Mind State at Death

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Mind State at Death

Postby shjohnk » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:04 am

Hello All,

What should be our focus as we are dying? I figure that we should aim to be as calm as possible and enter in to a meditative-like mindfulness as we draw our last breaths. What is said in the suttas about preparing to die and teh state of mind we should aim for? I remember one sutta where Anathapindika is given advice by the Buddha about how to prepare for death, but if I remember rightly it was mostly about not attaching to the body and dealing with pain etc. What about the actual moment of dying? Is the final mind state (death consciousness) the most important thing? I know that achieving stream entry should be our goal, but we can not depend on this!

I'd also like to ask people's opinions about what happens in the event of sudden death (the proverbial bus etc.): The way i understand it, if one has trained in mindfulness and cultivated their Sila, they maty still be able to generate a peaceful state as soon as they 'realise' they are dead, whereas non-practitioners may very well be in a confused state, leading to a danger of a low rebirth. I'd be grateful for any opinions, particularly backed up by suttas or other teachings! Cheers Dhamma friends :anjali:

John
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Re: Mind State at Death

Postby Reductor » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:28 am

shjohnk wrote:Hello All,

What should be our focus as we are dying? I figure that we should aim to be as calm as possible and enter in to a meditative-like mindfulness as we draw our last breaths. What is said in the suttas about preparing to die and teh state of mind we should aim for? I remember one sutta where Anathapindika is given advice by the Buddha about how to prepare for death, but if I remember rightly it was mostly about not attaching to the body and dealing with pain etc.

What about the actual moment of dying? Is the final mind state (death consciousness) the most important thing? I know that achieving stream entry should be our goal, but we can not depend on this!



http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Anathapindika is dying, and Sariputta instructed not to cling, and what it is that he was not to cling too.

So I would think that the best mind state at death is one of detatched analysis, like insight meditation, with the aim of dispelling clinging altogether.

But since Anathapindika returns to the human realm after his death, as a Deva, it is safe to say that he was not completely successful. However, he is a Deva so that suggests a good rebirth for a person that dies while making such effort.


I'd also like to ask people's opinions about what happens in the event of sudden death (the proverbial bus etc.): The way i understand it, if one has trained in mindfulness and cultivated their Sila, they maty still be able to generate a peaceful state as soon as they 'realise' they are dead, whereas non-practitioners may very well be in a confused state, leading to a danger of a low rebirth. I'd be grateful for any opinions, particularly backed up by suttas or other teachings! Cheers Dhamma friends :anjali:

John


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Mind State at Death

Postby shjohnk » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:34 am

Thank you, thereductor :) Now to work on achieving that mindset!!!
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