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Just Dreaming

bodhidharma painting

Question: What is meditation in emptiness?
Answer: One observes things in the phenomenal world, yet always dwells in emptiness. That is meditation in emptiness.

Question: How can one dwell in Dharma?
Answer: One should stay neither in in-dwelling nor in non-dwelling Dharma. He should live naturally in Dharma. This is what you call dwelling in Dharma.

Question: How can a man live as not-man and a woman as not-woman?
Answer: There is no difference in Buddha-nature between a man and a woman, nor an entity designated as man or woman. Physical matter produces the grass and trees as it does human beings. In comparison you say 'grass' or 'trees'. You give all sorts of names to your illusions. Buddha said, "If one sees that everything exists as an illusion, he can live in a higher sphere than ordinary man."

Question: If one attains the Nirvana of an Arhat, has he Zen realisation?
Answer: He is just dreaming and so are you.

Question: If one practises the six Paramitas, and passes through the ten stages of Bodhisattvahood, and completes ten thousand virtues, he should know that all things are not born, therefore, they are not going to perish. Such realization is neither intuition nor intellectuality. He has nothing to receive and there is nothing to receive him. Has this man Zen realization?
Answer: He is just dreaming and so are you.

Question: If a man has ten powers, and accomplishes four forms of fearlessness, and completes eighteen systems of the teachings, he is the same as Buddha who attained enlightenment under the Pippala tree. He can save sentient beings and then enter into Nirvana. Is he not a real Buddha?
Answer: He is just dreaming and so are you.

The most important question that man has ever encountered is "What is meditation?" The English word meditation is not so pregnant with meaning as the original Sanskrit word dhyana.
'Meditation' has a wrong connotation. The moment you say meditation, immediately the idea arises "On what?" Meditation, in the English sense of the word, is always on some object. But in the Sanskrit sense of the word dhyana, there is no object as such; on the contrary, to be absolutely objectless, to be utterly empty of all content, is dhyana.
Hence, when Buddha's message reached China, the word was left untranslated, because there was no equivalent in the Chinese language either. And the Chinese language is far richer than any other language of the world. Yet there was no word which could be called synonymous with the word dhyana - for a simple reason: such a word was missing because dhyana has never been practiced anywhere else except in this country. This country has contributed only one thing to the world, and that is the art of dhyana. And that one contribution is enough, more than enough.
The whole of science can be put on one side and still it will not be more weighty than the single word dhyana. All the knowledge of the world can be put on one side, but the word dhyana will still weigh more. It has infinite significance, it is a totally new vision of consciousness: a consciousness without content, a consciousness without any thought, desire; an ocean without ripples, waves, utterly silent and still, reflecting the whole sky with all the stars. Such is dhyana.
In China it was left untranslated, but when you write a word from one language in another language, even if you don't translate it, it changes its color, its form. That's natural; it has happened many times.
Now, you know the word India; it is simply a different pronunciation of Sindu, the great river that now passes through Pakistan. When the Persians crossed that river for the first time they pronounced it Indu not Sindu. From Indu it became Indus, from Indus it became India. And then some other language group passed through and pronounced it not Sindu but Hindu; hence Hindu, Hinduism, Hindustan. But they have all arisen out of the name Sindu. Now it seems so far away that Hindu and India seem to be not related at all.
When the Indian constitution was being prepared, there was great discussion about what to call this country: India or Hindustan? Great controversy over the same word! - because they both arise from the same word, the name of the great river that now passes through Pakistan, Sindu. It traveled in one direction and became Hindu and Hindustan, traveled in another direction and became Indus, India.
The same has happened with dhyana. Buddha never spoke Sanskrit; that was also one of his originalities. In India Sanskrit has always been the language of the priests, of the cultured, of the sophisticated. Buddha was the first to bring about a radical change: he started talking in the language of the people.
Sanskrit has never been a language of the people, it has always been the language of the highest strata of the society. And they have guarded it with great care, so that it never falls into the hands of the common people. It has been one of the strategies of all the priests all over the world that their language should not be understood by the common people, because if their language is understood by the common people then they will be exposed - because what they go on saying is simple, very ordinary, but in a language that you don't understand it appears as if they are saying something superb, something very supernatural.
If you read the Vedas in your language you will be surprised: there is not much there - not more than one percent of the sutras is significant, ninety-nine percent is simply rubbish. But if you hear it chanted in Sanskrit you will be enchanted, you will be simply hypnotized. So is the case with the Koran. If you hear it in Arabic it will have something magical. Translated into your own language you will be puzzled: it looks very ordinary. Priests have always been aware that their scriptures can be valued and appreciated and respected and worshipped only if they are not translated into the language of ordinary people.
Buddha is one of the revolutionaries in that sense, too. He started talking in the language of the people. The language of the people that surrounded Buddha was Pali; in Pali dhyana became jhana - more rounded, more used. When a word is used more, it starts having a roundness to it, it loses its corners. It is like a rock in the flowing river: slowly slowly it becomes rounder, softer; it attains to beauty, it attains to a lovely farm. Dhyana is harsh, jhana is round, soft, easy to pronounce. So when Buddhist messengers reached China, jhana became ch'an in Chinese. And when the same word reached Japan from China it became ZEN. The root is dhyana.
In English also there is no equivalent word. 'Meditation' can be used because that is the most approximate, but that has to be used with very great care, because 'meditation' itself means meditating upon something, and dhyana means being in meditation, not meditating upon something. It is not a relationship with an object, it is absolute emptiness; no object, not even God. Simple objectlessness, the mirror reflecting nothing, the mirror simply in its nature, as it is. When you come to that simplicity, to that innocence, you are in meditation.
You cannot do meditation, you can only be in meditation. It is not a question of doing something, it is a question of being. It is not an act but a state.

