The Search 01

First Discourse from the series of 9 discourses - The Search by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

1. The Search for the Bull

In the pasture of this world, I endlessly push aside the tall grasses in search of the bull.
Following unnamed rivers, lost upon the interpenetrating paths of distant mountains,
my strength failing and my vitality exhausted, I cannot find the bull.
I only hear the locusts chirring through the forest at night.

The bull has never been lost. What need is there to search? Only because of separation from my true nature, I fail to find him. In the confusion of the senses I lose even his tracks. Far from home, I see many crossroads, but which way is the right one, I know not. Greed and fear, good and bad, entangle me.

2. Discovering the Footprints

Along the river bank under the trees, I discover footprints!
Even under the fragrant grass I see his prints.
Deep in remote mountains they are found.
These traces no more can be hidden than one's nose looking heavenward.

Understanding the teaching, I see the footprints of the bull. Then I learn that, just as many utensils are made from one metal, so too are myriad entities made of the fabric of self. Unless I discriminate, how will I perceive the true from the untrue? Not yet having entered the gate, nevertheless I have discerned the path.
We enter on a rare pilgrimage. The Ten Bulls of Zen are something unique in the history of human consciousness. Truth has been expressed in many ways, and it has always been found that it remains unexpressed whatsoever you do. However you express it, it eludes – it is elusive. It simply escapes description. The words that you use for it cannot contain it. And the moment you have expressed it in words, immediately you feel frustrated as if the essential has been left behind and only the nonessential has been expressed. The Ten Bulls of Zen have tried in a single effort to express the inexpressible. So first, something about the history of these ten bulls.
Basically, there were eight pictures, not ten; and they were not Buddhist, they were Taoist. Their beginning is lost. Nobody knows how they started, who painted the first bulls. But in the twelfth century a Chinese Zen master, Kakuan, repainted them; and not only that, he added two more pictures, and eight became ten. The Taoist pictures ended on the eighth; the eighth is emptiness, nothingness. But Kakuan added two new pictures. That is the very contribution of Zen to religious consciousness.
When one goes on an inner journey one leaves the world, renounces all that hinders the path, renounces all that is nonessential so that the essential can be searched, sought. One tries to become unburdened so the journey can become easier, because the journey, this journey, is toward the height, the greatest height there is – the very pinnacle of human possibilities, the very climax. One leaves the world; one renounces the world. Not only the world – one renounces the mind, because the mind is the cause of the whole world. The world of desires – the world of possessions – is just the outer part. The inner part is the mind: the desiring mind, the lustful mind, the jealous, competitive mind, the mind full of thoughts; that is the seed.
One renounces the outer, one renounces the inner, one becomes almost empty – that’s what meditation is all about. One becomes totally empty. But is this the end? The Taoist pictures ended with nothingness. Kakuan says this is not the end – one comes back to the world, one comes back to the marketplace; only then is the circle complete. Of course, one comes totally new. One never comes with the old; the old is gone, gone forever. One comes totally renewed, resurrected, reborn – as if this man had never gone; as if this man is coming totally fresh and virgin. One comes back to the world, and again one lives in the world, yet lives beyond it. Again one becomes ordinary – chopping wood, carrying water from the well, walking, sitting, sleeping – one becomes absolutely ordinary. Deep inside, the emptiness remains uncorrupted. One lives in the world but the world is not in your mind, the world is not within you. One lives untouched, like a lotus flower.
These two last pictures bring the seeker back to the world, and Kakuan has done a tremendously beautiful thing. One comes to the marketplace; not only that, one comes with a bottle of wine, drunk – drunk with the divine – to help others also to be drunk. There are many who are thirsty, there are many who are seeking, there are many who are stumbling on their path, there are many who are in deep darkness. One comes back to the world because of compassion. One helps other travelers to arrive. One has arrived, now one helps others to arrive. One has become enlightened, now one helps others toward the same goal. And each and everyone is searching for the same goal.
The Taoist eight bulls are good, but not enough; beautiful, but something is missing in them. Emptiness is perfect, but there is a perfection still to be attained. Emptiness is perfect, let me repeat it, but still there is a perfection yet to be attained. Emptiness is perfect in a negative way. You have renounced, it is negative, but you have not yet loved. The positive is missing. Unhappiness is gone, misery disappears, but you are not yet ecstatic. You have attained to silence and silence is beautiful, but your silence is not yet a fulfillment, it is not an overflowing; it is not a blissful dance of your inner being.
Here Kakuan goes beyond Taoism and beyond Buddhism – because both ended in emptiness, as if the journey were complete. You have reached Everest – cool, collected, calm. Now, what is the point of coming back to the marketplace? But if your meditation does not become compassion, then your meditation is still somehow hiding your ego, then your meditation is still selfish.
