It’s week four of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s retreat on The Four Protective Meditations, and after making it through the recollection of the Buddha (week one), lovingkindness (week two), and the contemplation of the body (week three), it’s time to tackle what for many of us is the most difficult subject of all: death. In the final week of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s retreat he brings us face-to-face with the reality of our own mortality. “Death,” Bhikkhu Bodhi says, “is the one inescapable fact of human life. The Buddha’s solution to our avoidance of death is to bring it in front of our eyes and look at it without flinching.”
During this week’s retreat Bhikkhu Bodhi leads us through the three primary themes in the mindfulness of death practice:
1. Death is inescapable and inevitable.
2. The arrival of death is utterly unpredictable.
3. When we die we have to relinquish everything.
As he takes us through the mindfulness of death meditation, Bhikkhu Bodhi expands each primary theme into three secondary themes. By doing this practice, Bhikkhu Bodhi tells us, we’re able to live more meaningfully and more fruitfully “in the light of death.”
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