Our existence in this world can be likened to a dream.
The issue of the greatest importance and eternal relevance is how we face death, the inescapable destiny of all living beings.
For in the face of death, external factors such as social status or position in the organization count for naught. Everything depends on one’s faith, one’s state of life.
– Daisaku Ikeda
Ikeda is getting on now (he’s 80), but I’ve absolute certainty that he lives by these words. Despite the fact that death can come in an instant for any one of us, it’s a fact of life that as we get older, we become more and more aware of the day of reckoning. (If anyone disagrees with that then they are either kidding themselves or are wholly non-sentient or past caring.) I’ve no doubt that Ikeda thinks these thoughts frequently.
Pondering the nature of our existence as an independent being, untrammelled by the whims of religions tied to destiny, punishment or higher forces, is at the very heart of Buddhism, I think.
The Sword of Damocles does not hang over our heads, punishingly dropping on some Judgement Day when we are dead.
Nirvana is here and now, not when you die. You will not be forgiven for any possible sin you may have done. You will not be praised as a heroic martyr for mass-murder. Redemption is in the present, and we must try to live the very best lives we can.
As E.T. said,
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…and the H.P. Lovecraft book? It’s simply one of the best titles there is. I like the sound of it.