When Buddha Decided to Speak


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“Buddha says there are two kinds of enlightened people in the world; he is very scientific about his approach. His categories are very significant; nobody has done this before or since. He says those in the first category of the enlightened ones are called arhats. The arhat is a mystic; he has known, he has realized, but he is utterly unconcerned about others. He has found the way. He has reached his home and he does not care about others who are seeking and searching, because his understanding is that if they seek and search authentically they will find the way themselves. And if they are not true seekers, nobody can make them true seekers; hence no help is needed. The arhat does not help anyone. He has traveled alone and he knows everybody has to travel alone.

“When Buddha became enlightened, his first idea was to become an arhat. For seven days he remained absolutely silent, not saying a single word.

“The story is: The gods came from heaven. They were very worried because only once in a while does a person become awakened, and if he remains absolutely silent, the world will miss his message. And his message is medicine for those who are dying; his message is nourishment for those who are starving for truth. His message can be a boat to the other shore. His message has to be delivered, he has to be persuaded. They came, and they argued.

“But Buddha said, ‘You must agree with me that nobody was able to help me although I knocked on many doors, because it is something which is not transferable. Even if they had it they could not give it to me; I had to find it by my own effort. Hence I think that is the only way: people have to seek and search; it cannot be borrowed.’

“He was right and the gods had to agree. And he said, ‘Even if I say it, only one out of ten thousand people will understand. The remaining ones will not understand; on the contrary, they will misunderstand. So why create so much misunderstanding in the world? The world is already in confusion, why create more confusion? Out of compassion I am keeping quiet. The one who will understand will find it himself anyway. The man who can understand what I say is so intelligent that really he needs no help. So what is the point? Why should I bother?’

“The gods were silenced. They moved into the woods to ponder over the matter. ‘How can we convince him? He appears to be right, he is logical, but some way has to be found.’ It is good that they were able to find some way, otherwise we would have missed The Dhammapada; these beautiful sutras would have been missed. The world would have been far poorer. The whole credit goes to those anonymous gods who persuaded Buddha.

“They pondered over the matter for hours; they found a way. They came back and said, ‘We agree with you, but there is one point on which we cannot agree. We understand that only one person out of ten thousand will understand you, so you need not bother about that one person; he will find himself sooner or later. It is only a question of time, and time does not matter because existence is eternal. So what does it matter, how does it matter, whether one achieves today and somebody else achieves tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? All those who have become awakened are contemporaries; it does not make much difference at all.’

“The gods argued their one point with Buddha. They said, ‘We agree about that one person: he will find it whether you tell him or not, he is so intelligent; if he can understand you immediately, then he will find it by himself.

[…]

“’But there is one thing more: there may be one or two people among ten thousand who are just between these two sorts of people – the one who can understand you and the millions who cannot understand you and are bound to misunderstand you. Between these two do you think there is a possibility that a few people, one or two or three – yes, they will be very few, they can be counted on the fingers – who may be just in the middle, neither so confused that they cannot be helped at all nor so clear that they can find their path on their own? Speak for them; they will be helped by you.’

“Buddha had to agree; it was not an argument for argument’s sake. People like Buddha don’t argue for argument’s sake; he saw the truth of it. He said, ‘I have to agree with you. Yes, there are a few people who are exactly in the middle, on the boundary line. If I don’t say anything to them they may be lost in the crowd; if some help is given to them, a little hand, they may be pulled out of their mud. I will speak for them.’”

Abridged from Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 11, Talk #1

Osho Times International/Courtesy Osho International Foundation/www.osho.com