The Toast Is Burned

From:
Osho
Date:
Fri, 10 July 1974 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Empty Boat
Chapter #:
1
Location:
am in Buddha Hall
Archive Code:
N.A.
Short Title:
N.A.
Audio Available:
N.A.
Video Available:
N.A.
Length:
N.A.

HE WHO RULES MEN, LIVES IN CONFUSION;
HE WHO IS RULED BY MEN LIVES IN SORROW.

TAO THEREFORE DESIRED
NEITHER TO INFLUENCE OTHERS
NOR BE INFLUENCED BY THEM.

THE WAY TO GET CLEAR OF CONFUSION AND FREE OF SORROW
IS TO LIVE WITH TAO IN THE LAND OF THE VOID.

IF A MAN IS CROSSING A RIVER
AND AN EMPTY BOAT COLLIDES WITH HIS OWN SKIFF,
EVEN THOUGH HE BE A BAD-TEMPERED MAN
HE WILL NOT BECOME VERY ANGRY.

BUT IF HE SEES A MAN IN THE BOAT,
HE WILL SHOUT TO HIM TO STEER CLEAR.

AND IF THE SHOUT IS NOT HEARD HE WILL SHOUT
AGAIN AND YET AGAIN, AND BEGIN CURSING -
AND ALL BECAUSE THERE IS SOMEBODY IN THAT BOAT.

YET IF THE BOAT WERE EMPTY, HE WOULD NOT BE SHOUTING,
AND HE WOULD NOT BE ANGRY.

IF YOU CAN EMPTY YOUR OWN BOAT
CROSSING THE RIVER OF THE WORLD,
NO ONE WILL OPPOSE YOU,
NO ONE WILL SEEK TO HARM YOU.

THE STRAIGHT TREE IS THE FIRST TO BE CUT DOWN,
THE SPRING OF CLEAR WATER IS THE FIRST TO BE DRAINED DRY.

IF YOU WISH TO IMPROVE YOUR WISDOM
AND SHAME THE IGNORANT,
TO CULTIVATE YOUR CHARACTER AND OUTSHINE OTHERS,
A LIGHT WILL SHINE AROUND YOU
AS IF YOU HAD SWALLOWED THE SUN AND THE MOON -
AND YOU WILL NOT AVOID CALAMITY.

A WISE MAN HAS SAID:

"HE WHO IS CONTENT WITH HIMSELF
HAS DONE WORTHLESS WORK.

ACHIEVEMENT IS THE BEGINNING OF FAILURE,
FAME IS THE BEGINNING OF DISGRACE."

WHO CAN FREE HIMSELF OF ACHIEVEMENT AND FAME
THEN DESCEND AND BE LOST
AMID THE MASSES OF MEN?

HE WILL FLOW LIKE TAO, UNSEEN,
HE WILL GO ABOUT LIKE LIFE ITSELF
WITH NO NAME AND NO HOME.

SIMPLE IS HE, WITHOUT DISTINCTION.

TO ALL APPEARANCES HE IS A FOOL.

HIS STEPS LEAVE NO TRACE. HE HAS NO POWER.

HE ACHIEVES NOTHING, HE HAS NO REPUTATION.

SINCE HE JUDGES NO ONE,
NO ONE JUDGES HIM.

SUCH IS THE PERFECT MAN -
HIS BOAT IS EMPTY.

You have come to me. You have taken a dangerous step. It is a risk because near me you can be lost forever. To come closer will mean death and cannot mean anything else. I am just like an abyss.

Come closer to me and you will fall into me. For this, the invitation has been given to you. You have heard it and you have come.

Be aware that through me you are not going to gain anything. Through me you can only lose all - because unless you are lost, the divine cannot happen; unless you disappear totally, the real cannot arise. You are the barrier.

And you are so much, so stubbornly much, you are so filled with yourself that nothing can penetrate you. Your doors are closed. When you disappear, when you are not, the doors open. Then you become just like the vast, infinite sky.

And that is your nature. That is Tao.

Before I enter into Chuang Tzu's beautiful parable of The Empty Boat, I would like to tell you one other story, because that will set the trend for this meditation camp which you are entering.

I have heard that it happened once, in some ancient time, in some unknown country, that a prince suddenly went mad. The king was desperate - the prince was the only son, the only heir to the kingdom. All the magicians were called, miracle makers, medical men were summoned, every effort was made, but in vain. Nobody could help the young prince, he remained mad.

The day he went crazy he threw off his clothes, became naked, and started to live under a big table.

He thought that he had become a rooster. Ultimately the king had to accept the fact that the prince could not be reclaimed. He had gone insane permanently; all the experts had failed.

But one day again hope dawned. A sage - a Sufi, a mystic - knocked on the palace door, and said, "Give me one opportunity to cure the prince."

But the king felt suspicious, because this man looked crazy himself, more crazy than the prince. But the mystic said, "Only I can cure him. To cure a madman a greater madman is needed. And your somebodies, your miracle makers, your medical experts, all have failed because they don't know the abc of madness. They have never traveled the path."

It seemed logical, and the king thought, "There is no harm in it, why not try?" So the opportunity was given to him.

The moment the king said, "Okay, you try," this mystic threw off his clothes, jumped under the table and crowed like a rooster.

The prince became suspicious, and he said, "Who are you? And what do you think you are doing?"

The old man said, "I am a rooster, more experienced than you. You are nothing, you are just a newcomer, at the most an apprentice."

The prince said, "Then it is okay if you are also a rooster, but you look like a human being."

The old man said, "Don't go on appearances, look at my spirit, at my soul. I am a rooster like you."

They became friends. They promised each other that they would always live together and that this whole world was against them.

A few days passed. One day the old man suddenly started dressing. He put on his shirt. The prince said, "What are you doing, have you gone crazy, a rooster trying to put on human dress?"

The old man said, "I am just trying to deceive these fools, these human beings. And remember that even if I am dressed, nothing is changed. My roosterness remains, nobody can change it. Just by dressing like a human being do you think I am changed?" The prince had to concede.

