There were many schools in Buddha’s time. Buddha’s time was one of the most intellectually dynamic periods in human history. For example, there was Ajit Keshkambal. You may not have heard the name because it is difficult to create a following around those who preach suicide. So no sect exists around Ajit Keshkambal, but he said continuously for five years that suicide alone is the only way.
It is reported that someone asked Ajit, “Then why have you not committed suicide up to now?” He said, “Just to preach, I have to suffer life. I have a message to give to the world. If I commit suicide, then who will preach? Who will teach this message? Just to give this message, I am here. Otherwise, life is not worth living.” It is the opposite extreme of life, of this so-called life which we live.
Buddha’s was the middle path. Buddha said, neither death nor life. That is what sannyas means: neither attachment to life nor repulsion, but just being in the middle. So Buddha says that sannyas is to be just in the middle. Sannyas is not negation of life. Rather, sannyas is the negation of both life and death. When you are concerned with neither life nor death, then you become a sannyasin.
If you can see the polar opposites of life and death, then Buddha’s initiation into sannyas is just an initiation in the middle path. So a sannyasin is not really against life. If he is, then he is not a sannyasin. Then really, he is a neurotic; he has gone to the other extreme. A sannyasin has a very balanced consciousness – balanced just in the middle.
“If life is misery,” the mind says, “then move to the other end.” But to Buddhists life is misery because you are at the extreme. That is the Buddhist idea: life is a misery because it is at one extreme, and death will also be a misery because it is another extreme. Bliss is just in the middle; bliss is balance.
A sannyasin is a balanced being – neither leaning to the right nor to the left, neither a leftist nor a rightist: just in the middle – silent, unmoving, not choosing this nor that, in a non-choice, remaining in the center.
So do not choose death. Choice is misery. If you choose death you have chosen misery, if you choose life you have chosen misery, because life and death are two extremes. And remember, they are two extremes of one thing. They are not really two, only one thing which has two poles: life and death.
If you choose one, you will have to go against the other pole. That creates misery, because death is implied in life. You cannot choose life without choosing death. How can you? The moment you choose life, you have chosen death. That creates misery because as a result of your having chosen life, death will be there. You have chosen happiness: simultaneously, without your knowing, you have chosen unhappiness, because that is part of it.
If you have chosen love, then you have chosen hate. The other is intrinsic in it; it is hidden there. And one who chooses love will suffer, because then he will hate – and when he comes to hate he will suffer.