MEDITATION TAO and TAOISM - Chuang Tzu - Duke Hwan And The Wheelright and the LIVING MASTER.
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Hwan And The Wheelright
DUKE HWAN OF KHI, FIRST IN HIS DYNASTY, SAT UNDER HIS CANOPY READING HIS PHILOSOPHY. AND PHIEN THE WHEELWRIGHT WAS OUT IN THE YARD MAKING A WHEEL.
PHIEN LAID ASIDE HAMMER AND CHISEL, CLIMBED THE STEPS, AND SAID TO DUKE HWAN: 'MAY I ASK YOU, LORD, WHAT IS THIS YOU ARE READING?' THE DUKE SAID: 'THE EXPERTS, THE AUTHORITIES.' AND PHIEN ASKED: 'ALIVE OR DEAD?' THE DUKE SAID: 'DEAD A LONG TIME.' 'THEN,' SAID THE WHEELWRIGHT, 'YOU ARE READING ONLY THE DIRT THEY LEFT BEHIND.' THE DUKE REPLIED: 'WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT IT? YOU ARE ONLY A WHEELWRIGHT. YOU HAD BETTER GIVE ME A GOOD EXPLANATION OR ELSE YOU MUST DIE.' THE WHEELWRIGHT SAID: 'LET US LOOK AT THE AFFAIR FROM MY POINT OF VIEW. WHEN I MAKE WHEELS, IF I GO EASY THEY FALL APART, AND IF I AM TOO ROUGH THEY DO NOT FIT. BUT IF I AM NEITHER TOO EASY NOR TOO VIOLENT THEY COME OUT RIGHT. THE WORK IS WHAT I WANT IT TO BE.
YOU CANNOT PUT THIS INTO WORDS, YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW HOW IT IS. I CANNOT EVEN TELL MY OWN SON EXACTLY HOW IT IS DONE, AND MY OWN SON CANNOT LEARN IT FROM ME. SO HERE L AM, SEVENTY YEARS OLD, STILL MAKING WHEELS!
THE MEN OF OLD TOOK ALL THEY REALLY KNEW WITH THEM TO THE GRAVE. AND SO, LORD, WHAT YOU ARE READING THERE IS ONLY THE DIRT THEY LEFT BEHIND THEM.'
It happened that on a back country road a motorist found that something was wrong with his engine He stopped the car, opened the hood and looked inside. Suddenly he heard a voice: If you ask me I can tell you what the trouble is. Surprised, he looked around because he thought that there was nobody else there. No, there was nobody but a horse, standing in a farm just nearby. The man got afraid and scared; down the road he sped! After twenty minutes, he reached a filling station. When he caught his breath, he told the man, the owner, what had happened: There was nobody else but a horse, and I heard a human voice say that if I ask him, he could tell me what the trouble was. The owner said: By any chance was the horse black, sway backed, bow legged? The man said: Yes, that is right. Said the owner: Don't mind him, he is just an old philosopher, dead long ago, still haunting the place. Just because of his old habit he goes on seeking people to ask him questions. He does not know a thing about engine trouble. And he is not a horse, he is just using that poor old horse as a medium. So don't mind him.
But this is how it happens on all the roads of life. The old ghosts go on haunting, and they know all the answers. You have only to ask -- just for the asking they are ready to give you all the answers. Yet life goes on changing and they don't know a thing about engine trouble. Life goes on changing moment to moment. You cannot find the answer in the past because nothing is the same today. You cannot find the answer in the past because the answer is not the thing, it always dies with the man who has discovered it. But ghosts go on haunting. Your Vedas, Korans, Bibles, Gitas, they are ghosts. They are not realities now, they are long dead, but they have an appeal.
So first try to understand why the dead have so much appeal, why the dead past has so much appeal over the living, why the dead go on pulling your legs. Why do you carry them? Why do you listen to them? You are living, you are fresh. Why do you look to the past, to the authorities and to the experts?
The first thing -- the longer a person has been dead, the greater is the tradition. Time. Time hallows everything. If Buddha is alive you can barely tolerate him. At the most, if you are very kind to him, you may go and listen. But you cannot believe that he is a Bhagwan. You cannot believe that this man has known the ultimate because he will look just like you: a man of blood and bones, young or old, ill or healthy, as prone as you are to death -- just like you. Hungry, he needs food, sleepy;he wants a bed, ill, he has to rest -- just like you. How can you believe that he had known the ultimate, the deathless? Difficult, almost impossible.
Even if you try, it never happens; even if you force yourself, deep down the doubt remains. But now, twenty-five centuries later, Buddha is no longer a man of bones and blood. He never falls ill, he is never hungry, never needs food, never needs any medicine. He will never die now, he is immortal. Time hallows everything and by and by you forget that he belonged to you. By and by the dead image becomes golden. It reaches higher and higher, it is completely lost somewhere in paradise, you can have only a glimpse. Then you can believe.
Hence the past goes on haunting you. If Buddha comes again, you will reject him. That is why Jesus is worshipped now and yet he was crucified when he was alive. Alive, you crucify him; dead, you worship him. Why does death make him so meaningful, so significant? Death destroys the body, and then the link with you is broken. Then you have a spiritual image: bloodless, boneless, super-physical. Now you can imagine, and it is up to you to give all the qualities to him -- you project.
It is difficult to project onto a living man because the reality is there, and he will destroy all your projections. He will not be ready to become a prisoner of your projections. But dead, what can he do? What can Jesus do? What can Buddha do? Helpless whatsoever you do, they have to suffer.
That is why more imagination is possible with a dead master -- now YOU can give the significance, the superiority, the other-worldliness.
But with a living person it is impossible unless you have a heart of faith, total faith; and for those who have a heart of total faith Buddha is never the body, alive or dead. He is never the body. Because they penetrate deeply, Buddha is transparent. He may be in the body but he is not the body; he may be living amongst you but he does not belong to you -- he is somewhere from the high. That is the meaning of a Christ, the son of God. That is the meaning of an AVATAR, a descendance of the Divine. That is the meaning of a TEERTHANKARA -- a Buddha. He comes from the invisible, but it can be seen only through the eye of faith. The mind cannot look at it. But when he is dead the mind can project.
So the first thing is that the longer the period, the gap, the more the time between you and Buddha, Jesus, Mahavir, the more your imagination has freedom. You can project, you can create a dream around them. Then they become more a myth and less a reality, then a whole myth is created around them. Then you can worship, then you can listen to them.
But the trouble is that when a Buddha is alive he can help you. When a Buddha is alive you can imbibe his spirit. When a Buddha is alive it is possible for something to be communicated, transferred. But when he is dead, it becomes more and more impossible. Why? Because that which is to be given cannot be given through language. If it can be given through language, then there are scriptures, then there is the word of the Buddha. But it cannot be given through the word. The word is just an excuse. Buddha speaks to you' it is just an excuse to create a contact on the plane of the mind. And if you are receptive, something is constantly happening on the side; just between the words, or between the lines, Buddha is reaching to you -- that is a living experience.
He has to transfer not a theory, but a part of himself. He has not to communicate a hypothesis, a philosophy, but a living experience, and that is more like a skill and less like a philosophy. Even if you know how to swim you cannot teach somebody just through words. What will you say? Whatsoever you say, you will feel it is not adequate. The only way is to take the disciple with you to the river. First show him how you swim -- give him confidence, give him courage -- then tell him, come. And if he trusts you, he will come with you. Then by and by let him pass through the experience.
Only experience can teach. And spirituality is just like swimming, you cannot say anything about it. You can describe it, but the description is dead. It is an ALIVE experience. Something happens when somebody is there who knows the skill. He cannot tell it to you, but you can learn. And this is the mystery: he cannot teach it to you, but you can learn if you are receptive.
So remember, more depends on the disciple and his receptivity, and less on the master. He is there, he is present. Now you have to be receptive and imbibe; you have to be receptive and allow; you have to be receptive and let him penetrate into you. If you are afraid, the whole being shrinks, you are closed. When you are closed the master can go on knocking at your door but there will be no response. The more he knocks the more you will shrink, and become scared. So he will not even knock because that too is aggression. He will simply wait at the door. Whenever you are ready and open, he can give it to you, he can deliver it instantly.
But the disciple has to be ready. The disciple must learn how to ask.
This possibility is there only with a living master. With a dead master, you cannot learn anything.
The word is with you, the Bible is with you, you can become a great scholar, a philosopher, you can think and spin many theories around it, you can create a theology of your own -- but Jesus will not be there. You have to live with Jesus, his presence is the most significant thing.
The second thing to be remembered is that mind always likes theories, words, philosophies. It can tackle them, it is a game the mind likes very much, because nothing is lost. On the contrary, mind is more strengthened through them. The more you know, the more information you gather, the more your mind feels 'I am somebody'.
With a living master the problem is this: you have to surrender, your ego has to be dissolved. It is really a death experience to live with a master, you have to die. And unless you die nothing is going to happen. Only through your death will rebirth happen. When you are no longer there, suddenly the Divine is. So a living master is a death experience for the mind -- a rebirth of the soul, but a death of the ego. With dead masters you are not scared. The mind can go on playing the game with the experts and the authorities, and the interpretation depends on you. In any theory the meaning is not there in it; you have to put the meaning in, it is a game. You think you are reading the Gita, the word of Krishna. You are wrong. The word is there, but who will give the meaning? You will give the meaning.
So every scripture is nothing but a mirror: you will see your own face in it. You can read anything that you like, but because the mind is very cunning, it will simply not listen to anything that goes against it. It can interpret in its own ways and Krishna is not there to say: No, this is not my meaning.
It happened that when Sigmund Freud was alive but very old, just in his last year of life, he gathered all his disciples to him -- and he had a big following all over the world. He had created a very significant school of psychoanalysis, and he was revered.
Twenty of his closest disciples were taking lunch with him. They started discussing what Freud meant about something and they completely forgot that Freud was there. They became much absorbed in the discussion, contradicting each other, arguing with each other. One theory -- twenty interpretations. And the master was alive, he was sitting there, but they had forgotten him completely! Then he hammered on the table and said: One thing please! I am still alive, you can ask me what I mean. Listening to you, I have become aware of what you are going to do when I am dead. I am alive, yet nobody asks me what my meaning is. And you have twenty meanings already! When I am dead, you will have two hundred, two thousand, two million meanings, and then there will be no possibility to ask me what I mean.
