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Dying to Live

by Vidyamala

In this talk, Vidyamala gives a strong account of working with suffering and sorrow in life, and of transforming your experience into one characterized by contentment and a sense of meaning. From her own practice of living with chronic pain comes a sane and unsentimental perspective that affords us all a measure of genuine optimism as we meet the trials of the world: bereavements and losses of all kinds can be met with a kindness and awareness that gently ease the burden, allowing something of peace to enter our lives again.

Please note that there a few introductory phrases missing from the start of this talk. Some small noise artefacts can also be heard occasionally due to a poor original recording.

Talk given at the Western Buddhist Order Women's Convention 2003

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. Introduction - spiritual death and finding freedom through letting go; the FWBO system of meditation as a progressive path (9:12) 
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2. Death and fear; why are we so afraid? Being present with fear in the face of impermanence (5:14) 
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3. Death as loss or death as gateway to freedom; insubstantiality and impermanence (4:08) 
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4. Eternalism and nihilism, the past and the future - strategies for avoiding reality; negotiating with samsara - trying to use spiritual life as an insurance policy (9:14) 
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5. Other reality avoidance strategies, including the dangers of checking the weather forecast! (4:43) 
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6. Facing the truth of spiritual death (1:14) 
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7. Group exercise - being present in the moment (3:28) 
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8. Vidyamala and Osadhi's mindfulness-based pain management work in Manchester (3:00) 
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9. No turning back the clock; Christopher Reeve - "pain is inevitable, misery is a choice"; the relief of no longer running away from pain; enriching life so that pain can no longer commandeer it; spiritual death as liberation (5:22) 
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10. Death and love - the connection between spiritual death and letting go of a fixed sense of self (6:28) 
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11. Spiritual death in the different meditation practices - mindfulness of breathing, metta bhavana, the brahmaviharas, six element practice, visualisation sadhana (9:12) 
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12. Summing up - the FWBO's system of meditation as a way of approaching spiritual death, related to Vidyamala's own experience; (6:23) 


Total running time: 1:07:38