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

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 9 14:10:25 MDT 2010


You keep devising elaborate ways to reassure yourself that there is some 
sort of continuance after death, as if it were a matter of outsmarting a 
certain logical puzzle. And then you ask others (e.g., listmembers) for 
confirmation and reassurance. Logical tricks and banking on "ineffability" 
or "inconceivability" to act as tacit guarantees for what you want them to 
signify and provide won't get the job done, and is not the Buddhist 
approach. The Buddhist approach is to go to the source, i.e., ask yourself 
where the compulsion to play that game -- with so much passion and 
meaning -- comes from in the first place. Why this desire to squeeze 
continuance guarantees out of the outright denial of eternalism (balanced by 
an equally outright denial of annhilationalism).

Some Buddhist texts call it bhava-asava, some call it atma-drsti -- Spinoza 
called it conatus. Until you figure out what it is and why it is making you 
do and think what you are doing and thinking, it will be writing through 
you, not vice versa.

While this list is called buddha-l, recent evidence suggests that in these 
important matters listmembers prefer non-Buddhist solutions, or don't 
understand the Buddhist responses with sufficient perspicacity to do more 
than cite sources.

The "process self" that analytic philosophy has adopted to solve problems of 
selfhood has also been embraced by those doing "Buddhism" through analytic 
prisms. Nevermind that Buddhists were aware of the process option and 
explicitly rejected it.

That means you are not the only person having trouble thinking this through.


>I don't want to [further] annoy the list by [further] laboring this point 
>but just wanted to ask if the conceivability of death being annihilation is 
>relevant to anything Buddhist? It seems relevant to *something* about life 
>but maybe just it's conceit, I don't know. I do think I'm interpreting 
>Bauman correctly. Can we imagine falling into a deep sleep?>>>>>> 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 

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