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Ajahn: OK, so since the last talk last Friday, I've been doing my usual practice of flying around
the place, that's not levitation, that was in Qantas, because I accepted an invitation to
teach in a conference over in Melbourne, so I was there on Wednesday night and Thursday.
It was a conference on depression and anxiety, but I'm not going to talk about those things
because I've talked about them many times, and anyone who's interested in those subjects
there's lots of talks about those things.
But interestingly when I was over there with many health professionals working in the area
of depression and anxiety, many of those professional came up to me and said how grateful
they were of the talks, which are delivered here on a Friday night and how many
people actually listen to them regularly.
So much so they also knew that I take requests for subjects for talks so one of the people over in Melbourne
said, "There's something you've never talked about and I want you to talk about it next Friday."
So this is a suggestion, which I got from Melbourne on Thursday night.
I don't think I have talked about this. It's a bit of an esoteric subject because they asked me to talk
about the first couple of days after you die.
What happens to you when you die? I'm not sure if you have any plans for this weekend,
but just in case... [laughter]
Ajahn: ...I'm going to tell you what's going to happen. It's going to be based on a number
of sources. First of all you've got your own meditation. I've got very strong meditation.
It's not actually memories, it's understanding how the mind works and how it interacts with the
body. That's a great understanding you get after many many years of meditation.
You know exactly what's going to happen because you know the nature of the mind, the nature
of the body. There's a particular type of meditation which I've been teaching for a
long time now, the Jhanas.
They're very deep meditations. I've been quite outspoken about what happens. That gives you
a very good lot of information about what happens when you die. I'm going to mention why afterwards.
You've also got what we call the evidence-based stories, of people who remember the spaces
between their lives and there's quite a few people who can remember those spaces between their previous lives.
They either do this spontaneously or they can have training to remember that time. The
last piece of evidence which is perhaps the most interesting and the most confirming,
is those people who have those experiences of dying either in accidents or in an operation,
floating out of their body, being told it's not their time, coming back again and essentially
giving you some insight into what happens when you die.
These aren't just Buddhists, these are ordinary people from many different parts of life, who come
back with the same stories.
I am going to bring all those threads together in this talk about, what's going to happen to you when you die.
It's not something which doesn't relate to your ordinary daily life, because it highlights that
the most important thing in your life is the attitudes, the way you react to what you have
to experience from time to time.
You find with this practice, which we teach here, it's amazing what you can do with any
situation. You can react in this beautiful, very positive way, yeah positive.
"What do you mean by positive way?" I mean by making peace, being kind, being gentle
with these things. Learning from them, accepting them, embracing them, not fighting them, not
being negative, not being angry, not being afraid.
All these negative emotions, which you know in your very life, here today, cause incredible
amount of problems. They are the ones which might cause problems to you, once you die.
Let's go back to what happens just before you die, because that will inform what happens afterwards.
Life is a continuum. It doesn't suddenly change.
When you go to bed at night, you wake up pretty much the same person in the morning, a little
bit older, but pretty much the same, at least recognizable. You don't morph into something different.
This is what happens even when you die. There is not a sudden morphing into something terribly
different. People just before they die... I am talking about slow deaths, of illness, old
age, sickness, that type of death.
Not the sudden deaths, but it's a general and very slow turning off of the body, and
with that body what we call the five senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and
touching. It's as if the body turns off very slowly.
I have been very fortunate in my life as a monk. I get to do some realy really interesting
things as a monk. I admire and recommend the lifestyle. I do things that you guys will
never get to do. It's really exciting.
Like being with people when they are dying. That's one of my jobs. To see the death just happenning
as a process. What they take is a life force, which is just a body force, fading away.
I remember the first time I saw that. It was quite obvious there's no point of death. There's
no time. You can't say that a person died at 8:09. That's what the clock says over there.
It's a whole process which happens over many minutes.
The death process starts, the doctor said, "It's now finished," and it happened somewhere
in between. It's not a point, it's a process. That's very important to understand.
This whole life is a process. It's not an event. When you understand that you understand
also that if it's a process, that process can continue on. It doesn't suddenly stop.
What does stop is these five senses disappear. In other words, no seeing, no smelling, no
tasting, no touching, no feeling.
That's how we find out if a person's dead. We poke them, we kick them, we shout in their
ear. "You still alive?" See if there's anything happening in their body.
A lot of times, what nurses do, or doctors do, they open the eyes and put a light in
their eyes to see if there's any physical reaction. See if there's any response. Can they actually see.
One of the things I know from meditation is, that's also what happens when you get into
some deep meditation. Your five senses disappear.
Many of you who've got close to that, you're sitting down meditating, you can't feel your
hands, you can't feel your legs, OK, your body's disappearing. Great, that's what's supposed to happen.
In meditation you're not dying. You can come out afterwards fully alive. In death this
is almost like a permanent fading away of the senses. At least in meditation you get
a feeling of what it's like.
Number one, when your body starts to disappear in meditation, it feels good. It feels bloody
good. I don't mind using expletives, because that's what it feels like.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting old now. This is my 60th year. You get all sorts
of aches and pains. I don't know what it's like to be 65, 70, 75, 80, like some of you
guys in here, but it gets worse.
I know my body's going to be more achy, more things wrong with it, and it's just so nice
to get rid of the body, and have a break from it.
When your body starts to disappear, you feel this wonderful pleasure of freedom. You have
no aches, no pains. When I was meditating a few minutes ago, I had no irritation in my throat at all.
