Not many of you know that I preach Buddhism as a philosophy. Its been more that 12 years now and I can say that NIcherin Daishonin Buddhism has changed my life in ways that I could not even imagine. First of all, something I wanted to share with you guys about this practice is that the essence of Buddhism is the conviction that we each have within us the ability to overcome any problem or difficulty that we may encounter in life. This inherent potential is what we refer to as the Buddha nature, a state of life characterised by limitless courage, wisdom, and compassion. The founder of Buddhism, Shakyamuni, or Siddhartha as he is sometimes known, expressed this law of life in The Lotus Sutra where he revealed that all people, without exception, possess this Buddha nature and are inherently worthy of respect.
(I would love to go in detail if you guys want to know more).
My whole point of getting into it was because on Sunday, I had gone to one of the GOSHO (the study of Nicherins Scriptual writings) Study meetings and there we talked about life and death.
We all know that we will die someday. But we cling to that idea of “someday,” expecting it to be far off in the future. Young people naturally try to brush aside the thought of death, but this is even true of older people, and perhaps increasingly so as we age. But the reality of life is that it may come to an end at any moment. The possibility of death is always with us–be it from an earthquake, an accident, or a sudden illness. We simply choose to forget this.
As someone once noted: “Death does not lie in wait before us; it creeps up on us from behind.”
Nothing is more certain than death. That’s why it is vital to immediately set ourselves to the task of accumulating the treasures of the heart that will endure for eternity. Yet the great majority of people put off this most crucial of all tasks or leave it for some future time.
There is nothing as important as what Buddhism calls the “one great matter of life and death.” Compared to this crucial matter, everything else is minor–a fact that becomes abundantly clear at the moment of death.
Someone who has been at the bedside of many at their last moments has said: “In their final days, it seems that people often recall their lives as if gazing over a vast panorama. What appears to stand out are not things such as having led a company or done well in business, but rather how they have lived their lives, whom they have loved, whom they’ve been kind to, whom they’ve hurt. All of their deepest emotions–the feeling of having been true to their beliefs and lived a fulfilled life, or painful regrets at having betrayed others–rush upon them as they approach death.”
An awareness of death gives greater meaning to our lives. Awakening to death’s reality prompts us to seek the eternal and motivates us to make the most of each moment. What if there were no death? Life would just go on and on and probably become painfully dull.
Death makes us treasure the present. Modern civilization is said to ignore or deny death. It is no coincidence that it is also a civilization characterized by the unfettered pursuit of desires. A society or civilization, just like an individual, that tries to avoid the fundamental question of life and death, will fall into spiritual decline as it fails to look beyond living for the moment.
There is a saying I am sure everyone has heard about it: “live each day as its your last.” If you think about it, it’s actually very true. We for get to live life to the fullest, we procrastinate, we keep things for later and I am no exception. Even though I keep telling myself that I have to change and do more things, not procrastinate, I still end up doing those things. As the year is ending, these thoughts keep increasing. Maybe its a pre New Years resolution or just a thing I want to start doing regardless the month or the day.
Just something to ponder about. I know I will.