The disciple asks Bodhidharma, the master:

What is meditation in emptiness?

He must have been puzzled. Many people ask me, "On what should we meditate? On what form? What should we visualize? What mantra should we chant, or what thought form should we create inside our minds, so that we can focus on it?" They are asking about concentration but they think they are asking about meditation. And there are thousands of books written on concentration but they all go on using the word meditation. This is one of the most misinterpreted words - and the experience is so rare that you will never understand that somebody is using the word in an absolutely wrong sense.
I have come across hundreds of books which go on using the word meditation as if it were a higher state of concentration. It has nothing to do with concentration; in fact, it is just the opposite of concentration. In concentration there is an object. You have to focus on the object, you have to be absolutely concentrated on it, your whole consciousness falling on the object, not missing the object even for a single moment: that is concentration. Concentration has its own value. It is a great method in the hands of science, but it has no religious value at all. It has scientific value, it has artistic value, but no religious value at all. Science cannot move a single step without concentration. Art cannot create without concentration.
The artist becomes so concentrated on his painting, or sculpture, or music, that he forgets the whole world. In his concentration everything else is excluded, bracketed out; only one thing remains in his mind, as if the whole world consisted of that one thing. That thing is the whole world for the moment; nothing else exists.

There is an ancient story...

One very famous book, one of the greatest ever written, is a commentary on the Brahma Sutras written by Vrihaspati. The name of the commentary is very strange: the name of the commentary is Bhamati. It is strange because it has nothing to do with the Brahma Sutras, one of the greatest expositions of the philosophy of advaita, nondualism.
Bhamati is the name of Vrihaspati's wife. What connection can there be between the commentary on the Brahma Sutras and Vrihaspati's wife? There is some secret hidden in it. Vrihaspati must have been a man of deep concentration - he was a great philosopher. He got married because his father was getting old and he wanted Vrihaspati to be married. And in the old days obedience was the simple way; it was naturally so - people used to follow their parents' wishes. There was no question of saying no, so Vrihaspati said yes.
He was married to Bhamati but he was not a man who needed a wife or needed a family. His whole concentration was on the great commentary that he was writing on the Brahma Sutras. He was so absorbed that he brought the wife home and forgot all about her.
The wife took every care of Vrihaspati. That too is no longer possible - who can take care of such a husband who has completely forgotten her? He had no idea who she was or what her name was. He had never even asked her name. She served him like a shadow. She never came in front of him because he might get distracted, disturbed.
And he was continuously writing his commentary. He was in a hurry because he had taken a vow in his heart that the day the commentary was complete he would renounce the world, and he wanted to renounce the world as soon as possible. Day in, day out, he was writing. Late into the night he would go on writing. Sometimes the candle burned out, and the wife would come up from behind and just put a candle there. Once in a while he will see the wife's hand bringing food, taking away the thali and the plates, but he was so concentrated on his work he never inquired. "Who is this woman?"
It is a beautiful story; whether it really happened or not is not the point. But I don't think that wives could have been so nice even in those old days. One hopes... but hopes are never fulfilled.
Years passed and the night came when the commentary was completed. Vrihaspati closed the book, the wife came and removed the candle. Now he was free from the commentary and the absorption. He asked the woman, "Who are you? And why do you go on serving me like this"
The woman said, "I am absolutely blessed that at least you ask my name. It is more than I could have asked for. You must have forgotten... many days have passed. And you were so absorbed in your work, how can you remember, how can one expect to remember? I am Bhamati; you married me a few years ago. Since then I have been serving you."
And tears rolled down Vrihaspati's cheeks, and he said, "Now it is too late because I have taken a vow that the day the commentary was completed I would renounce the world. It is too late; I cannot be a husband to you anymore. I have renounced the world. Closing the book is closing this chapter of my life. I am now a sannyasin. But I feel tremendously grateful to you. You are a rare woman. Just out of gratitude I will call my commentary Bhamati."
Hence his commentary on the Brahma Sutras is called Bhamati. On the surface there is no relation between Bhamati and the Brahma Sutras, but that is what Vrihaspati called it. And he said to his wife, "That way your story will be remembered for centuries." Yes, many centuries have passed, and I have remembered it, and now you will remember it. A rare woman, and a rare man, and a rare story....

This is concentration, absolute concentration. It is possible to be so concentrated on something that everything else is excluded. It is said of Thomas Alva Edison, a great scientist, the greatest, because he discovered at least one thousand things alone.... Nobody else has done so much. Many things that you are using are Edison's inventions: the electric bulb, the gramophone, the radio - many things.
He used to become so absorbed in his work that once he forgot his own name. It is very difficult to forget your own name even if you want to. It becomes so ingrained, it goes so deep in the memory that it becomes part of your unconscious. Even in your sleep you remember your name. If you all fall asleep here - as you can if I go on and on talking about meditation.... What will you do? Where will you escape? You will start falling asleep. If you all fall asleep and suddenly I call somebody's name - I call, "Mukta!" - then nobody else will hear; only Mukta will hear. Mukta will open her eyes and will say, "Who is disturbing? And why me?" Even in deep sleep you remember your name. It is very difficult to forget it. But Edison once forgot his own name. Somebody else had to remind him.
During the first world war he was standing in a queue; when his name was called, he looked here and there. The clerk called again, then a man standing behind him told him, "As far as I know from the newspapers - I have seen your picture - you appear to be Thomas Alva Edison."
He said, "Yes, you are right! I was thinking, who is this man? Sounds as if I have heard this name before. I can recognize the name but I completely forgot that this is my own name." He said, "I am very sorry."
This can happen to a scientist. He used to keep notes, because he was working on so many things together, but then he would forget where he had put the notes. And he would use pieces of paper - that was his habit, something eccentric - just small pieces of paper to write great things on. His whole study was full of pieces of paper, and every piece of paper had to be preserved because nobody knew what he had written on it. His wife had to take every care that no piece was ever lost, because he would ask, "Where is that piece of paper?" and then search for hours, because there were so many pieces of paper.
His wife told him, "Why not use a copybook?"
He said, "That's such a great idea, why didn't you tell me before?" So he used to carry a notebook but then he would forget the notebook - where he kept it. His concentration was so total on whatsoever he was working. It is not meditation, remember.
Science needs concentration. Meditation is just the opposite of concentration. Concentration means bracketing out the whole world and pouring your consciousness on a single object. Meditation means no object at all; nothing to be excluded, nothing to be bracketed out. One simply relaxes, open, alert, available - available to all that is. The distant call of the cuckoo, and the noise of the train, and somebody honking his horn, and a child giggling. One is available to all and yet one is far away, transcendental.

The first question the disciple asks is:

What is meditation in emptiness?

He can understand what meditation is, because then he will be able to understand it as concentration. But the condition is 'in emptiness'; that creates the problem. 'Meditation in emptiness' - you have to be utterly empty, no thought, no desire, no object, no content of the mind. You are just an emptiness; everything passes through you with no hindrance, no block. Winds come and go through the empty temple, sunrays come and go through the empty temple, people come and pass through the empty temple, and the temple remains empty. Everything comes and goes like shadows passing by, and nothing distracts you. That point has to be remembered.
In concentration everything distracts you. If you are concentratedly working on something and your wife starts talking to you, that is a distraction. If your child wants to ask a question, that is a distraction. If a dog starts barking in the neighborhood, that is a distraction. If you are trying to concentrate, everything is a distraction, because concentration is an unnatural state, forced; hence anything can distract you.
But meditation is a natural, spontaneous flow; nothing can distract you. That is the beauty of meditation: distraction is impossible. The dog can bark, and the child can ask a question, and the airplanes can go on flying in the sky making all kinds of noises, and nothing distracts you because you are not concentrating at all. From where can you be distracted? If you are focusing, you can be distracted. If you are not focusing, how can you be distracted? See the point.
Meditation knows nothing of distraction. That's its grace, its beauty, its grandeur: nothing can disturb it. If your meditation can be disturbed that simply means that you are concentrating and have not yet tasted meditation. Meditation is so vast it can contain everything, absorb everything, and yet remain empty.

The disciple asks:

What is meditation in emptiness?

The disciple must have thought about meditation in terms of concentration. That's how it always happens: the master says one thing, the disciple understands something else. That too is a natural process. I am not complaining about it; it is bound to happen, because the master speaks from one plane and the disciple understands from a different plane. Something coming from the heights has to come down to the darkness of the valley, and the valley is bound to affect it.
What to say about a master and disciple dialogue when even in a dialogue between ordinary people, when you are talking with people, you constantly feel you have not been understood? Sometimes the more you try, the more impossible it becomes, particularly when you are intimately related with people. A husband talking to his wife, the wife talking to the husband; the parents talking to the children, the children talking to the parents. It seems there is no possibility of communication at all. The husband says one thing, the wife immediately jumps to some other conclusion. The wife says something, the husband starts talking about something else. Their minds are preoccupied. They go on misinterpreting each other. Hence so much argumentation continues with no understanding at all.

He called his doctor and began shouting hysterically, "My five-year-old son just swallowed a contraceptive!"
"Don't worry. I'll be right over."
As the doctor was about to leave his office, his phone rang again and the same caller announced, "Forget it, Doc. I found another one!"

It is very difficult to know exactly the meaning of the other.

Grant had gone to France on vacation, met a pretty French girl, married her, and returned home with his bride to Cleveland. After being in this country only three weeks the poor little Parisian went to a clinic for an operation.
On coming out from under the ether, she asked the doctor, "How soon can my husband and I resume our usual sex life?"
"I'll have to look in my medical book," gulped the physician. "You're the first patient who asked me that after a tonsillectomy."

You simply don't know about the French and their ways of lovemaking!

I have heard one story...

A French professor of sexology was talking with an American professor of the same subject whom he met in a conference. The Frenchman was saying, "There are one hundred ways of making love."
The American was puzzled, "A hundred?" And when the Frenchman started relating all the ways, he was more and more puzzled. The hundredth way was: the husband making love to his wife hanging off the chandelier.
The American said, "There are a hundred and one ways to make love."
The Frenchman could not believe it; he said, "That is not possible, because nobody knows more about love than us." But the American insisted that there are a hundred and one. So the Frenchman said, "Yes, okay, you start relating."
The American said, "The first is: the wife lying down on her back and the husband on top of her."
The Frenchman said, "Wait! I never thought of that!"

Different people, different minds, different conditionings, different preoccupations, different prejudices. So when you talk, the words can't have the same meaning. When you say something, you say it with one meaning; when it reaches to the other it has the meaning that he gives to those words. This is so in ordinary conversation - what to say about a buddha talking to a disciple.
The buddha is standing on the other shore, and the disciple is on this shore. The buddha is awakened and the disciple is fast asleep and snoring. The buddha speaks as an awakened one and the disciple listens as one who is asleep. In his dreams he distorts the meaning, he gives his own ideas, imposes his own concepts, philosophies, his own conclusions upon the words.
Hence unless the master and disciple relationship is that of a deep love affair, communication is not possible; it is impossible. Only in a deep deep loving relationship, in deep intimacy where the disciple is simply in a letgo, where he puts his mind aside and listens without interfering at all, never giving his own meanings, just listening attentively, not being bothered whether what is said is right or wrong, or what it means, then only can he listen and that listening can be a transforming experience. From the disciple's side great silence is needed, only then can what the master speaks be understood.

The disciple's question is:

What is meditation in emptiness?

He must have heard Bodhidharma talking about meditation again and again, because in the East masters have been talking only about meditation. You can ask any question and they will bring the subject to meditation sooner or later - and it is going to be sooner than later. You can ask about God and they will talk about meditation. You can ask, "Who am I?" and they will talk about meditation. You can ask, 'Who created the world?' and they will talk about meditation - because the East knows the key.
Meditation is the key to all the mysteries of life and existence; hence it is pointless to go on talking about other subjects. If we can make the disciple understand what meditation is, then he is going to open and unlock all the doors on his own, and he will be able to see and experience on his own. And only your experience is liberating, because only then is it authentically your truth.
Jesus says: Truth liberates. Certainly, truth liberates. Absolutely, truth liberates. I agree with him, but his statement seems to be only half. The full statement should be: Truth liberates, but the truth has to be your own. If it is somebody else's truth, then rather than liberating you it binds you, it chains you, it imprisons you.

Bodhidharma says:

One observes things in the phenomenal world, yet always dwells in emptiness. That is meditation in emptiness.

A simple answer, just the essential answer, but if you can understand the answer in an existential way, you will never be the same again. Simple words, but they can become a ladder to the other world.

One observes things in the phenomenal world, yet always dwells in emptiness. That is meditation...

See the whole world as if it consists of shadows. It really does consist of shadows. It is made of dream stuff. Because we believe in it, it gains reality in the same proportion as we believe in it. The moment your belief disappears, the thing you believed in also disappears.
You see a woman and you project beauty on her, and she looks so beautiful, so golden, not of this world at all, and you fall in love. And you are falling in love with your own dream, remember; the woman has nothing to do with it. That's why lovers are thought to be blind and mad, because nobody else can agree with them.

Majnu was mad about a woman, Laila, so mad that never has there been such a mad lover; he tops the list. The king of the country called him, because he started feeling sorry for this young man. And because he was so much in love with Laila, even the king had become interested, "Who is this woman?" He was also interested in beautiful women, so he made inquiries. He saw the woman and he was shocked - she was just very plain, homely, very ordinary. Then he felt even more sorry for this young man. "He is just a fool, or mad, or gone blind. What has happened to him?" And he was the most intelligent young man in the capital, beautiful, healthy; destroying his health, destroying his intelligence for an ordinary woman.
The king called him to court. He said, "You must be mad, because I have seen your Laila and she is just an ordinary woman. But I feel sorry for you. We have been hoping for much from you, we were thinking that you would become a great man, but you are destroying yourself. I will give you one of the best women from my family. I have many beautiful women."
He called a dozen girls and he told Majnuj, "You can choose any, and that one will be yours."
Majnu looked from one girl to another and shook his head and said, "No. This is not Laila, this too is not Laila." He rejected all twelve girls. He said, "Not one is Laila."
The king said, "You are certainly mad. Laila is nothing compared to these beautiful girls. They belong to the royal family!"
Majnu said, "Sir, I can understand your compassion for me, but I am sorry to say that you cannot see Laila unless you see her through my eyes."

This is a significant statement - from a madman, of course, but sometimes mad people make very sane statements. "Unless you look through my eyes," Majnu says, "you will not be able to see the beauty of Laila." In a way he is true, because the beauty is not there in Laila, it is projected through his eyes. Laila is just the screen on which he is projecting a certain idea.
Every lover is doing it. You fall in love with your own projection. That's why it is always frustrating. If you happen to get your woman or your man, you will be frustrated. Blessed are those who never get their man or their woman, because they never get frustrated. They always remain loving, they always go on hoping. Cursed are those who succeed, because then it is very difficult to go on carrying the old projection. When you come closer to the screen and you touch the screen, how long can you feel that there is beauty? Sooner or later you will see that there is only a plain screen, that you have been projecting. Hence all lovers, if they succeed, become very frustrated.
This world consists of our projections. In fact, when Bodhidharma talks about the world, he is talking only about your projections. He is not talking about the trees and the rocks and the mountains and the stars, he is talking about your projections. A rose is a rose is a rose - neither beautiful nor ugly. It simply is itself; you project your idea.
Just a hundred years ago nobody thought that cactuses were beautiful. But now they are 'in', and the rose is out. Now to talk about roses looks a little old fashioned. If you tell your woman, "Your face is like a rose," she will think you are just old hat. Tell her, "You look like a cactus," and she will think, "Yes, you are modern, up to date. You understand Picasso and Dali and modern art."
People now keep cactuses in their drawing rooms, and before they used to put cactuses only on the fences of their fields and gardens to protect them. Now the cactus has entered the drawing room. Suddenly the beauty is discovered. For centuries nobody had ever thought - neither Shakespeare nor Kalidas, neither Milton nor Tennyson - nobody had ever talked about the cactus and praised the cactus. But now we have started projecting beauties on the cactus. We are tired of the roses; enough is enough. After thousands of years we have said everything about the roses; we are finished with them. Nothing new can be said about the roses. All that could be said has been said - and said so beautifully that there is no way to improve upon it. And we have a great need to project. Hence fashions change, because everybody has a need to project his ideas. Hence we need new screens.
And the idea of beauty goes on changing. In every country there is a different idea of beauty. What is beautiful to an American is not beautiful to the Indian; and what is beautiful to the Indian is not beautiful to the African; and what is beautiful to the African is not beautiful to the Chinese. Different ideas.
Then is there something like objective beauty? There is not. Existence simply is there with no adjective; there is neither 'good' nor 'bad', there is neither 'beautiful' nor 'ugly'. Hence Bodhidharma says: Drop liking and disliking. Stop choosing, stop projecting, and the world disappears. Not that the trees will not be there and the mountains will not be there, not that you will be able to pass through walls. The walls will be there and the trees will be there and the mountains will be there; everything will be there in its absolute truth but your dreams will not be there at all. And we have become so attached to our dreams - that's why meditation seems to be difficult.

Patient: "Doctor, all night long I dream about baseball, and that happens night after night."
Psychiatrist: "Well, that can be easily remedied. Do you have any favorite actress?"
Patient: "Yes, Elizabeth Taylor."
Psychiatrist: "Well then, all you do is think of her at night."
Patient: "What! And lose my turn at bat!"

I have heard...

Mulla Nasruddin nudged his wife in the bed one night and said, "Quick, bring my specs!"
The wife said, "In the middle of the night...! What do you want your specs for?"
He said, "Don't waste time, bring my specs!"
But the wife insisted, "First I have to know why, for what: in the middle of the night, what are you going to see?"
He said, "You're going to destroy the whole thing. I was just having a dream. Three beautiful women: Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren... two I could recognize; the third, the most beautiful, I couldn't recognize. Bring me my specs! You know that my eyes aren't what they used to be. I'm getting old and I can't see things clearly."

People are living in dreams. There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who live in dreams and those who live in awareness. To be a sannyasin means the beginning of living in awareness.

Bodhidharma says:

One observes things in the phenomenal world, yet always dwells in emptiness.

One goes on seeing shadows, dreams, projections, but remembers that all this is just dream stuff. Remembering it, deep down one remains utterly empty. The mirror never clings to any reflection; howsoever beautiful the face may be looking into the mirror, it never clings to it. The face is reflected. When the person has moved, the face disappears. The mirror remains empty, so does the meditator: he reflects everything and yet remains empty, because he clings not.

The second Question:

How can one dwell in Dharma?

Bodhidharma says:

One should stay neither in in-dwelling nor in non-dwelling Dharma. He should live naturally in Dharma. This is what you call dwelling in Dharma.

Bodhidharma's way of expressing it may seem a little strange, but he can't help it; he has to say it as it is.

The disciple asks:

How can one dwell in Dharma?

Dharma, remember, ordinarily is translated as religion. That too is not right. Dharma is not religion, religion is an attitude towards reality. Dharma is not an attitude towards reality, Dharma is simply to live naturally, spontaneously. To live in tune with nature is Dharma.
That is Bodhidharma's experience, that is my experience too: to live naturally, without interfering with your spontaneity, to live moment to moment without being dominated by the past or the future is Dharma. Bodhidharma says: Forget about in-dwelling Dharma and non-dwelling Dharma. That is bringing your mind in, creating categories. Live simply and naturally.

When asked, "What is Dharma?" a Zen master is reported to have said, "When I feel hungry I eat, and when I feel sleepy I sleep."

What a tremendously beautiful answer! What height, what depth! One would never expect such an answer - and so simple, so innocent: "When I feel hungry, I eat." The master is saying: Be natural, that is Dharma.

Another Zen master was asked, "Before you became enlightened, what did you used to do?"
He said, "I used to chop wood and carry water from the well."
And then he was asked, "Now that you have become enlightened, a Buddha, what do you do?"
He said, "What else can I do? I chop wood and carry water from the well."
The questioner was naturally puzzled; he said, "Then what is the difference? Before enlightenment you used to do the same thing, and after enlightenment you are doing the same thing, then what is the difference?"
And the master laughed and he said, "The difference is great. Before I had to do it, now it is all happening naturally. Before I had to make an effort, before I became enlightened it was a duty to be fulfilled somehow, done grudgingly, reluctantly. I was doing it because I was ordered to do it; it was my master's order to chop wood, so I was chopping. But deep down I was angry: How long is this old fool going to force me to chop wood and carry water from the well? How long? - although on the surface I did not say anything.
"Now I simply chop wood because I know the beauty of it, the joy of it. I carry water from the well because it is needed. It is no more a duty, it is my love. I love the old man. It is getting cold, winter is just knocking on the doors, we will need wood. The master is getting older and older every day; he needs more warmth. We will have to heat his place. It is out of love that I chop wood. It is out of love that I carry water for him from the well. But now a great difference has happened. There is no reluctance, no resistance; there is no ego, I am not following anybody's orders, I am not being obedient, I am simply responding to the moment and its necessity."

Bodhidharma says: To live naturally is to dwell in Dharma.
You need not be a Christian or a Hindu or a Buddhist, you have only to be natural, just as natural as your breathing. Live your life. Don't live according to certain commandments. Don't live according to others' ideas. Don't live because people want you to live that way. Listen to your own heart. Be silent and listen to the still, small voice within and follow it. And that is dwelling in Dharma.

The third Question:

How can a man live as not-man and a woman as not-woman?

Buddha has said: The deeper you go the more you become aware that you are not the body, you are not the mind, you are not even the heart. You are only a being, a consciousness, a pure witness. Hence in meditation there is nobody who is a man or a woman. In meditation you are so deep in your being that from that peak all differences - biological differences, physiological differences - disappear.

Bodhidharma says:

There is no difference in Buddha-nature between a man and a woman, nor an entity designated as man or woman. Physical matter produces the grass and trees as it does human beings. In comparison you say 'grass' or 'trees'. You give all sorts of names to your illusions. Buddha said, "If one sees that everything exists as an illusion, he can live in a higher sphere than ordinary man."

The ordinary man lives in the body, thinking that he is the body, in the mind, thinking that he is the mind. The moment you start transcending the body-mind complex, you start becoming extraordinary. You start living on higher planes, and from higher planes things are totally different.

There is a story in Buddha's life...

He was meditating under a tree; it was a full-moon night. A group of young men came for a picnic to the forest. They had brought a prostitute with them, and much wine and delicious food. They drank, they ate, they danced. They drank so much that they forgot all about the prostitute. The prostitute escaped, but she had to escape naked, because before they started drinking they had taken her clothes away.she had to escape naked, because before they started drinking they had taken her clothes away.
As the night was coming closer and closer to the morning and a cool breeze started blowing, they became a little alert and they remembered, "Where is the prostitute?" Her clothes were there, but she was missing. So they went in search of her. There was only one way for the prostitute to escape to the town and they remembered that they had seen a certain man meditating under a tree. So they went to the man, because she must have passed him. They were not aware that he was Gautama the Buddha.
They asked Buddha, "Sir, have you seen a naked woman, a beautiful woman, going towards the town? - because this is the only.possible path. We had brought a woman with us; she has escaped, and she was naked."
Buddha said, "Yes, somebody did pass, but it is impossible for me to say whether the person who passed was a he or a she. Yes, somebody did pass, but it is difficult for me to say whether the person was naked or clothed."
The young people were puzzled; they said, "If you have seen the person, you must have seen... because the woman was really beautiful. You must have seen that she was a woman, and you must have seen that she was naked."
Buddha said, "You have come a little late. I used to see women and men before. And, of course, when you see a naked woman, how can you not recognize? But those days are gone. I was in meditation, so when somebody passes I'm bound to see them."

Buddha used to meditate with half open eyes. He always followed the middle course.
There are three possibilities. You can meditate with closed eyes. Buddha has said: Don't do that, because there is every possibility that you will fall asleep.
With closed eyes the tendency of the mind is to fall asleep, to go into a reverie, into dreams, because for centuries, for lives together, closed eyes have become associated with sleep and dreaming. So the moment you close your eyes, immediately it triggers a process of sleep in you. It is very difficult to remain awake with closed eyes, so Buddha has said: Don't do that.
The other possibility is to concentrate with open eyes - but that is concentration. Concentration can be done with open eyes; you can focus your eyes on something. But meditation is a relaxed state. With open eyes, fully open eyes, there will be a certain tension in the eyes.
The eyes are part of your brain: eighty percent of your brain energy functions through the eyes. If your eyes are tense your brain will be tense. That's why if you have to watch TV for hours, you become so tired. You go to the movie and for hours you go on watching and you forget to blink. That's why you become tired: you don't blink - you can't afford to - so much is happening on the screen. You don't want to miss any of it, so you drop blinking. Looking at the screen for three hours, unblinking, is bound to tire your eyes and your brain too.
Now recent research shows that people who watch TV for four, five, six hours a day are bound to suffer some brain damage. There is every possibility that they will become victims of brain cancer. So much tension is bound to create damage to the very delicate and fragile nervous system of your brain.
Buddha said: Meditate with your eyes half open; that is the most relaxed state.
You can't see anything clearly; everything becomes vague. And that's what Buddha wants you to know: that everything is vague, shadowy, dreamy. You cannot fall asleep because you have to keep your eyes half open, and you cannot be tired and tense because you are not forcing your eyes to be fully open. Half open eyes is the most relaxed state. Try it and you will see. Whenever you sit with half open eyes, you will feel a great relaxation descending on you.
So Buddha said, "I was meditating with my eyes half open. Somebody passed, somebody certainly passed, but I can't make any distinction whether the person was a man or a woman. Because I am no more identified with my own body, hence I don't think in terms of the body with others too. And who cares whether the person was naked or clothed! I am not interested in their bodies!"
Ordinarily just the opposite happens. When you see a beautiful woman passing by, you start disrobing her - at least in your mind. You start penetrating her clothes, you start visualizing her - how she will be when she is naked. That's why a woman hidden behind clothes is far more beautiful than when she is naked. For a certain reason: when she is clothed, your imagination can imagine anything; you have full freedom to imagine. But when she is naked there is no scope left for the imagination. And man's sexuality is rooted in his imagination. So whenever a woman is hiding her body you become more interested in her, because you start imagining... the curves - which may not be there - the proportion - which may not be there.
Clothes are very deceptive; clothes, it has been discovered, create more sexuality in the world. It is because of clothes that people are obsessed with the sexual. If clothes disappear from the world, sexuality will be reduced to its natural proportion. If clothes disappear from the world, nobody will be interested in pornography. Pornography is interesting because of clothes. If people become a little more natural - I am not saying go to your office naked, but if people are natural then at least in their home they will be naked. At least with their children they will play naked in their own garden.
If children know their parents naked from the very beginning they will never be interested in magazines like Playboy. Those magazines will look stupid. But priests are against nudity. It seems there is a conspiracy between the priests and the people who deal in obscenity; there is a secret deal. Obscenity can exist only, and obscene things can remain interesting only, if priests go on condemning nudity. Allow nudity on all the beaches and soon you will see nobody interested in nudity at all. And because imagination has no more freedom, you will see things more as they are.
Right now you imagine, hence the neighborhood woman is more interesting to you than your own wife. Your neighbor is more interested in your wife than he is interested in his wife. It seems everybody is interested in everybody else's wife, everybody elses's husband. Nobody is interested in their own wife or husband. You already know the whole geography of the woman or the man. You know the whole topography. Now there is nothing to discover; it is known territory. Imagination dies, and with imagination ninety-nine percent of sex disappears. And it will be a great thing in the world if ninety-nine percent of sexuality disappears, because then ninety-nine percent of your energy will be available for higher purposes.
What I am saying is bound to be misunderstood, is being misunderstood. For years I have been saying these things but I have been condemned for these things. And the irony is that if I am listened to, I will prove to be the the greatest danger to sexuality in the world. If I am allowed, the world can become absolutely nonsexual. Sex will be there but sexuality will disappear.
Sex is a biological phenomenon, sexuality is a psychological phenomenon. In a primitive society, where people are nude, there is sex but no sexuality. And in cultured societies there is sexuality and not much sex.
Buddha said, "Somebody passed, somebody certainly passed, but because I am no longer interested in sexuality, I cannot say absolutely, I cannot guarantee that the person was a woman."
Meditation means going deeper and deeper, closer to your being. Being is neither 'man' nor 'woman'; being is simply transcendental to all categories.

The fourth Question:

If one attains the Nirvana of an Arhat, has he Zen realisation?

The disciple is still thinking in terms of the mind, in categories. When you think, you are always full of ifs and buts. When you know, there is no if and no but.

The disciple asks:

If one attains the Nirvana...

In the first place nirvana is never attained - it is your nature - it is simply discovered, remembered rather. It is not attained. And the Nirvana of an Arhat...
The Buddhist scholars divide nirvana into two categories. Scholars cannot remain without creating categories; that is their whole work, their whole function. There are two kinds of buddhas according to the scholars: one is called arhat, the other is called Bodhisattva. An arhat is one who attains buddhahood and disappears into the ultimate, who does not care about others, who does not bother about sharing his insight with others. And the bodhisattva is one who attains buddhahood but resists the temptation to disappear into the ultimate and helps people, who is compassionate. Now even with nirvana the mind of the scholar has created categories; he has created a division, a duality.

Bodhidharma simply answers in his own unique, inimitable way. He says:

He is just dreaming and so are you.

These scholars are dreamers. A real seeker has nothing to do with ifs and buts. A real seeker does not bother about what happens after nirvana; first he moves towards it, knows it through his own experience, and then whatsoever happens, happens. One becomes natural and allows it to happen, one remains in a letgo. One does not go on thinking and philosophizing.

The fifth Question:

If one practises the six Paramitas, and passes through the ten stages of Bodhisattvahood, and completes ten thousand virtues, he should know that all things are not born, therefore, they are not going to perish. Such realization is neither intuition nor intellectuality. He has nothing to receive and there is nothing to receive him. Has this man Zen realization?

All speculative questions, questions out of the mind, irrelevant, insignificant, meaningless, absurd. But they look like great questions and scholars devote their whole lives to such questions.
In the Middle Ages there was a great controversy among Christian theologians. The controversy is still there, undecided, no conclusion has yet been reached, but the whole thing started looking so foolish that the project was dropped. But in the Middle Ages for three hundred years the controversy was such that the whole Christian world was involved in it. The problem was: how many angels can dance on the point of one needle? Now it looks foolish, but it was not foolish to those people. And they were great scholars, people who knew the scriptures and the subtleties of logic. For them it was really a great question, because angels don't have any weight and angels have the capacity to become big or small as they wish, so how many angels can you accommodate on the point of a single needle? Now you will throw the question into the dustbin, but for three hundred years people remained concerned with it.

These questions are of the same type:

If one practises the six Paramitas...

The six methods of being perfect.... And the buddhas say you are already perfect, so there is no question of practicing perfection. And one who practices perfection will remain imperfect; his perfection will be just on the surface, deep down he will be imperfect. He will repress his imperfections and cultivate a kind of perfection and will remain divided. He is not truly perfect. You cannot be anything other than that which you are. You are already perfect. You are gods in disguise. You are buddhas asleep. Wake up, and there is no need to practice anything.
In your dream you can go on practicing a thousand and one things and nothing is going to happen. When you wake up, you will find that all that effort was useless
Now these

...six Paramitas, and passes through the ten stages of Bodhisattvahood.

There are no stages at all. Are there stages between sleep and awakening? There are no stages; either you are asleep or you are awake. It is a jump, a quantum leap. Are there stages when water evaporates? There are no stages. At ninety degrees the water is water. At ninety-nine degrees the water is still water although hot. At ninety-nine point nine degrees the water is still water although utterly hot. And one step more, just one step, one single jump, and the water evaporates. There are no gradual stages in evaporating. A man either is alive or dead; you never find somebody who is half dead or a quarter dead or one-tenth dead. It is not attained in parts.

I have heard a story...

In the second world war an English general shot down a German plane and the pilot was severely wounded. The English general talked to the pilot - he was also a general, so he gave him all the respect due to a general of the enemy army. He was taken to the hospital, taken care of, but one of his legs was so damaged that it had to be cut off, amputated. The English general asked the German, "Can I be of any help?"
The German said, "This will show something of great compassion towards me if you could send my leg back to my home, because this has been the longest desire in me - to be buried in my own fatherland."
The English general said, "That is not a problem at all."
They packed the leg, sent it to Germany, to his home. But then one of his hands had to be cut; that too was sent. Then another leg, then another hand.
When the last hand was being sent, the English general asked, "Can I ask you a question? Are you trying to escape part by part?"

You cannot escape part by part, and you cannot become enlightened part by part. It is not a gradual process, it is sudden enlightenment. But scholars need some work, so they go on dividing. Buddhas go on saying that it is a quantum leap and scholars go on dividing: there are ten stages of bodhisattvahood and ten thousand virtues. One virtue is enough: awareness. They talk about ten thousand virtues; there is only one virtue: to be awake. All else follows of its own accord.

The disciple asks:

...he should know that all things are not born, therefore, they are not going to perish. Such realization is neither intuition nor intellectuality. He has nothing to receive and there is nothing to receive him. Has this man Zen realization?

Bodhidharma says:

He is just dreaming and so are you.

Bodhidharma does not even bother to answer and explain. He is not a philosopher, he simply puts the question aside. He says: Don't talk nonsense. You are dreaming, and not only are you dreaming: if there is somebody who thinks that he is at the ninth stage of bodhisattvahood, he is dreaming too. If somebody thinks that he has fulfilled all the six paramitas, all the six perfections, he is dreaming too. In fact, the person who thinks, "I have attained buddhahood," is simply dreaming, because buddhahood is not something to be attained.
When you reach that realization, you simply become aware that there was nothing to attain from the very beginning. From the very beginning you are a buddha - you have always been a buddha - you had just fallen asleep, you had just forgotten who you are. It is only a question of remembering, of recognizing, of rediscovering.

The last Question:

If a man has ten powers, and accomplishes four forms of fearlessness, and completes eighteen systems of the teachings, he is the same as Buddha who attained enlightenment under the Pippala tree. He can save sentient beings and then enter into Nirvana. Is he not a real Buddha?

Bodhidharma must be feeling very sorry for this man, because he goes on asking the same question in different ways. It is the same stupidity - called scholarship. Again and again he brings the same question in different forms. But the masters are always patient; they have to be, otherwise it would be impossible to work with the disciples.

Bodhidharma again says:

He is just dreaming and so are you.

A simple statement but with great potential. The moment you start thinking that you have become enlightened, beware. If you think you have become enlightened then you have not become yet. If you think you have become a buddha and you start proving that you have become a buddha, know perfectly well you are not yet. A buddha needs no proof; he does not argue for it, he simply knows it. And there is no way to prove it. He knows that it is not something great that he has done; it is not a big deal. It is a simple phenomenon: he has looked in. He could have looked any time, any day, and he would have found the buddha inside.

When Buddha became enlightened, the first question that was asked him was: "What have you attained?"
He laughed. He said, "Nothing. I have not attained anything; on the contrary, I have lost many things."
Naturally, the questioner was shocked. He said, "We have always heard that to become a buddha is to attain the perfect, the ultimate, the eternal - and you are saying that rather than attaining anything, you have lost many things. What do you mean?"
Buddha said, "Exactly what I have said. I have lost my ego, I have lost my knowledge, I have lost my ignorance. I have lost my being a man, I have lost my body, my mind, my heart. I have lost thousands of things and I have not gained a single thing - because whatsoever I have gained has always been mine, it is my nature. The unnatural has been lost, and the natural has blossomed. It is not an attainment at all. To think in terms of attainment is to remain in a dream."

Bodhidharma is right:

He is just dreaming and so are you.

Remember these words of Bodhidharma, let them resound in your being, because you will dream these things many times.
Many people go on writing to me: "Osho, this has happened. Is this the first satori or the second or the third? I have experienced great light. How far am I from buddhahood now?" Every day people go on asking.
Remember Bodhidharma. Next time such a question arises in you and you start writing a letter to me, don't send it to me, just write on top of your letter: "I am dreaming."

(Osho - The White Lotus #3)