This has been bugging me for the last couple of weeks. Ever since I came back from Indonesia.
I think it's a bit of an allergy, so please please please be kind to me, and don't give me any medicines.
Last week I got some much medicines, and people put on the Internet that I was sick, and,
God, I got too much medicine. Please don't do that to me. I've got a whole chemist shop.
[laughs] Leave me alone.
It fixes up by itself. One of the things I noticed in meditation a few minutes ago, all
the irritation totally vanished.
It was wonderful. You're free, and just didn't have any irritation to worry about. This is
what happens when the body starts to disappear. You feel this beautiful sense of ease and freedom.
You got no business to do with seeing things, smelling, tasting. Many of you will know,
in your own meditation, doesn't matter if it's very deep or it's shallow yet, you get
deep eventually. Just give it time. The one thing which keeps irritating you, most of all in
meditation, is the sound.
Now like Brolly's [?] kid crying outside in the beginning, or somebody else
making a noise, or coughing. You know that's why that we use alarm clocks to wake you up
in the morning?
Even the Buddha recognized, and this is one of his teachings, that sound is the last of
the five senses to turn off. When you're dying, it's the sound that's the last thing which
disappears. That's the way you can actually get into people's minds, and get them out of meditation.
I remember some time ago there was a guy, we'd just finished a retreat over in North Perth,
it was one of my monk disciples, he was in a deep meditation. We were cleaning up.
We left him there, but then we were cleaning up, and it was time to go. He was still sitting
there. It was my job to try to get him out of the meditation.
Of course, you don't shake him. He won't feel any shakes. You talk in his ear, and get him
out that way. Sound is the last of the fives senses which disappears.
Understanding that, in the process of dying, if a person's in a coma, if you think they're
about to go, speak to them because of all those five senses that is the one which is
the most likely they will hear.
Forget about shaking them or touching them. Sound is the last of the senses to disappear
and many of you will know that when you meditate so this is evidence based.
They just start to disappear, the five senses, and when they so disappear there is a great
feeling of relief and ease and peace because the body is irritating.
Imagine what it's like when you're really sick and dying. That's really a heavy time. Fortunately, though,
that in our modern medicines you know we get dosed up usually with Morphine. Many Buddhists
have asked me that's terrible I want to be there when I die, this is an important time in my life .
I don't want to be in this dull state, but you don't have to worry about that, take that
Morphine because what happens during the dying process, that the mind, this sixth sense usually
uses your brain, but it doesn't have to use the brain
once the brain stops and the brain dies. In other words, your mind does not need that
brain anymore. It can be free from the brain and what actually happens in the last minutes or two
sometimes more, sometimes less of your life, you get clarity.
I was talking about this about my mother in London, because she's got complete Alzheimer's
Disease. Two years ago, a year and half ago when I went see her she just cannot recognize
me, she didn't know who I am.
I was with her for two years, sorry for two hours, talking to her, being with her she didn't
know who I was. Although, strangely out the blue in two hours with all the talk she said,
she mentioned the word monastery.
Which was really weird and my brother picked up on that. It was totally out of context with everything
else she was saying, but it was something in there that obviously knew that there was something
monastic there, you know with the person that she was with.
For people who have such bad Alzheimer's Disease in their last minutes of their life they will be
clear, they will wake up, they will remember everything because that's the nature of your mind.
It uses the brain for most of your life, but it does not have to use the brain. And in
that last few moments of life it separates from the brain.
I remember first reading about that when I was a student. I remember in the reading widely
in literature and I use to read Tolstoy and he said one of these stories and it was a
fascinating story, because it was over 100 years ago.
There was a story of a person, quite a wealthy person, in a country house who had this sickness
and who was in pain constantly, moaning and screaming. Literally 24 hours a day, would
not sleep. It was driving all the people in the house crazy.
Imagine you're in a house and there's someone moaning and screaming in pain, and there's
nothing you can do about it. Being wealthy they tried to get all sorts of therapy, homeopaths,
allopaths, everything, but nothing could relieve this person's pain.
Tolstoy, beautiful writer, was describing the emotions of the people who had
to deal with this for many weeks. At the end of the story he mentioned that everything
suddenly went quiet in the house, but the man hadn't died yet.
For 5 or 10 minutes he was free of pain. Clear, lucid. Before he passed away. That's so common
and I'm not sure if there are any doctors or nurses who have witnessed that, I have
witnessed that the last few moments of a person's life are clear.
There's a person who comes here regularly I'm not sure if they're here tonight. They told
of me the story that they were with their father, here in Perth, he was dying and she
was with her sister. They were sitting on either side of the bed holding their father's hand.
He was in a coma and hadn't spoken for many, many hours or a day or two I'm not sure.
They were just waiting for him to die, waiting for that last breath to come out and not
come in again, holding his hand. Of course you never know when that moment is going to happen.
I've been there with people and sometimes you're waiting there for hours. They seem
as if their last breath and you think that's it and suddenly they breathe in again. In
this particularly case it was his last breath, he stopped breathing, but then he opened his eyes.
He leaned up from his bed and looked around at his two daughters on either side. They
said that without any plan, they said in perfect synchronicity we love you dad.
Then he closed his eyes and passed away. But what really we took their, took them by surprise
was that even though he had been in a coma for such a long time, even though he was not
supposed to see or feel, for the last minute, he did. He looked them in the eye and they
could speak to him their last words.
