Some Helpful Buddhist Meditations on Death (audio)

Of all the challenges we face as humans, none is more difficult than death. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, the death of thousands in some natural disaster, or the fear of our own eventual demise, death is the terrible problem that won’t go away. Nothing causes more suffering.

Confronted with age, sickness, and death, the Buddha strove with all his might to find an answer to the problem of human suffering. Through immense effort and penetrating inquiry into the mental nature of things, he eventually made a historic breakthrough in understanding the nature of mind and its relationship to the body and matter.

This “answer” to the problem of suffering wasn’t a new set of metaphysical suppositions one was supposed to believe in to be saved. Nor was the answer to suffering hoping for a heavenly afterlife—assuming you weren’t going to the other place!

Rather, the Buddha outlined a process of awakening that anybody can learn and immediately put to work in his or her life. This process involves learning and cultivating mental skills and gaining deep insights into the mental origins of becoming, of cause and effect.

With his revolutionary insight into our psychological and cosmological world-making, the Buddha was able to look deeply into the problem of death and see its final solution. There is a path to the Deathless! And we can have a foretaste of the Deathless even in this life.

What We Can Do About Death in This Life

Here is the very good news of Buddhism: even though we can’t avoid death, that doesn’t mean we can’t do a great deal in this life to alleviate the suffering associated with death. We can even begin to weaken and break the chains of cause and effect that bind us to cycles of aging, sickness, and death.

In these dharma talks, below, three very skilled, very compassionate dharma teachers share their insights into how the Buddha’s teaching can help us find refuge from aging, sickness, and death. I hope they will be both a comfort and inspiration to you.

We can all do far more in this “precious human life” than we might realize to bring an end to death and the suffering of death.

Three Dharma Teachers Talk about Old Age, Sickness, and Death

Meditation on Death (6 min.)

(This first talk is an excerpt from an audio CD called “Buddhist Meditation for Beginners” by Jack Kornfield.)

A Refuge from Death (19 min.)

by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Old Age, Sickness, Death, and Peace (41 min.)

by Gil Fronsdal


About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

6 Responses to “Some Helpful Buddhist Meditations on Death (audio)”

  1. There is something broken in the site html. There is no speak icon and there is no play arrow.

    I went through the page source and found the links to the audio:

    Meditation on Death (6 min.)

    A Refuge from Death (19 min.)

    Old Age, Sickness, Death, and Peace (41 min.)

    I hope this helps anyone else who can’t get the audio to play.

    • Thanks so much for taking the time for find the actual links and to share them. It’s so weird, I go to the site, and I’ve asked half a dozen friends to do so as well, and I (and they) all see a Flash player for each of the MP3s, with a play arrow, and a timer line, and a volume control. For me, and these various friends, the MP3s are just playing fine, and I don’t know any other way to post them than what WordPress gives me. I have also check out the page on Google Chrome, Firefox, Omniweb, iCab, and Safari, and they all show players and they all play the MP3s. Wish I could fix it for you…I suspect it’s something to do with Flash, or whatever “player” WordPress uses on their commercial sites.

      Anyway, thanks again for your efforts,

  2. How do you listen to “Some Helpful Buddhist Meditations on Death (audio)” or any other audio at this sight? I’ve tried and I get no response.
    Thanks for any help you can render.

    • Hello Ed. Thanks for stopping by. I’m sorry you are having trouble with the audio. I just checked and it seems to be working fine for me. I’ll have some other friends check and see if there’s a problem.

      You *should* be able to just click the little arrow to the right of the little speak icon, below the name of the talk. When you do, you should see the whole icon expand, and it should say that it’s buffering, and then, you should hear the talk start in a few seconds. I assume that all the other audio is working on your computer–that you have it set up so you can listen to music on it and watch and listen to videos like on YouTube, right?

      Please try again and let me know what happens when you click on those little arrow icons I mentioned. Do you see the icon expand, etc. etc? Thanks! I hope I can figure this out for you.



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    […] Some Helpful Buddhist Meditations on Death […]

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