Firewood and ash

From:
Osho
Date:
Fri, 26 July 1988 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Dogen, the Zen Master: A Search and a Fulfillment
Chapter #:
2
Location:
pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
Archive Code:
N.A.
Short Title:
N.A.
Audio Available:
N.A.
Video Available:
N.A.
Length:
N.A.

OUR

BELOVED MASTER,

DOGEN CONTINUES:

WHEN WE LOOK BACK AT THE SHORE FROM OUR BOAT, WE MISTAKENLY FEEL AS IF THE SHORE WERE MOVING. BUT WHEN WE LOOK AT OUR BOAT WITH CARE, WE FIND THAT IT IS OUR BOAT THAT IS ACTUALLY MOVING. SIMILARLY, WHEN WE SEE ALL THINGS WITH THE DELUDED IDEA THAT OUR BODY AND MIND ARE SEPARATE FROM EACH OTHER, WE MISTAKENLY THINK INNATE MIND AND NATURE ARE ETERNAL. BUT WHEN WE REALIZE THAT OUR BODY AND MIND ARE INSEPARABLE, WE SEE CLEARLY THAT ALL THINGS ARE NOT SUBSTANTIAL.

FIREWOOD, WHEN BURNED, BECOMES ASH; THE ASH NEVER AGAIN REVERTS TO BEING FIREWOOD. STILL, WE SHOULD NOT REGARD FIREWOOD AS A BEFORE, AND ASH AS AN AFTER. WE MUST REALIZE THAT FIREWOOD IS IN THE POSITION OF FIREWOOD WITH OR WITHOUT BEFORE AND AFTER. ASH IS IN THE POSITION OF ASH WITH OR WITHOUT BEFORE AND AFTER.

WE CAN NO MORE COME BACK TO LIFE AFTER OUR DEATH THAN FIREWOOD CAN BECOME FIREWOOD AGAIN AFTER HAVING BECOME ASH. IN BUDDHISM, THEREFORE, IT IS SAID THAT LIFE NEVER BECOMES DEATH; LIFE IS BEYOND THE CONCEPTION OF LIFE.

IT SAYS THAT DEATH DOES NOT BECOME LIFE; DEATH IS BEYOND THAT OF DEATH. LIFE AND DEATH ARE BOTH ONLY ONE STAGE OF TIME, JUST LIKE WINTER AND SPRING.

LIKEWISE, WE MUST NOT THINK THAT WINTER BECOMES SPRING, OR SAY THAT SPRING BECOMES SUMMER.

Maneesha, Dogen is basically concerned about the idea of reincarnation. Christianity does not accept it, Mohammedanism does not accept it, nor does Judaism accept it; it is only accepted by the religions that have been born in India. They may differ on every aspect of life, but on one point they are absolutely in agreement. And it is not an agreement of one day - for thousands of years they have agreed on the idea of reincarnation.

In Christianity or Mohammedanism or Judaism your life span is very short, just between the cradle and the grave - maybe seventy years or eighty years. With death you are finished. But in the Eastern experience, with death you only change your form. You are not finished, you continue. Your continuity is eternal. You will take many forms ... many experiences, many ways of being.

This whole universe is conceived of in the East as a teaching period. The trees are learning to be trees, the birds are learning to be birds. This whole universe is exactly a great university, an opportunity to learn one form and also to learn that behind the form is hidden your formless being.

Thousands of times you have lived in different forms, experiencing different ways. Certainly to be a tree is a totally different experience than to be a bird or to be a lion. But the essential life is one.

Out of this experience of essential life, the theory of reincarnation arose. And if you go deeper into your interiority ... you can move so deeply that you will start touching not only your birth, your nine months in the womb, but also the death of the previous form.

It is a tremendous experience to know that you have been here before, because that gives another dimension to your consciousness; if you have been here in the past, you will be here in the future.

The past and future both are in balance - the present moment is just the balancing moment. And if you can dig deep into the present moment, you can experience not only your past lives; there is a possibility - if your effort is really total - that you may start having glimpses of your future possibilities.

Gautam Buddha is reported to have said that we never begin our journey - it is eternal. You cannot reach to the point, exploring within yourself, where you started the journey. That bus stop you cannot find. You have always been moving, traveling. So the beginning cannot be found, it is not there. But the end can be found.

You will be surprised to think about it - that the ordinary death is not a death because the consciousness moves into another form. A bird becomes a tree, a tree becomes an animal, an animal becomes a human being. But if your experience of all your past lives suddenly flashes you to the idea that you are eternal, that very moment you are disidentified with the body-mind structure.

And this disidentification is the real death. Now you will not take another form, you will enter into the formless. It is called the great death.

But to have a great death you need to have a great life. Ordinary living is so lukewarm that ordinary death cannot change much; it can only change the outer garb, the paper bag in which you have been living. To burst forth out of all form - a tremendous awareness, intensity, totality ... you pull all of yourself to a single point - and suddenly all forms disappear. Just like a breeze, invisible, you enter into the formless. This has to be remembered before I talk about Dogen, because that is exactly the background of what he is trying to say in the Zen way.

DOGEN CONTINUES:

WHEN WE LOOK BACK AT THE SHORE FROM OUR BOAT, WE MISTAKENLY FEEL AS IF THE SHORE WERE MOVING. BUT WHEN WE LOOK AT OUR BOAT WITH CARE, WE FIND THAT IT IS OUR BOAT THAT IS ACTUALLY MOVING.

Now very few people have the experience of boats. Dogen was talking to people who were traveling in boats continuously, because Japan is not one island; it is many islands together, and people are continuously moving in boats from one island to another.

But in your experience you may have ... sitting in a train, suddenly you see that another train which was sitting on the side track has started moving. But your experience is so clear that you are moving. Then you look to the other side - the station is still there. Then certainly, the other train is moving. But the station is gone, then the movement of that train was an illusion; your train is moving.

Movement is relative, just as in geometry two parallel lines never meet.

Albert Einstein, the man who introduced the idea of relativity into the world of science, says that if two rockets are moving in the sky at the same speed, none of the passengers in either of the rockets will feel that there is any movement. Because to experience movement you need something stationary by the side; it is a relative experience. Both the rockets are moving in a silent, open sky at the same speed; naturally, you see there is no movement in the other rocket. And how can there be movement in your rocket? If there were, you would have passed the other rocket. None of the passengers in either of the rockets will even dream about movement, because there is nothing stable around; on both the sides, just pure sky. They can live in the illusion as long as they go on moving at the same speed.

According to Albert Einstein, a very strange conclusion ... of course, it has not yet been tested, but it seems possible. If the passengers of both the rockets don't feel any movement, they will become very still and very silent. Not only in their minds, but even in their body cells the silence of no- movement will penetrate. It will be so enormous, so overwhelming, that when they return - you will be surprised - all their friends, their old colleagues, will have grown ten years older and they will not have aged at all. Those ten years they have missed. They have not moved a single inch, either in their body or in their mind, because movement has stopped being their experience.

Einstein was absolutely certain - and I agree with him. It seems absurd that a traveler will come back and find that his own generation is finished and a new generation has taken over, because he has been long away, traveling in the sky. But when there is no movement around you, slowly, slowly that non-movement stops everything moving within you: the mind, the body - everything.

Even he was shocked when he proposed the theory. It will still take a few years for us to be absolutely certain of what he was saying, because even to reach to the nearest star takes four years; and the return journey means eight years - and this is the nearest star. We don't have yet any vehicle to move - without continuous fuel stations on the way - for four years.

Secondly, the moment you are out of the grip of gravitation .... You don't feel gravitation because you are born in gravitation. Otherwise the earth is pulling you down so forcibly ... most of your aging is because of the pull of the earth. The area of gravitation is two hundred miles around the earth.

Once you are out of the gravitation area, there is nothing to pull you down; you simply remain the same. The same gravitation that is killing you also keeps you rooted, because without gravitation you will be simply gone - just saying good-bye to each other and moving into the eternal, never to meet again. It is so vast ... and the speed will be such that you will be burned by the speed.

There are practical problems; that's why Albert Einstein could not persuade anybody to take the risk. The speed has to be exactly the speed of light - that is the ultimate speed. One hundred and eighty-six thousand miles per second - at that speed everything stops. You can go around the universe for thousands of years and you will come back to the earth the same, as young as you had left. But it is just theoretical and hypothetical; it is difficult, for the simple, pragmatic reason that at the speed of light no metal can remain unmelted. The heat is so much that the vehicle in which you are moving will melt down, burning you with it.

