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One is attached. There is no question about it. Attached to an idea, to a book, to a saying, to your money, to your wife, or to some ideal and so on. One is deeply attached. We are not saying it is right or wrong. One is attached. Death comes along and says sorry! - cuts that attachment, and we want that attachment to continue, and without it - when there is freedom from attachment we feel a bit lost. So we are frightened of death because it may end everything that you have. Following? And one asks: what have you? At the end of 90 years, I am asking this of myself, and you must be asking of yourself, what is it that you have? - a house, a bank account if you are lucky enough or unlucky enough, a wife, a husband, the pleasure of sex and all the conflict of one's life? Actually what has one in your life? What have you? And if one was very, very honest, you need to have a house, you need to have a shelter, food, clothes, that is natural, normal, otherwise what have you? A series of memories - right? A bundle of memories and nothing else. In that bundle of memories there are all aspirations, wanting, not wanting, seeking God - you know all that, or not seeking God, or saying 'There is only this' - that is, pleasure, money, power. The mundane activities of one's life - that is all one has and death comes along and says, 'You can't carry it with you, it all has to come to an end'. End of that, end of all your memories, all your experiences, all the things one has travelled through life to accumulate. When a scientist, a great scientist, not employed by the government, but free of governments, those scientists they have accumulated an extraordinary amount of knowledge, skill, great penetration into matter, questioning what is matter, what is energy and so on, they too die, like us, and at the end of their life what have they? And the tyrannical, the totalitarian dictators - what is going on in Russia - all the dictatorships in the world - what have they? You understand? We want what we have, which is memories, to continue - right? And when those memories come to an end, which is the fact of life, which is death, and knowing all that, one is frightened. You want to know what happens after, and you want to know what happens afterwards according to your already existing knowledge. Right? You understand? You follow this? You are adding more knowledge by asking what is there when one dies. All that one wants is more knowledge, more certainty of knowledge. And knowledge is limited. You understand? Because knowledge is based on experience which is limited and knowledge is memory and so thought is limited. So we keep going round in that circle. And is there an end to all this? And that is death. And so one asks: is it possible to live with death - not commit suicide and all that silly stuff, but to live with something, live with an absolute fact. The absolute fact is that one is going to die and that death means the ending of knowledge, memories. So can one live with death and not keep the two apart? You understand? You follow all this? What does it mean to live with death? What does it mean to own nothing? You may have money, a wife, children, but to hold and wanting that which you have held to go on, and death means you hold nothing.
Brockwood Park, England | 4th Public Talk 2nd September 1984 Read full text