The law of karma applies only to the unconscious being

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Osho states, “Sannyas is the beginning of getting out of the law of karma.”

Osho in garden 1977

My first question is: Can you tell me something about the law of karma? – what it means in relation to taking sannyas.

The other thing that interests me is, what do you think about the Zen sentence ‘when you meet buddha on the road, kill him’? And again, how does it relate to taking sannyas?

The question is from Wolfgang. He was there in darshan last night. He longs to take sannyas but has conditions in his mind, is knowledgeable. He already knows how things should be. And if they are not like that, how can he take sannyas? He can take sannyas only if it fits with him, if it fulfills his a priori knowledge. That is not possible. You will have to fit with sannyas, sannyas is not going to fit with you.

He is afraid of the church that is growing around me. I should be afraid of it, you should not be. I am enjoying it, it is beautiful. While I am here it will not do any harm. And when I am gone, I am gone. Then who cares? I am not going to bother with it for eternity – while I am here it’s perfectly good, I will take care that it will not be a harmful thing to anybody. But when I am gone I am gone. There is no way to plan for the future. Then whatsoever happens, happens.

And just because of the church around me, which is a necessity… If the church had grown up around Jesus he would not have been crucified. He would have served humanity for many more years; he would not have been so easily destroyed. When he was crucified then the church came – it was not the right time for the church to come. When a Christ dies it is time for the church also to die with him. But when the Christ is there, if the church is possible, if the church is created, much more work can be done.

The church that is growing around me is growing with my support, with my blessings. It is not growing against me, it is not growing without me. It is part of my device so that I can work easily, more efficiently, with you. So don’t be afraid of it.

Now these questions are also knowledgeable questions. First he asks, My first question: can you tell me something about the law of karma?

It exists only for the unconscious man. The law of karma exists only for the unconscious man; for the conscious man there exists no law of karma. It is really unconsciousness that makes you suffer. If you do something unconsciously then you will suffer, then karma will be created. ‘Karma’ means unconscious action. If you do something consciously, fully alert, no karma is created. If your act is total, spontaneous, it is finished in that moment. It is atomic, it is not a continuity. It leaves no traces behind.

That’s why an enlightened man is unpredictable. Only an unenlightened man is predictable because he moves unconsciously, in a routine way, mechanically. There are no surprises in his life. Somebody loves you, and you love him. Somebody hates you, and you hate him. Somebody comes and praises you and you feel very expanded like a balloon. That’s why people use buttering so much – praising others helps.

A French philosopher, Cioran, says that the deepest desire in man is the desire to be praised – one may say, one may not say. Somebody praises you and you fall all for him. And somebody insults you and you become the enemy for ever. These are not actions, these are reactions. The other is using you like a machine, he is pushing your buttons. You are not acting, you are reacting. The other is manipulating you, he knows what to do.

A conscious man cannot be manipulated by anybody. His action is not reaction, his action is action.

Buddha was insulted, people were abusing him in a village. He stood there, and when they had finished he said, ‘If you are finished can I go now? I have to reach the other village, people will be waiting for me there. If you have not finished yet, soon after a few weeks I will be coming back – then you can do the remaining thing.’ Those people were a little embarrassed. Buddha looked utterly aloof, as if what they were doing had not reached to him. He remained unscratched. They said, ‘But we have been abusing you, sir, we have been insulting you. Are you not going to answer?’

Buddha laughed. He said, ‘If you wanted the answer you should have come at least ten years before. Then I was unconscious, then you could have pushed my buttons and I would have reacted. But now I have become conscious, I have become a Buddha. Now I can see what you want to do to me, and I am not going to be manipulated by anybody. Now I live on my own, now I do what I feel to do. And I don’t feel any anger, I simply feel compassion for you. I feel sorry for you – more so because in the other village before reaching to your village, many people had gathered there and they had brought fruits and sweets to present to me. And I said, “Sorry, I cannot accept them because I have eaten my breakfast and it will be unnecessarily a burden for me to carry these things. Please, you take them back home.” I ask you, what should they have done with those sweets and fruits?’

Somebody from the crowd said, ‘They must have distributed them in the village, they themselves must have eaten them.’ Buddha said, ‘That’s why I feel more sorry for you. Now you have brought these insults and these abuses and I am not going to accept them, what will you do? Now I really feel sorry for you. You can insult, that is your freedom – but to accept it or not is my freedom.’

