Live one day as a buddha

From:
Osho
Date:
Fri, 31 July 1988 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Dogen, the Zen Master: A Search and a Fulfillment
Chapter #:
7
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 WROTE:

PRACTICE IS IDENTICAL WITH EXPRESSION, AND VICE VERSA. TO EXPRESS THE WAY ALL
DAY IS TO PRACTICE THE WAY ALL DAY. IN OTHER WORDS, WE PRACTICE SOMETHING
IMPRACTICABLE AND EXPRESS SOMETHING INEXPRESSIBLE ....

EACH DAY'S LIFE SHOULD BE ESTEEMED; THE BODY SHOULD BE RESPECTED. SO IF WE
CAN REALLY GET THE BUDDHIST FUNCTION EVEN IN A DAY, SUCH A SINGLE DAY CAN BE
SAID TO BE MORE VALUABLE THAN COUNTLESS IDLE LIVES.

THEREFORE, BEFORE WE HAVE REALIZED THE WAY, WE MUST NOT IDLE AWAY EVEN A
SINGLE DAY. SUCH A SINGLE DAY IS TOO PRECIOUS A TREASURE TO BE COMPARED WITH
A FINE JEWEL. ANCIENT WISE PERSONS HELD IT DEARER THAN THEIR BODY AND LIFE.

WE MUST THINK QUIETLY THAT A FINE JEWEL AND A RARE GEM, THOUGH LOST, MAY BE
ACQUIRED AGAIN, BUT THAT A SINGLE DAY IN A HUNDRED YEARS OF LIFE, ONCE LOST,
NEVER RETURNS. NO MATTER HOW SKILLFUL WE MAY BE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BRING
BACK EVEN A SINGLE DAY OF THE PAST. NO HISTORY BOOK SAYS THAT IT IS POSSIBLE ....

WHY DOES TIME DEPRIVE US OF OUR TRAINING, DAILY AND LIFELONG? WHY HAS TIME
A GRUDGE AGAINST US? IT IS, UNFORTUNATELY, BECAUSE WE HAVE EVER NEGLECTED
OUR PRACTICE ....

WITHOUT LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW EVERY MOMENT, YOU MUST THINK ONLY
OF THIS DAY AND THIS HOUR. BECAUSE TOMORROW IS DIFFICULT AND UNFIXED, AND
DIFFICULT TO KNOW, YOU MUST THINK OF FOLLOWING THE WAY WHILE YOU LIVE TODAY
.... YOU MUST CONCENTRATE ON ZEN PRACTICE WITHOUT WASTING TIME, THINKING THAT
THERE IS ONLY THIS DAY AND THIS HOUR. AFTER THAT, IT BECOMES TRULY EASY. YOU
MUST FORGET ABOUT THE GOOD AND THE BAD OF YOUR NATURE, THE STRENGTH OR
WEAKNESS OF YOUR POWER.

Maneesha, before I start talking about Dogen I have to make a few statements. One is about Zen master Niskriya. He had fallen so low in the West that yesterday I called him Skinhead, rather than Stonehead. And he had come perfectly dressed, like a Zen master. Today he is not wearing his robe. It does not matter even if you become a skinhead, back here you are again Sekito - the Zen Master Stonehead. So cut your hair and put on your Zen master's dress, with your staff - it may be needed any time. I have been missing you for so long, there was nobody here to hit people. And you should not do such a thing - growing hair on a stonehead. Be ashamed of yourself.

In Germany nobody may have noticed it, but here everybody will notice, "What happened to Zen Master Sekito?" He got lost. Everybody gets lost, particularly back in Germany where real idiots, very authentic idiots, live. He fell from the heights of being a Zen master into a skinhead.

Just shave your head and be your own self with your Zen stick and Zen master's robe. You are still a buddha. It does not matter that you traveled to Germany, your buddha-nature is intact. That has been our whole discussion on Dogen's sutras. You can even go to Germany, even become a member of the German parliament - you cannot fall more than that - still you will be a buddha.

And second, to Zareen. She has been moving around the ashram the whole day in her robe to prove the fact that, yes, she does look like a balloon. I was hoping that she would have courage enough to come here like that, but she has come again here with a sari.