You look ... almost three thousand stones fall every day on the earth, all over the earth. You think they are stars falling. Stars are very big, but these are just small stones which have been caught in the gravitational area of the earth, and the earth has pulled them. But the force of the pull is such that even the stones burn up. Most of these three thousand stones never reach to the earth; they are burned before reaching it. A few stones have reached the earth and they have become great sacred places. For example, the Kaaba - the holy place of the Mohammedans; the stone there is an asteroid, it is not of the earth. Just because people saw that big stone coming from the sky ... the primitive mind thought it must be from God. And it was coming, burning bright like a sun, so big that it reached to the earth. In many museums you will find those stones, which are called meteorites.

These stones burn up because of the speed. So if we make a vehicle we have to find something which will not burn up at the speed of light. Up to now, there is no indication that we can create a vehicle or any material that can move with the speed of light. And unless we move with the speed of light we cannot reach the nearest star. With that speed in mind, the nearest star is four light years away. It is such a long distance, and our small boats and our airplanes and our rockets are still, in terms of the future, just toys.

But consciousness needs no form to travel, hence it can move with the speed of light. That is the Eastern way of looking at things: you have been around on many planets in many different lives, not only on this earth. Scientists accept that there are at least five hundred planets with life, but there is no communication. All kinds of efforts are being made to have some kind of dialogue or to find some way to know exactly who is there. But that is a limitation of the body.

For a man of consciousness, for a man who is a buddha, there is no limitation. No gravitation prevents him, no heat can burn him. He can travel around in different forms, taking birth on different planets.

The idea of reincarnation is a very great challenge. It is not a question of arguing; it is a question of experiencing in yourself that which cannot be burned, that which remembers having been in other bodies. And if it can move from one body to another body, there is no difficulty for it to move from one planet to another planet. And ultimately it has to move from all forms and disperse itself into the universal being. That is nirvana.

Nirvana is one of the most beautiful words; I don't think there is any other word in any language which has so much significance and meaning. Ordinarily it simply means blowing out the flame.

You have a candle, and the flame is dancing, and you blow it out. Can you answer where the flame has gone? It must have gone somewhere. Nirvana means: your life is just like a flame - when it becomes difficult to live in one body, one form, it simply moves into another form. The other form is determined by its desires, its longings. Be very conscious about your desires and your longings because they are creating the seed of a new form already, without your knowing.

I have experienced, with many people, taking them back to their old forms. And I was surprised - because there is no mention of this fact in any Eastern scripture - that somebody who is a man, when he remembers, he remembers himself as a woman in his past life. If he goes deeper he again remembers himself as a man.

At first I was puzzled, because it is not mentioned anywhere. But then I could see the point that every woman is desiring to be a man. She thinks, "I am confined in the home, and the man is enjoying everything." And every man thinks, once in a while, "The beauty, the mystery of a woman ..." So it is very natural that you are creating your other form already without doing it consciously. If you are man you will be born as woman. And this is a vicious circle, because when you die, you die unconsciously; when you are born you are born unconsciously. So you don't know from where you are coming, or what was the reason for your taking this form.

The whole foundation of meditation is to make you so alert that you can see the forming of seeds and desires and drop them. If you can die without a seed ...

If you die in a half-hearted way, not totally, with something incomplete, with something you wanted to do and death has come in between - then you cannot expect to disappear into the universal. Then the flame will take another home, according to your desires, your reincarnations.

Meditation simply means to drop, slowly slowly, all your desires. And when death comes, celebrate it; celebrate it because everything is complete and you are ready. This readiness and completeness will give you the ultimate freedom of formlessness. That formlessness is nirvana.

All these buddhas, like Dogen, are pointing towards that formlessness. First, he is talking about relativity:

WHEN WE LOOK BACK AT THE SHORE FROM OUR BOAT, WE MISTAKENLY FEEL AS IF THE SHORE WERE MOVING. BUT WHEN WE LOOK AT OUR BOAT WITH CARE, WE FIND THAT IT IS OUR BOAT THAT IS ACTUALLY MOVING. SIMILARLY, WHEN WE SEE ALL THINGS WITH THE DELUDED IDEA THAT OUR BODY AND MIND ARE SEPARATE FROM EACH OTHER, WE MISTAKENLY THINK INNATE MIND AND NATURE ARE ETERNAL. BUT WHEN WE REALIZE THAT OUR BODY AND MIND ARE INSEPARABLE, WE SEE CLEARLY THAT ALL THINGS ARE NOT SUBSTANTIAL.

