Three types of listeners

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“For understanding to come one has to one day unlearn all that one has learnt,” states Osho. From our series 1001 Tales, compiled by Shanti.

For understanding to come one has to become a child again, one has to wash off all that the society has done, one has to make his heart clean.

Once a man came to Buddha, a very cultured, educated man, a pundit. And he asked Buddha a question.

Buddha said, ‘Please. Right now I cannot answer.’

The man said, ‘Why can’t you answer? Are you busy or something?’

He was an important man, well-known all over the country, and, of course, he felt offended that Buddha was so busy that he couldn’t give a little time to him. He said, ‘I have walked thousands of miles.’

In those days there were no trains, nothing, it was really difficult. It was dangerous to travel. He had walked far; he had come from the deep south. Buddha said, ‘No, that is not the question. I have enough time, but right now you will not be able to receive the answer.’

Upside-down pot

The pundit asked, ‘What do you mean?’

Buddha said, ‘There are three types of listeners.

‘The first type is like a pot placed upside-down. You can go on answering, nothing will enter him. He is not available.

Sieve 2

‘The second type of listener is like a pot with holes in the bottom. It is not upside-down, it is exactly in the right posture, it is as it should be, but it has holes in the bottom. So it looks like it is being filled, but that is only momentary. Sooner or later the water flows out and it is again empty. Only apparently, on the surface, does it look like something is entering – nothing really enters, because it cannot hold anything.

Pot with dirt

‘And then there is a third type of listener, who has no holes in the bottom and who is not placed like an upside-down pot, but is full of filth. Water can come into it, but the moment water enters it, it becomes poisoned.

‘And you are all three together, sir. So it is very difficult right now. You are filthy, filthy because you are so knowledgeable. Knowledge is filth… All that is borrowed is filth. You have stolen it, how can it purify you? Without knowing it you think you know. You are a pretender. You deceive. You are a hypocrite.’

So when a man’s head is like a pot which is full of filth, even if God comes and says something to him, the moment it enters him it will become poisoned. It will not be heard the way it has been told. It will be misinterpreted. It is very difficult to change a learned man, because he has already got fixed ideas. He is hiding behind those ideas…

Osho, Tao: The Pathless Path – Talks on extracts from ‘The Book of Lieh Tzu’, Vol 2, Ch 12, Q 4 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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