Zen is a device

Excerpts Osho on Enlightenment

“Enlightenment is not a goal but the quality of being herenow,” states Osho.

Osho Zen

Zen has no teaching, Zen has no doctrine. Zen gives no guidance, because it says there is no goal. It says you are not to move into a certain direction. It says you are already there, so the more you try to reach there, the less is the possibility of reaching. The more you seek, the more you will miss. Seeking is the sure way of missing it.

Getting it simply means getting the point that it is already available, that it has already happened, that it is the very nature of existence.

Enlightenment is not a goal but the quality of being herenow. How can it be a goal? – because the goal is never herenow – it is always therethen, it is always somewhere else. It is like the horizon: it is always distant and yet looks close by. And one feels that “If I travel a little bit, I will reach the horizon.” But one never reaches, because the more you reach towards the horizon, the more the horizon goes on receding back – because in fact there is nothing. Just an illusion.

The earth and the sky are not meeting anywhere. They can’t meet because they are not two, they can’t meet because they are one. The earth is just a materialization of the space of the sky; it is a wave in the ocean of the sky. How can they meet? For meeting, at least two are needed. And they are not two. The horizon exists only in the mind of man; it has no existential truth in it. But you can go on searching and searching. And the more you feel that you are not getting it, the more and more anxious you can become to find it. You can become mad after it.

Zen says: There is nowhere to go, so no guidance is needed. Then what is the purpose of a Zen master? His purpose is to bring you herenow. His purpose is to hit you so hard that you awake herenow. You have fallen asleep and you have started living in dreams.

Another story:

Zen student: “So, master, is the soul immortal or not? Do we survive our bodily death or do we get annihilated? Do we really reincarnate? Does our soul split up into component parts which get recycled, or do we as a single unit enter the body of a biological organism? And do we retain our memories or not? Or is the doctrine of reincarnation false? Is perhaps the Christian notion of survival more Correct? And if so, do we get bodily resurrected, or does our soul enter a purely Platonic spiritual realm?”

Master: “Your breakfast is getting cold.”

That’s the way of Zen: to bring you herenow. The breakfast is far more important than any paradise. The breakfast is far more important than any concept of God. The breakfast is more important than any theory of reincarnation, soul, rebirth, and all that nonsense. Because the breakfast is herenow.

For Zen, the immediate is the ultimate, and the imminent is the transcendental. This moment is eternity… you have to be awakened to this moment.

So Zen is not a teaching but a device – a device to disturb your dreaming mind, a device somehow to create such a state that you become alarmed, that you have to get up and see, to create such strain around you that you cannot remain comfortably asleep.

And this is the beauty of Zen and the revolution that Zen brings to the world. All other religions are consolations; they help you to sleep better. Zen tries to awake you; it has no consolation at all. It does not talk about great things. Not that those great things are not there, but talking about them is not going to help.

Osho, Take It Easy, Vol 1, Ch 9 (excerpt)

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