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March 14, 2019

Everyday Buddhism 24 - Appreciating Life Through Death Meditation

Everyday Buddhism 24 - Appreciating Life Through Death Meditation

Using Obituaries to Meditate on Life and Death

Meditating on death is a traditional Buddhist practice. In this podcast, we'll talk about how thinking about our own and others' death can help us live more fully. All the things that keep us busy and entertained might help us forget about the certainty of death, but it won't help us escape it.

Reflecting on death can help us remember that the "shiny" things we find attractive and desirable will soon lose their appeal. We can try to avoid the suffering the thought of death brings or we can look at it directly and make ourselves familiar.

I offer an Everyday-Buddhism approach to death meditation that does not include spending a night in Tibetan charnel grounds or even your local cemetery. Instead, reflect on the lives that go before us and feel the realness of live and death through visits to

Links to articles, websites, and books mentioned in the podcast episode:

Buddha Weekly article, "Learning How to Die":

Tricycle article, "A Good Enough Death":

Calculating days left to live from "Taking Action" course at the The ToDo Institute:
Of course none of us know when we will actually die, but the average number of days we can expect to live is 30,000. Assuming, for the moment, that you will have an average life expectancy, please calculate how many days you have left to live. To get this figure, calculate how many days you have already lived, precisely, and subtract that figure from 30,000.

Here's a quick way to calculate the number of days you've already lived. Put in your birth date for the START date and press TODAY as the second date. Then SUBTRACT this number from 30,000. :

Reading obituaries: