The Lotus Flower of the Law

Fri, 21 April 1978 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Take It Easy, Vol 1
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
Archive Code:
Short Title:
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A parable:

THERE WAS ONCE A TURKISH TEACHER WHO WASN'T REALLY A TEACHER. He went to a foreign country and started to teach. Of course, the people there did not understand Turkish, but the man spoke with such authority and such drama that he soon had many devotees and followers.

Then, one day, a group of Turks happened to pass by. When they listened to him, they understood what he was saying - bullshit! So they ran him out of town.

Afterwards, when the man returned to his home and was asked how his trip had been, he said, "Great... until these Turkish people came by and understood what I was saying .

The moral of the story being that it is possible to speak to people in a language they don't understand, but when they DO understand, the bullshit stops for ever!

The appearance of Gautam the Buddha was one of the most phenomenal events of human consciousness. Whatsoever was going on in the name of religion before he appeared stopped for ever. He brought truth to such simplicity, to such felicity, to such grace. He spoke the way an enlightened person speaks - he spoke through his being. He was not a scholar, and he was not worried about speculation. He had no abstract ideas; he was very down-to-earth.

And since then, Zen people have carried the flame down the ages. They speak, not because they have a philosophy to propound; they speak because they have seen something - it has to be conveyed. They speak as seers, not as thinkers. They speak as masters, not as believers.

Buddha transformed the very quality of religion. It was theology before him; after him it became anthropology. God was dethroned, man was enthroned. 'God' is not a relevant word with Buddha, 'man' is. He says: All that is needed is hidden inside human consciousness. Man has not to look up to the heavens, he has not to ask for any grace from anywhere. He has to become a light unto himself.

And the light is there, it is the very core of your life. Just one thing has happened, you have forgotten it. Not that you have lost it, just forgotten. Remember it, because that is very fundamental to Buddha's approach.

Life is a forgetfulness and a remembering. And that's all, and that's the whole story. one falls asleep and dreams a thousand and one things, and in the morning one wakes up and all the dreams are gone. So is life. We have fallen asleep - fallen asleep to our inner being. We have forgotten who we are. Hence, the world, the SAMSARA. The SAMSARA means the world of ten thousand things.

And we go on rushing from one thing to another thing - in search of a self. Because we have lost contact with our self, we are continuously searching for it. If you look deep down into the agony of man, this is the agony. He has forgotten who he is and is searching and asking, asking of everybody, "Who am I?" May not be so consciously....

That's what you are asking when you fall in love. You are asking your beloved to tell you who you are. Why do people feel so beautiful when they are in love? Because some identity starts arising.

The woman you love says, "You are beautiful. You are intelligent, you are unique." She is giving you a self.

When you say to the woman, "You are beautiful. I have never come across such a beautiful person.

I cannot live without you, you are my life, my joy, my very existence," you are giving an identity to the woman. She was searching for it; she does not know who she is. Now you are creating a self She is creating a self for you, you are creating a self for her.

That's why people feel so at ease when they are in love. When love disappears, is broken, shattered, they are shattered. Why are you shattered? You are shattered because your identity is again lost, again you don't know who you are. It was the woman or the man who was giving you a certain kind of idea of who you are. Now the woman is gone and the idea is gone with her. Now again you are in darkness. Again you don't know, again you start searching for....

Why do you seek money and wealth? Just to have some identity. So that you know who you are, so that people can say who you are. Why do you go on searching for power, prestige? The same reason.

Man is in a constant search for the self. Man is in a constant identity crisis. And because in the past things were more settled, people were more at ease. Now things are changing so fast that again and again your identity is shattered.

Just think: in the old days, once you got married, you got married. You were not going to be searching again for a woman or for a man; it was a whole-life thing, a settlement. A certain idea would become fixed, slowly slowly, that you were the husband, the father of the children, this and that. But now it is difficult, and more so particularly in the West.

Every once in a while you will change the woman; every once in a while you will change the man.

Again and again you will have to search for the identity.

In the past, people used to do the same work their whole life; it was traditional. Your grandfather was a carpenter, your father was a carpenter, you are a carpenter, your children will be carpenters - you knew who you were. Now it is impossible to know. People go on changing their jobs; things are changing so fast....

You knew in the past where you belonged. You were an Indian, a Christian, a Hindu, a Chinese, a Buddhist.

Now you don't know any more. The world has come very much closer, boundaries have become false. The world has become a small village, a global village. Now you don't know. And now you know there is not much difference between a Hindu and a Christian or a Mohammedan; that identity is not of any help any more.

Who are you? This problem is one of the most fundamental problems. Modern man is very much puzzled. almost paralyzed.

Buddha says: It is not going to be of any help if you create a false identity. You can live with it your whole life, still you will not know who you are. The only way to know who you are is to go within yourself with great remembrance, with great mindfulness, with awareness. Asking from the outside, whatsoever you get is a pseudo-thing. Your woman, your man, your country, your religion, your church - they will give you a certain kind of identity. They will create a false self. But that is not real.

