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Help with buddhist statement

  1. Jan 16, 2006 #1
    "Die before you die, so that when you come to die you will not have to die, which means learning how to let go of ourselves and die"

    What are you supposed to let go of, how much and if we let go of all of it, then what is left and what is the point?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2006 #2


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    Any ideas you might have that you are the center of the universe.

    You can still be the center of your own universe.

  4. Jan 16, 2006 #3
    If you focus on yourself with such energy, is that selfish?
  5. Jan 16, 2006 #4


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    Let's add a qualification that "One can be the center of one's own universe only so long as one remains aware that one's personal universe is insignificant within the scope of the universe."
  6. Jan 17, 2006 #5
    Face, embrace and accept your inevitable death as a part of life and let go of your desperate clinging to life, and your fear of death. Just live life as it comes and when it come to an end live that too.

    Let go of all of self, our egos, pride, ambition, desires and dreams and live life in the momemt, moment by moment. When nothing of self is left we are free to live life selflessly without fear or strife. We, the I of ourselves, have already died so there is nothing left to die and nothing left to fear. There is only life left to live.

    The point is freedom and enlightenment, harmony and balance, freedom from fear, pain, strife, impossible desires, wants ambitions and dreams, acceptance of what is, ourselves and our lives, reality
  7. Jan 17, 2006 #6


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    "Die before you die..." refers to seeing the 'self' as empty, meaning empty of permanent features or predicates. Thus there is no essential, pesisting quality which defines the self and once one realizes that then one realizes that there is nothing to 'grasp' at and, theoretically anyway, desirous tendencies such as greed and obsessions etc. should dissolve.
    This same perspective should be applied to all phenomena, including feelings and concepts. Everything, according to Buddhist epistemology is in flux, part of a chain of continual conditioning of 'arising,' that is phenomena coming into being, and 'decreasing,' where phenonena dissolve and change into other states.
    One way of thinking of phenomena in the Buddhist sense is as being 'open,' that is not self-contained or self-persisting but open to conditioning influences which eventually change that which is being conditioned. The concept of emptiness should not be confused with
    'nothingness.' Phenomena are believed to exist 'conventionally' however not with permanently defining, essential features.
    Another way which helped me think of emptiness is to think of 'things' as being 'events' in slow motion. For instance, even a rocky asteroid moving through space will eventually be altered to the point beyond which it is an asteroid anymore, even if it takes a very, very long time. Subsequently from that perspective, many so-called events are slow enough that we grasp them conceptually as things. And this does not imply that everything is illusion either. If we've evolved this far and managed to survive, it's highly unlikely we could do so in a universe which has so to speak, 'fooled' us.
    Cheers, mrj
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2006
  8. Jan 17, 2006 #7

    Les Sleeth

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    To understand this I believe one has to understand the Buddha's teaching of annata, which is often translated as "no self." Even more important is understanding that what the Buddha taught and what is practiced today as "Buddhism" are not necessarily the same thing.

    It is difficult for many modern Buddhists to accept that what the Buddha taught was totally dependent on meditation. Yes, what was achieved in meditation was meant to be realized in everyday living, but the work first and foremost was done in meditation. Today, the majority I read have "adjusted" things so that Buddhism is a way of life, a set of principles, a way of thinking, etc. rather than a consciousness-altering practice that is developed through meditation. They want it easy . . . to intellectually realize without the work of meditation. Yet even the Buddha himself had to meditate for many years to realize, and he seems to have been gifted.

    If we return to the meditative ideal to consider anatta, then no self is what occurs in the deepest meditation, known as samadhi. The "self" the Buddha was referring to is a false self; sometimes the Buddha called it the "acquired self" because he attributed it to conditioning and what biology does to consciousness. His point was that there is something more basic to experience than the environmental and biologically conditioned self.

    One my favorite quotes of his I've posted here several times is, "“There is, monks, that plane where there is neither extension nor motion. . . there is no coming or going or remaining or deceasing or uprising. . . . There is, monks, an unborn, not become, not made, uncompounded . . . [and] because [that exists] . . . an escape can be shown for what is born, has become, is made, is compounded.”

