In Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, You Are Here, he talks about birth and death in a way that feels whole… and sane. Even the words, “Life and death are just a game of hide and seek” are so foreign-sounding to many of us (who have been raised with the concept that death is a tragedy) but they strike me as so liberating as well. I love the idea of using language about death that is more light, more playful, more hopeful.
On page 120 he writes,
“Don’t hold out hope that life will be possible without death. You must accept both of them, birth and death…..Living is a joy. Dying in order to begin again is also a joy. Starting over is a wonderful thing, and we are starting over constantly.”
Then he talks about someone singing (to a person who is about to pass from this life) “a verse that is drawn directly from a sutra written by the Buddha”, and he explains the calming, uplifting effect this had on the dying man.
The words to the sutra go like this;
This body is not me, I am not caught in this body.
I am life without boundaries. I have never been born,
and I shall never die.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars,
manifestations of my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we
pass, sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are just a game of hide and seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say goodbye,
say goodbye, to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source at every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.