God is Dead, Now Zen is the Only Living Truth Chapter 3 God is just liketomorrow


God is just like tomorrow

8 February 1989 pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium


THE MONK CAME BACK AND MADE A REPORT TO NANGAKU. NANGAKU SAID, "THIS MONK WILL SURELY MAKE THE MOUTH OF THE PEOPLE TREMBLE FOR GENERATIONS." Friends, a few questions from the sannyasins. The first question: Question 1 MY DEEPEST PAIN IS THAT OF BEING AN OUTSIDER, THAT I DON'T BELONG HERE IN THIS LIFE, THAT I AM ESSENTIALLY WRONG, AND DEATH IS JUST WAITING TO CLAIM ME UNMERCIFULLY. THAT SENSE OF BELONGING HERE, VALUING MYSELF AND BEING VALUED BY EXISTENCE, AND THUS LETTING MYSELF LIVE AND CELEBRATE FULLY ELUDES ME. IS THIS FEELING THE RESULT OF GOD-ORIENTED RELIGIONS? The God-oriented religions are bound to create such a feeling. It is absolutely necessary, because they are giving you lies as consolation. As man has gone beyond his primitive states of consciousness, he has become more intelligent and today he can see the myth of God. He has lived with the lie as if it were the truth, and he was content. But now that he is intelligent, he can see the falsity of the whole religious lie, and a great problem arises for him. God is dead. Man's consolation is destroyed. He feels utterly empty, in no relationship with existence. God used to be the fulfillment of one's life, somebody who was caring, somebody who was forgiving, somebody who was compassionate. There being no God, suddenly you feel yourself an outsider to existence. But this is a good beginning, don't take it wrongly. Every lie taken away will for some time leave a space empty. You can use this empty space to become miserable; misery will fill it. You can make this space anguish, anxiety, suffering, pain, but it is up to you. You can make this empty space a new beginning, a new door. God is dead, now you have to search for truth on your own; nobody can give it to you. This emptiness should become a door going inwards. The moment you enter to the center of your being, you are no more an outsider. For the first time you are the insider. God was keeping you outside the truth, outside existence. God was keeping you simply consoled, but consolations are of no help. You need a transformation of being, you need to use your emptiness joyfully, because it opens a door onto the eternal space. It opens a door into your very roots, which are in existence. It suddenly makes you feel at home with the trees, with the birds, with human beings, with stars ­ with everything around you. The whole cosmos is your very home. So it all depends how you use your emptiness. The so-called western existentialists are using it wrongly. They are filling it with misery, anxiety, tension, dread, anguish, angst. First you were full of lies, fictions; at least they were consoling, at least they were giving you some hope, some connectedness with existence. But existentialism is using your emptiness in an even worse way than the religions have used it. Religions have used it to exploit you. They were giving you consolation, and there is a price to everything. So they were exploiting you, but you were feeling perfectly happy for centuries, because God was in heaven and everything was all right ­ he will take care of you.

This consolation was false; it was not going to change you, it was not going to make you a buddha, it was not going to make you awakened, enlightened. It was not in favor of your spiritual growth, but at least it was keeping you without anxiety, without anguish, without meaninglessness. You were feeling at home, though that feeling was a dream. Now that the dream is destroyed, you suddenly feel you are alone. There is no God and you don't know any other way of relating with existence. Your old programming has failed. You need a new insight. You need, instead of prayer, meditation; instead of God, your own consciousness. A pillar of consciousness is going to fill your being, and this will not be a consolation. It will be authentic contentment; it will relate you with existence, you will not feel at all the outsider. Do you think I feel at all an outsider? I am as deeply involved with existence as one can be. The whole existence has become my very being, my heart is dancing with the heartbeat of the universe. God was preventing this happening, this tremendous phenomenon of transformation. God was not a friend to you; God was the greatest enemy. And the priests have been exploiting you. Now that intelligence understands there is no God, there is bound to be a small gap in which you either have to choose western existentialism ­ which is not authentic, it is accidentalism ­ or you have to look inwards the same way as every awakened being has looked, and you have to stop looking towards the sky. You have to close your eyes and look towards the inner space from where you are connected with the existence. Immediately the emptiness will disappear. Not only emptiness, you will disappear. And then remains only a dance, a celebration of this whole universe. And you are absolutely one with it, there is no question of even being an insider. There arises a great oneness. You suddenly see yourself in various manifestations: in the trees, in the flowers, in the clouds, in the stars, you are everywhere. The moment you disappear you are the whole existence, blossoming, flying; all the greenness, all the mountains, all the snow, all the rivers, all the oceans ­ everywhere you are spread. And this state is the state of a buddha. This is true liberation. So you are feeling yourself an outsider. This is good. This is the transitory period. Now you have to be alert not to fill yourself with pain and misery. Now that God is no longer there, who is going to console you? You don't need any consolation. Humanity has come of age. Be a man, be a woman, and stand on your own feet. You have been for millennia crippled because of God, because of the whole priesthood. They never wanted you to be healthy and whole. Their whole profession was dependent on your misery, pain. They were the people who were covering your misery and pain and giving you hope, and hope is an empty word. Karl Marx is right when he says religion is the hope of the hopeless. But the hope was just like a carrot hanging in front of you. You never reach it, but it is so close it feels you are going to reach ­ if not today then tomorrow, if not tomorrow then the day after tomorrow. The carrot is always hanging in front of you. A Sufi story says:

