If we don’t know the shortcomings of not remembering impermanence and death, and if we don’t understand the benefits, then we don’t see the importance of meditating on impermanence and death. If we don’t remember the impermanence of this life and the certainty of death, we don’t remember Dharma, and even if we remember Dharma, we do not practice. If we don’t remember the indefinite time of death, then when we try to practice Dharma, it doesn’t become Dharma, and if we don’t remember the impermanence of life and death, then we create nonvirtue. How? What happens is we don’t protect ourselves from the delusions.
When we follow the delusions, we create so much negative karma and so many nonvirtuous actions. The person who steals from others without permission and takes away another’s possessions is called a thief. Similarly, by following the delusions, we create nonvirtue. We become our own enemy, instead of guiding ourselves. We create the cause of the problems that we have to experience and we become the creator of our own suffering. That is how we become an enemy to ourselves.
If we protect ourselves from the delusions by remembering impermanence and death, we become a guide for ourselves and we help ourselves. We become a guide for ourselves because we are kept away from following the delusions. If we experience the suffering result of following the delusions, at our death time we feel great distress. We have to leave the body without choice and we experience great fear and distress in our mind. If we remember impermanence and death, we will not be born in the lower realms—we will receive rebirth as a happy transmigrator and we will experience happiness in all our future lives. By practicing the gradual path of the lower being, which includes meditation on impermanence and death, as well as karma and refuge, there is great meaning. We will attain nirvana by following this path, and we can also attain enlightenment by entering the Mahayana path, so it is extremely useful.
Meditation on the impermanence of this life and the certainty of death is an extremely powerful method to destroy the delusions of anger and pride. If we want to destroy pride, anger, attachment and many other negative minds right away, the most powerful method is this meditation. If we want to relax and be happy, then we should remember the impermanence of life and death. If we are not happy with anger, our meditation on impermanence and death is so powerful, it can destroy the delusions like an atomic bomb. It quickly destroys the whole city, completely and utterly in one minute—everything is in pieces and even the solid mountains are completely upside down. Meditation on impermanence and death is a powerful way to control the delusions.
At the beginning of our Dharma practice, meditation on the impermanence of this life and the certainty of death is extremely important, because it makes our Dharma practice pure. We can complete our Dharma practice and receive enlightenment, so it is important not only at the start of our Dharma practice, but also to continue and complete it. It is extremely important to remember impermanence and death, not only at the start of our Dharma practice, but also so we can continue and complete our Dharma practice and receive enlightenment. By meditating on impermanence and death, we die with great happiness.