Monday, August 23, 2010

Dying To Live:

The Role Of Kamma In Dying And Rebirth

The purpose of this work is to present a comprehensive picture of kamma and the often unpredictable role it plays in the process of dying and rebirth according to orthodox Theravada doctrine. With the aid of colour diagrams, basic concepts of Abhidhamma are first introduced in order to facilitate a thorough understanding of what happens, on a microscopic level, to the body and mind of a person dying to live again. Since kamma is inextricably linked with Abhidhamma principles, and our main subject of discussion is one of its specific roles, the whole of Chapter 2 is devoted to an exposition of the nature of kamma and its various aspects, classified according to four different ways of analysis. Chapter 3 begins by surveying the causes of death and the possible manifestations of the kamma that is about to produce rebirth in the dying person, and concludes by presenting a microscopic description, accompanied by a colour diagram, of the actual process of dying and rebirth, based on the basic principles of Abhidhamma introduced in Chapter 1. In Chapter 4, the order in which specific types of kamma generate rebirth is discussed with the help of many interesting storie's mostly extracted from the commentaries, but including a few modern one's and accompanied by pencil drawings. Finally, Chapter 5 summarises and concludes this booklet with some proposals for skilful dying, and a dramatic personal account of a young monk's own observations and masterly manipulation of the changing visions experienced by a dying Buddhist devotee.

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