> Quotes > Life & Death
Death inevitably comes to each of us. Whether it is a time of inner dignity and honor or a pitiful demise is completely reliant on how we live our lives right now, today. In that sense, the “moment of death” truly exists in the present.
An awareness and understanding of death raises our state of life. When we are cognizant of the reality and inevitability of death we begin to seek the eternal, and become determined to make the most valuable use of each moment of life.
The Buddhist philosophy of eternal life is not an expedient designed to persuade people to accept their mortality; it is a realistic and unfailing view of life established through myriad struggles against the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death.
The experience of losing a loved one impels us toward a deeper understanding of life. Everyone fears and is saddened by death. That is natural. But by struggling to overcome the pain and sadness that accompanies death, we become sharply aware of the dignity and preciousness of life and develop the compassion to share the sufferings of others as our own.
Cycles of life and death can be likened to the alternating periods of sleep and wakefulness. Just as sleep prepares us for the next day’s activity, death can be seen as a state in which we rest and replenish ourselves for new life. In this light, death should be acknowledged, along with life, as a blessing to be appreciated.
From the standpoint of eternity, there is hardly any difference between a “long” and a “short” life. Therefore, it’s not whether one’s life is long or short, but how one lives that is important. It is what we accomplish, the degree to which we develop our state of life, the number of people we help become happy—that is what matters.
Buddhism teaches that the four sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death are an inescapable part of life. The crucial thing is not to be defeated by them.
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Cause & Effect
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Stories of Hope by Daisaku Ikeda
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