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This term may be slightly off-putting, but it isn’t meant to suggest physical death. What ‘dies’ are all our illusions and delusions about who we are and how things really are. This is usually spoken of as ‘insight practice’ (vipassana). Insight can be cultivated through a huge range of meditation, mindfulness and awareness practices. All of those already mentioned have insight dimensions. Others widely practised in the Triratna Buddhist Community and Order include reflections on the three lakshanas (‘Characteristics’, or ‘Marks’) of conditioned existence.
The first, impermanence, involves contemplating the transitoriness of all composite things. Then comes contemplation of unsatisfactoriness: reflecting that seeking security or meaning for our life in such transitory things will inevitably lead to being let down and consequent suffering. Finally, reflection on insubstantiality involves contemplating that there is no ultimately existing, graspable ‘essence’ in anything. Contemplations such as this can lead to a loosening of the human tendency to grasp onto life, and opening up to the ultimate mystery of our true nature.
Explore talks on insight into the nature of existence.