Jiddu Krishnamurti and Death

October 8, 2014 Death Awareness

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k17074353Jiddu Krishnamurti and Death




Death is something not only mysterious but a great act of purgation. That which continues in a repetitive pattern is degeneration. The pattern may vary according to country, according to climate, according to circumstance, but it is a pattern. Moving in any pattern brings about a continuity and that continuity is part of the degenerating process of man. When there is an ending of continuity, something new can take place. One can understand it instantly if one has understood the whole movement of thought, of fear, hate, love – then one can grasp the significance, instantly, of what death is.”
- J. Krishnamurti The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 4 5th Public Talk Ojai California 16th April 1977 `Death–a great act of purgation’


Now take the question of death which is an immense problem to most people. You know death, there it is walking every day by your side. Is it possible to meet it so completely that you do not make a problem of it at all? In order to meet it in such a way all belief, all hope, all fear about it must come to an end, otherwise you are meeting this extraordinary thing with a conclusion, an image, with a premeditated anxiety, and therefore you are meeting it with time.”
J. Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known Chapter 9


You cannot be frightened of the unknown because you do not know what the unknown is and so there is nothing to be frightened of. Death is a word, and it is the word, the image, that creates fear. So can you look at death without the image of death? As long as the image exists from which springs thought, thought must always create fear.

Then you either rationalize your fear of death and build a resistance against the inevitable or you invent innumerable beliefs to protect you from the fear of death. Hence there is a gap between you and the thing of which you are afraid. In this time-space interval there must be conflict which is fear, anxiety and self-pity. Thought, which breeds the fear of death, says, `Let’s postpone it, let’s avoid it, keep it as far away as possible, let’s not think about it’ – but you are thinking about it. When you say, `I won’t think about it’, you have already thought out how to avoid it. You are frightened of death because you have postponed it.”
J. Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known Chapter 9


We have accepted life as it is with all its agony and despair and have got used to it, and think of death as some- thing to be carefully avoided. But death is extraordinarily like life when we know how to live. You cannot live without dying. You cannot live if you do not die psychologically every minute. This is not an intellectual paradox. To live completely, wholly, every day as if it were a new loveliness, there must be dying to everything of yesterday, otherwise you live mechanically, and a mechanical mind can never know what love is or what freedom is.”
J. Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known Chapter 9


Most of us are frightened of dying because we don’t know what it means to live.We don’t know how to live, therefore we don’t know how to die. As long as we are frightened of life we shall be frightened of death. The man who is not frightened of life is not frightened of being completely insecure for he understands that inwardly, psychologically, there is no security. When there is no security there is an endless movement and then life and death are the same. The man who lives without conflict, who lives with beauty and love, is not frightened of death because to love is to die.”
J. Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known Chapter 9


If you die to everything you know, including your family, your memory, everything you have felt, then death is a purification, a rejuvenating process; then death brings innocence and it is only the innocent who are passionate, not the people who believe or who want to find out what happens after death.”
- J. Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known Chapter 9


To find out actually what takes place when you die you must die. This isn’t a joke. You must die – not physically but psychologically, inwardly, die to the things you have cherished and to the things you are bitter about. If you have died to one of your pleasures, the smallest or the greatest, naturally, without any enforcement or argument, then you will know what it means to die. To die is to have a mind that is completely empty of itself, empty of its daily longing, pleasure; and agonies. Death is a renewal, a mutation, in which thought does not function at all because thought is old. When there is death there is something totally new. Freedom from the known is death, and then you are living.”
J. Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known Chapter 9


Thought lives in the known; it is the outcome of the known; if there is not freedom from the known one cannot possibly find out what death is, which is the ending of everything, the physical organism with all its ingrained habits, the identification with the body, with the name, with all the memories it has acquired. One cannot carry it all over when one goes to death. One cannot carry there all one’s money; so, in the same way one has to end in life everything that one knows. That means there is absolute aloneness; not loneliness but aloneness, in the sense there is nothing else but that state of mind that is completely whole. Aloneness means all one.”
- J. Krishnamurti The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 13 3rd Public Talk Brockwood Park 3rd September 1977 `What is death?’


