Talks on Fragments from Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching

Wisdom And Understanding


We talk about the sufi meditation tradition  but we also have a few other web pages, the Sufi Meditation master and Sufis People are Sleeping or Are You Angry, Mr Sufi? OR generously, Sufi is a Feeling of the Heart explained by Osho. Or perhaps you like ZEN Zen Meditation Stories or Zen and the Stars or TAOISM KO HSUAN Stories of the Tao by Ko Hsuan and other Taoist Meditations. Or PATANJALI The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali One or The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Two or TANTRA Tantra and Tantric Meditations or even the Meditations of the Peace of the Guida Spiritual and now DON JUAN AND CARLOS CASTENADA The Teachings of Don Juan, and Don Juan, Castaneda and A Separate Reality AND  JESUS - WHEN JESUS WENT UNTO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES. AND Meditation Wisdom Jesus and the Selfish Competitive Ego AND JESUS - JESUS The Flute on Gods Lips and Meditation Jesus and The Conditioned   Mind  OR THE UPANISHADS This Direct Knowing Natchiketa with the Lord of Death, Yama From the Katha Upanishad AND The Kundalini Energy of Prana and Apana - None Can Transcend It and Lao Tsu's Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching one, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching two, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching three, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching four, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching five, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching six, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching seven, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching eight, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching nine, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching ten

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Wisdom And Understanding

 The first question:

 Question 1



 UNDERSTANDING NEVER COMES, neither as a sudden phenomenon nor as a gradual one, because it is always there. You have it right now. It is not going to happen somewhere in the future. You are carrying it within you, just as a seed carries the tree, a woman carries a child. You are carrying it right now. Now it depends on you: if your intensity is total you will achieve it suddenly, if your intensity is not total you will achieve it by and by, in steps. But understanding never comes to you -- you are understanding. Enlightenment is not something that happens to you -- you are enlightenment.

 Remember this; then it is a choice, your choice. If you desire it totally, in that fire of total desire all that covers that understanding burns; suddenly the light is there. But it is up to you. It is not part of the nature of enlightenment to happen gradually or to happen suddenly.

 Don't throw off the responsibility, that's how people create philosophies and schools. In Japan two schools of Zen exist: one believes in sudden enlightenment, another believes in gradual enlightenment -- as if these are the qualities of enlightenment, as if they belong to enlightenment. They don't belong to enlightenment. Enlightenment is always there; it is for you to choose. If your desire is total not even a single moment is lost. But if your desire is not total it means that you yourself are not willing it to happen right now. You want to postpone it, you want it tomorrow, some other day. Then you go on playing tricks.

 If you are really sincere there is no time gap, it can happen this very moment. Not even a single moment is to be lost, because it is already the case. One has just to look within. But if you don't want it right now then you can wait for millennia.

 I would like to tell you an old story. It happened in Ceylon.


 There was a great Buddhist Master who taught his disciples for almost eighty years. When he was a hundred and twenty he said one day, "Now, I am going to die after seven days." So thousands of his disciples gathered for his last darshan, to see him for the last time.

 The old man, before closing his eyes and dissolving withinwards, asked them, "Does somebody want to accompany me? If somebody wants nirvana, enlightenment, right now, then he should simply raise his hand and that will do."

 People knew that he was a man of his word, and he was not joking. He had never joked in his whole life, he was a serious man. He meant what he said. They started looking at each other -- thousands of people and not a single hand was raised.

 One man stood up and he said, "Please don't misunderstand me. I don't want to accompany you right now because there are many things to be done. I have many things to fulfill, many things to pass through, many karmas to be accounted for. As yet I am not ready for it, but someday I would like to be enlightened. Can you give some key hints? -- because you will be no longer here."

 And the Master had been giving key hints his whole life, for eighty years. Still they wanted something to be said about it so that they could postpone and plan and think about the future. And the old Master was ready. If somebody had been ready he was ready to take him with himself. But nobody was ready.


 People are cunning, because the mind is cunning. And the greatest cunningness of the mind is that it always throws responsibility onto something else. If enlightenment is gradual then what can you do? Nothing can be done; it is gradual, it will take a long time. If enlightenment is sudden then why has it not happened to you? You will ask, "Then why has it not happened to me if it is sudden? No, it cannot be sudden. But if it is sudden and there is no need to do something for it to happen, then what can be done? I will wait -- whenever it happens it happens."

 You simply want to escape from the responsibility of your own choice. Sartre has said one thing that is really beautiful. He said, "Man is free to choose but man is not free not to choose." You can choose either way but don't be befooled -- you have no freedom not to choose, because even when you think you are not choosing you are choosing the opposite.


 A man came to me and he said, "I am not yet ready for sannyas. I am ready seventy per cent, eighty per cent, but twenty per cent I am not ready, so how can I take sannyas? I'm not total."

