WHEN TENG YIN FENG WAS ABOUT TO DIE HE SAID TO THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM: I HAVE SEEN MONKS DIE SITTING AND LYING, BUT HAVE ANY DIED STANDING? 'YES, SOME,' THEY REPLIED.
'HOW ABOUT UPSIDE-DOWN?' ASKED TENG. 'NO, NEVER SUCH A THING,' THEY SAID. SO TENG DIED STANDING ON HIS HEAD AND HIS CLOTHES ALSO ROSE UP, CLOSE TO HIS BODY.
IT WAS DECIDED TO CARRY HIM TO THE BURNING GROUND, BUT HE STILL STOOD THERE WITHOUT MOVING. PEOPLE FROM FAR AND NEAR GAZED WITH ASTONISHMENT AT THE SCENE.
HIS YOUNGER SISTER, A NUN, HAPPENED TO BE THERE. SHE GRUMBLED AT HIM: WHEN YOU WERE ALIVE, YOU TOOK NO NOTICE OF LAWS AND CUSTOMS; AND EVEN NOW YOU'RE DEAD, YOU'RE MAKING A NUISANCE OF YOURSELF.
SHE THEN PRODDED HER BROTHER WITH HER FINGER, AND HE FELL DOWN WITH A BANG. THEN THEY WENT OFF TO THE CREMATORIUM.
Death is the root of all fear, and if there is fear, you cannot live. With fear there is no life. If there is fear you are already dead.
This is the vicious circle - you are afraid of death, and because of fear you cannot live, you are already dead. Then you become more afraid and the fear creeps into your very center; you become just a trembling.
As I see you, you are just a trembling. If you dig deeply, you will always find the fear of death. This fear is the root of all fears. In any fear, whatsoever the form of the fear, somewhere the fear of death is hidden. Why are people so afraid of death? Is death really a phenomenon to be afraid of?
The first thing to remember is that you don't know death. You have not known it, so how can you be afraid of something that you don't know? that's impossible. You can be afraid of something you know, but of something that is totally unknown, absolutely unknown how can you be afraid? Fear needs an object to be afraid of.
You cannot really be afraid of death, you must be afraid of something else. That something else is an unfulfilled life - you have not been able to live, you have not been able to achieve a fulfillment, you have not been able to overflow, you have not been able to celebrate. Your life has been an emptiness, a hollowness, a nothing.
Death is coming near and you have not been able to live yet - this creates the fear. Death is coming near and you will be no more, the opportunity is being taken away. Every moment you are losing life and you have not lived yet - this creates the fear.
Death is approaching - that is not the fear, The fear is that you have not lived yet and death is knocking at the door; the time to leave has come and you are yet unfulfilled. If you have lived, you have a fulfillment, a contentment, a deep gratitude. You have flowered - there is nothing more to achieve. Then you are not afraid of death; rather, you welcome it.
You have achieved: now death comes like a deep sleep after the day's labour - a whole day of achievement, of fulfillment, of reaching, of meeting, of encountering, of flowering, and then death comes like a deep sleep. You welcome it. When the tree has flowered, death is welcome; when the tree is still struggling to flower, there is fear.
If you are afraid of death that is simply one indication that your life has been a wastage. It has been like a desert, nothing has flowered in it. It has been like a pond, closed in itself and not moving anywhere. It has not been like a river - flowing, dancing, running towards the Ultimate.
When a river reaches to the ocean there is a death. When a pond dries, becomes more and more dirty, evaporates, that too is death, but both are so absolutely different.
When a river reaches to the ocean it is a fulfillment because there the river will die and become something greater. It is a jump, a jump from the finite to the infinite: the river losing itself, its identity, and becoming the ocean. Nothing is lost and everything is gained.
But a pond drying up, not reaching anywhere, a no ocean anywhere, just drying in itself, is also dying. You are like a pond. That's why there is the fear of death. Be like a river, and then there is no fear of death.
Death itself is like a sleep. Sleep is a temporary death, so if a person becomes very afraid of death he is also bound to become afraid of sleep. In the West, insomnia has now become a common phenomenon; almost everybody is suffering from it. It is not only because of mental tensions that insomnia exists. Deeper than the tensions, is fear, the fear of death. You cannot let go.
I know a person who is so afraid of death that he cannot sleep, because he is afraid that he may die in his sleep. He tries to remain awake - he talks, reads, listens to music, but he is afraid of going into sleep. And if you are afraid for many, many days, it becomes a habit; unknowingly you create a barrier against sleep.
In the West people are afraid of death, and if they are afraid, how can they go into sleep? Sleep is like death, so logically they are right - if you are afraid of death, you should also be afraid of sleep.
They are similar phenomena; sleep is a temporary death. After the day's labour, the work, you are exhausted - you need a death so that you can be reborn, so that in the morning you are again rejuvenated, fresh, young. And in sleep, death is exactly what happens.
Have you observed the fact that in sleep you are not the same person at all? You don't remember who you are, you don't remember whether you are rich or poor, you don't remember your own face, you don't remember who your father is and who your mother is; you don't remember anything that you have learned, anything that has been cultivated in you you drop everything at the door and you go to sleep. That's why it is so refreshing, because you get rid of yourself. You are like a burden - you leave it at the door and you fall into sleep.
Sleep opens a different dimension where identity, ego, nothing of this world exists. That's why it is so fresh, so refreshing in the morning you come back to life, a new day starts, a new life.
The fear of death will automatically create a fear of sleep and a fear of love. Because love also is like death - you die in it. That's why people cannot love. They talk about it, they fantasize, they imagine, but they never fall in love. Even if they try, they try to manipulate the phenomenon, not allow it, because love is so much like death.
Four things are similar: death, love, sleep and meditation; their qualities are similar. And the basic similarity is that you have to dissolve - and people are afraid of all of them. If you are afraid of death you will be afraid of sleep, of love, of meditation.
Many come to me and they say: How to love? It is not a question of how, and when you ask 'how', you are trying to manipulate - you would like to remain in control, so whenever you Want you can push the button on or off. You would like to remain the master of the whole thing.
But nobody can be in possession of love. Love possesses you, you cannot possess it. Love controls you, you cannot control it. Love means you are no longer there, something else has come. That's why love is so rejuvenating.
Even if an old man falls in love, suddenly, you will see that his face has become younger. His eyes are no more old; his body may be old, but his total being suddenly becomes young. Why does it happen? - for this very reason: you can allow a let-go; you move to the original source of energy where rebirth is possible. You only touch the deathless core when you are ready to die. That is the paradox - you touch the deepest core when you are ready to die. If you cling to the surface and you are afraid, afraid to let go, then you remain on the surface; and the surface is the body.
People who are afraid of love are not afraid of sex. Love is dangerous, sex is not dangerous - it can be manipulated. There are now many manuals on how to do it. You can manipulate it - sex can become a technique. Love can never become a technique. In sex, you try to remain in control; then even sex will not help to reach the Ultimate. It will go to a certain point and you will drop back because somewhere it also needs a let-go.
That is why orgasm is becoming more and more difficult. Ejaculation is not orgasm, to give birth to children is not orgasm. Orgasm is the involvement of the total body: mind, body, soul, all together you vibrate, your whole being vibrates from the toes to the head. You are no longer in control; existence has taken possession of you and you don't know who you are. It is like a madness, it is like a sleep, it is like meditation, it is like death.
So even in sex, you let go up to a point, but you don't allow totality, because if you allowed totality then the ego could not exist. And this is the problem - you are afraid of death because you are not capable of living totally.
Love, meditation, sleep; nothing is total. In your activity you are also not total, because if you were total, there also a moment would come when you are lost. Losing yourself has become the problem, you cannot lose yourself, you cannot relax - you have to do something. You go into the garden and dig a hole, but you are not total. If you really were total while digging the hole you would forget yourself completely the self-consciousness would disappear.
You are self-conscious but not conscious of yourself; you are aware but there is an ego. You are aware of the total - the trees, the sun's rays, the breezes blowing, the birds singing, your activity - the digging of the hole, the mud coming out - you are aware of everything except yourself. If you became conscious of yourself, in that moment an orgasmic feeling would happen. It is like deep love, it is like sleep, it is like death. You will come out of it totally different and new.
If you don't move into a let-go, life cannot happen to you. It happens through that passage when you are not. When you are not standing in the way, then life happens to you, then you feel fulfilled.
When you are fulfilled there is no fear of death. When there is no fear of death, you become more and more capable of let-go.
And if you have really known what life is, who bothers about death? If you have really known what life is and celebrated it, then death is not the end - then death is the culmination, the peak, the highest let-go. Then love is nothing, a sexual orgasm is nothing, sleep is nothing. If you have lived life rightly, fully, then death is the greatest bliss, because it is the greatest let-go. The more intense and total the let-go, the more the bliss. This is the rule, this is the law. So what to do?
If you want to live, allow death also - it is like having two wings. It is not a thing somewhere in the end, it is a process: the day you were born you began dying. It is not life here and death there, life now and death then, no. You cannot divide them; they are together, they have to be.
Life is death. Life and death both are two wings. The day you are born, that same day you start to die. It is a process; you inhale - it is life, you exhale - it is death. In the morning you get up - it is life, in the evening you go to bed - it is death; you work, act - it is life, then you relax - it is death; it is continuous, every moment it is there. And if you avoid death you will also be avoiding life. If you don't want to exhale deeply how can you inhale deeply? If you don't want to relax, how can you act deeply? - you won't have any energy.
If you are afraid of sleep, in the morning you will not wake up fresh and you will feel sleepy the whole day. Then everything gets mixed up. You are neither alive nor dead, but just dragging on. And this is a bad situation - just dragging on. Either be alive or be dead, but don't drag on. In either case, being dead totally, you will attain to a greater living totally, you will attain to a greater death, because they are two aspects of the same coin. Once you can see that life implies death, that every act of being alive is also an act of dying, you have seen the Total.
Then life is not serious, then it is fun. It becomes serious because of the fear of death. You cannot laugh loudly because of the fear of death; you cannot enjoy because of the fear of death; you cannot do anything - because of the fear of death.
Death is always around the corner like a black shadow following you. It doesn't allow you to do anything. Then you become serious and you start thinking: How to attain the deathless? Then you start searching for how to become immortal, how to find the secret, the elixir.
These are all nonsense searches, it is not true seeking. Nowhere does there exist something chemical, alchemical, like elixir, ambrosia - no. The secret is in seeing life and death as a single process. You cannot find the secret anywhere - the philosopher's stone exists nowhere, it exists in this fact: that life and death are together. They are one process, a unitary phenomenon. Then you are not afraid. Then rather, on the contrary, you are thankful to death, because life becomes possible only because of death. Through death, life becomes possible; through dying everything is renewed.
So death is not against life, it is not the opposite, it is not the enemy. It is through death that life becomes possible - you are alive because you can die. If you cannot die, you will not be alive at all.
You don't know for what you are asking if you ask for deathlessness! Then you will be like a rock; then you cannot be alive.
Look at the flower that bloomed this morning.... Just near the flower there is a rock. By the evening, the flower will be gone but the rock will be there, because the flower is more alive and the rock is not so alive. The flower is dead by the evening. What do you want? - to be a rock-like phenomenon or a flower-like phenomenon? Why does the flower die so soon? - because it is so alive, so intensely alive that death comes quickly; it doesn't linger on. The flower was not dragging; it lived the moment, it lived totally - it danced under the sky, it enjoyed the sun, the breeze. For a moment it was eternity.
The flower laughed, the flower sang, the flower did whatsoever was to be done, and by the evening, the flower was ready to die - and without a single tear in her eyes, without weeping and crying.
Look at a dying flower - the petals have already fallen on the ground but you can never say that it is ugly - it is beautiful in death also. Then look at a man dying; he becomes ugly. Why? - because of the fear. Fear makes you ugly. If you are too afraid you will become more and more ugly. The flower is fulfilled; now the time to rest has come and the flower is going to rest, and when the rest is over the flower will come back.
Again and again.... Life is an eternal recurrence, death is just a rest. You need not be worried about it, you simply live. And if you live then you are not serious. If you are afraid of death, then you are serious. To be sincere is one thing, to be serious is another. A man who loves life is sincere, authentic, but never serious. Life is not like an illness. If you are looking at death and are obsessed with death, then life is just serious - then you will become a long-face. You may move to the monasteries, to the temples, go to the Himalayas, but you will remain a long-face. It is fear that has taken you to the monastery.
Remember, an authentic religious person is not fear-oriented, he is love-oriented. A really authentic religious person becomes religious to enjoy life more, to enjoy it deeply and totally. He is not scared.
A real religious man looks at life as a game: it is not business, it is a game. Hindus call it LEELA, a play; not even a game but a play.
There is a difference between a game and play. Children play, but you even make a game out of play. Then it becomes business-like, then even in playing you are seeking victory, success, gain, profit.
Life is a play. There is nothing to be achieved out of it, it itself is the goal; there is nowhere to reach, it itself is the Ultimate. Life is not moving to achieve some goal, it is not going anywhere. It is just like children playing, you cannot ask them: For what are you playing? What is the purpose? They will laugh at your foolishness. They will say: We are simply playing. It is so beautiful! Profit is not their concern, and profit should also not be your concern, but play.
Life is a moment to celebrate, to enjoy. Make it fun, a celebration, and then you will enter the temple.
