Zen masters continuously ask the newcomers, "Where have you been
before your father was born?" An absurd question, but of immense
significance. They are asking you, "If you were not, there was no
problem. So what is the worry?" If your death becomes the ultimate
death and all boundaries disappear, you will not be there, but the
existence will be there. The dance will be there, the dancer will
not be there. The song will be there, but the singer will not be
This is only possible to experience by falling deeper, beyond the mind, to the very depth of your being, to the very source of life from where your life is flowing. Suddenly you realize the image of yourself was arbitrary. You are imageless, you are infinite. You were living in a cage. The moment you realize your sources are infinite, suddenly the cage disappears and you can open your wings into the blue sky and disappear. This disappearance is "anatta", this disappearance is freedom from oneself. But this is possible not through intellect, it is possible only through meditation. Zen is another name for meditation.
Hundreds of beautiful books have appeared in the West since a very
D.T. Suzuki, introduced Zen to the West. He did a
pioneer job, but he was not a Zen master, or even a man of Zen. He
was a great scholar, and his impact spread through all the countries
to the intelligentsia. He immediately had a great appeal.
As the old religions are crumbling, particularly in the West... Christianity is just a name, the empire is crumbling. They are trying to hold onto it, but it is not possible. It is falling apart and a vacuum is growing every day, bigger and bigger, like an abysmal depth which creates nausea.
Jean-Paul Sartre′s book, Nausea, is very significant. Once you see the bottomless pit, this meaningless life - that you are utterly arbitrary, unnecessary, accidental - you lose all dignity. And for what are you waiting? - there is nothing to wait for, only death. This creates a great anxiety: "We are worthless... nobody needs us... existence is care-less."
At that very moment D.T. Suzuki appeared on the horizon in the West. He was the first man to talk about Zen in the Western universities, colleges, and he attracted immensely the intelligent people, because they had lost faith in God, they had lost faith in the Holy Bible, they had lost faith in the pope.
Just today, almost a dozen German bishops have come together to make a declaration that the pope is going beyond his limits, that his continuous preaching against birth control is bringing humanity to a point where half of the world is going to die from starvation; the pope should not be listened to anymore.
Now, this is pure rebellion. These one dozen bishops in Germany have formed a committee, and they are collecting more and more bishops to rebel against the pope, and they are declaring that he is not infallible. The whole of history shows that the popes and archbishops are fallible. So this whole idea of the pope being infallible was making him an absolute dictator. Now it is intolerable.
The beginning of this century was the start of a boiling up of energy against all old religions, particularly in the rich countries of the West. Poor countries don′t have time; they don′t have even food enough, no nourishment. Their whole time is involved in getting food, clothing, in getting a shelter. They can′t discuss the great problems of life, they can′t even conceive of them.
The question is food, not God!
That′s why it is so easy to convert poor people to Christianity - just by providing food, just by providing shelter, service. But they are not converted to Christianity. They are simply not concerned about God. They are not concerned about any system of belief, their basic thing is that they are hungry and starving!
When you are hungry and starving you don′t think of God, you don′t think of hell and heaven. The first thing you think about is where to get some bread and butter. And if anybody gives you bread and butter with the condition that you have to be a Catholic, you will agree, rather than die of starvation.
So poor countries are becoming more and more Catholic, more and more Christian. But in the West itself, Christianity is losing its hold. Not more than twenty-five percent of people attend the churches. Seventy-five percent of people are completely disappointed. Those twenty-five percent are mostly women, and they go for a particular reason: that is the only place where you can gossip and meet all the other women, and see who has got better clothes, better fur coats, better jewelry, a better car. The church is the only club where the women are accepted. All other clubs are boys′ clubs, where old boys talk about women but don′t allow women in.
Even at parties, as the dinner is complete, the women retire to a separate room and leave the boys alone. The boys will be drinking and shouting and fighting, and talking all kinds of nonsense which they cannot say in front of women because they feel a little embarrassed. So the women retire. And this is good, because the women have their own gossiping: who is falling in love with whom. Let the boys do their work, the old girls are doing their work.
The church is the only place in which all the religions have allowed women to gather; otherwise they are boycotted from every other social congregation. They cannot be members of many organizations, many clubs; they are all male-oriented. The woman′s area, her territory, is the home. She has to be confined in that territory. So the church has been the only outlet; they wait for Sunday.
So these twenty-five percent are women. A few men may be there who cannot leave their wives alone out of fear, and a few men may be there to find a new girlfriend. But this has nothing to do with religion.
D.T. Suzuki appeared in the West with a new approach to existence. He appealed to people because he was a man of great scholarship, profound scholarship, and he brought to the Western mind a totally new concept of religion. But it remained a concept, it remained an argument in the mind; it never went deeper than that.
A parallel exists in China. Before Bodhidharma appeared in China, China was already converted to Buddhism. Bodhidharma went there fourteen hundred years ago, but Gautam Buddha′s philosophy and religion had reached China two thousand years ago, six hundred years before Bodhidharma went there. In those six hundred years scholars had converted the whole of China to Buddhism.
In those days it was very easy to convert the whole country. You simply converted the emperor, and then his whole court got converted, then his whole army got converted, then his whole bureaucracy got converted. And when the emperor and the whole bureaucracy and the army, and all the so-called wise people of the emperor′s court were converted, the masses simply followed.
The masses have never decided anything for themselves. They simply look at the people who proclaim themselves great, in power, in intelligence, in riches. If these people are converted, the masses simply follow.
So in those six hundred years, thousands of Buddhist scholars reached to China, and they converted China - the emperors, the governors. But it was not the true message of Gautam Buddha yet. Although China had become Buddhist, Buddha had not yet appeared.
Bodhidharma was sent by his master, who was a woman. She said, "Scholars have prepared the way, now you go. You are immensely needed there." Bodhidharma was the first buddha to enter China, and he brought a totally different vision, not of the mind but of no-mind.
The West is absolutely ready for a Zen manifesto. Intellectually, D.T. Suzuki, Alan Watts, and many others - we will be discussing each one - have prepared the road. Now only a Bodhidharma is needed, a Gautam Buddha is needed, or a Mahakashyapa - someone whose Zen is not just a philosophy but an actual experience of no-self, an actual experience of entering into nothingness.
And once you enter into nothingness, you will be surprised that it is nothing to be afraid of. This is your real home. Now you can celebrate, because there is nothing more than this mystery. That nothingness opens all the doors. As long as you are confined by the self, the very idea of separation from existence keeps you miserable.
You have to find ways - and these ways can be found easily only when you have somebody who has already traveled the path, who knows that nothingness is not something empty. By disappearing, you are not really disappearing, you are becoming the whole. From this side, it looks like you are disappearing; from that side, it looks like you are becoming the whole. Just ask a dewdrop.
For six hundred years in China, Buddhism was only an intellectual
exercise, good gymnastics. But as
Bodhidharma entered China, he
changed the whole idea about Zen. People were talking about Zen as
if it was another philosophy, which it is not; as if it is another
religion, which it is not. It is a rebellion against mind, and all
your religions and philosophies are part of the mind.
This is the only rebellion against mind, against self, the only rebellion of withdrawing all the limits that imprison you and taking a quantum leap into nothingness. But this nothingness is very alive. It is life, it is existence. It is not a hypothesis. And when you take the jump, the first experience is that you are disappearing. The last experience is, you have become the whole.
His statement is rationally beautiful. You should seize Zen with
your bare, naked hands, with no gloves on. He means by that that you
should enter into the world of Zen without any beliefs, without any
security, without any safety, without any gloves. You should enter
into Zen with naked hands, with nudity.
But his statement is still intellectual. He was neither a master of Zen nor even a man of Zen. If he had been a master of Zen, he could not have said it. A master of Zen cannot say that Zen must be seized. It is not a question of seizing Zen. This is the old language of the mind, of "conquering nature." Now it becomes conquering Zen.
Zen is your reality. Whom are you going to seize? Whom are you going to conquer? You ARE Zen.
And what does he mean by "with bare hands"? Hands will not reach there, bare or with gloves on. Hands symbolize the movement outwards, they always point towards the outside. All your senses open to the outside, they are all extrovert. Your ears hear the sound that is coming from the outside, your eyes see colors, light that is coming from the outside, your hand goes on grabbing - that is outside you. None of your senses can reach to the inside. For the inside there is a different sensitivity, the third eye. There are no hands.
Just between your two eyebrows, exactly in the middle, is the place which can look inwards. When you are with closed eyes, trying to look inwards, rushing towards your center, you are hitting on the third eye continuously. Because it has not been opened for centuries, it has forgotten how to open. Hence, every day meditation... and one day suddenly you will find the eye has opened, and the whole path is clean and clear. You have simply to walk to the center.
