Osho says, “… the whole idea of reincarnation is a misconception.”
First, a few questions. Somebody has asked:
I heard you say that we sometimes carry other people’s wounds.
What does this mean?
Is another person’s wound simply their thought pattern that we adopt? If we can so easily accept someone else’s wound then why is it so difficult to accept our own buddhahood?
It is a very complicated question, but if you are ready to understand I am willing to answer. Everybody is carrying other people’s wounds. In the first place, you are living in a sick society where people are angry, full of hate, enjoy to hurt – that is the superficial level which can be understood easily. But there are subtle levels, there are so-called religious saints who are creating feelings of guilt in you, who are condemning you to be a sinner. They are giving you an idea which will create misery around you.
And the older the idea is, people accept it more easily. Everybody around the world is saying, “We are living in sin… all these people cannot be wrong.” I am alone in declaring to you that you have chosen to live in misery; it is your choice. You can drop it immediately and dance in joy, in blissfulness.
But the wound is deep. And one becomes very much familiar with one’s misery. One clings to it as if it gives you a certain coziness, but it only gives you a life of hell. But your hell is supported by everybody. If you are miserable everybody is sympathetic to you. Have you ever gone into the matter? When you are miserable, those who are sympathetic to you are nursing your misery. Have you ever seen anybody sympathetic to you when you are dancing with joy? When you are blissful, people are jealous, not sympathetic.
According to me, the whole foundation of life has to be changed. People should be sympathetic only when there is pleasure and joy and rejoicing, because by your sympathy you are nourishing. Nourish people’s joy, don’t nourish their sadness and their misery. Be compassionate when they are miserable. Make it clear that this misery is chosen by yourself.
On a deeper level… perhaps the questioner has not asked me to go that deep, but the answer will remain incomplete if I don’t go deep enough.
The very idea of reincarnation, which has arisen in all the Eastern religions, is that the self goes on moving from one body to another body, from one life to another life. This idea does not exist in the religions that have arisen out of Judaism, Christianity and Mohammedanism. But now even psychiatrists are finding that it seems to be true. People can remember their past lives; the idea of reincarnation is gaining ground.
But I want to say one thing to you: the whole idea of reincarnation is a misconception. It is true that when a person dies his being becomes part of the whole. Whether he was a sinner or a saint does not matter, but he had also something called the mind, the memory. In the past the information was not available to explain memory as a bundle of thoughts and thought waves, but now it is easier.
And that’s where, on many points, I find Gautam Buddha far ahead of his time. He is the only man who would have agreed with my explanation. He has given hints, but he could not provide any evidence for it; there was nothing available to say. He has said that when a person dies, his memory travels into a new womb – not the self. And we now can understand it, that when you are dying, you will leave memories all around in the air. And if you have been miserable, all your miseries will find some location; they will enter into some other memory system. Either they will enter totally into a single womb – that’s how somebody remembers one’s past. It is not your past; it was somebody else’s mind that you have inherited.
Most people don’t remember because they have not got the whole lump, the whole heritage of a single individual’s memory system. They may have got fragments from here and there, and those fragments create your misery system. All those people who have died on the earth have died in misery. Very few people have died in joy. Very few people have died with the realization of no-mind. They don’t leave a trace behind. They don’t burden anybody else with their memory. They simply disperse into the universe. They don’t have any mind and they don’t have any memory system. They have already dissolved it in their meditations. That’s why the enlightened person is never born.
But the unenlightened people go on throwing out, with every death, all kinds of misery patterns. Just as riches attract more riches, misery attracts more misery. If you are miserable, then from miles, misery will travel to you – you are the right vehicle. And this is a very invisible phenomenon, like radio waves. They are traveling around you; you don’t hear them. Once you have the right instrument to receive them, immediately they become available. Even before the radio was there, they were traveling by your side.
There is no incarnation, but misery incarnates. Wounds of millions of people are moving around you, just in search of somebody who is willing to be miserable. Of course, the blissful does not leave any trace. The man of awakening dies the way a bird moves into the sky, without making a track or a path. The sky remains empty. Blissfulness moves without making any trace. That’s why you don’t get any inheritance from the buddhas; they simply disappear. And all kinds of idiots and retarded people go on reincarnating in their memories and it becomes every day thicker and thicker.
Today, perhaps, it has come to the point to be understood and to be dissolved; otherwise it is too thick to allow you to live, to allow you to laugh.
Your own consciousness has no wounds.