And only the mediocre can be deceived by it, only the stupid can be deceived by it. The intelligent person sooner or later will have to see the point that these identities are from the outside: "In fact I don't know who I am. My being a husband does not say anything about me. My being a father or a mother does not say anything about me. My being a Christian or a Hindu does not say anything about me. I am still in darkness."

These labels may be of some help in the outside world but your identity card is not you. Your name is not you, even your photograph is not you, because you go on changing and the photograph remains static. It simply represents one moment in your life. It is not that it represents you - one gesture in your life, and that too very superficial. For example, you were smiling and the photograph was taken, and you may have just been smiling for the photographer.

I have heard: One photographer was saying to a very very serious-looking man, "Just for a single moment, sir, smile. And then you can be your usual self again."

Now, this photograph of this serious man smiling is absolutely false; that smile is just on the lips.

The photograph cannot penetrate inside you. In fact not even an X-ray can penetrate inside you - it may take the pictures of your bones but it cannot take your picture.

There is no way to see from the outside who you are. There is only one way, and that is to become alert inside, to awaken inside, to make great effort inside, so that you are not asleep there. Then only will you have the first glimpse of the real man.

And remember Ikkyu: One single glimpse of the real man and one is in love. The man who is searching for his identity cannot be in love; his love is also nothing but a search for the identity.

Amongst other searches, that also is one. You write a book, you become a famous author, or you paint and you become a painter, or you sing and you become a singer. But these are all efforts to somehow categorize you, to identify who you are.

There is an ancient story about a philosopher who was very forgetful. He was so forgetful that in the night he would sleep with all his clothes on, even with his shoes on. Somebody suggested, "This is not a way to sleep - and how can one sleep with shoes on? and your hat on, and all the dress?"

And he said, "It is very difficult. If I put them away in the night, then in the morning I forget where I have put my shoes, where I have put my coat. And what is a coat? and what are shoes? and what is my hat? Everything becomes such a mess and it takes so much trouble to find and sort things out that I have decided never to do it again. Half my day is wasted."

The man was a practical man. He said, "This is a simple thing. I know that you are a very forgetful man - you can do one thing. You can write, you can stick small labels on everything: 'This is my coat', 'This is my shoe'. And you can keep a diary also: where you have put the shoes, underneath the bed; and where you have put your coat, and where your underwear is... you can just make notes."

That appealed to the philosopher, and he did it. And next morning he was really in a mess - he had never been in such a mess. Everything worked out. He found his shoes, they were underneath the bed. He found his coat, it was hanging there in the cupboard. He found his shirt - he found everything. And finally, he shouted, looking at the sky, "My God! But now where am I? Because I have forgotten to note it down!"

He looked in the bed, but he was not there. You can imagine the poor man's anguish. He searched all over the house, he looked in every nook and corner, and he was not there. And he came running out of the house shouting, "Please, somebody tell me where I am? Everything else I have found in its place; just one thing I forgot. I didn't write in the notebook where I have to find myself. I think was in the bed, but the bed is empty."

The story looks fictitious; it is not. It is your story. It is everybody's story. It is man's story. You know where your house is, you know your phone number, you know who your wife is, you know who your son is... you know you are a Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan, Indian,Japanese. But do you really know who you are and where you are? And you will be almost in as much bewilderment as that ancient philosopher.

But people don't ask this question, because this question creates such uneasiness. They avoid it.

They go on living, avoiding it.

Buddha transformed the quality of religion. Religion with Buddha became man-oriented. Before Buddha it was God-oriented. Now, God is not a problem at all - whose problem is God? How are you concerned with God? Seems to be a bogus problem, nobody's concern. Maybe priests have some investment in it, maybe politicians have some investment in it, but really it is not an existential question.

The existential question is: Who am I?

WITH BUDDHA, religion changed its quality. It became realistic, it became pragmatic. Buddha said:

There is no need to be worried about God. Let him worry himself about himself - if he wants to know who he is he can ask, "Who am I?" Why should you be worried?

And in the first place, God is your creation. That is your ultimate effort to avoid yourself. You go on creating fictitious problems. There is one beautiful thing about fictitious problems: they can be solved, easily they can be solved. In fact the problem is fictitious - any fictitious answer will do. The disease is pseudo - anY pseudo-medicine will do.

People become very much interested in pseudo-problems, and they think they are great seekers.

Buddha hit them hard and shattered their ego, the ego of being a seeker. He said: f you are seeking and searching for God, you are simply befooling yourself.

God is nobody's problem I Just see the point. How can God be YOUR problem? But people think it is a problem. B! making it a problem, they can avoid their own problems. They become too much occupied with God. They start thinking, they start collecting answers, they start philosophizing, speculating; they go into scriptures, and they are lost in the jungle of words. And they have forgotten the simple question that was really THEIR question: Who am I? God may be the greatest escape.

