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From The Chan HandbookWhen thoughts cease, confusion ends.
We humans are born confused and die confused. We are
confused while asleep and confused while awake. What value
is there in that kind of life?
So does that mean that we do not want to be human
beings anymore? No, but we have to understand where we
came from when we were born and where we will go after
death. Someone may say, “I know how to find out about
death. I can overdose on drugs or hang myself or jump into a
river. Would I not know then?” Suicide will not free you from
birth and death. It will only increase your karmic burden.
We sit in meditation in order to find a way to ensure that,
when it is time for us to die, we will not suffer physical
sickness, we will not crave wealth, sex, fame, food and sleep,
and our minds will not be upside down. Death should be just
as if we had entered into Chan samadhi. We want to pass
away with a smile, be without discomfort, and have Amitabha
Buddha welcome us with a golden dais. We want to be able to
predict our own passing and to know of its coming in
advance. We want to know the year, month, day and even the
precise time when we will pass away once all our tasks have
Cultivation is just for that purpose! If we do not know
about that crucial moment, then we will remain confused
throughout our entire life. Nor will that confusion end with
death. In death after death we will still be confused. In life
after life we will be unclear. How pitiful to be perpetually
The reason we practice sitting in meditation and want to
learn Buddhism is because we do not want to be confused.
Many people spend their time doing scientific research aimed
at trying to determine the makeup and workings of the
physical body so that they can reproduce it. Those who seek
scientific solutions outside themselves are forsaking the roots
and going after the branch tips. When we understand our
original self, we will then gain great wisdom. Learning
Buddhism will allow that great wisdom to unfold.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of selflessness.
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