The More Buddhas The Better

I have heard a lot of talk about sannyasins claiming to be enlightened and whether they should be allowed to be part of the Osho sangha by participating in the Pune resort and centers. One of the things that strike me is the seriousness that is attached to both issues. What difference does it really make if a sannyasin proclaims his enlightenment or whether the person is a part of the Osho sangha? However, since these topics have become issues, I thought I would add my two cents worth.

As I recall, when Osho was asked how many of His sannyasins are enlightened, He said that they are all enlightened. He said that the only difference between His and His sannyasins’ enlightenment is that they are not aware of theirs. If Osho’s statement is true, and if enlightened sannyasins should not be allowed in the sangha, then no one should be allowed in.

Just because someone recognizes his* own enlightenment, he will not necessarily disclaim or forsake his Master. In fact, the relationship gets even more intense. Refusing to allow a sannyasin into the sangha because he states that he has recognized his enlightenment seems rather bizarre. Can you imagine Osho refusing to let Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Mahavir, or Meera into the commune? It is equally absurd to prevent someone from basking in his Master’s grace, simply because he recognizes his own enlightenment.

The only reasons for preventing anyone from being a part of the sangha are fear and jealousy. The fear is that these individuals may not follow the rules, that other sannyasins would gravitate to them, rather than remaining loyal to Osho or something else equally frivolous. What an ego trip!

When I was 13, I asked a dear Catholic friend to honor me by attending my Bar Mitzvah. He said that he would have to ask his priest for permission. The answer was, “No.” Was the priest afraid? Did he think that my friend would convert to Judaism? Did he think that my friend’s connection with Christ was so fragile that being a witness to a Jewish ritual would pull him away from his church? Did he think that this Jewish ceremony would somehow taint his belief in Christ? The priest’s fear and prejudice stopped my friend from honoring me in the celebration of Jewish manhood.

When Malika, my partner in life, and I first had darshan with Osho, in 1978, we told Him that we were followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. We asked Him if it would be okay to continue doing TM. He told us that it was perfectly fine, that if we enjoyed, then no problem. Strange, but within a week of getting His permission, we both stopped doing TM. Instead, we fell totally into Osho’s active meditations. Osho was not afraid of Maharishi or his meditations. He simply wanted us to enjoy.

Whether someone is enlightened is not a decision anyone can make for someone else. Many people see Osho as nothing more than an egoist, an entertainer, a cult leader, or a hypnotist. Yet, for countless others, He is an enlightened being. Who is right? Each person must make his own determination. Each person experiences the enlightenment of another in his own way. Let each person decide for himself. Moreover, should one who does not recognize his own enlightenment be the authoritative source of who is enlightened? Jews do not accept Christ, Buddha, or Osho as enlightened beings. Does this mean that they are not enlightened?

After I became a sannyasin, a friend gave me some audio tapes by Werner Erhard, the founder of EST. When I first began listening to his discourses, I liked what Erhard had to say. However, I did not believe that he could possibly be enlightened. I thought that he was only a very bright man and an excellent salesman. Then, all of a sudden, it hit me. I had not been hearing him. Instead, I was listening and judging him. I held a belief that to be enlightened, one had to be from the East, the Orient, a Native American, or anything but a Western Caucasian.

The moment I realized my prejudice, jealousy, and preconceived ideas, I started truly hearing him, which made an amazing difference in my ability to feel him. What a beautiful moment! My prejudice, jealousy, and beliefs kept me from experiencing Erhard. Is he enlightened? Who knows? All I can say is that I experienced something wonderful with him, a moment of let-go. Does this mean that I stopped being a disciple of Osho? Of course not. It showed me that anyone could become enlightened. What a beautiful realization! This meant that even I could become enlightened. I no longer had the excuse that I was not from the East, of oriental descent, or a Native American. I finally had to take responsibility for myself. I believe this is the essence of Osho’s teaching.

Jealousy can arise when family members or fellow sannyasins claim to be enlightened. They are no better than us. We are not enlightened, so how can they be? When Malika and I were in India, we met Swami Muktananda’s brother. During our conversation, the brother began laughing and said he did not understand why anyone would become a disciple of Muktananda. He said that his brother was just an ordinary man. Here was a man whose own brother was enlightened, and he refused to recognize it. How ridiculous! It is very difficult for family to recognize the enlightenment of a family member. This is one of the things that made Osho so unique. His family recognized His enlightenment. Should we do less with our brothers and sisters or our Osho family? Jealousy and fear have no place in our path.

If we experience a person’s enlightenment, beautiful. If not, then this is also beautiful. I was able to experience Osho’s enlightenment only because I allowed myself to experience my own Buddhahood through my openness, love, and trust in Osho. How else could I know Osho except through myself? This is true for knowing any Master. Until we experience our own Buddhahood with our Master, any statement about the Master being enlightened is only a belief. It would be like being born into the Christian faith and believing in Christ versus having our own experience of Christ. We believe; we do not know! When we experience the real thing, we know. And even the knowing is fleeting. Unless we are experiencing our Buddhahood in this moment, Buddhahood too, quickly becomes belief. Only when we are living it, is it true.

