The Way of the White Clouds
WHY IS YOUR WAY CALLED THE WAY OF THE WHITE CLOUDS?
Just before Buddha died somebody asked him: When a buddha dies where does he go? Does he survive or simply disappear into nothingness? This is not a new question, it is one of the oldest, many times repeated and asked. Buddha is reported to have said: Just like a white cloud disappearing....
This very morning there were white clouds in the sky. Now they are there no more. Where have they gone? From where do they come? How do they evolve, and how do they dissolve again? A white cloud is a mystery, the coming, the going, the very being of it. That's the first reason why I call my way The Way of the White Clouds.
But there are many reasons, and it is good to ponder, to meditate upon them. A white cloud exists without any roots. It is an unrooted phenomenon, grounded nowhere or grounded in the nowhere.
But still it exists. The whole of existence is like a white cloud: without any roots, without any causality, without any ultimate cause, it exists. It exists as a mystery.
A white cloud really has no way of its own. It drifts. It has nowhere to reach, no destination, no destiny to be fulfilled, no end. You cannot frustrate a white cloud because wherever it reaches is the goal.
If you have a goal you are bound to get frustrated. The more goal-oriented a mind is, the more anguish, anxiety and frustration there will be, because once you have a goal you are moving with a fixed destination. And the whole exists without any destiny. The whole is not moving anywhere; there is no goal to it, no purpose.
And once you have a purpose, you are against the whole - remember this - then you will get frustrated. You cannot win against the whole. Your existence is so tiny - you cannot fight, you cannot conquer. It is impossible to conceive how an individual unit can conquer the whole. And if the whole is purposeless and you are with purpose you are going to be defeated.
A white cloud drifts wherever the wind leads - it doesn't resist, it doesn't fight. A white cloud is not a conqueror, and still it hovers over everything. You cannot conquer it, you cannot defeat it. It has no mind to conquer - that's why you cannot defeat it.
Once you are fixed to a goal, purpose, destiny, meaning, once you have got that madness of reaching somewhere, then problems will arise. And you will be defeated, that is certain. Your defeat is in the very nature of existence itself.
A white cloud has nowhere to go. It moves, it moves everywhere. All dimensions belong to it, all directions belong to it. Nothing is rejected. Everything is, exists, in a total acceptability. Hence I call my way The Way of the White Clouds.
The white clouds have no way of their own - they drift. A way means reaching somewhere. The White Clouds' Way means a pathless path, a wayless way. Moving, but not with a fixed mind - moving without a mind.
This has to be understood, because purpose is synonymous with mind. That's why you cannot conceive how to live without purpose, because the mind cannot exist without purpose.
And people are so absurd - they even come to me and ask: What is the purpose of meditation?
Meditation cannot have any purpose because meditation basically means a state of no-mind: it is where you are, not going anywhere; where just being, just to be, is the goal.
The goal is here and now. Once the goal is somewhere else mind starts its journey. Then the mind starts thinking, then the mind starts a process. If future is there then mind can flow, then mind can have its course, then mind has space to move. With purpose comes future, with future comes time.
A white cloud hovers in the sky, timeless - because there is no future and no mind to it. It is here and now. Each moment is total eternity.
But the mind cannot exist without purpose, so mind goes on creating purposes. If the so-called worldly purposes are lost, then the mind creates religious purposes, otherworldly purposes. If money has become useless, then meditation becomes useful. If the so-called world of competition, politics, has become useless, then another world of new competition, of religion, achievement, becomes meaningful. But mind always hankers for some meaning, some purpose.
And to me, only that mind is religious which is purposeless. But that means that mind is no more a mind at all. Think of yourself just like a white cloud, with no mind.
In Tibet they have a meditation: monks sitting on the hills, lonely, absolutely in aloneness, just meditating on white clouds drifting in the sky, continuously contemplating, and by and by being merged. Then they become white clouds - just perching on a hill like a white cloud. No mind, just being there. No resistance, no fight, nothing to be achieved, nothing to be lost. Just enjoying the very existence, celebrating the moment - the joy, the ecstasy of it.
Hence I call my way The Way of the White Clouds. And I would like you also to become white clouds drifting in the sky. I say drifting, not moving, not moving to a point - just drifting wheresoever the winds lead you. Wheresoever you happen to be, that is the goal. So the goal is not something ending somewhere, the end of the line. The goal is every moment.
Here you are SIDDHAS to me, enlightened ones. Here you have achieved. Here you are as perfect as you can be, just like a Buddha, a Mahavira, or a Krishna. There is nothing else to be achieved.
Right this very moment everything is there, only you are not alert. And you are not alert because your mind is in the future. You are not here. You are not aware of what has happened to you this very moment.
And this has been happening always and always. For many, many millions of lives this has been happening. Every moment you have been a buddha. Not for a single moment has it been missed. It cannot be missed, that is how nature itself is, how things are. You cannot miss it!
But you are not alert, and you cannot be alert because of a goal somewhere, something that has to be achieved. Because of that a barrier is created and that which you are already is missed.
Once this is revealed, once this is realized, once you become aware of this, the greatest mystery of being is revealed, that everyone is perfect. That's what we mean when we say everyone is Brahma - everyone is the soul, the ultimate soul, the divine. That's what we mean when we say TATTWAMASI - you are that. Not that you have to become that, because if you have to become that, then you are NOT that. And if you are not that already, how can you become? The seed becomes the tree because the seed is already that. A stone cannot become a tree. The seed becomes the tree because the seed is already that! So the question is not of becoming, the question is only of revelation. The seed is revealed this moment as a seed, next moment as a tree. So this is only a question of revelation. And if you can penetrate deeply, the seed is the tree this very moment.
Tibetan mystics, or Zen masters or Sufi dervishes, they have all talked about the white clouds. The white clouds have been catching many people's inner being. A rapport is achieved, it seems, with the white clouds. Make it a meditation and then many things will come to you.
Life should not be taken as a problem. Once you start that way you are lost. Once you think life is a problem it can never be solved. That's how philosophy moves - and that's how philosophy always moves wrongly. There are no right philosophies: there cannot be. All philosophies are wrong. Philosophizing is wrong, because philosophy takes the wrong basic step of thinking of life as a problem. Once life is a problem there is no solution to it. Life is not a problem but a mystery, which is how religion takes it.
A white cloud is the most mysterious thing, suddenly appearing, suddenly disappearing. Have you ever thought at any time that clouds have no NAM-ROOP - no name, no form? Even for a single moment the form is not the same. It is changing, it is becoming, it is a riverlike flow.
You can give a form to the cloud, but that is your projection. A cloud has no form; it is formless or continuously being formed, it is a flux. And that's how life is. All forms are projected.
This life you call yourself a man and just one life before you could have been a woman. This life you are white and the next life you can be black. This moment you are intelligent and the next moment you behave in a stupid way. This moment you are silent and the next moment you become mad, fiery, aggressive.
Have you got a form? Or are you continuously changing? You are a flux, a cloud. Have you got a name, any identity? Can you call yourself this or that? The moment you say you are this, that very moment you become aware that you are the contrary also.
You say to someone: I love you - and that very moment hate is there. You say you are a friend to someone and that very moment the enemy is laughing inside you, waiting for its moment. Some moment you say you are happy and that very moment happiness is lost and you have become unhappy. You have no identity. If you realize this you become a cloud with no form, with no name.
And then drifting starts.
To me, the life of a white cloud is the life of a SANNYASIN, of a man who has renounced. The life of a householder is a fixed routine. It is a dead thing, it is a pattern. It has a name, it has a form. It moves on a particular track like railway lines. On the track trains are moving; they have a goal, they have to reach somewhere. But a sannyasin is like a cloud drifting in the sky - no iron tracks for him, no routes, no identities. He is no one and lives the life of a non-being, lives as if he is not.
If you can live a life as if you are not, you are on my way. And the more YOU are, the more disease will be there. The less you are, the more healthy you will be. The less you are, the more weightless you will be. The less you are, the more you will be divine and blissful.
