The moment truth compromises, it dies
IN URUGUAY, EVENING HAS COME. A SMALL GROUP OF FRIENDS LISTEN AS SILENCE SPEAKS.
BELOVED MASTER, WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF ZEN?
It is one of the most significant questions that can be asked. The small word ?zen' contains the whole evolution of religious consciousness. It also represents freedom from religious organizations, from priesthood, from any kind of theology, from God. This small word can bring fire to your being.
First look at the history of the word, because that will help you to understand the essence of it. The word zen is Japanese, but it is not Japanese; it is a Japanese pronunciation of a Chinese word ch'an. And you should remember that Chinese and Japanese are nonalphabetical languages, so pronunciation differs. Even in China for the same word you will find hundreds of pronunciations - the land is so vast. And it is not alphabetical, it is just a symbol. That's why it is very difficult to learn Chinese or Japanese.
To be really a master of the Chinese language at least thirty years' hard work is needed. Being a nonalphabetical language, you have to remember the meanings of at least one million words - that is the minimum - because each word is a separate symbol. In alphabetical languages it is easier.
The same alphabet makes different words, but the alphabet remains the same.
In Chinese each word is independent. You have to remember the meaning of the symbol; the language is symbolic, pictorial. But then it is very difficult to keep the same pronunciation; there is no way to keep the same pronunciation, because the symbol has no fixed pronunciation. So you will find the same word being pronounced differently in different parts of China.
Japanese people can read Chinese but their pronunciation will be totally different. The difference between Japanese and Chinese is only of pronunciation - the symbols are the same. But the pronunciations are so different that they have to be taken as two different languages.
So it is the Chinese symbol ch'an that the Japanese manage to pronounce as zen. But in a strange way it has come very close to the original word. Ch'an also is not Chinese. It came to China with the Buddhist monks some two thousand years ago. Buddhists used the language Pali; their word was jhan. It became in China ch'an. The Pali word jhan comes from the Sanskrit word dhyan, so it has a long history of traveling, taking different shades, meanings.
It is dhyan that we are translating as meditation, pure meditation, just witnessing. There is no question of any certain religion. There is no need of any kind of catechism. You simply don't need anything as a pre-requisite. Dhyan is complete in itself. It is the beginning and the end of the whole evolution of consciousness, the alpha and the omega.
People know what prayer is because ordinarily all the religions depend on prayer; dhyan is just the opposite of prayer. Prayer is directed, addressed towards a God which is just a hypothesis. You say something, you repeat a mantra, you chant something, in the praise of God. It is either out of fear or out of greed. Either you are afraid, so you are remembering God, or you are in need of something desperately and you find yourself unable to find it, so you are asking God to help you. But fear and greed cannot be religion, and truth cannot be found by a hypothetical belief. If you begin with belief, you will end with belief; you will never come to know what is in fact the case.
Dhyan is just the opposite, not addressed to anyone - no God, no question of fear, no question of greed. It is something that takes you inwards. Prayer takes you outwards, and anything that takes you outwards is just worldly - whether you do it in the church or in the mosque or in the temple, it does not matter. Unless something leads you inwards, to the very center of your being... nothing else is religious.
So religion is very simple: just coming to your own center.
Dhyan is the process of coming to yourself: leaving the body out, leaving the mind out, leaving the heart out, leaving everything out - eliminating everything by "I am not this" - until you come to a point where there is nothing to be eliminated.
And the strangest experience is that when you have eliminated everything, you are also not there as the old person you used to be, the old ego, the old "I." It was the combination of all that you have eliminated. Slowly, slowly, without knowing, you have destroyed your ego. Now there is only pure consciousness, just light, eternal light.
Dhyan was taken by the Buddhists to China, but in China a great transformation took place because China was under the great impact of Lao Tzu, and his whole teaching was "let-go."
Gautam Buddha fights to enter into his own being; at the ultimate point he comes to let-go, but that is the last thing. Tired of the efforts, the struggle, the ascetic practices, finally he drops everything.
And in that let-go, that which he has been desiring for years happens. It happens when there is no desire for it. Lao Tzu begins with "let-go" - so there has been a beautiful meeting.
Religions have met in other places, but it has been ugly: Mohammedans with Christians, Mohammedans with Hindus, Christians with Hindus, but all their meetings have been conflicts, fights, violence. There has been bloodshed - a great effort to convert the other!
The only religious meeting which can be appreciated happened in China between the Buddhist monks and the Taoist monks. They did not argue, they did not fight, they did not try to convert anybody. In fact seeing each other, they immediately understood that they are standing in the same space. Out of this communion of Buddhism and Taoism ch'an was born.
