A Meditation on Death – an interpretation of the Pali
Like the flame blown out by the wind, this life of ours is headed for destruction. Seeing the cycle of birth and death in all things, mindfulness of death is a skill we need to use. Just as people who have achieved great wealth and fame must surely fall in death, this thing called death will not leave me behind; Death is always beckoning me to follow. Death is the true companion of birth and never far behind, searching for an opening like a samurai in battle. It’s course cannot be changed. This life we call our own is rushing to its end like the sun moving form east to west. Death takes those from us who are great in strength and wisdom, no need to speak of one like me. Because this life of mine lacks in so many ways I die in every moment with little chance of a good rebirth. Our life is filled with so much uncertainty, its length cannot be known. It is difficult just to stay alive, each day filled with the fear and anguish of the death about to come. There is no chance that life shall not end in death. Having reached old age what can be next? Death is part of our true nature. As the nature of fruit is to fall when ripe. Just as a potters jar must break and turn to dust, so to these bones of ours will one day break and end the same way. The young, the old, the foolish and the wise, the hand of death is always open; the end is known for sure. Impermanent is all conditioned things, All things rise and fall away, conditions give us birth, conditions give us death.
This body and mind of ours, will soon be lying on the ground like a useless piece of drift wood, washed upon the shore. Our consciousness will vanish, the mind will not be there, just like a bubble bursting on the water, turning into air. We came into this world without an invitation, and we don’t need to ask permission when its time for us to leave. We rise to birth that always ends in death; we come just as we go.
Does the candle shed a tear when the flame goes out? Don’t be sad, be mindful.