Reflections on Death

In the Parinirvana Sutra, composed around the second century, it is said, “Of all meditations, that on death is supreme.” At the end of the path we pause and consider: What it is like to die? Hopefully, at the culmination of life we still have our wits about us, but that is a big if. Many die in a stupor, either throttled by dementia, in a blue haze of morphine, or in a swoon of confusion. If at all possible, we are mindful to the end. But death is as unpredictable as life.

We don’t know if death will come in the day or the night, as a slow fade or a flash. The body has no built-in expiration date. Generally, life is like a locomotive that churns and pushes across mountains, valleys, and open plains. We never imagine it coming to a halt. Until it does.

Perhaps you have had the opportunity, bedside, to be with someone as they enter the tunnel

This is Member-Only Content

To access, click here to activate a Digital Subscription with a 2-Week Free Trial (no credit card required).