Now there are no hands, and there is no question of conquering. It is your nature. The very idea that Zen must be seized creates a duality: you are the person who is going to seize Zen, and Zen is something other than you. It creates a duality. That′s what gives me a clear-cut idea whether the man is just intellectual or has the experience. I have my clear-cut criteria how to know that a man is talking only from the mind. Howsoever clever D.T. Suzuki may be, I say unto you that he is not a master, he is still living in duality.
Mind is dual, it always divides things into polar opposites: the conqueror and the conquered, the observer and the observed, the object and the subject, the day and the night. It goes on dividing things which are not divided. Neither is the day divided from the night, nor is birth divided from death. They are one energy. But mind goes on dividing everything into polarities, opposites. Nothing is opposite in existence; every contradiction is only apparent. Deep down all contradictions are meeting together.
So when somebody says, "Seize, conquer," he is still talking in the language of the mind and is still being violent. His words show it.
Zen has to be neither the object nor the subject. It is a transcendental experience. Duality of all kinds is transcended: the observer and the observed become one, the knower and the known become one. So it is not a question of conquering or seizing, it is a question of relaxing into yourself.
It is not a fight or a war, it is pure resting, sinking into your rest deeply. And as you sink deeper and deeper you find you are melting. The moment you come to oneness with existence, you have arrived to your nature. It can be possible only through relaxation, through rest.
Suzuki′s statement is rational, but not existential, and Zen is the only existential approach in the whole world.
I have just told you, D.T. Suzuki is still in the mind; hence the division. Even seeing becomes of two kinds.
Objective knowledge. You are watching a tree. The tree is different from you, this is one kind of seeing. "The seen and the seeing are two separate entities."
In the first place, Zen is not a thought. In the second place,
the act of pure seeing cannot be called at all an "act of pure
seeing." What are you seeing? For seeing to be seeing, you need an
The meditator goes beyond the object and beyond the subject, beyond the first Chinese character, "k′an," which signifies duality - the seer and the seen, the knower and the known - and the second character, "chien," which signifies the pure act of seeing. But the very word ′seeing′ means something is there, otherwise how can you see? What can you see? If there is nothing, seeing disappears, being appears.
Hence I will not agree with D.T. Suzuki at all. These two kinds of seeing are just mind, logic, rationality, but not meditation, not Zen. Zen is going beyond the seeing and beyond the seen. It is going into being - just being, utterly silent, at ease with existence.
There is no duality, and there is no oneness either - you have to understand it - because if there is no duality, you cannot call it oneness. "One" suggests immediately the two; hence Gautam Buddha does not use the word "oneness". He uses the word "advaita", "not twoness". It makes a great difference.
When you say, "one", immediately you are reminded of two. How can one exist without two and three and four and five and six and seven...? One is a digit; it is just below two. If one exists, then thousands of numbers will follow, or millions, or trillions. There is no end to it. If you have started on one, you are on a long journey without end.
To avoid this, a roundabout way has been found: not to say "oneness with existence" but to say "not twoness." It exactly means oneness, but to say that in language creates the difficulty. Without two, how can there be one? So don′t say, "one," just say, "not two." The one is understood, it has not to be said. It is the inexpressible. But by saying "not two," you have indicated towards it. A simple gesture - without making any noise about it, you have hinted at it. It is a pure hint.
Suzuki misses the point. The revolutionary step is not Zen thought, but Zen experience. That experience is of "not twoness." There is no seer and no seen, but just being.
The bamboos are asking for Sardar Gurudayal Singh′s time.
Put the lights on! I love to see my people laughing. I am absolutely against seriousness, but unfortunately I have to discuss serious things. But it is good to make you first serious, then laughter comes more easily. Then it gives a great relaxation.
Close your eyes... and feel your body to be completely frozen.
This is the right moment to look inwards.
Gather your energies and your total consciousness, and rush towards your very center of being. It is just below the navel, exactly two inches below, inside you.
But only those will succeed who rush with an urgency and intensity, as if this is the last moment of life. You have to make it now or never.
Faster and faster... Deeper and deeper...
You are coming closer to the center of your being.
A great silence is descending over you like soft rain. You can feel the coolness. With you, the whole night has become silent.
