Tuesday, July 14, 2009
But dying should not be something we should be worried about. The controversial Budhist Guru, Sogyal Rinpoche, perhaps to put accross the silliness of fearing death, once remarked, "To die is extremely simple. You breathe out, and you don't breathe in."
Rinpoche believes that much of what is wrong in Western society arises from the denial of death. This denial of death, he claims, actually complicates problems that exist in Western society. This is why as he puts it, in Western society “there is no long-term vision, there is little thought devoted (italics supplied) to consequences of actions, and little or no compassion."
People see death as terrible, as tragic. Because they want to live, they see death as the enemy of life and therefore deny death, which then becomes even more fearful and monstrous.
Beneath this fear of death lies "the ultimate fear” as Repoche would call it. It is the fear of looking into ourselves. We would rather suspend ourselves in the state of not knowing rather than be confronted with the truth of who we are.
Death, in truth, could be a friend. "Death holds the key to the meaning of life," said Repoche. This is the reason the Trappist brothers regularly greet each other with the Latin phrase “Memento Mori” - remember you are dying, to remind themselves that now is the time to live. Life is simply too short to just exist.
Remembering brings our life into focus. We are only just pilgrims in this life. Sooner or later our voyage has to end. Remembering calls us to sort out our priorities so we would not waste our lives just wandering. It helps us take care of the most important things in life first. We won’t be passing this way again. It would be tragic if we exit life’s door knowing we left very important things undone only because we let the trivial dominate our lives and left the crucial untouched.