To have died in the womb, to have been stillborn would render moot the question of the loss—or gain—to oneself or the world of never having lived except for a few months as an unconscious zygote. As an organism only would you have lived those few months (or slightly shorter or longer); as nothing more than an organism you would die. Your life—if you can call it that other than as a technicality—would have no more meaning than your death, despite the potential sentimentalism of justly grieving parents or the tragedy of a violated woman’s aborting.

Not only would life and death have no meaning—first of all to you, and only after that to the world—the whole question of meaning would, like that of what you might have lost not to have been born, be moot. No one can say what you (or the world) might have lost, just as no one can say, cruel as it might sound, what both you and the world might have gained by your not being born.

There would simply be no you. For you (never mind the world) there would be no you and no world. And no existence? Yes, there would be existence; just no you. But what would that matter to you since no you exists or ever existed? What might have been you is moot, what is not you is moot. Mootness itself would be moot, every bit as moot as significance would be.

Not goodbye because there was no hello. Not the end because there was no beginning. In the no beginning nothing was created—not even nothingness. You are that no beginning, the nothing that was not created. Death is not that nothing, as if it were something; death is moot. Life is nothing, therefore life is moot. You are moot and not-you is moot. Existence there may be, but to you it is moot.

Such mootness is, for those of us who were born, not just the essence of Buddhism but of a humorous wisdom, the ability not to take life too seriously. An object lesson, let’s say. Imagine mootness being an object lesson! It keeps me in mind of my potential—or real—insignficance, how close to moot I came to being, not to say the mootness my life flirts with.