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The nine contemplations of Atisha

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I’ve come across these several times, but I don’t think I’ve posted them here before. They’re insightful, and always bring me back to an appreciation of the current moment, so I thought it might be nice to share them. It’s basically a series of nine short points to contemplate, about the subject of death. They were thought up by the Indian teacher Atisha, who lived in Tibet during the eleventh century.

The contemplations
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 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. Your material possessions cannot help you when death comes
9. Your body cannot help you when death comes

The first three points are about the inevitability of death, the second three about the uncertainty of when it will arrive, and the third three about the fact that nothing can aid you when it does come. All in all it is a sobering meditation, which points you at the preciousness of your current human life and what you still want to do with it.

In Tibetan Buddhism there is a slightly modified version which is also called the ‘nine point meditation on death’. It emphasises more the fact that spiritual practice can help with death, and so uses the contemplation as a motivation. But I like to return to this form every so often because it has a certain purity.

Namasté 💀

johnathanfedericaJeffreyBunksAlexlobster

Comments

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Have I not often said that 'Every Breath is One Breath Less.'..?

    BunksAlex
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    Ooooo the old death contemplation....Ven Thubten Chodron has some good guided meditations on this if anyone is interested.

    https://thubtenchodron.org/1991/08/important-awareness-death/

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran
    edited February 26

    Try dying before you are dead ... as the dervishes do, instead of sitting around in a walking corpse ... wait I iz zombie?

    ... Must find brainz ... [lobster wanders into the sunset ...]

    @Linc can we still post vimeo vids or is it youtube only - above pic should be video

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    I can see it and play it @lobster

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    Ooooo the old death contemplation...

    Still good though, although I imagine back when Atisha wrote it the fragility of the body made things a lot more uncertain... these days a lot is understood about the body and most people will have a basic understanding of the organs, blood, breathing and how it all works.

    I came across this longer explanation by Joan Halifax Roshi, which seems quite nice.

    https://www.upaya.org/dox/Contemplations.pdf

    Bunks
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