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The drawbacks to not remembering death

The text turns to reflecting on the impermanence of this life and generating concern for future rebirths. Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa. Visit Gomchen Lamrim Study Guide for a full list of contemplation points for the series.

  • Generating concern for future lives
  • Aspiring for a good future rebirth helps to develop ethical conduct and subdue afflictions
  • The drawbacks of not meditating on the awareness of death
  • By not remembering death we don’t think about the dharma and practicing
  • When we don’t remember death and impermanence our practice is mixed with the eight worldly concerns
    • Attachment to getting material possessions and aversion to not getting them or being separated from them
    • Attachment to praise and aversion to criticism
    • Attachment to a good reputation and aversion to a bad reputation
    • Attachment to pleasant experiences and aversion to unpleasant experiences
  • The eight worldly concerns take us away from the Dharma, remembering death puts these at the bottom of the list and helps to see what is really important to do

Gomchen Lamrim 10: The drawbacks to not remembering death (download)

Contemplation points

  1. What does it mean to be in the present moment from a Dharma perspective? What role does ethical conduct play in this?
  2. Venerable Chodron said that the standard we can use to measure our actions as Dharma practitioners is asking ourselves “Am I creating virtue? Is this getting me closer to liberation and awakening?” Spend some time this week bringing this to mind in your daily life. From your experience investigating this, how is directing your mind in this way beneficial?
  3. Why does mediating on death and impermanence help us “live in the present?”
  4. What are the three disadvantages of not remembering death and impermanence?
  5. Venerable Chodron said that the Eight Worldly Concerns are the demarcation line for what is and what is not a Dharma activity. List them and consider how they play a role in your life. Consider… Is this how you want to spend your time and energy? What kind of karma are you creating when you engage in these 8 Worldly Concerns? What are practical things you can do in your daily life to begin to overcome them?
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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