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Friday, January 9, 2009

Happiness today - Death tomorrow

Posted on Happy Minds!

Working on your happiness has to start NOW. Today, not tomorrow. For who knows what tomorrow will bring? We will all die! You may perish today, tomorrow or in a couple of years. Fact is: you have NO assurances! Your angle on the matter of death does not make any difference: death will always creep up on you, surprise you in your sleep or wake, no matter what age you are, what you own or who is with you.
Many people spend almost all their time worrying about their old age, career, the long term consequences of their relationships, insurances…

How much time are you “wasting”? The future is just as uncertain as the past, so consider spending your time on issues that have to be dealt with right now. Like resolving your anger, greed, jealousy, narrow mindedness...

Listen to what the great sage Shantideva, from the 8th century a.d. has to say about it (from The Bodhicaryavatara, Chapter Two: The Confession of Error)

32. How shall I escape it? Rescue me quickly! May death not soon creep up on me before my vices have vanished!

33. Death does not differentiate between tasks done and undone. This traitor is not to be trusted by the healthy or the ill, for it is like an unexpected, great thunderbolt.

34. I have committed various vices for the sake of friends and enemies. This I have not recognized: "Leaving everyone behind, I must pass away."

35. My enemies will not remain, nor will my friends remain. I shall not remain. Nothing will remain.

36. Whatever is experienced will fade to a memory. Like an experience in a dream, everything that has passed will not be seen again.

37. Even in this life, as I have stood by, many friends and enemies have passed away, but terrible sin induced by them remains ahead of me.

38. Thus, I have not considered that I am ephemeral. Due to delusion, attachment, and hatred, I have sinned in many ways.

39. Day and night, a life span unceasingly diminishes, and there is no adding to it. Shall I not die then?

40. Although lying here on a bed, and relying on relatives, I alone have to bear the feeling of being cut off from my vitality.

41. For a person seized by the messengers of death, what good is a relative, and what good is a friend? At that time merit alone is a protection, and I have not applied myself to it.

42. O Protectors, I, negligent, and unaware of this danger, have acquired many vices out of attachment to this transient life.

43. One completely languishes while being led today to have the limbs of ones body amputated. Parched with thirst, and with pitiable eyes, one sees the world differently.

44. How much more is one overpowered by the horrifying appearances of the Messengers of Death as one is consumed by the fevers of terror, and smeared with a mass of excrement?

45. With distressed glances, I seek protection in the four directions. Which good person will be my protection from this great fear?

46. Seeing the four directions devoid of protection, I return to confusion. What shall I do in that state of great fear?

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