Author Topic: Impermanence and Death  (Read 291 times)

Offline whalesong

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Impermanence and Death
« on: June 25, 2017, 04:15:56 pm »
i've been meditating for a little while now and i had the insight that all things are impermanent, even death.  most people tell us that death is final and permanent but i'm starting to look at everything in a shades of grey rather than in black and white.  i mean, technically, our brains and bodies contain electrical energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed so all that energy inside of us has been here since the beginning of the universe and will be here forever so a part of us is immortal and been here since the beginning of time.  i am trying to take the "middle way" with things and not go to extremes with anything, even death.  Buddha says all things are impermanent so i suppose even death is and after our death we are still here in some form and something happens to us somehow.  "everything" in moderation is how i'm starting to look at things and meditation has helped me see this.  any thoughts?

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2017, 07:08:33 pm »
Life depends on physical food, which depends on heat from the sun. When rice, for example, is eaten to sustain life, is that rice "you"? Of course the rice is not "you" therefore what makes electrical energy "you"?

When the body breathes out carbon dioxide and breathes in oxygen, is that carbon dioxide & oxygen "you"? Of course the carbon dioxide & oxygen is not "you" therefore what makes electrical energy "you"?

In Buddhism, there are different words for the termination of life; such as "ending time". However, the word commonly translated as "death" ("marana") refers to a self-view that "you" or "I" will die.

The middle-way of the Buddha is without self-views thus is free from "death".

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... He does not take a stand about ‘my self.’ He has no perplexity or doubt that what arises is only suffering arising, what ceases is only suffering ceasing. His knowledge about this is independent of others. It is in this way, Kaccana, that... the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle: https://suttacentral.net/en/sn12.15

 :namaste:

Offline Rahul

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2017, 07:53:47 pm »
Almost all of us cannot confirm whether there is rebirth, and hence we cannot say whether there is life after death, whether death is final. Buddha, however, mentioned that just before his supreme enlightenment he recollected his past lives, hundreds of thousands of them. Which does mean that Buddha was reborn again and again, seemingly infinite number of times before he attained enlightenment.

What's death, and whether it's final... is a big question. But it seems Buddha confirms indirectly that beings are reborn again and again, until they escape samsara.

I have had realization on impermanence, too. After more than a month of meditation in the evenings, one day when I was all by myself, suddenly I felt overwhelmingly conscious, and the world in front of me began going in fast forward motion. I saw trees rising and falling, cities rising and falling, months and years whiz by in seconds, planets crumbling... I saw that whatever we think is long-lasting, it all rises and falls within a fraction of time in infinity.

As we go along practicing, we may have higher realizations. For now, I would like to quote Buddha on death and immortality:

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Appamado amatapadam
Pamado maccuno padam
Appamatta na miyanti
Ye pamatta yatha mata


Dhammapada: Chapter 2 Appamada Vagga, Verse 21

Those who are mindful, are immortals. Those who are heedless (lack mindfulness) are subject to death. Mindful ones don't die, heedless ones are as if already dead.


Be mindful!

Offline ground

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2017, 09:23:01 pm »
i've been meditating for a little while now and i had the insight that all things are impermanent, even death.  most people tell us that death is final and permanent but i'm starting to look at everything in a shades of grey rather than in black and white.  i mean, technically, our brains and bodies contain electrical energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed so all that energy inside of us has been here since the beginning of the universe and will be here forever so a part of us is immortal and been here since the beginning of time.  i am trying to take the "middle way" with things and not go to extremes with anything, even death.  Buddha says all things are impermanent so i suppose even death is and after our death we are still here in some form and something happens to us somehow.  "everything" in moderation is how i'm starting to look at things and meditation has helped me see this.  any thoughts?
Basically impermanence has two aspects: 1. Coming into being, remaining and cessation and 2. change from moment to moment.
Not everything that comes into being is impermanent however. E.g. cessation as a negative phenomenon comes into being but does neither cease itself nor change from moment to moment. An example of such a cessation is nirvana.

There are many conceptual strategies the self has to evade its own impermanent nature. These all are strategies that necessarily are accompanied by doubt. Sometimes doubt seems to have vanished, then it arises again, then it is stronger and then it is weaker. Only when the true nature of self is seen directly these conceptual strategies and all the concomitant doubt cease.

Offline whalesong

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 02:40:44 pm »
"Life depends on physical food, which depends on heat from the sun. When rice, for example, is eaten to sustain life, is that rice "you"? Of course the rice is not "you" therefore what makes electrical energy "you"?

When the body breathes out carbon dioxide and breathes in oxygen, is that carbon dioxide & oxygen "you"? Of course the carbon dioxide & oxygen is not "you" therefore what makes electrical energy "you"?"

I guess I'm more interested in the correlation between Buddhism and neuroscience, not really classical Buddhism.  I was thinking, logically, what happens to the energy in our body since energy cannot be created or destroyed and I began to think that perhaps karma could be possible if our bodies and brains contain energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

I realize that one of the aspects of Buddhism is no-self but, scientifically, we have this energy that isn't going anywhere so I like to contemplate on what happens to it from a Buddhist & physics standpoint.

