Chapter 24: Doubt or Faith, Life or Death: The Bases of Different Paths
Birth leads to death, death precedes birth. So if you want to see life as it really is, it is rounded on both the sides by death. Death is the beginning and death is again the end, and life is just the illusion in between. You feel alive between two deaths; the passage joining one death to another you call life. Buddha says this is not life. This life is dukkha - misery. This life is death. That is why he appears to us who are deeply life-hypnotized, obsessed about being alive in any way, as life-negating. To us, just to be alive seems to be the end. We are so much afraid of death that Buddha appears in love with death, and that looks abnormal. He seems to be suicidal. This is what many have criticized Buddha for.
Albert Schweitzer has criticized Buddha because he feels that Buddha is obsessed with death. He is not obsessed with death: we are obsessed with life. He is simply analyzing things, finding out what are the facts. And the deeper you go, the more you will find he is right. Your life is just false, fake, overtaken by death, just a clothing - inside there is death. Buddha focuses on death because he says, “If I can find out what death is, only then can I find out what life is. And if I can know what both death and life are, then there is a possibility that I may transcend both and know something which is beyond birth and death, beyond both.” He is not negative, not life-denying, but he appears so.
Tantra appears life-affirmative, but that again is our interpretation. Neither is Buddha life-denying, nor is Tantra life-affirmative; the source is the same. Buddha focuses on death, Tantra focuses on life. And both are one, so wherever you want to start, start. But go so deeply that you come to know the other also.
Buddha focuses on the end - death. Tantra focuses on the beginning - life. That is why Buddha seems to be too much in love with death and Tantra seems to be too much in love with sex, love, body, life. In the end there is death and in the beginning there is sex. Because Tantra focuses itself on the beginning, sex becomes very important. So how to go deep and know what sex is, how to reveal the mystery of love, how to penetrate into the beginning, into the seed, so that you can go beyond - that is Tantra’s approach.
Buddha focuses on death, and he says to meditate deeply on death, move into it and know the whole reality of it. Both are two ends of the same thing. Sex is death, and death is very sexual. It will be difficult to understand.
There are many insects which die with their first intercourse. The first sex act, and death occurs. There is a species of spider in Africa in which the male dies in copulation. He cannot come down from the copulation; he is just on the female, and he dies there. The first copulation becomes death, and it is very horrible. At the moment of ejaculation he dies. Actually, he is not even really dead: he is still in the pangs of death. The moment the spider, the male spider, ejaculates, death starts and the female starts eating him. He never dismounts. The female starts eating him, and by the time the sexual act is finished, he is half eaten.
Sex and death are so interconnected. Because of this, man became afraid of sex. Those who want to live more, who are fascinated with long life, they will be always afraid of sex, and those who think that they can become immortal, brahmacharya celibacy will be their cult. No one has yet been immortal and no one can be because you are born out of sex. If you were born out of brahmacharya, then it could be possible. If your father and mother were celibates, then, then only could you be immortal.