It has been noted by psychologists that in times of anguish, misery, war, trouble, people start thinking of abstract things - God, truth, heaven, after-life. In times of stress when people are very uneasy on this earth, they start looking at the sky. They focus their problems there so they can avoid the real problems of the earth. This has been watched, observed, again and again. After each year there is a great revival of religion - the so-called religion.

And you know it by your personal experience also. Whenever you are in misery, in pain, you remember God. Whenever you are happy, when you are flowing and life is a celebration, you don't care a bit about God, you don't remember. This is a simple experience; no psychologist is needed to observe it. Everybody can observe in his own life. What does it say? It simply says that when you are in anguish you have to avoid the anguish and you have to create a false problem to go away from it - a great occupation....

You start praying. And you had never prayed. In fact, when things were going well you had never gone to the priest. When things were going beautifully and you were succeeding in life and the life was a bed of roses, you didn't remember God. But when life becomes a bed of neurosis, then - then suddenly you remember God.

God is an escape.

Bertrand Russell is right in saying that if life on earth becomes really blissful people will forget all about God and there will be no religion. He is right, because he does not know the religion of Buddha. He knows Christianity. Yes, religions like Christianity and Hinduism WILL disappear. But if life is really happy on the earth, something like Buddha's message will become very very prevalent.

When life is going well, beautifully, and all is flowing and flowering, this question arises in the deepest core of your being: "Now is the time to know - who am I?" When life is not flowing, all is blocked and there is only misery and misery and all is hell, how can you ask "Who am I?" To come that close to yourself is dangerous because there is only hellfire and nothing else. How can you come that close? How can you sit silently with closed eyes and look into yourself? You have to avoid, you have to escape, you have to run away. So anything will do.

And that's how things always happen. Whenever a society is in turmoil people become very much interested in occult, esoteric things. They start seeing UFO's, they start seeing beings from other planets, they start thinking of great things that are going to happen. They start going to the astrologers... and all kinds of nonsense .

Buddha brings a very sensible religion to the world. Empirical, experiential, existential. In Buddha's way, there is no God, no prayer.

And just think of your poor God, if he exists. What will his situation be? - just think of him. All kinds of people praying and shouting at him and complaining. And it has b en going on and on. Either he does not listen at all, or he must have gone crazy by now.

A great psychotherapist was asked by his student.... The student watched the great old man working from the morning till evening, continuously psychoanalyzing mad people, all kinds of nuts, listening to them. And he u as dead tired by the evening, he was a young man. And the old man was as fresh as he was in the morning.

One day he could not contain his curiosity. He asked, "What is the matter? How do you manage?

The whole day listening to such horrible tales, nightmares, and you never become tired?"

And the old man said, "Who listens?"

God must be avoiding you.

I have heard:

A man who had all his life been very pious, and had prayed to God continually at least ten hours a day, died, and unlike his miserable brother, who was an atheist, he died miserable and broke. His wife had left him, his partner had cheated him, his house had burned down, and his children were all delinquents. His brother, on the other hand, who had not prayed a single prayer in his life, was wealthy, had his health, a wonderful wife, fine children, and in short, a great time of it.

When the pious man finally came face to face with God, he asked, "Lord, I'm not complaining. You know I'm not complaining. When you took my house away, I prayed to you in thanks. I knew there was some good reason for it. And when my wife left, I again prayed in thanksgiving, because I knew you had a good reason for that; and when my children turned against me, again I prayed to you with thanks, since I know that nothing happens without your approval, and I have to bow to Divine Wisdom. But why did all these things happen to me who prayed to you ten hours at least every day, and not to my wicked brother who is an atheist?"

"Because," said the Lord in disgust, "you are such a NUDGE!"

You are such a bore. This man must have tortured God - ten hours every day. Just think of poor God!

Buddha relieved man of God, and Buddha relieved God of man. Buddha's approach is such that if Friedrich Nietzsche had been born in a Buddhist land, he could not have written that God is dead and that from now onward man is free. There would have been no need.

Buddha helped God disappear without any bloodshed. Nietzsche had to kill. Nietzsche says: God is dead; and not that he has died a natural death - we HAD to kill him, just to be free of him. How can man be free with God? If God is there, then religion becomes nothing but obedience. If God is there, then religion is reduced to obedience.

That's why in Christianity you don't talk about freedom, you don't talk about MOKSHA. MOKSHA means absolute freedom. And absolute freedom includes freedom from God! Otherwise, how can it be absolute? If there is somebody to whom you are responsible and answerable, you can't be free.

Friedrich Nietzsche's statement - God is dead and we had to murder him - is just a reaction created by Christianity and its obsession with obedience. Christianity has created slaves in the world.

Nietzsche HAD to utter that word, had to utter that statement. If Nietzsche had not done it, then somebody else would have done it. It was a need, it was inevitable.

Christianity leaves no alternatives... it leaves only two alternatives: either commit suicide, lose all your freedom, become a zombie in the name of God; or, murder God and be free. And both are ugly - suicide or murder?

