Wisdom of the Zen Masters

January 20, 2011

I had a dream of death this morning, more specifically life after death. In the dream I was forced to move into some area where my body would be burned to death. I had plenty of fear of pain going to the area where I was to be killed, but the pain didn't last too long, and to my surprise I heard the "thud" of my body fall over to the ground (presumably) while my "soul" left my body, and was in no pain at all.

This dream -- combined with a recent reading of a book named Japanese Death Poems -- reminded me of how Zen Masters are said to know that they are about to die. To that end I thought I'd share some words from an illustrated book titled Wisdom of the Zen Masters:

"In the year 713, Huineng announced that it wouldn't be long before he passed away. At this all of his disciples began to weep, all except Shenhui, who just sat there quietly."

"What principle is it you are all seeking? Who is it you are crying for? Only Shenhui has transcended the concepts of good and bad."

"I know well where I am going. How else would I be able to tell you ahead of time?"

"You are all crying because you don't know where I'm going. If you knew, you wouldn't cry."

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