A rare woman attains to enlightenment

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

Osho speaks on acceptance and the Buddhist nun Rengetsu in our series 1001 Tales, compiled by Shanti.

The first thing is to accept life as it is. Accepting it, desires disappear; accepting it as it is, tensions disappear, discontent disappears; accepting it as it is, one starts feeling very joyful and for no reason at all. When joy has a reason, it is not going to last long. When joy is without any reason, it is going to be there forever.

There are two ways a man can be. A man can either move towards having more things – then he goes against Buddha, against Tao, against Zen. The man who is too much concerned with having more is the worldly man.

And the man who says whatsoever is, is good; who relaxes; who is not worried about having more money, more power, more prestige, more respectability; who relaxes into tathata, suchness, isness – he becomes a religious person. He starts moving in.

If you are thinking to have more, you will move out. When you are concerned with having, you will be moving out; when you are no more concerned with having, you will move in towards being. And being is Buddha.

It happened in the life of a very famous Zen woman, her name was Rengetsu. Very few women have attained to the Zen ultimate. This one is one of those rare women.


She was on a pilgrimage and she came to a village at sunset and begged for lodging for the night, but the villagers slammed their doors. They were against Zen. Zen is so revolutionary, so utterly rebellious that it is very difficult to accept it. By accepting it you are going to be transformed; by accepting it you will be passing through a fire, you will never be the same again.

So traditional people have always been against all that is true in religion. Tradition is all that is untrue in religion. So those must have been traditional Buddhists in the town, and they didn’t allow this woman to stay in the town; they threw her out. It was a cold night and the old woman with no lodging… and hungry. She had to make a cherry tree in the fields her shelter. It was really cold and she could not sleep well. And it was dangerous too – wild animals and all.

At midnight she awoke – because of too much cold – and saw, as it were, in the spring night sky, the fully-opened cherry blossoms laughing to the misty moon. Overcome with the beauty, she got up and made a reverence in the direction of the village….

This is what tathata is.

Overcome with the beauty, she got up and made a reverence in the direction of the village:

Through their kindness in refusing me lodging
I found myself beneath the blossoms
on the night of this misty moon.

She feels grateful. With great gratitude she thanks those people who refused her lodging; otherwise she would be sleeping under an ordinary roof and she would have missed this blessing – these cherry blossoms and this whispering with the misty moon and this silence of the night, this utter silence of the night.

She is not angry, she accepts it. Not only accepts it, welcomes it – she feels grateful.

A man becomes a Buddha the moment he accepts all that life brings with gratitude. He is on the Way, he is on Tao; and he is becoming meditative.

Osho quote from
Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol. 3, Ch 5

otagaki-rengetsu-portrait-sŌtagaki Rengetsu (1791 – 1875) was a Buddhist nun who is widely regarded to have been one of the greatest Japanese poets of the 19th century. She was also a skilled potter and painter and expert calligrapher. She lived and died in Kyoto. 

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All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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