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

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

40 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGThe Western poet Rainer Maria Rilke has said that ourdeepest fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasure. 12The fear that impermanence awakens in us, that nothing isreal and nothing lasts, is, we come to discover, our greatestfriend because it drives us to ask: If everything dies andchanges, then what is really true? Is there something behindthe appearances, something boundless and infinitely spacious,something in which the dance of change and impermanencetakes place? Is there something in fact we can depend on, thatdoes survive what we call death?Allowing these questions to occupy us urgently, and reflectingon them, we slowly find ourselves making a profoundshift in the way we view everything. With continued contemplationand practice in letting go, we come to uncover in ourselves"something" we cannot name or describe orconceptualize, "something" that we begin to realize lies behindall the changes and deaths of the world. The narrow desiresand distractions to which our obsessive grasping onto permanencehas condemned us begin to dissolve and fall away.As this happens we catch repeated and glowing glimpsesof the vast implications behind the truth of impermanence. Itis as if all our lives we have been flying in an airplanethrough dark clouds and turbulence, when suddenly the planesoars above these into the clear, boundless sky. Inspired andexhilarated by this emergence into a new dimension of freedom,we come to uncover a depth of peace, joy, and confidencein ourselves that fills us with wonder, and breeds in usgradually a certainty that there is in us "something" that nothingdestroys, that nothing alters, and that cannot die. Milarepawrote:In horror of death, I took to the mountains—Again and again I meditated on the uncertainty of the hour ofdeath,Capturing the fortress of the deathless unending nature of mind.Now all fear of death is over and done. 13Gradually, then, we become aware in ourselves of the calmand sky-like presence of what Milarepa calls the deathless andunending nature of mind. And as this new awareness beginsto become vivid and almost unbroken, there occurs what theUpanishads call "a turning about in the seat of consciousness,"a personal, utterly non-conceptual revelation of what we are,why we are here, and how we should act, which amounts in

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