This world is an amazing place. Never-ending things to experience. Long ago this was not the case . Other than a change of seasons, nothing much happened. But today with the internet, we can be worldwide travelers while sitting in our media rooms. We can be authors and write articles, or political pundits and create blogs. We can even shop the world for everything from a nice camera to a good-looking wife.

Who would want or could imagine any more than this? Surely, we all must be completely happy every moment, no different from kings that rule their kingdoms or gods that create their universes. Yep, here we are, happy endlessly.

No? Not happy all the time? How could that be? How could we not be happy every moment when surrounded by endless distractions? How can we be dissatisfied? When we become bored with one pleasure, there are a million others to turn to.

"If one looks upon a bubble, a mirage, and looks upon the world as such, the God of death will not find him." - (Buddha)

The God of Death. Is that what we frantically run from by going from one pleasure to another? Maybe that's the uncomfortable niggle we feel between our pleasures. Maybe that's part of our unhappiness; the pressure we feel, the compulsion to continuously run from these "between distraction" gaps in our pleasures, limiting them as much as possible by quickly diverting our attention to the next pleasurable distraction.

If we fail in this, then everything becomes quiet for a moment, and our inevitable destiny begins to rear its ugly head. That we will eventually have to come face to face with realities from which we prefer to remain oblivious.

This niggle is hardly felt when we are young and vibrant, with the whole, unexplored world at our fingertips. It is felt a little more in middle age when we become a little world weary, but in old age, the niggle becomes a noose around our necks. If it wasn't for the final distraction of faith and religion, this niggle could become quite overwhelming.

But faith and religion remain worldly things. Although we like to think of faith and religion as other-worldly, they are nonetheless caught up in our of another world, not the other world itself. Thoughts, emotions and imaginings are merely of the worldly mind, creating an idea of a self moving through time. And as such, these are all subject to the Lord of Death.

When we look at the world as a substantial thing, not a bubble that can burst ant any time, then we must necessarily look at our "selves" in the same light. Because we are the world, we are the earth. We eat the plants and animals of the earth and we thus become nothing more than the elements of the earth ourselves.

We are not special beings standing upon the earth, we belong to it, we are up to our necks in it. And when these elements that we identify with as ourselves melt back into the earth to change into soil and then living beings again in the never ending cycle, only our illusions will continue. And these illusions are where the Lord of Death thrives.

We don't see our psycho physical body and mind as an illusion, a mirage, a bubble that can burst at any moment. We instead take ownership of this self and attach to it with immense passion. We love ourselves more than anything and every moment of our lives are involved directly with the preservations and promotion of our self.

The Buddha calls this ignorance of what constitutes reality. Not ignorance as if we are stupid, but ignorance in the guise of refusing to face the facts, burying our head in our delusions so that we don't have to face uncomfortable truths. And this is where the Lord of Death gains access to our destiny.

Can we prove to ourselves that this self is an illusion? Of course. It's easy with a little meditation and insight, but few want to do this because they have so much faith in themselves and the destiny of their self. If that self didn't exist, then what would happen to them? This is the fear that keeps us in the clutches of the Lord of Death.

The fact is, there is nothing to lose because only the illusion of a self exists, and how can you lose something that doesn't exist? Therefore there can be no reality to that proposition. In other words, the mere illusion that a self exists is what the Lord of Death uses as a vehicle to reintroduce that illusion into another form of life, called the process of rebirth, so that the illusion can again be born into physical form, grow old, become diseased, and die. The Lord of Death loves to watch us suffer death after death eternally.

But we can fool the Lord of Death by seeing through this psycho-physical form of ours and understandig it to be exactly what it is; a bubble, a mirage. Once we do this through practice and meditation, we let go of the world and ourselves, and the Lord of Death is left holding the bag of nothing but a dead body. He can no longer hold our illusions hostage and propel them into a new existences.

So what happens to us?

What happens is something so profound, so ineffable that any imaginings or speculations are ludicrous, like mosquitos trying to bite an iron ball. The intellect, which tries to figure out and control these things is not a player here. The player here is something unimaginable, something that is eternal, not subject to a beginning and not subject to any physical or spirtual laws. This is freedom from all.

This is enlightenment.

Author's Bio: 

E. Raymond Rock (anagarika addie) is a meditation teacher at: and author of “A Year to Enlightenment:

His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.