”Our attitudes and beliefs regarding death have a great influence on our approach to life.”
”Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides. Nothing is a matter of life and death except life and death. If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live on after he’s dead, then maybe he was a great man. Death is not something you get over.”
There is perhaps no greater grief than being parted from a loved one by death. And though we know with the surest certainty that our time here is limited and that no one can escape the impermanence of life, this does little to prepare us for the shock of death or to help us approach our own inevitable separation from this world.
Why are we born? Why must we die? What value can we create from this fragile existence? It was from the search for answers to these questions that Buddhism came into being.
Buddhism teaches that we should not shrink from the fact of death but squarely confront it. Our contemporary culture has been described as one that seeks to avoid and deny the fundamental question of our mortality. It is the awareness of death, however, that compels us to examine our lives and to seek to live meaningfully. Death enables us to treasure life; it awakens us to the preciousness of each shared moment. In the struggle to navigate the sorrow of death, we can forge a radiant treasure of fortitude in the depths of our being. Through that struggle, we become more aware of the dignity of life and more readily able to empathize with the suffering of others.
From the Buddhist perspective, life and death are two phases of a continuum. Life does not begin at birth nor end at death. Everything in the universe—from invisible microbes in the air we breathe to great swirling galaxies—passes through these phases. Our individual lives are part of this great cosmic rhythm.
Everything in the universe, everything that happens, is part of a vast living web of interconnection. The vibrant energy we call life which flows throughout the universe has no beginning and no end. Life is a continuous, dynamic process of change.
Early Buddhist teachings, however, saw this process as one of inevitable suffering and focused on the possibility of opting out of it.
Shakyamuni perceived that desire is the fundamental impulse that drives life onward, tying us into the cycle of birth and death. At each moment, impulses of various desires prompt thought, speech, and action, which comprise the latent force of our individual karma. Through these causes and effects, actions and reactions, we shape ourselves and our circumstances from instant to instant, perpetuating a fluid process that has continued over countless existences. Moreover, Shakyamuni taught there is no permanent soul or self that has existed throughout all this time but simply the continuity of karmic energy that generates the illusion of an unchanging essence or self.
Eliminating desire, then, would cut off the energy that fuels the cycle of life and death, and at death, one’s life would be extinguished once and for all. This blissful state of annihilation—nirvana—was the final goal of early Buddhist teachings and continues to be regarded as such in many Buddhist traditions today. Life, in this perspective, is a cycle of suffering from which one can eventually escape.
The Lotus Sutra, however, brings forth a completely revolutionary view of human beings, asserting that there is a profound purpose to our lives in this world.
This Buddhist scripture, which Nichiren and a lineage of Buddhist scholars before him regarded as the most complete and perfect expression of Shakyamuni’s enlightenment, emphasizes that the essential nature of our lives at any moment is that of a Buddha. Awakening to the truth of one’s inherent Buddha nature, one discovers this fundamental sense of purpose, and life takes on a completely different and fundamentally joyful quality.
But what is the Buddha nature and how does one awaken to it? In essence, the Buddha nature is the impulse inherent in life to relieve suffering and bring happiness to others. It is encapsulated in the Lotus Sutra by the statement: “At all times I think to myself: How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a Buddha?”
could be described as the sound or expression of this primordial impulse—this vow—and the recitation of it as a practice that orients one’s life on this vow. Through the wondrous alchemy of this act, the incessant process of change that is life becomes a process of unending growth and transformation.
Our existence itself then becomes an expression of this vow. From the enlightened perspective of Buddhahood, we are born freely into the world with a resolve to awaken others to their Buddha nature. When we are awake to this purpose, the causes and effects within our lives become the causes and effects of Buddhahood: the particular circumstances of our lives and character, our sufferings and triumphs, become the means to demonstrate the power of the Buddha nature and form bonds of empathy with others.
