This A Thousand Times 04

Fourth Discourse from the series of 15 discourses - This A Thousand Times by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

A monk said to Tozan, “Cold and heat descend upon us. How can we avoid them?”
Tozan said, “Why don’t you go where there is no cold or heat?”
The monk said, “Where is the place where there is no cold or heat?”
Tozan said, “When cold, let it be so cold that it kills you; when hot, let it be so hot that it kills you.”
Maneesha, this is the very space that I am trying to help you to reach: where there is no cold, no heat, where there is only awareness, a silence that transcends duality, cold and heat, day and night, life and death.
All that is dual is transcended when you are not in the mind but at your very center – which neither feels cold nor hot; which is only a simple, pure space.
Tozan is saying exactly the same as you are doing every day.
A monk said to Tozan, “Cold and heat descend upon us. How can we avoid them?”
It is a simple question but has a great complexity in it. You have to take the word avoid and you will see the complexity. That’s what everybody is trying to do: how to avoid – misery, agony, how to avoid pain, how to avoid life itself. That’s what all the religions have been doing – avoiding. They call it renunciation, but it is nothing but a pure, cowardly escape.
So the very simple question is not so simple. In the very word avoid, all the religions of the world are reduced in a very obvious manner. Their whole effort has been in escaping from places, from people, from relationships, from the world to the mountains and to the forests; but they don’t know… Wherever you go your mind is with you, and your mind is your world. You cannot renounce the so-called outside world without dropping the mind and being utterly silent. But that can be done anywhere.
You don’t have to go to the Himalayas. You have to go withinward. No outward journey is going to help. You can renounce wealth, you can renounce kingdoms, you can renounce your wife, your husband, your children… You can renounce everything possible, but you are still there. You cannot renounce yourself. And you are the problem!
Avoid is the word I am against. And any religion which teaches avoidance, I call cowardly. Encounter reality. There is no point in avoiding that. Encounter it with intensity and totality, with awareness, and suddenly you will see you have reached a point within yourself where there is no heat, no cold; where there is no love, no hate; where there is no so-called life and no so-called death.
Within you is the center of the universal. It is always here, you don’t have to go somewhere else to find it. Every going is going away from yourself. You have to stop going away; you have to start sinking in.
In Tozan’s words – and he has expressed it with tremendous beauty and grandeur and in the language of lions…
Tozan said, “Why don’t you go where there is no cold or heat?”
The monk said, “Where is the place where there is no cold or heat?”
This is the misery that has always happened between the master and the disciple. The master is talking about the inner space and the disciple is hearing about some place somewhere outside. The master does not deal with places, he deals with spaces.
Tozan said, “When cold, let it be so cold that it kills you, and when hot, let it be so hot that it kills you.”
He is simply saying, “Be total in every situation whether it is cold or hot; be so total that your ego dies, that you are no longer there.” In other words, the moment you are total you are not, but only a pure space. And that is your authentic reality.
Setcho’s commentary:
A helping hand, but still a thousand-fathom cliff; Sho and Hen: no arbitrary distinctions here.
The ancient emerald palace shines in the bright moonlight.
Clever Kanro climbs the steps – and finds it empty.
A few footnotes will be helpful to understand Setcho’s commentary:

A legend tells of a clever, fast-running dog, Kanro that chased a hare. Both ran so fast that eventually they fell dead of exhaustion.

The monk who asked the question in the present case is being compared to Kanro.
Be so total that your very totality becomes a fire in itself and burns everything that is false, phony, and leaves only the ancient emerald palace shining in the full-moon night.

Sho and Hen are in reference to Tozan’s five ranks, the philosophical treatment of the relationship between the real Sho and the apparent, Hen.

Philosophers have been concerned for centuries with the problem of what is real and what is apparent. Even in the beginning of this century two philosophers, Bosanquet and Bradley, wasted their whole lives writing treatises about the apparent and the real. Strangely enough, it was not only Bradley and Bosanquet; it has been discussed in China by Sho and Hen, it has been discussed in India by Shankara.
The problem of what is real and what is apparent cannot be decided by philosophical discussion because to the eyes, whatever appears is appearance, and the real is hidden inside you – it does not appear on the surface. So all these philosophers, and their number is many…

One of my teachers had a doctorate on Bradley and Shankara, comparing their philosophies about what is real and what is only apparent, not real. The name of the professor was S. S. Roy. He is still alive, retired. He loved me very much. I asked him, “You have got a doctorate, but do you really know what is real and what is apparent? If I was the examiner of your treatise you would have failed!”
He looked at me, could not believe that a student will say this to his own professor, when his treatise has been examined by the greatest living professors inside and outside India and greatly praised.
He said, “But do you know how much my treatise has been praised?”
I said, “That does not matter at all. What matters is that you don’t know what is real. You are only discussing, it is not your experience. You are not a meditator, you have not come to the space of pure silence; your whole treatise is simply verbiage, maybe well written, very rationally written, but it is not your existential experience.”
He said, “My God, it is good that you were not one of my examiners, otherwise I would have lost my DLitt.”
I said to him, “If you are a man of intelligence, you have already lost it. I am enough to dispose of your treatise because I say to you that you don’t know yourself. I know that you are an honest man and you will realize that I am pointing at the right place which you have missed.”

What Tozan is saying is that unless you burn your mind which divides things into two… Mind is always a duality; it cannot live with the non-dual. Tozan is saying, “Go beyond the dual and you will find the space where there is no heat and no cold, where only pure nothingness prevails. And that is our being.”
About Tozan… This is not the Tozan who appeared in Tozan’s Three Pounds of Flax, but Tozan Ryokai, the founder of the Soto sect. Tozan visited several masters.
By the way, just a few days ago I received an invitation from the Soto sect, founded by Tozan. They were celebrating a thousand-year-old tradition on a great scale. And the chief of Soto Zen must have read my books and must have heard the story that I have accepted that I am the fulfillment of Gautam Buddha’s promise that he will be coming after twenty-five centuries and that his name will be Friendliness – Maitreya.
The representative of Tozan and his sect… There are only two sects of Zen; Soto is the more ancient. And you will be happy to note that the chief of Soto Zen has recognized that I have the consciousness and awareness, that I have fulfilled the promise. He asked if I can come to their ceremony, and if I cannot come, at least I should send my robe. That is an old tradition in Zen.
I have sent one of my robes, with my message, to their ceremony. In the ceremony almost a million people are participating, and more than two hundred and fifty government officials are deputed by the government of Japan to be present in the ceremony.
I have told my sannyasins there to go with my robe and my note and message. The chief of the sect presented my robe and my message to the whole gathering with deep love and devotion. And he has informed them that he will be coming here soon to visit me and to see my people.
In fact, this is the only alive Zen assembly. In those one million people and two hundred and fifty government representatives, not a single person knows exactly the space that you are feeling every day.
An anecdote about Tozan:
When Tozan was with Nansen…
another great master
…one of Baso’s disciples…
Baso is the ultimate as far as Zen is concerned
…Nansen, observed the anniversary of Baso’s death and said to the assembly, “Will Baso come back to us?”
Tozan said, “If there is company fit for him, he will!”
Nansen appreciated the answer very much.
…Because the words – Buddha or Bodhidharma or Nansen or Baso – are just names of the forms. They all represent the same space; and whenever there are people who are ready to receive, they suddenly descend there.
I have received many letters saying that in the meditations a strange feeling happens – as if something is descending, a deep silence from beyond, heavy, almost tangible. In that silence Baso is present, Buddha is present. When you are absent all the awakened ones are present to you. Then this assembly becomes an eternal phenomenon.
We have been here always and always. Once in a while you forget who you are, but it is immaterial: sooner or later you recognize again, sooner or later you again see your crystal clear being.
Neither time matters, nor space, you are the one who never comes and never goes, the one who simply is. This!
When Tozan was studying with Isan, he asked Isan about Chu Kukushi’s “Sermons by Insentient Creatures.”
Isan said, “Sermons by insentient creatures are given here for us too, but few can hear them.”
Do you hear the bamboos? These are the sermons referred to, sermons from insentient beings. Once you are silent, even roses start speaking to you.
[The wind is blowing and the bamboos start commenting with their creaking.]
Do you see? – the loud speaking of the bamboos. The deeper your silence, the louder you will be able to hear it.
Tozan said, “I am not yet certain about them, would you please teach me?”
Isan said nothing, but raised his stick straight up.
Tozan said, “I do not understand. Would you explain it to me?”
Isan said, “I would never tell you about this with the mouth given to me by my parents!”
This was his way of teaching.
This mouth, given by your parents is not capable of saying it; but the being is not given to you by your parents. You have come through them, they have been vehicles, but you are not part of them. Your body is made by your parents, the temple is raised by them, but the deity in the temple, the being, comes from eternity. It cannot come from mortal bodies.
Isan then suggested that Tozan visit Ungan who Tozan later succeeded. Coming up to Ungan, Tozan asked, “Who can hear the sermons of insentient creatures?”
“Insentient creatures can hear them,” answered Ungan.
“Why can I not hear them?” asked Tozan.
Ungan raised his staff straight up and said, “Do you hear?”
“No, I don’t,” answered Tozan.
Ungan said, “Don’t you know the sutra says, ‘Birds and trees, all meditate on the Buddha and the Dharma?’”