A little closer to your center, and a great peace surrounds you, engulfs you. You are drowned in it. It is the peace that mystics have called "the peace that passeth understanding."
A little closer... and blossoms, flowers start showering over you, of bliss, of ecstasy. You are starting to feel like a drunk - but this is not an ordinary drunkenness, it is divine drunkenness. And only in this divine drunkenness can you take the last step. Enter into your center.
This is the opening into the beyond, this is the place where you are joined with the cosmos. You will meet here your original face. The face of Gautam the Buddha has been accepted in the East as a symbol of everybody′s original face.
Meeting the buddha is a very strange experience, because you start disappearing, fading away. And as you fade away, the buddha becomes more and more solid and strong. It is your very essential being.
The only quality the buddha has is witnessing. You have to get more and more attuned with this quality, because only this quality can bring your buddha from the center to the circumference. He can become your whole life. He is the ultimate dance.
Gautam the Buddha is the Zen Manifesto.
Witnessing, you start disappearing.
That′s what I have called freedom from the self.
Witness that you are not the body.
Witness that you are not the mind.
Witness that you are only a witness, and everything starts settling.
To make this witnessing more clear and deeper:
It is only a question of relaxing, it is not an effort. It is
just falling deep into your own depth, resting at the very center of
your life source.
This life source, this juice that is flowing all around you, will start a tremendous metamorphosis within you. You will feel you are melting, melting, melting...
Gautama the Buddha Auditorium is becoming an ocean of consciousness. Ten thousand buddhas have disappeared into one oceanic experience.
This is the Zen Manifesto: freedom from oneself.
Gather all these experiences, the grace, the beauty, the truth, the blissfulness. You have to bring them with you. They have to become your day-to-day life. I don′t teach any other morality. I teach spontaneity, and the morality follows like a shadow. And because it comes from your very sources you never feel you are being commanded, you never feel you are being dominated, you never feel you are being a slave, you never feel you are being a sheep. You start being a lion.
Your morality, your response to existence becomes a lion′s roar.
The beauty and the power - and the power that is harmless...
The love that simply overflows you, unconditional, just a gift, a blessing to the whole existence... And a grace that changes not only your consciousness but even your body.
Your gestures become so meaningful, so significant, so beautiful - like roses.
Your eyes become like stars.
Your heart starts beating in tune with the universal heart.
This synchronicity is the Zen Manifesto.
And don′t forget to persuade Gautam Buddha to come with you.
These are the three steps of enlightenment....
The first, Gautam Buddha comes behind you just as a shadow - but the shadow is not dark, it is luminous. There is no person in it but only presence, a tremendous presence. It is warm, you feel for the first time loved by existence itself. It is calm and cool at the same time. That′s the miracle of Zen.
On the second step, you become the shadow. Your shadow is certainly dark; it is false, it has been your prison. Gautam Buddha comes in front. It is a great revolution, because your shadow immediately starts disappearing.
And the third step comes spontaneously in: freedom from oneself. You are no more, only existence is, life is, awareness is.
All these are represented by the presence of Gautam the Buddha. He was the first man in history to bring this breakthrough, to turn the horizontal consciousness into a vertical consciousness. Your roots go deep into the earth, and your branches and your flowers blossom into the sky.
This is meeting with the universe, merging into existence. A great celebration arises, and not only in you, the whole existence participates.
Come back... but come back as Gautam the Buddha, with the same
grace, the same beauty, the same silence, the same divine
drunkenness, and sit for a few moments to remind yourself of the
golden path you have traveled, the beautiful, the blissful, the
ecstatic experience of reaching to the center of your being, which
opens into the cosmos.
Zen is nothing but an opening into the cosmos.
You disappear, only existence remains.
This is the ultimate freedom: freedom from oneself.
This freedom becomes a great celebration. You dance with the stars, you dance with the ocean, you dance with the trees, you dance under the sky, under the stars. Suddenly the whole cosmos has become your home. You are not a foreigner, you are not a stranger, you are not an outsider. You belong to this existence. This existence belongs to you.
This is the revolution that Zen brings to humanity. This is Zen′s great contribution to the world.
It is the right time for you to start celebrating life, dancing in deep synchronicity with existence - and spread this fire of Zen around the world. This is the only possibility to save humanity from committing suicide.
Yes, Osho.(Thus spake Osho the first part of The Zen Manifesto (chapter 1)