Every moment, a funeral


From the chapter on Hinduism in Huston Smith’s book, The World’s Religions:

Strictly speaking, every moment of our lives is a dying; the I of that moment dies, never to be reborn. Yet despite the fact that in this sense my life consists of nothing but funerals, I do not conceive of myself as dying each moment, for I do not equate myself with my individual moments. I endure through them — experiencing them, without being identical with any of them in its singularity. […]

Again, science tells me that there is nothing in my body that was there seven years ago [not strictly true, but not entirely false, either], and my mind and my personality have undergone comparable changes. Yet, throughout their manifold revisions, I have remained in some way the same person, the person who believed now this, now that; who once was young and is now old. What is this something in my makeup, more constant than body or mind, that has endured the changes?

Seriously pondered, this question can disentangle one’s Self from one’s lesser identifications.1

Discontinuity — every moment, a funeral. Continuity — a Self which has persisted despite continual bodily and mental alterations.


1Huston Smith, The World’s Religions, revised © 1991, pp. 25 and 30.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Zayna
    Sep 04, 2009 @ 18:59:06

    Every moment is the death of what I was, the acceptance of what I am and the birth of what I will be.

    I wrote that some time ago and your post reminded me of it. I hope it’s not inappropriate.

    Like the new digs. 🙂


  2. Stephen
    Sep 04, 2009 @ 21:39:18

    I like it, Zayna — you’ve expressed the idea very well.


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