This teaching on death and dying can reach into profound places in your understanding. Each crucial point is here. All you must do is listen fully, contemplate the meaning, and meditate until realization is accomplished in your mind.
Again, do not ignore impermanence. Whatever seems to be a priority in your life is really quite temporary. It comes and goes. Nothing is reliable.
We were born alone and naked. As our life unfolds, we go through all manner of antics: needing, having, losing, suffering, crying, trying … but then we die, and we die alone. It does not make any difference whether we are rich or poor, known or unknown. Death is the great leveler. In a cemetery all corpses are alike.
Our relationships with one another are like the chance meeting of two strangers in a parking lot. They look at each other and smile. That is all there is between them. They leave and never see each other again.
That is what life is—just a moment, a meeting, a passing, and then it is gone. If you understand this, there is no time to fight. There is no time to argue. There is no time to hurt one another.
Whether you think about it in terms of humanity, nations, communities, or individuals, there is no time for anything less than truly appreciating the brief interaction we have with one another.
Our worldly priorities can be ironic. We place first what we think we want most; then we discover that our wanting is insatiable. Paying off the house, writing the book, making the business successful, setting up the retirement, taking the big trip—things that are temporarily on top of our list of priorities completely consume our time and energy.
And then at the end of life, we look back and wonder what all those things meant. It is like someone who travels in a foreign country and pays his way in that country’s currency. Then he gets to the border and is surprised to learn that the country’s currency can’t be exchanged or carried across.
Like that, our worldly possessions and achievements cannot be carried through the portal of death. If we rely on them, we will find ourselves suddenly impoverished and bereft.
The only currency that has any value when we travel across the threshold of death is our spiritual attainment.
It is better to develop contentment and appreciate what we have in a worldly sense.
Time is very precious. Do not wait until you are dying to understand your spiritual nature. If you do it now, you will discover resources of kindness and compassion you didn’t know you had. It is from this mind of intrinsic wisdom and compassion that you can truly benefit others.
Spiritual development begins with the resolve never to harm others. So, please, be careful. If you put yourself in another’s place, you realize how destructive it is to hurt or kill another, even an insect.
Life is life, and every being wants to live. If you hold others in this regard, you will close the door to your own suffering.
Mind is like a microscope. It magnifies everything. If you criticize yourself all the time—“I am so poor, I am not tall enough, my nose is too big”—if you concentrate your attention on all your inadequacies and miseries, they will just get worse until you are ready to give up in despair.
Instead of saying, “I feel rotten. What should I do?” think of the suffering of others and generate compassion. It is very important to really see suffering, to pay attention to the harassed teller in the bank, the tired and pale old man shuffling down the street, the child crying miserably.
See the depth of suffering and get a perspective on your own suffering. Others are sick, they are plagued by war and famine, they are dying. Compassion is the fervent wish that all beings without exception, your worst enemy as well as your friend, find freedom from suffering.
To develop genuine, all-inclusive compassion, first exercise compassion on those nearest you; then extend it to strangers and ultimately to all beings throughout space.
Then turn your wish toward their happiness. Since happiness comes only from virtue, wish that whatever happiness others have gained from their past virtue may never be diminished or lost, and that it may always increase until they gain infinite and unchanging happiness. This wish for others’ happiness is what is truly meant by love.
Rejoicing in whatever measure of happiness others have brings limitless joy to our own existence.
Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion. Practice good-heartedness toward all beings. Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you. What they do will not matter so much when you see it as a dream. The trick is to have positive intention during the dream. This is the essential point. This is true spirituality.
If you wear robes, shave your head, pray on your knees every day, and yet become more angry, proud, righteous, and hard to get along with, you are not practicing spirituality.
You must practice the essence, which is selfless love and compassion, and then try to help others to the greatest extent of your ability. Use all your resources of body, speech, and mind. This is the method.
Whether you are a Christian, Hindu, Jew, or Buddhist, love and compassion are the same. Victory over faults and delusion leads to victory over death.
My wish for each of you is that you attain all qualities of compassion and wisdom and the ultimate deathless state of enlightenment.
Source: Rinpoche, Chagdud Tulku. Life in Relation to Death. Second Edition. Padma Publishing. Kindle Edition.