What’s the difference between dying while sitting on a hill grinning at the sunset or dying face down in the mud?
Watch out for appearances.
One answer to the koan depends on whether the dying was the best one could do. Grinning at the sunset could be an act of unmitigated defiance. Dying face down in the mud may have little or nothing to do with one’s best efforts.
And then there’s the problem of doing the best one can in the first place. Doing one’s best today may not be the best that one is capable of tomorrow. Hey, today’s best may not match yesterday’s best, such are the fluctuations in the energy of doing one’s best. Ouch.
Speaking about watching out for appearances again—if we walk into a room and feel that everyone is like an alien in a galactic bar and can’t see we’re one of the aliens, the more alien we are.