Nothing is better than anything
UMMON SPOKE TO HIS ASSEMBLY AND SAID,
"EVERYBODY HAS HIS OWN LIGHT.
IF HE >TRIES TO SEE IT, EVERYTHING IS DARKNESS.
WHAT IS EVERYBODY'S LIGHT?"
LATER, IN PLACE OF THE DISCIPLES, HE SAID, "THE HALL AND THE GATE."
AND AGAIN HE SAID,
"BLESSING THINGS CANNOT BE BETTER THAN NOTHING."
IT ILLUMINATES ITSELF, ABSOLUTELY BRIGHT.
HE GIVES A CLUE TO THE SECRET.
FLOWERS HAVE FALLEN, TREES GIVE NO SHADE;
WHO DOES NOT SEE, IF HE LOOKS?
SEEING IS NON-SEEING,
NON-SEEING IS SEEING.
FACING BACKWARD ON THE OX,
HE RIDES INTO THE BUDDHA HALL.
DOES EVERYONE HAVE THEIR OWN SEPARATE LIGHT?
I CAN SEE THAT IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD IT IS LIGHT THAT SHOWS US THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE, AND THAT IN DARKNESS, DEFINITIONS AND DISTINCTIONS ARE SEEMINGLY OBLITERATED.
BUT IT SEEMS TO ME IT MUST BE JUST THE OPPOSITE IN THE METAPHYSICAL WORLD - THAT IN DARKNESS OR IGNORANCE WE HAVE THE ILLUSION OF SEPARATENESS, WHILE ENLIGHTENMENT BRINGS THE AWARENESS THAT ONE IS NOT SEPARATE FROM EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING AROUND ONE.
WHAT IS YOUR COMMENT?
THE SECOND QUESTION:
FEELING MYSELF FULL OF LIGHT SOMETIMES, TREMBLING WITH ENERGY AT OTHER TIMES, THE MIND IS HAPPY TO GRASP HOLD OF THESE EXPERIENCES AS "SOMETHING" - AFTER ALL, IT IS SAID, "SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING."
YET WHEN THOSE MOMENTS OF NOTHING ARE THERE - WHEN THERE IS NO COGNITION OF WHO I AM OR WHO YOU ARE, WHEN THERE ARE NO EXOTIC HAPPENINGS - THAT IS WHAT THE MIND CAN MAKE NO SENSE OF: I ONLY KNOW THAT THAT SPACE IS, AND THAT NOTHING IS BETTER THAN SOMETHING.
AND THE THIRD QUESTION:
I SEEM TO IMAGINE THAT IF I AM NOT THINKING SOMETHING, DOING SOMETHING, INVOLVED IN SOME PROJECT OR OTHER, I AM AS GOOD AS DEAD; TO PARTICIPATE IN LIFE SEEMS TO ME TO BE LIFE ITSELF.
BUT AS LONG AS I AM DOING, I RECREATE MYSELF CONTINUOUSLY, DON'T I? - WHEN THE WHOLE POINT IS TO DIE TO ONESELF.
WHAT IS YOUR COMMENT?
Ummon's comment about everybody's inner light is absolutely true. Everybody has his own light.
But it is true only as far as we are talking about it, as far as it is only a concept. Once it becomes your experience, everything dissolves, including you. Then there is light, oceanic light, in which everyone has dissolved like dewdrops.
Ummon's statement, EVERYBODY HAS HIS OWN LIGHT, can be misunderstood. It is very easy to misunderstand such words as "his own light." I would not have used that; I would say, everybody is part of one light. And the part is not separate nor is it separable, and the part is not smaller than the whole.
The part is equal to the whole.
The dewdrop itself is the ocean.
UMMON SPOKE TO HIS ASSEMBLY AND SAID, "EVERYBODY HAS HIS OWN LIGHT. IF HE TRIES TO SEE IT, EVERYTHING IS DARKNESS. WHAT IS EVERYBODY'S LIGHT?"
Here he is making a significant point: one has to relax to such totality that one is not. Even to be is a tension. When you simply disappear, there is light - your disappearance is the appearance of light.
But if you try to see where the light is, in your very effort you miss it. The very effort to try brings your ego, individuality, you - and you are darkness. As an ego you will not find any light.
That's what he is saying: "Everybody has his own light, but if he TRIES..." The whole question is whether you relax or you make effort, whether you are spontaneously losing yourself in the ocean or trying, because the very trying keeps you separate. IF HE TRIES TO SEE IT, EVERYTHING IS DARKNESS. WHAT IS EVERYBODY'S LIGHT?
Ummon is talking to his disciples. Apparently, what he says seems to be very contradictory. On the one hand he says, "You are the light" - by making the statement that EVERYONE HAS HIS OWN LIGHT... his own. And then he says, "If you try to see it all is darkness."
Have you understood what everybody's light is?
Everybody's light is when everybody becomes nobody.
When you simply disappear and nothing prevails all is light.
Of course it is your own, but you are not there.
Of course it is your own, because you consist, you are made of light and nothing else.
And it is not only true about human beings, it is true about material things too.
The mystics were the first.... For almost three thousand years before science recognized that matter is not matter but light, energy, electricity - different names of light - mystics have been saying that "when we go in there is tremendous light." Kabir says, "When I go in I am surrounded by one thousand suns. The light is so much, unbearable. But it is not hot, it is cool; it is not burning, but giving you more nourishment and more life."
Perhaps nobody in the assembly of Ummon was able to answer him, was able to make some sense out of his contradictory statement. I hope it is not contradictory to you.
You are light when you are not.
You are darkness when you are.
The whole question is of the ego.
But Ummon's disciples perhaps miss the point; hence: LATER, IN PLACE OF THE DISCIPLES, HE SAID - because nobody stood and said anything, the master himself had to reply - "THE HALL AND THE GATE."
These are ways only Zen has used to express things which are intrinsically inexpressible. When he says, THE HALL AND THE GATE, he is saying, the coming and the going. If you go all is light, if you come all is darkness. But Zen has its own way of saying things.
AND AGAIN HE SAID, "BLESSING THINGS CANNOT BE BETTER THAN NOTHING." He is saying, "There is nothing better than nothing - even blessings, blissfulness, ecstasies, cannot be better than nothing." Again he is saying, "If you are nothing, you are light, infinite light. But even a small idea of 'I' is enough to destroy the whole thing."
IT ILLUMINATES ITSELF, ABSOLUTELY BRIGHT.
HE GIVES A CLUE TO THE SECRET.
FLOWERS HAVE FALLEN, TREES GIVE NO SHADE; WHO DOES NOT SEE, IF HE LOOKS?
SEEING IS NON-SEEING, AND NON-SEEING IS SEEING.
Here Setcho comes a little closer to Zen. SEEING IS NON-SEEING because when you see something, your seeing is filled, just as a mirror is filled by the thing it reflects. Then there is no mirror, but only the reflections. But when there are no reflections, the mirror is. Empty it is - full it is not.
SEEING IS NON-SEEING. What are your eyes, except small mirrors? When you are filled with objects you are blinded by those objects. When you attain to a state when you can see through, when your eyes are not only reflective mirrors, when they are transparent, reflections don't deceive; reflections don't become identifications. The eyes - even seeing - remain non-seeing.
Shunyo was asking me one day, "When you speak do you see the people to whom you are speaking?" I don't want to offend you but the truth is, when I am speaking who is there to see?
And if I start seeing someone, my speaking becomes polluted. You are here, I feel your presence, I feel your silence, I feel your heartbeat - but my eyes remain absolutely vacant.
Many sannyasins have told me that I look as if I am not looking. It is not "as if," it is exactly so. I am not looking. I am not blind either.
FACING BACKWARD ON THE OX, HE RIDES INTO THE BUDDHA HALL.
That reference concerns the Ten Bulls of Zen. That is one of the most beautiful stories man has ever created. It is a collection of ten paintings....
In the first painting, the bull is lost, the owner is looking here and there, and there are trees all around, but there is no sign of the bull.
In the second picture, he recognizes deep in the forest just the tail of the bull. It indicates that perhaps the bull is hiding there behind the trees.
In the third picture he sees the footprints of the bull, going towards the same direction where he can see the tail of the bull.
In the fourth he has seen the whole bull.
In the fifth he has caught hold of the bull.
In the sixth he has managed to ride on it.
In the seventh he is coming back towards home, sitting on the bull. In the eighth he has put the bull in the stall from where he has escaped.
In the ninth he is sitting by the side of the bull, playing on the flute. These nine paintings are existent in Zen as it exists in Japan, but the original collection was Chinese....
The last painting is missing in these paintings, and the last painting is the most important. It is not just by accident that this painting is missing. It has been dropped deliberately, considering the implications of it. It is a dangerous painting because in the tenth the man is going towards the marketplace with a bottle of alcohol.
What are you going to do after you become enlightened? That's what I was saying to you... after a few minutes one starts feeling thirsty, it is time....
The tenth was of immense importance; it says that even when you have found the bull - which is symbolic of finding yourself - it does not mean that you become superior to other human beings. When you have found yourself, rather than becoming superior to others, for the first time you understand humbleness and you start moving towards the marketplace: to the lowliest, humblest, towards the pub where people are drunk. Your buddhahood does not make the drunkards condemned, but you yourself start moving towards the pub to make friends with the condemned, to help them come out of their drunkenness. And that is the only way to help them, to be with them.
One Zen master in Japan was continuously being sent to jail for small things... stealing. And a great master - even the magistrates respected him. They asked him, "Why do you do this? You have thousands of disciples; even the emperor comes to touch your feet - and you have stolen somebody's shoes...!"
He simply smiled. And his whole life it continued - three months in jail, then two or three months outside. Then again he would find a way... and finally everybody became accustomed to the fact that he is incurable.
But there must be some secret....
The day he was dying, one disciple asked, "Don't leave us before telling the secret. Why did you continue your whole life stealing absolutely unnecessary things? We were ready to offer you anything you wanted; you never asked for anything."
The man, before dying opened his eyes and he said, "The reason was that in the prison are the most drunk, asleep people - murderers, rapists, thieves, all kinds of criminals. I had to be with them to awaken them; there was no other way."
This man must have been of immense compassion.
But, afraid it would be misunderstood, when this series of paintings moved from China to Japan the tenth picture was dropped. You will also agree that it does not look good that Gautam Buddha is going towards the pub....
A professor used to come to me - he was a professor in the same university as I was, and he said, "I would like to be a sannyasin" - he was immensely impressed - "but the only fear is that after becoming a sannyasin I cannot go to the pub, and you know that I am addicted to alcohol. Wearing the robe of the sannyasin it will look very weird and other drunks will start laughing."
I said, "There is no harm. Drink anyway. Become a sannyasin and give it a try."
He became a sannyasin and the second day he came - "You have put me in trouble. I was thinking there is only one trouble, the pub; there are many. My wife now touches my feet! She says, 'You are so spiritual!' Now I cannot relate with her in any other way, except by giving her a blessing."
He was very angry, he said, "You! You must have known and still you did it to me - and I have been your friend for so long. Last night in the dark I sneaked towards the pub, hoping that everybody must have left by this time, but the bartender was there. He immediately fell on the ground, touched my feet and he said, 'What a great transformation!' Now I feel like killing you!"
I said, "It is strange... You asked for sannyas. It certainly brings troubles, but if you can be a little patient it will also bring blessings, ecstasies, which are far more important than the wife or the pub or your friends."
He said, "I have to be patient because I cannot go backward; that would be very humiliating."
Afraid of this situation, the Japanese masters who had brought the paintings from China dropped the tenth painting. But because it is still called the "ten" paintings of Zen, the "Ten Bulls of Zen," I became curious because when I counted there were only nine. I had to work for years to find out that they are not Japanese, they are Chinese. They still carry the old title but the tenth painting has been dropped.
Just the consideration that if people become enlightened and still go to the pub to drink alcohol, or go to the gambling places... it will be very difficult to protect their respectability. Just to protect their respectability they thought it was better to drop the tenth painting completely: Don't take it to Japan; only nine are perfectly good. You have found yourself - now play on the flute, enjoy....
But just the flute will not do. To enjoy, many more things are needed - and that tenth painting contains many more things.
