Contemplating old age sickness and death

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Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby sundara » Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:40 am

Is it good to contemplate old age sickness and death.
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:03 am

sundara wrote:Is it good to contemplate old age sickness and death.


Best to have an experienced teacher with these comtenplations.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:15 am

tiltbillings wrote:
sundara wrote:Is it good to contemplate old age sickness and death.


Best to have an experienced teacher with these comtenplations.


I find that it can be depresssing, a feeling of "not much to look forward to there" :thinking:

Rick
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby appicchato » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:
sundara wrote:Is it good to contemplate old age sickness and death.


Best to have an experienced teacher with these comtenplations.


Pleeeease...at what point isn't it 'best'?...
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:56 am

we are intoxicated with youth, intoxicated with health, intoxicated with wealth- we don't take into account that old age, sickness and death is inevitable. the reason to think these is not to become depressed, rather to be in line with the truth -it motivates us to practice, it makes us aware that we have little time here on earth- gives us a reason to be nice to others as we are all in the same boat, and not for long.

It takes courage to carry out buddhist practices - to face the truth -to be wise. Samsara is all about running away from the truth- wanting to look at only the pleasant, running away from the unpleasant. If we are not bold enough to face uncomfortable truths then the heart of buddhism isn't for you.
With Metta

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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby Individual » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:24 am

sundara wrote:Is it good to contemplate old age sickness and death.

Not always. Sometimes, it's best to focus on more positive things, like our loved ones, what we have to be grateful for, and the true value of our lives.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:36 am

appicchato wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
sundara wrote:Is it good to contemplate old age sickness and death.


Best to have an experienced teacher with these comtenplations.


Pleeeease...at what point isn't it 'best'?...


Geez. picky, picky, picky. Let me rephrase: when doing this sort of practice one should have a teacher, given the potential danger in them.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby cooran » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:40 am

.... there is life itself which teaches if you are able to see and hear ...

Just sent my Mum to hospital in an ambulance ... coughing blood, and breathless.

Please remember her with Metta .... she is very frightened, and pleading to go home .... and
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby Individual » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:42 am

tiltbillings wrote:Geez. picky, picky, picky. Let me rephrase: when doing this sort of practice one should have a teacher, given the potential danger in them.

Danger, meaning... Spontaneous human combustion?
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:51 am

Dear Chris

Chris wrote:.... there is life itself which teaches if you are able to see and hear ...

Just sent my Mum to hospital in an ambulance ... coughing blood, and breathless.

Please remember her with Metta .... she is very frightened, and pleading to go home .... and


You, your mother and your siblings are in my metta.
I dedicate my merits to you all.
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby pink_trike » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:48 am

I agree with Chris, life and one's bathroom mirror is the very best teacher when it comes to old age, sickness, and death - if we're awake to these experiences.

Spitting blood
Clears up reality
And dream alike

- Sunao, Zen monk. Died 1926

Late this last Sunday, I had a major heart attack. For about 45 minutes I was a blink from death. Paramedics came and rushed me to hospital, threw me on a stainless steel table in an icy cold room, poured liquid anesthesia on the groin, cut a hole into the artery, moved a cable up the artery to the heart, dislodged the blockage, inserted a NASA quality tiny sewer pipe in the vein, removed the cable, slapped a bandage on the hole, and stuck the body in bed to recover...and then cleaned the table for the next person, and the next, and the next, and the next... The actual procedure took less than 15 minutes. Observing the massive chest pains and the intense, amazing sensations that were arising as a result of the mechanical manipulations taking place inside the heart cleared away yet another layer of confusion. Looking at my face in the mirror a day later cleared up even more confusion. Taking the 6 drugs daily clears away even more.

We don't need a teacher to contemplate aging, sickness, and death. We only need to see what's right in front of, in us, and all around us. Point at anything that isn't aging and degenerating. At any age, if we look behind our deluded self-cherishing of youth and our veneration of regeneration, we see our denied but nevertheless active shadow...aging and degeneration. We have a choice in every single moment - recognize that each inhale may be the last...or delude ourselves with constant reaching and becoming. This choice is our birth right. Choose carefully. :tongue:
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Vision is Mind
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Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby appicchato » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:08 am

Chris wrote:.... there is life itself which teaches if you are able to see and hear ...

