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Death and Rebirth-3

Death and Rebirth-3

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Published by Dew Nada

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Published by: Dew Nada on Nov 03, 2009
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11/03/2009

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Death and Rebirth
Audio:
Meditation One of Four
We’re now ready to begin the first meditation of the death and rebirth module, and you’re going to bepracticing these meditations for the first time after having completed the first teaching session. However, inthis meditation session, we’re also going to meditate on some of the topics that I introduce in the secondteaching session. That’s OK, because they’re fairly simple and anyway, you’ll need to come back and do allthese meditations again and again. That’s why we call it “practice.”Also, as I mentioned before, you need to learn how to do these meditations on your own, so that later youcan do them without listening to the CD or by following the CD and using the pause button. This is becauseyou need to gradually increase the duration of your meditation sessions beyond the 35 minutes or so wehave for each session now. As the teachers in our lineage always tell us, when beginning a meditationpractice or a retreat, start with many short sessions and gradually make the sessions longer in duration andfewer in number.Anyway, I don’t want to say too much about meditation here, because I’ve already spoken briefly about it inthe first session and more to the point, ideally you should also have completed the How to Meditate moduleof the Discovering Buddhism program by now and, therefore, be pretty familiar with how to meditate.Sit comfortably in the seven-point meditation posture or as close to it as you can get and focus on your breathfor at least a couple of minutes, preferably longer, again by using the pause and play buttons on your CDplayer as you’ve been doing in the teaching sessions.
Motivation 
Once you’ve made your mind calm and clear through focusing on your breath, generate a positive motivation
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for doing this meditation. Think, “The purpose of my life is to lead all sentient beings out of suffering intoenlightenment. In order to do this, I must first reach enlightenment myself. To reach enlightenment, I have tocomplete the study and practice of each part of the graduated path to enlightenment. Therefore, I’m going todo this meditation on mental continuity, impermanence and death.”
Lama Yeshe’s meditation on the continuity of consciousness 
Now we’re going to do a meditation on the continuity of consciousness as taught by Lama Yeshe at ameditation course he gave in Australia in 1975. First, I’ll describe the meditation in brief and then you cancome back and do it more slowly.Check how your mind of today is related to the experience of yesterday’s ego games. Check; observe. Howare they linked? Similarly, check back to last week, last month, last year. Go all the way back through yourlife. Check with your big wisdom eye, how your ego and attachment have functioned over the years, how youhave identified things at different ages, how you have perceived different views, all of which have beenprojection of your own ego.If your mind were not connected with last year’s ego, there would be no reason for memories touncontrollably keep coming back into your mind. Therefore, check how these experiences relate to thecontinuity of mind. Go back as far as your time in the womb.Forgetting previous experiences and clinging to the future is not realistic. Unless you have psychic power,you have no idea whether you will be alive next year or not; nobody can guarantee you that. And you don’thave to be sick to die. One minute you can be well, drinking a cup of tea, the next minute you’re dead. We allknow that this can happen; we’ve seen it. We’re not babies.If you check well enough, you will find that even when you were in your mother’s womb, you experienced egoand attachment. Check where that came from. It didn’t come from itself. It had to come from something else.There is no such self-existent entity that doesn’t depend on something else. For example, a permanent soul;there is no such thing as a permanent soul, ego, consciousness or mind of detachment. Nor is there anyself-existent physical entity either. Belief in such things is a wrong conception.Some religions, like Hinduism or Christianity, talk of an eternal soul, but that’s a misconception. They have nounderstanding of the characteristic nature of the soul. Impermanent means changing every moment. Howcould there be a permanent, never-changing soul? It’s impossible. If you accept the existence of thepermanent soul, you have to accept the existence of a permanent human being. It’s impossible for there to bea permanent human being; where is that person?Therefore, check back through all your experiences of how your mind has perceived the sense world fromwhen you were in your mother’s womb up to now. Check its different interpretations, its different feelings.This meditation helps you integrate your mind and life and introduce a little order into both.Begin the meditation by concentrating single-pointedly on the movement of your breath. Then move onto ananalytical meditation, checking your experiences, as I have just described.When you find an object or experience on which you want to focus, practice placement meditation.Concentrate single pointedly on that object. In Sanskrit, this kind of meditation is called
samadhi 
. Keep yourmind on the memory of that experience for as long as you can. When your mind begins to get distracted byother thoughts, repeat your analytical meditation until you get to that point again and refocus your attentionupon it.Now here, because I need to describe other meditations, I’m not going to let the CD run silently while you
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practice the meditation as Lama has described. Therefore, do it yourself for the next few minutes or as longas you feel like. Press the pause button and again, when you’re ready to resume, hit the play button and we’lldo the next meditation.
Reflections on impermanence 
Now we’re going to do some meditations reflecting on impermanence, and although I haven’t covered thismaterial in the first teaching session, you can do the meditation now or come back to it after you’ve finishedthe second session.As I read each verse, think about the
meaning 
of the words; try to get a feeling for what the words mean, notmerely an intellectual understanding of them. These verses were spoken by Lord Buddha himself.
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 Alas! composites are impermanent,They start to perish when they are produced.Since having arisen they perish;Calming them down is happiness.From that same moment of the nightHumans first enter into the wombThe journey of their life to death begins.Once gone there is no turning back.At daybreak, many people can be seen,That evening one is gone from sight;At evening many people can be seen,Next morning one is gone from sight.Since many girls and boys have diedWhile young and in the prime of life,How can one feel secure and think,“I am young so I have long to live”?Some die when they are in the womb,Some on the ground where they are born,Some die as they learn to crawlAnd some just as they learn to walk.Some die old, and some die young,Some in the very prime of life.Old people pass away in turnJust like the fall of ripened fruit.As all ripe fruitAlways falls and rots,So all who are born,Are always by their death destroyed.Like every potA skilful potter moulds from clay,Which finally is broken and destroyed,So too is every person’s life.
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