It is very easy to find faults and point out mistakes in others but it is very difficult to see one's own faults. Our very nature is of overlooking our own faults and magnifying others' faults. The mind tends to discuss the defects of others. It helps our ego to feel good. When everybody is such a sinner, comparatively one feels like a saint.
Hence we talk about others' defects: not only do we talk about them, we go on magnifying them. That's why there is so much joy in gossiping. When the gossip passes from one to another, it becomes richer. When it passes back again, something more is added to it. The gossip that started in the morning was just a molehill, and by evening it becomes a mountain. We are very creative and inventive when it comes to gossiping!
Why are we so interested in gossiping about others, in finding fault with others, in looking into others' loopholes and defects? It is just to have a good feeling: "I am far better." There is a motivation. It is not to help others, notwithstanding what we say. The basic reason is, "If others are ugly, then I am beautiful."
Our eyes are focused on others; we are other-oriented. We only see the others. It is not only a question of faults, we never see ourselves. Even if we want to see ourselves we have to look in a mirror, we have to create the image. When the image is there, the other has appeared. The mirror helps us to see ourselves because it creates the other. Otherwise we are absolutely extroverts; we have forgotten the language of how to look in. Hence, as a consequence, we cannot see our own faults.
The moment we start seeing our own faults, they start dropping like dry leaves. Then nothing else has to be done; to see them is enough. Just to be aware of our own faults is all that is needed. In that awareness they start disappearing, they evaporate. One can go on committing a certain error only if one remains unconscious of it. Unconsciousness is a must to go on committing the same errors. Even if we try to change, we will commit the same error in some other form, in some other shape and they come in all sizes and all shapes. We will exchange, substitute, but we cannot drop it because deep down we don't see that it is a fault.
That's why everybody thinks himself or herself to be so beautiful, so intelligent, so virtuous, so saintly but nobody else agrees with him or her. The reason is simple: we look at others and see their reality, and about our own self we carry beautiful fictions. All that we know about ourselves is more or less a myth; it has nothing to do with reality.
Osho points out, "The moment one sees one's faults, a radical change sets in. Hence all the Buddhas down the ages have been telling only one thing: awareness. They don't teach you character. Character is taught by priests, politicians, but not by the Buddhas. Buddhas teach you consciousness, not conscience. Conscience is a trick played upon you by others. Others are telling you what is right and what is wrong; they are forcing their ideas upon you. They go on forcing them from your very childhood, when you were so innocent, so vulnerable, so delicate, that there was a possibility to make any impression on you, any imprint on you. They have conditioned you from the very beginning. That conditioning is called conscience and that conscience goes on dominating your whole life."
He further explains, "Buddhas teach consciousness. Consciousness means you are not to learn from others what is right and what is wrong; there is no need to learn from anybody. You have simply to go in; just the inward journey is enough. The deeper you go; the more consciousness is released. When you reach the center you are so full of light that darkness disappears. When you bring light into your room you don't have to push the darkness out of the room. The presence of the light is enough because darkness is only an absence of light. So are all your insanities and madnesses."
Everybody can see others' faults, and this is the situation in which everybody is living. Ignorant people believe they are wise. Insane people believe they are the sanest. It is part of human nature that we go on looking to the outside. We watch everybody except ourselves. Hence we know more about others than about ourselves; we know nothing about ourselves. We are not witnesses to our own functioning of the mind, we are not watchful inside.
Here, we need a hundred-and-eighty-degree turn and that's what meditation is all about. We have to close our eyes and start watching. In the beginning we will find only darkness and nothing else. Many people become frightened and rush out because outside there is light. There is light outside but that light is not going to enlighten us or help us. We need inner light, a light which has its source in our own very being, a light which cannot be extinguished even by death, a light which is eternal.
Osho explains, "I am not interested in telling you to drop your faults, to make yourself good, to improve your character - no, not at all. I am not interested in your character at all. I am interested only in your consciousness. Become more alert, more conscious. Just go deeper and deeper into yourself till you find the center of your being. You are living on the periphery, and on the periphery there is always turmoil. The deeper you go, the deeper the silence that prevails. In those experiences of silence, your life starts moving into a different dimension. The errors, the mistakes start disappearing. So don't be worried about the errors and the mistakes and the faults. Be concerned about one single thing, one single phenomenon; put your total energy into one goal, and that is how to be more conscious, how to be more awakened."
Moralists are people whose whole work is to see who is doing wrong. Their whole life is wasted; they are like police dogs sniffing here and there. That is an ugly trait and a sheer wastage of time and energy, says the great Buddhist master Atisha. Not only is it a wastage but it strengthens and gratifies the ego.
An ego which is more gratified becomes more of a barrier. It is not only a question of not discussing others' defects but also not even be too much concerned about one's own defects. Take note, be aware, and let the matter get settled then and there. There are a few other people who brag about their own defects. If one starts bragging about his qualities, then too, it is going to the extremes and if one starts bragging about sins, then too, he is going to the extreme.
Atisha says: "Don't ponder over others' defects; it is none of your business. Don't interfere in others' lives, it is none of your business. Don't discuss others' defects, don't discuss your own defects. Take note, and that is that. Awareness is enough, nothing else is needed. If you are fully aware of anything, the fire of awareness burns it. There is no need for any other remedy."
Naina Rajkumari (Ma Prem Naina) is associated with Osho World Foundation and travels widely facilitating workshops and seminars. Born in Jorhat, she was initiated as a Osho Sannyas in 2003 at Oshodham, New Delhi.