Sunday, January 29, 2006

Fear of Death

[Image by Trevor Brown]

For most of us, there is no greater fear than the fear of death. It's difficult to believe that an easy acceptance of the possibility of death can help put joy in the life you are living, but it can--and will. The Sufis say, "Die before you die, and you shall never die." What they mean is ego death. If you are able to let go of ego then you will not be afraid because you will no longer feel incomplete; you will not cling to the material world and conditioned existence, or samsara. The ego can be likened to samsara's aorta.

If there is no ego, there is no one afraid of dying; there is absolute completeness and oneness. Death is a transformation, a passage, a transitional stage on the journey, but the ego sets up this finite little territory that it's afraid to lose. Why be afraid? Why assume that each of us began at birth and will end at death? We might find the possibility of rebirth surprising, but it's really no more surprising than being born at all. What a marvel to be alive at all, and who can explain it rationally, really?
Lama Surya Das, Awakening the Buddha Within
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