Chapter 11: Sober Up



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Meditation cannot be a fragmented thing, it should be a continuous effort. Every moment one has to be alert, aware and meditative. But the mind has played a trick: you meditate in the morning and then you put it aside; or you pray in the temple and then forget it. Then you come back to the world, completely unmeditative, unconscious, as if walking in a hypnotic sleep. This fragmented effort won't do much. How can you meditate for one hour when you have been nonmeditative for twenty-three hours of the day? It is impossible. Suddenly to become meditative for one hour is not possible. You can simply deceive yourself.

Consciousness is a continuum; it is like a river, flowing constantly. If you are meditative the whole day, every moment of it... and only  when you are meditative the whole day the flowering will come to you. Nothing will come before.

This Zen anecdote looks absurd but it is very meaningful. The master, the monk, used to call himself -- this is what meditation means, calling yourself -- he used to call his own name. He would say, "Are you there?" And he himself would reply, "Yes sir, I am here." This is an effort, a peak effort, to be alert. You can use this, it will be very helpful. Suddenly, walking on the street, you call yourself, "Teertha, are you there?" Suddenly thinking stops, and you have to answer, "Yes sir, I am here." It brings you to a focus. When thinking stops you are meditative, alert.

This calling to oneself is a technique. Going to sleep, putting off the light in the night, suddenly you call, "Are you there?" And in that darkness alertness comes. You become a flame and inside you answer, "Yes, I am here."

And then this monk used to say, "Sober up!" Be sincere, be authentic; don't play the game. He used to call to himself, "Sober up!" And he would reply, "Yes, I will make every effort that I can."

Our whole life is a fooling around. You can do it because you are not aware of how you waste time, how you waste energy -- how life is wasted you are not aware. It is going down the drain. Everything is going down the drain. Only when death comes to you, you may become aware, alert: What have I been doing? What have I done with life? A great opportunity has been lost. What was I doing fooling around? I was not sober. I never reflected upon what I was doing.

Life is not just to pass, it is to reach somewhere deep within you. Life is not on the surface, it is not the circumference, it is the center. And you have not reached to the center yet. Sober up! Enough time is already wasted. Be alert and see what you are doing. And what are you doing? Searching for money? It is finally, ultimately useless. It is again a game, the money game. You have more than others, you feel good; others have more than you, you feel bad. It is a game. But what is the meaning of it? What do you gain from it? Even if you have all the money the world contains, at the moment of death you will die as a beggar. So the whole wealth of the world cannot make you rich. Games cannot make you rich. Sober up!

Somebody is after power, prestige, somebody is after sex, and somebody after something else. All is a game. Unless you touch the center of your being all is a game. On the surface only games exist, and on the surface are only waves, and in those waves you will only suffer and drift. You cannot be anchored into your self. This is why he had to call, "Sober up!" He was saying, "Don't play games. Enough, you have played enough. Don't be foolish any more. Use life for anchoring, use life to gain roots, use life as an opportunity to reach the divine. You are sitting just outside the temple, sitting just on the steps, playing games, and the ultimate is waiting just behind you. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you..." But you have no time left from the games.

"Sober up" means remember what you are doing and why you are doing it. But even if you succeed, where can you reach? This is the paradox -- that whenever a man succeeds in these foolish games, for the first time he becomes aware that the whole thing has been nonsense. Only those who never succeed go on playing the game; those who succeed suddenly become aware that nothing has been reached. Ask an Alexander, ask a Napoleon what he has reached.

It is reported of Alexander that before he was going to die, he told his court, "When you carry my dead body in the streets let both my hands hang out. Don't cover them." This was rare -- nobody was carried that way.

The court couldn't understand, so they asked, "What do you mean? This is not the usual way. The whole body is hidden.... Why do you want both your hands hanging out?"

Alexander replied, "I want it to be known that I am dying with empty hands. Everybody must see it, and nobody should try to be an Alexander again. I have gained much and still gained nothing; my kingdom is great but I am still poor."

You die a beggar even if you are an emperor; then the whole thing seems like a dream. Just as in the morning the dream is broken and all emperorhoods disappear, all kingdoms disappear, so death is an awakening. That which remains in death is real, that which disappears was a dream: this is the criterion. And when this monk used to call, "Sober up!" he meant this: Remember death and don't fool around.

