Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bliss and Pleasure

what is the difference between bliss and pleasure?                           
Pleasure is physical, physiological. Pleasure is the most superficial
thing in life; it is titillation. It can be sexual, it can be of other
senses, it can become an obsession with food, but it is rooted in the
body. The body is your periphery, your circumference; it is not your
center. And to live 
on the circumference is to live on the mercy of
all kinds of things that go 
on happening around you.

The man who seeks pleasure remains at the mercy of accidents. It is
like the waves in the ocean; they are at the mercy of the winds. When
strong winds come, they are there; when winds disappear, they
disappear. They don't have an independent existence; they are
dependent, and anything that is dependent 
on the other brings bondage.
Pleasure is dependent 
on the other. If you love a woman, if that is
your pleasure, then that woman becomes your master. If you love a man,
if that is your pleasure and you feel unhappy, in despair, sad,
without him, then you have created a bondage for yourself. You have
created a prison, you are no more in freedom. If you are a seeker
money and power, then you will be dependent on money and power.

The man who goes 
on accumulating money, if it is his pleasure to have
more and more 
money, will become more and more miserable -- because
the more he has, the more he wants, and the more he has, the more he
is afraid to lose it. A double-edged sword: the more he wants... the
first edge of the sword.
Hence he becomes more and more miserable.

The more you demand, desire, the more you feel yourself lacking
something, the more hollow, empty, you appear to yourself. 
On the
other hand -- the other edge of the sword -- is that the more you
have, the more you are afraid it can be taken away; it can be stolen.
The bank can go bankrupt, the political situation in the country can
change, the country can go communist.
There are a thousand and one things upon which your 
money depends.
money does not make you a master, it makes you a slave. Pleasure
is peripheral; hence it is bound to depend 
on the outer circumstances.
And it is only titillation. If food is pleasure, what actually is
being enjoyed? -- just the taste! For a moment, when the food passes
your taste buds 
on the tongue, you feel a sensation which you
interpret as pleasure. It is your interpretation. Today it may look
like pleasure and tomorrow it may not look like pleasure. If you go 
eating the same food every day your buds 
on the tongue will become
nonresponsive to it. Soon you will be fed up with it -- that's how
people become fed up.

One day you are running after a man or a woman and the next day you
are trying to find an excuse to get rid of the other. The same person,
nothing has changed! What has happened meanwhile? You are bored with
the other, because the whole pleasure was in knowing the new. Now the
other is no longer new; you are acquainted with the territory of the
other. You are acquainted with the body of the other, the curves of
the body, the feel of the body. Now the mind is hankering for
something new. The mind is always hankering for something new. That's
how mind keeps you always tethered somewhere in the future. It keeps
you hoping, but it never delivers the goods -- it cannot. It can only
create new hopes, new desires. Just as leaves grow 
on the trees,
desires and hopes grow in the mind. You wanted a new house and now you
have it -- and where is the pleasure? Just for the moment it was
there, when you achieved your goal. Once you have achieved your goal,
your mind is no longer interested in it; it has already started
spinning new webs of desire. It has already started thinking of other,
bigger houses. And this is so about everything.

Pleasure keeps you in a neurotic state, restless, always in turmoil.
So many desires, and every desire unquenchable, clamoring for
attention. You remain a victim of a crowd of insane desires -- insane
because they are unfulfillable -- and they go 
on dragging you into
different directions. You become a contradiction. One desire takes you
to the left, another towards the right, and simultaneously you go 
nourishing both the desires. And then you feel a split, then you feel
divided, then you feel torn apart, then you feel like you are falling
into pieces. Nobody is responsible. It is the whole stupidity of
desiring pleasure that creates this. And it is a complex phenomenon.
You are not the only one who is seeking pleasure; millions of people
just like you are seeking the same pleasures. Hence there is great
struggle, competition, violence, war. All have become enemies to each
other because they are all seeking the same goal, and they all can't
have it; hence the struggle has to be total. You have to risk all --
for nothing, because when you gain, you gain nothing, and your whole
life is wasted in this struggle. A life which might have been a
celebration becomes a long, drawn out, unnecessary struggle.

