There is a beautiful Zen saying, ‘Learning the art of dying is the real and the ultimate knowledge that we can learn in our life.’
A small Zen story:
One day, an enlightened master suddenly declared that he was going to die the next day morning around 6 o’ clock. Of course, enlightened people always know about their death. They can declare before hand when they are going to die. He declared that he was going to die around 6 o’clock in the morning.
His disciples said, ‘No, no, please wait for 2-3 hours. It will be too cold early in the morning. Why don’t you wait for a few hours so that we can prepare for the last rites?’ The master agreed and told the disciples that he would pass away around 12 o’clock. Exactly at 12 noon, he greeted them all and left the body!
One more important historical incident:
When the British started colonizing India, in Central India there was a small tribal village. That village no longer exists, it is gone! The British were trying to bring that village under their control. The whole village had only about hundred people but they were highly mystical people, totally into devotion and meditation. They were experts in the ancient mystic rites. It is said that in that village people never fell ill.
Even if they dreamt that they had hurt somebody in their dreams, the next morning they would go and apologize to that person. Unless you have subtle vengeance, unless you have a subconscious idea to hurt a person, you will not hurt him even in your dreams. So, these people used to apologize for hurting someone even in the dream so that even the unconscious idea of hurting someone was not developed. They were such a highly mature spiritual group. They had nothing of the outer world but they had everything of the inner world.
When the British tried to bring the village under their rule, the villagers were not ready to surrender and lose their freedom to anyone else. But the British said, ‘Either you surrender or we will kill you.’
You will be surprised, these villagers said, ‘You don’t have to kill us. Don’t bother, we know how to die. We will die by ourselves.’ The British thought that the villagers would commit suicide by taking some poison or by some method like that.
The whole village gathered in one room as a group. The whole group stood in one place and in front of the eyes of the British soldiers they just chanted some mantra, prayed and all the hundred villagers just fell. They just dropped their bodies and died.
The incident is recorded by the British soldiers and they say that for the first time they felt the guilt of killing somebody.
They say, ‘We people are trained to kill. We never felt guilt when we kill masses of people. But here, we felt deep guilt because we killed innocent people, such simple but great people!’
source: Living Enlightenment