The Difference between Satori and Samadhi

Fri, 1 Jan 1970 00:00:00 GMT
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Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy
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Samadhi begins as a gap, but it never ends. A gap always begins and ends - it has boundaries: a beginning and an end - but samadhi begins as a gap and then is everlasting. There is no end to it.

So if the happening comes as a gap and there is no end, it is samadhi, but if it is a complete gap - with a beginning and an end - then it is satori, and that is different. If it is just a glimpse, just a gap, and the gap is again lost, if something is bracketed and the bracket is complete - you peep into it and come back, you jump into it and come back - if something happens and it is again lost, it is satori. It is a glimpse, a glimpse of samadhi, but not samadhi.

Samadhi means the beginning of knowing, without any end.

In India we have no word that corresponds to satori, so sometimes, when the gap is great, one can misunderstand satori as samadhi. But it never is; it is just a glimpse. You have come to the cosmic and looked into it, and then everything is gone again. Of course, you will not be the same; now you will never be the same again. Something has penetrated into you, something has been added to you, you can never be the same again. But still, that which has changed you is not with you. It is just a remembrance, a memory. It is only a glimpse.

If you can remember it - if you can say, "I have known the moment" - it is only a glimpse, because the moment samadhi has happened, you will not be there to remember it. Then you can never say, "I have known it," because with the knowing the knower is lost. Only with the glimpse the knower remains.

So the knower can keep this glimpse as a memory - he can cherish it, long for it, desire it, again endeavor to experience it - but he is still there. The one who has had a glimpse, the one who has looked is there. It has become a memory; and now this memory will haunt you, will follow you, and will demand the phenomenon again and again.

The moment samadhi has happened, you are not there to remember it. Samadhi never becomes a part of memory because the one who was is no more. As they say in zen, "The old man is no more and the new one has come..." and these two have never met, so there is no possibility of there being any memory. The old has gone and the new has come, and there has been no meeting between the two, because the new can come only when the old has gone. Then it is not a memory; there is no haunting and no hankering after it, there is no longing for it. Then, as you are, you are at ease and there is nothing to desire.

It is not that you have killed the desire - no! It is desirelessness in the sense that the one who could desire is no more. It is not a state of no desire; it is desirelessness, because the one who could desire is no more. Then there is no longing, there is no future, because the future is created through our longings; it is a projection of our desires.

If there is no desire, there is no future. And if there is no future, there is no need of the past, because the past is always a background against which, or through which, the future is longed for.

If there is no future, if you know that this very moment you are going to die, there is no need to remember the past. Then there is no need to even remember your name, because the name has a meaning only if there is a future. It may be needed; but if there is no future, you just burn all your bridges of the past. There is no need of them; the past has become absolutely meaningless. It is only against the future or for the future that the past is meaningful.

The moment samadhi has happened, the future becomes nonexistential. It is not; only the present moment is. It is the only time, there is not even any past. The past has dropped and the future also, and a single, momentary existence becomes the total existence. You are in it, but not as an entity that is different from it. You cannot be different because you only become different from the total existence due to your past or your future. The past and future crystallized around you is the only barrier between you and the present moment that is happening. So when samadhi happens there is no past and no future. Then it is not that you are in the present, but you are the present, you become the present.

Samadhi is not a glimpse, samadhi is a death. But satori is a glimpse, not a death. And satori is possible through so many ways. An aesthetic experience can be a possible source for satori; music can be a possible source for satori; love can be a possible source for satori. In any intense moment in which the past becomes meaningless, in any intense moment when you are existing in the present - a moment of either love or music or poetic feeling, or of any aesthetic phenomenon in which the past doesn't interfere, in which there is no desire for the future - satori becomes possible.

But this is just a glimpse. This glimpse is meaningful, because through satori you can feel for the first time what samadhi can mean. The first taste, or the first distinct perfume of samadhi, comes through satori.

So satori is helpful; but anything that is helpful can be a hindrance if you cling to it and you feel that it is everything. Satori has a bliss that can fool you; it has a bliss of its own. Because you have not known samadhi, this is the ultimate that comes to you, and you cling to it. But if you cling to it, you can change that which was helpful, that which was friendly, into something that becomes a barrier and an enemy. So one must be aware of the possible danger of satori. If you are aware of this, then the experience of satori will be helpful.

A single, momentary glimpse is something that can never be known by any other means. No one can explain it; no words, no communication, can even be a hint to it. Satori is meaningful, but just as a glimpse, as a breakthrough, as a single, momentary breakthrough into the existence, into the abyss. You have not even known the moment, you have not even become aware of it before it becomes closed to you. Just a click of the camera - a click, and everything is lost. Then a hankering will be created; you will risk everything for that moment. But do not long for it, do not desire it; let it sleep in the memory. Do not make a problem out of it; just forget it. If you can forget it and do not cling to it, these moments will come to you more and more, the glimpses will be coming to you more and more.

