What happens when you die? – Thich Nhat Hanh

In order to answer what happens us when we die, we need to answer another question – what happens when we are alive? What is happening now to us? In English we say ‘we are’ but it’s proper to say ‘we are becoming’ because things are becoming. We’re not the same person in two consecutive minutes.

A picture of you as baby looks different to you now. The fact is you are not exactly the same as that baby and not entirely a different person either. In a picture of you as a five year old, you are not exactly the same as that child and not entirely a different person either – the form, feelings and mental formations are different. In the middle way there is no sameness and no otherness

You may think you are still alive but in fact you have been dying everyday, every minute, cells die and are born – for neither do we have funerals or birthdays (laughter).

Death is a very necessary condition of birth. With no death, there is no birth. They inter-are and happen in every moment to the experienced medittator. For instance a cloud may have died many times, into rain, streams, water. The cloud may want to wave to itself on earth! Rain is a continuation of the cloud. With a meditation practitioner nothing can hide itself. When I drink tea, it’s very pleasant to be aware I am drinking cloud.

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