Vipassana comes in the end
OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS I'VE SPENT MANY WEEKS IN ISOLATION AT DHARMAGIRI, PRACTICING VIPASSANA MEDITATION AS TAUGHT BY S.N. GOENKA. I'VE NEVER EXPERIENCED SUCH PAIN, SUFFERING AND DOUBT EVER BEFORE. PRESENTLY I FEEL VERY EXHAUSTED, TIRED, YEARNING DEEPLY TO CONNECT WITH MY HEART. MY INTEREST IN THE MEDITATION PRACTICE IS PASSING AWAY.
BELOVED MASTER, IS THIS TYPE OF MEDITATION PRACTICE NECESSARY? IS IT HELPFUL?
CAN AWARENESS AND CELEBRATION ALONE PIERCE TO THE DEPTH OF THE MIND AND DISSOLVE THE DARKEST NIGHTS?
Sagaresh, the vipassana meditation was invented by Gautam Buddha, and for twenty-five centuries Buddhists have been torturing themselves. Now, who told you to go to Dharmagiri to S.N. Goenka, to learn a meditation for which the whole context is missing? The meditation was perfectly right for a man like Gautam Buddha. Always remember, everything is related, interdependent with a certain context.
A German poet, Heine, was lost in a forest for days. Utterly tired, exhausted, hungry, he could not find the way; neither could he find anyone who could show him the way. In the nights he was resting up on the trees; otherwise wild animals would destroy him. And there came the full-moon night. He had written many poems... the moon had been one of his most loved objects, and he had written beautiful songs about it. But that night, tired and hungry and afraid, he looked at the full moon and he could not believe it - what he saw in the full moon he had never seen before. And he had been a lifelong moon gazer. That night he saw a loaf of bread!
What you see depends on you. People see the faces of their loved ones, people see their dream girls in the moon, but nobody has ever seen a loaf of bread. But his experience was absolutely authentic - but only in his context.
I am reminding you of this because people tend to forget that life is a very interwoven, interdependent, cosmic whole. You cannot take a part out of it and keep it alive, meaningful. I will not tell you to do vipassana unless I can also give you the experience of Gautam Buddha. Poor Goenka cannot understand this. He is just a businessman. What does he understand about the context in which vipassana arose?
Gautam Buddha had lived in tremendous luxury, surrounded by beautiful girls, beautiful palaces.
The whole night was a celebration; the day was for rest, the night for dances and drinking. Out of this experience he became tired. He had seen all the beautiful girls; there was nothing more to be seen. He had seen that every man and woman is just a skeleton, covered with a thin skin. Just think for a moment: here all of you are skeletons covered with thin skin! This body and its beauty fades very soon.
He had seen all that was possible in those days for a man of power and riches to see, but he could not find peace, contentment, silence. He could not find himself. Utterly frustrated, he moved out of the palace one night - because this life is going to end in a few days, or in a few years. It is not something to cling to. Each moment death is coming closer; before death grabs you, you have to figure out something which is eternal, which is immortal.
All that you see around you is made of the same stuff as dreams are. Do you think you are for the first time on the earth? On the same earth millions of people have come and simply disappeared into thin air.
Scientists have calculated that the place you are occupying has been occupied by at least ten people before you. You are sitting on ten corpses! And don't think much of yourself, because you cannot get out - you will be the eleventh. And remember, it is not a laughing matter for you. Those ten corpses will laugh at you: "Look, the poor fellow was thinking of great things and finally is flat on the pile of corpses."
Gautam Buddha's search for truth, for himself, for the source of life which is eternal, cannot be the search of a poor man who is hungry, who is searching for a loaf of bread. But people have completely forgotten Gautam Buddha. They have taken his meditation out of context. He could meditate because there was nothing else in the world to think about, to desire, to be ambitious for.
The world was, in a way, finished the day he left his house; he never looked back.
I am reminded of a beautiful story.... Buddha was afraid that if he went into the mountains of his own kingdom, his father's armies would find him; he would not be able to escape. He was the only son of an old king, who was hoping that he would succeed him. And he had made a big kingdom for him.
So he immediately passed beyond the boundaries of his kingdom to the neighboring kingdom. And the king was very furious. He ordered the armies not to leave even a single inch unsearched: "Look around, all over the country."
Gautam Buddha was not found, but he was not aware that the kingdom he had entered belonged to a friend of his father. So the father informed this king and other kings surrounding his kingdom, "You have to find my son. In my old age at least you can do this much for me; we have been friends."
The neighboring king found Gautam Buddha and he said, "If you are angry, if you have fought with your father... It happens. It is not something strange or unfamiliar; fathers and sons have always been fighting. Don't be worried. I have only one daughter and no son - get married to my daughter and you will have two kingdoms together. Your father is old; he cannot live long. And my kingdom is far bigger than your father's. He is my friend and I have come with a request. You have everything to gain, nothing to lose. You get a beautiful wife, a great kingdom, and of course your own kingdom is there. You will be a greater king than me or your father because your kingdom will be bigger than the kingdoms we have. You will have two kingdoms together."
Gautam Buddha said, "You don't understand the point. I have not fought with my father, I have not been angry with him, and I have not come here in search of a girl. I am not interested in a kingdom, howsoever big it is. But I would like to ask you a few questions; you are my father's friend. First tell me, you say your girl is very beautiful - is this beauty going to remain forever? Will she not one day be old?"
The king said, "You ask strange questions. Everybody becomes old."
"And do you think," Gautam Buddha asked, "she will never die?" The king laughed. He said, "You are hilarious. Everybody dies."
Gautam Buddha said, "I don't want to get married with someone who is going to die."
The king said, "She is not going to die tomorrow."
Gautam Buddha said, "You cannot give any guarantee. Are you sure you will be alive tomorrow?"
The king said, "I have never thought about it. I hope that I will be alive, but I cannot be certain. But you are creating anxieties in my mind. I had come to take you to the palace and it seems you are trying to convince me to follow you to the mountains."
Gautam Buddha said, "It is better - there is still time, it is still light; maybe you have a few days more to live. Devote these few days to a search for something which cannot be taken away from you. Your youth will disappear, your beauty will disappear, your kingdom will one day belong to somebody else. And what does it matter, when you are dead, to whom your kingdom belongs, whether he is your son or somebody else's son?"
The king said, "You are a dangerous fellow. I don't want to talk to you."
He informed Gautam Buddha's father, "I have met your son; he is in the mountains in my kingdom.
I tried hard, but he is very convincing. And he has created such anxiety in me that I have not slept since. I am continuously thinking of death - what is going to happen after death? What have I gained by having this big kingdom? I am a poor man inside. I have never looked into my own being; I am not even acquainted with myself. I request to you: don't try to prevent him, let him go and let him search. What we have missed, perhaps we can hope he will find it."
Gautam Buddha could sit silently, desireless, thoughtless, moving inwards, because the outside had lost all interest. He had seen it - that it is just a phenomenon, the way you see a film. But there are idiots who even seeing a film will cry, will weep, will laugh, because they will become identified and they will forget that there is nothing on the screen, it is just a projected film. Our whole life is not much more than that, but to know it you have to go through it. Gautam Buddha had a great chance to experience life and see its futility. This gave him the opportunity to sit in deep silence, undisturbed.
Vipassana was discovered in these moments.
My own effort here is not to give you, Sagaresh, any meditation like vipassana directly. This place is not a place of ascetics - people are enjoying everything. I want you to enjoy and to see the futility of it. I want to see how many times you become enlightened and how many times you become unenlightened. I know one day you will simply get tired and you will say, "Finished!"
Not finished like Nandan - she has started again. But she is going to be finished one day. When she says goodbye to her last boyfriend it will be possible for her to meditate; particularly a meditation like vipassana. Otherwise you can sit with closed eyes and beautiful girls will harass you.
That has been the experience, down the ages, of thousands of meditators: it is strange, the moment you sit to meditate, suddenly, from nowhere, such beautiful girls start coming. And you open your eyes and there is nobody.
And not only girls. If you have not known money, thoughts of money; if you have not known power, thoughts of power; if you have not known what it means to be a celebrity, then a deep desire to become famous... And the mind will go on weaving a thousand and one thoughts and desires.
And so-called teachers like Goenka will go on teaching you, "Don't allow these thoughts in your mind." And the more you push them away, the more they will come close to you. You will throw away one girl and you will find there is a queue of girls, and at the end of the queue is standing Sophia Loren. Now, naturally you think, "Vipassana can be done later on."
A man said to his friend, "Last night was just the greatest experience of my life."
The other asked, "What happened?"
He said, "I went fishing and I caught such big fish that I could not believe it. Even to carry one fish to the shore was difficult. And the whole night I was fishing."
The other said, "This is nothing. You are saying you had the greatest experience - the greatest experience happened to me. Last night when I dreamt, what I saw I could not believe. On one side was Marilyn Monroe, utterly nude; on the other side was Sophia Loren, utterly nude."
The other man could not contain himself. He said, "Stop. Why did you not call me? At such a moment! And what were you going to do with two such women? One is enough for you; one you should think of for your friend. You call me your best friend? - this is great friendship."
The man said, "You haven't heard the whole thing. I had gone to your home to find you, but your wife said you had gone fishing!"
If life has not been a rich experience - if it has been a repressive, religion-dominated, conditioned phenomenon - you cannot do vipassana.
In twenty-five centuries, millions of people have been doing vipassana. How many have become Gautam Buddhas? My own analysis is very simple, but very significant: you should not repress anything in your life. Live a non-repressive, joyous life. Soon you will find all those joys and all those pleasures are empty.
Unless you have found through your own experience that pleasures are not pleasures, but simply toys to keep you ignorant, to keep you engaged... Once you have found that through your own experience - remember that is most fundamental; it has to be your own experience - then vipassana is the simplest meditation. You don't have to go to any businessman to learn it.
Buddha had never gone to S.N. Goenka. These kind of people existed at that time too - businessmen who were ready to teach you at a certain price.
I have never met or seen Goenka, but I saw one of his interviews. He says that he met me in Madras. In my whole life I have been only once in Madras, and I remember perfectly, I have not met any Goenka. He is simply lying. And his Dharmagiri is not very far away from here. If he wants to meet me he can come any day - perhaps a five-hour drive. But he does not have the guts, because I am very merciless. When I see a fox pretending to be a lion, then I do what needs to be done:
expose the fox, take away the hypocrisy. He has not lived a life of love, he has not lived a life of pleasures; he has not lived at all that which can create the context in which vipassana is possible.
He is simply a refugee from Burma. And because Burma is a Buddhist country, everybody knows what vipassana is; just as every Christian knows the Christian prayer, every Buddhist knows vipassana. Coming from Burma he knew the structure, intellectually, of what vipassana is. And here he found many people searching for meditation.
And he does not create a situation in which to be associated with him becomes dangerous for you.
He is a non-controversial businessman. You will not offend anybody if you go to Dharmagiri. But if you come here, you don't see many Indians here. The reason is clear: to be associated with me in any way is to be condemned by the outside society. People start saying that you have also been hypnotized, you have also become corrupt.
Dharmagiri is safe, because he does not say to you, "You have to drop tradition, you have to drop your conditioning, you have to get out of all the knowledge that has been forced upon you. Unless you are so clean, unconditioned, unorthodox - neither Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Christian - you will not be able to enter the world of meditation." He does not say anything like that. You just enter vipassana as you are. Nothing is demanded from you, that you are first to go through a fire to be purified, that you have to get rid of the society which is utterly polluted.
I was surprised when I was in America: almost every week somebody would phone from San Francisco, somebody from New York, saying, "We are coming from Bombay," or, "We are coming from Poona and we want to meet Shree Rajneesh." I told my secretary to tell those people, "Shree Rajneesh has been there in Poona for seven years - couldn't you manage to see him? He will come back again to Poona, you can see him then."
Strangely enough, not a single one has turned up. I have been here for two years. Those people who phoned - from Bombay, from Poona - they have not dared to enter the door. In America they were happy that nobody would know that they had been to see a dangerous man. Here the wife will start crying, the children will say, "Papa, where are you going?" The neighbors will crowd around saying, "Don't do this. Just look at your old parents." It will become a scene.
And you yourself deep down are such a coward that you believe in all the lies that have been spread.
