“It is not simply about dying, but about the restoration of the heart, which occurs when we confront our life and death with mercy and awareness. It is an opportunity to resolve our denial of death as well as our denial of life in a year-long experiment in healing, joy, and revitalization.”
– Stephen Levine, A Year to Live

“Before we can leave the body effortlessly we have to inhabit it fully. A remarkable means of heightening life as well as preparing for death is to enter the body wholeheartedly, sensation by sensation.” – Stephen Levine, A Year to Live

The Nine Contemplations of Atisha (982 – 1054 CE)

The First Contemplation Death is inevitable, no one is exempt.

The Second Contemplation Our life span is decreasing continuously, every breath brings us closer to death.

The Third Contemplation Death will indeed come, whether or not we are prepared.

The Fourth Contemplation Human life expectancy is uncertain, death can come at any time.

The Fifth Contemplation There are many causes of death – habits, desires, accidents can be precipitants.

The Sixth Contemplation The human body is fragile and vulnerable, our life hangs by a breath.

The Seventh Contemplation At the time of death, our material resources are of no use to us.

The Eighth Contemplation Our loved ones cannot keep us from death, there is no delaying its advent.

The Ninth Contemplation Our body cannot help us at the time of death, it too will be lost at that moment.

(As presented by Joan Halifax Roshi, on her Being with Dying album.)