[Buddha-l] Being unable to imagine dying [confused]

lemmett at talk21.com lemmett at talk21.com
Sat Jun 5 13:47:34 MDT 2010

>But persist in asking, for in no other way will clarity emerge in anyone's mind.

>Buddhist philosophy is a very odd duck indeed. To most people with training in philosophy, Buddhist philosophers hardly seem worthy of the designation. As philosophy, what the Buddhists wrote is very difficult to take seriously. To most people with a grounding in contemplative practice, on the other hand, Buddhist philosophers hardly seem to be doing anything of any importance at all. They seem just to be talking to feel a warm breeze blow between their teeth. As religion, what the Buddhists wrote is very difficult to take seriously. But all this stuff has survived, so it must make some sense on some level to someone. Part of what motivates those of us who study it for a living is (aside from becoming fabulously wealthy, famous and powerful) to try to get some small insight into what on earth it is about Buddhist writing that makes people keep passing it on from one generation to the next. In other words, we are all just as radically puzzled by it as
 you are. But at least we have had the opportunity to learn some interesting verbs in a variety of Asian languages.

What I'm asking is if I were to take seriously the authority behind the fourfold negation of the Buddha's existence after death, apply that doctrine of his final death to my own upcoming one and then add the argument for one's own non existence being inconceivable: then should I conclude anything about the possibility of death being a positive nothingness ("slipping into the night"). Or if "black velvet" remains very unlikely, does death take on a different significance according to these motivations I have adumbrated just now.
Also I might add that, I think, that there is certainly something or other to Buddhist contemplation in that there is a sense in which a self cannot be found inhering in phenomena. I haven't unpacked that analytically but then I can't do so at all easily to the belief of death's inconceivability either. At least without reading Derrida anyway.


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