When I say life is not a problem but a mystery, I mean you cannot solve it, you can become it. A problem is something to be solved intellectually; but even if you solve it, nothing is achieved. You have gathered a little more knowledge, but no ecstasy out of it. A mystery is something you can become. You can be one with it, merged. Then ecstasy arises, then bliss - then the ultimate that can happen to a being, the ultimate joy.
Religion takes life as a mystery. What can you do about a mystery? You cannot do anything about the mystery, but you can do something about you. You can become more mysterious. And then the similar can meet with the similar, the same can meet with the same.
Look for the mysterious in life. Wherever you look - in the white clouds, in the stars in the night, in the flowers, in a flowing river - wherever you look, look for the mystery. And whenever you find that a mystery is there, meditate on it.
Meditation means: dissolve yourself before that mystery, annihilate yourself before that mystery, disperse yourself before that mystery. Be no more, and let the mystery be so total that you are absorbed in it.
And suddenly a new door opens, a new perception is achieved. Suddenly the mundane world of division, of separation has disappeared, and a different, totally different world of oneness comes before you. Everything loses its boundary; everything is with others, is not divided but one.
This can be done only if you do something with you. If you have to solve a problem, you have to do something with the problem. You have to find a key, a clue. You have to work on the problem. You have to move in a laboratory - you have to do something. If you have to encounter a mystery, you have to do something with you; with the mystery nothing can be done.
We are impotent before a mystery. That's why we go on changing mysteries into problems, because with problems we are potent, with problems we feel we are in control. With mysteries we are impotent, we cannot do anything. With mysteries we face death, and we cannot manipulate.
That's why the more human intellect grows mathematical, logical, the less and less possibility of ecstasy is open before the human mind, less and less poetry is possible. Romance is lost; life becomes factual, not symbolic.
So when I say my way is The Way of the White Clouds, it is just a symbol. The white cloud is not being used as a fact, it is used as a symbol, as a poetic symbol; as an indication of a deep merger into the mysterious and the miraculous.
WOULD YOU TELL US WHAT YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS TO THE WHITE CLOUDS?
I am a white cloud. There is no relationship, and there cannot be. Relationship exists when you are two, divided. So relationship is really not a relationship. Wherever relationship exists there is separation.
I am a white cloud. You cannot be related to a white cloud. You can become one with it and allow the white cloud to become one with you, but relationship is not possible. In relationship you remain separate, and in relationship you go on manipulating.
This is one of the miseries of human life, that even in love we create relationship. Then the love is missed. Love should not be a relationship. You should become the lover or the beloved. You should become the other and let the other become you. There should be a merger, only then conflict ceases. Otherwise love becomes a conflict, a struggle.
If you are, then you will try to manipulate, then you would like to possess, then you would like to be the master, then exploitation comes in. Then the other will be used as a means, not as an end.
With white clouds you cannot do that, you cannot make them wives and husbands. You cannot chain them or persuade them into a relationship. They won't allow it, they won't listen to you. They have had enough of it - that's why now they have become white clouds. You can be one with them, and then their hearts are open.
But human mind cannot think beyond relationship, because we cannot think of ourselves as if we are not. We are. Howsoever we hide it, we are there. Deep down the ego is there, and deep down the ego goes on manipulating.
With a white cloud this is not possible. With your ego you can look at the white cloud, think about it, but the mysteries will not be opened. The doors will remain closed. You will remain in a dark night.
If your ego disappears you have become the white cloud.
In Zen they have one of the oldest traditions of painting. One Zen master had a disciple who was learning to paint, and through painting, of course, meditation. The disciple was obsessed with bamboos; he was continuously drawing and painting bamboos. The master is reported to have said to his disciple: Unless you become a bamboo, nothing is going to happen.
For ten years the disciple had been drawing bamboos; he had become so efficient that even with closed eyes in a dark night without light he could draw bamboos. And his bamboos were so perfect and so alive.
But the master would not approve. He said: No, unless you become a bamboo, how can you draw it? You remain separate, you remain an onlooker, you remain a spectator. So you may have known the bamboo from without, but that is the periphery, not the soul of the bamboo. Unless you become one, unless you become a bamboo, how can you know it from within?
