Facts of Death

One of our more recent members, Christian, who was quite committed to the meditation practise, died a couple of days ago in Bangkok. He spent two weeks in hospital with several close family members and friends before passing away.

He joined the talk of Ajahn Tiradhammo last June shortly after losing his partner to lymphoma, and took up meditation practise soon after, joining Wat Kow Tahm for 10 days, and also one of the workshops with Mike and Helge. He was keeping the meditation going quite well on his own too, and was attending CA WOW talks and some of the Mashoor’s veggie lunches.

Reflection on dying is a common practise in Buddhism, called maranusati. The H.H. Dalai Lama once described Life as a preparation for dying. If you call inot mind your volatile existence, and how precarious is your health and life, then your priorities should change. Silly arguements and frivolous passtimes become less important. And to a meditator, it becomes more urgent to train the mind while the chance is here.

Tibetan Buddhism in particular has a range of practises specifically designed to aid with the dying process and transition to a new form of consciousness, one of which is reported on in a recent blog. Losing friends and family is another time to reflect on the dying process. All of us are marked to pass away, and if the teachings are right, we have all done it countless times already. The only question is the timing, and can it ever really be good timing?

When we are young we are taught the ‘facts of life’, and when we are a little older we put them into action. Too often people only call upon their religion as they are passing away, and call upon the monks or clergy of their faith to explain the ‘facts of dying’. It is a worthy reflection here and now, while we have the health, time and opportunity to practise, to re-arrange our priorities.

Those who know how, please dedicate your merits to Christian and send loving kindness.

Christian at CA WoW in yellow shirt

7 replies on “Facts of Death”

  1. Thanks for posting that lovely note. Sudden death provides a time for reflection on impermanence and while I can say that easily, I certainly don’t “do” it easily.

    I wish Christian had stayed around longer because we were just getting to know and really enjoy each other’s company. Yet knowing him even briefly was a special gift for he. was an incredibly loving, caring and gentle soul. He adored his partner Tonn so much and learned so much about death through caring for Tonn. I’m sure they’re happy together somewhere out in the cosmos.

    I to wish him peace and a serene journey.

  2. I am very saddened to hear about Christian’s death and my thoughts and sympathies go out to him, and to his family and loved ones in this difficult time.
    I only got to know Christian a few months ago, and the Christian I met was a very cheerful, caring and sensitive person, with a strong wish to learn and to grow in the Dhamma. I felt deeply impressed by his openness, courage and willingness to face the heavy Dukkha he was confronted with in his life. I feel fortunate to have met Christian, and I hope that the good Kamma he has made will always carry and support him, wherever his journey takes him.

  3. Dukkha teach us how to go on in life, is the only Master and Healer.
    Possibly Universe, Energy or whatever will make Christian join Tonn again.

  4. He was a very gentle, tender man. I only talked with him twice
    and I feel blessed for having had the opportunity.

  5. Thankyou for this thoughtful post
    Though we practice death reflection (Maranasati),as part of the Theravadin tradition, it is always difficult to prepare for the death of “dear ones” – even someone who was a relatively new friend.
    Yes, it was a joy to talk and spend some time with Christain, only a short time ago, when he attended retreat here at Wat Kow Tahm.
    He seemed very much ‘full of inner joy’ after the 10 days – one could tell he got a lot from the teachings in the retreat… and I believe he was strengthened by it.
    I was also impressed by his ability to talk so openly about his recent challenging life events, having himself supported a dying partner.
    Here’s hoping his practice helped him “shuffle off this mortal coil”… in a beneficial way, and that he has found a good rebirth already…

  6. I assume Christian had been aware for quite some time about his health predicament and I am overjoyed that Little Bangkok Sangha afforded him various opportunities to reflect, meditate and prepare for his final departure.

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