Many people are concerned only with immediate daily issues. They hardly ever give any thought to the matter of what to do when dying and what happens after dying. Even at the mere mention of this subject, they would rather cast it aside. How feeble-hearted are they to face death!
The show of impermanence is evident everywhere. Among other things, our dwelling place is a prime example. What kind of house did we live in when we were little? What was the situation when we were in school? How about now? What is it going to be in the future? By examining impermanence from different angles, its significance will become apparent to us.
There was a little monk called Ikkyu who once broke his teacher’s favorite teacup. Knowing he was in big trouble, Ikkyu dared not mention the accident outright. After his master’s return, he asked purposely: “Master, is there anything that will stay forever once it has come into existence?”
The master replied: “Everything that is born must die. How could anything be spared from death?”
Ikkyu then reached around his back and showed the shattered pieces of the cup, saying: “Then this means your favorite cup has died.” The master, with his words still ringing in the air, found it hard to reprimand him.
Our life is no exception; to be born and to live forever is never possible, and such is the inescapable fate for us all.
Not only will we certainly die, but also we will never be certain when, where, or how our death will arrive. It’s anybody’s guess. “The Sutra ofBodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows”says: “The Escort of the Underworld comes unexpectedly.” The Lord of Death never cares to make an appointment; more often than not, Death drops in without warning and takes away our life force.
To the ears of a non-Dharma person, these statements may seem exaggerated: “Wait a minute, I am in good health now, how can I die at any moment?”
However, a sudden death is not improbable if we contemplate a scenario like an earthquake. Not too long ago a practitioner’s retreat hut caught fire suddenly without obvious reason. By the time people noticed it, she had long died in the hut. To her, the thought that “today is the day I stop living” definitely had not occurred to her on that day.
A person who was dubious about the Dharma once said to me: “If only we could know how many more years we’ve got left, we would be able to make preparations in advance. Wouldn’t it be nice! Otherwise, we don’t have a clue when we’ll expire. I’m really terrified just thinking about it!”
Many people are concerned only with immediate daily issues. They hardly ever give any thought to the matter of what to do when dying and what happens after dying. Even at the mere mention of this subject, they would rather cast it aside. How feeble-hearted are they! Really, we must confront death squarely, rather than dodging it. While we are living a happy and carefree life, beware that the horror of death may strike at any moment. While we strive for the comfort of a present life that lasts only a few decades, we should also pave the right path for future lives that last for millennia.
Source : www.khenposodargye.org (Khenpo Sodargye Rinpoche)