Dec 20, 2021
Our modern culture tends to make us turn away from thoughts about death and even our own aging. Yet death is something that all of us, without exception, will experience. In Buddhism, there is a focus on coming to terms with our own death ans impermanence. This world is not our home, it is said. We are a traveler destined for other worlds, other lives. By becoming mindful of our own mortality, that the time of our death is uncertain, and even that we might die today, we develop a great urgency for spiritual practice. In this episode we look at the many benefits of and do a meditation on a death. Paradoxically, this meditation gives us a great zest for life, and we can do it quite joyfully.
Benefits of mindfulness of death
Atisha's contemplations on death:
Death is inevitable.
Our life span is decreasing continuously.
Death will come, whether or not we are prepared for it.
Human life expectancy is uncertain.
There are many causes of death.
The human body is fragile and vulnerable.
At the time of death, our material resources are not of use to us.
Our loved ones cannot keep us from death.
Our own body cannot help us at the time of our death.
Only spiritual practice will help us at the time of death.
“Here I will live during the rainy season,
And here during the winter and summer.”
So the fool ponders
Unaware of the danger.
Intoxicated by children and cattle,
Is swept away by Death,
As a sleeping village is by a great flood. (Verse 286-287)
Children, parents, and relatives
Are not a protection
For someone seized by Death,
Relatives are no protection
The wise person, Restrained by virtue,
Should quickly clear the path
To Nirvana, (288-289)
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References and Links
Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 73 (Link)