If You Are Going to Die Soon

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The Buddha

Buddhists teachers like to remind us that we never know when we are going to die.

That is true, but some people are certain they will die fairly soon. They may have a disease that doctors can reliably predict the course of and their prognosis is death will occur within weeks or days.

If this is you, or as a hypothetical, if this were you, what would you do?

I would keep doing what I am doing now. I would meditate daily . I would likely meditate even more and try to spend as much time as I could in a state of bliss. Samadhi for days.

It’s an annoying cliche, but it is true. If you have very little time left in this life, it makes little sense to spend much or any of it wailing and moaning about your impending death.

If you are a Buddhist, you hope to be as close to full awakening as you can get before you die and in the most calm, present state of mind when you do die. Different schools of Buddhism take all manner of positions on what happens to us at death, but if you really want a highly specific explanation from a Buddhist perspective, read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. I don’t know if that author is right, but he is quite sure he knows what happens to us, and certainty may be comforting as death approaches.

One of the best things about Buddhism is that it gives us a very simple, very concrete practice we can take up and verify for ourselves. I know it has worked wonders in my mind and my life.

So, keep meditating, impending death or no.

Please help spread the word.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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