Osho says, “The first myth of man is that he exists.”
Only once in a while a Gautam Buddha, a Jesus Christ, a Lao Tzu, a Zarathustra – the names are not many, they can be counted on the fingers. They are the only proof that man is not impossible. But the so-called ordinary humanity is only a myth, a belief in something which is not really there. Unless you become aware of this false phenomenon, you will never become what you were destined to become. You will remain a seed. You will never bloom, you will not be able to release your fragrance.
The name of Gautama the Buddha is sweeter than honey, is more golden than gold itself. Gautama the Buddha is more godly than God himself. In fact there is no other God. God exists only when buddhahood exists. God needs the context of a buddha to exist. Without the space of a buddhafield God is just a theoretical, philosophical idea with no substance in it, just a shadow. Hence don’t ask whether God is or is not. That question cannot be answered. God is when there is a buddha, God is not when the buddha is not.
Whenever there is an awakened person, in the context of his awakening God becomes real. This is the only possibility for God to be. To be really a man means to become a space for God to exist in you. Buddha is the most godly man that has ever been born on the earth, and still the most godless too. He never believed in God. Nobody who knows has ever believed in a God.
All believers are ignorant people – belief is ignorance. Buddha never believed, Buddha knew. And when you know, you know; there is no question of belief. Buddha never argued about God, he himself was the proof. There can be no other proof. There are great arguers, speculators, theologians; their whole life they go on talking about God, but all their talk is mere talk, it is sheer nonsense. Even if they meet God, they will argue with him. Argument is their habit, argument has become their occupation, their profession, it has become an escape from their true being. Argument keeps them blind.
A rabbi’s son converted to Christianity and the rabbi was totally distraught. God himself came down to earth to console him. “After all,” said the Lord, “did not the same thing happen to my son two thousand years ago?”
“Yes,” replied the rabbi, “but don’t forget, my son was legitimate.”
A theologian, a philosopher, a great thinker, even if he comes to encounter God, is bound to argue with him. He can’t see him. For seeing, silence is needed, not argument. For seeing, love is needed, not logic. For seeing, scriptures are not needed but a totally different state of mind is needed: a state of mind where thoughts have disappeared, where the mirror of mind reflects nothing, is absolutely pure, not even a ripple of thought. In that silence, in that mirrorlike purity you need not go anywhere else to see God.
Wherever you are you will see, because God is not a person, let me repeat again: God is a presence. If God was a person things would have been very easy. We would have caught him, we would have imprisoned him in the temples, in the churches, in the synagogues, in the mosques. If God was a person our scientists would be experimenting on him in their laboratories. Pavlov wouldn’t waste his time on dogs, he would experiment on God. And B.F. Skinner would not remain occupied with rats.
Karl Marx actually has said that: Unless God is proved in a scientific experiment, I am not going to believe. Unless God is proved in the lab, I am not going to believe. But a God proved in a lab is not a God at all, cannot be a God. A God caught in the net of arguments will be impotent, utterly dead.
A group of cannibals attacked a mission but found that the missionaries had fled. The old chief was fascinated by a pile of magazines he found, especially one that had pictures of scantily clad women in the advertisements. Whenever he would come to a picture of a woman with very little on, he would tear out the page and eat it.
Finally one of his sons noticed what he was doing and said, “Tell me, dad, is that dehydrated stuff any good?”
But that’s what people are doing. When you are pondering over the Bible, the Gita, the Koran, it is all dehydrated stuff. It is not going to nourish you. What is your Christianity and what is your Hinduism, and what is your Mohammedanism? A really religious person cannot be Christian, and cannot be Mohammedan, and cannot be Hindu. Yes, he can be an Ayatollah Khomeini, but not a Mohammedan, not really a religious person. Fanatics, lunatics, obsessed with unnecessary formalities….
What is the difference between a Christian and a Hindu and a Jew? If you look deep down there is no difference; all the difference is formal, and they are obsessed with the formalities. Dehydrated stuff has become much too significant.
The Silversteins sent their son to a highbrow New England boarding school. A few months later he returned home for the Christmas holidays.
“Samela,” greeted his mother. “It is so good to see you.”
“Mother,” he replied, “stop calling me Samela. I’m grown up now and I wish you would refer to me as Samuel.”
“I am sorry,” said Mrs. Silverstein. “I hope you ate only kosher foods while you were away?”
“Mother, it is ridiculous to still cling to those old-world traditions. I indulged in all types of food, kosher and nonkosher, and you would be better off if you did.”
