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

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

IN THE MIRROR OF DEATH 5at dusk and rise before daybreak, and by first light the yakscarrying the baggage would be moving out. The tents wouldbe struck, and the last ones to come down were the kitchenand my master's tent. A scout would go ahead to choose agood camping place, and we would stop and camp aroundnoon for the rest of the day. I used to love to camp by a riverand listen to the sound of the water, or to sit in the tent andhear the rain pattering on the roof.We were a small party with about thirty tents in all. Duringthe day I rode on a golden-colored horse next to my master.While we rode he gave teachings, told stories, practiced, andcomposed a number of practices specially for me. One day, aswe drew near the sacred lake of Yamdrok Tso, and caughtsight of the turquoise radiance of its waters, another Lama inour party, Lama Tseten, began to die.The death of Lama Tseten proved another strong teachingfor me. He was the tutor to my master's spiritual wife,Khandro Tsering Chödrön, who is still alive today. She isregarded by many as Tibet's foremost woman practitioner, ahidden master who for me is an embodiment of devotion,teaching through the simplicity of her loving presence. LamaTseten was an immensely human and grandfatherly character.He was over sixty, quite tall and with gray hair, and exudedan effortless gentleness. He was also a highly accomplishedpractitioner of meditation, and just to be near him used togive me a sense of peace and serenity. Sometimes he wouldscold me, and I would be afraid of him; but for all his occasionalsternness, he never lost his warmth.Lama Tseten died in an extraordinary way. Although therewas a monastery close by, he refused to go there, saying hedid not want to leave a corpse for them to clear up. So wecamped and pitched our tents in a circle as usual. Khandrowas nursing and caring for Lama Tseten, as he was her tutor.She and I were the only two people in his tent when he suddenlycalled her over. He had an endearing way of calling her"A-mi," meaning "my child" in his local dialect. "A-mi," hesaid tenderly, "come here. It's happening now. I've no furtheradvice for you. You are fine as you are: I am happy with you.Serve your master just as you have been doing."Immediately she turned to run out of the tent, but hecaught her by the sleeve. "Where are you going?" he asked."I'm going to call Rinpoche," she replied."Don't bother him, there's no need," he smiled. "With themaster, there's no such thing as distance." With that, he just

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