This awakening to the Buddha nature is also sometimes described as an awakening to the “greater self. “The greater self always seeks to alleviate pain and to augment the happiness of others here amid the realities of everyday life. Furthermore, the dynamic, vital awakening of the greater self-enables each individual to experience both life and death with equal delight.”
Our lives in the world of Buddhahood are not directed by our karma but by our vow, our sense of mission. We are fundamentally free. Unawakened to this reality, or when our lives become disconnected from this vow, we lead lives of “common mortals,” governed by and subject to the vicissitudes of karma.
The beauty of life derives from the great diversity of its expression. Likewise, in human society, the varied nature of our struggles and triumphs, the great variety of ways in which our lives take shape and come to an end, our short or long lifespans—all of this, in the triumphant light of our Buddha nature, when we win over the sufferings of life, is revealed as meaningful and valuable.
The ultimate questions of life and death are, in the end, a matter of theory and belief. What matters is how we live, our awareness of life’s preciousness and the value we are able to create during an experience that passes “as quickly as a white colt glimpsed through a crack in the wall.” Most of us tend to imagine that there will always be another chance to meet and talk with our friends or relatives again, so it doesn’t matter if a few things go unsaid. But to live fully and without regret is to extend oneself to others to the utmost, bringing one’s full being to the moment, with the sense that it may be one’s last encounter.
”Serenity is the balance between good and bad, life and death, horrors and pleasures. Life is, as it were, defined by death. If there wasn’t a death of things, then there wouldn’t be any life to celebrate.”
The Lotus Sutra’s view of life and death is one that continually opens our awareness to those with whom we share this life, urging us to develop rich and contributive lives. When we take action for the happiness of others, we feel a renewed energy and a sense of connection to our deepest essence. As we continue in these efforts over time, our lives acquire an increasing sense of expansiveness and strength. In this way, we bring forth the most positive aspects of our humanity and create a treasured existence together with others.
Samsara-the Wheel of Existence, literally, the “Perpetual Wandering”-is the name by which is designated the sea of life ever restlessly heaving up and down, the symbol of this continuous process of ever, again and again, being born, growing old, suffering, and dying. (It) is constantly changing from moment to moment, (as lives) follow continuously one upon the other through inconceivable periods of time. Of this Samsara, a single lifetime constitutes only a vanishingly tiny fraction.
Samsara literally means “wandering-on.” Many people think of it as the Buddhist name for the place where we currently live — the place we leave when we go to Nibbana. But in the early Buddhist texts, it’s the answer, not to the question, “Where are we?” but to the question, “What are we doing?” Instead of a place, it’s a process: the tendency to keep creating worlds and then moving into them. As one world falls apart, you create another one and go there. At the same time, you bump into other people who are creating their own worlds, too.
Samsara-our conditioned existence in the perpetual cycle of habitual tendencies and nirvana – genuine freedom from such an existence- are nothing but different manifestations of a basic continuum. So this continuity of consciousness is always present. This is the meaning of Tantra.
In addition to creating suffering for ourselves, the worlds we create feed off the worlds of others, just as theirs feed off ours. In some cases, the feeding may be mutually enjoyable and beneficial, but even then the arrangement has to come to an end. More typically, it causes harm to at least one side of the relationship, often to both. When you think of all the suffering that goes into keeping just one person clothed, fed, sheltered, and healthy — the suffering both for those who have to pay for these requisites, as well as those who have to labor or die in their production — you see how exploitative even the most rudimentary process of world-building can be.
According to Buddhist practice, there are three stages or steps. The initial stage is to reduce attachment towards life. The second stage is the elimination of desire and attachment to this samsara. Then in the third stage, self-cherishing is eliminated
This is why the Buddha tried to find the way to stop samsara-ing. Once he had found it, he encouraged others to follow it, too. Because samsara-ing is something that each of us does, each of us has to stop it him or her self alone. If samsara were a place, it might seem selfish for one person to look for an escape, leaving others behind. But when you realize that it’s a process, there’s nothing selfish about stopping it at all. It’s like giving up an addiction or an abusive habit. When you learn the skills needed to stop creating your own worlds of suffering, you can share those skills with others so that they can stop creating theirs. At the same time, you’ll never have to feed off the worlds of others, so to that extent, you’re lightening their load as well.
