Being fearless of death and injury makes one more powerful
An essential part of the fight is overcoming one’s fears, starting with overcoming our fear of death, which is why I repeatedly write about overcoming fear of death.
Thanks to Norman Fischer — whom I will meet at the May 7-10, 2015, Mindful Lawyering gathering at the Garrison Institute — for his following words of insight on overcoming fear of death, and accepting death when it is time (minute 20:00);
“There is no such thing as death. There’s only breathing in once and then breathing out and then not breathing in anymore.”
“Death is happening every moment. Every moment we die to the past moment. It’s over. It’s gone.” “Death is something that liberates our lives and awakens our lives.” “Dying in this last moment receives this new moment.”
Here are some more thoughts on overcoming fear of death:
– The Tea Master who is at first freaked out at being challenged to a sword fight, but then convinces his opponent to sheath his sword by the tea master’s being as powerfully calm with is sword as when at one with the tea ceremony.
– As a sword-master is said to have proclaimed:
“The ultimate secrets of swordsmanship also lie in being released from the thought of death.
– “Tomorrow is not real. It is an illusion. The only real is now.” (Zen in Martial Arts.)
– Norman Fischer has said: “In Buddhist funeral services we always say, in true reality there is no coming no going no increase no decrease no birth and no death. This is a deep expression of our gratitude for existence as it is, our knowing that life in order to be life is always full of death, and death, in order to be death, is always full of life.”
– When a child lies alone in the wilderness, “a rhinoceros’s horn will not harm it. A tiger’s claw will not tear it. A soldier’s weapon will have no place to land. It is because the baby has no concept of death.” Cheng Man Ch’ing, quoted in Wolfe Lowenthal’s
Gateway to the Miraculous.
T’ai chi master Cheng Man Ching spoke of overcoming our fears in terms of imagining that we are practicing t’ai chi while balanced atop a narrow pointed cliff. To not eliminate one’s fears while atop the cliff is to guarantee certain death. Eliminating fear also calls for keeping and tempering the fearlessness of a child filled with wonder, and living in the moment, as wonderfully detailed in the following story of the man and the two tigers: A man is chased in the wilderness by two tigers, only to be forced off a cliff, hanging for life from a vine. One tiger waits above and the other waits below for a human meal. Two field mice gnaw away at the vine. The man sees a wild strawberry growing from the side of a cliff, reaches for it, tastes it, and — with his life hanging in the balance — thinks of how delicious the strawberry tastes.
Taste the strawberries.