When you are so much after pleasure you cannot love, because the man
who seeks pleasure uses the other as a means. And to use the other as
a means is one of the most immoral acts possible, because each being
is an end unto himself, you cannot use the other as a means. But in
pleasure-seeking you have to use the other as a means. You become
cunning because it is such a struggle. If you are not cunning you will
be deceived, and before others deceive you, you have to deceive them.

Machiavelli has advised pleasure-seekers that the best way of defense
is to attack. Never wait for the other to attack you; that may be too
late. Before the other attacks you, you attack him! That is the best
way of defense. And this is being followed, whether you know
Machiavelli or not. This is something very strange: people know about
Christ, about Buddha, about Mohammed, about Krishna; nobody follows
them. People don't know much about Chanakya and Machiavelli, but
people follow them -- as if Machiavelli and Chanakya are very close to
your heart!

You need not read them, you are already following them. Your whole
society is based 
on Machiavellian principles; that's what the whole
political game is all about. Before somebody snatches anything from
you, snatch it from the other. Be always 
on guard. Naturally, if you
are always 
on guard you will be tense, anxious, worried. And the
struggle is such and it is constant. You are one, and the enemies are
millions. For example, if in India you want to become the prime
minister, then millions of people, who also want to become the prime
minister, are your enemies. And who does not want to become the prime
minister? One may say, one may not say. So everyone is against you and
you are against everybody else. This small life of seventy, eighty
years, will be wasted into some utterly futile effort. Pleasure is not
and cannot be the goal of life. The second word to be understood is

Happiness is psychological, pleasure is physiological. Happiness is a
little better, a little more refined, a little higher, but not very
much different from pleasure. You can say that pleasure is a lower
kind of happiness and happiness is a little higher kind of pleasure --
two sides of the same coin.
Pleasure is a little primitive, animal; happiness is a little more
cultured, a little more human -- but it is the same game played in the
world of the mind. You are not so much concerned with physiological
sensations; you are much more concerned with psychological sensations.
But basically they are not different; hence Buddha has not talked
about four words, he has talked about only two.

The third is joy; joy is spiritual. It is different, totally different
from pleasure, happiness. It has nothing to do with the other; it is
inner. It is not dependent 
on circumstances; it is your own. It is not
a titillation produced by things; it is a state of peace, of silence,
a meditative state.
It is spiritual. But Buddha has not talked about joy either, because
there is still one thing that goes beyond joy. He calls it bliss.

Bliss is total. It is neither physiological nor psychological nor spiritual.
It knows no division, it is indivisible. It is total in one sense and
transcendental in another sense. Buddha only talks about two words.
The first is pleasure; it includes happiness. The second is bliss; it
includes joy. Bliss means you have reached to the very innermost core
of your being.
It belongs to the ultimate depth of your being where even the ego is
no more, where only silence prevails; you have disappeared. In joy you
are a little bit, but in bliss you are not. The ego has dissolved; it
is a state of nonbeing. Buddha calls it nirvana. Nirvana means you
have ceased to be; you are just an infinite emptiness like the sky.
And the moment you are that infinity, you become full of the stars,
and a totally new life begins. You are reborn.

Pleasure is momentary, of time, for the time being; bliss is
nontemporal, timeless. Pleasure begins and ends; bliss abides forever.
Pleasure comes and goes; bliss never comes, never goes -- it is
already there in the innermost core of your being. Pleasure has to be
snatched away from the other; you become either a beggar or a thief.
Bliss makes you a master. Bliss is not something that you invent but
something that you discover. Bliss is your innermost nature. It has
been there since the very beginning, you just have not looked at it,
you have taken it for granted. You don't look inwards.
This is the only misery of man: that he goes 
on looking outwards,
seeking and searching. And you cannot find it in the outside because
it is not there.
Osho, excerpted from Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha,Volume 8, Chapter 5      

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