A balloon is beautiful. Just all you need is to make a few windows here and there to see who is inside. She is a great woman, and that's why she was not afraid. The whole day everybody was talking about the balloon. I was sitting in my room, listening to all kinds of gossip about her coming in a balloon. And here I see she is sitting in her usual dress, looking so beautiful.

The sari has a magic. The people who discovered the sari must have been very aesthetic. They wanted their women to look like Khajuraho statues - round, full.

The idea arose in the West, with women's liberation, that the woman has to look like a man; she has to wear pants. It proves a strange psychological fact. Because of her dress, she started losing the curves that she always had in the past, even in the West. She started becoming a straight line, flat.

Looking at a Western woman with pants and a shirt, with a cigarette in her hand, you have to think for a moment whether she is a woman or a man. That kind of confusion never arises in the East.

A woman is a woman, a man is a man. And the woman has not to imitate man; otherwise she will destroy herself. She has to be herself. She is not inferior, she is simply different.

The liberation movement emphasizes the wrong point. There is no question of equality. You don't ask for equality between two different things. A woman has her own uniqueness, she has not to imitate man. And by imitation, remember, you will not even be a woman, you will be only a second- rate man.

The sari gives a certain freedom to the Indian woman to grow curves. She is more explorable. In the Western woman, what are you going to explore? She is just as she looks with clothes. But the Indian woman is totally different. You are going to be surprised ... She has something interesting hidden behind the sari. It is a great invention.

But don't imitate because then you look very weird. Just think of Zareen in pants and a shirt; she would become the most weird animal around. Right now she is so beautiful.

But there is always a desire to be in other people's dresses, in other people's lifestyles. And one does not know that this is the way that one becomes lost and forgets the way home. Never, for a single moment, be imitative. Just be yourself. And not only be yourself; Dogen says, "Respect yourself. Respect your body."

These are the beautiful things that Zen has brought into the history of mankind, particularly in the history of consciousness.

DOGEN WROTE:

PRACTICE IS IDENTICAL WITH EXPRESSION, AND VICE VERSA.

He is talking about an authentic man; what in Zen language is called the original man. His practice is identical with his expression. There are not two persons in him, there is only a single individuality.

Silent, it is the same. In expression, in manifestation - in any possible way - it is the still the same.

Raising my hand, I am as much a buddha as without raising it.

PRACTICE IS IDENTICAL WITH EXPRESSION, AND VICE VERSA. But this is not true about the man that has come to exist in this contemporary world. He says something, he thinks something, he desires something; he really wants something else. He is simply a confusion. The modern man is a confused buddha. He does not know that to be one he has to drop many masks. All those masks are to deceive people, to create a certain respectability, a reputation.

But deep down you are dishonest. There is nothing wrong in being dishonest, but then express it, and be clear: "But I am not an honest man, don't rely on me." And you will feel a certain freedom that you have never known. When your expression and your being are one, you have the whole sky as your freedom. Otherwise, one is tied down to his lies.

It is said about George Gurdjieff ... To explain to his disciples, he developed a certain technique. He could laugh with half of his face, and at the same time he could be sad with the other half. It is very difficult, I don't know how he managed it. But he had lived with very ancient tribes in Turkestan, in the Soviet Union's very backward parts where people are still as primitive as you can conceive. His father died early so he had to live with first one tribe, then another tribe. He was only nine years old but he started learning - because those tribes steal, play music, do magic, heal people. They are moving people; they don't have houses, stability. They enjoy traveling, they are vagabonds.

But he turned this into a great opportunity to learn all their tricks. One of their tricks was that they could manage to divide their face in two. And while teaching his students, once in a while he would do that trick. Somebody is sitting by his right side and somebody on his left side; and on one side he will look very angry, and on the other side very loving and peaceful. And they both report to each other what is going on. One says that he is very loving and very peaceful. The other says, "Peaceful? He looks very dangerous, violent, murderous. He looked at me with an eye that I am not going to forget for months."

When it was reported to him, Gurdjieff would say, "This is what I want you to understand: modern man has many faces."

