The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

terryboxing
  • No tags were found...

The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

118 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGthe awareness and intelligence that are the raw materials forenlightenment, and because the very suffering that pervadesthis human realm is itself the spur to spiritual transformation.Pain, grief, loss, and ceaseless frustration of every kind arethere for a real and dramatic purpose: to wake us up, toenable and almost to force us to break out of the cycle ofsamsara and so release our imprisoned splendor.Every spiritual tradition has stressed that this human life isunique, and has a potential that ordinarily we hardly evenbegin to imagine. If we miss the opportunity this life offers usfor transforming ourselves, they say, it may well be anextremely long time before we have another. Imagine a blindturtle, roaming the depths of an ocean the size of the universe.Up above floats a wooden ring, tossed to and fro on thewaves. Every hundred years the turtle comes, once, to the surface.To be born a human being is said by Buddhists to bemore difficult than for that turtle to surface accidentally with itshead poking through the wooden ring. And even among thosewho have a human birth, it is said, those who have the greatgood fortune to make a connection with the teachings arerare; and those who really take them to heart and embodythem in their actions even rarer, as rare, in fact, "as stars inbroad daylight."THE DOORS OF PERCEPTIONAs I have said, how we perceive the world dependsentirely on our karmic vision. The masters use a traditionalexample: six different kinds of being meet by the banks of ariver. The human being in the group sees the river as water, asubstance to wash in or to quench his thirst; for an animalsuch as a fish, the river is its home; the god sees it as nectarthat brings bliss; the demigod as a weapon; the hungry ghostas pus and putrid blood; and the being from the hell realm asmolten lava. The water is the same, but it is perceived intotally different, even contradictory, ways.This profusion of perceptions shows us that all karmicvisions are illusions; for if one substance can be perceived inso many different ways, how can anything have any one true,inherent reality? It also shows us how it is possible that somepeople feel this world as heaven, and others as hell.The teachings tell us that there are essentially three kinds ofvision: the "impure, karmic vision" of ordinary beings; the"vision of experience," which opens to practitioners in medita-

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines