Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Nine-point meditation on death

Nine-point meditation on 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.

  • The purpose of having an awareness of death
  • The nine-point mediation on death, the main points, sub-points, and conclusions
    • Thinking that death is certain and nothing can turn it back
    • Contemplating the uncertainty as to the time of death
    • Contemplating that at the time of death everything but the Dharma is useless
  • The benefits of the meditation

Gomchen Lamrim 14: Nine-point death meditation (download)

Contemplation points

  1. The text says, “Consequently, from the depths of your heart contemplate your death, and see that the great importance you attribute to this life is futile.” What “importance” is this line instructing us to relinquish? In what ways IS this life important?
  2. What is the purpose of meditating on death? What kind of mind is it designed to evoke?
  3. The text uses a sutra quote to illustrate the fleeting nature of this life. Consider each of these analogies: “The impermanence of the three worlds is like autumn clouds; beings’ births and deaths are like watching scenes from a play; beings’ lives pass like flashes of lightening in the sky; and are swiftly spent like water down a steep mountainside.”
  4. Think of the people in your life who have died, how old they were, and how they died. Get a feeling that death is certain and that the time is uncertain.
  5. Go though the 9-point death meditation, really spending time to contemplate each point and coming to the conclusions that we must practice, we must practice now, and we must practice purely.
  6. Ask: In what ways am I using my time wisely in this life? What excuses do I have for putting off my practice? How can I relate to the people and things in my life in a way that creates merit? What are things I need to change or abandon to really make this life meaningful?
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.