Be a Light unto yourself

To be aware is to watch your bodily activity, the way you walk, the way you sit, the movements of your hands: it is to hear the words you use, to observe all your thoughts, all your emotions, all your reactions. It includes awareness of the unconscious, with its traditions, its instinctual knowledge, and the immense sorrow it has accumulated—not only personal sorrow, but the sorrow of man. You have to be aware of all that; and you cannot be aware of it if you are merely judging, evaluating, saying, “This is good and that is bad, this I will keep and that I will reject,” all of which only makes the mind dull, insensitive.

From awareness comes attention. Attention flows from awareness when in that awareness there is no choice, no personal choosing, no experiencing… but merely observing. And, to observe, you must have in the mind a great deal of space. A mind that is caught in ambition, greed, envy, in the pursuit of pleasure and self-fulfillment, with its inevitable sorrow, pain, despair, anguish—such a mind has no space in which to observe, to attend. It is crowded with its own desires, going round and round in its own backwaters of reaction. You cannot attend if your mind is not highly sensitive, sharp, reasonable, logical, sane, healthy, without the slightest shadow of neuroticism. The mind has to explore every corner of itself, leaving no spot uncovered, because if there is a single dark corner of one’s mind which one is afraid to explore, from that springs illusion…

It is only in the state of attention that you can be a light unto yourself, and then every action of your daily life springs from that light – every action—whether you are doing your job, cooking, going for a walk, mending clothes, or what you will. This whole process is meditation…

–J. Krishnamurti

You must know for yourself, directly, the truth of yourself and you cannot realize it through another, however great. There is no authority that can reveal it.

-Authentic Report of Sixteen Talks given in 1945 & 1946, ..p. 85.

You yourself have to be the master and the pupil. The moment you acknowledge another as a master and yourself as a pupil, you are denying truth. There is no master, no pupil, in the search for truth.

-Krishnamurti’s Talks Benares-India 1949 (Verbatim Report) p.37

You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything.

-Talks by Krishnamurti in U.S.A 1966 p.73

If you are very clear, if you are inwardly a light unto yourself, you will never follow anyone.

-Krishnarnurti’s Talks Benares – India 1949, (Verbatim Report) p.38.

As his death approached, the Buddha said to those gathered around him: Be a light unto yourself; betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth. Look not for refuge to anyone besides yourselves.

You’ll not find what satisfies the heartmind in a book, or in a teaching. You’ll not find it even in what the Buddha taught.

You won’t get Truth from the Buddha, or from a venerated Zen master or lama, or from a priest or monk or nun or teacher or guru. You won’t receive Truth-what quiets the deepest ache of the heart-from any other. The only way to see Truth is by noticing if your mind is leaning.

If your mind leans, it’s because you see something “out there,” apart from yourself. It’s becoming lost in thought and imagination. It’s being removed from immediate experience.

Notice what your mind is doing now. You don’t have to seek to do this. You’re already fully equipped. You don’t have to go anywhere or do anything special. Simply make just seeing your intention. That’s all.

To awaken is not to hold the idea of awakening. You can’t practice waking up. And you can’t fake it or imitate it. You have to actually want to wake up.

You’re the one you can count on. You are not other-dependent. Everything you need is here now. Just rely on thus-immediate, direct experience.

You’re the final authority. Whether you awaken or not is completely up to you.


Osho – The last statement of Gautama the Buddha to his disciples was: Be a light unto yourself. They were crying and weeping, naturally – the master was leaving and they had lived with the master for almost forty years; a few older disciples had lived with him the whole time. These forty years were of tremendous joy, of great experiences. These forty years had been the most beautiful time possible, humanly possible. These forty years had been days of paradise on earth. And now the master is leaving! It was natural, they started crying and weeping.

Buddha opened his eyes and said, “Stop crying and weeping! Have you not listened to me yet? Why are you crying?”
His chief disciple, Ananda, said, “Because you are leaving, because our light is leaving. We see, we feel darkness descending upon us. I have not yet become enlightened and you are leaving. If I could not become enlightened while you were alive, what is the hope for me now when you will be gone? I am in great despair, my anguish is incalculable, I have wasted these forty years. I have been following you like a shadow, it was tremendously beautiful to be with you, but now you are leaving. What is going to happen to us?”

Buddha said, “You are crying because you have not heard me yet. I have been telling you again and again: Don’t believe in me — but you have not listened. Because you have believed in me, and now I am dying, your whole structure is falling apart. Had you listened to me, had you created a light into your being rather than becoming knowledgeable through me, if you had experienced your own self there would have been no need to cry.

“Look at Manjushree!” he said – Manjushree was another disciple of Buddha, one of the greatest. He was sitting under a tree just close by, with closed eyes, so serene, so quiet, so utterly blissful, that Buddha said, “Look at Manjushree! Go and ask him why he is not crying.”

They asked Manjushree. He laughed and said, “What reason is there to cry? Buddha has helped me to know my own light. I am thankful, I am grateful, but there is no darkness descending. And how can Buddha die? I know I cannot die – how can Buddha die? He will be here. Just as a river disappears in the ocean he will disappear into the cosmos. But he will be here! He will be spread all over the cosmos. It is going to be something tremendously beautiful. Buddha was confined to a small body; now his fragrance will be released, he will permeate the whole of existence. I am tremendously happy that now Buddha will be spread all over space. I will be able to see him rising in the sun and I will be able to see him flying in a bird and I will be able to see him in the waves of the ocean… and I will be able to see him everywhere.

“He is simply leaving his body. It was a confinement. And how do I know it? I know it because I have known my own soul. I listened to him and you have not listened to him – that’s why you are crying.”

