The Self Perishes When the Universe Perishes

A monk asked Daizui, "When the whole universe perishes, does the self perish or does it not perish?" Daizui said, "It perishes." The monk persisted, "Then following the universe, will the self perish?" Daizui replied, "Like all the rest, it will follow and depart."

The young monk apparently learned about eternal life and believed in it as such. But then he read the Agama Sutra, whech describes the utter and complete destruction of the universe. His question to Daizui betrays his fear of death. Daizui answered, in effect, "Yes, when the universe perishes, we perish too. You also will die." Zen teaches no miracles, just things as they are.

Many people are afraid to die. Death is neither bad nor good. It is natural and should not be feared. Those who are born will die. We should not be anymore concerned about our death than we were about our birth. When the universe disappears, we disappear. Why worry?


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