“The fluctuation of our body and life is like a bubble of water; remember death for we perish so quickly. After death, the effects of negative and positive karma pursue us as a shadow follows a body. Finding certainty in this, I request inspiration to always be careful to abandon even the slightest negative action and to complete the accumulation of virtue.” (Lama Tsong Khapa)
June is off to a good start. On Saturday when only four people were scheduled, I was caught by surprise when ten people walked in during the last fifteen minutes before closing. Things got a little bit wild, but in the end, everyone floated out the door on an invisible carpet of Chi. Just prior …
Even when the sky seems to be falling in our world, it’s important not to lose our bearings by focusing exclusively on everything that is wrong, reminding ourselves – every day, perhaps every hour, perhaps every minute, every breath – that which is good, healthy, and conducive to hope, and connecting our own life energy to the goodness consciously. After all, we are part of this world too, and we must have done something amazing to be born here. It didn’t happen by accident. Nothing does.
My anxiety was running a little high, but I had chosen this passage and even then, knew it was exactly where I wanted to be, on the edge of my mental comfort zone, with a tenuous hand hold on the sheer cliff of the present moment. I was learning to disengage from the intense ego-attachment that the mind feels for this body. This learning to let go is the basis for peace in life and death. Surgery, from this perspective, is an opportunity to practice a dress-rehearsal for death, and, to be more centered in life.
In my dream that night, I am holding a vajra‚ the symbol of enlightenment. I drop it by accident into the mud, and then quickly retrieve it, dipping it into a nearby waterfall. Once again the vajra shines. Innate purity is revealed. I hear a whisper: “This vajra mind is indestructible.” Don’t believe in ordinary conceptions. Question them again and again. Understand gross sense perception as just that. And ever look towards that which dwells beyond, the deathless.
I first gave this talk to a group of high school seniors in Ellensburg, Washington in the spring of 2005. One of my patients, a high school teacher, asked me to come and talk about my life. If you ever have a chance to speak to a group of students like this, I highly recommend …