A few days afterwards the old man persuaded the prince to dress because winter was approaching and it was becoming so cold.

Then one day suddenly he ordered food from the palace. The prince became very alert and said, "Wretch, what are you doing? Are you going to eat like those human beings, like them? We are roosters and we have to eat like roosters."

The old man said, "Nothing makes any difference as far as this roos-ter is concerned. You can eat anything and you can enjoy everything. You can live like a human being and remain true to your roosterness."

By and by the old man persuaded the prince to come back to the world of humanity. He became absolutely normal.

The same is the case with you and me. And remember you are just initiates, beginners. You may think that you are a rooster but you are just learning the alphabet. I am an old hand, and only I can help you. All the experts have failed, that's why you are here. You have knocked on many doors, for many lives you have been in search - nothing has been of help to you.

But I say I can help you because I am not an expert, I am not an outsider. I have traveled the same path, the same insanity, the same madness. I have passed through the same - the same misery, the anguish, the same nightmares. And whatsoever I do is nothing but to persuade - to persuade you to come out of your madness.

To think oneself a rooster is crazy; to think oneself a body is also crazy, even crazier. To think oneself a rooster is madness; to think oneself a human being is a greater madness, because you don't belong to any form. Whether the form is that of a rooster or of a human being is irrelevant - you belong to the formless, you belong to the total, the whole. So whatsoever form you think you are, you are mad. You are formless. You don't belong to any body, you don't belong to any caste, religion, creed; you don't belong to any name. And unless you become formless, nameless, you will never be sane.

Sanity means coming to that which is natural, coming to that which is ultimate in you, coming to that which is hidden behind you. Much effort is needed because to cut form, to drop, eliminate form, is very difficult. You have become so attached and identified with it.

This Samadhi Sadhana Shibir, this meditation camp, is nothing but to persuade you towards the formless - how not to be in the form. Every form means the ego: even a rooster has its ego, and man has his own. Every form is centered in the ego. The formless means egolessness; then you are not centered in the ego, then your center is everywhere or nowhere. This is possible, this which looks almost impossible is possible, because this has happened to me. And when I speak, I speak through experience.

Wherever you are, I was, and wherever I am, you can be. Look at me as deeply as possible and feel me as deeply as possible, because I am your future, I am your possibility.

Whenever I say surrender to me, I mean surrender to this possibility. You can be cured, because your illness is just a thought. The prince went mad because he became identified with the thought that he was a rooster. Everybody is mad unless he comes to understand that he is not identified with any form - only then, sanity.

So a sane person will not be anybody in particular. He cannot be. Only an insane person can be somebody in particular - whether a rooster or a man, a prime minister or a president, or anybody whatsoever. A sane person comes to feel the nobodiness. This is the danger....

You have come to me as somebody, and if you allow me, if you give me the opportunity, this somebodiness can disappear and you can become a nobody. This is the whole effort - to make you a nobody. But why? Why this effort to become a nobody? Because unless you become nobody you cannot be blissful; unless you become nobody you cannot be ecstatic; unless you become nobody the benediction is not for you - you go on missing life.

Really you are not alive, you simply drag, you simply carry yourself like a burden. Much anguish happens, much despair, much sorrow, but not a single ray of bliss - it cannot. If you are somebody, you are like a solid block of stone, nothing can penetrate you. When you are nobody you start to become porous. When you are nobody, really you are an emptiness, transparent, everything can pass through you. There is no hindrance, there is no barrier, no resistance. You become a passivity, a door.

Right now you are like a wall; a wall means somebody. When you become a door you become nobody. A door is just an emptiness, anybody can pass, there is no resistance, no barrier.

Somebody...you are mad; nobody...you will become sane for the first time.

But the whole society, education, civilization, culture, all cultivate you and help you to become somebodies. That is why I say: religion is against civilization, religion is against education, religion is against culture - because religion is for nature, for Tao.

All civilizations are against nature, because they want to make you somebody in particular. And the more you are crystallized as somebody, the less and less the divine can penetrate into you.

You go to the temples, to the churches, to the priests, but there too you are searching for a way to become somebody in the other world, for a way to attain something, for a way to succeed.

The achieving mind follows you like a shadow. Wherever you go, you go with the idea of profit, achievement, success, attainment. If somebody has come here with this idea he should leave as soon as possible, run as fast as possible from me, because I cannot help you to become somebody.

I am not your enemy. I can only help you to be nobody. I can only push you into the abyss...bottomless. You will never reach anywhere; you will simply dissolve. You will fall and fall and fall and dissolve, and the moment you dissolve the whole existence feels ecstatic. The whole existence celebrates this happening.

Buddha attained this. Because of language I say attained; otherwise the word is ugly, there is no attainment - but you will understand. Buddha attained this emptiness, this nothingness. For two weeks, for fourteen days continuously, he sat in silence, not moving, not saying, not doing anything.

It is said that the deities in heaven became disturbed - rarely it happens that someone becomes such total emptiness. The whole of existence felt a celebration, so deities came. They bowed down before Buddha and they said, "You must say something, you must say what you have attained.

Buddha is reported to have laughed and said, "I have not attained anything; rather, because of this mind, which always wants to attain something, I was missing everything. I have not achieved anything, this is not an achievement; rather, on the contrary, the achiever has disappeared. I am no more, and, see the beauty of it - when I was, I was miserable, and when I am no more, everything is blissful, the bliss is showering and showering continuously on me, everywhere. Now there is no misery."

Buddha had said before: Life is misery, birth is misery, death is misery - everything is miserable. It was miserable because the ego was there. The boat had not been empty. Now the boat was empty; now there was no misery, no sorrow, no sadness. Existence had become a celebration and it would remain a celebration to eternity, for ever and forever.

That's why I say that it is dangerous that you have come to me.You have taken a risky step. If you are courageous, then be ready for the jump.