I do meditation everyday, sometimes more than once, and I'm getting more into mindfulness.  I guess I was interested in life after death and meditation helped me achieve this insight.

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2017, 03:07:52 pm »
I began to think that perhaps karma could be possible if our bodies and brains contain energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

When you were a child, your kamma may have been playing a sand pit with toy trucks or with dolls.

Now, as an adult, your mind no longer has an interest in that kamma.

'Kamma' means 'intention' (and the results of those intentions). Kamma can certainly be destroyed, as stated clearly in Buddhism.

Energy may not be destroyable but kamma can be destroyed.

Regards

Offline ground

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2017, 09:29:55 pm »
...I was thinking, logically, what happens to the energy in our body since energy cannot be created or destroyed and I began to think that perhaps karma could be possible if our bodies and brains contain energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed.
Physics, law of energy conservation: total energy in a closed system remains. However a living being is an open system so its energy will transform and diffuse.

Offline Solodris

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2017, 11:19:07 pm »
I began to think that perhaps karma could be possible if our bodies and brains contain energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

When you were a child, your kamma may have been playing a sand pit with toy trucks or with dolls.

Now, as an adult, your mind no longer has an interest in that kamma.

'Kamma' means 'intention' (and the results of those intentions). Kamma can certainly be destroyed, as stated clearly in Buddhism.

Energy may not be destroyable but kamma can be destroyed.

Regards

So the destruction of Kamma can only result in a ripening, creating new Kamma, which would be the manifestation of rebirth. Since the mind has nowhere to dwell but in a being, all Kamma, by cause and effect, can have no other result than rebirth.

Offline ground

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2017, 11:44:34 pm »
I began to think that perhaps karma could be possible if our bodies and brains contain energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

When you were a child, your kamma may have been playing a sand pit with toy trucks or with dolls.

Now, as an adult, your mind no longer has an interest in that kamma.

'Kamma' means 'intention' (and the results of those intentions). Kamma can certainly be destroyed, as stated clearly in Buddhism.

Energy may not be destroyable but kamma can be destroyed.

Regards

So the destruction of Kamma can only result in a ripening, creating new Kamma, which would be the manifestation of rebirth. Since the mind has nowhere to dwell but in a being, all Kamma, by cause and effect, can have no other result than rebirth.
Kamma is merely conditioning and conditioning is either perpetuated by living it out or replaced by another conditioning by means of conscious cultivation. The idea that there can be a conscious being without any conditioning is just an idea. It is just that one kind of conditioning can be conducive for one's aims and another can be an obstacle for one's aims.

Offline Solodris

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2017, 11:50:29 pm »
I began to think that perhaps karma could be possible if our bodies and brains contain energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

When you were a child, your kamma may have been playing a sand pit with toy trucks or with dolls.

Now, as an adult, your mind no longer has an interest in that kamma.

'Kamma' means 'intention' (and the results of those intentions). Kamma can certainly be destroyed, as stated clearly in Buddhism.

Energy may not be destroyable but kamma can be destroyed.

Regards

So the destruction of Kamma can only result in a ripening, creating new Kamma, which would be the manifestation of rebirth. Since the mind has nowhere to dwell but in a being, all Kamma, by cause and effect, can have no other result than rebirth.
Kamma is merely conditioning and conditioning is either perpetuated by living it out or replaced by another conditioning by means of conscious cultivation. The idea that there can be a conscious being without any conditioning is just an idea. It is just that one kind of conditioning can be conducive for one's aims and another can be an obstacle for one's aims.

You're right, but I would think further that Kamma leaves an imprint on the surrounding environment as a form of conditioning for future rebirth in the form of Kamma.

Offline ground

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 08:26:14 am »
I began to think that perhaps karma could be possible if our bodies and brains contain energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

When you were a child, your kamma may have been playing a sand pit with toy trucks or with dolls.

Now, as an adult, your mind no longer has an interest in that kamma.

'Kamma' means 'intention' (and the results of those intentions). Kamma can certainly be destroyed, as stated clearly in Buddhism.

Energy may not be destroyable but kamma can be destroyed.

Regards

So the destruction of Kamma can only result in a ripening, creating new Kamma, which would be the manifestation of rebirth. Since the mind has nowhere to dwell but in a being, all Kamma, by cause and effect, can have no other result than rebirth.
Kamma is merely conditioning and conditioning is either perpetuated by living it out or replaced by another conditioning by means of conscious cultivation. The idea that there can be a conscious being without any conditioning is just an idea. It is just that one kind of conditioning can be conducive for one's aims and another can be an obstacle for one's aims.

You're right, but I would think further that Kamma leaves an imprint on the surrounding environment as a form of conditioning for future rebirth in the form of Kamma.
Well re-birth is a different topic ... at least for me.

Offline Solodris

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2017, 09:16:34 am »
I began to think that perhaps karma could be possible if our bodies and brains contain energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

When you were a child, your kamma may have been playing a sand pit with toy trucks or with dolls.

Now, as an adult, your mind no longer has an interest in that kamma.

'Kamma' means 'intention' (and the results of those intentions). Kamma can certainly be destroyed, as stated clearly in Buddhism.

Energy may not be destroyable but kamma can be destroyed.

Regards

So the destruction of Kamma can only result in a ripening, creating new Kamma, which would be the manifestation of rebirth. Since the mind has nowhere to dwell but in a being, all Kamma, by cause and effect, can have no other result than rebirth.
Kamma is merely conditioning and conditioning is either perpetuated by living it out or replaced by another conditioning by means of conscious cultivation. The idea that there can be a conscious being without any conditioning is just an idea. It is just that one kind of conditioning can be conducive for one's aims and another can be an obstacle for one's aims.

You're right, but I would think further that Kamma leaves an imprint on the surrounding environment as a form of conditioning for future rebirth in the form of Kamma.
Well re-birth is a different topic ... at least for me.

I'm curious, if the suffering associated with this thread is the issue of death and the impermanent nature of it, wouldn't it be considered on-topic to address it?

Offline ground

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2017, 09:57:34 am »
I began to think that perhaps karma could be possible if our bodies and brains contain energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

When you were a child, your kamma may have been playing a sand pit with toy trucks or with dolls.

Now, as an adult, your mind no longer has an interest in that kamma.

'Kamma' means 'intention' (and the results of those intentions). Kamma can certainly be destroyed, as stated clearly in Buddhism.

Energy may not be destroyable but kamma can be destroyed.

Regards

So the destruction of Kamma can only result in a ripening, creating new Kamma, which would be the manifestation of rebirth. Since the mind has nowhere to dwell but in a being, all Kamma, by cause and effect, can have no other result than rebirth.
Kamma is merely conditioning and conditioning is either perpetuated by living it out or replaced by another conditioning by means of conscious cultivation. The idea that there can be a conscious being without any conditioning is just an idea. It is just that one kind of conditioning can be conducive for one's aims and another can be an obstacle for one's aims.

You're right, but I would think further that Kamma leaves an imprint on the surrounding environment as a form of conditioning for future rebirth in the form of Kamma.
Well re-birth is a different topic ... at least for me.

I'm curious, if the suffering associated with this thread is the issue of death and the impermanent nature of it, wouldn't it be considered on-topic to address it?
Sure. But for me it is a different topic which means I am willing to express my thoughts about death and impermanence but I am not willing to express my thoughts about re-birth.

Offline Solodris

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2017, 11:49:05 am »
I began to think that perhaps karma could be possible if our bodies and brains contain energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

When you were a child, your kamma may have been playing a sand pit with toy trucks or with dolls.

Now, as an adult, your mind no longer has an interest in that kamma.

'Kamma' means 'intention' (and the results of those intentions). Kamma can certainly be destroyed, as stated clearly in Buddhism.

Energy may not be destroyable but kamma can be destroyed.

Regards

So the destruction of Kamma can only result in a ripening, creating new Kamma, which would be the manifestation of rebirth. Since the mind has nowhere to dwell but in a being, all Kamma, by cause and effect, can have no other result than rebirth.
Kamma is merely conditioning and conditioning is either perpetuated by living it out or replaced by another conditioning by means of conscious cultivation. The idea that there can be a conscious being without any conditioning is just an idea. It is just that one kind of conditioning can be conducive for one's aims and another can be an obstacle for one's aims.

You're right, but I would think further that Kamma leaves an imprint on the surrounding environment as a form of conditioning for future rebirth in the form of Kamma.
Well re-birth is a different topic ... at least for me.

I'm curious, if the suffering associated with this thread is the issue of death and the impermanent nature of it, wouldn't it be considered on-topic to address it?
Sure. But for me it is a different topic which means I am willing to express my thoughts about death and impermanence but I am not willing to express my thoughts about re-birth.

That makes sense to me. :namaste:

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Impermanence and Death
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2017, 08:24:23 am »
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whalesong:  " Buddha says all things are impermanent so i suppose even death is and after our death we are still here in some form and something happens to us somehow.  "everything" in moderation is how i'm starting to look at things and meditation has helped me see this.  any thoughts?"


All aggregated things are impermanent.  Nibbana is supposedly not impermanent by its very nature.  Since I have not yet personally experienced nibbana I cannot say for sure.  That is why I say "supposedly".

As for death, it is the state of the aggregates at the end of the samsaric cycle of stress (dukkha) of birth, aging, and disease.  The next stage is rebirth, aging, disease and death, and then on it goes until nibbana is attained.

This is according to Buddha's teachings "Transcendental Dependent Arising" discussed here:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/wheel277.html
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

 


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