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Jiddu Krishnamurti on continuity after Death

Question: Is there continuity after death?
Jiddu Krishnamurti : In this question several things are implied. There is the idea of immortality, which we think is continuity, the question of what we mean by death, and whether there is a spiritual essence in each one of us that will continue in spite of death. So, let us examine this question, however briefly.

You ask if there is continuity after death. Now, what do we mean by "continuity"? Continuity obviously implies cause and effect - a series of incidents or causes which are remembered and which continue. Please, if I may suggest, let us listen very carefully and think it out together, and perhaps we shall see something much greater than the mere desire to continue after death.

Most of us want to continue. To us, life is a series of incidents tied together by memory. We have experiences which are continually accumulated, as the memories of childhood, of pleasant things, and the unpleasant memories are also there, although hidden. This whole process of cause and effect gives a sense of continuity which is the 'me.' The 'me', the self, is a chain of remembered incidents - whether they are pleasant or unpleasant is not important. My house, my family, my experience, my cultivation of virtue, and so on - all that is the 'me'; and you want to know if that 'me' continues after death.

Now, it is obvious that some kind of thought continuity must exist, but we are not satisfied with that, are we? We want immortality, and we say that this process of continuity will eventually lead us to immortality. But will continuity ever lead us to immortality? What is it that continues? It is memory, is it not? It is a bundle of memories moving from the past through the present to the future. And can that which continues ever be free from the net of time?

Surely, only that which comes to an end can renew - not that which has continuity. That which has continuity can only continue in its own state; it can be modified, altered, but it is essentially the same all along. Only for that which comes to an end is there a possibility of fundamental transformation. So, immortality is not continuity. Immortality is that state in which time, as continuity of the 'me', has ceased.

Is there a spiritual essence in each one of us that will continue? What is spiritual essence? If there is a spiritual essence, it must obviously be beyond the field of time, beyond causation; and if the mind can think about it, or if it has already conceived it, it is obviously the product of thought, and so within the field of time, and therefore it is not a spiritual essence.

We like to think that there is a spiritual essence, but it is merely an idea, the product of thought, of our conditioning. When the mind clings to the idea of a spiritual essence, it indicates, does it not, that we are seeking security, certainty; and it is the perpetuation of comfort, of security, that we call immortality. As long as the mind continues in the sense of moving from the known to the known, there is always the fear of death.

Now, surely, there is another way of living, which is to die each day to the things of yesterday and not to carry over to tomorrow the things of today. If in living we can die to the things the mind clings to, then in that very dying we shall find that there is a life which is not of memory, which is not of time.

To die in that sense is to understand this whole process of accumulation, which creates the fear of losing, which is the cause of the desire to immortalize the 'me' through family, through property, or through continuity in the hereafter. If we can be aware of how the mind is constantly seeking certainty, a state in which there can never be freedom, if we can cease to accumulate inwardly and not be psychologically concerned about the morrow, which means coming to an end each day - if we can do this, then there is immortality, that state in which time is not.

Source - Jiddu Krishnamurti Fourth Talk in Seattle 1950

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