First, the questions from the sannyasins.
It is a long story. Zen has moved from one country to another
country, from one climate to another climate. It was born in India.
Hinduism, as such, in its early stages, was very natural, very
existential. It had no taboos about sex, its seers and saints had
wives. Celibacy was not an imposition, it came on its own accord
through the natural experience of sex. Hinduism in its early stages
was a very natural, very existential approach - almost like Zen. But
then there was another tradition which is represented by Jainism. It
is a very puzzling question, and historians are almost silent,
because nobody wants to stir any controversy. It is left to me to
create all kinds of controversies.
Jainism is not a part of Hinduism; it is far more ancient than Hinduism. In the excavations at Mohenjo Daro and Harappa - both places now are in Pakistan - great cities have been found in ruins, and there is a possibility that those cities had naked statues like Mahavira. And the symbol of the swastika, which is the symbol of Jainism, is also found in those excavations. It is a possibility that those cities existed long before Hinduism entered this country. Hinduism is not a native philosophy to this country.
The people who lived in Harappa and Mohenjo Daro - it is unclear how they were destroyed. But either through natural catastrophe or by invasion, something happened that those two cities were destroyed seven times. On seven layers excavations have revealed new older cities, and with an absolute indication that they were not primitive, not tribal. They were as advanced as a modern city. Their roads were sixty feet wide, as wide as in any modern city. That indicates those people must have invented vehicles, otherwise there was no need for such big roads. And they had a very strange method of piping water into houses. They had great reservoirs built on a height so the water could flow, without any mechanism, towards the city. They had swimming pools, and strangely enough, they had attached bathrooms, which shows a very high culture.
Jainism has never indicated that it belongs to Hinduism. Its whole approach is different. Most probably Jainism comes from Harappa and Mohenjo Daro culture, which was destroyed either by natural catastrophe or by invaders from Mongolia. All the Aryans - and Hindus are the main source of the Aryans - the Europeans, the Slavs, and the English people, all come from Mongolia. Their origin is the same place in the center of Mongolia. They had to leave that place because of overpopulation. They spread in all directions, and one branch came down to India. It seems the branch that came down to India invaded the natives, completely erased the natives. Perhaps a small section remained which became almost synonymous with it.
Jainism has nothing in common with Hinduism. Its language is different, its conception about the world is different, it has no God. It does not have any yoga system, it does not have any Tantra. It is absolutely against sex, it is repressive of sex. But this repressive tradition of Jainism influenced the whole of India. Of course, their saints looked far more deeply holy than the Hindu saints who were married, who had children. And not only children, but they were allowed to have concubines. These saints were just householders and lived in the forests, they had all the possessions that anybody can have. In fact, they had more possessions than ordinary people, because thousands of disciples brought presents to them. Each seer had become almost a university in himself. Around him thrived hundreds of teachers, disciples, visitors. But compared to the Jaina saint, these Hindu saints looked very ordinary.
Because of this comparison, Hinduism also became contaminated with the idea of repression of sex. Otherwise, you can see beautiful statues of men and women in deep embrace, in different postures even in the temples in Khajuraho, in Konarak, in Puri. Such beautiful sculpture you cannot find anywhere else. These temples were Hindu. Of course, sex was accepted by the Hindus - not only accepted, but a system of transforming the sexual energy, Tantra, was developed by the Hindu saints.
Jainism has remained a very small current, but very influential. It is one of the very important things to understand: the more miserable your saint, the holier he seems. If the saint is happy, joyous, loves life, and enjoys everything that existence allows him, you cannot think of him as very holy. To be holy, one has to be miserable.
In short, pleasure in any direction is condemned. Jaina saints looked more saintly, more holy, and Hindus felt that they had to change - and by and by, they did change, but not consciously. They started respecting the repressed person. Tantra became taboo, and Hindus became completely disoriented from their own sources. It happened again when Christianity came, and Hindus became even more repressed.