There was even a better example which was in the "TIME" magazine of all things. Article
on the mind. This was the most amazing time when the mind separated from the brain.
The thing here was we did have a copy of this in our monastery I think 2009 or 10 or something,
January edition TIME magazine of the mind, but anyways there's a doctor over in the United
States was treating a person with a brain tumor.
It was a very aggressive tumor. He was in hospital waiting for the end in a coma for
many days, because apparently the brain tumor grows and take over the other parts of the
brain, until there's nothing left for a person to be able to speak or higher brain function disappear.
Eventually the last part of the brain is just used for keeping the body alive, for doing the
basic functions of breathing and keeping the heart going and the other organs going, but
soon there's no capacity left in the brain to do anything.
That's when the person dies. The fellow been unconscious for a long time, the doctor told
them what the prognosis was - you go into this coma and never come out again. But this person did come out.
He just again opened his eyes, he bent up, but this fellow talked to his family for 15 minutes,
saying their last goodbyes for 15 minutes he was totally clear before he died.
The doctor was totally amazed, it couldn't have happened, but it did because by that
time there's nothing left in the brain to perform such functions.
I've I told many of you many years ago, Professor John Lorber, about the boy with no brain.
An honours student in mathematics at Sheffield University, sorry, an honours graduate who had
a slightly misshaped skull and the doctor gave him a brain scan, a CT scan, and there
was only one percent cortex there, everything else was missing. Basically as Professor Lorber said,
he had no brain to speak of.
There's no way that that small amount left could compensate for everything which was missing.
When I tell that story, I also want to do research, and I ask people, because his whole head was filled
with cranial fluid. There's no brain there, no grey matter.
So I ask people if you can do an experiment and help me. Can you move your head from back
to forth? See if you can hear any sloshing inside. That must be you as well. You've got
no brain, it's just cranial fluid.
That fellow was an honours student in mathematics. Brilliant, normal, had a girlfriend. In every
which way, you wouldn't know he had no brain.
How can that work?
As far as I know, as far as Buddhism knows, your mind, the ability to cognize, to form
thought, to exercise will, is independent of your body. Especially independent of your brain.
At the last moments of life, that's what happens.
Your mind gets free of this brain and this body. So it can become clear. That's very well
documented as evidence based.
The last moments of your life you'll be clear. I know the last moments of my mother's life
she'll be very clear. Now what do you do with those last moments? That's the next thing.
For those people who have sudden deaths, they experience themselves outside of their
body looking on. That's evidence based. That's actually what happens.
Many people have reported what they call NDEs, Near Death Experiences. Going out of their
body, and being. Having the experience of being able to see, and hear, but without a physical body.
They do experience, they think they've got a body. That's what it's like, but they can
see their dead corpse on the table, or under the car, or wherever else they died. And of course
many of those people get revived. They come back again and they tell the tale that that's what it's like.
These aren't just Buddhists, these are from all cultures of the world.
For those of you who want to check me out, the best site for that is of Professor Pim
Van Lommel, L-O-double-M-E-L.
This guy was a professor of medicine in Holland. During his work he had many anecdotes, as
many of you have heard this before, of people saying that they left their body on the operating
table. They could hear and see what was going on. Was this true or not?
One of my favorite stories was of the very wealthy person in London, who was having a
minor operation. Because she was wealthy she has, I think, a doctor from Harley street.
Very expensive but she wanted the best.
If you've got money why not get the best? Fortunately she actually did need it, because during the operation
she died for a few minutes.
If ever you get an expensive doctor you'll probably find he's always very polite to you.
But, during the operation the doctor lost it. This lady was dying and he was panicking.
During the operation, apparently, he said, he shouted out, even though this lady was unconscious,
"Don't give up on me now, you bitch." [laughter]
Ajahn: That's what he said.
Be careful if you're a doctor or a nurse. Cause what happened next was when he came
round after the operation, they saved her life. They found out the problem and fixed it, so she was fine.
But on the first visit of the surgeon after the operation, he said in his very polite voice,
"Madam we came jolly close to losing you that time." "Yes" she said "I know. But why did
you call me a bitch?" [laughter]
Ajahn: Well, you can imagine what the doctor thought. "You were dead at the time! How'd
you know that?" and then of course she told she wasn't dead. Well she was dead, but she
was conscious. There's many anecdotes like that. I'm sure you've known anecdotes. Some
of you may have actually experienced that.
When I give a talk like that, there's two or three people that come up after and say
thank you for talking like that. I've had that experience. I've been out of my body.
This professor, Pim Van Lommel, he wanted to make this much more than an anecdote. He
wanted to find out scientifically whether this was true or not. His research which was
reported in the 2001 December edition of Lancet.
His research was over three hospitals. He was a professor looking after three hospitals
in the Netherlands. His sample group was every person who came into any of those hospitals
under cardiac arrest. I don't know, for a year or two, and of course those which survived.
Everyone who came in with cardiac arrest, who survived, he gave a questionnaire to.
To find out if they'd had any of these memories of what happened during the time they were
being resuscitated. The time they were "dead". He also recorded what happened in the ER room,
and in the operating theater. Just in case if they did say something was said, they could
find out whether the memory was accurate or not.
He found out, of the survivors, just under 10 percent of those people who survived, did have one
or more of the typical descriptions of NDEs, near death experiences. Floating out of the
body, hearing what was going on, whatever.