The temple is not for the long-faced, it has never been for them. Look at life - do you see sadness anywhere? Have you ever seen a tree depressed? Have you seen a bird anxiety-ridden? Have you seen an animal neurotic? No, life is not that, not at all. Only man has gone wrong somewhere, and he has gone wrong somewhere because he thinks himself to be very wise, very clever.
Your cleverness is your disease. Don't be too wise. Always remember to stop; don't go to the extreme. A little foolishness and a little wisdom is good, and the right combination makes you a Buddha - a little foolishness and a little wisdom. Don't be just wise or else you will be a long-face; don't be just a fool or else you will become suicidal. A little foolishness, enough to enjoy life, and a little wisdom to avoid the errors - that will do.
But one has to know the right combination, and the right combination is always different for each individual. My right combination cannot be your right combination; nobody is a model for anybody else. You have to find your own balance because everybody is so unique. But always remember not to destroy foolishness completely, because in certain moments to be foolish is to be wise.
Everybody should remain open. In certain moments you should be like children, in certain moments you should simply forget the business of life, purposelessly just enjoying the moment, doing foolish things: dancing and singing, playing with and collecting pebbles on the shore, and nobody inside you says: What foolishness are you doing? - this time can be devoted to making money. At this time you could be in the office or in the shop and your bank balance could be growing. What are you doing - are you a child?
If the child in you is completely lost, then you can never be religious. Religion is for children. That's why Jesus insists: Only those who are like children will be able to enter into the kingdom of my God.
But what does being a child mean? Observe a child - he is wise. He is a fool also, but when it is needed he can be wise, very wise.
I was staying with a family for a few days and a small boy in the family was reading a book. On the book cover there was a picture of Atlas supporting the earth. So I asked the child: Do you know who this Atlas is? He said: Yes, he is a great giant who supports the whole world. So I said to him:
Correct, but who supports Atlas? He thought for a moment and then he said: I think he must have married a rich wife.
They can be wise, and they are fools. When a child is wise the wisdom has the freshness of a dew drop in the morning - it is not stale. Your wisdom is stale, contaminated. You have collected it, you have borrowed it, you have taken it from others - it is not your own. What do you know that is your own? You have collected from many sources. That is knowledge, not wisdom.
Wisdom is a response, a fresh response to the moment; knowledge is an old, rotten, collected thing.
You don't respond to the moment; you bring the past, the memory into it and you react through it.
Wisdom is response, knowledge is reaction. To already have the answer, a ready-made answer before the question has been raised - is not wisdom. A child is wise because he has no knowledge.
He has to look around, he has to feel, he has to think, he has to respond - he does not know.
It is a Christian myth that when Jesus went to the sea he sea turned into red wine. Christian theologians have been trying to explain it: How can the sea turn into red wine? They have had much difficulty; puzzled, and no answer has yet been found. But a small child found the answer - that small child was Lord Byron, who became very famous later on as a great poet.
He was a small child in school and the question was asked: Why and how did the sea turn into red wine when Jesus reached it? The answer was fixed, ready-made; it had been taught already. All the other children started writing their answers, only Byron waited with closed eyes. The teacher came many times, but he was so meditative that she thought it better not to disturb him - he was thinking so much.
And of what can a child think? - because thinking is always of the known. If you know, you can think; if you don't know, what can you think?
Thinking is possible only if you know something - then you can think. But if you don't know, you don't know. What was he doing? - the child was sitting silently, but he looked so beautiful. Then in the end he simply wrote a single sentence, and the sentence was: Seeing that my Lord had come; the sea became shy and turned red.
When Jesus had come, my Lord had come; and the sea, seeing that my Lord had come became shy like a girl. The beloved has come, and that shyness was on the face of the sea. Only a child can answer that way because he does not know the answer - but this is beautiful! All the theologians are foolish before this child. He had said the right thing; he had explained the whole thing.
A certain wisdom exists when you are innocent. But innocence is ignorance, and of course, a certain foolishness exists when you are innocent, when you are ignorant. A child is beautiful because he is both - innocent, wise in his innocence, and a fool, foolish in his innocence. And a child is the right proportion for you. Remember, you will have to attain to a second childhood before you can enter into the Kingdom of God.
A second childhood is even more beautiful than the first, because in the first you were not aware. In the second you will be fully aware. This is how Zen Masters behave - you will find them sometimes just foolish, and in certain moments you will find them so wise that you cannot believe how this foolishness can exist with such wisdom. And you in your knowledge also are foolish, but your foolishness is contaminated, it is not innocent. When foolishness is innocent it has a wisdom of its own, and when foolishness is contaminated by knowledge it is simply idiocy; it has no wisdom.