It is the only meeting of two religions which can be said to be friendly, compassionate, loving. There has been no conflict at all, no argument even, but a sheer understanding. In deep silence they both could see that their paths may have been different, but they have arrived at the same peak. Taoists had no name for it; they have left it unnamed. Buddhists have a name for it, dhyan. But it was so new they had to make a new symbol for it, and that symbol was pronounced ch'an. It remained the culmination and synthesis of the two greatest and most highly evolved religions - but it remained confined too, to Buddhists and Taoists.
When it was taken to Japan by Japanese seekers, it reached a new height; it became free from Buddhism and Taoism too, it became simply Zen. There was no need for all the Buddhist doctrines to support it; nor was there any need for the Taoist philosophy to support it. It was so complete and entire in itself that in Japan dhyan, in the name of Zen, came to its purest quality. Nowhere else in the world has it happened.
The essence is witnessing. It is completely devoid of any doctrine; it has no teaching. The man of Zen has nothing to teach; he has no philosophy, no religion. He can only explain to you, through different devices, the silence. And Zen has evolved new devices which were not in the Buddhist jhan nor were they in Chinese ch'an.
Zen has taken a totally new course, a new freshness, a new birth. Even Taoists and Buddhists feel a little strange about Zen. The most orthodox ones laugh at it, that it is absolutely absurd.
I have seen prominent Buddhist monks. One was Bhikkhu Sangharakshita. He was an Englishman.
He must have become a Buddhist monk very young; now he is very old. He lives in Kalimpong just on the border of India and China. He has his small commune there and he is very respected. He has written beautiful books on Buddhism, but when I mentioned Zen he laughed.
I said, "Studying your books I knew you would laugh, because you are still confined to the Buddhist doctrine. You cannot conceive that Zen can exist without any philosophical support. There is no need for any philosophical support; it is a very pragmatic and scientific method. You simply witness your body while walking, sitting, eating, listening, speaking - whatever you are doing, just be watchful."
There is a Hassid story about Baal Shem, the founder of Hassidism. In the middle of the night he was troubled by some philosophical problem. He came out of his house. The road was empty and he started walking up and down. Seeing him walking up and down, a rich man's guard came out of the house and asked Baal Shem, "What are you doing here in the middle of the night on the empty road?"
Baal Shem said, "The same question I wanted to ask you. What you are doing here in the middle of the night when the road is empty?"
And the man said, "I am a watchman."
Baal Shem hugged him, thanked him, but the watchman asked, "For what?"
He said, "I have found the key I was looking for. I was worried how to get out of this worry. The word ?watch' gave me the key. You are my master."
The watchman said, "I don't understand what you are talking about."
He said, "Whether you understand or not does not matter, but you are my master; you have given me the key. I also want to become a watchman."
The watchman said, "If you want to become a watchman, I can find you a job."
Baal Shem said, "You don't understand, and you need not be worried about it. It is not a question of finding a job. My watchmanship is totally different. I want to watch my thoughts."
The whole process is simple: watching your body, in action, in inaction; watching your mind, with thoughts, without thoughts; watching your heart, with emotions, moods, without emotions, without moods. And when all these have disappeared through watching then your watchfulness goes through a radical transformation: it watches itself, it returns to itself.
Just as everything moves in circles in the world - every energy moves in circles and watchfulness is an energy. If nothing obstructs it, it is bound to come back to itself. This has been expressed in different ways. The old man becomes the child... it is the consciousness coming back to the source.
Immense innocence is released.
Sangharakshita used to come to me whenever he was passing my way; he made it a point to stay at least one day with me. He was constantly moving around India teaching Buddhism, trying to convert people, but I said to him, "Buddhism has gone far ahead of Gautam Buddha, and you are still hanging on to him."
The Zen story is:
A Zen monk is staying in a Buddhist temple. The night is cold - and in Japan the statues are made of wood - so he takes one of Buddha's statues and creates fire.
The priest was asleep, but he heard the crackling of the fire and saw the light. He came up from his room. He could not believe... Gautam Buddha was burning and that man was sitting by his side enjoying! He said, "You seem to be mad. You have burned one of my beautiful statues of Gautam Buddha. You should be ashamed of yourself. I gave you shelter in the temple and this is the reward?
- you have burned Gautam Buddha!"
The monk said, "Wait!" And he took a small piece of wood and started searching in the ashes, but the Buddha was completely burned.