You should watch. When you meet your wife and you say, "Darling," do you really mean it? "My sweetheart" - do you really mean it? When you are saying those words, are you remembering some other woman? Unfortunately, you have to say these words to the woman whom you want to kill. But you are not that courageous either. When you see your servant, have you the same face as when you see your boss? Just watch the changes in your face. You are not a single unity, integrated.

Whether clouds come and go, whether clouds are white or black, does not matter. The moon remains shining the same. The clouds come and go, they don't leave any scratches on the moon.

But every cloud - that means every mask that you wear - leaves its marks on you.

So I have seen people laughing, but I see that they are almost at the point of weeping. They are hiding their tears behind a fake smile. And people are doing the opposite also.

I used to live with one of my relatives. A faraway relative of my relative had come for treatment of his wife. The wife died, and naturally my relatives had to show all kinds of mourning. They were really not at all concerned with it. In fact they were happy that she was gone because, with her, the whole family was suffering unnecessarily. The moment she died her husband went back to his city, but people used to come to the house. It was just a conformity, a social pattern, to show your sympathy.

So the woman of the house was in a trouble, because when you don't have any tears ... it is very difficult. And each day it might happen ten times.

I used to stay out in the garden. She told me, "Keep a bell here with you."

I said, "For what?"

She said, "Whenever somebody comes, you just ring the bell. Then I will pull down my ghoonghat and start crying. It will be false, but what else to do?"

The sari has that great quality also. You can pull down your ghoonghat ... inside you may not be crying but you can pretend to be in immense sadness and misery.

I said, "This is a great strategy. But beware of me."

She said, "What do you mean?"

I said, "I can ring the bell at the wrong person."

She said, "No, you should not do that. I have been harassed, tortured, for months taking care of that woman, who was only a faraway relative." But in India, faraway relatives are still relatives.

Sometimes one does not know in what way a person is a relative, but you have to take care of them if they proclaim they are. Some cousin of your cousins ...

I said, "don't be worried."

She used to remain inside the house. Whenever somebody came, I simply gave her the bell, and she would immediately pull down her ghoonghat. There is no word for ghoonghat in English - it is part of the sari. But you all understand what it is. It means pulling your tent down a little so that your face is hidden, so nobody can see what actually is happening on your face. And you can pretend anything.

So for a few days I managed it. One day her husband came and I rang the bell. That was so hilarious that even today I cannot forget it. She pulled her tent down and started weeping as if somebody had died. The husband said, "Has somebody died again?"

She looked through the ghoonghat, and seeing that it was her husband, she said, "No, it is ... I knew that sometime he was going to deceive me, but I never thought that he would shock you. Where is he?"

They both came out and she said, "This is not good. My husband is not coming in the house to sympathize or to mourn."

I said, "He looked so sad that I thought that somebody must have died. And it is better to make you aware that your husband is looking very sad. This is not the moment to desire a loving word; this is a moment to weep and cry with him."

The husband said, "What do you mean, I was looking sad?"

I said, "Now, don't provoke me. By nature, your face is such that it seems somebody has died. I don't usually say it, because what is the point? You are not responsible. This is the face you have got."

He said, "Really, I look so sad?"

I said, "You can ask anybody. I can bring a few witnesses from the neighborhood. Everybody knows that you are very sad and very serious and worried."

He said, "No need to bring the neighbors" - because he knew I would convince a few people. "I will try to make my face better. I will try once in a while to laugh, smile."

I said to him, "It is not a question of trying. In the first place, you shave your moustache. You have a strange moustache that makes you look like a clown."

He said, "You live in my house and you always create trouble. Now, I love my moustache, I cannot shave it."

I said, "It is up to you. But this is what makes your face look so sad. Get some false moustache. Glue it on whenever you want a moustache, but this moustache won't do." He certainly had a moustache, drooping all over the face.

But everybody is having different kinds of faces, and it has become almost an autonomous process; they don't have to change. Just you see a man walking with his wife and you know with whom he is walking. You don't have to inquire, "Are you married?" And look at him with his girlfriend and again you don't have to inquire. Just their faces, with so much freedom, joy - momentary, but even a momentary phenomenon makes them happy, changes their faces.

A seeker, according to Dogen, has to remember his integrity. In every situation, his practice and his expression should be identical.

