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 Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did

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david.



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PostSubject: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:49 am

Mokuan asked this in a recent thread. No one answered.

It is a question I have asked a lot...

It is for me a rather important question..

What are your experiences of this?

thank you
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:19 pm

david. wrote:
Mokuan asked this in a recent thread. No one answered.

It is a question I have asked a lot...

It is for me a rather important question..

What are your experiences of this?

The problem is that by definition the question of what happens after we die can't be answered.  That said I believe the near death experiences documented by Raymond Moody have validity.  Have you read his books?
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sianabelle

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:28 pm

Here's a book I found in a charity shop: "Sum of Tales from the Afterlives" by David Eagleman, 2009  ISBN: 9781847674289
(not that I've got around to reading it yet)
Wondering if the question is along the lines of the philosophical Mind-Body problem. Personally I've recently been interested in something perhaps called the sea of souls.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:30 am

We spoke about religion dying and viewpoints this week as we met for zazen,
Comforting answers for the bereaved,may sometimes be the right answers.
Zazen I believe can throw apart fixed views of living and dying ..life and death,positions in time,and views of who we are.
Zazen is sitting with everything, everyone.Whatever changes is inclusive in  everything.
Everything is everything zazen is being here now.. everything
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:27 am

Every `New` moment requires a preceding Death....what does it matter ?
Each night in Dreamless sleep....where do we go ?? there are no objects there
but, we still wake up and know straight away who we are...no need to write
our names down for when we wake up.
All religions and religious experiences tell us that we`re not the body and most
people feel that this is so.  Is it not just a confidence issue ?
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:54 pm

Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did.
Hey David



Only the assumption that an identifiable "You" could continue past death, would give birth to such a wish?
Without such an assumption, what reason would there be to ask for an answer

and......

why would the collective experience of all of your cells somehow have any more momentum across death's doorstep than the experience of all of the individual cells that are continually dying in each moment.


I think the fruit of your question lies not in any answer of what happens after death but is really in why we represent life with so much dreaming before death offers us no more hope of awakening.
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:05 am

hello everyone. I asked for your experience of this question.

so far your experience is 2 people reading a few books, one person having a chat about it this week, and another person going to sleep every night.

The rest of what you have said has been mental gymnastics.

I'm not interested in mental gymnastics, the question is too important to me for that.

I will share an experience of mine..

My mum never held my hand or let me hold hers, until 1 minute before she died screaming in agony, weighing 4 stone, a heroin addict with heroin pumping directly into her bloodstream every 15 seconds. the 'me' sitting next to her holding her hand is right here now, my heart torn apart. asking.

I have 100's more deep and profound experiences, in some of which I have found answers. but I really want to know your experiences, and am willing to really listen.

If you don't want to say them here, a private confidential message would be much appreciated.

thank you, David
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:46 am

david. wrote:
hello everyone. I asked for your experience of this question.

so far your experience is 2 people reading a few books, one person having a chat about it this week, and another person going to sleep every night.

The rest of what you have said has been mental gymnastics.

The specific question was "what happens when we die"; It wasn't "what's it like to support others going through the dying process".  It sounds like that's more what you want to discuss - is that's right?

I'm sorry you had such a difficult experience with your mum.  I was with my mother when she died, and while the circumstances weren't as difficult as what you describe it was painful nonetheless.


Last edited by Isan on Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:31 am

Hi Isan.

I found sitting with my mother when she died highlighted for me that I couldn't ignore death, and how, if I allowed the subconscious part of me into awareness, how scared it is of dying. And how a huge proportion of how i act as an adult is predicated on this. The brutal reality of my mum's death means I either switch off to it and spout platitudes, or I keep my broken heart open and scream the question. And when I scream the question with all my might, all my being, only the naked truth will do as an answer.

Sitting with my mother helped make me aware that the thinking mind is not the place to find the answer to this question. The answer must come out of experience.

I have actually done a lot to try find out what happens when we die, and have found some answers. My Zazen consciousness has allowed me to let into consciousness huge tracts of my subconscious world, taken me to over 50 past lives, and allowed me to drop through my pain and fear to spaciousness. I have sat with 100's of other people experiencing past lives. I have opened my consciousness to the spacious mind, which is now always with me (though if you saw my life you'd think "train wreck!"). 


I have been close to death through drowning and had an almost out of body experience. (why not fully out hot [banned term]!) i have faced death on 2,000 foot alpine rock faces. I have had my share of mystical experiences. I have slept for 3 nights under the lifeless body of a friend's child. I have learnt to let the barriers between me and other people dissolve, and to 'float' into other people's energy and feel and be them, where they are. I have been teaching this in spiritual martial arts classes for 25 years, & I have been using it in my 20 years trying to learn how to help people. (John Upledger coined the phrase 'melding' to describe it).  


I have found answers in all of this experience, that say who i am transcends the body, transcends the biological. I have found the 'deathless.' for real, and I know it is not in the thinking mind, the thinking mind is in it.


And if I'm really honest a huge part of me acts out of fear of death

If I heard Mokuan correctly, it felt like her question was an outpouring of her heart, faced with Laura's death. (Please correct me if I am wrong Mokuan). It touched a place in me that I felt resonate with her question. And the resonance in me feels like it is going out and meeting Mokuan in her question.

And so i am asking how people here have reached out to this question in themselves, and  what answers they have found in their experience.


I am not asking for an intellectual answer as that's just the small mind playing its games, as we all know.


