You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Death’ tag.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the belief that we have used our life wisely in light of death, and that we have attained Buddhahood spurred on by our realisation of death.

sunsetI began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then tried to imagine what it would be like to have a completely clear mind, free from all obstructions and all fear. In this state, death would be a mere appearance which would come and go as unremarkably as the passing of day into night. I would be completely at ease with death, untroubled and peaceful.

I tried to keep my mind focused on this feeling, with the recognition that I have no obstructions and no fear because I used each and every day to improve and perfect my mind.

I tried to keep my attention on this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all beings have no obstructions and no fear, and pass utterly beyond perversity to attain the final nirvana.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to practice the six perfections and go for refuge constantly throughout the day.

The purpose of this meditation is to mix our mind with the firm intention to practice Dharma purely all day.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then reminded myself that I am going to die. I thought about my plan to ensure that I get the most out of each day – I cannot afford to allow even one day to pass by without making the absolute most out of it.

QuotaI decided that I need to think that I will die tonight. I have only one day left. I must make the most of today. There is no tomorrow. Only today. I cannot waste even a moment.

I kept thinking about these points, and I developed a strong wish to mix all my experiences with Dharma.

Because all my experiences are empty, I can decide what they mean. Normally when I have a problem, the actual reason it is a problem is that I have designated it as a problem. There is no ‘problem’ from its own side. From now on I will designate all my experiences as ‘Dharma opportunities’, and I will keep track of my progress on my ticklist.

I focused on this wish to transform all my experiences, and I settled on this wish, along with the urgency that tonight will be the end – I will die tonight.

Dedication

May all living beings develop a sense of urgency about their lives, and find a way of making their lives meaningful before it is too late.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will redesignate all my experiences for Dharma.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop the wish to really get the most out of every day.

I began by making the appropriate preparations, and then started by remembering the past few meditations where I contemplated three points:

  • I am certain to die
  • I have no idea when I shall die
  • At the time of death, only Dharma will be of any use

I thought about these points for a short while, and then thought about how as each and every day goes by, death is definitely coming closer. Although I may die at any time from accidents, even if I manage to avoid these causes of death, demise from old age draws nearer with each passing day.

I thought about how each day that passes brings me 24 hours closer to death. However far away it may be, it is now 24 hours closer than yesterday.

PlanI rested on this thought and it seemed like I was on an unstoppable travellator moving down a corridor to the dark end.

I decided that I need to make sure that I get an equivalent amount of spiritual value out of each day. From now on I shall have a plan. I will have a piece of paper with me which has the six perfections listed (along with refuge). Alongside each perfection there will be six boxes. It will be my aim and duty to perform actions which permit me to tick off all 42 boxes by bedtime each day.

I settled on this intention, and it seemed to me that I could definitely get the most out of each day if I did this. I concentrated on this wish, and felt a deep sense of wishing to get the most out of each and every day.

Dedication

May all living beings develop a plan for getting the most out of each day, and when death comes, be able to transform it into the path to enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will use my plan.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the strong wish to practice Dharma all day, every day.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then brought back the conclusions from my previous meditations on death. Firstly, that I will definitely die. I imagined everyone around me will die, and then I focused on the fact that I, too will die. Once again I remembered that all the trappings of this life will leave me, and that they were never really ‘mine’ in the first place. I felt liberated.

I then thought about the fact that I have no idea when I will die – could be tomorrow, could be today. People are dying from completely unexpected causes every day.

all dayThis brought me to my third point of contemplation – what happens after I die? Death is not obliteration. If the world and myself were inherently existent and separate entities (as they appear to be, superficially) then death would certainly be the complete end of everything. But the world and myself do not actually exist in this way. In fact, the world and myself are mere appearances to consciousness. All my experiences are like projections which I mistakenly believe are real and separate from my consciousness. Death is simply another appearance, and following death more appearances will follow.

What causes these appearances? Karmic potentialities within my mind which ripen moment by moment, cause these appearances. Positive karmic seeds cause pleasant appearances, and negative karmic seeds cause unpleasant experiences. When I die I will be at the mercy of these appearances.

I asked myself what I am going to do about this?

The answer is that I need to use my current opportunity to purify as much of my negative karma as possible, and I need to generate as much positive karma as possible. Ideally, I need to attain liberation and enlightenment before I die. To do all these things, I need to practice Dharma. I need to practice Dharma now, purely, and constantly. I need to practice Dharma all day, every day.

This was a good firm conclusion, and I focused on it for the rest of the meditation. When my mind became distracted, I brought my attention back to the object by quickly reviewing the contemplation, and once I had re-established the object, I focused on it once more. I felt at first like I would have an extra ‘layer’ of spiritual activity on top of my daily activities, but this slowly became and understanding that my spiritual activities and my worldly activities should not be thought of as being separate. The worldly activities should be transformed into spiritual activities by having the motivation of Bodhichitta and the appreciation of the emptiness of all phenomena.

Dedication

May all living beings use their lives to attain liberation and enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to sustain this wish to transform all my worldly activities into the spiritual path, all day, every day.

