June 5 : Death is Definite

Death is definite. We first begin recalling that everybody must die, and it does not matter who you are. Throughout history people have died, so there is not going to be any reason why we are going to be exceptions. Even people who were holy beings in previous lives died. It happens to everybody. Our social status, education, privilege, wealth and so forth do not matter. Forget them. Death is the great equaliser. It happens to everybody.

There is no place to go where we will not die. We just sent this spacecraft to Pluto and took pictures, and I am sure somebody had this thought, “Maybe if we send people to Pluto they won’t die there, or maybe Pluto is too far away, we will send people to the moon and they will not die there, or perhaps we will go somewhere else.” That will not work either because the fact that you have a body that is borne from afflictions and karma, means that it is in the process of decaying and will eventually cease, regardless of where the body is at. So, it does not matter where you go.

We always think, “Death will not come so soon. I haven’t practised the Dharma yet. It’ll become definite later. In the meantime, I’m too busy and I’ve too many exciting things to do in my life.”

At the beginning of our lives, we pass most of our time as kids. We do not know any better. We do not know the Dharma. We do not know much, so we spend time playing. That goes on for a good 20-odd years. Just playing and be carefree. Nowadays, it does not really end when you are 20 either.

In the second period of your life, you finally settle down. You hold a job, you get married, you have kids, you work to support your family and children, and you do everything as a parent and keep a family together. You also do everything you need to do to be successful in your career because it is not only family that is important, it is also about career, status, etc. You spend a good period of your life achieving that.

Finally, when it is time to retire, sometimes you do not retire. In Singapore, they make you retire. But in the States, they do not. It is interesting. They arrange for it. They lay you off. Then you spend that time playing poker or golf, visiting your grandchildren, or trying to decipher the numbers on your Medicare bills. Then death comes, and we are not prepared.

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