A man has purchased a cow, and he was not accustomed to dealing with cows. So he was trying to drag the cow along holding the cow's horns, and the cow was very resistant ­ obviously, this man was new. She wanted to go to her home, she wanted to go to her old owner. A Sufi mystic was watching. He said to the man, "It seems you are very new; you don't know how to deal with cows. This is not the right way." The man said, "What should I do, because I am not that strong. The cow is stronger; she is dragging me with her." The mystic gave him some beautiful green grass, and told him, "Leave her horns. You take this grass and just move ahead of her. Keep the grass very close, but don't allow her to eat it. As she moves towards the grass, you go on moving towards your home." And it worked. The cow came because the grass was so close and so green and so fresh. She forgot all about the owner; the immediate problem was how to get this grass. And it is so close, just hanging in front of your eyes. But the man went on moving slowly, the distance between the cow and the grass remained the same. And she entered into the house of the new owner, and he closed the door. Religions have been hanging carrots in front of you. Those hopes are never fulfilled, they are hopeless, those promises are empty. When I destroy your hopes and your expectations and your ideas of God and your relationship with the world, naturally there is bound to be a small gap before you choose the right path. And the right path is not the existentialism of the West. The right path is the meditation that the East has been using for centuries and has worked out completely into a science. You move inwards. God was preventing you because he was outside. Your prayer was towards the God who was not there. You are here, there is no need of any evidence that you are here. There is no need for any argument to prove that you are here. So why not explore this "hereness", this presence that you are, this consciousness that you are. Why not explore it? Those who have explored it have never come back saying they are outsiders. They have not even said that they are insiders, because even an insider is separate. They have come out and declared, "Aham brahmasmi!" ­ I am the whole, "Ana'l haq!" ­ I am the truth, I am existence itself. There is no question of outsider or insider. Those are two sides of the same coin. The whole coin is dropped, suddenly you find yourself one with the cosmic dance, a tremendous rhythm in which you disappear as a separate personality, and you become one with the whole. Every wave in the ocean for a moment thinks it is an outsider, it does not belong to the ocean. But the next moment it disappears into the ocean. You will disappear in the ocean of consciousness the same way; you are just a wave. It does not matter that you exist for seventy years. Perhaps you have become frozen and all that is needed is melting. Every day I am saying, "Melt, melt, melt like ice melting and become one with the ocean that surrounds you. You are living in the very ocean." I have told you about a young, very revolutionary fish. She started asking every other fish, "Where is the ocean? I have been hearing so much about it."

No fish could answer. They said, "You will have to find some wise fish, some enlightened fish maybe, but we don't know where this ocean is. We have also heard about it, and we believe it must be somewhere when everybody says so. For centuries our forefathers have been saying the ocean is. So we believe in it." Then an old mystic fish got hold of the young fish and said, "You idiot! You are in the ocean. You are the ocean! You are born of the ocean, you will disappear in the ocean and you will live in the ocean. You are just a rather more solid wave, but you will disappear in the ocean." This is the ocean in which you are living. Around you there is, just like air, the cosmic consciousness; you can't see it, but it is continuously nourishing you. Your consciousness is nourished by the cosmic consciousness, just as your heart is beating because of the breathing. The air that you cannot see is continuously giving you oxygen, keeping your body alive. But you are not only body. Behind the body is your hidden splendor, the consciousness. That too needs nourishment continuously. And all around you just like air... Once you are empty, just wait a little, don't take any decision. And suddenly you will feel a new rush of energy coming into you, from inside, from outside. You will suddenly feel you are surrounded with consciousness and you are melting into it. And then comes the realization that, "I was just ignorant about myself and the existence in which I am living, which has given me birth and which is going to be my ultimate home. I have to disperse in this home." But it always happens that there is a small period when you are very shaky. The other night I was talking to you about Gurdjieff and his method of working on the energy system. He divided energy into the first layer which is very small, enough for day-to-day affairs. The second layer is bigger. If the first layer is finished and you continue, the second layer will suddenly start functioning. And if you continue to exhaust the second layer ­ which is very difficult, it takes months, sometimes years to exhaust it ­ then the third layer which is cosmic, inexhaustible, starts functioning. Gurdjieff's method is very old, very primitive. But a coincidence happened. Avirbhava was shopping in Singapore that night, and she was feeling tired, utterly tired, and a moment came when she felt she could not go on any more. But she wanted to finish and come back soon, so she went on and on and on. She has come back with eighteen suitcases filled with shopping. She's the great shopper here... and she shops for me. So she went on and on. Then she suddenly felt a tremendous new energy arising in her that she had never known before, and she was as fresh as the morning dew. When she came here and related it to Kaveesha, she said, "This is a strange coincidence," because that night I was talking about these three layers of energy. The energy of the cosmos is surrounding you. All that is needed is a certain emptiness in you. So the emptiness is good; don't fill it by beliefs, don't fill it again by another kind of god, another philosophy, some existentialism. Don't fill it. Leave it clean and fresh, and go deeper. Soon you will find from both sides, from outside and inside, a tremendous rush of energy, a tremendous rush of consciousness. Then you disappear, you are almost flooded with the cosmos.

You are so small and the cosmos is so vast. You suddenly disappear into it, and that disappearance is the ultimate experience of enlightenment. Then you know you were neither an outsider, nor an insider; you are one with existence. Other than oneness with existence, nothing is going to help you. But that oneness is so easy, so obvious. Just a little relaxation, just a little turning in ­ not much effort, not much discipline, not much torture for yourself. It is good that you are feeling an outsider because God is no more filling the space, and you are feeling disconnected with the universe. It is good. It only means false connections have been removed. It happened one day... Mulla Nasruddin was sitting in his office waiting for some customers. A man came in, and Mulla Nasruddin started talking to him about the things he was selling. He did not give the man a chance to say anything. He just waved his hand telling him to sit down, picked up the telephone and started talking about millions. "Yes, take it. One million dollars, that's okay." At that moment the man could not resist the temptation. He said, "Wait a minute. I have come from the telephone company to connect the telephone." The telephone was not connected; it was just show business, that one-million-dollar purchase! You are feeling disconnected because your connections were false. connections, and you were talking to God ­ on the phone, direct line! In fact, there were no

I have suddenly made you aware that your telephone is not connected. To whom are you talking? All your prayers are on a telephone that is not connected. The only way to be connected with existence is to go inwards, because there at the center you are still connected. You have been disconnected physically from your mother. That disconnection was absolutely necessary to make you an individual in your own right. But you are not disconnected from the universe. Your connection with the universe is of consciousness. You cannot see it, so you have to go deep down with great awareness, watchfulness, witnessing, and you will find the connection. The buddha is the connection! Question 2 The second question: IS MONOTHEISM A NECESSARY STEP IN HUMAN EVOLUTION, OR IS IT JUST AN INVENTION OF THE PRIESTS? Monotheism is a far more dangerous device of the priests than polytheism. In a monotheistic religion there is no possibility for a buddha to be born. It is not part of evolution, it is preventing your evolution.