It’s true that the Buddha likened the practice for stopping samsara to the act of going from one place to another: from this side of a river to the further shore. But the passages where he makes this comparison often end with a paradox: the further shore has no “here,” no “there,” no “in between.” From that perspective, it’s obvious that samsara’s parameters of space and time were not the pre-existing context in which we wandered. They were the result of our wandering.
Long is the night of the sleepless. Long is the road for the weary. Long is samsara (the cycle of continued rebirth) for the foolish, who have not recognized the true teaching.
For someone addicted to world-building, the lack of familiar parameters sounds unsettling. But if you’re tired of creating incessant, unnecessary suffering, you might want to give it a try. After all, you could always resume building if the lack of “here” or “there” turned out to be dull. But of those who have learned how to break the habit, no one has ever felt tempted to samsara again.
The Moirai (Moerae), also referred to as the Fates, represent the idea of “destiny” in Greek mythology. The Ancient Greeks had a habit of creating deities to represent abstract concepts as a way of explaining their world. However, the Moirai do more than just represent destiny – they are the personification of it. It is understood that the Moirai controlled people’s lives in different ways from the time they were born to the time they died.
It is interesting to note that the word, Moirai, meant a portion or a part of a whole in Ancient Greek. The connotation here is that it referred to a portion of a bounty, as would be the case if people were to divide up a treasure. Thus, the Morai were seen as being keepers of a person’s destiny, or her specific allotment of life. Here’s more information about who the Moirai were and the role they played in Greek mythology.
Who the Moirai (Moerae) Were
It is largely understood that the Moirai, or the Fates, were three of the six children that Themis, the goddess of Justice, and Zeus, the king of the gods, had together. The other three children were the Horai, or the Hours. The names of the three Fates were Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. They each had their own, unique characteristics.
- Clotho. She was known as the spinner because she “spun” the very thread of a person’s life. She spun the thread from her Distaff directly to her Spindle.
- Lachesis – Once Clotho spun the thread, Lachesis would measure it for each person. Each person had different lengths of thread, indicated that they all had different life spans.
- Atropos – She was responsible for cutting the thread, which indicates that she controlled when life would end. She also chose the way each person would die.
As you can see, Clotho was always associated with the beginning of life. She essentially created it by spinning the thread. Lachesis controlled the length of a person’s life, and Atropos was always associated with death. Thus, the three Fates essentially represent Birth, Life, and Death.
The Appearance of the Moirai
Unlike their siblings, the Horai, the Moirai were always depicted as ugly old women. Note that the Horai were always depicted as young, beautiful women. The Ancient Greeks appeared to have feared the Moirai. After all, one of the Fates (Moerae) were said to have controlled every aspect of a person’s life, including their death. As a result, most Ancient Greeks feared them and as a result, they imagined them with unflattering appearances. They were also depicted as crippled, stern, inflexible, and severe. They were usually depicted together as a group of three and they were often depicted with their objects. For instance, Clotho was usually shown with her spindle and Atropos was depicted with her cutting shears.
The Moirai, also referred to as the Fates, were an interesting part of Greek mythology. They were three of the children of Themis and Zeus and they were always associated with a person’s destiny.
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
To live in the moment, or now, means being conscious, aware and in the present with all of your senses. It means not dwelling on the past, nor being anxious or worrying about the future.
When we concentrate our attention on the present we focus on the task at hand. We give our full attention to what we are doing and we let go of outcomes.
The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
Seizing each moment in life allows us to prolong its value and make it more meaningful. Rather than seeking quantity of time, when we live in the moment we enjoy and savor every minute. We don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t need to plan, set goals or prepare for the future. We can do all of these things and still enjoy each moment as it unfolds.