You never come here to check - who is being hypnotized? But the trouble is, people say, "Once you are there you will become hypnotized, you will start saying the same things." It is a very strange world.
One German sannyasin is here. He is an old, experienced journalist. He had come from STERN magazine to write of what was happening here. But he was a man of integrity; he reported exactly what was happening. They refused his report. They said, "You have been hypnotized." If you lie you are not hypnotized, if you say the truth you are hypnotized. They did not publish his article. He insisted and finally they published it, but he had to change much in it. But he became so disgusted that he resigned and came back. And since then he has been here, he has been in America; he is again here.
There are many writers who have had a strange experience: if they write just a positive account, factual, neither for nor against, nobody is ready to publish their books. They say, "These books won't sell because they don't have any sensation. Make them sensational." But how to make them sensational? Lie, create fictions which do not exist, and publishers are ready and magazines are ready to publish them. And these books and these publishers and these magazines spread unfounded things all around the world. So people are so much afraid. But even to mention my name is dangerous.
One of my sannyasins who is a Nobel Prize winner asked the president of the Nobel Prize committee, the King of Norway, "A man has written five hundred books and you have not taken any note of it."
The King suggested to him, "Remember never to mention his name. This time you did because you were not aware, but next time it will be dangerous for your job" - he has a big post - "it will be dangerous for your reputation. You simply forget about this man."
And he told me, "I could not believe that he was not even ready to listen about you. He did not even enquire, just for manners' sake." On the contrary, from that day the King kept a certain distance from him. Whenever there was a meeting of the Nobel Prize committee he did not allow him to come close to him; he showed absolutely that a certain China wall had arisen between himself and the poor Nobel Prize winner. And the only crime he had committed was that he had mentioned my name.
Indira Gandhi, who was a very powerful woman, had at least six times made appointments to come here to see me, and every time, just one day before, a phone call would come, "An emergency has arisen and the meeting has to be postponed."
In fact, now the meeting is postponed forever! My secretary asked Indira Gandhi, "Why do you do this? If you don't want to come, we are not asking you to come. You ask us, that you want to come."
She met me once in Delhi and she said, "Since then that man's eyes have been haunting me and I want to see him again. And whatever he has said has changed the whole of history. I want his advice on other problems."
My secretary said, "Then why do you go on canceling? - because this is absolute nonsense, that every time on the very day some emergency arises."
She said, "To be honest to you, there has been no emergency, just my colleagues, my cabinet stands in the way. Everybody says, 'Don't go there, you can even lose your prime ministership. There will be so much turmoil - just avoid.'"
... Just by going for a meeting with a man who has no power, who is not interested in politics! But I can understand, those politicians were right. If she had come here Mohammedans would have said, "We are not going to vote for you"; Hindus would have said, "That man has spoken against our VEDAS, we are not going to vote for you. That man has spoken against our shankaracharya."
A powerful woman like Indira Gandhi is so cowardly that she cannot come when she wants to come, because of the fear that the voters may start objecting, "You have been to a man for some advice.
And any advice that man gives is going to be dangerous. In the first place you will be hypnotized."
And she asked my secretary, an intelligent woman, well educated, "Is it true that whoever goes to meet Shree Rajneesh becomes hypnotized?"
People like Goenka are non-controversial, kindergarten school teachers. They don't understand the complexity of meditation.
Vipassana comes in the end; you cannot begin with vipassana. To begin with vipassana you will have to go through what you are saying - the dark night of the soul. And you will not find the dawn anywhere. The dark night will go on becoming longer and darker. It is a simple psychology: you are not prepared, you have not done your homework, and you have started a work which needs a tremendous background of experience.
They are all against me because I want you to live first as hotly as possible.
I used to go to Allahabad. One of my sannyasins, Jayantibhai, would take me from the airport or from the railway station, and suddenly on a bridge he would accelerate the speed of the car. And I would say, "What is the matter?"
He said, "The matter is that board."
Because I had been telling him again and again, "That board is very religious. You should once in a while go near the board and look at it."
It was an advertisement, but very beautiful. It said, "Live a little hot. Sip a Gold Spot."
I said, "I am not concerned about Gold Spot, but live a little hot!"
