The mystic dies voluntarily. The mystic dies before the actual death; he dies in meditation. Lovers know a little bit of it because fifty percent of love is death. That’s why love is very close to meditation. Lovers know something of meditativeness; unawares they have stumbled upon it. Lovers know silence, stillness. Lovers know timelessness, but they have stumbled upon it – it has not been their basic search.
The mystic goes into it very consciously, deliberately. Meditation is total death, voluntary death. One dies into oneself. Before death ever comes the mystic dies. He dies every day. Whenever he meditates he goes into death. He reaches to those heights, those depths, and, slowly, slowly, as meditation becomes natural, he starts living death. Then each moment of his life is also a moment of death. Each moment he dies to the past and remains fresh, because the moment you die to the past you become alive to the present.
He dies continuously and remains as fresh as dewdrops or lotus leaves in the early morning sun. His freshness, his youth, his timelessness, depend on the art of dying. And then when actual death comes he has nothing to fear, because he has known this death thousands of times. He is thrilled, enchanted; he dances! Joyously he wants to die. Death does not create fear in him; on the contrary, a tremendous attraction, a great pull.
And because he dies joyously he dies without becoming unconscious, and he knows the total secret of death. Knowing it, he has the master key that can unlock all the doors. He has the key that can open the door of God.
And now he knows that he is not a separate individual. The very idea of separation was stupid. The very idea of separation was there because he was not aware of death. You think yourself separate as an ego because you don’t know what death is. If you know death, the ego will evaporate. And the moment the ego evaporates you start feeling for the whole existence.
That is why Buddha teaches nonviolence. It is not a moral teaching, not like Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi’s whole teaching is moral, social, political. It is ordinary; it has no mysticism in it. Buddha’s nonviolence is totally different, qualitatively different. When he teaches nonviolence he means there is nobody other than you. To hurt anybody is to hurt yourself. To destroy anything is to destroy yourself. To be against, inimical, antagonistic to anybody is to be against your own being – because there is only one being that permeates and pervades all.
Buddha never uses the word God, but by subtle hints he indicates again and again. This is his way of indicating. His respect for God is so tremendous that he feels to use the word God is to commit a crime. That is my understanding of Buddha. He does not use the word because of deep respect, great reverence. He has been misunderstood – as it happens always. All the buddhas are misunderstood, because the people who try to understand them have no insight, are blind, deaf.