Throw It Out!

Fri, 12 December 1974 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Returning to the Source
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
Archive Code:
Short Title:
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What is Joshu's single note? This is the single note - emptiness. This is the lotus flower that Buddha transmitted to Mahakashyap. And this is what all of the Buddhas have been teaching through the ages - be empty. The ego wants to be All. The All happens, but it happens through emptiness, and therein lies the difficulty, the impossibility of it. You can become perfect, but if perfection is the ideal, then you will miss it. You can become perfect through being totally empty. That seems inconceivable for the mind, because the mind says: To be perfect one has to make much effort, to be perfect one has to create an ideal in the future, and one has to make effort to reach the goal. The goal happens.

Perfection comes to man, man need not go there. The goal comes to you. Nobody has ever gone to the goal. It has always been otherwise; the goal comes to you when you are empty. And to be empty is just the opposite, just the opposite of all efforts towards perfection, because perfection means you would like to be God himself. Perfection means you would like yourself eternally, infinitely, spread all over. Emptiness is just the opposite - you have to destroy yourself utterly. Not even a trace should be left behind. When your house is empty, the guest comes. When you are no more, the goal has been attained.

So don't make perfection your goal, the goal happens indirectly. You be empty, and you have created the situation for it to come. Because nature abhors emptiness, nothing can remain empty. If you empty yourself completely, you will be filled by the Unknown. Suddenly, from all directions the Divine rushes towards you. You have created the situation; it has to be filled. When you are not, God is.

So remember, there cannot be any meeting between you and God. There has never been, and there will never be. When you are not, God is; when you are, God is not. They both cannot be together.

Here you disappear, and suddenly the Total, the Perfect, the Whole appears. It has always been there. But you were filled by yourself so much that there was no space for it to come in. It was all around, but you were not empty.

You are just like a house without doors - just walls and walls and layers and layers of walls. And remember, a house is in fact not the walls but the doors. Lao Tzu says: What is a door? - a door is nothing, it is an emptiness; and from the door you enter. The wall is something, the door is nothing.

And have you observed that the house is not the walls but the emptiness within? The very word 'room' means emptiness, space. You don't live in the walls, you live in the space, in the emptiness.

All that exists, exists in emptiness. All that lives, lives in emptiness.

You are not your body. Within your body, just like within your house, space exists. That space is you. Your body is just the walls. Think of a person who has no eyes, no ears, no nose, no windows, no doors in the body - he will be dead. Eyes and ears and nose and mouth, they are the doors, they are emptinesses. And through that emptiness, existence enters into you. The outer and the inner meet, because the outer space and the inner space are not two things, they are one. And the division is not a real division.

It is just like, you can go to the river, and you can fill an earthen pot with water. When the water is moving in the earthen pot, the river outside and the water inside the pot are the same. Only an earthen wall exists, and even that earthen wall is porous; water is continuously flowing out and in.

Your body is also porous; existence is continuously flowing in and out. What is your breathing? - it is existence coming in and going out. And scientists say, millions of holes in the skin are continuously breathing in and out. You are porous. If your whole body is painted thickly, and only the nose is allowed to remain open, you can go on breathing, but within three hours you will be dead. Because the whole body breathes - it is porous. Existence continuously renews you.

And inside who are you? Inside is an emptiness. When one realizes this emptiness, the ego simply disappears - it is a myth, it is a dream, it is a fallacy. Because you have never looked within, you have created a false ego.

There is a necessity, because no man can live without a center. And you don't know your own center.

So the mind creates a false center; that false center is the ego. When you move inwards and look for the ego, you will never find it there. The deeper you go, the more you will laugh because the ego is not there. You are not there. Sometimes, just close your eyes and look for the ego. Where are you? Who are you? And emptiness surrounds you from everywhere; nobody is there inside. And this moment is the most beautiful and ecstatic moment possible. when you feel that there is no ego.

When there is no ego, you are empty. And when you are empty, the Divine rushes towards you. You have created the situation.

This was the single note of Kakua; and this is my single note also. This story is very beautiful. Try to understand every word of it.


Remember, your age is not relevant. You may be a child or you may be very, very old. You may be young, you may be healthy, or you may be ill - it makes no difference. Because the basic thing is to be empty within. It has nothing to do with your walls, young or old.

A child can attain Enlightenment. A man just on the verge of death can attain Enlightenment because Enlightenment is not concerned with your body - it is concerned with something which is absolutely bodiless. It is concerned with the within which has no age. It is non-temporal. Time is not at all a problem. You may not have observed this, because you live such an unconscious life, and observation needs consciousness, alertness, awareness.

If you look within can you feel the age, how old you are? If you close your eyes and look within, the emptiness within seems to be ageless, without age. Are you a child? Are you young? Are you old?

The inner space seems to be non-temporal - it is. That's why you become old through others' eyes.

You become old because of the mirror. If mirrors disappear and nobody talks about your age, and there is no calendar and no time measurement, you will remain young longer.

In the ancient days people stayed younger for a longer and longer time. It is said that they lived for hundreds of years; sometimes even three, four, five hundred years. Now these things look like stories, myths, fictions. They are not fictions. They must have lived, but they had no time measurement; no mirrors existed, nobody talked about age, nobody knew when he was born, nobody knew his birthday. They couldn't count beyond ten fingers. And nobody ever asked: How old are you? People lived, they simply lived not knowing how old they were. They lived very, very long. It has happened many times.

Just a few days ago, I was reading about a man, a Dutch man. A few years back he reached one hundred and sixty-five years. And he was working when he was one hundred and sixty-five, doing everything normally. He lived in a very, very distant village. Then some newspaper got the news; his name was published, his picture, and then people started coming to see him. Then doctors became concerned and they also came to study him. They killed him within two years, because with everybody coming and asking: How old are you? suddenly for the first time that poor old man became aware that he was one hundred sixty-five, which was unbelievable! He had never bothered, nobody had ever asked. He had simply lived, not conscious of time.

When you are conscious of time, you are in the grip of death. When you are not conscious of time, death simply cannot enter. It enters through time - death is time. And life is eternal, timeless. You are life, not death.

What did the doctors do to that poor old man? They suggested to him: Now you don't work, you rest, because if you rest, you can live even longer; you may live two centuries, and that will be a phenomenon for medical science! So they helped him to rest. They put him on a bed and they started giving him injections and vitamins. He was dead within two years - he had become so conscious and worried.

If you are too concerned with the body, you become the body. If you go on looking in the mirror, you become the body. That's why women age faster than men - the mirror. And the miracle is, basically they live longer than men, but they age faster. On average, all over the world, they live four years longer than men, but they age faster. They lose their beauty and their youth quickly. The mirror kills them; continuously meditating on the body.

Meditate on the inner being, not on the body. Find a mirror which reflects you, not the body. That mirror which reflects you is meditation. The more you meditate, the more ageless you become.


So it is never too late. Don't be worried. Whenever you come, it is okay. It is never too late, it is always early, so don't think about it. Many people come to me and they say: Now we are very old.

And the mind is so cunning. Young people come to me and they say: Now how can we meditate?

We are too young. And old people come and they say: How can we meditate? We are too old.

Others come to me and they say: Don't initiate children, they are just children. Don't give them sannyas - don't initiate them. So who am I to initiate? - dead men? Nobody is left. Some are children, some are young, some are old.

Mind is cunning. When you are a child, you say you are a child. When you are young, you say you are young, you have to live life a little more. By the time you are old, you feel exhausted, energy gone, tired. You say: Now what can I do? Nothing is left. I can simply wait helplessly for death.

Never in the history of man, has man been as helpless before death as he is now - and with such tremendous advances in medical science! Never before has man been so helpless before death.

Never has man worried about death as much as he worries now.

Why such a helplessness? Because you are not in contact with the eternal; your roots are not in the eternal. You have lived a temporal life, and death is the end of time. Not you. Remember, death ends time, not you. And if you have lived in time, with time, only with temporal goals, then death is a problem. But if you have lived deeper within yourself, in the remoter mountains where Kakua moved, inside where nobody can visit you, totally alone - then death is not a problem. Because, you know the deathless - it is hidden there.

On the surface is time, at the center is eternity. Remember, eternity is not a long, long time - no.

Eternity is not time at all. Eternity means 'no time'.

At the age of sixty, Joshu started. You can start any time, and this has always been my feeling.

Joshu lived so long - he lived one hundred and twenty years - he must have lived one hundred and twenty years, because he started at the age of sixty. And when you start meditating, you become so fresh and young, you can simply live long without any effort.

A person who is ready to learn always becomes a child. Joshu again became a child at the age of sixty. You cannot start at sixty because you already know too much. You cannot learn, you cannot become a disciple. You are so knowledgeable; you are already wise. You have known so much, experienced so much, collected such rubbish. You are a junkyard, but you think you are very, very experienced. What is your experience? What have you known exactly? - nothing. I see your hands

are empty, I see your being is just poor. You have not attained any inner experience which gives you richness, which gives you significance.

But just by being old, you have passed through many things of course, travelled on many, many paths. Frustrated, hopeless, helpless, you stand before death; trembling, just waiting, not knowing what to do. In the West particularly, the old man has become such a helpless phenomenon, just waiting for death with nothing to do. You cannot imagine.

In the past only a few people had to wait for death, those who were sentenced to die. They had to wait in the prisons for a few days, just waiting - it was terrible agony. But now, everybody.... Retired, you are sentenced to death. Nothing else to do, just waiting. Any moment death will come. And the agony is increased by medical science still more because they go on prolonging you. They go on giving you injections and vitamins. For what? - to wait still more, a little longer? They go on pushing you back in the queue, but you are in the queue. What difference does it make when one has lost everything? And just waiting, just waiting, waiting to die. Never before! That's why I say that man is so helpless before death.

In the East, when death started approaching, when death knocked for the first time on the door, people became very, very happy. Death was a door, it was not the end. Something new was going to start, and it was not the enemy, it was God coming in the garb of death. They had come to know that they are not the body, they are not going to die. The bodies will be left behind and they will go on an eternal journey.

Death was not the end. Death was a meeting, a meeting with the Unknown. Death was a long, long awaited moment - desired, dreamed, hoped. It was the last desire: to leave the body and to meet the Divine, to merge into it so totally that not even a trace of you is left behind. The body looked like a barrier, so when it was dropped, you were completely free. Death was freedom and the culmination of life, it was not just the end.

If death is just the end and you simply finish, life cannot be meaningful. How can life be meaningful when it just ends? Then the whole life becomes gloomy; the shadow of death makes it sad.

Whatsoever you do is meaningless, because you are going to end. Whatsoever you create is meaningless, because you are going to end. Whatsoever you do is just fooling yourself, because you are going to end.

If death is a new beginning, if death is a rebirth, if death is a meeting with the Divine, then life has a significance. Then whatsoever you do is meaningful. Then you are something significant, and the existence hopes many many things through you.

At the age of sixty Joshu was again beginning a new childhood; he started learning Zen. Remember, if you can learn to the very end, you will never become old. A man who can learn is never old. A man who cannot learn anymore is already old. A man who cannot learn anymore is already dead - now there is no purpose for him to be here. Life is a school, a discipline; it is a learning process. If you have stopped learning, you are already dead. Sufis say that ordinarily people die at thirty and are buried at sixty. When you stop learning, you are dead.


Remember, Enlightenment is not a game. Everything else is a game except Enlightenment. It is not a game, you have to be patient about it, and Joshu must have been a man of infinite patience.

Beginning at the age of sixty, it is difficult to wait - one thinks of death. One thinks: If death comes before Enlightenment, what then? Then one must be in a hurry - but Joshu was not in a hurry.

Remember, the more you are in a hurry, the less is there a possibility for you to reach. The more you are patient, the more is the possibility.

I will tell you one small Hindu anecdote. It happened that a messenger was going to God, and he passed one very ancient ascetic, an old man, very old, just sitting under a tree, meditating. He looked at the messenger and said: Wait - are you going to God? Then just ask about me. It is already too long. I have been making thousands of efforts, and it is now already three lives that I have hen making them, so just ask how much longer have I to wait?

When you ask: How much more do I have to wait? - you are not patient. You are in a hurry. And with God nothing is possible in a hurry, because he is not in a hurry. He has no time problem, He is eternity. The messenger said: Yes, I will ask. And just jokingly, he asked another young man who was dancing under another tree and singing praises to God. He asked: Are you also interested in knowing how much time it will take for you to become Enlightened? The young man didn't bother.

He wouldn't even stop, he continued his dance.

The messenger returned. He said to the old man: I asked and God said, 'Three lives more.' The old man threw his rosary, and said: Enough is enough! Is this justice? I have been wasting my life continuously for three lives, and three lives more? This is too much! The messenger went to the other tree where the young man was still dancing ecstatically. He said: Even if you have not asked, I have asked. And God has said: That young man? It is very, very long before he will attain Enlightenment, the same number of lives as there are leaves on the tree under which he is dancing.

Hearing this, the young man became more ecstatic, mad, and he started dancing faster and faster.

And he said: Then it is not too long, because on the whole earth, how many leaves are there and how many trees? And this tree, only this tree? And these leaves? Then it is not too long, I have already achieved! And it is said that in that very instant that young man became Enlightened.

Infinite patience can bring it this very moment, because infinite patience changes your total being.

When you have infinite patience, you have no tension inside, because all tensions are for the future.

All tensions are: when, how, how much more time, will I achieve or not, am I going to miss? All tension is concerned with your impatience. If you are patient, tensions cannot exist within you.

Patience is the only relaxation. You cannot relax with tensions inside the mind. A goal-oriented mind cannot relax; the tomorrow is too heavy, and you are so worried about it.

Jesus said to his disciples passing by a garden, he said: Look at the lilies, they don't worry about the future; that's why they are so beautiful. Even Solomon in his glory was not so beautiful. Look at these lilies; they are so beautiful, so graceful, because they don't worry about tomorrow, about what is going to happen. They are not worried at all - they are simply here and now. Twenty years is too much when a man is sixty.

I have come across young men who come to me and they say: Three days have passed. I have been meditating for three days, and yet nothing has happened. How many lives will these people have to wait? You calculate: how many trees and how many leaves are there on the whole earth, and all the trees on this earth, and all the leaves - no, that number won't do.'Three days,' they say.

I have come across one woman, and no ordinary woman, a professor in a university. She had just meditated once, and she came and told me: I have not realized God yet. One meditation.... How much you oblige God! Just by sitting foolishly for forty minutes - and you will be sitting foolishly because a fool cannot sit otherwise. You may look like a Buddha, but that is just on the surface.

Inside the fool travels, chatters. Inside you are a monkey. You can control the body, but the monkey inside goes on jumping from one branch to another, and chattering continuously.

That's why I always feel that Darwin must be right. I don't know whether scientifically he is right or not, but spiritually, the more I observe you, the more I am convinced that he must be right: man must have come from the monkey. Because deep inside he still remains a monkey. Only the surface has changed. It is just the body that is a little different, but the mind is the same. And just by sitting once, you start hoping for the infinite?

Joshu, at the age of sixty could wait for twenty years. A rare man. At the age of eighty, he found Enlightenment. And they say that he taught for forty years after his Enlightenment. Not in a hurry - he waited for twenty years. It is said that he never asked his Master when it would happen. It is said that even the Master was a little worried, because this man was so old. But Joshu - never. He never asked his Master: When? He simply waited and meditated, and waited and meditated. He attained. When he attained, the Master said: Even I was worried a little, because this man is so old.

And after his attainment, for forty years he continued teaching.

But the note is one, the same as Kakua's. The note is emptiness. He was teaching for forty years on how to be empty. And this is the whole teaching of all the religions. If something else is taught to you, know well that it is not religion. Then something else it may be, but not religion.

Religion is concerned with making you empty so that God can enter into you; to create space within you. Very shattering. You would like to be somebody, not nobody. How subtly you try to be somebody; how subtle are the techniques you employ to be somebody - somebody in this world or somebody in that world, but somebody.

On the last night, when Jesus was to depart, and it was almost destined that the next day he would be killed, the disciples were asking him: In the kingdom of God you will be sitting just on the right side of God. Where will we be sitting? - where? They were not worried about Jesus. They were not worried about his death the next day - they were not worried about it. They were worried about their positions: twelve disciples - in what hierarchy? Jesus would be sitting there of course, by the right side of God. That much they could tolerate. But then who would be next, then who, and then who?

Politics follows you to the very end. This mind is political, not religious. Politics is concerned with who you are in the hierarchy. Religion is not concerned with who you are. Religion has no hierarchy, because in religion, only one enters who is nobody. Then how can a hierarchy exist? Only one enters who has left himself behind.

There is an old poem about a small sect that existed in Bengal known as bauls. 'Baul' means madman. The word 'baul' means mad. They were one of the most beautiful, a small sect. They were really mad, mad after God. They had a small story, and they sang in their songs this story.

They said: A poor man, a very deep ascetic, who had renounced everything reached the gate of heaven. He had nothing with him, he was naked. He had remained a naked fakir for many lives.

He had not touched gold for many lives; he had not accumulated anything for many lives. He was a perfect ascetic. He knocked at the door of heaven; the door was opened. The man who opened the door looked at this ascetic and told him: You can enter only when you have left all your possessions behind. He was naked and with no possessions. The naked fakir started laughing. He said: Are you a fool? I have got nothing. Can't you see? Are you blind? I am completely naked without any possessions. The man started laughing and said: Yes, that I can see, but I can see deeper also.

Inside, you are carrying yourself, and that is the only possession which is the barrier. We are not concerned about what clothes you are or are not wearing. That is not the point. Whether or not you are carrying yourself, that is the only thing. You have to throw it out, then you can enter. The ascetic became very angry. He was in a rage. He said: I am a great ascetic, and I have thousands of followers on the earth! Said the man, the doorkeeper: That is precisely the problem, that you have thousands of followers, and you are a great ascetic. Throw this out! Otherwise I will be forced to close this door. And he had to close that door. The ascetic has to come back. Remember, only you are the barrier; that is why emptiness is the door.