People live lukewarm. They live just at the minimum, because from that minimum they are protected from many dangers. If you don't want to fall, crawl - you are safe! And that's what you are doing in your life. I say live hotly while the season lasts. And this season will not last forever. Don't hesitate, because in that hesitation you are losing time.
A roseflower does not hesitate to open in the early morning sun, knowing perfectly well that by the evening the petals will fall and not even a mark will remain behind. Whether that roseflower ever existed or not, it will be the same. But while the sun is rising and the morning breeze is welcoming to dance, the rose dances.
All the religions have destroyed your dance. They have made you crippled, they have destroyed your sensitivities. They have dulled your intelligence and then they say, "Do vipassana."
A man who has lived hotly is bound to do vipassana - but in the evening. He has seen the day. It was beautiful, but it was ephemeral; it is gone. Now begins the search for that which comes and never goes.
One of the great Hindu scriptures is Badarayana's sutras. The first sutra is: Athato brahma jigyasa - now the enquiry into the ultimate. That "now" has been for almost two thousand years or more a problem - how to interpret it? Because this is the beginning. Books don't begin from now. It seems as if something has preceded it.
And now there are many commentaries on Badarayana's athato, but no one has got the point. The man was saying, "You have lived hotly, you have loved deeply. You have done everything that you wanted to do, unrepressed, uninhibited. Now it is time for the enquiry into the ultimate. But only now. If you have not lived at the maximum, that which has been left unlived will go on lingering in your mind. That which has been repressed will go on asking for your attention. Your heart and your mind will be pulled by the unlived, the repressed, the denied, the condemned, and you cannot sit silently."
Otherwise vipassana is not an effort, it is a very simple experience. After the whole hot day of life, when you see the futility of it all... you have to see. You cannot see from other people's eyes; you have to see the futility with your own eyes. Then what is the problem? You sit silently, you settle silently within yourself, into your very interiority.
The word 'vipassana' simply means perceptivity, clarity, seeing directly into truth. But if something you always wanted - it may be a small thing - is there in your unconscious, it won't allow your perception to be pure. It will try again and again, "I am still unfulfilled." First have the experience that you have denied yourself.
And all these religions have been teaching you to deny this, to deny that. They have driven the whole of humanity bananas; otherwise human beings are beautiful as they are. If they live naturally, one day they are going to ripen, one day they are going to mature. One day they are going to graduate from this so-called world of desires, ambitions, jealousies. After that graduation, vipassana is not a doing. It is a non-doing. You simply sit silently and it starts showering over you as if the whole sky is rejoicing in your silence.
One of the stories about Manjushri, a disciple of Gautam Buddha who became enlightened, depicts it correctly. He is sitting under his tree, silently, and flowers start showering on him. Those flowers are not visible, but they are fragrant, and they have tremendous power to transform your whole being.
Sagaresh, it was in a way good that you went into isolation at Dharmagiri practicing vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka. It has been a good experience. You say, "I have never experienced such pain." You deserved it. Why did you go there?
You say, "I have never experienced such suffering and doubt ever before. Presently I feel exhausted, tired." Very good. At least you are alive! Just a few days rest, a few days nourishment in my commune and all pain, all suffering, all doubt and all tiredness will disappear. If you have understood me correctly it has already disappeared. You will be dancing and singing and rejoicing.
We have so many meditations here, but I have put vipassana at the very end. First go through all other kinds of experiences, purifying, so that you can become capable of entering vipassana.
People want to jump into paradise directly, and they don't see the place where they are standing, that if they jump from there they will have multiple fractures. One has to reach to the steps and one has to move step by step, consciously, cautiously. It is a pilgrimage.
But this experience has been really good. You needed it. It will be easier now for you to see my arrangement of meditations. You are saying, "My interest in the meditation practice is passing away."
Your interest in Dharmagiri should pass away, not in meditations. Just it is too fresh... the wound is open. Just wait, and in a few days you will be doing vipassana here. But here vipassana is a juicy experience; it is not dry.
I have a few criticisms against the vipassana that is being practiced in Buddhist lands. They have all made it very dry, desert-like; nothing blossoms, no greenery; everything is simply businesslike.
I want you to learn meditation as a play, as playfulness. Your meditation and your love should be synonymous. And that's what you are asking. You are asking, "I am yearning deeply to connect with my heart."
That guy, S.N. Goenka, has disconnected you from your heart, because in the Buddhist tradition there is no place for the heart. It is a very dry approach to reality.
Buddha never even mentions the word 'love'. He was so afraid that for twenty years continuously he did not allow women to be initiated into his commune - because women are impossible. They will bring some juice, whatever you do; something will start growing in the desert, some flowers. It is impossible for a woman not to be the heart. It is very easy for the man not to be the heart. The woman is the heart and the man is the head. And once you deny women, then there are only dry heads - coconuts!
My approach is, I never make any distinction, whether somebody is woman or man. Anybody who is a seeker of the path is welcome. Hence this is a totally different commune; such a commune has never existed before. Here you can sing and dance, here you can fall in love and fall out of love, there is no harm.
Life is accepted in its totality. And in this total acceptance arises the awareness that will enable you to meditate. And this meditation will be far richer than any vipassana of Gautam Buddha. This meditation may create songs in you, may create dances in you, may give a new impetus to creativity in all dimensions of life.
Your silence should not be the silence of a graveyard, your silence should be the silence of a garden.
Once in a while a bird starts singing, but it does not disturb the silence, it deepens it. Once in a while the breeze comes with its song, passes through the pine trees, but it does not disturb the silence, it deepens it.
I do not teach you the desert. I teach you the garden, the garden of the heart. That is where, with great respect, I differ from Gautam Buddha. I love the man, but that does not mean I have to agree with everything done by the man. His meditation is heartless, and a meditation that is heartless is not of any worth. I want a meditation that can laugh, that can dance.
Sagaresh, you suffered well. This is what in the East people call the law of karma. You must have committed some grave sin in your past life; otherwise, why should you go to Dharmagiri? - Dharmagiri of all places! But in a way it is good. That evil act and its punishment is finished. Now you can start afresh.
I teach you a meditation which is totally different from anything that has ever been taught in the name of meditation.
Now a few things just to relieve your pain and your suffering and your tiredness, and to help you to forget that you have been to Dharmagiri - you simply dreamt about it, there is no such place as Dharmagiri. This guy S.N. Goenka does not exist; it was just a nightmare.
A man parked his car on a street in New York. But when he returned he found that someone had smashed into the rear end of his car.
On the windshield he found a note that read:
Dear Sir, I just smashed into your car. The people who saw the accident are watching me. They think I am writing down my name and address, so you can contact me regarding the damage. They are a bunch of idiots!
Hymie Goldberg is stopped in the street by a neatly dressed salesman who says, "Sir, would you like to buy a toothbrush for ten dollars?"
"Ten dollars?" cries Hymie. "That's robbery!"
The salesman seems hurt. "Well then," he says, "how about a nice piece of homemade chocolate cake for ten cents?"
This seems fair, so Hymie hands ten cents to the man and unwrapping the cake takes a bite.
Suddenly he screams and spits out the mouthful. "My God!" he shouts. "This cake tastes like shit."
"It is," replies the salesman. "Wanna buy a toothbrush?"
Tired of being a Yuppie, Bogart decides to leave the city life and buy a small farm. He goes to a sale of farm animals and asks to buy a rooster.
"Out here," says the salesman, "we call them cocks."
"Okay," says Bogart, "give me a cock. And can you sell me a hen?" he asks.
"Out here," says the salesman, "we call them pullets."
"Okay, give me a pullet," says Bogart. "And what else do you have for sale?"
The salesman explains that he has a jackass for sale, so Bogart buys that too. As he is leaving, the salesman warns Bogart that sometimes the jackass stands still and won't move until he is scratched between the ears.
Sure enough, on his way home the jackass stops and does not move, and Bogart has forgotten what the salesman had said.
Grandma Faginbaum happens to be walking nearby and stops to ask if she can help. Just then Bogart remembers about scratching the jackass between the ears.
"Ah, yes, you can help me," says Bogart. "Would you hold my cock and pullet while I scratch my ass?"
Yes, Beloved Master.