I am asking for your blood and guts answers, however partial, or your blood and guts questions, however unanswered.


There is more in the experience with my dying mother that i havent said yet, but will.


But really I am asking you all for your big experiences. After all, faced with death of a loved one, we are faced with ourselves laid bare. Who we truly think we are laid bare. 


And you can rub a stone with sandpaper for 1000 years and never make a mirror. 


So lets be having you!


(No i am not a Norwich City soccer fan!!!!!!!!!!!)
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:00 pm

@ David



You beat your breast about Samsara's offerings, all the while citing your spiritual qualifications on this site's soap box.
I marvel at how you can actually do both and not see how incongruous the pairing of those two are.


To look for answers through another's "blood & guts" experience is just another emotionally colored pair of glasses to paint reality with.



Wanna see what death offers...just seriously meditate.

Wanna see what continues beyond deaths doorway...just seriously meditate.


It does not seem like your questions are unanswered so much as simply rejected whenever they do not fit your wish list.
Forget the internet spiritual pool, forget trying to shoehorn reality into something comfortable, just allow life and death to be unmolested in whatever this present nano second offers..


And

Perhaps the next time you wish folks to expose themselves for your benefit,  just dismissing anybody who does not respond in the form that you like..
is.
.......tacky
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sianabelle

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Sat Oct 25, 2014 1:24 pm

Another source of pain and distress in order for you to empathise, David, if that is what you wish, may be the accounts in the news from those on the ground in regions afflicted by Ebola. Or you may like to read some Tibetan Buddhist literature such as "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" in which the process of dying is described. I apologise in advance if I sound rather clinical in my tone.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:27 am

My one eyed cat is on the way out.
She has dementia and looses the plot all the time, but she seems to be having a final fling, rejecting the dried food that she has had for years as anything else would make her throw up usually in my shoes,she now only hangs on to life by eating the finest cuts of very expensive carefully prepared cat food in a posh pouch. last week she did a number 2 on the sofa only for sons new girlfriend to sit in it, and yesterday missing her cat tray she weed on the floor,only for the girlfriend to walk in it. It is a bit like accept me and you are part of the family,the girl fits in she can take the cat.
The cat is banned from my bedroom because she always plays catch the toe when I am fast asleep but she sleeps outside my door, last night I nipped to the bathroom in the early hours to be greeted with a faint meow, I picked her up an gave her a little cuddle and she had a little purr,and she did actually make me feel I could have one much better with everything I have done and do.
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:47 pm

Many "right" answers here, I assume.  Yes, David, Laura's death has been a great loss to me as have all the others that have happened in the last seven years.  I've lost my father, my brother, my beloved dog,  precious cat, three very close friends and several acquaintances...and I'm not even that old!!!

And Isan, of course, you're right.  How can this question really be answered?  I haven't  known anyone who has been dead for a year or two and then come back to tell me what it's like.  The stories of those having been resuscitated are comforting, but somehow in my mind I don't really count those folks as being really dead!!!

And, yes, cells die daily and one moment gives rise to another, but those deaths are not the ones that perplex me, because "I" am still here, my loved ones are still here.  It's the death that erases them from my existence that prompts the question.

Howard, did you mean your answer to sound flippant?  Isn't the question of birth and death one of the first things we learn in Buddhist practice; how to understand both?  Well, I will admit to not being very far along the path as they still confound me.  But Howard, would you still feel the same if you came home one day to find your wife had suffered a fatal heart attack or your beloved daughter killed by a drunk driver?  Heaven forbid anything like that ever happens, but if it did, I would bet my no-soul that your devastation would be insurmountable and the question of "where" they are would be your constant companion.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:46 pm

Thank you for your reply Mokuan
I think my question  or koan to myself is
"With death all around us why do I live the way I do?"
But the real question for me is
"With life and death all around why do I live the way I do?"

Take care of yourself I guess you are in a heartfelt time
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:11 pm

Many moons ago in London's Notinghill district there lived a wise, if stoned, graffiti artist. One Saturday night he crept out and and sprayed the following on a wall next to a church:
IS THERE LIFE BEFORE DEATH
This was not appreciated by the congregation who where seen scrubbing it out on the Sunday morning!

But of course this is the real question. Do we just hide from life, often by asking questions about death.

Even more importantly, as Howard implies: Wanna see what life offers...just seriously meditate.


Of course if this doesn't satisfy you there is always: Wanna see what death offers...jump of a cliff. If the cliff is high enough there may even be time to wonder on the way down: Is this quite the right question to be asking?


The truth is that no one knows for sure what death is. It is all a matter of opinion and conjecture. For what it's worth I think that when we're dead, we're dead, gone. Is there anything of us that continues, yes of course our 'karma', the effect that we have had on the world. But that is not us. Just as if I get in a fight and hit someone on the nose the broken nose is not me it is an effect caused by me. 

The question of birth and death is only important because it points our attention to what happens in between.  
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:15 am

And, yes, cells die daily and one moment gives rise to another, but those deaths are not the ones that perplex me, because "I" am still here, my loved ones are still here.  It's the death that erases them from my existence that prompts the question.

Howard, did you mean your answer to sound flippant?  Isn't the question of birth and death one of the first things we learn in Buddhist practice; how to understand both?  Well, I will admit to not being very far along the path as they still confound me.  But Howard, would you still feel the same if you came home one day to find your wife had suffered a fatal heart attack or your beloved daughter killed by a drunk driver?  Heaven forbid anything like that ever happens, but if it did, I would bet my no-soul that your devastation would be insurmountable and the question of "where" they are would be your constant companion.



Hey mokuan

Your story for me makes assumptions about my experiences with death that I would not presume to make upon others but having said that.... I have yet to feel that the deaths of loved ones has erased anyone from my existence.

I think that the differences about the feelings of a death loss" is largely a product of what each person believes or experiences themselves and others to be.  If every being has a boundary that defines who they are then life & death can be pretty black and white but if those boundaries are experienced as more of a shared space then life & death becomes more difficult to individualize.

Birth, Life and Death can be understood with the meditative observation of phenomena, when we can allow them to arise, live and pass on without perpetuating our skandhic manipulations upon them......but

I have never experienced the question of life after death arise against this backdrop???

Just a few steps away from this backdrop however and anything is possible.




PS

great post Mark!
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:26 am

Hi Mokuan, thank you for your reply. That's a lot of people to lose in what feels such a short space of time! 

I find the knocks of life to be more and more wearing as I get older and weaker, and my platitudes and my attitudes don't work so well. So I feel more vulnerable and more exposed, and more intensely in need of an answer. Life and death confounds me too.

For me too a core of Buddhist practice is truly understanding life and death, (truly understanding who I am is for me the same thing) which the Buddha clearly says is possible. And a core part of his answer is that we do not die when this body dies.

Is he right to say he knows this, and that we can too?


I'm hoping so! There is increasing evidence out there that he may be right.
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:18 am

Hi Howard. I think Mokuan is saying that if you lose a loved one, you are meant to grieve. The grieving process is not seperate from practice, but practice should make us more open to grieving. To not grieve is to not allow our humanity. And to grieve is to be devestated. And grieving is not a quick thing - allow years, not months or weeks.

Of course I want people to expose themselves. Do you really mean to say people should keep themselves hidden here, at the risk of being called “tacky” if they say showing ourselves to each other is a good thing here?

I have been “seriously meditating” for over 30 years, & have suddenly realised in the past 2 years that this doesn't mean much.

Since 2010 we have seen the “serious meditators” in charge of Zen buddhism in the USA (Zen masters they call themselves) suddenly exposed as really believing themselves to be emotional children, whose daddy is nasty and does horrid things to some of us kids, but we are scared of him because he is our daddy and have to be loyal and say in public what a wonderful daddy he is.

For me, the first step in meditation is to begin to expose myself. Only when I expose myself can I begin to learn who I am, and how to love myself. And I begin to see that keeping myself hidden is really out of terrible fear.

I really like what you said about boundaries. When the boundaries dissolve, and I float in the space where “you” and “I” dissolve, death has no meaning. This is how it feels to me. The spaciousness is my major “answer” to death. It just isnt quite an answer enough for me yet..... hot-banned word.

I would like to hear more of your experience of the dissolving of boundaries in your life.

I have experienced the question of life after death arise in the spaciousness. It is not enough to just go to the spacious. This for me is the great mistake of Zen practice. We have to let the spaciousness permeate who we think we are. When we begin to do this our non-concious self is very soon revealing itself. Past lives are part of our non-concious self, so as our spaciousness practice deepens, past lives reveal themselves. I guess it also helps to be comfortable with screaming, begging & pleading, sex-changes and general mayhem...

My memory of dying in a world war 1 trench is as vivid and powerful as my memory of sitting in my bedroom having just been told that my father had died of a stroke.


But is it a real memory? Hot-bannedword
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tufsoft



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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:29 am

When you die all your debts become uncollectable
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:11 pm

@tufsoft
When you die all your debts become uncollectable.


To me, today, this nicely points out the self as being little more than our habituated responses to karma's fruition,

which smartly delineates the life & death differences between the ego and karma's deathless inertia.

@Robert

I have no idea what happens after death, or whether past or future lives represent anything more than the lessons we need to learn from, or why those experiences are so representative of each particular persons belief structures.

I only have a view from my zafu that waffels somewhere between self and selflessness..a mere nano second reflecting tufsoft's statement.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:48 pm

`Understanding Birth and Death completely.` ....looks like it`s the question that just won`t die  :-)
It`s funny really as I always thought..still do..that `Birth and Death` is just a synonym for Change
or Impermanence.  Physical life and death just being the big personified view.

Asking about what happens after death is pretty odd as we don`t know what`s going to happen the
very next moment !  We can`t know that, for just the same reason as we can`t know what happens
after death.  We are not the Creative force..the whole field of Existence and it is that, that controls
all that happens. We have zero control over the `Results` of all of our actions. We can never be
sure what will happen when we act.

Everything arises (is born) in Awareness, subsists and is subsumed back (dies) in Awareness
constantly. We see this most clearly (hopefully) in our meditation and it is the same whether we
are in meditation or not.
As Awareness exists....nothing exists outside of Awareness...Reality can be said to consist of two
orders.  Subject/ Self and Objects where anything other than the Self or Awareness is an Object.
This includes the Body and Mind and all perceptions.  Everything is an Object to me/Awareness.

All objects are impermanent and not me. I am Awareness which is not subject to change.  It is that
which sees or knows change..or that by which we know what we know.  Following on from this, it
can be said that all objects (Body and Mind) must surely die and I must die if I am an Object to
myself.  But how can I be ?  I am the subject/Awareness which is unchanging , thus free.