Now, sitting here is Zareen with little Farrokh. She became a sannyasin.... She knew and I knew that even though she has a beautiful husband, a very understanding man, but still the relationship has changed. She has moved to the ashram - now, between the husband and herself the old bridge is broken. Because he is a nice and understanding man, they will remain friends - but husband and wife they cannot be. And the little Farrokh is sitting by her side - Neelam was not allowing him to come to the discourse for so long, and he is sitting so buddha-like....
(OSHO TURNS TO HIS VERY LEFT WHERE ZAREEN AND FARROKH ARE SITTING AND SMILES AT FARROKH WHO RESPONDS BY PLACING HIS FOREFINGER ON HIS LIPS.) He has been told not to speak, so he is telling me: Don't disturb.
The first question:
"DOES EVERYONE HAVE THEIR OWN SEPARATE LIGHT?"
Everyone has light but it is not separate.
We are all one continent.
Nobody is an island.
We are all together in our innermost being.
Maneesha is asking, "I can see that in the physical world it is light that shows us the distinctions between two people, and that in darkness, definitions and distinctions are seemingly obliterated.
But it seems to me it must be just the opposite in the metaphysical world - that in the darkness or ignorance we have the illusion of separateness, while enlightenment brings the awareness that one is not separate from everyone and everything around one. What is your comment?"
My comment, Maneesha, is that what you are saying is intellectually right - "theoretically speaking"
that nobody is separate. Enlightenment brings one and everything into oneness - but this is all intellectual. Even the idea of inseparability is intellectual. So is the idea of oneness.
Enlightenment simply means you disappear, you become the whole. There is no question of separation or no separation. There is no question of oneness, because even the word 'oneness' hides behind it twoness.
What do you mean when you say oneness? - you mean twoness. The mystics have avoided using the word 'oneness', but you cannot. In the very nature of intellectual understanding you can go a little roundabout - and that's what people like Shankara have done. They talk about non-duality, no-twoness; they don't talk about oneness. They want to indicate oneness, but they don't want to use the word 'oneness' because oneness points towards twoness.
One has no meaning if there is not two, three, four... If all other digits have disappeared, what is the meaning of one? One has a meaning only in the context of ten digits; otherwise, if there is no nine, no eight... there cannot be one. What will it mean? What can you conceive by oneness, if there are no other numbers left?
It is better to agree with Ummon: nothing is better than all the blessings. Rather than saying oneness, it is better to say nothingness, filled with light.
Your second question is:
"FEELING MYSELF FULL OF LIGHT SOMETIMES, TREMBLING WITH ENERGY AT OTHER TIMES, THE MIND IS HAPPY TO GRASP HOLD OF THESE EXPERIENCES AS 'SOMETHING' - AFTER ALL IT IS SAID, 'SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING.'"
THAT IS SAID BY IDIOTS! THOSE WHO KNOW, WILL SAY: "NOTHING IS BETTER THAN ANYTHING."
It reminds me....
As I was a growing child, everybody told me - all my well-wishers, my parents, my uncles, my aunts, my teachers, my professors - "Listen, the way you are behaving, you will end into nothing."
I used to say to them, "That is my very goal."
One of my professors was so much concerned that he would beat his head; he would say, "You don't understand what... What do you mean by nothing? - one has to be something."
I said, "I don't see any possibility of myself being something. Something is very small and limited; nothing is vast and unlimited. Something is born and dies - is there today and is not tomorrow.
Nothing is always, nothing is eternal."
Except nothing, nothing else is eternal.
Maneesha, you must have heard a saying thousands of years old: Something is better than nothing.
But I say to you:
Nothing is better than anything. Not to be is the greatest experience.
You are asking, "Yet when those moments of nothing are there - when there is no cognition of who I am or who you are, when there are no exotic happenings - that is what the mind can make no sense of: I only know that that space is, and that nothing is better than something."
Make it a point of remembrance that when the mind can make no sense of anything, you are very close to truth. When mind can make sense of something, you are very far from truth. The mind can make sense only of things which come within its boundary - and it has a very limited boundary.
Truth is not within its boundary, it is beyond it. It is transcendental, it cannot make any sense of it. So rejoice! When your mind cannot make any sense of something, just rejoice; you are coming closer to home.
And your last statement is absolutely true: "I only know that that space is, and that nothing is better than something."
Now you have come to your senses. Nothing is not only better, it is also greater; it is not only greater, it is the only thing that is existential.