Gautam Buddha is the original source of Zen. He was born into a Hindu family, but he lived a very different life than is possible for ordinary people. From his very childhood he was allowed everything that he wanted; he was kept surrounded by beautiful girls; he was married. His whole life up to the age of twenty-nine years was wrapped in pleasure, in dancing, in music, in women, in wine, because the astrologers had predicted that this boy either would become a great saint or would become a great conqueror of the world. And of course, his father was concerned and worried - he did not want him to become a saint. He was his only son, and he wanted him to become a world conqueror. He asked the astrologers how to prevent him from becoming a saint. Those idiots advised that he should be surrounded with pleasure: "Don′t let him know that there is misery. Don′t let him know that there is sickness, old age, death. Don′t let him know at all about these things. Just let him be drowned in music, in dancing, surrounded by beautiful girls. Make three palaces in different places for different seasons: a cooler place when it is summer, and a warmer place when it is winter..."
And the father followed all the instructions of all those so-called wise men; in fact, their advice made him a saint. Twenty-nine years of continuous luxury - he became fed up. And suddenly, when he saw one sick man, it was a shock, because for twenty-nine years he had been kept unaware of sickness, old age, or death. And when he saw these things... how long can you prevent? Even twenty-nine years must have been very difficult for the father to manage him not to see a flower dying, or a pale leaf falling from the tree. In the night, the garden had to be cleaned of all dead flowers, dead leaves. Gautam Buddha should not know that there was something like an ending.
But this created exactly the situation in which he became first, exhausted, bored... so many beautiful women. By the age of twenty-nine years, he became as old as a man cannot experience in three hundred years. In twenty-nine years he saw everything of luxury, of sex, of licentiousness. And when he suddenly came to know old age, and saw the body of a dead man being carried, he was shocked. He would not have been shocked if from the very beginning he had known that people become old - it is natural. These twenty-nine years of protection proved dangerous.
When he saw the dead man, he inquired of his charioteer, "What has happened to this man?"
The charioteer said, "I am not allowed... in fact, the whole city has been told that you are passing by this road, so no old man, no sick man, no dead man, should be allowed on this path. How he has entered... but I cannot be untruthful, he is dead."
And the second question immediately was, "Is the same going to happen to me?"
And the charioteer said, "I don′t want to say it, but the truth is, it happens to all. Nobody is an exception."
And just then he saw a sannyasin in orange robes. He asked, "What kind of man is this, and what kind of uniform...?"
The charioteer said to him, "This man is in search of the eternal. He has become aware that this life is momentary, made of the same stuff as dreams are made of. Hence he has started a search to see whether there is something inside him which will survive even death, or if there is nothing. He is an inquirer."
Gautam Buddha was going to inaugurate the annual festival of youth. He told the charioteer, "Take me back home. I am no longer interested in the festival. I have been cheated. For twenty-nine years I have not been allowed to know the truth."
That very night he escaped from the house. And because he was bored and fed up, those who followed him after his enlightenment obviously thought that sex was dangerous because it keeps you attached to the world. Naturally those who followed Gautam Buddha became escapists. For Buddha it was right, it was not an escape; it was simply getting out of the prison. But for others, it was not getting out of the prison. They had not even lived in the prison, they did not know the prison, they had not explored the prison. It had not come to their consciousness that it was a bondage. They simply followed Gautam Buddha. For them, sex became repressive, pleasure became contaminated.
But fortunately, Bodhidharma took Gautam Buddha′s message to China. That was a different climate. Tao was the climate in China, and Tao is very life affirmative. So in China, a new development happened: the meeting of Bodhidharma and Tao, a totally new concept. Zen is not just Buddhism; in fact, the orthodox Buddhists don′t accept Zen even as Buddhism, and they are right. Zen is a crossbreed between Gautam Buddha′s insight and Lao Tzu′s realization, the meeting of Buddha′s approach, his meditation, and Tao′s naturalness.
In Tao, sex is not a taboo; Tao has its own Tantra. The energy of sex has not to be destroyed or repressed, it is not your enemy. It can be transformed, it can become a great help in the search of your ultimateness. So in Zen, the idea of celibacy was dropped. There was no insistence on it, it was your choice, because the question is meditation. If you can meditate and live your life in a natural way, it is acceptable to Tao.
And then another transformation happened: Zen reached from China to Japan, where Shinto, the native religion, was very natural. There it became absolutely affirmative, hence it is not even talked about. There is no need, it is not a question.
You are asking,
That does not mean that sex was a taboo. It was so natural that
there was no need to discuss it. You don′t discuss urination. That
does not mean you have stopped urinating. You start discussing
things only when you start going against nature. If you are natural,
there is nothing to discuss. Life is to live, not to discuss. Live
as deeply and intensely as possible.