So, it comes to Who or what am I ?  If I am Awareness, there is no Death as Awareness is the
Unborn.  If I `Identify with` the Body/Mind, then there is certainly Death or non existence.  Even
then, is there `something` that doesn`t exist ?

The `No Self` teaching only applies to the world of objects....Samsara. The world of the senses.
Awareness isn`t available to the senses as an Object because it isn`t one.  It is the Subject....
...Existence.  Ultimately the question of Death is an irrelevance if it is understood that all
Experiences are Not Real in the True sense. Only that which never changes is Real and there is
only one such thing.  If Awareness is deeply investigated ie. How far are we from Awareness ?
Are there any limits to it ? Was it ever born etc, it can be seen to be our True Self.

If we chase after Experiences in the world, we will chase forever as there is no end to them...
including past life experiences. As they say, "Beginningless Ignorance" is the original cause of
Suffering.  Ignorance may be Beginningless but it can have an end, hence the purpose of training
is to know who we really are and  to no longer confuse ourselves or identify with any type of
Object.  "Zen is eternal life."   good title for a book i reckon.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:18 pm

david. wrote:
tpoic:
Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did

Mokuan asked this in a recent thread. No one answered.

It is a question I have asked a lot...
It is for me a rather important question..

What are your experiences of this?

thank you
Clearly you are asking about a knowledge of death.

The conventional direction is that you cannot know since you have not died; and that what others have to say is hearsay.

There are two aspects of death that people tend to be connected to is
1 - an awareness that you (personally) will die
2 - fear of (your impending) death

Further, there is what religions have to say on the subject, and they have said alot.

Buddhism recognizes/grapples with the idea of death as having a paradoxical quality: death as an annihilation and death as an eternal life. And this is further qualified by the Buddhist idea that self is not ultimate; therefore, the loss of self is a natural part of "going the distance." Therefore, John Doe, single male, 35 years old, after death does not continue (in some fashion) forever to be John Doe, a single male, age 35 (thank God;).

More specifically, about the death experience, I know that in Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, there is the specific idea that death is a two-part process: that the body comes to an end (which is generally not an issue - there is a strand of thought in Taoism for whom it is) and that consciousness or more specifically certain types of consciousness come to a cessation.

In short, the common idea of death is a cessation of both body and mind and that there is something (have not come across anybody who can speak definitively as to what this "something" is) of the mind that continues to rebirth.

There is also the alternate scenario of achieving less common state(s) of consciousness that is/are not subject to cessation.

In Zen, the transmission linage document uses the term "enters eternal meditation" as a postfix to those who have died. Jiyu Kennett, additionally, used the term "Zen is Eternal Life" as the title of one of her books. (these terms stand as vital reminders of the original goal of the practice)

Taoism talks about becoming an immortal.

So to wrap up, I would just like to jump to say that the original goal of mediation (and this is true for yoga and Shaolin kung-fu) is the achievement of the deathless state.

And here is a quote, since to me there is no more elegant way of expressing it:

With steady body, steady awareness,
—  whether standing, sitting, or lying down  —
a monk determined on mindfulness
gains one distinction after another.
 
Having gained one distinction after another,
he goes where the King of Death can’t see.
        Udana Sutta, 5-10 (The Scripture of Inspired Expression)

P.S. — this is no mere fanciful statement.
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tufsoft



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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:50 pm

These things that live on departure
understand when you praise them: fleeting, they look for
rescue through something in us, the most fleeting of all.


  - Rilke
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jack



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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Wed Dec 31, 2014 9:26 pm

Interesting thread


It seems to me the question about "you" or someone continuing to exist is a misunderstanding that there is a "you" that exists now. "You" are a process that experiences consciousness -- nothing more. When the process that supports that consciousness ceases, so does that particular form of consciousness. The "you" you think you are is inextricably linked to the human platform of life.


One of the most useful insights of Buddhism for me has to be willing to acknowledge the limits of what I know as a human being. I don't always like that, but what I "know" about anything exists in the framework of what human beings can experience or understand.


When what I experience seems to be marginally good, I don't fret about death. When I don't, I tend to want to search for something that makes it less painful by virtue of it being meaningful or temporary.
 
I'm sure that some are "sure" about what happens when human life ceases, but I know people who are adamantly "sure" about all sorts of delusions -- some of which they are willing to kill and die for. To me, certainty is just another delusion. 

I'm unpersuaded by such claims of "knowing for sure" -- particularly since there's so much diversity in those claims. "Nothing for certain -- nothing for sure" That's the very fabric of what it means to exist -- probably why in the Buddhist view "being on the wheel" of existence can never be completely satisfactory.

The best,

jack
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:45 am

Hi Jack ... here is my careful consideration of you text:



> …someone continuing to exist is a misunderstanding that there is a "you" that exists now.
> "You" are a process that experiences consciousness -- nothing more.
 
One of the great limitations in Classical Indian philosophy is their entitative methodology of explanation: they could only indicate things (entities) and confused 'relationship' as a thing.
 
The idea of "continuing to exist" is not on the same level of "existence as now."
 
Let me take a look at this "now" theory of existence. First, processes are temporal; but this metaphysics of the now implies a denial of the possibility of process itself.
 
> When the process that supports that consciousness ceases, so does that
> particular form of consciousness.
Yes, but you are not addressing the position that there is a form of consciousness that does not cease. At minimum, if this were not so, Nirvana would not be possible.
 
