The fear of death

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Re: The fear of death

Postby BlackBird » Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:45 am

Thanks Pink, it was a really moving story.

Indeed it is so wrong that we sweep death under the carpet. I remember when I was a child, maybe 4 years old I asked my mum if I was going to die. She responded that it's not something I would have to think about for a very long time.

That seems to typify societal response. "Don't worry about it now" "Don't think about it"
But when does one think about it... When do we consider the truth of life? When it comes knocking at the door and we realise we're not ready?

I doubt we'd waste our time on half of the meaningless activities we fill our day with, if death we're to be made more apparent. For what point is there in amassing fortunes, posessions and land when you can really only borrow in life, you cannot own. :shrug:


:anjali: to you all

Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: The fear of death

Postby clw_uk » Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:22 pm

Hey, Good choice of topic

I used to fear death a lot, hated it but i cant say I do anymore. I do sometimes fear the process of dying (atm i dont want it to be horrible such as fire etc) but not death itself. I dont usualy think about "is there isnt there" but on this occasion i will delve into it.


The way I would put it is like this, if there is oblivion at death so what. The very aspect of oblivion means there will be nothing, no pain or sadness or thoughts of "i dont like this" and if that truly is the way life ends then thats the only way it could ever have been and so it is perfectly natural. As Epicurus*, who was an annihilationist, said:

“Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.”


He said to fear death itself is a misunderstanding since your fearing something that is nothing, it has nothing to give you to fear (since your not there) and you wont be conscious of it only the act of dying.


Now if there is "something", as long as i have lived this life well (and if the next life is affected by this one) then I shouldnt have anything to fear about it


So in essence, whatever the "outcome" there is nothing to fear either way, unless you turn away from wisdom and leave a cruel life, in which case if there is something then you might have something to slightly fear


Of course from a Dhammic POV this is all slightly bound up with "I", kinda feel the above quote could be adapted to Anatta "Death means nothing". Death is there when there is clinging to 5 khandas. No "I am" and there cannot be any problem with "death" (reguardless of any outcome)


It did take a while for my to overcome the fear though and to this I owe a lot to Buddha, Epicurus (and myself of course :lol: ). Its got to the point now where I feel quite comfortable discussing "my" own death, I even joke about it on occasion


*my favourite philosopher 2nd only to Buddha
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: The fear of death

Postby dragonwarrior » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:40 am

This topic reminds me of a preach in the Vihara by a Bhikkhu:
"Many of us still fear of death. Actually we have been born and died too much times -that we would never know, but in reality we are still not ready to face death because we are still tied to this world, anxious about the future (life after death), and we still have a lot of worldly desires. But if we go through this life, strive on with heedfulness, always grateful for our life and always do good things, then life would be more meaningful and hopefully there is no regret in the future."

*pardon my english.
:anjali:
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Re: The fear of death

Postby alex jansen » Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:56 am

There are those who actually want death to come quickly. People desperate to avoid the unpleasantness of life like terminally ill patients who no longer want to burden anyone, or those who die for honor and glory like kamikaze pilots, including those that did Sep 11. Regardless of motive, they can and often do hit that exit button. The desire for death may not seem apparent in main street USA but take a drive in the streets of Afghanistan, Sudan and places like that and the picture changes - a lot.
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Re: The fear of death

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:19 am

alex jansen wrote:There are those who actually want death to come quickly. People desperate to avoid the unpleasantness of life like terminally ill patients who no longer want to burden anyone, or those who die for honor and glory like kamikaze pilots, including those that did Sep 11. Regardless of motive, they can and often do hit that exit button. The desire for death may not seem apparent in main street USA but take a drive in the streets of Afghanistan, Sudan and places like that and the picture changes - a lot.


you can look anywhere peoplewnting death are all around, in every culture and status socially and health.
seuicide i a tragic thing!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The fear of death

Postby pink_trike » Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:25 am

Modern civilization is intoxicated with an unconscious death wish.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: The fear of death

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:34 am

pink_trike wrote:Modern civilization is intoxicated with an unconscious death wish.

I agree:
"The origin of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is the craving that produces renewal of being accompanied by enjoyment and lust, and enjoying this and that; in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving for being, craving for non-being.

You see plenty craving for non-being out there...

Mike
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Re: The fear of death

Postby clw_uk » Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:32 am

pink_trike wrote:Modern civilization is intoxicated with an unconscious death wish.



How so? There are more Theists on the planet than any other kind of philosophical belief so I would say most people like the eternal life wish than anything else
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: The fear of death

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:36 am

clw_uk wrote:How so?

I can't speak directly for Pink, but as I said above I see a lot of "craving for non-being", using drugs such as alcohol, entertainment, and various other activities, to "escape" from life.

Metta
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Re: The fear of death

Postby clw_uk » Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:40 am

mikenz66 wrote:
clw_uk wrote:How so?

I can't speak directly for Pink, but as I said above I see a lot of "craving for non-being", using drugs such as alcohol, entertainment, and various other activities, to "escape" from life.

Metta
Mike




As of the early 21st century, Christianity has between 1.5 billion[14][15] and 2.1 billion adherents


Islam - 1.3–1.6 billion

Judaism - 12–18.2 million


Hindusim- 950 million – 1.4 billion[17]

I dont really see how thats true on a global scale, maybe small pockets of western civilisation


metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: The fear of death

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:56 am

Hi Mike
mikenz66 wrote:
clw_uk wrote:How so?