Pure isness not limited by any word - and the mystic rose opens.
The third question:
"I SEEM TO IMAGINE THAT IF I AM NOT THINKING SOMETHING, DOING SOMETHING, INVOLVED IN SOME PROJECT OR OTHER, I AM AS GOOD AS DEAD."
That's perfectly right.
Every day I send Shunyo to find out whether Anando is still alive or dead. Fortunately, up to now she has never been dead. One day she will be.
When you are not doing something, you don't feel yourself. Your feeling is a reflective feeling; it is as if when you don't look in the mirror, you start thinking, "Whatever happened to my face?" That's why women carry small mirrors in their bags. In the buses and the trains, once in a while they will take the mirror out and look at the face, to see whether it is there or not - because what other proof have you got?
And besides a mirror, all our actions, all our doings make us feel that we are. And the more we do, the more we are.
You are asking, "But as long as I am doing, I recreate myself continuously, don't I? - when the whole point is to die to oneself. What is your comment?"
Maneesha, to recreate oneself every moment is not contradictory to what I say to you: Die every moment. Unless you die every moment, you cannot recreate yourself. There is no other way. The old dies and the new arises. The old leaves fall and the new leaves come. To remain a living, dancing flow of energy, there is only one way, and that is to die every moment, to be reborn again and again, fresh, new, innocent.
What is happening to you is perfectly right, you have just missed the existential situation of re- creation. The very word 'recreate' means first you have to uncreate. In order to wake up the very first thing is to be asleep.
In a small school - just a small school like Farrokh is going to tomorrow, for small boys - the teacher is trying to tell them, "Never commit sin, otherwise you will never reach the kingdom of God without his forgiveness."
After one hour's harassment of those small children, she finally asked one boy, "Tell me, what has to be done to reach heaven?"
He said, "To commit sin!"
The teacher could not understand, nor at the first sight will you understand that the boy is right.
Unless you sin you cannot be forgiven - and only those who are forgiven enter into the kingdom of God. The boy's innocent answer is absolutely true. If you are good you are worthless as far as God is concerned. What will he do with you? He cannot even forgive you, you have not committed anything. Just go back home, do something stupid and then come back.
So remember it. If you are going to God, make every arrangement so that he can forgive you. Do some stupid things. That is the absolute requirement to be forgiven. God loves to forgive people.
The implication is clear: God loves people to commit sin. Unless they commit sin, they cannot becomes saints. First commit sin, go to the church, pray; slowly, slowly you will become a saint and then torture yourself. Then God, out of compassion that the poor boy is doing too much, will allow you into heaven.
Such a roundabout way. And in heaven what are you going to do? You will repeat the same thing.
That is all that you know. Hence, every religion has made arrangements. In the Mohammedan conception of heaven, there are rivers of alcohol. Water is impossible to find - just like Poona, pure water is impossible. Pure alcohol is available in Poona too...! In heaven there are pure alcohol rivers; bottles won't do! They won't justify the greatness of heaven.
And beautiful girls who never grow in age... Mohammedanism is fourteen hundred years old. Those girls are still sixteen. They were sixteen years old at the time of Mohammed - now they have got stuck, they cannot become seventeen or eighteen. They must feel very weird - fourteen centuries and they have not passed even one year.
Here too, on the earth women pass time in a different way from men. It is said that one should never ask a woman her age; that is the most irritating thing - and a woman never tells the truth, particularly between the ages of thirty-four and thirty-eight. In those four years, no woman speaks the truth. After thirty-four, suddenly one day they become thirty-eight. This is what in physics is called the quantum leap, or in a more non-scientific way, kangaroo leap! They jump from one station to another station. They have never been in the passage between.
In heaven - whether the heaven is Christian or Hindu or Mohammedan or Jaina, it does not matter - they all disagree on everything but about the age of their girls in heaven they all agree. It seems the same girls have been serving old, dead, dirty saints for thousands of years. I simply feel in so much sympathy that I want to dissolve this heaven completely, because it is doing absolute injustice to womankind.
Are those girls made of plastic? I think they are, because in ancient scriptures it is said they don't perspire. Here also women take much care not to perspire, and all kinds of deodorants... but still you perspire. Those deodorants won't do.
