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Satipatthana Sutta, First Foundation: Death and the Body (1 of 2)

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2010-07-06
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



The Buddha seems to be encouraging an exploration of the themes of death and the body in this passage of the Satipatthana Sutta. Though all of us know we are going to die, few of us realize that fact as a living truth. This passage is meant to release us from our denial that fixates on permanency and continuity.


While we are studying the body and death, begin each sitting meditation reflecting on your death. Sense the fragility of your heart beat, the tenderness of each breath, the irreversible aging of the body. What assumptions are you making about the continuance of your life? Are you certain there will be an in breath after this out breath? Feel the edge of fear as you allow the uncertainty of each moment to surface. Off the cushion, start bringing death into your day-to-day observations by intentionally reading the obituaries in the newspaper, observing road kills, noticing the dying process
in nature, and perhaps visiting nursing homes or hospitals. Be sensitive to your fear of the subject. If it is too much, back away, and if it is not, learn all you can about the immediate reality of death.


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