Death…do you think?

This is Davey Wavey (  He is a 26 year old, wonderfully attractive, entertaining, thought provoking spiritual seeker.  I like him.  His talky blogs are fun and usually come with a message and his written blogs are clean, simple and drive home, for me, very important spiritual principles.

As you can tell from the picture above, Davey is young, healthy and in very good shape.  This is a picture of a man in his prime with a bright future.  However, Davey recently announced on his blog that he is having some medical tests done.  There is a chance he may have colon cancer.

How can young, fit, healthy, terribly attractive guy with so much going for him be facing a prognosis of cancer?  The Buddha taught the following:

“I am subject to aging. Aging is unavoidable (Jarā-dhammomhi jaraṃ anatīto.)

I am subject to illness. Illness is unavoidable. (Byādhi-dhammomhi byādhiṃ anatīto.)

I am subject to death. Death is unavoidable. (Maraṇa-dhammomhi maraṇaṃ anatīto.)

I will grow different, separate from all that is dear & appealing to me. (Sabbehi me piyehi manāpehi nānā-bhāvo vinā-bhāvo.)

I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and live dependent on my actions. (Kammassakomhi kamma-dāyādo kamma-yoni kamma-bandhu kamma-paṭisaraṇo.)

Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir. (Yaṃ kammaṃ karissāmi kalyāṇaṃ vā pāpakaṃ vā tassa dāyādo bhavissāmi.)

We should often reflect on this. (Evaṃ amhehi abhiṇhaṃ paccavekkhitabbaṃ.)”

Davey’s announcement about his possible prognosis drove home to me how unexpected death can be.  In one teaching, the Buddha asked Ananda, his attendant, “Ananda, how often do you meditate on your own death?”  Ananda replied, “Lord, seven times a day I meditate on my own death.”  The Buddha responded, “Ananda, this is not enough, one must constantly meditate on one’s death.”

So, why the focus on death?  If you really realize that death could come at any moment, how do you think you would live?  Would you argue over petty non-sense?  Would you pass over so many days of your life wishing for Friday?  Would you take a moment and breath?  Would you take the time to learn about you, and not just spend time moving from one distraction to the next?  The focus on death about which the Buddha spoke was not a morbid fascination with decay but a practical tool to wake us up! 

So, do you think about your own death and how it  may be just moments away?  If you want to wake up and start living, realize you are dying.  The picture above shows a man, the peak of societal perfection, that is dying.  Even if the prognosis he faces is not cancer, he is still dying…just like you and me.  No matter how beautiful our bodies become, how healthy we make them, these body are failing.  Davey is lucky because he is experiencing this in his own body.  And, he is doing so without fear, but with understanding.  Death is a part of this journey, as is sickness and old age.  They are the messengers of dhamma that can lead us to better living.

Maybe we should take a moment and consider our own death.  Hopefully we will see how fragile our life really is and start living in a deeper more meaningful manner.

To Davey and all those who are sick and dying:  My thoughts and prayers are with you.  May you be safe, well, happy and peaceful.  May you find Nibbana!

May the Triple Gem Bless You!!!


One thought on “Death…do you think?

  1. “So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
    – Psalm 90:12

    “It is better to go to the house of mourning
    than to go to the house of feasting,
    for this is the end of all mankind,
    and the living will lay it to heart.”
    – Ecclesiastes 7:2

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