Author Topic: Fear of Death and ageing  (Read 507 times)

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Fear of Death and ageing
« on: December 18, 2017, 02:46:13 PM »
Recently I am frequently having fear about ageing and death. Like I have wasted time and there is so much to do. Also, regarding death sometimes when my mind think about death I find lots of things I am doing doesn't make sense. It feels useless.

I have been thinking like if I am going to die then achieving materialistic goals seems to be mundane thing to me like buying a home and a car. This drives me to focus more on the things which will last longer e.g. like working on some ideas like maths and science.

Also, when I read about rebirth,  I started to feel how lucky I am that I had rebirth in such country and community that I am able to practice the vipassana meditation.
It is so random I could have birth in any poor country where people are struggling for the food. Then I started having fear that no I should get enlightened in this life otherwise I don't know where will I be in the next life.

These are my thought process. Any opinion? Please forgive me If I am not making much sense.

Middleway

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    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: Fear of Death and ageing
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2017, 12:37:30 AM »
Raushan,

Fear of death is very normal and everyone has that fear. It is also very normal in your part of the world having fear of reincarnation and endless births and deaths. I too had similar beliefs and fears. Through practice of meditation, I am able to loosen the grip of these fears over me. I now know that these are just my beliefs. I now know that I really do not know. I do not know if reincarnation is possible. I do not know if there will be another life after my death. I am beginning to understand that I can live my life that I have now with a little less suffering is possible. I will try not to harm others and try and live my life without resisting its natural flow.

Keep practicing the meditation, your fears will dissolve over time.

Warm regards,

Middleway
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: Fear of Death and ageing
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2017, 02:06:26 PM »
I now know that these are just my beliefs. I now know that I really do not know. I do not know if reincarnation is possible. I do not know if there will be another life after my death. I am beginning to understand that I can live my life that I have now with a little less suffering is possible. I will try not to harm others and try and live my life without resisting its natural flow.

Keep practicing the meditation, your fears will dissolve over time.

Warm regards,
Middleway

Hi Middleway,

Thanks for answering.
I was reading the articles from accesstoinsight regarding rebirth. And I found there Thanissaro Bhikkhu is stating this:

Quote
Arguments based on logic or reason have never been able to settle these issues conclusively, the world's great religions don't agree on their answers, and the empirical sciences have no way of answering these questions at all. Yet we all keep having to grapple with these questions. We don't leave it at, "I don't know," and refuse to entertain them, for even the refusal to think about these things is a wager: that ultimately they won't matter.

The Buddha taught, however, that they do matter a great deal, and that awakening — in going beyond the dimensions of space and time — gives perspective on how choices operate within those dimensions. You see that choices are real, that they do make a difference, and that the consequences of your choices can shape not only this life but also many lifetimes in the future — as long as the mind still has the craving that leads to rebirth after death. Prior to awakening, you can't know these things for sure, but as the Buddha states, if you want to gain awakening and to minimize suffering in the meantime, it's wisest to assume these principles as working hypotheses.


He is telling that we should accept the rebirth as working hypothesis. That seems to be conflicting to me little with your statement or I might not be able to understood it properly. The link of above text is https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/truth_of_rebirth.html.

So, Can you please explain more here why we should not accept rebirth prior to without experiencing it?

Middleway

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    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: Fear of Death and ageing
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2017, 12:24:38 AM »
Meditation is all about being fully aware and living in the present moment. We cannot think about future without activating our desires. Future = Desire. You want to buy a car (in the future) or you want to buy a house (again in the future) or you want to advance math/science for the future etc. You can make choices only about the future. You cannot make choices for the present moment. Also, you can only make choices about your wants and desires. You cannot or need not make choices about your needs. 

So, if you want to make a choice to "accept rebirth as a working hypothesis", you are acting on your desire for the future. Enlightenment is a perfect state of desirelessness.  Desiring enlightenment is also a desire. There is no difference in desire to buy a car or desire to get enlightened. Desire is a desire. Making choices for the future or hoping for better next life is acting out of desire and it will be counterproductive to the practice.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Purnanand-Bharti

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Re: Fear of Death and ageing
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2017, 10:59:18 AM »
I believe that the older one gets and the more into their faith they become, the fears associated with aging and dying seem to lessen, or at least this has become the case with me personally.

Why should one be afraid of dying?? Is it that we have no knowledge of the next stage of existence or limited knowledge?? I think SOME of our cognitions/thoughts in this area revolve around preconceived knowledge or prior knowledge that is handed down to us from generation to generation almost imbedded in our instinctual reactions.

BeHereNow

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Re: Fear of Death and ageing
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2017, 08:58:49 PM »
I have been working with fear lately, and I think ultimately the fear is of death in the sense that it seeks to protect the person that I am in this lifetime.  (Fear that I won't be important, that I won't have achieved enough, that I am not loved, that I will be abandoned...)

How I am working with the fear is letting go of the storyline as best I can, and focusing instead on the felt sensations in the body.  I aim to relax the body as best as I can, and then focus on the sensation of relaxation.  Breathing in - calming the body and feeling sensation, breathing out - letting go.  I am finding it very helpful as I can see the whole "cocoon" of fear, the way I wrap myself around some identity, both physically and mentally, and the suffering that this causes as it prevents me from seeing what is actually arising in the present moment.

Slowly the fear becomes less overwhelming, and this is very empowering as I can see that I can have fear, but also go beyond the fear into fearlessness.

Chogyam Trungpa's book "Smile at Fear" is great.

Much metta,
Paula
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron