The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

8 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGabout death and think, 'Oh well, death happens to everybody.It's not a big deal, it's natural. I'll be fine.' That's a nice theoryuntil one is dying." 3Of these two attitudes toward death, one views death assomething to scurry away from and the other as somethingthat will just take care of itself. How far they both are fromunderstanding death's true significance!All the greatest spiritual traditions of the world, including ofcourse Christianity, have told us clearly that death is not theend. They have all handed down a vision of some sort of lifeto come, which infuses this life that we are leading now withsacred meaning. But despite their teachings, modern society islargely a spiritual desert where the majority imagine that thislife is all that there is. Without any real or authentic faith inan afterlife, most people live lives deprived of any ultimatemeaning.I have come to realize that the disastrous effects of thedenial of death go far beyond the individual: They affect thewhole planet. Believing fundamentally that this life is the onlyone, modern people have developed no long-term vision. Sothere is nothing to restrain them from plundering the planetfor their own immediate ends and from living in a selfish waythat could prove fatal for the future. How many more warningsdo we need, like this one from the former Brazilian Ministerfor the Environment, responsible for the Amazon rainforest?Modern industrial society is a fanatical religion. We are demolishing,poisoning, destroying all life-systems on the planet. We aresigning lOUs our children will not be able to pay... We are actingas if we were the last generation on the planet Without a radicalchange in heart, in mind, in vision, the earth will end up likeVenus, charred and dead. AFear of death and ignorance of the afterlife are fueling thatdestruction of our environment that is threatening all of ourlives. So isn't it all the more disturbing that people are nottaught what death is, or how to die? Or given any hope inwhat lies after death, and so what really lies behind life?Could it be more ironic that young people are so highly educatedin every subject except the one that holds the key to theentire meaning of life, and perhaps to our very survival?It has often intrigued me how some Buddhist masters Iknow ask one simple question of people who approach them

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