For most people, death is an unwelcome event. With so many cravings to be satisfied, the business of living in spite of enormous suffering is never quite finished. People feel more comfortable with the mirage of happiness than with the reality of death. If at all they have to think about it, it only has a slot in the eleventh hour. Attachments to worldly life create a morbid fear of death. But the truth is that all life is nothing but suffering. Death is natural and inevitable. It is not half as frightening as the thought of dying itself. The mind has an ability of its own to create and to stretch phantom images of death. The reason is that a mind untrained to see life with all its impermanence and unsatisfactoriness, is likely to cling to illusions just as a drowning man will even cling to a straw. It creates uneasiness even for those who fervently pray to an imaginary supernatural being for forgiveness and a place in heaven when life seems hopeless. Of course the fear of death is a manifestation of instinctive self-preservation. But there is a way to overcome that fear. Do some selfless service for the welfare of others to gain hope and confidence in the next life. Altruism purges all selfish attachments. Purity of the mind, not attachment to worldly things, will ensure a happy parting from this world. It is the constant contemplation on death to understand the impermanence of life, and the wisdom to correct the wrong way of living, that take the fear out of death. Strengthen the mind to face fact and realities of life. Avoid unrealistic and impracticable ambitions. Develop self-confidence. Then you will be more relaxed in overcoming your difficulties in life.
Problems and Responsibilities by Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda
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