When we’re born we’re already dead, you know. Aging and death are the same thing. It’s like a tree. Part of it’s the base; part of it’s the end at the tip. When there’s a base, there’s an end. When there’s an end, there’s a base. When there’s no base, there’s no end. When there’s an end, there has to be a base. An end without a base: That can’t be. That’s how it is.
So it’s kind of amusing. When a person dies, we’re sad and upset. We sit and cry, grieving — all kinds of things. That’s delusion. It’s delusion, you know. When a person dies we sob and cry. That’s the way it’s been since who knows when. We don’t stop to examine this carefully. Actually — and excuse me for saying this — it appears to me that if you’re going to cry when a person dies, it’d be better to cry when a person is born. But we have it all backwards. When a child is born, people beam and laugh from happiness. But actually birth is death. Death is birth. The beginning is the end; the end is the beginning. ~Ajahn Chah
“In Simple Terms: 108 Dhamma Similes”, by Ajahn Chah
translated from the Thai by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 2 November 2013