Chapter 2: Firewood and Ash
At first I was puzzled, because it is not mentioned anywhere. But then I could see the point that every woman is desiring to be a man. She thinks, “I am confined in the home, and the man is enjoying everything.” And every man thinks, once in a while, “The beauty, the mystery of a woman.” So it is very natural that you are creating your other form already without doing it consciously. If you are man you will be born as woman. And this is a vicious circle, because when you die, you die unconsciously; when you are born you are born unconsciously. So you don’t know from where you are coming, or what was the reason for your taking this form.
The whole foundation of meditation is to make you so alert that you can see the forming of seeds and desires and drop them. If you can die without a seed.
If you die in a half-hearted way, not totally, with something incomplete, with something you wanted to do and death has come in between - then you cannot expect to disappear into the universal. Then the flame will take another home, according to your desires, your reincarnations.
Meditation simply means to drop, slowly, slowly all your desires. And when death comes, celebrate it; celebrate it because everything is complete and you are ready. This readiness and completeness will give you the ultimate freedom of formlessness. That formlessness is nirvana.
All these buddhas, like Dogen, are pointing towards that formlessness. First, he is talking about relativity:
When we look back at the shore from our boat, we mistakenly feel as if the shore were moving. But when we look at our boat with care, we find that it is our boat that is actually moving. Similarly, when we see all things with the deluded idea that our body and mind are separate from each other, we mistakenly think innate mind and nature are eternal. But when we realize that our body and mind are inseparable, we see clearly that all things are not substantial.
The body has a substantiality. When someone dies all the elements of the body dissolve into their sources: water into water and air into air and earth into earth. Only one invisible bird, weightless.. There have been experiments where a man was weighed while he was alive, and weighed again after he has died. The weight does not differ; he is the same weight both times. To the objective mind, it means that nothing has moved out, because if there is a soul which moves out of the body, then certainly it would have weight. Experiments have even been done putting the dying man in a glass case, so that they can see if something moves out.. It will have to break the glass somewhere. But the glass remains intact as the man dies.
These things have supported the atheists, who say that there is no such thing as a soul. These conclusions are absolutely rational but stupid. There is no contradiction in being both stupid and rational. Of course the intellectual person will be more profoundly stupid than ordinary idiots; ordinary idiots are simple people. But there are extraordinary idiots, and because of their rationality they have turned almost the whole world’s mind toward being materialistic.
Half of the world is communist, which does not believe that there is anything in the body; it is just a combination of materials. The remaining half of the world, which thinks it is spiritual, only thinks; it never experiments.