You go on in such a way as if you are not going to die, ever. Your mind says, "Death always happens to others, never to me; it is always a phenomenon happening to others, never to me." Even if you see a man dying you never think that you are dying in him. His death is symbolic: the same is going to happen to you. If you can see that you are going to die, will you be able to play these games so seriously, putting your whole life at stake for nothing? The monk was right to call in the morning, "Sober up!" Whenever you start playing a game again -- with your wife, in the shop, in the market, in politics, close your eyes, call yourself and say, "Sober up!" And the monk used to reply, "Yes sir, I will make every effort that I can."

Another thing is that he used to remember in the morning. And why the morning? The morning sets the pattern, the first thought in the morning becomes the door; hence all religions insist on at least two prayers. If you can be  prayerful, that it is the right thing, but if not, then say at least two prayers -- one in the morning, one in the night. In the morning, when you are fresh and sleep has left you and consciousness is rising again, the first thought, the prayer, the meditation, the remembrance, will set the pattern for the whole day. That will become the door... because things move in a chain. If you are angry in the morning the whole day you will become more and more angry. The first anger creates the chain, the second anger follows easily, the third becomes automatic -- and then you are in it. Then whatsoever happens around you creates anger. To be prayerful in the morning, or to be alert, to call yourself, to be mindful, sets the pattern.

In the night also, when you go to sleep, the last thought becomes the pattern for the whole sleep. If the last thought is meditative the whole sleep will become meditation; if the last thought is of sex then the whole sleep will be disturbed by sexual dreams; if the last thought is of money then the whole night you will be in the market purchasing and selling. A thought is not an accident. It creates a chain, and then things follow and similar things follow.

So pray at least twice a day. Mohammedans pray at least five times. It is beautiful, because if a man is to pray five times a day then it is almost a continuous thing. He has to remember, "Now the morning has come, now the afternoon, now the evening prayer, now the night has come...." There are gaps, but two prayers are so near that they become joined together. Look at Mohammedans praying: they are the most beautiful people for prayer. Hindus don't look so prayerful -- they will do it in the morning. But a Mohammedan has to pray five times; only then is he a Mohammedan. It is a simple rule, and five times, continuously remembering, sets the pattern. It becomes an inner flow; you have to come again and again to it. Between two prayers it will be difficult to be angry; between two prayers it will be difficult to be aggressive and violent. The fundamental thing is that if what one does is continuous there is no need for five prayers. Still there will be gaps, and you are so cunning that you can fill the gaps with something wrong and then your prayer will be affected. Then it will not be real prayer. You will be praying, but inside deep down the wrong current will go on and on and on.

In the morning this monk used to call himself -- because Buddhists don't believe in prayer, they believe in meditation. The distinction has to be understood. I myself don't believe in prayer; my emphasis is also on meditation. There are two types of religious people: one, the praying type, and the other, the meditating type. Buddhists say there is no need to pray, but just to be alert, aware, because alertness will give you the prayerful mood. There is also no need to pray to a God. How can you pray to a God you don't know? Your prayer is in the dark; you don't know the divine. If you knew him there would be no need to pray -- so your prayer is just groping in the dark. You are addressing someone you don't know, so how can your address be authentic and real, how can it come from the heart? It is just a belief and deep down there is doubt. Deep down you are not certain whether God exists or not; deep down you are not certain whether this prayer is a monologue or a dialogue, whether there is someone who is listening and will answer, or whether you are alone, talking to yourself. This uncertainty will destroy the whole thing.

Buddha emphasized meditation. He said, "There is no need for the other; know well that you are alone." At least that much is certain -- that you are  alone. Base your life on something which is absolutely certain... because how can you base your life on something which is uncertain, doubtful, which exists only as a belief, not as a knowing? But what is certain in life? Only one thing is certain, and that is you. Everything else can be doubted.

I am here talking to you; you may not be there, it may be just a dream. You are here listening to me; I may not be here, it may be just a dream, because many times in dreams you have listened to me. And when the dream is on it looks real. How can you make the distinction whether this is a dream or not? How can you make the distinction between the real and the dream? There is no way. About the other you can never be certain; there is no way to be certain about the other. About yourself only you can be certain; the only certainty that is there is you. Why? -- because even to doubt yourself, you  have to be there.