TO EXPRESS THE WAY ALL DAY IS TO PRACTICE THE WAY ALL DAY.

TO EXPRESS THE WAY ALL DAY .... I have told you you are all buddhas. Reluctantly, you accept it. Deep down, you know who you are. Somebody is a doctor, somebody is an attorney, somebody is a rickshaw walla. "A buddha pulling a rickshaw? My God, this has never happened.' But because I am saying it, and you love me, and you trust me, you say, "Okay." Right now, at least inside Buddha Hall anyway, you will not be allowed to bring your rickshaw or your rented bicycle.

What is the harm in being a buddha? But once out of the hall you start having second thoughts, "Where am I going? I am a buddha? Then what am I doing smoking a cigarette?" Now just think - a buddha smoking a cigarette? Inconceivable.

If you want to know your essential self you have to express it all the way, all the day, in every smallest expression. It does not matter - even if you are pulling a rickshaw, you can pull the rickshaw with deep compassion, with love, with respect for the passenger, with care about other people in the traffic.

I am making buddhahood simple and at the same time very complicated. It is very easy to sit under a bodhi tree in the lotus posture and declare to the world, "I am a buddha." The real thing is when you are sitting by the side of your wife, constantly afraid, "One never knows when she will start nagging."

When I was telling you the story yesterday about "Nag, nag, nag," Miyah Farookh was pulling Zareen's sari, with each nag reminding her, "Just know what you have been doing all your life."

He is a very unique child. It is unfortunate that he is missing these two days otherwise he would have enjoyed. When, in a story, the sun said to Mikhail Gorbachev, "Now I'm in the West - fuck you!"

He rolled down on the ground. He understood that this is great. And when I was telling a story about an advocate - that he is a lion in the court - even before I could say it, I heard him saying silently, "In the home he is a rat." But every husband is in the same situation.

We need a world ... a new man, a new woman, a new child, who has intelligence. Not to imitate, not to deceive, but to stand on his own with power and integrity. Even if it means that he will be condemned by the whole world, it does not matter. What ultimately matters is that you have your own face.

IN OTHER WORDS, WE PRACTICE SOMETHING IMPRACTICABLE AND EXPRESS
SOMETHING INEXPRESSIBLE.

Remember it. When you are watering the rose bush, remember that its beauty, its flowers, its greenness is so profound, but it is inexpressible. Never forget that this experience of beauty is as inexpressible as the experience of your own self. If you just watch, you will find in your life, in each moment, things which are inexpressible. You have just become accustomed. Your becoming accustomed is just a forgetfulness.

Socrates remembered at the last moment of his life, "I don't know anything. Let it be remembered by the coming generations that I didn't know."

He was proclaimed by the Oracle of Delphi as the wisest man in the whole world. The people who had heard the oracle went to Socrates with great joy to tell him what the oracle had said. Socrates said, "Just please go and tell the oracle that this time the oracle has been wrong. As far as I know, I know nothing."

The people were sad. They went back to Delphi and told the oracle what Socrates had said. "He says, 'I don't know anything at all,' and you call him the wisest man in the world.'

The oracle laughed and said, "Exactly because of this I call him the wisest man of the world - because he has come to the point where he knows that he knows nothing."

Only in this space your potentiality blossoms to its totality. It is not knowledge - it is so deep that you can call it a heartbeat, or, perhaps more deeply, you can call it the heartbeat of the universe itself.

But you cannot call it knowledge. And there is no way to express it.

If you can remember this in your everyday affairs ... Do you think you know your child? Have you ever thought about it; that your child has come through you but he is a mystery coming from the beyond?

You cannot possess him. You can take care of this mysterious expression of life, you can love him.

But you should not condition him, you should not take him to the church or to the synagogue or to the temple to start the conditioning process which destroys his innocence and takes away his authenticity.

I have heard about a rabbi and a bishop. They lived next to each other and both were very competitive. They had to be, to convince their congregations: "Who is greater?" One day the rabbi looked over the fence, and could not believe what he saw. The bishop was pouring water on a Cadillac.

He said, "What are you doing?"

The bishop said, "I am giving the Christian ceremony to my new Cadillac - baptism. You don't know about these things."

