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Osho on Vipassana & Zazen

Buddha's way was VIPASSANA -- vipassana means witnessing. And he found one of the greatest devices ever: the device of watching your breath, just watching your breath. Breathing is such a simple and natural phenomenon and it is there twenty-four hours a day. You need not make any effort. If you repeat a mantra then you will have to make an effort, you will have to force yourself. If you say, "Ram, Ram, Ram," you will have to continuously strain yourself. And you are bound to forget many times. Moreover, the word 'Ram' is again something of the mind, and anything of the mind can never lead you beyond the mind. Buddha discovered a totally different angle: just watch your breath -- the breath coming in, the breath going out. There are four points to be watched. Sitting silently just start seeing the breath, feeling the breath. The breath going in is the first point. Then for a moment when the breath is in it stops -- a very small moment it is -- for a split second it stops; that is the second point to watch. Then the breath turns and goes out; this is the third point to watch. Then again when the breath is completely out, for a split second it stops; that is the fourth point to watch. Then the breath starts coming in again... this is the circle of breath. If you can watch all these four points you will be surprised, amazed at the miracle of such a simple process -- because mind is not involved. Watching is not a quality of the mind; watching is the quality of the soul, of consciousness; watching is not a mental process at all. When you watch, the mind stops, ceases to be. Yes, in the beginning many times you will forget and the mind will come in and start playing its old games. But whenever you remember that you had forgotten, there is no need to feel repentant, guilty -- just go back to watching, again and again go back to watching your breath. Slowly slowly, less and less mind interferes.

OSHO: The Dhammapada - vol.5 - chap.1  

 …Buddha used to say start with breathing, because it is the most simple thing in the world. So simple that you don’t do it, it happens on its own. You don't breathe. In fact you are never aware of breathing, unless something goes wrong. You have some breathing trouble then you become aware, otherwise you can go on sleeping and the breathing continues. And it is good otherwise if you had to take care about it, life would be impossible. Some day you will sleep and you will forget to breathe – and gone. And there is no way to undo it. Once gone, gone forever.Breathing is spontaneous. It is a very simple process. Just the breath goes in, goes out – nothing much in it. Buddha says “Watch it. Become aware of it. Sitting silently simply see the breath going in, going out. You will feel very bored because it is very monotonous. So the first problem has to be very simple like breathing and the second problem will be you have to face boredom. And if you can face boredom, boredom disappears and there is tremendous calm behind it. So start awareness with the breathing process. At least one hour every day sit silently just watching your breathing doing nothing. Not even chanting a mantra because then you are making it complex. You simply see the breathing, it is a natural mantra. It goes in and it goes out, goes in, goes out. You are not to say that the breathing is going out. You are simply go with the breathing. It is going out, the consciousness goes with it. It comes in, the consciousness comes in. You simply sense its going in and going out. You try to remember it and you will find difficulties even in this simple process. For a few seconds you will be aware, and then your mind has taken you away – to your business, to your woman to your children or a thousand and one problems are there. Again after a few minutes you will remember “I have forgotten, I am not watching my breath.” Then again come back. There is no need to repent. There is no need to fuss about it that ‘I have forgotten’. Because now, if you fuss about it, again this time is being lost. So whenever you recognize that you have lost track of breathing, again come back again and start watching it. Doing it slowly, slowly one day you will be able to watch your breath. If a person can watch his breath for 48 minutes continuously, then there is no problem in life. He can watch any problem, and by watching any problem can be dissolved.

OSHO: The discipline of trascendence - vol.4 - chap. 10

Let me explain to you what zazen is. Zazen is a deep unoccupiedness – not doing anything outwardly, not doing anything inwardly. It is not even meditation because when you meditate you are making some sort of effort, you are trying to do something: chanting a mantra, remembering God, or even remembering yourself. But these efforts create ripples, these efforts create vibrations and your sitting becomes corrupted. Then your sitting is not innocent. Zazen means: sit, and just sit, nothing else. There is no doing on the part of the body, no doing on the part of the mind. It's a state of non-doing. That does not mean that you are fast asleep, because sleep is a doing. That does not mean that you are dead, because if you are dead you cannot just sit. That simply means that you are tremendously alive, intensely alive, a fire of being, but not moving anywhere – a reservoir of energy in a deep awaiting. You are just waiting for something to happen, not even expecting, because expectation will again create a ripple of thought and the mind will start functioning. Everything is suspended. You breathe, and that's all that you do. But that is not a doing, because breathing goes on its own accord. You have not to do anything but just sit silently.

