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Osho on What is Satori

Osho :  Drop all beliefs. Then the relative disappears and the real arises.
A small story, a Tibetan story.

Once long ago a pilgrim found himself in. the desert beyond Tibet. It was a starless night, the sky like black lacquer, the dusty wind importunately pulling at his hair and beard, and the jagged rocks rising to wound his stumbling feet. The pilgrim had hoped to reach a great spiritual teacher beyond the wilderness, but now that hope was gone. He might well die of thirst before morning. Fervently, the pilgrim prayed to Amida Buddha the Lord of Light for help.

Immediately, his foot struck something that was not a stone. It was a silver bowl filled to the brim with pure cold melting snow. The pilgrim drank all he could, in his weakened condition, and then, with a cracked prayer of gratitude, sank down upon the sand. He fell asleep. When dawn awakened him, the pilgrim reached once again for the saving silver bowl. It proved to be a human skull. Bits of flesh, fringing the bare bone still, showed that the skull must have beenfull of life until quite recently.

Besides, the hollow of it held what seemed to be brain-fluid, swimming thick with maggots like dirty grey thoughts. The pilgrim vomited at the sight. As he did so, SATORI came to him. He turned homeward, without delay. That which he sought was accomplished. He had found his teacher, and his temple as well the temple of the skull.

This story is of tremendous importance. What happened? How did the SATORI happen? In the night he believed in his thirst that Buddha has given him this silver bowl. It was a dark night, starless it was just his belief; created by his thirst. He was dying, he was on the verge of death his mind must have dreamed, must have projected. In a human skull he saw a silver bowl he projected. And he thought the brain-fluid was just pure ice-water he drank it.

And it was so when he thought it was pure ice-water, it was pure ice-water; and when he thought it was a silver bowl, it was a silver bowl. You live in your projections. Happy, he thanked Buddha and fell asleep. In the morning when the sun was rising, he opened his eyes. He wanted to see the silver bowl that had saved his life... and it was a human skull. bits of flesh fringing the bare bone still, showed that the skull must been full of life untill quite recently, Disgusting.

Besides, the hollow of it held what seemed to be brain-Fluid... nauseating...Swimming thick with Maggots like dirty Grey thoughts. You can think of that man, that poor man. He vomited. Now it was no more a silver bowl, and it was no more pure ice-water. He vomited. And in that vomiting, something dawned in his consciousness. He could see that it is all a mind game: if you see it as a silver bowl, it becomes a silver bowl. In the night, there was no nausea.

He had drunk the brain-fluid with maggots in it, but there was no nausea and no question of vomiting. And he had thanked God, thanked Buddha, in great gratitude. And he had fallen asleep, and he slept the whole night beautifully, and there was nothing wrong. And now, seeing it, the vomiting comes after hours. A great understanding happened that it is all the mind. If it is all the mind, then there is no need to go anywhere: you can drop the mind at your own home. That was the satori, just seeing the point of it it is just an idea.

If he had got up early in the morning and had left, then there would never have been any vomiting. It is just an idea. And who knows? in the night, maybe Amida Buddha had managed to produce a silver bowl. Mm? these Buddhas are strange people, they can do things like that. In the night he may have drunk out of a silver bowl who knows? and there was nothing to vomit over. Or maybe in the morning Amida Buddha had managed to produce this skull filled with brain-fluid, streaming with maggots, dirty maggots. Who knows?

But that is not the point. One thing is certain that when you believe one thing you live in one reality, when you believe another thing you live in another reality. It is only a question of belief. All your worlds are belief-worlds.  Hence the satori. He must have laughed: that vomit was a great experience. He must have laughed, he must have understood the very root of it all. And then there was no need to seek the teacher, the teacher has been found. And there was no need to go to the temple where he was going, the temple has been found... in the human skull.

He must have come back dancing, he must have come back celebrating, he must have come back a totally different man. A man who is no more asleep in thoughts, in the mind a man who lives no more in projections, a man who dreams no more. A man who now sees whose clarity has become absolute, whose consciousness now has a transparency. This is what satori is.

Source: from Osho book "Zen: The Path of Paradox, Volume 2"

Related Articles -
Osho Quotes on Satori
Osho discourse on Satori
Osho on Mini Satori and Full Satori
Osho - Is a Master needed after Satori
Osho on difference between Satori and Samadhi
Osho - Can a person become Enlightened by Accident

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