The whole effort is how to kill you, the whole effort is how to destroy you. Once you are destroyed, the indestructible will come up - it is there, hidden. Once all that which is nonessential is eliminated, the essential will be like a flame - aliveness, total glory.

This parable of Chuang Tzu is beautiful. He says that a wise man is like an empty boat.

SUCH IS THE PERFECT MAN - HIS BOAT IS EMPTY.

There is nobody inside.

If you meet a Chuang Tzu, or a Lao Tzu, or me, the boat is there, but it is empty, nobody is in it.

If you simply look at the surface, then somebody is there, because the boat is there. But if you penetrate deeper, if you really become intimate with me, if you forget the body, the boat, then you come to encounter a nothingness.

Chuang Tzu is a rare flowering, because to become nobody is the most difficult, almost impossible, most extraordinary thing in the world.

The ordinary mind hankers to be extraordinary, that is part of ordinariness; the ordinary mind desires to be somebody in particular, that is part of ordinariness. You may become an Alexander, but you remain ordinary - then who is the extraordinary one? The extraordinariness starts only when you don't hanker after extraordinariness. Then the journey has started, then a new seed has sprouted.

This is what Chuang Tzu means when he says: A perfect man is like an empty boat. Many things are implied in it. First, an empty boat is not going anywhere because there is nobody to direct it, nobody to manipulate it, nobody to drive it somewhere. An empty boat is just there, it is not going anywhere. Even if it is moving it is not going anywhere.

When the mind is not there life will remain a movement, but it will not be directed. You will move, you will change, you will be a riverlike flow, but not going anywhere, with no goal in view. A perfect man lives without any purpose; a perfect man moves but without any motive. If you ask a perfect man, "What are you doing?" he will say, "I don't know, but this is what is happening." If you ask me why I am talking to you, I will say, "Ask the flower why the flower is flowering." This is happening, this is not manipulated. There is no one to manipulate it, the boat is empty. When there is purpose you will always be in misery. Why?

Once a man asked a miser, a great miser, "How did you succeed in accumulating so much wealth?"

The miser said, "This is my motto: whatsoever is to be done tomorrow should be done today, and whatsoever is to be enjoyed today should be enjoyed tomorrow. This has been my motto." He succeeded in accumulating wealth - and this is how people succeed in accumulating nonsense also!

That miser was also miserable. On one hand he had succeeded in accumulating wealth, on the other hand he had succeeded in accumulating misery. And the motto is the same for accumulating money as it is for accumulating misery: whatsoever is to be done tomorrow do it today, right now, don't postpone it. And whatsoever can be enjoyed right now, never enjoy it right now, postpone it for tomorrow.

This is the way to enter hell. It always succeeds, it has never been a failure. Try it and you will succeed - or, you may have already succeeded. You may have been trying it without knowing.

Postpone all that which can be enjoyed, just think of the tomorrow.

Jesus was crucified by the Jews for this reason, not for any other reason. Not that they were against Jesus - Jesus was a perfect man, a beautiful man, why should the Jews have been against him?

Rather, on the contrary, they had been waiting for this man. For centuries they had been hoping and waiting: When will the messiah come?

And then suddenly this Jesus declared, "I am the messiah for whom you have been waiting, and I have come now. Now look at me."

They were disturbed - because the mind can wait, it always enjoys waiting, but the mind cannot face the fact, the mind cannot encounter this moment. It can always postpone, it was easy to postpone:

The messiah is to come, soon he will be coming.... For centuries the Jews had been thinking and postponing and then suddenly this man destroyed all hope, because he said, "I am here." The mind was disturbed. They had to kill this man, otherwise they would not have been able to live with the hope of the tomorrow.

And not only Jesus, many others have declared since then, "I am here, I am the messiah!" And Jews always deny, because if they don't deny, then how will they be able to hope and how will they be able to postpone? They have lived with this hope with such fervor, with such deep intensity, you can hardly believe it. There have been Jews who would go to bed at night hoping that this would be the last night, that in the morning the messiah would be there....

I have heard about one rabbi who used to say to his wife, "If he comes in the night, don't waste a single minute, wake me up immediately." The messiah is coming and coming, he may come at any moment.

I have heard of another rabbi whose son was going to be married, so he sent invitations to the marriage to friends and he wrote on the invitation, "My son is going to be married in Jerusalem on such-and-such a date, but if the messiah hasn't come by then, my son will be married in this village of Korz." Who knows, by the time the day of the marriage comes, the messiah may have come.

Then I will not be here, I will be in Jerusalem, celebrating. So if he has not come by the date of the marriage, only then will it be held here in this village; otherwise, it will be in Jerusalem.

They have been waiting and waiting, dreaming. The whole Jewish mind has been obsessed with the coming messiah. But whenever the messiah comes, they immediately deny him. This has to be understood. This is how the mind functions: you wait for the bliss, for the ecstasy, and whenever it comes you deny it, you just turn your back towards it.

Mind can live in the future, but cannot live in the present. In the present you can simply hope and desire. And that's how you create misery. If you start living this very moment, here and now, misery disappears.

But how is it related to the ego? Ego is the past accumulated. Whatsoever you have known, experienced, read, whatsoever has happened to you in the past, the whole is accumulated there.

That whole past is the ego, it is you.

The past can project into the future - the future is nothing but the past extended - but the past cannot face the present. The present is totally different, it has a quality of being here and now. The past is always dead, the present is life, the very source of all aliveness. The past cannot face the present so it moves into the future - but both are dead, both are nonexistential. The present is life; the future cannot encounter the present, nor can the past encounter the present. And your ego, your somebodiness, is your past. Unless you are empty you cannot be here, and unless you are here you cannot be alive.

How can you know the bliss of life? Every moment it is showering on you and you are bypassing it.

Says Chuang Tzu:

SUCH IS THE PERFECT MAN -

HIS BOAT IS EMPTY.

Empty of what? Empty of the I, empty of the ego, empty of somebody there inside.

HE WHO RULES MEN, LIVES IN CONFUSION;

HE WHO IS RULED BY MEN LIVES IN SORROW.

HE WHO RULES MEN, LIVES IN CONFUSION. Why? The desire to rule comes from the ego; the desire to possess, to be powerful, the desire to dominate, comes from the ego. The greater the kingdom you can dominate, the greater the ego you can achieve. With your possessions your inner somebody goes on becoming bigger and bigger and bigger. Sometimes the boat becomes very small because the ego becomes so big....

This is what is happening to politicians, to people obsessed with wealth, prestige, power. Their egos become so big that their boats cannot contain them. Every moment they are on the point of drowning, on the verge, afraid, scared to death. And the more afraid you are the more possessive you become, because you think that through possessions somehow security is achieved. The more afraid you are, the more you think that if your kingdom could be a little greater, you would be more secure.

HE WHO RULES MEN, LIVES IN CONFUSION....

Really, the desire to rule comes out of your confusion; the desire to be leaders of men comes out of your confusion. When you start leading others you forget your confusion - this is a sort of escape, a trick. You are ill, but if somebody is ill and you become interested in curing that man, you forget your illness.

I have heard that once George Bernard Shaw phoned his doctor and said, "I am in much trouble and I feel that my heart is going to fail. Come immediately!"

The doctor came running. He had to run up three staircases and was perspiring heavily. He came in and without saying anything, just fell down on a chair and closed his eyes. Bernard Shaw jumped out of his bed and asked, "What is happening?"

The doctor said, "Don't say anything. It seems I am dying. It is a heart attack."

Bernard Shaw started helping him; he brought a cup of tea, some aspirin, he did whatsoever he could. Within half an hour the doctor had recovered. And then he said, "Now I must leave, give me my fee."

George Bernard Shaw said, "This is really something. You should pay me! I have been running around for half an hour doing things for you and you haven't even asked anything about me."

But the doctor said, "I have cured you. This is a treatment and you have to pay me the fee."

When you become interested in somebody else's illness you forget your own, hence so many leaders, so many gurus, so many masters. It gives you an occupation. If you are concerned with other people, if you are a servant of people, a social worker, helping others, you will forget your own confusion, your inner turmoil, because you are so occupied.

Psychiatrists never go mad - not because they are immune to it, but they are so much concerned with other people's madness, curing, helping, that they forget completely that they also can go mad.

I have come to know many social workers, leaders, politicians, gurus, and they stay healthy just because they are concerned with others.

But if you lead others, dominate others, out of your confusion you will create confusion in their lives.

It may be a treatment for yourself, it may be a good escape for you, but it is spreading the disease.

HE WHO RULES MEN, LIVES IN CONFUSION....

And not only does he live in confusion, he also goes on spreading confusion in others. Out of confusion only confusion is born.

So if you are confused, please remember - don't help anybody, because your help is going to be poisonous. If you are confused don't be occupied with others, because you are simply creating trouble, your disease will become infectious. Don't give advice to anyone, and if you have a little clarity of thought, don't take advice from someone who is confused. Remain alert, because confused people always like to give advice. And they give it free of charge, they give it very generously!

Remain alert! Out of confusion only confusion is born.

...HE WHO IS RULED BY MEN LIVES IN SORROW.

If you dominate men, you live in confusion; if you allow others to dominate you, you will live in sorrow, because a slave cannot be blissful.

TAO THEREFORE DESIRED

NEITHER TO INFLUENCE OTHERS

NOR BE INFLUENCED BY THEM.

You should not try to influence anybody, and you should be alert that you are not influenced by others. The ego can do both but it cannot remain in the middle. The ego can try to influence, then it feels good, dominating, but remember that the ego also feels good being dominated. The masters feel good because so many slaves are dominated, and the slaves also feel good being dominated.

There are two types of mind in the world: the mind of those who dominate - the male mind, and the mind of those who like to be dominated - the female mind. By female I don't mean women, or by male, men. There are women who have masculine minds and there are men who have feminine minds. They are not always the same.

These are the two types of mind: one which likes to dominate and one which likes to be dominated.

In both ways ego is fulfilled because whether you dominate or are dominated YOU are important. If someone dominates you, then too you are important, because his domination depends on you.

Without you, where will he be? Without you, where will his kingdom be, his domination, his possession? Without you, he will be nobody.

Ego is fulfilled at both the extremes, only in the middle does ego die. Don't be dominated and don't try to dominate.

Just think what will happen to you. You are not important in any way, not significant in any way, neither as a master nor as a slave. Masters cannot live without slaves and slaves cannot live without masters - they need each other, they are complementary. Just like men and women, they are complementary. The other is required for their fulfillment.

Don't be either. Then who are you? Suddenly you disappear because then you are not significant at all, nobody depends on you, you are not needed.

There is a great need to be needed. Remember, you feel good whenever you are needed.

Sometimes, even if it brings misery to you, even then you love to be needed.

A crippled child is confined to bed and its mother is constantly worried about what to do: I have to serve this child and my whole life is being wasted. But still, if this child dies, the mother will feel lost, because at least this child needs her so totally that she has become important.

If there is nobody who needs you, who are you? You create the need to be needed. Even slaves are needed.

TAO THEREFORE DESIRED

NEITHER TO INFLUENCE OTHERS

NOR BE INFLUENCED BY THEM.

THE WAY TO GET CLEAR OF CONFUSION

AND FREE OF SORROW

IS TO LIVE WITH TAO

IN THE LAND OF THE VOID.

This middle point is the land of the void, or the door to the land of the void - as if you are not, as if nobody needs you, and you don't need anybody. You exist as if you are not. If you are not significant the ego cannot persist. That is why you go on trying to become significant in some way or other.

Whenever you feel that you are needed, you feel good. But this is your misery and confusion, and this is the base of your hell.

How can you be free? Look at these two extremes. Buddha called his religion the middle path, MAJJHIM NIKAYA. He called it the middle path because he said that mind lives in extremes. Once you remain in the middle the mind disappears. In the middle there is no mind.

