dagon wrote:One of the problems with life is that towards the end all that was “good and pleasurable” in life comes back as a source of grief. Usually the more you have had the more you grieve.
Lets say you have had a particular pleasurable experience early in life you will spend most of you life trying to recapture that moment and then grieve for it all over again when you realize that life has past you by and you will never live that moment again. There is a saying in the east that “real pleasure is the absence of pain”
Hmmm interesting. The cliche at least is that your life flashes before your eyes and all that jazz, so it would be very conceivable that some pleasures may reap bad kamma at the time of death in the form of this kind of regret.
Most people do not have a quick death (personally I would think that would be good karma). There is death and there is dying; death is merely the end point of the process of dying. The dying process (which can take many years) is where most have an “opportunity” to see their lives according to their intelligence, spiritually and morality. Not knowing what happens at the very point of death and beyond that apart from rebirth – I still think that death constitutes a release from the experiences (but not karma) of this life. At the time of death you see a change in the face where the indicate suffer ceases; but the ageing and suffering of dying remains etched in the face. The point is that death is cessation of a phoneme we call life rather that “an event” in its self.
Where there is real suffering is in the dying process; a process that is both physical and mental. In most cases it is relatively easy to manage physical pain, but the mental and emotional torment is harder for the person or others to manage. If you think of what has brought you joy and happiness throughout your life and reflect on what it would mean to you never to experience that again you can start to experience grief. We all experience grief at some level through our lives but in the dying process it is more profound, more real and impossible to escape.
During the dying process most experience regret for things they have done or not done, but unlike our situation there is no real future to change anything. Dying as the ending of life causes people to reflect on the past – most of us know from our practice that this is a source of suffering and stress. The dying also reflect on the future and in particular the sadness that those they love will suffer – they know this because of the suffering that they have personally experienced from similar events.
Death and dying cause every happiness in life to become an emotional negative unless you manage to live in the present; have metta, compassion, joy and equanimity. However to achieve that you will need to be very advanced in you practice and may not have a rebirth and life to “look forward’ to.
One of the problems we face is that we have a belief that happiness is something to be chased. For us in this body, with this mind happiness is associated with activity – the joy experienced in mediation is the closest that we get to experiencing passive happiness. Anything that requires activity whether be that of the mind or the body requires energy/effort; and effort pushes against something else – which at the same time is pushing against you. This is why there is always change in our lives and changes cause suffering. So I return to my statement that real happiness is the absence of pain, suffering or stress.