Buddhism does not give you such ugly alternatives. It simply says God is not the problem - the problem is man. God is an escape from the problem. Look into man, find out your source inside, and all will be solved.

And remember again, Buddha is not an atheist. He is not saying there is no God, but his concept of God is totally different. When you come to the deepest core of your being, to your very source, you will know that you are God.

Christianity says: You are sons of God. Buddhism says: When you come to know yourself, you are not sons - you are godhood itself. There is no God other than you, there is no God other than the universe. Hence Buddha never talks about God, because there is no God other than this. There is no that other than this. This is that. Existence is divine.

But to know this, no prayer is going to help. To know this, no philosophy is going to be of any support. To know this, one has to go utterly into oneself - with only one question like an arrow piercing your heart: Who am I? And the deeper you go, the deeper you will see that you don't exist as an individual.

That is the meaning of Buddha's doctrine of anatta - no-self. You will not come to see any self inside you. The whole idea of being a person will slowly slowly melt, and there will be a kind of presence but no personality. The individual will disappear and there will be the universal. You will not be separate from existence, you will find yourself one with the whole.

Now the sutras:






PEOPLE SUFFER BECAUSE THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN their innermost no-self. Because they have forgotten their innermost presence, they have forgotten that they are one with the whole. How have they forgotten it? It is a natural rhythm. Whatsoever is given becomes so obvious that one tends to forget it. The new is remembered because it is such a sensation. You pass through the same garden again and again and again, and naturally you tend to forget. Trees are there but you don't look at them, you take them for granted. The birds are singing but you go with your inner chatter.

Just think: if you had lived in a desert and suddenly one fine morning you had come across a beautiful garden with trees and birds singing, would you have passed the same way as you pass your garden every day! You would have danced, you would have shouted in joy. you would have sung, you would have exploded! It would have been a great experience, you would have become very very aware and alert. All inner chattering would have stopped. But you pass through the same type of garden every day, and you tend to forget.

Remember the first day you saw your woman or your man, how enchanted you were! how thrilled, how blissful! And now you sit with the same woman and you don't look at her face at all. It is a well-known fact that husbands cannot remember their wives' faces. Try. Try to remember how your wife looks, and you will be very much puzzled. You can remember how the neighbour's wife looks, what kind of sari she was wearing this morning - your neighbour's wife, not your wife. Your wife you have not looked at for years. If suddenly her face is changed by a magician you may become aware after months or years - because who ever looks at his own wife?

How long has it been that you have not touched her hand with a thrill, with a song in your heart?

You take her hand in your hand; it is an empty gesture, you have to do it.

One day, a man came to his home and just saw his partner kissing his wife. The partner was very much afraid that the man would create trouble, but the man took the partner aside and said, "You puzzle me. I HAVE to kiss that woman - but why you? I don' t see the point. I HAVE to kiss that woman but why you? Have you gone mad or something?"

Sooner or later, you tend to forget that which is available. Others know in what a beautiful house you are living; you don't know. Others know what beautiful children you have; you don't know. Others think that you are fortunate, this and that; you don't know.

This is the problem: because we are our own selves, and we have been always that, from eternity, it is natural to forget all about it. Because of this natural tendency, one has forgotten oneself. And one has become interested in others, in those ten thousand things - the SAMSARA.

You go on rushing from one new sensation into another new sensation. You don't have any time to sit for medita-tion. People come to me, and if I tell them to meditate they say, "But we don't have any time." They have enough time to go to the movie, they have enough time to play cards - you can find them gathered together in Somendra's room playing poker. They have time to gossip. But for meditation? Suddenly there is a scarcity of time. They have time to fight, be angry, they have time to read the stupid newspapers - and how deeply they go into those newspapers! Those newspapers have become their gospels; they read every line, from the beginning to the end. But you talk about meditation and immediately, without a single thought, the reaction comes: "But we don't have any time!"

What are they really saying? They are saying that they are not interested in themselves. That they are not interested in sitting silently for one hour and looking into their own being. For what? They can earn money in that time, they can tend their shop, or they can do a thousand and one things.

Why just go on gazing at your navel? For what? Nobody seems to be interested in oneself One is already there, so why bother? One is already that, so why bother?

Everybody is going out... but only when a person goes in does a person come to know what truth is.

Ikkyu says:




Yes, they have to be pitied. They are creating their Own misery, they are creating their own agony and their hell. They are putting fuel into the hellfire. They have to be pitied because they don't know what felicity, what grace arises when you go in. They don't know what kind of benediction is waiting for them. They don't know that life takes a totally new colour, a new vibe - the vibe of jubilation, the vibe of celebration - when you go in.

And they are all asking for happiness, and they are all creating misery. People go on asking for happiness and go on creating misery; they have to be pitied. Ikkyu is right - he says:




Go in, and you will come across the greatest treasure there is. And you will come to know that all that you have been seeking, down the ages, through so many lives, has always been available inside you, has been there from the very beginning, has been part of your nature.

