. And then only can the master persuade him to take a jump. And the master has been right up to now — your distrust has melted away. And if he says, “Walk on,” you will take the risk. The trust is now deep enough that you can jump into pure space. That is no-mind.

And to attain to no-mind is to attain all. There is nothing more than that, because it is peace, it is silence, it is blissfulness. It is godliness, it is immortality, it is eternity. No-mind is all that is possible.

The other story that I wanted to tell is about a very rich man who had three sons and was puzzled about whom to make his successor. They were all intelligent, and that was making the choice more difficult. Each was more intelligent than the other.

He asked a visiting mystic, “What should I do?” And the mystic gave him a device: The rich man gave to each of his sons a bag full of golden coins and told them, “Within seven days you have to fill your houses completely with whatsoever you want to purchase with this money. But the houses should be full. And whoever succeeds in filling the houses totally will be my successor, so be careful!”

They all had their palaces and they were very much worried because with such a small amount of money…. Their palaces were big: how were they going to fill them? The first son thought that the cheapest thing would be just to go to the municipal corporation and ask them, “Bring all your trucks that throw out the rubbish and fill my house — I will pay you money for it.” It cost nothing, and they had to throw the garbage away somewhere anyway, so the first son filled his house with all kinds of rubbish, not leaving a small spot empty. But it was stinking so badly that even on the road the traffic stopped. People would not move on that road because the house was stinking so badly.

The second son thought, “This is stupid! What my brother has done, my father is not going to like.” He had to find something better, but with a small amount of money how can you find something better? But he worked it out: he brought beautiful candles, and the day his father was to come, the son put all the candles in the house and the house was full of light. The third son looked at the two brothers: the first was certainly stupid; the second was far superior. But there is a strange thing about candles or lamps: whatever you do… they will spread light all over, but just underneath them there will be darkness. That darkness remains without light — that is empty. Something better had to be found….

The day came when the father arrived with the mystic. In the first house they could not enter. They said to the first son, “You are a super idiot, you are just mad! If this is the way of your thinking, then your whole life you will collect rubbish, and your whole life will stink like this palace. A marble palace, and you have filled it with all kinds of rubbish, rotten things! I cannot even enter your house. You have lost.”

The father entered the second house. He could not figure things out, because it was empty. There was just light but the house was empty. He asked the mystic, “What is the matter with my second son? — he has not filled it.”

The mystic said, “He has filled it. Now you need a little more intelligence to understand: he has filled it with light — the whole house is full. But he is not going to be your successor either, because under each candle there is a spot which is dark; the condition is not completed.

“Although he is far more intelligent than the first one, he has missed, missed by just a little miscalculation. He has not looked under the candles and seen that there is darkness. The whole house is not full of light.” They told the son, and he understood: it was right.

They reached the third house. There was no light, it was dark. As they entered, the third son returned the money. He said, “I can fill the house without wasting the money. I have filled it with darkness. It is completely full, not a single corner is empty. And I have filled it with something which is eternal.”

Light comes and goes — darkness always remains. Light needs fuel; if the fuel is exhausted the light is finished. Darkness is the only thing that needs no cause — it is not an effect of any cause, so you cannot destroy it. It is always there — when the sun rises and there is light all over, darkness is still there. It is just that you cannot see because the sun covers it, distracts your eyes. It does not destroy darkness. The moment the sun goes down, suddenly the darkness is there. It does not go, it does not come; it is always there. “So you can take the money back — I don’t need it, I can manage it without wasting money.” The house was full of silence, full of space, full of darkness, full of depth, full of mystery — and in a way completely empty. He had removed everything from the house, all furniture, everything. The whole house was empty, and yet full.

I wanted to tell this story because the ultimate state of no-mind is both, empty and full. Because of its being empty, Gautam Buddha called it nothingness. Because of its fullness, the UPANISHADS have called it the ultimate, the absolute. But both are saying only half the story. I would like to say the whole story. It is emptiness and fullness together. It transcends all logic. It is sheer transcendence of all duality.

The state of no-mind is the psychology of the Buddhas. And only a man who has tasted the state of no-mind is really sane, is really healthy and whole. Others are different only in degree from an insane person; there is no qualitative difference.

Somebody who is sane today may become insane tomorrow. In fact most of the psychologists have been insane once or twice in their life.

Most of the Western artists have been insane some time or other. Great musicians, great sculptors, great dancers — wherever there is greatness, somehow insanity comes in.

It is very strange: it has never happened in the East, but it has happened in the West, and it is happening every day in the West.

Nijinsky, one of the greatest dancers of all the ages, died in a madhouse. Vincent van Gogh, in the last year of his life, was in a madhouse, and just after he was released he committed suicide. And the same is the story of great philosophers. It seems the greatness somehow makes them unbalanced. One part goes on becoming great, and their whole mind lags far behind. They are stretched by the tension between their whole mind dragging them backwards, and just one small part dragging them forwards. It creates a situation which leads to madness. It has never happened in the East. No dancer has ever gone mad, no musician has ever gone mad. On the contrary, it is a well-established fact that if a madman is brought to a great musician — just listening to his music, his madness disappears. Just the music is such a solace, so harmonious, that something that is disturbed in him settles — just listening to it.

No man who has been meditating has ever committed suicide, has ever gone mad, for the simple reason that he is going towards more balance, towards more inner harmony, and finally towards absolute harmony — that is the harmony of no-mind. We have to bring the psychology of the Buddhas to the world. It is the whole psychology. All the seven-storied house of mind has to be transcended. Western psychology is still wandering around the roots. It has not even touched the foliage, the flowers, the fruits. There is no question of it going into no-mind — it has not even been able to take note of the whole mind. And without knowing the whole mind you cannot jump into the no-mind. No-mind is realization. No-mind is enlightenment. No-mind is liberation.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: Light on the Path

Chapter #17

Chapter title: No-mind is emptiness and fullness together

18 January 1986 am in Kathmandu, Nepal


Osho has spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assagioli, Wilhelm Reich, Aristotle, Berkeley, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Laing, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Socrates, Wittgenstein and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Hidden Splendour
  2. The Wild Geese and the Water
  3. This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
  4. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  5. Beyond Enlightenment
  6. Beyond Psychology
  7. Dang Dang Doko Dang
  8. The Discipline of Transcendence
  9. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  10. From Bondage to Freedom
  11. From Darkness to Light
  12. From Ignorance to Innocence
  13. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
  14. From Personality to Individuality
  15. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  16. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
  17. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
Spread the love

1 Comment

  • Cesar
    Posted May 14, 2022 10:46 pm 0Likes

    I’m impressed seeing there’s another website other than OSHO International, I hope you sannyasins are ok.. I sent you my blessings for the work and telling you that for all I’m interested in it, I have not enough money so I can’t travel, but you can get direct communication with me if you want +51930448857. That is the number of the Whatsapp, hope you are ok.. greetings. Cesar Calcina (Shantamo sannyas name)

Leave a comment