Zhuangzi said: “I didn't want to be born, but suddenly I was born in this world; I didn't want to die, but suddenly the time for death came.” To us, birth and death seem uncertain.
In the film <Hi Mom>, when the mother knew that her daughter was going to the Theatre Academy, they cycled home with rapture but encountered a car accident on the way. The mother died. The daughter was separated from her loved one, so went from happiness to tragedy in an instant. Her sudden death became an eternal pain in the daughter's heart.
Birth and death are impermanent.
Why are people so afraid of it? Because we lack the understanding of what birth and death are. After living in the material world for a long time, we get used to chasing after wealth, status, romantic love, career, etc. But we don’t know that the material world is limited, and will eventually disappear. Death means we’ll be separated from whatever we’ve gained in the material world. Unfortunately, we haven’t learned about the life system, or seen the reality-truth of life.
Have you thought about ‘life after life? ’Have you thought about whether there’s a next stop after this human journey? Do you feel that there is? Do you know what difference it makes, knowing if there’s a next stop or not? Do you know where you’ll go, for your next stop? Are you prepared for going to the next stop?
We human beings not only have a body—we are made of body, mind and soul. The body will die, and we will forget the feelings in our mind (happiness, anger, sorrow, worry and fear. But the soul is immortal. Therefore, for the soul, death is just the end of one life journey.
Since death is inevitable, what's the meaning of life? The famous Japanese entrepreneur Kazuo Inamori has a famous saying:
No matter how rich or powerful you are, when your life is over, everything can only stay in this world, and only the soul will follow you to the next journey. Life is not a material feast but a cultivation of the soul, letting it be nobler at the curtain-call than at the beginning of the opening.
We are a soul, and our body is a carrier or vessel. After coming into this world (because of the body needing material support), materials become more and more important—even when we’ve already gained more than we need. We start to become limited by our old thinking patterns, lifestyle, habits and cognition: being rich and having status means success; eating meat is healthy.
We are driven by bodily feelings. We tend to see beautiful things, hear nice words, eat tasty food, etc. We are paranoid, entangled with anger, hatred, greed and contention. Our soul is wrapped in these “intoxicants,” then falls into a deep state of sleep. This state is similar to the story “Fish in the aquarium”.
At first, when fish are captured from the sea and placed in an aquarium, they feel the limitation. They hope to return to the sea, for a time, but soon lose hope.
The second generation of fish is born in the aquarium, and swim from west to east and from east to west every day. Gradually, they get used to life there, believing it’s their home, not knowing that the sea is their original home.
The third generation doesn’t even talk about the sea anymore, because they’ve become aquarium fish. Their grandfather keeps telling them they’re from the sea and have to go back to the sea, but the sea has become merely a legend.
Our life is like the fish in the aquarium. Our body, mind and soul are confined in an aquarium.
Soul cultivation is the process of awakening from sleep. If the fish in the aquarium want to return to the sea, they first need break the tank, then swim to the river and finally back to the sea. Soul-awakening also requires action. Starting from a pure diet, we give ourselves pure food, keep away from fear, sadness, anger and harm, respect others, learn to love and to transmit love in our ordinary life, enhancing the soul’s energy to achieve a smooth, bright, joyful state.
In this process, there are many soul workers helping souls to upgrade. When grown up, we become one of them also, and shoulder the responsibility of awakening others.
Life is the same after soul awakening, but our understanding has been changed. We let go of attachments so that life will be broader, and live a real life. Our body, mind and soul will eventually become one, and we’ll become our true self.
Thank you for reading!