He could verify that these weren't imaginary memories. These were real memories. What they
said they heard was said. The procedures they described actually happened. It was accurate recall.
But the most fascinating part of his research was that those 10 percent or just under 10 percent,
were the people whose brain died.
That was what was distinguishing near death experiences, from those which didn't have near
death experiences. The brain stopped working and that signalled the beginning of the near death experience.
The fascinating part of his research would show that there was actual consciousness,
will, and the resulting memory happening when the brain was totally not working.
This is what happens also, when you get into very, very deep meditation.
One of the stories of one of our members here, he's not here this evening but it's a great story.
I wrote it down in my book "Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond", with this person's permission.
This was a person that got into such a deep meditation at home, I'll tell it very briefly,
that his wife was concerned he died. And so called the ambulance and he got taken to Sir
Charles Gairdner Hospital. It was on a weekend.
He was just an ordinary person meditating in his bedroom, but he was meditating for too long.
His wife checked him and could find no signs of life, so she called the ambulance.
The ambulance could find no signs of life, so took him to Charlie Gairdner's hospital,
where they put ECG and EEG on him. Both were flat. The guy had died, at least so the instruments said.
ECG there was no heart beat for a long time, EEG no brain activity. The brain was not working.
He was in a meditation. I told this story elsewhere so I won't elaborate on it.
After giving him defibrillators and many electric shocks, nothing worked. Eventually he came
out of his meditation. Just decided I've had enough, now I'll come out, just like you do.
And as soon as he came out of meditation both machines worked perfectly. ECG and EEG started
beeping in the proper way and he felt fine. He wondered what the hell he was doing in
hospital, he was in his bedroom. And, gave him a quick sort of check over, the doctor,
nothing wrong with the guy, so he actually went home.
He walked home. He obviously didn't live that far away from Sir Charles Gairdner hospital,
in Nedlands. He walked back home, he was that fit.
During that whole time he was perfectly alert, perfectly conscious, but not of his body or
his surroundings. He was deep inside. He was having a wonderful time, one of the best experiences of his life.
I say that anecdote, because, it's a person who comes here, because that was showing what
was happening when his brain had died in deep meditation. It was only a temporary. Real
death is when it really happens, and you're gone for a long time.
You can actually have evidence, and experience, of what happens when the brain stops working.
Temporarily, we call it near death experiences. When it happens full on, full time, that's called death.
That gives you some evidence of what actually happens. The brain stops working.
Number one it's entirely a pleasant experience for just about everybody. Why? Because this terrible
body, the burden of it, is let go of. You're free. My God, that feels good.
There's one, just like in deep mediation. I don't know how many times I've told you,
and I'm being honest with you, being straight up. I'm not sure if I should say these things,
but I do anyway, because I don't want to sort of hide anything from you guys. The bliss
in meditation is better than sex.
OK. Now I had sex before I became a monk. I've been celibate for the last 40 years,
but I got a good memory and I know meditation. [laughter]
Ajahn: My meditation is very good. It's much better! Now what that mediation is, is your
body disappears. It vanishes. That's what happens when you die. You're totally free of this body. It's blissful.
One of those anecdotes, I like these funny stories which people tell you, or you read
about, is this one lady who died on the operating table.
She left her body. Looking at her body over there, just a mess. Off she went.
Apparently, she described it as meeting some spirit, and the spirit saying "It's not your
time." You know, "You've got to go back."
She said, "No way. I'm having too good a time. I don't want to go back. Sorry."
The spirit said, "But you have to go back."
"I don't care about that, I'm not going."
People are pretty independent these days. You don't do what you're told by your parents,
or by the government, or by God, or anybody. So spirits? Go and get lost. I'm having a good time.
That degree of independence, she didn't want to go anywhere.
Until eventually having this argument, "that you got to go back, no way." Apparently she described,
because obviously she did go back, that's why she could tell this story, this spirit
sort of got hold of her and threw her back into her body.
It had all these aches and pains and heaviness again, and she was pissed off at that spirit. I mean, really big time.
So when she gave this interview, she said, "Now when I die next time, of course I will die eventually,
I'm going to find that guy. And you know what? I'm going to do to that guy what he did to me."
Ajahn: That's how she described it. The fascinating part of that, it's a funny story, is how pleasant
it was. You know, to die. That is actually very helpful for most people.
Everybody who has those experiences, one of the things they always say,
"Now I'm not afraid of dying, because I know what it's like. It's pleasant, it's
actually quite blissful, it's freedom, it's peace. You're having a great time."
Of course it's really interesting and important that people know that. Number one it takes
away the fear of your own death. It takes away a lot of the grief when someone you love dies.
It's OK for a priest to say, "Oh they're having a good time now." Having some evidence, "Yes,
they are having a good time. I know they're happy." That makes a lot of difference to people.
But not all people are happy after death. You know why? It's because you may be having a
lot of pleasure, or having a good time, but it's the way that we react to that good time.
"I don't deserve this. This is not good enough." Whatever it is.
This is where the way we react to what's happening to us can interfere with this normal beautiful
state of affairs when a person dies. Just like now. You may be having a good time.
A happy time. A peaceful day. A great weekend.
How many people think, "I don't deserve this" and you mess up your happiness. "It can't
be right, I'm enjoying myself."
That's obviously a great exaggeration of a very powerful, undercurrent in human nature,
called guilt. Negativity. Fault finding. If you develop that too much in this life, you're
going to develop it, it's going to be there for you after you die.
You have this beautiful opportunity to have a good time, and you will throw it away. Why?
"I don't deserve this. I'm a bad guy. I've done a bad thing." Or sheer fault finding,
negativity, which will stop you being free.
Even right now, I spend a huge amount of time in these Friday night talks, talking about
overcoming guilt. Having a positive view of yourself. Letting go of the pain of the past.
Not being a prisoner of any bad things you've done. Looking at the two bad bricks in the
wall, in the context of the 998 good bricks in the wall.
Getting that, not positive attitude, but fair attitude to life. I don't like the word positive
attitudes of life, because that's overdone. Being fair, being reasonable, being just, with yourself.
You're not a bad person. I've never met a bad person in my whole life. I've met John
Howard...and I shouldn't have said that. [laughter]
Ajahn: No, he's all right. He's a good guy.
I've met some murderers and rapists in jails. These are OK people. They don't want to do
bad things. But they don't deserve to be hated, or destroyed. That's what I mean. I've never
seen one person who deserves to be destroyed.
There's always some spark of goodness and kindness and beauty in them, and that's a
wonderful thing to realise. See that in yourself, for goodness sake. You deserve to be happy.
If you want a quick explanation of the meaning of life. Everyone wants to know the meaning
of life. It is, you deserve to be happy. That's your meaning of life. That has huge consequences.
Easy to say, but powerful consequences. Which means you can let go of the pain. You can
access the happiness, and the peace, and the joy.
So after you've passed away, the most important thing to do is to have that kindness towards
yourself. To make peace with what's happening. A lot of times, fear dominates people's lives.
One of the reasons why I give this talk tonight...and thank you for the person who reminded me that
I should have given this talk years ago...is to take away your fear. You know exactly what's
going to go on. You realise it does go on, and this is what happens, you're prepared.
A lot of times, fear is fear of the unknown. When death becomes part of the known, the
fear disappears, which means you can relax and enjoy the whole process, post death.
When it's fear, you know exactly what's happening, you just let go and enjoy.
Obviously, there's many people who have very, very strong attachments to this world. The
people they left behind. The things they left behind. That's something which again in Buddhism,
we say, "Look, you have to let go of that past.
You can't carry such things with you." That's obvious. You know that, but you have to learn
that. Have to train. Have to practice, to let go of things.
When you let go of your attachments, it doesn't mean you don't enjoy life. You enjoy the people
you're with. You enjoy the day. By the end of the day you had a great day. Now, you can
go to bed and let it go. Another day coming tomorrow.
The great simile of the concert, which is a beautiful simile which I got from my father's
death. Yeah, I only knew my father for 16 years.
I was not sad about his death. I don't regret that he only lived 16 years, because it was
a wonderful - 16 years with the guy. Just how lucky I was. The great concert. All concerts end.
How many people have been to a concert, and have burst out crying in grief afterwards?
"Oh, Justin Bieber has gone. [laughter] He will never come back to Western Australia." Of course not.
There's another concert coming back next week. Somebody even more beautiful or whatever.
These people come and go.
The nice thing about it is that's just life. Life is a series of concerts. These happy
moments we have. These joyful times we have. We know they must end. It doesn't mean that
we don't enjoy the times we have together because, "It's going to end! It's going to end!"
No, we don't allow that to spoil our day. We enjoy it to the max. When it ends, we feel
so grateful. What a wonderful time we've had. Thank you so much, and we move on to the next concert.
To the next day. We move on to the next life.
If you can train yourself like that, it's just like, even in your meditation. Totally
let go of the past. Free of it, so you can enjoy the moment, and allow the future to
evolve, wherever it goes.
The same training you use for peaceful, happy, successful meditations, right here, in this
room, every Friday or Saturday. The same things as what you do when you die. Let go of the past.
Don't be afraid of the future. Present moment and making peace. Being kind, being gentle,
right in this very moment. Please remember that.
The other similes which I've used before, which are mostly interesting. The people in
the Anxiety and Depression Conference. They all took that down as a great, little meditation
exercise, because they hadn't heard it before. The two heavy suitcases simile.
Imagine yourself, in meditation, carrying two heavy suitcases. The one in the left hand
is the past, and the one in the right hand is the future. How heavy it is, to carry those
suitcases? You imagine yourself putting down the first suitcase, then the second suitcase,
and you're free of all the burden.
You're in the present moment between the two suitcases, the past and future. That's what
you do when you die. You let go of your past. You've had a whole life behind you. In that
whole life you have many beautiful experiences, some unpleasant experiences.
Remember you have to have both. The unpleasant ones is where you learn, and the pleasant
experiences are like the holidays. It's the hard moments is like your work.
That's where you work. How you learn. You test yourself. You move forward. You learn
from those unpleasant experiences. We always call them growing pains.
The pleasant experiences that's when you get your paycheck. You're having your holiday. Having a good time.
That's part of life. When we die, we let go of the whole lot. We don't carry anything with us.
Everybody says, you can't take it with you, but you try to. That's the problem. When you've
trained yourself to let go of the past. Right now, in this very life. If you can let go
of the past, only then can you enjoy the moment.
It's amazing how much people have stopped themselves enjoying life, because of something
which someone said to you, or did to you, or what you did or said, in the past.
Why on earth do you do that? It's total loopy stuff, as far as I'm concerned. You're crazy.
