1. All of us will die sooner or later
2. Your life span is decreasing continuously
3. Death will come whether you are prepared or not
4. Your life span, like that of all living beings, is not fixed
5. Death has many causes
6. Your body is fragile and vulnerable
7. Your loved ones cannot keep you from death
8. At the moment of your death, your material resources are of no use to you
9. Your own body cannot help you at the time of your death
Not-knowing can seem terribly difficult at times; but not knowing what’s going to happen is our natural state. How can we be more at ease with not knowing the future?
We all know that we’re not immortal, that we have a limited time on this planet, but it’s a knowledge that we tend to push out of view. By not remembering this fact of life/death, we wrap ourselves in the delusion that we are immortal. So Atisha gives some detailed reflections to help us remember this fact and keep our balance while maintaining awareness of death firmly in mind.
Our life span is decreasing daily. One could panic at this thought, or one could understand more deeply the preciousness of each day. This is the day we are given, may we make the most of it. Let us fill it as much as possible with non-harming, with caring for ourselves and others, and with acts that reflect our best intentions.
Our loved ones cannot protect us from death, and we can’t protect our loved ones from death, or ill health or other disasters. When we’re very young, we (normally) believe that our parents are protecting us from danger. And when we’re parents we have every intention of protecting our children from suffering. These are good intentions, and it’s good for children to be protected from unnecessary fears. But at some point, we have to grow into the understanding that everything that lives, dies; everything that has a beginning, also has an ending. If we love and are loved, this can make our life beautiful; and sadly, the opposite is also true. The love of family and friends can’t prevent our death, but it can be the most precious of gifts available to us while we live.