complicated. Even when he was nearing his eighties, I remember,

he was sprightly and active and went shopping every day

almost till his death.

A-pé Dorje used to go shopping every morning around

nine. He had heard that Ani Rilu was on the verge of death,

and came to her room. He had a habit of speaking rather

loudly, almost shouting. 'Ani Rilu," he called out. She opened

her eyes. "My dear girl," he beamed at her affectionately with

his enchanting smile, "now is the moment to show your true

mettle. Don't falter. Don't waver. You have been so blessed to

have met so many wonderful masters and received teachings

from all of them. Not only that, but you have had the priceless

opportunity to practice as well. What more could you ask

for? Now, the only thing you need to do is to keep the

essence of the teachings in your heart, and especially the

instruction for the moment of death that your masters have

given you. Keep that in your mind, and do not be distracted.

"Don't worry about us, we'll be fine. I'm going shopping

now, and perhaps when I come back, I won't see you. So,

goodbye." He said this with a huge grin. Ani Rilu was still

alert and the way he said it made her smile in recognition,

and give a little nod.

A-pé Dorje knew that it is vital, as we come near to death,

to essentialize all our spiritual practice into one "heart practice"

that embodies everything. What he said to Ani Rilu sums up

the third line in the verse by Padmasambhava, which tells us,

at the moment of death, to: "Enter, undistracted, into clear

awareness of the teaching."

For someone who has gained recognition of the nature of

mind and stabilized it in his or her practice, this means to rest

in the state of Rigpa. If you do not have that stability, remember,

in your innermost heart, the essence of your master's

teaching, especially the most essential instructions for the

moment of death. Hold that in your mind and heart, and think of

your master, and unite your mind as one with him or her as you die.


An image that is often given to characterize the bardo of

dying is that of a beautiful actress sitting in front of her mirror.

Her final performance is about to begin, and she is putting on

her makeup and checking her appearance for the last time

before going out on stage. In just the same way, at the

moment of death the master reintroduces us to the essential

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