OSHO: Come Follow to You - vol.4 - chap. 5

If you relax, you accept; acceptance of existence is the only way to relax.If small things disturb you then it is your attitude that is disturbing you.Sit silently; listen to all that is happening all around, and relax; accept, relax -- and suddenly you will feel immense energy arising in you.That energy will be felt first is a deepening of your breath.

Ordinarily your breath is very shallow and sometimes if you try to have deep breaths, if you start doing PRANAYAM, you start forcing something, you make an effort. That effort is not needed. You simply accept life, relax, and suddenly you will see that your breath is going deeper than ever. Relax more and the breath goes deeper in you. It becomes slow, rhythmic, and you can almost enjoy it; it gives a certain delight. Then you will become aware that breath is the bridge between you and the whole. Just watch. Don't do anything. And when I say watch, don't TRY to watch, otherwise you will become tense again, and you will start concentrating on the breath. Simply relax, remain relaxed, loose, and look...because what else can you do? You are there, nothing to be done, everything accepted, nothing to be denied, rejected, no struggle, no fight no conflict, breathing going deep -- what can you do? You simply watch. Remember, simply watch. Don't make an effort to watch.

This is what Buddha has called VIPASSANA -- the watching of the breath, awareness of the breath -- or SATIPATTHANA -- remembering, being alert of the life energy that moves in breath. Don't try to take deep breaths, don't try to inhale or exhale, don't do anything. You simply relax and let the breathing be natural -- going on its own, coming on its own -- and many things will become available to you.

OSHO: Ancient music in the pines - chap.3



Shridhar, it is ambition, it is some desire, it is some hope in the future that keeps the body moving. The word for this ambition, desire, hope used by Gautam Buddha is tanha. It contains all these things. You are always looking ahead for something to happen in your life; you have not lived yet. The past is empty; you know it has been a desert. The only way to move is to keep your eyes far away on some star. It is just your imagination, but it is enough to keep the body moving. If it has not happened up to now, there is no guarantee that it will not happen in the future. Tomorrow is always open, and it is the tomorrow that keeps the body moving and the mind moving and not only in one life: the Eastern understanding is far deeper than the Western understanding about the inner secrets. All the mystics born in the East may disagree on every other point, but on one point their agreement is absolute, and that is the point of reincarnation. It is not only in one life that you go on moving because of some desire or many desires. You go on moving from one life to another life, from one womb to another womb, but the reason is the same: movement means you have something in the future to be achieved.

Your future is alluring you. You are fascinated by all the possibilities that can be yours. You are not at all finished, because the past was empty. The future can be fuller, richer, better. It is this hope that keeps on and never dies. Every day you will find it disappointed, every life you will find it disappointed. But still the future is there, always available, open, and giving you as many chances as you want. It can happen in a deeper meditation that you come to a full stop, to a state of unmoving, just a feeling that there is no need to move, no need to go anywhere, because there is nowhere to go. You have been running after shadows for so many lives, yet everything has proved to be meaningless, and you never arrive at any goal. In deep meditation the realization can come that there is no goal and all movement is futile. If there is no goal, there is no need to move, since all movement is goal-oriented; they are together. If the goal disappears from your mind, you will find yourself slowing down, in your body, in your mind. A deep relaxation will start settling. It is one of the most beautiful experiences. The meditation is actually meant to bring you to this full stop, where for the first time you are no more motivated by any desire, by any ambition, by any longing.

