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Samata

If it rain, let it rain
If it rain not, let it rain not
But even should it not rain
You must travel
With wet sleeves.

One very precious word in Buddha's approach towards life is Samata. Samata means equanimity, equilibrium, balance, choicelessness. Don't move to the extremes, avoid extremes. Pain and pleasure are two extremes - don't choose. Don't avoid either and don't cling to either. Just remain in the middle of it, watching, looking at it, unattached.
Pain comes, let it come - you just be a watchful consciousness. You just be awareness. There is a headache, you just watch it. Don't say no to it, don't start fighting with it; don't deny it, don't avoid it. Don't try to engage yourself somewhere else so you are distracted from it. Let it be there: you simply watch. And in watching it, a great revolution happens.
If you can watch it without like and dislike, suddenly it is there but you are out of it, you are no more in it. You are standing there unbridged to it. Choicelessness unbridges you from all kinds of moods, from all kinds of minds. That is Samata.
Pleasure comes, let it come. Don't cling to it. Don't say, "I would like to have you for ever and ever." If you cling to pleasure, then you will avoid pain. And don't go to the other extreme: don't start denying pleasure, don't start escaping from pleasure, because that is the same. If you start escaping from pleasure, you will start clinging to pain. That's what ascetics do.
The indulgent person clings to pleasure, avoids pain. And the ascetic person avoids pleasure and clings to pain. Both approaches are wrong; in both you lose balance. Buddhism is neither indulgence nor asceticism. It does not teach anything - it simply says watch!
And that's what Jesus goes on repeating again and again: Watch! Be watchful! Keep alert, keep awake.
You try it! This is an experiment in psychology - nothing to do with God. And you will be surprised and immensely benefitted. The day you can see that you are neither pain nor pleasure is a great day, is the greatest day - because from then onwards things will be different.

If it rain, let it rain

If there is pain, let it be so.

If it rain not, let it rain not

If there is no pain, let it be so. If there is pleasure, let it be so. But you don't get identified with anything.

But even should it not rain
You must travel
With wet sleeves.

But remember one thing: even if your life has been of convenience, comfort, pleasure, and there have not been great pains, great miseries, then too:

You must travel
With wet sleeves.

Why? Because still you will become old, still you will have to die one day. So one can live a very pleasant life, but old age is coming, and death is coming. Death cannot be avoided; there is no way to escape from it; it is inevitable. So whether you lived a painful life or you lived a pleasant life will not make much difference when death comes. And death is coming.
Death has come the day you were born. In the very idea of birth, death has entered in you.

I have heard a very beautiful anecdote about one of the most famous Zen masters, Bankei. Bankei had a terrible fear of death from his earliest age. When he was a small child, his mother created the fear of death in him. He says that at the age of three, his mother, as a punishment, constantly frightened him with death. Not only that, sometimes, because Bankei had committed something which was not right, she pretended that she had become dead. She would lie down with closed eyes and stop her breath, and the small child would cry and weep around her and would call her, "Come back! And I will never do such a thing again." Only then would she start breathing.
So from the very childhood the fear of death had entered into him. He was constantly afraid. Maybe that's why when he was young he became interested in Zen - because Zen people say there is no death. He entered a monastery and way overdid the austerities. Whatsoever was said, he overdid it, out of the fear of death. He wanted to see that there is no death; he wanted to overcome death, he wanted to conquer it. He practised Zazen, sitting for such long periods at a time that the places where he sat became covered with sores and boils. He became so ill, he nearly lost his life! Then he withdrew for a few months to recuperate.
It was during a feverish period of his convalescence that he had his first satori. And this consisted of an instantaneous realization that he could not die for the simple reason that he had never been born! The crux of the matter was that he had never been born.
Now, Bankei knew as well as you know and everybody knows that his body emerged from his mother's womb, that his body had been born. Yet he realized that he had never been born.

With the idea of birth, the idea of death arises. They go together, aspects of the same coin. Unless you get rid of the idea of birth, you will not get rid of the idea of death.
That's why Zen people insist: Go deep into your being and see your face that you had before birth. If you can have one small glimpse of that original face which you had before birth, then death has disappeared. Attached to birth you are going to die - don't be attached to birth, then you need not be afraid of death. Watch birth and you will be able to watch death too.
And the greatest experience of life is to die watching death. But you have to prepare for it. If you cannot even watch a headache, if you cannot even watch a small pain in the stomach, if you cannot watch these small things, you will not be able to watch death.
Buddhism says: Watch! Let every moment of life become an experience in watchfulness - pain, pleasure, everything; love, hate, everything; good, bad, everything. Go on watching. Let one taste spread on your being: the taste of watchfulness, and Samata arises out of it. One becomes utterly balanced in the middle of the polarities.
In that balancing... just like a tight-rope walker walks balanced on the tight-rope. He remains in the middle, does not lean to the left or to the right; or whenever he finds himself leaning to one side, he immediately balances himself. Between pain and pleasure, day and night, birth and death, go on balancing... and then that very balancing will give you an insight of the reality you are. That reality has never been born. This body has been born, this body is going to die...

Another Zen master, Bokoju, was asked by a man... Bokoju was ill, old, just on the verge of death, and this stranger came and asked, "Master, where will you be when you are dead?"
And Bokoju opened his eyes and said, "I will be in the grave! All my four limbs raised towards the sky." A strange answer. And you will miss the point if I don't remind you. When Bokoju is saying, "I will be lying in my grave with all my four limbs raised to the sky," what is he actually saying? He is saying, "The body will be in the grave and I will be watching it lying in the grave with four limbs raised to the sky. I will still be watching, I will still be a watcher. I have always been a watcher. The body was born and I was watching. The body became young and I was watching. And the body became old and I was watching. And one day it will die and I will be watching. I am my watchfulness."

This Buddha calls Sammasati - right awareness.

If it rain, let it rain
If it rain not, let it rain not
But even should it not rain
You must travel
With wet sleeves.

So don't be deceived by your comfortable, convenient life - because death is coming to disrupt all, to destroy all. Prepare yourself ! And the only preparation is balance.

(Osho - Take It Easy, vol. 1 #7)

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