The strangeness of death

The life of Gautama, who came to be known as the Buddha, the Enlightened One, is famously said to have been irrevocably changed by his experience of three things: poverty, old age, and death – it was this experience that started him on the road to enlightenment. There is no doubt that the encounter with death can be a life-changing experience, perhaps more so than either poverty or old-age, and not only because death may be construed as an especially powerful emblem of human suffering. Quite aside from the emotional impact of death, it would seem to have an inevitable and irreducible strangeness that challenges our sense of our own existence.
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