Individual Talk

Osho Audiobook - Individual Talk: Live Zen, # 9, (mp3) - silently, mahakashyapa, tozan


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Three Pounds of Flax

Talk #9 of the Series, Live Zen


"Maneesha, not finding any expression for truth, Zen has developed a language of its own; hence, to ordinary logic it looks absurd. But those who have experienced their own being, their consciousness, will find that although the language is absurd it is absolutely relevant.

"Zen's case is very special, for example Tozan's 'Three Pounds of Flax.'

"It is impossible to say what the experience is of being a buddha, of being awakened. Even in your common life you wake up every morning, you go to sleep every night; thousands of nights you must have slept and thousands of mornings you must have awakened – but can you describe what sleep is? You cannot say, you don't know it. Can you give any explanation to the experience of waking up in the morning? You have known it many times; it is not something unknown to you."
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Osho International
55 mins
14.43 MB
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Osho continues:
"But still, when it comes to expressing it you come up against a very adamant wall: the language that we use for communication simply fails. But something has to be done. The question has been asked, an answer has to be given and the language does not allow any answer.

"In such a situation Zen developed its own language. It can be easily criticized, condemned, described as absurd and irrational, but that is not very intelligent. Intelligence needs to find a way to understand the irrational language of Zen.
A monk asked Tozan…
"Tozan is one of the most significant masters who lived fourteen hundred years ago. He is being asked,
'What is Buddha?'
"The word buddha is from Sanskrit, but now it has been taken over by the Chinese, by the Japanese, for the simple reason that they could not find anything equivalent. The word buddha means a consciousness at its peak. What does it mean – a consciousness at its peak?

"Tozan said…You must be expecting some philosophical answer, some theological answer, some rational explanation, but what Tozan said is,
'Three pounds of flax.'
"At that moment he was carrying three pounds of flax. In that moment he could not indicate anything else; there was nothing else available other than three pounds of flax. In fact he is saying that the question is wrong and if you ask a wrong question you will get a wrong answer. But he is compassionate and polite. Rather than saying, 'You idiot! A question about buddha is not to be asked – it is an experience without any explanation, an experience beyond mind.' Being of a very kind nature, rather than saying that you are asking a wrong question, he simply gives an absolutely absurd answer: 'Three pounds of flax.'

"In that moment it must have come to the inquirer as a shock and also as an insult – not only to himself but to Gautam Buddha – but he knows that Tozan cannot be insulting or derogatory in any sense toward Gautam Buddha, because for Tozan to insult Gautam Buddha will be to insult himself.

"His answer is indicative that it is not possible for language to contain the experience."
In this title, Osho talks on the following topics:

silently… mahakashyapa… tozan… setcho

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