Whatever someone said to you. Whatever they did to you. Whatever you said or did. Why
allow that to control your happiness in this moment?
I said that to these psychologists, "You don't have to do that." Realizing that's one of
the most powerful teachings of Buddhism, "You don't have to carry the past into the present.
You can let it go. It's allowed. It's possible, and it's a great benefit to do that."
You can be free. No one is torturing you, because of what you did, or what someone else
did to you. No one is torturing you, only you are. You have to let it go.
A good example of that, is like a story which I saw engraved in stone in Borobudur, this
great monument, in Java. Which I hope you've been to. It's a very beautiful monument. Ancient
Buddhist monument in the middle of Java.
I was very fortunate because one of my mates over there, the monk Sripanyuwara [?],
beautiful monk. I tried to get him over here many times, but he's not that well, and
so he can't come. He gave me the VIP tour of Borobudur. His monastery's really close by.
I got this VIP tour by this very great monk around the temple. Pointing out all of the
carvings. It's designed like the world system, and the bottom is like the hell realm. I don't know why,
that's what I was interested in. People always like horror movies and dramas where things go wrong.
But anyway, one of the carvings in the bottom there took my attention. Because I could say, "Now
this is actually how this death process works."
There was an old Buddhist story of a guy who had...pretty good guy, but he did one bad
act. He pushed over his mother, and she injured herself. Of course, he felt so guilty about
that, that when he died he got born in this hell realm.
He went down to meet this guy, in this terrible realm, and he saw this fellow having his head
cut with a razor wheel. Just cutting into his head continuously. Now obviously without him dying.
He's in great pain, but this guy said, "Alas, you've come. Because, when I got this wheel,
and it was 600 years ago, because I hurt my mother. I was told that in 600 years' time,
another guy will come because he also hurt his mum.
When he comes, the wheel will leave my head, and I'll be free of this torture, and it will
go into this other guy's head. Here you are, here's the wheel."
The wheel left this other guy, and the guy vanished from this torture, and it went into
this new guy's head. It was cutting his head. Incredible agony.
But this fellow, this new guy he had thoughts of kindness, of compassion, and he said, "I'm
going to take this wheel, not for 600 years, but for 3,000 years so the next four or five
guys don't have to bear this. I'll take the punishment for them."
For that kind thought, the wheel shattered and he was taken away from this hell realm, and
reborn in a heaven realm. Just one thought of kindness and compassion did that.
That was not a myth, that's a metaphor of what happens, whatever you have to experience,
in fact what you do experience, it's your attitude creates that experience. Your attitude
is the creator, the generator.
When you die, please don't have any thoughts of negativity. Because at that particular
time, you are creating your world. Yes, there are heaven realms, and there are hell realms.
But you create them and you make the one you think you deserve.
If you're a negative person, and if you think of all the bad things you've done, and have
guilt, and haven't let that go yet, at the end of your death you remember that, and you'll
think you are a bad person, and you will think you need to be punished. You'll design the punishment to suit you.
Now, remember these states when you are dead, it's the physical body has gone. You're in
a mind-made body. Mind-made realm. These are created by your mental world. I know how powerful
that is, your mental world. Because you create it, you can do all sorts of things with it.
One of the stories. Just to show you what can be done. Many, many years ago, when I
started meditating, I was getting into a deep state. My body had gone. I saw this monster
in front of me, like a demon, with big eyes, red eyes.
Big fangs in his mouth, dripping blood. Fresh, red blood. A necklace of skulls. This really spiky
head (ugh!) with the tongue hanging out ugh! Right in front of me, in my meditation.
Now, would you guys be scared? A lot of times people are scared, because they don't know what
to do. I was wise enough, even by this time, to know how I create the world.
Because I knew that I was the creator, and because of my character, the first thing I
did was put a couple of sunnies over this guy's eyes.
I just needed to think that, and this guy had a pair of Ray Bans over his big, googly eyes.
I blacked out a few of his fangs, like you used to do as a school kid, doodling.
And I put a cigarette out of his mouth to make him look like some delinquent monster.
Then the last thing I did, I put a straw hat over his head, with a little flower coming out it.
I created that monster into something which was totally ridiculous. Which I laughed inside,
and the monster went and never came back again. Because I created that thing, and I could
un-create it with a positive, fun, compassionate mind.
That happened to this one guy in our monastery, years ago, who came to see me. He was staying
for a few months, and a few weeks. He was seeing in every of the paving bricks, he'd
see a monster come out of them. He thought he was going crazy. I told him that technique.
One day later, he said, "I had a wonderful day. Amazing how you could create these funny
pictures out of these monsters. Of course, it just disappeared after that."
Now, this is the power of the creative mind in meditation, especially, when you get into
deep meditations, or when you die, which is pretty similar. When the body disappears,
you haven't got so many restrictions, caused by solid stuff on what your mind creates.
Remembering that, when you die, please learn how to create this very positive and beautiful
things. Of course, you're going to be creating your next realm. You create it.
By developing a beautiful, positive, kind, loving mind, that's what you're going to be
creating for your future. You have that opportunity.
I know in some systems that sometimes the monks go round and chant, or whatever else
happens, just to try and create that positive mood for the person who's dead. Sometimes you can't
hear that. You can't see that, but at the very least, create it for yourself.
Yeah, you will get reborn somewhere. It's up to you. You'll get reborn where you think
you deserve to be reborn. You create these worlds. The same way that I remember when
I was a young kid over in London.
