Sunday, October 09, 2011

Death as POSIWID 4

In the flurry of articles and blogposts following the sad but inevitable death of Steve Jobs, many journalists and bloggers have found apposite quotes from his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford. I'm about to quote something from it myself, which continues a discussion we've been having here about the purpose of death.

"Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new."


Steve Jobs is here following the Buddhist way of thinking.

"Death, far from being a subject to be shunned and avoided, is the key that unlocks the seeming mystery of life. It is by understanding death that we understand life; for death is part of the process of life in the larger sense. In another sense, life and death are two ends of the same process and if you understand one end of the process, you also understand the other end. Hence, by understanding the purpose of death we also understand the purpose of life." V.F. Gunaratna, Buddhist Reflections on Death

"As long as there is fear of death, life itself is not being lived at its best. So one of the very fundamental reasons for contemplating death, for making this reality fully conscious, is that of overcoming fear. The contemplation of death is not for making us depressed or morbid, it is rather for the purpose of helping to free us from fear." Ajahn Jagaro, Death and Dying

"By understanding the purpose of death we also understand the purpose of life."


Now please go and watch Steve Jobs' whole speech. [Stanford University, June 2005]

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