A Chinese allegory tells how a monk sets off on a long pilgrimage to find the Buddha. He spends years and years on his quest and finally he comes to the country where the Buddha lives. He crosses a river, it's a wide river, and he looks about him while the boatman rows him across.
There is a corpse floating on the water and it's coming closer. The monk looks. The corpse is so close he can touch it. He recognizes the corpse, it is his own.
The monk loses all self control and wails.
There he floats, dead.
Anything he has ever been, ever learned, ever owned, floats past him, still and without life, moved by the slow current of the wide river.
It is the first moment of his liberation.
Source: A Glimpse of Nothingness: Experiences in an American Zen Community, Pages: 180
Contributed by: whoami