That is the difference between a culture which is spiritual and a culture which is materialist. A materialist says, “This is all; there is nothing else to life.” A materialist says that all that you see, that is all that reality is. If that becomes meaningless, then there is no door open. A spiritualist says, “This is not all, the visible is not all, the tangible is not all.” When this is finished, suddenly a new door opens and this is not the end. If it is finished, it is only a beginning of another dimension.
This is the only difference between a materialist conception of life and a spiritualist conception of life – the difference of world views. Buddha was born into a spiritualist world view. He also realized the meaninglessness of all that we do, because death is there and death will finish everything, so what is the point of doing or not doing? Whether you do or don’t do, death comes and finishes everything. Whether you love or not, old age comes and you become a ruin, a skeleton. Whether you live a poor life or a rich life, death annihilates both; it does not bother about who you are. You may have been a saint, you may have been a sinner – for death it makes no difference. Death is absolutely communist; it treats everybody equally. The saint and the sinner both fall down into the dust – dust unto dust. Buddha came to realize this, but the spiritual world view was there, the milieu was different.
I have told you the story of Buddha. He comes to see an old man. He realizes that youth is just a passing phase, a momentary phenomenon; a wave in the ocean rising and falling, nothing of permanence in it, nothing of the eternal in it; just like a dream, a bubble ready to burst any moment. Then he sees a dead man being carried. In the West the story would have stopped here: the old man, the dead man. But in the Indian story, after the dead man he sees a sannyasin – that is the door. And then he asks his driver, “Who is this man, and why is he in ochre robes? What has happened to him? What type of man is he?” The driver says, “This man has also realized that life leads to death and he is in search of a life which is deathless.”
This was the milieu: life doesn’t end with death. Buddha’s story shows that after seeing death, when life feels meaningless, suddenly a new dimension arises, a new vision – sannyas: the effort to penetrate into the deeper mystery of life, to penetrate deeper into the visible to reach the invisible, to penetrate matter so deeply that matter disappears and you come to the basic reality, the reality of spiritual energy, the Brahma. With Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, the story ends with the dead man. The sannyasin is missing, that is the missing link.
If you can understand me, that is what I am doing: creating so many sannyasins, sending them to the whole world, so that whenever there is a man who comes to understand, like Sartre, that life is meaningless, a sannyasin must be there to follow, to give a new vision that life doesn’t end with death. A phase ends, but not life itself.
In fact, life starts only when death has come because death ends only your body, not your innermost being. The life of the body is only a part, and a very peripheral part, a superficial part.