A sanyasi, has to be a serious person, almost dead, a corpse.
In my school days, one of my teachers, whenever he was unhappy with my progress, used to call me a Chinese. China had attacked India then. So I used to feel bad being addressed as one. I realised that it was something to do with how I looked: My deep small eyes.
Years later when I became a sannyasi, some friends started calling me the ferocious Buddha. This name is given to Bodhidharma, the first patriarch of Zen, who took Buddha’s message of meditation and compassion to China. Earlier many other disciples of Buddha had gone to China to spread Buddha’s teachings. They were scholarly people but none had been enlightened, so they did not have any great impact on the Chinese. Bodhidharma was the right person, really a Buddha, an awakened one, in his own right.
His master Prajnatara instructed him to go to China to spread Buddha’s essential message of enlightenment. The time was ripe for the real taste of realisation, of awakening to pass on to the seekers. The other quality of Bodhidharma, though superficial as far as spirituality is concerned, was his resemblance to the Chinese, though he belonged to south India. While Buddha looked very graceful and really gentle with finer feminine qualities, Bodhidharma looked wild and ferocious. With him started a new stream of enlightened mystics known as the Zen masters.
In Zen monasteries, there has been one serious question to meditate on: Why did Bodhidharma go to China? Zen Buddhists have been asking for centuries, “Why? Why did this Bodhidharma go to China?”
Osho gives a simple answer: “I know the reason — the Chinese are more joyous people than Indians, more delighted with life and small things, more colourful. It must be the reason why Bodhidharma travelled so long, crossed the Himalayas to seek and search for people who could laugh with him, and who were not serious, not great scholars and philosophers, and this and that. No, China has not created great philosophers like India has. It has created a few great mystics like Laozi and Zhuang Zhou, but they all are laughing Buddhas. It must be that Bodhidharma’s search in China was a search for people who were non-serious.”
Osho concludes: “My whole effort here is to make you light, non-serious, laughing. People come to me, particularly Indians and complain: ‘What type of sannyasis are you creating? They don’t look like sannyasis. A sannyasi, has to be a serious person, almost dead, a corpse. These people laugh and dance and hug each other. This is unbelievable! Sannyasis doing this?’” And I tell them, “Who else? Who else can do that? — only sannyasis can laugh.”
Today, I am delighted to be addressed as the ferocious Buddha. I do not get hurt. Rather I have a big laugh.