Listen with attention because this moment is also bound to come to you some day or other. A student asked Joshu: You teach that we should empty our minds. I have nothing in my mind - now what should I do? Remember this well, then when a real emptiness happens, this question cannot arise, this 'What should I do now?' Because in a real emptiness, there is no 'I'.

You become a vehicle, you become a flute. And God goes on singing, or - not singing; that is up to Him now. If He wants to do something, He will do it through you. If He doesn't want, He will not do it through you. But you are no longer the chooser. You are no longer the decision-maker. You are no longer the doer. This is what emptiness meanS, that the doer has disappeared. Now you are only a medium. If He chooses, that is His problem. Then it is not for you to ask and inquire.

Joshu used to say: When He feels hungry within me, I eat. When He feels sleepy within me, I go to sleep. I don't do anything now. Sometimes He sleeps a little longer, then who am I to wake Him up by an alarm clock? Sometimes He doesn't feel like eating; then who am I to force Him to eat? - then a fast happens. Sometimes He wants to go for a walk in the hills, then I have to follow. Now He is the doer.

This is the transformation. You are the doer - then you are not empty. When He is the doer, the Total, when existence is the doer, and you are just a wave on the ocean, and the ocean waves, not you, then you simply enjoy. Whatsoever happens, you simply watch. And when the doer disappears within you the watcher comes in. He is the doer, and you are just a watcher, a witness.

Right now just the opposite is the case; you are the doer, and He is the witness. He is the watcher and you are the doer. This is a wrong situation. Everything is upside-down. You should be the witness and He should be the doer. When you are a witness, how can you accumulate ego? A witness is simply a witness - he cannot say 'I'. When you are a witness,'I' disappears. You simply look and when you have a simple look, there is no one inside. Just the look exists.

This student came to Joshu and said: YOU TEACH THAT WE SHOULD EMPTY OUR MINDS.

The very question, the very wording of it is absolutely wrong. Joshu is not teaching that 'you should', because if 'you should', you can never be empty. It is not a 'should', It is not something to be done.

If you do, how will the doer disappear? Only in your non-doing can it disappear. Only when you are effortless can it go. If you do something, it can never go. So there is no 'should'.

And this is the difference between morality and religion. Morality exists around the 'should': this should be done, that should not be done. But the emphasis is on doing, and that is the difference.

Religion is not concerned with 'should' at all. Religion says 'should' or 'should not' is not the point, because doing is not the point. You be a watcher. You simply watch - don't choose. And when you watch, He chooses, and when He chooses, there is no repentance. When He chooses there is no looking backward. When He chooses, then there is no fault. When He chooses, then everything is always okay. It is always absolutely okay. Then you are never in error. It is human to err. It is Divine not to err. Leave everything to the Total; you may call it God. Leave it to the Total, and you simply become a shadow. And whatsoever He wills, let Him will. Don't bring yourself in - you watch. So there is no question of 'should'.


This is how when a Master says something, it is misunderstood. Joshu never taught that you should do this or that. But mind always transforms everything, into the terms of action. Action is our language. say to people: Be meditative. And what do they hear? They hear that I teach that you should meditate. There is a vast difference. When I say: Be meditative, I am not saying that you should meditate, because meditation is not an act, you cannot do it. You can be in it, you cannot do it; it is a state, not an act. I say: Be love, and what do you hear? You hear that I teach that you should love. You have changed the whole thing. Now, whatsoever you will be doing, I am not responsible for it, because you have not heard at all what was said. Love is not an act, it is a state of being. You can be loving, you can be love, but you cannot do it. How can you do it? Have you ever observed? How can you 'do' love? How can you force? Of course, you can act. That's why there are so many actors who are acting love, and so many actors who are acting meditation. You have missed the point; it is a state of being. But, you will again ask: Then what is to be done? If it is a state of being, then what is to be done? Then what should we do? You again go on missing.

No, just try to understand, just try to understand, and the very understanding becomes meditation.

Just try to understand the nature of the mind, that it goes right and left, past and future, moves from one thought to another. It is a monkey. Just try to understand, just try to watch what mind is. And just in watching what mind is, suddenly one day you will feel something has clicked, something has changed gear; you are no longer the same. Something unknown has entered into you. There is no mind; meditation has come in. just by trying to understand.

In anger try to understand what is happening. In hate, in love, in relationship, try to understand what is happening. When you feel sad, try to understand what is happening, and you will simply be wonderstruck! If you try to understand what is happening in anger, you will immediately feel a change of quality. Something is already changing through your watching. The anger is no longer the same; the violence of it has disappeared. It is still a cloud hanging around, but there is no aggression in it. Go on watching, and you will feel that even that cloud is disappearing; rays of the sun are entering.

Watching anger, anger disappears. Watching hate, hate disappears. If you can watch anything,

immediately a new dimension has penetrated into it. The watcher has come in, and the watcher is the greatest phenomenon in the world. God comes through your watching, not through your actions.

What you should do or should not do is not the way. Just watch, be alert, and sometimes if you lose alertness, then be alert to this non-alertness. Don't create a problem. Sometimes you will miss. Sometimes you will forget completely that you were to be watchful. So be watchful of this non- alertness. It is okay. You missed the point, you missed; don't create a problem about it, again watch it. You watch anger, sometimes you forget. You become angry, then you remember - watch again.

Don't create a problem out of missing the point, out of forgetting again, out of getting identified with the anger. Don't feel miserable, don't pity yourself and don't repent. When you have forgotten, you have forgotten. Now be watchful about this forgetfulness, and remember. Because the only point is to remember whatsoever is happening. Inattentiveness is happening - watch it. Simply go on watching, and soon you will understand a new dimension within you, and that dimension comes through watching. Problems start disappearing.

Nobody can control anger. Through controlling, you become miserable. This whole sad lot of humanity is so because of controlling. Nobody can control. If you control, the poison enters into every fiber of your being. Just watch, and observation becomes transformation. And when you observe, it is not a question of 'should' or 'should not'.

This disciple simply missed. He said: You teach that we should empty our minds. Nobody has ever taught that. Everybody who knows, has taught that if you watch, the mind will empty itself. If you watch, mind becomes empty. Watching is emptiness; it is the door through which emptiness enters into you.


Remember, the emptiness that Buddha gave to Mahakashyap, the emptiness that Kakua sang through the flute, the emptiness that Joshu was teaching for forty years, and the emptiness which I am, here just before you, is not a negative state. It is not really emptiness. It is called emptiness because the ego doesn't exist there. It is called emptiness because the mind doesn't exist there. It is called emptiness because you don't exist there. It is because of you - you are there no more; that's why it is called emptiness. Otherwise, it is the greatest, the most positive state. It is full, overflowing with the Divine, with the Total, with the Whole. From your side, it is emptiness. Just look.

A man is ill, there are many diseases around him, and he knows only illness. He has never known health, what health is. He has never known that well-being. He has always been ill. And he asks:

What is health? How will you answer him? How will you define it? You will say: It is an emptiness because all your diseases will not be there. It is an emptiness because you with your ill feeling, your ill being, will not be there.

But is it emptiness? Is health emptiness? Yes, it is emptiness if you look through the disease. But if you look through the standpoint of health itself, the intrinsic standpoint, then it is a whole overflowing Whole - not empty, but the most positive thing in the world.

So don't mistake absent-mindedness for emptiness. There are moments when you are absent- minded - nothing on your mind. Don't think that this is what Buddha gave to Mahakashyap, not

absent-mindedness. There are moments when you are so dull, that there is nothing on your mind.

We are not talking about that dullness. Idiots have nothing on their minds, that's why they are idiots.

Stupid people have nothing on their minds. They simply don't have that kind of energy; they are still like animals. They are so low, the mind doesn't function. That is not the no-mind of Zen. Absent- mindedness is a negative state: even thoughts are not there. And those moments come in your life also.

Sometimes when you are shocked, somebody has died, and the shock is so much that a little gap will be there before the mind starts functioning again. In that gap you are absent, not empty, because the whole turmoil is in the unconscious. The conscious mind, through shock, has become empty. Because mind always becomes empty if something happens which it cannot control, cannot understand, through shock. But sooner or later, it takes control again, it starts functioning.

Somebody has died or is in an accident, in a car accident. You are driving. Suddenly you feel that the accident is going to happen. The brakes are not working, you are going downhill, and a bus is coming, or the steering wheel has gone wrong. Whatsoever you do, you cannot move anything. And you know that the accident is just about to happen - just a moment more. In that moment the mind stops, because this is something unknown. The shock is so much that the mind cannot think. That's why shock treatment is used for mad people. Electric shock can help, but whenever shock treatment is used, the person will become more stupid than he was before. Because through electric shock, the energy is being forced to become low, so he cannot think.

So there are two poles of emptiness: one is the negative pole, and one is the positive pole. The negative pole can be achieved through shock, through electric shock. The positive pole is achieved, through meditation and observation. If too many thoughts are there and you cannot meditate, you will go mad. And then there is only one way: some type of deep shock so your mind loses energy - shattered. Then you will not go mad, but you will not become Enlightened. You will remain on a low energy level. You will remain absent-minded. That's why a stupid person, or an imbecile, or an idiot can sit not doing anything, can keep his head hanging low. Because if you think, then the head is needed there, upright. If you are not thinking, there is no need for it to be upright - it hangs. Go to a madhouse and look at imbeciles or idiots. They are absent-minded; nothing is on their minds.

This disciple of Joshu says: I have nothing on my mind - now what should I do? This state can come even to you. Thinking too much about the state of no-mind, you can create a state of absent- mindedness, and that is easier. And that has happened to many people particularly in India. Soon those people will be in the West also, because many Indians are teaching nonsense there.

In India you go to the ashrams and monasteries and you will feel that the people there are not bad, not bad in any way; moral, puritan - but stupid. You look at their faces and you will not see any energy, any vitality. You will not see any freshness - they are dull. Look at the Jain monks; almost always, they are dull. Their faces have no energy, no radiance, no life - just dull. They don't create any trouble, that's good. They don't do anything wrong, that's good. But they have dulled themselves.

There are methods to dull yourself, your sensitivity. If you take less food, then by and by sex will disappear, because sex needs energy. If you take enough food, so that only a small amount of energy is created which is used in day-to-day activity, then there will be no sex. But then you are not

beyond sex, you are simply below sex. If you fast for twenty-one days, sex will disappear completely.

Even if the most beautiful woman passes, you won't be interested in looking at her. Not that you are transformed; there is no energy even to look. And when the energy is not there, you cannot do wrong, that's right. But this is a negative type of man - he CANNOT do bad. So it is better to die because dead men never do anything bad; dead men are always good. That's why whenever a person dies, nobody says anything bad about him. A dead man is always good.

I have heard that one friend of Mulla Nasrudin phoned him and asked: What is the matter? Are you dead? Mulla Nasrudin said: Who said to you that I am dead? He said: In the town everybody is talking in such good terms about you, that I thought you must be dead!

It is easier to deaden your sensitivity, your energy. You become dull. India has many techniques for dulling yourself. When you are dull you have nothing on your mind, but this is not Enlightenment.

It is simply that you have no energy for the mind to function. If energy becomes available, it will function again. So feed your monks well and see, they will be afraid. That's why Jain monks are afraid of eating anything that can give vitality. They eat things which are non-vital so they remain on a low energy level, but that is not BRAHMACHARYA, that is not celibacy. That is just suicide, you are killing yourself. Of course, in installments, slowly, not taking a jump, because you are not even that courageous. Otherwise go and be finished. Why this long gradual suicide?

This disciple must have been at that negative point of emptiness. He said: I have nothing in my mind - now what should I do? Joshu is beautiful. He says: Throw it out. Even nothingness, even emptiness is something; throw it out. Because if you think that you are empty, you are not; the very thinking that you are empty is there. The idea is there, the thought is there, the mind is there. If you say: I am empty - you are not, because never can you say that you are empty. That cannot be said.

Who will say it? And the one who says it inside is still there. Before it possessed other things, now it possesses emptiness.


You cannot deceive a Master - it is impossible, because he looks through you; you are transparent to him. He knows more about you than you can know right now, because inside you there are deeper layers. He can penetrate them also.


If a man is simply empty, at that moment he would laugh. At that moment a satori would happen. At that moment when the Master says: Throw it out, he would understand the idea. What is the idea?

The idea is: don't carry emptiness. Just be empty, don't carry it as a thought, because the very thought will fill you and then you are not empty. Even a single thought is enough to fill your mind.

There is no need for millions of thoughts. Even a single thought is enough, and you still possess something. You are still not in that state which Jesus calls 'poor in spirit' - you are still rich. Now, a new richness: that you are meditative, that you are empty, that now your mind has no thoughts. A new possession, a new disease has entered into you, and this is the last disease.

If the disciple had really been empty, he would have understood. And in the very understanding the thought is thrown. You cannot throw emptiness, of course. That Joshu knows. Nobody can

throw emptiness. But the idea that 'I am empty' can be thrown. But the disciple missed completely because he was just at a low energy level. He had just touched the negative pole of emptiness, absent-mindedness. But I have nothing - how can I throw it out?' The very question: How can I throw it out? and he has missed.


