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February 25, 2017

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Memento mori (Part 2)

May 15, 2019

 

(Read the previous part here)

 

A kitchen and bathroom 

 

We like kitchens. When we ran home from school as children, we tended to make a bee line into the kitchen first to see what was in the refrigerator. It is also a fun time for the family to gather and eat dinner together. The kitchen is a place with a warm, bright, and fun image. 

 

On the other hand, a bathroom has a dark, and dirty image. It is a place you don’t want to stay very long. However, no matter how much we don’t like a bathroom, there are no homes without one. Whatever you eat in the kitchen must come out. If there is no place to relieve yourself, you cannot eat with joy in the kitchen. This is because you will feel anxiety. If all the restrooms on the plane were out of order, will you still be able to enjoy the food the cabin attendants serve? 

 

Similarly, to think about life is bright and joyful, but on the contrary, to think about death is dark and something that we dislike. However, the possibility that human beings, who experienced birth, must die someday is 100%. You cannot lead a happy life if you don’t consider the unavoidable future of death. 

Your present mind is decided by what is going to happen in the future. If the future is bright, your present mind will also be bright. If the future is dark, your present mind will also be dark. Even going to the same class, the mind you have on Friday and Monday is different. Your mind one week before the summer vacation, and the last week of the summer vacation is different. 

 

 On one hand, even before the vacation has started, the mind is bright. On the other hand, although it is in the middle of the vacation, the mind is dark. Our present mind changes based on not what we are doing now, but what is going to happen in the future. Therefore, we often prepare for the future in order to make our mind bright. Savings, insurance, studies, occupation; these are no more than preparation for the future. 

 

What is the most assured future?

 

However, no one can anticipate what is going to happen in the future, but there is one fate which is 100% certain. It is death. Moreover, our afterlife is a dark future. There is no one who doesn’t die. Although no one wants to die, we all must die. For this reason, our present mind is dark. That is why we cannot attain happiness even if we make so much effort to find happiness now. 

 

The solution to the problem of death 

 

Because we have a dark mind, we cannot have any satisfaction or peace of mind no matter what we do. We cannot attain happiness if we don’t resolve this dark mind. In order to lead a bright and happy life right now, we have to resolve this problem of death.

 

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #26 | 2013, Memento mori (Part 2)

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