Buddha said, “Let me repeat again: APPA DIPO BHAVA – be a light unto yourself.” Then he closed his eyes and disappeared into the cosmos. But his last statement was also his first statement. In fact that was his whole message – the whole of his life he was repeating the same message again and again and again.

Source – Osho Book “The Dhammapada, Vol3″

Question: How can I become a light unto myself?

Osho: Shraddho Yannis, These were the last words of Gautam the Buddha, his parting message to his disciples: ”Be a light unto yourself.” But when he says, ”Be a light unto yourself,” he does not mean become a light unto yourself. There is a great difference between being and becoming. Becoming is a process, being is a discovery. The seed only appears to become the tree, that is an appearance. The seed already had the tree within itself, it was its very being. The seed does not become the flowers. The flowers were there unmanifest, now they are manifest.

It is not a question of becoming, otherwise a pebble could become a flower. But that doesn’t happen. A rock cannot become a rose; that doesn’t happen because the rock has no potential for being a rose. The seed simply discovers itself through dying into the soil: dropping its outer shell, it becomes revealed in its inner reality. Man is a light in the seed. You are already Buddhas. It is not that you have to become Buddhas, it is not a question of learning, of achieving, it is only a question of recognition – it is a question of going within yourself and seeing what is there.

It is self-discovery. Yannis, you are not to become a light unto yourself, it is already the case. But you don’t go in, your whole journey is outward. We are being brought up in such a way that we all become extroverts. Our eyes become focused on the outside, we are always seeking and searching for some goal ”there,” far away. The farther the goal, the more challenging it appears to the ego. The more difficult it is, the more attractive it appears. The ego exists through challenges; it wants to prove itself.

It is not interested in the simple, it is not interested in the ordinary, it is not interested in the natural, it is interested in something which is neither natural, nor simple, nor ordinary. Its desire is for the extraordinary. And the reality is very ordinary, it is very simple. The reality is not there but here, not then but now, not outside but in the innermost sanctum of your being. You have just to close your eyes and look in. In the beginning it is difficult because the eyes only know how to look out.

They have become so accustomed to looking out that when you close them, then too they continue to look out – they start dreaming, they start fantasizing. Those dreams are nothing but reflections of the outside. So it is only in appearance that you seem to be with closed eyes, your eyes are still open to the outside world, you are not in. In fact, every meditator comes across this strange phenomenon: that whenever you close your eyes your mind becomes more restless, your mind becomes more insane. It starts chattering in a crazy way: relevant, irrelevant thoughts crisscross your being.

It is never so when you are looking outside. And naturally you become tired, naturally you think it is better to remain occupied in something, in some work, rather than sit silently with closed eyes, because nothing seems to happen except a long long procession of thoughts, desires, memories. And they go on coming, unending. But this is only in the beginning. Just a little patience, just a little awaiting….

If you go on looking, watching these thoughts silently, with no judgment, with no antagonism, with no desire even to stop them – as if you have no concern with them – unconcerned…. Just as one watches the traffic on the road, or one watches the clouds in the sky, or one watches a river flow by, you simply watch your thoughts. You are not those thoughts, you are the watcher, remembering that ”I am the watcher, not the watched.” You cannot be the watched, you cannot be the object of your own subjectivity. You are your subjectivity, you are the witness, you are consciousness.

Remembering it…. It takes a little time, slowly slowly the old habit dies. It dies hard but it dies, certainly. And the day the traffic stops, suddenly you are full of light. You have always been full of light, just those thoughts were not allowing you to see that which you are. When all objects have disappeared, there is nothing else to see, you recognize yourself for the first time. You realize yourself for the first time. It is not becoming, it is a discovery of being. The outer shell of the thoughts of the mind is dropped, and you have discovered your flowers, you have discovered your fragrance.

This fragrance is freedom. Hence, Yannis, don’t ask, ”How can I become a light unto myself?” You are already a light unto yourself, you are just not aware of it. You have forgotten about it – you have to discover it. And the how of discovery is simple, very simple: a simple process of watching your thoughts. To help this process you can start watching other things too, because the process of watching is the same. What you are watching is not significant. Watch anything and you are learning watchfulness. Listen to the birds, it is the same. One day you will be able to listen to your own thoughts.

The birds are a little farther away, your thoughts are a little closer. In the fall watch the dry leaves falling from the trees. Anything will do that helps you to be watchful. Walking, watch your own walking. Buddha used to say to his disciples: Take each step watchfully. He used to say: Watch your breath. And that is one of the most significant practices for watching because the breath is there continuously available for twenty-four hours a day wherever you are. The birds may be singing one day, they may not be singing some other day, but breathing is always there.

Sitting, walking, Lying down, it is always there. Go on watching the breath coming in, the breath going out. Not that watching the breath is the point, the point is learning how to watch. Go to the river and watch the river. Sit in the marketplace and watch people passing by. Watch anything, just remember that you are a watcher. Don’t become judgmental, don’t be a judge. Once you start judging you have forgotten that you are a watcher, you have become involved, you have taken sides, you have chosen: ”I am in favor of this thought and I am against that thought.”

Once you choose, you become identified. Watchfulness is the method of destroying all identification. Hence Gurdjieff called his process the process of nonidentification. It is the same, his word is different. Don’t identify yourself with anything, and slowly slowly one learns the ultimate art of watchfulness. That’s what meditation is all about. Through meditation one discovers one’s own light. That light you can call your soul, your self, your God – whatsoever word you choose – or you can remain just silent because it has no name. It is a nameless experience, tremendously beautiful, ecstatic, utterly silent, but it gives you the taste of eternity, of timelessness, of something beyond death.

Source: “Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen” – Osho