Chapter 7: On the Utility of Not-Being
Death must have somewhere a point within your body. So the Japanese searched the body to find out where the black hole exists. It is just below the navel. Two inches below the navel exists the point of death. It is a very subtle point. You must have heard the word hara-kiri; the word comes from hara. Hara means the black hole inside the body, and hara-kiri means suicide, to use that black hole.
The Japanese have become very efficient in killing themselves; nobody can kill themselves as easily as the Japanese, because they have found the exact point of death. With a small knife, they simply penetrate the hara; not even a single drop of blood comes out. The suicide is bloodless, and no pain at all is felt, no suffering - life just disappears. They have touched directly the black hole in the body, the point of death. If you cut your throat you will die, but there will be much suffering - because from the throat to the hara there is much distance; that distance death will have to travel. So if somebody’s head is cut off, the body remains alive for a few minutes; it goes on trembling and throbbing because you have not penetrated the hara directly. The Japanese can kill themselves so easily and so silently that when you see a man who has done hara-kiri, who has committed suicide, you will not see any sign of death on his face; his face will look as alive as ever. He has simply disappeared into the black hole with no struggle.
That hara in the body is non-being. It is absence, it is a nothingness. And the whole of Taoist practice is to be alert to the hara. They have created a different type of breathing for it; they call it belly breathing. You cannot find a more silent man than a Taoist who has been doing belly breathing and has become attuned to it.
You breathe from the chest. All over the world chest breathing, which is a shallow breathing, exists. Maybe it is because of the fear of death that you don’t breathe from the belly, because when you breathe from the belly the breath goes deep down to the hara. Then you touch death. Afraid of death, you practice shallow breathing. Remember, whenever you are afraid your breathing will become shallow. Whenever fear takes you, you will not be able to breathe deeply - immediately the breathing becomes shallow. Every fear is basically a fear of death; you may not be consciously aware of it, but your body knows where death is: don’t go that way. Your body is wise, wiser than your mind - has to be, because mind is very much a newcomer. Body has existed longer than mind, has passed through millions of lives, mindless lives, and has accumulated much wisdom. Whenever you are afraid you stop breathing or you breathe very shallow, afraid to come nearer to death.
Deep breathing absorbs death into life, deep breathing creates a bridge between life and death; the fear disappears. If you can breathe deep down through the belly, then fear will disappear completely. That’s why the Japanese can commit suicide more easily than anybody else in the world. It looks like a game. They can commit suicide for such simple things that nobody can understand what the need was, because they know life and death are not separate, they are one. Death is also life - the other aspect of the same coin. It is rest.