Between birth and death,
Three in ten are followers of life,
Three in ten are followers of death,
And men just passing from birth to death also number three in ten.
Why is this so?
Because they live their lives on the gross level.
He who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger.
He will not be wounded in battle.
For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn,
Tigers no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.
Why is this so?
Because he has no place for death to enter.
Tao Te Ching
Translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English
Vintage Books Edition, September 1972
~This passage is from Thomas Merton's posthumous Asian Journal, describing his awakening experience upon seeing the great Buddha statues at Polonnaruwa, Ceylon (Sri Lanka):
“Looking at these figures I was suddenly,
almost forcibly, jerked clean out of the habitual, half-
tied vision of things, and an inner clearness, clarity, as
if exploding from the rocks themselves, became evident
The queer evidence of the reclining
figure, the smile, the sad smile of Ananda standing with
arms folded (much more ‘imperative’ than Da Vinci’s
Mona Lisa because completely simple and
The thing about all this is that there is
no puzzle, no problem, and really no ‘mystery.’ All
problems are resolved and everything is clear, simply
because what matters is clear. The rock, all matter, all
life, is charged with dharmakaya . . .
emptiness and everything is compassion. I don’t know
when in my life I have ever had such a sense of beauty
and spiritual validity running together in one aesthetic
Surely, with Mahabalipuram and
Polonnaruwa my Asian pilgrimage has come clear and
purified itself. I mean, I know and have seen what I
was obscurely looking for. I don’t know what else
remains but I have now seen and have pierced through
the surface and have got beyond the shadow and the
~from The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton,
There is no permanent way of escaping difficulties other than the way of seeking spiritual realization.
That is what we have really incarnated for.
This may seem hard on us,
but life on earth as it is known today is also hard for many people.
-- Notebooks Category 13: Human Experience >
Chapter 1: Situation > # 394 Paul Brunton
I agree with your logic and awareness..
The 'Final Reality' consists of Thought and not Dream..
This 'Silence' is confounding to the emitter of sound..
Pure Awareness appears to enjoy, Dreaming..
I have to ask myself,
" What would I do "..
I would probably walk this same road of entertainment..
The "Void' that frightens you so much is Real..
The others words were a bridge...
It would be wrong to say that the pictorial review of life experience when dying is merely a mental transference from one's own shoes to those of the persons with whom one has been in contact during the life just passed, as the pictures unveil before him.
What really happens is a transference from the false ego to the true Self, from the personal to the impersonal.
It is a realization of the true meaning of each episode of the life from a higher point of view.
-- Notebooks Category 9: From Birth to Rebirth >
Chapter 1: Death, Dying, and Immortality > # 114
"Now imagine that you stop to sit on a bench in the park. As you sit there everything stops, absolutely stops. Your mind is so still and quiet that you can hear dust particles floating in the air. Suddenly you are falling, and falling, and falling. There is no ground below or sky overhead, just a crushing thunderous silence, racing faster and faster. You suddenly realize that it’s going to kill you, rip you limb from limb and explode your lungs into dust.
There’s no way out, no possible means of survival. And so you do the only thing there is to do. Surrender. All goes blank and empty, more empty than limitless space. Prior to life and death, you blink out of (or is it into?) existence. Timelessness is all there is, all there ever was, or could be. Eternity reigns supreme, and is radiantly present in every particle of being. Something unborn and undying stirs to life and opens its eyes -- your eyes.
You or It is still sitting on the park bench. It is smiling, radiant, and content. A little girl on roller skates passes by. The sun glitters through the aspen leaves as an old man smokes his pipe on a footbridge crossing over a stream that feeds into a pondfilled with goldfish. Everywhere you look is emptiness. Each ‘thing’ is a veil, a shroud, cloaking Infinity. Nothing is as it seems, and everything is exactly as it is. Somehow perfect in all its apparent chaos, Infinity prevails.
You know with exact precision that there is nothing else -- nothing could be other than this vast and absolute void, this pure and Infinite Potential, this unborn and unformed Infinity. You reflect back over your life and realize that everything that ever happened or ever could happen, from birth to all of the ups and downs of this ephemeral life, to the strange realizations of spiritual awakening, to this exact moment outside of time, was and is the momentary display -- a blip, really -- of Infinity’s limitless potential coming into, and going out of, existence. An old friend finds you sitting on the bench in the park.
She sits down beside you and asks, ‘What are you up to?’ You love her as friends do, but what can you say? You’re already speechless, and as quiet inside as the dead. She doesn’t know it, but you’re in two different worlds, strangely intersecting here on this park bench. How do you reach across infinity to communicate with her? For a moment you strain inside for the words with which to respond. There is a silent pause -- is she onto you? Does she suspect something is different? A cool breeze caresses your face and the universe smiles inside you. ‘Oh, nothing really,’ you say. ‘Absolutely Nothing.’”
The Way of Liberation
Your life’s journey is a pilgrimage that’s always
going from one sacred space to yet another sacred
And the very road that you’re traveling on between
these sacred spaces is also sacred, too.
No matter what your life looks like right now, you’re
always standing in the Temple of the Divine.
Your own Heart is truly the Holy-of-Holies.
- Chuck Hillig