Author Topic: Premature Death of Spiritual Teachers  (Read 107 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

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Premature Death of Spiritual Teachers
« on: June 16, 2020, 09:41:35 am »
The Buddha lived until the ripe old age of eighty, which is above the average life expectancy even by today's standards. Paramahansa Yogananda, on the other hand, died unexpectedly of heart failure at the age of 59.

When spiritual teachers die prematurely, should this cause us to question the validity of their message, as if their death was caused by their own bad karma? Or is it better if we look for other reasons behind their death?

The followers of Yogananda, for example, say that he died prematurely because he had taken on the karma of his disciples in order to purify them on the spiritual path. Are there examples of Buddhist teachers and saints who died prematurely, and what meaning should we assign to their deaths?

Offline Pixie

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Re: Premature Death of Spiritual Teachers
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2020, 09:59:14 am »
Quote from: Dharma Flower
what meaning should we assign to their deaths?


The same meaning as for the death of any human being.



"The word "sankhara" refers to this body and mind. Sankharas are impermanent and unstable, having come into being they disappear, having arisen they pass away, and yet everyone wants them to be permanent. This is foolishness. Look at the breath. Having come in, it goes out; that's its nature, that's how it has to be. The inhalation and exhalation have to alternate, there must be change. Sankharas exist through change, you can't prevent it. Just think: could you exhale without inhaling? Would it feel good? Or could you just inhale? We want things to be permanent, but they can't be, it's impossible. Once the breath has come in, it must go out; when it's gone out, it comes in again, and that's natural, isn't it? Having been born, we get old and sick and then we die, and that's totally natural and normal. It's because sankharas have done their job, because the in-breaths and out-breaths have alternated in this way, that the human race is still here today.

As soon as we're born, we're dead. Our birth and death are just one thing. It's like a tree: when there's a root there must be twigs. When there are twigs there must be a root. You can't have one without the other. It's a little funny to see how at a death people are so grief-stricken and distracted, tearful and sad, and at a birth how happy and delighted. It's delusion, nobody has ever looked at this clearly. I think if you really want to cry, then it would be better to do so when someone's born. For actually birth is death, death is birth, the root is the twig, the twig is the root. If you've got to cry, cry at the root, cry at the birth. Look closely: if there was no birth there would be no death. Can you understand this?

Don't think a lot. Just think: "This is the way things are." It's your work, your duty."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/chah/bl111.html




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« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 10:07:38 am by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Premature Death of Spiritual Teachers
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2020, 02:58:54 pm »
I am also reminded of the Catholic saint Bernadette, who died of TB at the age 35. From all accounts, she was a very holy woman.

 


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