Ananda, one of Gautam Buddha’s chief disciples, asked Buddha, “One thing always puzzles me and I cannot contain my curiosity anymore although my question is irrelevant. The question is that when you go to sleep you remain the whole night in the same posture. Wherever you put your hands, your feet, whatsoever side you lie down on, you remain exactly the same, like a statue. You don’t move, you don’t change your side, you don’t change your hands, your feet – nothing changes. You wake up in the morning in exactly the same posture as you had gone to sleep in. One night, just out of curiosity, I looked at you the whole night – not a single movement. Are you controlling yourself even in your sleep?”
Buddha said, “There is no question of control. I am awake, I am in meditation. I sleep in meditation. Just as I wake up early in the morning in meditation, every night I go to sleep in meditation. My day is my meditation, my night too. I remain absolutely calm and quiet because deep down I am perfectly aware. The flame of meditation goes on burning smokeless. That’s why there is no need to move.”
A man of Zen walks in Zen and sits in Zen.
This is of great significance for you all. Meditation has to become something so deep in you that wherever you go it remains, abides with you; whatsoever you do it is always there. Only then can your life be transformed. Then not only will you be meditative in your life, you will be meditative in your death too. You will die in deep meditation.
That’s how Buddha died. That’s how all the Buddhas have always died: their death is something exquisitely beautiful. Their life is beautiful, their death too. There is no gap between their life and death. Their death is a crescendo of their life, the ultimate peak, the absolute expression.
When Buddha died he was eighty-two years old. He asked his disciples to come together – just as he used to when he talked to them every morning. They all gathered. Nobody was thinking at all about his death.
And then Buddha said, “This is my last sermon to you. Whatsoever I had to say to you I have said. Forty-two years I have been telling you, saying to you – I have poured out my whole heart. Now, if somebody has any question left he can ask, because this is the last day of my life. Today I leave for the other shore. My boat has arrived.”
They were shocked! They had come just to listen to the daily discourse. They were not thinking that he was going to die – without making any fuss about death! It was just a simple phenomenon, a simple declaration that “My boat has come and I have to leave. If you have any question left you can ask me, because if you don’t ask me today, I will never again be available. Then the question will remain with you. So please, be kind and don’t be shy,” he told his disciples.
They started crying. And Buddha said, “Stop all this nonsense! This is no time to cry, and weep, and waste! Ask if you have something to ask, otherwise let me go. The time has come. I cannot linger any longer.”
They said, “We have nothing to ask. You have given more than we would have ever asked. You have answered the questions that we have asked, that we could have asked. You have answered questions which for centuries will be fulfilling for all kinds of inquirers.”