Your Spirit is Only a Potential

Osho on Notable People

Osho speaks on Maslow’s self-actualisation and Buddha’s no-self actualisation.

Man is born only as a seed, not as a flower. Flowering has to be achieved; one should not take it for granted. Birth itself is only the opportunity for life, it is not life itself. You can still miss life – and millions miss it for the simple reason that they think that just being born is enough to be alive. It is not enough. It is necessary – without it there will be no life – but it is not synonymous with life. You have to be twice-born.

Jesus says: Unless you are born again you shall not enter into my kingdom of God.

A kind of rebirth is needed. The ordinary birth is the birth of the body-mind mechanism, but your spirit is only a potential – it has to be actualized. Abraham Maslow has called this process self-actualisation.

Gautam Buddha would call the same process “no-self actualisation.” Abraham Maslow has no idea of the ultimate; he is thinking about it, speculating about it. He has stumbled upon a certain truth, but he does not know how to express it. He has not experienced it himself; it is only an intellectual understanding, hence he calls it “self-actualisation.”

Abraham Maslow

But in that ultimate flowering the first thing that disappears is the self. In fact, the self is the only barrier for that flowering. The self is the hindrance, not the help. The self surrounds you like a wall; it is not the bridge.

When you are really born, born to life or to God – to me both are synonymous – you are no more, no more as you understand yourself to be. A pure emptiness prevails, an utter void prevails, a silence which is soundless. A music is there certainly, but without any sound. The Zen people call it the sound of one hand clapping. That no-self is your original face. When you are not, you are, and you are for the first time.

If Abraham Maslow had experienced the ultimate state of flowering he would never have called it self-actualisation; he would have called it “no-self actualisation.” You are born as a self, as an ego. This is the seed and the seed has to disappear before the sprout can start growing. The seed has to die in the soil; then and only then the life that is hidden inside the seed will start manifesting itself.

It is a miracle! You are blind, that’s why you can’t see. So many miracles are happening all around you. When a seed becomes a sprout, a great miracle is happening. If you cut the seed you will not find any leaves, you will not find any flowers, you will not find any tree, you will not find anything at all – just emptiness. Through analyzing the seed you will not reach any conclusion. But if you let the seed fall down into the right soil, if you allow the seed to die and disappear, out of that nothingness something immensely beautiful arises, something impossible happens. Leaves come, branches come, a big tree grows. Such a small seed contains such a big tree! Now hundreds of people can sit under its shade, hundreds of birds can make their nests, can come to rest every night in its shelter, and thousands of flowers will bloom.

A single seed is capable of making the whole earth green. It has so much potential – infinite potential, because out of a single seed millions of seeds will arise, and so on and so forth. If you have one single seed the whole earth can be a garden. Why just the whole earth? – the whole universe can be a garden! The potential is infinite; you have just to find the right opportunity for its expression, for its manifestation, for its realization.

Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 12, Ch 1 (excerpt)

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