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

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

FIFTEENThe Process of DyingIN THE WORDS OF PADMASAMBHAVA:Human beings face two causes of death: untimely death and deathdue to the exhaustion of their natural life span. Untimely deathcan be averted through the methods taught for prolonging life.However, when the cause of death is the exhaustion of the naturallife span, you are like a lamp which has run out of oil. Thereis no way of averting death by cheating it; you have to getready to go.Let us look now at the two causes of death: the exhaustionof our natural life span, and an obstacle or accident that bringsour life to an untimely end.THE EXHAUSTION OF OUR LIFE SPANBecause of our karma, we all have a certain lifespan; andwhen it is exhausted, it is extremely difficult to prolong ourlives. However, a person who has perfected the advancedpractices of yoga can overcome even this limit, and actuallylengthen his or her life. There is a tradition that sometimesmasters will be told by their teachers the length of their lifespan. Yet they know that through the strength of their ownpractice, the purity of their link with their students and theirpractice, and the benefit of their work, they can live longer.My master told Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche he would live to theage of eighty, but beyond that depended on his own practice;he lived into his eighty-second year. Dudjom Rinpoche wastold he had a lifespan of seventy-three, but he lived until theage of eighty-two.248

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