The body has a substantiality. When someone dies all the elements of the body dissolve into their sources: water into water and air into air and earth into earth. Only one invisible bird, weightless .... There have been experiments where a man was weighed while he was alive, and weighed again after he has died. The weight does not differ; he is the same weight both times. To the objective mind, it means that nothing has moved out, because if there is a soul which moves out of the body, then certainly it would have weight. Experiments have even been done putting the dying man in a glass case, so that they can see if something moves out .... It will have to break the glass somewhere. But the glass remains intact as the man dies.

These things have supported the atheists, who say that there is no such thing as a soul. These conclusions are absolutely rational but stupid. There is no contradiction in being both stupid and rational. Of course the intellectual person will be more profoundly stupid than ordinary idiots; ordinary idiots are simple people. But there are extraordinary idiots, and because of their rationality they have turned almost the whole world's mind toward being materialistic.

Half of the world is communist, which does not believe that there is anything in the body; it is just a combination of materials. The remaining half of the world, which thinks it is spiritual, only thinks; it never experiments.

The experiment is not to be done in a scientific lab.

It has to be done within yourself.

That's what we are doing here - to find something immaterial, invisible to the eyes, untouchable by the hands, but still the very heart of our being, the very throb of our being. Once you have known it all fear of death disappears. And a new courage - so fresh like a morning rose, still with dewdrops shining on it in the sun - a new courage to rebel against all that is traditionally accepted, that may be rationally accepted but is not based on the actual experience of meditation ...

Other than meditation, there is no way to decide whether you are just matter or there is something immaterial. Without that immaterial part you lose all your splendor. Only that immaterial part of your being gives you dignity; it makes you not only a man, but makes you capable of touching the highest peak of being a buddha.

FIREWOOD, WHEN BURNED, BECOMES ASH; THE ASH NEVER REVERTS TO BEING FIREWOOD. STILL, WE SHOULD NOT REGARD FIREWOOD AS A BEFORE, AND ASH AS AN AFTER. WE MUST REALIZE THAT FIREWOOD IS IN THE POSITION OF FIREWOOD WITH OR WITHOUT BEFORE AND AFTER. ASH IS IN THE POSITION OF ASH WITH OR WITHOUT BEFORE AND AFTER.

What Dogen is trying to say is that when firewood disappears into a heap of ash you should not think that something in existence has changed - only the form has changed. The ash was present in the firewood, unmanifest. The fire has helped the ash to become manifest and visible.

These are ways of saying some things which are more difficult to say directly. But I can say them directly to you; this is not an assembly of kindergarten seekers. What you are, you have been the same before, whatever the form, and if you can discover yourself then it does not matter in what form you will move. And if you can penetrate your self to its very center - because your self has a circumference and a center .... If you remain at the circumference then you will move into another form - but if your arrow reaches to the very center you have graduated from forms. Now you are capable of being one with the universe; now you can sing with the birds, dance with the flowers, shine with the stars. From a small dewdrop, you have become the very ocean.

In America, which has produced very few men who are worth quoting, one man is certainly significant, but seems to be almost forgotten. He is William James. He introduced this beautiful word 'oceanic'. People have forgotten him and his word because very few people reach to that experience. But here everybody has to reach to the experience ... from the dewdrop to the ocean.

Unless you experience 'oceanic' yourself, spreading in all ten directions, in absolute freedom, you have not used the great opportunity of life.

Dogen is saying, WE CAN NO MORE COME BACK TO LIFE AFTER OUR DEATH THAN FIREWOOD CAN BECOME FIREWOOD AGAIN AFTER HAVING BECOME ASH. IN BUDDHISM, THEREFORE, IT IS SAID THAT LIFE NEVER BECOMES DEATH; LIFE IS BEYOND THE CONCEPTION OF LIFE. IT SAYS THAT DEATH DOES NOT BECOME LIFE; DEATH IS BEYOND THAT OF DEATH. LIFE AND DEATH ARE BOTH ONLY ONE STAGE OF TIME, JUST LIKE WINTER AND SPRING. LIKEWISE, WE MUST NOT THINK THAT WINTER BECOMES SPRING, OR SAY THAT SPRING BECOMES SUMMER.

