From Reb Anderson’s Chapter on “Do not kill” in “Being Upright”:
the ancient buddhas realized that the principle of life cannot be destroyed.
Dogen zenji says:
“Life is the manifesting of the whole works. Death is the manifestion of the whole works. Zenki, total dynamic functioning means that everything, life and death are workings of the whole, and the whole is working through everything. Filling up the great empty sky, upright mind is always bits and pieces.”
All life and each life are manifesting the whole universe and are the working of the whole universe. Life cannot be hindered anywhere. When you don’t understand this, you may feel threatened by death. And this fear will permeate all our actions.
But in understanding interdependent origination and the total dynamic functioning of life, in this very moment, we realize that we do not have to be threatening by death and all the pieces of the universe are working together harmoniously. This understanding actualizes our true life of freedom.
This is the central mystery of our practice.
Katagiri roshi, our root teacher, says that being with death there are three points to remember:
- and one mind.
There is suffering. One of the kinds of suffering is being parted from those we love. Death is a very dramatic loss. Even though we know it happens, will happen, when it does happen it is hard to accept.
Right at this moment, all over the world, thousands of people are dying. We can imagine all the situations. This is truth. Right in this breath, living and dying are appearing over and over again endlessly, together with us. Right in this breath is togetherness. – Katagiri roshi.
Carl, you have brought us face to face with something very fundamental- we can call it the ultimate dimension. It is beyond the capacity of our perception or consciousness to comprehend or know, and yet somehow we do know it. Your death brings us to a taste of this knowing-right it the middle of our grief, there is this taste.
From Thich Nhat Hanh: