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OSHO Dhammapada-Buddhism-Buddha

THE DHAMMAPADA: THE WAY OF THE BUDDHA, VOL. 2

Chapter 2: Drink to the full and dance

Question 2

 

Energy Enhancement         Enlightened Texts         Dhammapada         The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 2

 

The second question:

Question 2

BELOVED MASTER,

WHAT IS THE KEY TO THIS PUZZLE?

THE BUDDHA SAYS, SPEAK LESS: AND SILENCE FEELS BEAUTIFUL,

FOR WHAT HAVE I TO SAY?

TALES OF THE PAST, DREAMS OF THE FUTURE,

GIDDY GOSSIP OR REASONED ARGUMENT,

ALL TASTE PHONY TO THE TONGUE.

SILENCE IS BEAUTIFUL,

AND YET....

THE SOUND OF MERRY CHATTER OVER TEACUPS

ECHOES THE CAREFREE CHIRPING OF THE BIRDS --

ENERGY FLOWING IN A JOYOUS COSMOS.

BELOVED MASTER, TELL ME,

WHAT IS THE KEY TO THIS PUZZLE?

Nirgun, don't take Gautama the Buddha too seriously. Silence IS beautiful, certainly it is beautiful. But who has told you that gossiping is not beautiful? In fact, the more you enjoy gossiping, the deeper will be your silence.

These are polar opposites and they balance each other. If you work hard in the day, you will sleep a deep sleep in the night. Polar opposites: hard work brings a deep sleep. Illogical! The logical thing would have been that you rested the whole day, practiced rest the whole day, and then you sleep a deep, deep sleep in the night. That would have been logical -- but God is illogical.

That seems to be perfectly right: the whole day you practiced rest -- naturally you should have more rest in the night than anybody else who has not practiced it! And the man who has been doing just the opposite -- hard work, tilling the ground, digging in the earth, working in the garden, chopping wood, carrying water from the well -- the whole day he was perspiring, working hard, a tiring work, by the evening he is utterly tired. Logically he should not be able to sleep at all because he practiced the opposite. But this is not how life functions.

Life functions through the polar opposites. Life is not logical, life is dialectical. It is a dialectics: thesis, antithesis, and they both balance and become synthesis. Then synthesis functions again as a thesis and creates its antithesis...and so on and so forth. Life is not Aristotelian but Hegelian.

It is perfectly good to gossip. And when you gossip, gossip totally -- let it be a meditation! Knowing perfectly well that it is gossip, still it can be enjoyed. In fact, it can be enjoyed more because it is just gossip! And then fall silent.

The chirping of the birds is beautiful, but have you watched that when suddenly it stops there is a great silence? The silence is deepened by the songs of the birds. The silence that follows the storm is the deepest, the most profound.

Nirgun, don't take Buddha too seriously. He can be taken too seriously -- he is a one-dimensional man. What I am saying...if you had asked the same question of Buddha, he would not have said the same thing. He would have said, "Nirgun, you are coming to the right point. Stop gossiping and stop talking. Say only the minimum, the absolutely necessary." He would have suggested being very telegraphic. If it can be done in ten words, then don't do it in eleven words. If you can cut words more and more, so much the better.

But my own experience is that if you cut all your gossiping, all your talking, your silence will be superficial, your silence will be just a kind of sadness. It will not have depth. From where will it get depth? It can get depth only from its polar opposite.

If you really want to rest, first dance -- dance to abandon. Let every fiber of your body and being dance, and then follows a relaxation, a rest, which is total. You need not do it, it happens on its own.

I am not saying that gossiping should be done to harm somebody. Then it is no longer gossip, it is violence; then it is no longer gossip, it is something else camouflaged as gossip. Gossip should be a pure art, with no motivation -- joking for joking's sake, gossiping for gossiping's sake. And then it will keep you cheerful. And when it stops...and how long can you gossip? There is a natural limit to everything. "The sound of merry chatter over teacups" cannot continue forever. Soon the teacups will be empty and the chatter will disappear...and then there is a profound silence.

It is good that the birds have not heard Buddha, that the trees have not heard Buddha.

Nirgun, I would not like you to become a Buddhist. I know Buddhist monks: they become very serious, too serious, so that their seriousness is a kind of disease. They cannot laugh, they cannot joke. In fact, if they read my discourses on Buddha and they come across juicy jokes, they will just close their eyes. They will not even be capable of reading them. Their whole being will withdraw, they will shrink away. They will not be able to forgive me.

Don't be too serious at all. My message is that of rejoicing. That's where I am different from Buddha. Buddha is a serious person; not a single statue exists in which he is shown laughing, or even smiling. Yes, there are Chinese and Japanese statues of Buddha in which he is shown smiling and laughing sometimes -- sometimes even a belly laughter, his belly shaking. But those are Chinese and Japanese buddhas.