The purpose of this meditation is to encourage ourself to engage in virtuous activities because death is a-coming.

I began by settling down and making the appropriate preparations for meditation. Following this, I thought about how I will definitely die – I revived my understanding from my last meditation and I felt the inevitability of death. I looked at this for a while.

I then thought about how I have no idea when death will come. Although I have plans for the coming year, there is no guarantee that I shall live to see them. Even avoiding illness as a cause of death, I could still die from a million other causes even today!

I have NO IDEA when I shall die.

stepoffcliffIt felt like I was walking towards a cliff edge wearing a blindfold. Most of the time, I just pretend that because I cannot see the cliff, it is not there. What a childish game! At other times, when I have more wisdom, I accept that the cliff is there, but I tell myself that it is a long way away, and certainly no coming today. It is only when I am in meditation, looking clearly at my situation, that I can understand that it is best for me to think that the cliff edge is right here – at my next step.

With this feeling, I can ask myself – have I collected enough merit to safeguard all my future lives? No. Have I subdued my uncontrolled mind and removed all my delusions? No. Have I attained a direct realisation of emptiness? No.

I thought about these points for a while, and realised that I need to make use of every moment of every day. I can’t wait because death is not waiting – death is coming closer every moment, and I need to use every moment for virtue.

With this thought, I generated a deep wish to use every moment for the practice of the six perfections and the corresponding related Lamrim realisations. ‘I will use every moment for virtue’. I focused on this object for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May I and all living beings stop playing childish games, and realise that death is coming, perhaps even today, and use what little time we have left for virtue.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to use every moment for virtue.

The purpose of this meditation is to see what kind of feeling is generated when we consider that we are definitely going to die.

everything-must-goI began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then thought about how my life is everything. Ever since I can remember, I have been alive. There has never been a time that I can remember when I have not been alive. It is easy to think that this life will carry on forever. But, I reminded myself, everyone dies. No-one escapes death – everyone, including me, will definitely die.

I focused on this and it felt like I had fallen face down into the ground. I could see nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing. Every single aspect of my life had gone. Everything had gone. I focused on the feeling of everything having gone for a while.

After a little time, I realised that all the things I currently call ‘mine’ are deceptive, because when I die, I will lose them. I never really ‘had’ them at all.

With this thought, I felt supremely free. I felt like all my ties and grasping had fallen away, and I was completely liberated from possessions. I wasn’t expecting this feeling, but it was a good strong conclusion: realising that I will die, and that everything I think of as mine will disappear, I should not regard them as mine now. I felt completely free, and I settled my mind on this for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings realise that their possessions are deceptive, and find freedom in the realisation that no matter how much they cling to them as theirs, everything must go.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remind myself that everything must go, and feel free.

 

The purpose of this meditation is to generate a strong feeling of the fact that I will die, and that reliance upon a Spiritual Guide is the way to prepare for this eventuality.

sneezeI made the usual preparations for meditation and then began by thinking about how I will feel when I die. Although I cannot anticipate the circumstances of my death now, I supposed that my death would come about after a short illness, like that of my Aunt who passed away recently. I imagined what my mind would be like when I died, if I was feeling ill. I have a cough and a cold at the moment (like everyone else I know) and it is easy to think ‘Oh I feel so ill! Poor me!’ This is a miserable mind and it is an unhappy mind. It is important to die with a happy mind, so if I am ill before I die, it will be very hard for me to have a happy mind if I am used to being so self-concerned under such conditions.

I made the determination to try and abandon my self concern now and when I am ill in the future, because this will prepare me well for my death. I focused on this for a while and then I wondered about what this means in terms of reliance upon a Spiritual Guide. It seemed to me that by relying on my Spiritual Guide, I will be able to overcome my self-cherishing during transient illnesses. I will also be prepared for the illness that will lead to my death, and be able to keep a peaceful and happy mind throughout my illness and death. This seemed such a wonderful response to illness and death that I focused on it for the rest of the session.

Dedication

May all living beings rely upon their Spiritual Guide and prepare themselves for death every day.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember my Guru’s instructions and transform my illnesses into the spiritual path to enlightenment.

The purpose of this meditation is to make the determination to abandon worldly distractions, and then to see what this means in light of the practice of giving.

I began by mixing my mind with my Guru’s mind, and filling the space with peace and stillness. It felt complete calm and peaceful. After a while I moved on…

I began by thinking about how I often see posts from my Facebook friends asking for prayers for their friends or relations who are sick or who have died. I see these posts all the time. I asked myself – am I any different from these people who are very sick or who have died? Can I alone avoid sickness and death? Because that is how I act. I behave like I will never die or become sick.

An image came to me of being in a train station’s waiting room. The room was filled with books, games and toys – full of distractions to pass the time. Lots of people were there, but acting like children, becoming engrossed and distracted by the items in the waiting room, which they will have to abandon when their train comes. When the time comes to go, they will have a leave their distractions behind, whether the game is finished or not. They will be childishly unhappy to leave the game unfinished and their playmates behind. But this is how I am – I engross myself in worldly attachments forgetting that I will have to leave them all behind when death comes and I have to go.

So what does the wise traveller do? The wise traveller concentrates on what he can take with him on the journey, rather than what has to be left behind. I imagined reading a small Dharma book. I can take Dharma with me on my journey. I focused my mind on the idea of mixing myself with Dharma while I have the chance. After a while I was filled with the feeling that when death comes, I will have no fear and no regrets. I will leave the waiting room freely and without hesitation, because I can control where the train is going. I focused on this feeling of no fear, no regrets and control, mixed with the idea of mixing my mind with Dharma, and kept my attention on the feeling for a while.

I then wondered what this means in light of the practice of giving.

Giving is one of the Dharma practices which I should spend my life engaged in. Giving is one of the six perfections, and can be incorporated into all our daily activities. Therefore, I returned to my feeling of mixing my mind with Dharma, with a special recognition that giving is part of my practice. It felt very meaningful, and I focused on this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings come to understand and remember that they are in a waiting room, and by deciding to fill their lives with Dharma, may they quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember that I am in a waiting room, and use my time wisely.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the definite feeling of abandoning worldly distractions and focusing on Dharma, and then to meditate on this feeling in light of exchanging self with others.

I began with some breathing meditation, bringing my mind inwards to a calm tranquil place with every breath. After a while I moved on to the next stage in the meditation.

I started by remembering that I will definitely die. I need to really remind myself of this because normally it does not occur to me at all that I will die. I remembered that everyone and every living thing dies. Their body dies and disintegrates, leaving nothing at all.

I also remembered that I have no idea when this will happen. At the moment I am relatively fit and healthy, but all that could change in a few short months.

What has real meaning in a life that must end? When I die, my life will not even be a memory to me.

Only Dharma can protect me in my future lives. With this in mind, I focused on lifting off and away from my normal worries and concerns, and felt like I could meet death with complete equanimity. I would be sad to say goodbye to my family and friends of this life, but it makes no sense to grasp at them, as if somehow I could remain when the Lord of Death is calling my name.

I concentrated on this feeling and it felt like all my worries were dwindling and disappearing – what do they really matter when they and everything else will soon be gone, and not even a memory for me? I did placement meditation on this thought and feeling.

After a while I moved on to think about what this meant in light of the practice of exchanging self with others. In this practice we abandon our self-cherishing and only cherish others.

It occurred to me that death meditation is the encouragement to practice Dharma, and a key step in Dharma practice in exchanging self with others. Dharma practice is about cherishing others completely, and death meditation is a fundamental driver to do this.

With this link in mind I returned to my feeling of death coming, and my wish to use my time to practice pure Dharma right now, for the benefit of all.

Dedication

May all living beings recognise that their lives are slipping away moment by moment, and determine to seize the essence of their precious human life through holy Dharma.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to always remember that I will die soon, and use this understanding to keep my experiences in context, and encourage myself to practice Dharma purely, right now.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the determination to not waste this life on meaningless activities by remembering our mortality, and then to consider what this means in light of the advantages of cherishing others.

I began by engaging in breathing meditation. I gradually caught hold of my mind and gained more control over it until it was calm and still.

I then moved on the meditation itself. I began by reminding myself that I will definitely die. My death is just as inevitable as my next breath.

I don’t know when my death will come, and when it does, I will have to leave everything behind. My family, my friends, my projects and my possessions – they will all be left behind. I thought of a blog post I recently read from Kadampa Working Dad where he said that we should have a mind that recognises that it is leaving. Such a mind will not get caught up in attachment to meaningless things.

I wondered what I SHOULD be doing with my time, if not trying to collect possessions. The answer came that I should be using my interactions with others to gain merit and purify negativity.

I imagined walking towards death at a steady pace.  He was standing some way off in front of me. As I walked, I was casting seeds to my left and right. These were karmic seeds of virtue I was planting in my mind. Black smoke was also drifting off my body and rising in the air behind me, slowly disappearing into the distance. This was my non-virtue. I decided that as I lived my life, I should practice only virtue, and purify my negative karma.

I settled on the image of walking towards death without fear or hesitation, secure in the knowledge that when death comes, I will be a pure being. I focused on this aspiration and let my attention sink into it.

From there, I wondered what this means in light of the advantages of cherishing others.

All the happiness in the world comes from cherishing others, so by remembering that I will die I will be encouraging myself to practice purely and to purify my negativity – and a very effective way of doing this is to cherish others sincerely.

I imagined cherishing others on my journey to death, and making every day count. I stayed with this wish for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings remember death and use this realisation to find the path to true lasting peace and happiness.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remember death and try to avoid non-virtuous actions of body, speech or mind. I don’t have time for them.

 

Note

The place I work at has a ‘Quiet Room’ for prayer etc. I found it today and did my meditation there. However, the room is a bit of a let-down. It was just a completely empty room – not even a chair! I’ll have to do something about that!

New Meditation Handbook

All my meditations come from this book - click the image to learn more

Modern Buddhism

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 318 other followers

Categories

Follow me on Facebook

April 2014
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Top Rated

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 318 other followers