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

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

REFLECTION AND CHANGE 33rience, and your whole worldview can change quickly. These are themoments when former beliefs crumble on their own, and youcan find yourself being transformed.Contemplation on death will bring you a deepening senseof what we call "renunciation," in Tibetan ngé jung. Ngé means"actually" or "definitely," and jung means to "come out,""emerge," or "be born." The fruit of frequent and deep reflectionon death will be that you will find yourself "emerging,"often with a sense of disgust, from your habitual patterns. Youwill find yourself increasingly ready to let go of them, and inthe end you will be able to free yourself from them assmoothly, the masters say, "as drawing a hair from a slab ofbutter."This renunciation that you will come to has both sadnessand joy in it: sadness because you realize the futility of yourold ways, and joy because of the greater vision that begins tounfold when you are able to let go of them. This is no ordinaryjoy. It is a joy that gives birth to a new and profoundstrength, a confidence, an abiding inspiration that comes fromthe realization that you are not condemned to your habits,that you can indeed emerge from them, that you can change,and grow more and more free.THE HEARTBEAT OF DEATHThere would be no chance at all of getting to know deathif it happened only once. But fortunately, life is nothing but acontinuing dance of birth and death, a dance of change. Everytime I hear the rush of a mountain stream, or the wavescrashing on the shore, or my own heartbeat, I hear the soundof impermanence. These changes, these small deaths, are ourliving links with death. They are death's pulse, death's heartbeat,prompting us to let go of all the things we cling to.So let us then work with these changes now, in life: that isthe real way to prepare for death. Life may be full of pain,suffering, and difficulty, but all of these are opportunitieshanded to us to help us move toward an emotional acceptanceof death. It is only when we believe things to be permanentthat we shut off the possibility of learning from change.If we shut off this possibility, we become closed, and webecome grasping. Grasping is the source of all our problems.Since impermanence to us spells anguish, we grasp on tothings desperately, even though all things change. We are terrifiedof letting go, terrified, in fact, of living at all, since learning

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