I used to go out sometimes for a drink with my mates to a pub. But some people used to
go to these pubs in London, and there would always be a fight.
I saw it a couple of times. A couple of people would get drunk, and they'd have a big punch-up
outside, and blood everywhere. I thought, "Why do people go to pubs like that?" The
reason is, because they like fighting.
They're looking for that. I thought, "Why do people create these circumstances, where
they get into this violence. They get into this negativity. They get into this pain?"
Because that's what people want.
So I ask you, "What do you want? What do you really want? Not what you think you want,
but what you really want deep inside?"
Please cultivate the mind. Have a beautiful mind. A compassionate mind. A forgiving mind.
That's the world you'll create. You create it in this life.
I don't know if some of you have difficult relationships? Don't blame your partner. It's
nothing to do with...well it is to do with your partner, but it's also to do with you.
As I said, every other week here, it's not his fault. It's not her fault. It's not my
fault. Our fault? You're involved in that. Don't just pass the buck to the other. You're involved.
Don't just blame yourself. It's us.
Because, it's all about us, there's always things you can do. You can create a beautiful
world for yourself, even in this life.
This life is much tougher, because you've got so many solid restrictions. So many barriers.
It's tough to create a good world in this life, but you can still do pretty well.
Imagine when you're free, when you die, you've got much more opportunities. So don't create
a hell realm for yourself when you die. How do you overcome that? Forgiveness. No guilt.
Don't blame yourself.
Don't blame anybody else. Sometimes when someone does something wrong, "I don't know why they
did that? But I'm not going to blame them. I don't understand it. I don't understand
why they did that, but they obviously thought they were doing the right thing."
There's a great emphasis on forgiveness of other people in Buddhism. A great emphasis
on forgiveness of yourself. That's so paramount when you die. Please forgive.
That's why in many of the funeral ceremonies which we do, we do a forgiveness ceremony.
With the people left behind, and the deceased.
I speak for the person who's died. Say on their behalf, "I ask forgiveness. Anything
which this person who's just died may have done to any of you, by body, speech or mind. Intentional
or unintentional. Sometimes by accident.
We say sorry. On behalf of the person who's died. Please forgive them. Let it go."
So there can be no pain. No guilt. No idea of "justice", which is usually ideas of revenge,
past this point of death. So you can be free.
Doing that is very helpful. Obviously, it's also help for the people left behind, to let
go of the pain of the past. It's a beautiful feeling, because then you don't
have to be suffering from all this terrible stuff of the past.
We do make mistakes and I said I think last week, remember the simile of an examination.
I used to set tests. If everybody got 10 out of 10 or if everybody got nought or 1 out of 10 in
my math tests I gave when I was a school teacher, that would be a terrible test.
The idea of a test at school is to get about six, seven, eight out of 10 because, as a
teacher, I wanted to encourage my students but I also wanted to find out what their weaknesses were.
When they made a couple of mistakes, "Ah, I could see where you're weak. I'll have to
put some more emphasis on my next lesson." The test was giving encouragement, but also
giving feedback so I could see where their weaknesses are. That's called life.
We encourage so you have enough success in life. You're encouraged. You're motivated.
When life does go wrong, when you do make a mistake, great. That's pointing out some
of your weaknesses.
That's where you can work, and get stronger, where you can learn more about yourself and
about life. If the test of life means you're always suffering, you're always having a hard
time, everything's always going wrong, that's a bad test.
About 6 or 7, 8 out of 10 should be about the optimum test in life, and most human beings are like that.
Yeah. You have your fun. You're having a great time, but every now and again, 20 percent
of the time, you have some pain, suffering, or disappointment. Well done! That's testing you. Please welcome that.
Don't think it's wrong. That way we can learn. We can grow, and at the end of life -- Look.
School's out. It's over. No more tests. Well done! Enjoy yourself. School is weak. Dead is weak, whatever you call it.
Corpse is weak. Have a great time. Enjoy yourself. You've done a lot of hard work. Well done,
you've learned. Maybe you haven't graduated yet. You have to go back next year, but you've done well.
That positive attitude towards yourself, the wise attitude to the mistakes and the pain
of life means you don't get angry, you don't get negative. Which mean at the time of your death those
attitudes are just not there.
That stream of consciousness which continues on, you know what that will feel like if you've
done some meditation. That would mean that post-death period is a beautiful period.
You can create a heaven realm for yourself.
If you want to come back, you can come back here and try again, learn some more, get some
more understanding. Move your development further along, because you know one life is
not enough to really train yourself, to really love, to forgive, to know.
But you've all done very well. You have enough smarts, enough good karma to come and listen
to talks like this. You're already pretty far on the path. Take that further, and understand
then that that time after the death would be very peaceful, very beautiful.
That natural, beautiful feeling of happiness and peace will not be destroyed by any negativity.
You can actually go with it, flow with it.
I know many people start saying they see this person, they see Jesus, they see God, they
see whatever, but remember these are mind-made realms. You're not seeing any sort of spiritual
being. The person you are seeing is a reflection of yourself, what you expect to see.
I know that from the meditations. Every time I start talking about that beautiful light
-- we call it nimitta in Buddhist mediation -- it took a long time to realize that's a reflection of my own mind.
