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Tai Chi

The leader of the ashram's Tai Chi group says to Osho, "I wrote to you about the group."

Yes. A few things I would like to say to you. Music can be very distracting in T'ai Chi, because the whole point of T'ai Chi is to be centred, to be aware, to remain with your energy, and remain very soft. When there is music, music has tremendous power over the mind. There is nothing else like music. Once there is music, you start being pulled and pushed by it. Then you lose that softness, that slowness that is the very base of T'ai Chi, and you tend to forget your centring. You become more and more aware of the music, and less and less aware of your inner movement of energies. And it is so subtle that a small distraction is enough. You may enjoy it more - that is not the point. You may enjoy it more; the T'ai Chi people may enjoy it more. It will be less boring, there will be more entertainment, but you miss the central thing. And T'ai Chi is not to be an entertainment. So first let me tell you something about boredom.
Boredom is part of many eastern methods. Nobody ever says it because people simply become afraid the moment you say that boredom is part of it. But boredom is part of many eastern methods; almost all the eastern methods are based on boredom. In a zen monastery the monk lives a very boring life. The same routine - exactly the same every day: year in, year out - no change. Even to avoid outer changes they have made rock gardens, because trees will change. The whole atmosphere of a zen monastery has to remain absolutely the same - no changes.
When a person is absolutely bored the mind starts dropping, because the mind exists, feeds, on sensations. When there is something new the mind is alert. When there is nothing new the mind does not bother. If for years you live a boring monotonous life, certainly the mind has nothing to do there. By and by the mind disappears; the mind cannot exist. And that is the root of all mantras, chantings - they also bore the mind.
When you are doing a T'ai Chi class, it is a very boring phenomenon. Even people who are watching it will feel sleepy because the movement is so slow and the same and the same. It functions like a lullabye on the mind, and the person who is doing it also feels a little sleepy. He cannot fall asleep because he has to move. So two things are there - monotony, every possibility that he may fall asleep.... But he cannot fall asleep because there is movement. So the movement does not allow falling to sleep, and the slowness of the movement does not allow the mind to get into some entertainment. These both function against the mind. The mind cannot fall asleep and cannot have any entertainment. The mind has no exit, no way. By and by the mind disappears. There is pure energy, just like the oceanic waves continuously coming, knocking, shattering on the rocks. Again coming, again coming, year in, year out, for millions of years... a very monotonous process, but tremendously beautiful.
So music will be an entertainment. People will enjoy it, they will love it, but then the T'ai Chi is lost. So no music right now. I can allow music only for very advanced T'ai Chi practitioners. Then it can become a work for them - and the work is that they have not to listen to the music. They have to forget the music. The music will pull them but they are not to listen to the music; they have to remain centred. But that is only for a very advanced practitioner. In the beginning the music is very powerful.
It is as if you are meditating and beautiful food is just put before you, and you start smelling the fragrance of it and the saliva starts flowing in your mouth; it will be distraction. It can be used when a person is a very highly evolved meditator; then it can be used as a test. Then the food can be there, a beautiful nude woman can stand there, but it doesn't matter. He will look not at the woman - through the woman.
There is a story about Buddha. He was sitting under a tree near Bodhgaya, and a few young people, rich people, had brought a prostitute to the forest. They got drunk and they took off the clothes of the prostitute. But seeing them completely drunk, she escaped. Early in the morning they became aware that the woman has left them so they started searching. They came to Buddha.
They asked, 'Have you seen a woman - a very beautiful woman and nude - going from here? She must have passed this place because this is the only way to go to the town.' Buddha said, 'Somebody passed. It is difficult to say whether the person was a man or a woman. Very difficult to say whether the person was dressed or not dressed. Very difficult to say whether the person was beautiful or not beautiful. I looked through... I was deeply in meditation. Somebody has certainly passed - that much I can say. But who - man, woman, beautiful, ugly, dressed, undressed - I cannot say certainly.'
They said, 'You were sitting with open eyes?' He said, 'I was sitting with open eyes, but I was not looking. The eyes naturally reflected somebody passing by. The eyes noted that somebody has passed, but I was not interested' - and when you are not interested, then nothing distracts... but that's a very high state of meditation.
So right now, don't introduce music. Later on, when a few people have come to a very advanced stage, then I will tell you - for those few people you can introduce music. But then the point will be that the music remains in the background, and they don't allow themselves to be distracted by it; they remain with their energy. So the music will be not a support, not a help, but just a test. Right now it will not be good. And if you introduce music people will start almost dancing. Music makes people dance... music has tremendous power. It simply hits your energy and you feel like dancing.
And music helps people to abandon themselves, to forget themselves. So there are two types of meditative techniques. One is to forget yourself - then music is perfectly good. That's what prayer is - so in prayer you can use music. But in awareness you cannot use music, because that is self-remembering; you have to remember yourself - that you are, where you are. You have to remain there, continuously rooted in your being; not going here and there.
So for T'ai Chi, centring, awareness, self-remembering, are the right words to understand. For prayer, for sufi dancing, for whirling, it is totally different - just the diametrically opposite. You have to forget yourself. It is a self-forgetfulness. You have to drown yourself and you have to become drunk. And music is wine - nothing like it. Nothing makes a person more drunk than music.

A very famous story about a Lucknow king...

He was a great lover of music, and he invited a very great musician to the court. But the musician was an eccentric person. He said, 'I will play on my sitar but with only one condition - that nobody should be allowed to shake his head. People have to remain like statues. If somebody shakes his head, the head has to be cut.'
The king was surprised but he was also a madman; he said, 'Okay.' He informed the whole town that only those should come who were perfectly in control, otherwise they would be playing with their life. Many thousands of people wanted to come but they were afraid - but a few people came; a few hundred people came. And the musician started playing. Half an hour passed and ten, twelve persons were just drunk with the music, shaking their heads; their energy moving. The king was surprised - 'Can music be so powerful? These people are risking their lives!'
After the programme those ten, twelve persons were caught, brought before the musician, and the king said, 'Now what do you say? Should we cut their heads?' The musician said, 'No. These are the real people for whom I would like to give a special programme. I wanted to know the real people. A person who can risk his life - I would like to play before him. These are the real drunkards!' People were sitting so stiff because even sometimes you might move for some other reason, and there might be some misunderstanding. People were sitting just like stone statues, but ten, twelve persons....
The king asked those twelve persons, 'Were you not aware? Why did you shake? Why did you move? Why were you influenced by the music when your life was in danger?' They said, 'We don't know. We tried to keep ourselves completely in control to a certain moment - beyond it, we were not there. So we cannot say that we moved our bodies. The bodies moved, that is certain, but we have not moved. We tried everything that we could do not to move, but then a moment came and we were helpless.... The music was so beautiful and so penetrating, that in that moment all idea of life and death disappeared. In fact the idea of self disappeared, so there was nobody to control. It happened on its own accord. We are ready - if we are to be killed, we are ready.'

Music has a tremendous power. It is alcoholic; through sound it intoxicates you. Through subtle vibrations of sound it makes you abandon yourself. So it is good for whirling, for sufi meditations, for bhakti devotion, prayer - perfectly good - but not for T'ai Chi. T'ai Chi is a taoist method. Music has no relationship with it. So right now you drop that idea.

(Osho - God is not for Sale (a darshan diary)