If One Sees Nought

Now try to understand Tilopa’s sutra:
If one sees nought when staring into space, if with the mind one then observes the mind, one destroys distinctions and reaches buddhahood.

If one sees nought when staring into space . . . This is a method, a tantra method: to look into space, into the sky, without seeing; to look with an empty eye. Looking, yet not looking for something: just an empty look.

Sometimes you see in a madman’s eyes an empty look – and madmen and sages are alike in certain things. A madman looks at your face, but you can see he is not looking at you. He just looks through you as if you are a glass thing, transparent; you are just in the way, he is not looking at you. And you are transparent for him: he looks beyond you, through you. He looks without looking at you; the “at” is not present, he simply looks.

Look in the sky without looking for something, because if you look for something a cloud is bound to come: “something” means a cloud; “nothing” means the vast expanse of the blue sky. Don’t look for any object. If you look for an object, the very look creates the object: a cloud comes, and then you are looking at a cloud. Don’t look at the clouds. Even if there are clouds, you don’t look at them – simply look, let them float, they are there. Suddenly a moment comes when you are attuned to this look of not-looking – clouds disappear for you, only the vast sky remains. It is difficult because eyes are focused, and your eyes are tuned to look at things.


The Madman is The Awakened One

Look at a small child the first day born. He has the same eyes as a sage – or like a madman: his eyes are loose and floating. He can bring both his eyes to meet at the center; he can allow them to float to the far corners – they are not yet fixed. His system is liquid, his nervous system is not yet a structure, everything is floating. So a child looks without looking at things; it is a mad look. Watch a child: the same look is needed from you, because again you have to attain a second childhood.

Watch a madman, because the madman has fallen out of the society. Society means the fixed world of roles, games. A madman is mad because he has no fixed role now, he has fallen out: he is the perfect drop-out. A sage is also a perfect drop-out in a different dimension. He is not mad; in fact, he is the only sanest possibility. But the whole world is mad, fixed – that’s why a sage also looks mad. Watch a madman: that is the look which is needed.

In old schools of Tibet, they always had a madman, just for the seekers to watch his eyes. A madman was very much valued. He was searched after because a monastery could not exist without a madman. He becomes an object to observe. The seekers will observe the madman, his eyes, and then they will try to look at the world like the madman. Those days were beautiful.

In the East, madmen have never suffered like they are suffering in the West. In the East they were valued, a madman was something special. The society took care of him, he was respected, because he has certain elements of the sage, certain elements of the child. He is different from the so-called society, culture, civilization; he has fallen out of it. Of course, he has fallen down; a sage falls up, a madman falls down – that’s the difference – but both have fallen out. And they have similarities. Watch a madman, and then try to let your eyes become unfocused.


Everything is Projected of Your Mind

In Harvard, they were doing one experiment a few months ago, and they were surprised, they couldn’t believe it. They were trying to find out whether the world, as we see it, is so or not – because many things have surfaced within the few last years.

We see the world not as it is; we see it as we expect it to be, we project something onto it.

It happened that a great ship reached a small island in the Pacific for the first time. The people of the island didn’t see it, nobody! And the ship was so vast – but the people were attuned, their eyes were attuned to small boats. They had never known such a big ship; they had never seen such a thing. Simply their eyes would not catch the glimpse, their eyes simply refused.

In Harvard, they tried [experimented] on a young man: they gave him spectacles with distorting glass, and he had to wear them for seven days. For the first three days he was in a miserable state, because everything distorted, the whole world around distorted . . . It gave him such a severe headache, he couldn’t sleep. Even with closed eyes those distorted figures would . . . the faces distorted, the trees distorted, the roads distorted. He couldn’t even walk because he couldn’t believe what is true and what is given by the projection of distorting glasses.

But a miracle happened! After the third day he became attuned to them; the distortion disappeared. The glasses remained the same, distorting, but he started looking at the world in the same old way. Within a week everything was okay: there was no headache, no problem, and the scientists were simply surprised; they couldn’t believe it was happening. The eyes had completely dropped, as if the glasses were no longer there. The glasses were there, and they were distorting – but the eyes had come to see the world for which they were trained.

Nobody knows whether what you are seeing is there or not. It may not be there; it may be there in a totally different way. The colors you see, the forms you see, everything is projected by the eyes. And whenever you look fixedly, focused with your old patterns, you see things according to your own conditioning. That’s why a madman has a liquid look, an absent look, looking and not looking together.


When You Know Existence

This look is beautiful. It is one of the greatest tantra techniques:
If one sees nought when staring into space . . .

Don’t see, just look. For the beginning few days, again and again you will see something, just because of old habit. We hear things because of old habit. We see things because of old habit. We understand things because of old habit.

One of the greatest disciples of Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, used to insist on a certain thing to his disciples – and everybody resented it, and many people left simply because of that insistence. If somebody said, “Yesterday you told . . .,” he immediately would stop him and say, “Don’t say it like that. Say, ‘I understood that you said this thing yesterday. I understood . . ..’ Don’t say what I said, you cannot know that. Talk about what you heard.” And he would insist so much because we are habitual.

Again, you might say, “In the Bible, it is said . . .,” and he would say, “Don’t say that! Simply say that you understand that this is said in the Bible.” With each sentence he insisted, “Always remember that this is your understanding.”