That is how sects and creeds are born.
Jesus was a simple man, but look at the Catholics, the Protestants, the hundreds of sects of Christianity and their interpretations. Jesus was a simple man, the son of a carpenter, he never used the jargon of theology. He was not a man of words, he was a man of experience. He talked simply in small stories, anecdotes, and parables. And he was talking to illiterate people, his meaning was simple. But look... the Protestants, the Catholics, their theologians, they have made so much out of him -- a mountain! On simple matters they go on discussing and arguing and they get so lost in it that Jesus is completely forgotten.
When a living Freud is forgotten how can you remember a dead Jesus? Ask Hindus, they have one thousand interpretations of the Gita already. And every year interpretations go on being added, new interpretations, and nobody agrees with anybody else. Shankara says that the message is of renunciation, that the Gita's message is of renunciation, inaction. Lokmanya Tilak says that the message is of action -- just the opposite. And Ramanuja says that the message is of devotion, not action, not renunciation. And so you go on: one thousand interpretations, nobody agreeing with anybody else. And when you read the Gita that will be one thousand and one interpretations, because that will be yours. You will bring your mind into it and mind feels strengthened by knowledge, information.
Mind is never in any danger except in the presence of a living master. Then it is just on the verge of death. You escape Krishnas, and you carry Gitas in your head. You escape Jesus and you always keep the Bible in your pocket. The Bible can be kept in your pocket, not Jesus. The Bible will belong to you, but with Jesus you will have to belong to Jesus. That is the difference: you can own a Bible, you cannot own Jesus. You will have to be owned by him.
And thirdly, science can be written. There is no problem. Because it is not a skill, it is theorising, it is theoria. It can be written, it is description, it is not a mystery. The whole basis of science is to de-mystify everything. It has principles, laws, they can be written; and if you decipher the law, everything is known.
Religion is not like science, it is more like art -- it is symbolic. The first thing is that it is not realistic, it is symbolic.
Once it happened that a friend came to see Picasso. The friend was in the military, in the army. He looked into Picasso's studio, and he said: What nonsense! Everything is unreal, not even a single painting represents reality.
You cannot find anything like,Picasso's painting in reality. It is not there. It is only Picasso's feeling of the reality.
Science tries to discover the objective, art goes on trying to find the subjective in the objective. You look at a flower; if you ask a scientist about it he will talk of the chemical compounds of the flower. Of course they are there, but they are not the flower, because they don't carry the beauty, they don't carry the meaning. For the beauty you have to ask the artist but then he will not talk about chemical compounds, or anything else. He will give you a poem, and it will be nearer the truth than anything a scientist can give, but it will not be objective.
Picasso listened quietly, because he was a soldier, this friend, and you cannot expect a soldier to understand too much subjectivity -- he lives in the world of objects. Later on they talked of other things, and then the soldier showed a picture of his girl friend to Picasso, a small picture. Picasso started laughing and he said: Is that girl so small? It would be very difficult to make love to such a small girl. The soldier said: What are you saying? This is just a picture. So Picasso said: A picture is not objective, it is symbolic, it simply represents, indicates, shows. It is not a description, it is not exact in proportion; it is just an indication, a hint.
Remember, religion is more like art than like science. And it is even more subtle than art because art represents the objective and religion represents the subjective. Art has symbols to show the objective world. The artist paints a picture of a rose, but the rose is there. Van Gogh's rose or Picasso's rose may not be exactly as it is in the garden, but still it is a rose. You can find some similarity, you can find something which corresponds.
But when a Buddha talks about NIRVANA, it is not in the outside world, you don't have anything to correspond to it. When Jesus talks about the kingdom of God, it is not there in the objective world. Art represents the objective: the symbol is difficult, but you can still find something corresponding to it in the world. Religion symbolises the subjective, you cannot find anything like it in the world. Unless you go within yourself you will not be able to find the meaning, the significance. Then you will carry the word, and the word is not the reality. Then you may repeat the word 'God' and you don't know anything about God. It is more like an art, and even more like a craft.
What is a Buddha doing? He is a craftsman, he makes gods out of you. Just like a sculptor he goes on hammering on the stone, cutting this and that piece, throwing away all that is inessential -- then by and by an image is discovered. It was there. Before the artist started with his chisel and hammer it was there, but the inessential was there also. The inessential has to be broken and thrown away so that the essential comes up and is discovered. So what is a Buddha doing? You are like a stone; he will go on working with his chisel and hammer, he will cut away the inessential, and then the essential comes in its total glory. Then the magnificent is born, then the other world penetrates into this world. He is not bringing anything new into the world, he is simply changing you, transforming you.
You are already carrying the other world within you but it is mixed too much with this world. A separation is needed: a separation of that which is essential from that which is non-essential; a separation of that which is you from that which you possess; a separation of the possessor from the possession; of the spirit from the body; of the centre from the circumference. It is like a skill. No painter can tell you how to paint, you have to live with the master. If you go to Picasso and say, 'How do you paint? Tell me something, give me some guidelines' he cannot give you any guidelines because he himself is not aware. It is such a tremendous phenomenon, it is so unconscious, that when Picasso is painting he is not aware of any rules, regulations, any laws, any guidelines. He becomes his painting, he is no longer there, he is completely absorbed in it. You have to be with him. When he moves into his painting, and when the painter is lost, and only the painting remains, when the painting is no longer a conscious effort, when the unconscious takes over, you have to see the phenomenon to feel it, what it is. Then those are not the hands of Picasso, then the unconscious Tao, nature, has taken over. Picasso's hands are instrumental, they work as vehicles, some other energy is there. Watch Picasso painting -- he is no longer a man. He is not at all a part of you; he has become a creator, he is not a creature. That is why when the painting is born it brings something of the other world.
