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

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

IMPERMANENCE 21us. The more we try to escape, the more we seem to fall intothe traps it is so ingenious at setting for us. As the eighteenthcenturyTibetan master Jikmé Lingpa said: "Mesmerized bythe sheer variety of perceptions, beings wander endlesslyastray in samsara's vicious cycle."Obsessed, then, with false hopes, dreams, and ambitions,which promise happiness but lead only to misery, we are likepeople crawling through an endless desert, dying of thirst. Andall that this samsara holds out to us to drink is a cup of saltwater, designed to make us even thirstier.FACING DEATHKnowing and realizing this, shouldn't we listen to GyalséRinpoche when he says:Planning for the future is like going fishing in a dry gulch;Nothing ever works out as you wanted, so give up all yourschemes and ambitions.If you have got to think about something—Make it the uncertainty of the hour of your death ...For Tibetans, the main festival of the year is the New Year,which is like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and your birthdayall rolled into one. Patrul Rinpoche was a great masterwhose life was full of eccentric episodes that would bring theteaching to life. Instead of celebrating New Year's Day andwishing people a "Happy New Year" like everyone else, PatrulRinpoche used to weep. When asked why, he said thatanother year had gone by, and so many people had come oneyear closer to death, still unprepared.Think of what must have happened to nearly all of us oneday or the other. We are strolling down the street, thinkinginspiring thoughts, speculating on important matters, or justlistening to our Walkman. A car suddenly races by and almostruns us over.Switch on the television or glance at a newspaper: You willsee death everywhere. Yet did the victims of those planecrashes and car accidents expect to die? They took life forgranted, as we do. How often do we hear stories of peoplewhom we know, or even friends, who died unexpectedly? Wedon't even have to be ill to die: our bodies can suddenly breakdown and go out of order, just like our cars. We can be quitewell one day, then fall sick and die the next. Milarepa sang:

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