If you don’t cry, if tears don’t come to your eyes for others, and if you don’t come back to the world to help people who are stumbling, then somehow your meditation is still not religious. It has helped you; you may be feeling very, very good, but unless it becomes compassion and you overflow in all directions, the tree has come to a stopping point, it has not yet flowered. The tree is green, healthy, perfectly beautiful looking, but a tree without flowers is not fulfilled. A tree without flowers may look beautiful, but there is yet a perfection to be attained. The tree must bloom; the tree must release the fragrance to the winds so it can be carried to the very ends of existence.
Kakuan brings the seeker back into the world. Of course, the seeker is totally different, and naturally the world cannot be the same. He comes to the marketplace, but he remains in his meditation; now the marketplace cannot become a distraction. If the marketplace becomes a distraction, then your meditation is not yet complete. If anything can distract you, then your meditation has been a forced thing – you have made yourself still, you have controlled yourself somehow. Your meditation is still not spontaneous; it is not a natural flow. It has not happened to you; you have made it happen. Hence the fear of coming back to the marketplace.
You will find many sannyasins in the Himalayas who are stuck there with the eighth bull – empty, silent. There is nothing wrong with them, at the most you can say nothing is wrong with them, but you cannot say that they have bloomed, you cannot say their fragrance is released in the winds. Their light is still burning only for themselves. It has a certain ugliness in it. One may not see it immediately, but if you ponder over it, you will see that this is selfishness. In the beginning it is good to be selfish, otherwise you will never grow; but in the end, with the meditation coming to a real completion, a crescendo, the ego must disappear, the selfishness must disappear. You should become one with the whole.
Not only that – Kakuan says that one comes with a bottle of wine. Tremendously significant! One comes drunk with the divine. One is not only silent, one dances, one sings, one becomes creative. One is not simply escaping and hiding in a cave. One is so free now that there is no point in hiding anywhere. Now freedom is one’s quality.
The world becomes a new adventure. And the circle is complete: from the world back to the world; beginning from the marketplace, ending again in the marketplace. Of course, totally different – because now you don’t have a mind, so the marketplace is as beautiful for you as the silent Himalayas; there is no difference. And people are thirsty. You help them, you show them the path.
Buddha has said that when somebody becomes a siddha, attains, there are two possibilities. Either he remains quite content in his attainment, not moving out of it; then he becomes like a pool of water – fresh, cool, silent, with no ripples, but a pool of water… He is in a way static, not a river, flowing. Buddha has used two words. If you become a pool of water he calls you “arhat.” Arhat means one who has attained to perfection but is not at all concerned with others. And another word he uses is bodhisattva. If your meditation flowers into compassion you have become a bodhisattva; then you help others and your ecstasy is being shared.
Kakuan painted ten pictures of the whole search of man – and man is a search. He is not only an inquirer: he is inquiry. From the very moment of conception the search starts. If you ask scientists, they will say that when a man and woman meet, the man releases millions of cells and those cells start running somewhere, toward the female egg. They don’t know where it is, but they run fast. The search has started. They are very tiny cells but they are seeking the egg. One of them will reach the goal; others will perish on the way. One of them will reach the egg, will be born into the world. From that moment the search has started, the inquiry has started. Until death, the search continues.
Socrates was dying. His disciples started crying and weeping; it was natural, but he said to them, “Stop! Don’t disturb me – let me inquire into death. Don’t distract me! You can cry later on, I will be gone soon. Right now, let me inquire into what death is. I have been waiting my whole life for this moment to go into the reality of death.”
He was poisoned. He was lying on his bed watching death, inquiring into what death is. And then he said to his disciples, “My feet are getting numb, but I am still as much as I was before. Nothing has been taken away from me. My feeling of my being is as total as before. My feet are gone.” Then he said, “My legs are gone, but I am still the same. I cannot see myself reduced to anything less. I remain the total.” Then he said, “My stomach is feeling numb, my hands are feeling numb.” But he was very excited, ecstatic. He said, “But still I say to you: I am the same, nothing has been taken away from me.” And then he started smiling and he said, “This shows that sooner or later death will take my heart also – but it cannot take me.” Then he said, “My hands are gone, now even my heart is sinking, and these will be my last words because my tongue is becoming numb. But I tell you, remember, these are my last words: I am still the same – total.”
This is the inquiry into death. From his very conception to the very end, man is an inquiry into the search for truth. And if you are not searching for truth, you are not a man. Then you have missed. Then at the most you look like a man, but you are not man. Your humanity is only in appearance but not in your heart. And don’t be deceived by appearances: when you look in the mirror, you can see that you are a man - that proves nothing. Unless your inquiry grows to such heights that your whole energy is transformed into inquiry and you become a quest, you are not a man.
That is the difference between other animals and man. They live, they don’t inquire. They simply live, they don’t inquire. No animal has ever asked: What is truth? What is life? What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Where do we come from? For what goal are we destined? No tree, no bird, no animal… This big earth has not asked this. This tremendously vast sky has never inquired about this.
This is the glory of man. He is very small, but bigger than the sky because something in him is unique – the inquiry. Even the vast sky is not so vast as man, because there may be an end to the sky, but there is no end to man’s inquiry. It is an eternal pilgrimage – beginningless, endless.
These ten bulls are pictorial representations of the inquiry, the inquiry that I call man. Kakuan painted the pictures, but he was not satisfied. They are tremendously beautiful pictures, but he was not satisfied. Truth is such that whatsoever you do, you remain discontented. It cannot be expressed. Then he wrote poems – to substitute. First he painted these ten pictures; feeling dissatisfied, he wrote ten small poems to supplement them. Whatsoever was missing in the pictures he tried to put into the poems. Again he felt dissatisfied. Then he wrote ten commentaries in prose. I know then too he must have felt dissatisfied, but then there was nothing else to do. Truth is vast, expression limited, but he had tried his best. Nobody has done that before or since.
Painting is the language of the unconscious. It is the language of visualization. It is the language of children. Children think in pictures, hence in children’s books we have to make many, many pictures, colored pictures. The text is very small, pictures are very big – that is the only way to persuade children to learn to read, because they can learn only through the pictures. The primitive mind thinks in pictures.
That’s why it is thought that languages like Chinese must be the most ancient because they are pictorial. The language has no alphabet; Chinese, Japanese, Korean don’t have any alphabet – they have thousands of pictures. That’s why it is very difficult to learn Chinese; an alphabet makes things very simple. For each thing, a picture! How many things are there in the world?
Pictures can never be very accurate. They only give you a hint. For example, if in Chinese you have to write war, fight, conflict, then Chinese has a pictogram: a small roof, and under the roof two women are sitting – that is fight. One roof and two women! That means, one husband and two women – fight. But this is just indicative, a hint.
Children think in pictures, in dreams. Whatsoever they have to think, first they have to visualize it. All primitives do that. That is the language of the unconscious. You still do it; however articulate you are with language, and however proficient you have become in rational argument, in the night you still dream in pictures. The more primitive you are, the more colorful your pictures will be; the more civilized you have become, the less and less colorful your pictures become. They become, by and by, black and white.
Black and white is the language of civilization. The rainbow is the language of the primitive. Black and white is not a true language, but we tend… All people who have been trained in Aristotelian logic tend to think in black and white, good and bad, night and day, summer and winter, God and the Devil – black and white! There are no other mid-stages. Who is between God and the Devil? Nobody. This is not possible. Look at a rainbow: seven colors. Black on one side, white on the other side, and between these two a great range of colors, step by step.
The whole of life is colorful. Think in colors, don’t think in black and white. That is one of the greatest diseases of humanity. The name of the disease is “Aristotle-itis” – it comes from Aristotle. You say: This man is good. What do you mean? And then you say: That man is bad. What do you mean? You say: This man is a saint, and that man is a sinner. What do you mean? Have you ever seen a sinner in whom the saint has completely disappeared? Have you ever seen a saint in whom the sinner has completely disappeared? The difference may be of degrees; it is not black and white.
Black and white thinking makes humanity schizophrenic. You say: This is my friend and that is my enemy. But the enemy can become a friend tomorrow, and the friend can become an enemy tomorrow. So the difference can be, at the most, relative; it cannot be absolute. Think in color – don’t think in black and white. Visualization is the language of children, of all primitive people, and of the unconscious. Your unconscious also thinks in pictures.
Kakuan first tried the unconscious language because that is the deepest: he painted these ten bulls. But he felt dissatisfied. Then he wrote ten poems as a supplement, as an appendix. Poetry is mid-way between the unconscious and the conscious: a bridge, a misty land where things are not absolutely in the dark and are not absolutely in the light – just somewhere in the middle. That’s why where prose fails, poetry can indicate. Prose is too superficial; poetry goes deeper. Poetry is more indirect but more meaningful, richer. But Kakuan still felt dissatisfied, so he wrote prose commentaries.
First he wrote the language of the unconscious, the language of painters, sculptors, dreamers; then he wrote the language of the poets, the bridge between the unconscious and the conscious – of all art. And then he wrote the language of logic, reason, of Aristotle – the conscious. That’s why I say such an experiment is unique; nobody else has done that. Buddha talked in prose. Meera sang in poetry. Unknown painters and sculptors have done many things – Ajanta, Ellora, the Taj Mahal. But a single person has not done all three things together.
Kakuan is rare, and he must have been a great master. His painting is superb, his poetry is superb, his prose is superb. It rarely happens that one man is so extraordinarily talented in all the directions, all the dimensions of consciousness.
Now the poems of Kakuan:
The Search for the Bull

