“Life is uncertain but death is” That’s a common teaching/phrase in Buddhism, and perhaps in other religions too, as it’s unrebutable that we are immortal. Where there is life, there will be death to follow. So in Buddhist practice, it is encouraged to contemplate death.
I recall the moment when I was in a retreat, we were basically contemplating death. We were lying down and imagining that we were in our own coffin. Then we were asked a question: how do you feel?
At that time, I wasn’t thinking much, I felt calm and peaceful, and a word came to mind: LOVE. I found it interesting that the word came into my mind, as I didn’t construct such thought.
Upon reflection, I felt if I were to leave this world, nothing matters but how I live my life. When I die I can’t take anything from this world. I can’t take my possessions, body, or beloved ones. I have to abandon all.. so at death those matter not. Interestingly, the sense of abandonment brought about peaceful feeling. The worries I have in the world seem to dissolve and matter less.
When we do a lot of death contemplation we realise how fleeting this life is, and any moment can be our last one. It helps remind us not to take things for granted in life. Also it helps us teach patience and perseverance as nothing lasts forever; any difficulty or pain we are experiencing now will pass. It also helps us assess our values.
Some teachers also say to understand death is to understand life. To know how to live, we need to know how to die.
So, are you ready when the Lord Death comes knocking at your door?
Thanks for reading this musing. As always, wishing you well.