The death process

48 The Foundation of Buddhist Practice

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Part of an ongoing series of teachings (retreat and Friday) based on the book The Foundation of Buddhist Practice, second volume in “The Library of Wisdom and Compassion” series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

  • Working with our mind, considering different scenarios for our own death
  • Outline of eight steps one goes through while dying
  • Body loses ability to support coarser levels of consciousness
  • Element, aggregate, internal sign, external changes
    • Earth, form, mirage like, body weakens
    • Water, feeling, smoke, skin becomes dry
    • Fire, discrimination, sparks of light on a dark night, body loses heat
    • Wind, miscellaneous factors, dim candle about to go off, external breath stops
  • Mind becomes more subtle
  • Vivid white, red increase, black near attainment, fundamental clear light mind
  • Duration of each stage varies for each being
  • Our attitudes while living shape our experiences at the time of death

The Foundation of Buddhist Practice 48: The Death Process (download)

48 The Foundation of Buddhist Practice: The Death Process 06-12-20

Contemplation points

  1. Make a chart of the death process and what occurs. Meditate upon it.
  2. How do you wish for yourself to die? Are you well prepared?
  3. If meditation upon death is not yet part of your daily meditation, what hinders you from meditating thoroughly about the death process?
  4. Why is meditating upon your death important?

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