Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

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Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:38 am

I found this today and really liked it. Enjoy!


I have heard that at one time the Blessed One was staying at Nadika, in the Brick Hall. There he addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks replied.

The Blessed One said, "Mindfulness of death, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit & great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end. Therefore you should develop mindfulness of death."

When this was said, a certain monk addressed the Blessed One, "I already develop mindfulness of death."

"And how do you develop mindfulness of death?"

"I think, 'O, that I might live for a day & night, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal.' This is how I develop mindfulness of death."

Then another monk addressed the Blessed One, "I, too, already develop mindfulness of death."

"And how do you develop mindfulness of death?"

"I think, 'O, that I might live for a day, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal.' This is how I develop mindfulness of death."

Then another monk addressed the Blessed One, "I, too, develop mindfulness of death." ... "I think, 'O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to eat a meal, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal.' ..."

Then another monk addressed the Blessed One, "I, too, develop mindfulness of death." ... "I think, 'O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up four morsels of food, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal.' ..."

Then another monk addressed the Blessed One, "I, too, develop mindfulness of death." ... "I think, 'O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up one morsel of food, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal.' ..."

Then another monk addressed the Blessed One, "I, too, develop mindfulness of death." ... "I think, 'O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to breathe out after breathing in, or to breathe in after breathing out, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal.' This is how I develop mindfulness of death."

When this was said, the Blessed One addressed the monks. "Whoever develops mindfulness of death, thinking, 'O, that I might live for a day & night... for a day... for the interval that it takes to eat a meal... for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up four morsels of food, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal' — they are said to dwell heedlessly. They develop mindfulness of death slowly for the sake of ending the effluents.

"But whoever develops mindfulness of death, thinking, 'O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up one morsel of food... for the interval that it takes to breathe out after breathing in, or to breathe in after breathing out, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal' — they are said to dwell heedfully. They develop mindfulness of death acutely for the sake of ending the effluents.

"Therefore you should train yourselves: 'We will dwell heedfully. We will develop mindfulness of death acutely for the sake of ending the effluents.' That is how you should train yourselves."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby dude » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:56 pm

What does that mean?
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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:59 pm

Since you might die in the next few seconds, you should do your practice.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby Aemilius » Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:43 pm

Do You then think that Your practice is something else than mindfulness of death? -At that moment when You are mindfull of death!?
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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby dude » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:16 pm

Aemilius wrote:Do You then think that Your practice is something else than mindfulness of death? -At that moment when You are mindfull of death!?


I don't understand the question. Are you asking whether my practice is something other than mindfulness of death at the moment when I AM? How could it be anything else?
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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:07 pm

Dunno about you but sometimes (most of the time :emb: )when practicing I am thinking about what my next meal will be, what my next witty repoirte on Dharma Wheel will be :tongue: , the hot chick I saw when I went shopping this morning, that I should clip my toe nails, ad nauseum... Mindfulness of death actually comes out pretty low on the list of "things-to-contemplate-when-practicing". Far from "develop[ing] mindfulness of death slowly for the sake of ending the effluents" I would say that for me it would be develop[ing] mindfulness of death [at replay speed and in reverse motion] for the sake of ending the effluents. :(
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:18 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Dunno about you but sometimes (most of the time :emb: )when practicing I am thinking about what my next meal will be, what my next witty repoirte on Dharma Wheel will be :tongue: , the hot chick I saw when I went shopping this morning, that I should clip my toe nails, ad nauseum... Mindfulness of death actually comes out pretty low on the list of "things-to-contemplate-when-practicing". Far from "develop[ing] mindfulness of death slowly for the sake of ending the effluents" I would say that for me it would be develop[ing] mindfulness of death [at replay speed and in reverse motion] for the sake of ending the effluents. :(
Mindfulness is so hard! I always struggle with it. But very rewarding.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby dude » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:00 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Dunno about you but sometimes (most of the time :emb: )when practicing I am thinking about what my next meal will be, what my next witty repoirte on Dharma Wheel will be :tongue: , the hot chick I saw when I went shopping this morning, that I should clip my toe nails, ad nauseum... Mindfulness of death actually comes out pretty low on the list of "things-to-contemplate-when-practicing". Far from "develop[ing] mindfulness of death slowly for the sake of ending the effluents" I would say that for me it would be develop[ing] mindfulness of death [at replay speed and in reverse motion] for the sake of ending the effluents. :(


