30 Sec Answer: Buddhists traditionally prepare for death by meditating and contemplating the nature of their existence in order to gain a greater understanding of life. This practice is known as ‘spiritual dying’ and involves accepting the reality of death, letting go of material attachments, cultivating compassion, and developing wisdom.
Death is an inevitable part of life, and while we may not like to think about it, preparing for our own mortality is an important aspect of spiritual practice in many religions. Buddhism is no exception – followers of this ancient faith are encouraged to spend time reflecting on their lives and making peace with their impending deaths. So what do Buddhists do before they die?
What is Buddhism?
Before discussing Buddhist practices related to death, it’s important to have an understanding of the religion itself. Buddhism was founded in India over 2,500 years ago by Siddhartha Gautama, who became known as the Buddha or “awakened one.” The Buddha developed a system of teachings based on the Four Noble Truths which focus on suffering and the path towards liberation from it. Followers of this faith seek to end suffering through ethical conduct, meditation, mindfulness, and wisdom.
For Buddhists, preparing for death is seen as an integral part of the path to enlightenment. The concept of spiritual dying has been around since at least 500 BCE when Indian sage Mahavira wrote extensively on the subject. It involves accepting the inevitability of death and letting go of all material attachments that bind us to this world so that we can live more meaningful lives now. In doing so, we become better prepared for our eventual passing and can even view it as a positive experience rather than something to be feared.
Meditating on Death
Meditation is a key component of Buddhist practice, so it should come as no surprise that it plays an important role in how Buddhists approach death. By meditating on our mortality we can learn to accept its presence in our lives without fear or anxiety and let go of any attachments we have to this world. This helps us to focus our energy on things that truly matter such as love, compassion, and kindness instead. Additionally, contemplation of death can bring us greater insight into life by reminding us that each moment is precious and not to be taken for granted.
Developing Compassion & Wisdom
When approaching death with a mindful attitude we open ourselves up to experiencing both compassion and wisdom. Compassion is essential because it helps us see beyond our own self-interests and recognize that every living being will someday face their own mortality. Cultivating wisdom allows us to break free from illusions and see the truth behind existence which can bring peace during times of great uncertainty or distress. Together these two qualities help us create more meaningful relationships with ourselves and others throughout our lives.
Ultimately Buddhists believe that true happiness comes from within rather than relying on external sources for fulfillment or security. Preparing for death can serve as an opportunity for reflection and personal growth by helping us understand what matters most in life. Through spiritual dying we develop an appreciation for impermanence which leads to increased awareness of each moment’s worth as well as gratitude for all that we have been given. Ultimately this prepares us not only for death but also teaches us how best to live while still here among the living.