Ikkyu is certainly known to have used Tantra as a way of transformation. The sexual energy is nothing but your very life energy, it is only the name. You can call it sex energy, but by your labeling it ′sex′, it does not become different, it is life energy. And it is better to call it life energy, because that is a wider term, more inclusive, more comprehensive.
When you are going deeper into your center, that experience can be explained in many ways. It can be explained the way Hindus have explained it: it is realization of the ultimate, Brahmanabodhi. But Brahma is not a person. The word is dangerous; it gives an idea as if we are talking about a person. Brahma is simply the whole energy of the existence. Jainas will call it self-realization, Atmanabodhi, but their self is not synonymous with the ego. It is synonymous with Brahma. You are no more - in your self-realization you are no more.
Buddha and Mahavira were contemporaries, and Buddha insisted again and again, that if you are no more, then why do you call it self-realization? That gives a very distorted description. Call it no-self realization. But Mahavira has his own reasons not to call it no-self realization - people are afraid of no-self realization; if you are going to be nothing, then it is better to remain something. And Mahavira knew that it does not matter whether you call it self-realization or not, you are going to disappear. But keep a positive word which is more attractive. I can see Mahavira′s compassion in it, but I also can see Buddha′s truthfulness. He says, "If it is really no-self realization, then call it what it is. Don′t deceive people."
Tantra will call it samadhi. The names are different, but it is exactly life, pure life without any contamination. Once you reach to your center you can think in different categories. You can use the yoga method, then you can say this is the very center of your being, Sambodhi. You can use the Tantra method, then you can say this is the center of your sex energy. And sex energy in Tantra is equivalent to life energy. These words have unnecessarily kept people discussing and discussing. The reality is one. It is better to experience it.
Zen masters don′t talk about it for the simple reason, Zen is a very natural phenomenon. It is not anti-life, it is not escapist. But most of the Zen masters have left their household life. Tired, seeing no point in the marketplace, they moved to the mountains. It was not against the marketplace, it was simply that the mountains were more silent, more peaceful. They allowed you to be yourself without any interference.
Sex is not mentioned in the records, for the simple reason that there is no reason to record it, it is accepted. If one has lived it, and there comes a time when you have outgrown it, then there is no point to go on and on, tired and disgusted. While it is beautiful, enjoy, and when it becomes a tiring, disgusting phenomenon, then just leave it for others. But there is no reason to condemn it.
A natural person simply passes beyond stages without condemnation. He has lived life, he has known life, now he wants to know something more. He wants to know something of the eternal. He has reproduced children, now he wants to know who he is in his innermost core. He has lived the world of the outside, he has been a Zorba. Now a moment comes of turning in. The outside reality has been explored without any inhibition, then you will naturally one day turn inwards. It is the inhibition, the repressive mentality, that goes on forcing you to think of sex, because you have never lived it. Your Christianity, your Jainism, did not allow it, or allowed it and then created guilt in you that you were doing something which should not be done. Then you are living halfheartedly. And when a thing is lived halfheartedly you never transcend, you never go beyond it.
Dance to the moment when you stop automatically. Live everything in life so you can transcend joyfully without any guilt. That is difficult for people who have been programmed with taboos: sex should not even be mentioned; death should not be mentioned either.
Sex and death are the two points: one is the beginning, the other is the end. People are kept unaware of both. About sex, it is dirty; about death, it is dangerous and gloomy, don′t talk about it. It is always somebody else who dies, don′t be worried. But in reality, you are born out of sex, and you are going to die. That which is born out of sex is going to disappear in death. Sex and death are the two points of the same energy. That which appears in sex, disappears in death. And both have to be understood, because both are the most important points in your life, and both have to be accepted and lived.
But religions like Christianity and Jainism are very repressive. Their very repression makes people guilty, sinners. They cannot live their life with totality, intensity, and they cannot meditate, because meditation′s first condition is to be total, to be total in everything. Then everything becomes meditation. Even making love, if you are total, then it becomes a meditation. My own understanding about meditation is that in the beginning it must have happened to someone while making love, because that seems to be the only thing in which you can come to such a totality that time stops, mind stops, and everything becomes absolutely silent.