For the first time future has disappeared. It has never been in existence, it was only your imagination. Future is your projection of unfulfilled desires. The more unfulfilled you are, the bigger a future you have. The more unfulfilled is your being, the richer the dreams you have of the future. But it is just in your mind. We divide time into three tenses: the past, the present, the future. But it is a wrong division. Time consists only of the present, and mind consists only of past and future. You are mixing two things together. Meditation will help to give you the clarity to divide them exactly as they are. Mind is memory of the past and mind is imagination for the future. But time itself is undividedly only present. You never meet yesterdays, and you never meet tomorrows. What you actually encounter, always, is the present moment. The moment you realize this, you start settling withinwards. All movement is outwards, all movement is extrovert. No-movement is introvert, no-movement is going inwards, just settling at the very center of your being – not even a ripple, no thought, no dream, no desire. This is actually the state of meditation. Mind has gone with the movement; it was another name of movement. It kept you busy and occupied with the future, with the past, with everything except the present. It was very reluctant to come to the present. That’s why people find it difficult to meditate. Mind pulls them either towards the past, where it is perfectly happy, or towards the future, because only in the past or in the future can it live. The present is nothing but death for the mind. But death for the mind is the beginning of your authentic life. Mind keeps you living an unauthentic life. All your despair, all your agony, all your misery are the children of your mind. As movement stops, mind stops. Suddenly you are here and now. For the first time you touch existence. For the first time you are awake. The dream of the mind, the sleep of the mind is no longer there.

In this awakening moment you find yourself – not the ego that you used to think is you, not the old personality that you always believed in and had remained identified with. That personality, that ego, was all part of the mind; with the mind, they have all disappeared. All that fog is no more there – just a crystal-clear clarity, a transparency, a silence, alive, full of peace and a subtle joy so deep that you have never known such a depth before. You could not have even conceived or dreamed of it. This is not only your self, this is the universal self too. Because it is also the universal self, Gautam Buddha decided to call this experience ‘no-self’, simply to emphasize that you are no more. Existence is: you are gone. Now the whole has taken over. You are conscious, conscious for the first time in totality. And new things start happening to you. They are just the opposites of what mind was creating. Instead of agony, you have ecstasy; instead of misery, you have tremendous blissfulness; instead of despair, you are utterly at ease; instead of feeling a meaninglessness, for the first time you see the significance and the beauty and the glory that has been bestowed upon you by existence. And without any effort on your part a tremendous urge arises to thank the whole, to be grateful, to dance in gratitude, to sing in gratitude. To me, the only true prayer is that which comes out of gratitude, not addressed to any god, not addressed to get anything, but addressed to the whole of existence for all that it has already given to you. It is so much. You suddenly see that you don’t deserve all this. You have never earned anything of it: all this beauty, all these blessings, all this ecstasy. You cannot conceive that it is your earning. It is simply a gift from the beyond. You can only bow down to it – not to anybody in particular, just to the whole that surrounds you. As a fish is surrounded by the ocean, you are surrounded by the whole.

Shridhar, you are saying, ”During the awareness walk in the Vipassana group today, I observed that my speed was slowing down and had stopped. There seemed no need for moving. To where, for what? There was simply no goal anymore.” There is certainly no goal. Existence is enough unto itself: a goal is needed only for those who are feeling empty. Once you know your fullness, you don’t have any space for any goal left within you. You are not only full, you are overflowing. And the question of going anywhere does not arise, because wherever you are, you are in the whole, wherever you are, you are in the same ocean. Hence a tremendous transformation arises in you. All your past lives ... continuous movement, from one body to another body, from one life to another life. But the same desires, the same greed, the same anger, the same violence, the same competition, the same jealousy. The Eastern word for the world is sansar. And sansar means the wheel. You go on moving on a wheel. It is the same wheel. It goes nowhere, you are just clinging to some spoke of the wheel, and the wheel goes on moving. You think you are reaching somewhere; you are not reaching anywhere. But because you continuously think that you are reaching somewhere, you never look inwards to find you are already there where you want to be. The home that you are searching for is within you. And the god that you have been seeking is within you. You are the greatest treasure of consciousness in this whole existence. The moment you realize your glory and splendor, you see yourself as an Everest high in the sky, you cannot conceive that anything more can be added to you. Your fulfillment is so complete that there comes an absolute stop and this stop becomes the explosion of enlightenment, of awakening, of your buddha nature.

