Briefly on Death
An excerpt from My Buddhist Journal; A Year in the Life of a Buddhist
I occasionally think about my death, and death in general, during meditation. Not in a bad way. Not in a morose way, but in a way that simply reinforces the under-standing of Impermanence. I’ll wish for the Dalai Lama a long life, so he can continue to teach and inspire others. I wish for the same for other teachers of the Dharma. Still, I know they will pass away, as all of us will pass away. We need to put the fear of that process behind us.
I don’t remember who said it, but I like the idea of the “good death.” A death that is embraced and welcomed simply for what it is – another natural part of life – just like birth, sickness and old age. Our society seems to rail against ageing and death in a way that just doesn’t make sense to me. We know we will age and we know we will die. You’d think we’d want to do both well, like other aspects of our lives. Raise good children, get a good education, have a good career, live in a good neighborhood. But when it comes to death we don’t even try to do it well. We fight it right up to the last seconds with drugs, radical surgery, mechanical means and organ replacement.
The other day I was on the 401 east bound, coming into the city about 4pm after a day of hiking. The traffic was ... well ... miserable, insufferable, crawling and unrelenting. It was ter-rible. I thought to myself, “I’m glad I don’t live forever.” It occurred to me then, that things don’t get much better. Despite all our “progress” things just don’t get much better ...
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