- Immortality -

:: Posted :: 2016-10

A recent radio broadcast [1] discussing immortality led me to conclude I'm an 'Epicurean'. Epicurus (pictured) believed this life is all we have & that death is a return to the 'nothing' that exists before birth. I'd previously associated Epicurus with a life devoted to having a good time - though I suppose that's not incompatible.

Buddhists are generally expected to believe in reincarnation, but in my view that's really a Hindu concept. I think we have to act now & express our whole being through that action - it's no good hoping some later lifetime will set it all straight.

Meditation isn't about being 'blissed-out'; it's more often facing the mess you're making of life and (acknowledging we're only human) resolving to do better. In zazen we aim to sit up straight & brightly alive; stepped back from discursive thought. The intention is to settle into our natural state, before thinking separates us from the rest of the Universe. Of course, we're not lumps of rock so thoughts always come up; our effort is just to let them alone.

This composed state answers the old zen koan 'What was your original face before your parents were born?'. Of course, the 'void' isn't empty; in fact, you could characterise it as smiling... but finding that smile takes quite a bit of cushion-time.

Notes

  1. BBC Radio 4 - Death & Immortality


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