Our attitudes and beliefs regarding death have a great influence on our approach to life.
There is perhaps no greater grief than being parted from a loved one by death. And though we know with the surest certainty that our time here is limited and that no one can escape the impermanence of life, this does little to prepare us for the shock of death or to help us approach our own inevitable separation from this world.
The greater self always seeks to alleviate pain and to augment the happiness of others here amid the realities of everyday life. Furthermore, the dynamic, vital awakening of the greater self enables each individual to experience both life and death with equal delight.
Our lives in the world of Buddhahood are not directed by our karma but by our vow, our sense of mission. We are fundamentally free. Unawakened to this reality, or when our lives become disconnected from this vow, we lead lives of “common mortals,” governed by and subject to the vicissitudes of karma.
The beauty of life derives from the great diversity of its expression. Likewise, in human society, the varied nature of our struggles and triumphs, the great variety of ways in which our lives take shape and come to an end, our short or long life spans—all of this, in the triumphant light of our Buddha nature, when we win over the sufferings of life, is revealed as meaningful and valuable.
The ultimate questions of life and death are, in the end, a matter of theory and belief. What matters is how we live, our awareness of life’s preciousness and the value we are able to create during an experience that passes, in Nichiren’s words, “as quickly as a white colt glimpsed through a crack in the wall.” Most of us tend to imagine that there will always be another chance to meet and talk with our friends or relatives again, so it doesn’t matter if a few things go unsaid. But to live fully and without regret is to extend oneself to others to the utmost, bringing one’s full being to the moment, with the sense that it may be one’s last encounter.
The Lotus Sutra’s view of life and death is one that continually opens our awareness to those with whom we share this life, urging us to develop rich and contributive lives. When we take action for the happiness of others, we feel a renewed energy and a sense of connection to our deepest essence. As we continue in these efforts over time, our lives acquire an increasing sense of expansiveness and strength. In this way we bring forth the most positive aspects of our humanity and create a treasured existence together with others.
Courtesy October 2015 issue of the SGI Quarterly.
Source from Soka Global