In the pasture of this world, I endlessly push aside the tall grasses in search of the bull.
The bull is a symbol of energy, vitality, dynamism. The bull means life itself. The bull means your inner power, your potentiality. The bull is a symbol, remember that.
You are there, you have life also, but you don’t know what life is. You have the energy, but you don’t know where this energy comes from and what goal this energy is going toward. You are that energy, but still you are not aware of what that energy is. You live unaware. You have not asked the basic question: Who am I? That question is the same as the search for the bull: Who am I? And unless this is known, how can you go on living? Then the whole thing is going to be futile because the basic question has not been asked, has not been answered. Unless you know yourself, whatsoever you do is going to be futile. The most basic thing is to know oneself. But it happens that we go on missing the most basic, and we go on worrying about trivia.
I have heard one anecdote:

A young woman who was planning her wedding visited the hotel where the reception was to be held. She was busily looking over the place, pointing out where the punchbowl would be, where the bridesmaids would stand, and then she said to the hotel manager, “In the receiving line, my mother will stand here, and I will stand next to her, and here on my right will stand what’s-his-name.”

She had forgotten the name of the husband! In life it happens continuously that you go on making arrangements about the useless, and about the most essential you become completely oblivious.
What is your name? The name with which you have become acquainted as yourself is just a given name, it is just utilitarian. Any other name will do just the same. You are called Ram, you can be called Hari; it will not make any difference. What is your real name? What is your original face? Who are you? You will make big houses, you will purchase big cars, you will manage this and that, and when you die you will leave a big account in the bank – all nonessential, and without ever going for the real quest of who you are.
The bull means your energy – the unknown strange energy that you are, the tremendous energy out of which you have come into being, which goes on growing in you like a tree. What is this energy? That is the meaning of the bull.
In the pasture of this world, I endlessly push aside the tall grasses in search of the bull. What do the tall grasses symbolize? Poetry talks in symbols. Painting paints the symbols, poetry talks the symbols. The tall grasses in which your bull is lost are desires. So many desires, pulling you this way and that. So many desires! Constantly a tug-of-war: one desire pulls you to the south, another to the north.

In a small school the teacher asked, “Now, can anyone tell me where we find mangoes?”
“Yes, teacher,” replied a little boy. “Wherever woman goes – man goes.”