The rabbi was very humiliated. The next day he found a Rolls Royce. It was a question, not only of himself but of his religion. When the bishop was in his garden he came out with some garden shears and started cutting the exhaust pipe. The bishop was shocked. He said, "What are you doing? A new Rolls Royce and you are destroying it."

The rabbi said, "You don't understand these things. This is called circumcision. From now on this Rolls Royce is Jewish."

That's what we are doing even to human beings. We don't allow a child to be himself. And that is causing all the misery in the world: that nobody is himself. Everybody is imitating somebody else, everybody has become a carbon copy of somebody else, everybody is almost like a broken record that has been used for centuries. Nobody has newness, freshness - one's own originality.

Remember, when you see a child, that he is as inexpressible as you. When you see a pine tree, don't forget it.

This is what Dogen means ... practicing real religion; remembering in every action, thought, silence, always, that it is inexpressible, it is mysterious; that we are living in a miracle world. All our explanations are just consolations. Nothing is explained, either by science or by religion. For thousands of years religion has tried to befool people by giving them explanations about the creation of the world, about God - how he created the world in six days, how he has taken away the paradise of man and woman. Unless you are very torturous towards yourself you will never be allowed back into the garden. And people believed it, people have lived according to it.

Different religions have been propagating different superstitions. Now slowly slowly science has come to take the place of religion. But do you know that every scientific explanation is momentary?

What it says today it may not say tomorrow. Every research goes on deeper, and old explanations become out of date. Old medicines which were thought to be helping people are found to have been harming people. But as long as the superstitions continued everybody believed, even the doctors believed.

This is true about what they believe even today, because tomorrow it may not be the same. Now we are full of scientific superstitions. Science has not changed man's being. Just as religion has failed, science has failed to remind him that everything is an immense mystery. The very effort to find an explanation is wrong - just love it, live it, dance it. don't waste your time in finding explanations.

This is the Zen attitude.

EACH DAY'S LIFE SHOULD BE ESTEEMED; Do you ever esteem your life? ... THE BODY
SHOULD BE RESPECTED.

Do you respect your body? It serves you for seventy years without any salary, without going on a strike, without taking a morcha - a protest march - against you. But you have not even thought that some respect is due, that your body needs to be valued.

SO IF WE CAN REALLY GET THE BUDDHIST FUNCTION EVEN IN A DAY, SUCH A SINGLE DAY
CAN BE SAID TO BE MORE VALUABLE THAN COUNTLESS IDLE LIVES.

That's why I say, every night, these few moments are the most valuable moments in your life. And every evening, when so many living buddhas gather here, this place becomes the most important in the whole world - the spiritual capital of the world. Because nowhere are so many people meditating together. Nowhere are so many people digging so deep that they can find the very life source, the eternity, the deathlessness.

Dogen is right. Even if we can live one day, just twenty-four hours, as a buddha - reminding ourselves continuously that each of our actions should reflect a buddha - that single day becomes more precious than thousands of lives. And if you can do it for one day, who is preventing you from doing it every day? If you can be a buddha here, why can you not be a buddha anywhere else? It is simply a question of being alert, respectful of existence, loving; of being utterly contented with the flowers, with the birds, with the trees, with the stars. Such a tremendous universe is given to you and you never pay any attention to it. You never give any gratitude. The whole beauty of existence is available to you, and you are reading a third-rate yellow newspaper that you have been reading since the morning. And not having anything else to do, you start reading it again.

It happened that a man used to live next to my house who was retired, senile, and everybody thought him mad except me. He was very friendly towards me. His only love affair was the newspaper, and because many newspapers used to come to me, he would come every morning - sometimes when I was not even awake he would knock. And I would give him anything - ten-year-old magazines - and he would say, "Thank you."

I was amazed. I said to him, "You know perfectly well that this magazine is ten years old."

He said, "What does it matter? To me it is new, I have not read it before. People think me mad. Do you think I'm mad?"

I said, "Certainly not, your argument is absolutely right. For you it is not ten years old, it is fresh, because you have not read it."

But he reminded me that his whole concern was newspapers. In a day he would come two, three times to ask me, "Has anything new come? The evening newspaper?"

I asked him, "Is the newspaper the whole world?"

