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The Empty Boat: Encounters with Nothingness (OSHO Classics) Kindle Edition
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The first section delves on the origins of 'ego' and the hell it creates in oneself and outside us. Those deep insights help one dissolve at least part of ones ego. Through parables, and snippets of Chunag Tzu's life, osho urges one to stop becoming somebody and empty one's boat.
Chapter 2: The Man of Tao
The man in whom Tao
Acts without impediment
Harms no other being
By his actions
Yet he does not know himself
To be "kind" and "gentle"
Chapter 6: The Need To Win
When an archer is shooting for nothing
He has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle,
He is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold,
He goes blind
Or sees two targets --
He is out of his mind !
His skill has not changed. But the prize
Divides him. He cares.
He thinks more of winning
Than of shooting --
And the need to win
Drains him of power.
The above parables are an attempt to nudge us to walk without concern and realize the greater consciousness that casts all us in the human mould.
If you can empty your own boat
crossing the river of the world,
no one will oppose you,
and no one will seek to harm you’.
According to Osho, a man of Tao is an empty boat. He is gentle, innocent, not knowing, not worried and wise. Only a man of Tao can just sit in a chair and go on sitting and sitting and sitting.
The whole of Chuang Tzu’s philosophy is that when everything is happening, why are you worried? Allow it to happen. If rivers and trees can reach, man will reach. When the whole existence is moving , you are part of it. Chuang Tzu says: ‘ Everything is amply taken care of.’
Chuang Tzu’s whole teaching consists of being spontaneous. What he says is that don’t choose religion against the world, don’t choose goodness against badness, don’t choose grace against sin, don’t try to be a good man against the bad man and don’t make any distinction between the Devil and God.
A few of Osho’s observations taken from this book are quoted below:
When you have become so rich you are not aware of it. When you are so rich, there is no need to exhibit it.
Hell is a bondage, heaven is also a bondage. Heaven may be a beautiful prison, hell may be an ugly prison - but both are prisons.
We live together without knowing what togetherness is.
When Bibles and Gitas and Korans are too much on your mind, you miss the divine - because the whole space in you is filled with too much furniture.
You never need to remember a real thing that has happened to you. If it happens to you, it is there - what is the need to remember.
There are altogether 11 chapters in this book spreading over 226 pages. Each chapter begins with a Chuang tzu story followed by Osho’s reflections on it. Osho uses parables, anecdotes and jokes to give emphasis to his points as well as to make his audience active and live. Here is one joke:
A man was caught, and the magistrate asked, “Tell me, when you were caught, what did the policeman say to you?”
The man said, “Can I use the vulgar language that he used, here in court? Will you not feel offended?”
The magistrate said, “Leave out the vulgar language and say what he said.”
The man thought and said, “Then ...he said nothing.”
How much power wine can give when one is drunk is pictured in the following Mulla story.
Mulla Nasruddin was walking with his wife, absolutely drunk. She had found him lying in the street and was bringing him home. She was arguing, and winning all the arguments, because Mulla Nasaruddin was not there, he was simply coming along with her.
Then suddenly she saw a mad bull approaching. There was no time to alert Nasruddin, so she jumped into a bush. The bull came up and spun Nasruddin almost fifty feet in the air. He fell into a ditch, and as he crawled out of it he looked at his wife and said, “If you do this to me again, I shall really lose my temper. This is too much.”
Osho asks, If ordinary wine gives so much power, what about Tao, the absolute drunkenness?.
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Instead, Osho informs us that it is our essence that matters. Who we are at core is what matters, not what we do. When doing comes out of being, there is no conflict. There is no need to seek reward because the reward is in the action itself. Instead of moving toward goals and planning out our lives in such a way that can lead to "success," Osho says that the real joy of living comes through being spontaneous, and through having no expectations. "All that is great, all that is beautiful, all that is true and real," he says, "is always spontaneous. You cannot plan it.... Do the trees plan how to grow, how to mature, how to come to flower? They simply grow without even being conscious of the growth" (80-81).
To be an empty boat means to be free of ego, free of the need to prove oneself, free of the need to be somebody, free of the fear of being nobody, free of the need to win, free of the fear of losing. It means being free to put everything you are into what you do without any attachment to results.
What I like about Osho is that he is uncompromising. He doesn't let you feel good about yourself. He gives you no choice but to look within yourself and to be honest about what you see. Reading this book, you'll realize that all problems in the external world are rooted in the internal world of each one of us, and that we cannot effectively address any injustices in society without being introspective. "A seeker of truth," he says, "carries no theories with him. He is always open, vulnerable. He can listen" (144).
This quality of listening is what opens us up to the reality that lies beneath the surface of our chattering minds. When we listen to others, instead of competing with them to prove we are right, rigidly holding onto our opinions, conversations have a musical quality, a rhythm, a flow, and friendships are formed where rivalries once reigned. This quality of listening is also what enables us to see that this moment, right here right now, is a joyous moment, even if it doesn't lead to anything tangible, even if nothing is happening. Osho teaches us to view each moment as a celebration, so that we don't wish our lives away, waiting for someday to come, or wishing that the good old days would come back. "A man of wisdom is always concerned with the being," he says, whereas "a man of ignorance is always concerned with questions of doing" ( 223).
So, the "Nothingness" in the title is the Tao, the emptiness within, the pure, virgin Self, prior to the intrusion of the thinking, logical mind. Osho urges us to return to that pure state, so that we are awake to what every moment brings us.