#LOJONGSUNDAY Week 33 is The Mahayana instruction for ejection of consciousness at death is The Five Strengths: how you conduct yourself is important, slogan #18.
If you look back a few entries to week 28, we discussed slogan #17, Practice the Five Strengths, the condensed heart instructions. The five strengths discussed are determination, familiarization, virtue, reproach, and aspiration. These five strengths require effort to maintain and practice in any situation you encounter. They are life practices.
Looking at slogan #18, it turns out that they are also death practices. There is effort required in a good death, one that progresses you to the next state, whatever you believe that to be. If death is approached with fear, with avoidance, then it is likely you will not experience the benefits of your current lifetime.
How you conduct yourself at all times is important. We look at dying as an end, and therefore we may think that it no longer matters what we do or how we face that end. But it does matter. Even though you may not believe in an afterlife, or reincarnation, or any other form of life after death, your approach to the end of your life here on earth can influence and give strength and comfort to others, all of whom will experience death eventually.
Buddhism doesn't approach death as a fearful or morose subject because it doesn't believe in the reality of the separate solid ego that we try to construct. Because such a separate ego doesn't really exist, it cannot die. In any event, if you practice the five strengths during your lifetime, this slogan assures you that you will be prepared to continue practicing them at the time of your death.
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