He said, "What else to do? I am retired from my work. People think I am mad, so I don't have any social life. People avoid me. You are the only person who will talk with me, who respects me, who accepts me as a human being. And what else is there? I am only waiting for death."

The day he said to me, "I am only waiting for death," I started to think about everyone - What are you doing? Somebody is running a business, somebody is accumulating money, somebody is becoming more powerful in politics.

But do you understand that you are moving towards death? Each moment death is coming closer and closer. And have you gathered anything that you will be able to take with you when you die?

Except meditation, you cannot take any of your possessions with you. All that is outside of you will be left behind. Only the inner flame ... if you have found it, if you have become conscious of it, then there is no death for you. But if you are not conscious of it you will think also, as others are thinking, that you are dead.

It is simply a question of thinking. If you know yourself exactly, you are never dead. But you never go inwards. You have simply forgotten that there is an immense space waiting for you, and that is your real home. All our efforts here in this Buddha Hall are efforts to make you acquainted again with your real home, which will not be burned on a funeral pyre, which will remain until eternity, in different forms or in formlessness. That is your buddhahood.

But to make it a constant remembrance you have to work out a certain discipline. The discipline is simple: remember always that everything is a miracle, everything is inexpressible. This whole world is so mysterious that you don't have to read detective novels and you don't have to go to see movies.

If you can understand this silence, you will love to find spaces where you can be silent again and again. If you can touch the waters of life within you, you would love ... in your whole day, whenever you can find just a moment, sipping the tea ... you would love to look in, to see whether those waters of life are still flowing. One becomes accustomed, slowly slowly, to the eternity of oneself.

But whether you know it or not, it is there.

SUCH A SINGLE DAY IS TOO PRECIOUS A TREASURE TO BE COMPARED WITH A FINE
JEWEL. ANCIENT WISE PERSONS HELD IT DEARER THAN THEIR BODY AND LIFE.

WE MUST THINK QUIETLY THAT A FINE JEWEL AND A RARE GEM, THOUGH LOST, MAY BE
ACQUIRED AGAIN, BUT THAT A SINGLE DAY IN A HUNDRED YEARS OF LIFE, ONCE LOST,
NEVER RETURNS.

Remember that not a single moment will come back again into your hands. That which is gone is gone forever.

Take out the whole juice of every moment. The moment will be gone; but the juice, the experience, the mystery, the fragrance of it will surround you. And every day it will become deeper and deeper, thicker and thicker. A day will come when you will not be afraid to declare that you are a buddha.

It will come on its own, spontaneously; a sudden lightning and you will say, "My God - what have I been doing up to now? I am a buddha and this whole universe is my home. As much as I need it, it needs me too."

We are part of one tremendous mystery.

NO MATTER HOW SKILLFUL WE MAY BE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BRING BACK EVEN A SINGLE
DAY OF THE PAST. NO HISTORY BOOK SAYS THAT IT IS POSSIBLE.

WHY DOES TIME DEPRIVE US OF OUR TRAINING, DAILY AND LIFELONG? WHY HAS TIME
A GRUDGE AGAINST US? IT IS, UNFORTUNATELY, BECAUSE WE HAVE EVER NEGLECTED
OUR PRACTICE.

WITHOUT LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW EVERY MOMENT, YOU MUST THINK ONLY
OF THIS DAY AND THIS HOUR. BECAUSE TOMORROW IS DIFFICULT AND UNFIXED, AND
DIFFICULT TO KNOW, YOU MUST THINK OF FOLLOWING THE WAY WHILE YOU LIVE TODAY.

In fact, the tomorrow is not certain: it may come, it may not come. Those who know have even said that tomorrow never comes. What comes is always today. So do whatever you want to do this moment. Catch hold of your life source because tomorrow it may be too late. It is already late.

YOU MUST CONCENTRATE ON ZEN PRACTICE WITHOUT WASTING TIME, THINKING THAT
THERE IS ONLY THIS DAY AND THIS HOUR. AFTER THAT, IT BECOMES TRULY EASY. YOU
MUST FORGET ABOUT THE GOOD AND THE BAD OF YOUR NATURE, THE STRENGTH OR
WEAKNESS OF YOUR POWER.

