The psychology of the buddhas

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Osho explains that the psychology of the buddhas does not work with the mind, its uniqueness is meditation, watchfulness, witnessing, leading to transcendence.

Osho discourse

Beloved Master,
You speak on the psychology of the buddhas, the psychology of transcendence, as the essence of the work happening here in the buddhafield. What is the uniqueness of this third psychology? Is there a psychotherapy of transcendence?

Amitabh, Sigmund Freud introduced psychoanalysis into the world. It is rooted in analyzing the mind. It is confined to the mind. It does not step out of the mind, not even an inch. On the contrary, it goes deeper into the mind, into the hidden layers of the mind, into the unconscious, to find out ways and means so that the mind of man can at least be normal. The goal of Freudian psychoanalysis is not very great.

The goal is to keep people normal. But normality is not enough. Just to be normal is not of any significance. It means the normal routine of life and your capacity to cope with it. It does not give you meaning, it does not give you significance. It does not give you insight into the reality of things. It does not take you beyond time, beyond death. It is at the most a helpful device for those who have gone so abnormal that they have become incapable of coping with their daily life – they cannot live with people, they cannot work, they have become shattered.

Psychotherapy provides them a certain togetherness – not integrity, mind you, but only a certain togetherness. It binds them into a bundle. They remain still fragmentary. Nothing becomes crystallized in them, no soul is born. They don’t become blissful, they are only less unhappy, less miserable.

Psychology helps them to accept the misery. It helps them to accept that this is all that life can give to you, so don’t ask for more. In a way, it is dangerous to their inner growth, because the inner growth happens only when there is a divine discontent. When you are absolutely unsatisfied with things as they are, only then do you go in the search, only then do you start rising higher, only then do you make efforts to pull yourself out of the mud.

Jung went a little further into the unconscious. He went into the collective unconscious. This is getting more and more into muddy water, and this is not going to help.

Assagioli moved to the other extreme. Seeing the failure of psychoanalysis he invented psychosynthesis. But it is rooted in the same idea. Instead of analysis he emphasizes synthesis.

The psychology of the buddhas is neither analysis nor synthesis; it is transcendence, it is going beyond the mind. It is not work within the mind, it is work that takes you outside the mind. That’s exactly the meaning of the English word ‘ecstasy’ – to stand out.

When you are capable of standing out of your own mind, when you are capable of creating a distance between your mind and your being, then you have taken the first step of the psychology of the buddhas. And a miracle happens: when you are standing out of the mind all the problems of the mind disappear, because mind itself disappears; it loses its grip over you.

Psychoanalysis is like pruning leaves of the tree, but new leaves will be coming up. It is not cutting off the roots. And psychosynthesis is sticking the fallen leaves back onto the tree again – gluing them back to the tree. That is not going to give them life either. They will look simply ugly; they will not be alive, they will not be green, they will not be part of the tree – but glued, somehow.

The psychology of the buddhas cuts the very roots of the tree which create all kinds of neuroses, psychoses, which create the fragmentary man, the mechanical man, the robotlike man. And the way is simple…

Psychoanalysis takes years, and still the man remains the same. It is renovating the old structure, patching up here and there, whitewashing the old house. But it is the same house, nothing has radically changed. It has not transformed the consciousness of the man.

The psychology of the buddhas does not work within the mind. It has no interest in analyzing or synthesizing. It simply helps you to get out of the mind so that you can have a look from the outside. And that very look is a transformation. The moment you can look at your mind as an object you become detached from it, you become disidentified from it; a distance is created, and roots are cut.

Why are roots cut in this way? – because it is you who goes on feeding the mind. If you are identified you feed the mind; if you are not identified you stop feeding it. It drops dead on its own accord.

There is a beautiful story. I love it very much….

One day Buddha is passing by a forest. It is a hot summer day and he is feeling very thirsty. He says to Ananda, his chief disciple, “Ananda, you go back. Just three, four miles back we passed a small stream of water. You bring a little water – take my begging bowl. I am feeling very thirsty and tired.” He had become old.

