October 5th, 2014
Despite all the hardship I’ve been through in the last 2 years, I can say I’ve had a very fortunate life. I think of all the incredible friends and family I’ve been blessed with, all the places and things I have seen, how I was able to study what I wanted to, and how I’ve been lucky enough to work doing what I love. I believe I’ve been of service to others for a good part of my life, and I even married an incredible woman.
On July 2002 I heard a wonderful dhamma-talk given by Bikkhu Boddhi at the New York Buddhist Vihara on the subject of death. After dhamma deshana, Rev. Boddhi led a guided meditation on Marananussati.
The Marananussati Bhavana—as the title implies—is a meditation on death. It is not an exercise on gloom or pessimism, but a preparation for the eventual passing of our bodily and mental processes, and the acceptance of this event which every living thing must go through. It asks the practitioner to reflect on three immutable facts: (1) death is inevitable, (2) the time of death is unknown, and (3) you cannot take anything with you. According to Buddhism we have died countless times in the past and we will keep doing so unless we attain nibbana. The main concern of a Buddhist at the time of death is to make this passage as peaceful and as purposeful as possible, and marananussati bhavana allows the practitioner to look at death with a calm mind so he can recall his good deeds, let go of wordly attachments, and reaffirm his commitment to understanding the dhamma.
Marananussati Bhavana chanting in Pali: