Preparing to Die Well
February 20, 2009

There’s a famous passage in the Canon where a young monk, Ven. Ratthapala, is visited by King Koravya. The king asks him, “Why did you ordain? After all, you’ve had a lot of wealth, you had no loss in your family, no health problems. You’ve got everything a young man looking forward to the pleasures of sensuality can hope for. So why did you ordain?” Ratthapala replies that he had reflected on four Dhamma summaries from the Buddha. These four summaries are mentioned nowhere else in the Canon, but they were lessons Ratthapala claimed he learned from the Buddha. One, the world is swept away. It does not endure. Two, the world offers no shelter. There is no one in charge. Three, the world has nothing of its own. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind. And four, the world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving.