Sallie Jiko Tisdale

‘I pretend to accept my own death. Most senior practitioners do; many of them may even believe they accept it. Buddhists have their own peculiar points of pride, outside the usual stream of things we pride ourselves on, like humility and asceticism. Plenty of us are proud of our equanimity in the face of extinction, at least until we see the headlights bearing down.

So how deep does this acceptance really go? It’s not just Buddhists who kid themselves about being prepared for death. It’s people. It’s all of us who don’t want to admit that we are organisms fighting for life, that we can sagely repeat, “Annica, annica, all compounded things are subject to dissolution,” without really confronting what it means.’ (from Lion’s Roar)

Over the years, I have had flashes of confronting this, but it still makes me squirm. I do remember Reb talking about people’s fear of death at Tassajara, and observing (while using his hands) that going from a tightly-clenched fist to a very-slightly-less-tightly-clenched fist could still be called opening up to the idea of acceptance.

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