Author Topic: Death  (Read 273 times)

mobius

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    • vipassana
Death
« on: December 22, 2020, 01:37:56 AM »
I'm sure this has been discussed to death (no pun or disrespect intended).

In 2019 I lost both my grandparents, and that was difficult but I think I dealt with it pretty well; better than some members of my family anyway. But this year has been exceptionally difficult (needless to say) apart from Covid. Recently my cousin passed away who I never knew real well; only saw him at holidays and such but he suffered with Parkinson's disease for a few years now and his life went downhill quick. His wife left him (after getting sick) and he had two children. Even though I wasn't real close to him and I can't feel an intense sadness for him like I would for a close friend... I feel so bad for his awful situation.

And today I just discovered my cat dead outside. It hit me a lot harder than I expected and found myself crying much more than I thought I would over my pet. I

While I already have been reading about quite a bit about how a Buddhist thinks of and deals with death; and even before I got interested in this I felt this way or at least similarly. I agree with a lot of the concepts and indeed find them helpful. Still; I'm curious how different people deal with death, what should a healthy grieving process look like? How does one (practice) letting go of the attachment to the dead loved one? And, maybe this is over thinking (actually is most probably IS over thinking) but I partly worry that when I stop grieving I'm not really over the grief but rather suppressing it. How would one know if that were the case?
I   guess another issue I have is I sort of feel like I'm abandoning the person/thing by 'moving on' with the grief process... which doesn't make logical sense; I mean they are dead...

Part of the reason for this post is just to get my grief out there; I need to tell people about it, I don't like keeping it bottled up inside.

Another thing I think I need: any recommended talks/readings of "how to love something without clinging to it" I've listened to them before but can't think of where to find them off hand.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 01:49:30 AM by mobius »
"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away."
-Hakuin Ekaku

"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain

Dhamma

  • Member
  • May we all fulfill our deepest wish for happiness
    • Zen/Tibetan/Theravada
Re: Death
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2020, 04:04:46 AM »
Dear friend,

I think of my older parents dying all the time. It's an obsession. It's only become worse over time.

I fear my own morality.

In Tibetan Buddhism, they do "death meditations", where you contemplate death every day. This is to help you accept your own death better, as well as others. Venerable Amy Miller (Tibetan Buddhist nun) gives a great talk on this in one of her videos posted on Youtube. I can give you the link if you so wish.

Right now is super difficult for me, because I am going to be around some family members over the holidays that I do not want to see.  My mother forces me into these things. I always wondered why we all make each other suffer so much!?  We spend most of our lives seeking and senseless pleasures and protecting ourselves from other people. Seriously.

Again, sorry that I cannot give you much advice, other than the death meditation and knowing that I feel what you feel.

Yes, clinging is why we suffer. Loving others is not about clinging to them.

I am so sorry for your losses in your family, and that you found your cat dead. Sorry, friend.

Please take care.

Peace and enlightenment.
You are already Buddha

May we see clearly the emptiness of all phenomena

raushan

  • Member
  • from India
    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: Death
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2020, 04:38:02 AM »
Hi mobius,

I am sorry to know you are going through really unfortunate and difficult times. These times shakes us to the core and force us to question us about our life. How we are living our life.

I will say you can use this phase of your life well. I would say it's a time to reflect on some of the hard truths of life like impermanence, death, suffering. Your meditation can become better if you use this time wisely. Reflect on your grief. Don't try to suppress it. Let it come and stay with it and learn from it. See what it is trying to tell you.

Metta
Raushan
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 04:41:52 AM by raushan »

mobius

  • Member
    • vipassana
Re: Death
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2020, 02:50:06 AM »
Thanks very much for the words

Dear friend,
In Tibetan Buddhism, they do "death meditations", where you contemplate death every day. This is to help you accept your own death better, as well as others. Venerable Amy Miller (Tibetan Buddhist nun) gives a great talk on this in one of her videos posted on Youtube. I can give you the link if you so wish.

I would like that a lot actually.
"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away."
-Hakuin Ekaku

"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain

Dhamma

  • Member
  • May we all fulfill our deepest wish for happiness
    • Zen/Tibetan/Theravada
Re: Death
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2020, 05:11:14 AM »
Thanks very much for the words

Dear friend,
In Tibetan Buddhism, they do "death meditations", where you contemplate death every day. This is to help you accept your own death better, as well as others. Venerable Amy Miller (Tibetan Buddhist nun) gives a great talk on this in one of her videos posted on Youtube. I can give you the link if you so wish.

I would like that a lot actually.


Absolutely, dear friend.

Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7izI8LwQCM

Amy is great!

Peace and enlightenment
You are already Buddha

May we see clearly the emptiness of all phenomena

dharma bum

  • Member
  • Certified Zen Master (second degree black belt)
    • vipassana
Re: Death
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2020, 03:17:10 PM »
Some cultures in India celebrate death as an end of the person's suffering.

Sometime it seems like death is what makes life bearable - that in the end there will be an end not just to ourselves but everybody else too - rich, poor, 'successful', 'failed'. In this way, justice is done since even the worst of sinners have to die. When you think of death which is the end of everything, then life's troubles seem really small.

My own thinking is that death is not the worst thing that can happen to someone. The worst thing that can happen is to cause harm to others - for example, there was a truck driver who through his negligence crashed his truck into a bus carrying school-kids causing their deaths and many were crippled for life. Compared to that kind of suffering, death is nothing.
Mostly ignorant

mobius

  • Member
    • vipassana
Re: Death
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2020, 01:01:40 AM »
Some cultures in India celebrate death as an end of the person's suffering.

Sometime it seems like death is what makes life bearable - that in the end there will be an end not just to ourselves but everybody else too - rich, poor, 'successful', 'failed'. In this way, justice is done since even the worst of sinners have to die. When you think of death which is the end of everything, then life's troubles seem really small.

My own thinking is that death is not the worst thing that can happen to someone. The worst thing that can happen is to cause harm to others - for example, there was a truck driver who through his negligence crashed his truck into a bus carrying school-kids causing their deaths and many were crippled for life. Compared to that kind of suffering, death is nothing.

It's ironic you said these things because actually; this is exactly the major issue I'm dealing with right now, let me explain.

I don't exactly know how my cat died, or why, but I knew something was wrong with her, some illness for several weeks now. There were signs, some that I ignored. I could've taken her to a vet, but I told myself that it wasn't my responsibility (it wasn't actually *my* cat, but I think that's immaterial here), I thought to myself; it doesn't matter. As if I didn't care. Then all of a sudden she went outside one morning and ended up dying that day somehow. We found her in the stream next to my house, no blood or injuries. She was seven years old, so not young, but not exactly old either, besides this illness, whatever it was, she was a healthy cat.

So my in-action effectively killed her.
I've haven't taken any vows, I don't call myself a Buddhist, but since meditating and educating myself on Buddhism I've found myself being kinder and gentler to animals. I stopped whacking at flies and mosquitoes etc. I've taken some of these ideals to heart, but not enough...
I've made my share of mistakes, I've done things in my life that I'm not proud of. But this is the first time I think that I have directly or indirectly caused another living being to suffer and die. I've never felt this horrible before. I've never been this shocked and disappointed at myself. All because of thoughtlessness, arrogance, selfishness.... What kind of worse scenarios could I cause with such negative attitudes?

It was a really special cat too. I had a bad experience with a dog when I was very young and ever since I've been very afraid of animals and tended to stay away from them. Only until recently (4-5 years ago) when we got this cat. She changed my whole attitude toward animals in general. I've been much more openhearted toward them.
And now, only after she's dead, do I realize how much she really meant to me and how stupid I was to let this happen. I feel like an utter fool.
"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away."
-Hakuin Ekaku

"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain

dharma bum

  • Member
  • Certified Zen Master (second degree black belt)
    • vipassana
Re: Death
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2020, 02:45:20 AM »
Mobius, IMO you are being too unkind to yourself. If it hadn't been you, but someone else, say, a friend of yours who you know to be a very decent person, would you blame him the way you are blaming yourself?

Hindsight is always easy. It's just random chance.

With the incident I mentioned before, the driver's fault lay in not seeing a Stop sign because he was distracted by some noise. This can happen to anybody. Your 'fault' appears to not perceive that she had some fatal illness. That needs a super-power that no one has.
Mostly ignorant

 

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