And that's why you are missing it - because you look without and it is within. You search out and it is in. So your search and the treasure never meet.

Before you go trekking the infinite ways of the outer world, have a little glimpse of the inner. Before you go searching out, this seems to be very pragmatic and realistic, to have a look within. Who knows? Buddhas may be right. And all the Buddhas cannot be wrong! Whosoever has looked within has found it, without any exception. And whosoever has been looking without has not found it - without any exception, that too. All those who have been searching in the world have been failing and failing. Only frustration comes in the end, and failure.

Just think of those people - a Gautama Buddha, a Krishna, a Christ, a Zarathustra, a Lao Tzu - think of those people, how blissful they look, what fragrance they have. From where does it come?

Just sitting silently by their side and one is thrilled, enchanted. These people have some magic, some miracle is constantly happening around them. From where does it come? They don't have any visible power of the world. They don't have anything that you think one needs to be happy.

It is reported: when Buddha came for the first time to Varanasi, he was staying outside Varanasi underneath a tree, a great banyan tree. It was evening and the sunrays were filtering the sunset, and the clouds were aflame with the setting sun. And through the thick foliage of the tree those red rays were falling on Buddha's face, and he was sitting there relaxed.

The king of Varanasi came on his chariot. Accidentally, he saw this man by the side of the road, sitting so beautifully. in such splendour. That man, that king, had everything that one can desire.

And do you know where he was going? He was going to commit suicide! - because he was tired, he was exhausted, frustrated. He had seen the futility of all and he had decided, "Now enough is enough." And he was going on the chariot to the mountains to kill himself.

And then he saw on the road this beautiful man, this beggar, sitting there in such a let-go that even the sunset was nothing compared to his beauty. He was looking so golden. And a great silence was surrounding the tree - it was not the silence of the tree, certainly, because the king had passed by many trees.

When a Buddha sits, he creates his own space. The Eastern scriptures say: Wherever a Buddha lives, a certain space is created around him. Those who live in that space start growing in spite of themselves. They are taken by the tide, they start riding on the wave of the Buddha. That is the meaning of 'Buddhafield'.

It was utterly quiet! The king had never seen such silence, such pregnant silence, such alive silence.

He had seen the silence that exists in the cemeteries. Because he had never seen a man like Buddha, he had no idea of what real silence is. For the first time it was there, almost tangible. You could have touched it, you could have taken it in your hand. You could have tasted it, you could have put it against your cheek and felt its coolness. It was there, so visible.

He stopped the chariot. He said to his charioteer, 'Stop! I will have to think again. If this man can be so blissful and so silent, maybe there is still something in life that I have not searched for. Forget about my suicide! This man has changed my mind, this man has changed my being. The presence of this man is enough of a proof that life can be lived in some other way too. I don't know what way in it..."

He said to the Buddha, "I have only one question to ask: I don't see anything around you, just a begging-bowl. How can one be so happy with just one begging-bowl? I am not happy with a great kingdom! And you look so utterly happy, so ultimately happy."

Buddha opened his eyes, those lotus eyes... and the king could not believe that he was suddenly bowing down and touching Buddha's feet. Something had happened in him - just that look, those two eyes. Those two eyes behind which there was no person but only presence. Just a radiation.

Those two empty eyes, and yet full of existence. Empty of the ego, but full of being. Those two knowing eyes must have penetrated that king's being like two rays of light. He was touched, moved.

Buddha said, "The situation that you are in, I was also in that situation one day. I can understand you. I was also the son of a great emperor. I have lived in the palaces, I have lived in luxuries, I know.

I know the misery of having all and yet having nothing. I can understand you - nobody will be able to understand you, but I can understand you. I was exactly like you! and I had also contemplated suicide many times, many many times.

"But I say to you: Look into my eyes. One day I was in the same state as you are in today. And I say to you, you can be in the same state one day in which I am - because we are both the same."

Every man has a built-in possibility to explode, to bloom, to become a lotus.






WHAT is PEOPLE'S GRIEF? What is their misery? Their misery is: they have created an ego. They HAD to create it - because they don't know their self, and one cannot live without a self. They don't know who they are, and one cannot live, cannot exist, without knowing who one is. So what to do?

They have created a false self.

To search for the real seems to be arduous. To create a synthetic, artificial, plastic self seems to be very easy. We have created the ego as a substitute. It is a false center that gives us a feeling that we know who we are. But this false self is constantly in danger. It is false - it has to be continuously supported.

Remember always, if you have to support something continuously, then it is false. The real remains of its own accord: the false has to be supported. If you have to remind yourself continuously that if you don't support it it will be gone, that simply means it is false.

The real cannot be gone; there is no way where it can go. The real remains. Just think: you have not looked into yourself for millions of lives - still it is there. It does not need your support. It is your very ground. It supports you! How can it need your support? But the ego needs your support.

