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Motivation and Results

Death as motivator

Death as motivator
Answer
3/12/17 12:03 PM
Hi everyone,
anyone ever visiting places where death is abundant (eg Varanasi) *purposefully* so that the awareness of fragilities of life is intensified? It has the benefit of a 'kick-effect ' as the saying goes  " 1 visit to the funeral is 10x more powerful than 10 visits to temple" . 

my sense of complacency and attachment to the  worldly is too strong...thinking of practical ways to shake this off.

thanks

RE: Death as motivator
Answer
3/12/17 12:24 PM as a reply to Tom.
That's a great saying.

Yes, death is a great paradox. It's certain, because it's sure to happen; it's uncertain, because no one knows when it will happen. On the other hand, it's simultaneously ignored and deeply feared by most people. Moreover, it's seen as a great pain or even evil, when it is the principle that allows transformation, evolution and, ultimately, life itself.

Sometimes I like to look at objects and, specially, people and see them as very complex systems comprised by innumerable components and processes, always changing and dying, reliant on fragile equilibriums. This may help in seeing things not as solid entities, but activities, processes or fluxes that adventitiously arise and are bound to change and disappear.

And, of course, when the belief in and feeling of self starts to crumble, the idea of death loses some traction. Whem someone dies, we see it as a process ending, not a soul or a person falling into extinction. It also helps me to know that I too will evaporate back into the universe, that we're all passengers in an empty cosmic journey.

RE: Death as motivator
Answer
3/12/17 5:50 PM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Wise way of seeing things , tks

RE: Death as motivator
Answer
3/12/17 11:58 PM as a reply to Tom.
Yes, I went to Varanasi and watched bodies burning on the burning ghats, also did 160 hours in my medical school's anatomy lab dissecting a corpse to shreds and fragments: both very useful meditations on the relative side of impermanence. Those, and getting to see a reasonable number of people die in the ER, all help release attachment to this twitching skeleton wrapped in meat. ;)

RE: Death as motivator
Answer
3/13/17 11:49 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Glad for u to have such opportunities for practice :-)

RE: Death as motivator
Answer
3/14/17 6:14 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Yes, I went to Varanasi and watched bodies burning on the burning ghats, also did 160 hours in my medical school's anatomy lab dissecting a corpse to shreds and fragments: both very useful meditations on the relative side of impermanence. Those, and getting to see a reasonable number of people die in the ER, all help release attachment to this twitching skeleton wrapped in meat. ;)

Hi Daniel, 

Since it's on topic and a lot of people are here to overcome the fear of death. I'm curious about your current view of physical death, the end of the Daniel Ingram process. As I understand it, after 4th path even the most subtle sense of centrality and agency ends. But there's still some kind of localising around this Daniel Ingram thing, even if all the components of the Daniel Ingram thing are happening and aware where they are.

What happens at death? Is there sadness, apprehension about the inevitable end of Daniel Ingram? 

What about some sense of continuity? (Given magick, powers, astral projection, past life stuff, etc)

Or is this kind of talk and questioning only ever uninteresting inference or theory until it happens?

- Wing

RE: Death as motivator
Answer
3/16/17 2:22 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
Here are some thoughts on the questions:

Causality has always been empty of a solid, independent, continuous self.

"Continuity" in a relative sense has always been empty of a solid, independent, continuous self.

Yet, they both function anyway, obviously.

Past lives: empty.

This life: empty.

Any future lives: empty.

That emptiness can be clearly perceived or not, but it is as it is anyway.

Here's the real kicker question that I don't know the answer to: Does realization of emptiness imply what the Buddha of the Theravada said, that there could be no causes for rebirth if one is realized, or does it imply what the Mahayanists say, that their version of realization will mean perpetual incarnation as a bodhisattva for the benefit of all beings?

Are both possibly possible based on intention? Is magick and expectation involved? I honestly have no idea.

As a Zen master, when asked a similar question once said, "I may be a Zen master, but I am not a dead one."

I can totally imagine it going either way.

Framing it in a much wider, more ultimate context, causality rolls on. Beings are born and die. This universe is unlikely to be purely solipsistic, meaning a product of my own mind, and unlikely to end when I die.

Being as all things are interconnected, that the boundaries we imagine that define us are not real, that the thing we think we are clearly isn't, then, as the universe continues to unfold, that unfolding greater causality clearly is the thing of relevance, regardless of any limited, bounded notion of some "Daniel", as that "Daniel" was always just one flowing, morphing aspect of the greater whole, as physics and the like tell us.

RE: Death as motivator
Answer
3/16/17 5:22 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
[quote="Continuity" in a relative sense has always been empty of a solid, independent, continuous self.
]
Daniel, 

In a relative sense, wouldn't in make more sense to say that continuity is indeed not empty of a (conventional) self? Otherwise continuity is an utterly senseless word. Only in an ultimate sense would it be empty.

And what is your view on the tibetan notion that points to the existence of a subtle mental continuum, which is the substratum that moves from life to life, albeit being itself empty of inherent existence? It is this, as far as I know, that allows one continuum's karma not to be mix up with another and allows a buddha to remain in the world to help other beings. This seems rather convenient from a personal (and reified) perspective, because from the Universe's perspective it would seem peculiar to allow these "quasi-individual" continuums...

Does this make any sense?

Thanks!

RE: Death as motivator
Answer
3/18/17 12:09 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Right.

Actually, not only is causality empty of a solid, independent self, but reality is empty of any solid, independent, self-existing objects. There are just causal events, rolling on, with literally nothing behind them.

Regarding the Mahayana View, from a Western standpoint, it's hard to see a causal mechanism behind rebirth. Most of what the traditions teach in this regard (bhavanga-citta, subtle body with Bardo state intermediary, etc.) seems hard to understand. Everything we know about human life from biology to psychology to sociology can, when investigated closely, be analyzed into causal mechanisms. In some cases the causal mechanisms involve material causes and effects, like flu, in others they involve material causes to nonmaterial effects, like mental illness, and in some they involve nonmaterial causes and effects, like memes.  Most Zen teachers, when asked about rebirth will say "it doesn't exist", which is perfectly consistent with Nagarjuna's view and the Second Turning. Still, the Bodhisattva Vow is recited during Zen practice and taken quite seriously by those of us who have taken it.

My own view on this is to not have a fixed view. While it seems unlikely, I guess I'll find out when the Grim Reaper shows up at my doorstep. emoticon

RE: Death as motivator
Answer
3/16/17 6:55 PM as a reply to Tom.
Why would being motivated by death be bad?

It is a fact that we will die, and another fact that it can come at any time. Like in the next decade or year or month or week or day or hour. Even if we are not dead, we cannot assume that we will be able to continue a meditation practise as you may become severly disabled physically and/or mentally due to life circumstances.

Thus death allows us to focus on awakening more than ever, and put the trivial bullshit we do into perspective. I firmly disagree.