On death and dying

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On death and dying

Postby A Shieldmaiden » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:57 am

Talking on another subject reminded me of the book below which I read.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead
translated by Gyurme Dorje

"The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a kind of Baedeker for the afterlife, and like the best guidebooks its reassuring refrain is "Don't panic!" After death, it says, you will be assailed by thunderous sounds and bewildering apparitions as first the peaceful deities rise before you, then the wrathful ones, who drink blood and eat the entrails of bloated corpses. If you are very unlucky, Yama (representing the forces of impermanence and the laws of cause and effect) will chop off your head, lick out your brains and drink your blood, then eat you. The trick is not to be afraid and to remember that you don't have a body any more, so he can't hurt you. These deities are enormous, blotting out the sky, and some have the heads of tigers, vultures, crocodiles, scorpions or bats, but they are also all in our minds. This idea fascinated Jung, who revered The Tibetan Book of the Dead as a great psychological work.

The stakes are high: either we become enlightened and attain buddhahood or we are reborn to experience all over again the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death, stranded in "the swamp of cyclic existence".

Even the Dalai Lama isn't confident of success. "Sometimes I do wonder," he admits, "whether or not I will really be able to fully utilise my own preparatory practices when the actual moment of death comes!"

Why do we have the fear of death? It’s a fear strong enough to compel us to avoid discussion about the subject.

In my culture, (Western), most of us pretend death doesn't exist, whereas in the East Asian yin and yang philosophy of death, life can't exist without death, which ironically allows people to use death as a reminder to enjoy life.

"Dying isn’t just part of the human condition, but central to it". We all know this, but how many acknowledge it.

When we do pause to contemplate, it is then we realise, "everyone dies, and most of us are afraid of it".

Perhaps not everyone has the fear, there must be some who do not.

A friend of mine, was diagnosed with a terminal illness, he was 43. He threw a big party for all the people he knew and loved before he died. Needless to say there were quite a few who were in tears. I thought he was incredibly brave.

The man that walks his own road, walks alone

Old Norse Proverb
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Re: On death and dying

Postby promethean75 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:33 pm

seeketh not the giver of life, but thine angel of death, and mosh thou shall in its everlasting glory...

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Re: On death and dying

Postby Chakra Superstar » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:24 pm

"They say that I am dying, but I am not going away. Where could I go? I am here."
- Ramana Maharshi
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Re: On death and dying

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:10 am

The fear of death is very natural, but fortunately humans has evolved with an inhibitor to suppress the conscious fear of death. This is why the majority of humans do not fear death at all times even when it is a fact of certainty.

However evolution never does a perfect job and that powerful impulses re fear of death seep through various leaks throughout the brain subliminally that manifest as Angst and subtle anxieties which cause existential uneasiness.

The critical issue here is the real explicit and subliminal desperate terrors, fears & anxieties arising from the threat of premature and most critical, inevitable mortality.

There are various ways to deal with this subliminal terrors and fears of mortality, i.e.

    1. Theistic religions which promise salvation and eternal death
    2. Various spiritual approaches that enable one to modulate the death-related impulse.
    3. Psycho-analyse the threat, e.g. non-theistic rationalization
    4. Naturally indifferent to the issue
    5. Take drugs, pain killers to numb the pains
    6. Etc. etc.

The Tibetan Book of the Living and Death is merely a more sophisticated explanation and approach that will soothe and modulate the fear factor re mortality. There is no way to prove the various stages of death [Bardo] and its thereafter. However believing in such theories will provide some sort of soothing comfort to the believer.

The critical fundamental surrounding the issue of death and mortality can be experienced here.


This exercise will enable one to experience what is like to be on the near brink of death and the associated experience of involuntary responses to that terror.
This terrible involuntary response of near-death is related/correlated to the Normal Breath Retention Period [NRP] and the Maximum Breath Retention Period [MRP].
Breath is correlated with Spirituality.
Therefore if one can voluntary modulate the involuntary responses, then one's involuntary fear of death will not be so drastic but one will be calmer in facing death.

This is why all the higher spirituality, e.g. the Eastern Spiritualities strive to improve one's breathing with sophisticated breathing techniques.

Therefore taking care of one's breathing and that involuntary response to death will modulate one's terror towards inevitable death.

Note Spirituality [in one main way] is related to one's involuntary subliminal fear of death and the manifestation of its effects.

Any consistent conscious fear of death or dying is a psychiatric problem, i.e. thanatophobia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_anxiety_(psychology)
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
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Re: On death and dying

Postby surreptitious75 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:35 am

I have no fear of death because I simply see it as the end of suffering and
also because it is not something that I will be able to experience anyway
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: On death and dying

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:52 am

surreptitious75 wrote:I have no fear of death because I simply see it as the end of suffering and
also because it is not something that I will be able to experience anyway

Note the difference between
    1. Conscious fear of death, and
    2. Unconscious, subconscious, subliminal, instinctive, involuntary fear of death

As I had stated humans has evolved with an inhibitor to suppress the conscious fear of death most of the time. So naturally and in general, you are not likely to have a conscious fear of death.
Btw, in general for anyone to have a conscious fear of death is actually a psychiatric problem, i.e. thanatophobia.

But you cannot deny you don't have an inherent instinctual fear of death at the subconscious level which is beyond your conscious control.

A Challenge!
Note this thread;
How Long Can You Hold Your Breath
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=194655

Generally there is no way the average person can commit suicide by holding his/her own breath.
At some point in holding one's breath as long as possible, there will be an involuntary and very desperate forceful response to breath instinctively. Somehow one will let go of one fingers to breathe. If hindered the person may even kill to get back one's breath.
This is due to an instinctive fear of death which is involuntary, so one is forced to breathe to survive.

You may consciously state you do not fear death [which is natural] but you cannot challenge your subconscious, subliminal, instinctual fear of death.

Normally an average person can survive without breath for at least 4 minutes and perhaps longer - world record with assistance is 22 minutes.
But for a normal person, s/he is forced by instinct to breathe on average 30 seconds after holding one's breath. This is due to the instinctive impulse of the fear of death at the subconscious level.

There is no way you can claim you do not have a subconscious fear of death and that breathing test is the objective test and evidence for such an instinctive fear of death within you and all humans.
Any counter to this point?

It is this subliminal, instinctive and subconscious fear of death that seeped through to one's consciousness and generate difficult-to-pin-point-Angst which compels the majority to cling to theism [God and the likes] to soothe those existential anxieties.

The more matured spirituality deal with such subliminal, instinctive and subconscious fear of death directly* without resorting to a God, e.g. Buddhism and many other Eastern spirituality.
* via various breathing techniques, spiritual practices that tune the brain to able to modulate the unconscious fear of death impulses.
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Re: On death and dying

Postby surreptitious75 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:37 am

I would naturally resist an urge to stop breathing but only because I would not actually want to die that way
Where my death was unavoidable then I would accept it so long as the particular method was instantaneous
A bullet to the brain or decapitation under sedation by guillotine would be the only ways I would want to go
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: On death and dying

Postby Prismatic567 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:34 am

surreptitious75 wrote:I would naturally resist an urge to stop breathing but only because I would not actually want to die that way
Where my death was unavoidable then I would accept it so long as the particular method was instantaneous
A bullet to the brain or decapitation under sedation by guillotine would be the only ways I would want to go

There is a conflation of two facts in the above, i.e.

    1. The natural involuntary forceful impulse that forces one to breath despite whatever the physical resistance one impose on it. Note this is applicable to your own resistance not some external conditions [gassed] or by others. Example, physically holding your breath by closing your mouth and nose.

    2. Your choice of death not to die in the above manner

In generally you don't have a choice to stop breathing at all, in the above example, there is no way you can die by holding your breath by yourself.
In general the involuntary impulse and force to breath is so strong and painful, you will instinctively and naturally give up any attempt to stop breathing.

If for some reason you are very determined to stop your breath as long as possible, at the most you will blackout and then your hands and other resistance will give way and your instinct and autonomic system will ensure you continue to breathe.

My point to highlight here is;
there is a VERY strong involuntary instinctive impulse to force a person to breathe and thus to survive if there is any attempt or resistance to make one stop breathing.

One can experience this strong instinct to breathe and its associated power and the terrible pains triggered within yourself when one tries to hold one's breath as long as possible. This is an existential and psychological issue.

My thesis is;
    In parallel this very desperate urge to breathe is the same as the urge [in degrees] theists are driven and compelled to believe in a God to soothe the existential pains.

    I believe if one's train and modulate one's involuntary and instinctual impulse to breathe, one will be able to regulate [to the minimum or none] one's propensity to cling to a God, where the potential consequences are, millions of innocents could be killed due to theists clinging to a God [note Islam].

    Thus if no believe in God, then no potential of millions will be killed theistically.

    If the above is realized, sure, there will be secular killings and they have to be dealt via secular preventive methods.
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Re: On death and dying

Postby MagsJ » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:24 am

surreptitious75 wrote:I have no fear of death because I simply see it as the end of suffering and
also because it is not something that I will be able to experience anyway

You seem so certain of that, but without knowing if it is uncertain that you wouldn't be able to experience the final demise, which is death.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get that time back, and I may need it for something at some point in time. Wait! What?

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