We go on forgetting. His disciples went on forgetting again and again, and every day, and he was stubborn about it. He would not allow you to go on. He would say, “Go back. Say first that, ‘I understand you said this, this is my understanding,’ . . . because you hear according to yourself, you see according to yourself – because you have a fixed pattern of seeing and hearing.”

This has to be dropped. To know existence, all fixed attitudes have to be dropped. Your eyes should be just windows, not projectors. Your ears should be just doors, not projectors.

It happened: One psychoanalyst who was studying with Gurdjieff tried to do this experiment. In a wedding ceremony, he tried a very simple but beautiful experiment. He stood by the side, people passing, and he watched them, and he felt that nobody at the receiving end was hearing what they were saying – so many people, some rich man’s wedding ceremony. So he also joined in, and he said very quietly to the first person in the receiving line, “My grandmother died today.” The man said, “So good of you, so beautiful.” Then to another he said it and the man said, “How nice of you.” And to the groom, when he said this, he said, “Old man, it is time you also followed.”

Nobody is listening to anybody. You hear whatsoever you expect. Expectation is your specs – that is the glasses. Your eyes should be windows – this is the technique.

Nothing should go out of the eyes, because if something goes [out] a cloud is created. Then you see things which are not there, then a subtle hallucination . . . Let pure clarity be in the eyes, in the ears; all your senses should be clear, perception pure – only then existence can be revealed to you. And when you know existence, then you know that you are a buddha, a god because in existence everything is divine.


The Key to Watching Mind

If one sees nought when staring into space, if with the mind one then observes the mind . . . 

First stare into the sky; lie down on the ground and just stare at the sky. Only one thing has to be tried: don’t look at anything. In the beginning you will fall again and again, you will forget again and again. You will not be able to remember continuously. Don’t be frustrated, it is natural because of so long a habit. Whenever you remember again, unfocus your eyes, make them loose, just look at the sky – not doing anything, just looking. Soon a time comes when you can see into the sky without trying to see anything there.

Then try it with your inner sky:

. . . if with the mind one then observes the mind . . . 

Then close your eyes and look inside, not looking for anything, just the same absent look. Thoughts floating but you are not looking for them, or at them – you are simply looking. If they come it is good, if they don’t come it is good also. Then you will be able to see the gaps: one thought passes, another comes – and the gap. And then, by and by, you will be able to see that the thought becomes transparent, even when the thought is passing you continue to see the gap, you continue to see the hidden sky behind the cloud.

And the more you get attuned to this vision, thoughts will drop by and by, they will come less and less, less and less. The gaps will become wider. For minutes together no thought coming, everything is so quiet and silent inside – you are for the first time together. Everything feels absolutely blissful, no disturbance. And if this look becomes natural to you – it becomes, it is one of the most natural things; one just has to unfocus, decondition:

. . . one destroys distinctions . . . then there is nothing good, nothing bad; nothing ugly, nothing beautiful,

. . . and reaches Buddhahood.

Buddhahood means the highest awakening. When there are no distinctions, all divisions are lost, unity is attained, only one remains. You cannot even call it “one,” because that too is part of duality.

One remains, but you cannot call it “one,” because how can you call it “one” without deep down saying “two.” No, you don’t say that “one” remains, simply that “two” has disappeared, the many has disappeared. Now it is a vast oneness, there are no boundaries to anything.

One tree merging into another tree, earth merging into the trees, trees merging into the sky, the sky merging into the beyond . . . you merging in me, I merging in you . . . everything merging . . . distinctions lost, melting and merging like waves into other waves . . . a vast oneness vibrating, alive, without boundaries, without definitions, without distinctions . . . the sage merging into the sinner, the sinner merging into the sage . . . good becoming bad, bad becoming good . . . night turning into the day, the day turning into the night . . . life melting into death, death molding again into life – then everything has become one.

Only at this moment buddhahood is attained.



When Buddha attained to the ultimate, the utterly ultimate enlightenment, he was asked, “What have you attained?” And he laughed and said, “Nothing – because whatsoever I have attained was already there inside me. It is not something new that I have achieved. It has always been there from eternity; it is my very nature. But I was not mindful about it, I was not aware of it. The treasure was always there, but I had forgotten about it.”

You have forgotten, that’s all – that’s your ignorance. Between a buddha and you there is no distinction as far as your nature is concerned, but only one distinction, and that distinction is that you don’t remember who you are – and he remembers. You are the same, but he remembers, and you don’t remember. He is awake, you are fast asleep, but your nature is the same.

Try to live it out in this way – Tilopa is talking about techniques – live in the world as if you are the sky, make it your very style of being. Somebody is angry at you, insulting – watch. If anger arises in you, watch; be a watcher on the hills, go on looking and looking and looking. And just by looking, without looking at anything, without getting obsessed by anything, when your perception becomes clear, suddenly, in a moment, in fact no time happens, suddenly, without time, you are fully awake; you are a buddha, you become the enlightened, the awakened one.

What does a buddha gain out of it? He gains nothing. Rather, on the contrary, he loses many things: the misery, the pain, the anguish, the anxiety, the ambition, the jealousy, the hatred, the possessiveness, the violence – he loses all. As far as what he attains, nothing. He attains that which was already there, he remembers.


*It was through Osho that I came to know about K. In fact Osho used to encourage his people to go see Krishnamurti.


Radha Chihiro