Michel de Montaigne
[As quoted in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche]
There is no place on earth where death cannot find us — even if we constantly twist our heads about in all directions as in a dubious and suspect land . . . . If there were any way of sheltering from death’s blows — I am not the man to recoil from it . . . . But it is madness to think that you can succeed . . .
Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death. All well and good. Yet when death does come — to them, their wives, their children, their friends — catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair! . . .
To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death . . . . We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.
Michel de Montaigne (One of the most influential writers of the French renaissance).