> The "you" you think you are is inextricably linked to the human platform of life.
I don't remember who it was, but I have read of a Christian thinker saying that we were not temporal creatures, seeking the eternal, but eternal creatures temporarily inhabiting a temporal world.
 
> I know people who are adamantly "sure" about all sorts of delusions -- some of which
> they are willing to kill and die for. To me, certainty is just another delusion.
I will just assume that you do not possess the requisite credentials to professionally judge someone to be delusional.
 
You maintain that delusion = error + certainty. Now, that some people make errors and will insistently maintain their position does not necessarily mean they must be or are delusional. Next, when you claim that certainty is just another delusion, then you have gone beyond claiming all errors are delusions, to claiming that both truth and error are delusions.
 
Example: I am absolutely certain that 2 + 2 = 4. I also further believe that this is beyond dispute; though I accept and expect Orwellian opposition. Further, if you cannot be persuaded then I hold that the problem is yours, rather than that the world (as in everyone else) is delusional.
 
You say "nothing for certain" and "That's the very fabric of what it means to exist -- probably why in the Buddhist view "being on the wheel" of existence can never be completely satisfactory." But these two things are not connected. The Buddhist wheel of existence is contra-posed to Nirvana, which is an abandoning of the wheel of existence. But these concerns cannot be yours because they go where you say you will not go – I'm unpersuaded by such claims of "knowing for sure" – because Buddhism is very sure of its position, and some Buddhists are even quite smug in their certainties, their sense of entitlement and superiority. I would not say their behaviour proves that their position is false, only that at the very least they are acting in poor taste.
 
So at the end, I don't see you having a coherent position.
 
Your position, at first, looked like radical scepticism, but I doubt you know what that is. You seemed to want to lay down some limits, but your various statements intellectually self-implode leaving me with nothing more than to see you as merely having a pejorative attitude pretending to some vision of clarity.
 
As an aside, the metaphysical  idea of now, the Buddhist idea of momentariness, is conceptually bogus. The idea of momentariness is posited to repudiate the existence of self/soul. But the idea of momentariness as a denial of the self/soul is best stated as "The soul is momentary because no man can remain identical in two moments."
 
But no one seems to remember the criteria: that the classical Indian idea of existence is permanence, eternity; only what is permanent, eternal, is what exists and so what is impermanent does not exist. In short the self/soul cannot exist because human life is temporal. It would be the same as to say that human beings do not exist because they are defined in and through their temporality (just to drop in some Heidegger).
 
You see, contrary to your assumptions of human existence and you being unpersuaded about larger claims of eternity, your "knowing for sure," classical Indian philosophy was fixed, if not fixated, on eternity, with a clear pejorative bias against the temporal world. Yet you seem to be a Buddhist standing upside down, fixed, if not fixated, on the temporal world and with a clear pejorative bias against eternity. Maybe this is the dilemma of Western Buddhism, or more properly the dilemma of Western involvement in Eastern thought: indeed this is the bias of Western modernism.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:16 am

All this light-painted world
Is not for the dead.
Are they any more wrong than we are?
 
Having lived and loved
They lie quietly under the flowers
Not disturbing us with non-existence,
 
Accepting not our memories
Nor the remnants of love
 
But the long cold rain
As light perpetual.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:47 am

Hi Tufsoft, the uncited poem you presented is on page 25.

White Tulip, by Ben Thompson, p. 26;
The Four Bronte Pictures - 1. Wuthering Heights:

When those tumultuous passions could no longer be contained /

There were three mounds covered with moss /
With all that beneath them as though it had never been /
 
And the wind sailing over /
As though nothing could ever disturb anything /
In a place so green /
 
We scattered your ash on a day full of sun -- /
All these years on /
Is there a single speck of your heart that has not been removed by the rain, /
 
Yet isn't it, after all, we who depart /
And you who remain? /
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:05 pm

Hi Albertfuller

well, I am amazed to see myself quoted back at myself since apart from about 40 copies of the book I gave away to friends the book has sold no copies at all!

peace
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:58 pm

TUFSOFT is BT wow!

I really enjoy your poetry; it is generally remarkable with the best moments for me when you soar. Please do not let your lack of readership be in any way a measure of your ability. You have a fresh and powerful voice and your subject matter is the big stuff of those who are capable.

I look forward to reading new poetry from you.

Like the tree that falls in the forest that no one hears: It is everything to fall; and nature is both voice and ear to all its wonders.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:14 pm

I don't worry about the lack of readers any more, more surprised that you came across the book, or maybe it was in electronic form, there seems to be large chunks of it in google books

I have always resisted putting them on the internet because I prefer poems to be read on the page
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:43 pm

Albert,

I find your objections too opaque to argue. I doubt we can have a useful conversation about them.

What I wrote is based on my experience, not on some "belief" in Buddhism or muttering of some Buddhist ideology I've adopted. I'm not a believer in Buddhism in the usual sense I've found in temples where it is often an article of faith -- just like every other religion.

What I've found remarkably helpful about Buddhism is that through a process of both reading and meditation, I've been willing to reconsider many fundamental assumptions about things that I would likely never have considered otherwise. With that reconsideration, I've encountered some insights that have been robust, compelling, and transformative. To me that rich enough. Whether there are devas, nagas, etc. has little or no meaning or value to me. The Scripture of Avalokiteshwara Bodhisattva seems to me a particularly repugnant pandering of hope about rescues from trouble that will never materialize. (Yes, I've heard many of the mental gymnastics true believers assert to continue their belief.)

I'm not so sure that  I can distinguish all delusion. But I can distinguish some. One key characteristic of delusion is its maladaptivelness -- it's inability to deal robustly and honestly with a reality that confronts it.  Christians often believe in a loving, caring Father-like God until they encounter inexplicable grief and pain. Buddhists nod about the unreality of the self, until the reality of temporal loss crushes them like other ordinary human beings.

As one Lama put it, you can have the belief that when you turn on a light switch, a deva snatches a celestial orb and illuminates the room. As long as the light always comes on, the delusion seems to be reality. But the moment the bulb burns out, the electricity fails, etc. the limitations of the delusion should be transparent. Pray your eyes out. The light is unlikely to shine until things are fixed. You can even meditate until you convince yourself the "light" is on again. But it won't help others to read or see, and you're likely to stumble and cause harm to others by your belief.

The Buddhist assertion that there is no enduring self has been a liberating one that is consistent with much of psychology and science. We think we are something fixed and find ourselves continually surprised when we do things we didn't think we were. The idea that the "self" we think we are is a result of our processes (in Buddhist terms, skandas) is something that has been extraordinarily useful and helpful.

Can you prove you exist? Not really. You and the rest of the universe may only be a quantum simulation. We are human beings limited by the hardware we inhabit including the mental faculties we have. Is consciousness personal?  Perhaps the mind is just a receiver of consciousness in the way a radio receiver transforms electromagnetic waves to mimic music that is being played or has been played.

I'm not trying to convince you. I no longer try to persuade people to see things much differently than they want to. My brother who suffers from depression is best left alone with whatever meager consolation his Christian religion brings him. Studies have shown that depressives, but not schizophrenics, in general do better with fixed, firm religious beliefs than without them. His beliefs sometimes encumber his recovery, but perhaps on the balance, he's happier with a "useful delusion" than he could be without.

The best,

jack
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:11 pm

jack wrote:

I'm not trying to convince you. I no longer try to persuade people to see things much differently than they want to. My brother who suffers from depression is best left alone with whatever meager consolation his Christian religion brings him. Studies have shown that depressives, but not schizophrenics, in general do better with fixed, firm religious beliefs than without them. His beliefs sometimes encumber his recovery, but perhaps on the balance, he's happier with a "useful delusion" than he could be without.

The best,

jack

When you remove all belief what remains?  Certainly it takes courage to look out upon the void (shunyata) without supporting beliefs.  And yet is it nothing?  Love exists; infinite boundless love.  I did not create it.  Did it create me?  I can ponder and speculate, but in the end it is enough to face and affirm it.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:14 pm

...If, from your
Experience of the senses, basic truth 
You do not know, how can you ever find
The path that certain is no matter
How far you may walk?

          Sandokai


Avoid one sided clinging. This is all
The natural and superior truth that does
Attach itself to no delusion or
Enlightenment. It calmly, clearly shows
When all conditions ripen; when minute
Infinitesimally small becomes;
When large, it transcends all dimensions, space.
Even the slightest twitch will surely break
The rhythm. Now we have abrupt and slow,
And separated do the sects become
By setting up of doctrines, practices,
And these become the standards that we know
Of all religious conduct. Even should 
We penetrate these doctrines, practices,
And then delusive consciousness flows through
The 'ternal truth, no progress shall we make.

          The Most Excellent Mirror Samadhi
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:47 am

mstrathern wrote:
...If, from your
Experience of the senses, basic truth 
You do not know, how can you ever find
The path that certain is no matter
How far you may walk?

          Sandokai


Avoid one sided clinging. This is all
The natural and superior truth that does
Attach itself to no delusion or
Enlightenment. It calmly, clearly shows
When all conditions ripen; when minute
Infinitesimally small becomes;
When large, it transcends all dimensions, space.
Even the slightest twitch will surely break
The rhythm. Now we have abrupt and slow,
And separated do the sects become
By setting up of doctrines, practices,
And these become the standards that we know
Of all religious conduct. Even should 
We penetrate these doctrines, practices,
And then delusive consciousness flows through
The 'ternal truth, no progress shall we make.

          The Most Excellent Mirror Samadhi

Hi Mark, The Most Excellent Mirror Samadhi ... ok, let me take hold of this particular tiger, for the sake of clarity, with a two-part question:

1 - what is 'delusive consciousness' (I want to determine if this is a legitimate concept or a pejoritive strategy -- like a character assassination); and
2 - how does this 'delusive consciousness' flow through the Eternal Truth (as there is an implication that the Eternal Truth is incapable of illuminating this so-called type of consciousness -- but to me it seems more like bigotry passing itself off as samadhi)?

