Osho and Bodhidharma

Osho on Notable People ten thousand buddhas

Osho speaks on two occasions during discourse about meeting with Bodhidharma in an incarnation about 1400 years ago.

Bodhidharma and Osho

Beyond the mind there is only one laughter, but it resounds for centuries. The place where Bodhidharma became enlightened … I have been to that place. He became enlightened fourteen hundred years ago and people have made a temple in his memory, in the place where he laughed for the first time. And the story is that if you sit silently in the temple, you will still hear the laughter.

There is a statue of Bodhidharma. He was a very strange man. If he meets you in the night, you will never go out of your house in the night again. He had such big eyes that, if he looked into you once, that was enough for enlightenment! And his laughter must have been a great laughter because he has a very good, big belly. Even in the statue the belly has ripples.

I had not time to sit there in the temple, but I know that if you sit there in the temple in the silence of the forest, perhaps you may hear the laughter. Perhaps the mountains, the trees, the rocks around the temple are still vibrating with that great man. I have looked into the lives of many great people, but Bodhidharma stands apart … very strange and very unique.

It is possible that his laughter was so infectious that the trees started laughing and the mountains started laughing. Although Bodhidharma is dead, they are still laughing; they cannot stop it. If you go with the whole idea, perhaps you may really hear it – or you may imagine it. But I have come across people who have heard it, because they have told me.

I had gone there, but I had not time enough to stay in the temple, because the right time is in the middle of the night – when he had become enlightened. And particularly on a full-moon night in a certain month, if you stay in the temple, in the middle of the night there is every possibility that either you will hear the laughter or you will start laughing.

That’s what I am doing … Just the very idea that you are such an idiot: a man who has died fourteen hundred years ago, you are sitting, waiting to hear his laughter now!

Osho, The New Dawn, Ch 23, Ch 2 (excerpt)


This German man, and his colleague the Dutch psychologist who wrote that I am enlightened but not illuminated, and that I am illuminated but not enlightened, should both meet to discuss matters and come to a conclusion, then let me know… because I am neither. They are so much concerned with words: “illumination” or “enlightenment”? Also, the same reasons are used by each of these men to reach totally opposite conclusions. The Dutchman wrote his book some time before the German; it seems as if he stole the theme from the Dutchman. But this is how professors behave  –  they go on stealing the same arguments from each other, exactly the same argument… that I don’t speak like an enlightened man or like an illuminated man.

But who are they to decide how an enlightened or illuminated person should speak? Have they known Bodhidharma? Have they seen his picture? They will immediately conclude that an enlightened or illuminated person cannot look like that. He looks ferocious! His eyes are those of a lion in the forest, and the way he looks at you is such that it seems he will jump from the picture and kill you instantly. That’s how he was! But forget Bodhidharma, because now fourteen centuries have passed.

I knew Bodhidharma personally. I traveled with the man for at least three months. He loved me just as I loved him. You will be curious to know why he loved me. He loved me because I never asked him any question. He said to me, “You are the first person I have met who does not ask a question  –  and I only get bored with all the questions. You are the only person who does not bore me.”

I said, “There is a reason.”

He said, “What is that?”

I said, “I only answer. I never question. If you have any question you can ask me. If you don’t have a question then keep your mouth shut.”

We both laughed, because we both belonged to the same category of insanity. He asked me to continue the journey with him, but I said, “Excuse me, I have to go my own way, and from this point it separates from yours.”

He could not believe it. He had never invited anyone before. This was the man who had even refused Emperor Wu  –  the greatest emperor of those days, with the greatest empire  –  as if he was a beggar. Bodhidharma could not believe his eyes, that I could refuse him.

I said, “Now you know how it feels to be refused. I wanted to give you a taste of it. Goodbye.”

But that was fourteen centuries ago.

Osho, Glimpses of a Golden Childhood, Ch 6 (excerpt)

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