"You come out from your mother's womb and go into your coffin. That time in between, you call life, and perhaps you think of going into your coffin as death. But true existence is birth and death, repeating itself, instant by instant. If you look at a flame, it seems to burn continuously and give off constant light. In actuality, the wax is burning down bit by bit, and the wick that blazes in this instant exhausts itself, passing the flame farther along.

"Our lives appear to be unbroken blocks of seventy or eighty continuous years, but, actually, they are just as the example we saw earlier: you are a wife when you look this way; you are the woman next door when you look that way. When you maintain the straight-forward frankness of your own mind as it comes to life each instant, even without effort, even without training, you are beautifully born with each instant. You die with each instant, and go on to be born again, instant by instant.

". . . when you go to the kitchen to prepare dinner, be born in the kitchen. When you finish there, die. Then be born at the dining table as you eat your dinner and, when you finish eating, die there. Be born in the garden, and sweep with your broom. When you get into bed at night, die there. And when daylight comes, and you awaken in your bed, be born anew. If you have cancer, be born with cancer.

"Always now — just now — come into being. Always now — just now — give yourself to death. Practicing this truth is Zen practice."