Ten years the disciple struggled, but the master would not approve. So the disciple disappeared into the forest, into a bamboo forest. For three years nothing was heard of him. Then news started coming that he had become a bamboo. Now he doesn't draw. He lives with bamboos, he stands with bamboos. Winds blow, bamboos dance - he also dances.
Then the master went to find out. And really, the disciple had become a bamboo. The master said:
Now, forget all about you and bamboo. The disciple said: But you told me to become the bamboo and I have become it.
The master said: Now forget this also, because now this is the only barrier. Deep down somewhere you are still separate and remembering that you have become the bamboo. So you are not yet a perfect bamboo, because a bamboo would not remember this. So forget it.
For ten years the bamboos were not discussed. Then one day the master called the disciple and said: Now you can draw. First become the bamboos, then forget the bamboos, so you become so perfect a bamboo that the drawing is not a drawing but a growth.
I am not related with white clouds at all. I am a white cloud. I would like you also to be white clouds, not related. Enough of relationship - you have suffered enough. Many, many lives you have been related with this or that. And you have suffered enough, more than enough. You have suffered more than you deserve.
The suffering has been centered on the wrong concept of relationship. The wrong concept is: you have to be yourself and then related. Then there is tension, conflict, violence, aggression, and the whole hell follows.
Sartre says somewhere: The other is hell. But really, the other is not hell - the other is the other because you are the ego. If you are no more, the other has disappeared.
Whenever this happens - between a man and a tree, between a man and a cloud, between a man and a woman, or between a man and a rock - whenever it happens that you are not, hell disappears.
Suddenly you are transfigured, you have entered paradise.
The old biblical story is beautiful: Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden of Eden because they had eaten a forbidden fruit, the fruit of the tree of Knowledge. This is one of the most wonderful parables ever devised.
Why was the fruit of the tree of Knowledge forbidden? Because the moment knowledge enters, the ego is there. The moment you know you are, you have fallen. This is the original sin.
Nobody threw Adam and Eve out of heaven. The moment they became aware that they were, the garden of Eden disappeared. For such eyes, which are filled with ego, the garden cannot exist. It is not that they have been thrown out of the garden - the garden is here and now. It is just by your side. It has always been following you wherever you go, but you cannot see it. If the ego is not there, you enter again, the garden is revealed. You have never been out of it.
Try this: sitting under a tree, forget yourself. Let only the tree be there. This happened to Buddha under the bodhi tree. He was not: in that moment everything happened. Only the bodhi tree was there.
You may not be aware that for five hundred years after Buddha his statue was not created, his picture was not painted. For five hundred years continuously, whenever a Buddhist temple was created, only the picture of the bodhi tree was there. That was beautiful - because in that moment when Gautam Siddhartha became Buddha, he was not there, only the tree was there. He had disappeared for a moment - only the tree was there.
Find moments when you are not, and those will be the moments when you will be for the first time...really.
So I am the white cloud, and the whole effort is to make you also white clouds drifting in the sky.
Nowhere to go, coming from nowhere, just being there this very moment - perfect.
I don't teach you any ideals, I don't teach you any oughts. I don't say to you be this, become that.
My whole teaching is simply this: Whatsoever you are, accept it so totally that nothing is left to be achieved, and you will become a white cloud.
IS IT TRUE THAT TO REALLY BREAK THROUGH, TO BECOME TOTALLY PRESENT, TO BECOME A WHITE CLOUD, WE HAVE TO LIVE THROUGH ALL OUR DREAMS, ALL OUR FANTASIES?
AND HOW CAN THAT REALITY BE AS REAL IN RESPONSE TO 'HARE KRISHNA, HARE RAM' IN POONA AS IT WOULD BE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN IN THE HEART OF NATURE?
The question is not whether one has to live through all the dreams and fantasies or not. You are living in them. You are already in them. And it is not a question of choice - you cannot choose.
Can you choose? Can you drop your dreams? Can you drop your fantasies? If you try to drop your dreams you will have to substitute them with other dreams. If you try to change your fantasies they will change into another type of fantasy - but they will remain dreams and fantasies.