 So I said, "Okay. But still you are choosing, and now you are choosing a minor part of your mind -- the twenty per cent which says, `Don't take.' Now you are choosing the twenty per cent against the eighty per cent."


 So don't think that you are not choosing. That's not possible. You have to choose whatsoever you do; even if you don't choose you will be choosing. Choice is there. One is free to choose but one is not free not to choose. If the mind says it is gradual, it is a choice; if the mind says it is sudden, that too is a choice. When you say it is sudden it means that you would like to drop every effort, so you choose sudden enlightenment. Then there is no need to do anything -- when it happens it happens, nothing can be done because it is a sudden thing. Just like lightning in the sky, whenever it happens it happens -- you cannot make preparations for it. It is not like electricity in the house that you put on and off, it does not depend on you. It is a sudden phenomenon, when it happens it happens. You have to wait for it. If you are thinking about reading a telegram when the electricity happens in the sky, then you have to wait. When it happens you can read it. What can you do?

 People who want to escape from effort will choose sudden enlightenment. People who want to escape from the great, total responsibility of it, that it can happen right now, will choose the philosophy of gradualness.

 I don't say anything about enlightenment -- I'm saying something about you. It is for you to feel your desire: total desire -- enlightenment is sudden, partial desire -- enlightenment is gradual. It has nothing to do with the nature of enlightenment. Remember this.


 The second question:

 Question 2



 THEY DON'T BOTHER. Lao Tzu does not bother, because he says: Just to be ordinary is to be enlightened. It is not something special that one has to achieve, it is not an achievement, it is not something that one has to reach. It is you -- in your absolute ordinariness it flowers. To be extraordinary is the disease of the ego.

 The ego always wants to be extraordinary, someone special, unique, incomparable -- that is the hankering desire of the ego. If you can become a Rockefeller, good; if you can become a Hitler, good; or if you cannot become a Rockefeller or a Hitler, then renounce the world and think of becoming a Buddha. But become someone, someone special, a historic phenomenon.

 Lao Tzu is not bothered about enlightenment and all that nonsense. He says: Just be ordinary. Eat when you feel hungry, drink when you feel thirsty and go to sleep when sleep comes. Just be as natural as the whole existence, and suddenly there is everything in all its glory. Nothing is needed.

 To be ordinary is the most extraordinary state of being because the ego dissolves. The ego is subtle. You get rid of it in one direction, it comes from another. You push it out from one door, go inside the room and it is sitting on the throne -- it has entered from another door. Before you even come in it is already there.


 I had a friend who had a small cat, a very beautiful cat. He asked me what name he should give to the cat. I called the cat "Ego" because the ego is very cunning and a cat of course is cunning. There is nothing like a cat for cunningness. So he named his cat "Ego."

 But by and by he got fed up. He was a lonely man, a bachelor with no wife, no children, and he wanted always to be alone but the cat was a continuous disturbance. He would be sleeping and she would jump on his chest. And she would come in with bloodmarks on her paws and destroy a whole chair-seat or his clothes, because she was continuously hunting mice. So she was a trouble to him, and for a bachelor who had never cared for anybody, she was too much of a wife. He asked me what to do. This Ego had become a trouble. So I told him, "Ego is always a trouble. You go and throw it out."

 He said, "But she knows all the ways of the town. She will come back."

 I told him, "You go to the forest."

 So he went to the forest so that the cat could not find the way home. He went in and in -- and then lost the way! Then there was only one thing to do: he let the cat go, followed her, and came back home. That was the only way, there was nobody else to ask. The cat came back as certain as an arrow, not even hesitating for a single moment which way to follow.

 So I told him, "Your cat has the quality of the ego perfectly. You cannot throw it out easily. Wherever you go to throw it, when you come home, it is already there. Or sometimes you may get lost and then you will have to follow it, because only it knows the way."


 The ego is very wise -- wise in its cunningness. Lao Tzu does not give the ego any foothold, any ground to stand on, so he does not talk about enlightenment. So if you meet Lao Tzu don't ask him, "Do you believe in sudden enlightenment or in gradual enlightenment?" He will not answer you. He will laugh at you: What foolishness! There is no need for any enlightenment. That word doesn't occur for Lao Tzu, it is not part of his vocabulary.

 He is very simple. He says: Just be ordinary. Why this hankering to be extraordinary, to be someone? And if you cannot be someone in the world then become enlightened at least. But why? Why can't you be satisfied and content with yourself as you are? If you ask me, to be content with oneself as one is is enlightenment. It is nothing special, as yogis have made it sound: kundalini rising, light showing, inner experiences, angels and God and this and that. This is all nonsense if you understand it. Enlightenment is nothing of this sort.

 All these things -- kundalini and the light and God and angels and heaven and hell -- are part of the magician's bag. You want them -- he immediately produces, supplies them. You create the demand and the magician supplies the things to you. You want something special, he gives it to you. He exploits you. He lives on your absurd desires.

