An opium taker visits Mencius

1001 Tales Discourses

Osho quotes a famous sentence of Mencius: “If you want to reach, never run.”

Chinese scales

I have heard about one Chinese mystic, Mencius, a great disciple of Confucius.

A man came to him who was an opium taker, and the man said, “It is very, very impossible. I have tried every way, every method. Everything fails finally. I am a complete failure. Can you help me?”

Mencius tried to understand his whole story, listened to it, came to understand what had happened: he has been overdoing. He gave him a piece of chalk and told him, “Weigh your opium against this chalk, and whenever you weigh, write “one,” next time write “two,” again write “three,” and go on writing on the wall how many times you have taken opium. And I will come after one month.”

The man tried. Each time he took opium he had to weigh it against the chalk, and the chalk was disappearing by and by, very slowly, because each time he had to write “one,” then with the same chalk “two,” “three”…. It started disappearing. It was almost invisible in the beginning; each time the quantity was reduced, but in a very subtle way. After one month when Mencius went to see the man, the man laughed; he said, “You tricked me! And… it is working. It is so invisible – that I cannot feel the change, but the change is happening. Half the chalk has disappeared – and with half the chalk, half the opium has disappeared.”

Mencius said to him, “If you want to reach the goal never run. Go slowly.”

One of the most famous sentences of Mencius is: “If you want to reach, never run.” If you really want to reach, there is no need even to walk. If you really want to reach, you are already there. Go so slow! If the world had listened to Mencius, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and Chuang Tzu there would be a totally different world. If you ask them how to manage our Olympics, they will say, “Give the prize to the one who gets defeated fast. Give the first prize to one who is the slowest walker, not for the fastest runner. Let there be a competition, but the prize goes to one who is the slowest.”

If you move slowly in life, you will attain much, and with grace and grandeur and dignity. Don’t be violent; life cannot be changed by any violence. Be artful. Buddha has a special word for it; he calls it upaya, “Be skillful.” It is a complex phenomenon. Watch every step and move very cautiously. You are moving in a very, very dangerous place, as if moving between two peaks on a tightrope, like a tightrope walker. Balance each moment, and don’t try to run; otherwise failure is certain.

Osho, Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega – Discourses on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Vol 8, Ch 8 (excerpt)


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

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