For buddhism, the duality between life and death is only one instance of a more general problem, dualistic thinking. Why is dualistic thinking a problem? We differentiate between good and evil, success and failure, life and death and so forth because we want to keep the one and reject the other. But, we cannot have one without the other because they are interdependent: having one half also maintains the other. Living a ‘pure’ life thus requires a preoccupation with impurity and our hope for success will be proportional to our fear of failure. We discriminate between life and death in order to affirm one and deny the other and as we have seen our tragedy lies in the paradox, that these two objects are so interdependent. There is no life without death and what we are more likely to overlook there is no death without life. This means our problem is not death, but life-and-death.
Read a random quote or see all quotes by Dogen Zenji.