So if you have a certain amount of money in the bank, you have to go on growing that amount; otherwise, your ego starts feeling suffocated. If you have a certain prestige in the society, you have to go on increasing it. You have to go on puffing up your ego continuously; if you stop puffing, it starts dying. It is like pedalling a bicycle - you have to continuously pedal it. If you stop pedalling you will fall. The ego needs continuous effort; it has to be created again and again.

That's why every day you are waiting for people to support you. Your woman had said yesterday, "You are a beautiful man." Now it is pointless to say it again and again, because she has said it once.

But today also you are waiting for her to say that you are one of the most beautiful men. It is just a repetition. Now there is no point in saying it. She has said it! But you are waiting, and again it thrills you. And tomorrow again you will be waiting, and it will thrill you.


Somebody respects you; he has to go on respecting you. In fact, he has to go on growing in his respect towards you, only then can your ego be supported.

And the problem is that you cannot keep this ego when you are dying - because when you are dying, how can you support something? So when death comes, ego starts disappearing. You cannot pedal any more - how can you go on bicycling when you are dying?

Hence the fear of death - because death will destroy your ego. Death cannot destroy YOu but death is going to destroy your ego. Hence the fear of death. Everybody is afraid of death.

And be mindful: not only are you afraid of death, you are afraid of life too. Ego is afraid of life too, because in deep life experiences also it dies. When you really fall in love... why do you call it 'fall'?

You fall from the ego. When you fall in love, the ego is shattered. That's why the real egoist never loves anybody - he cannot, because he will have to descend from his ego tower, he will have to come down. He will have to hold the hand of an ordinary woman or ordinary man. He will have to behave in an ordinary way.

Many people become celibates, not because they are religious but just because they are egoists.

It feels very good that you don't need anybody; ego feels very good. You need not bow down to anybody. In love one has to bow down, one has to surrender. One has to behave in a human way, one has to be a human being. Love is dangerous for the ego.

And love is life! If you are afraid of love, you are afraid of life. So in life situations also the ego is continuously afraid. It is a false thing, managed, somehow manipulated. It needs a thousand and one props. And still it remains continuously afraid, because life goes on changing. Nothing ever remains the same, it is a river.

So how can you believe that today people are respecting you, tomorrow they will also respect you?

How can you believe that tomorrow you will be able to keep to your ego? Who knows? Today you are a prime minister, tomorrow you may not be. Yesterday you were not a prime minister, today you are; there is no certainty for tomorrow. Just as you have snatched the prime-ministership from somebody else, somebody else is going to snatch it from you - because millions of people are trying to become prime ministers; everybody is trying in his own way. How can you be safe? Where everybody is making all kinds of efforts to become the prime minister, how can you be safe? You can't sleep, you can't relax, you have to be continuously on guard. You have to watch where people are moving, what they are doing. Even the closest colleagues you have to watch, because they are the most dangerous. Because they are so close, they can topple you any moment. Even the colleagues are enemies.

Machiavelli says: In polities there are no friends, there cannot be. Machiavelli says: Don't reveal your secrets even to your friends, because if they turn some day and become your enemies then you will be caught, then you will be in trouble.

If you have money you have to be constantly afraid, because everybody is ready to grab it. That's how you got it in the first place, so you know the way, how to get it. In this life, where everything is constantly changing, you cannot remain certain.

So these three things are constantly creating misery, grief: life, death, mutability.

And the irony is that deep inside there is a space which is eternal, which never changes. There is a space in you which is timeless, is never affected by any changes in time, through time; remains transcendental, beyond. There is a space in you which is life, pure life, and knows nothing of death.

There is a space in you which is pure love! And you are afraid of love and you are afraid of life and you are afraid of death and you are afraid of change.

This whole thing is happening because you have created a false substitute. The false substitute seems to be appealing because everybody is having it. People imitate. Have you just watched it?

If your neighbour purchases a bigger car than you, suddenly you also need a bigger car. Just a moment before, there was no need; just a moment before, you had not thought about a bigger car.

Now how, suddenly, has the need arisen? Because the neighbour has purchased one. Now he is having a bigger ego and your ego is threatened; you have to purchase a bigger car. Even if you cannot afford it, you have to purchase it.

People go on wasting their lives in such things which they don't need in the first place. People go on accumulating things which they don't need. People go on putting their money into things which they will never need, to impress people whom they don't like. This is something! People even go on putting their money into things - money that they don't have. They may be getting it two years afterwards; they purchase a car in instalments. The money they don't have right now, but they have to put that money into a car that they don't need, to impress people that they don't like.

I have heard:

Two cows were grazing in a pasture alongside a highway when a milk truck drove by. On the side of the truck was printed: PASTEURIZED HOMOGENIZED, GRADE A, VITAMIN B ADDED. One cow turned to the other and said: "Makes you feel sort of inadequate, doesn't it?"

People are having such big balloons, balloons of egos, and one starts feeling inadequate. Somebody is having this, somebody is having that - and you start feeling poor. You are NOT poor! Comparison brings poverty.

