QUESTION: In your book you make the statement "Life and death are the same". Could you explain this in more detail?

SHORT ANSWER: Just one thing after another.

LONGER ANSWER: One way of understanding the key point in the Buddhist message is as the abandonment of the self bias that we tend to introduce into everything. Things happen. My legs work fine. Then I have a fall. My knee is not working any more. I rest. My knee gradually gets better. I start doing things again. It is just one thing after another. Such is life... and death is the same - one more thing that happens. When one lives fully it is like that - one dies fully too. When one's life is full of half-heartedness, regrets and bitterness, one's death will be correspondingly grim. Life and death go the same. Who loves dies well. Who hates and is greedy dies not so well. Our life prepares our death and out death prepares our next life. This is the basic Buddhist idea.

Sometimes one might say that it is important to live a good life so that one may have a good death, and this is good advice. However, the very best life is lived without even that much self-seeking. It is simply to do what is necessary and right without trouble. That is real freedom. Then one can laugh out loud. The song is in one's heart. One lives each day with the same confidence as one will die, knowing yet not knowing, confident yet open. What can be better than that?

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