But that silence can be created by meditation also. The secret is known through sex, that if there is no time and no mind, you have entered into the ultimate. Through sex you enter for a single moment, and you fall back into the temporary. Through meditation you can remain in the ultimate, twenty-four hours around the clock, in an orgasmic joy. Your every moment becomes a dance. Knowing that you are not, there is nothing to fear. Knowing that you are the whole, there is nothing to lose.
Sex is not talked about by Zen masters, simply because it is taken for granted.
One of our sannyasins has been working with John Stevens, author of One Robe, One Bowl. He claims to have found ancient manuscripts never before published, in which Zen masters speak of sex as a tool for transformation. He has compiled a book of this material, which he is calling Lust For Zen. He anticipates that he is going to "upset Buddhists everywhere" by publishing this material.
Do it quickly, because without upsetting, it is very difficult to bring people to come to a settling. First upset, only then can they settle down in a zazen.
But there is nothing upsetting to the real Zen masters; only Buddhists may be upset. The Buddhists of India will be upset, because they have borrowed the sex-repressive idea from Jainism, from Hinduism, and from Buddha′s own experience. But you cannot afford Buddha′s experience, because he was first a Zorba. Even Zorba was not such a Zorba as Buddha. His father found as many beautiful girls as possible from his whole kingdom, and he became tired. One night after much drinking and dancing, everybody had fallen asleep. He looked around - those beautiful faces. Foam was falling from their mouths, their makeup was upset, their hairdo was not in the right place, and it was disgusting. But that kind of experience is not available to everybody. It should be available to everybody, then at the age of thirty everybody is going to escape from the world. But this escape will not be out of fear. This escape needs a new name. It is inscape. One has lived outside, now one wants to live inside. One is bored of repetition, but because of the guilty, life-negative religions predominating over humanity, nobody ever comes to meditation through his love life. Nobody comes to an orgasmic experience where time stops, where mind stops, where suddenly a new sky opens its doors.
Tantra has used the method in India. And in China, Tao has used its own different technique of Tantra to bring people through sexual experience to a meditative state. But it is not a necessity that you should come to a meditative state through sexual experience. You can come by the direct route, by the immediate, this very moment, through meditation.
Sex is a long way. Nothing is wrong if somebody chooses the long way; if he enjoys the journey, there is no harm. But if somebody wants a shortcut, then meditation is available as a shortcut. It is really reaching to the same experience, but by a shortcut.
And as far as my sannyasins are concerned, there is no question of renouncing anything unless something renounces you. Many things will renounce you. By and by, you will start seeing - "Why go on playing these games?" Sooner or later you will be sitting silently, doing nothing, rejoicing in the ultimate annihilation, disappearing into the ocean, losing all your boundaries.
The moment you say, "relative," in the relative everything can be
defined, but it will remain a relative definition. I was talking
about the absolute, where all definitions disappear, where you face
a chaos - no way to put it in order. But in the relative world ...
That′s why Albert Einstein introduced the word ′relativity′ into
science. The theory of relativity is a great understanding that
science deals with the relative, and the relative can be defined.
You can say, "This is night," and you can say, "This is day," but in
the ultimate, the night disappears into the day, the day disappears
into the night. In the ultimate, birth and death are one, they both
arise from the same source. It is a wave arising in the ocean; you
call it birth, and then the wave disappears into the ocean and you
call it death. In the relative, you can call it the birth of
something and the death of something, but in the absolute, nothing
is ever born, and nothing ever dies, everything simply is. This
isness is so vast that it contains all contradictions.
Only one man of this century, Walt Whitman, a great poet, came to this realization through his poetry. Again and again people said to him, "You are contradictory. In one poem you said this, in another poem you said that." Finally he said, "I am vast enough to contain contradictions." A beautiful Zen statement - "vast enough to contain contradictions." Every poet, and every musician, and every lover, and every creator, knows that in existence contradictions meet.
