Buddhist prejudices Death ignorance immortality Impermanence Karmic experience meaningful life purification suffering

Is Death a gift?

Pemba Prayag Sherpa
Pemba Prayag Sherpa

In one point of our life, we all will face death as death is inevitable. I’m sure we were all annoyed, disappointed and worried when someone explained us about death for the first time in our childhood. I always wondered why there is such phenomena called death! My earlier understanding of the death that it separates us from oneself (one’s body), parents, beloved ones and our belongings made me so sad and helpless, helpless in the sense that no one can bring the deceased back to life, and I acknowledged that. The tragedies of death of our beloved ones have caused us the great amount of grief and suffering. All of us have gone through this. Moreover, the news about the death tolls from accident, wars and so forth make us even more concerned and trigger us to imagine about the enormous suffering that deceased victims experiences in such incidents. Such experiences, undoubtedly bring us the fear about the death that one will have  to face at one point of life time as there is no escape from it and the world is full of uncertainties. Even merely imagining and thinking of death brings us the sadness and sense of insecurity and uncertainty of our life and dreams we have. However, these fears actually arise from the ignorance, not understanding that the death is rather a gift one endows soon after he/she is conceived or born. Death is simply understood as the end of the life. Although there are many hypothesis and beliefs regarding the afterlife experiences and existences of souls or mind after death, no one can deny the fact that there is no physical existence of person after the death. There are no clear evidences to prove such claims. We experiences all different kinds of emotions of happiness, sorrows, pleasant and unpleasant feelings in our life. When we are in a pleasant state, we wish we never die and be immortal. However, Immortality would have been okay if all of us were born with the instincts to remain happy uniformly and equally in spite of pains, wounds, injuries or any bad occurring one can imagine. This is not possible either. The life we live exists in impermanence and our pleasant and unpleasant emotions exists in mutual dependence and designation. If one thinks the life as boon then one should also consider the death as a boon. Would one call a life a life if there was no death? Certainly not! Further more, death puts an end for an unbearable pain and suffering. Imagine having a pain from incurable diseases, when you constantly suffer and no pain killers works. If there was no death, suffering would be endless and eternal. Perhaps one would wish to die and stop suffering. Nowadays, people choose death over unbearable suffering caused by incurable diseases. People become obliged to euthanize the victims in such cases. We also hear in history that people chose over honorable death than having a shameful life. Similarly, we hear about people taking their own lives out of unbearable stress, shame and misery. It seems as if death seems a better option to some. So, is death a gift? My Buddhist prejudices do not favor artificial and suicidal death for having somewhat belief on after life Karmic experience. However, one should not remorse too much over natural and accidental death. If we think suffering and death as the purification phase, one wouldn’t worry and remorse too much over suffering and death. One would and should rather admire, learn and enjoy the fruits of impermanence because that’s the only smart choice!
~ Pemba Prayag Sherpa

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