in , ,

The Dalai Lama on death (rare excerpt)

We can all agree that the fear of death is the most fundamental fear that all humans face in their lives. We may try to forget our uncertainty as to what happens in the afterlife, but the fear is ever present, always just below the surface.

What do Buddhists have to say about this wholly natural yet seemingly undesirable event in which all human life culminates?

We found a rare excerpt of one of the Dalai Lama’s speeches from 1994 where he shares his perspective on what happens when you die.

It gets better:

He offers practical advice at the end on how to live a virtuous life to prepare for the final reckoning.

The Dalai Lama describes the process of death

Dalai Lama explains what happens when you die

“As a Buddhist, I view death as a normal process, a reality that I accept will occur as long as I remain in this earthly existence. Knowing that I cannot escape it, I see no point in worrying about it. I tend to think of death as being like changing your clothes when they are old and worn out, rather than as some final end. Yet death is unpredictable: We do not know when or how it will take place. So it is only sensible to take certain precautions before it actually happens.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The process of dying begins with the dissolution of the elements within the body. It has eight stages, beginning with the dissolution of the earth element, then the water, fire and wind elements. The color: appearance of a white vision, increase of the red element, black near-attainment, and finally the clear light of death.

Do you want to be a stronger person? You need to develop a more resilient mindset. Find out how in our latest eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Mental Toughness.

“There is no way to escape death, it is just like trying to escape by four great mountains touching sky. There is no escape from these four mountains of birth, old age, sickness and death.

“Ageing destroys youth, sickness destroys health, degeneration of life destroys all excellent qualities and death destroys life. Even if you are a great runner, you cannot run away from death. You cannot stop death with your wealth, through your magic performances or recitation of mantras or even medicines. Therefore, it is wise to prepare for your death.

“From a Buddhist point of view, the actual experience of death is very important. Although how or where we will be reborn is generally dependent on karmic forces, our state of mind at the time of death can influence the quality of our next rebirth. So at the moment of death, in spite of the great variety of karmas we have accumulated, if we make a special effort to generate a virtuous state of mind, we may strengthen and activate a virtuous karma, and so bring about a happy rebirth.”

The Dalai Lama writes about consciousness in the fascinating book, Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying: An Exploration of Consciousness.

Knowing the process of death, how to live your life

In a later part of the presentation, the Dalai Lama shares how to use these insights to live a virtuous life:

“We cannot hope to die peacefully if our lives have been full of violence, or if our minds have mostly been agitated by emotions like anger, attachment, or fear. So if we wish to die well, we must learn how to live well: Hoping for a peaceful death, we must cultivate peace in our mind, and in our way of life.”

Correction: We changed the previous heading from “The Dalai Lama Explains What Happens When You Die (And How You Can Be Prepared)” to “The Dalai Lama on death (rare excerpt)” to more accurately explain the excerpt we share above.


Are you tired of being pushed around?

If you answered "yes" to this question, there's something very important you need to do...

You know why?

Because it sucks to be taken for granted, treated like you don't matter and manipulated without a moment's thought.

The problem is worse than many people realize. It's not just people in our personal lives treating us like dirt. It's also our politicians and corporate leaders.

ADVERTISEMENT

That's right. Our society is based upon us acting like sheep, letting the powerful people do what they want.

But there's something you can do right now to change the game.

You can embrace your inner beast. You can get angry. And you can do something powerful with this anger.

That's what we teach in our latest entirely free masterclass:

How to Embrace Your Inner Beast: Turning Your Anger into Your Ally

It's playing for a limited time, so register now and check it out.

ADVERTISEMENT

Subscribe to Ideapod's weekly newsletter

Learn how to break through limiting paradigms, find your creativity, and embrace your personal power.

We won't send you spam. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Notable replies

  1. We were all born & some people recall they led former lives. Most of us don’t recall & the popular conception (pardon the pun) is that we originated the first time from angels. As far as death is concerned, I hate to think that I’ve been relatively nice & considerate to others & this is the end of the line or existence. Personally, I believe that we presently live in space based on limits (for instance, one thing in the exact same place at clock time (t)). When we die, I suspect we pass into units of time which lasts to infinity or forever & what various religions, philosophies define as heaven.

  2. I saw a brief scene on the web where some bad things were happening. There was a religious person being asked why they were remaining in the area, and their response was riveting. As best I can remember, “If God permits me to die, I will die, if God permits me to live, I will live.”

Want to comment? Continue the discussion at Ideapod Discussions

Participants

Written by Justin Brown

I'm the CEO and co-founder of Ideapod, a platform for people to connect around ideas. I'm passionate about people thinking for themselves, especially in an age of information overload.

180 mind-bending questions that make you think about human existence

A Story #ForTheWeb