What is death? When one asks that question, thought has many answers. Thought says: “I do not want to go into all the miserable explanations of death.” Every human being has an answer to it, according to his conditioning, according to his desire, his hope. Thought always has an answer. The answer will invariably be intellectual, verbally put together by thought. But one is examining, without having an answer, something totally unknown, totally mysterious – death is a tremendous thing.

One realizes that the organism, the body, dies and the brain – having in life been misused in various forms of self-indulgence, contradiction, effort, constant struggle, wearing itself out mechanically, for it is a mechanism – also dies. The brain is the repository of memory; memory as experience, as knowledge. From that experience and knowledge, stored up in the cells of the brain, as memory, thought arises. When the organism comes to an end, the brain also comes to an end, and so thought comes to an end. Thought is a material process – thought is nothing spiritual – it is a material process based on memory held in the cells of the brain; when the organism dies, thought dies. Thought creates the whole structure of the me – the me that wants this, the me that does not want that, the me that is fearful, anxious, despairing, longing, lonely – fearful of dying. And thought says: “What is the value, what is the significance of life for a human being who has struggled, experienced, acquired, lived in such an ugly, stupid, miserable way and then for it to end?” So, thought then says: “No, this is not the end, there is another world.” But that other world is still merely the movement of thought.”
- J. Krishnamurti The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 4 5th Public Talk Ojai California 16th April 1977 `Death–a great act of purgation’


One asks what happens after death. Now ask quite a different question: What is before death? – not what is after death. What is before death, which is one’s life. What is one’s life? Go to school, to college, university, get a job, man and woman live together, he goes off to the office for 50 years, she goes off earning more money, they have children, pain, anxiety, each fighting. Living such a miserable life one wants to know what is after death – about which volumes have been written, all produced by thought, all saying, “Believe”. So, if one puts all that aside, literally, actually, puts it all aside, then what is one faced with? – the actual fact that oneself who is put together by thought, comes to an end – all one’s anxieties, all one’s longings come to an end. When one is living, as one is living now, with vigour, with energy, with all the travail of life, can one live meeting death now? I am living in all vigour, energy and capacity, and death means an ending to that living. Now, can I live with death all the time? That is: I am attached to you; end that attachment, which is death – is it not? One is greedy and when one dies, one cannot carry greed with one; so end the greed, not in a week’s time, or ten days’ time – end it, now. So one is living a life full of vigour, energy, capacity, observation, seeing the beauty of the earth and also the ending of that instantly, which is death. So to live before death is to live with death; which means that one is living in a timeless world. One is living a life in which everything that one acquires is constantly ending, so that there is always a tremendous movement, one is not fixed in a certain place. This is not a concept. When one invites death, which means the ending of everything that one holds, dying to it, each day, each minute, then one will find – not “one” there is then no oneself finding it, because one has gone – then there is that state of a timeless dimension in which the movement we know as time, is not. It means the emptying of the content of one’s consciousness so that there is no time; time comes to an end, which is death.
- J. Krishnamurti The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 4 5th Public Talk Ojai California 16th April 1977 `Death–a great act of purgation’


…We are concerned with our daily life, not some exotic, fanciful religious concepts but actual daily life of conflict, the confusion we live in, the uncertainty, the search for security. We have been through all that, it is part of our life. And also death is part of our life, though we may not acknowledge that fact. We may try to avoid it, slur over it, or only be concerned at the last minute, as most people are. So we should together enquire into the nature, into that extraordinary fact, as life is an extraordinary fact, we ought to consider that also.”
J. Krishnamurti, The Beauty of Death as Part of Life Fourth Public Talk at Brockwood Park September 1982

Disclaimer: Use of the information and data is to bring awareness of death and dying. Spirare does not own the information or profit from its use. Source: Krishnamurti Foundation of America Photo: 123 (RF)


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Venerable Wuling

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