Ananda goes back, but by the time he reaches the stream, a few bullock carts have just passed through the stream and they have made the whole stream muddy. Dead leaves which had settled into the bed have risen up; it is no longer possible to drink this water – it is too dirty. He comes back empty-handed, and he says, “You will have to wait a little. I will go ahead. I have heard that just two, three miles ahead there is a big river. I will bring water from there.”

But Buddha insists. He says, “You go back and bring water from the same stream.”

Ananda could not understand the insistence, but if the master says so, the disciple has to follow. Seeing the absurdity of it – that again he will have to walk three, four miles, and he knows that water is not worth drinking – he goes.

When he is going, Buddha says, “And don’t come back if the water is still dirty. If it is dirty, you simply sit on the bank silently. Don’t do anything, don’t get into the stream. Sit on the bank silently and watch. Sooner or later the water will be clear again, and then you fill the bowl and come back.”

Ananda goes there. Buddha is right: the water is almost clear, the leaves have moved, the dust has settled. But it is not absolutely clear yet, so he sits on the bank just watching the river flow by. Slowly slowly, it becomes crystal-clear. Then he comes dancing. Then he understands why Buddha was so insistent. There was a certain message in it for him, and he understood the message. He gave the water to Buddha, and he thanked Buddha, touched his feet.

Buddha says, “What are you doing? I should thank you that you have brought water for me.”

Ananda says, “Now I can understand. First I was angry; I didn’t show it, but I was angry because it was absurd to go back. But now I understand the message. This is what I actually needed in this moment. The same is the case with my mind – sitting on the bank of that small stream, I became aware that the same is the case with my mind. If I jump into the stream I will make it dirty again. If I jump into the mind more noise is created, more problems start coming up, surfacing. Sitting by the side I learned the technique.

“Now I will be sitting by the side of my mind too, watching it with all its dirtiness and problems and old leaves and hurts and wounds, memories, desires. Unconcerned I will sit on the bank and wait for the moment when everything is clear.”

And it happens on its own accord, because the moment you sit on the bank of your mind you are no longer giving energy to it. This is real meditation. Meditation is the art of transcendence.

Freud talks about analysis, Assagioli about synthesis. Buddhas have always talked about meditation, awareness.

You ask me, Amitabh, “What is the uniqueness of this third psychology?”

Meditation, awareness, watchfulness, witnessing – that is the uniqueness. No psychoanalyst is needed. You can do it on your own; in fact, you have to do it on your own. No guidelines are needed, it is such a simple process – simple if you do it; if you don’t do it, it looks very complicated. Even the word ‘meditation’ scares many people. They think it something very difficult, arduous. Yes, if you don’t do it it is difficult and arduous. It is like swimming. It is very difficult if you don’t know how to swim, but if you know, you know it is so simple a process. Nothing can be more simple than swimming. It is not an art at all; it is so spontaneous and so natural.

Be more aware of your mind. And in being aware of your mind you will become aware of the fact that you are not the mind, and that is the beginning of the revolution. You have started flowing higher and higher. You are no longer tethered to the mind. Mind functions like a rock and keeps you. It keeps you within the field of gravitation. The moment you are no longer attached to the mind, you enter the buddhafield. When gravitation loses its power over you, you enter into the buddhafield. Entering the buddhafield means entering into the world of levitation. You start floating upwards. Mind goes on dragging you downwards.

So it is not a question of analyzing or synthesizing. It is simply a question of becoming aware. That’s why in the East we have not developed any psychotherapy like Freudian or Jungian or Adlerian – and there are so many in the market now. We have not developed a single psychotherapy because we know psychotherapies can’t heal. They may help you to accept your wounds, but they can’t heal. Healing comes when you are no longer attached to the mind. When you are disconnected from the mind, unidentified, absolutely untethered, when the bondage is finished, then healing happens.

Transcendence is true therapy, and it is not only psychotherapy. It is not only a phenomenon limited to your psychology, it is far more than that. It is spiritual. It heals you in your very being. Mind is only your circumference, not your center.

Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 10, Ch 4, Q 1

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