Death contemplation.

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SarathW
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Death contemplation.

Post by SarathW » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:49 am

Death contemplation.

I was listening to a Dhamma talk given by a Sri Lankan monk.
He took some examples from AN 8.74 and said that many of us practice death contemplation incorrectly.
How do you contemplate on death?
Last edited by SarathW on Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rightviewftw
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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by rightviewftw » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:14 am

Just thinking ;
"In many ways can death come to me; I may have a heart attack or a brain insult at any moment, when going out i could slip and fall, when walking stairs i might suffer a nerve twitch causing me to slip and break my neck, i may be killed by some junkie for less than threefiddy, something may fall on my head from a roof when walking the sidewalk, cataclysmic events, disease etc etc"

"Life is uncertain Death is certain; In this body is made up of the Elements much like the Great Earth and The Great Oceans which will be gone one day, how much more so is this body.."
and imagining;

My body dead, body starting to gas up, becoming bloated and getting purged. If drown the skin will become bloated a lot and it will look quite different than a "dry bloat". If i die in the woods the birds and the animals will flay the bones and scatter them around and if animals don't get their meal the flies will surely be quick to lay eggs in my mouth, my eye sockets and any other hospitable cavity, making a good use of this walking corpse where it lays there that lifeless heap of rotting flesh.

Things like that on loop. Also in general keeping it in mind as much as possible.

This produces visions btw.
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SarathW
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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by SarathW » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:56 am

4. Dutiyamaraṇassatisuttaṃ - Second on the perception of death
Thank you Rightview.
Now you read the Sutta and let me know whether you wish to change or improve your statement.

4. Dutiyamaraṇassatisuttaṃ - Second on the perception of death

Page down two or three times.

http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2S ... ggo-e.html
Last edited by SarathW on Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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thepea
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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by thepea » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:14 pm

Observing arising and passing of phenomenon from the aparent to subtlest as they present themselves. With as calm and balanced mind as I can.

I just observed my wife and children pass by my wallet and the money inside disappeared. :tantrum:

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Sam Vara
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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:20 pm

Sarath, is the point that you (and the Sri Lankan Venerable) is making about the purpose of the death contemplation? i.e. one type of contemplation is about the body after death, in order to bring about greater understanding of the body's natural course and therefore dispassion. The other type is about the necessity of practice because we don't know how much time is remaining, and should fear dying with defilements.

Is that the point you are making?

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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by SarathW » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:24 pm

According to this monk the general understanding of death contemplation is similar to the points made by Rightview.
However, this monk point out that is the wrong death contemplation which leads to the insanity of some meditators.
It appears death contemplation is more about self-review about the state of your mind.

http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... 4-piya.pdf
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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:32 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:24 pm
According to this monk the general understanding of death contemplation is similar to the points made by Rightview.
However, this monk point out that is the wrong death contemplation which leads to the insanity of some meditators.
I don't know enough about different contemplations to say whether any of them are wrong, but it's certainly the case that the "rotting corpses" theme seems to be a more popular one. I've heard that this can potentially be a source of "horrified fascination" rather than dispassion. The reflection on not knowing one's time of death appears to be without that particular drawback, and arouses urgency.

Maybe people who like contemplating corpses ought to reflect on how much time they have got left in which to do it!

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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by rightviewftw » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:13 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:56 am
4. Dutiyamaraṇassatisuttaṃ - Second on the perception of death
Thank you Rightview.
Now you read the Sutta and let me know whether you wish to change or improve your statement.

4. Dutiyamaraṇassatisuttaṃ - Second on the perception of death

Page down two or three times.

http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2S ... ggo-e.html
I may have a heart attack or a brain insult at any moment
you did not ask for an instruction but the point is to get as much sense of urgency as possible and thinking that you die at any moment is how it is done but if you try you will see that having a theme for mind is most useful.
hikkhus, those who developed the perception of death thinking to live this night and day, this day, half the day, until partaking the bowlful of morsel food, until partaking half the bowlful of morsel food and until four or five mouthfuls were chewed and swollowed, to do the dispensation of The Blessed One abode negligently developing the slow perception of death.

Those who developed the perception of death thinking to live until one mouthful was chewed and swollowed and until breathing in and breathing out or breathing out and in.

abode diligently developing the keen perception of death for the destruction of desires.