And the really rich man is one who lives without comparison. How can he be poor? Drop comparisons and you are rich; then you will never be poor. Go on comparing and you will remain poor - howsoever rich you become is irrelevant. You will always remain poor, because there will always be somebody who has more.

And there are millions of things, so there are millions of poverties. Somebody has a beautiful wife; you are poor. Somebody has a bigger car; you are poor. Somebody has a bigger house; you are poor. Somebody is taller than you, and you are poor. How many poverties! As many poverties as there are things.

Drop comparison. But the ego lives through comparison.





SHAKA IS BUDDHA'S NAME. He came from the clan of Shakas, hence he is called Shaka. Amida is a name of another Buddha, Amitabh - amida is the Japanese form of Amitabh. But they both are human beings, Ikkyu is saying.





This is what I mean when I say Buddhism destroyed theology and created a new kind of religion - created an anthropological, a man-centered religion. Buddha gave such dignity to man as has never been given before or since. Buddha made man the highest peak of consciousness. Buddha loved man and respected humanity.

Buddha says: You are just like me! You need not be worried. If I can become a Buddha, YOU can become a Buddha. And to be enlightened is nothing special; it is your birthright.





And what is Buddhahood? What is this Buddhahood every man can attain to? It is an inner opening, the opening of your inner core. Your inner core becoming a lotus.





And it is unchanging, it is timeless, it is eternal. Once you have seen that flowering inside, death disappears. Once you have seen that flowering inside, fear disappears. Once you have seen that flowering inside, your life becomes fragrant. Your life becomes a song, a celebration. Then life has benediction and beauty and beatitude.

This inner lotus, everybody is carrying it and nobody comes to be aware of it. Our whole awareness has become obsessed with things. Relieve your awareness from things, take an about-turn. And I am not saying take the about-turn for ever; I am saying just once in a while take the about-turn.

That's what meditation is all about.

For sixty minutes every day, just forget about the world. Let the world disappear from you, and you disappear from the world. Take an about-turn, a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn, and just look inside. In the beginning, you will see only clouds. Don't be worried about them; those clouds are created by your repressions. You will come across anger, hatred, greed, and all kinds of black holes.

You have repressed them, so they are there. And your so-called religions have taught you to repress them, so they are there like wounds. You have been hiding them.

That's why my emphasis is first on catharsis. Unless you go through great catharsis you will have to pass through many clouds. It will be tiring, and you may be so impatient that you may turn back into the world. and you will say, "There is nothing. There is no lotus and no fragrance, there is only stink, rubbish."

You know it. when you close your eyes and you start moving in, what do you come across? You don't come across those beautiful lands Buddhas talk about. You come across hells, agonies, repressed there, waiting for you. Anger of many lives accumulating. It is all a mess there, so one wants to remain outside. One wants to go to the movie, to the club, to meet people and gossip. One wants to remain occupied till one is tired and falls asleep. That's the way you are living, that's your style of life.

So when one starts looking in, naturally one is very much puzzled. Buddhas say that there is great benediction, great fragrance, you come across lotus flowers blooming - and such fragrance that it is eternal. And the colour of the flowers remains the same; it is not a changing phenomenon. They talk about this paradise, they talk about this kingdom of God that is within you. And when you go in, you only come across hell.

You see not Buddha lands but Adolf Hitler concentration camps. Naturally, you start thinking that this is all nonsense, it is better to remain outside. And why go on playing with your wounds? - it hurts too. And pus starts oozing out of The wounds and it is dirty.

But catharsis helps. If you cathart, if you go through chaotic meditations, you throw all these clouds outside, all these darknesses outside, then mindfulness becomes easier.

That is my reason why I emphasize first chaotic meditations and then silent meditations. First active meditations, then passive meditations. You can move into passivity only when all that is there like junk has been thrown out. Anger has been thrown out, greed has been thrown out... layer upon layer, these thins are there. But once you have thrown them out, you can easily slip in. There is nothing to hinder.

And suddenly the bright light of the Buddha land. And suddenly you are in a totally different world - the world of the Lotus Law, the world of Dharma, the world of Tao.










INDIVIDUAL LIVES COME AND GO, but the eternal life remains. It is like the moon - you see? For fifteen days it becomes bigger and bigger and bigger, and then comes the full-moon night. Then it starts becoming smaller and smaller and smaller, and then one night it has disappeared completely.

But do you think the moon disappears or appears? The moon remains the same; it is always there.

The appearance nd disappearance is only of the appearance of the moon. The reality of the moon is always there.






So you live in two dimensions, on two planes. In the Upanishads they have the story, the parable or the metaphor, of two birds living in the same tree, absolutely alike. One bird sitting on the highest branch, utterly quiet, silent, unmoving, doing nothing, with closed eyes, somewhere in. The other bird on the lowest branches, jumping from one branch to another, hankering for this flower, for that fruit, competing with this or with that, jealous of this and that - in a continuous restlessness.

