On the ninth day of Christmas, my True Self gave to me;
9 Points of Death Meditation
(8 Great Tenets of Mahayana; 7 Factors of Awakening; 6 Paramitas; 5 Indriyana; 4 Noble Truths; 3 Dharma Seals; 2 Satyas; and a Buddha by the Bodhi Tree)
The Nine-Point Death Meditation
Death. Be honest with yourself; what did that word evoke just then when you read it? The brutal reality is not death, it’s that most of us haven’t given death the time of day, never mind contemplated it in the stillness of meditation.
Death is as definite as life
The time of death is indefinite
At the time of death, Dharma is of strict importance
These are the Three hypotheses, and within the meditation each is explored in 3 ways and a conclusion drawn.
Death is definite
- Name someone that has lived but will never undergo the process of death. I cannot think of one. Name people you know have lived and have died. All those you were close to. Nothing can prevent the fact that if one is a living human, they will one day be a dead one. Even you.
- What is death? Can it be said that right now you are in the process of dieing? From the moment of one’s birth, death begins. And when one has reached the threshold of life and death, can death by delayed for just one more moment? What is done is done.
- Death doesn’t care that you were waiting until the stars aligned to begin your practicing Dharma. Death will not wait for you to realise your True Self. Right now, if you were to die, would that be ok?
The Time of Death is Uncertain
- People assume death is not waiting around the corner. Do you assume you know death is sometime later on? The nature of death is uncertain, the time of death is uncertain, the place where you’ll be when you die is uncertain, the people who will be around you, or not is uncertain.
- Death is naturally easier for the living than living. Even when just sitting the body is exerting tremendous effort just to maintain itself and keep decay at bay. Death is closer than it looks, and easier than it seems.
- The body is fragile. The body is not invincible. The body is as organic as the autumn leaves on the forest floor.
At the Time of Death, the Dharma is of Strict Importance
- How much energy and time and emotion do you put into accumulating money and possessions? If you have lots of money and possessions will death be any different than if you had less money and possessions?
- Friends and relatives may be able to support us in our dieing, but how do you know they’ll be around or even have the capacity to support you? Is it their responsibility anyway? Who’s death is it?
- The body, how much have we invested just emotionally in the body during our life? Is that useful at the time of death? What is decaying at the time of death? How can the decaying help in death? It is the death.
The conclusions of each of the 3 main points after the 3 considerations:
I must practice the Dharma
I must practice the Dharma now
Dharma practice is not an ego inflation exercise. It is more important than all else during life and even into the time of death.
I find this meditation to be lucid and sobering; a breath of fresh air. I find it brings clarity to the whole day, and peace to any situation. I find it refreshes my priorities, enables me to appreciate myself and others more, increases my capacity to be compassionate and approach difficult situations with equanimity. It puts me into perspective. It reminds me of the first intention. I am truly grateful that this meditation is accessible to me, and to all of you also. It’s never too early to begin dharma practice, you’re never too young to contemplate death.
Many many thanks, wishing you well on the path,
– a dharmacaterpillar