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Q357. How can I avoid going where I am going to die?

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett fielded questions at the annual shareholders meeting for his company Berkshire Hathaway. When asked about reflections and lessons learned in his long life, Warren Buffett referenced Charlie Munger, the 93-year-old vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, who says, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.”

(Reference: NPR, May 6, 2017: ‘Oracle of Omaha’)

 

A. Student: “Can I know where I am going to die?”

Master: “Yes, you can.”

Student: “Where is it?”

Master: “It is where you are alive.”

Student: “How can I avoid going there?”

Master: “Don’t move even a step.”

Student: “Do you mean that I should stay here where I am alive now?”

Master: “Don’t stay here, either. Don’t you remember my saying that where you are going to die is where you are alive?”

Student: “Where should I stay if I should neither move a step nor stay where I am now?”

Master: “Don’t move at all, but don’t stay anywhere.”

Student: “How far is it?”

Master: “It can’t be nearer.”

Student: “Why is it so difficult to get there?”

Master: “Because you are going the wrong way.”

Student: “What is the right way?”

Master: “Get there quickly and directly.”

Student: “How can I get there quickly and directly?”

Master: “You already took the wrong way.”

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Commentary:

Do you want to know where you don’t die?

It can’t be nearer.

The right way to there is invisible.

If it takes even a second to get there, it’s the wrong way.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

illusion, Koan, Meditation, Mind, Zen

Q74. What does ‘escape from the trap of birth and death’ mean?

A. Birth and death are like the right and the left. There is no fixed right side and no fixed left side. The right can be the left anytime and the other way around. Besides, when we are not conscious of right and left, there is neither the right nor the left.

Nobody can deny the fact that we are part of the whole universe. Then is the universe dead or alive? It’s neither alive nor dead. Then are we, part of it, alive or dead? Though we define a given part of universe as birth or death, actually there is no birth and no death unless we divide the universe into many with the imaginary lines we produce.

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There is no birth and no death unless we are conscious of them. To conclude, to experience in person the fact that birth and death are nothing but an illusion, like the right and the left, is to escape from the trap of birth and death.

©Boo Ahm