Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dead man blogging

I recently posted about some MP3s of dharma talks by the Venerable Shih Ying-Fa I found on the web. One of those talks, Fearless, made an interesting point about drill sergeants telling new soldiers training to go into combat "You are already dead." The Ven. Ying-Fa took the talk it in another direction, but not before saying that we could "say that now" (in other words about ourselves). And when I thought about it, it's true. The cause of death is birth, it's just that some deaths have yet to manifest in the world of form. But from the view of formlessness, cause and effect always arise simultaneously; there is no distinction of past, present, and future--it isn't linear. Dealing with the reality of death is a prerequisite for truly living.

In another dharma talk (for which I have no audio or transcript to share), it was suggested that (paraphrasing) it might help to go around with the word DEATH tattooed on our foreheads. I decided instead to make an animated GIF:

You are going to die

Now, in addition to the idea of the physical birth and death of biological individuals, there is also the issue of our concept of the self. Every time our ignorances leads us down the path of conditioned existence, we recreate/renew the delusion of true separateness from everything else and lose sight of the fact of our death. To rephrase a popular saying: 'The delusional person die a million deaths, the fearless die but once.'

Now while I've couched the discussion in terms familiar to Buddhists, it clearly is not a teaching or realization that is confined to any sacred tradition. Wiccans, secular humanists, Christians, etc. could all (potentially) see the value in this reminder.

If you'd like to add a reminder to your blog/website, please download the image and host it on a server of your choosing (if you don't have server space with your internet account try the free service at places like PhotoBucket). Here is the code (just fill in the appropriate URL):

<a href="" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="" alt="You are going to die" title="You are going to die"></a>

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