Wherever woman goes, man goes on following the woman; the woman goes on following the man. The whole of life is just a running after this desire or that. Finally, nothing is attained; only frustrated dreams, a heap of frustrated dreams. Look back – what have you attained? You have been running and running – where have you got? These are the tall grasses.
Money attracts, power attracts. And without asking oneself why you should run after these things, you go on running. In fact, because the whole society is running, every child inherits the disease. Everybody is running – the child learns by imitation. The father is running, the mother is running, the brother is running, the neighbor is running, everybody is running – for power, prestige, money, things of the world. Unaware, the child is also forced into the main current of life. Before the child can start thinking, he is already running.
In our schools we teach competition, nothing else. In our schools we prepare children for the greater competition of life. In our schools, in fact, nothing is going on except a rehearsal: how to fight, how to manage yourself, and how to leave others behind, how to come out on top. But nobody asks the basic question: What is the point? Why should one hanker for the top? What are you going to do when you have reached the top? When you have become the president of a country, what are you going to do? How is it going to fulfill you?
It is as if a person was thirsty and we put him on a track which leads to more and more money. He comes, struggles hard, accumulates much money, but the money is not related to the thirst at all. Then suddenly he feels frustrated. Then he says: Money cannot do anything; but now it is too late.
See what your inner need is and then work for it, and work diligently for it, intelligently for it. But first see what your inner need is. And the inner need can be recognized only when you recognize who you are.
If you can understand the quality of your energy, you will be able to understand what is going to fulfill you. Otherwise, not knowing oneself, one goes on running. The running is almost mad. Stop beside the road, meditate a little, reconsider what you are doing, why you are doing it. Don’t run in a fever because running will make you run faster. Running will make you, by and by, incapable of stopping. You will go on doing something or other; it will become a habit. Without it you will not feel alive.
I know people who have earned enough money to retire. In fact, they have been saying their whole lives that once they have attained to such money, they would retire. But they don’t retire.
I know one man. In the past twenty years I have stayed with him many times. Whenever I visited Kolkata I would stay with him and he would always say, “I am going to retire; now I have enough. Just a few things have to be arranged because it is not good to leave things incomplete, and then I will retire.”
Last time I visited him I asked him, “When? Will you retire after your death? You go on saying that first you have to complete things but you go on starting new things, so they will never be completed.”
He said, “No, now I have fixed a time, that after ten years I will retire.”
He was sixty then, now he is dead. He worked hard and he lived like a beggar just hoping that some day he was going to enjoy. But by the time he had money, he had become obsessed with having more and more.
One very basic thing has to be understood: these things are not going to fulfill you because they are not basic needs. One needs something else. But that something else has to be searched for within yourself; nobody else can give you the direction. You have your destiny within you. You have the blueprint within you. Before you start running after anything, the most fundamental thing is to close your eyes, get in tune with yourself, with your energy, and listen to it – and whatsoever it says is good for you. Then you will feel fulfillment. By and by, you will come closer and closer to your blooming, to your flowering.
But people are afraid to become themselves. People are very afraid to be themselves because if you try to be yourself you will become alone. Everybody is unique and alone. If you try to be yourself, you will feel aloneness. So people follow others, the crowd; they become one with the crowd. There they do not feel alone – surrounded, so many people are there. If you meditate, you will be alone, but if you get mad about money, you will never be alone – the whole world is going there. If you search for godliness you will be alone; but if you search for politics, power, then the whole world will be there, you will never be left alone.
People are afraid of being alone. People can never know themselves if they are afraid of being alone; they can never search for the bull.
Walter Kaufmann has coined a new word for a certain fear that has always existed but for which there has never been a word. He calls it decidophobia. People are afraid to decide anything on their own: decidophobia. They allow others to decide for them, then they don’t take responsibility.
You were born accidentally into a Hindu family, or a Christian family; then you allowed your parents to decide your religion. How can your parents decide your religion? Who are they to decide your religion? And how can it be decided by birth? Birth has nothing to do with religion. How can your birth decide? Their parents decided their religion and so on and so forth; and you will decide the religion of your children.
Borrowed… There must be some deep fear in making a decision on your own. The fear is that if you decide on your own, who knows? It may be wrong. It is better to let others decide; they know more, they have more experience. Let tradition decide, let society decide, let the politicians decide, let the priests decide. One thing is certain: others have to decide so that you are free of the responsibility of making a decision. Hence people go on following others, and everybody goes on missing his own individuality.
There are two ways to avoid decision. One is to let others decide. Another is to never decide, simply drift. Both are the same because the basic thing is not to take the responsibility for deciding. The new generations have chosen the other alternative: drifting. The older generations have chosen the first alternative: to let others decide. You may not allow your father to decide, but that doesn’t mean that you are going to decide for yourself – you may simply drift. You may do things, whatever happens, you may become driftwood.
In both ways the search becomes impossible. The search means decisiveness. The search means taking risks. So remember this word decidophobia. Don’t be afraid; drop this fear. Who else can decide for you? Nobody can decide anything for you. Yes, others can help, others can show the path. But the decision has to be yours because through your decision your soul is going to be born.
The more decisive you become, the more integrated you become. The more you take the responsibility for commitment. Of course, it is very dangerous, but life is dangerous. I know there are many possibilities of going astray, but that risk has to be taken. There are possibilities you may err, but one learns by erring. Life is trial and error.
I have heard…

In the eighteenth century, France had its effete and privileged aristocracy, and a poor scholar was hired to teach geometry to the scion of one of the nation’s dukedoms.
Painstakingly, the scholar put the young nobleman through one of the very early theorems of Euclid, but at every pause, the young man smiled amiably and said, “My good man, I do not follow you.”
Sighing, the scholar made the matter simpler, went more slowly, used more basic words, but still the young nobleman said, “My good man, I don’t follow you.”
In despair, the scholar finally moaned, “Oh, monsignor, I give you my word that what I say is so.”
Whereupon, the nobleman rose to his feet, bowed politely, and answered, “But why, then, did you not say so at once so that we might pass on to the next theorem? If it is a matter of your word, I would not dream of doubting you.”

But life is not a matter of anybody’s word. It is not a theorem, it is not a theory. You cannot accept it just because somebody else is authoritatively saying it is so. Authority is a trick. You hide your fear behind it.
You have to decide. Decisions can be fatal but there is no other way. You may go astray, but nothing is wrong in it. Going astray, you will learn something, you will become richer. You can come back and you will be happy that you went astray, because there are many things which can be learned only by going astray. There are millions of things which can be learned only if you are courageous enough to make mistakes. Remember only one thing: don’t make the same mistake again and again.
If religion is decided by others, then there is no need to search. Your father says that God is. Your mother believes in heaven and hell, so you believe. The authority – the priest, the politician – says something and you believe it. You are avoiding; through belief you are avoiding trust. Belief is the enemy of trust. Trust life! Don’t believe beliefs – avoid them! Avoid beliefs – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Seek on your own. You may come to find the same truth. You will come, because the truth is one. Once you have found it, you can say: Yes, the Bible is true – but not before. Once you have found it, you can say: Yes, the Vedas are true – but not before. Unless you have experienced it, unless you become a witness to it personally, all Vedas and all Bibles are useless. They will burden you; they will not make you free.
In the pasture of this world, I endlessly push aside the tall grasses in search of the bull.
Following unnamed rivers, lost upon the interpenetrating paths of distant mountains,
my strength failing and my vitality exhausted, I cannot find the bull.
I only hear the locusts chirring through the forest at night.
The search is difficult because the truth is unknown. The search is difficult because the truth is not only unknown – it is unknowable. The search is difficult because the seeker has to risk his whole life for it.
Hence Kakuan says: Following unnamed rivers… If you are following scriptures you are following named rivers. If you are following a certain religion, a sect, a church, then you have a map – and there cannot be any map for the truth. There cannot be any map because truth is private and not public. Maps become public; they are needed so that others can follow. Superhighways are shown on the map, but not small footpaths; and religion is a footpath, not a superhighway. You cannot reach God as a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan. You reach as you, authentically you, and you cannot follow anybody’s path.
Following unnamed rivers, lost upon the interpenetrating paths of distant mountains, my strength failing and my vitality exhausted, I cannot find the bull. There comes a moment in the search when one feels completely exhausted, tired. One starts thinking it would have been better if he had never started his search. One feels so frustrated that one starts feeling jealous of those who have never bothered about such things. This is natural, but that is exactly the moment when the real search starts.
This exhausted energy, this tiredness, is of the mind. The mind feels tired because the mind is always happy following maps. With the known, the mind remains the master; with the unknown, the strange, the mind is completely at a loss. The mind cannot figure out what is going on – the mind feels tired, the mind feels exhausted. The mind says: What are you doing? Why are you wasting your life? Come back! Come to the world, be as other people are! Follow the crowd; don’t try to be an individual.
Hence, you never see hippies beyond the age of thirty-five. By that time they are tired. By that time they start thinking of marriage, of settling down, of getting a house. By that time they start becoming squares. By that time they have forgotten all about revolution and rebellion and all that nonsense. They become part of the status quo; tired, exhausted; in fact, repentant, feeling sort of guilty. This moment comes in everybody’s search. It is an essential moment. If you can continue, even feeling exhausted, tired, frustrated; if you can still go on and on, then the mind is dropped and the first glimpses of meditation appear.
The second poem:
Discovering the Footprints

Along the river bank under the trees, I discover footprints!
If you go on, if you don’t listen to the mind and its game of tiredness, exhaustion, and this and that… The mind wants to pull you back – to the fold, to the crowd. The mind wants you to belong to a sect, to a church, so that you need not decide every step on your own. Everything is decided already, everything is ready-made. You just have to believe in it.
Along the river bank under the trees, I discover footprints!
Even under the fragrant grass I see his prints.
Deep in remote mountains they are found.
These traces no more can be hidden than one's nose looking heavenward.
The mind drops. The mind is dropped only when you go on and on when the mind is saying to stop. If you don’t listen to the mind and you say: I am going to inquire, I am going to search; if you are tired, you can drop the mind. The mind will cling to you a little while longer. But if you don’t listen and you remain aloof and unconcerned and your eyes are focused there on the goal, on the bull, you will come to discover footprints. They have always been there, only you were too crowded with thoughts, too clouded by the mind. Hence you were not able to see those subtle footprints.
Along the river bank under the trees, I discover footprints! Even under the fragrant grass… I told you that the tall grass represents desires. And now, even under the grass, under your desires, you find the same footprints of the bull. Even under your desires you find godliness hidden. Even under the so-called worldly things, you have been seeking something of the beyond.
If a man is searching for more and more money, what in fact is he searching for? Money? If he is searching for money, then there will come a point where he will be satisfied – but that point never comes. It seems he is searching for something else. Mistakenly searching for money, he is trying to find something else. He wants to be rich.
Let me say it this way: a man who is searching for money wants to be rich but he does not know that to be rich is totally different from having money. To be rich means to have all the experiences that life can give you. To be rich means to be a rainbow, not black and white – all the colors together. To be rich means to be mature, alert, alive.
The man who is searching for money is searching for something else; that’s why when money is achieved, nothing is achieved. The man who is searching for power – what is he, in fact, searching for? He wants to be a god. In the world, he says, if you have power you can pretend to be a god. Behind his search for power, the search for godliness is hidden. So when he attains to power, suddenly he will feel powerless inside, impotent: outside, riches; inside, poor, a beggar.
Even under the fragrant grass I see his prints. Deep in remote mountains they are found. These traces no more can be hidden than one’s nose looking heavenward. Then one is surprised: how was it possible that I couldn’t see these footprints? They are just in front of me! They have always been there, like one’s nose on his face. But if your eyes are closed or clouded, then you cannot see.
I have heard one anecdote:

It was late at night and due to several detours a man had become completely lost. He stopped at a farmhouse to ask the way, “Am I headed in the right direction for Atlanta?” he inquired of the woman who opened the door.
“Which way you headed?” she asked.
Unsure of the direction, he tried again: “I mean are my car lights pointed the right way?”
“Yes, sir,” said the woman. “At least the red ones are.”

This is the situation: the faster you run, the more confused you get. The speedier you get, the more confused you get. By and by, you lose all sense of direction. You simply go on zooming from here to there. Speed itself becomes the goal, as if by running fast one feels one is getting somewhere; hence the attraction for speed. It is a neurosis.
The whole of science is engaged in making things speedier and speedier. Nobody asks where you are headed. And as I see it, your red lights are showing the right direction. Somewhere behind you, you have already left home. Somewhere at the very source of your being is your home. Only one thing is fortunate for you: whatsoever you do, you cannot go very far from home, because whatsoever you do is a sort of sleep-walking.

A woman was very upset. “My husband,” she told the doctor, “seems to be wandering in his mind.”
“Don’t worry about that,” said the doctor. “I know your husband. He can’t go far.”

I know you. You can’t go far because, in fact, you are simply dreaming about the speed, about the going, about the goal. You are fast asleep. It is all happening in your mind, not in reality.
Hence, Zen says that if you are ready, this very moment enlightenment is possible because you cannot go far. If your traveling is real traveling, then sudden enlightenment is not possible. You will have to come back. You will have to travel the same distance again.
You have been traveling for millions of lives. If the same distance has to be travelled back, then enlightenment is almost impossible. If enlightenment is going to be gradual, it is almost impossible. Zen says it has to be sudden – as if a person is fast asleep and dreaming, and dreaming that he has gone to the moon. But in the morning, when he opens his eyes, where will he find himself? On the moon? He will find himself here, now. The moon will disappear with the dream.
The world is a dream. Not that it does not exist, not that it is not. The world is a dream because the world that you think is is nothing but your dream; you are asleep, unconscious, sleepy, moving, doing things. It is fortunate that you cannot go far! You can become awakened this very moment.
Now Kakuan’s prose comment for the first sutra:
The bull never has been lost. What need is there to search? Only because of separation from my true nature, I fail to find him. In the confusion of the senses I lose even his tracks. Far from home, I see many crossroads, but which way is the right one I know not. Greed and fear, good and bad, entangle me.
The bull never has been lost because the bull is you. The bull is your energy, it is your life. The bull means the principle of your dynamism. The bull has never been lost. What need is there to search? If you can understand that, then there is no need to search. Then that very understanding is enough. But if that understanding does not dawn on you, then the need to search arises.
The search is not going to help you reach the goal because the goal has never been lost. The search is only going to help you drop greed, fear, possessiveness, jealousy, hatred, anger. The search is only going to help you drop the hindrances, and once the hindrances are not there, suddenly one becomes aware: I have always been here; I have never gone anywhere else.
So the whole search is negative in a way. It is just like when somebody makes a statue out of a marble block. What does he do? He simply chips nonessential parts away, and by and by the image appears.

