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Osho on difference between Satori and Samadhi

Question: What is the difference in experience between Satori – in Zen, a glimpse of Enlightenment – and Samadhi, Cosmic Consciousness?

Osho - Samadhi begins as a gap, but it never ends. A gap always begins and ends – it has boundaries: a beginning and an end – but samadhi begins as a gap and then is everlasting. There is no end to it. So if the happening comes as a gap and there is no end, it is samadhi, but if it is a complete gap – with a beginning and an end – then it is satori, and that is different. If it is just a glimpse, just a gap, and the gap is again lost, if something is bracketed and the bracket is complete – you peep into it and come back, you jump into it and come back – if something happens and it is again lost, it is satori. It is a glimpse, a glimpse of samadhi, but not samadhi.

Samadhi means the beginning of knowing, without any end. In India we have no word that corresponds to satori, so sometimes, when the gap is great, one can misunderstand satori as samadhi. But it never is; it is just a glimpse. You have come to the cosmic and looked into it, and then everything is gone again. Of course, you will not be the same; now you will never be the same again. Something has penetrated into you, something has been added to you, you can never be the same again. But still, that which has changed you is not with you. It is
just a remembrance, a memory. It is only a glimpse.

If you can remember it – if you can say, ”I have known the moment” – it is only a glimpse, because the moment samadhi has happened, you will not be there to remember it. Then you can never say, ”I have known it,” because with the knowing the knower is lost. Only with the glimpse the knower remains.

So the knower can keep this glimpse as a memory – he can cherish it, long for it, desire it, again endeavor to experience it – but he is still there. The one who has had a glimpse, the one who has looked is there. It has become a memory; and now this memory will haunt you, will follow you, and will demand the phenomenon again and again.

The moment samadhi has happened, you are not there to remember it. Samadhi never becomes a part of memory because the one who was is no more. As they say in zen, ”The old man is no more and the new one has come...” and these two have never met, so there is no possibility of there being any memory. The old has gone and the new has come, and there has been no meeting between the two, because the new can come only when the old has gone. Then it is not a memory; there is no haunting and no hankering after it, there is no longing for it. Then, as you are, you are at ease and there is nothing to desire.

It is not that you have killed the desire – no! It is desirelessness in the sense that the one who could desire is no more. It is not a state of no desire; it is desirelessness, because the one who could desire is no more. Then there is no longing, there is no future, because the future is created through our longings; it is a projection of our desires.

If there is no desire, there is no future. And if there is no future, there is no need of the past, because the past is always a background against which, or through which, the future is longed for. If there is no future, if you know that this very moment you are going to die, there is no need to remember the past. Then there is no need to even remember your name, because the name has a meaning only if there is a future. It may be needed; but if there is no future, you just burn all your bridges of the past. There is no need of them; the past has become absolutely meaningless. It is only against the future or for the future that the past is meaningful.

The moment samadhi has happened, the future becomes nonexistential. It is not; only the present moment is. It is the only time, there is not even any past. The past has dropped and the future also, and a single, momentary existence becomes the total existence. You are in it, but not as an entity that is different from it. You cannot be different because you only become different from the total existence due to your past or your future. The past and future crystallized around you is the only barrier between you and the present moment that is happening. So when samadhi happens there is no past and no future. Then it is not that you are in the present, but you are the present, you become the present.

Samadhi is not a glimpse, samadhi is a death. But satori is a glimpse, not a death. And satori
is possible through so many ways. An aesthetic experience can be a possible source for satori; music can be a possible source for satori; love can be a possible source for satori. In any intense moment in which the past becomes meaningless, in any intense moment when you are existing in the present – a moment of either love or music or poetic feeling, or of any aesthetic phenomenon in which the past doesn’t interfere, in which there is no desire for the future – satori becomes possible.

But this is just a glimpse. This glimpse is meaningful, because through satori you can feel for the first time what samadhi can mean. The first taste, or the first distinct perfume of samadhi, comes through satori. So satori is helpful; but anything that is helpful can be a hindrance if you cling to it and you feel that it is everything. Satori has a bliss that can fool you; it has a bliss of its own. Because you have not known samadhi, this is the ultimate that comes to you, and you cling to it. But if you cling to it, you can change that which was helpful, that which was friendly, into something that becomes a barrier and an enemy. So one must be aware of the possible danger of satori. If you are aware of this, then the experience of satori will be helpful.

A single, momentary glimpse is something that can never be known by any other means. No one can explain it; no words, no communication, can even be a hint to it. Satori is meaningful, but just as a glimpse, as a breakthrough, as a single, momentary breakthrough into the existence, into the abyss. You have not even known the moment, you have not even become aware of it before it becomes closed to you. Just a click of the camera – a click, and everything is lost. Then a hankering will be created; you will risk everything for that moment. But do not long for it, do not desire it; let it sleep in the memory. Do not make a problem out of it; just forget it. If you can forget it and do not cling to it, these moments will come to you more and more, the glimpses will be coming to you more and more.

A demanding mind becomes closed, and the glimpse is shut off. It always comes when you are not aware of it, when you are not looking for it – when you are relaxed, when you are not even thinking about it, when you are not even meditating. Even when you are meditating the glimpse becomes impossible, but when you are not meditating, when you are just in a moment of let-go – not even doing anything, not even waiting for anything – in that relaxed moment, satori happens. It will begin to happen more and more, but do not think about it; do not long for it. And never mistake it for samadhi.

Source - Osho Book "Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy"

Related Osho Discourses:
Osho Quotes on Satori
Osho discourse on Satori
Osho on Mini Satori and Full Satori
Osho - Is a Master needed after Satori

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