I have heard that Albert Einstein was staying with a very knowledgeable woman who knew much.
In the night they were sitting near the window and the woman said: Look outside Dr. Einstein. This star, this Venus is so beautiful; it looks like a beautiful woman. Einstein said: My dear lady, it is not Venus, it is Jupiter. The lady said: Dr. Einstein, you are simply amazing! - you can even judge the sex of a planet from such a far away distance! She said: Venus? - Venus is feminine, Jupiter is masculine. You are amazing! How can you judge the sex of a star from so far away? And the woman was very knowledgeable, a professor in some university, but foolish in her knowledge.
And whenever you are foolish through your 'knowledgeability' you are idiotic, simply idiotic. Be foolish like a child: if you don't know, you don't know - don't pretend. A child can simply say: I don't know. Can you say so simply that you don't know? It is so difficult to say 'I don't know,' because when you say it the 'I' drops. And unless you can say that you don't know, you will never be wise.
Only through ignorance does the ego drop, and when there is no ego you have attained to a second childhood.
You will not be able to understand this Zen Master if you can't see this quality of a wise fool, of foolishness in one's wisdom - a man who takes life as fun. When he takes life as fun he also takes death as fun. Nothing is a problem to him - he accepts everything, he is playful. Now try to understand this beautiful story.
WHEN TENG YIN FENG WAS ABOUT TO DIE - he was a Master, a very well known Master - HE SAID TO THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM: I HAVE SEEN MONKS DIE SITTING AND LYING, BUT HAVE ANY DIED STANDING?' YES, SOME,' THEY REPLIED.'HOW ABOUT UPSIDE-DOWN?'
ASKED TENG. 'NO, NEVER SUCH A THING,' THEY SAID.
Death is coming near, death is going to knock at the door, and the Master says: How shall I receive it? - the guest is coming; how shall I be the host, how shall I receive it?
You die, a Master receives death. You die clinging to life, not ready to die. You have to be snatched away and that's why your whole being becomes ugly. A Master prepares; he is even asking for the posture: What posture shall I die in? Because death should be received in a unique way. It doesn't come every day; it is a rare guest. One should prepare, one should be ready.
And what type of Master was this Teng to say: I have seen monks die sitting and lying.... Ordinarily, people die lying on their backs, not even sitting. Only a few people, those who die in meditation, who die meditatively, die sitting. Otherwise, ninety-nine percent of the people die on a bed.
... BUT HAVE ANY DIED STANDING?' YES, SOME,' THEY REPLIED.
A few people, a few rare persons have died standing. They too die standing because they are very meditative. There are certain techniques which can only be done standing. For example, Jain techniques, Mahavir and his techniques, all have to be done standing. He meditated standing for years; he would sit only when tired, otherwise he would stand.
A certain silence immediately comes to you if you stand quietly. Try it in the corner of your room: just in the corner stand silently, not doing anything - suddenly the energy also stands inside you. Sitting, you will feel many disturbances in the mind, because sitting is a posture of a thinker. Standing, the energy flows like a pillar and is distributed equally all over the body. Standing is beautiful.
A technique is to do the meditation just standing - try it because some of you will find it very, very beautiful. If you can stand for one hour, it is just wonderful. Just by standing and not doing anything, not moving, you will find that something settles within you, becomes silent. A centering happens, and you will feel yourself like a pillar of energy; the body disappears. So a few meditators have died standing.
'HOW ABOUT UPSIDE-DOWN?' ASKED TENG.
Standing in a SHIRSASHAN, a head-stand posture; nobody has ever died like that! You cannot even sleep in that posture; dying must be very difficult because the blood circulates towards the head.
So nobody has ever tried this Teng is the only one who has not only tried it, he did it. It was an absolutely impossible posture for dying because you cannot even sleep in it.
For sleep, a certain phenomenon is needed in the body: the blood should not be circulating towards the head. That's why we use pillows, to make the head a little higher than the body so the blood is not flowing towards the head. If the blood is flowing towards the head, the head continues thinking.
The more civilized you become, the more the size of your pillows increase; then you need one, two, tree pillows. A great thinker has to use five, six, seven pillows, because the blood circulation has to be stopped. That's why after eating, sleep becomes easier because the blood circulates towards the stomach. The body now has a more basic function to perform and that is to digest the food.
Thinking cannot be allowed; thinking is a luxury.
