Published Tuesday, 14 June 2022
There is no place on earth
beyond the reach of death -
not in a mountain cave,
the ocean nor in the sky.
All living beings are afraid of death. The way the Buddha wanted us to deal with this fear is to look at it directly; not to deny it by way of distraction. Hence such uncompromising teachings as this Dhammapada verse. Not much in life is guaranteed, though the evidence around us would indicate that one day we will indeed die. It is natural to try to avoid pain – and obviously fear is painful – however it is not wise to ignore clear evidence. So how should we prepare ourselves to be able to look directly at fear? We develop the spiritual faculties: faith, energy, mindfulness, collectedness, discernment. We also need to own up to how much of human society endorses an habitual avoidance of the inevitability of our own death. Acknowledging our own backlog of avoidance requires great patience. Honesty, patience and kindness help dissolve habits of denial and lead to contentment. .