Your own consciousness knows nothing of misery.
Your own consciousness is innocent, utterly blissful. To bring you in touch with your own consciousness, every effort is being made to detract you from the mind. The mind contains all your misery, all your wounds. And it goes on creating wounds in such a way that, unless you are aware, you will not even find how it creates them.
Just today, Anando told me Zareen used to be very happy when she came to the ashram from her house. Seeing the beauty and the freedom and the joy of the commune, she finally moved, took a revolutionary step in her life – left the home and became part of the commune. But since then, she has not been seen so joyous.
I said, “Anando, tell Zareen clearly what has happened: If you are aware, you will understand very clearly.”
She used to come to the commune from her house which was dark and dismal and miserable. In a free open sky it was a joy. But since she moved to the commune… deep inside, the mind made the commune her house. And all the misery of her house has started erupting, and now she has nowhere to go. Once she understands it – that the misery is created by a concept that she has carried, and although she has moved spaces, she has not moved the concept… Once in a while the idea must come to her – “It is better to go home.” But it won’t make any change. In the first place the home will be more dark, more miserable, and the husband will look more of a stranger than he has ever been. But one thing will be good: then she can come to the commune and be happy.
But why not simply understand the point, and be happy wherever you are? And going back to the home is not just in your hands. As far as I know, your husband is not going to accept you back. He has told it to a sannyasin.
Don’t keep the past burning you. You have come into an open space, now learn the ways of freedom and love and friendliness. And you all have the capacity; there is no question of being miserable for any reason. No reason is valid to make anyone miserable. In fact, we have to search for a valid reason to be miserable. Otherwise people will ask, “Are you mad? Without any reason and you are miserable?” So somehow you go on inventing reasons. But remember, those are only invented reasons. Nobody asks you when you are happy, “Why are you happy?” There is no reason to be happy. Happiness is our nature. To be joyful needs no reason, no cause.
This commune has to be a commune of understanding, awareness, looking into one’s own mind patterns and remembering that they are not yours. You are simply the watcher, and the watcher is outside the mind.
I teach you the watcher.
The only way to get out of misery patterns, whether ancient or new, is witnessing. I say it is the only way, because nobody has escaped from the mind without becoming a witness. Just witness, and suddenly you will start laughing at your own misery. All our miseries are so superficial – and most fundamentally, they are all borrowed.
And everybody is giving his misery to everybody else he comes in contact with. People are talking continuously about their miseries, about their troubles, about their conflicts. Have you ever heard anybody talking about his joyous moments? About his dances and songs? About his silences and blissfulness? No, nobody talks about these things. People go on sharing all their wounds, and whenever you are talking about your misery to somebody, without your knowing, you are transferring a miserable pattern. The person may be thinking that he is only listening to you, but he is also catching the vibe of misery, the wounds.
When I said that you carry other people’s wounds, my statement meant that your own consciousness has no wounds. If everybody becomes alert, meditative, there will be no wounds in the world. They will simply disappear. They will not find any house, any shelter. This is possible. If it is possible for me, it is possible for everybody.
And in your question you also ask why “we can so easily accept someone else’s wound,” and why it is “so difficult to accept our own buddhahood.”
You can accept somebody’s wounds because you also have wounds. You understand the language of wounds, miseries, sufferings.
And you ask why we cannot accept the idea of being a buddha.
In the first place, you rarely come across a buddha. Very rarely does a buddha exist in the world, so even if you meet him you will not understand his language. Most probably you will misunderstand him. You know misery, and he is talking about bliss. You know wounds, and he is talking about eternal health. You know only death, and he is talking about eternity.
In the first place, it is difficult to find a buddha. In the second place, it is difficult to understand his language because it is not your language. Otherwise, this must be the simplest thing in the world – to understand one’s buddhahood. It is so obvious. Your very being is already a buddha, but you have forgotten the path to your inner being. You have traveled long on many paths, but they all lead outside. And slowly, slowly you have forgotten that there is a small space within you which you have not explored.
Meditation is nothing but an exploration of your ignored inner space. That small space will suddenly remind you that you are a buddha. And unless it becomes a mindfulness in you that you are a buddha… It is not a concept; nobody can convince you that you are a buddha… you cannot be otherwise.
If you simply go in, the very experience of the interior space explodes in the recognition and remembrance of your buddhahood. It is not a philosophy, it is an existential experience.
Osho, The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself, Ch 5, Q 1