Eihei Dogen
Dogen, Texts, The Masters, Zen

Life and Death Do Not Exist

In this short chapter from the Shobogenzo, Sho-ji, Dogen plays with the distinction between the nuances of the two different meanings, life and death being static and self-defined events, which he argues have no substance or existence, and living and dying which are an endless flow of events and dynamic being

Sheila Heti
Book Excerpts

Sheila Heti – When Love Slips into the Death Drive

Sheila Heti’s novel ‘How Should a Person Be?’ asks that candid and naive question with honesty, humor and sincerity. During the course of the book, she especially looks at love and all its difficulties, and in this passage she talks about the kind of obsessive sexual love that pushes us over cliffs and into the death drive, that longs for ‘annihilation, comfort and death’.

Seung Sahn
Book Excerpts, Korean Texts, The Masters

What is Death? You Are Already Dead

Seung Sahn was the first Korean Zen master to come to live and teach in the West. His style borrowed from a number of different Buddhist traditions, particularly Rinzai. The book, ‘Dropping Ashes on the Buddha’ is a collection of his teachings that happened both in person as well as through correspondence – a way… Continue reading What is Death? You Are Already Dead

Literature, Short Stories

The Death of the Moth and the Pure Bead of Life

This evocative essay by Virginia Woolf chronicles the short life and quick death of a moth that was fluttering by her window one day as she worked. Initially mesmerized by the movements of the creature, Woolf confesses to feelings of pity for his ‘zest in enjoying his meagre opportunities to the full.’ But she also… Continue reading The Death of the Moth and the Pure Bead of Life

American Poetry, Lyrics, Poetry

The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton – John Darnielle

“To take somebody’s adolescence away is to deny that person some of the closest looks at God’s face that we ever get on this planet,” said songwriter John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats in reference to his song The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton. The song is an ode to the integrity of adolescent ambitions,… Continue reading The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton – John Darnielle

Irish Poetry, Poetry

When Human Beings Found Out About Death – Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney wrote this heartbreaking poem in memory of his friend Donatus Nogwa in 1995. The story follows an Igbo legend about the loss of innocence and the overwhelming strength of the concept of everlasting death whose spell can’t be broken even by great chiefs or great loves. Wicklow, the place mentioned in the poem’s… Continue reading When Human Beings Found Out About Death – Seamus Heaney