Reflections on Death and Impermanence: a talk for the Four Reminders series

Last Monday for the Auckland Buddhist Centre’s online Dharma Night I gave this talk, Reflecting on death and impermanence, as part of our series on the Four Reminders.

Here’s the official description from the Auckland Buddhist Centre’s website (with thanks Mary Anna for writing these up):

At this time we are facing dramatic and unexpected loss: loss of certainty, loss of income, even loss of life, maybe even our own. All of this creates huge anxiety in the face of overwhelming change and uncertainty.

It is at this time that our spiritual practice will enable us to ride the waves of change and find peace despite our circumstances, if we are prepared to apply ourselves diligently to the task.

The purpose of the ‘Four Reminders’ is to help establish the kind of psychological climate in which we will be motivated to enter a path of spiritual practice.

The subjects of the four reflections which we will be exploring over the course of these talks are:

the precious opportunity offered by human life;
death and impermanence;
karma, or the fact that actions have consequences;
and the reality of suffering.

These might be called ‘the facts of life’ in the Buddhist perspective. They are wake-up calls, jolts to our complacency, articulations of the troubling voice of reality as it speaks through our immediate experience. As we go through them, we are saying to ourselves, ‘Remember, reflect, wake up to the truth.’

11 May
Death and impermanence with Elizabeth U
‘Ready or not, one day I shall die’, so go the words of the morning puja. It’s a thing we all know intellectually, but how does knowing it emotionally change how we live the life we have now?