So what is to be done? Accept them. Why be against them? This tree has red flowers, that tree has yellow flowers. So it's okay. You have certain dreams - yellow dreams. Somebody else has other dreams - blue dreams, red dreams. So it's okay. Why fight with dreams, why try to change them?
When you try to change them, you believe them too much. You don't think they are dreams, you think they are real and that changing them will be significant. If dreams are dreams, why not accept them?
The moment you accept them, they disappear. This is the secret. The moment you accept them they disappear - because the dreaming mind exists through rejection. The very phenomenon of a dreaming mind is rejection.
You have been rejecting many things - that's why they pop up in your dreams. You are moving on a street. You look at a beautiful woman or man. Desire arises. Suddenly you drop it: This is wrong!
You reject it. Tradition, culture, society, morality: This is not good!
You can look at a beautiful flower, nothing is bad in it. But when you look at a beautiful face something immediately goes wrong - you reject it. Now this face will become a dream. The rejected becomes the dream. Now this face will haunt you. Now in the night this face will come around you. Now this body will be hovering. The desire that you have rejected will become a dream. Desires that you have repressed will become dreams and fantasies. So how to create a dream? The secret is: reject.
The more you reject, the more dreams will be there. Those who go to the hills, those who reject life, they are filled with too many dreams. Their dreams become so real, hallucinatory, that they cannot make any distinction as to whether this is a dream or a reality.
Don't reject, otherwise you will create more dreams. Accept. Whatsoever happens to you, accept it as part of your being. Don't condemn it. The moment you become more accepting, dreams will dissolve. A person who accepts his life totally becomes dreamless, because the very base has been cut.That is one thing. Secondly, the whole is nature - the whole I say. Not only the trees, not only the clouds - the whole. Whatsoever has happened has happened because of nature. There is nothing unnatural - cannot be. Otherwise, how could it have happened? EVERYTHING is natural.
So don't create a division: this is natural and this is unnatural. Whatsoever is, is natural. But the mind lives on distinctions, divisions. Don't allow divisions; accept whatsoever is, and accept without any analysis.
Whether you are in the market or in the hills you are in the same nature. Somewhere nature has become hills and trees, and somewhere it has become shops in the market. Once you know the secret of accepting, even the market becomes beautiful. The market has a beauty - the life there, the activity, the beautiful madness that goes around. It has its own beauty! And hills would not be so beautiful if there were no markets, remember. The hills are so beautiful and so silent because the market exists. The market gives silence to the hills.
So everywhere - whether you are in the market, or doing "Hare Krishna, Hare Ram," or sitting under a tree silently - take it as one expanse, don't divide it. And when you are dancing, doing "Hare Krishna, Hare Ram," enjoy it! It is the way you are flowering, this very moment.
"Hare Krishna, Hare Ram" can become a flowering in you; it has become a flowering for many. When Mahaprabhu Chaitanya was dancing in the villages of Bengal and doing his kirtan, "Hare Krishna, Hare Ram," it was a flowering. It was one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened. Not only is Buddha sitting under a bodhi tree beautiful, a Chaitanya Mahaprabhu dancing in the streets with "Hare Krishna, Hare Ram" is also beautiful - the same, just the other extreme.
You can sit under a tree and can forget yourself so completely that you have disappeared. You can dance in a street and be absorbed in your kirtan, in your singing, in your dancing, so totally that you have disappeared. The secret is total absorption wherever it happens.
It happens to different people in different ways. We cannot conceive of Buddha dancing; he was not that type, not a dancing type. You may be a dancing type, so don't force yourself under a bodhi tree or you will be in trouble. Just forcing yourself, stilling yourself, will be violent. Then your face will not become like a Buddha. It will be tortured, it will be a self-torture. You may be like Chaitanya, you may be like Meera.
Find out the way your cloud moves, where it drifts, and allow it full freedom to move and drift.
Wherever it goes, it will reach to the divine. Just don't fight, flow. Don't push the river, flow with it. A dance is beautiful, but you must be totally in it - that's the point. Don't reject anything, rejection is irreligious. Accept totally, acceptance is prayer.
Enough for today.