Chapter 1: Man: Only a Possibility
The old man rushed back and got him some, but by the time he got back the fellow’s companion wanted a refill. The two kept him running back and forth for an hour. Finally, Kornblum flopped down in a seat exhausted. One of the Arabs said, “Jew, what do you think of the world?”
“Well, it is in terrible shape,” said Kornblum. “In Pakistan, Mohammedans are killing Hindus, in India Hindus are killing Mohammedans. In Ireland, Protestants are killing Catholics. And in airplanes Jews are pissing in Arabs’ coffee!”
Yes, the world is in a terrible shape, but for these few days you will be here with me, forget the world. Be dropouts for these few days at least, so we can talk of other worlds, of other visions, because there are mysteries
The sutras.. The Buddha says:
You are as the yellow leaf.
The messengers of death are at hand.
There are two things in life which are the most important. The first is birth, and the second is death - everything else is trivia. The first has already happened, now nothing can be done about it. The second has not happened yet, but can happen any moment. Hence those who are alert will prepare, they will prepare for death. Nothing can be done about birth, but much can be done about death. But people don’t even think about death, they avoid the very subject. It is not thought to be polite to talk about it. Even if they refer to death, they refer to it in roundabout ways. If somebody dies, we don’t say that he has died. We say God has called him, that God loved him so much, that whomsoever God loves he calls earlier; that he has gone to heaven, that he has moved to the other world, that he has not died, only the body has fallen back to the earth but the soul, the soul is immortal.
Have you ever heard of anybody going to hell? Everybody goes to heaven. We are so afraid of death, we try to make it as beautiful as possible: we decorate it, we speak beautiful words about it, we try to avoid the fact.
But Buddha insists again and again.his whole life after his enlightenment for forty-two years continuously he was talking, morning, evening, day in, day out, year in, year out, about death. Why? Many people think that he is a pessimist - he is not. He is neither optimist nor pessimist. He is a realist, he is very pragmatic. He means business, because he knows only one thing is left for you about which something can be done and should be done - and that is death.
And remember: it is not a simple phenomenon that you die and go to heaven. It is a very complex phenomenon, more complex than life itself.