Mindfulness Of Death

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Mindfulness Of Death

Post by yawares » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:10 pm

Dear Members,

This beautiful Sunday I proudly present an amazing article to you all.
Mindfulness Of Death
[Presented by Nina Van Gorkom @ DSG]

Today I listened to Lodewijk reading about the perfection of
pa~n~naa, and mindfulness of death and this helped me:

The Buddha’s different methods of teaching Dhamma are in conformity
with each other, there is no contradiction between them. For example,
the Buddha taught mindfulness of death, marana sati. Moreover, he
also taught that there are three kinds of death: momentary death
(khanika marana), conventional death (sammutti marana) and final
death (samuccheda marana). Momentary death is death at each
moment, and this means that our life occurs during only one moment of
citta. One may say that life lasts long, that a person is very old,
but in reality, life is a series of cittas that arise and fall away
in succession. If we reduce the duration of life that seems to be
very long into just one extremely short moment of citta, we can
understand that life occurs during only one moment of seeing. At this
moment of seeing, there is just one moment of life that arises and
sees; if there would not be seeing there would be no life. Seeing has
arisen and sees, and then it dies, it lasts for an extremely short
moment. At the moment we are hearing, life occurs only during one
short moment of hearing and then there is death.

When someone who develops the perfection of paññå is mindful of
death, he should not merely think of death in conventional sense,
sammutti maraùa. It is not enough to think, even with some degree of
detachment, that there is nobody who can own anything, and that one
day we shall be separated from all things, that all we used to take
for self or mine will disappear. Merely intellectual understanding
cannot lead to the eradication of defilements. The true understanding
of momentary death, death occurring at each moment of citta, is
different from understanding of death in the conventional sense. We
should understand momentary death: each moment we are seeing, seeing
arises and then dies. It is the same in the case of hearing, the
other sense-cognitions and thinking. If we have right understanding
of momentary death, we will be able to investigate and know as they
are the characteristics of the realities that are appearing. This is
mindfulness of death.

There are different levels of mindfulness of death, in accordance
with a person’s understanding. There is mindfulness of death of the
level of someone who develops calm and this is different from the
level of someone who develops understanding by considering and
investigating the characteristic of death which occurs each moment.
If we are mindful of momentary death we come to see the disadvantage
of clinging to what falls away immediately.
yawares :anjali:

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