In existence you cannot make clear-cut divisions, everything melts into each other. It is oneness expressing in millions of ways: as a man, as a rose, as a fish - it is the same life. And this is the mystery of life, that it can become a rose, and it can become a fish, and it can become a man, and it can become a buddha. This possibility of eternal manifestations, of infinite manifestations, makes life a joy, a song, a life worth living. If everything is explained, life will become very finite, very small, not worth living. It is the mysteriousness - you may be aware of it or not, but if you are aware, you can rejoice in it more clearly. It is the mysteriousness of life, it is its unknowability, its unpredictability, that makes it so juicy. If everything becomes predictable, mathematical, logical, life will lose all its glory and splendor.
Talking about contradictions, I would like you to know that you rejoice only in things which are beyond your comprehension. Once you understand them, you are finished with them. You cannot finish with love, because you can never understand what it is; it remains a mystery. The moment you know the formula of love - that it is just like H2O, you are finished with it. The moment you know the exact definition of meditation, you are finished with it.
The indefinable attracts. Life remains a mystery in spite of all the philosophers, all the theologians, all the scientists doing their best to destroy the mystery. It remains mysterious, and nobody is going to destroy its mystery, because no system can contain it. It is so vast that our systems are very small in comparison. Our systems are bound to be as big as our minds are, and our minds are not very big.
Small computers can do the work that your mind does, with more clarity, with more definitiveness, with more reliability. A single computer can do the work of thousands of people, and you can keep the computer in your pocket. You can keep thousands of minds in your pocket. A single computer can contain the whole of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Relative means you can say that somebody is taller than you, but
tallness does not exist anywhere. Somebody can be taller than you,
and somebody can be more beautiful than you, somebody can be
stronger than you. But always remember, it is in relation.
If you try to define something without any relativity, then what is beauty? You can say some girl is beautiful, but that is always relative. You may not have thought, but just think: if that girl becomes your wife, will she still be really beautiful? In other people′s eyes perhaps, but not in your eyes. Within two days you know the whole geography of the girl, the whole territory, and now you are hooked. In fact, everything that you say is relative, nothing is absolute.
Mahavira was so alert that he never made a single statement without using the word ′perhaps′. He would always use ′perhaps′ before every sentence - "Perhaps..." - because in the absolute, nothing can be said. Somebody is perhaps beautiful - but perhaps, remember. When you come closer, things are going to change; it is relative to the distance. The moon looks so beautiful from here, but the people who reached to the moon must have felt very frustrated. They looked all around - there was nothing, just bare earth. Not even grass flowers, nothing to say of roses - no water, no clouds, no river, no greenery. They did not stay there long.
And for thousands of years, poets have been singing songs of the beauty of the moon. It depends on the distance. Everything becomes beautiful if it is at a distance. As you come closer, your conception is going to change. So, relatively, everything can be explained. But in the absolute sense, everything is indefinable, everything is mysterious. You love someone, you have lived with someone for years, but do you really know the other person? In absoluteness, you don′t know. You don′t know even yourself, and you have been yourself since eternity. And even now... every day you try, but you cannot say, "I know myself." The moment you reach into the depths of your consciousness, it is so mysterious that you can enjoy it. You can rejoice it, you can dance it, but you cannot define it.
I am not a traditional man at all. I am untraditional in every possible way. I am not confined to any technique. Zen is confined, in a way, to Zazen. Zazen means just sitting and doing nothing. It is perfectly right, but my experience of the modern man is that the most difficult thing for him is just sitting and doing nothing. If you ask him to go to the moon, he can go. If you ask him to go to Everest, he can go. But just sitting? That is the most difficult thing. Finally, you will have to come to the point. I have nothing to do with tradition. My Zen is absolutely untraditional. First, I make you jump and shout and scream, and do all kinds of gibberish. Then finally, tired, you can sit for a few moments.
I am dealing with the contemporary man, who is the most restless being that has ever evolved on the earth. But people do become silent; you just have to allow them to throw out their madness, insanity, then they themselves become silent. They start waiting for the moment when I will say, "Be silent." They become tired of their gibberish. They also become aware that this gibberish is there.
The contemporary man is the most restless man. And I am dealing with the contemporary man, not the dead of the past. I have to devise ways and methods so that you can become silent. Finally, that is the goal - Zazen. But before that you have to throw out many things. Perhaps in the past when man was much more natural, unrepressed.
