Yesterday evening I had the great honour & privilege of having Geshe Lama Ahbay Tulku Rinpoche visit my home for the 3rd year running. With a small gathering of spiritually minded people, we ate together, laughed together (what an infectious laugh he has) and shared some great philosophical discussion.
After supper we all moved to my healing & meditation room for Q & A about Buddhism & life in general before taking part in the dedication prayer.
One of the questions raised during our discussion was this…… Why do you think Westerners have a deep rooted fear of death?
Maybe it’s because in the West, the main focus is on materialism. The media is all about materialism, as are the newspapers & Internet. It’s all about products that make you feel and look good giving you the false hope of regaining youthfulness. We know the hope is false because from the moment we’re born, we are physically moving towards eventual death. That’s the cycle of life really – no escaping it. Then when illness & sickness comes it’s a terrible shock because we thought we were invincible. Death is something we Westerners choose not to talk about because it’s considered morbid & dark, but we all want a comfortable death surely? But, if we’re ever going to prepare for the inevitable event of death properly we must discuss it in life.
Rinpoche’s words gave me some great food for thought and so I’d like to put these 2 questions out to the universe…..
1, What are your thoughts on death?
2, Where are you going after death?
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Ever heard of Transhumanism? Me neither until today when I switched on the radio to hear the most jawdropping conversation.
Transhumanism:- The belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.
According to American transhumanist, journalist, entrepreneur and futurist Zoltan Istvan, the likelihood of humans existing only as pure data-with no physical body on the cloud is very real & closer that we think. According to Istvan – as we approach death,
Have you noticed how we humans tend to dissect ourselves and put the different parts in clearly labeled boxes? Let me try to explain further…..We often define ourselves by our jobs, religion, position in life etc.
This struck me a couple of days ago whilst running a self awareness & self development workshop. Each person was asked to tell me a little bit about ‘him/herself.’ As each one spoke it struck me, most of us define ourself by things, people & situations around us. For example; I’m a teacher, a mother, husband or wife. I’m a Christian or I work in a high ranking job. But nobody spoke about his or herself as a person. So I set the following exercise:
You’re given weeks to live. Already you’re becoming dependent on those around you for feeding, bathing etc. Your job has gone now & although you’re missed, you’ve been replaced already. All the clothes you own, suits, dresses, shoes etc will soon all belong to someone else maybe resold through the charity shop. It’s the same with your husband or wife, they’ll one day share their life with another but right now they’re responsible for your comfort and care. Deep down in your heart, you know your beautiful children & grandchildren will always remember you through photos, but may very well call someone else mum & grandma in the future. Everything you own, your life savings, the world you thought you knew & the dreams you had, are all relative now as you lay confined to your bed.
All the external things that once defined you have pretty much gone. Who are you?
What are your thoughts?
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Many with an interest in Buddhism, hope to meet with HH The Dalai Lama or HH The Karmapa even if only for a few minutes. But what’s to be learned by those fortunate enough?
In 2010 I had the opportunity to do that very thing. Something many people only dream of – meeting his Holiness the 17th Karmapa on a one-to-one basis. It came out of the blue, totally unplanned from a young girl I’d been helping with English language. It turned out, her husband is the bodyguard of his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and in return for my kindness she wanted to arrange a one to one appointment with his Holiness the Karmapa. It would have been The Dalai Lama if he hadn’t been out of the country. Of course I accepted the offer, not wishing to appear ungrateful. But in situations such as this, I would have preferred to have something to say, questions to ask and something constructive to base my appointment on. The time came quickly, in fact it was the following day, so even if I’d wanted to think something up I didn’t have time. Arriving early afternoon in Norbulingka the home of his Holiness, I was shown into a small basic room with only a short wait, before being shown into something far
Why have we been born human? And what’s our main purpose in life?
A question someone asked me recently during one of our deep philosophical conversations. My reply was its my belief we were brought into this world as humans to end suffering. She looked at me and said “Well where does God fit in then?” The thing is, I have no clue where God fits in if I’m being truthful. As humans we’ve been born with a moral & ethical conscience – something no other species has. We know it’s wrong to cause harm to another sentient being and whilst we may not always act on that knowledge, we have it. As humans we are tangible, we can touch each other and if we work together we can achieve great things.
So what are your thoughts on the Purpose of Human Life?
The western world – a hub for mindfulness, meditation and all things mind related. But what is the mind? And where is it located? Let’s debate!
In today’s fast moving societies where targets and deadlines dominate & our economic situation is constantly changing. It’s no surprise people are trying to find ways of quieting the mind, to manage stress and deal with every day life. It’s true we talk about it every day, but even if the most skilled surgeon on the planet cut open our head and body he/or she would not find anything that resembles mind. So where & what exactly is the mind?