In fact, if you see a Chinese statue of Buddha and an Indian statue of Buddha you will not be able to conceive of any relationship between the two; they are so totally different. The Indian Buddha is very serious. His body is athletic: he has a big chest and a very very shrunken belly -- no belly at all. And if you see the Chinese Buddha it is just the opposite. You will not find the big chest at all, it is completely lost because the belly is so big. And you can see even in marble statues that the belly is shaking with laughter. His face is totally different, it is round and gives you the sense of a child. The Indian Buddha's face is very Roman -- it was made after Alexander had visited India -- it is Greek and Roman. The features are not Indian. Look again at an Indian statue of Buddha, the features are not Indian. Alexander and his beauty impressed people so much that they imposed Alexander's face on Buddha's body.

And he is very serious, utterly serious. You cannot conceive of him ever laughing. But when Buddhism reached China it met a very profound philosophy -- the polar opposite. The dialectics happened there. Buddhism became the thesis and Taoism became the antithesis: the meeting of Buddha and Lao Tzu. The Chinese statue of Buddha is a cross, it is half Gautam Buddha and half Lao Tzu -- they are mingled into each other. That belly belongs to Lao Tzu, that laughter belongs to Lao Tzu, and the silence belongs to Buddha. It has been the greatest meeting that has ever happened in the world. Out of it is born the most profound, the most significant phenomenon in all history: Zen.

Zen is neither Buddhist nor Taoist, or it is both together. It is a strange meeting. In fact, Lao Tzu and Buddha, if they had met physically, would not have agreed on ANY point. Lao Tzu was a man of laughter. He used to move from one village to another sitting on his buffalo -- must have looked like a clown. And he was almost always laughing, rolling on the ground -- at the whole ridiculousness of existence, at the absurdity of life.

Buddha and Lao Tzu are polar opposites. Maybe that's why both these philosophies became attracted to each other. Both were incomplete -- the meeting made them more complete. Neither will Lao Tzu agree with Zen nor will Buddha agree with Zen.

I have heard a story:

In heaven, in a cafe, Buddha, Confucius and Lao Tzu, all the three are sitting, chitchatting. And the woman, the owner of the cafe, a beautiful woman, comes. She brings the juice of life. Buddha immediately closes his eyes. He says, "I cannot look at it! It is not worth looking at -- life is misery. Birth is misery, life is misery, death is misery. Remove it from my sight; otherwise I cannot open my eyes!"

Confucius opens his eyes half-way -- he believes in the golden mean, the middle way, just the half -- looks with half open eyes and says, "I cannot deny it without tasting it." He is a man of more scientific leanings. "How can you say anything unless you experiment? You should not declare such things offhand. So," he says, "just give me a sip." He tastes it and he says, "Buddha is right: it is bitter, it is miserable, and I completely agree and I am a witness to Buddha. But I will again say that Buddha is wrong -- without tasting it, nothing should be said. Although he is right -- I can approve him, on MY witnessing he is right -- but on his own he is not right."

Lao Tzu takes the whole flask and before the owner woman can say anything, he takes it down in a gulp. He drinks the whole flask and he becomes so drunk that he starts dancing. He does not say a word -- bitter or sweet, misery or bliss. When he comes a little bit to his senses, Buddha and Confucius ask him, "What do you say?"

He says, "There is nothing to say. Life should be drunk to its totality, then only does one know. And when one knows, there is nothing to say. It cannot be put in any category. Misery or bliss are categories -- life is beyond all categories. But one should know it in its wholeness, and only I know it in its wholeness. You have not even tasted it. Confucius has only tasted it, but one should not decide by the part about the whole. Only I can say what it is, but I am not going to say because it is not sayable. If you really want to know, I can order another flask. Drink it to the full and dance -- that is the only way!"

That is the only way to know anything.

The meeting of Buddhism and Taoism is the strangest phenomenon in the world. But it was bound to happen; there is a certain inevitability in it because such polar opposites attract each other, just as negative and positive poles of magnetism or negative and positive electricity attract each other.

Buddhism traveled from India to China. Taoism never traveled to India, because Taoism was so utterly drunk with ecstasy, with joy -- who cares? Buddhism traveled, had to travel. The seriousness became very very heavy. Once Buddha was gone, once the light was gone, then it was just like a rock on the chest of the followers -- it became too heavy. They had to move to find something nonserious to balance it.

Nirgun, don't be serious about it. Enjoy your gossiping, enjoy the small things of life, the small joys of life. They all contribute to the enrichment of your being. And always remember: nonseriousness is one of the most fundamental qualities of a really religious person.

A sincere young man went to an understanding old rabbi for advice. "The problem is my sexual appetite. When I shake hands with a woman it is aroused -- even when I pass a pretty woman on the street it is aroused. It disturbs me because I love my wife very much."

"Don't worry, son," said the rabbi. "It doesn't matter where you work up an appetite as long as you dine at home."

This rabbi is a wise man, nonserious, taking life playfully. My sannyasins have to take life very playfully -- then you can have both the worlds together. You can have the cake and eat it too. And that is a real art. This world and that, sound and silence, love and meditation, being with people, relating, and being alone. All these things have to be lived together in a kind of simultaneity; only then will you know the uttermost depth of your being and the uttermost height of your being.

 

Next: Chapter 2: Drink to the full and dance, Question 3

    Energy Enhancement         Enlightened Texts         Dhammapada         The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 2     

 

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