All the religions born outside India ­ Judaism, Christianity, Mohammedanism ­ are monotheistic. Mohammed gives it perfect definition: one God, one prophet, one holy Koran. This is a very dictatorial type of religion, naturally dangerous because it is very intolerant. The Jewish God himself says, "I am a very intolerant god. I am very jealous, I will not allow you to worship any other god." Monotheism is a far more efficient way of exploiting people. Hinduism is polytheistic; it has as many gods as you can think of. When Hinduism came into existence, there used to be thirty-three million people in India. Hinduism has exactly thirty-three million gods. This seems to be far more democratic ­ everybody has a god of his own. Rather than worshipping somebody else's god, it is far better to have your own private god; then there is no conflict. No Hindu scripture says, "One God, one scripture, one prophet." All Hindu scriptures say, "There are as many gods as there are people." That's why Hinduism is very inefficient. It has to be: it is not an army; it does not have a pope; it does not have any organized central body, it is a very disorganized chaos. So there is every freedom for everybody. Somebody becomes a Mahavira, Hinduism has no objection. Somebody becomes a Buddha, Hinduism has no objection. Both were born Hindus, both went against Hindus. There is no problem, because there is no central body to appoint a court or a grand jury to judge whether Mahavira is authentic since he does not believe in God. His whole effort is that you should develop your consciousness to the ultimate peak: everybody is a god. Mahavira's interpretation of thirty-three million gods was: there are thirty-three million people, who are all going to become one day, when they evolve to the highest peak, gods. It is a probability... there are not yet thirty-three million gods, but thirty-three million potential gods. That gives a great freedom, and there is no need of any priest. You have your private god on a direct line. But Christianity, a monotheist religion, will not allow any buddha; hence it has remained poor in consciousness. Its religion looks very primitive and is based on fictions. Nothing has been contributed by monotheist religions to the world except war, because the Mohammedan God cannot tolerate the Jewish God, nor can it tolerate the Christian God, nor can it tolerate the Hindu gods. It has to kill all those gods and the believers in those gods. Only one God.... So when Mohammedans came to India they destroyed millions of beautiful temples which were made for centuries by great sculptors. They destroyed millions of statues, beautiful statues of Buddha, Mahavira, other Jaina tirthankaras. Whatever is left is a very small amount. Perhaps some temple was left because it was hidden deep in the forest. In every village you will find that, when the Mohammedans came, people just threw their gods, beautiful statues, into the wells just to protect them from the Mohammedans, who would otherwise destroy their statue. So in every village ­ it happens often ­ you will find, in summertime when the water goes down, suddenly a buddha arising, and people pull the buddha out. For centuries he has been lying in the well, but he has been protected. People had forgotten, because those who had thrown the statues in had died centuries before. Mohammedans came two thousand years ago, and they destroyed everything. Their god was intolerant, how can they be tolerant? Monotheism is the most ugly religious form in the world, because it is intolerant. Intolerance creates violence.

Christians have crusades, Mohammedans have jihads ­ religious wars. India has never known any religious war. It is everybody's choice to have a god or not to have a god; even the atheists were not burned. A great philosophy of charvakas flourished for centuries. Charvakas believe there is no God, there is no soul ­ what Marx said five thousand years later. They say that the soul is just a by-product of five elements that constitute the body. The founder of the charvaka religion was Acharya Brihaspati ­ and it is strange that Acharya Brihaspati is mentioned in the Vedas with great respect. This is tolerance. It is your choice, you are free to choose your path; you are free to choose even a religion which has no God, even a religion which has no soul. Charvakas were the perfect atheists. Their whole philosophy was: eat, drink and be merry, because there is no hell, no heaven, no god. And don't be worried because there is no judgment day and there is nobody to judge. So sinners and saints all disappeared into five elements. In India you must have seen people chewing pan. Brihaspati has used the symbol of pan. If you chew the pan leaf it will not make your lips red, and if you chew separately all the things that are put in the pan your lips will not be red. But if you put them together your lips become red. The redness of your lips is a by-product of the five elements making the pan. It is not an independent thing, it is the combination of the five elements together. This was a simple example by charvakas, and they were respected. Even the Vedas mention Brihaspati as a great master, an acharya. Such tolerance is possible only in a polytheistic religion. When there are so many gods, you have a variety of choice, you have a certain freedom. When there is one god you don't have any freedom. According to me, monotheism is far worse than polytheism. The polytheism of the Hindus allowed the buddhas, the tirthankaras, the charvakas, without any problem. Although they were against Hinduism, still nobody was crucified. Even Brihaspati was not crucified, but is mentioned with great respect in the Vedas. He has the freedom to think, to say, to create a philosophy of his own. Basically the name was not charvak, it was charuvak. There is a great difference. Charuvak means sweet words. The philosophy of Brihaspati was of sweet words. He was taking away all fear ­ there is no god, no heaven, no hell ­ he was taking away all kinds of dread. Death is the end, birth is the beginning, in the middle is a small life. Enjoy it, and enjoy it even if you have to borrow money. Don't be worried, because after death nobody is going to tell you, "Give me my money back." His sentence is: Rinam kritva ghritam pivet. Even if you have to borrow money, don't be worried: borrow money, drink ghee. Ghee is the most refined part of milk. When butter is refined, it becomes ghee. You cannot go beyond ghee, that is the last thing. And you cannot go backwards either, neither forwards nor backwards. You have come to the full point. So, significantly, he is saying that this life is the full point. You are not going anywhere, so just enjoy it. It does not matter what means you employ; what matters is your enjoyment. And life is so short, don't waste it in unnecessary fears that you will suffer in hell. Don't waste it in unnecessary greed that you will be rewarded in heaven. Don't bother about right and wrong. The only thing that is right is enjoy!

Even this man is respected, but slowly slowly the word charuvak became in the masses' mind charvak. Charvak means one who goes on eating continuously, just chewing like a buffalo ­ because that was actually his teaching: eat, drink, be merry. Nor was Gautam Buddha crucified, although he declared that all the Vedas are false. He declared that the whole of brahmanism, the priesthood of the Hindus, has been exploiting people. He declared that the Hindu caste system is wrong, every man is born equal. But he was not crucified. Even Hindu philosophers used to go and listen to him. In fact, all his disciples were basically Hindu. From where else could he have found thousands of disciples? Great Hindu scholars came to debate with him and became his disciples, finding that they have only words, whereas this man had experience. There was such a tremendous urge to find the truth, it did not matter from whom it came. The monotheistic religions ­ Christianity, Judaism, Mohammedanism ­ have been the most dangerous religions in the world. Buddhism has not killed a single person in twenty-five centuries. It has never attacked anybody, and it has spread all over Asia, converted the whole of Asia just by a simple experience. It was difficult to confront a Bodhidharma. Even the Emperor Wu of China could not manage to stand straight in front of Bodhidharma. And Bodhidharma said to him, "You are an idiot!" He called the emperor of China an idiot when he asked: "I have put my whole energy, my whole power and my whole treasure at the disposal of the Buddhist monks. Thousands of monks are here translating scriptures of Buddha into Chinese, and they are all my guests. I have opened many monasteries. I have made many temples for Buddha. What is going to be my reward?" Just the word `reward' was enough, and Bodhidharma said, "You are an idiot. If you have been doing all this for a reward, you will fall into the deepest hell." The emperor was shocked. But Bodhidharma said, "The very idea of reward is nothing but greed. You are more greedy than ordinary greedy people. Those who are collecting money know perfectly well when they die their bank balance is not going with them, nor is their money going with them. But you are greedy, so greedy that you are trying to make a bank balance in the other world of which you know nothing. Obviously you are an idiot. And I am not going to enter into your empire. I had come with that idea, but when the emperor is an idiot, that is proof enough of what kind of people you must have." He refused to enter. He remained outside the boundary of China in a small temple. And Emperor Wu when he was dying said to his people, his prime minister, "Write on my grave that I am really an idiot. I could not understand the great buddha who has come in the form of Bodhidharma. He was right, I have lived a wrong life of greed and fear." Buddha's word spread all over Asia from Sri Lanka to Korea. There was no clash, there was no fight. At the most there were beautiful discussions, very nice, civilized, cultured. The sword cannot prove that you are right! Nor can crucifixion prove that Jesus was wrong. I always think that Judaism had such great rabbis, scholars. Could they not convince Jesus, a young man, only thirty-three years of age? The problem was they were only scholars, there was not

