As someone who practises Buddhism (which to me means studying and having faith in Buddhist philosophy and teachings) I am transforming my life and therefore my death, everyday. I don’t like to call myself Buddhist too much as that automatically separates me from everyone who is not a Buddhist (whatever being ‘Buddhist’ means). As J Krishnamurthi was always at pains to point out this can be an ‘aggressive’ act as it has the potential to separates one from another. Isn’t that where all the trouble started from; A wall? Think about it, at some point in human history land was cultivated and animals were fed and reared on that land and somehow that land was shared. Then someone (probably with a stick) built a wall. He/she said this is mine and that’s yours. The wall created difference. I am not you and you are not me. I have this label and identity and stuff and you have yours.
Obviously it may not have been quite this simple and I am not an anthropologist but if you think about it something very similar must have occurred and now here we are all divided with a million labels to prevent us from seeing the universal truth or our existences together.
“Unless you have a new mind, eyes that see what is true there is this question as to how the mind, deeply conditioned as it is, can change radically. I hope you are putting this question to yourself because, unless there is morality which is not social morality, unless there is austerity which is not the austerity of the priest with his harshness and violence, unless there is order deeply within, this search for truth, for reality, for God -or for whatever name you like to give- it has no meaning at all. Because, unless you have a new mind, a fresh mind, eyes that see what is true, you cannot possibly understand the immeasurable, the nameless, that which is”.
No one can prove what happens after death, but how we view death will have a huge impact on how we live. The perspective of Buddhism is that the life state or condition that we develop in life is what is carried forward in death and this of course emphasises the importance of the way we live each moment.
Often the analogy or symbol of waves in an ocean is used to describe this ebb and flow of life and death, waves like our lives occur momentarily and return to the mass of the ocean only to occur again somewhere else. The Ocean can represent ‘Myoho’ or Mystic Law ( this expresses the relationship between the life inherent in the universe and the many different ways this life expresses itself) and the wave an individual life or phenomenon. The pattern of waves corresponds to the cycle of birth and death.
“If we consider that there are various currents flowing through the ocean that are not visible from the surface, the difference between life and death could be said to be like the waves appearing on the surface and the undulating currents within the ocean’s depths. The life essence of an individual is certainly not extinguished on death. Life and death are simply the undulations of the Mystic Law itself. Undulations within the ocean’s depths appear on the surface as waves and then submerge again, once more become invisible undulations. – Then, when the conditions are right, that life essence will appear again as a new wave“.
DAISAKU IKEDA – “The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life and Death”
It’s interesting to note perhaps, that an ocean has no walls.