Well yeah, but from reading your posts I get the impression that you practice enough to know as well as I that sure there are lots of superficial thoughts that arise during meditation, but deep, wonderful and helpful ones too.
For me, mindfulness of death puts everything else into perspective, because it reminds me that practice is about making the best use of the present instant, whether we live another day, another hour, or the time it takes to draw another breath.
And that perspective, strangely, gives rise to an uncanny wisdom about what I REALLY want to eat or say, who I really want to date...how I want to spend the next minute....
And it also feels comfortable to look at all these things from the perspective that they're constantly changing and temporray, while life, and the constant changes, are eternal.
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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby Aemilius » Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:00 pm

There is a detailed explanation of Marana-anusati in Buddhaghosha's Path of Purification: Recollection of Death.
I have read it several times, and meditated on it, extensively. Now when one is considerably older, one is naturally aware of death, constantly. Now what is it, the death, that you are aware of? You have seen it in films and in TV news hundreds of times, but you can get a wrong idea of it based on those common sources of information. Generally I would say that you don't need to meditate on death too much. Death is not end in the absolute sense, it is not annihilation, and it is not permanence. So if you are aware of the Madhyamaka view, you are aware of death.
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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby Jnana » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:16 am

The Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra gives the following instructions on mindfulness of death:

    In regard to recollection of death (maraṇānusmṛti), there are two kinds of death: i) death by oneself (ātmanā maraṇam), ii) death by another (pareṇa maraṇam).

    The yogin always recollects these two types of death. If nobody kills it, this body will die necessarily by itself. Not even for the time of a finger-snap can one believe that this conditioned dharma (saṃskṛtadharma) which is the body will not die. At all times within this body, death is present without even waiting for old age. One cannot be based on this mass of sorrows, sufferings and decrepitude. The desire for life makes us hope for safety and immortality, but this hope arises only in fools. In the body, the four great elements are all destroyed. As long as a person carries the chest containing the four venomous snakes, how can the wise think of safety?

    That exhalation should be followed by inhalation, that inhalation should be followed by exhalation, that awakening should follow sleep, all these things are difficult to guarantee. Why? Because internally as well as externally, the body has many enemies. Thus it is said:

    Some die in the womb,
    Some die at birth,
    Some die at a ripe age,
    Some die during old age.
    In the same way, when the fruit is ripe
    It falls for all kinds of reasons.

    People always seek to avoid
    Death, the cruel and wicked thief.
    But it is hard to believe
    That one can ever escape this thief and find safety.

    Imagine a great and wise man
    Of unsurpassable power and strength:
    Neither before nor after
    Nor at present will he escape death.

    There are no skillful words,
    There are no supplications that can free one.
    Thee is no fortified place
    Where one can hide from it.

    Neither by observing pure morality
    Nor by exertion can one elude it.
    Death is a pitiless thief.
    When it comes, there is no place to escape from it.

The text then quotes a version of the Maraṇasmṛti Sūtra similar to the Pāli version given in the OP.
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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby Aemilius » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:54 pm

If you have received explanations of the ordinary Ngondro, -which in the past were always given to beginners and non-beginners equally, time and time again-, you will notice that the second ordinary Ngondro topic, Death and Impermanence, is very similar to the Marana anusati, Recollection of death, as it is explained by Buddhaghosha in Path of Purification.
Both have similar eight divisions or eight subtopics for contemplation. It is said that Buddhaghosha wrote down existing oral commentaries to the sutras or suttas, it is evident that the second Ngondro topic comes from an oral explanation of the Ten Anusmriti contemplations.
The Path of Purification http://static.sirimangalo.org/vism/vism.pdf
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Re: Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (1)

Postby Aemilius » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:12 am

dude wrote:
Aemilius wrote:Do You then think that Your practice is something else than mindfulness of death? -At that moment when You are mindfull of death!?


I don't understand the question. Are you asking whether my practice is something other than mindfulness of death at the moment when I AM? How could it be anything else?


What I meant is: All things are impermanent, death is the epitome of impermanence. Because things are impermanent, there is the Dharma practice (of morality, generosity, patience, meditation, wisdom, etc..). Impermanence and death are thus included in Dharma, implied by Dharma.
If things were not impermanent, there could be no practice of Dharma, nor any change at all, -says Arya Nagarjuna in Madhyamaka Karika.
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