One of the sannyasins has asked:
Whenever you are reading a book, remember the man who is writing it, because those words are not coming from the sky, they are coming from an individual mind.
Lectures and Essays
Alan Watts was a trained Christian missionary. That training continues to affect his effort to understand Zen. And finally, when he came a little closer to Zen, the Christian church expelled him. That brought a crisis in that man′s life. He was not yet a man of Zen, and he had lost his credibility as a Christian. Under this stress he started drinking wine, became an alcoholic and died because of alcoholism. If you know this man you will understand why he is saying what he is saying.
His statement that:
is simply saying something about himself - that if he had not
forgotten the social context and remained a docile Christian, things
would have been better. His interest in Zen, rather than bringing
him freedom, brought him catastrophe. But Zen is not responsible for
it; he could not go the whole way.
He tried somehow to make a Christian context for Zen. Neither did Christians like it, nor the men of Zen. They don′t need any Christian context, they don′t need any social context. It is an individual rebellion. Whether you are a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian does not matter. Whatever load you are carrying, drop it. Whatever the name of the load, just drop it.
Zen is a deprogramming.
You are all programmed - as a Christian, as a Catholic, as a Hindu, as a Mohammedan... everybody is programmed. Zen is a deprogramming. So it does not matter what kind of program you bring; what kind of cage you have lived in does not matter. The cage has to be broken and the bird has to be released. There is no social context of Zen. Zen is the most intimate and the most individualistic rebellion against the collective mass and its pressure.
Alan Watts is not right. His understanding of Zen is absolutely intellectual.
nonsense. It has nothing to do with social convention. There is no
need to master something which you have to drop finally. There is no
point in wasting time. In other words, he is saying, "First, get
into a cage, become a slave of a certain conventionality, a certain
religion, a certain belief system, and then try to be free of it."
He is simply showing his mind, unconsciously. He was encaged, and for years trained as a Christian priest. You can expel a Christian, but it is very difficult for the Christian to expel the Christianity that has gone deep into his bones, into his blood. He could not expel it, hence his advice for others who may follow:
It does not matter whether you are conditioned this way or that way. Conditioned fifty percent, sixty percent, or one hundred percent - it does not matter. From any point freedom is available. And you will have to drop it, so the less you are conditioned the better, because you will be dropping a small load. It is better if your cage is very small. But if you have a palace and an empire, then it is very difficult to drop it.
When Jesus asked the fishermen to drop their jobs and "come follow me," they really dropped. There was nothing much to be dropped - just a fisherman′s net, a rotten net. A good bargain: dropping this net and following this man, you will enter into the kingdom of God. But when he asked the rich young man to drop everything and "come and follow me," the rich man hesitated and disappeared into the crowd. The less you have, as far as conditioning is concerned, the easier it is to drop it.
And he is asking that first you should be conditioned by the group, and master the discipline of social convention. Strange... Do you have to become first a soldier just to get retired from the army? If you don′t want to fight, you don′t have to become a soldier. Why not be fresh? But he was not fresh.
He was contaminated by Christianity, and he hopes - according to his programming - that everybody first should be conditioned, chained, handcuffed, put into a jail, so that he can enjoy freedom one day. A strange way of experiencing freedom!
When you are free there is no need of being conditioned by any group, by any belief. There is no need. As you are, you are already too conditioned. Society does not allow their children to grow like the lilies in the field, pure, uncontaminated. They pollute them with all their conditionings, centuries old. The older the conditioning, the more precious it is thought to be.
And contradictorily... the second statement he makes:
Zen is not a medicine. Zen is the explosion of health. Medicine is needed only by sick people, but health is needed by everyone - more health, a more juicy life. Zen is not a medicine, Zen is the inner explosion of your wholeness, your health, your ultimate immortality.
The questioner has said:
You are right.
You are again right.
That′s what Zen is asking you: "Why not drop it immediately? Why go part by part?"
