Osho on Alan Watts
Question - In his book, `The Way of Zen,' Alan Watts writes, "One must not forget the social context of Zen. It is primarily a way of liberation for those who have mastered the discipline of social convention, of the conditioning of the individual by the group. Zen is a medicine for the ill effects of this conditioning, for the mental paralysis and anxiety which come from extensive self-consciousness." Beloved Master, First, I don't see any need to master social conventions to be ready for the way of Zen. On the contrary, trying to master dead, old rules shows stupidity. Why not drop them immediately? Second, do you see Zen as a medicine for the ill effect of conditioning?
Osho - Whenever you are reading a book, remember the man who is writing it, because those words are not coming from the sky, they are coming from an individual mind.
Alan Watts was a trained Christian missionary. That training continues to affect his effort to understand Zen. And finally, when he came a little closer to Zen, the Christian church expelled him. That brought a crisis in that man's life. He was not yet a man of Zen, and he had lost his credibility as a Christian. Under this stress he started drinking wine, became an alcoholic and died because of alcoholism. If you know this man you will understand why he is saying what he is saying.
His statement that "One must not forget the social context of Zen," is simply saying something about himself -- that if he had not forgotten the social context and remained a docile Christian, things would have been better. His interest in Zen, rather than bringing him freedom, brought him catastrophe. But Zen is not responsible for it; he could not go the whole way.
He tried somehow to make a Christian context for Zen. Neither did Christians like it, nor the men of Zen. They don't need any Christian context, they don't need any social context. It is an individual rebellion. Whether you are a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian does not matter. Whatever load you are carrying, drop it. Whatever the name of the load, just drop it.
Zen is a deprogramming. You are all programmed -- as a Christian, as a Catholic, as a Hindu, as a Mohammedan... everybody is programmed. Zen is a deprogramming. So it does not matter what kind of program you bring; what kind of cage you have lived in does not matter. The cage has to be broken and the bird has to be released. There is no social context of Zen. Zen is the most intimate and the most individualistic rebellion against the collective mass and its pressure.
Alan Watts is not right. His understanding of Zen is absolutely intellectual. He says, "It is primarily a way of liberation for those who have mastered the discipline of social convention." All nonsense. It has nothing to do with social convention. There is no need to master something which you have to drop finally. There is no point in wasting time. In other words, he is saying, "First, get into a cage, become a slave of a certain conventionality, a certain religion, a certain belief system, and then try to be free of it."
He is simply showing his mind, unconsciously. He was encaged, and for years trained as a Christian priest. You can expel a Christian, but it is very difficult for the Christian to expel the Christianity that has gone deep into his bones, into his blood. He could not expel it, hence his advice for others who may follow: "It is primarily a way of liberation for those who have mastered the discipline of social convention, of the conditioning of the individual by the group." Absolutely no.
It does not matter whether you are conditioned this way or that way. Conditioned fifty percent, sixty percent, or one hundred percent -- it does not matter. From any point freedom is available. And you will have to drop it, so the less you are conditioned the better, because you will be dropping a small load. It is better if your cage is very small. But if you have a palace and an empire, then it is very difficult to drop it.
When Jesus asked the fishermen to drop their jobs and "come follow me," they really dropped. There was nothing much to be dropped -- just a fisherman's net, a rotten net. A good bargain: dropping this net and following this man, you will enter into the kingdom of God. But when he asked the rich young man to drop everything and "come and follow me," the rich man hesitated and disappeared into the crowd. The less you have, as far as conditioning is concerned, the easier it is to drop it.
And he is asking that first you should be conditioned by the group, and master the discipline of social convention. Strange... Do you have to become first a soldier just to get retired from the army? If you don't want to fight, you don't have to become a soldier. Why not be fresh? But he was not fresh.
He was contaminated by Christianity, and he hopes --
according to his programming -- that everybody first should be
conditioned, chained, handcuffed, put into a jail, so that he can enjoy
freedom one day. A strange way of experiencing freedom!
The questioner has said, "Beloved Master, first, I
don't see any need to master social conventions to be ready for the way
of Zen" -- you are right. "On the contrary, trying to master dead, old
rules shows stupidity" -- you are again right. "Why not drop them
immediately?" That's what Zen is asking you: "Why not drop it
immediately? Why go part by part?"
