RSS Feed

can’t imagine your own death?

Posted on

The day after my recent arrival at the monastery, Hogen asked me to come and have tea. As we sat on the floor of his office, he gave me a choice of Japanese tea … or Turkish coffee. Bringing water to a boil, adding extra-finely ground dark beans and sugar, he asked what I’d been doing. Aware of the preciousness of alone-time with a senior teacher, I skipped the chit-chat. “I have been pondering the difficulty of imagining my own death,” I said. “There are fleeting moments when I sense no distinction between one and the others — during meditation, say, or sexual abandon — but for 99.98% of my waking hours the ego seems incapable of imagining its own demise.”

I can offer you two kinds of chocolate, Hogen gestured towards a stash of sweets, one with bacon flavour, the other with Mexican peppers. All organic. And in the next breath, he addressed my dilemma: The Daishin of ten years ago is not the one sitting in front of me. You’ve changed so much. Not just on the cellular level — but look at your mind state, your equanimous ways. Yes, the old Peter is dead, I realized. “Thank you for the coffee.” Bows.

Advertisements

4 responses »

  1. yes, and dead again. and dead again. and so it goes. gone beyond.

    Reply
  2. yes, as we are all dead and reviving a new self every moment. mmmm, chocolate and coffee. to die for. how wonderful!

    Reply
  3. Well, get really, really sick, and it’s not so hard!^-^
    I think a lot of what practice is, is trying to take what we learn about ourselves during those few very hard moments/experiences, and trying to bring it back to our dailly lives. At that moment when the end seemed near, what really mattered? What was worthwhile, and what wasn’t?

    There’s a number of interesting quotes by Jesus in the Koran, one of them goes like this, “The world is a bridge; cross over it, but do not build your house upon it.”

    Reply
  4. i have to share this one more thing – John O’Donohue speaking at the Greenbelt festival recounts a story: at the deathbed of a ‘bandito’ he asks of the wild, old man “what would you say about life, now that you are about to leave it?’ On his deathbed, the man replies “by jesus, i knocked a hell of a squeeze out of it!’ A reminder to me when that moment that we can’t imagine does arrive we are full with joy at what we squeezed from life!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: