Basho wrote the haiku:
Only the shell
Of the cicada left?
Did it sing itself out of existence?
An old cicada tree, almost dead, no foliage left – and Basho is saying, “Only the shell . . .” The inner life has left the tree . . .
“Only the shell of the cicada left. Did it sing itself out of existence?”
Did it go out of existence singing, dancing? He is indicating to every disciple who is in search of the eternal sources of life that you should go dancing in your death. Only then can you find it.
Dancing transforms death into eternal life. Dancing is a very transforming force. It contains your joy, your blissfulness, your peace, your gratitude; your thankfulness to existence that it gave you time to blossom, it gave you great foliage, great flowers. And now that it wants you to return to the source, you should not be sad. That is ungratefulness.
You should be in a celebrating mood, in a thankful mood for all that the existence has done for you. Go dancing and in that dancing, death becomes a fiction. That dancing transforms even death into a new life, or into eternal life.
From Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen, Discourse #9
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