Mindfulness of death

Mindfulness:DOI: 10.1007/s12671-014-0290-6. (2014)

Abstract

The principal Buddhist suttas on mindfulness include the ānāpānasati sutta, satipatthāna sutta, mahasatipatthāna sutta, and kāyagatāsati sutta. Irrespective of whether they prefer to practise mindfulness from a Buddhist or secular perspective, most dedicated mindfulness practitioners are familiar with many of the core teachings outlined in these suttas(e.g., use of the breath as a mindfulness anchor, mindfulness of the body and its constituents, maintaining mindful awareness during daily activities, etc.). However, one key aspect of the abovementioned suttas that often seems to be overlooked by mindfulness practitioners is the emphasis these teachings place on cultivating mindfulness of death and impermanence.Indeed, the satipatthāna sutta, mahasatiptthāna sutta, and kāyagatāsati sutta each contains the‘nine charnel ground contemplations’, and the 13th exercise of the ānāpānasati sutta is specifically concerned with cultivating an awareness of impermanence.

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Edo Shonin
Nottingham Trent University

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