When consciousness has dawned you act for the first time, you don’t react. An action is beyond the law of karma. The law of karma applies only to the unconscious being. The man of awareness has absolute freedom. No law binds him, no law defines him. He’s as vast as the sky, he’s as infinite as the sky. His freedom is absolute.

You ask, My first question is: Can you tell me something about the law of karma? – what it means in relation to taking sannyas.

Sannyas is the beginning of getting out of the law of karma. Because sannyas is the beginning of awakening. Sannyas is your effort to get out of the rut in which you have lived for many lives. Sannyas is the insight that ‘Enough is enough, and I should get out of the routine life, I should get out of the mechanicalness of it. I should get out into a clearness, into clarity. Enough I have roamed in the jungle of unconsciousness, in the dark night of the soul. I should search for the dawn, for the morning.’

It is the search for the sun, it is the flight towards the sun. That’s why in the East we have chosen ocher as the color for sannyas – it is the color of the sun, the sunrays, the mornings. A search for light, a search for awareness, a search for enlightenment. Once you start becoming more and more aware, less and less will you be part of the law of karma. And once you have enjoyed and tasted a little bit of freedom then nobody can force you back into the prison. You will open your wings and you will fly towards the sun.

The other question is: What do you think about the zen sentence, ‘when you meet buddha on the road, kill him’?

That’s just the right thing to do. When you meet the Buddha, kill him. But to meet the Buddha, first you have to become a sannyasin – otherwise you will never meet. This is said only to those disciples who are capable now of meeting Buddha in their inner meditations. This is not said to everybody, this is said to the very closest disciples. ‘When you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.’ This is said to people who are reaching to the ultimate in their meditation.

What is the ultimate in meditation? All else disappears except your master. The world disappears, the market disappears, the beloved disappears, the money, the power, the prestige, all disappear. Thoughts, feelings, all disappear. Just one thing remains at the end: the master. When this happens, meditation has come to its ultimate. Only the master is there. Then Buddha says: When you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. Now you have to drop the master too.

At the last moment the master has also to be dropped, because that will be your last clinging. And when the master has also disappeared, you have become a Buddha yourself.

It is like you want to cross a river. You make a raft – you gather wood, ropes, you make a raft, and then you go to the other shore on the raft. Buddha says: What will you do on the other shore? When you have reached the other shore what will you do with the raft? Will you carry it on your heads for ever, because it helped you to go to the other shore? Then it will be idiotic. It will be an unnecessary burden and you will look ridiculous. When you have reached to the other shore what will you do, Buddha asks his disciples, with that raft?

And one disciple says, ‘We will say goodbye to the raft. We will be thankful to the raft, we will feel grateful to the raft because it is through the raft that we have come to the other shore, without the raft it was not possible. And then we will move, leave the raft on the shore – with great thankfulness, but we will leave it, we will not carry it.’

A master is a raft. You go to the other shore. When you have reached the other shore say goodbye to the master. It is going to be difficult – that’s why Buddha uses such a hard word. He says: When you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. It is going to be hard, because to be in relationship with a master is to know love in its most profound sense. It is very difficult to leave the Buddha. And you have been travelling with Buddha and you have been knowing new strange spaces, beautiful spaces, through him. And you have known so much, and you are so enriched, and it is because of him and through him. And he has been taking you out of your dark night, and the morning is coming and now he says: Kill me. Let me disappear from your being, utterly, as if I had never existed, so that you can take the final jump from meditation to samadhi. Just on the boundary line, the Buddha, the master, has to be left.

Buddhas can take you to the boundary line of meditation and samadhi. That is the only difference between meditation and samadhi. If your mind has become utterly quiet and silent, but only the master is there, then it is meditation. If your mind has become so quiet that even the master has disappeared, it is samadhi. The last barrier is going to be the master. He will take you out of the world, but one day you will have to leave him too. And the real master will always keep you alert that you have to leave him one day, at the final stage.

But you can leave only if you have accepted. You can leave the raft on the other shore only if you have made the raft on this shore. So the question from Wolfgang is not yet valid. Become a sannyasin, Wolfgang, make the raft. And then when you meet Rajneesh on the road, kill him – but only then. Right now, please…

Osho, This Very Body the Buddha, Ch 5, Q 3

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