a single man who really knew the truth. And this man was claiming something which they could not argue against, because there is no way to argue against it. He is saying, "I am the prophet you have been waiting for." And they certainly had been waiting; they are still waiting; they will wait forever. It is waiting for Godot. When for the first time the book came to me, WAITING FOR GODOT, I thought this Godot seems to be a parody on the word `God'. My ancientmost German sannyasin, Haridas, was there. So I asked Haridas, "Do you think Godot is German for God?" He said, "No. The German for God is Gott!" I said, "That's great. Already `gott', there is no need to wait." I said, "That's perfectly okay. When you have `gott' it, what is the point of waiting?" I love the idea. God is so faraway, gott is very appealing. You are asking about monotheism: is it a necessary step? No, not at all. It is an absolutely unnecessary step, and not only unnecessary, but dangerous. It has created only violence, murder. Living people have been burned in the name of a monotheistic god. One god will not allow you to believe in another god. Polytheism is also an invention of priests, but far more liberal. Monotheism is the invention of the priests, but far more dictatorial. It gives you commandments, as if you are an army and you need commandments. Buddha does not have any commandments, nor Mahavira. They persuade you; they don't command, they don't humiliate you. They respect you, they know that your hidden potential is the same as theirs. Gautam Buddha relates this about his past life. He heard that one man had become enlightened. He was not very much interested, but just out of curiosity... The man had come to the town where he lived. He was very young and not interested at all in enlightenment or spirituality, but out of curiosity to find out what this enlightenment was, he went to see the man. He had no desire to bow down to him, but when he saw the man ­ he was so luminous, had such a grace, such a tremendous presence ­ in spite of himself he touched his feet. He became aware when he was touching his feet, "What am I doing? I had come just to be a spectator." When you really face a man who knows, a gratitude arises spontaneously, it is not an effort. It was not an effort at all. He had not even come with touching his feet in mind; he had come just to be a spectator. But seeing him was enough. He forgot himself, this man's presence was so overwhelming. Such beauty! His eyes so deep like a lake, so clean, so clear. He fell in love with that man immediately as he touched his feet. He thought, while touching his feet, "What am I doing? It has happened on its own." But more of a miracle, a bigger miracle was awaiting him. As he stood up, the man who had become enlightened bowed down and touched this young man's feet. He said, "What are you doing? You are a great awakened one. It is absolutely right for me to touch your feet, although I had not come with that desire ­ it was spontaneous, you touched my heart ­ but why are you touching my feet? Because I am nobody, I don't know even the ABC of enlightenment." That man said, "This life you don't know. There was a time I was also just like you. I had no idea who I am. Now I know. I have come to my flowering. And I know you will come to your flowering. Don't

forget! I have touched your feet so that when you become a buddha you won't forget that everybody is a buddha. Somebody has blossomed, somebody is waiting for the right season. And everybody's spring comes in its own time." And Buddha reminded his disciples again and again, "Never think for a single moment that you are inferior to me. We are all equal. The only difference is ­ a very slight difference which does not mean much ­ you are asleep, I am awake. But I was asleep, and you will be awake, so what is the difference? The difference is only of timing. In the morning I wake up, in the evening you wake up ­ just twelve hours difference. That does not create any superiority or inferiority. Everybody has to walk according to his pace. Some people run, some people are really fast runners. Some people go slowly, some people take many stops on the way and have a little rest and a cup of tea, maybe an afternoon nap. But everybody is on the way. Somebody is a little behind, somebody is a little forward, but that does not create any question of inferiority or superiority. Buddhism has no priests; Jainism has no priests, because they don't have God. If you don't have God, you can't have priests. Priests are the representatives of the fictitious God; they are the agents between you and God. And priests certainly would like monotheism rather than polytheism. Hindu priests are trying hard to create Hinduism as a monotheistic religion also; but they have failed. There are eight shankaracharyas. The original shankaracharya, Adi Shankaracharya, appointed four shankaracharyas. He was the first man to make some effort to organize Hinduism. Before him there was no leader at all; it was absolute freedom. He appointed four shankaracharyas for the four directions, so each will rule over one direction. But after his death, four new shankaracharyas popped up, because there are eight directions, not four. So four people popped up on their own, and now there are eight shankaracharyas. I was telling one shankaracharya, "You should have two more." He said, "What?" I said, "There are ten directions. The eight you have, one upwards, one downwards." He said, "That's a great idea. Then we can afford two more." But all these shankaracharyas have no central body, and they cannot have, because somebody is a worshipper of Shiva, somebody is a worshipper of Vishnu, somebody is a worshipper of Krishna, somebody is a worshipper of Brahma. And there are hundreds of smaller gods which people worship. People worship trees, people worship stones. Put a red color on any stone and just wait by the side. You will soon find some Hindu coming there, bowing down. When for the first time the British government made roads and milestones, they painted the milestones red because red can be seen from far away. No other color is so sharp or can be seen from far away. So they painted the stones red, and they were very much concerned. Hindu villagers would come, place their flowers and coconuts, and worship.

