Sunday, November 16, 2008

Contemplating Death

Happy Death Mask, NepalImage by Wonderlane via Flickr
Contemplating death
is something that the Buddhists have developed into a fine art. This may sound incredibly morbid, and it is, in a way, but it can also be used as a path to greater liberation in life.

By seriously contemplating our own mortality we can gain greater gratitude for the precious nature of each moment, and release our minds from the bondage of the fears that surround aging, illness and death.

In Buddhism this is considered part of a broad spectrum of thoughts and behaviors which express our "grasping" and "aversion" to many things; the largest of these being "grasping" for more life, and "aversion" to death. Brian Schell, of has this to say:

"...fear is generally a result of attachment. Buddhists consider attachment (”grasping”) a bad thing. Everything changes, and that’s something we have to learn and accept. That’s a whole lot easier to say than do, but that really is it in a nutshell. Think for a bit on what causes your fear. What are you afraid of losing? Is that something (or someone) that you are going to lose eventually anyway? Most things and people are going to be lost someday, no matter what we do; it is important to understand and accept that."
The Loden Jinpa website provided more why and how information on this concept, including guidance for engaging in a meditation on death, here.

Coach Charrise, of the blog Emergence Business Coaching, offers some great starter questions for beginning an inquiry into the nature of death, and living to the fullest.
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