But this is nothing. When a Buddha speaks he is not the speaker. When a Buddha moves he is not the walker. When a Buddha puts his hand on your head he is not the hand. Tao -- you may call it God, whatsoever name you choose -- has taken over. Now the hand is not of Buddha, it is instrumental. God is touching you through him and Buddha is not there at all, not standing between you and God. But this has to be experienced. It is impossible to learn anything from a dead Buddha. And if you cannot learn from a living one, how can you expect to learn from a dead one?
It is a skill, the greatest skill, and it is so delicate and subtle that nothing can be done consciously, you have simply to be near and imbibe. This word has to be remembered -- imbibe. A Buddha has to be imbibed, eaten. He becomes your blood and bone, he flows within you. His presence has to be absorbed and you have to carry it within you.
This is the greatest skill in the world -- to make a god out of a man -- a man who is always prone to become an animal -- to make a god out of him, to change the mind, to drop the ego, to allow the ultimate to happen in him. It is bringing the ocean to the drop, it is dropping the ocean into the drop. It is the highest, supreme-most skill. No scriptures can carry it, they can only indicate. You have to be near a living Buddha to know what it means. And it happens only once in a thousand years, in two thousand years, that a person like Buddha is there. And then dead cults are born, and people go on worshipping without knowing what they are doing.
Now try to understand these words of Chuang Tzu. It is a beautiful parable.
DUKE HWAN AND THE WHEELWRIGHT.
DUKE HWAN OF KHI, FIRST IN HIS DYNASTY, SAT UNDER HIS CANOPY READING HIS PHILOSOPHY. AND PHIEN THE WHEELWRIGHT WAS OUT IN THE YARD MAKING A WHEEL.
He is a craftsman.
PHIEN LAID ASIDE HIS HAMMER AND CHISEL, CLIMBED THE STEPS AND SAID TO DUKE HWAN: 'MAY I ASK YOU, LORD, WHAT IS THIS YOU ARE READING?' THE DUKE SAID: THE EXPERTS, THE AUTHORITIES.'
Remember well that all your experts and authorities are always dead, because by the time the news reaches you, the person has disappeared. By the time you come to know that there is a Buddha, the Buddha is dead. Your consciousness is such a lazy and lousy affair, you are so unaware of what is happening that by the time you come to know that the flower has flowered, and you rush to the garden, the flower has disappeared.
It takes time for you to realise somebody is there -- and it takes so much time! Sometimes centuries afterwards you come to feel that Buddha was there, but then nothing can be done. Be more alert, be more conscious, so that you catch the train in time. You have always been missing the train. You are not here for the first time, you were there when Gautama became Buddha. Somewhere on this earth you were there; it cannot be otherwise, because nothing dies. You missed him. Somebody must have told you, you must have argued. You must have said: We have heard many stories, these are just stories. You must have thought: How can somebody else become enlightened when I have not become enlightened? How can somebody else be superior to me? And faith? You must have said: I am a rational man and I cannot believe so easily. There is doubt and first I have to satisfy my doubt....
It takes time, sometimes centuries, and even then the doubt is not satisfied. Remember, one has to take the jump, even with the doubt. If you wait to let the doubt subside first, then the time will never come for you to take the jump because doubt is a self creating process. One doubt creates another; another doubt creates another. And the same happens with faith -- one faith creates another, another faith... then a chain is created. When you start there is always a wavering. Nobody can start with a total heart because then there would be no need. One has to start with doubt, but don't pay much attention to the doubt, pay much attention to trust. Then the energy moves to trust, and the trust becomes a chain. By and by, the energy from doubt is absorbed by the energy in trust.
Remember, one has to sow the seeds. If you wait, and say: When doubt is no more then I will sow the seeds of trust, then you will never sow the seeds.
.... You must have heard, somebody might have told you that this Gautama had become enlightened. You must have laughed, you must have said: Nobody becomes enlightened, these are just stories that people go on creating. And I know this Gautama, I even know his father. I know his family and I cannot believe because I am a sceptic, I am a rational man. Without reasoning I cannot move a single step.
Not only with Buddha -- you were there when Jesus was there, you were there when Chuang Tzu was there. You have always been here, but you have missed many times. Why? The reason is always the same -- you cannot trust. You go on finding arguments against taking the jump; and there are infinite possibilities to go on finding arguments again and again and again. Because once you feed doubt it becomes a cancerous growth -- then it perpetuates itself, there is no need to help it. It is a cancerous growth, it goes on and on, and it grows. The same thing happens with trust.
