Osho on Music and Meditation
AN EMPTY CHAIR
A SILENT HALL
AN INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHA —
Yes, Subhuti, that’s the only way to introduce the Buddha to you. Silence is the only language he can be expressed in. Words are too profane, too inadequate, too limited. Only an empty space…utterly silent…can represent the being of a buddha. There is a temple in Japan, absolutely empty, not even a statue of the Buddha in the temple, and it is known as a temple dedicated to Buddha. When visitors come and they ask, “Where is the Buddha? The temple is dedicated to him…” the priest laughs and he says, “This empty space, this silence — this is Buddha!” Stones cannot represent him, statues cannot represent him. Buddha is not a stone, not a statue. Buddha is not a form — Buddha is a formless fragrance. Hence, it was not just accidental that ten days’ silence preceded these talks on Buddha. That silence was the only possible preface.
Subhuti, you are right: “An empty chair….” Yes, only an empty chair can represent him. This chair is empty, and this man talking to you is empty. It is an empty space pouring itself into you. There is nobody within, just a silence. Because you cannot understand silence, it has to be translated into language. It is because of your limitation that I have to speak; otherwise there is no need. Truth cannot be said, has never been said, will never be said. All scriptures talk about truth, go on talking about it, about and about, but no scripture has yet been capable of expressing it — neither the Vedas, nor the Bible, nor the Koran — because it is impossible in the very nature of things to express it. It cannot be said — it can only be shown. It cannot be logically proved, but love can prove it.
Where logic fails, love succeeds. Where language fails, silence succeeds.
I cannot prove it, but the absence of the ‘I’ within me can become an absolute proof for it. If you want to understand Buddha, really, you will have to come closer and closer to this silence that I am, you will have to become more and more intimate, available, vulnerable, to this nobody who is talking to you.
I am not a person. The person died long ago. It is a presence — an absence and a presence. I am absent as a person, as an individual; I am present as a vehicle, a passage, a hollow bamboo. It can become a flute — only the hollow bamboo can become a flute.
I have given myself to the whole.
Now whatsoever the will of the whole…if he wants to speak through me, I am available; if he does not want to speak through me, I am available. His will is the only will now. I have no will of my own.
That’s why many times you will find contradictions in my statements — because I cannot change anything. God is contradictory because God is a paradox. He contains the polar opposites: he is darkness and light, summer and winter, life and death. Sometimes he speaks as life and sometimes as death, and sometimes he comes as summer and sometimes as winter…what can I do? If I interfere, I will misrepresent. If I try to be consistent then I will be false. I can be true only if I will remain available to all the contradictions that God contains.
This chair, Subhuti, is certainly empty.
And the day you are able to see this chair empty, this body empty, this being empty, you will have seen me, you will have contacted me. That is the real moment when the disciple meets the master. It is a dissolution, a disappearance…the dewdrop slipping into the ocean, or the ocean slipping into the dewdrop. It is the same! — the master disappearing into the disciple and the disciple disappearing into the master. And then there prevails a profound silence.
It is not a dialogue! That’s where Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism, have reached higher pinnacles than Christianity, Judaism, Islam — because Islam, Judaism, Christianity, remain clinging somehow to the idea of a dialogue. But a dialogue presupposes duality, twoness. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, are religions of prayer. Prayer presupposes that there is a God separate from you, that you can address him.
Hence Martin Buber’s book became very famous — I AND THOU. That is the essence of prayer. But ‘I’ and ‘thou’…a duality is needed for a dialogue. And howsoever beautiful the dialogue may be, it is still a division, a split; it is not yet union. The river has not entered into the ocean. Maybe it has come very close, just on the verge, but it is holding back. Buddhism is not the religion of prayer, it is the religion of meditation. And that’s the difference between prayer and meditation: prayer is a dialogue, meditation is a silence. Prayer has to be addressed to somebody — real, unreal, but it has to be addressed to somebody.
Meditation is not an address at all; one has simply to fall into silence, one has simply to disappear into nothingness. When one is not, meditation is.
And Buddha is meditation — that is his flavor. These ten days we remained silent, we remained in meditation. The real thing has been said. Those who have not heard the real thing, now for them I will be speaking.
