“It is time, ripe time for a Zen manifesto. The western intelligentsia have become acquainted with
Zen, have also fallen in love with Zen, but they are still trying to approach Zen from the mind.
They have not yet come to the understanding that Zen has nothing to do with mind.
Its tremendous job is to get you out of the prison of mind. It is not an intellectual philosophy;
it is not a philosophy at all. Nor is it a religion, because it has no fictions and no lies, no
consolations. It is a lion’s roar.
And the greatest thing that Zen has brought into the world is freedom from oneself.”
In The Zen Manifesto, Osho takes on such respected members of the Western Zen establishment as
D.T. Suzuki, Thomas Merton, Paul Reps, Alan Watts and Nancy Wilson-Ross. In his responses to
questions about these authors, juxtaposed with his own direct expression of Zen, he gives his
audience a tangible experience of the limits of intellect, and the breakthrough into no-mind that
lies beyond those limits. In other words, Osho shows how consciousness can be illuminated only by
no-mind, not by mind-only through experience, not intellectual understanding.
Osho was speaking to international audiences of seekers for over 35 years. He covered an
extraordinary range of topics from the wisdom of the world’s mystics to responding to intense by
personal questions about every step of the inner search. His books and audio lectures are
international bestsellers reflecting the profound influence of his revolutionary approach to the
science of inner transformation.
Osho himself says that he is neither a prophet nor a philosopher; he is simply sharing his own
experience. The Sunday Times of London described him as ‘one of the 1000 makers of the 20th
century” and American author Tom Robbins has called him “the most dangerous man since Jesus
Christ” — both comments reflecting the profound influence of his revolutionary approach to the
science of inner transformation.
Spoken with authority clarity sharpness and humor; his insights address both the timeless and
timely concerns that tend to escape our notice in the clamor and overload of daily life.
Introduction to the Introduction
Robert Rimmer wrote this introduction for the first edition of this book, and in his covering
letter he said:
"Here’s the introduction to The Zen Manifesto. If the powers don’t like it, don’t want to use, or
want to change it anyway, modify, or correct it anyway...it’s okay with me.”
Osho loved Robert Rimmer’s introduction, but that does not mean that he agreed with all that he
We have made changes only where necessary to update his words.
On the Road to Buddhahood or, Thoughts on the Zen Manifesto by Robert H. Rimmer
I love Osho, and admire his courage in permitting an “intellectual” to write an introduction to
The Zen Manifesto. I am more likely “to take arms against a sea of troubles” than “not to be in
the Zen sense.
And that’s probably one reason why this book exists. It is produced for people like me, and
hopefully thousands of readers who are searching for the roots of their own and all existence.
Like you, perhaps, I have thought that Zen was too ascetic and esoteric to offer a way of life.
But not after Osho takes you by the hand. He knows the problem: “If Zen remains hard, it will
disappear from the world. But, he tells you, “If you can just be — only a few minutes in
twenty-four hours — that is enough to keep you alert to your Buddhahood.”
Before the arrival and sad debacle of Osho’s departure from United States, I had discovered his
Book of the Secrets and in its many volumes was relearning Eastern philosophy. I was also
discovering that my own fascination with the experience of non—being in extended sexual
intercourse (tantra) had been thoroughly explored by Osho in his books Tantra Vision and From Sex
to Super consciousness.
While Osho has gradually come to the conclusion, emphasized in this book, that “Zen has taken the
ultimate standpoint about man,” Osho has never been to Japan where the Zen masters first began
and, as Osho is now doing completely, tried to separate Zen from the Buddhist religion, or any
religion. Osho’s library of writings about Zen and his discourses about Zen in this book will
prove to you that he is the greatest living Zen master. But unlike Father Merton, who never
realized his wish, Osho has no need to go to Japan and live in a Zen monastery.
As radio and television have proved, seeing or hearing a person, whether it be Osho or another Zen
master, is not so effective a way of learning as the printed word. Joseph Campbell inadvertently
proved this in his six-hour television talks with Bill Moyers on The Power of Mythology. If you
want to learn, and retain, what Camp- bell really thought don it buy the tapes, read his books.
Sadly, we live in a world where millions of people aren’t literate enough to read a book like this
or even the daily newspaper. I want to emphasize the point because many readers may be unaware
that, like most of his writings, The Zen Manifesto was originally spoken by Osho as he continued
to explore every aspect of human beliefs and thinking in his lectures, discourses, and darshans
(more private conversations). That any human being can pursue erudite philosophies so thoroughly
in verbal form is amazement in itself you have to go back to Plato to discover similar abilities
and these were dialogues. Osho does it without an interlocutor.
I have no need to listen to Osho speak. Listening to him and seeing him as I have done via video
tape (many of his lectures are available in this form) too often the medium (Osho himself) becomes
the message. Then, even though I am aware that it is carefully staged, and Osho should be eligible
for a Motion Picture Academy Award, I become hypnotized by his sage-like manner and appearance. Or
if he suddenly plunges into the real” world as he often does and ad lib a joke, I am so happily
laughing that I often lose the real meat of what he is saying. There isn't time (provided by a
printed book) to assimilate or correlate his insights. Listening to him on tape, I often feel as
if I were back in a college philosophy class and should be scribbling notes, lest I forget.
The Zen Manifesto, like all of Osho’s books, eliminates these problems. As you read these eleven
chapters (my advice is to take them one at a time) read each one twice before you continue. If you
do, you’ll not only experience the great joy of slowly sipping
a Zen master's words but you can re—read them, when you haven’t grasped them thoroughly. If you’re
like me, you’ll soon be writing your own comments, enthusiasms and dissents in the margins. (I
don’t agree with Osho all the time and I'm sure he doesn’t expect me to.)
If this is your first experience with Osho’s writings, you’ll gradually discover that each of
these lectures, from which these chapters have been carefully structured, not only try to show you
the way of Zen but give Osho a chance to answer questions raised by those who have listened to a
previous discourse. And then after a heavy session of philosophic ideas and before you begin to
gaze at the two inches surrounding your navel (Don’t miss Osho’s delightful discussion of where
the “hara” of your being may be found) Osho suddenly tells you that it is time for Sardar
Gurudayal Singh, and he’s telling you really funny and often quite sexy jokes. There are more than
thirty of them in this book and I guarantee that you’ll be repeating them to your friends. Why the
jokes? Because Osho is leading you out of the trap. Don’t take enlightenment too seriously It must
be approached with laughter and dancing, too! And your laughter makes it possible for you to
relax, let your brain cells unwind and listen to the poetry of his dreamy words — leading you to
witnessing and non-being. Relax.
Through his writings —— and I hope this book will eventually appear in a low—priced American
edition, and will be read by many of the sixty million Americans who may still claim they are
Christians but never attend church — Osho has catalyzed my own thinking. He starts the axons and
dendrites in my brain cells dancing. As you savor the chapters, you’ll discover that Osho is like
a Zen archer. Almost poetically he circles his target, surveying it over and over again from many
positions, before he draws back his bow and lets the arrow fly. But the bow, the arrow, and the
target are all relative, and if Osho occasionally hits a target he didn’t aim at, he’s still
showing you the way.
Osho is well aware that I am not a Zen scholar. Like many of you reading his book I am a
contemporary man, and as Osho points out I am too busy (probably not accomplishing much) for
“zazen,” or sitting. But Osho straddles both the “real” world and the world of none—being. In my
novel The Immoral Reverend, my character, Mat Chilling, who is both a graduate of Harvard Divinity
and Harvard Business School, suggests that Harvard should. Give Osho a Masters Degree in Business
Administration based on his belief that philosophy is not for the poor. Unlike the popular Western
conception that Zen is an escape from reality, Osho has stated, and he was probably chuckling:
“When you are hungry you cannot think of the divine. But when your stomach is full you don’t know
what else to do, so you think about art and God.” His solution, which should win the approval of
both George Bush and Donald Trump is: “Get off your ass and start working. Life offers everything
that is available. It’s up to you to take advantage of it.
That approach, plus his caution in this manifesto that Zen is not escapism but “inscapism” and
recognition that the search for nothingness does not give you freedom from responsibility is a
point of view that the directors of Harvard Business School should appreciate. With business
takeovers that do little more than churn money for the wealthy, and insider trading becoming an
American way life, HBS is belatedly trying to indoctrinate future graduates with some kind of
moral ethical feelings and convince them that the world isn’t really their private oyster.
On the other hand, while Osho can’t tolerate Pope john Paul and calls him Pope the Polack, they do
have something in common, an enjoyment of luxury In a full—page, four-color montage photo in the
Osho Times, Osho— sitting in front of the grillwork of one of his Rolls Royces, with a superior
expression on his face, makes the statement, “I am a man of simple tastes — I like the best. I’m
sure that Pope John Paul would concur, but silently of course.
Does enjoyment of the finer things in life contradict the message in this book? That is a
problem that confronts many people trying to understand what Osho is saying which often contrasts
with his lifestyle. “Life has no purpose, “Osho tells you in one of these chapters. “You have
become the world’s richest man, and suddenly you find that you are surrounded with all kinds of
junk. You cannot live if you are trying to be richer. You will be richer if you live."