Do something! The last barrier is the idea that your are empty: you are Enlightened, you have achieved, you have reached, you have known, you have realized God - the last barrier. Because with this realization, the 'I' is still clinging. Only the objects have changed, but not you. First, you were clinging to riches, to your prestige, to your power, domination, your house, your car. Now they have changed; now it is emptiness, now it is Enlightenment, now it is God. But your hands are still not open, you are carrying something within them. Your hands are closed. The very word, 'emptiness' means that now you have nothing, not even the one who can declare. That's why Joshu says: Do something, but be finished with this idea.


It happened that one Sufi mystic, Bayazid of Bistan, reached his Master, and told him: I have realized! The Master didn't look at him, as if he had not heard. He didn't pay attention to him, as if he were not there. And he had brought such great news, 'I have attained.' The Master did not pay any attention at all. He continued talking with others. Bayazid thought that the Master had not heard him, so he told him again: I have attained, I have reached the goal. The Master said: Keep silent, keep silent. When there is nobody, then tell me. So he had to wait. It was too long, because the ego is always impatient. And people went on coming and going. By the evening, just for a few moments there were no people, so Bayazid said: Listen now, I have attained! The Master said: Are you still here? When there is nobody, then tell me.

If you are there, how can you attain? With you there everything in a subtle way remains the same.

Unless you drop completely, it cannot happen.

It happened, one king came to Buddha. In one hand, precious diamonds, and in the other hand, beautiful flowers. He thought: Maybe Buddha may not like diamonds.. So just as an alternative, he also brought a few flowers - rare roses. When he came to Buddha, Buddha looked at him; in his right hand, he was carrying the diamonds. He was about to put them at Buddha's feet. Buddha said:

Drop them! So he thought he had been right; Buddha would not like diamonds, so he dropped them.

Then he was about to put the flowers at Buddha's feet, Buddha said: Drop them! He was a little worried; he dropped them because Buddha said so. There was nothing else to do, so he dropped the flowers also. Then with empty hands he stood there. Buddha said: Drop it! The king thought:

This man is mad. Now there is nothing to drop. He looked around for some clue. Now what to drop?

One disciple, Sariputra, said: Buddha never meant the diamonds, he never meant the roses. Drop the dropper! Drop yourself! That man must have been of a rare understanding. He was not like Joshu's disciple. Immediately, as if a light dawned upon him, he FELT; he dropped himself, really dropped himself. And it is said, in that moment, he attained Enlightenment, with no effort. He had done nothing to attain it. He simply dropped himself... a man of rare understanding.

It depends on your understanding. If you bring your total understanding to this moment, and I say to you: Drop It! and you drop it without thinking about it a single moment, the Enlightenment can happen right now. But if you think, you have missed. If you think, you are there. And if you decide that you will drop, then the 'I' will remain behind. 'Drop it' simply means drop it. Don't decide. Don't think about it.

This was what Joshu was saying to him: THROW IT OUT, DRIVE IT OUT, CARRY IT OUT, EMPTY IT OUT - Do something immediately! BUT DON'T STAND THERE IN FRONT OF ME WITH NOTHING IN YOUR MIND.

The disciple missed. Many disciples miss. He must have looked puzzled. He must have thought:

This man has gone crazy. This old Joshu is no longer in his mind. I am saying I have got nothing in my mind and first he says: Throw it. How can nothing be thrown? The disciple must have been very logical: How to drop it? And when I say I cannot drop it because how can nothing be dropped or thrown, this old man says, 'Drive it out, empty it out, throw it out...' But how can nothing be thrown?

And the disciple must have left this old man thinking that he had gone crazy or mad. Absurd - Joshu looked absurd.

But if you understand, Joshu was giving him a possibility. He had opened a door. In that moment, just like the king who dropped himself before Buddha, if he had dropped himself, he would have said: Right, I understand. He would have dropped, he would have laughed. But he must have gone away. The story says nothing more about him. He must have left Joshu.

One of the most penetrating thinkers in the West is Arthur Koestler. He came to the East to understand Zen. He went to Japan, and he returned thinking that these people are absolutely absurd and mad. If you were to show this story about Joshu to Koestler, he would be convinced by the disciple and not by Joshu. He might say: He is so right. And what is wrong? The disciple is asking how nothing can be thrown. How can you throw nothing? If it is something, you can throw it.

But in the deeper realms of being, even nothing is something. It can be thrown. It has been thrown.

And unless you throw it, you are not available for the Whole, for the Total to descend into you.

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