Osho - There is no meaning in existence itself, it is beyond meaning
Question - Osho, What is the
meaning of Existence?
For centuries man has been imposing meaning on existence because it
needs guts to live joyously
without meaning. It needs real intelligence to live in ecstasy without
any meaning at all. The crowds
donít have that much intelligence, they need some excuse. Howsoever
false the excuse is it does
not matter Ė even a false excuse is good enough for them to live for.
But they are absolutely in need
of a meaning. It is manís need that imposes meaning on existence. The
more immature a man is
the more his need for meaning. As he becomes mature the need becomes
What meaning does a poem have, what purpose? What meaning does a rose flower have, what purpose? What is the meaning of a night full of stars? And what is the meaning of love? What is the meaning of all that you are surrounded by? There is no meaning in it. And if you are in need of meaning, then you will project. Then existence becomes just a screen and you project your meaning on it.
For centuries humanity has done that and because of it now we are suffering tremendously. Now man has become more mature; he is not as childish as he was before and he can see that all those projections are nothing but projections. All the meanings are collapsing and now a great chaos is created by the collapsing meanings which we have believed in for thousands of years. A great meaninglessness is felt all over the world.
All modern thinkers from Soren Kierkegaard to Martin Heidegger are concerned with one single question and that question is the question of meaning. And all are convinced that there is no meaning in life. But then why live? Naturally, inevitably, the second question arises: If there is no meaning then why live? Then why not commit suicide?
Marcel used to say that the only significant philosophical question is suicide. Why go on living when there is no meaning? It is sheer cowardice to live when there is no meaning. And Marcel has some relevance in the context of the whole human history of thought, philosophy, religion. All the values are disappearing and man wants anything to cling to. Because the old gods have failed, man is inventing new gods.
It is difficult now to believe in the Christian trinity: God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Ghost. It is almost impossible for any contemporary person to believe in this nonsense. But when this belief disappears a vacuum is felt; you start missing something. You cannot continue in the old belief and you cannot tolerate the emptiness that is left behind. Then something has to be substituted Ė anything will do. And then there are many substitutes.
Communists have provided their own unholy trinity: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Lenin. You see the point? The Christian trinity was all male, the communist trinity is also all male. There was no woman in the Christian trinity, there is no woman in the communist trinity. It is a replica, exactly the same. Many theologians have tried to bring Christís mother Mary into the trinity from the back door, but they have all failed.
For centuries, again and again, the effort has been made, but it has not succeeded. And the same has happened with the communist trinity. Stalin tried to become one of the parts, but the magic number of three cannot be disturbed. So while he was alive he imposed himself, he became one; the trinity was no more a trinity, it started consisting of four persons. The moment he died the fourth was dropped. Even his grave was removed from the close proximity of Leninís grave; they could not even tolerate his dead body there.
Mao Tse Tung tried in China to enter into the trinity; the day he died he was removed. When old gods fail a great vacuum is felt. It is not accidental that in this century Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and people like them became so powerful. Their power was not their own, their power existed in the vacuum that was left in the human heart because of the old values disappearing. And man has lived for so long with a certain meaning in life that he has become incapable of living without meaning. Either commit suicide or invent a new meaning.
My own approach is totally different. There is no need to commit suicide; that is sheer stupidity. There is no need to invent any new meaning; that is falling back, that is regressive, that is again becoming immature. It is a great opportunity that is knocking on your doors. Humanity as a whole has come to a certain point of growth from which a quantum leap is possible. Man can start living without any meaning and still live beautifully, still with tremendous joy.
That was one of the greatest contributions of Gautam the Buddha. He has not been understood yet, but now his time has come. He came a little too early Ė twenty-five centuries before his time Ė but he speaks like a contemporary. Jesus speaks the old language, the language which children can understand. And so is the case with many others Ė with Moses, with Mohammed. But Buddha speaks the language of maturity. He says there is no meaning in life and there is no need for any meaning. Drop the hankering and donít try to fill this vacuum. This vacuum is good, it is healthy. Abide in this emptiness, rejoice in this emptiness! Donít go on stuffing it with unnecessary things.
It has a purity Ė this emptiness which is being felt now by many more people than it was ever felt before. Only once in a while has a man like Buddha felt that all ideals are false, imaginary inventions Ė toys to play with, to keep children engaged so they donít create mischief. Temples, churches, mosques, gurudwaras, these are places to keep children engaged so they donít create any trouble, so they donít create any mischief. These are sedatives so that you go on sleeping; these are sleeping pills, tranquilizers which help you to remain nonviolent, to remain non-destructive, to remain peace- fully sleepy; otherwise there is danger. You cannot be trusted, you cannot be allowed freedom.
These are your bondages. These are prisons which you think of as temples; they are not temples. And the gods you worship are not gods; they are just play-things to keep you occupied, to keep you afraid, to keep you frightened, to keep you greedy. They donít transform you; their whole function is to serve the status quo, to serve the vested interests of the society.
Buddha says: The inner emptiness is so beautiful, donít stuff it with junk, leave it as it is. And thatís what meditation is all about, thatís what Zen is. It means living out of emptiness, asking nothing from life, living moment to moment for no other reason, just enjoying being alive. It is more than you can ask for! What more meaning do you need? Is breathing not enough? Is this chirping of the birds not enough? Is the green and the red and the gold of the trees not enough? Is this vast existence with all its splendor not enough? You want some meaning?
Source - Osho Book "Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen"
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