Everything is similar; only death makes the difference. With death encountered, you are no more animal, something has happened to you which never happens to an animal. Now you will be a different consciousness.
So Buddha’s father protected him from seeing any type of death – not only man’s death, but the death of animals and even of flowers. So the gardeners were instructed not to allow the child to see a dead flower, a pale flower dying on the branch, a pale leaf, a dry leaf. No, nowhere should he come to realize that something dies – he may infer from it that “I am going to die.” And you do not infer it even seeing your wife dying, your mother, your father, your child. You weep for them, but you never conceive that this is a sign that “I am going to die.”
But the astrologers said, “The boy is very, very sensitive, so protect him from any type of death.” And the father was over-conscientious He would not allow even an old man or an old woman to be seen, because oldness is just death heard from a distance; death is there from a distance, just coming. So Buddha’s father would not allow any old man or old woman to be seen by the child. If Buddha suddenly became aware that just by stopping the breath a man could die, it would be very difficult for him. “Just because no breath is coming in, how can a man die?” he would wonder. “Life is such a big, complex process.”
If you have not seen anyone dying, even you cannot conceive that just by stopping the breath a man will die. Just by stopping the breath? Such a simple thing! And how can such a complex life die?
It is the same with these methods. They look simple, but they touch the basic reality. When the breath is going out, when you are completely emptied of life, you touch death: you are just near it, and everything becomes calm and silent within you.
Use it as a mantra. Whenever you feel tired, whenever you feel tense, use any word which ends in “ah.” “Allah” will do – any word that brings your total breath out so that you exhale completely and you are emptied of breath. The moment you are emptied of breath you are emptied of life also. And all your problems belong to life: no problem belongs to death. Your anxiety, your anguish, your anger, your sadness, they all belong to life.
Death is non-problematic. Death never gives any problem to anyone. And even if you think that “I am afraid of death and death creates a problem,” it is not death that creates the problem but your clinging to life. Only life creates problems; death dissolves all problems. So when the breath has moved completely out, “ah,” you are emptied of life. Look within at that moment when the breath is completely out. Before taking another breath in, go deep down in that interval and become aware of the inside calm, the silence. In that moment you are a buddha.