Teaching of the month - Jun 2018

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Contemplate and Develop the Right Understanding on Death

12ShuiYue GuanYin

OM MANI PADME HUM!

The subject on Death brings much fear to most minds, yet it is one of the most important subject to contemplate upon if one wishes to practise Buddhism well. That life will always lead to death is a truth which all know but only a few will accept its reality in the true sense of the word.

There is no point in fearing death as it is but part of life. It is painful only when there is a lack of understanding of it or when there is the uncertainty of what happens after death has come. With a calm mind spend some time contemplating on it so that you are able to face it whenever it comes, so that you can impart the knowledge to others. For those who are rich in accumulation, it is a horrible word but to those who are in desperate situations, death is not really so.

One must train the mind to understand that without death there is no rebirth, no hope to life’s situations nor the chance to take higher levels of existence. To be clothed in a diseased body which is beyond medical help, living forever in that condition will be unbearable. Therefore death corrects many imbalances and offer new opportunities and hope. It can also be said that it offers a good break to one after a long struggle with earthly existence. Know this, one should not look at it with fear and anguish.

Death is the topic which only the ignorant avoid but the wise ones who are beyond superstition will spend sufficient time to contemplate in it so that he will not be caught unaware or unprepared. To most people, it comes too suddenly that they may have insufficient time to make good all the evils that they have committed during their lifetime, and they will most certainly take rebirth into the suffering realms. These people will die in grief and regret and by their own fault, they will also most likely cause their next-of-kin to suffer gravely too. How then can anyone hope to face death squarely and calmly? Religious teachings and spiritual practice will develop one’s mind to face the end of life calmly and happily, may put one’s state of mind in the correct perspective so that one’s last thoughts are filled with love and compassion for others, are filled with regrets that one has not done enough for others, and that one will desire to take an even better rebirth than the present one with the view of continuing serving sentient beings. Then that death is but a period of rest and preparation for yet another lifetime of servitude. Then death is not feared but anticipated when life’s energy prevents oneself to practise the dharma effectively. Having live and died uncountable times, one must therefore no longer avoid recognising the truth of death but work strenuously towards training the mind to develop the right understanding on its outcome!

The death of others is also a reminder to one that death is imminent and that no one is able to predict or avoid it! It is the cause of one to wake up and start practising the dharma so as to accumulate lots of merits!

Wednesday, 8th January 1986
11th Moon, 28th Day

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