Dogen is saying that forms don't change into other forms. Winter remains winter, summer remains summer, but something inner moves on from one climate to another climate ... which is beyond birth and beyond death, which is beyond life, which simply is. You can give it any shape, any form, but you cannot take away its isness. This isness is the greatest discovery of the East, the West has missed it completely.

A haiku by Hokushi runs:

THE MOON ON THE PINE; I KEEP HANGING IT - TAKING IT OFF AND GAZING EACH TIME.

I have told you the moon is one of the great symbols in the mystery school of Zen ... you will come across the moon many times from different aspects.

THE MOON ON THE PINE; I KEEP HANGING IT ...

Just try to understand the poetry.

I KEEP HANGING IT - TAKING IT OFF AND GAZING EACH TIME.

Certainly you cannot hang the moon and take it off; but what you can do, you can open your eyes and you can close your eyes. When you close your eyes you have taken the moon away. When you open your eyes you bring the moon again. And gazing at it every time - it never fulfills the desire, the longing for beautitude.

Another haiku runs, ONE FULL MOON; STARS NUMBERLESS; THE SKY DARK GREEN.

These are not ordinary poetries, these are expressions of deep meditation. Night, and particularly moonlit nights, have been found to be very supportive to meditation. Now even science suspects that the moon has a certain effect on the mind; because most of the people who go mad, go mad on a full moon night, hence the word 'lunatic'. It comes from luna, the moon. Another word is 'moonstruck"

....

More people commit suicide on the full moon than at any other time and more people have become enlightened on the full moon than at any other time. Science has its own reasons .... The moon is really a part of the earth. Some four billion years ago a great chunk of the earth separated from the earth. All our great oceans are because of that chunk; deep valleys were left for rain to fill and they became the oceans.

The moon has one sixth the gravitation of the earth, because it is one sixth the size. That means that gazing at the moon, you slowly, slowly become more light, the gravitation is less on your being.

That is the scientist's explanation. And you can see the effect on the seas, because they are holding the place of the moon ... where the moon used to be once. That's why on the full moon there are great tides. In the human body there is eighty percent water, ocean water with the same chemicals.

Just as tides arise in the ocean, something arises in the human being. If he is on the right track perhaps he may become enlightened.

And if he is on the wrong track he can commit suicide or commit a murder or go mad ... there are thousands of ways. But there is only one way that reaches to your ultimate sensitivity, the way of meditation, the way of closing all outgoing doors and being in.

And once in a while these Zen meditators have opened their eyes and they have seen the moon or a sunset or a lotus, and out of their meditation a certain expression has arisen. Only through meditation will you be able to understand it - it is not poetry, it is not written with the mind, it is a heartfelt feeling.

ONE FULL MOON; STARS NUMBERLESS; THE SKY DARK GREEN.

If you are in deep meditation and you see this dark sky with so many stars and one single moon, immediately your silence will become immensely deeper.

These haikus are not meaningful for those who have not experienced anything of meditation.

A haiku by Shiki:

EVENING MOON:

PLUM BLOSSOMS START TO FALL UPON THE LUTE.

These are pictures seen by a deeply meditative consciousness. They don't mean anything, they are not supposed to have any meaning, they are pictorial.

Once Picasso was asked .... A man was watching him painting continuously for hours; finally he said, "I cannot resist asking, because I have been watching you paint for hours, but I can't make any sense out of what you are painting. What is it? What is the meaning of it?"

Picasso looked at the man and said, "I don't know. You can ask the picture yourself."

The man said, "Are you insane or something?"

Picasso said, "Perhaps, but nobody asks the rose, 'Why are you so beautiful? Why are you here in the first place?'

Nobody asks a sunset, nobody asks a full moon, but everybody goes on harassing me, 'What is the meaning of your painting?'

There is no meaning, it is a statement. I have enjoyed it tremendously, just the colors, flowing into each other, creating strange patterns."

Meaning is no more relevant in the world of beauty. And what to say about the world of meditation?

- no meaning, only significance. That's why those who have experienced have remained silent, or have spoken only to indicate to you the path to be silent.

Question 1:

Maneesha has asked,

OUR BELOVED MASTER,

WHAT IS OUR INVESTMENT IN REPRESSING OUR MEMORY OF PREVIOUS DEATHS?

IS IT NOT TRUE TO SAY THAT IF WE COULD RECALL OUR DEATHS WE MIGHT LOSE OUR
FEAR OF DEATH AND THUS BE ABLE TO LIVE A FEARLESS LIFE?

Maneesha, this is certainly one of our great investments in forgetting the past, the previous life.

Because if you remember it, you will not be able to be so foolish as to repeat the same game again.

You have done it so many times; you have fallen in love, you have fallen out of love, so many times ... so many romances! Our great investment is that each time we go to see the same film we forget that we have seen it before. Otherwise you will not go to see the movie, only once is enough.

But in life you don't complete the work in one time, in one lifetime. Your real work remains postponed and you go on playing games which are simply childish. The great investment is that you should not remember your whole past, otherwise you will feel yourself to be so much an idiot that enjoying life will become impossible. Only suicide will seem to be the right thing to do. But suicide leads nowhere, it simply enters your consciousness into another womb of a lower kind, because you could not manage to live on a higher level.

The investment also includes forgetting that you have ever died. It is always somebody else who dies, you never die. Obviously - you see every day, you hear every day that somebody has died; but you never hear that you have died. Except in this Buddha Hall where you hear every day, "Now die and don't hold anything back, die completely."

People from the outside will think, "This is a madhouse. People who are fully alive suddenly die and then don't wait much ... as they are called back, immediately they are back, sitting like buddhas!"

We are making it clear through our meditations that this is how it has been happening, you have been dying many times and again coming back. Whether you come after nine months ... an unnecessary wastage of time, of a woman's life ... then growing up and again playing the same role which you have played before ....

In the East the world is called sansara. Sansara means the great wheel of life and death. It goes on moving, the same wheel, and you are clinging to the wheel and you go on moving with the wheel from one death to another, from one life to another. The investment is that unless you learn the lesson, you cannot come out of this vicious circle of life and death. But you can come out. Every night we try; you jump a little ... it is old habit; when you come back you just try to find out where the wheel is. Soon you have forgotten about the center which was beyond life and death - suddenly you remember, "Where is the canteen?"

One naturally feels hungry after such a strenuous experience of dying and coming back, becoming a buddha ... knowing perfectly well that anybody may be a buddha, "But I am not; I have my wife, I have my children to look after. Just for a moment is okay, but twenty-four hours a buddha will not only be boring, it will be also a torture to others."

From my very childhood I was interested just to sit and not to do anything. I have never done any homework; my teachers were angry, "What do you go on doing at home?"

I said, "I simply sit and enjoy."

My family, and whoever would be passing by used to say, "What are you doing?"

I said, "There is no need to do anything - to be is enough!"

And they would look at me and say, "You are crazy! Do something, otherwise you will end up in being nothing."

And they were right, I have ended in being nothing. But I am immensely happy that I started very early to see that the greatest joy is inside, nobody can give it to me. I have never participated in any game, I have never bothered about any work the family needed. Slowly, slowly my family started taking for granted that I was no more - my being or not being made no difference.

I have enjoyed the faces of my family when they looked at me as if they were looking at an insane person; I still enjoy to remember it. Naturally if you are not doing something people think you are wasting your life. The reality is that when you are not doing anything, when you are just being, you are finding the path towards your ultimate destiny.

Before we die and become buddhas ... one time more, because one never knows about tomorrow, so better become tonight ....

Just a few small laughs, because Sardar Gurudayal Singh is waiting very silently. And Avirbhava ....

When Gozo the gorilla dies his female companion, Gertie, gets very horny. After a few months she begins to get violent, as her need for sex increases. Finally the zookeepers decide to get a man to make love to her.

They go downtown and pick up Jose, a big Mexican, and offer him twenty dollars to do the job.

They put a muzzle on Gertie's mouth, tie her arms to the bars, and then let the Mexican into the cage. When Gertie sees that Jose has an erection, she goes wild. She rips her arms loose from the bars and begins crushing him in her embrace.