I can't speak directly for Pink, but as I said above I see a lot of "craving for non-being", using drugs such as alcohol, entertainment, and various other activities, to "escape" from life.

Metta
Mike


Do you really think those behavurs are symptomatic of annihilationism? Personally, I tend to think that the vast majority of humanity engage in various sensual entertainments to escape their experience of dukkha. However, from what I've observed of modern western culture, it appears to be dominated by eternalism view through the mass-delusions of thinking one is going to live forever and invincible: (it [demise of your choice] won't happen to me). I would even suggest that some suicides are committed on the presumption that what comes next must be better than this life.
Sorry for the ramblings... I've been doing some research and cogitating as the result of an invitation to speak to our year 10s (age 15-16) on the 'Buddhist' perspective on death and dying.
metta

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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: The fear of death

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:00 am

Ben wrote:Do you really think those behavurs are symptomatic of annihilationism? Personally, I tend to think that the vast majority of humanity engage in various sensual entertainments to escape their experience of dukkha. ...

Yes, that's what I meant. Escape. I didn't mean they wanted to drink themselves to death, just drink themselves into forgetting for a while... Or escape via various other self-destructive actions (I certainly notice that in myself from time to time...).

And, of course, as you point out, that's just one side of "modern problems", but I thought it was helpful to reflect on what "craving for non-being" could encompass in addition to simple suicide...

Mike
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Re: The fear of death

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:14 am

Absolutely.
Thanks for the clarification!
metta

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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: The fear of death

Postby alex jansen » Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:39 am

Interesting views. I haven't met a suicide bomber or anyone who wants to be euthanized but I've met plenty of people who say, "Well, we all die of something sooner or later so... down the hatch!" before they down a fugu (poisonous blowfish) sashimi or for that matter, clean out a pack of ciggies a day.

While they may be joking, some people seem almost resigned to death when they feed addiction and that includes adrenaline junkies. Had a friend who loved base jumping because it made him feel "alive." He had a broken leg to vouch for it. You might have seen the bumper stickers, "Give me <your choice of thrill> or give me death!" Strange, this penchant to tempt death as a means of feeling alive.
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Re: The fear of death

Postby BlackBird » Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:06 am

We have a lot of suicides here in Dunedin.

When I was at highschool there was maybe 3 or 4 people that I knew personally who committed sucide, one in particular is etched into my mind: A friend from primary school (who went to my high school) went down a bad path, got obsessed with World War 2 and assault rifles and the likes. In a fit of rage one day, after arguing with his father, he got his father's gun and shot him dead, then turned the gun on himself.

That intoxication with permanence had vanished with that friend of mine. After that, Avici was no longer a concept, it all become quite a real contemplation. I think it was soon after this actually that I really knew for sure I wanted to be a monk.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: The fear of death

Postby pink_trike » Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:10 am

clw_uk wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Modern civilization is intoxicated with an unconscious death wish.


How so?

For individuals, there is a strong connection between engaging in self-destructive behavior and an elevated risk of suicide that is a manifestation of an unconscious psychological nihilism that amounts to "in a meaningless life, life has no more value than death...in fact, death would be preferable to life".

Imo, the same applies to our modern culture which is clearly engaging in self-destructive behavior, worships death, and has a extreme elevated risk of self-induced annihilation...a manifestation of an unconscious collective nihilism that amounts to 'in a meaningless world, life has no more value than death...in fact, death would be preferable to life". The Theist version would be "in a meaningless world, life has no more value than death...in fact, death/Heaven would be preferable to life". "Heaven" is aversion to life and a craving for un.be.ing. So is our culture's addictive consumer lifestyle

We're surrounded by the overwhelming evidence that modern culture values death more than life...we create the conditions in every moment for wholesale death and annihilation in order to feed our hungers and fight the ghosts of our fears. We in.toxic.ate ourselves and all of life in an attempt to escape it. No culture that values life would do this. Only a people who value death would devalue and pervert life to the extremes that we have in our modern culture.
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: The fear of death

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:24 am

clw_uk wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Modern civilization is intoxicated with an unconscious death wish.



How so? There are more Theists on the planet than any other kind of philosophical belief so I would say most people like the eternal life wish than anything else


Their is a belief in christianity and in Islam that anyone who goes to hell is not there for eternity, but when judgement day comes all those in hell are wiped out from exstance, namey anihilistic view, a similar belief is found in the Jewish faith.
also found in the bible is a fixed number who will enter heaven (160,000 I think).

The belef tat there is an eternal life maybe more prevelant, but the hope that they will eter that life is a hope, not a fact, Seuicidbombers may think it is a fact for martyres so they martyr themselves but that isn't qute the same as the standard undertanding of the consequences of seuicide in the Abrhamic faiths.

but I know of no survay which states the faith of thse who comit seuicide or there after life beliefs.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The fear of death

Postby sundara » Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:50 pm

We fear death but what resonated in me was a quote saying that life is darkened by aging and smothered by death. The reason we fear death as Buddha said is because of being attached to sensual pleasures, to the body, to have done evil things and not realising liberation.
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Re: The fear of death

Postby pink_trike » Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:12 pm

I think the fear of death arises from never having been awake to life.
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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