Just sent my Mum to hospital in an ambulance ... coughing blood, and breathless.

Please remember her with Metta .... she is very frightened, and pleading to go home .... and


Hoping it all goes well for your mum Chris...and your family... :heart:
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:39 pm

Best wishes to Chri's mom. Hope she recovers soon. with metta.
With Metta

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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:56 pm

Chris,

Hope your mum is okay. May you, your mother, and other family members be well.

Pink,

Is that your heart attack you are describing? If so, ouch! Hope you are okay now.

:buddha2:
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:59 pm

The sun just rose over here on the West coast of the U.S. Everyday is another day closer to death.

:meditate:
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby cooran » Sun Aug 02, 2009 6:59 am

pink_trike wrote:I agree with Chris, life and one's bathroom mirror is the very best teacher when it comes to old age, sickness, and death - if we're awake to these experiences.

Spitting blood
Clears up reality
And dream alike

- Sunao, Zen monk. Died 1926

Late this last Sunday, I had a major heart attack. For about 45 minutes I was a blink from death. Paramedics came and rushed me to hospital, threw me on a stainless steel table in an icy cold room, poured liquid anesthesia on the groin, cut a hole into the artery, moved a cable up the artery to the heart, dislodged the blockage, inserted a NASA quality tiny sewer pipe in the vein, removed the cable, slapped a bandage on the hole, and stuck the body in bed to recover...and then cleaned the table for the next person, and the next, and the next, and the next... The actual procedure took less than 15 minutes. Observing the massive chest pains and the intense, amazing sensations that were arising as a result of the mechanical manipulations taking place inside the heart cleared away yet another layer of confusion. Looking at my face in the mirror a day later cleared up even more confusion. Taking the 6 drugs daily clears away even more.

We don't need a teacher to contemplate aging, sickness, and death. We only need to see what's right in front of, in us, and all around us. Point at anything that isn't aging and degenerating. At any age, if we look behind our deluded self-cherishing of youth and our veneration of regeneration, we see our denied but nevertheless active shadow...aging and degeneration. We have a choice in every single moment - recognize that each inhale may be the last...or delude ourselves with constant reaching and becoming. This choice is our birth right. Choose carefully. :tongue:


Hello Pink,

Thank you for sharing this. My very best wishes for your complete recovery. I found your post very comforting and accurate.

A strange thing happened when I was sitting with my mother after she was transferred to a ward - she has been diagnosed with pneumonia and further tests are being carried out to see if there is further bacterial infection. While I was sitting there, I experienced tachycardia and the nurses popped me into a wheel chair and had me taken down to the Emergency Department. Ecg, x-ray, blood tests were done Only the ecg was showing anything out of the ordinary. I was made an in-patient on a different floor to my mothers' ward and had tubes in my veins (ouch!) and all the patches for an ecg and the dangly wires still attached to me. It is really horrible to be in a hospital without a change of undies, wearing a hospital gown open down the back, no hair brush or make-up, no toothbrush/toothpaste. :( I saw a cardiologist the next morning and was discharged. I am due for a 'procedure' next Thursday. All I know is I have Dual A-V Nodal Pathways, possibly from birth, now with Paroxysmal SupraventricularTachycardia and it will be treated by radiofrequency catheter ablation. :rolleye: I am due to be readmitted on Thursday at 10.00 a.m. I'm not sure if I will be in overnight or just for the day. It is done under local anasthetic - catheter fed up through the groin. Yikes! :cry: I don't like needles. :tantrum:
But seriously, Pink ... to come back to Dhamma Wheel and read your post gave me a great sense of "fellow feeling". Thanks again.
And a big thank-you for all the good wishes from members. by post and esp. by skype call. Appreciated.


metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby pink_trike » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:03 am

tiltbillings wrote:Geez. picky, picky, picky. Let me rephrase: when doing this sort of practice one should have a teacher, given the potential danger in them.