The meditation that prevailed for ten days was with a difference — and that is the difference between Buddha’s and my approach — a little difference, but of tremendous import. And that has to be understood by you, because I am not a mere commentator on Buddha. I am not only echoing him, I am not simply a mirror to reflect him; I am a response, not a reflection. I am not a scholar, I am not going to make a scholarly analysis of his statements — I am a poet! I have seen the same nothingness that he has seen, and, certainly, I have seen it in my own way. Buddha has his own way, I have my own way — of seeing, of being. Both ways reach the same peak, but the ways are different. My way has a little difference — little, but of profound import, remember.
These ten days were not only of silent meditation — these ten days were of music, silence, and meditation. Music is my contribution to it. Buddha would not have allowed it. On that point we would have quarreled. He would not have allowed music; he would have said that music is a disturbance. He would have insisted on pure silence, he would have said that is enough. But that is where we agree to disagree.
To me, music and meditation are two aspects of the same phenomenon. And without music, meditation lacks something; without music, meditation is a little dull, unalive. Without meditation, music is simply noise — harmonious, but noise. Without meditation, music is an entertainment. And without music, meditation becomes more and more negative, tends to be death-oriented. Hence my insistence that music and meditation should go together. That adds a new dimension — to both. Both are enriched by it. Remember three M’s just as you remember three R’s. The first M is mathematics; mathematics is the purest science. The second M is music; music is pure art. And the third M is meditation; meditation is pure religion. Where all these three meet, you attain the trinity.
My approach is scientific. Even if I make illogical statements, I make them very very logically. Even if I assert paradoxes, they are asserted in a logical way. Whatsoever I am saying has a mathematics behind it, a method, a certain scientific approach. I am not an unscientific person. My science serves my religion; the science is not the end but it is a beautiful beginning. And my approach is artistic, aesthetic. I cannot help you unless this energy field becomes musical. Music is pure art. And if it is joined with mathematics, it becomes a tremendously powerful instrument to penetrate into your interiority. Of course, it will not be complete unless meditation is the highest peak, the purest religion.
And we are trying to create the ultimate synthesis. This is my trinity: mathematics, music, meditation. This is my trimurti — three faces of God. You can attain to God through one face, but then your experience of God will not be so rich as it will be when you attain two faces. But it will still lack something unless you attain all the three faces. When you know God as a trinity, when you have come through all the three dimensions, your experience, your nirvana, your enlightenment, will be the richest. Buddha insists on meditation alone; that is one face of God. Mohammed insists on prayer, music, singing; hence the Koran has the quality of music in it. No other scripture has so much music in it as the Koran. The very word koran simply means “Recite! Sing!” That was the first revelation to Mohammed. Something from the beyond called forth and said, “Recite! Recite! Sing!” Islam is another face of God.
And there are religions which have approached God through the third M: mathematics. Jainism is the purest representative of the third approach. Mahavira speaks like Albert Einstein. It is not an accident that Mahavira was the first person in human history to talk about the theory of relativity. After twenty-five centuries, Albert Einstein was able to prove it scientifically, but Mahavira saw it in his vision. If you read Mahavira, his statements are absolutely logical, mathematical. Jaina scriptures have no juice in them — dry, arithmetical. That is another face of God. And only three kinds of religion have existed in the world: the religions of mathematics, represented by Jainism; the religions of music, represented by Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism; and the religions of meditation, represented by Buddhism, Taoism.
My effort here is to give you a total religion, which contains all the three M’s in it. It is a very ambitious adventure. It has never been tried before; hence I am going to be opposed as nobody has ever been opposed before. You are moving with a dangerous person, but the journey is going to be of tremendous beauty. Dangers, hazards don’t make a journey ugly; on the contrary, they make it tremendously beautiful. All the dangers that you will have to face with me are going to give you a thrill. The journey is not going to be dull, it is going to be very alive. We are going to move towards God in such a multidimensional way that each moment of the journey is going to be precious.
I started these Buddha lectures with a ten-day silence deliberately. It was a device to start with silence — Buddha would have been very happy. He must have shrugged his shoulders a little bit because of the music, but what can I do? It can’t be helped.
My religion has to be a religion of dance, love, laughter. It has to be life-oriented, it has to be life-affirmative. It has to be a love affair with life. It is not a renunciation but a rejoicing.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 1
Chapter title: An empty chair
22 June 1979 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘meditation, music, dance, love, silence’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Beyond Enlightenment
- From Bondage to Freedom
- From Death to Deathlessness
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- Light on the Path
- Satyam Shivam Sundram
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega
- The Invitation
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
- The Guest
- Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
- Philosophia Perennis, Vol 2
- Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language
- The Razor’s Edge
- Sufis: The People of the Path