I learned that because, sometimes, my nimitta was a bit dull and dirty. The sooner
I realized I hadn't behaved that day, I had done something wrong, that's why it wasn't
so pure. Other days, it was, brilliant, and pure, and wonderful, and delightful because
I had done a lot of good work that day.
I realized I was looking at my mind. This purity, that's what you see when you die.
Don't worry. You're pretty good. You're more than good enough. That's why it looks very
beautiful. It's the reflection of you.
If you see some light or a spirit, don't think that someone else is judging you. No one else
judges you. Only you do. You all know that. At least you should do.
No one has the right to judge you. Only you do. The most wonderful thing is to not judge
yourself at all. That's why I think last week I was staying in Indonesia when a Christian
came up and said, "What about judgment day?", then I would say,
"Buddhists don't have judgment day. They have forgiveness day."
It's beautiful. Forgiveness, that's love. Judgment is pain, harshness, violence, aggression,
judging. Forgives, "Oh, it doesn't matter. You are OK. You're more than good enough."
That type of judgment, of not judgment at all but forgiveness, that's if you've been
training yourself spiritually.
When you die, you see that beautiful light and it's not fearful anymore, it's beautiful,
loving, accepting, forgiving. Then you can actually merge with it. You never think about
it as some sort of God judging you.
Anybody sees the light. Doesn't matter if there is a Jesus or a God, or a Kuan Yin
or whatever they see. It's not these things remember, this is what you add on
when you come back afterwards.
This is just you. So don't judge yourself. Many people say that's a symbol of love. What is a symbol
of love? Forgiveness, accepting, embracing. You come to peace with yourself. Isn't that
wonderful to come to peace with yourself before you die? To realise, yeah, you're OK.
There's nothing wrong with you. That is such a wonderful insight to have years ago,
at last to realise, no matter what other people say, there's nothing wrong with me. Oh, what a relief.
I'm now going to disprove that. I'm going over time, I should finish off and I haven't
told today's joke yet. I'm now going to disprove myself to show there's something terribly
wrong with me, I tell terrible jokes. This is apt.
It was told me last week and a couple of people know this, and it fits in here because it's
not human beings who get reborn, but other animals also get reborn. I don't know if you
know that even penguins, they have this beautiful sense of social cohesion.
They have their own ceremonies when one of their members dies.
Apparently what happened is this penguin died, and as soon as it died all its friends came
around it to grieve. Then after grieving for a little while they actually dug a hole in
the snow and the ice and they put the dead penguin in the snow and the ice.
They covered him over with the freezing ice. Afterwards they did a little ceremony for
the dead penguin, their friend. They sang a song. "Freeze a jolly good fellow, freeze
a jolly good...." [laughter]
Ajahn: That's one of the worst jokes I've ever said in my life. [laughs] Nevertheless,
it shows my attitude, having fun with whatever I have to do in life. Please keep that attitude
and you know that's how you deal with the end of your life.
Then you get a beautiful rebirth or even no rebirth at all if you can totally let go.
But if I keep carrying on, because I've gone over three minutes past nine, you'll all die before
I finish this talk so it's a waste of time.
I'm giving you some information about the attitudes towards death, which also reflect
your attitudes towards life. No guilt, please forgiveness, you deserve to be happy. Just go with it.
Mistakes in life, things which go wrong, it's part of the meaning
of life. Learning, get 10 out of 10 every day there's no meaning to life at all, you're not learning anything.
So when it gets hard, when it's hurting, growing pains, learn from it. You're becoming a better
person. Tough, hard, but my goodness it is actually good for you.
Thank you for listening to the talk this evening about what happens after you die. [applause]
Ajahn Brahm: Thank you, are there any questions about this evening's talk, or comments? Yes, go on.
Ajahn: Please make it quick because people are already leaving. [laughter]
Ajahn: Exactly! The pain disturbs the consciousness, the morphine disturbs the consciousness but go for
the morphine, go for the pain killers, because that's only up to the time when real death starts.
Once real death starts, once you leave the brain you're absolutely clear. Don't be afraid
of that. Even if your [?] is like "I want to be there when I die." You will be! It just
takes away the irritation and the disturbance of the pain.
You've all heard me teach meditation for many years. How gentle I am when I teach you meditation.
Don't keep sitting if it's painful -- just move because pain is disturbance for developing the beauty of the mind.
The same when you are dying. Take the Morphine. Get into as comfortable position as you can
physically, so you can forget about the body.
Yeah, you will be dull for many many sort of hours before you're dead, the actual death. Once
the death happens, the brain turns off, just like Professor Pim Van Lommel noticed. Then you're free.
That's when you can start really practicing, remembering all you've been taught. Practicing peace,
kindness, love, forgiveness, because then you can do that. If you got pain, I agree that pain takes precedence.
You can't even think about any Dhamma, you're just dealing with the agony and the demands of the pain,
which takes precedence over everything else. It shouts the loudest.
Absolutely true.
Great! Any other comments or questions before you die? [laughter]
Ajahn: Yes?
Ajahn: Life after life, yeah.
Ajahn: Yeah, there's many, many books like that. Because the evidence is there. Lots of people have researched, lots
of honest people have said what it's like. Get out there and see the evidence, because it
could happen to you. So read those books before it's too late! [laughter]
Who knows what's going to happen next? Anyway...


【宗教哲學】你死後會怎樣? (What Happens After You Die? | by Ajahn Brahm)

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Buddhima Xue 發佈於 2015 年 8 月 25 日
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