Just accept as you are, and enjoy and relish and sing and dance as you are. Acceptance is a gratitude towards existence. Anything that you don't accept means you are blaming existence. In all your prayers, and in all your prayer houses, what are you doing? You are asking God, just like a beggar, "Give me this, give me that." You don't trust existence, you demand. Demanding is not a quality of religious consciousness. Hence the real religion has no way of praying. It only lives, and lives in such a way that the very life becomes a gratitude.

A haiku by Choshu:

THE MOON IN THE WATER;

BROKEN AND BROKEN AGAIN,

STILL IT IS THERE.

It is almost unbelievable how Zen poets have said things. No other language has been able to rise to such heights. What Choshu is saying:

THE MOON IN THE WATER;

BROKEN AND BROKEN AGAIN

... because each time wind comes, a wave comes, the moon is broken in a thousand pieces. But again the lake becomes silent and all the broken pieces all over the lake start gathering again. Because it is a reflection the moon is never broken, it is only the reflection that is broken. And because the moon is never broken, it does not matter that its reflection is broken a thousand times.

All our bodies, all our minds, all our lives are nothing but reflections of the real moon ... broken a thousand times. Still, in the innermost core of your being, the moon is as full and as perfect as ever.

Issa wrote:

THE YOUNGEST NIGHTINGALE THAT

CAN REJOICE

CALLS TO ITS PARENTS IN A YELLOW

VOICE.

Now, you are not to be worried about what is said; these words are very indicative. Issa must have been in deep meditation and he heard the nightingale rejoicing and calling to its parents in a yellow voice. He is not saying anything about the nightingale, he is saying something about his silence.

When you are in silence and a cuckoo from the bamboos starts singing, it deepens your silence.

And another poet:

WHATEVER WE WEAR,

WE LOOK BEAUTIFUL,

WHEN MOON-VIEWING.

The moon certainly makes everything beautiful. On a full-moon night you see beauty spread all around, even to ordinary plants. Ordinary flowers are shining with joy. Small puddles of water are reflecting the full moon with as much depth as the greatest ocean.

So it does not matter which body you have; whether man or woman, bird or animal; whether you are poor or rich. In a silent space, just watching the moon and you are filled with tremendous beauty.

That beauty arises in your innermost world. The moon simply triggers it.

Question 1:

Maneesha has asked:

OUR BELOVED MASTER,

OFTEN IMAGES ARISE OF THEIR OWN ACCORD DURING DISCOURSE AND THE DEATH
PHASE OF THE MEDITATION, AND MAKE WHATEVER IS HAPPENING STRONGER AND MORE
VIVID. CAN VISUALIZATION HELP, OR BECAUSE IT IS MERELY IMAGINATION, IS IT USELESS?

Maneesha, it is absolutely useless. No ripple has to be allowed. The silence has to be absolutely pure. Any visualization will be a disturbance, any thought will distract you from your being. So I am saying categorically: everything is useless while you are meditating. Meditation is taking you in a different direction, not of utility but of existence. And all your visualization will be of the world that you know, you cannot visualize something that you don't know. And you don't know your own self, your don't know the inner sky, so you cannot visualize it. And once you know it, there is no need to visualize, it is in your hands. You are no longer poor, you have become the richest person in the world - having nothing.

Meditation, perhaps, is the only alchemy that can transform a beggar into an emperor.

Before you become emperors, before you become buddhas again tonight, you must be remembering a little bit of yesterday. You know the path. Every day you have to go a little further, a little deeper.

A few laughs to make you light, to make you nonserious ....

I am being blamed all over the world, in articles, that I am a nonserious man. They think they are condemning me - it is a compliment. They don't understand that, to me, seriousness is sickness.

And to be nonserious, to be playful, to take everything as fun is, according to me, the only authentic religiousness.

Millicent Money-Butt is an extremely rich and an extremely frustrated woman. She is especially irritable today because it has been weeks since her husband or her chauffeur or her stable boy or anybody has made love to her. Deciding that she needs to move her energy, she calls her butler, James, upstairs to draw her a hot bath.

James knocks quietly and then enters her room. Millie turns to him slowly, and says, "James, please take my dress off."

"Yes, madam," says the butler, looking a bit shy.

