[Buddha-l] Being unable to imagine dying and living

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 10 02:08:10 MDT 2010

>>The idea that one cannot imagine oneself in the ground thinking to oneself 
>>"I don't exist" is simply a silly and meaningless exercise.
>>>It's also to say that I can't imagine thinking to myself "I am ceasing to 
>>>exist". To me it seems really important, could it be one way to face 
>>>atma-drsti and challenge the continuity narrative - perhaps a narrative 
>>>of a self that dies?>>Not that I think I understand. Presumably present 
>>>moments are followed by future ones just because one causes the next; but 
>>>surely something must differentiate general causal sequences and that 
>>>constituted by what is provisionally posited as the mental events of some 
>>>person. In which case, if nothing is denied that we know about ourselves, 
>>>why can't it be said to be personhood?>>Best wishes>Luke

Atma-drsti is the fact that you don't actually believe a word you just 
wrote -- that you think you still can outsmart death by a logical trick 
(that, under analysis, doesn't really stand up to very rigorous logical 
scrutiny anyway), but you feel compelled to keep generating these denials of 
death. That compulsion is atma-drsti. I'll let you in on a secret: The 
denials don't work in the long run.

A more fruitful direction to focus that energy would be to follow Buddha's 
example. He began the third watch of the night under the Bodhi tree by 
asking himself the question: Why is there death? The answer he came up with 
is: There is death, because there is birth. He then asked, Why is there 
birth? By sunrise he had traced this back to the root of the problem, and 
was Awakened, an actual Buddha.

You are loitering around the right question -- now time to decide whether to 
be a lion or a dog. (another secret: "Death" is just "impermanence" taken 
personally. Impermanence is just death taken impersonally. All is 
impermanence, hence all is duhkha. So, why is there death?)


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