The father of modern western philosophy, Descartes, started by doubt; he doubted everything, because he was in search of something which could not be doubted. Only that can become the base of real life, authentic life -- that which can be doubted. That which has to be believed cannot become the real foundation. This foundation is sinking, and you are building a house on the sands. So he doubted everything. The gods can be doubted easily, the world can be doubted, it may be just a dream; the others.... He doubted everything.

Then suddenly he became aware that he could not doubt himself. That is contradictory. If you say that you doubt yourself it means you have to believe you are there to doubt. You can say that you may be deceived about yourself, but there is somebody who has to be there to be deceived. The self cannot be doubted.

Hence Mahavira didn't believe in God; he believed only in the self, because that is the only certainty. You cannot grow out of uncertainty. When there is certainty there is trust; when there is uncertainty there may be belief, but the belief is always hiding the doubt.

So many people come to me who are theists. They believe in God, but their belief is just skin-deep. Poke them a little, push them a little, shake them a little -- they become doubtful and they become afraid. What type of religion is possible if you are so much in doubt? Something indubitable is needed.

Mahavira and Buddha both emphasized meditation. They canceled prayer; they said: How can you pray? You don't know the divine, so you cannot really believe.... You can force a belief, but a forced belief is a false belief. And you can argue and convince yourself, but that won't help, because your arguments, your convictions, are always yours; and the mind goes on wavering.

So Buddha and Mahavira both emphasized meditation. Meditation is a totally different technique. There is no need to believe, no need to move to the other; you are alone there. But you have to wake yourself: that is what that monk is doing. He is not calling the name of Ram, he is not calling the name of Allah, he is calling the name of himself, and only himself, because nothing else is certain. He calls his whole name, "Are you there?" And he doesn't wait for any God to reply. He replies to himself, "Yes sir, I am here."

This is the Buddhist attitude, that you are alone there. If you are asleep you have to call yourself, you have to answer. It is a monologue. Don't wait for any God to answer you; there is no one to answer you, your questions will be lost in the empty sky, your prayers will not be heard -- there is nobody else to hear them. So this monk seems foolish, but really, all those who are in prayer may be more foolish than this monk. This monk is doing a more certain thing, calling himself and answering himself.

You can  make yourself alert. I tell you, your name is the mantra. Don't call Ram, don't call Allah, call your own name. Many times a day, whenever you feel sleepy, whenever you feel that the game is taking over and you are losing yourself in it, call yourself, "Are you there?" -- and answer yourself. Don't wait for anybody's answer; there is no one to answer you. Answer, 'Yes sir, I am here." And don't answer verbally, feel  the answer: "I am here." And be  there, alert. In that alertness thoughts stop, in that alertness the mind disappears, even for a moment. And when there is no mind there is meditation; when the mind has stopped meditation comes into being.

Remember, meditation is not something that is done by the mind, it is the absence of the mind. When the mind stops meditation happens. It is not something out of the mind, it is something beyond the mind. And whenever you are alert, the mind is not. So we can conclude that your sleepiness is your mind, your unawareness is your mind, your somnambulism is your mind. You move as if drunk, not knowing who you are, not knowing where you are going, not knowing why you are going.

And the third thing the monk says is to remember not to be fooled by others. Others are fooling you continuously. Not only are you fooling yourself, others are also fooling you. How are the others fooling you? The whole society, culture, civilization, is a collective conspiracy. That's why no society allows rebellious people; every society requires obedience, conformity. No society allows rebellious thoughts. Why? Rebellious thoughts make people aware that the whole thing is just a game, and when people become aware that the whole thing is just a game they become dangerous, they start going beyond the society.

Society exists as a hypnotic state, and the crowd is a hypnotizing factor. You are born, but when you are born you are neither a Hindu nor a Parsee, because consciousness cannot belong to any sect. Consciousness belongs to the whole, it cannot be sectarian. A child simply is, innocent of all nonsense of Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas. A child is a pure mirror. But immediately society starts working on the child -- a mould has to be given. A child is born as a freedom, but immediately society starts killing his freedom. A mould has to be given, a pattern.