 Lao Tzu is absolutely simple. He has no bag. He says: Why not just be? What is wrong? What is wrong in that which you are? Why make an effort? And who will make the effort? You will make the effort. Your effort cannot go beyond you, and whatsoever you do, you will do. How can it go beyond you? How can it be transcendental? By your own efforts how can you transcend? It is not possible; you are trying to do the impossible. You can go on jumping for thousands of lives and nothing will be attained.

 Accept yourself. That is the only reality there is, that is the only possibility there is. Accept yourself as you are and suddenly everything is transformed. Acceptance is the word for Lao Tzu, not enlightenment -- total acceptance, whatsoever the case is. Nothing else is possible.

 This is how things are. This is how you have happened into this vast universe. This vast universe wanted you to be like this -- now you accept.

 There are only two choices available: either you reject yourself or you accept yourself. If you reject then there are again two possibilities open: you reject in a wordly way or you reject in an other-worldly way. If you reject yourself in a worldly way it means that you would like to be more beautiful than you are, you would like to be more strong than you are, you would like to be more rich than you are, you would like to have a bigger house than you have. This is to reject in a worldly way. If you reject yourself in an other-worldly way, the religious way, it means that you would like to attain satori, samadhi, enlightenment, nirvana; you would like to become a Buddha; you would like to possess God; you would like to live in infinite bliss. This is how you reject in a religious way. These are both rejections and both are wrong. For Lao Tzu both are equally absurd.

 Your marketplace is a marketplace; your temple is also part of it. Your this-worldly desires are worldly desires; your other-worldly desires are also desires and worldly. In fact there cannot be any other-worldly desire. Desire itself is this-worldly. Desire means this world.

 I would like to tell you an anecdote.


 It happened in a Sufi's life. A great mystic, living silently by himself, one day was suddenly awakened by a messenger from God.

 The messenger said, "Your prayers have been accepted. Now the Supreme Being, the Creator, is very happy with you. You can ask, and whatsoever you desire will be fulfilled. You ask and immediately it will be fulfilled.''

 The mystic was a little puzzled and he said, "You came a little late. When I needed things, when I had many desires, you never came. Now I have no desires, I have accepted myself, I am totally at ease, at home. Now I don't bother even whether God exists or not, I don't pray to him. I pray because it feels good. I have stopped thinking about him at all. My prayer is not addressed to anybody anymore; I simply pray as I breathe. It's so beautiful whether God exists or not is irrelevant. You came a little late. Now I have no desire."

 But the angel said, "This will be an offense against God. When he says you can ask, you have to ask."

 The man was puzzled, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "But what to ask? Can you suggest anything? -- because I have accepted everything and I am so fulfilled. At the most you go and tell God that I'm grateful. Give my thanks to him. Everything is as it should be. Nothing is lacking, everything is perfect. I am happy, blissful, and I don't know anything about the next moment. This moment is all, I am fulfilled. You go and give my thanks."

 But the angel was stubborn. He said, "No, you will have to ask something -- just as a mannerism. Be a little understanding."

 Then the man said, "If you insist, then ask God to keep me as desireless as I am. Give me only one thing -- desirelessness... "


 ... or acceptability, they both mean the same thing.

 Desire means rejection of something -- you would like to be something else; desirelessness means acceptance -- you are happy as things are. In fact, things are irrelevant, you are happy. You are happy, that's the point. Lao Tzu says: Be content as you are, nothing else is needed -- and then suddenly everything happens. In deep acceptance the ego disappears.

 Ego exists through rejection: whenever you reject something ego exists. Whenever you say no ego is strengthened, but whenever you say yes, a total yes to existence, that is the greatest meditation you can enter into. In all other meditations you can enter but you will have to come out. This is the only meditation in which you enter and you cannot come out, because once you enter you are no more. Nobody can come out of it.


 The third question:

 Question 3



 BECAUSE YOU ARE VIOLENT and you need catharsis. You have questions to ask; you may not have the courage to ask them, that's why you are encouraged. You have questions to ask; you have to pass through that. Ask them. I'm not saying that my answers will destroy them -- no. My answers are not pointed that way. My answers have a totally different purpose. They will make you aware that all questions are useless, futile, absurd.

 I would like you to come to a point where the mind stops questioning, but that you cannot do because you are full of questions. Release them, don't suppress them. Be courageous. Even if you know that they are foolish, don't hide them, because if you hide them you will never be able to get rid of them. Even if they are ridiculous -- and all questions are -- ask.

 And I'm not really answering your questions. Your questions cannot be answered. Your questions are like a person who is in a delirium, whose fever has gone very high. He is reaching one hundred eight, one hundred nine, one hundred ten... and he is in delirium. Then he says, "Everything is moving, the table is flying in the sky." And he asks, "Where is this table going?" What to say to him? Whatsoever you say will be wrong, because the table is not going at all. And you cannot convince the man that the table is not going anywhere, it is just in the room, not moving at all. That will not convince him because you cannot convince anybody against his own experience.