Maybe it is just dangerous when the selfless become self-satisfied and ravaged by feelings of entitlement.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:40 am

I remember being much more concerned about death in earlier years when I was doing my best to shake off images of hell, being "excluded from God's grace into eternity" and the rest of that stuff I was exposed to as a child. Lots of fear around it -  something horrible was assuredly waiting unless you managed to placate God and make yourself pure enough to be admitted into his presence. As the years went on and that conditioning left me, I stopped wondering and worrying about death. Having no way to know about it, I've decided to believe something comforting (to me at least).  It will be like going to sleep, which I love to do anyway and never pass up a chance to go to bed early these days. I hope it's simply a quiet drifting off and drifting away. I would like to keep trying to live in such a way as to not be afraid of the post-death reckoning and tallying up, if there is such a thing. Other than that, there's not a thing I can do about any of this except to try to spend my life well. Explore, experience, embrace, enjoy, and then have a good sleep when it's done . . .
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:12 am

Lisa wrote:
I would like to keep trying to live in such a way as to not be afraid of the post-death reckoning and tallying up

I personally think it's better to live in such a way as to not be afraid of the pre-death reckoning and tallying up. As I understand it karma is instantaneous, it's just the consequences that play out in the future.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:57 pm

Look I dont want to jump into the conversation too much nor sound unusually big headed, however I think I will have far more reckoning and tallying up than the pair of you put together.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:23 pm

ooh, boastful on a Friday, is he? I won't argue, you're almost certainly right, Michael  funny

Yes, there's pre-death reckoning to contend with, sometimes you can see and feel that clearly, other times it seems we get away with a lot of nonsense or bad behavior, for a long while, without a timely smack-down from anything external. If we're lucky I guess the internal monitor is the one that matters. 

I don't have a serious enough attitude toward karma.  I just want to stay on the good side of "it", whatever "it" is, so that the next rebirth (if there is such a thing at all) isn't a very long lesson about all the things that didn't go right this time . . .
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:23 pm

Is that sort of saying you could be tempted but you are not because you are scared of the consequences!
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:43 pm

Could be  -  so have I traded one brand of fear for another, maybe that's what I should be thinking about. 

Now I'm wishing I'd been raised by wolves and stayed in the forest with them.  Animals don't ponder death or worry about karma or rebirth, they just live Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:06 pm

We joke and tease but as friends isnt this the core of what we have talked about and around on the forum for the last few years. Is the right thing to do or right way to live come from inside ourselves or come  by following a sytem that might be right or wrong or simply based on scaring one to live in a certain way. For me my criticism of 'teachers ' big or small,is their actions for me have not come from somthing realized inside,it seems to come from some pretence inside. And this pretence has gathered people around them controlled and abused them,and not done the one essential thing of allowing them maybe guiding to find the way through to cut through all the personal paraphenalia that makes it difficult to see the essence of who we are and the right way to live from our hearts
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:29 pm

Yes, I think so too, Michael, this is the core of it - what comes from inside.  We don't really need to be afraid, or follow anybody, I don't think. Just to be aware is enough -
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:10 am

What I hear time and time again from old people is that it's not the things they did that they regret, but the things they didn't do.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."  (Mark Twain)
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Sat Jan 17, 2015 12:10 pm

I agree and I agree, but if zen is simple awareness it can be seen as a shallow teaching, which certainly has not helped these peculiar teachers we have encountered,nor has it help their deciples who have been taught how the teachers live, which seems to be a double existance,

There was an old woman who supported a monk for 20 years, she built a hut and fed him so he could spend time meditating, The old woman decided to test the monk and sent a young voluptuous woman to test him, the young lady got close and tried to kiss the monk,the monk refused her advances and told her that an old tree grows on a cold rock in winter and nowhere is there any warmth,. The girl returns to the old lady relates the story and the old lady feels she has been tricked by the monk for 20 years as in that time he has not discovered a tiny bit of compassion,and burns the hut down
A great story, but what about a greater love, a higher love why hasn't it been taught in zen,all we see is selfishness,either in the form of control and keeping people under the thumb, or sexually or physically abusing loyal followers,Awareness or realisation of a higher love doesnt come cheap,and I think that is what we call Zen practice
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:20 pm

Mike - selling water by the river again I see, and even haggling over the price, tut, tut. 

We live how we choose even if we do not understand it or see it clearly.  However the 'peculiar' teachers, et al have lost their way (or never been on the path at all). The problem is that sometimes the TV of our minds is more interesting and beguiling than the boring old everyday truth so they unrepentantly live spiritually on others. Spiritual vampires the lot of them.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:01 am

Precisely
These teachers clearly did not want us to find the river, because we would not need them, my question is: did we want to find it ourselves?
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:26 am

Spot on Mike. We all have mixed motives. What we need to ask ourselves is what are we seeking. Is it: a warm cuddly feeling, self-validation, blis, peace, or myriad of other distractions, or is it the truth we are after? If it's the latter then we need to beware peddlers, however magnificent, selling snares by the river, dressed up as bright, shiny and beguiling trinkets. We need to hold fast to our hearts, not our heads, and seek openly and diligently for the truth.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:29 am

Well this seems to be the basis of Zen Buddhism,
How on earth do we know what we are searching for, With great pleasure I will leave out the words "in the beginning",because the journey is hindered by arrival and with guts and faith we dont know,  I remember Bill Picard only too clearly saying "zazen is just done"
I believe with this spirit we can sit together we can reconize the path and maybe the next step in other people and maybe ourselves but I dont believe it can be taught by you nor understood by me
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:43 am

Thank you for all your replies.

To sum up as I read it:

Experiences:
Isan mentioning her mum dying, thank you for that, Isan.

Michael's cat dying. Thank you for sharing that, Michael, and your feelings. I felt I could relate to your feeling of inadequacy faced with your cat dying. And thank you for your posts that make me laugh.

Mokuan: Many deaths over the past 7 years, for which I think you say you have no answers, only the question I re-iterated. So much loss in such a short time! Thank you for explaining your question more.