Have you seen a tightrope walker? Next time you see one, observe. Whenever the tightrope walker leans towards the left, he immediately has to move towards the right to balance; and whenever he feels he is leaning too much to the right, he has to lean towards the left.

You have to go to the opposite to create balance. So it happens that masters become slaves, slaves become masters; possessors become possessed, the possessed becomes the possessor. It goes on, it is a continuous balance.

Have you observed it in your relationships? If you are a husband, are you really a husband for twenty-four hours? You have not observed. In twenty-four hours the change happens at least twenty-four times - sometimes the wife is the husband and the husband is the wife, sometimes the husband is again the husband and the wife is again the wife.

And this goes on changing from left to right. It is a tightrope walk. You have to balance. You cannot dominate for twenty-four hours, because then the balance will be lost and the relationship will be destroyed.

Whenever the tightrope walker comes to the middle, neither leaning to the right nor leaning to the left, it is difficult for you to observe unless you yourself are the tightrope walker. Tightrope walking has been used in Tibet as a meditation, because in the middle the mind disappears. The mind comes into existence again when you lean towards the right, then the mind comes again into being and says: "Balance it, lean towards the left."

When a problem arises, the mind arises. When there is no problem, how can the mind arise? When you are just in the middle, balanced totally, there is no mind. The equilibrium means no mind.

One mother, I have heard, was very worried about her son. He was ten years old and he had not yet spoken a single word. Every effort was made to find the cause but the doctors said, "Nothing is wrong, the brain is absolutely okay. The body is fit, the child is healthy, and nothing can be done. If something had been wrong, then something could have been done."

But still he would not speak. Then suddenly, one day in the morning, the son spoke and he said, "This toast is too burned."

The mother couldn't believe it. She looked, she got scared and said, "What! You have spoken? And spoken so well! Then why were you always silent? We persuaded and tried and you never spoke."

The child said, "There was never anything wrong. For the first time the toast is burned."

If there is nothing wrong why should you speak?

People come to me and they say, "You go on speaking every day...." I say, "Yes, because so many wrong people go on coming here and listening. There is so much wrong that I have to speak. If nothing is wrong then there is no need to speak. I speak because of you, because the toast is burned."

Whenever it is in the middle, between any extreme or polarity, the mind disappears. Try it. Rope walking is a beautiful exercise, and one of the very subtle methods of meditation. Nothing else is needed. You can observe the rope walker yourself, how it happens.

And remember, on a rope thinking stops because you are in such danger. You cannot think. The moment you think, you will fall. A rope walker cannot think, he has to be alert every moment. The balance has to be maintained continuously. He cannot feel safe, he is not safe: he cannot feel secure, he is not secure. The danger is always there - any moment, a slight change of balance and he will fall.... And death awaits.

If you walk on a tightrope you will come to feel two things: thinking stops because there is danger, and whenever you really come to the middle, neither left nor right, just the mid-point, a great silence descends on you such as you have not known before. And this happens in every way. The whole of life is a tightrope walk.

Tao therefore desired to remain in the middle - neither be dominated nor be dominating, neither be a husband nor be a wife, neither be a master nor be a slave.

THE WAY TO GET CLEAR OF CONFUSION

AND FREE OF SORROW

IS TO LIVE WITH TAO

IN THE LAND OF THE VOID.

In the middle the door opens - the land of the void. When you are not, the whole world disappears, because the world hangs on you. The whole world that you have created around you hangs on you.

If you are not there the whole world disappears.

Not that existence goes into nonexistence, no. But the world disappears and existence appears.

The world is a mind-creation; existence is the truth. This house will be there, but then this house will not be yours. The flower will be there but the flower will become nameless. It will be neither beautiful nor ugly. It will be there, but no concept will arise in your mind. All conceptual framework disappears. Existence, bare, naked, innocent, remains there in its pure, mirrorlike beingness. And all the concepts, all the imaginations, all the dreams, disappear in the land of the void.

IF A MAN IS CROSSING A RIVER

AND AN EMPTY BOAT COLLIDES WITH HIS OWN SKIFF,

EVEN THOUGH HE BE A BAD-TEMPERED MAN

HE WILL NOT BECOME VERY ANGRY.

BUT IF HE SEES A MAN IN THE BOAT,

HE WILL SHOUT TO HIM TO STEER CLEAR.

AND IF THE SHOUT IS NOT HEARD HE WILL SHOUT

AGAIN, AND YET AGAIN, AND BEGIN CURSING -

AND ALL BECAUSE THERE IS SOMEBODY IN THAT BOAT.

YET IF THE BOAT WERE EMPTY,

HE WOULD NOT BE SHOUTING, AND HE WOULD NOT BE ANGRY.

If people go on colliding with you and if people go on being angry with you, remember, they are not at fault. Your boat is not empty. They are angry because you are there. If the boat is empty they will look foolish, if they are angry they will look foolish.

Those who are very intimate with me sometimes get angry with me and they look very foolish! If the boat is empty you can even enjoy the anger of others, because there is nobody to be angry with, they have not looked at you. So remember, if people go on colliding with you, you are too much of a solid wall. Be a door, become empty, let them pass.

Even then sometimes people will be angry - they are even angry with a buddha. Because there are foolish people who, if their boat collides with an empty boat, they will not look to see whether someone is in it or not. They will start shouting; they will get so messed up within themselves that they will not be able to see whether someone is in it or not.

But even then the empty boat can enjoy it because then the anger never hits you; you are not there, so whom can it hit?

This symbol of the empty boat is really beautiful. People are angry because you are too much there, because you are too heavy there - so solid they cannot pass. And life is intertwined with everybody.

If you are too much, then everywhere there will be collision, anger, depression, aggression, violence - the conflict continues.

Whenever you feel that someone is angry or someone has collided with you, you always think that he is responsible. This is how ignorance concludes, interprets. Ignorance always says, "The other is responsible." Wisdom always says, "If somebody is responsible, then I am responsible, and the only way not to collide is not to be."

"I am responsible" doesn't mean, "I am doing something, that is why they are angry." That is not the question. You may not be doing anything, but just your being there is enough for people to get angry.

The question is not whether you are doing good or bad. The question is that you are there.

This is the difference between Tao and other religions. Other religions say: Be good, behave in such a way that no one gets angry with you. Tao says: Don't be.

It is not a question of whether you behave or misbehave. This is not the question. Even a good man, even a very saintly man, creates anger, because he is there. Sometimes a good man creates more anger than a bad man, because a good man means a very subtle egoist. A bad man feels guilty - his boat may be filled, but he feels guilty. He is not really so spread out on the boat, his guilt helps him to shrink. A good man feels himself to be so good that he fills the boat completely, overfills it.

So whenever you come near a good man, you will always feel tortured - not that he is torturing you, it is just his presence. With so-called good men you will always feel sad, and you would like to avoid them. So-called good men are really very heavy. Whenever you come into contact with them they make you sad, they depress you, and you would like to leave them as soon as possible.

The moralists, the puritans, the virtuous, they are all heavy, and they carry a burden around with them, and dark shadows. Nobody likes them. They cannot be good companions, they cannot be good friends. Friendship is impossible with a good man - almost impossible, because his eyes are always condemning. The moment you come near him, he is good and you are bad. Not that he is doing anything in particular - just his very being creates something, and you will feel angry.

Tao is totally different. Tao has a different quality, and to me Tao is the deepest religion that has existed on this earth. There is no comparison to it. There have been glimpses, there are glimpses in the sayings of Jesus, in Buddha, in Krishna - but only glimpses.

Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu's message is the purest - it is absolutely pure, nothing has contaminated it. And this is the message: it is all because there is somebody in the boat. This whole hell is all because there is somebody in the boat.

YET IF THE BOAT WERE EMPTY,

HE WOULD NOT BE SHOUTING, AND HE WOULD NOT BE ANGRY.

IF YOU CAN EMPTY YOUR OWN BOAT

CROSSING THE RIVER OF THE WORLD,

NO ONE WILL OPPOSE YOU,

NO ONE WILL SEEK TO HARM YOU.

THE STRAIGHT TREE IS THE FIRST TO BE CUT DOWN,

THE SPRING OF CLEAR WATER IS THE FIRST TO BE DRAINED DRY.

IF YOU WISH TO IMPROVE YOUR WISDOM

AND SHAME THE IGNORANT,

TO CULTIVATE YOUR CHARACTER AND OUTSHINE OTHERS,

A LIGHT WILL SHINE AROUND YOU

AS IF YOU HAD SWALLOWED THE SUN AND THE MOON -

AND YOU WILL NOT AVOID CALAMITY.

This is unique. Chuang Tzu is saying that the halo of saintliness around you shows that you are still there. The halo that you are good is sure to create calamity for you, and calamity for others also.

Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu - master and disciple - have never been painted in pictures with halos, auras, around them. Unlike Jesus, Zarathustra, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, they have never been painted with an aura around their head, "because," they say, "if you are really good no aura appears around your head; rather on the contrary, the head disappears." Where to draw the aura? The head disappears.

All auras are somehow related to the ego. It is not Krishna who has made a self-portrait, it is the disciples. They cannot think of him without drawing an aura around his head - then he looks extraordinary. And Chuang Tzu says: To be ordinary is to be the sage. Nobody recognizes you, nobody feels that you are somebody extraordinary. Chuang Tzu says: You go in the crowd and you mix, but no one knows that a buddha has entered the crowd. No one comes to feel that somebody is different, because if someone feels it then there is bound to be anger and calamity. Whenever someone feels that you are somebody, his own anger, his own ego is hurt. He starts reacting, he starts attacking you.

So Chuang Tzu says: Character is not to be cultivated because that too is a sort of wealth. And so-called religious people go on teaching: Cultivate character, cultivate morality, be virtuous.

But why? Why be virtuous? Why be against the sinners? But your mind is a doer, you are still ambitious. And if you reach paradise and there you see sinners sitting around God, you will feel very hurt - your whole life has been wasted. You cultivated virtue, you cultivated character, while these people were enjoying themselves and doing all sorts of things which are condemned, and here they are sitting around God. If you see saints and sinners together in paradise you will be very hurt, you will become very sad and miserable - because your virtue is also part of your ego. You cultivate saintliness to be superior, but the mind stays the same. How to be superior in some way or other, how to make others inferior, is the motive.

If you can gather much wealth, then they are poor and you are rich. If you can become an Alexander, then you have a great kingdom and they are beggars. If you can become a great scholar, then you are knowledgeable and they are ignorant, illiterate. If you can become virtuous, religious, respectable, moral, then they are condemned, they are sinners. But the duality continues. You are fighting against others and you are trying to be superior.

Chuang Tzu says: If you cultivate your character and outshine others, you will not avoid calamity.

Don't try to outshine others, and don't try to cultivate character for this egoistic purpose.

So for Chuang Tzu there is only one character worth mentioning, and that is egolessness. All else follows it. Without it, nothing has worth. You may become godlike in your character, but if the ego is there inside, all your godliness is in the service of the devil; all your virtue is nothing but a face and the sinner is hidden behind. And the sinner cannot be transformed through virtue or through any type of cultivation. It is only when you are not there that it disappears.

A WISE MAN HAS SAID:

"HE WHO IS CONTENT WITH HIMSELF

HAS DONE WORTHLESS WORK.

ACHIEVEMENT IS THE BEGINNING OF FAILURE,

FAME IS THE BEGINNING OF DISGRACE."

These are very paradoxical sayings, and you will have to be very alert to understand them; otherwise they can be misunderstood.

A WISE MAN HAS SAID:

"HE WHO IS CONTENT WITH HIMSELF

HAS DONE WORTHLESS WORK."

Religious people go on teaching: Be content with yourself. But yourself remains there to be content with. Chuang Tzu says: Don't be there, then there is no question of contentment or discontentment.

This is real contentment, when you are not there. But if you feel that you are content, it is false - because you are there, and it is just an ego fulfillment. You feel that you have achieved, you feel that you have reached.

Tao says that one who feels that he has achieved has missed already. One who feels that he has reached has lost, because success is the beginning of failure. Success and failure are two parts of one circle, of one wheel. Whenever success reaches its climax the failure has already started, the wheel is already turning downwards. Whenever the moon has become full there is no further progress. Now there is no further movement. Then next day the downward journey starts and now every day the moon will be less and less and less.

Life moves in circles. The moment you feel that you have achieved, the wheel has moved, you are already losing. It may take time for you to recognize this, because mind is dull. Much intelligence is needed, clarity is needed, to see things when they happen. Things happen to you and you take many days to recognize it, sometimes many months or years. Sometimes you even take many lives to recognize what has happened.

But just think about your past. Whenever you had a feeling that you had succeeded, immediately things changed, you started falling - because the ego is part of the wheel. It succeeds because it can fail: if it cannot fail then there is no possibility of success. Success and failure are two aspects of the same coin.

Chuang Tzu says:

A WISE MAN HAS SAID:

"HE WHO IS CONTENT WITH HIMSELF

HAS DONE WORTHLESS WORK."

...Because he is still there, the empty boat has not come into being yet, the boat is still filled. The ego is sitting there, the ego is still enthroned.

"ACHIEVEMENT IS THE BEGINNING OF FAILURE,

FAME IS THE BEGINNING OF DISGRACE."

He has nothing to lose. Hence, Buddha's beggars - nameless, homeless, nothing to protect, nothing to preserve. They could move anywhere, just like clouds in the sky, homeless, with no roots anywhere, floating, with no goal, no purpose, no ego.

HE WILL FLOW LIKE TAO, UNSEEN,

HE WILL GO ABOUT LIKE LIFE ITSELF

WITH NO NAME AND NO HOME.

This is what a sannyasin means to me. When I initiate you into sannyas, I initiate you into this death of namelessness, of homelessness. I am not giving you any secret key of success, I am not giving you any secret formula of how to succeed.

If I am giving you anything, it is a key of how not to succeed, of how to be a failure and unworried, how to move nameless, homeless, without any goal, how to be a beggar - what Jesus calls poor in spirit. A man who is poor in spirit is egoless - he is the empty boat.

SIMPLE IS HE, WITHOUT DISTINCTION.

Whom do you call simple? Can you cultivate simplicity?

You see a man who eats only once a day, who wears only a few clothes or remains naked, who doesn't live in a palace, who lives under a tree - and you say this man is simple. Is this simplicity?

You can live under a tree and your living may be just a cultivation. You have cultivated it to be simple, you have calculated it to be simple. You may eat once a day, but you have calculated it, this is mind-manipulated. You may remain naked, but that cannot make you simple. Simplicity can only happen.

SIMPLE IS HE, WITHOUT DISTINCTION.

But you feel that you are a saint because you live under a tree, and you eat once a day, and you are a vegetarian, and you live naked, you don't possess any money - you are a saint.

And then when a man passes who possesses money, condemnation arises in you, and you think, "What will happen to this sinner? He will be condemned to hell. And you feel compassion for this sinner. Then you are not simple. Because distinctions have entered, you are distinct.

It makes no difference how the distinction has been created. A king lives in a palace - he is distinct from those who live in huts. A king wears clothes which you cannot wear - they are so valuable that he is distinct. A man lives naked on the street and you cannot live naked in the street - so he is distinct. Wherever distinction is, ego exists. When there is no distinction, ego disappears; and non-ego is simplicity.

SIMPLE IS HE, WITHOUT DISTINCTION.

TO ALL APPEARANCES HE IS A FOOL.

This is the deepest saying that Chuang Tzu has uttered. It is difficult to understand because we always think that an enlightened person, a perfect man, is a man of wisdom. And he says: TO ALL APPEARANCES HE IS A FOOL....

But this is how it should be. Amongst so many fools, how can a wise man be otherwise? To all appearances he will be a fool and that is the only way. How can he change this foolish world and so many fools, to sanity? He will have to be naked, and go under the table and crow like a rooster.

Only then can he change you. He must become crazy like you, he must be a fool, he must allow you to laugh at him. Then you will not feel jealous, then you will not feel hurt, then you will not be angry with him, then you can tolerate him, then you can forget him and forgive him, then you can leave him alone to himself.

Many great mystics have behaved like fools and their contemporaries were at a loss about what to make out of their lives - and the greatest wisdom existed in them. To be wise amongst you is really foolish. It won't do; you will create much trouble. Socrates was poisoned because he didn't know Chuang Tzu. Had he known Chuang Tzu, there would have been no need for him to be poisoned.

He tried to behave like a wise man; amongst fools he tried to be wise.

Chuang Tzu says: To all appearances the wise man will be like a fool.

Chuang Tzu himself lived like a fool, laughing, singing and dancing, talking in jokes and anecdotes.

Nobody thought him to be serious. And you could not find a more sincere or serious man than Chuang Tzu. But nobody thought him to be serious. People enjoyed him, people loved him, and through this love he was sowing seeds of his wisdom. He changed many, he transformed many.

But to change a madman you have to learn his language, you have to use his language. You have to be like him, you have to come down. If you go on standing on your pedestal then there can be no communion.

This is what happened to Socrates, and it had to happen there because the Greek mind is the most rational mind in the world, and a rational mind always tries not to be foolish. Socrates angered everybody. People had to kill him really, because he would ask awkward questions and he would make everybody feel foolish. He put everybody in a corner - because one cannot answer even ordinary questions if somebody insists.

If you believe in God, Socrates will ask something about God; you cannot answer, you have not yet seen. What is the proof? God is a far off thing. You cannot prove even ordinary things. You have left your wife at home - how can you prove, really, that you have left your wife at home, or that you have even got a wife? It may be just in your memory. You may have seen a dream, and when you go back there is neither house nor wife.

