« The Friday Video: Love Dogs | Main | The Friday(!) Video: Forgetfulness »

October 12, 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I have been keeping the same question in my mind for years, and I finally heard something which makes sense as an answer! ThanQ!

Ben Howard

Thanks for this video, Barry. Bon Yeon's comments bring to mind the story of Hakuin Ekaku's reported response to a samurai:

A noble man asked Master Hakuin: "What happens to the enlightened man at death? What happens to the unenlightened man?"
The master replied: "Why ask me?"
"Because you are a Zen master!"
"Yes,' said Hakuin, "but not a dead one!"

Philip Kapleau, THE WHEEL OF DEATH (1971)

The authenticity of this story has been questioned, but it has been widely disseminated, and it seems to represent a consensus in the Zen community. I like Bon Yeon's gentle and exploratory way of expressing it.

Nankin Rouren

Why won't she simple say it...."There is no 'you' after death"? Like a clod of mud dissolving in a stream, the aggregate I experience as me will dis-aggregate upon death. Some people will remember me. And the impressions I've made as I rolled into the stream may remain, a semi-permanent reminder of what type of clod I was, but "I" will be gone forever. Is there any object proof to the contrary that grown from the empty field of human thought?

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Zen teachers sometimes use the Ten Ox Herding Pictures to describe the path of awakening. Within this metaphorical framework, the ox symbolizes the secretive, unruly human mind.

My Other Weblogs


  • I’m truly grateful to everyone who leaves a comment on this blog. Even though many comments are generous and thoughtful, I rarely respond. Thank you for your understanding.

American Zen


  • I extend grateful appreciation to my daughter, Susie, who designed this site; to Zen Master Seung Sahn, for crossing the ocean; and to all beings for their never-ending encouragement and teaching.
  • May we together attain enlightenment and save all beings from suffering.

Free e-Books

Finding the Ox