My time in this world is limited just as yours is. I am always aware of death. Some people feel this is negative and pessimistic. I believe it is a positive strategy in life and being prepared.
When you keep death in mind, you appreciate life. You cherish your family and loved ones. You love others and do kind gestures because that may be the last time you see them. You work hard because you may not have another chance. You pray to your ancestors and loved ones who passed away. You appreciate the simple pleasures of life such as the sunset over the ocean.
By keeping death in mind, you are more aware and in control of your actions. You avoid speaking offensively to others because that may be the last words they hear from you. You avoid foolish behavior that can result in your death. You take care of your health by exercising, and eating and drinking in moderation. You free your mind of evil thoughts and search for inner peace. You prepare to leave a legacy for future generations.
By keeping death in mind, you live life to the fullest!
This philosophy can only be applied to people who respect others and try to appreciate the deeper meaning of life. Our world is full of selfish people who do not care about anyone else but themselves. As a result, they hurt others with disregard. Then there are those who do not care about themselves as well, and they too, place suffering onto others. Their lives are miserable, so they go and make other lives miserable. No one is perfect, but we all can work at bettering ourselves, and by doing so, our society benefits.
Today, for Christmas, I received a book on the Code of the Samurai or Bushido Shoshinshu. I was surprised when I read the first chapter, which explained how keeping death in mind could improve you as a person. It was nice to see an honor code that reinforces my philosophy. The way of the samurai is still alive today.
The following are excerpts from the Code of the Samurai:
“One who is supposed to be a warrior considers it his foremost concern to keep death in mind at all times, every day and every night, from the morning of New Year’s Day through the night of New Year’s Eve.”
“As long as you keep death in mind at all times, you will also fulfill the ways of loyalty and familial duty. You will also avoid myriad evils and calamities, you will be physically sound and healthy, and you will live a long life. What is more, your character will improve and your virtue will grow.”