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

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

REFLECTION AND CHANGE 31Not only did she come to accept death; but by followingthe practice with complete dedication, she was healed. I haveheard of many other cases of people who were diagnosed asterminally ill and given only a few months to live. When theywent into solitude, followed a spiritual practice, and trulyfaced themselves and the fact of death, they were healed.What is this telling us? That when we accept death, transformour attitude toward life, and discover the fundamental connectionbetween life and death, a dramatic possibility for healingcan occur.Tibetan Buddhists believe that illnesses like cancer can be awarning, to remind us that we have been neglecting deepaspects of our being, such as our spiritual needs. 4 If we takethis warning seriously and change fundamentally the directionof our lives, there is a very real hope for healing not only ourbody, but our whole being.A CHANGE IN THE DEPTHS OF THE HEARTTo reflect deeply on impermanence, just as Krisha Gotamidid, is to be led to understand in the core of your heart thetruth that is expressed so strongly in this verse of a poem by acontemporary master, Nyoshul Khenpo:The nature of everything is illusory and ephemeral,Those with dualisic perception regard suffering as happiness,Like they who lick the honey from a razor's edge.How pitiful they who cling strongly to concrete reality:Turn your attention within, my heart friends. 5Yet how hard it can be to turn our attention within! Howeasily we allow our old habits and set patterns to dominateus! Even though, as Nyoshul Khenpo's poem tells us, theybring us suffering, we accept them with almost fatalistic resignation,for we are so used to giving in to them. We may idealizefreedom, but when it comes to our habits, we are completelyenslaved.Still, reflection can slowly bring us wisdom. We can cometo see we are falling again and again into fixed repetitive patterns,and begin to long to get out of them. We may, ofcourse, fall back into them, again and again, but slowly wecan emerge from them and change. The following poemspeaks to us all. It's called "Autobiography in Five Chapters." 6

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