Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

I remember a Catholic priest once said that all activities that we do, we can always ask for a companion. But there is one activity in our life where nobody wants to be with us --- death. I silently laughed. That's true. Death is something that most people fear even the dying themselves. Many thought that it is the end of life. Sogyal Rinpoche's famous "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" may help us in understanding what death and living is all about.

Reading the book, I found many interesting quotes that I want to share with you:

·         Nothing has any inherent existence of its own when you really look at it, and this absence of independent existence is what we call "emptiness." Think of a tree. When you think of a tree, you tend to think of a distinctly defined object; and on a certain level, like the wave, it is. But when you look more closely at the tree, you will see that ultimately it has no independent existence. When you contemplate it, you will findthat it dissolves into an extremely subtle net of relationships that stretches across the universe. The rain that falls on its leaves, the wind that sways it, the soil that nourishes and sustains it, all the seasons and the weather, moonlight and starlight and sunlight—all form part of this tree. As you begin to think about the tree more and more, you will discover that everything in the universe helps to make the tree what it is; that it cannot at any moment be isolated from anything else;and that at every moment its nature is subtly changing. This is what we mean when we say things are empty, that they have no independent existence.

·         We are actually educated into believing that nothing is real beyond what we can perceive with our ordinary senses.

·         We are so addicted to looking outside ourselves that we have lost access to our inner being almost completely. We are terrified to look inward, because our culture has given us no idea of what we will find. We may even think that if we do we will be in danger of madness.

·         "If you are too clever, you could miss the point entirely." Patrul Rinpoche said: "The logical mind seems interesting, but it is the seed of delusion." People can become obsessed with their own theories and miss the point of everything. In Tibet we say: "Theories are like patches on a coat, one day they just wear off."

·         Whatever arises, do not see it as a particular problem. If you do not impulsively react, if you are only patient, it will once again settle into its essential nature.

·         Try hard not to create too much hope and fear for they only engender more mental gossip.

·         When we have been wounded, we often become very defensive, always arguing from a position of being in the right and blindly refusing to see the other person's point of view.