When you have eaten too much, then you can think; when you are starving you cannot think. That's why many religions have used fasting as a meditation, because if you fast you cannot think. The body needs energy for more basic functions; energy cannot be given to the head - it is a luxury.
That's why animals don't think, they have not come to that standard of life yet.
The more rich a country, the more thinking there is; the poorer a country, the less thinking there is, because you cannot afford energy for thinking. If you fast, you will feel that in the night it is difficult to sleep, very difficult, because with nothing to digest the whole energy moves towards the head. The movement of energy towards the head has to be stopped, only then you can sleep. It is difficult to sleep standing in an upside-down posture.
'HOW ABOUT UPSIDE-DOWN' ASKED TENG. 'NO, NEVER SUCH A THING,' THEY SAID.
- 'We have never heard of it, what are you talking about? A person standing on his head and dying?'SO TENG DIED STANDING ON HIS HEAD, AND HIS CLOTHES ALSO ROSE UP, CLOSE TO HIS BODY. That is possible. Until a few years ago, it would have simply been a myth, but now there are scientific explanations for it. It is possible because the body is electricity, it is nothing but bio-electricity. When somebody dies, the body becomes a pillar of energy and that pillar leaves the body. If it is very magnetic energy, as it has to be with a Master, the clothes will just be magnetized.
Not only did Teng die upside-down, but his clothes rose with his body, they clung to the body. If you rub your clothes on your body you will feel a certain electricity created in the clothes. The body is electric and when the body dies the electricity leaves the body; it is pulled upwards. Just with that flow those clothes might have risen. There is no need to think about it as a myth or a story - it is possible.
SO TENG DIED STANDING ON HIS HEAD.
Is death so easy that you can die upside-down? Yes, death is easy if you have lived. Then you can choose the right moment to die. You must have heard about many saints making a prediction that they will be dying on a certain day, a certain time. People think that they know how to read the future. That is nonsense, nobody can read the future. Future means that which remains invisible.
Then what do they do?
If I say to you: After seven days pass I will be dying in the morning at six o'clock sharp - so don't miss it, then what will you think? You will think: How is it possible? To the mind, the only possibility seems to be that somehow I know the future. That is not the truth, nobody knows the future. But a man who has lived totally can decide when to die. He is not predicting, he is simply saying that he has decided to die on a certain day at six o'clock in the morning.
If you have lived - and when I say lived, I mean totally thenyouknowwhatlife - energyis.Y oucometoknowallthenooksandcrannies.oflifeenergy; - Iwillleavethisroomatsixo clock.W hatistheproblem? - -atsixo clockyouleavetheroom!Butyouhavetoknowyourself, theroom, andwherethedooris.
YOU ARE NOT AWARE OF WHO YOU ARE; you are aware of only a very minute fragment of your being: that is your mind - and that too, not fully. Nine tenths of your being remains a dark continent; it is yet an Africa, you never enter into it. In your inner being the geography is not yet completely mapped; you don't have your own map. Once you know your map, the inner geography, the topography, then when the right moment has come, you can simply decide to leave. You can leave this body because this body is just a house, an abode - it is not you. A Master is unidentified with the body, unidentified with the mind; he can decide. So Teng stood on his head and died. Even this impossible posture of standing on one's head can be used. If you know how to live, you know how to die, because they are both one.
Another thing to be understood is why was he joking about death? Death is a serious affair and he is making fun of it! Standing on his head, he is making fun of death. He is saying that if you have lived, lived a life of celebrations, then you can die celebrating - it is fun. When you know that you are not going to die, that something in you is eternal, then the whole of life becomes fun. It is a great cosmic joke and you can play with it.
In his death, Teng was giving a message to his disciples: Everything is fun, don't be too concerned about anything. Just live the moment while it lasts, live it and enjoy it!
This is my feeling also: that if there is any God, He is not going to ask you: What right things have you done and what bad things have you done; what sins have you committed and what virtues have you followed, no. If there is any God, He is going to ask: Has your life been a celebration or a sadness? That's the only thing that can be asked.
When the whole existence celebrates, why are you standing separate, alone, isolated? And then you feel that you are a stranger. When flowers flower, Why do you stand aloof? - why not flower?
When birds sing, why do you stand aloof? why not sing, why not become a participant?
Religion is a participation in the mystique that is all around you, in the mystery that is all around you.
It is not an effort to know, it is an effort to be, to be a participant. Then everything is beautiful - life is beautiful and death is beautiful, and you can play a joke.
A rare man this Teng was. The disciples were very afraid of what to do. Never before had there been such a precedent; nobody had died standing on his head. What to do with such a man?
