Osho on ‘Gautama the Buddha’
Gautama the Buddha is the greatest breakthrough that humanity has known up to now.
Time should not be divided by the name of Jesus Christ; it should be divided by the name of Gautam Buddha. We should divide history before Buddha and after Buddha, not before Christ and after Christ, because Christ is not a breakthrough; he is a continuity. He represents the past in its tremendous beauty and grandeur. He is the very essence of the whole search of man before him. He is the fragrance of all the past endeavors of man to know God, but he is not a breakthrough. In the real sense of the word he is not a rebel. Buddha is, but Jesus looks more rebellious than Buddha for the simple reason that Jesus’ rebellion is visible and Buddha’s rebellion is invisible.
You will need great insight to understand what Buddha has contributed to human consciousness, to human evolution, to human growth. Man would not have been the same if there had been no Buddha. Man would have been the same if there had been no Christ, no Krishna; there would not have been much difference. Remove Buddha and something of tremendous importance is lost; but his rebellion is very invisible, very subtle.
Before Buddha, the search — the religious search — was fundamentally a concern with God: a God who is outside, a God who is somewhere above in the heavens. The religious search was also concerned with an object of desire, as much as the worldly search was. The worldly man sought money, power, prestige, and the otherworldly man was seeking God, heaven, eternity, truth. But one thing was common: both were looking outside themselves, both were extroverts. Remember this word, because this is going to help you understand Buddha.
Before Buddha, the religious search was not concerned with the within but with the without; it was extrovert, and when the religious search is extrovert it is not really religious. Religion begins only with introversion, when you start diving deeply within yourself.
People had looked for centuries for God: Who is the builder of the universe? Who is the creator of the universe? And there are many who are still living in a pre-Buddha time, who are still asking such questions: Who is the creator of the world? When did he create the world? There are some stupid people who have even determined the day, the date and the year when God created the world. There are Christian theologians who say that exactly four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ — Monday, 1st January! — God created the world or started creating the world, and he finished the job in six days. Only one thing is true about it: that he must have finished the job in six days, because you can see the mess the world is in — it is a six-day job! And since then he has not been heard about. On the seventh day he rested, and since then he has been resting….
Maybe Friedrich Nietzsche is right, that he is not resting — he is dead! He has not shown any concern. Then what happened to his creation? It seems to be completely forgotten.
But Christians say, “No, he has not forgotten. Look! He sent Jesus Christ, his only begotten son, to save the world. He is still interested.” That is the only interest Christians say he has shown, in sending Jesus Christ… but the world is not saved. If that was the purpose of sending Jesus Christ to the world, then Jesus has failed and through him God has failed — the world is the same. And what kind of concern was this — that his messenger was crucified and he could not do anything?
There are many who are still living in this pre-Buddha worldview.
Buddha changed the whole religious dimension, he gave it such a beautiful turn: he asked REAL questions. He was not a metaphysician, he never asked a metaphysical question; to him metaphysics was all rubbish. He was the first psychologist the world had known, because he based his religion not on philosophy but on psychology.
Psychology in its original meaning means the science of the soul, the science of the within.
He didn’t ask: Who created the world? He asked: Why am I here? Who am I? Who is creating me? And it is not a question of the past — “Who created me?” — we are constantly being created. Our life is not like a thing created once and for all; it is not an object. It is a growing phenomenon, it is a river flowing. Each moment it is passing through new territory. “Who is creating this life, this energy, this mind, this body, this consciousness, that I am?” His question is totally different. He is transforming religion from extroversion into introversion.
The extrovert religion prays to God; the introvert religion meditates. Prayer is extrovert; it is addressed to some invisible God. He may be there, he may not be there — you can’t be sure or certain; doubt is bound to persist. Hence every prayer is rooted somewhere in doubt, in fear, in uncertainty, in greed.
Meditation is rooted in fearlessness, in greedlessness. Meditation is not begging anything from anybody, it is not addressed to anybody. Meditation is a state of inner silence. Prayer is still noise, you are still talking — talking to a God who may not be there. Then it is insane, neurotic; you are behaving in a mad way. Mad people go on talking; they don’t bother much whether there is anybody to listen to them or not. That is a sure sign that they are mad — they imagine that somebody is there; not only that, they can almost see the other. Their visualization is great, their imagination is very substantial. They are capable of changing shadows into substance, imagination into realities, fiction into facts. To you they seem to be involved in a monologue; to themselves they are involved in a dialogue. You cannot see who is present there — they are alone — but they see that somebody is there.
It is because of this fact that psychoanalysis is very cautious about religion, because the religious person behaves just like the neurotic. And there are many psychoanalysts who think that religion is nothing but a mass neurosis — and they have a point: the extrovert religion is a mass neurosis.
But psychoanalysts have not yet become aware of Buddha. Buddha will give them a new insight into religion, into true religion. There is no prayer, no God. Meditation is not a dialogue, or even a monologue — meditation is pure silence.
Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 5, Ch 3