A man had gathered ten thousand golden rupees. And at that time, the rupee was really gold; the word `rupee' simply means gold. And this was his desire -- that one day when they were ten thousand, he would offer them to Ramakrishna, of course, to gain virtue in the other life. When small donations are given and people are getting great virtues... for ten thousand gold pieces you can purchase even God's own house!
He went, dropped his bags of golden coins, and told
Ramakrishna, "I want to offer them to you. Please accept them."
Mukta keeps them for everybody; she has taken the responsibility. By being Greek she has to carry Greek aspirins. And everybody knows, so whenever somebody needs one, they look for Mukta.
If Zen is a medicine, when you are cured, what will you do with Zen? You will have to throw it away, or give it to the Lions Club. But Zen cannot be thrown away, nor can it be given to the Lions Club. In the first place, there is not a single lion. Zen is your very nature; there is no way of throwing it away. All that you can do with Zen is two things: you can remember, or you can forget. This is the only possibility. If you forget your nature, your buddhahood... this is the only sin in the world of Zen: forgetfulness.
Gautam Buddha's last words on the earth have to be remembered: sammasati. Sammasati means right remembrance. His whole life is condensed into a single word, remembrance, as if on dying, he is condensing all his teachings, all his scriptures into a single word. Nobody has uttered a more significant word when dying. His last message, his whole message: sammasati, remember. And when you remember, there is no way to throw your consciousness away.
Zen is not a meditation. Zen is exactly sammasati --
remembrance of your ultimateness, remembrance of your immortality,
remembrance of your divineness, of your sacredness. Remembering it, and
rejoicing it, and dancing out of joy that you are rooted, so deeply
rooted in existence that there is no way for you to be worried, to be
Source - Osho Book "The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself"
Osho on Alan Watts - I am going to include another man, Alan Watts, with all his books. I have loved this man immensely. I have loved Buddha for different reasons; I have loved Solomon for a different reason. They are enlightened, Alan Watts is not. He is an American... not a born American, that's his only hope; he just emigrated there. But he has written tremendously valuable books. THE WAY OF ZEN should be counted as one of the most important; THIS IS IT is a tremendous work of beauty and understanding -- and from a man who is yet unenlightened; hence it is more appreciable.
When you are enlightened, whatsoever you say is beautiful; it has to be. But when you are not enlightened and groping in the dark, and yet can find a small window of light, that's tremendous, fantastic. Alan Watts was a drunkard, but still he was very close.
He was once an ordained Christian priest -- what a misfortune! -- but he renounced it. Very few people have the guts to renounce the priesthood, because it provides so many things of the world. He renounced all that and became almost a hobo. But what a hobo! -- it reminds one of Bodhidharma, Basho, or Rinzai. Alan Watts cannot remain long without becoming a buddha. He died long ago; by this time he must be leaving school... must be ready to come to me! I am waiting for all these people. Alan Watts is one of them -- I am waiting for him.
Source - Osho Book "Books I have Loved"
Osho - Eleventh, and the last -- Alan Watts' THE BOOK. I have been saving it. Alan Watts was not a buddha, but he could be one day. He has moved closer to it. THE BOOK is tremendously important. It is his testament, his whole experience with Zen masters, Zen classics. And he is a man of tremendous intelligence; he was also a drunkard. Intelligence plus wine have really created a juicy book. I have loved THE BOOK and I have saved it for the last. Do you remember Jesus' saying, "Blessed are those who stand at the last"? Yes, this book is blessed. I bless it, and I would like this series of sessions to be in memory of Alan Watts.
Source - Osho Book "Books I have Loved"
Osho on Alan Watts
- I love one statement of one of the most important people of the
West, Alan Watts. He was a drunkard, but he was the man who introduced
to the West the most essential parts of Zen and enlightenment. He wrote
not as a scholar, but as a master. Before he was dying, he was still
drinking and a disciple asked him, "Have you ever thought... if Buddha
had seen you drinking alcohol, what do you think he would have thought
Source - Osho Book "OM Mani Padme Hum"
Osho on famous people: Annie Besant, Alan Watts, Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler, Confucius, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Santayana, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Machiavelli, Madame Blavatsky, Mahatma Gandhi, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Buber, Mother Teresa, Nijinsky, Shakuntala Devi, Somerset Maugham, Soren Kierkegaard, Subhash Chandra Bose, Vincent van Gogh, Vinoba Bhave