How do you do Death Meditation?

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How do you do Death Meditation?

Postby Micheal Kush » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:10 pm

How exactly do you do death meditation?

I want to start this practice but there are no availabe sources as to precisely how to perform it.

Can you please inform me? Thanks

With metta, mike
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Re: How do you do Death Meditation?

Postby daverupa » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:28 pm

Do you mean a concerted practice apart from death as a daily reflection?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: How do you do Death Meditation?

Postby Micheal Kush » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:48 pm

Yes. As in, actually meditating on death and its imminenece. I just need to know the precise details of its contemplative practice. And thanks for reminding me the daily reminder of it.

With metta,mike
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Re: How do you do Death Meditation?

Postby daverupa » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:56 pm

Well, recently I read the following Sutta:

AN 6.19:

When this was said, the Blessed One addressed the monks. "Whoever develops mindfulness of death, thinking, 'O, that I might live for a day & night... for a day... for the interval that it takes to eat a meal... for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up four morsels of food, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal' — they are said to dwell heedlessly. They develop mindfulness of death slowly for the sake of ending the effluents.

"But whoever develops mindfulness of death, thinking, 'O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up one morsel of food... for the interval that it takes to breathe out after breathing in, or to breathe in after breathing out, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal' — they are said to dwell heedfully. They develop mindfulness of death acutely for the sake of ending the effluents.


So, the approaches that receive praise are:

1: 'O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up one morsel of food, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions.'

2; 'O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to breathe out after breathing in, or to breathe in after breathing out, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions.'

The line, 'O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up four morsels of food, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions' and other lines conveying a longer stretch of time are connected with dwelling heedlessly.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: How do you do Death Meditation?

Postby Micheal Kush » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:47 pm

This is helpful thank you. Any more suggestions would be conducive.

With metta, mike
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Re: How do you do Death Meditation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:56 pm

Micheal Kush wrote:This is helpful thank you. Any more suggestions would be conducive.

With metta, mike


From the Satipatthana Sutta:

Whoever recorded the Satipatthana Sutta wrote:"And further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body dead, one, two, or three days: swollen, blue and festering, thrown into the charnel ground, he thinks of his own body thus: 'This body of mine too is of the same nature as that body, is going to be like that body and has not got past the condition of becoming like that body.'

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees, whilst it is being eaten by crows, hawks, vultures, dogs, jackals or by different kinds of worms, a body that had been thrown into the charnel ground, he thinks of his own body thus..

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body, thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to a skeleton together with (some) flesh and blood held in by the tendons, he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to a blood-besmeared skeleton without flesh but held in by the tendons, he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to a skeleton held in by the tendons but without flesh and not besmeared with blood, he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to bones gone loose, scattered in all directions — a bone of the hand, a bone of the foot, a shin bone, a thigh bone, the pelvis, spine and skull, each in a different place — he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to bones, white in color like a conch, he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to bones more than a year old, heaped together, he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to bones gone rotten and become dust, he thinks of his own body thus...


Do you do any 32 parts of the body meditation? Death meditation is easy to work in with the framework of impermanence/repulsiveness of the body meditation. Establish mindfulness and concentration on the body and move through your skeleton, flesh, hair, organs, and all other parts. At each point, remember the nine contemplations above. See them as what they are and then see them as what they will be - at the moment of death, a week after death, a year after death, etc.

Another possible approach is what a monk I knew always jokingly called "Metta meditation but backwards and with death." Start by reflecting how all beings die. Reflect on all beings' bondage to death and the inescapable decay that all beings face. Then go through classes of people - rich, poor, old, young, white, black, Buddhist, non-Buddhist, wise, wicked, and so on. Reflect mindfully on how they will all meet death on equal terms. Then move to perhaps your family and relatives, or friends and acquaintances, and again reflect on the death that awaits them. Finally move into yourself and see with dispassion and mindfulness the inevitability of your death.

