Death Is a Perfect Insult
from Easy Death, Chapter 36
Human beings live like knowers, striving toward absolute information, but death is a perfect insult that frustrates all knowing. The death of an other convicts you of your own death, and makes you wonder. But no ultimate knowledge comes from this wondering. Death is the frustration of knowledge. The knowledge that an other has died is itself the frustration of all knowledge. You are not knowing in your wondering about death. You are contemplating Mystery, the answerless Paradox of your living existence.
The death of an other and the death of "I" confound the whole spectacle and consolation of knowledge. Death is not the attainment of any state you can know. Death is sacrifice. The only way to come to terms with death is to come into a harmony with its Process, its Way. And death is sacrifice, not knowledge or a Way of ultimate knowledge. Death is the sacrifice of knowledge, of independence, of experience, and of presumed individual self.
The observation of the death of an other and the conviction of one's own necessary death are not a means to knowledge but a means to sacrifice. Sacrifice is the Law. Knowledge or secure independence is that which is sacrificed. If you truly observe and feel the death of an other, you are moved to live by Wisdom rather than by knowledge. Wisdom is the presumption of alignment with the Way, or process, of existence, which is Sacrifice. But knowledge is only a reflection of or about the way things work. The knower is independent, not a participant in the process that is observed. But Wisdom is always already confounded, relieved of independence, so that there is no option but to submit to the process of existence itself.
"I" is the whole body. But "I" does not know what a single thing is. "I" cannot inspect the existence of any thing and know what it is. "I" is, therefore, not a point of view toward or other than the existence of any thing or condition that arises. At the level of Very Existence and Very Consciousness, "I" is identical to every thing or condition that arises. The "whole body", then, simultaneously includes all that arises (past, present, and future, or forever), since, at the level of Very Existence and Very Consciousness, "I" is unable to differentiate itself from any arising in order to know what it is.
At the level of the experiential body-mind, "I" can know about things arising. The body-mind, or "me", appears and functions relative to all other arising conditions. Therefore, born existence is the play of knowing about, but it simultaneously exists as the Consciousness than Which there is no other, for "I" does not know what a single thing is, and, therefore "I" is every thing. "I" includes the existence of all that arises. The Condition of "I" is That of Which all arising is only a modification or variationbut Which is not Itself ever in any sense changed.
Such is the Paradox that is "I" in the case of every one. All arising and all beings are described by this Paradox. And the ultimate destiny of "I" is likewise necessarily contained in this same Paradox. It is Mystery.
"I" is eternal sacrifice, without ultimate knowledge. Realization of the Paradox of your existence is not knowledge (a position independent of the Paradox), but it is Wisdom, or the tacit presumption of the Way of the Paradox itself. If "I" presumes the Way of Divine Ignorance, the Law is fulfilled, and "I" is free to live and exist prior to fear, even though "I" constantly moves in Mystery and is given no ultimate knowledge.
If the one who is "I" does not presume the Way of Divine Ignorance, the Way of the Process of existence, but seeks knowledge instead, then fear is the motive of that one's life, and existence itself always appears to be at stake.
The recent death of an other and the death of "I", which is yet to come, are a perfect insult to all knowledge. If you rest in this insult, then you are moved to the life of Wisdom, wherein no answer and no experience can ever possess or define you. Wisdom presumes the Paradox and the Mystery of existence. Wisdom is moved to the Way of sacrifice, to Love, to present Happiness, and not to the Way of ultimate knowledge. Knowledge is never more than knowledge about-and knowledge about is confounded by death. There is no knowledge about things that is senior to death. Death is the transformation of the knower. It is fundamentally a process of the knower rather than a process of his or her knowledge. Death is a process in which the knower is transformed, and all previous or conditional knowing is scrambled or confounded in the process of death. Therefore, to "consider" death is fruitless, since the knower is what is changed by death.
To confront death in Truth you must be humbled and confounded. The death of an other reminds you that in every moment you are principally confronted not by defined objects that are independent of you but by an indefinable process that includes you. The death of an other reminds you that sacrifice is the Way of Life. When you confront the death of an other, you are confronted by Mystery, or Paradox, and you are confronted by the demand for participation, or sacrifice, founded in the acceptance of the necessary Paradox, or Mystery, of existence.
Wisdom is such acceptance, and the participatory sacrifice is Love, or present Happiness. It is unobstructed feeling-attention in all relations. It is to dwell in the profundity that confounds all knowing. It is to resort to the presumption of absolute Ignorance as the Truth of your unknowable existence.
Therefore, in the face of the death of an other, be confounded and moved to God. Remain sensitive to your present relationship with that one who has been irrevocably transformed before your eyes. Let the grosser part return to the disunion of original elements. But remain free and Happy, allowing that one to be a blissful sacrifice in the Mystery that also obliges you. Hold on to no thing and no one, not even your apparently individual self. Be certain of no knowledge. Be the sacrifice of all conditions in every moment, and thus abide in Communion with the eternal Truth, wherein the root of your independence is eternally hidden and your common Identity is always already Revealed.
In this way you will affirm and participate in the necessarily eternal Existence in which you all appear: Surrender into Infinity with all your friends and hold on to no thing or condition that ever appears. Forget all things in present Happiness, and so forgive the universe for all its playful changes. Always love one another, and so forgive one another for appearing, for changing, and for passing out of present sight. So be it. [June 22, 1977]
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