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Re: Dead friend

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  • Theresa
    Hello Robert,
    Message 1 of 4 , May 29, 2000
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      Hello Robert,

      << ---
      A professor (British) at my university died suddenly and I attended
      his funeral yesterday. . . . He was a lovely man - an accomplished
      writer, popular teacher but self-deprecating and full of subtle
      humour. He was on the commitee that hired me and we have been good
      friends ever since. What sort of reflections do you have when someone
      you know die? It always makes me reflect on Dhamma.
      ------ >>

      Q: What sort of reflections do you have when someone you know die?
      A: I accept that the person and everything having any kind of
      relationships to that him/her are gone forever.. If I recall anything
      related to him/her, that would be my own imagination, and that would
      be a proof that I have attachment to him/her.. Each time I catch my
      own attachment, I increase Mindfulness to understand any Dukkha
      (either happiness, hurt or numb feelings) residing in me, and my
      secret wishes or fears, which he/she reminds me of.. My wishes and my
      fears are my true attachment.. Other than that kind of reflections,
      each time I recall of the dead person, I wish him/her be reborn in
      better realms, in better living conditions, in better health, in
      better happiness, in situations to learn, believe, practice Buddha's
      Dhamma and to attain Magga/Phala/Nibbana in soon or in an countable
      number of lifetimes..

      << ----
      I never discussed Buddhism with him - except that he knew I was
      Buddhist- I was somewhat in awe of his intellect and felt
      uncomfortable bringing it up. Yet now I think I should have: even
      when people do not like to hear Dhamma it sometimes conditions
      understanding in the future. It is a seed that must be planted for
      future growth.
      ------- >>

      I have introduced Mindfulness (Samadhi and Vipassana) to Christians
      and people of other religions without mentioning words like Buddha,
      Dhamma, Sati, Vipassana, etc.. I even stressed that people can hold
      tight to whatever religion or faith they have had while "trying out"
      Awareness.. I can't remember all people I talked to, but I vaguely
      remember that they tried out Mindfulness at different levels with
      different effort for different length of time.. As you said, << It is
      a seed that must be planted for future growth..>>, so I was not
      pushing for immediate results..

      During such introduction, I try very hard :
      (1) to keep Mindfulness going for myself ((ie, watch out for my Ego
      to take control of the conversation, or to push for my beliefs over
      others')),
      (2) to remember that the introduction is for the benefits, thus inner
      peace, happiness and well-being of the listeners, and
      (3) to respect their beliefs, their faiths.. (( meaning, if they are
      willing to listen, I shall speak.. If they don't want to hear, I
      shall not whisper or hint anything in any way.. Right Speech must be
      upheld as much as I can, and this is a very tough task for me))

      << ----
      The same with Buddhists who have a different interpretation of the
      Dhamma - especially those who think they can control things. It is
      sometimes tiring to talk with them but by doing so it plants seeds
      (mainly doubt) that may blossom even in future lives.
      ------- >>

      Please be patient, and wait out for the Right time, Right place,
      Right conditions (their readiness).. I strongly believe that my own
      effort in keeping Mindfulness as continuous as I can benefits me
      first, and others later.. I am certain Mindfulness helps keep my
      character in check from moment to moment.. I am also certain that
      Mindfulness/Insight has changed my personality.. The new
      character/personality of "mine" ( of Mindfulness, actually ) is the
      most affective invitation to Mindfulness.. In the past, people, who
      were submerged in difficult situations, told me something like : "I
      want to be peaceful and happy like you.. Tell me how I can be like
      you.." .. Therefore, I strongly believe that Mindfulness of ourselves
      is the best way for us to help bring Buddha's Dhamma to "non-
      believers"..

      Have you ever thought that Mindfulness of ourselves *IS* Metta to us
      and others ?? :-))

      With metta,

      Theresa.
    • Jonothan Abbott
      Theresa, Thanks for your comments. ... Useful reflection on death, such as when someone we know dies, can have a calming effect. But only a temporary effect.
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 6, 2000
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        Theresa,

        Thanks for your comments.

        >It gets better with practice.. I mentally assume my death, the
        >extreme and slow pain which is painful enough to kill a
        >strong/healthy body, the decay of my body, the disappearance of so-
        >called "I", and the knowledge.. The more I remember those Truths, the
        >more I can just live, and the more I can accept loosing anything and
        >anyone I have.. After 100 years from right now, where are we, even
        >the newborn being born today ??.. Thinking like that helps me detach
        >in the current moment..

        Useful reflection on death, such as when someone we know dies, can have a
        calming effect. But only a temporary effect. It does not, cannot,
        eradicate any of our accumulations of lobha.

        Visualisation practice such as you have mentioned is another thing
        altogether. There seems to be an element of "thinking" oneself into
        detachment.

        Jonothan

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      • Phil
        Hi all I was just fiddling way at the back of the DSG archives for some reason and found this post. I thought it was very good to reflect on. Metta, Phil ... I
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 15, 2007
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          Hi all


          I was just fiddling way at the back of the DSG archives for some
          reason and found this post. I thought it was very good to reflect on.


          Metta,

          Phil


          --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Robert Kirkpatrick
          <robertkirkpatrick@...> wrote:
          >
          > Dear group,
          > A professor (British) at my university died suddenly
          > and I attended his funeral yesterday. A large man with
          > a Prince Charles accent- I always smiled when I saw
          > him around campus - he is what I imagine an Oxford Don
          > to be. He was a lovely man - an accomplished writer,
          > popular teacher but self-deprecating and full of
          > subtle humour. He was on the commitee that hired me
          > and we have been good friends ever since.
          > What sort of reflections do you have when someone you
          > know die? It always makes me reflect on Dhamma. He was
          > highly successful and helped many people in a worldly
          > sense and yet his future is completely uncertain. I
          > never discussed Buddhism with him - except that he
          > knew I was Buddhist- I was somewhat in awe of his
          > intellect and felt uncomfortable bringing it up. Yet
          > now I think I should have: even when people do not
          > like to hear Dhamma it sometimes conditions
          > understanding in the future. It is a seed that must be
          > planted for future growth.
          > The same with Buddhists who have a different
          > interpretation of the Dhamma - especially those who
          > think they can control things. It is sometimes tiring
          > to talk with them but by doing so it plants
          > seeds(mainly doubt) that may blossom even in future
          > lives.
          > Robert
          >
          >



          I too hesitate to talk about Dhamma with people....there is a
          thinking that if someone isn't "ready" he or she won't hear, but as
          Robert says, it can plant seeds in ways we don't know...

          ...also, we know that people who don't know the Dhamma at all can
          have favourable rebirth if they have practiced dana and morality.
          (But no deeper liberation.) Elaine was posting about that, and I
          found confirmation in some AN suttas last night but haven't posted
          about it. So if Robert's friend was patient and helpful to many
          people, he was probably all right....(Who knows what's going on in
          people's minds, though. That counts too!)

          Anyways, let's keep talking patiently and kindly with each other.
          Who knows what fruit it will bear for ourselves and others?>
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