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

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

TWO STORIES 389them a part of his life. Rick sat in his chair and faced us all and toldus how he felt about dying. I hope that these excerpts will give yousome flavor of this moving occasion:When I thought I was dying, two years ago, I did what was natural:I cried out, and I was answered. And it took me through severalweeks of horrible fevers, where I thought I was going to go in themiddle of the night ... This devotion, this crying out... When thisis all you can do, we have that promise from Padmasambhava thathe is there. And he doesn't lie: he has proved himself to me manytimes.If it were not for Padmasambhava, whom Rinpoche teaches us isthe nature of our own mind, our own buddha nature, if it were notfor that glorious shining presence, I couldn't go through what I'mgoing through. I just know I couldn't.The first thing I realized was that you must take personal responsibilityfor yourself. The reason I am dying is that I have AIDS. Thatis my responsibility; no one else is to blame. In fact there is no oneto blame, not even myself. But I take responsibility for that.I made a vow to myself and to whatever gods there may be,before I came into Buddhism, that I just wanted to be happy. When... I made that decision, I stuck to it. And this is very important indoing any kind of training of the mind. You must make the decisionthat you really want to change. If you don't want to change, no oneis going to do the work for you.Our part... is to work with the daily aspects of our situation. Firstis to be grateful that you are in this body, and on this planet. That wasthe beginning for me—realizing gratitude for the earth, for livingbeings. Now that I feel things slowly slipping out, I am becoming somuch more grateful for everyone and everything. So my practice nowcenters on this gratitude, simply a constant offering of praise to life, toPadmasambhava, who is living all of these multitudinous forms.Don't make the mistake I did for so many years, that "practice"means sitting straight and saying mantras, thinking, "I'll be glad whenthis is over!" Practice is much bigger than that. Practice is every personyou meet; practice is every unkind word you hear or that mayeven be directed at you.When you stand up from your practice seat, that's when practicereally begins. We have to be very artful and creative in how weapply the practice to life. There is always something in our environmentwe can connect with, to do the practice. So if I'm too dizzy tovisualize Vajrasattva above my head, I stand up, and I go and washmy morning dishes, and the plate I'm holding in my hand is theworld and all its suffering beings. Then I say the mantra ... OMVAJRA SATTVA HUM ... and I'm washing away the suffering ofbeings. When I take a shower, it's not a shower; that's Vajrasattvaabove my head. When I go out in the sunshine, it is the light, like a

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