I don’t know whether Osho ever contrasted his own “need” for personal luxury with the ascetism of
the early Zen masters who proclaimed that Westerners cannot accept impermanence or non- being
because of the Three Fires burning within us. Wanting, hating and delusion. Osho, in these pages,
extols Tanka Tennen, a Zen master who he writes about at some length. He doesn’t seem to emulate
him. But watch out! Perhaps he does. When Lord Teiko found Tanka lying naked on a bridge, and
Tanka told him "I am a monk of nothing,” Teiko provided Tanka’s food and clothing for the rest of
his long life.
Chuckling, Osho might agree that Lord Teiko made Tanka’s fame possible in the same way that Osho’s
followers make “the unbearable lightness of being” tolerable for him. You can’t achieve non-being
when the hungry I inside you is gnawing for sustenance.
One thing is certain. Most of Osho’s life is an open book which has been explored in great detail
by believers and none—believers. If you have read the middle of the readers like Frances
Fitzgerald’s Cities on a Hill, or the nay sayer’s like Hugh Milne who in his book, Bhawan: The Gad
that Failed, reveals among other things that loving women have played a continuing role in Osho's
life, you’ll have fun trying to reconcile the worldly realities of Osho’s life with his search for
nothing. Laughing, I dissent when, in this book, Osho tells me that by the time I am fifty I can
escape the bondage of my sex drives. No way Osho. At seventy—two, although I no longer have the
physical appearance to attract young females, as the guru of X—rated films, I still enjoy watching
young people using their bodies and genitals in search of a moment of nonbeing. But at the same
time I’m well aware that Osho is showing me, and you who read this book a new kind of Zen, and Tao
(the Way) for men and women of the 21st century.
While I’m not quite sure whether Osho would accept an honorary MBA from Harvard, he does make it
abundantly clear in this book that he doesn’t want to become a member of any organization,
including the American Academy of Humanists. In my essay, [Osho], The Enlightened Humanist which
appeared both in the Summer issue of Free Inquiry (a Humanist based American magazine that
sponsors the Academy) and the Osho Times (largely because of his book The Greatest Challenge: The
Golden Future) I proposed that he should be elected to the Academy. Humanism, rejecting an
omnipotent power is in one sense a Zen way of thinking, but without meditation or the recognition
of non-being. Most Humanists are totally disinterested in the search, or recognition of non-being,
nor would they accept Osho) playing with astrology and numerology (means to nothingness that I’m
sure he’d reject as quickly as he does God). Since Osho enjoys jokes I presume that he knows the
one about the Indian guru who after many years of sitting in silence tells his acolytes to bring
him a gold-plated screwdriver. When it finally arrives the Indian saint very slowly unscrews his
naval and his asshole falls out.
Humanists can’t appreciate that Osho might not only chuckle at a joke like this, but use it to
help you find the Way. It doesn’t matter. I haven’t convinced Paul Kurtz, who founded the Academy
of Humanism, and I’m sure that Osho would be uncomfortable to have his name listed with Steve
Allen, Issac Asimov, Sir Alfred Ayer, Kurt Baier, Sir Issac Berlin and Sir Hermann Bondi, to
mention a few of the members. But many Humanists were shocked that I agreed with Osho that we must
work toward a governing world based on meritocracy along with a deprogramming of those who will
become our future leaders. Humanists can’t comprehend the kind of deprogramming that can occur
through the Zen experience or even my more practical approach — the compulsory teaching of the
entire range of Human Values at the undergraduate level (detailed in my novels The Harrad!
Experiment and The Premar Experiments.)
Our goals are similar. As Osho tells you in the chapter To Wait, to Wait for Nothing, “Wherever
you end up, that is the place you were destined to end. Wherever the boat leads you, and wherever
the river moves, that is the direction. “Life has no purpose. But Osho, you mention destiny.
Doesn’t destiny reflect someone’s purpose? I’m chuckling. I’m trying to be, at least, what Osho
calls a man of Zen. But my previous teachers DTE Suzuki, Krishnamurti, Thomas Merton, Alan Watts,
Fritz Capra, Philip Kapleau, and many others who Osho has evaluated in these pages have led me
Never mind, as an intellectual I’m still trying. When Osho describes the joy of witnessing as he
does in many pages of this book, I realize that what Abraham Maslow described as peak experiences,
even extended sexual intercourse and the fleeting moment of orgasm, is a temporary form of the Zen
experience. But with them, I have momentarily achieved buddhahood.
I’ve enjoyed my trip aboard The Zen Manifesto and hope you will, too. If` a few million of us try
to make the leap from intellect to none—being, at least some of the time, we can achieve Osho’s
mission “to change the world.”
Not the meek, but those who achieve buddhahood should inherit the earth.
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