So remember that it is not a question of 'When there is no doubt then I will trust.' It is impossible, that time will never come. You have to trust while doubt is there. And look at the beauty of it, if you can trust while doubt is there -- and this is how human mind is, frail, weak, divided, you have to trust while doubt is there if you can trust while doubt is there, it means that you pay more attention to trust and less attention to doubt; you are indifferent to doubt, your whole attention is toward trust. Then a day comes when the doubt has disappeared, because if you don't give attention you don't give food -- attention is food. If you don't give attention the doubt cannot persist in its chain. But you always find reasons. The ego always says: Don't surrender, don't let go. What are you doing? You will be lost. And you never think that you are already lost. Where are you?
You must have met a person who is known as an auto-nut. There are persons who simply enjoy driving, they are auto-nuts. They will go from Bombay to Delhi, non stop, and the first thing they will say on reaching Delhi is: We made it in twenty four hours. This is an auto nut.
Once it happened that an auto-nut was driving me somewhere. He was going fast, at a mad speed along the highway. And we were supposed to reach a village by the afternoon. But we had not reached it and it was already evening. So I looked at the map and told him that it seemed that he had taken a wrong route. He said: Don't bother about the map, it does not matter. We are enjoying the ride. And on he sped, without even stopping to look at the map.
There are people who simply go on moving fast, thinking that just by moving fast, they will reach somewhere.
It is not movement that leads you somewhere, it is direction. It is not just by running that you will reach your destiny; you may be running in a circle. Where have you reached? What have you got to lose? Nothing whatsoever. Then why are you afraid? Afraid to lose nothing?
People come to me and they say it is difficult to surrender. I always look at them and simply cannot understand what they are talking about, because they have nothing to surrender, nothing to lose, nothing to renounce. If you have attained something then renunciation means something. You have not attained anything you have gathered worthless rubbish. And you think this is something? But you don't want to look at it because if you look, you become afraid, then the ground underneath becomes shaky. You don't look at it, you simply go on believing that you have much and I have nothing. Because with the exception of enlightenment there is nothing that I have got that is worth mentioning. Except a fully aware consciousness, a flame within of the deathless, there are no other riches. There cannot be.
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PHIEN LAID ASIDE HIS HAMMER AND CHISEL, CLIMBED THE STEPS, AND SAID TO DUKE HWAN: 'MAY I ASK YOU, LORD, WHAT IS THIS YOU ARE READING?' THE DUKE SAID: 'THE EXPERTS, THE AUTHORITIES.'
A person becomes an expert only when he has a long tradition. He becomes an authority only when much time has passed and many people have worshipped him. If nobody worshipped Jesus, would he be an expert or an authority? You count the followers: the more the followers, the greater the expert and the authority.
In New Delhi on a confectioner's shop there is a sign. If you go, you must visit this shop. On the sign it is written: Eat here, a million flies cannot be wrong!
This is how you feel: if a million people follow, a million people cannot be wrong. When ten million people follow, then you feel that this is the authority. But these are flies!
How many people are following Buddha? How many are following Jesus? You count the followers as if the master depends on the quantity of the followers. Religion is not politics, following is not the question. Even if nobody follows a Buddha, a Buddha is a Buddha. And if the whole world follows, it makes no difference, because people always follow for the wrong reasons. Don't look for followers. But that is how you feel: Who is the authority? How many people follow? You always move through wrong arguments.
SAID THE DUKE: 'THE EXPERTS, THE AUTHORITIES.' PHIEN ASKED: 'ALIVE OR DEAD?'
That old Phien must have been a man of knowledge, a really wise man; because it is difficult to find a person who believes in an alive authority. How can a person who is alive be your authority? It takes time, a long time -- only then somebody becomes the authority.
It happened that I was visiting a Buddhist VIHAR -- a monastery, and the inmates gathered and asked me to say something about Buddha and so I said something. The head priest was a little uncomfortable. At the end, he asked me: I have never found the story that you told in any scripture and I have read all that Buddha has said. No authority quotes it, I have heard it for the first time, where have you got it from? So I told him: I create stories, and if it not written in your scriptures, you can add it. I am my own authority.
How are scriptures created? If somebody wrote it one thousand years ago, then he is an authority. But if I add a story, then, no! But why? It is just time. Buddha died and after five hundred years, stories were written -- but not at the time. So if after five hundred years stories could be written then why not after two thousand five hundred years? The head priest couldn't believe that I could say this.
This Phien must have been a very wise man; he said, 'ALIVE OR DEAD?' Authorities are almost always dead, and I tell you that if you can believe in a living authority, you will be transformed. Carry the dead and they will make you dead -- that is how you have become dull and insensitive. Be with the living and you will become more alive because whatsoever you do changes you. If you believe in the dead, you believe in death not life. If you believe in the living, you believe in life not death.
The Duke said:'DEAD A LONG TIME.'
And really, every religion tries to prove that their authorities are very, very old, extremely ancient. Ask Hindus -- they say their DHARMA SANATAN has no beginning. They are the most cunning: they say it has no beginning so you cannot prove your religion is more ancient than theirs. They have finished it; it has no beginning. They say that the Vedas are the most ancient, and they think that if you can prove that Vedas are the most ancient then they are more authoritative.
Somehow the mind thinks that the older a thing is the better as if truth is a wine -- the older the better. And all interpretations are nothing but putting old wine in new bottles. Truth is not a wine, truth is not at all like wine, it is just the opposite: the newer it is, the fresher, younger, deeper it is. The alive is more profound; the dead is flat -- dust left by the past, nothing else.
But Hindus prove their Vedas are very, very old and they go pushing the date of the Vedas backwards. And they become very angry if somebody proves that they are not so old, they think you are irreligious, you have gone mad. Ask the Jains: they prove that their Teerthankaras are older than the Vedas. And they have a point, because their first Teerthankara is mentioned in Rig Veda, so that is a clear proof.
If the first Teerthankara is mentioned with respect in the Rig Veda it shows that he must have already been dead long before, otherwise how can you show such respect to a living person? Not just mentioned, but mentioned with respect, as a god, that means he must have been dead for at least five thousand years. Only then a man becomes a god So Jains say their religion is the most ancient -- and this is how all religions try. Why this effort to prove that you are the most ancient? Because the mind believes in death, the mind believes in past. Mind is nothing but past.
So you think that your mind will be greater if your authority is ancient, because the greater the gap of time, the accumulation of tradition, the longer the stretch for the mind to move. Mind needs time to move and mind is nothing but accumulated past, so you will have a bigger mind if your past is bigger and you will have a smaller mind if your past is not so big. That is why all the old traditions, countries and races, always look at Americans as childish because they have no past -- just three hundred years. It is a past? Three hundred years? It is nothing. Not only that but if you follow a master and he says that his age is five hundred years then he will collect more followers.
I have heard that it was rumoured about a lama in Tibet that he was one thousand years old. An Englishman visited him, he travelled from London just for this purpose -- because the lama was one thousand years old. This was rare. He visited the lama and he couldn't believe it, the man looked not more than fifty. So he enquired. He asked the lama's chief disciple: Is it true that your master is one thousand years old? The disciple said: I cannot say because I have only been with him for three hundred years.
But this is how it is: the older a thing the more authority it has. Even if somebody says that his guru is one hundred and fifty, suddenly you feel that here is something very valuable. Just by becoming old, you think something valuable happens. You can be one hundred and fifty years old and be just a one hundred and fifty year old fool -- because age cannot bring wisdom, it is not concerned with it. On the contrary, children are more wise; they have to be. God cannot be wrong, he always kills the old men and replaces them with children. That means he believes in children more than in old men. Old men means -- discard, throw them out, they are of no use now. God believes in the new and man believes in the old, God always believes in the new leaf, that is why the old leaf is shed. And he replaces it by the new, by the fresh, by the young.
God is eternally young and new and so is religion. But authorities.... So you cannot believe in God's authority. If you look at the divine creativity all around you will always feel that he looks a little crazy, because by the time a man has become wise, he withdraws him. You have become ninety years old, lived your life, past all seasons, known much, gathered experience, and by the time you have become wise, he calls you: Come on, go out of life. And he replaces you with a small child; you are replaced by a small child who does not know anything. It seems that he loves innocence more than knowledge and he loves fresh leaves more than old, pale leaves. And it should be so, because life has to be young, and if he is eternal life, he has to be eternally young.
That is why Hindus never depict Krishna or Ram as old. That is symbolic, they are always young. Have you seen any picture of Ram looking very old or of Krishna with a staff in his hand, bent over it? He lived eighty years, he was old, but Hindus have simply dropped the idea of depicting him as old, because if you look at God he is always young. So it is just to show that God is always young and religion is always fresh, just like an innocent babe, just like the morning dew, just like the first star in the night. But then God cannot be an authority because authority means the weight of the past; without the weight of the past, authority is not created.
PHIEN ASKED: 'ALIVE OR DEAD?' THE DUKE SAID: 'DEAD A LONG TIME.' 'THEN,' SAID THE WHEELWRIGHT, 'YOU ARE READING ONLY THE DIRT THEY LEFT BEHIND.'
Whenever you are too engaged with the past you are engaged with dirt, with graves, you are a gravedigger. You live in a cemetery, you are no longer a part of the living phenomenon that life is.
THE DUKE REPLIED: 'WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT IT? YOU ARE ONLY A WHEELWRIGHT. YOU HAD BETTER GIVE ME A GOOD EXPLANATION OR ELSE YOU MUST DIE.'
The duke could not believe his own ears that just an ordinary wheelwright would like to teach him wise things. People who are ready to learn are ready to learn from everywhere. This man is ready to learn from dead authorities but not from a living wheelwright. And I tell you, a living wheelwright is better than a dead king because he is alive. Nobody is going to worship him but God still trusts him; that is why he is alive.
The Duke was very angry, he said: 'YOU HAD BETTER GIVE ME A GOOD EXPLANATION OR ELSE YOU MUST DIE.'
THE WHEELWRIGHT SAID: 'LET US LOOK AT THE AFFAIR FROM MY POINT OF VIEW. WHEN I MAKE WHEELS, IF I GO EASY, THEY FALL APART, AND IF I AM TOO ROUGH THEY DO NOT FIT. BUT IF I AM NEITHER TOO EASY NOR TOO VIOLENT THEY COME OUT RIGHT. THE WORK IS WHAT I WANT IT TO BE.
YOU CANNOT PUT THIS INTO WORDS, YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW IT IS.'
The wheelwright was saying: I don't know about authorities and experts. Let us look from my view point. Yes, I am just a wheelwright, but I know my craft, and I have learned something from it. And that is this: it is a skill, and so subtle and delicate that it cannot be put into words.
If you move to the extremes the wheel never comes out as it should. You have to remain just in the middle. And how can you put it into words? Ask a tight rope-walker, how can he put it into words? How does he walk on the rope stretched between two hills over a valley, where if he falls he falls forever, he will be dead? How does he walk on the rope? Can he put it into words? He will say: If I lean too much toward the right immediately I have to balance, and lean towards the left. If I lean too much to the left again I have to lean towards the right, towards the opposite direction, to balance.
This can be written, but just by reading it, don't stretch a rope and go for a walk; you will never come back. Because it is not a question of knowing intellectually, it is a question of feeling through your whole being -- how much to lean? And there cannot be any fixed formula, each person is different. It will depend on the person, on the weight, the height, and the situation, the wind blowing. And it will depend on the inner mind. You will have to feel it, you cannot have a fixed formula and follow it. You will have to learn through a master; you cannot go to a college and learn it.
In college, you can learn philosophy, you can learn mathematics, you can learn science -- everything, but you cannot learn a skill. A skill is learned only through a master who knows, and simply by watching him, you start feeling him. And you have so much trust in him, that if he moves to the right, your inner being also moves to the right. If he moves to the left, your inner being feels it, and you move to the left. You become his shadow, and by and by you start.
THE WHEELWRIGHT SAID: LET US LOOK AT THE AFFAIR FROM MY POINT OF VIEW. WHEN I MAKE WHEELS, IF I GO EASY, THEY FALL APART, AND IF I AM TOO ROUGH, THEY DO NOT FIT. BUT IF I AM NEITHER TOO EASY NOR TOO VIOLENT THEY COME OUT RIGHT. THE WORK IS WHAT I WANT IT TO BE.
YOU CANNOT PUT THIS INTO WORDS, YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW IT IS. I CANNOT EVEN TELL MY SON EXACTLY HOW IT IS DONE, AND MY OWN SON CANNOT LEARN IT FROM ME. SO HERE I AM, SEVENTY YEARS OLD, STILL MAKING WHEELS!
What is he saying? He is saying one of the most profound truths: that there are things which can be learned only through your totality; intellect alone will not help. You can make a formula but then you will miss, because in every changed situation you will be carrying a dead formula, and it will not help. In every changed situation a changed response is needed. That means only consciousness will help, not knowledge. You have to carry a light within you so that in every situation you can feel the situation that is here and now. And you need not fix the situation in a formula; rather, on the contrary, you have to discover the formula every time there is a new situation.
Life goes on moving, it never repeats itself; even if it appears to be repeating, it never repeats itself. It cannot. If you feel that life repeats, it is only because you cannot feel the new, you are so dead. Otherwise it never repeats. A cloud that you have seen this morning will never again be in the sky -- it cannot be. The sun that has risen this morning will not rise again, because the whole universe will be different tomorrow morning. It is such a vast thing and everything is changing.
Everything goes on changing. Nothing is old ever, except the human mind. That is the only old thing -- the only museum in the world, a collection of fossils, the only graveyard. Otherwise everything is new. Just look! Drop the human mind! Can you find anything old in this world? Everything is changing, even the Himalayas. They go on changing; they say that they are rising, one foot every year.
Everything goes on changing: the oceans change, the earth changes, even the continents go on moving.
Now scientists have discovered the fact that the continents have moved much. Once Africa was joined to India. Once Ceylon, Sri Lanka, must have been very near to India, otherwise the monkey Hanuman could not have jumped across. There must have been just a small river, a stream between the two. Now scientists have proved that continents move, they go on changing: everything is changing, nothing is static.
Eddington is reported to have said that in his life he had come to understand that there was one human word that was absolutely wrong and that was 'rest', because there is no rest. Everything goes on moving, nothing is in a state of rest, nothing can be -- life is a flux. If life is a flux, then this wheelwright is right, because he says that nothing can be said, with every wheel it is different: the wood is different, the cart is different, the situation is different, the road is different -- and one has to be conscious about it: 'I cannot put it into words, I cannot even teach my own son.'
And it is really difficult to teach your own son. Have you ever heard that Buddha could teach his own son? Have you ever heard what happened to Chuang Tzu's own son, what happened to Lao Tzu's son? It is very difficult for a father to teach his own son because their egos are always antagonistic. It is very difficult, because a son is always fighting with the father. He wants to prove something, that he is better than the father. He thinks that his father is just an old fool. And the father cannot believe that his son can learn anything. He is just a son and he remains a son. Even if the son is seventy and the father is ninety he thinks that he is just a baby. It is very difficult to find a meeting point between a father and son, the bridge is impossible, almost impossible.
This wheelwright says that he cannot teach even his son, who is so near to him. He cannot say what he means and so here he is, seventy years old, and still making wheels. He is saying. It is time for me to retire. I am old enough now. The body is in tatters and I cannot work any more. But what to do? Nobody has been able to learn the art, and I am still here making wheels.
Remember that the Sufis are the only ones who have used this story very beautifully, because they always teach through a craft -- only Sufis. They teach through a craft. The craft may be anything: the craft of a carpenter or a wheelwright, the craft of a painter, shoemaker, or anything whatsoever. Sufis teach through crafts; first you have to learn the craft from the master and then he will teach you the innermost thing. Why? This seems absurd!
For ten years the disciple learns how to make shoes, and then after ten years or twelve years or even twenty years, when he has become a perfect master in making shoes, the master starts teaching him about the inner world. This seems to be a sheer waste of time. It is not, because Sufis say that the question is not what you learn, the subject matter is not the question -- how you learn is. Once you have learned how to learn then the innermost keys can be given to you immediately. In ten or twenty years of living with a master and learning how to make shoes, the disciple imbibes the spirit. The more he imbibes the spirit of the master, the more he becomes a perfect shoemaker. Spirituality is not touched at all, not talked about -- just the learning to imbibe. And anything will do -- whatsoever the master feels is fit or whatsoever he is skilled in. And by the time he feels that you can now imbibe, you have imbibed the art, then he will teach you the inner world. Then he will bring you to the door of the temple. Then he will say that now I can hand over the key. And if you cannot even learn shoemaking, how can you learn the Divine?
This wheelwright's standpoint is absolutely right. 'SO HERE I AM, SEVENTY YEARS OLD, STILL MAKING WHEELS!' Nobody has been able to learn from me while I am alive, how can you learn from the authorities which are dead? And if not even wheelmaking can be learned, how can you learn the supreme-most art of life -- the supreme-most craft of bringing the Divine to man or bringing man to the Divine?
'THE MEN OF OLD TOOK ALL THEY REALLY KNEW WITH THEM TO THE GRAVE. AND SO, LORD, WHAT YOU ARE READING THERE IS ONLY THE DIRT THEY LEFT BEHIND THEM.'
This is to be remembered -- one of the most profound sentences.'THE MEN OF OLD TOOK ALL THEY REALLY KNEW WITH THEM TO THE GRAVE.' When a Buddha dies, whatsoever he knows disappears with him. It has to be so, this is the way, this is how things are. We may not wish it so, but our wishes are not the question. Whatsoever a Mahavir knows disappears from this world when he dies. No. It cannot be carried by scriptures, it cannot be carried by scholars. Words will be repeated and memorised, written, worshipped, but they are just dust, left-overs, dead things, graves. You can make temples out of them, beautiful temples, and worship and go on worshipping, but whatsoever a Buddha knows disappears with him because that knowledge is not separate from Buddha, it is his being. It is one with him, it is he himself. When he disappears, his consciousness goes into the infinite, the river has fallen into the ocean. You can go on worshipping that dry bed of the river, where the river once was, but it is no longer there. You can make temples, pilgrimages, but it is not of much use.
What is this wheelwright saying? He is saying that one should always seek a living master, always seek the alive because only the alive is here, only life penetrates the world of matter. And when a Buddha disappears, he simply disappears with all that he knew. That is why Buddhas are always in a hurry to teach, always in a hurry to give, to find one who can learn, because the moment they disappear, all they know will disappear.
And it has to be discovered again and again, it is not like science. Science is a tradition; religion is individual. If something is discovered by Newton, it will be there, written in the books in the libraries, Einstein can be benefitted by it. Really without Newton, there cannot be any Einstein, he has to stand on Newton's shoulders. He may contradict Newton, but he stands on him, he is the base. Whatsoever Einstein discovers will remain a part of humanity, always. That is why science goes on growing, progressively accumulating more and more speed.
But religion always disappears with the person who discovers it. You cannot stand on Buddha's shoulders. No! There is no possibility! You will have to stand on your feet again and again and again. Religion has to be discovered again and again and again. It is an individual discovery, it cannot become a tradition. Difficult, but beautiful also, because it cannot be borrowed. It is always fresh and young and new. It is just like love.
Majnu and Laila loved, Shirin and Farihad loved, Romeo and Juliet loved, but you cannot stand on their shoulders and love more. Love cannot be an accumulative thing. When you fall in love the whole thing has to be re-discovered. When you fall in love, it is almost as if no one loved before you. Whether anyone loved or not, it makes no difference -- you love anew, the discovery is again new. Every lover enters into the temple of love fresh. No footprints are left of past lovers, their love disappears with them.
And it is good, otherwise even love will be just a tradition, a well trodden path with maps. And when you walk on the path of love, where millions have walked, it is not worth walking. It becomes a super highway, a market thing, a commodity -- then it is no more a temple. But when YOU love, you love for the first time! It is not a repetition of anybody's love, it is you.
God loves through you again for the first time. This is the paradox -- I say 'again for the first time'. The mystery is revealed. This is how religion is, prayer is, meditation is. No, you cannot follow the dead, you can only be in the presence of the living ones. And you have to imbibe.
When you enter, this will be again for the first time. And it is good that when Buddha disappears everything disappears with him. You have to find the path again,;t is an eternal hide and seek game. God again goes into hiding, you have to discover him again, otherwise Buddha has discovered him and we can put a sign there: 'Here lives God' -- finished! Anybody who wants to can come. No! He again goes into hiding, and remember, he is a very skillful player. You will never find him in the old hiding place again. He is hiding somewhere else.
That is why old techniques become useless, new devices have to be discovered again and again because God hides in new places. He finds new caves, he always vacates the old. He says: Now it is finished, this cave is finished. Now let worshippers worship here, but I will not be here.
FROM OSHO - WHEN THE SHOE FITS, TALKS ON THE STORIES OF CHUANG TSU
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