The British said to them, "These are milestones." And the villagers said, "It does not matter. Any red stone represents God." You will see trees being worshipped, stones being worshipped. There is a complete freedom to worship. It is far better than monotheism, but I don't support it. It may be better than monotheism, but it is still poison, just a little diluted. It will kill you slowly, but it will kill you certainly. Every religion is destructive of your evolution of consciousness. Monotheism is the most dangerous, but religion as such is dangerous. If you can avoid religion, you can become religious. If you can avoid religion, you can have a direct contact with existence and the cosmos. Question 3 The third question: IS IT DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE TO DROP GOD BECAUSE HE IS THEIR ONLY HOPE AND THEY FOCUS ALL THEIR EXPECTATIONS ON HIM? IT SEEMS TO BE VERY HARD TO DROP AN EXPECTATION EVEN WHEN ONE CAN SEE IT AS SUCH AND CAN GUESS THAT MOST LIKELY IT WILL END UP IN DISAPPOINTMENT. It is true. It is very difficult to drop an expectation, to drop a hope, because you don't have anything real in your life. You are living only in the hope that tomorrow will be better. You are only living with the expectation that after death you will enjoy the pleasures of paradise eternally. Hence it is difficult to drop the idea of God. But it is God who is preventing you from all the joys and blissfulness and ecstasy right now. You are missing the present in the hope of the future, and the future is not certain. Tomorrow never comes. Have you ever seen tomorrow coming? God is just like tomorrow, always hanging around. It just seems it is coming, it is coming, but what comes is today! Tomorrow never comes. All those hopes never come true. All those expectations finally become frustrations. Why do you see rich people more frustrated than the poor? Just go into the interior parts of India where real poverty exists, and you will not find anybody disappointed. They are hoping for God, and they think their poverty is a fire test, and only the poor will enter into the kingdom of God. That's why Christianity has such great appeal to the poor people of the world. It gives great consolation. It gives you expectation, which helps you tolerate the present misery, the pain, the present poverty, slavery. Your eyes are focused on the future, and the present goes on passing in misery. But as your eyes are no more focused on the present, the consolation helps to keep you alive, but just alive; just like vegetables. It keeps you vegetating. A life that cannot dance is not life. It is living at the minimum survival level. A life that cannot sing the song of love and joy is not life. So your expectations and your hopes may make it difficult to drop God, but you have to gather courage and understanding that your hopes and expectations are destroying your whole life, and God is just a fiction. It is not going to fulfill anything. God is nowhere. You are, God is not.

Existence is, God is not. So look into the isness of things, look into this moment now and here, into yourself. That is the closest door to the cosmos, it opens in your very center. All your expectations will look so poor, and all your hopes will look so ugly when you come to know your tremendous splendor, your godliness, when you will realize your freedom, and when you realize that the whole cosmos is related to you, deeply related to you, and you are just a great aspiration of the cosmos to reach to the highest point of consciousness. I have told you that Vincent Van Gogh used to paint his trees... Nobody liked his paintings because they were very absurd. His trees went beyond the stars. And when asked, "Where have you seen these trees?" he said, "I have never seen these trees; I have just heard a whisper. I was lying in the shade of a tree, and I just heard the whisper. The earth was saying to the tree, `You are my ambition. You are my ambition to reach the stars.' Since that moment I have started painting my trees going beyond the stars." He is really a genius. Certainly trees are ambitions of the earth. And what is man's consciousness? The ambition of the whole of existence to reach to the highest peak, become a Gautam Buddha. In your becoming a Gautam Buddha the whole existence rejoices. You have fulfilled the expectation of existence. You don't need to expect anything, you are yourself an expectation of existence. You fulfill it, and you can fulfill it, because existence has given you every opportunity and all the potential to fulfill it. Everything is there, you just have to put everything in the right place. And suddenly you will see life is a sheer dance of ecstasy from birth to death, from death to birth. These are small episodes, birth and death, in the eternal flow of life. But unless you drop God, you are going to remain miserable, and misery needs some support from hope, expectation, tomorrows. But this is not living. Do you think living in tomorrow can be called living? Life knows only one moment, and that is the present. Life knows only one space, and that is here. Now and here: these two words are the most significant words in the human language; they represent reality. Friedrich Nietzsche suggests that the hope of happiness is the instrument by which man is manipulated, more than any actual instance of happiness. Do you remember any moment of real happiness in your past? Just go backwards towards your childhood. When you were a child, you thought you would be happy when you were older. Every child wants to grow up quickly. I used to live in a house eight or ten houses away from a post office. In front of my house was the public park, so it was a very quiet and silent place. I used to go for a walk early in the morning about three o'clock. One day I saw near the post office a little boy with a mustache. I could not believe it. It was dark, but it was full-moon night, so I could see the mustache. And he was smoking a cigarette. I thought, "Perhaps he is a pygmy." Seeing me the boy moved behind a big tree by the side of the road. So I went behind the tree. The boy said, "Don't tell my father."

I said, "I'm not going to tell anybody. Who are you? I don't know your father." He said, "My father is the postmaster here; that is the post office." I said, "What are you doing? You have got a good mustache." He just pulled the mustache off. He said, "It is not real, but my father has a real mustache and I always want to grow one quickly. But how to grow it quickly? I even shave my mustache when my father is out, but nothing grows. And he shaves twice a day. So I got this mustache from a shop which sells things for people who are playing in a drama in a college gathering or somewhere." And I said, "You are smoking a cigarette, too." He was hiding it behind him. He said, "My father always smokes, and while smoking he really looks like a man. So I just thought to give it a try." In that small boy I saw all the children of the world. Every child wants to grow fast, because what is childhood? Being ordered by the mother, by the father, being ordered by the teacher, beaten by the parents, beaten by the teacher... Every boy wants, every girl wants, just to grow as quickly as possible... Just remember your own childhood. It is absolutely false, the saying, "My childhood was the most beautiful period of my life." If your childhood was the most beautiful period of your life and out of your childhood grows your youth, it should be more beautiful. Out of your youth grows old age, which should be perfection. But that is not the case. When you are young you start looking embarrassed. You are young and where is the happiness? Perhaps it is hidden in a woman, or hidden in a man. Find the soul mate! Just today I have received information that in Europe there is now a great New Age movement for finding your soul mate. In their pamphlet they mention my name, because once I told you you cannot find your soul mate. It is a big world, and I don't think God creates soul mates, or existence creates soul mates. Where are you going to find each other? People find each other just in their neighborhood, or in their college. How is existence going to manage to put you and your soul mate in the same college? So that pamphlet condemns me because I am not saying the right thing: everybody has a soul mate. That is a good consolation; but just look at those who have found their soul mates... Here is Zareen. She had found a soul mate, and since she has found the soul mate I have never seen her as happy as she was before. And I know her soul mate. He keeps himself locked in his room, because he wants, poor fellow, some time to himself. But Zareen is not going to let him be alone ­ you have to be careful when you have found your soul mate ­ so she goes on knocking on his door. She jumps balconies to reach the poor fellow. And not to make a fuss ­ "Everybody will know" ­ he has to open the door. And then the meeting of the soul mates begins. Both are miserable since they have met. Anando was telling me, because I was asking her why Zareen does not look as happy as she used to. She said, "She has found a soul mate." I said, "She should be more happy. If the soul mate is not right, bring a group of sannyasins and put them in a queue before Zareen ­ `Choose your soul mate!'"

