I recently left a comment at Random Thoughts asking Stuart his view on knowing death when I'm dead. The reason I asked him was because I recently watched some You Tube video of him describing a movie he had seen (Zen Noir) in which a man had an exchange with a zen master:
Man: What happens when we die?
Zen master: Don't know.
Man: Why not?
Zen master: Not dead yet.
So, I asked Stuart, if, when I die, would I know what being dead was?
His reply certainly raises other questions. "If it happened once it can happen again," but that doesn't mean it will.
On the other hand, some things are only meant to happen once. Imagine someone saying: "I don't know what is wrong with this match, it worked just fine a minute ago."
Not that I mind one way or the other. I was just wondering what the zen master might perceive once he did die. Would he perceive death?
I suppose he could, given one's interpretation of 'perceive.'
But my meaning is more along the lines of, would I know I was dead (like sometimes someone can perceive that they are dreaming). I guess maybe I would have to find out when I get there.
From the viewpoint of being alive, we usually think death is like when a computer gets powered off. Nothing happens, no awareness, unable to respond. But since we haven't been there with the same awareness with which we have had when we are alive, and probably won't when the time comes, we cannot know it in the same way we know we are alive.
There are infinite possibilities, too. There are plenty of stories, hypotheses, belief systems, etc., about that state. Since all purport to be the truth but all contradict each other, should we even pay attention to them?
If we consider death similar to what we are before we are alive, as in Stuart's post, then we must first question who or what we are before we were born.
In some systems, people are said to be reborn. For me, if I cannot remember a previous life, what good is it to be reborn? If I cannot remember a previous life, what difference does it make if I was alive in a previous lifetime or not?