A man had gathered ten thousand golden rupees. And at
that time, the rupee was really gold; the word ′rupee′
simply means gold. And this was his desire - that one
day when they were ten thousand, he would offer them to
Ramakrishna, of course, to gain virtue in the other
life. When small donations are given and people are
getting great virtues... for ten thousand gold pieces
you can purchase even God′s own house!
He went, dropped his bags of golden coins, and told Ramakrishna, "I want to offer them to you. Please accept them."
Ramakrishna was a strange man. Ordinarily, a traditional sannyasin would not have accepted. He would have said, "I have renounced the world, I cannot accept." But Ramakrishna was not a conventional type. He said, "Okay, I accept. Now do me a favor."
The man said, "I am at your feet. Whatever you want."
"Take all these coins to the Ganges" - which was just behind the temple where Ramakrishna lived - "and drop all the coins into the Ganges."
The man could not believe it. "What kind of... ten thousand gold pieces?" But now he cannot say that this is not right, he has already lost possession of them. Now they belong to Ramakrishna, and Ramakrishna is saying, "Go and drop them. Just do me a favor."
Hesitantly, reluctantly, the man went. Hours passed. Ramakrishna said, "What happened to that man? He should have come back within five minutes."
So Ramakrishna sent a sannyasin to look for him....
The man had gathered a big crowd. He was first checking each golden coin on a stone, and then he would throw them one by one. And people were jumping into the Ganges and collecting, and it had become a great show, and the man was enjoying.
When informed, Ramakrishna said, "That man is an idiot. Just tell him: when you are collecting something you can count them, but when you are throwing, what is the point of wasting time? Just drop the whole load."
Ramakrishna was, in a simple way, indicating that when you are dropping your conditioning, your mental conceptions, your beliefs, don′t drop by and by. They are all interconnected; drop them all. If you cannot drop them all in a single moment, you will not be able to drop them at all. Either now, or never.
Secondly, the questioner has asked:
I don′t see Zen as a medicine, because a medicine sooner or later
becomes useless. When your cold is over, you don′t go carrying on
with the Greek aspirin!
Mukta keeps them for everybody; she has taken the responsibility. By being Greek she has to carry Greek aspirins. And everybody knows, so whenever somebody needs one, they look for Mukta.
If Zen is a medicine, when you are cured, what will you do with Zen? You will have to throw it away, or give it to the Lions Club. But Zen cannot be thrown away, nor can it be given to the Lions Club. In the first place, there is not a single lion.
Zen is your very nature; there is no way of throwing it away. All that you can do with Zen is two things: you can remember, or you can forget. This is the only possibility. If you forget your nature, your buddhahood... this is the only sin in the world of Zen: forgetfulness.
Gautam Buddha′s last words on the earth have to be remembered: sammasati.
Sammasati means right remembrance.
His whole life is
condensed into a single word, remembrance, as if on dying, he is
condensing all his teachings, all his scriptures into a single word.
Nobody has uttered a more significant word when dying. His last
message, his whole message: sammasati, remember. And when you
remember, there is no way to throw your consciousness away.
Zen is not a meditation. Zen is exactly sammasati - remembrance of your ultimateness, remembrance of your immortality, remembrance of your divineness, of your sacredness. Remembering it, and rejoicing it, and dancing out of joy that you are rooted, so deeply rooted in existence that there is no way for you to be worried, to be concerned.
Existence is within you and without you - it is one whole.
Maneesha, there is no truth in it. Alan Watts is one of the important people who have introduced Zen to the West. But they carried it intellectually, they themselves were not men of Zen.
It is absurd. Zen is a revolt against Confucianism. There is no
need to think of it in the context of Confucianism.
Confucianism is an intellectual approach towards the world, a
logical approach. Confucius is the same to the East as Aristotle is
to the West, but Zen is against logic. Zen contains contradictions.
Zen has to be experienced on its own. No context is needed.
As I have told you already, Alan Watts remains a Christian. And
from the Christian point of view he goes on thinking about Zen:
"What will be the consequences of it if the social order is very
fragile in some place? Zen can be destructive."
