Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/28/2018

At Death

I’ve been so tired from fasting that I have let posting here slide. For that I apologize (mostly to myself) but I will put forth more effort.

Tonight I was reading a book by a Sayadaw entitled Kamma at Death and Rebirth and it struck me that aiming for the Bodhisattva ideal is a pretty scary proposition. I have not wavered, however, from my aspiration but the very real possibility and, even, eventuality of a rebirth in an apaya is horrifying. The fear of losing the thread and wandering endlessly on without the light of the Dhamma is perhaps most scary of all. But, the reason why I’m writing about this has to do with the kamma vipaka and nimitta that one experiences at the beginning of death.

In the book, as I have heard elsewhere, the Sayadaw descubra being able to help people avoid rebirth in lower realms by having them chant paritta or take precepts. It occurred to me that my mind is not nearly pure enough to ensure that kusala kamma will arise. Furthermore, I recalled the teaching of the Pure Land school which advocates constant repetition of the mane of Amitabha. Although that isn’t my practice I see the point and will guard my mind every more closely now. If I find myself going into fantasies or anger I will recite Namo tassa or partita that brighten the mind and inspire to lift it out of darkness. Truly, we never know when we will die.


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