Slowly slowly, the bird, the restless bird, becomes tired of restlessness. And one day he looks up and sees the other bird who is exactly like him - exactly like him, just a replica - and is so silent, is so restful, is so calm, so collected, as if the other bird exists not. There is only silence. The restless bird becomes attracted by this magic, starts moving towards the upper branch... the beginning of disciplehood. comes closer and closer and closer and closer, and finally become one with the other bird.

And the Upanishads say these two birds are not two: two aspects of consciousness. And each one has these two aspects. On the tree of life your innermost witness is sitting right now. The Lotus Flower is blooming in all its beauty and grandeur and splendour. And you are jumping from one branch to another - competing, jealous, angry, hateful, fighting, doing a thousand and one things and getting frustrated and frustrated....

Look up! And remember, 'look up' means exactly what is meant by 'look in'. 'Look out' means 'look down'; 'look up' means 'look in' - they are synonymous. Look up or look in, and suddenly there is a being sitting inside you, a Buddha. And one starts moving, attracted by the charisma, by the magic of this silence, and one day becomes one with the innermost core.

All changes happen to this restless bird - the rising moon, the waning moon. Nothing happens to the other bird - the witness - it is always the same.





And nothing changes in the world, remember. When you go in, nothing changes in the world. Just you change, your attitude changes, your vision changes. The world remains the same, it goes on the same. Rivers go on flowing, the birds go on singing, flowers go on blooming... the world continues the same. But you are no more the same.

And when you look at the outside from that inner vision, things also now have a new beauty.



Now you can see things as they are. Before that, you have not seen things, never, as they are. For example, you are passing by the side of the garden of your neighbour, and a beautiful roseflower has bloomed. Can you see this rose-flower just as it is? You cannot; there is jealousy which will prevent you. It has bloomed in your neighbour's garden, not in your garden - how can you enjoy it? In fact you are hurt, you are offended by it, because your own flowers look so tiny. There is comparison.

You are not feeling good. Just see the nonsense of it. Such a beautiful rose, but the idea that "It is not in my garden, it does not enhance my ego," and you miss the beauty of it. Now you want to possess it.

You see a beautiful woman passing by, but she is somebody else's woman, not yours. You would like to possess this woman. You can appreciate this beauty only when you can possess. In fact, to possess beauty is to kill it. How can you possess beauty if you love it? It is impossible. To love and to possess are antagonistic, contradictory; they can't go together. The moment you possess beauty, you have already killed it. You have reduced it to a thing, it is a commodity.

Beauty can be loved, enjoyed, only when there is no possessiveness. So when a man has become transformed by his inner vision, when he has reached into his innermost core and seen all the games of the ego are false, and has settled there in the eternity - the joy of it and the silence of it - has become only a witness, then he opens his eyes: now he can see things as they are.

The flower is just a flower, it is nobody's. The beautiful woman is just beautiful, she is nobody's.

How can a woman be somebody's? Suddenly existence appears as it is, all I-thou gone. And when I-thou is gone, conflict disappears. In that consciousness



The flower is not less red because it has bloomed in the neighbour's garden. The willow is not less green because it is not yours. The willow is not less green because you are sad. Have you watched it? Things change with your mood. If you are happy the moon looks beautiful and very happy. And when you are sad the moon looks sad and very miserable. You project your moods on things.

When a man has reached to his ultimate core, there is no more any projection. He sees things as they are. He is never unhappy, never happy now; all those dualities are gone. He remains non-dual, he remains eternally silent, calm and quiet and blissful. Now things are as they are...



Buddhism helps people to attain to great aesthetic sensibility. It is not an accident that Zen masters write poetry. Nobody has ever heard of Catholic monks painting, nobody has ever heard of Hindu sannyasins painting. Buddhism released great creativity into the world. Why? Other religions have been very uncreative, other religions have been very very dull - the flavour of life is missing. They have not helped people to dance, to sing, to paint, to play.

Zen seems to be the best that has happened up to now.

My vision of religion is also that of creativity. You come closer to God through creativity, you come closer to the creator through creativity. Creativity should be one of the fundamental criterions of a religious person.

Create! Let creativity be your religion, and you will never be lost again. The more you create, the more you will grow in. It happens both the ways. If you create more, you grow in more. If you grow in more, you create more.

If religion is just negative and life-denying it becomes ugly, it becomes a monster. When religion is creative and helps you to see the greenness of the world and the rosing of the roses and helps you to hear these birds in a crystal-clear way, helps you to feel and be sensitive to the silences, pauses in existence, to the sounds... helps you to be in such a harmony that you can feel the harmony of the whole.... To feel the harmony of the whole is to become holy.

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"Mulla, how about lending me 50?" asked a friend.

"Sorry," said Mulla Nasrudin, "I can only let you have 25."

"But why not the entire 50, MULLA?"

"NO," said Nasrudin, "THAT WAY IT'S EVEN - EACH ONE OF US LOSES 25."