IT WAS DECIDED TO CARRY HIM TO THE BURNING GROUND, BUT HE STILL STOOD THERE WITHOUT MOVING.
If you have been an energy pillar in life, an unmoving pillar, if you have attained anything in life that has become crystallized, then you can even use your death.
There are many versions of this story. In one version the sister came and said: Why are you making a fool of yourself? Teng laughed and fell dead.
PEOPLE FROM FAR AND NEAR GAZED WITH ASTONISHMENT AT THE SCENE. HIS YOUNGER SISTER, A NUN, HAPPENED TO BE THERE.
She lived in another monastery for women. She came, not because the brother had died, she came just to see the foolishness that he was doing. She was a sister to Teng and she could teach him the last lesson.
SHE GRUMBLED AT HIM: WHEN YOU WERE ALIVE YOU TOOK NO NOTICE OF LAWS AND CUSTOMS, AND EVEN NOW YOU ARE DEAD, YOU'RE MAKING A NUISANCE OF YOURSELF.
This Teng is one of the rebellious Zen Masters. He lived a life without any laws and without any regulations. He lived a life without any enforced discipline. Not that he was not disciplined, he was absolutely disciplined, otherwise how could he have stood on his head and died? He was not only disciplined in life, he was disciplined in his death.
You cannot find such an absolute discipline with no enforced discipline. This discipline came from his inside - he followed his own way, he never followed anybody. He had rules but the rules were not fixed by any outside code; they came out of his own awareness. Of course, he was a nuisance to other people.
It is said of Teng that when he lived with his own Master and was himself a disciple, he would sleep long after everybody else was up and the whole monastery was working. It would be nine o'clock in the morning and he would still be sleeping. Once the Master came and he said: Teng, what are you doing? This is a monastery - one has to get up in the BRAHAM MURHUT, at five o'clock. It is reported that Teng said: Of course I always get up in the morning, I always get up in the BRAHAM MURHUT! The Master said: What are you saying? It is nine o'clock; four hours ago the sun has risen! Teng said: Whenever the braham within me wants to get up, then I get up. That is the braham murhut, the moment of God. When the God within me wants to get up, who am I to make rules? - I get up immediately, I never lose a single moment. Whenever the God within me wants to get up, jump out of the bed; whenever he wants to go to bed, I jump into bed. Who am I, Master, to create a disturbance? And the Master said: You are right - you have found the right braham murhut.
It is said about him that he would never eat according to rules, because in a Buddhist monastery you have to follow rules, everything is fixed. That has a beauty of its own, and for some people, that fixed routine suits very well. But don't try to follow Teng; you may not be a Teng.
Remember, for some people, almost fifty percent, a routine helps, because whenever something becomes routine, you need not worry about it, it takes care of itself. If it is five o'clock, you have to get up. You need not decide it every day, because to decide every day will create more anxiety and thinking. If it is six o'clock, you have to go to the meditation, so you go; it is seven o'clock, so you go for breakfast. At breakfast, fixed things are given every day, so you need not think about what is going to be given. You need not even desire because there is no point - the breakfast is fixed, it is always the same. And this way the routine continues. By and by, it becomes a robot-like thing around you; you are completely free of decisions. You can do other things - you can meditate, you can become aware; you need not be worried about the petty things around you. To fifty percent of the people, this suits perfectly; to fifty percent this never suits. To fix themselves into a routine becomes a worry and an anxiety for them; they are not made that way.
One has to feel oneself, one has to feel how one is made and never follow anything else. First just feel yourself, and there are only two possibilities: either you can live a life of spontaneity, or you can live a life of discipline. Both are good because the basic thing is to become alert and aware.
Teng never followed any rules - whenever he felt hungry, he would eat, even though it might be midnight, whenever he was not hungry, he would not eat, although many days would pass. It was not fasting because fasting has to be forced. It was not a fast, he was not feeling hungry so it was okay, he would not eat. Many nights he would not sleep if he was not feeling sleepy; if he was feeling, for days together he would sleep.
That's why the sister said:
WHEN YOU WERE ALIVE YOU TOOK NO NOTICE OF LAWS AND CUSTOMS, AND EVEN NOW YOU ARE DEAD, YOU ARE MAKING A NUISANCE OF YOURSELF.
The sister was also an Enlightened woman, otherwise she would have been crying and weeping.
She is not crying and weeping; on the contrary, she is giving right advice to this dying man - a fool who was always a nuisance. Now, even in death, the sister is a totally different type.