What has been happening to you, Shridhar, is tremendously beautiful. Allow it to happen more and more; go deeper into this stopping; go further away from movement and you will be closer to yourself. Don’t be again caught into the net of the mind. It does not leave so soon. You may have a few glimpses, but it does not allow you to have more than small glimpses. Immediately it grabs you back, again a desire arises, again the tomorrow becomes real, again the future becomes significant and the movement and the thought process – and the whole mind is back.

On an extended business trip overseas, the Englishman is asked whether he misses his wife. ”I don’t miss her all that much,” he replies. ”One day a week I hire a local woman to come in and nag.” Mind is your wife. Whether you are man or woman, it does not matter. Mind is your wife and a constant nag. It goes on nagging you and you have become so accustomed to it that sometimes you even have to hire a woman to nag you, because life seems to be so empty without somebody nagging you. Mind is continuously giving you new illusions, new hallucinations, new delusions; it is very inventive. It goes on creating new goals for you. If old goals are finished, if you have realized that there are no such goals, it will invent new goals. That’s how religious people have come to invent paradise, heaven, God – these are new goals. Old goals have been dropped, but the mind is very clever. It immediately comes from the back door with a new goal. It says, ”It is very good. Money is not the goal of life. And power is not the goal. Neither is respectability nor anything of this world. The real goal is God.” God is a mind invention, just as money is a mind invention. Heaven is as much a mind invention as is respectability, name, fame – they are all mind projections. I emphasize it again and again to you that there is no God. I have nothing against God; I cannot have because he does not exist. My emphasis is for a different reason – I am not an atheist – my emphasis is so that when mind starts stopping in your meditations, it cannot give you goals like God, paradise, heaven, because those are the last tricks in its bag. I am removing them, for the simple reason that it is very easy to get rid of greed. But it is very difficult to see that heaven is nothing but your greed. It has come in such a beautiful name with such a great religious aroma around it, with such spirituality. Nobody thinks that God is your greed. Nobody has exactly said in the whole history of mankind that God is your greed, that God is nothing but the last effort of the mind to nag you again to move. All that mind wants is to go on moving. Don’t stop, because when stopping, the mind starts trembling. To stop means digging a grave for the mind, and of course, nobody wants to die. And your mind has been with you so long, it wants to remain with you – an old friendship, a long companionship. In misery, in happiness, it has been with you. It has done everything that you wanted. It has played all kinds of roles: it has lied for you; it has always been a support for you; when life was continuously dark, it was giving you glimpses of a faraway star: ”Don’t be worried. If today it is dark, tomorrow it is not going to be dark. It is not going to be dark forever. One day, the sunrise is certain.” This long, long friendship – and suddenly you stop; the mind tries in every way to push you, to nag you into some new project. Old projects are no longer working; it is a great salesman.