A demanding mind becomes closed, and the glimpse is shut off. It always comes when you are not aware of it, when you are not looking for it - when you are relaxed, when you are not even thinking about it, when you are not even meditating. Even when you are meditating the glimpse becomes impossible, but when you are not meditating, when you are just in a moment of let-go - not even doing anything, not even waiting for anything - in that relaxed moment, satori happens.

It will begin to happen more and more, but do not think about it; do not long for it. And never mistake it for samadhi.

Question 2:


Satori becomes possible for a great number of people, because sometimes it needs no preparations; sometimes it happens by chance. The situation is created, but unknowingly. There are so many people who have known it. They may not know it as satori, may not have interpreted it as satori, but they have known it. A great surging love can create it.

Even through chemical drugs, satori is possible. It is possible through mescaline, LSD, marijuana, because through a chemical change the mind can expand enough so that there is a glimpse. After all, all of us have chemical bodies - the mind and the body are chemical units - so through chemistry, too, the glimpse can be possible.

Sometimes a sudden danger can penetrate you so much that the glimpse becomes possible; sometimes a great shock can bring you so much into the moment that the glimpse becomes possible.

And for those who have some aesthetic sensibility, who have a poetic heart, who have a feeling attitude toward reality, not an intellectual attitude, the glimpse can be possible.

For a rational, logical, intellectual personality, the glimpse is impossible. Sometimes it can happen to an intellectual person, but only through some intense, intellectual tension - when suddenly the tension is relaxed. It happened for Archimedes. He was in satori when he came out into the street naked from his bathtub, and began to cry, "Eureka, I've found it!" It was a sudden release of the constant tension he had concerning a problem. The problem was solved, so the tension that existed because of the problem was suddenly completely released. He ran out naked into the streets and cried, "Eureka, I've found it!"

For an intellectual person, if a great problem that has demanded his total mind and brought him to the peak of intellectual tension is suddenly solved, it can bring him to a moment of satori. But for aesthetic minds it is easier.

Question 3:


It may be, it may not be. If you become intellectually tense during this discussion and the tension is not brought to the extreme, it will be a hindrance. But if you become totally tense and then suddenly something is understood, that understanding will be a release and satori can happen.

Or, if this discussion is not at all tense, if we are just chitchatting - totally relaxed, totally nonserious - even this discussion can be an aesthetic experience. It is not only that flowers are aesthetic; even words can be. It is not only that trees are aesthetic; human beings can also be. It is not only when you are watching clouds floating by that satori becomes possible; even if you participate in a dialogue it becomes possible. But either a relaxed participation is needed or a very tense participation. You can either be relaxed to begin with or relaxation can come to you because your tension has been brought to a peak and then released. When either happens, even a dialogue, a discussion, can become a source of satori. Anything can become a source of satori; it depends on you. It never depends on anything else. You are just passing through a street: a child is laughing and satori can happen.

There is a haiku that tells a story something like this: a monk is crossing a street and a very ordinary flower is peeking out from a wall - a very ordinary flower, a day-to-day flower, which is everywhere.

He looks at it. It is the first time he has ever really looked at it, because it is so ordinary, so obvious.

It is always to be found somewhere, so he never bothered to really look at it before. He looks into it - and satori happens.

An ordinary flower is never looked at. It is so common that you forget it. So the monk has never really seen this flower before. For the first time in his life he has seen it, and the event became phenomenal. This first meeting with the flower, with this very ordinary flower, becomes unique. Now he feels sorry for it. It has always been there waiting for him, but he has never looked at it. He feels sorry for it, asks its pardon... and the thing happens.

The flower is there, and the monk is standing there dancing. Someone asks, "What are you doing?"

He says, "I have seen something uncommon in a very common flower. The flower was always waiting; I never looked at it before - but today a meeting has happened." The flower is not common now. The monk has penetrated into it, and the flower has penetrated into the monk.

An ordinary thing, even a pebble, can be a source. For a child a pebble is a source, but for us it is not a source because it has become so familiar. Anything uncommon, anything rare, anything that has come into your sight for the first time, can be a source for satori, and if you are available - if you are there, if your presence is there - the phenomenon can happen.

Satori happens to almost everyone. It may not be interpreted as such, you may not have known it to be satori, but it happens. And this happening is the cause of all spiritual seeking; otherwise spiritual seeking would not be possible. How can you be in search of something of which you have not even had a glimpse? First something must have come to you, some ray must have come to you - a touch, a breeze - something must have come to you that has become the quest.

A spiritual quest is only possible if something has happened to you without your knowing. It may be in love, it may be in music, it may be in nature, it may be in friendship - it may be in any communion.

Something has happened to you that has been a source of bliss and it is now just a remembering, a memory. It may not even be a conscious memory; it may be unconscious. It may be waiting like a seed somewhere deep within you. This seed will become the source of a quest, and you will go on searching for something that you do not know. What are you searching for? You do not know. But still, somewhere, even unknown to you, some experience, some blissful moment, has become part and parcel of your mind. It has become a seed, and now that seed is working its way through and you are in quest of something which you cannot name, which you cannot explain.

What are you seeking? If a spiritual person is sincere and honest he cannot say, "I am seeking God,"

because he does not know whether God is or not. And the word god is absolutely meaningless unless you have known. So you cannot seek God or moksha, liberation - you cannot. A sincere seeker will have to fall back upon himself. The seeking is not for something outward, it is for something inward. Somewhere something is known which has been glimpsed at, which has become the seed, and which is compelling you, pushing you, toward something unknown.

Spiritual seeking is not a pulling from without; it is a push from within. It is always a push. And if it is a pull, the seeking is insincere, unauthentic; then it is nothing but a search for a new sort of gratification, a new turn to your desires. Spiritual seeking is always a push toward something deep inside you of which you have had a glimpse. You have not interpreted it; you have not known it consciously. It may be a childhood memory of satori that is deep down in the unconscious. It may be a blissful moment of satori in your mother's womb, a blissful existence with no worry, with no tension, with a completely relaxed state of mind. It may be a deep, unconscious feeling, a feeling that you have not known consciously, that is pushing you.

Psychologists agree that the whole concept of spiritual seeking comes from the blissful experience in the mother's womb. It is so blissful, so dark; there is not even a single ray of tension. With the first glimpse of light, tension begins to be felt, but the darkness is absolute relaxation. There is no worry, nothing to do. You do not even have to breathe; your mother breathes for you. You exist exactly as it is interpreted that one exists when moksha is achieved. Everything just is, and to be is blissful.

Nothing has to be done to achieve this state; it just is.

So it may be that there is a deep, unconscious seed inside you that has experienced total relaxation.

It may be some childhood experience of aesthetic blissfulness, a childhood satori. Every childhood is satori-full, but we have lost it. Paradise is lost, and Adam is thrown out of paradise. But the remembrance is there, the unknown remembrance that pushes you on.

Samadhi is different from this. You have not known samadhi, but through satori there is the promise that something greater is possible. Satori becomes a promise that leads you toward samadhi.

Question 4:


You should not do anything. Only one thing: you must be aware, you must not resist; there must not be any resistance to it. But there is resistance; that is why there is suffering. There is an unconscious resistance. If something begins to happen to the brahma randhra, it just begins to make ego death come nearer. It seems so painful that there is inner resistance. This resistance can take two forms:

either you will stop doing meditation or you will ask what can be done to transcend it, to go beyond it.

Nothing should be done. This asking, too, is a sort of resistance. Let it do what it is doing. Just be aware and accept it totally. Be with it; let it do whatever it is doing, and be cooperative with it.

Question 5:


Don't be just a witness, because to be just a witness to this process will create barriers. Do not be a witness. Be cooperative with it; be one with it. Just cooperate with it, totally surrender to it - surrender yourself to it - and say to it, "Do anything, do whatsoever is needed," and you just be cooperative.

Do not resist it and do not be attentive to it, because even your attention will be a resistance. Just be with it and let it do whatever is needed. You cannot know what is needed and you cannot plan what is to be done. You can only surrender to it and let it do whatever is necessary. The brahma randhra has its own wisdom, every center has its own wisdom, and if we become attentive to it a disturbance will be created.

The moment you become aware of any of the inner workings of your body you create a disturbance because you create tension. The whole working of the body, the inner working, is unconscious. For example, once you have taken your food you must not be attentive to it; you must let your body do whatever it likes. If you become attentive to your stomach, then you will disturb it; the whole working will become disturbed and the whole stomach will be diseased.

Likewise, when the brahma randhra is working, do not be attentive to it, because your attention will work against it, you will work against it. You will be face to face with it, and this facing, this encountering, will be a disturbance; then the process will be unnecessarily prolonged. So starting from tomorrow, just be with it, move with it, suffer with it, and let it do whatever it wants to do. You must be totally surrendered, wholly given to it. This surrender is akarma, nonactivity. It is more akarma than being attentive, because your attention is karma, action; it is an activity.

So just be with whatever is happening. It is not that by being with it you will not be aware, but only that you will not be attentive. You will be aware and that is different. While being with it there will be awareness, a diffused awareness. You will be knowing all the time that something is happening, but now you will be with it, and there will be no contradiction between your awareness and the happening.

Question 6:


In the beginning effort will be needed. Unless you are beyond the mind, effort will be needed. Once you are beyond the mind there is no need of effort, and if it is still needed that means you are not beyond the mind. A bliss that needs effort is of the mind. A bliss that does not need any effort has become natural, it is of the being; then it is just like breathing. No effort is needed - not only no effort, but no alertness is needed. It continues. Now it is not something added to you; it is you. Then it becomes samadhi.

Dhyan, meditation is effort; samadhi is effortlessness. Meditation is effort; ecstasy is effortlessness.

Then you do not need to do anything about it. That is why I say that unless you come to a point where meditation becomes useless, you have not achieved the goal. The path must become useless. If you have achieved the goal, if you have come to the goal, the path is useless.

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