And you can change every day. Why get bored with one? Just the same sari, the same sari... One gets bored, that is absolutely natural. All soul mates create boredom and nothing else. And here in this place where freedom is the absolutely total value, ultimate value, where change is accepted as life's way, why should you bother about one soul mate when there are so many soul mates available? Just go on changing, and life will be a joy. And Zareen will again be laughing and smiling. Because of this soul mate she has become hard and dictatorial at the gate. On whom to take revenge because the soul mate always goes to Bombay? And I know why he goes to Bombay ­ just to have a little freedom. Unnecessary misery. In youth people start thinking, "Perhaps in old age life will be peaceful." In old age life becomes a constant anxiety. Death is coming closer and closer. So your whole life is wasted just looking ahead. I am reminded of a famous Greek astrologer. Even kings of the different countries of Europe used to consult him about their fate. One night he was walking, looking at the stars. But when you look at the stars you cannot look at the road. You cannot manage one eye looking up and one eye looking down; I don't think it is possible. They both go up, or they both go down. So he fell in a well, and then he shouted, screamed, "Save me!" An old woman, living nearby in her farm, came. She was too old, but somehow she managed to pull him out with a rope. And the astronomer said to her, "Do you know who I am? I am the royal astrologer. Almost all the kings and queens of Europe come to me. All the richest people discuss with me their fate, their future. And my fee is very high, but because you have saved me you can come to me. I will tell your future without any fee." The old woman laughed. She said, "You cannot even see that the well is ahead of you. Just feel ashamed. Those who have been coming to you must be fools. I am not going to come. You cannot see the well ahead, what can you see about my future?" The future is just your hope, expectation. And when this life is not fulfilling you start looking further, beyond death. All these are fictions just for you to survive somehow. But this survival is not how you are supposed to be. Existence has not given you birth just to live in hopes. You can be really ecstatic this moment, and there is no other moment. Meditation is, Zen is living now and here. The sutra: OUR BELOVED MASTER, ON ONE OCCASION SEIGEN COMMENTED TO SEKITO, "SOME SAY THAT AN INTELLIGENCE COMES FROM THE SOUTH OF THE LING." SEKITO SAID, "THERE IS NO SUCH INTELLIGENCE FROM ANYBODY."

Intelligence arises within you. It never comes from outside, from anybody, from any place, south or north, or east or west. It has nothing to do with outside. It is your inner flowering. SEIGEN SAID, "IF NOT, WHENCE ARE ALL THOSE SUTRAS OF THE TRIPITAKA?" If you say that intelligence does not come from outside, then what about the sutras of Gautam Buddha called tripitaka, three treasures? What do you say about them?" SEKITO SAID, "THEY ALL COME OUT OF HERE...." Remember this word `here'. We were just talking about the same thing. SEKITO SAID, "THEY ALL COME OUT OF HERE, AND THERE IS NOTHING WANTING." Once you are here, there is nothing unfulfilled in you. Everything becomes so fulfilled, such a deep contentment, that you don't need anything anymore. You have actualized your potential. Your flowers have opened their petals, the spring has come. It all comes from here, it all comes from now. Neither can Buddha give it to you, nor anybody else. ON SEIGEN'S DEATH, SEKITO WENT TO MOUNT NANGAKU. FINDING A LARGE, FLAT ROCK, HE BUILT A HUT, AND FROM THENCE FORWARD CAME TO BE KNOWN AS "STONEHEAD," AND LATER, WHEN HE WAS A MASTER, AS "STONEHEAD OSHO." This Mount Nangaku is the place where he had gone to see Master Nangaku. In Japan it has been a tradition that whenever a master lives on a mountain the emperor gives the name of the master to the mountain, so the mountain becomes his memory. For centuries and centuries people will know that this Mount Nangaku once was the temple and the shelter of a great master, Nangaku. He had gone to see Nangaku to deliver a message, a letter, from Seigen. At that time he must have looked on the beauty of the mountain where Nangaku used to live, at the top. When Seigen died, Sekito went to Mount Nangaku. He must have seen, while he was going there and coming back, that the place was immensely beautiful. Nangaku was not right for him, which does not mean that the man was wrong. It simply means they could not feel a certain harmony. He might be right for someone else, but he was not right for him. Or perhaps Sekito was not right for Nangaku ­ it is the same thing, but it is not a condemnation of Master Nangaku. It simply means that two persons did not feel anything as a bridge. But he must have seen the mountain as he came and went; it was a beautiful place. So he found a small place, a flat rock on Mount Nangaku, on the top of which was the monastery. HE BUILT A HUT, AND FROM THENCE FORWARD CAME TO BE KNOWN AS "STONEHEAD," because he was sitting always on this stone. And he used to have, like every Buddhist monk, his head shaved. So his head looked almost like the rock he was sitting on.