Hi Tilt,

The vast majority of buddhist practitioners have no regular direct access to teachers in our modern world, or perhaps they get to meet them once every year or three. Decades ago in the U.S. many of us were very fortunate to have consistent direct access to our teachers, but it's unrealistic to assume that's true now, except for a minority of (often economically-privileged) practitioners who have their teachers on speed dial.

I was introduced to both aging/sickness/dying practice and corpse meditation three decades ago by my teacher's casual suggest - and apparently no further discussion was required. I've been doing both consistently since then as a lifetime practice commitment, with acknowledgement by all of my subsequent teachers in three traditions. To suggest that one "should" have a teacher just to beneficially contemplate old age, sickness, and death strikes me as infantilizing - and it contributes to the mystification of these very natural human experiences by placing them into the hands of "experts".

The practitioner of corpse meditation would benefit by making themselves aware of potential "side effects" of this strong and effective medicine so that if negative mind states arise they know to seek out a teacher or a place like Dhamma Wheel where they can discuss these reactions, but aging/sickness/death practices are beneficial for all practitioners, imo.
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Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby pink_trike » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:23 am

Chris wrote:
Hello Pink,

Thank you for sharing this. My very best wishes for your complete recovery. I found your post very comforting and accurate.

A strange thing happened when I was sitting with my mother after she was transferred to a ward - she has been diagnosed with pneumonia and further tests are being carried out to see if there is further bacterial infection. While I was sitting there, I experienced tachycardia and the nurses popped me into a wheel chair and had me taken down to the Emergency Department. Ecg, x-ray, blood tests were done Only the ecg was showing anything out of the ordinary. I was made an in-patient on a different floor to my mothers' ward and had tubes in my veins (ouch!) and all the patches for an ecg and the dangly wires still attached to me. It is really horrible to be in a hospital without a change of undies, wearing a hospital gown open down the back, no hair brush or make-up, no toothbrush/toothpaste. :( I saw a cardiologist the next morning and was discharged. I am due for a 'procedure' next Thursday. All I know is I have Dual A-V Nodal Pathways, possibly from birth, now with Paroxysmal SupraventricularTachycardia and it will be treated by radiofrequency catheter ablation. :rolleye: I am due to be readmitted on Thursday at 10.00 a.m. I'm not sure if I will be in overnight or just for the day. It is done under local anasthetic - catheter fed up through the groin. Yikes! :cry: I don't like needles. :tantrum:
But seriously, Pink ... to come back to Dhamma Wheel and read your post gave me a great sense of "fellow feeling". Thanks again.
And a big thank-you for all the good wishes from members. by post and esp. by skype call. Appreciated.

metta
Chris

Hi Chris,

Both you and your mom are in my thoughts...

I find it helpful when walking through the doors of a hospital to privately regard it as a temple while I'm there. I regard paramedics, nurses, doctors, and support folks as modeling the Dharma, each in their own way...by modeling aware or clouded behavior and mind states. I regard their behavior/mind states/treatment as teachings and regard the other patients, each in their own unfortunate vignette, as embodied apparitions of wisdom that I'm fortunate to encounter. I regard the terrible food, noise, cold, wires, beeping, endless parade of nurses at all hours of the day and night as a practice in renunciation. I find this flip in perception from "a place I don't really want to be" to a place that is full of potential clarity and benefit to be very useful and it colors my relationship beneficially with whatever and whoever I encounter while there - and, best of all, it provides a great stage for the mind to reveal it's antics for what they really are. Just another practice retreat...
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Contemplating old age sickness and death

Postby cooran » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:42 am

Hello Pink, all,

It was my day to provide food Dana for the two monks at Dhammagiri. I asked them to dedicate the merits to my mother, and Bhante Dhammasiha had heard about my upcoming experience on this coming Thursday. That is also the Uposatha Day in our Tradition and he said that he and Bhante Paramito will chant the Bojjhangas while holding me in their minds.
When I told him it would be a local anasthetic and that, being the coward I am, I think I would have preferred a general anasthetic he spoke about how, even if an experience is unpleasant, it is much better for a practitioner to be awake and mindful while it happens. I can see his point and will try to keep the Dhamma in mind at the time.

Glad of your advice Pink.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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