This has been my feeling: that women are the types who will need an outer discipline. In that fifty percent of people, forty per cent will always be women who would need discipline. There are reasons for it: the whole of nature has made women to follow a certain law. That's why every twenty-eight days the period comes, the body follows a routine. If there is something wrong, only then is that discipline broken. Otherwise, it is absolutely fixed.
A woman's body follows laws - it has to because she is going to give birth to a child; she is going to become a mother and a child cannot be left with somebody who moves in an individual way.
A woman has a collective unconscious, not an individual unconscious. She has to, because a purpose has to be fulfilled through her - the child will come in nine months. And if a woman is healthy, everything will be a routine. If you can make a routine, everything will become healthy. So the sister belongs to the opposite polarity.
From the very beginning you will feel that a girl behaves differently than a boy. The girl is more graceful, more rounded, more obedient - not rebellious. A boy from the very beginning is a trouble- maker, rebellious. If you say: Don't do this; then he is bound to do it. A boy is totally different. Even in the womb, a mother can feel whether the child is going to be a boy or a girl, because the boy starts kicking in the womb. You can feel the girl remain absolutely silent and relaxed, but the boy starts kicking. Even in the womb the male energy is different from the female energy.
This sister must have been always telling him: You are wrong. But he was true to himself even in his death. He was true to himself when he was alive and he is true to himself when he is dead. He had remained a true, authentic man - true to his own being, not following anything, just following his own life-energy wherever it led. But the sister was also true to herself - even when the brother was dead she was not weeping and crying. The last advice that could be given she was giving. She said: You were a nuisance in your life. You created trouble for others because you never followed any laws and customs. And now, even in your death, you are a nuisance to yourself.
SE THEN PRODDED HER BROTHER WITH HER FINGER AND HE FELL DOWN WITH A BANG.
THEN THEY WENT OF TO THE CREMATORIUM.
Both of them knew that there is no death. It is said that when the brother fell down with a bang, the sister just went back to her monastery.
If you take life easily, if you enjoy life, if your life by and by becomes a fulfillment, the same will be your death. What are we doing? We are not enjoying life, we are only preparing to enjoy it - and life is here and now, no preparation is needed. I see people always preparing - they are preparing to live a great life somewhere in the future. They will be afraid of death because in the future death is waiting. And your life is also in the future. You are making a house, purchasing a car, and this and that, accumulating things; just getting ready to live. You will never be ready, and by the time you are ready, death will knock at your door. That's the fear: that death may come before you are ready. A man of understanding lives life here and now, every moment he lives it. For him there is no death because there is no future life. He exhausts the moment, he lives it totally, he enjoys it, he thanks God for it, he is grateful.
Where is the fear of death if at this moment you are alive? Here at this moment, you are alive - where is the fear of death? Don't try to get ready to die, just live. And I tell you, everybody, as he is, is ready to live this very moment.
Don't miss this moment, and don't ask for long preparations. That way you will never be ready. And the mind gets a habitual form: always thinking of tomorrow, tomorrow - it becomes fixed. By the time you have accumulated wealth the mind will again be telling you: Tomorrow, tomorrow. 'Tomorrow' is the disease of the mind.
A new life comes into existence when you live now. A new life is a 'now' life. Then where is the fear?
Who is worried about death? Then you can play a joke in the end. And if you live, you start feeling what life is. It is felt only through living; there is no other way to feel it. It is just like swimming - you swim and you learn; swimming comes through swimming, life is felt through living.
You postpone, you don't feel life; you feel death all around. Through postponing you will feel death, through living you will feel life. If you feel life, it is eternal. It has no death to it, it never dies; it goes on and on and on, and each moment is eternity.
Remember it as deeply as possible: don't postpone, don't move into tommorow - here, now, is all that you need. Enjoy it, and the more you enjoy, the more will be given to you. That is what Jesus meant when he said: Knock and the door shall be opened unto you. Ask and it shall be given. This very moment the door is there. Ask, knock, live! - don't postpone.
This is the whole message of all those who have become awakened: Today is enough, tomorrow will take care of itself. And tomorrow never comes; it is always today. If you know the knack of living here and now, you will be able to live every moment that comes. Even at the moment of death, you will be able to live. This is what this Teng did - he lived the moment of death. And if you can live the moment of death, how can you die? Then you change your death also into life.
Just the opposite is happening to you right now: you are changing your life into death because of postponement. Tomorrow, always getting ready, ready, ready, and when the moment comes your mind is still getting ready. Drop all postponements, knock at the moment, and you will be as beautiful as the lilies in the field that Jesus talks about: Not even Solomon at the peak of his glory was so beautiful.