"Now, James," says Millie, "please take my bra off."

"Er, yes, madam," says the shocked butler.

"And now, James," she says with fire in her eyes, "please take my panties off."

Then stepping up close to him, she orders, "James, next time I catch you wearing my clothes you will be fired!"

Jablonski gets married, but does not know what to do with his bride on the wedding night. So the next day he goes to ask advice from Doctor Gas-Bag.

"It is easy," says Gas-Bag, and takes Jablonski to the window. He points to two dogs screwing out in the street and says, "You do it just like that."

A week later, Jablonski comes back. "Well," asks the doctor, "how did it go?"

"Great, Doc," says Jablonski, proudly. "It was simple, no big deal at all. The only problem was getting my wife out into the street!"

Olga and Kowalski are living in an L.A. apartment, when a young couple moves in upstairs. Soon, every night, the Polacks hear the noise, "She-BOOM! She-BOOM!" coming from the floor above.

Olga is intrigued by the noise, and one day asks the young woman what it is.

"Oh, that," replies the woman. "We have had a slide installed in our bedroom. I lie at the bottom of it with my legs apart, and my husband slides down ... She-BOOM!"

A few days pass and the young woman does not see the Kowalskis around. She finds out that Olga is in the hospital, so she goes to visit her.

"What happened to you?" she asks.

"It is a sad story," replies Olga. "My husband and I also had a slide installed in our bedroom, but we only got to try it once. Now I have had three operations, and they still can" t find Kowalski."

Kronski is going to join the army, so he goes to visit his girlfriend, Dilda, to say goodbye.

"Oh, darling," cries Dilda. "I don't have a picture of you!"

So Kronski looks in his pockets, and all he has is a photo of himself standing naked. He cuts the picture in two, and gives her the top half.

Next he goes to visit his old grandmother to say goodbye.

"Oh, dear boy," says his granny. "You can't leave without giving me a picture of you."

Kronski does not know what to do, but remembering that his granny is half-blind, he gives her the bottom half of the picture. She looks at it with delight and says, "Just like your grandfather, God rest his soul. A nice bushy beard, and his necktie always hanging to one side."

Now ... Nivedano ...

(Drumbeat)

(Gibberish)

Nivedano ...

(Drumbeat)

Be silent,

close your eyes,

feel as if your body is frozen,

and gather all your consciousness inwards,

deeper and deeper.

At the deepest point you are the buddha.

And this buddha

has to become your whole life.

All expressions, actions,

have to arise from this center.

This center is the center of transformation.

Every seeker has been searching for it

down the ages.

This is the ancient path.

On this path

thousands have become awakened.

There is no barrier except fear -

the fear of the unknown.

Drop it.

Just rush towards it without any fear -

it is your own being.

You are not going to meet anybody else

on the way ...

there is no question of fear.

This moment, this evening,

is blessed by ten thousand buddhas

who have returned home.

Nivedano ...

(Drumbeat)

Relax ... let go ...

die to the body,

to the mind,

so only a throbbing consciousness

is left behind.

That is you.

That is me.

That is the very essence of existence.

Just a small taste of this silence,

a little experience of this beauty,

of this truth,

and slowly slowly your whole life

will be transformed

without your even knowing.

Your actions

will start expressing your buddhahood,

your compassion,

your love, your beauty.

Nivedano ...

(Drumbeat)

Call all the buddhas back to life.

Sit down for a few moments ...

collecting the immense experience,

making yourself sure of it,

that you have got it.

Because you have to live it.

I am not a philosopher.

And I am not a priest.

I am a man in tremendous love

with life and existence.

All that I want to share with you

is just to make you aware

that if I can become a buddha,

there is no reason why you cannot.

We have only different bodies

but we all have the same soul.

If my soul has become aflame,

that has given me the authority to say to you

that you can also become aflame.

And this fire is eternal.

Remember it in every action,

in every expression.

Remember not to behave in any way

which will be disgraceful to a buddha.

This small discipline will bring you

to the best qualities of your being,

to their flowering.

Okay, Maneesha?

Yes, Beloved Master.

Can we celebrate ten thousand buddhas

and their evening?

Yes, Beloved Master.

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