Don’t Fear the Reaper

For some, death is final. Others believe we have previously & will go on to live many lives – but what about you?

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Death, dark & not to be spoken of in case we tempt fate. In the West, death is portrayed by the skeletal black hooded figure armed with scythe otherwise known as ‘the reaper.’  Is it any wonder many of us are terrified of dying? But why do we view death this way? And why is death feared in the West but embraced in many other cultures? What’s your take on death?

Do you believe death is the end? Or The beginning of a whole new chapter?

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6 thoughts on “Don’t Fear the Reaper

    • Yes I hear what you’re saying and thank you so much for commenting on this post. In our society, there is so much fear around Death so you’re really not alone there. I’m not sure personally, whether it’s more a fear of dying and how it will happen for example the process, rather than the event of death itself. Many people I’ve spoken to worry about how things will be when they’re gone. How people will react, and how strange it feels to think that life will carry on in exactly the same way you left it when you pass on to a different realm. All these things are really thought-provoking and can as you said, be really frightening. For me as a Buddhist, death is simply a continuation of life so I have no fear of death or its process. But I wanted to open this up for discussion because I feel death is something many people struggle to make sense of.

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  1. I have had the great luck or conditions to be able to practice conscious dying or Phowa within my Buddhist practice I can highly recommend it if one can find a teacher. Understanding what happens to the body and the mind in the death process and learning to control it to some extent is a great gift.
    We need not fear death when we know that only our body dies and our mind continues on like it has since beginningless time.
    From a purely scientific perspective we are constantly dyeing and being reborn while we are alive.
    Ask yourself what is it that will die? Is there a timeless part of me that is beyond the body? What happens to it?

    One further thought we can with practice experience eternity in every moment.

    QP

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    • Hi thank you so much for your reply. Yes I agree with you, practice of this type is very important in preparing for not only the death experience but also the psychological journey of acceptance that death is inevitable. Of course not everyone is Buddhist and even some who are, still from time to time including myself, find ourselves entering that fear of leaving this realm and everyone we love. It’s then we begin to recognize the need to become stronger in our practice. For me the sadness of death or at least dying is when we enter those last hours with regret. Things we should have done, said, rectified, made amends for but didn’t and now they cause disruption to what should be a peaceful time. This is why I always advise to do these things in life. In relation to Phowa this is something I’m currently seeking guidance with from my teacher in India and soon I hope to receive the transmition which I haven’t done yet. Thank you so much QP your comments are always welcomed.

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      • Hi Julie it’s nice to hear from you again I hope you are well.

        I hear what you are saying about the fear and sadness of death this is really something everyone must go through. I for one feel more sadness of all the people I will miss and of course I would no longer be useful. Thankfully here is where the Buddhadharma really shines, even without exotic practices that require a retreat. One needn’t look any further than the four common preliminaries. Where we learn to be thankful for our precious opportunity to have a human existence and be of benefit to others. Secondly to really understand impermanence would mean to be at peace with death. Here I could think of what I would imagine is the most difficult thing for a Buddhist student to experience is the death of their teacher. I think that through situations like this we can come to terms with our own inevitable demise and then use our short opportunity in this life to be of use to others build up massive amounts of positive impressions to help others in the way towards enlightenment.
        Even reincarnation is a safety net for us where we get another chance to try again and do even better is also very helpful.
        If you are not Buddhist then you have to use the teachings of whatever religion you have to the best of your ability, and this is simply up to them.
        I am thankful that the Buddhadharma does give us many useful teachings to help us on the way. When we do this fully and completely do this that there can be no regrets. Like the Buddha and his last words who gave teachings with his last breath.

        I wish you the opportunity to practice phowa. It really is life changing. And to have it without a big retreat is even better. Om mani dewa shri

        QP

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