You know our Sekito Stonehead? Just look at his head. I have called him "Stonehead, the first Zen master of Germany". All that he needs is a rock. I will find a beautiful rock for him, so he can enjoy sitting on it. Once he finds the rock, you will have to address him as "Stonehead Osho." Right now he is only called "Master Stonehead Niskriya". HEARING OF SEKITO LIVING ON A ROCK, THE MASTER, NANGAKU, SENT A YOUNG MONK TO HIM, SAYING, "GO TO THE EAST AND EXAMINE IN DETAIL THE MONK SITTING ON THE STONE-HEAD. IF HE IS THE MONK WHO CAME THE OTHER DAY, ADDRESS HIM. AND IF HE REPLIES, YOU RECITE TO HIM THE FOLLOWING SONG, `YOU ARE SITTING SO PROUDLY ON THE STONE, IT IS BETTER TO COME TO ME.'" THE ATTENDANT MONK WENT TO SEKITO AND RECITED THIS SONG. SEKITO REPLIED, "EVEN IF YOU CRIED TEARS OF SORROW, I WOULD NEVER EVER CROSS OVER THE HILLS ­ I am not going to come." He was absolutely certain that Nangaku was not the man to be his master. There was no feeling of synchronicity, he had not even delivered the letter of Seigen. THE MONK CAME BACK AND MADE A REPORT TO NANGAKU. NANGAKU SAID, "THIS MONK WILL SURELY MAKE THE MOUTH OF THE PEOPLE TREMBLE FOR GENERATIONS." It is true. Just look at our "Stonehead Osho." Even now ­ after centuries! ­ he is making the people tremble. He used to have a girlfriend, she used to tremble. But since he became a "Stonehead master," the girlfriend disappeared. Who can love a stonehead? This is a great protection, particularly in this place where every woman is looking for a boyfriend. Stonehead is absolutely unafraid. Anybody who wants to be unafraid, just become a stonehead because no woman likes a stonehead. Nangaku was right in his estimation. He encountered this fellow when he came to see him, and you remember what he said? Because Nangaku said, "You should not be so arrogant in asking the question, you should be more moderate, you should be more humble," Sekito said to him, "I would rather go into hellfire for eternity than to change my question." And the reason was that no question can be humble. Every question is deep down a doubt, and every question is an interference in the master's silence. It is arrogant. And he left immediately without delivering the letter. Nangaku has seen this man, so when he sent the messenger he told him, "Take care. If this is the same fellow who came the other day, recite this sutra. Tell him to come to me rather than stay sitting on that stone, and report to me what he says." And what did he say? He said, "I am not going to leave this place, even if you come with tears in your eyes." Nangaku must have immediately remembered that this is the same man who was ready to go to eternal hell, but will not ask the question in a different way. That's why he made this comment: "THIS MONK WILL SURELY MAKE THE MOUTH OF THE PEOPLE TREMBLE FOR GENERATIONS."

And Sekito became a master of hundreds of people who became enlightened. He was a very hard master, almost dangerous to the disciples, but all his hardship came from a very loving heart, a very deep compassion. He wanted them to become enlightened, he did not allow them to escape. Once in a while a disciple might escape and Sekito would follow him for miles and pull him back, "Where are you going? Come back!" And the disciple would say, "Just forgive me, I am tired," ­ because he would beat the disciples, he would jump on the disciples. Once he threw a disciple from the window of a second-story building, and jumped on top of him. The disciple had multiple fractures, and Sekito was sitting on his chest asking, "Got it?" And the disciple really got it, he became enlightened. Who cares about multiple fractures, the real thing is enlightenment. At any cost it has to happen! People have never come across a man like Sekito, whose compassion was so great. He was ready to do ANYthing. Even in his old age he would hit so hard that his own hand would hurt. And disciples would say, "You are getting old now, Master, you should not hit people so hard, because they are young and you are old. You are becoming every day more fragile." He said, "I know. My hand hurts the whole night, but I cannot see somebody groping in the darkness. If just one hit can make him awake, it does not matter if my hand hurts the whole night. Sooner or later these hands will disappear into the earth, but if these hands can help somebody to wake up... You think I am getting old; that is true, but as far as I am concerned, even when I am dead if I see someone stumbling in the darkness I will jump out of my grave and hit him as hard as I can." This man was a rare master, apparently very hard, deep down so soft that he was ready to jump out of his grave. My feeling is, if he had done that ­ he never has done that ­ just his skeleton would have made the person enlightened. There would not have been any need to hit. The person would have shouted immediately, "Got it! You just go down." Issa wrote: PEARLS OF THE DEW! IN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM I SEE MY HOME. These Zen poets have transcended all the poetry of the world, because all poetry is mind fabrication; only haikus come from no-mind. PEARLS OF THE DEW! IN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM I SEE MY HOME. And when you can see in every dewdrop your home, how can you feel an outsider or insider? You simply become one with existence.

This whole existence is so deeply one at the center. Only on the circumference are we different. You draw a big circle. On the circumference of the circle you can put points which are different. Then from every point draw a line towards the center. As those lines start coming closer to the center, you will find they are coming closer to each other also. And at the center all the lines meet. So when I say go to your center, I am not only sending you to your center, it is the center of the whole existence. There we all meet, there it is only one oceanic consciousness. Question 4 Maneesha's question: OUR BELOVED MASTER, NIETZSCHE'S FOREWORD TO HIS BOOK, The Antichrist, BEGINS, "THIS BOOK BELONGS TO THE VERY FEW. PERHAPS NONE OF THEM IS EVEN LIVING YET. POSSIBLY THEY ARE THE READERS WHO UNDERSTAND MY ZARATHUSTRA... ONLY THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW BELONGS TO ME. SOME ARE BORN POSTHUMOUSLY." TO UNDERSTAND HIM, NIETZSCHE CONTINUES, ONE MUST HAVE "... NEW EARS FOR NEW MUSIC. NEW EYES FOR THE MOST DISTANT THINGS." BELOVED MASTER, DO YOU FIND IN US THE CAPACITY FOR THOSE "NEW EARS," THOSE "NEW EYES"? Maneesha, everybody has the capacity, but the capacity has to be transformed into reality. It is only a potential. And I am working to give you that transformation where your potential "ears" become your reality, where your potential "eyes" become your reality. Perhaps Nietzsche is talking about you. This is the day after tomorrow. And your meditation will make your ears sensitive enough, your eyes clear enough. If you can understand me, there is no difficulty in understanding Friedrich Nietzsche, because Nietzsche is only mind. I am no-mind. If you can understand me, you have far better ears and far better eyes than Nietzsche was thinking about. Your meditation is going to open all your sensitivity, your receptivity. Nietzsche will not be difficult for you to understand. Meditation will make you capable of understanding not only Nietzsche, but those great buddhas who are not born yet. You will be able to understand all the buddhas of the past, of the present, of the future, because their song is one, their music is one. It is the music that arises out of deep silence. This place is just a scientific lab to create the new man ­ in Friedrich Nietzsche's words, the superman. But I use the word new man, because the superman gives a sense of superiority. Otherwise the word is beautiful, but it can be misguiding; hence I call it the new man, or the buddha, because the new man is going to be fully awakened. If a fully awakened man cannot understand Friedrich Nietzsche, who else can understand him? You are on the way to understand even deeper things and greater heights.

