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16583A Zen Detective Investigates Death

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Mar 28, 2009
      A Zen Detective Investigates Death

      By Pete Sierra

      "What's going to happen after I die?" I asked
      the Zen detective.

      "Why do you want to know?

      "It worries me."

      "What happened before you were conceived?

      "I don't know."

      "Doesn't that worry you?"

      "Not really."

      "Why not? It could have been terrible."

      "Maybe, but it's over and I don't remember. It's
      what will happen after death that worries me."

      "I don't get it," he said looking amused. "You don't
      worry about it because it isn't happening now and
      because you don't remember it. Right?"


      "Well, what will happen after death is not
      happening now, and you don't remember it either.
      So why should it bother you?"

      "Are you trying to be cute? I didn't hire you to
      be cute.I want to know the truth."

      He smiled and rubbed his bald head. "Investigating
      a future crime is very difficult, I'm going to
      need your full cooperation. I don't want to hide
      from you that you are the main suspect."

      "Me? How could I be a suspect regarding my fate
      after death?"

      "Excuse me, the crime I'm investigating isn't
      your fate, but your imaginary death."

      "Don't be ridiculous! How could my death be
      imaginary? It's a certainty that I'm going to die."

      "Is it really? Are you dying this very instant?"


      "Who is the one then who is going to die? Is it
      the baby, the child, the young man you once were;
      one of those who are going to die?"

      "No, they are gone, but my body is going to die
      and this was their body."

      "Are you sure of that? Is the size of the body
      the same?"


      "Is the shape, or weight the same?"


      "Are the atoms the same?"

      "No, all atoms in the body are replaced within
      seven years."

      "So, neither the form, nor the substance are the
      same? Correct?"

      "My memories are. I'm the memory of my life."

      He laughed. "It seems you are becoming less
      substantial with each question. "Do you remember
      every hour of your life?"

      "No I don't."

      "Do you remember every day, every month of
      your life?"


      "So your memories have been dying all along,
      have they not?"


      "Has this caused you any pain?"


      "When a memory vanishes are you aware it's

      "Not at all."

      "Could you be your memories and don't feel
      anything when they perish?"

      "I don't think so."

      "So neither your form, your substance, your
      thoughts, feelings, perceptions, opinions or
      memories have remained the same throughout your life."

      "My consciousness has."

      "Your consciousness of what?"

      "Not my consciousness of something. Just pure

      "Have you ever been conscious without being
      conscious of something?"

      "I don't think so."

      "Consciousness is not a permanent state is it?
      In a deep sleep without dreams you are not
      conscious are you? So if consciousness stops
      in deep sleep, is there a reason to think it
      will persist after death?"

      "I don't think so."

      "So we haven't found anything permanent to call
      yourself have we? Do you know who or what you
      really are?" he asked.

      "No, I don't."

      "Should you worry then about what happens to this
      elusive stranger after death?"

      "Suffering worries me."

      "Suffering can only occur when we are conscious,
      and if consciousness can't survive deep sleep,
      how could it survive death? So, if suffering
      worries you, inquire into how to stop it now.
      But I doubt that inquiry will interest you.
      People never worry about the present. Do they?
      It's the idea of the past, or the future that
      causes most mental disquietude."
      To treat your Self to many more similar Zen stories,
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