There was a mystic, Hassein, who had a very beautiful son — a very very intelligent and talented boy. Everybody loved the boy, but one day he suddenly died. He was just twenty and almost the whole town was in love with the boy.
Hassein looked at the corpse and never cried. Not even a single tear came to his eyes; rather, he started laughing.
People could not believe it. They asked, “What has happened? Have you gone mad? Has the shock been too much?’”
He said, “No, it is not the shock. I was feeling very very unhappy, miserable, and then suddenly I remembered that when this child was not there I was perfectly happy. I was alone and this boy was not with me, and there was no problem. I never missed him when he was not there. Now he is gone again, and I am again in the same position. A dream is over, and the one who gave it to me has taken it back. Who am I to say it is not good?”
So always feel grateful.
From wherever you find some source of happiness, feel grateful, but don’t expect that tomorrow that source will be available or should be available. Otherwise you will fight for it.
Birth And Death
We shouldn’t look at death as the opposite of life, we should look at death as the opposite of birth. And birth and death are in fact part of the continuum of life.
The key to the conquest of death is to discover your true self. Your true self is not in form. Your true self is formless. Your true self is inconceivable. When we connect with our true self, which is in the field of infinite possibilities, infinite creativity, infinite synchronistic correlation, where the power of intention resides, then we are liberated from the fear of the unknown because the so-called unknown has become known to us.
Everything, in order to be alive, must die. That’s the meaning of the phrase: death makes life possible. So make the unknown known to you. Get intimate with it because it’s your own self. Get the word out that death truly makes life possible.
If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hang on to, If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”
“Your real self is not in this world… and so death is irrelevant.”
Death has “been choreographed, determined and allowed to unfold in Divine Timing,” meaning it is never our place to rush or restrict death, it is all happening as it should without our interference. It is simply the beginning of the next adventure. Nothing more, nothing less.
Practice meditation to embrace “dying while still alive,” which is to disconnect from the idea that our physical shell is who we are. By doing so, we are able shed our fear of death and tap into our “real self.”
What is the Zen attitude towards death?
Laughter. Yes, laughter is the Zen attitude towards death and towards life too, because life and death are not separate. Whatsoever is your attitude towards life will be your attitude towards death, because death comes as the ultimate flowering of life. Life exists for death. Life exists through death. Without death there will be no life at all. Death is not the end but the culmination, the crescendo. Death is not the enemy it is the friend. It makes life possible.
So the Zen attitude about death is exactly the same as is the Zen attitude towards life – that of laughter, joy, celebration. And if you can laugh at death, in death, you are free from all. Then you are freedom. If you cannot laugh at death you will not be able to laugh in life either because death is always coming. Each act in life, each move in life, brings death closer. Each moment that you live you get closer to death. If you cannot laugh with death, how can you laugh with life and in life?
But there is a difference between the Zen Buddhists and the other religions. Other religions are not that deep: other religions also say that there is no need to fear death because the soul is immortal. But in the very idea of the immortality of the soul, your mind is seeking eternity and nothing else. In the very idea of immortality you are denying death, you are saying there is no death. You are saying, “So why be afraid? There is no death. I am going to live – if not as this body, still I am going to live as this soul. My essential being will continue. So why fear death? Death will not be destroying me. I will remain, I will persist, I will continue.” The other religions compromise with your desire to remain forever, they give you a consolation. They say, “Don’t be worried. You will be in some other body, in some other form, but you will continue.” This seems to be a clinging.
But the Zen approach towards death is utterly different, immensely profound. Other religions say death is not to be worried about, not to be feared, because the soul is eternal. Zen says: There cannot be any death because you are not. There is nobody to die. See the difference – there is nobody to die. The self exists not, so death cannot take anything away from you. Life cannot give you anything and death cannot take anything away. There is no purpose in life and no purpose in death. There is nobody to die. Other religions say you will not die so don’t be worried about death. Zen says: You exist not – for whom are you worrying? There is nobody in life and there will be nobody in death; you are pure emptiness. Nothing has ever happened there.