Precepts, Principles, Rules

by Osho

 Why do you seek precepts and principles? You may not have observed why. It is because with precepts you need not be alert. Suppose I make a precept out of non-violence and then I stick to it, or I make it a precept to be truthful and I stick to it. Then it becomes a habit and there is no need to be alert. I cannot speak lies because a habit, a principle, will always create a barrier.

 Society depends on principles, on inculcating and educating the children with principles. Then they become incapable, really, of being otherwise. If a person becomes incapable, he is dead. Your truth can be alive only if it comes through alertness, not through precepts and principles.

 Each moment, you have to be alert in order to be true. Truth is not a principle; it is something born out of your alertness. Non-violence is not a principle; if you are mindful, you cannot be violent. But, that is difficult. You have to transform yourself. It is easy to live according to principles, rules and regulations. Then you need not worry about being more alert and aware; you can follow the principles. Then you are just like a railway train running on the tracks. Those tracks are your principles. You are not afraid because you cannot miss the path. Really, you don't have any path; you have just iron rails on which your train is running. You will reach the destination, you need not be afraid. You will be asleep and the train will reach it. It is running on dead paths.

 But, practice says that life is not like that, it is more like a river. It is not running on iron rails. The path has not even been charted before. As the river flows, the path is created. The river will reach the sea, and this is how life should be. Life is like a river. There is no pre-charted way; there are no maps to be given to you which are to be followed. Just be alive and alert, and then, wherever life leads, you go with full confidence in it. Trust in the life force. Allow it to lead you towards the sea.

 Just be alert, that is all. While life leads you towards the sea, just be alert so that you don't miss anything. If you are alert, this life will be bliss. The very movement of the river is bliss in itself. Passing through the valleys, through the rocks, falling down from the hills, moving into the unknown is itself bliss. The river is not simply going to meet the sea, it is "growing" to be the sea, and this is possible only through rich experience, alert experiences, moving, trusting. This is the human search. Of course, it is dangerous. If rivers could be run through predetermined paths, there would be less danger, fewer errors. But the whole beauty of aliveness would be lost.

 So don't be a follower of precepts. Just be a creator of more and more awareness. The principles will happen to you, but you will never feel enclosed in them.


  1. I am happy it was right for you!

  2. Thank you, this post has given me much to think about.

  3. Thank you Tracy, you gave me a wonderful reason to smile right now.

  4. It is not so simple - just to be.
    I feel it is somewhere in between. If we are not using our will to transform - we ca stuck forever in our old habits.
    Beside this - Just to say, long time didn't exchange digital signs with u' hope everything is Ok.

  5. Thanks for getting in touch Aton. I am OK, just a little carried away by other things.

  6. Beautiful excerpt. Do you happen to know the source of this passage?

  7. Hi Nipun,
    Yacov Granot elaborated this excerpt, so the merit and the knowledge of the source are his. I e-mailed him your comment and hope he will be able to answer.