To practice psychology you have to be certified as a psychologist before the law allows you to call yourself a psychologist and to do therapy. This means that you must have a doctorate in psychology; then you have to pass a written and/or [oral?] exam created by other psychologists who are burdened with their preconceived concepts of what constitutes a psychologist. What an absurdity! Nowhere does it require you to demonstrate that you are competent to do therapy with a person seeking help. I am amazed at the number of legally licensed psychologists who have no business conducting therapy. At the same time, I know many people who have no license, no formal training, are not psychologists, and who are fantastic therapists. Who can sanction anyone’s competency? The reality is that the people receiving therapy are the only ones who can say whether you are a therapist. If they enjoy their time with you, continue seeing you, and believe they are being helped by you, then you are a therapist, regardless of your training. In the same way, how can anyone say that someone else is enlightened? Only the individual and those who are touched by him can make such a claim.

If someone fails to meet a standard for enlightenment set by others, this does not mean that he is not enlightened. Can you imagine being tested to see if you are enlightened? Who would develop this test? Only an unenlightened person would want, let alone create such a test. The Catholic hierarchy does just that by selecting the Pope based on some criteria that are then spoken of as divine providence. How can someone be selected for enlightenment? How can someone who does not accept his own enlightenment deny anyone access to the sangha?

What is there to fear in having other enlightened beings present at darshan, White Robe, or any other Osho function? What is there to fear in having sannyasins speak from their space of enlightenment? Those who wish to listen to them will, and those who don’t, won’t. No problem!

My love for Osho is unbounded. Yet I enjoy listening to other Masters speak their truths. If I enjoy them, then I listen. When I stop enjoying, I stop listening. Because I like Janis Joplin, it does not mean that I do not listen to B. B. King, Bach, Louis Armstrong, or any number of other musicians, from many musical traditions. My love of one style of music does not detract from my love of other styles. Why would enjoying other Masters, be they Osho sannyasins or from a totally different lineage, detract from my love of Osho or be disrespectful? Why would having other Masters in the sangha take away from anyone’s love of Osho? Are people frightened that other people’s connection with Osho is so weak that people will forsake their love for Osho and join another Master? If the connection is so weak, then perhaps they should join another!

If someone does decide to remain at the side of a new living Master, from the lineage of Osho, it does not mean that the person is being disloyal to Osho. Instead, it is a tribute to Osho’s greatness! Just imagine if no one was enlightened among all of Osho’s sannyasins. What would this say about Osho as a Master? Like Christ and Christianity, Osho would have many followers, but none who caught His flame. The more sannyasins who are enlightened, the more glory it brings to Osho. His whole purpose is to open the floodgates and allow His people into the world of now. To categorically reject all enlightened sannyasins is to say that Osho failed in His responsibility as the Master. Osho has not failed and neither have His sannyasins.

I remember hearing Osho talk about wanting His message to be carried throughout the world by His sannyasins. My interpretation of this is that His sannyasins are to be teaching from their own center, from their own fragrance, from their own enlightenment, not from Osho’s words. As soon as the words are spoken, they are dead! I heard Osho say time after time that His message is not in His words, but in the silence between the words. If sannyasins teach from Osho’s words alone, it is nothing more than creating a new church of dogma. It is like Ouspensky teaching Gurdjieff. Ouspensky can only teach Ouspensky. He can only use his interpretations of Gurdjieff to reinforce his own perspective. Priests, ministers, and many religious fanatics have been teaching the words of others throughout the ages. They use the Bible, the Vedas, the Koran, and so on, as proof that what they are saying is the truth. What they do not say is that they are using their interpretations of these texts to prove and enhance their own points of view.

Many new people will experience Osho as their Master. However, this does not preclude their experiencing other Masters and enjoying them also. To say that Osho is the only Master is to create the very thing I heard him say he did not want: Rajneeshism. The moment we teach from our beings, we move away from the dogma of Rajneeshism and can actually experience the enlightenment of Osho and ultimately, of ourselves.

It is not a problem for me if someone declares his own enlightenment. In fact, I rejoice that he is experiencing the joys of being at one with Existence. If he is lying to himself and to others, so what? People will either accept or reject his claim. I believe that we should welcome our Osho family of enlightened ones into the sangha and celebrate our Master’s vision becoming a reality! Having enlightened ones in the sangha with us is a great blessing. Being with our enlightened brothers and sisters helps make our own enlightenment become a reality. Once again, I remember Osho talking about the value of being in the presence of a living Master. Now, we have that chance. The more Buddhas we have, the better, and the greater the chances of others waking up and catching the flame! What a joyous tribute to our beloved Master, Osho!

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