For instance, if we have set a goal to exercise each day, we would carry on with it while enjoying the actual process, or moment, of exercising (or at least be in the moment of it).
When we train ourselves to live in each moment, we immerse ourselves in it and begin to discover its beauty and wonder. We learn to focus and how to manage our energy. Professional athletes understand and employ this kind of focus very well. They know that accomplishment and success are a result of the skillful management and balancing of energy.
To make every moment count we must embrace it. Everything we do and every person we come in contact with deserves our full attention. Even when resting we should savor the moment. It gives us the opportunity to recharge, renew and gain clarity.
Quite often we put huge expectations on ourselves and our lives. We rush to do this, hurry up with that, without actually enjoying the process. What’s the rush? Where do we think we’re going?
If we don’t stop and think about where we’re at, we’re probably missing the point. Instead, when we appreciate each moment and garner the lessons from it, we live consciously, purposefully and responsibly.
Likewise, when we live in the past and don’t let go of painful experiences, perceived wrongs, or difficult times, we condemn ourselves to a present and future of the same. We cannot change the past. We can, however, come to terms with it, know that it’s over, and move on.
Living in the present moment creates the experience of eternity.
Living in the moment means letting go of the past and trust in the future. When we are positive and optimistic in the present, we open the possibility of a positive and promising future. We owe it to ourselves to make every moment count – now!
Tips To Live On The Moment:-
- Train your mind to focus on the current activity.
- Engage in, and feel what you are doing. Enjoy the process.
- Learn relaxation techniques in order to be present in each moment.
- Take notice of your surroundings – sights, sounds, smells, ambiance.
- Listen attentively to the conversation of others, music, even silence.
- Savor your food and drink. Taste each morsel.
When someone mentions “different dimensions,” we tend to think of things like parallel universes — alternate realities that exist parallel to our own, but where things work or happened differently. However, the reality of dimensions and how they play a role in the ordering of our universe is really quite different from this popular characterization.
To break it down, dimensions are simply the different facets of what we perceive to be a reality. We are immediately aware of the three dimensions that surround us on a daily basis – those that define the length, width, and depth of all objects in our universes.
Beyond these three visible dimensions, It is believe that there may be many more. In fact, the theoretical framework of superstring theory posits that the universe exists in 10 different dimensions. These different aspects are what govern the universe, the fundamental forces of nature, and all the elementary particles contained within.
The first dimension, as already noted, is that which gives it length (i.e., the x-axis). A good description of a one-dimensional object is a straight line that exists only in terms of length and has no other discernible qualities.
Add to it a second dimension, height (i.e., the y-axis), and you get an object that becomes a two-dimensional shape (e.g., a square).
The third dimension involves depth (i.e., the z-axis), and it gives all objects a sense of the area and a cross-section. The perfect example of this is a cube, which exists in three dimensions and has a length, a width, a depth, and, therefore, also a volume.
Beyond these three lie the seven dimensions that are not immediately apparent to us, but that can still be perceived as having a direct effect on the universe and reality as we know it.
GETTING TO KNOW THE OTHER DIMENSIONS
It’s believe that the fourth dimension is time (we already know this one, for the most part), which governs the properties of all known matter at any given point. Along with the three other dimensions, knowing an object’s position in time is essential to plotting its position in the universe.
The other dimensions are where the deeper possibilities come into play, and explaining their interaction with the others is where things get particularly tricky for physicists.
According to string theory, the fifth and sixth dimensions are where the notion of possible worlds arises. If we could see on through to the fifth dimension, we would see a world slightly different from our own that would give us a means of measuring the similarity and differences between our world and other possible ones.
In the sixth, we would see a plane of possible worlds, where we could compare and position all the possible universes that start with the same initial conditions as this one (i.e., the Big Bang). In theory, if you could master the fifth and sixth dimensions, you could travel back in time or go to different futures.