    To reach this pure experience, that unconditioned plane, the aquired (conditioned) self has to "die." That is exactly what a serious mediation practice does. It allows one (when successful) to repeately experience consciousness without the acquired self; and in that one gradually learns to let the acquired self fade away.

    So to die before one dies refers to achieving annata through meditation.
  9. Jan 17, 2006 #8
    the idea "dies". "you" are only an idea, in other words. literally.
    this idea, then, is understood to be the root of illusion. the divider. the cosmic joke. that which makes '2', of what is only '1'. death is the revelation that there is no death, in other words. therefore, one is able to "let go" of the body. because there is no more idea, the world and self are considered "empty"; "emtpy" of inherent meaning, value. everything is "equal" because all is 1... only one.
    "from the first, not another is." -hui neng
    "see the face you had before you were born." -hui-neng.
  10. Jan 17, 2006 #9
  11. Jan 17, 2006 #10
    i think that he is on to something there.
  12. Jan 28, 2006 #11
  13. Jan 28, 2006 #12
    it appears that our "sense of lack" is the drivinf force, our motivation to acquire more and more. acquisition, here, is not merely the acquisition of "things", but is (one might say) "infinitely extended". extending the concept acquire to an "infinite degree" requires that one includes, within the realm of "things" to acquire, all thoughts, beliefs, hopes, people, tools, items, etc..

    the "sense of lack" becomes manifest in manifold ways. it manifests as desires, perhaps most subtley. most basically, though, it appears to be characteristic of a "moving mind". when the mind is propelled (or compelled), for any "reason", into movement; that is, the moving of itself, towards some desired end, it is said to be acting from the "sense of lack".

    this may all be understood, by you, and you may really be concerned with why there is a "sense of lack" to begin with, so i will attempt to enlighten this discussion as to what the source is, of the sense, or feeling.

    who is not whole, is incomplete. from this incompleteness, arises the "sense of lack". but, then, how is it that one is not "whole"? this "problem" arises from a "wrong notion". it arises, precisely, from wrong identification. what is it, then, that one is wrongfully identified with? one is identified with something that is not wholly real, namely, a self that is inherently meaningful and seperate, individual. we think that we are independent entities; meaningful in our own, but Buddha tells us, "No. there is no self as you think there is. that self that you are identified with is no more than a thought; as substantial as a fleeting thought. like a thought, which has meaning only in relation to other thoughts, you are empty of inherent meaning. identification provides the "sense of self". you are what you identify with. when that identification is erroneous (that is: not in accord with The Real, Reality, Truth) the "sense of lack" arises as a natural course of causality."

    now, the historical Buddha never said this, exactly. but, then, the historical Buddha is not Buddha. that is: he is not the only one to be referred to as Buddha. Buddha is this mind. Buddha is the actualization, by realization, of the Original Mind. All are Buddha, but how few Know It! How few know Buddha!

    Buddha is, when "self" is not. Buddha is concealed by the "idea of self", in other words. when there is emptiness, there is Buddha. Buddha immediately fills what is empty. if one is already "full" of theories, ideas of self, judgments, prejudices, etc. then Buddha is concealed and is, therefore, conceieved of to be "not-present".

    "sense of lack" is the feeling that we all have until we realize Buddha; our Buddha-hood. every kind of identification one chooses or obtains for themself, is equally a "thing" that destroys emptiness; negates Buddha-hood. when one is utterly empty, then one is completely full and no longer has any "sense of lack"; one is no longer "anything", it immediately comes to pass that there is the realization that there is only Buddha! and That is everything! in emptiness, it is utterly full; filled to the brim.

    note: any idea of self is incomplete and therefore erroneous. self is only complete, when there is no imposition of an idea of it. as a result, it is exactly what it is, in reality. it has fulfilled and satisfied its nature, by being what it is and negating all that it is not.

    one cannot think to act naturally. one cannot produce a state of naturalness. one cannot force naturalness, through any conceivable idea. naturalness come from the negation of all that runs counter to naturalness. all conceived ideas of self, are invented and applied to a process, extraneously, that is already functions naturally; in accord with Nature. to identify with an idea of self is over-kill. one already is what one is, so there is no need to conceive of it otherwise.

    "sense of lack" is a cyclical phenomenon. we feel lacking because we think we need to be something more or different that what is. we do this because we feel a "sense of lack".

    all is understood with the realization of Buddha-nature, and the cycle is transcended. this cycle is also called "samsara", "the wheel of birth and death", "the cycle of re-birth". (re-birth refers to the idea that we are constantly being reborn in a new idea and dying to a former one. this never ends, until one realizes Buddha-nature.)

    hope you have understood, and that i have provided sufficient clarity.

    Buddha is great. indeed!

    "if mind moves itself, then unmoving mind is self" - Jonathan B. Bostick
  14. Jan 29, 2006 #13
    What the saying is asking you to do is to be prepared to let go by asking you to try letting go before you are forced to do so by the grim rheaper.

    It is inevitable that one "cannot take it with them" in terms of family, wealth, health, whatever. One is asked here to prepare for this shock of mortal death during life by trying to simulate the shock of death... where you let go of yourself... your dreams... your ideas of what is supposed to be important and lasting.

    When you do legitimate practise like training to let go of importances and connections in life as a living thing... an intellegent system... then you are approximating, in a small way, the effect that death will have on your body... on your ego.... and on whatever else there is of "you".

    Now... the point of this letting go excercise may be based on the belief that once the big actual shock of death has forced you to let go of all you know you will some how be prepared to deal with being dead... as in your spirit... (ie: remaining EMF/ELF/ configurations,?) will not, out of habit and out of fear try to cling to the physical realm and will beable to progress on to what other realms are available for dead guys.

    Believe it or not.
  15. Feb 17, 2006 #14
    I would first like to compliment those who have posted before me on this thread for their magnificent replies.

    My initial thoughts about this quote, based on my limited knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, is about the bardo state between death and the following rebirth. My understanding of this is that when we die, the portion of our mind that follows "us" to our next life goes into a place, you could call it, for a certain period of time. Our mind experiences horrific and pleasurable experiences during this inbetween state. An enlightened mind will not be affected by these experiences, will remain mindful, and will not be reborn. An ignorant mind will cling to life, not let go of life, and will seek another karmic situation in which they were in before their previous death; thus continuing the rounds of samsara. To not be reborn again is the ultimate death (which is a good thing, by the way).

    "Die before you die, so that when you come to die you will not have to die, which means learning how to let go of ourselves and die"

    To be enlightened is to never again be reborn, in a way, to be dead while living (I put it that way to make it relevant to the quote). When you die, with an ignorant mind, you will be reborn again. A rebirth is a guaranteed death; what lives must die. So, when you come to die you will not have to die, refers to an enlightened mind not being reborn (rebirth = death). When you release all attachments to this world, when your desire to be reborn is gone, you are breaking your cycle of samsara, and will proceed the rest of your life towards the "ultimate death". This is letting go of ourselves so we can die.
  16. Feb 21, 2006 #15
    Perhaps it's worth mentioning that this is not specifically a Buddhist teaching but one that lies at the core of the 'perennial philosophy'. Mohammed says 'Die before your death' and Jesus says the same. One could think of this 'dying before death' metaphorically as the step into the void that Indiana Jones was forced to take on his way to the Grail of immortality. By stepping into the void one does not become immortal, but rather one becomes aware that one is already immortal, and will remain so whether one likes it or not. In other words, in reality the Grail is not hidden on the far side of the void but is the void. Alternatively, the void is not a void and death is not death.
  17. Feb 22, 2006 #16
    It reminds me of how really essential it is for us to know that we master something. A knowledge that is still very scarce in at least the western world. I think it's really scarce because it shows in that people doesn't offer far enough support to people who are victimized by this!
    The knowledge of this is most often realized when you find out you don't master almost anything substansial, like not finding your path to job added with a lack of mastering other important things through activeness. When you see that you don't, it's followed by deep troublsome thoughts or depression.
    I also think of it as a non overintelectualized, empiristic, gladly buddhist proof of how important antimaterialism(antimaterialistic moralism) is.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2006
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