 How can you convince anybody against his own experience? Conviction is possible when his own experience supports it, otherwise not. He is seeing that the table is flying trying to get out of the window, that the table has wings -- and not only the table, the cot he is lying on, that too is jumping and getting ready, getting ready to take off.... How can you convince a man who is in a delirium? If you try to convince him you are also mad. Only a mad doctor will try to convince. No, the doctor will say, "You don't be worried, the table will come back. We will bring it back, don't be worried. We will do something." The doctor will try to bring his temperature down; when the temperature comes down the table will come down by itself. When the temperature becomes normal the table is in its place. It has always been there -- it has not moved a single inch.

 That is the situation. I see, I know, that you are in a delirium. And this delirium is very subtle -- no temperature measuring device can measure it, it is an inner, not a physical temperature. Inside you are in a delirium. Then questions and questions and questions -- like flies they go on and on. I help you to ask and even encourage you to ask, just to get rid of them. This is a catharsis, this is part of a meditation.

 Listening to me, by and by you will come to a point where you will understand that all questions are futile, in fact questioning is useless. When this realization arises in you you will have a total change of attitude. Then questions disappear. When all questions disappear, the answer arises. And remember well, there are not as many answers as there are questions, there is only one answer to all questions. Questions may be millions -- the answer is one. There is only one answer, the answer, and that is self-knowledge. So I am helping you to become aware.

 There is a Sufi story:


 A few men were passing by a Sufi monastery; just curious, they came to see what was happening there. People were in catharsis, freaking out, screaming, jumping, going completely mad. The travelers thought, "This is a mad monastery. We always thought that people come to attain enlightenment here but these people have gone mad." And the Master was sitting amidst this catharsis, this mad chaos all around him. In the midst of it he was sitting silently.

 The travelers thought, "Why is the Master sitting silently?" Someone from the group suggested that maybe he was too tired, he may have done this madness too much.

 Then after a few months they were coming back to their town after their work was done, and again they passed the monastery. They again looked to see what had happened to those mad people. But now everybody was sitting silently, not even a single word. When they approached the monastery they became afraid: had those people left? -- because there seemed to be nobody now. When they came in everybody was there but they were silently sitting.

 Then after a few months they went again on another business journey. Curiosity led them again to the monastery. They looked, there was nobody. Only the Master was sitting there. So they asked, "What is all this?"

 The Master said, "When you passed through the first time you saw the beginners. They were full of madness and I encouraged them to bring it out. The next time you passed they had realized, they had calmed down. That's why they were sitting silently. There was nothing to do. When you passed by the third time there was no need even to be here. Now they can be silent anywhere in the world, so I have sent them back to the world. I am waiting for a new group. When you pass next time, again there will be madness."


 I encourage you to ask -- it is to bring your mind out. This will help you to calm down. My answering in fact is not any effort to answer your questions, it is an effort to kill them, to murder them. I am not a teacher. I may be a murderer but I am not a teacher. I am not teaching you anything, I am simply destroying your questions. Once all questions are destroyed your head is cut off -- I have murdered you. Then you are completely silent, content, absolutely at home. No problem exists -- you live life moment to moment, you enjoy, you delight in it moment to moment. No problem exists.

 I am against metaphysics but I have to talk about metaphysics. My whole work is therapeutic. I am not a metaphysician. My work is like this: you have a thorn in your foot; I bring another thorn to take the first thorn out of your foot. The first thorn and the second thorn are similar, there exists no qualitative difference. When the first is out, helped by the second, we throw away both.

 When I bring your questions out I'm not saying put my answers in the places left vacant by the questions -- no. Throw away my answers also, as you throw away your questions; otherwise my answers will create troubles for you. Don't carry my answers, they are only therapeutic. They are like thorns: they can be used to bring other thorns out, then both have to be thrown away.


 The fourth question:

 Question 4



 ERHARD IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, but you can misunderstand him because whatsoever he is saying is as profound as anything that Lao Tzu can say. You can misunderstand him.

 Try to understand it. Profundities are dangerous, and listened to by ignorant people they can become very very dangerous. Joined with your stupidity, a profundity can become a very great fall.

 Yes, this is absolutely right: problems that you have been trying to change or put up with clear up in the process of life itself -- that's true, a statement of fact, it happens that way. But then the problem arises whether meditation is compatible with it or not. Now your stupidity has come in.

 Meditation is also part of life -- you have to do it as you have to do many other things. Why take meditation as something which is not part of life? Meditation is part of life, you have to pass through it too. You have come to meditation because something in you needed it, otherwise why should you come? The whole world has not come to me, only a few people have come to me. I am as available to them as I am available to you. Even people who live in Poona have not come, and you may have crossed oceans.

 There is something in you, a deep desire for it.... Sex alone is not life, food alone is not life. Meditation is as much life as anything else, and it is your part in life to pass through it.

