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Mindfulness of death.

The Visuddhimagga is a fifteen-hundred year old commentary on the Pali Canon, composed in Sri Lanka by the Indian monk Buddhaghosa, which measures roughly one-thousand pages when translated into English. The following few entries are excerpts taken from that text:

He gave with joy a hundred millions
After conquering all the earth,
Till in the end his realm came down
To less than half a gall-nut's worth,
Yet when his merit was used up,
His body breathing its last breath,
The Sorrowless Asoka too
Felt sorrow face to face with death.

And so the Greatest Sage possessed
Such mighty power in every way,
And it was now through fear or guilt
That over him Death held his sway
No being, not even one without
Guilt or pusillanimity
But will be smitten down; so how
Will he not conquer those like me?

-- two excerpted poems from the Visuddhimagga, Ch. VIII, Other Recollections: Mindfulness of Death as a Meditation Object

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