"Help!" shouts Jose. "For Christ's sake, help!"

"Don't worry," shouts the keeper. "We'll get the elephant gun and shoot her!"

"No! No!" cries Jose. "Don't shoot her! Just get her muzzle off - I want to kiss her!"

Dodoski has fallen on hard times, so he turns to crime. He kidnaps the six-year-old son of the richest man in Warsaw. Dodoski writes the ransom note, asks for half a million dollars, and signs his name.

But he has forgotten the rich man's address. So he gives the note to the boy, and tells him to take it to his dad.

The boy does, and when he comes back with the money, he is carrying a note from his father.

It reads: "Here, take the filthy money, you rat. It's guys like you that give us Polacks a bad name!"

After a wild Saturday night of partying, Swami Deva Coconut is hauled off to a Sunday morning Mass by his Catholic girlfriend, Beverly. Since he is totally ignorant of the various rituals involved, Beverly is constantly coaching him.

"Bless yourself," she whispers. "Now kneel down - sit down - stand up - sit down again - cross yourself ..." - and so on.

Perspiring from all this activity, Coconut takes out a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his face.

Then he lays it on his lap to dry.

Seeing this, Beverly leans over and whispers, "Is your zipper open?"

"No," replies Coconut hastily, "should it be?"

Donald Dickstein walks into an optician's office, carrying a cardboard box. He hands it to the optician who opens it and exclaims, "Wow! That's the biggest turd I've ever seen!"

"Isn't it a beauty?" says Donald. "I did it myself."

The optician is very impressed and says, "It must be at least two feet long."

"Twenty-five and a half inches, to be exact," boasts Donald. "And three inches in diameter."

"Incredible," says the optician. "How much does it weigh?"

"Two and a half pounds," is the proud reply.

"That is simply amazing!" exclaims the optician, unable to take his eyes off the magnificent specimen.

"But why bring it to me? I'm an optician."

"Well, you see," says Donald, "I have this problem. Every time I do one of these monsters, my eyes water!"

Now, Nivedano, do a real good job because skinhead Niskriya is back ....

Nivedano ...

(Drumbeat)

(Gibberish)

Nivedano ...

(Drumbeat)

Be silent ...

Close your eyes ...

No movement of the body.

Let your whole consciousness gather inwards.

Deeper and deeper ...

You are entering into your buddhahood.

Without any fear go in, it is your own home.

Except knowing this, all knowledge is useless.

Except experiencing this you have wasted your very life in mundane things.

This is the sacred moment, drink it as deeply as possible.

Be soaked through and through.

Buddhahood is not an achievement, it is only a discovery, it is only going within your paper bag.

You are not your bones,

you are not your head,

you are not even your heart,

you are this beyondness, this silence.

Even if for a single moment you can experience it

your whole life will have a transformation.

To make it more clear, Nivedano ...

(Drumbeat)

Relax..let go ... die.

Die to the world, die to the body,

die to the mind,

so that only the eternal remains in you.

This formless eternal brings you a new birth.

You have entered as a human being,

you can come out of this womb of the beyond

as a buddha.

This bliss, this silence,

these roses blossoming within you,

they are your birthright. One can remain ignorant,

but one cannot be anything else than a buddha ...

awakened, enlightened,

that is our very destiny.

Nivedano ....

(Drumbeat)

Come back

without forgetting the experience,

sit down for a while, just for a few moments

drop the doubt that you cannot be a buddha.

You are. In spite of yourself, you are.

If this becomes an undercurrent twenty-four hours,

waking or sleeping, your life will know

what this existence is all about.

You will know the freedom, the ultimate freedom

which you have been longing for

for many, many lives.

Don't miss it this time.

Okay, Maneesha?

Yes, Beloved Master.

Can we celebrate ten thousand buddhas together?

Yes, Beloved Master.

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Fourteenth Degree (Perfect Elu)

"I do most solemnly and sincerely swear on the Holy Bible,
and in the presence of the Grand Architect of the Universe ...
Never to reveal ... the mysteries of this our Sacred and High Degree...

In failure of this, my obligation,
I consent to have my belly cut open,
my bowels torn from thence and given to the hungry vultures.

[The initiation discourse by the Grand Orator also states,
"to inflict vengeance on traitors and to punish perfidy and
injustice.']"