 Now, what Erhard says is absolutely true, a statement of fact. Nothing else is needed, one needs only to live and everything settles by itself. But meditation is also part of life, yoga is also part of life, one has to pass through it. You cannot escape it. If you try to escape it, that part which you have not fulfilled will always remain hanging over you and you will feel that something has remained incomplete.

 Be courageous and don't escape from anywhere. Wherever your inner life leads you, go! Don't bother where it leads you. Sometimes it will lead you astray, that I know, but to go astray is also part of life. Nobody can always be right, and people who try always to be right die almost absolute failures. Don't be bothered that you may go astray, if life leads you astray, go! Go happily! The energy that leads you astray will bring you back. That sojourn may be a part of the final growth.

 This is my experience: that in the end one finds that everything fits together. Everything that you did, good and bad, right and wrong, moral and immoral -- whatsoever you did, in the end one finds life is really wonderful, everything fits. If you look back you would not like to change anything, because if you change even a part then the whole would be changed.

 This is what acceptance is. This is what the Hindu attitude about fate or the Mohammedan attitude about kismet is. The attitude is very simple, only this: whatsoever happens, take it as part of your destiny. Move into it. Don't withhold yourself.

 If you have to err, err -- but err totally. If you have to fall, fall -- but fall like a drunkard, completely. Don't resist, because then you miss. If you have to live in darkness, live in darkness -- but happily and dancingly. Why be miserable? If you are feeling hell around you, feel it -- it may be part of your destiny, part of your growth.

 Of course I know that when one passes through hell, it is very difficult. That I know. Because growth is difficult. When one passes through a problem, a heart-rending problem, a crisis, one wants to escape; one wants not to face it; one wants to be a coward. But that way you will miss something that was going to become a part of the final whole, of the final harmony. If you have lived totally... I don't make any conditions. I say live unconditionally. If your inner voice tells you to meditate, meditate. If your inner voice tells you to go and drink, then drink and be a drunkard. But be total, because only through totality does one transcend. Only through totality is one transformed because only through totality does one start understanding what one is doing.

 People come to me and they say that they have much anger in them and they would like not to have it any more. They have had enough of it and they have suffered much for it. Their whole life has become miserable. And they repent much, whenever they become angry they repent much. They try again and again not to be angry, they decide not to be angry, they put all their willpower into it, but after a few hours they have forgotten. Again something happens, a situation occurs, and they are angry. So what to do?

 I tell them: Don't repent. Begin from there. Don't repent, at least that much you can do. Be angry and be totally angry and don't repent. And don't feel sorry about it. You have been angry, accept the fact that you are a man with an angry nature. Okay. Be totally angry. Because that repentance is not allowing you to be totally angry, something is being withheld. That part which remains inside and has not been expressed becomes poisonous, a canceric growth. It will color all your life, the whole of your life. Be angry, and when you are angry let the phenomenon be such that you can say, "I am anger, not angry." Nobody is left behind to look at it -- you are anger. It will become a fire, a hellfire.

 It will be great suffering but it has to be so. It may be that if you can be really in a hellfire only once you will become so alert about it that there will be no need to decide against it. The very experience will have decided everything -- you will never go near it again. Not that you take a vow against it, not that you go to the church and confess and repent.... People start enjoying that too; they start indulging in repentance also.


 I have heard that a woman came for the seventh time to the Father in the church to confess a sin. Even the Father was a little surprised because it was the same sin again and again -- that she had made love to a man to whom she was not married.

 So the Father said, "Have you committed the sin seven times or only once?"

 She said, "Only once."

 So he said, "Then why do you go on confessing it? You have already confessed seven times."

 She said, "I love to talk about it. It's so beautiful just to think about it."


 Even in imagination, confessing to a Father....

 People start indulging in their repentance, confessions. They may even exaggerate -- this has been my feeling. Saint Augustine's book CONFESSIONS seems to be an exaggeration; he seems to be indulging in it. The very idea of committing so many sins seems to be appealing. In India, Gandhi's autobiography seems to be an exaggeration. He goes on talking and talking about his sins, it seems he is enjoying it. And now psychologists say that there are people who exaggerate their sins because then, against that background, they become great saints. Because they have not left ordinary sins, they were such great sinners, and now they have become such great saints! The distance is vast and the revolution great.

 Only a great sinner can be a great saint. How can an ordinary sinner be? You smoke a cigarette -- do you think you can become an Augustine or a Gandhi just because you smoked a cigarette once, or you looked at a woman and a lust arose in you, that's all? That won't do, it is not enough material. You cannot create a big saint out of small sins, you have to be a great sinner.

 So people who write their autobiographies should never be believed. I must have read thousands of autobiographies but this is my observation: that there exists no other sort of fiction which is more fictitious. Autobiography is the greatest fiction. All autobiographies are fictitious. Either one goes on praising himself or one goes on condemning himself, but both are untrue because in both ways one starts becoming extraordinary. The ego cannot be fulfilled by just being ordinary.


 Somebody asked Rinzai, "What do you do? What is your practice, what is your SADHANA?"

 And he said such a simple thing -- how could you make an autobiography out of it? He said, "When I feel hungry I eat, and when I feel sleepy I go to sleep, that's all."


 How can you make an autobiography out of it? And Rinzai would not look like a great saint either. What type of a saint would this be?


 After Rinzai died, his disciple was lecturing in a monastery. A man belonging to the opposite sect stood up; he was feeling very jealous because so many people had come to listen.

 So he stood up and he said, "One question, sir. You are talking too much about your Master. But mine is a real Master, he can do thousands of miracles. I have seen with my own eyes: he was standing on one bank of the river, and it was the time of rains and the river was flooded. And on the other bank a disciple was standing with a copy-book in his hand. On one bank my Master wrote with a pencil and it was written on the disciple's copy-book on the other bank. Can you say anything about your Master, what miracles he did?"

 The disciple said, "I know only of one miracle that my Master used to do -- every day, every minute

 Silence fell all over the hall. People became curious: what miracle had Rinzai done?

 The disciple said, "When he felt hungry he ate and when he felt sleepy he slept. That's the only miracle that he did."

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 You will not think it much of a miracle but it is. It is a very profound phenomenon. It means to be natural completely. You are almost fighting. When you feel hungry you don't eat because a thousand and one other things have to be done; when you don't feel hungry you eat because now is the time to eat. When you feel sleepy you avoid it because there is a dance worth going to, or a movie worth seeing. When you feel sleepy you are sitting in the movie. When you don't feel sleepy, because the movie has excited you too much, now you try to go to sleep and you have to take tranquilizers.

 To be unnatural has become our natural life. Of course to be natural is a miracle, the greatest miracle: just to delight in ordinary things, in eating, sleeping, drinking, the breeze that passes you.... Enjoying ordinary things, delighting in them, the whole of life becomes a celebration.

 Erhard is right. He is saying a Lao Tzuan thing: "Problems that you have been trying to change or put up with clear up in the process of life itself." Live life, live in its totality, move in all its dimensions -- indulge in every dimension, indulge totally, and in the end you will find that everything helped. Everything, I say: even the wife who created so much misery for you, even that; even the child that you loved so much and died early, even that; even the business that failed and you became broke, yes, even that. Everything! Failure and success, pain and pleasure, right and wrong, going astray and coming back home -- everything helps.

 And out of this chaos arises a harmony. But one has to live it totally. I am not saying that everyone reaches to that harmony. No, that is a possibility. One can reach, one may miss, and people who miss are those people who try hard to reach it. People who attain to it are people who don't bother much about attaining it, they simply live moment to moment.

 That final harmony, that crescendo, is a cumulative effect. So enjoy wherever you are, be grateful, whatever you have. Feel deep gratitude -- let that be your only prayer. Go totally wherever you go. If you go to a prostitute, go totally... and I know that even to your wife you have not gone totally. If you drink wine, drink it totally... and I know you have not even drunk water totally.

 This incomplete life cannot become a crescendo; this life lived always incomplete, fragmentary, cannot create a harmony. You will die a chaos -- that's why you will die always afraid of death. And when death knocks at your door you will tremble -- because the life harmony has not yet been achieved, and death has come. You have not lived life, and death has come. You are as yet incomplete, in fact unborn, and death has come. You tremble.

 A man who has lived his life, one who has lived his day, always accepts death beautifully, because there is nothing left to be done any more. He has done all, he has lived all and he moved in all directions. All that life could give he had accumulated in him. He has accumulated the honey of life, now he is ready to die. There is nothing else.

 Do you know? -- for one spoonful of honey a bee has to visit five thousand flowers -- for one spoonful of honey five thousand flowers! And for one pound of honey -- scientists have measured -- they say thousands of miles have to be traveled by bees. One spoonful of honey five thousand flowers! One spoonful of harmony and five thousand experiences, thousands and thousands of experiences....

 And remember only one thing: wherever you are be totally there, otherwise you will visit the flower and you will come away without the honey. That is the only misery that can happen to a man and that happens to almost ninety-nine per cent of people. You are in such a hurry -- just think of a bee in such a hurry that she goes to the flower but never touches it because she is in such a hurry to go to another flower. Incomplete, she moves to another flower but by the time she has reached the other flower the idea is hankering in her mind to go to another. She visits five thousand or five million flowers and comes back empty-handed. Don't be that type of bee! When you visit a flower, really visit it. Forget about all other flowers in the world -- there exist no others at that moment. Just be a bee -- hum and delight and enjoy the flower. Be with it as totally as possible. Then you accumulate life's honey and when you die you die blissfully, ecstatically. You lived. There is no complaint in your heart, no grudge. And I tell you that if you have lived all moments in their totality, in awareness, at the moment of death you can bless all -- your friends and your enemies. Yes, your enemies also, because without them you would not have been able to reach to this crescendo. They were part, part of a mysterious phenomenon that is life.


 The fifth question:

 Question 5



 THE MIND CAN never ask any fundamental question because whatsoever the mind asks is bound to be superficial. When the question arises out of your being, not out of your mind, it will not be verbal, it will be existential. You will be the question -- then it is fundamental.


 A Sufi mystic used to come to the mosque every day and he would stand there not saying a single word, for years and years. People became curious.

 Somebody asked, "You never say anything, we have not even seen your lips quivering a little and we have watched you, observed you closely. We don't feel that even inside you are saying anything, you stand there like a rock. What type of prayer is this?"

 The mystic said, "Once it happened that a beggar was standing before a palace of an emperor. The emperor came out, looked at the beggar and said, `What do you ask? What do you want?' The beggar said, `If by looking at me you cannot understand, then there is no need to say. I will go to another house. Look at me -- naked in the cold winter, shivering. Look at my belly -- it has joined the back. Look at my limbs -- all the flesh has disappeared. I am a skeleton and you ask what do I want? Is my being here not enough?' The king became afraid, the beggar was right. Much was given to him."

 And the mystic said, "I was passing by on the road. From that day I stopped praying, because what to say to the emperor of the world? Can't he understand what misery I am in? Have I to say it? Assert it? Have I to be articulate with him? If he cannot understand my being, what use will it be to talk? Then it is useless: if he cannot understand my being he cannot understand my language. Silent is my prayer, unquestioned is my question, undesired is my desire. It is me, it is my total being."


 That is fundamental, that is foundational, that is radical -- it comes from the very roots. The word radical comes from "roots." A radical, a foundational, a fundamental question is never asked by the mind. The mind cannot ask it; the mind is impotent about it. The mind is just like the waves on the ocean. Can you ask me which wave is the deepest? No wave is, no wave can be, because waves can exist only on the surface, they cannot be in the depth. In the depth there are no waves.

 The mind is the surface, the waves. All questions raised by the mind are superficial. The fundamental question is asked when the mind has been dropped. It is a no-mind question, it is a being question. Then you stand with a question not even verbalized within you, because who will verbalize it? The mind has been put aside, your whole existence is a question mark.

 And when that fundamental question is asked only then can the Master give you himself in his totality. He can pour himself into your being. When you ask a superficial question, of course a fundamental answer cannot be given, because it will fall on deaf ears, on dead hearts. When you ask a question the quality of the answer is already decided in it.


 The sixth question:

 Question 6



 BECAUSE YOU ARE very consistent. Be a little inconsistent, otherwise you will miss me also.


 The seventh question:

 Question 7



 YOU DON'T EVEN have a sense of humor. You can't understand a joke. These are just symbolic tales, beautiful in themselves, but if you start asking questions about them they become ugly. That's how the whole mystery and the poetry of a thing is lost; and that is what has been done. The whole of theology is all about such nonsensical questions. "Was Jesus really born out of a virgin?" It is a beautiful symbol. "Was Jesus really resurrected when he was dead, crucified?'' This is a beautiful symbol. "Was it a reality that Lao Tzu was born old, eighty-four years old, remained in his mother's womb for eighty-four years?" It is a beautiful Lao Tzuan joke. I suspect that Lao Tzu must have spread the rumor -- nobody else could do that, it is so subtle.

 If you understand the joke, you understand. If you don't understand please don't ask questions. Forget about it, because questions will destroy it completely.

 It is said that whenever a joke is told there are three kinds of laughter. The first is from those who understand it immediately -- and a joke has to be understood immediately, with no time gap, otherwise you lack the sense of humor. That is the whole point of it -- that suddenly it strikes, suddenly it hits somewhere inside, and you know what it is. You may not be able to explain to others why you were laughing, and the more you try to explain, the more it will become a puzzle. Why were you laughing? It is a subtle phenomenon. How does it happen?

 When somebody is telling a joke, the joke moves on two levels, that's how the laughter is created. On one level everything is simple and ordinary, nothing is special, then suddenly there is a turn at the end, the punchline; at the end there is suddenly a turn -- you never expected that this was going to happen. That's why if you have heard the joke it is impossible to laugh again, because then the turn is not there, you already know it. When the sudden turn comes that you never expected, not even a single second before... everything was on plain ground and suddenly you are on Everest and everything has changed, and the change is so ridiculous, illogical, irrational... you explode in laughter. If you understand a joke you understand it immediately, without any effort on your part. It is just like satori or samadhi.

 Then there is a second type of laughter. These people understand the joke but a little time gap is needed. Then it touches only their intellect, not their whole being; their laughter comes, but the laughter is from the lips -- an intellectual phenomenon. The first laughter is from the belly, the second laughter just from the head. They understand the point, but intellect always takes time, it doesn't get a very quick grasp on something. Even the most intelligent person is a little stupid, because the nature of intellect is such that it cannot jump. It moves in logical steps, it needs time, it is a progress, a gradual phenomenon -- step by step you reach the conclusion.

