No Birth No Death

My teacher, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches about no birth no death, no coming no going, no after no before.

In his book, No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life, he writes,

Our greatest fear is that when we die we will become nothing. Many of us believe that our entire existence is only a life span beginning the moment we are born or conceived and ending the moment we die. We believe that we are born from nothing and that when we die we become nothing. And so, we are filled with fear of annihilation.

The Buddha has a very different understanding of our existence. It is the understanding that birth and death are notions. They are not real. The fact that we think they are true makes a powerful illusion that causes all our suffering. The Buddha taught there is no birth, there is no death; there is no coming, there is no going; there is no same, there is no different; there is no permanent self, there is no annihilation. We only think there is. When we understand that we cannot be destroyed, we are liberated from fear. It is a great relief. We can enjoy life and appreciate it in a new way.

You might recall what Lavoisier said, which Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) often quotes: “Rien ne se crée, rien ne se perd.” – nothing can be created (born) and nothing can be destroyed (die). He was the father of modern chemistry.

This is nothing but the law of conservation of energy. Energy can be transformed and it can be dissipated, or converted to mass, but it cannot be destroyed.

The Buddha said that when conditions are such, things manifest. When the conditions are no longer there, things no longer manifest.

I know the video is a little long, but it is well worth watching. I think you’ll enjoy watching Thay float across the stage to draw a line across the board. The line goes from point B on the left to point D on the right.

We think that we begin at point B and end at point D. This is an illusion because something cannot come from nothing and something cannot become nothing.

How will you use these ideas to come to the realization that happiness can only be found in the present moment? Please share.

No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life

Thich Nhat Hanh

With hard-won wisdom and refreshing insight, Thich Nhat Hanh confronts a subject that has been contemplated by Buddhist monks and nuns for twenty-five-hundred years—and a question that has been pondered by almost anyone who has ever lived: What is death? In No Death, No Fear, the ac… [Read More…]

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