I want these criminals – the pope, Mother Teresa, etcetera – to be locked up before they do too much harm. I don’t see anything spiritual in poverty. Do you think if somebody is suffering from cancer there is something spiritual in it? Somebody is sick, dying; is there something spiritual in it?
BUDDHA’S RELIGION SPREAD ALL OVER ASIA EXCEPT INDIA, AND STILL BUDDHA’S WAY OF LIFE HAS BEEN ACCEPTED BY INDIA – TO BECOME MORE AND MORE POOR. IS THERE ANY WAY THAT INDIA CAN ACCEPT YOUR LIFE-AFFIRMATIVE ATTITUDE AND BECOME RICH, EVEN WITHOUT ACCEPTING YOUR RELIGIOUSNESS WHICH IS SPREADING ALL OVER THE WORLD?
There are many questions in your single question. First, Buddha’s religion never spread over Asia.
It died in India because Buddha was not ready to compromise on anything. He was against God, he was against a permanent soul, he was against the VEDAS. While he was alive his charismatic personality impressed millions of people. The moment he was gone they started falling back into the old traps, old consolations, old deceptions, hallucinations.
And the Brahmins, who had been completely shaken by Buddha’s assertions, took revenge.
Buddhists were killed, burned alive. Those who survived escaped India to Tibet, to Burma, to Ceylon, to China, to Japan – all over Asia.
But what they spread there is not Buddhism. They had learned the lesson in India that Buddhism was completely finished there because Buddha would not compromise. They compromised in each country where they went – with the tradition, with their consolations.
So what exists in Tibet is not Buddhism but Tibetan superstitions mixed with Buddha’s philosophy. It is a mixture, and only those parts of Buddhism are accepted which fit with the Tibetan mind.
The same is true about China, about Ceylon, about Japan, about Korea, about Thailand. All over Asia Buddhists reached and had to compromise with the tradition there. Only the name remained Buddhism; the content completely disappeared. The revolution died. The revolution was in the uncompromising standpoint of Buddha: to be absolutely devoted to experience and not to philosophies and theologies and words. That got lost. They saved the name but Buddhism died.
So the first thing, forget that Buddhism spread all over Asia. Buddhism died with the death of Buddha. And in fact that is how it should be. It is dangerous for any religion to survive without an enlightened master. Then that religion becomes a hindrance to human progress. And the unenlightened people start interpreting the enlightened one’s statements. This is sheer nonsense, this cannot be done.
The second thing, you say: “Although Buddhism disappeared from India, Buddha’s way of life was accepted, particularly his teaching about renunciation, living in poverty.” That too is not correct.
Jainism is at least five thousand years older than Buddhism. And they have been teaching more poverty, more renunciation.
Jainas don’t accept Buddha as an enlightened person because he had three sets of robes as his possessions. That was enough to destroy his enlightenment.
Hinduism is far older; Hindu scholars themselves think it is ninety thousand years old. And Hinduism is in support of the status quo of the society. The rich man is rich because he was virtuous in his past lives; the poor man is poor because he committed something wrong in his past life. They have shifted the whole burden to the past life.
And for thousands of years they have been teaching that you are poor because you deserve to be poor, this is a punishment. And if you revolt against your situation you will be punished again in the coming lives. It is better to accept it, it is better not to do anything against it; then there is a possibility in the next life that you also may be rich.
Now you see the whole strategy. This life is completely ignored. The past life – about which you know nothing – is important. And the life that you are living you have to live according to the rules of the society without any revolt, without any effort to do something to destroy poverty, because that is trying to escape from the wheel of the law of action and its consequence. You cannot escape; if you put your hand into the fire you are going to be burned. You go on putting your hand into the fire and you don’t want to be burned.
It is because of these people that India has remained a country without any revolution. And India has suffered more than any other land: thousands of years of immense poverty, two thousand years of slavery. Small groups, primitives, nomads invaded India, a vast continent, and became victorious because India was ready to accept anything. They were programmed for acceptance: if slavery was coming that meant God wanted them to be slaves.
You will be surprised that even in the twentieth century when one the the states of India, Bihar, had a very great earthquake and thousands of people died, Mahatma Gandhi had only one thing to say – that they were dying because of their bad karmas. The earthquake was not killing them, it was their past lives. And nobody asks Mahatma Gandhi, “Why Bihar only? All over India, all over the world people have been doing the same things in their past lives. Have all the sinners been born in Bihar?” Their sins are bringing the earthquake.
These are ways of explaining away situations for which you don’t have any explanation, or you don’t have the guts to say the truth.
So it is not that Buddha and his religion were rejected but his teachings about poverty were accepted; teaching about poverty were already accepted thousands of years before Buddha. They have nothing to do with Buddha. Buddha simply joined the whole company who were telling people, “Be contented as you are.”
And I am amazed – Buddha was not contented to be in beautiful palaces, with beautiful, gorgeous women, with all the luxuries available to him. And he was going to be the king of his country. His father was old, seventy, and wanted in his own life to see the crowning ceremony of Gautam Buddha.
Buddha could not be content with that, and he escaped. And he is teaching the poor people to be content. Can’t you see the contradiction?
But poor people have to be given the opium of consolation. It helps the rich to become more rich and the poor to become more poor. If half the world is dying with poverty and starvation, who is responsible? All your prophets, all your messiahs, all your avataras – the whole mafia of your religious leaders. They have made humanity suffer for centuries, and still they are doing the same.
Still they are preaching the same thing, that poverty has something spiritual in it.
Poverty is the greatest crime, because all other crimes are born out of poverty; it is the source. And your religious leaders are praising poverty. They are agents of the politicians, they are agents of all those who are in power. There is a conspiracy between the politicians and the priests. The politician goes on paying respect to the priest. Ronald Reagan goes to the Vatican to pay his regards to Pope the Polack.
And naturally the pope goes on preaching no birth control, no abortion, because these are against God: God is giving children to you and you are preventing God from doing his work. God seems to be doing great work! The earth is already four times overpopulated. If the same rate of growth in population continues, by the end of this century the whole world will be dying of starvation.
I want these criminals – the pope, Mother Teresa, etcetera – to be locked up before they do too much harm.
You are asking me, cannot my way of life and my approach towards creating more wealth, technology, science, be accepted without my philosophy of religiousness? No. It is impossible.
My philosophy of religiousness is an organic whole.
You cannot take part of it – that part will be dead. Either you have to accept it whole or you have to reject it whole.
And I am not for compromise on any grounds.
Just see: if you don’t accept that luxury is man’s birthright, you cannot create wealth. For what? If the rich man cannot enter into the kingdom of God, would you like to become a rich man? This life is small, very small. Compared to the eternity of time it is just a second, or even less. Just be a little patient and you will enter into the kingdom of God with all its beauties and luxuries. They are waiting for you.
But if you try to go against God here, if you stop the population explosion on the earth, if you try to convert all the energy that is going into war and death towards life, you are going against the politician, you are going against the priest. And these two, the politician and the priest, are the inventors of God.
God is a lie.
God is the greatest lie.
Unless you are free from God, you cannot make this earth paradise, because then your paradise remains always above the clouds, then your paradise remains only a hope. And I want it to be a reality – now and here.
You are asking me, “If they don’t accept your religious ideology, can’t they accept your approach towards wealth?” No. How can they accept it? They remain attached to their old religious traditions which are praising poverty. Before they can be creative of wealth, comfort, luxury, they have to destroy the old program of remaining poor because poverty is something spiritual.
I don’t see anything spiritual in poverty. Do you think if somebody is suffering from cancer there is something spiritual in it? Somebody is sick, dying; is there something spiritual in it? If that is so then all great saints are born in Ethiopia and are dying every day; one thousand saints dying in Ethiopia – because if poverty is spiritual then Ethiopia is the land of spirituality.
Whatever I am saying to you is an organic unity.
If you accept one part of it, you will have to accept the whole of it. You cannot choose; everything is interrelated.
I can see your concern for India because it is on the verge of becoming another Ethiopia. Fifty percent of the country is starving. One wants to do something, but one cannot do anything if they think their poverty is spiritual. You cannot do anything because they are programmed for thousands of years to die, starve, be hungry, beg, because that is earning a great bank balance in the kingdom of God. They are doing a great job and you disturb them.
This life is a dream. In India that has been preached by all the religions that have arisen there: this life is a dream. What does it matter whether in a dream you are a beggar or an emperor? When you wake up you will find both were just dreams.
Hindus say the world is maya, illusion, so don’t be disturbed too much by illusory things. When you wake up you will find that the rich man and you are in the same boat. He was dreaming he was rich, you were dreaming you were poor – but dreaming is dreaming.
There is a beautiful story about Chuang Tzu, a great mystic of China. One morning, sitting in his bed, he looked very sad. His disciples had never seen him so sad. And never after waking up had he remained in his bed, sitting. What had happened? Was he sick?
They gathered around and asked him, “Master, what is the matter?” He said, “The matter is really difficult, I cannot solve it; perhaps you may be of some help. I will tell you what is the matter. In the night I dreamed that I had become a butterfly, and I was moving from one flower to another flower.”
The disciples said, “This is nothing to be sad about. In dreams we all do strange things; and this is not a bad thing, to be a butterfly – colorful, beautiful, moving from one juicy flower to another juicy flower. Why are you so worried?”
He said, “You have not heard the whole thing. The problem is, now I am awake and I am wondering whether Chuang Tzu dreamed that he is a butterfly, or now the butterfly has gone to sleep and is dreaming she is Chuang Tzu.”
Both are possible. If Chuang Tzu can dream that he is a butterfly, what can’t a butterfly dream that she is a Chuang Tzu?
The disciples remained silent; there was no answer to it. Chuang Tzu was pointing towards a certain phenomenon that all religions have been teaching – that everything is a dream. The butterfly is a dream, Chuang Tzu is a dream. Then what is real? The real is far away. And in this dream, don’t get disturbed. Whether you are a camel, or a donkey, or a monkey – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you accept it without any resentment so that you can reach one day the real world of God.
This has been the basis of all religions: deny this world. That’s why they are all against me, because I say rejoice in this world – because there is no other world. Rejoice this moment, because the next moment is not certain. Rejoice today, because tomorrow never comes. And if you know how to rejoice this moment, you have the secret, the golden key, the magical key, in your hands… because whenever you will be, you will be in the present; wherever you will be, you will be in the present. And if you know how to open the doors of the present and its blessings, you know the whole secret of life.
I would like India to understand me, but it is almost impossible. For thirty years I have been moving in India like a whirlwind, destroying my health, trying to tell people, “It is you who are responsible for your poverty.” And they were throwing shoes at me, stones at me; I was poisoned twice. Attempts on my life were made.
Still I want that one day they should awake. But there is not much possibility.
SOURCE: Osho- From Death to Deathlessness