The truth about death

Poetic words, quoting catchphrases and repeating the wise are all good and makes us think. But how much have we actually done so far? More than words, we have to PUSH OURSELVES OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONE and get into action now. JOIN SOMETHING THAT BENEFITS OTHERS THIS WEEK! Joining something, then finding wrongs, then quitting, is just an expression of our PURE 100% SELFISHNESS TO PURSUE OUR OWN COMFORTS.

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Don’t look for excuses daily to quit the good work you are doing and validate it with excuses to pursue something utterly selfish. Be real. Be strong to do spiritual work to benefit others. BE WEAK to pursue selfish work covered with excuses. In your heart you know the truth. Find excuses and cover-ups to AVOID selfish pursuits that GET YOU NOWHERE IN THE END. Go all the way with work that benefits many. Working for the benefit of many is harder and gets easier. Working for yourself is easier and PROGRESSIVELY GETS HARDER and makes you bitter and lonely.

Money can buy a lot of things. But it can’t buy you refuge, renunciation, altruism, self-respect, satisfaction and peace. If reincarnation doesn’t exist, then karma doesn’t exist. If that is the case, Buddha lied. If Buddha didn’t lie, then transform.

His Holiness the current Gaden Tripa, Head of the Gelug School of Buddhism, highly recommends the daily practice of Gaden Lhagyama. Try it. His Holiness Gaden Tripa resides in France and was blessed as the head of the Gelug School of Buddhism by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama. May H.H. the Dalai Lama and H.H. Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal continue to turn the Wheel of Dharma and to live long.

When I grow up, I want to be like H.H. the Dalai Lama. Everyone will age, but in your old age whether you are respected or not depends on what you have spent your life doing. Old age can be lonely and full of regrets, or it can be a time where you reap the fruits of your altruistic labour. Many old monks in Gaden are highly respected, taken care of and loved. Many elderly people in the secular world are abandoned. I guess if you spent your lifetime pursuing the benefit of others, you’ll be treasured even when you are old. And the opposite applies for those who did not.

In your old age, if you are lonely and abandoned (sorry), most likely you have spent your lifetime in selfish pursuits that has led you to this result. In all my lives, may I never be attracted to having relationships, children, name or reputation. May I at a young age pursue Dharma. In all my lives, may I from a young age see the pitfalls of samsaric pursuits, and immediately take up Dharma, renunciation and practice.

Whatever results you have resemble the causes. Whatever results you experience are similar to the causes. Hence, pursue Dharma. I wonder what would have happened if Lord Buddha stayed married, stayed with his family, became a king, and just did that??? Thank goodness Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Tsongkhapa didn’t choose to just get married, have a family, buy insurance and wait for grandkids. Whatever burdens you have created for yourself you should see it through, but never use it as an excuse to do less Dharma. Why? Time is running out. Compassion to leave or not leave is not the issue. How much compassion do you have for your kids. Just this life or all future lives? Many of my students have kids and a spouse, all their spare time is put into doing Dharma work, retreats, and bringing Dharma to others.

Scientific astronomers say that since the ‘big bang’ until now, there are approximately 100 million million other planets that have life. Just contemplate the reality of the fact that within 50 years, everyone who’s currently on Twitter now will most likely have died. If that is the case, before the inevitable death, what could we do, what could we engage in, what could we develop that would have the most value at the time of our death?

It’s hard to face death or talk about it. But we have to because it’s a universal truth. So what would have the MOST VALUE that can insure our transition will be safe, pleasant, free of fears and perhaps even with CONTROL?

There are basically two things that go with us. One is the mind, and the other is karmic propensities or simply the effects of actions ready to open. So karma will determine the circumstances during this transition. And the mind (hopefully with development) will determine how this transition is dealt with.

Due to spiritual development, our mind is capable of dealing with the transition at death and its outcome will be ideal. Otherwise, if we don’t spend time on spiritual practice, then the mind, not matured, will most likely deal with the transition with great fear, trepidation and extreme uncertainty. Then we will have no control and depend solely on what karma opens up, which is triggered by the STATE OF THE MIND at the actual time of death. Because there is so much varying karma, it will be very uncertain what is triggered at the time of death, and that triggered karma will determine our fate.

God, devils, demons, humans won’t be able to control our resultant fate. It solely depends on the karmic dispositions that have been stored away due to our Body, Speech and Mind – actions we have committed during our lifetime(s). So how we are in our lifetime plays a singular role in determining OUR FUTURE.

If God, gods, etc. controlled our future, then there would be no disparity. Disparity in existence is one type of proof that beings, powerful or not, outside of ourselves ultimately have no control over our future. Perhaps they can influence, but they have zero control. That control is solely reliant ON OURSELVES. Hence contemplating the truth of death is the MOST EFFECTIVE way to turn to sincere, spiritual practices without delays, procrastination, or excuses.

When we think carefully, TIME IS SHORT and we have so much to develop in that short space of time. Contemplation of the truth and reality of our deaths carefully and daily would play a pivotal role in our practice. The King of Dharma, Tsongkhapa, puts death meditation as number one in the sacred Lamrim, with firm determination arising from gaining a sense of urgency due to daily well-rounded contemplation on death. That sense of urgency is positive, not depressive.

It is very important to practise the seven limbs and six paramitas with firm understanding of the avoidance of the eight worldly dharmas daily. Making offerings, engaging in retreats of preliminaries, studying the Lamrim, propitiation of our yidam and engaging in mind transformation should be done daily in order to collect the merits and create new habituations to gain REALISATIONS.

These realisations arise from the mind. Since it is the mind that realises, whatever level you have achieved will not be left behind at the time of death. Why? Because mind is what travels from lifetime to lifetime in one continuous unbroken momentum. With realisations, the karma that is accumulated would be positive, hence helping our mind experience a good transition and ‘conclude’ with a good outcome to further our spiritual practice uninterrupted to gain even higher realisations. With these realisations becoming firm, we control our samsara. And our samsara DOESN’T CONTROL US. That would be very great.

So mind and karma is what travels to future transitions. The transitions are repeated again and again. So preparing for them is utmost in a spiritual practitioner’s goals.

#Tsem Tulku

 

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This translation is the work of a third party translator external to the Kechara Organisation. Should confusion arise in the interpretation of the Indonesian versions of the materials of this page, the English version will be considered as accurate. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the translation, portions may be incorrect. Any person or entity who relies on information obtained from the article does so at his or her own risk.

© The copyright to this article is held by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. It may be downloaded, printed and reproduced only for personal or classroom use. Absolutely no downloading or copying may be done for, or on behalf of, any for-profit commercial firm or other commercial purpose without the explicit permission of Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. For this purpose, contact Ooi Beng Kooi or Phng Li Kim of Kechara Media and Publication Liaison.

 

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