He is afraid. First the social order should be consolidated. Zen is, according to him, for very mature people, otherwise it may lead to licentiousness. But his fear is his own; he himself became a licentious person.
It is not true. If Zen reveals your liberation, you cannot fall into irresponsibility; that is impossible, even if your social order is fragile, not strong enough. He is worried that it may be a
No, it is not a medicine at all. And secondly, where convention is weak, it is easier for Zen to blossom. It is the solid convention which prevents Zen, like a rock.
He is also afraid:
There is no possibility of exploiting Zen, because Zen is not only
revolt, basically it is silence, basically it is stillness.
Essentially it is opening of your consciousness. In this opening of
your hidden, dormant buddhahood, there is no danger that you will
become dangerous to the society, that you may become a curse to the
society. It is not possible, simply because Zen stills you, calms
It is a very different revolution. Alan Watts cannot think about it. He is worried that a communist who is against society may use Zen, but it is not easy to use Zen. The communist, by learning Zen, will become silent; his revolution will become responsible, it will have more dimensions and more integrity, and will add more blissfulness to the society. Zen cannot be exploited in any possible way.
But the fear is that of a Christian. All the religions will be afraid in the same way. But Zen, wherever it has existed, has always brought peace, love, joy. That cannot be said about Christianity, although Jesus talks about love.
I told Anando, who was sitting by my side watching a film on Jesus where he says, "Don′t think that I bring peace to the world, I bring the sword." That sword has been used by Christianity. More people have been killed by Christians than by any other religion. And Alan Watts does not seem to be aware of the crimes of Christianity. Zen, in not a single situation, has been a curse to man. It has always been a blessing because it is coming out of your blissfulness, it is coming out of your laughter.
It brings me to Sardar Gurudayal Singh′s moment....
Close your eyes... and feel your bodies to be completely frozen.
This is the right moment to enter inwards.
Gather all your energies, your total consciousness, and rush towards your center of being, which is exactly two inches below the navel, inside you.
A deep urgency is needed to reach - as if this is your last moment.
Faster and faster...
Deeper and deeper...
As you start coming closer to the center of your being, a great silence descends over you, and a great light fills your whole being - a light without source. You are this light. Another name for this light is buddha.
Relax into this light, witnessing three things: first, you are not the body; second, you are not the mind; third, you are only this witnessing consciousness.
Relax... Let go... Melt, just as ice melts into the ocean.
A pure consciousness fills Gautama the Buddha Auditorium.
All separations are lost. You are at ease with existence.
This at-easeness with existence goes on growing to the moment when it becomes a constant awareness twenty-four hours, waking or asleep.
Flowers are showering on you, blessings from the whole existence.
Existence always rejoices in the meditator, because the meditator brings existence to its ultimate expression, and to its ultimate beauty.
At this moment you are the buddha - you have always been. These are the three steps that will help you to remember.
The first step is: the buddha comes as a shadow to you, following you.
The second step: you become the shadow following the buddha.
And the third step: even as a shadow you disappear into the buddha. You become just a pure light, an awareness, infinite and eternal.
You have always been this, just you had forgotten. Remember - sammasati.
Come back, but come back with the awareness.
Come back followed by the buddha.
Sit for a few moments, silently, just to remember to what space you have been, what beauty you have experienced, what silence, what splendor, because this is your essential being.
Except this, everything will be taken away from you. But your essential being cannot be taken away even by death.
And we are here only to learn that which cannot be destroyed even by death - the immortal, the eternal.
It is only a question of remembrance, a forgotten language remembered again.
And keep on remembering all the day along. Act the way a conscious person acts. Doing ordinary things: chopping wood or carrying water from the well, do it as if the buddha is doing it himself.
And what I am saying to you is not a philosophical statement, it is the experience of thousands of buddhas.
To find the essential in you is the Manifesto of Zen.
Yes, Osho.(Thus spake Osho the fourth part of The Zen Manifesto (chapter 4)