Therefore, bhikkhus, you should train: -'We will abide developing the keen perception of death for the destruction of desires.
I would like to do it better but it seems that there is only so much one can in practice. if you have suggestions i would appreciate.
So no it is not obvious to me that i should do anything differently based on this Sutta quote.
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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by rightviewftw » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:24 pm


@;
23:40 maranasati, uggha nimitta, body contemplation and arupa jhanas

Also here are more Sutta Instruction AN 6.20 ;
"There is the case where a monk, as day departs and night returns, reflects: 'Many are the [possible] causes of my death. A snake might bite me, a scorpion might sting me, a centipede might bite me. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me. Stumbling, I might fall; my food, digested, might trouble me; my bile might be provoked, my phlegm... piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me.' Then the monk should investigate: 'Are there any evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by me that would be an obstruction for me were I to die in the night?' If, on reflecting, he realizes that there are evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die in the night, then he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. Just as when a person whose turban or head was on fire would put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness to put out the fire on his turban or head, in the same way the monk should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. But if, on reflecting, he realizes that there are no evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die in the night, then for that very reason he should dwell in joy & rapture, training himself day & night in skillful qualities.

"Further, there is the case where a monk, as night departs and day returns, reflects: 'Many are the [possible] causes of my death. A snake might bite me, a scorpion might sting me, a centipede might bite me. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me. Stumbling, I might fall; my food, digested, might trouble me; my bile might be provoked, my phlegm... piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me.' Then the monk should investigate: 'Are there any evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by me that would be an obstruction for me were I to die during the day?' If, on reflecting, he realizes that there are evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die during the day, then he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. Just as when a person whose turban or head was on fire would put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness to put out the fire on his turban or head, in the same way the monk should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. But if, on reflecting, he realizes that there are no evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die during the day, then for that very reason he should dwell in joy & rapture, training himself day & night in skillful qualities.

"This, monks, is how mindfulness of death is developed & pursued so that it is of great fruit & great benefit, gains a footing in the Deathless, and has the Deathless as its final end."
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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by paul » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:18 am

“The third tetrad: “[9] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.’ [10] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in gladdening the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out gladdening the mind.’ [11] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in steadying the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out steadying the mind. [12] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in releasing the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out releasing the mind”
Among the meditation subjects, the ten recollections are used to modify the state of mind in different ways:
Recollection of death as an eventuality is used in step 11 to steady the mind by chastening it, but on the other hand, by focusing on the interval of time remaining in life, as in AN 6:19, it can also be used to gladden the state of mind. This applies equally to the third foundation of mindfulness.
Last edited by paul on Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:28 am

When this was said, the Blessed One addressed the monks. “Whoever develops mindfulness of death, thinking, ‘O, that I might live for a day & night… for a day… for the interval that it takes to eat a meal… for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up four morsels of food, that I might attend to the Blessed One’s instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal’—they are said to dwell heedlessly. They develop mindfulness of death slowly for the sake of ending the effluents.

“But whoever develops mindfulness of death, thinking, ‘O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up one morsel of food… for the interval that it takes to breathe out after breathing in, or to breathe in after breathing out, that I might attend to the Blessed One’s instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal’—they are said to dwell heedfully. They develop mindfulness of death acutely for the sake of ending the effluents.

https://suttacentral.net/en/an6.19
https://suttacentral.net/en/an6.20 an 6.20 has already been quoted in the thread (sadhu!)

ctrl + f charnel ground this sutta https://suttacentral.net/en/dn22
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mara%E1%B9%87asati death contemplation is known as maraṇasati in pāli
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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by rightviewftw » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:11 am

A couple things;
I have this instruction but i don't remember where it is from, my guess is Visudhimagga. One is supposed to recall dead people, like relatives or dead people like the disciples of the past, thinking that none of them escaped death and so wont you. Perhaps someone can recall the origin for this instruction, i am certain i didn't make it up.

Second is just a fun medical fact, if one has blood clot in the leg it can loosen and travel up to the heart or clog some vital plumbing in general, causing sudden death, one of the few real causes for sudden death afaik. I would like to know more like this if people know some causes for sudden deaths.

Also if one is or was a smoker one can think that maybe some cancer has developed already and gone undetected, ready to cause bloodclots and whatnot.

I was doing some Maranasati earlier today and tried to focus more consistently on thinking that i might die before i finish the in or the out-breath.
As in constantly thinking; "I might die before i finish this in-breath" further "I might die before i finish this out-breath" a while into the session.

My current guess is that it is good to use the themes to establish "the mood" and then proceed to do the "deathful breathing" .

I think i would certainly change my mind about the best way to train if i had more experience but i like all of these Maranasati aspects of the training, it is a very pleasant and almost an entertaining practice really.
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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by binocular » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:25 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:49 am
Death contemplation.

I was listening to a Dhamma talk given by a Sri Lankan monk.
He took some examples from AN 8.74 and said that many of us practice death contemplation incorrectly.
If it is in English, could you post a link?

SarathW
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Re: Death contemplation.

Post by SarathW » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:39 pm

Please read Dutiyamaraṇassatisuttaṃ - Second on the perception of death.
Page down twice:

http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2S ... ggo-e.html
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