Socrates asked questions, penetrating, analyzing everything, and everyone in Athens became angry. This man was trying to prove that they were all fools. They killed him. Had he met Chuang Tzu - and at that time Chuang Tzu was alive in China, they were contemporaries - then Chuang Tzu would have told him the secret: Don't try to prove that anybody is foolish because fools don't like it. Don't try to prove to a madman that he is mad, because no madman likes it. He will get angry, arrogant, aggressive. He will kill you if you prove too much. If you come to the point where it can be proved, he will take revenge.

Chuang Tzu would have said: It is better to be foolish yourself, then people enjoy you, and then by a very subtle methodology you can help them change. Then they are not against you.

That is why in the East, particularly in India, in China and in Japan, such an ugly phenomenon never happened as happened in Greece where Socrates was poisoned and killed. It happened in Jerusalem - Jesus was killed, crucified. It happened in Iran, in Egypt, in other countries - many wise men were killed, murdered. It never happened in India, in China, in Japan, because in these three countries people came to realize that to behave as a wise man is to invite calamity.

Behave like a fool, like a madman, just be mad. That is the first step of the wise man - to make you at ease so you are not afraid of him.

This is why I told you that story. The prince became friendly with the man. He was afraid of other doctors, learned experts, because they were trying to change him, cure him, and he was not mad.

He did not think that he was mad, no madman ever thinks that he is mad. If a madman ever comes to realize that he is mad, madness has disappeared. He is mad no more.

So all those wise men who were trying to cure the prince were foolish, and only this old sage was wise. He behaved foolishly. The court laughed, the king laughed, the queen laughed and said, "What? How is this man going to change the prince? He himself is crazy and seems to be deeper in madness than the prince.

Even the prince was shocked. He said, "What are you doing? What do you mean?" But this man must have been an enlightened sage.

Chuang Tzu is talking about this type of phenomenon, this phenomenal man.

TO ALL APPEARENCES HE IS A FOOL.

HIS STEPS LEAVE NO TRACE.

You cannot follow him. You cannot follow an enlightened man - no, never - because he leaves no trace, there are no footprints. He is like a bird in the sky: he moves and no trace is left.

Why does a wise man not leave traces? So that you should not be able to follow. No wise man likes you to follow him because when you follow you become imitators. He is always moving in such a zig-zag way that you cannot follow. If you try to follow him, you will miss. Can you follow me? It is impossible, because you don't know what I am going to be tomorrow. You cannot predict. If you can predict, you can plan. Then you know where I am going, then you know the direction, then you know my steps. You know my past, you can infer my future. But I am illogical.

If I am logical you can conclude what I am going to say tomorrow. Just by looking at what I have said in my yesterdays you can conclude logically what I am going to say tomorrow. But that is not possible. I may contradict myself completely. My every tomorrow will contradict my every yesterday, so how are you going to follow me? You will go crazy if you try to follow.

Sooner or later you will have to realize that you have to be yourself, you cannot imitate.

HIS STEPS LEAVE NO TRACE.

He is not consistent. He is not logical. He is illogical. He is like a madman.

HE HAS NO POWER.

This will be very difficult to follow because we think that the sage has power, that he is the most powerful of men. He will touch your blind eyes and they will open and you will be able to see; you are dead and he will touch you and you will be resurrected. To us a sage is a miracle-worker.

But Chuang Tzu says: He has no power, because to use power is always part of the ego. The ego wants to be powerful. You cannot persuade a wise man to use his power, it is impossible. If you can, it means some ego was left to be persuaded. He will never use his power because there is no one to use and manipulate it. The ego, the manipulator, is there no more, the boat is empty. Who will direct this boat? There is nobody.

A sage is power, but he has no power; a sage is powerful, but he has no power - because the controller is there no more. He is energy - overflowing, unaddressed, undirected - but there is no one who can direct it. You may be cured in his presence, your eyes may open, but he has not opened them, he has not touched them, he has not cured you. If he thinks that he has cured you, he himself has become ill. This 'I' feeling - I have cured - is a greater illness, it is a greater blindness.

HE HAS NO POWER.

HE ACHIEVES NOTHING, HE HAS NO REPUTATION.

AND SINCE HE JUDGES NO ONE,

NO ONE JUDGES HIM.

SUCH IS THE PERFECT MAN -

HIS BOAT IS EMPTY.

And this is going to be your path. Empty your boat. Go on throwing out whatever you find in the boat until everything is thrown out and nothing is left, even YOU are thrown out, nothing is left, your being has become just empty.

The last thing and the first thing is to be empty: once you are empty you will be filled. The all will descend on you when you are empty - only emptiness can receive the all, nothing less will do, because to receive all you have to be empty, boundlessly empty. Only then can the all be received.

Your minds are so small they cannot receive the divine. Your rooms are so small you cannot invite the divine. Destroy this house completely because only the sky, space, total space, can receive.

Emptiness is going to be the path, the goal, everything. From tomorrow morning try to empty yourself of all that you find within: your misery, your anger, your ego, jealousies, sufferings, your pain, your pleasures - whatever you find, just throw it out. Without any distinction, without any choice, empty yourself. And the moment you are totally empty, suddenly you will see that you are the whole, the all. Through voidness, the whole is achieved.

Meditation is nothing but emptying, becoming nobody.

In this camp move as a nobody. And if you create anger in somebody and you collide, remember, you must be there in the boat, that's why it is happening. Soon, when your boat is empty, you will not collide, there will be no conflict, no anger, no violence - nothing.

And this nothing is the benediction, this nothing is the blessing. For this nothing you have been searching and searching.

Enough for today.

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Mulla Nasrudin complained to the health department about his brothers.

"I have got six brothers," he said. "We all live in one room. They have
too many pets. One has twelve monkeys and another has twelve dogs.
There's no air in the room and it's terrible!
You have got to do something about it."

"Have you got windows?" asked the man at the health department.

"Yes," said the Mulla.

"Why don't you open them?" he suggested.

"WHAT?" yelled Nasrudin, "AND LOSE ALL MY PIGEONS?"