Signlessness: A Cloud Never Dies


When we speak about a “date of birth” or “time of death,”

these are really just notions.

To say we have a “life span” is also just a notion.

These labels and signs are conventional designations

that are useful at the level of relative truth,

but they’re not the ultimate truth.

They’re not the reality.

If we’re afraid of or angry or sad about death,

it’s because we’re still caught up in our

incorrect notions of birth and death.

We think death means that from something

we will become nothing.

But if we see all the ways in which we exist beyond our body,

constantly changing forms,

we realize nothing is lost.

And we no longer feel so angry or afraid.

When a cloud becomes rain,

we may be tempted to say that the cloud has died.

But we know the cloud’s true nature, H2O, hasn’t died at all.

It has become rain.

If we want to see the true nature of the cloud,

we have to free ourselves from the sign “cloud.”

The dying of a cloud is at the same time the birthing of the rain.

If the cloud did not die,

how could the rain be born?

But the cloud need not wait until that moment

in order to see the birth of the rain.

Because, like us,

the cloud is dying in every moment.

 Let’s say you heat water in a kettle.

As the water heats, some steam already begins to form.

There is a more rapid transformation

as the temperature rises to one hundred degrees Celsius,

and more water transforms into vapor.

Evaporation is at once the death of water and the birth of vapor,

which will later become a cloud in the sky.

The same is true for us.

Sometimes there is slow transformation

and sometimes there is more abrupt transformation.

We don’t need to wait until the water of our own life

is nearing one hundred degrees Celsius to see this—

by then it may be too late.

We should take the time now, while we’re still alive,

to understand living and dying,

in order to free ourselves from anxiety, fear, and sorrow.

Whether we’re dying quickly or slowly, it’s all the same.

With this insight,

the quality of our life becomes richer, and we appreciate every moment.

One day lived deeply with this insight

may be worth more than a thousand days without it.

It’s the quality of our life that is important,

not how long we live.


 “Zenfully Quool Quotes”…

Currently featuring “The Art of Living”

By Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

My aim is to present

a deeper, higher, wider, non-theological perspective

into common sense Spirituality

that most of us folks raised in the ‘west’ never get introduced to,

to fulfill life’s most intriguing questions…