If you are born in a Hindu family your parents will start teaching you that you are a Hindu. Now they are creating a hypnotic state. Nobody is a Hindu -- but this child is innocent, he can be befooled. This child is simple. He will believe the parents, that he is a Hindu -- not only a Hindu, but a brahmin, not only a brahmin, but a deshastha brahmin. Sects within sects, just like Chinese boxes -- boxes within boxes. And the more he becomes narrowed, the more he becomes a prisoner. The box goes on getting smaller and smaller. He was just like the sky when he was born. Then he became a Hindu, a smaller box; then he became a brahmin -- a smaller box; then he became a Deshastha -- an even smaller box.

This goes on and on. Society goes on forcing him into smaller boxes, and then he will have to live as a Deshastha brahmin. His whole life he will be with this box. He will carry this box around him. This box is a grave. He must come out of these boxes; only then will he know what real consciousness is.

Then society gives concepts; then society gives prejudices and systems and religions. And then he will never be able to look directly, always society will be there to interpret. You are not aware when you say something is good. Are you there, looking? Is this your feeling, that something is good, or just an interpretation of the society? Something is bad: have you looked into it and come to the conclusion that something is bad, or has society simply taught you that this is bad?

Look! A Hindu looking at cow dung thinks that this is the purest thing possible in the world. Nobody in the world will think of cow dung as the purest thing in the world -- cow dung is dung, excreta -- but a Hindu thinks of cow dung as the purest thing in the world. He will eat it happily. He eats  it! Nobody in the world can believe how Hindus can be befooled in this, but they are befooled. When the Hindu child is initiated, panchamrita is given to him -- a particular combination of five things. In these five things cow dung is one, and the urine of the cow is another. It is difficult -- nobody can believe that this is right. But they have their own prejudices. Put down all prejudices and look directly.

But no society allows you to look directly. It always comes in and interprets, and you are befooled by it. This monk in the morning used to call, "Don't be fooled by others." And he would reply, "Yes sir -- yes sir, I will not be befooled by others."

This has to be constantly remembered, because the others are all around and they are befooling you in such subtle manners. And now the others have more power than ever. Through advertisement, through radio, through newspapers, through television, the others are manipulating you.

In America, the whole market depends on how you can befool the customer, how you can create an idea in the minds of others. Now, a two-car garage is a must if you want to be happy; in America, a two-car garage is a must. Nobody asks why. If you are not happy with one car, how can you be happy with two cars? If there is fifty percent happiness with one car, how can you be happy with two cars? With one car you are unhappy; with two cars you will be doubly unhappy, that's all. The mathematics is simple. But there is advertisement, propaganda; the whole society exists by manipulating others.

Happiness is something like a commodity in the market -- you go and purchase it, it has to be purchased. How can happiness be purchased? Happiness is not a commodity, it is not a thing; it is a quality of living, a consequence of another life. You cannot purchase it -- there is no way.

Look at American newspapers and you will see that you are missing: happiness can be purchased just through money. They create a feeling that you are missing something; then you start working for it, then you earn money, then you purchase it. And then you feel that you have been deceived. But that feeling is not very deep, because before you feel that you have been deceived some new deceptions have entered the mind, and now they are pulling you ahead. You must have a hill station house, or you must have a summer resort, or you must have a yacht -- something is always there to be achieved. Only then will you be happy. They will go on pulling you up to your death. Until you die, those advertisements, that propaganda, will go on pulling you.

This monk was right. This must be part of your alertness -- that you should not be befooled by others. The whole society exists on exploitation, exploiting the other. Everybody is exploiting, and this exploitation is not only in the market, it is in the temple, in the church, in the synagogue. It is everywhere... because the priest is also a businessman, and the pope is a super-businessman. Because you need peace, you ask for peace, so there are people who say, "Come to us, we will give you peace." You ask for bliss, and there are people who are ready to sell bliss to you. If people like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi succeed in the West, they don't succeed in the East. Nobody listens to them in India. Nobody is bothered.

But America listens to every kind of nonsense. Once you get onto the right channel of propaganda, once you get all the right advertising people, then there is no problem. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi talks as if the inner silence can be purchased immediately, as if within a week you can find mediation; just by sitting for fifteen minutes and repeating a mantra you will be happy forever and ever. And the American mind, which has been poisoned by advertisements, is attracted and a crowd gathers. It goes on changing, but it is always a crowd, and it appears as if things are happening. Even temples and churches have become shops.

Meditation cannot be purchased and no one can give it to you. You have to achieve it. It is not something outer, it is something inner, a growth, and that growth comes through awareness. Call your own name, in the morning, in the night, in the afternoon, whenever you feel sleepy, call your own name. And not only call it, answer it and say it loudly. Don't be afraid of others. You have been afraid of others enough; they have already murdered you through fear. Don't be afraid. Even in the marketplace you must remember. Call your own name, "Teertha, are you here?" And answer, "Yes sir."

Let people laugh. Don't be befooled by them. The only thing to be achieved is alertness -- not respect, not respectability from people. ... Because that is one of their tricks: they make you obedient through respectability. They say, "We will respect you. You bow down and be obedient. Don't be there at all. Just follow the society and the society will pay you much respect." This is a mutual arrangement. The more dead you are the more society will pay you respect; the more alive you are the more society will create trouble for you. Why?

A Jesus had to be crucified because he was an alive man. He must have called in his childhood, "Jesus, don't be befooled by others." And he was not befooled, so others had to crucify him, because he was not part of the game. Socrates had to be poisoned and killed, Mansoor had to be murdered. These are people who have escaped from the prison, and whatsoever you say you cannot persuade them to come back. They will not come into the prison. They have known the freedom of the open sky.

Remember. Be mindful and alert. If you are alert, if your actions become more and more aware, whatsoever you do will not be done sleepily. The whole effort of society is to make you automatic, is to make you an automaton, is to make you a perfect efficient mechanism.

When you start learning to drive you are alert but not efficient, because alertness takes energy, and you have to be alert to many things -- the gears, the wheel, the brake, accelerator, clutch. There are so many things you have to be aware of that you cannot be efficient, you cannot go fast. But by and by, when you become efficient, you need not be aware. You can go on humming a song or thinking inside or solving a puzzle, and the car goes by itself. The body takes it automatically. The more automatic you become the more efficient.

Society needs efficiency, so it makes you more and more automatic: In everything you do, be automatic. Society doesn't bother about your awareness; your awareness is a problem for society. You are asked to be more efficient, more productive. Machines are more productive than you. The society doesn't want you to be as men, it needs you as mechanical devices, so it makes you more efficient and less aware. This is automatization. This is how the society fools you. You become efficient, but your soul is lost.

If you can understand me, then the whole effort of meditative techniques is to deautomatize you, to make you again alert, to make you again a man, not a machine. In the beginning you will become less efficient, but don't be bothered by it because everything has settled as an automaton. In the beginning everything will become a mess. You will not be able to do anything efficiently. You will feel difficulty, because you have become fixed with unconscious efficiency. To be consciously efficient, long effort will be needed, but by and by you will be aware and  efficient.

If there exists in the future any possibility of a real human society, the first thing, the basic thing that will have to be done is this: don't make children automatic. Even if it takes a little longer to make them efficient, make them efficient with awareness; don't make them machines. It will take longer, because two things have to be learned: the efficiency and awareness. A human society will give you awareness, even with less efficiency, but efficiency will come by and by. Then when you are alert you will be able to be efficient with alertness.

Meditation is deautomatization in the beginning. Then you will start working with a new awareness -- efficiency remains in the body, and consciousness remains alert. You don't become a machine you remain a man. If you become a machine, you have lost humanity.

This monk was doing this deautomatization. From the very morning he called himself, said, "Be alert!" said, "Don't fool yourself!" said, "Don't be befooled by others!" These three layers of mindfulness have to be achieved.

I have heard: once it happened that a young man belonging to a very rich and aristocratic family, came to a Zen master. He had known everything, indulged in every desire; he had enough money, so there was no problem. But then he got fed up -- fed up with sex, fed up with women, fed up with wine. He came to the Zen master and said, "Now I am fed up with the world. Is there some way that I can know myself, who I am?"

