Friday, January 26, 2018

What is the solution to death?

Ven. Nyanatiloka (B. Dictionary); Ananda M., Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Craving and clinging condition rebirth and pain
"Death," in ordinary usage, means the disappearance of the vital faculty confined to a single lifetime.

This means the psycho-physical  (mind-body) life-process conventionally called "self, soul, ego, personality" comes to an end.

Strictly speaking, however, death is the continually repeated dissolution and vanishing at each moment. Who or what vanishes? It is not a "self" but every component (Five Aggregates that are clung to as "self") of the physical-mental combination.

This takes place at every moment. Not the eventual dissolution but this radical impermanence (anicca) is what the Buddha was talking about.

Babies die before living? Yes. Why?!
About this momentariness of existence, it is said in The Path of Purification (Vis.M. VIII):

"In the absolute sense, beings have only a very short moment to 'live,' life lasting as long as a single moment of consciousness lasts.

"Just as a cartwheel, whether rolling or at a standstill, at all times only rests on a single point of its periphery, even so the life of a living being lasts only for the duration of a single moment of consciousness.

"As soon as that moment ceases, the being also ceases. For it is said:
  • "'The being of the past moment of consciousness has lived, but does not live now, nor will it live in future.
  • The being of the future moment has not yet lived, nor does it live now, but it will live in the future.
  • The being of the present moment has not lived, it does live just now, but it will not live in the future.'"
Wait, there's a solution to death?
In another sense, the coming to an end of the psycho-physical life process of the liberated or fully enlightened person (noble ones), at the moment of passing away may be called the final or actual death/cessation.

In This Very Life (U Pandita)
For up to that moment, the impersonal psycho-physical life process [which is empty in that it is devoid of self] would still be going on from life to life (Life After Life) in "the continued wandering on" of samsara.
Death, in the ordinary sense, combined with old age, forms the twelfth link in the formula of Dependent Origination.

For death as a subject of meditation, see the "contemplation of death" or maranānussati; as a function of consciousness, see viññāna-kicca.

The solution is liberation
What is liberation (bodhi)? Awakening from this illusion is "enlightenment," for it is liberation (moksha) from all further rebirth and every kind of suffering.

When one sees this, one develops a sense of urgency about waking up and being free here and now In This Very Life (read it free).

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