Make sure to not do this in a gloomy, anxious or self-pitying way! The point of mindfulness of death meditation is not to depress you but to inspire dispassion and samvega: a sense of urgency as well as repulsion towards heedless living.

Good luck!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: How do you do Death Meditation?

Postby Micheal Kush » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:28 pm

Lonesome, thanks for the immense benefit.

Actually, my stream of thinking correlated with the second approach of death like contemplation where one reflects the inevtiable imminence of death pervading each and all sentient beings. Also, it has occurred to me that Buddhaghosa has also give conditions and useful advice pertaining to the practice.

And of course, i plan to help myself accomodate to the reality of death and not lets its illusory evasiveness elude my grasp. I have a certian habitual tendency to think death will inflict me at old age but this is cowardly thinking and self assuring.

With metta, mike
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Re: How do you do Death Meditation?

Postby bodom » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:44 pm

Also, it has occurred to me that Buddhaghosa has also give conditions and useful advice pertaining to the practice.


Indeed, see here:

Visuddhimagga — The Path of Purification: The Classic Manual of Buddhist Doctrine and Meditation
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: How do you do Death Meditation?

Postby Micheal Kush » Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:40 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Micheal Kush wrote:This is helpful thank you. Any more suggestions would be conducive.

With metta, mike


From the Satipatthana Sutta:

Whoever recorded the Satipatthana Sutta wrote:"And further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body dead, one, two, or three days: swollen, blue and festering, thrown into the charnel ground, he thinks of his own body thus: 'This body of mine too is of the same nature as that body, is going to be like that body and has not got past the condition of becoming like that body.'

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees, whilst it is being eaten by crows, hawks, vultures, dogs, jackals or by different kinds of worms, a body that had been thrown into the charnel ground, he thinks of his own body thus..

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body, thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to a skeleton together with (some) flesh and blood held in by the tendons, he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to a blood-besmeared skeleton without flesh but held in by the tendons, he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to a skeleton held in by the tendons but without flesh and not besmeared with blood, he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to bones gone loose, scattered in all directions — a bone of the hand, a bone of the foot, a shin bone, a thigh bone, the pelvis, spine and skull, each in a different place — he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to bones, white in color like a conch, he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to bones more than a year old, heaped together, he thinks of his own body thus...

And, further, O bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu, in whatever way, sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to bones gone rotten and become dust, he thinks of his own body thus...


Do you do any 32 parts of the body meditation? Death meditation is easy to work in with the framework of impermanence/repulsiveness of the body meditation. Establish mindfulness and concentration on the body and move through your skeleton, flesh, hair, organs, and all other parts. At each point, remember the nine contemplations above. See them as what they are and then see them as what they will be - at the moment of death, a week after death, a year after death, etc.

Another possible approach is what a monk I knew always jokingly called "Metta meditation but backwards and with death." Start by reflecting how all beings die. Reflect on all beings' bondage to death and the inescapable decay that all beings face. Then go through classes of people - rich, poor, old, young, white, black, Buddhist, non-Buddhist, wise, wicked, and so on. Reflect mindfully on how they will all meet death on equal terms. Then move to perhaps your family and relatives, or friends and acquaintances, and again reflect on the death that awaits them. Finally move into yourself and see with dispassion and mindfulness the inevitability of your death.

Make sure to not do this in a gloomy, anxious or self-pitying way! The point of mindfulness of death meditation is not to depress you but to inspire dispassion and samvega: a sense of urgency as well as repulsion towards heedless living.

Good luck!


Quick question. Can I integrate these two approaches in meditation or does it really matter? What I mean is, can I if I want to, switch up sessions by doing one after the other or should I just stick with one approach and develop it?

With metta, mike
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Re: How do you do Death Meditation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:24 am

Micheal Kush wrote:Quick question. Can I integrate these two approaches in meditation or does it really matter? What I mean is, can I if I want to, switch up sessions by doing one after the other or should I just stick with one approach and develop it?

With metta, mike

I have no idea, but I can't imagine doing both would be too horrible. I think mindfulness of death is less about developing and more about repeating.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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