The young man said, "But before you say anything, let me tell you something about myself. I am indecisive and cannot continue anything for long, so if you give me some technique or if you tell me to meditate, I may do it for a few days and then I will escape, knowing well that there is nothing in the world, knowing well that only misery awaits there, death. But this is my type of mind. I cannot continue, I cannot persist in anything, so before you choose something, remember this."

The master said, "Then it will be very difficult if you cannot persist, because long effort will be needed to undo all that you have done in the past. You will have to travel back. It will have to be a regression. You will have to reach back to the moment when you were born, when fresh, young. That freshness will have to be achieved again. It is not ahead, but back that you will have to go -- to become a child again. But if you say you cannot persist and that within days you will escape, it will be difficult. But let me ask you one question: Have you ever been interested in something so deeply that you were absorbed completely?"

The young man thought and he said, "Yes, only in chess, the game of chess, I have been very much interested. I love it, and that's the only thing that is saving me. Everything else has fallen away; only chess is still with me, and with it I can somehow pass my time."

The master said, "Then something can be done. You wait." He called the attendant and told him to bring one monk who had been meditating for twelve years in the monastery, and to tell the monk to bring a chessboard.

The chessboard was brought; the monk came. He was acquainted a little with chess, but for twelve years he had been meditating in a cell. He had forgotten the world and chess and everything.

The master said to him, "Listen, monk! -- this is going to be a dangerous game. If you are defeated by this young man, the sword is here and I will cut off your head, because I wouldn't like a meditative monk -- who has been meditating for twelve years -- to be defeated by an ordinary young man. But I promise you, if you die by my hand then you will reach the highest heaven. So don't be disturbed."

The young man became also a little uneasy, and then the master turned to him and said, "Look, you say that you get absorbed in chess, so now get totally absorbed -- because this is a question of life and death. If you are defeated I will cut off your head, and remember, I cannot promise heaven for you. This man is okay, he will go anyhow, but I cannot promise any heaven for you. If you die hell is the place -- immediately you will go to the seventh hell."

For a moment the young man thought to escape. This was going to be a dangerous game, and he had not come here for this. But then it looked dishonorable; he was a samurai, a son of a warrior, and just because of death, imminent death, to escape was not in his blood. So he said, "Okay."

The game started. The young man started trembling like a leaf in a strong wind, the whole body trembling. He started perspiring, and cold perspiration came to his body; he started sweating from his head to the soles of his feet. It was a question of life and death, and thinking stopped, because whenever there is such an emergency you cannot afford thought. Thought is for leisure. When there is no problem you can think; when there is really a problem thinking stops, because the mind needs time, and when there is an emergency there is no time. You have to do something immediately.

Every moment, death was coming nearer. The monk started, and he looked so serene and calm that the young man thought, "Well, death is certain!" But when the thoughts disappeared, he became totally absorbed in the moment. When thoughts disappeared, he also forgot that death was awaiting -- because death too is a thought. He forgot about death, he forgot about life, he became just a part of the game, absorbed, totally immersed in it.

By and by, as the mind disappeared completely, he started playing beautifully. He had never played that way. In the beginning the monk was winning, but within minutes the young man got absorbed, started beautiful movements, and the monk started losing. Only the moment existed, only the present. There was no problem then; the body became okay, trembling stopped, perspiration evaporated. He was light like a feather, weightless. The perspiration even helped -- he became weightless, his whole body felt as if it could fly. His mind was no more there. Perception became clear, absolutely clear, and he could see ahead, five moves ahead. He had never played so beautifully. The other's game started crumbling; within minutes the other would be defeated, and his victory was certain.

Then suddenly, when his eyes were clear, mirrorlike, when perception was profound, deep, he looked at the monk. He was so innocent. Twelve years of meditation -- he had become like a flower; twelve years of austerity -- he had become absolutely pure. No desire, no thought, no goal, no purpose existed for him. He was as innocent as possible... not even a child is so innocent. His beautiful face, his clear, skyblue eyes.... This young man started feeling compassion for him -- sooner or later his head would be cut off. The moment he felt this compassion, unknown doors opened, and something absolutely unknown started filling his heart. He felt so blissful. All over his inner being flowers started falling. He felt so blissful... he had never known this bliss, this beautitude, this benediction.

