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.


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.