I have heard ... A man was complaining to a real estate agency, ”Where is that old fellow who sold me land?” The owner of the agency asked, ”What is the problem?” He said, ”What is the problem? I am going to shoot him. He has sold me land which is at least twelve feet deep below the road. In the rainy season it will become a lake. And I have purchased it to make a house for myself. My house will be drowned. Just tell me where that old fellow is!” The owner said, ”Right now, he is not in the office. But when he comes back I will talk to him and if something has gone wrong, we will settle it. I will send him to your house.” And when the old salesman came, the owner was very angry, ”This is too much. What have you done?” He said, ”I told him everything. I have told him that he will have the most magnificent house within the lake. Make the house and wait for the rains. And it is surrounded with such beautiful hills.” The owner said, ”Beautiful hills?” He said, ”Yes, but they are thousands of miles away. They are very difficult to see. Only once in a while, when the sky is very clear, you can see them. And I have shown him.” But the owner said, ”Something has to be done. He is very angry. He wants to shoot you.” He said, ”Don’t be worried. Just give me those two boats that we have been stuck with for many years and we have not been able to sell to anybody. They are getting completely rotten. Just give me those two boats.” The owner said, ”What are you intending to do?” He said, ”I am going to sell those two boats to that man who wants to shoot me.” The owner said, ”If you want to try, good luck to you! Take those boats, but be careful. That man is really angry. I am not joking.” And after an hour the man came and he said, ”I have sold those two boats. When I again described the beauty of the lake and when I said, ‘How secure your house will be. Nobody can reach it. And these beautiful boats ... You can just go in the boat to your house. And unless you want somebody else to come, nobody can come in. No beggars to torture you, no guests, no neighbors – just think of it. And in a beautiful lake, surrounded by hills and the hills reflected in a full-moon night.’” The man said, ”Done. You give me the boats.” And the old salesman said, ”Now, remember: don’t give my address to that man, because this illusion that I have given to him is not going to last long. Soon he will come to his senses, because that place is really not worth anything. First to make a house there, and then the house will be half drowned. No electricity, no telephone, no neighbors, and the mountains are thousands of miles away; they don’t reflect in the lake. ”That man is going to be angry and now he is stuck with those two boats. He does not know that they are not going to work, and he will not know until the rains come. He will be drowned in those boats; he will not reach to his house; you know those boats perfectly well.”

But a salesman can manage to create an illusion. Just the description, and the mind is a great salesman. It goes on selling you new goals and you never think that all that it has ever sold you has failed. Nothing has ever succeeded. It is really a con man. It goes on creating, inventing new ideas and you are ready, because you are empty, to be filled by any kind of rubbish. Your present is not a rejoicing; your past has just been tears; you get caught in the future dreams very quickly.

Shridhar, deepen your experiences. Let them happen more often. This is the whole purpose of all the meditations that are happening here, to bring you to a full stop. Then suddenly, the energy that was moving outwards, starts settling inwards. When all your life forces have centered at the very roots of your being, you will start growing in a new direction. Now it will not be a movement, it will be a growth. Movement is always horizontal; growth is vertical. The tree grows vertically; you move horizontally. The world is horizontal; spirituality is vertical. Once your energies are all concentrated in the roots, there will be new sprouts, new foliage, new branches, and you have started moving upwards towards the stars. And this is not an old movement, it is a totally different phenomenon. The horizontal movement we know, when we say somebody is growing old. The vertical movement is when we say somebody is growing up. Just becoming old is not going to lead you anywhere except to death and a new life with the old desires again – the same circle. Once your life starts growing instead of moving, it takes a totally different dimension upwards, against the gravitation of this world towards the open sky. And only in this growth, one day your potentiality blossoms. The day you see your flowers opening up and releasing their fragrance, you have come to know for the first time something that can be called spiritual. And it is not a goal. The trees are not growing towards some goal, they are growing towards their potential, which is intrinsic, which is hidden in them. They want to come to a point where what is hidden becomes available to the whole of existence. What is in the seed comes into the flower. Enlightenment is your flowering. Meditation will bring you to the point from where your existence takes a new dimension – the dimension of enlightenment. You can call it satchidanand.

OSHO: Satchidanand - chap. 22


That is the meaning of the word ’zazen’. ’Za’ means sitting doing nothing. And ’zen’ means: in that sitting when you are not doing anything you fall upon yourself, you encounter yourself, you see yourself. That is zen, DHYANA, meditation. The word ’zazen’ is beautiful. ’Sitting and looking into yourself’ – that is the meaning of it.

Man is more than the sum total of his acts, his thoughts, his feelings. Behind the acts, thoughts and feelings there is another man – that which is, that which essentially IS. But many seldom if ever show themselves in their essential being. Very few ever reach to that point of their essential being-hood, to their very ground of being. Those who reach, only they know that life is a benediction. A sheer joy, eternal celebration.

OSHO: This Body the Buddha - chap.6

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