 That is the second laughter. Pale it will be, not very deep, not very relaxing, not a catharsis, just an intellectual phenomenon. In the head something clicks, creates little ripples, that's all. But the first laughter is so deep that if it really happens, a joke can become a satori. In that laughter the mind can disappear completely.

 Then there is a third kind of laughter... people who laugh because others are laughing. They have not understood, but not to be thought stupid because they have not understood, they laugh, lastly. Seeing that everybody is laughing, they have to laugh.


 Mulla Nasruddin went to France once. His wife was with him and they went to see a comic show. The wife was surprised, because whenever the man, the joker on the stage, would tell a joke or do something, Mulla would laugh so loudly that he would defeat the whole audience. People would start looking at him.

 The wife couldn't understand because she knew well that he didn't understand French. So she asked, "Mulla, I have lived with you for thirty years and I never knew that you know French. How do you understand? And why do you laugh so loudly?"

 Mulla said, "I trust the man. He must be saying something funny and when one has to laugh, why laugh last? Why not laugh first? And when one has to laugh, one should laugh loudly. It costs nothing and I am enjoying myself."


 This is the third kind of laughter -- nothing is happening to you, it is a pretension. You think that there must have been something humorous, you trust the man or you trust other people who are laughing and not to feel stupid you join in the laughter.

 Whenever a joke is told you can immediately sort out these three kinds of laughter.

 This is just a Lao Tzuan joke. Nobody can live in the mother's womb for eighty-four years. Even if Lao Tzu could, think of the mother also! Lao Tzu may be enlightened and could live, but the mother... poor mother, think of her also. Even nine months is too much, but eighty-four years.... The mother would have been dead long before.

 No, it is a subtle humor. It says that Lao Tzu was born wise. It is a symbolic thing. From his very childhood he was wise. That is the only meaning. He was so wise that the rumor spread that he was born old.

 Jesus was so pure, how could he be born out of carnal desire? He was born out of carnal desire, there is no other way -- life gives no exceptions. He was born out of ordinary love. But the story says something very beautiful. The story is not true and I say it is true! It is not true as a fact but it is true as a truth. And what is a fact before a truth? A fact is an ordinary facticity of life. No, Jesus' mother was not a virgin -- if you go to the ordinary facts. But she was a virgin, otherwise how could such a pure, such an innocent child be born out of her? She was virgin. She must have been very very innocent, absolutely innocent, as if she had never known any man. That is the meaning. The meaning is AS IF -- as if she never knew what sex was, as if she never knew what ordinary copulation was. But those are "as ifs"; once you start forcing them as facts you are foolish. And all theologians are foolish. They try to prove that yes, she was a virgin, and God permitted an exception at that moment of history. This is a way to say a certain beautiful thing which cannot be said otherwise. This is just saying that Jesus comes out of a virgin source, Jesus comes out of a pure innocence which has not known any impurity of the world and the body. That's all. Don't insist that it should be explained because explanation kills the very spirit of it.


 The last question:

 Question 8



 I CANNOT DO anything but my presence can. When I say I cannot do anything, I only mean that no I exists within me; the doer is dissolved. So without the doer how can you do anything? But things happen. And when the doer is dissolved then tremendous things happen. I cannot claim the authorship of them or the doership of them -- I am not the doer. In fact I am not. I am just a presence with no label attached to it, just an opening. Much is possible if you are in my presence. If you allow my presence to move into you, melt into you, become part of you, much is possible. Even the impossible is possible -- but I am not the doer, it happens. I am not specifically doing it.

 I am also a watcher as you are a watcher. It is happening. If you go to the sun and tell the sun that you are very grateful because it has been destroying darkness for you on the earth for so long, the sun will be surprised. The sun will say, "I don't know what darkness is. I have never come across it. I have never destroyed it, because how can you destroy a thing that you have never come across?" But it is happening all the same: light comes, darkness disappears.

 If you allow this presence that is here, much is possible. The darkness can disappear, but I am not the doer. I am not forcing anything on you because that would be a violence, and even if it were not a violence I cannot do it because the doer is no longer there. If you come into me you will not meet anybody there. The temple is absolutely vacant. A real temple is always empty. If you find a God sitting inside, then it is a man-made temple. Nothingness is the only temple.

 Yes, I'm not doing anything to you, but much is happening. So don't think that this may be imagination, because this may be a trick of the mind to think that this is imagination. Because then the mind can close. Thinking that this is imagination, a projection, this or that, the mind can close and then everything will stop.

 You don't listen to the mind. While you are with me don't be with your mind. I am a no-mind; the only way to be with me is to be a no-mind and then things happen. Nobody is doing them, they simply happen on their own accord.


Osho Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 1 Chapter 10

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