Death Inspires Urgency | Step 10 of Awakening in 30 Steps

death lam rim Jul 21, 2021

Compare the pervasive attitude towards death found in industrialized verses indigenous cultures. Then ask how our attitude towards death changes our relationship to life?

The lam rim reflection on death has three sub-reflections:

1) Death is certain. Can you identify one thing that doesn’t change, decay, cease, or die? How does it change your experience or relationships knowing you will inevitably die?

2) The time of death is uncertain. There are no guarantees that you will have a long life. Death could come at any moment. Young die before the old, healthy before the sick, those with resources before those without. Think of all the ways we deny death, the stories we tell ourselves to stave it off, and how this permits us to waste the precious human life. On the other hand, perhaps you’ve had a near death experience, survived an illness, witness someone pass in a way that transformed you. Death has become a teacher to help you reprioritize your life and to live with greater urgency. Share your story.

3) The only thing that will help at the time of death is our dharma practice. Our fame, fortune, and friendships can’t help us at the time of death and these things which we spent most of our lives invested in can’t go with us into the beyond. But our spiritual practice can help us surrender and take advantage of the death process. We will take with us the karmic residue of our virtue and vice.

What would it look like if you lived today as if your house was on fire? How can we live like everyday could be our last?


Learn more about the gradual path to awakening with the Lam Rim Meditations course.