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The Mirror of Dharma

The Mirror of Dharma is one of the most important teachings of Buddhism but it is also one of the least taught.  I have a book called “The Mirror of Dharma” that doesn't actually mention The Mirror of Dharma.

It is found in the middle of the “Last Days of The Buddha”  suttra.

Ananda, the Buddha’s closest follower, is troubled by questions about what has happened to other followers after they have died.

The Buddha says to him:

"But truly, Ananda, it is nothing strange that human beings should die. But if each time it happens you should come to me and ask about them in this manner, indeed it would be troublesome...”

So Ananda has this very common attachment to questions about the afterlife, questions as troubling and imponderable back then as they are now.  The Buddha says to Ananda that he will give him a a gift, a teaching, that will silence these troubles:

“Therefore, Ananda, I will give you the teaching called the Mirror of the Dhamma, possessing which the noble disciple, should he so desire, can declare of himself...“

The Mirror of Dharma is a declaration, it is something that one chooses to declare , and it is something declaired about their own existence. The declaration is that “this is it,” this is my last life. There is no commitment to the idea of an afterlife or a beforelife, The Mirror of Dharma is agnostic in this sense - it is about the life after facimg up to the Mirror of Dharma.

This is the declaration:

'There is no more rebirth for me in hell, nor as an animal or ghost, nor in any realm of woe. A stream-enterer am I, safe from falling into the states of misery, assured am I and bound for Enlightenment.'