Death comes to us all – even cups…

Broken Cup

Oh boy! Oh boy!” cried the monk-on-probation who had just cracked the Zen Master’s favourite (and valuable) drinking cup.

The frightened youngster went to the Zen Master and asked, “Why must there be death?

The Master answered, “Death is natural. It comes to all persons and things. We should not greet it with fear or meet death with anger. Why do you ask?

Because, Master, death has come upon your cup.

– Zen Fables For Today

6 thoughts on “Death comes to us all – even cups…

  1. This is one of my favourite stories, It makes me laugh every time.

    You say death is a mystery, Jessica, and clearly it is for most of us. Yet it seems unnecessary to assume that such knowledge is beyond our reach, and it may even be a denial of the powers of meditation. Is not meditation very often to do with learning about death?

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    1. Yes, you’re right Peter. Death can be experienced while you’re alive through meditation – when you realise the separate self is an illusion. And it’s then that you realise death is an illusion too. You don’t really die because ‘you’ were never born. But I’m not sure how much that realisation helps someone dealing with the loss of someone they love. It’s a big leap and takes many years of practise.

      When I say it’s a mystery, I think I just mean it can’t be expressed or understood in the usual intellectual way. The reality of it can be experienced, for sure. How you communicate that truth, I have no idea!

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  2. I sometimes wonder how many people are fine with the idea of death, it’s the dying part that causes pause or panic?

    Or, death and dying are part of life, indeed, but all too often the “wrong” people die much too early?


    1. Yes, the problem with death is that it’s a complete mystery. Nobody really knows what it’s all about so it’s hard to know how to relate to it as an experience. The only way we encounter it is when we lose someone close to us, and that usually hurts. So perhaps then we assume death is a bad thing to be feared. In reality, we have no idea.

      Sometimes I think it’s the actually process of dying that scares people the most – the loss of control, faculties, etc. Once you’re gone, you’re gone – and who knows where?!


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