Perhaps in the whole world, if there is somebody who never perspires, that person is sitting here! I live in air-conditioning continuously, I move in an air-conditioned car. Here, now, on both my sides there are air conditioners. I can claim to be the only man in history who has not perspired. And I don't use any deodorant.
It is possible that heaven is air-conditioned, but it is not very likely, because air-conditioning is a very new phenomenon and heaven is so old, millions of years old. I don't think that you can even rent a bicycle there.
Maneesha, it is perfectly good. Die each moment to the past and be born again. Each breath that goes out should be your death, and each breath that comes in should be your life. If you can live with so much change, like a river flowing, you are always fresh, you are always original; your clarity is absolute, you are transparent.
You have recognized the first part by saying, "I recreate myself continuously." Now you have to understand the second part, that "I die every moment, with every breath exhaled."
One thing is certain, that no dead person can inhale. Have you seen any dead person inhaling?
Only a living person can inhale. But if you only inhale and remain there you won't be alive long, maybe a few seconds. Life wants to change continuously; that's why you cannot stop breathing. You cannot take a holiday saying, "I am getting tired. Thirty years of breathing, just one day, one Sunday, let me rest." But with this breathing you cannot take a holiday. If you take a holiday it is finished, your holiday will become eternity, you won't come back.
Learn to die every moment. Accept that this is what is happening, you just don't understand it. That is what is happening in your body. If you can understand it and live it lovingly, it becomes a dance.
In-breathing, out-breathing, your heart dances. It goes on throwing out all that is dead and goes on taking in all that is fresh and new.
Maneesha has asked serious questions, and now I have to think of little Farrokh and tell something so that he can laugh....
At a rape trial the young victim is asked by her attorney, what her attacker had said before he assaulted her.
The girl is too embarrassed to answer out loud, and so she is allowed to write it down.
After reading the note the judge passes it along to the jury. Mendel Kravitz, who is last in the line, has dozed off, so the woman next to him nudges him and passes the note.
Mendel takes the note and reads, "I am going to screw you like you have never been screwed before."
Mendel smiles at the woman and puts the note in his pocket.
"Juror number twelve," orders the judge, "please pass the note to me!"
"I can't, your honor," says Mendel, "it is too personal!"
The bank robbers rush into the bank and order all the customers and clerks to get behind the corner.
Then they tell everyone to take off all their clothes and lie face down on the floor.
One nervous female clerk pulls off her dress and lies down, face up.
"Turn over, Gloria," whispers her friend, "this is a robbery not the office party!"
Police Constable Perkins is pounding the beat one night along a dimly-lit street.
He sees three parked cars, and goes over to the first car which is bouncing up and down, and shines his flashlight inside.
"Hello, hello!" he says, rapping on the window with his stick, "What do you think you are doing?"
"Oh!" comes a startled voice. "We are doing the waltz!"
P.C. Perkins goes over to the second car, which is rocking from side to side. He shines his light and taps on the window.
"Hello, hello!" he says, "and what are you doing?"
"Ah, we are doing the samba," comes the reply.
Perkins stop at the third car whose springs are squeaking and windows are all steamed up. He raps on the window and says, "I suppose you are doing the 'bossa nova'?"
"No, officer," comes a girl's voice, "I am doing the boss a favor!"
Dennis Dork goes to Doctor Dingle with a painful case of tennis elbow.
"Okay," says Dingle. "Take this bottle home, fill it with a urine sample and return it to me immediately."
"A urine sample?" cries Dork. "How is that going to help my bad elbow?" "Don't argue," says Dingle, "I am the doctor. Just do it!"
So Dork goes home, determined to make a fool of the doctor.
First, he gets his wife to piss in the bottle, then his daughter. Then he goes to his car and puts a bit of engine oil in the bottle. And finally, he goes into the bathroom and jerks off into it.
He returns the sample to Doctor Dingle and goes back the next morning for the results.
"Well, Mr. Dork," says Dingle. "Four things to tell you: first, your wife is pregnant; second, your daughter has V.D.; third, your car is about to blow a piston. And last, your elbow will never get better if you don't stop jerking off!"
Now two minutes of silence.
Close your eyes... no movement, as if you have become a statue.
Gather the whole energy inside....
Now come back.