Then he started making wrong moves knowingly, because the thought came to his mind, "If I am killed nothing is disturbed; I have nothing of worth. But if this monk is killed something beautiful will be destroyed; but for me, just a useless existence...." He started making wrong movements consciously, to make the monk win. At that moment the master upturned the table, started laughing and said, "Nobody is going to be defeated here. You both have won."

This monk was already in heaven, he was rich; no need to cut off his head. He was not troubled at all when the master said, "Your head is to be cut off." Not a single thought arose in his mind. There was no question of choice -- if the master says it is going to be so, it is okay. He said yes with his whole heart. That was why there was no perspiration, no trembling. He was playing chess; death was not a problem.

And the master said, "You have won, and your victory has been greater than this monk's. Now I will initiate you. You can be here, and soon you will be enlightened."

Both basic things had happened: meditation and compassion. Buddha has called these two the basic: pragya and karuna, meditation and compassion.

The young man said, "Explain it to me. Something has happened I don't know about. I am already transformed; I am not the same young man who came to you a few hours ago. That man is already dead. Something has happened -- you have done a miracle."

The master said, "Because death was so imminent, you couldn't think, thoughts stopped. Death was so close by, thinking was impossible. Death was so near, there was no gap between you and death, and thoughts need space to move. There was no space, so thinking stopped. Meditation happened spontaneously. But that was not enough, because that type of meditation which happens because of emergency will be lost; when the emergency is gone that meditation will be lost. So I couldn't throw the board at that moment, I had to wait."

If meditation really happens, whatsoever the cause, compassion has to follow. Compassion is the flowering of meditation. If compassion is not coming, your meditation is, somewhere, wrong.

Then I looked at your face. You were filled with bliss and your eyes became buddhalike. You looked at the monk, and you felt and you thought, "It is better to sacrifice myself than this monk. This monk is more valuable than me."

This is compassion -- when the other becomes more valuable than you. This is love -- when you can sacrifice yourself for the other. When you become the means and the other becomes the end, this is love. When you are the end and the other is used as a means, this is lust. Lust is always cunning and love is always compassionate.

"Then I saw in your eyes the compassion arising, and then you started to make wrong movements just to be defeated, so that you would be killed and this monk saved. At that moment I had to throw the board. You had won. Now you can be here. I have taught you both meditation and compassion. Now follow this track, and let them become spontaneous in you -- not situational, not depending on any emergency, but just a quality of your being."

Carry this story within you, in your heart; let it become the beat of your heart. Rooted in meditation you will have wings of compassion. That's why I say that I would like to give you two things: Roots into this earth and wings into that heaven. Meditation is this earth, it is here and now; the very moment you can spread your roots, do it. And once roots are there your wings will reach to the highest sky possible. Compassion is the sky, meditation is the earth, and when meditation and compassion meet a buddha is born.

Go deeper and deeper into meditatio so you can go higher and higher in compassion. The deeper the roots of a tree reach the higher the peak. You can see the tree, you cannot see the roots, but they are always in proportion. If the tree is reaching to the sky the roots must be reaching to the very end of the earth. The proportion is the same. As deep as your meditation is, the same depth will be achieved in compassion. So compassion is the criterion. If you think you are meditative and there is no compassion, then you are deceiving yourself. Compassion must happen, because that is the flowering of the tree. Meditation is just a means towards compassion; compassion is the goal.

Make yourself more and more alert. Call your name and answer, just to create more awareness. When you really become aware, you will feel a new upsurge of energy. Compassion will happen to you, and with compassion, bliss; with compassion, beatitude; with compassion, conviction.

Anything more?


Next: Chapter 11: Sober Up, Question 1


Energy Enhancement                Enlightened Texts                Zen                 A Bird on the Wing



Chapter 11


  • Talks on Zen, A Bird on the Wing Chapter 11: Sober Up

  • Talks on Zen, A Bird on the Wing Chapter 11: Sober Up, Question 1

  • Talks on Zen, A Bird on the Wing Chapter 11: Sober Up, Question 2
    Talks on Zen, A Bird on the Wing Chapter 11: Sober Up, Question 2, YOU'VE SAID MEDITATION IS A FLOWERING. AND FOR US, THE PERFUME OF THE FLOWER IS GRATITUDE. IS THERE ANYTHING WE CAN DO FOR YOU? at energyenhancement.org





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