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  • Reflections on Death


  • Timeless Wisdom

    Nothing is ever wholly lost.
    That which is excellent remains
    forever a part of this universe.
    			Ralph Waldo Emerson
    There is no death,
    Only a change of worlds.
    			Chief Seattle
    Invisible before birth are all beings;
    and after death invisible again.
    They are seen between two unseens.
    Why in this Truth find sorrow?
    			Sri Krishna to Arjuna
    Uncalled he hither came, unbidden he will go.
    Even as he came he went, what cause is there for woe?
    No friend's lament can move the ashes of the dead.
    Why should I grieve?  He goes the way he had to tread.
    			Buddhist saying
    If on waking up in the morning you do not meditate on death, 
         your entire morning will be wasted.
    If at noon you do not meditate on death,
         your entire afternoon will be wasted.
    If in the evening you do not meditate on death,
         your entire night will be wasted.
    In this way, most people waste their entire lives.
    			Vajrayana Death Meditation
    At the time of death, only goodness is of value.
    			Acarya Santideva
    Oh my Mind! Prepare that great day
    When neither friends, nor relatives, wealth nor power
    Will be able to help you!
    They will stand round your bed,
    While you sink slowly into the arms of Death.
    Who will then befriend you?
    You will shed tears of woe over lost opportunities,
    While they are ordering a coffin for you.
    Then, O my Mind!  
    The little good you have done to the needy,
    The comforts you have sacrificed for others,
    Will be the source of your strength.
    You will not be able to deceive Death,
    Nor bribe Him, nor cheat Him into forgetfulness.
    Drink the nectar of the holy Name of Hari,
    Practice truthfulness, humility, compassion
    And service of the holy Saints of God.
    O my Mind!  Prepare for that great day.
    			Shri Dada Sanghita
    It is the denial of death that is partially responsible
    for people living empty, purposeless lives.  When
    we live as though we will live forever, it becomes
    too easy to postpone the things we know we must do.
    When you live your life in preparation for tomorrow
    or in remembrance of yesterday, each today is lost. 
    In contrast, when you fully understand that each day
    you awaken could be the last you have, you take that
    day to grow, to become more of who you really are,
    to reach out to other human beings.
    			Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
    			On Death and Dying
    Today's death may come before tomorrow's practice.
    			Kunga Rimpoche
    The Grand Master of a Zen Master died.
    Afterwards, one of the disciples of the Zen Master
    saw the Master crying, and was very surprised:
        "Why are you crying, Master? Don't you know that
              time, life, death are illusory?" 
        "Yes, I know," answered the Master, "but I loved his
              grinning face, and I'll not see it every morning for 
              a while, so let me cry!"
    Self inside self, You are nothing but me.
    Self inside self, I am only You.
    What we are together
    will never die.
    The why and how of this?
    What does it matter?
    			Lalla, Indian mystic
    			14th century
    Whoever brought me here will have to take me home. 
    Unlike life, death cannot be taken away from man,
    and therefore we may consider it as the gift of God.

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