Saturday, January 26, 2008

Intense Awareness of Impermanence

Meditation on death is encouraged in all forms of Buddhism as a natural method for becoming more serious and devoted to the Dharma. There are many types of death-meditation, but all have the same essence: to become deeply aware of our own mortality and to make this awareness the basis of our life and practice. Death is normal, but our unawareness of it, is not. Everybody accepts that one day will die, but few are indeed conscious about it and use well the time they have. The reason why so many “seekers” of the “right path” remain just seekers all their lives and never become practitioners of one school or another, is not that all the Dharma methods or teachers of our times are bad or not useful to them, but because they think they have all the time in the world to both enjoy a busy life and their search for truth. To become aware of our own death is more than saying, “of course I will die one day” and having smart discussions about life after death.

Here is a passage from “Words of my perfect teacher” by Patrul Rinpoche, that clearly shows how meditation on death can be integrated in our daily life. Everyone of us, no matter we are monks, priests or lay, whether we follow practices based on self power, or we rely on the Other Power (Amida Buddha), can find this text useful to increase our awareness of death and dedication to the Dharma:


“Meditate single-mindedly on death, all the time and in every circumstance. While standing up, sitting or lying down, tell yourself: “This is my last act in this world”, and meditate on it with utter conviction. On your way to wherever you might be going, say to yourself: “Maybe I will die there. There is no certainty that I will ever come back.” When you set out on a journey or pause to rest, ask yourself: “Will I die here?” Wherever you are, you should wonder if this might be where you die. At night, when you lie down, ask yourself whether you might die in bed during the night or whether you can be sure that you are going to get up in the morning. When you rise, ask yourself whether you might die sometime during the day, and reflect that there is no certainty at all that you will be going to bed in the evening.”

4 comentarii:

Gerald Ford said...

Hi Adrian,

Have you read the book "Tariki" by Itsuki Hiroyuki? He's a famous Japanese author who lived a very difficult life. He writes that everynight when he goes to bed, he asks himself whether he's content to die this night or not. Has he fulfilled the things he wanted to do?

P.S. Happy to see real Buddhist temples in East Europe by the way. Good job on making such an effort. :)

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

No I haven't heard about that book, but I will try to find it.
For the moment i only bought some materials for the construction, so the temple has not even started:) Sometimes I am very sad that things move so slowly.
At least it is good that we have a small dojo in Craiova where we can meet for services and Dharma talks.
Thank you for your comments.

Gerald Ford said...

The "Tariki" book is difficult to find outside of Japan. They had very limited copies in English.

Where do you folks currently meet for services? How many people will typically attend a service? I am curious to see how Shinshu does in the EU (besides the UK and such). :)

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

In Romania I meet with my sangha at Tariki Dojo Craiova - it is a two room apartment(one room is the library and the other is the Hondo).

Here in Romania, Jodo Shinshu is at the very beginning. I was the first follower and now I am the first and only priest. I have a small number of people attending Sunday meetings in Craiova. Some are officially Jodo Shinshu followers, while others just come and visit us from time to time. Now I have five permanent members at Tariki Dojo Craiova. But sometimes the number of people attending services is more than this.Anyway, the time when I was alone in the Hondo is gone, and this is good. There are also followers who live in other parts of the country and I try my best to visit them regularly for teaching and services.