At this Tozan suddenly became enlightened.
He wrote the following verse:
Wonderful! How wonderful!
Sermons by insentient creatures;
you fail if you listen with your ears;
I repeat:
You fail if you listen with your ears.
Listening with your eyes, you hear them.
By the eyes he does not mean the ordinary eyes, he means the eyes of an awakening clarity of your being. If you can hear in your silence, if you can see in your silence, then everything in the world is speaking, giving sermons, singing songs, dancing.
Can’t you see? But these eyes and these ears won’t do. You will have to dig deep within yourself to find the right approach to see the eternal dance of existence, to hear the music and to see the beauty of it.
Tozan continued practicing zazen and was ever watchful. One day while he was swimming in a stream, he saw his shadow cast on the water and experienced his great enlightenment. His verse on that occasion was:
Long seeking it through others,
I was far from reaching it.
Now I go by myself;
I meet it everywhere.
It is just I myself,
and I am not itself.
Understanding this way,
I can be as I am.
Tozan has talked about two enlightenments. The second one he calls the greater enlightenment. The first enlightenment was upon hearing the sutra of Gautam Buddha, that insentient beings are not insentient. They are also living, loving. They are also singing, giving sermons. And he became enlightened; this sutra pierced his very being. But he calls it just enlightenment.
The great enlightenment happened when he saw his own shadow in the river and suddenly became aware that, wherever you go to seek, to find the truth, you are going far away. Your being is with you just like your shadow. You don’t have to go anywhere; you have just to look in the mirror of your being.
Naturally he calls it “greater enlightenment” because it is no longer concerned with anybody else. It is authentically his.
Maneesha has asked:
I understand Tozan to be saying that nothing is to be avoided, on the contrary, to meet everything head-on. And that totality is transcendence.
Compared to Zen, other, formal religions, such as Christianity and Hinduism, seem to be so childish in their understanding of life – with their gods and all the psychological paraphernalia that goes with God-worship – and so insensitive to the subtle and the poetic.
In fact, it seems as if either Zen is a religion and the others are not; or Zen belongs to a category all of its own. Would you please comment?
There is no need of any comment. You are all experiencing Zen. It is not a religion in which you have to believe. It is an experience, like love, which you have to live, which you have to experience.
In other words, Zen is the most essential religion – without anything unnecessary. Just the core, the essential. You can call it religion, you can call it science, it does not matter what name you give to it. In its pure simplicity it is experiencing your own being. And the moment you experience your own being, you have experienced the being of this whole universe because your heartbeats are part of the heartbeat of the universe.
Just be silently aware, and you are filled with Zen inside and out. It is not a formal religion like Christianity or Hinduism. It is very individual, unique, a category of its own. It is only for the eccentric people, only for the very intelligent. It is not for the mediocre, for the crowd. It is only for the individual who has the guts to stand up alone and listen to his own being without being bothered about what others are saying or believing or worshipping.
It is not an argument, it is not a belief. It is a pure experience, just like love or beauty or silence. It is anonymous.
Before we enter into Zen, although you are already standing on the door steps of the temple, I would like you to have a few laughs because I want you to enter into the temple with laughing and dancing – joyous.

Ronald Reagan is in hospital for a small operation and Nancy Reagan is standing there, watching every move the doctors make.
One of the doctors approaches Reagan with his syringe.
“What is that?” asks Nancy.
“This is an anesthetic,” replies the doctor. “After he gets this, he won’t know a thing.”
“Save your time, doc,” snaps Nancy, “he does not know anything now.”

Fagin Finkelstein, the lawyer, is leaning back in his armchair in the new office he has just opened. The door creaks open and a man comes in.
“Aha,” thinks Fagin, “a client already! I must try and impress him.”
Fagin picks up the phone and starts talking.
“No, I am extremely sorry, I am much too busy,” he says into the phone. “I cannot possibly take your case. No, not even for a thousand dollars.”
He sets down the phone and looks expectantly at the man who has just come in.
“And now,” says Fagin, “how can I help you?”
“You can’t,” replies the man, “I just came in to connect your telephone.”

Pope the Polack is seriously ill and Paddy, Seamus and Sean are drunk in the pub, discussing who will be the new pope.
“I know who the next pope will be,” says Seamus, “it is going to be Cardinal Ratzoff from Russia.”
“Rubbish,” says Sean, “the next pope will be Cardinal Chong from China.”
“It is going to be Ratzoff from Russia,” insists Seamus.
“Not a chance,” says Sean, “Cardinal Chong from China.”
“Ratzoff!” shouts Seamus.
“Chong!” shouts Sean.
Paddy has been sitting quietly, looking at his beer.
“Neither of you know what you are talking about,” he says. “The next pope is going to be Rabbi Nussbaum from New York.”
“Don’t be silly,” snaps Seamus, “he is not even a Catholic.”
“Ah,” says Paddy, “well I won’t even argue with you if you are going to bring religion into it.”

The Angel of Death finds Rufus Rothschild and delivers him to the pearly gates.
“Mr. Rothschild,” says Saint Peter looking at his files, “have you done any good in the world?”
“Well,” replies Rothschild, “one time I gave a dollar to a poor man.”
“I see,” says Saint Peter, writing something on his papers. “Anything else?”
“Yes,” replies Rothschild thinking hard, “I once gave fifty cents to a blind man.”
“Were there any other virtuous acts in your life?” asks Saint Peter.
“No,” says Rothschild, “that is it.”
“Okay,” says Saint Peter turning to the angel. “Give this guy his dollar fifty back and tell him to go to hell!”

Now we can be…

Nivedano, give the gong.


And you start rubbish.




Be silent, utterly silent, no movement.

This. This…






Come back.

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