Chapter 7: A Snowflake Dissolving in Pure Air
Death is like the night. Life is yang and death is yin. Life is male, death is female. Life is aggression, ambition - a great effort to conquer many things. And death is relaxation from all aggression - an inward journey. One relaxes into oneself. Zen people call it “the asylum of rest.”
Life is an adventure; you go away from yourself, you go farther and farther away. The farther away you are, the more miserable you become. You go in search of happiness, but the more you search for happiness, the farther you are from it. And you can see it in your own life. This is not a philosophy, this is a simple statement of fact. Everybody goes in search of happiness. But the farther away you go, the more miserable you become.
Life is a search for happiness - but brings misery. One day you are fed up and tired and bored. That adventure no longer appeals. You relax into yourself, you come back. The closer you come to yourself, the more happy you become. The more you forget about happiness, the more happy you become. The day you stop seeking and searching for happiness, you are happy.
Life is a promise for happiness, but only a promise. It never fulfills. Death fulfills it. Hence, I repeat: death is not the enemy. Death is your home where you come after many, many journeys - tired, frustrated, exhausted - to seek shelter, to seek rest, to gain again the lost vitality. One thing.
Second thing: life and death are not so much apart as we think. You think life happened the day you were born, and death will happen the day you die. So there is a seventy or eighty or one hundred years’ gap. It is not so. Birthing and dying go on together your whole life. The moment you start breathing you start dying too. Each moment there is life and there is death - two wheels of the same cart. They go together. They are simultaneous. You cannot put them so far apart - seventy years is too much distance. You cannot put them so far apart - they are there every moment. Every moment something is being born in you and something is dying.
Dying and living are together. In seventy years’ time you are finished with this dying and living. You are tired of the game. You would like to go home. You have played with sand castles. You have argued, fought for your sand castles: This is mine and that is thine, and enough is enough! Evening has come and the sun is setting and you want to come home. After seventy years you slip into deep rest. But dying and living continue together. To see it in that light will bring great insight to you. Each moment both are there.
So there is no need to be afraid. It is not that death is going to happen somewhere in the future. The future creates problems: It is going to happen somewhere in the future - how to protect yourself? How to create Great China Walls against it? What arrangements should be made so it doesn’t happen to you, or at least so it can be postponed a little more?