Sunday, 3 December 2006

Wake up call?

Got this email from KKBCS e-article.

Regardless of how old we are, how wealthy or powerful we are or what we have been doing in our lives, the causes of death are many and we may fail to draw our next breath and pass away at any moment.

Examples of impermanence surround us everyday, have you noticed? One of the purposes of offering fresh flowers to the Triple Gems is to demonstrate and reflect on impermanence as fresh flowers quickly wither and fade. Whatever comes to being will some day be destroyed, not even relationships are spared. Friends come and go, lovers quarrel and break up, family members become enemies. Circumstances change as well, a poor man may one day become rich and the rich can become paupers overnight. In Buddhism, it is believed that even the whole universe as we know it and other universes that have come before or after will all be completely destructed eventually. Meditate on impermanence constantly and do not get too attached to the illusion-like worldly possessions or relationships. Such attachment would only bring on suffering to yourself since change is inevitable.

Knowing that any of us could pass away at any time, try to treasure everyone around you. You may not get another chance to say how much you love or care for someone. If you know that you or the person you are quarrelling with are going to die the next day, will you waste your time quarrelling over petty matters? Try to forgive and forget easily. Accumulate as much merits are you can, practising the six paramitas and studying and practising the Dharma. Care for and do as much as you possibly can for others. Time is short, do not indulge in meaningless entertainment activities when you can be practising the Dharma.

What happens when we die? We will no longer have a chance to purify our bad actions or accumulate merits. The force of Karma will drive us to another rebirth in samsara, within the human or god realms if the necessary merit has been accumulated or within the hell, preta, animal or asura realms. The bardo stage between death and the next rebirth is very frightening and only the Dharma can help us.

Knowing all this, constantly meditate on impermanence and diligently practise the Dharma. Only then may you not need to fear death or worry about it. Meditate on the 5 points for impermanence; our own aging process, the causes of death, the death of others around us, death itself, what happens after death.

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