The priest asked, "Now what are you looking for?"
He said, "I am looking for the bones." Actually he said, "I am looking for the flowers" - because in the East the bones of a dead man are called "flowers."
"I am looking for the flowers."
The priest said, "You are certainly mad. How can a wooden statue have flowers?"
The monk said, "That means you agree with me. Then please bring one more, because you have already too many and the night is long and it is too cold. And you have understood that it is just wood - there are no bones, and Buddha cannot be without bones. Just pick up one more."
But the priest was mad. He said, "I will not let you stay inside for a single moment more. You just get out of the temple!"
While he was pushing him out the monk said, "Listen, you are worshipping dead Buddhas and you are throwing out a living Buddha. You will repent for it."
Only a Zen master could have done that. No Christian bishop, or cardinal, or even a pope can burn Jesus Christ's wooden statue. He knows it is wooden but he cannot gather courage to burn it. No Hindu can do it. Nobody in the whole world.
Zen has gone far beyond where Buddha left it. If he comes back he will be rejoiced, but these scholars cannot understand that this is the ultimate growth. Now there is nothing more than Zen.
There is no possibility I can conceive that can go beyond it. It has left everything possible behind; now only the essential has remained - pure consciousness. Now it has nothing to do with Buddhism, nothing to do with Taoism. It is yours if you do it, whoever you may be: man, woman, black, white, it doesn't matter.
What I am teaching is exactly pure Zen, without using the word Zen, because although it has gone beyond, still old associations and connotations linger with it. It is still called Zen Buddhism. There are still Zen temples where Gautam Buddha's statue is worshipped.
The greatest Zen masters have gone completely beyond all of these rituals, but there are so many categories. That's why I am not using the word Zen; otherwise, what I am teaching is exactly pure consciousness, how to enter into it, and how to be it.
ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT HAPPENS AROUND YOU IS HOW WE FUNCTION AS A GROUP. UNLIKE MANY OTHER GROUPS OF PEOPLE PERHAPS, WHEN WE CAN SEE VARIOUS OF US HAVING SOME BEAUTIFUL QUALITY, CHANGING, COMING CLOSER TO WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, WE REJOICE IN IT AS MUCH AS IF IT WERE HAPPENING TO US AS INDIVIDUALS, BECAUSE WE RECOGNIZE THAT WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THEM WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US. I CAN RECALL YOU MENTIONING THE PHENOMENON OF GROUP CONSCIOUSNESS ONLY IN PASSING. IS IT RELATED TO THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS?
WOULD YOU SPEAK TO US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT GROUP CONSCIOUSNESS AND HOW WE CAN BEST UTILIZE IT HERE IN OUR SITUATION WITH YOU?
I have described to you that below your consciousness there are three layers of unconsciousness, becoming more and more unconscious. The lowest is cosmic unconsciousness, just as it is in a rock.
Above your consciousness there is superconsciousness, again in three layers, the highest reaching to the cosmic superconsciousness. That's what I have been talking about as pure consciousness - as Zen, as ch'an, as dhyan.
The phenomenon of group consciousness is a reality. The world is in such a mess because everybody is at a different stage. Group consciousness is possible only when you are all at the same stage. For example if you are all unconscious, then a certain rhythm arises from all your beings and connects you. And this you can see sometimes in riots, when mobs completely forget what they are doing.
I have seen with my own eyes Hindu-Mohammedan riots. And I was puzzled seeing that the people who were killing each other were nice people. Many of them I knew personally. I could have never conceived that they would kill somebody so easily or burn a house full of living people so easily - without a second thought.
I was sitting in a bookstall on a second story when a riot broke out. People were killing each other, taking things from shops, whatsoever they wanted. There was no law, no order. Just in front of me was the shop, the biggest shop in the town, of watches and clocks and people were just grabbing whatsoever they could get.
And one old man... I knew him, I used to meet him on my morning walks, and many times we would sit and discuss things. He was a Mohammedan. The shop belonged to a Hindu. Although he was a Mohammedan he was shouting, "Don't do this! This is not right. And if you want to kill Hindus, kill Hindus, but stealing, robbing... Mohammedanism does not teach that." He was standing on top of a chair and shouting at people, but who listens?
But the most amazing thing was that when the whole shop was robbed and there was only a very big wall clock left, the old man took it and went home. I had to rush down. The bookshop owner told me, "Don't go down. It is dangerous. Wait a little and let things clear. Let the police or army come."
I said, "No. I have to ask that old man what happened to him."
And I caught hold of him and I asked him, "You have been shouting for half an hour, ?Don't do this!'
Then what happened to you suddenly?"
He said, "I don't know. I just saw that when everybody is doing it and nobody is listening to me, perhaps they are right and I am the only fool. And this was the last piece. If I had not taken it somebody was going to take it, so I immediately took it. It is heavy for an old man like me." It was a big clock.
But I said, "You were talking about it being against Mohammedanism, that this is not religion."
He said, "I forgot everything in that moment. When I saw that only one clock is left... I don't know what came over me; I forgot all philosophy and all religion. Only one thing remained in my mind:
everybody has got something; I am just acting like a fool shouting here for half an hour. Just for my shouting at least I can take this; otherwise I will repent my whole life."
I saw professors stealing, robbing, killing, burning Hindus, Mohammedans. Later on I enquired of them and they said, "We also wonder about it. If somebody says to us, ?You go and burn that temple,' alone we cannot do it. But if a crowd is there burning the temple, we can participate."
I said, "What is the difference?"
One man said, "In some strange way I don't feel responsible at all. When the whole crowd is doing it I am not responsible, I am just part of the crowd mind. The crowd is doing it, I am not doing it. And it is going to be burned whether I participate or not."
Whenever there is a similar state of mind, of consciousness, there is something invisible joining you and making you a collective phenomenon. If it is lower than consciousness then you are falling into barbarism, murder, violence, arson. If it is something higher than consciousness then you are creating a tremendous energy that whoever comes close to it will be immediately lit - so much fire of consciousness that even an unconscious man will have to become conscious, will have to become awake.
On this, secret schools of mysticism have existed: that what you cannot do alone, or may find arduous and difficult to do, is easy and more possible when many people are doing it together. Then suddenly you are taken by a mass energy, a wave you can ride upon. Alone perhaps you would have thought a thousand times, but when so many people are moving higher and rejoicing - and you can see and feel their joy - you forget your fears, you forget your inhibitions; you start joining them. School methods depend on this basic fact - that consciousness can function as collective.
Unconsciousness has been functioning down the ages as collective. Thousands of Christians going for a crusade to kill Jews and Mohammedans - what do you think? None of them thought about it? Thousands of women are being burned alive as witches and nobody raises any objection. What must be the reason behind it? - just a collective unconsciousness. They all feel alike. They cannot go against this tremendous current of so many people; hence the desire of every religion to have more and more members. Then they can create collective floods, which they have done.
You will be surprised: in India Gautam Buddha turned almost all of India to his way of thinking and living, but today you cannot find a single Buddhist. Such a vast majority of people were destroyed for simple reasons. The Hindu collective mind, the unconscious, was ready to burn living people, torture them, and the Buddhists could not stand against this unconscious madness. They did not have a collective superconscious mind to counter it. They were just followers.
In Buddha's time they were practicing it. Once Buddha was gone - and he had created a tremendous energy of superconsciousness that transformed the whole country - once he was gone, and his chief disciples were gone... After five centuries the only Buddhists were those who were Buddhists by birth; other than that there was nothing of Buddha in them, so there was nothing to counter the Hindu mass unconsciousness.
Jainism compromised. Many Jainas were killed; and seeing that they will be destroyed just like the Buddhists, they compromised. You will be surprised to know that both religions, Buddhism and Jainism, arose as rebellions against Hinduism and Brahminism - that the brahmin does not have the monopoly... that he does not become enlightened just by being born in a brahmin family. It has to be earned, it has to be deserved. Just by birth you are the same as everybody else; you cannot claim any superiority.
Jainism and Buddhism were both rebellions against brahmins, but seeing Buddhism destroyed so cruelly, Jainism compromised. The compromise was that now the Hindu brahmin is called when a child is born - the naming ceremony is done by the brahmin who reads Hindu scriptures - and at marriage and death ceremonies the brahmin presides.
All the rituals that the brahmin does for Hindus, he also does for the Jainas, so his profession is intact. Then he does not bother whether you believe in this or that; that is not his concern - just his profession, his priesthood, should remain intact. And Jainas have accepted his priesthood - exactly what he does for Hindus, he does for them - but then the Jainas could not grow. The moment truth compromises, it dies. Then it cannot have any impact; it loses glory, it loses grandeur.
The principle of the collective mind can be seen in other fields. For example, psychologists and philosophers have been puzzled by the fact that a man like Adolf Hitler, almost retarded, without any charismatic personality... If Adolf Hitler has a charismatic personality, then Charlie Chaplin also has a charismatic personality! They are both buffoons. Their faces are not those of men who can leave an impact on you, and what they say is rubbish. But a country like Germany, which is far more intellectual than any other country in the world, which has produced more philosophers than any other country in the world... how did it happen that the whole country followed this madman?
