What’s a good death?

I recently went to a talk on The Art of Living and Dying by venerable Sogyal Rinpoche, one of the most highly regarded and world-renowned Buddhist leader of Tibet. The concept of death is the subject of much contemplation in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, although not so much in the Theravadan tradition in Thailand. It is said that one’s state of mind at the moment of death has a major impact on one’s future lives.

Beneath the fear of death is the fear to face ourselves. The moment of death is the moment of truth.

As someone with Buddhist influence, I’ve talked about death pretty openly on this blog before. In fact, it’s even in the title of my first spirituality essay. Death is something I think about often, not due to the morbidity but its effect as the reminder of how I can live the rest of my life.

I want to die a good death. By that, I don’t mean to die without pain or die quickly, as are often associated with dying well. A good death to me simply means a good life–an intentional life filled with passion, purpose, gratitude, and love. One of my spiritual mentors once asked me: “If you’re on your deathbed, what would be the one thing you wished you have accomplished in life?” This, in my opinion, is the prime question that we should keep asking ourselves.

Dying well means living well. It means remembering to be mindful of every breathing moment and the limitless potential of the human mind. It means remembering to care, to love, to laugh, and to cry when we need to. It means not wasting our times on things that don’t matter to our physical, emotional or spiritual health. It also means letting go of things that hurt us.

A good death means being ready for death, because you never know whether your death or tomorrow will come first (according to the wise words of a Tibetan teacher). A good death is a good life.

May we all live well this 2016 and beyond.

May we all die well when our time comes.

 

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