Chapter 9: A Conscious Death
The master Fugai was a fine painter,
and he was considered to be wise and generous.
But he was also most severe -
both to himself and to his disciples.
It is told that Fugai met his end
in an extraordinary manner.
Feeling that his last day had come,
he quickly had a hole dug, then climbed in
and ordered the digger to cover him with earth.
The astonished man ran off.
On his return to the spot
he found the master standing in the hole
with great dignity -
Life is an opportunity. You can use it, you can misuse it, or you can simply waste it. It depends totally on you. Except you, nobody is going to be responsible. Responsibility is of the individual.
Once you realize this then you start becoming alert, aware. Then you start living in a totally different way. Then, in fact, for the first time you become alive.
Otherwise, people live in a sort of dream - half-asleep, half-awake - just somewhere in between consciousness and unconsciousness. That life is not really a life. You exist - but you don’t live.
Existence is given to you. Existence is a gift. Life has to be earned. When existence turns upon itself, it becomes life. Existence has been given by the whole; you have not done anything for it. It is simply there, a given fact. When existence becomes life. The moment you start existing in a conscious way, immediately existence becomes life.
Existence lived consciously is life.
Life is a great challenge, an adventure into the unknown, an adventure into oneself, an adventure into that which is. If you live an unconscious life, if you simply exist, you will always remain afraid of death. Death will always be just somewhere near the corner, hanging around you. Only life goes beyond death.
Existence comes, disappears. It is given to you, taken away. It is a wave in the ocean - arises, falls back, disappears.
But life is eternal. Once you have it, you have it forever. Life knows no death. Life is not afraid of death. Once you know what life is, death disappears. If you are still afraid of death, know well you have not known life yet.
Death exists only in ignorance - in the ignorance of what life is. One goes on living. One goes on moving from one moment to another, from one action to another, completely unaware what one is doing, why one is doing, why one is drifting from this point to that point.
If you become a little meditative, many times in a day you will catch hold of yourself completely drifting, unconscious.
The whole effort of religion is to make you aware of your existence.
Existence plus awareness is life eternal - what Jesus calls life in abundance, what Jesus calls “the kingdom of God.”