And that madman was doing things which are impossible to conceive: thousands of Jews were being gassed in concentration camps. Within seconds there was only a cloud of smoke, and all those thousands of living beings disappeared in the smoke! Millions of Jews were burned alive in those gas chambers.
Very educated, qualified people were running those gas chambers, and they never thought about what they were doing. And nobody has come up with an answer; it is still a question, and it will remain a question if they don't understand that mind has the capacity to function collectively - then individuals don't count. Then they don't think that they are responsible. If the whole country is doing something... And that's what Adolf Hitler managed. His whole effort was to create big rallies.
Thousands of young people rallying behind him created an impact and a wave of unconsciousness that you cannot see. The people who were watching the rally were simply falling into a certain unconscious rhythm with the rally. Those rallies were arranged in all the big cities, and people were coming from the villages to see them.
What was the psychological purpose of those rallies? The purpose was to make the whole country certain that "the people are with me." Thousands of young people with the same slogans, with the same dress, parading to the same music, created an atmosphere in which even a man like Martin Heidegger, one of the best philosophers of this century, became a follower of Adolf Hitler.
For centuries this has been going on. Politicians have used it, religious leaders have used it, perhaps not knowing what they are doing, how it is happening; they may not know. You don't know how electricity works; you just know how to put it on and off. That's all your knowledge consists of.
They may not have any understanding of the collective mind, but that's what has been happening, and this understanding has to be made known to everybody worldwide. Before you act think twice:
Are you doing it on your own responsibility or are you just following the mass, the crowd? To follow the mass is a crime because the mass is not superconscious, it can only be unconscious.
We have to create small groups, oases in this desert, where a few people can rise as a collective towards superconsciousness. But there is a danger that the majority of unconscious people may not tolerate you. And this is becoming clear.
America was against me, and slowly slowly it has become a worldwide phenomenon. One cannot conceive it if he does not understand the collective unconscious mind. These politicians have different ideologies but they are as unconscious as anybody else, so they may be German, they may be English, they may be Swiss, they may be Swedish, they may be American, it does not matter. Now the collective unconsciousness of all the politicians of the world is functioning in oneness against a single man. And they will believe each other's lies.
The Indian government has been pressurizing other governments that I should not be allowed...
because there is much they have against me. And just today I have received cuttings from Laxmi.
The home minister was asked in the Indian parliament, "Have you prevented Osho's followers from entering into India? If he comes to live here will his followers be refused entry as tourists?" He denied it.
The question was asked twice by two different persons. Again he denied it. He said, "No, there is no condition like that. Everybody can come and visit him."
And the next day somebody from the opposition party raised a question - he is the leader of the party and knows me because he is from Poona. He asked, "Is there any income tax that Osho has not paid? or any kind of taxation that he has avoided?"
And the finance minister said, "No, because he has no income. How can he have any income tax?
And he has not avoided any taxation."
To the parliament they are saying this, because if they say anything else then they will have to prove it. And to the other governments they are falling in line, in tune with every politician.
It seems the time is ripe. If we don't disrupt the vicious circle and create groups which have a different kind of collective energy, far higher and superior, history will be repeated.
They killed al-Hillaj Mansoor, they killed Jesus, they killed Socrates - the same they will do with me.
They will not bother that they don't have anything against me. They will create it, they will invent lies, but they will remain in tune with the unconscious circle.
It is true that there is such a thing which is always at work. You will see it in fashion: suddenly something comes in fashion and thousands of young people fall in tune with it. Something goes out of fashion, it simply disappears. Some music becomes fashionable and everybody loves it, and it goes out of fashion and nobody even thinks about it again.
It is simply the flow of collective waves that affect people's minds. And anything can become fashionable, it just has to catch fire in the collective unconscious. Then from person to person it will spread like wildfire.
As far as higher things are concerned it is difficult, very difficult, because it needs some effort, some daring, some courage, some seeking for truth. So only a few groups here and there have been able to create a collective superconscious. But now a few groups won't do.
The world is in a much bigger danger. We need many more groups around the world which will be the real protection from political stupidities, political unconsciousness. It is a tremendously great job, but immensely enchanting, challenging, to all those who have any guts, any intelligence. I want my people to become the barrier, to prevent the political unconsciousness - it is still possible. We will fight to the very last breath.