He said, “My question is, how do you manage your hundred legs: which one should come first, which one should come second, which one should come third…? How do you manage one hundred legs together?”
He said, “I have never thought about. I am not a philosophical type. You seem to be a philosophical type…but I will try and find out.”
He tried and fell immediately over his legs. He was very angry with the rabbit. He said, “Keep your philosophy to yourself. Never ask any centipede…. Everything is being managed on its own, and I have never thought about it. You are a dangerous fellow. You look so nice, but your questions…!”
If you know three or four lives, you will be in the same position. You will not be able to move, because these same people were related to you in your past lives in different relationships. Somebody was your child, now he is your father; somebody was your mother, now she is somebody else’s wife…you cannot go to her. Perhaps the neighbor’s wife was your wife. Your mind will be so bombarded. That’s why nature absolutely closes the doors, completely seals them so you don’t know anything about where you are coming from. But those doors can be opened.
In India we have a special science for it – jati smaran, remembrance of the past. A certain meditation, certain preparations and you can enter into past lives. But remember that you have to have the stamina and the guts not to get lost. Only in the East has reincarnation been considered. And the three religions which have born in India are the only religions which have an absolute agreement on the point of reincarnation. They differ in their philosophy, theology, on everything, but not on rebirth. It is factual to all of them. They all have come in their meditations to the same place. They cannot deny it.
It is an existential fact that you have been before and you will be after your death. The one that was before birth, and the one that will be after death is the same one. Its name is the buddha. Its name is the witness. It never dies and it never is born.
The problem to understand is, Hyakujo says: That which knows birth is the unborn – the knower of the birth is the unborn witness. We cannot stray from birth to speak of the unborn – if you have not died with absolute consciousness, you cannot talk about the unborn and the undying. The Patriarch once said, “That which undergoes birth is really unborn.”
Confucius, one of the greatest thinkers of the world, was not a religious man. His concern was more civilization, culture, morality, etiquette, ethics. He has influenced the whole of China for these past twenty-five centuries. He is still influencing the Chinese behavior.
One day a young follower asked him, “You talk about life, you talk about how to style it, how to refine it, how to make it honest, how to make it truthful, but you never say anything about what will happen after death.”