“Well, did you at least go to the synagogue occasionally?”
“Really!” replied the young Silverstein. “Going to a synagogue when you are associating with mostly non-Jews is preposterous. It is unfair to ask it of me.”
“Tell me son,” said Mrs. Silverstein, “are you still circumcised?”
But these are the differences between Hindus and Mohammedans and Christians and Jews and Jainas. What have we made of religion? We have not listened to the buddhas; we have not understood Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mahavira, Buddha. We have misunderstood them, and we are living according to our misunderstanding.
These sutras of Buddha will give you an insight, an insight into the heart of an awakened one, how he sees things, how he feels, what is his understanding of the world. But please remember to listen to his words very carefully. Put your minds aside. If you listen through your minds, you will listen to something else, you will misinterpret, you will come in between. The words can’t carry the meaning to you if you interfere – and we are constantly interfering. That’s why everybody knows how to hear, but very few people know how to listen.
Hearing is simple, listening is an art. Be a listener for these twenty days, while we will be talking on these tremendously significant sutras of Buddha. They can reveal to you a totally new vision of life.
Margaret got smashed at the company’s Christmas office party. The sales manager, Harvey, offered to drive her home. She staggered out to his car, gave him her address and away they drove.
Fifteen minutes later, she leaned over and said, “Harv, you are passionate.” Immediately he reached for her thigh. Margaret slapped his face.
They drove in silence, and then….
“Harv, you are passionate,” and again he reached for her thigh. Pow!
He stopped the car and said, “Look, honey, on the one hand you tell me I am sexy, on the other you whack me across the mouth. Make up your mind!”
Margaret looked at him and slobbered, “Who the hell said you were sexy? All I have been telling you is, my house, you are passing it.”
Put your mind aside – let there be a direct communion between me and you. And I’m not interpreting Gautam Buddha. What he is saying is my own experience too. Hence, in a way I am simply explaining to you my own existential experience. But I love Gautam Buddha, his words are beautiful. It is significant to revive them again and again, to give them life, to let them breathe again. I am not interpreting here, I am simply making myself available to him so that he can say something to you in your language, in the language of the twentieth century.
Of course his words will be a little old. Twenty-five centuries have passed since he spoke them; much water has gone down the Ganges, much has changed. Life is no longer the same, people are no longer the same. That innocence has disappeared from the world. The world has become very cunning, the world has become very political. The world is no longer religious, no longer innocent, no longer simple. In fact it is impossible now to be in the world and to be simple. It is an almost superhuman task not to be political – the demands made upon you are so great. I feel deep compassion for you, but this is the only world we have right now and we have to understand this situation, we have to transcend this situation.
Buddha has to be revived, resurrected in such a way that you can recognize him again, and I have been doing the same with Jesus, with Lao Tzu, with Kabir and with other enlightened ones. Their names are different, but their taste is the same. Buddha is reported to have said: You can taste the ocean from anywhere, and you will find the taste always the same, it is everywhere salty. So is the ocean of buddhahood – the taste is the same. If you can put your mind aside, if you can commune with me heart to heart, not head to head… because head to head there is only collision, no communion.
Don’t be political while you are here with me, don’t be clever, don’t be cunning, because then you will be missing. This is a totally different kind of dialogue, this is not an ordinary dialogue; it is not mundane, it is sacred. Unless you approach these sutras very innocently, you will miss, and you will miss a tremendously significant opportunity.
Kornblum, aged seventy-six, took an unscheduled flight in the Middle East and suddenly found that two big Arabs had also boarded the airplane. One of them said, “Hey, Jew, we want the window seat!” So he gave it to them.
The plane took off and one of the Arabs said, “Go to the back of the plane and get me some coffee!” Kornblum got the coffee and when he came back the other Arab said, “Now I want coffee!”
The old man rushed back and got him some, but by the time he got back the fellow’s companion wanted a refill. The two kept him running back and forth for an hour. Finally, Kornblum flopped down in a seat exhausted. One of the Arabs said, “Jew, what do you think of the world?”
“Well, it is in terrible shape,” said Kornblum. “In Pakistan, Mohammedans are killing Hindus, in India Hindus are killing Mohammedans. In Ireland, Protestants are killing Catholics. And in airplanes Jews are pissing in Arabs’ coffee!”
Yes, the world is in a terrible shape, but for these few days you will be here with me, forget the world. Be dropouts for these few days at least, so we can talk of other worlds, of other visions, because there are mysteries upon mysteries.
Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 7, Ch 1 (excerpt)