Monday, August 31, 2009

meditate on death

If you want to help other people overcome their fear of death, you have to learn how to overcome your own fear of death as well, by abandoning attachment to the body, abandoning attachment to sensual pleasures, avoiding cruel actions, and gaining direct insight into the Deathless. With your fears overcome, you’ll be much more effective in teaching the Dharma to those on their deathbed. You won’t be disturbed by the physical horrors of death, you’ll be able to communicate directly to the needs of the dying person, and your words will carry more weight, for they come from direct experience.

Your compassion will be educated not by books or feelings, but by a clear insight into what dies and what doesn’t. Ultimately, these two lessons boil down to one: Meditate, as an act of compassion both for yourself and for others, even if death seems far away. When the time comes to die, you’ll be less of a burden on those who are caring for you. In the meantime, if you’re called on to comfort those who are sick or dying, your compassion will be more genuinely helpful, and you’ll have a more effective
message to teach.

Purity of Heart, Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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