If it is possible for a single man, it is possible for the whole of humanity. We have just to throw out all the garbage that comes up in our minds, in our dreams. And it affects our actions, our attitudes, our miseries, our angers, our despair. It is better to throw it before it affects your actions. And that is the whole psychology behind meditation: emptying you, creating a nothingness in you. Out of that nothingness blossoms the ultimate joy, the ultimate bliss.
Philip Kapleau does not understand Zen as an experience. His book is beautiful. The Three Pillars Of Zen is a good intellectual introduction, but only intellectual. Even this statement shows that the person does not understand. Zen is not a "drive towards enlightenment." Zen is enlightenment; it is not a drive. But the contemporary mind thinks only in terms of drive, motives, ambitions, desires. Zen is not a motivation. It is not an effort to reach somewhere. It has no goal, it cannot have a drive.
It is not a drive in the first place, and in the second place, it
is nothing to do with bondage, or a frustration with life, or a fear
of death. It has nothing to do with fear, and has nothing to do with
greed - that′s what Christianity is. Unfortunately, the author of
The Three Pillars Of Zen has imposed his own conditioning on a
totally different phenomenon. Zen is not Christianity. Christianity
is a drive towards the kingdom of God. It is a fear of hell, and it
is a greed to be saved and to be allowed into the kingdom of God and
eternity of joy. Christianity is a drive. But the author has imposed
the definition of Christianity on Zen. That is absolutely wrong.
Zen is a very simple phenomenon: it is just to know yourself, here and now. It is not a motivation to go somewhere, to find something, it is simply to become acquainted with yourself. This is a basic thing. You are - obviously you should know who you are. No drive is needed, no greed is needed, because you are not going to become something. You are moving into being. You are already it, whether you know it or not. So all that you have to do is to be a little silent, and watch inside. Zen has nothing to do, Maneesha, with any drive, with any fear, with any greed.
It is time for Sardar Gurudayal Singh.
Put on the light!
Be silent. Close your eyes and feel your bodies to be completely
frozen. This is the right moment to enter in. Gather all your
energies, your total consciousness, and rush towards the inner
center of your being which is just two inches below your navel,
inside the body. Faster and faster, deeper and deeper, with an
urgency as if this is going to be your last moment. You have to make
As you are coming closer to the center, a great silence descends over you. And inside, you are filled with a luminosity. At the very center there is a flame, the very source of your life, the very source of your consciousness and awareness. This is your buddha.
To make the buddha awake, only one simple method is needed: witnessing. Witness that you are not the body. Witness that you are not the mind. Witness that you are only the pure witnessing and nothing else. Go deeper into witnessing, and you will find the ultimate source of life and existence.
Relax, let go. Just as snow melts, let yourself melt into
existence. Gautama the Buddha Auditorium has turned into an ocean of
consciousness. Ten thousand buddhas have disappeared into it.
This is the most precious experience in existence. And once you know the way to the center, you can go to the center anytime, anywhere. It is so simple, it is so close, and it is so alive. It will transform your whole being. It will fill you with joy, silence, love, compassion. You will be a transformed, new human being. Zen is only a name for this transformation.
The new man is needed around the earth, because only the new man can save this earth from destruction. The old man has created only destructive methods, war and violence. The new man will be a buddha, a man of compassion, love and peace.
Before you come back, gather all the experiences that are happening there at the center of your being, and persuade the buddha, the flame of life, to come following you and be part of your daily life. Ordinary and mundane existence can be transformed into sacred actions if the buddha is present there.
You disappear, but the whole existence becomes available to you. You lose nothing. You lose only shadows, and you gain everything: all or nothing. They are both synonymous at the experience of the center. They are not opposites, there is no duality in the experience of meditation. In this silence all contradictions melt and merge into each other.
Come back, but come back as buddhas, with the same grace, same
silence, the same beauty, same blissfulness. This ecstasy has to
become your very heart, and this experience has to be carried into
every ordinary action of your life, in your love, in your relations,
in your friendships. Wherever you are, you should bring peace and
joy and blissfulness, and more light.
Existence becomes more and more available to you the more you share it in your bliss, in your joy, in your laughters, in your silences. You simply become a vehicle, a bamboo flute on the lips of existence. The song comes from the whole. You simply allow it. This allowance is Zen. Zen is a way of becoming a blessing to the whole existence.
Yes, Osho.(Thus spake Osho the eighth part of The Zen Manifesto (chapter 8)