Mindfulness on Death Meditation

Let's Meditate

The Buddha once said that footprints of all animals, despite them being two-legged, four-legged or multi-legged, could be placed within the footprint of an elephant. Similarly, all wholesome qualities can be assembled under “Appamādo”, that is heedfulness or diligence. The Buddha said that a disciple should be heedful in order to generate merit and to end suffering.


The Buddha said, “mā bhikkhave punnānaṁ bhāyitta,” monks, you should not be afraid of generating merit; “kattabbaṁ kusalaṁ bahuṁ,” do wholesome deeds frequently. The merits we gather in this life will ripen in lives to come. In this life, we are born as human beings because of merit from past lives. To be born in the human world and in the heavenly world, one needs merit. Nonetheless, merit generates the right conditions for the realization of noble Dhamma. The Buddha said that he would never, not for a moment, appreciate the continuation of this cycle of rebirth. Therefore, the disciple should be heedful to end suffering.


Many postpone practicing Dhamma because of their engagements of the mundane life. Ordinary human beings consider employment, housing and good education for their children as great challenges of life; but they are unable to recognize the grave crisis of the mankind; which are, aging, sickness and death. Many consider retirement is the best time to practice Dhamma; this is because they do not realize that death can occur at any moment, without warning. They are preoccupied with planning for the future and often die before realizing their dreams for the future. The Buddha said that wise people should practice mindfulness of death to develop heedfulness. One who practices mindfulness of death is keen to practice calming and insight meditations for the realization of the noble Dhamma.

Mindfulness on Death Meditation (Maranānussati)

  • All beings that are born are subject to death.
    Beings in heaven, beings in the Brahma world, beings in the animal world, and beings in the plains of misery are subjected to death. No beings escapes from death. No one knows when and where death occurs: Death comes in the womb, death comes in infancy and death comes in youth, death comes in middle age and death comes in old age. Death is independent from age.

  • No one can predict when, where, and how one will die.
    Death comes to the rich. Death comes to the poor. Death comes to the learned and death comes to the unlearned. Death comes to those born to high-class families and death comes to those born to low-class families. Death comes to the noble and death comes to the ignoble. Death comes to the beautiful and death comes to the ugly. Death comes to the skilled and death comes to the unskilled. Death does not discriminate.

  • Death is independent of time.
    Death can come in the morning. Death can come in the day. Death can come in the evening and death can come at night. Death does not have a certain time. We don’t know when, how, or where we will die. Men and women die independent of time.

  • Beings die in multitude of circumstances.
    Death occurs from drowning. Death occurs from fire. Death occurs from poisoning and death occurs from sickness. Death occurs from earthquakes. Death occurs from flooding. Death occurs from natural disasters and death occurs from accidents. Death occurs from insect biting. Death occurs from heinous crimes. Death occurs from suffocation. Death occurs from choking. Death occurs from stumbling down and death occurs when our life span ends. We can die in many ways. We can die at any time.

  • Death comes to those who are on the Noble Path.
    Death comes to Supreme Buddhas. Death comes to Private Buddhas. Death comes to Enlightened Ones and death comes to those who are on the Noble Path. No one can escape death.

  • Death comes closer as day and night passes by
    One may die between an inhalation and an exhalation. Death occurs in an instant. All beings that are born have to face death.

    Knowing this, I will engage in wholesome activities. Knowing this, I will practice calm and insightful meditation. Knowing this, I will work to end suffering. Like one trying to put out a fire on their head.