It is time from these great heights to roll down laughing. It is time for Sardar Gurudayal Singh. When Little Ernie gets into mischief, his mother tries to discipline him by saying, "God would not like that!" And when Ernie gets really out of hand, his mother says, "God will be angry!" But one evening at the dinner table, Ernie takes one look at the plate of prunes put in front of him and says, "YUCK! I'm not going to eat these wrinkled old black things!" "Ernie!" says his mother. "God would not like that!" "I don't care," snaps Ernie. "I am not going to eat them!" "ERNEST!" threatens his mother, "God will be angry." "AH!" shouts Ernie. "FUCK God!" At this, his mother sends him up to his bedroom. A few minutes later, a violent thunderstorm blows up and shakes the roof and rattles the walls. Ernie's mother goes upstairs to remind him about God's anger. But to her surprise, she finds Ernie looking out of the window at the terrible storm. "You see, Ernie," exclaims his mother. "This is what happens when you make God angry!" "Well," replies Ernie, "if you ask me, it is a lot of fuss to make over a plate of prunes!" Captain Koppa of the L.A. police receives an order from the police commissioner to raid Madam Fifi's "House of Carnal Delights" in downtown Hollywood. But this order causes Koppa and his men some embarrassment, because they are all frequent customers themselves and are friendly with Madam Fifi. So Captain Koppa calls the establishment on the phone to warn them, but finds that Madam Fifi and all the girls have gone out on a picnic. Only Mrs. Moppit, the cleaning lady, is there to answer the phone. "Listen," says Captain Koppa. "Pass this message on to Madam Fifi: Tonight, we have to make a surprise raid on the place. But when we come, we will honk the horn loudly, and drive around the block. We will do this three times ­ and then we will come rushing in. By that time, we want everybody safely out of the place! Do you understand?" "Yes, yes!" replies Mrs. Moppit, and she puts down the phone. But when she has finished cleaning she goes home and forgets to pass on the message. That night it is business as usual, and Madam Fifi's "House of Carnal Delights" is packed to capacity. At midnight exactly, Captain Koppa and the boys arrive in their patrol cars. They all honk their horns and screech around the block. When they reappear, they honk their horns and go around again. They honk and circle the block once more and then screech to a halt outside and charge into the building.

As they are racing up the stairs with the captain in the lead, they meet two naked girls coming down, holding a mattress between them. "What the hell is going on?" cries Captain Koppa. "Where are you girls going?" "Don't blame us!" shouts one of the girls. "Some idiot outside is honking for take-away service!" Bishop Kretin has a small church on the Greek island of Crete. One of the rules of his Greek Orthodox Church is that he cannot hold a church service with less than six people present. Since Kretin only has six old ladies in his congregation, this rule is beginning to cause him some anxiety. Sure enough, one Sunday morning only five old ladies show up ­ Old Mrs. Theocrapolis has dropped dead the night before, while saying her prayers. So Bishop Kretin has an idea. "Perhaps we can get a passerby to join us," he announces, "to make up the sixth person." He sends off Old Mrs. Suflaki to try and find somebody. "Remember, Mrs. Suflaki," shouts Bishop Kretin, "anyone will do ­ man or woman!" Mrs. Suflaki shuffles down the street in her black dress, black shoes and black head scarf, looking for a passing tourist. She runs right into Herman the German who has just arrived for his summer holidays. "Hey! Mister!" croaks the old Greek lady. "How would you like to be the sixth man?" "Mein Gott!" cries Herman. "I would not even want to be the first!" Nivedano... (Drumbeat) (Gibberish) Nivedano... (Drumbeat) Be silent. Close your eyes, and feel your body to be completely frozen. This is the right moment to turn inwards, with your whole energy, with your total consciousness. Rush towards the center, with an urgency as if this is going to be your last moment on the earth. Without such an urgency nobody has ever become awakened. Faster and faster... Deeper and deeper... As you are coming closer to your center, a great silence descends over you. The whole night starts singing songs for you.

A little more, deeper, and you find flowers of peace, serenity, joy, ecstasy, blissfulness, all growing around you. Just one step more and you are at the very center of your being. Suddenly you see you are no more, only your original face without any mask, without any personality, is there. This is the face we have called in the East the face of the buddha. This is everybody's original face, it is nobody's monopoly. The only quality the buddha at the center of being has is witnessing. Witnessing is the whole of spirituality compressed into one word. Witness you are not the body, witness you are not the mind, and witness you are only a witness, just a mirror reflecting without any judgment, without any appreciation, without any condemnation ­ a pure mirror, that's what the buddha is. The silence becomes deeper. Ecstasy becomes overwhelming. You are drunk with the divine. This center is the connection with existence. From here your consciousness is being nourished continuously. This is your eternal life, without beginning, without end. To make the witnessing more clear, and more deep, Nivedano... (Drumbeat) Relax, let go completely, but remember one thing constantly, that you are a witness. This witness is the truth. This witness is beauty. This witness is the good. This witness is the opening of all the mysteries of existence, the ultimate secret of all the miracles. At this impeccable, silent moment, you are the most fortunate people on the earth. I can see your melting, the ice is melting into the ocean. You are disappearing. Gautama the Buddha Auditorium has become an ocean. Ten thousand buddhas have disappeared into one oceanic consciousness. Collect as much experience of the center as possible, all the flowers of the beyond, the eternal peace, the ultimate joy. You have to bring all these qualities to your ordinary day-to-day life. The more your day-to-day life becomes graceful, beautiful, peaceful, silent, loving, compassionate, the closer the buddha will come to you.

So remember to persuade the buddha that you are getting ready, only he is missing. He has to come following you just like a shadow. These are the three steps of enlightenment: first, buddha comes behind you with all his warmth and grace and beauty and blissfulness and benediction, as a shadow. Soon he takes over. You become the shadow in the second step. And in the second step, your shadow by and by starts withering away, because it has been only a shadow and nothing else. In the third step you find you are the buddha, and the person you used to be is no more to be found anywhere. That day will be the greatest day of celebration in your life ­ not only in your life, but in the life of the whole of existence. The whole existence will celebrate: the trees, the stars, the moon, the oceans, the earth ­ everything around you will have a tremendous ceremony to welcome your coming home. After a long wandering into different bodies, into different species, finally you have come home. Nivedano... (Drumbeat) Come back, but come back with the same grace as a buddha comes, with the same silence. Sit down for a few moments, reminding yourself of the golden path you have traveled, and the tremendous space you have been in. And feel the radiance and the coolness of a buddha behind you. He is almost touching your body and your heart. He is so motherly, he is so feminine, so fragile ­ just like a lotus leaf. Rejoice that you are those chosen few Friedrich Nietzsche speaks of. Soon you will start having a new sensitivity to your ears, and a new light will shine in your eyes, and a new dance will be in your heart. The spring is coming soon, and you are all going to blossom into buddhas. Less than that is not sufficient. You have to be a buddha; only that experience of the ultimate height and the ultimate depth will bring you home. The very source from where you have come is also the goal where you are going. And I am immensely happy with you. You are doing so well, with such honesty that any master would have been proud of you. God is dead, and Zen is the only living truth.

Okay, Maneesha? Yes, Beloved Master.

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