Isan: Love exists; infinite boundless love.  I did not create it.  Did it create me?  I can ponder and speculate, but in the end it is enough to face and affirm it”. Some may see this as theory, but I'm feeling it as direct experience. Is this so? I am seeing it this way because my big opening beyond the thinking mind revealed this as direct irrefutable truth. It is still true for me today, 29 years later, and for me reveals all our minds as mostly spouting intellectual mind-rubbish about reality.

Lise. Thank you for sharing your fears of death, and how they have eases, and you now rely on believing something comforting.

Howard. You said to me: Wanna see what death offers...just seriously meditate. Wanna see what continues beyond deaths doorway...just seriously meditate.”

Then later you said: “I have no idea what happens after death”. I do not understand you giving strong advice for something you profess to know nothing about. Your later admission actually says your experience of meditation has not worked for you in finding out what happens after death.

Tusoft. You said “When you die all your debts become un-collectable”. How do you know this? The buddha very clearly said he knew exact opposite of this to be true. He called it Karma, Rebirth, Dukkha, and Samsara. I think the basis premiss of your poetry useless in giving answers to the truth of death, but I still find your poetry to be remarkable and beautiful. For me you seem to capture something of the subconscious terror and questioning re death that is ever-present in our subconscious. Thank you for this.

Jack. I tend to like what you write. You said that we are only biological, and do not live after death. Then you saidWhat I wrote is based on my experience”. But you have not told us any experience.

Otherwise all I read is intellectual mind-stuff, theories posited as fact, etc etc. No experience. (sorry if I've missed any)

2 more experiences of mine. First one.

When my mum died I was alone with her holding her hand. It was extremely emotionally painful for me for various reasons, 2 of which were she weighed less than 5 stone and raw heroin was being pumped straight into her veins every 15 seconds. During each 15 seconds she had 5 seconds of being more lucidly conscious, and she used those 5 seconds to fight for her life in pure terror before being smashed by another wave of heroin. A few minutes before she died I “knew” that she was terrified of meeting my dad, so told her who would be meeting her, and reassured her that my dad would not be there. Then in the last minute or so I “knew” it was time for her to stop breathing, so I told her out loud that it was ok now to drop the body, that it was time for her to stop breathing that I would be with her, and that it was ok and safe. I said all these things from a “knowing them to be true place” that I am and was very familiar with. And so I placed my consciousness in with hers, and I gently held her in the spaciousness as she squeezed my hand and for the first time in her life, let go into death.

For 30 years she had cared for and loved countless disadvantaged children, had loved them when everyone else in society had turned their backs, yet she had been too scared to let the child inside her out, she had never learned to let go into death while alive. So when she approached the moment of death her letting go was full of terror, a horrific clenching of mind body and soul, and then at the instant of death a scream that I opened to and allowed through me like all your worst nightmares come true. Then the death rattle. Then the corpse, the irrevocable, impossible finality of death.

Then a strange thing happened. As I sat there holding her dead hand I felt and “saw” her consciousness rise out of her body and float above it. And as she floated above her body I felt my consciousness still with her as she looked down and in astonishment said “oh, was that it?”. With tears in my eyes I smiled and said to her “yes that's all it is mum. Its ok to go now.” and then watched as she floated up into the light, and “saw” her go to meet people she shared a love connection with, who were at the end of the light waiting for her.

Then I was able to leave her, and come back into my body, and allow myself to grieve. To grieve for a mother who I have no memory of coming towards me and touching me ever in my life, until 5 or 10 minutes before her death, when she let me hold her hand, and she squeezed it desperately in terror.

Part of me still feels as if I am her son, sitting next to her dead body, grieving, stunned.

And part of me is still that which seems to know that the moment of death for her was totally safe.

At the moment I am more the former than the latter, if I am honest.
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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone out there know what happens when you die? I really wish I did   Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:17 am

For those of you who in this thread have said we cannot know what happens when we die, here is a 2nd experience of mine:

When I was 16, I had a dream. Then six months later the whole dream came true, over a period of about 9 hours or so. It happened while with 10 friends on holiday in a place I had never been before. What I dreamed happened in real life like watching a movie twice. Once I realised what was happening, which took me about an hour, I told the 10 friends I was with what was happening, and told them all for the next 6-7 hours what was going to happen next. I also tried to stop them doing certain things, and told them what would happen if they did those things. One thing in particular I spent a good hour trying to stop them doing. I failed, for obvious reasons. How can you change a movie once its on film and done? They were all 16 years old, and used to my “weird ways” so while they were vaguely interested in what I was doing, were strangely more interested in being in the movie I was re-watching.

I remember sitting in a pub in the evening and watching three locals who I had never seen before stand up. I intentionally recalled from the dream their next move, a walk to the jukebox and how they crowded around it. Then I watched them intently, saying to myself that I owed it to free-will to catch one of them doing the tiniest movement with a finger, or hair, or changing his walk to the jukebox in any way at all. Instead, they all re-enacted the movie perfectly. Not a single finger did it any differently than I had lived in my dream. 6 months to show some kind of free-will and none to be found.

Some of my friends still remember the day when I told them what was going to happen, and tried to get them to change stuff I'd dreamed they were going to do. None of them sees it as important, just David being his usual weird self.

So for those of you who say we cannot know the future, from my experience I think you are jumping to conclusions.


Obviously my experience questions how we perceive time, and thus free will. It also makes me more open to other people who say they have had similar experiences, of which there are 1000's.
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