In the seventh dimension, you have access to the possible worlds that start with different initial conditions. Whereas in the fifth and sixth dimensions the initial conditions were the same and subsequent actions were different, here, everything is different from the very beginning of time. The eighth dimension again gives us a plane of such possible universe histories, each of which begins with different initial conditions and branches out infinitely (that’s why they are called infinities).
In the ninth dimension, we can compare all the possible universe histories, starting with all the different possible laws of physics and initial conditions. In the tenth and final dimension, we arrive at the point at which everything possible and imaginable is covered. Beyond this, nothing can be imagined by us lowly mortals, which makes it the natural limitation to what we can conceive in terms of dimensions.
MAKING SENSE OF THE THEORY
The existence of these additional six dimensions that we cannot perceive is necessary for string theory in order for there to be consistency in nature. The fact that we can perceive only four dimensions of space can be explained by one of two mechanisms:
- The extra dimensions are compactified on a very small scale.
- Our world may live on a three-dimensional submanifold corresponding to a brane on which all known particles besides gravity would be restricted (a.k.a., brane theory).
If the extra dimensions are compactified, then the extra six dimensions must be in the form of a Calabi–Yau manifold. While imperceptible as far as our senses are concerned, they would have governed the formation of the universe from the very beginning. That’s why its believe that by peering back through time, using telescopes to spotlight from the early universe (i.e., billions of years ago), they might be able to see how the existence of these additional dimensions could have influenced the evolution of the cosmos.
Much like other candidates for a grand unifying theory (a.k.a., the theory of everything), the belief that the universe is made up of ten dimensions (or more, depending on which model of string theory you use) is an attempt to reconcile the standard model of particle physics with the existence of gravity. In short, it is an attempt to explain how all known forces (gravity, electromagnetism, the electromagnetic weak and strong force) within our universe interact and how other possible universes themselves might work.
Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.
Our connection to the Earth – to Nature – is one of the most important connections humans have. Actually, it is the most important.
Without Nature, without the Earth, we would not exist. Period.
The Earth’s connection to the Sun – to our Solar System – is one of the most important connections our planet has.
Our Sun’s connection to the Galaxy is one of the most important connections our Solar System has.
Our Galaxy’s connection to the Universe, and beyond, is one of the most important connections our Galaxy has.
Our Universe’s connection to the mysteries beyond is one of the most important connections our Universe has.
Without this multi-level, inner-connection, nothing would exist. Period.
The Connection With Universe-
You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.- Buddha!!
Whatever happens to the Earth happens to us. If the planet heats up, we heat up. When the Earth changes its axis position, we change our axis position. We have long forgotten that the magnetic field inside our bodies lines up with the Earth’s magnetic field, and when the Earth’s magnetism shifts, we physically shift with it.
In the same way, the massive and diverse Universe, with its trillions of galaxies and solar systems, influences everything in the same way to assure stability and balance.
The Earth provides our well being through its well being. Our Sun secures the Earth’s well being through its well being. Our Solar System and our Galaxy’s well being remain stable through the Universe’s well being … and on and on beyond the outer limits of our known Universe.
This connection is why your physical body and all life on Earth have such extraordinary resiliencies.
Like The Human Body
All the planets in our Solar System are in constant motion. Like the human body, all planets resonate, they circulate heat, and they move around a central sun.
Like humans, the Solar System produces energy, it circulates heat, and it moved around a central Galaxy.
Just like you, the Galaxy resonates, it circulates heat, and it moves around a central Universal core.
So you see, every human being, each planet, every sun and star, and each galaxy travels at its own pace and on its own track. Everything in this vast Universe is in its own little world.
We are all connected. We all move together in a fine-tuned and very precise symphony.
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
The next time you feel isolated, different, or possibly “superior” to any other form of life, think about this connection. Humans are but a small piece of a massive creation.
Changes in the Universe affect our Galaxy. Changes in our Galaxy effect our Solar System. Changes in our Solar System affect the Earth. And changes in our planet affect human beings – both are the same yet individual.
Learn to balance your self because this will keep you connected to mysteries far beyond the Universe.