Michelangelo was making a statue of Jesus and somebody said, “Your creation is great.”
He said, “I have not done anything. Jesus was hiding inside this marble block and I simply helped him to be released. He was already there; but just a little more marble was there than was needed. The nonessential was there – I have cut away the nonessential. I have simply discovered him, I have not created him.”
In fact, the marble block had been discarded by the builders. Walking around the church which was being built, Michelangelo asked the builders, “Why has this marble block been thrown away?”
They said, “It is useless.” So he took it away – and one of the most beautiful images of Jesus came out of it.
Michelangelo used to say, “When I was walking by this block, Jesus called me. Hidden inside the block he said, ‘Michelangelo, come and release me!’ I have done only negative work.”

The bull is already there. The seeker is the sought. Just a few unnecessary things are crowding you. The search is negative – drop them and you discover yourself in all your glory.
The bull never has been lost. What need is there to search? Only because of separation from my true nature, I fail to find him. In the confusion of the senses I lose even his tracks. Far from home, I see many crossroads, but which way is the right one I know not. Greed and fear, good and bad, entangle me.
The comment on the second sutra:
Understanding the teaching, I see the footprints of the bull. Then I learn that, just as many utensils are made from one metal, so too are myriad entities made of the fabric of self. Unless I discriminate, how will I perceive the true from the untrue? Not yet having entered the gate, nevertheless I have discerned the path.
Understanding the teaching, I see the footprints of the bull. Understanding the teaching… Buddhas, millions of buddhas, have been on this earth. They have all taught the same thing. They cannot do otherwise. The truth is one, descriptions many. The truth is one – they have all talked about it. Now, if you try to understand, you will be able to discern the footprints of the bull. But rather than understanding, you try to follow – and there you miss.
Following is not understanding. Understanding is very, very deep. When you understand, you don’t become a Buddhist. When you understand, you become a buddha yourself. When you understand, you don’t become a Christian. When you understand, you become Christ himself. Following will make you a Christian. Understanding will make you a christ – and the difference is tremendous. Following is again decidophobia. Following means: Now I will simply follow blindly. Now there is no question of my own decision. Now wherever you go, I will go. Understanding is: Whatsoever you say, I will listen, I will meditate. And if my understanding arises and gets in tune with your understanding, then I will follow my understanding.
Teachers are helpful, they indicate the way. Don’t cling to them. Following is a clinging – it is out of fear, not out of understanding.
Once you become a follower, you lose the track. Once you become a follower, one thing is certain: you are not inquiring any longer. You can become a theist and you can say, “God is, I believe in God.” You can become an atheist and you can say, “I don’t believe in God. I am an atheist, or a communist,” but in both cases you have joined a church. You have joined a doctrine, a dogma. You have joined a mob, a crowd.
The search is individual, full of danger. One has to go alone. But that is the beauty of it. In deep aloneness, only in deep aloneness, where not even a thought is present, godliness enters you – is revealed to you. In deep aloneness, intelligence becomes a bright flame. In deep aloneness, silence and bliss surround you. In deep aloneness, eyes open, your being opens. The search is individual.
What am I doing here? I am trying to make you individuals. You would like to become part of a crowd; you would like that because it is very convenient and comfortable to follow like a blind man. But I am not here to make you blind. I am not here to allow you to cling to me, because then I will not be in any way helpful to you. I will allow you to be close to me, but I will not allow you to cling. I will allow you all the possible ways to understand me, but I will not allow you to believe in me. The difference is subtle but great. And remain alert, because your mind will tend to throw all responsibility on me.
That’s what you mean when you say: I have surrendered. It is not a surrender of trust – it is out of decidophobia, out of fear, a fear of being alone. No, I am not here to make your journey comfortable, convenient, because it cannot be made comfortable and convenient. It has to be hard – it is hard; it is uphill. And in the last moment, in the final moment of what Zen people call satori, not even I will be there with you. Only up to the gate can we be fellow travelers. When you enter the gate, you enter alone.
So, on the whole path I have to make you capable of being alone. I have to help you drop fear, help you to become decisive. Trust life – there is no need of any other trust. Trust life and it leads you spontaneously and naturally to the ultimate, to the truth, to godliness – or whatsoever you want to name it.
The river of life is flowing toward the ocean. If you trust, you flow in the river. You are already in the river, but you are clinging to some dead roots on the bank, or you are trying to fight against the current. Clinging to scriptures, clinging to dogmas, doctrines, is not allowing the river to take you with her. Drop all doctrines, all dogmas, all scriptures. Life is the only scripture, the only bible. Trust it and allow it to take you to the ocean, to the ultimate.
Enough for today.

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