A long, long time ago, there was a truly merciful king. He committed himself to reach enlightenment and someday, attain Buddhahood.
One day, a pigeon was chased by a hawk. The pigeon screamed and flew into the king’s bosom.
The hawk that was chasing the pigeon sat on a branch and said to the king, “Give me the pigeon back. That is food for my dinner.”
“I cannot give this pigeon back to you. When I pledged to attain Buddhahood by practice, I also pledged to protect all creatures.”
“Aren’t I included in those creatures? How dare you not show mercy to me and even steal my prey?” The king was embarrassed by what the hawk said. However, the king can never take a life.
The king did not hesitate to cut off flesh from his leg and give it to the hawk. But the hawk was demanding flesh as heavy as the pigeon.
The king brought a scale and weighed his flesh and the pigeon. The pigeon weighed much more than his flesh. The king cut off his flesh from another leg and weighed it. It was still lighter than the pigeon. The king continued to cut off flesh from his body – his arms, hips, chest, and so on, and put it on the scale. However, it was still lighter.
In the end, he loaded his entire body on the scale. The weight was finally the same. The king was neither resentful to the hawk nor regretful for what he had done.
“Although I cut my own flesh and bled, I felt neither pain nor regret. I kept pursuing enlightenment with a consistent attitude. If it were true, my body would recover its original state.” As soon as he had pledged, all of a sudden, his body recovered its original state.
This story is from a Buddhist Commentary.
Dying Is Living And Living Is Dying
The Mahaparinirvana Sutra, a Buddhist holy writing, says that in the future, in the world of the future Buddha, parinirvana or perfect death can be achieved. Parinirvana is to die completely, without holding onto anything. What this means is that one must discard all that is of the human mind and body. Thus, death means to discard or eliminate.
Death means to not exist. To die a ‘big’ death is to die fully without anything remaining – when man kills everything in his mind and discards all preconceptions and habits. This is parinirvana or nirupadhishesha-nirvana (nirvana without residue). When one dies completely, the original mind, the origin, the mind of the universe, is revealed. This is the mind of the origin; it is God, Buddha, Allah and Haneol-nim. This is Truth. When man who is false completely dies and he has the mind of God, Truth, and he is reborn with the Soul and Spirit of God, he will live forever in heaven – in the world of immortals, the land of Truth.
There is a saying in the Bible that he who tries to die will live and he who tries to live will die. This essentially has the same meaning as the sutra above: once one’s false self completely dies, his true self is reborn and lives in his land that is true. So, in order for the true self to live, the false self must die. Man believes that he is alive but as he does not exist in the true world, he is a dead entity.
The only way for man who is dead to live, is to discard the false man. Falseness must die, if the new, true man is to be reborn and live. People often think that when the Savior comes, their bodies will live forever or the souls of their bodies will live forever. However, they are dead because they do not have the mind of the true world and their true souls are not born in the true world.
It is nonsense to say that one can truly live, if one has not died and resurrected while he is living. When one repents his sin, it is the death of his self. It is the complete elimination of one’s self that has turned his back on Truth. Without true repentance that is death, one’s false self lives in sin that is the false world. This is not truly living; it is death. Only those who have died completely will live forever in the land of Truth.
From <Stop Living In This Land, Go To The Everlasting World Of Happiness, Live There Forever> by Master Woo Myung