Patience is the ballast of the soul, that will keep it from rolling and tumbling in the greatest storms: and he, that will venture out without this to make him sail even and steady will certainly make shipwreck, and drown himself; first, in the cares and sorrows of this world; and, then, in perdition. ~Ezekiel Hopkins
I’m a bit busy. Won’t have much time to visit friends on gplus during the next several days. Two of my relatives just passed a way this week. One in his 90s — he passed a way on Christmas eve. Another one is the father in law of my big sis — he passed a way in his sleep peacefully last night [on Christmas day] about 19 hours ago. His funeral service will be on the same day as my dad’s funeral service last year. Sorry for all the sad news from my end… ~Jendhamuni
First of all, why should we think about death? Why should we contemplate it? Not only did the Buddha encourage us to speak about death, he encouraged us to actually think about it, contemplate it and reflect on it regularly.
On one occasion the Buddha asked several of the monks, “How often do you contemplate death?”
One of them replied, “Lord, I contemplate death every day.”
“Not good enough,” the Buddha said, and asked another monk, who replied,
“Lord, I contemplate death with each mouthful that I eat during the meal.”
“Better, but not good enough,” said the Buddha, “What about you?”
The third monk said, “Lord, I contemplate death with each inhalation and each exhalation.”
That’s all it takes, the inhalation comes in, it goes out, and one day it won’t come in again – and that’s it. That’s all there is between you and death, just that inhalation, the next inhalation.
Obviously the Buddha considered this a very important part of meditation and training towards becoming more wise and more peaceful. Why is it that this contemplation is encouraged? Because we don’t usually want to think or talk about death. Be it conscious or unconscious, there is a fear of death, a tendency to avoid it, a reluctance to come face to face with this reality.
Death is very much a part of life; it’s just as much a part of life as birth. In fact, the moment of birth implies death. From the moment of conception it is only a matter of time before death must come – to everyone. No one can escape it. That which is born will die. The mind and body which arise at the time of conception develop, grow and mature. In other words, they follow the process of aging. We call it growing up at first, then growing old, but it’s just a single process of maturing, developing, evolving towards the inevitable death. Everyone of you has signed a contract, just as I did. You may not remember signing that contract, but everyone has said, “I agree to die.” Every living being, not only human, not only animal, but in every plane, in every realm, everywhere there is birth, there is the inevitable balance – death.
~By Ajahn Jagaro
A dharma talk from the Hsi Lai Temple
I am very grateful for the guidance of the Buddha which enables us to have such an outstanding cause and condition to listen to the Dharma in this time and space. Today, the topic that I will discuss is “the Buddhist perspective on time and space.”
Time travels from the past to the present; it spans the past, present, and future. Likewise, space covers hundreds and thousands of realms; it spreads across all ten directions. For most living beings, time and space are just like the act of breathing: we breathe every moment yet are not conscious of this action. Depending on our individual make-up, we all have different understandings about time and space. For example, certain insects live for a day and are contented; humans live to seventy and are still not satisfied. We all confine ourselves to our own limited slice of time and space. From the Buddhist perspective of samsara, the cycles of rebirth, the life span of all sentient beings is limitless. Not only is space without bounds, time is also endless and cannot be measured. If we penetrate the ultimate truth of time and space, we can be liberated from the space defined by the four directions of north, east, south, and west and emerge from the time cocoon of seconds, minutes, days, and months. We then will be in the dimension of total freedom, and we will be able to experience what is described in the saying, “Clear cool water everywhere; Prajna flowers every moment.”
I will now discuss the Buddhist perspective on time and space in four points.
I. The Time and Space for All Living Beings
The term “all living beings” includes not only human beings but also encompasses beings in the other five realms of existence: celestial beings, asuras, animals, hungry ghosts, and beings in the hell realm. What is the time and space for all living beings within the six realms of existence?
We will first talk about time. Continue reading