Sunday, August 30, 2015

Quotes on Death

Went to a funeral yesterday, and this morning the relatives came to see us; gave two talks on death, then this afternoon, our Visuddhimagga class was on mindfulness of death. Here are some of the quotes we read:

“Right from the very day one
Has been conceived inside a womb
They cannot but go on and on,
Nor going can they once turn back” (J-a IV 494).

“The nights and days go slipping by
As life keeps dwindling steadily
Till mortals’ span, like water pools
In failing rills, is all used up” (S I 109).

“The nights and days go slipping by
As life keeps dwindling steadily
Till mortals’ span, like water pools
In failing rills, is all used up” (S I 109).
“As there is fear, when fruits are ripe,
That in the morning they will fall,
So mortals are in constant fear,
When they are born, that they will die.
And as the fate of pots of clay
Once fashioned by the potter’s hand,
Or small or big or baked or raw,4
Condemns them to be broken up,
So mortals’ life leads but to death” (Sn p. 576f.).

“As though huge mountains made of rock
So vast they reached up to the sky
Were to advance from every side,
Grinding beneath them all that lives,
So age and death roll over all,
Warriors, priests, merchants, and craftsmen,
The outcastes and the scavengers,
Crushing all beings, sparing none.
And here no troops of elephants,
No charioteers, no infantry,
No strategy in form of spells,
No riches, serve to beat them off” (S I 102).

“Life, person, pleasure, pain—just these alone
Join in one conscious moment that flicks by.
Ceased aggregates of those dead or alive
Are all alike, gone never to return.
No [world is] born if [consciousness is] not
Produced; when that is present, then it lives;
When consciousness dissolves, the world is dead:
The highest sense this concept will allow”11 (Nidd I 42).