Master Jingzong; English translation by Foying, edited by Fojin
How should a person die? I wish to die with a bit of humor.
Let’s say I might keep secret a few good deeds I had done that were unknown to others; or I might not refute false accusations that I was guilty of certain wrongdoings. I will just put on a cheeky smile, thinking to myself, “We’ll see.”
We will eventually all meet up again in the Pure Land no matter how many kalpas it may take. Others may say to me, “Oh dear! Why didn’t you tell us earlier? We have all misunderstood you!”
To that I would just burst out laughing. “Ha! ha! But what would there be to talk about if I told you the truth? I just wanted to have a bit of fun by fooling you. You all thought you were clever, shrewd and perceptive. Well, you now know that you were wrong. And I didn’t force you to confess.”
Everyone would laugh and say, “You are right!”
“But you’ve kept us guessing for so many kalpas! “
“But it was a few kalpas only, not long at all,” I would reply with a sense of triumph and honor. After all, the effect of my sense of humor would be magnified many times with the long lapse of time.
Besides, there may be people who lavish praise on me and those who speak ill of me. Am I to argue with them? Of course not. I am not that stupid. These people will never listen to me because they think they are always right. Let’s imagine I am standing in front of a funhouse mirror. A concave mirror would reflect a tubby me while a convex one would show me tall and slim. I would just laugh it off and not be so stupid as to quarrel with the distorting mirrors. But the two mirrors might start arguing with each other fiercely. “He is a fat person!” “No, he is definitely a thin person!”
Kalpas later, when we all meet again in the Pure Land, these people will say to me, “Hey, why didn’t you say a word? We have been foolishly arguing over you for who knows how many generations and breaking countless mirrors! What was the point of our squabble?”
“Well! Well! But you all labeled me as either thin or fat, without checking with me first. What’s more, none of the Eight Winds* can affect my practice of Amitabha-recitation. What makes you think that you can stop me from reciting and engage me in your war of words by doing a couple of provocative acts? I was then thinking to myself, ‘We’ll see how much longer you can stay being right!’ Ha ha, the day has come.” With that remark of mine, everyone will burst into laughter.
“That’s right! But don’t laugh only at us. You were also wrong over such-and-such a thing, weren’t you?”
And we will all laugh our heads off.
Life in the Saha World is like a dream. There is no need to take things too seriously. But it is exactly because we are in a dream that we take things seriously.
Come to think of it … Would my sense of humor lose its desired effect if we did not meet in the Pure Land kalpas later? Oh no! no! My humor is basically the way I entertain myself. I am enjoying it very much now and do not need to wait till I am delivered to the Pure Land before laughing.
Does it mean that I also do not need to wait till I die before laughing? Sure. There is no difference between now and my dying day. Every day can have its humor and I am going to depart in that way.
(*The Eight Winds are the eight interpersonal forces of the material world: praise, ridicule, honor, disgrace, gain, loss, pleasure and misery.)