“I knew a man who once said, ‘Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.’” ~Russell Crow as Maximus in the Gladiator
The Final Chapter — Death
A confused child, a high school dropout, a window washer, a thief, a liar, a louse, an airman, an anarchist, a failing autodidact, a shitty writer but a far worse poet, and lest I be remiss in this list of deviant undesirables, I offer you the oddest of all possible failures (ask anyone), a fucking vegan.
And what do these all have in common?
Me. At one stage or another, and a fucking vegan to the death.
Speaking of which — Death I mean, not fucking or vegan or any combination thereof, allow me my further decadence:
As I flip to the final chapter in the saga of The Great Mundane, my candle burns low. I regard its wavering augury with similar trepidation, lapping at the dregs of bygone years.
Tho this is not a lament, my reader. Nor a farewell.
No, not yet.
But I’m old, and I’ve had enough.
Enough of the incorrigible pomposity of humanity.
Enough of the affected greetings, lies, and snide remarks — theirs as well as my own.
Enough of their wars, politics, and slaughterhouses.
Enough of enough.
I long for a reprieve, a pardon, the absolution that only death grants.
But, as I said, not yet.
Not until I’m ready.
And that is what my twaddle is about: Dying. Or more accurately, the preparation thereof. And I’m not selling funeral arrangements or life insurance.
In the event you’ve yet to grasp the decisive finality of existence (it is an area we tend to avoid), the next sentence is best to read lying down or seated in a comfortable chair. I’ll keep it short:
You’re going to die.
But not that short, and for the gist:
In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the practice of dying is known as Phowa (pronounced po-wa).
Phowa is used to help a dying sentient transfer their consciousness into the embodiment of the truth (whatever that is, you get to decide). As well as the rehearsal of our own climactic finale that we may, with sly and smug confidence on that fright-filled day, smile back at Death as the asshead demands our life’s accrued debts. Like a banker calling a delinquent loan, he’ll accept nothing less than payment in full, or forfeit the collateral.
I thought you’d like to know about this thing called Phowa. It is helping me prepare for death, both mine and others. At least I think, I hope it is — time will tell. And if you’d like to know more of Phowa, here are links:
Know that I am not a Buddhist or a Tibetan, or really all that spiritual as my historical profanity may portray. But, unlike the damning dogma of religion, the wisdom of the Buddha has helped me grow and gain understanding, compassion, and confidence throughout the years. Why not at death? And too, I find Buddhism in accord with fucking veganism and vise versa.
Thanks to the Venerable Great Middle Way for introducing me to Phowa (spelled there as powa).
Death — The Final Chapter. But not the epilog?