Even if the entire humanity could be converted to Christianity, it changes little of this simple psychological fact – that a mind of attachment cannot possibly die in peace and serenity. Whether it is attachment to material objects or one’s belief systems, it makes little difference ~ Shri Amir Mourad
Amir Mourad explains why clinging to any belief system, in this case, Christianity, is a hindrance to learning how to die in peace.
Q: You have said “To be prepared for death you must learn an entire way of being centered around luminous equanimity. Equanimous, so you may die in strength and not cowardice, luminous so that the shutting down of the body becomes infused with the inner light of a meditative consciousness.”
I feel sorry for you. To be prepared for death and to meet your maker, you must give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ and obey the gospel. The way is to repent of your sins get baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of those sins, to get the Holy Spirit. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life and none will come unto to the Father but by me.
You seem very confident in your beliefs, so it is doubtful that any criticism of Christianity will make much difference. There is however something deeper in what I am saying which is difficult to ignore regarding the subject of dying gracefully. Even if one assumes that the Lord you speak of is a reality, a simple psychological the fact remains. If you are unable to die peacefully without clinging to such comforting beliefs, if you insist the only way is to believe in Jesus Christ, then I do not see how it possible to even die in peace. Extremism is antithetical to surrender on every level possible.
It is making a rather bold statement that dying gracefully, in absolute surrender, can co-exist with attachment. If attachment, whether it is to material objects or knowledge, has been unable to offer freedom from suffering through life, what makes you think there will be no suffering through the process of dying? There is an art to dying gracefully, it is not something likely to discovered by chance. In yoga there are entire systems for preparing the mind and body so that even dying can become a meditative experience. It often takes years and years of preparation. The trick is to understand that one must abandon attachment to mental projections and instead remain anchored in the non-dual emptiness of one’s own awareness. Dream Yoga practices which infuse awareness even in the dream state can be seen as a kind of rehearsal for death, even for states of consciousness which may continue after death of the body. But this continuity is of course only a hypothesis, I do not see it is something that can be verified by any human being while still living in the body. Other sages and gurus may speak with sheer confidence about it, not because its just a skillful means but because they actually believe it. This is just more dogmatism. But what’s the harm in being prepared? Dream Yoga practices can be just as beneficial for life itself as it can be for this hypothetical continuation. But the most essential thing to remember is that in the vacuum of awareness itself is already a sea of equanimity. One must only learn what it means to let go of attachment to mental projections and rest in the naked light of pure consciousness itself. This is what man needs to die gracefully, not doctrine or dogma, but something practical that transcends belief systems.
Humanity has been on the Earth for thousands and thousands of years before birth of Christianity, Christ, and monotheistic religions. What of those millions of people who have died without even being aware of Christ ? Are they to be condemned to eternal hell for simply being born in the wrong era? If Jesus is the “way, the truth, and the life”, and none come to the Father except through Christ, then all those people are by default condemned.
If these are the conditions set by an omnipotent God, it is very hard to avoid the conclusion that such a God must be a vicious dictator. But I sense you believe in an all loving God – so addressing this problem specifically, I would be curious to hear how there can be a work around the situation. If nobody comes to the Father except through Christ, and yet millions of people have lived and died on the Earth prior to even the opportunity of the knowledge of Christ, what is to become of such people?
If they are redeemed for their ignorance, then why cannot people today also be redeemed for their lack of belief in Christ ? It is understandable. So many cultures, traditions, religions, ways of life – not to mention such a large population of people. What are the chances that a near 8billion people with different standards of wealth, different social classes, traditions, cultures, and walks of life are going to be able to comfortably fit into the small cage of a single belief system ?
The truth is that one who may be a die hard believer in their faith could easily be a member of any other faith given that he were born into a family which has conditioned him into that belief. How many offspring of Buddhist parents have converted to Christianity ? How many who were born into Christianity have converted to Buddhism? In all cases, the statistics are remarkably low – and yet are all non Christians to be condemned given the odds of being a believer?
Even if the entire humanity could be converted to Christianity, it changes little of this basic simple fact – that a mind of attachment cannot possibly die in peace and serenity. Whether it is attachment to material objects or one’s belief systems, it makes little difference. And does it make sense that a mind of peaceful orientation should be condemned to hell while one which is sick, filled with darkness and slavery yet a believer in Christ, should enter into paradise? The reason why I am saying all of this is not so you may abandon your faith. But it is certainly a challenge to the sort of ideas which you have expressed. Even for a believer, these are valid questions and being able to answer these hard questions should help to bring strength to one’s faith and hopefully even understand more about one’s own attitude towards it.