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Welcome to the second week of our Meditation Project, where examine the object from different angles to improve our understanding. Towards the end of the week we bring all our thoughts together in two qualified meditations. The anticipated format is one meditation per day Monday to Friday, and then the same meditation on Saturday and Sunday, bringing all our understanding together. [These meditations are taken from the Book – How to Transform Your Life, available from Tharpa.com]
Our meditation topic for Week 2 is Death.
Week 2 Object: A heartfelt determination to devote our entire life to practising Dharma purely and sincerely, and to not allow ourselves to become attached to the things of this life.
Day 1 Contemplation
Our main wish is to avoid all suffering and experience only happiness. The only way finally to end our suffering is by following the spiritual path. However because our desire for worldly enjoyment is so strong, we have little or no interest in spiritual practice. From a spiritual point of view this lack of interest in spiritual practice is a type of laziness called ‘the laziness of attachment’. For as long as we have this laziness, the door to liberation will be closed to us, and consequently we will continue to experience misery in this life and endless suffering in life after life. The way to overcome this laziness is to meditate on death.
Day 2 Contemplation
No matter where I am born, whether is is in the fortunate or unfortunate states of existence, I will definitely have to die. However far and wide I travel, I will never find a place where I can hide from death, even if I voyage far into space or tunnel deep underground. No-one alive at the time of the first century remains alive today and no-one alive at the time of the second century and so forth remains alive today. Could I alone outlive death?
Day 3 Contemplation
Sometimes we fool ourself by thinking, ‘I am young and so I will not die soon’, but we can see how misguided this thought is merely by observing how many young people die before their parents. The time of death is completely uncertain, We could die today.
Day 4 Contemplation
Sometimes we think, ‘I am healthy and so I will not die soon’, but we can see that people who are healthy and looking after the sick sometimes die before their patients. The time of death is completely uncertain, We could die today.
Day 5 Contemplation
Contemplating that we ourselves will definitely die, and that the time of our death is completely uncertain, and understanding that there is no guarantee that we will not die today, we should think deeply, day and night, ‘I may die today’.
After becoming familiar with our meditation object through the previous five meditations, we can now try to bring all our understanding together in one object of placement meditation, arrived at through the following contemplation:
Since I will soon have to depart from this life, there is no sense in my becoming attached to the things of this life. Instead I will take to heart the real essence of my human life by sincerely engaging in pure spiritual practice.