Our 3rd illustration talks about life and death as seen by monk Sengai. Maybe through this small koan, you will get to a point in which you’ll understand that life is and should be very simple. In the same manner, Zen is something simple, nothing special, just like Sengai’s calligraphy.
There was once a rich man that asked Zen monk Sengai to write a calligraphy paper for him.
– I’ve asked you to write something optimistic. What does this means?
– This is something optimistic. If your son will die before you, or your nephew before your son, you’ll be very unhappy. What would be more optimistic than your family living generation after generation and dying the same?
– It makes sense now.
“Life is stressful, death is relaxation” (Zhuangzi). Death is like a tired traveler that returns home.
Isn’t that the happiest way to die?