I spoke about Death Meditation in more detail
April 1, 2010
Our Kechara House’s signboard…
Last night Kechara House was having a wonderful Dzambala Puja where 100,000 mantras were recited. Many people have learned to do the Dzambala water offering practice and are very enthusiastic about it.
Having seen them on, I decided on a last minute to go give a talk.
Our Beautiful Dzambala Chapel in Kechara House.
Offerings on the Central shrine to Dzambala, Tsongkapa and Three Jewels.
The sacred water ritual/practice of the Great Venerable Dzambala.
After the Dzambala puja I gave a dharma talk on:
1. Death meditation in more detail as I felt people are ready.
2. Why we should do this meditation and the benefits. How to see if one’s death meditation is heading in the right direction. I will have Beng Kooi of E-division to attach the talk here with a link. You can write to Beng Kooi about in case it doesn’t come or at least a snippet of it within a week. Hehehe… a global reminder to Beng Kooi…
Basically if one does the death meditation consistently you will have many positive results such as:
Always enthusiastic for dharma work, practice, learning and thinking.
Less depression, feeling of lonliness and having no purpose.
Easier to change one’s negative habits to positive ones.
More harmony among loved ones arise.
Easier to forgive and let go of past wrongs.
Easier to move ahead, plan and execute.
Positive attitudes resulting in good speech and pleasant body language arises easily.
A sense of urgency to do more meaningful activities in your life and with your life.
Those are some of the benefits from the meditation/contemplation I spoke about last night at KH. You can listen to it when Beng Kooi has uploaded it.
I also spoke about Building the largest Lama Tsongkapa statue in the world and what we are going to put inside. A semi indoor huge Dzambala statue. Why the name change of KWPC from TKL and also what learnings we are going to have up there.
The reason to get involved with this great project. Below are some pictures from last night’s talk.
I have also asked my Liaisons to form committees to engage in the following to collect merit for KWPC and our personal lives as a group together.
They will be doing collectively:
1. 500,000 Dzambala mantras
2. 100,000 Dzambala water offerings
3. This will be done with together with the Dzambala sadhana.
4. We will invite a Dzambala statue and offered many crystals on his holy body to be placed for this retreat and invite again for future retreats also.
After Dzambala or simultaneously, as they will engage in Setrap practice collectively:
1. 1,000,000 (one million) Setrap mantras will be recited, 100,000 black teas (serkym) will be offered to Setrap along with his puja.
These wonderful practices will be done in near future for the merit collecting act of making Kechara World Peace Centre or KWPC arise. All these wonderful, powerful and positive pujas will be done in Kechara House. Time and dates to be confirmed, so you should be on the email or sms list to be informed. The pujas are my personal recommendations for our group. These pujas will benefit the individual very much for their own lives.
Garlands of flowers with offerings will be made to Dzambala daily during this special group retreat. Who can join in? Anybody!!
It was a lovely evening of Pujas, prayers, meditations and I was very happy to give a dharma talk last night to the group.
Other thoughts below:
Death is so final. Even if we reincarnate back, the life as we know it or how others knows us is gone forever. Most of the time, we don’t even remember that life again once we are back.
It is so important not to lie, cheat, hurt and give pain to the ppl around you or to anyone. Life’s short and it is hard to make up for th wrongs that we do, so why even do it? Make it the best with the ppl around you always. It makes the short time we have available have some sort of meaning.
Death, the meditation of it, the thought of it and the fear of it always motivated me to not hurt others, to give, be generous and to let go. Just let go. It has kept me in the dharma all these years.
Sometimes when something really frustrates me to no end, I think about my mortality and death, and I lighten up to the point of being able to think things through with some sanity.
Death has been my strongest motivation to try something even knowing I might fail. I don’t want to fail. The fear of failing can be paralyzing. But then when I contemplate how many years I’ve wasted, I figure what is there to lose? Only death makes me lose everything, so what is there to be afraid of? Just go ahead and try it out.
When I am insecure, I contemplate how many years I have left to live, and not knowing that, makes me let go.
When I am upset with someone or a situation, I really just think, does it matter if I was going to die today? Is it such a big deal after all? Would I be upset if I was going to die today?? Then again my mind releases whatever upsets me. it doesn’t release all the way, but enough to not be some wrapped up that I can’t do anything else.
Death meditation makes you face the biggest challenge in life, your own mortality. Once you can handle that, all the other challenges become small. And your fear of them start to lose hold on you.
Transcript for the video Meditation on Death
It’s very nice for all of us to get together and learn the Dharma, do prayers, do some pujas. Some of us are here out of the highest motivation to gain unexcelled enlightenment for others; some of us are here for mediocre motivation, which is to gain happier, this life and future life; and some of us are here for the lowest scope motivation, which is to just have business and family and problems immediately cleared. Whether our motivation is of the lowest scope, medium scope or the highest scope, the fact is it’s all still Dharma. Why is it still Dharma? (00:45 – Tibetan) meaning it still is classified within the Lam Rim as acceptable motivation. Let me repeat, it is still classified in the Lam Rim as acceptable motivation. So hence, if our motivation is the lowest scope, medium scope, highest scope – it’s ok. The point is that we have a scope and that’s very good.
Now, how long can we all get together at this centre and do prayers and learn and share? Maybe if some of the founding people, the women and men and myself, if we die, or something happens, then the centre collapses. Then everything we’ve done is forgotten and it’s gone. And one day I will die. One day you will die and one day the people that work very close to me will die. And that’s a very hard-core fact of Buddhism. No matter how much we avoid that thought, it is just denial and the more we deny, the less we do spiritual practice. The more we accept the truth, the more we will do spiritual practice. Hence, death is the first chapter within the consolidated teachings of the Buddha, written by the king of Dharma Tsongkhapa, which is impermanence and death. And the reason that is so important and it’s on the first chapter is: Do you find yourself having difficulty changing your habits? Do you find yourself having difficulty choosing Dharma work over secular? Do you have problems choosing Dharma motivation over secular? Do you have problems and you find yourself lazy, unmotivated, unable to change? Do you find yourself falling into old habits? Do you see the years passing by and your mind doesn’t change? Do you see your knowledge in Dharma growing but your practice and your mind doesn’t transform much? Well if you want to know the secret, the key to changing is the meditation on death; the mediation on impermanence. To read that chapter over and to meditate on that chapter. Why? If you have actualised the meditation on death, if you have realised the meditation on death – you will be very kind. You will want to work in the Dharma. You will want to be of benefit to others. You will want to do Dharma work and you will transform yourself and change yourself. Do you know why? Because you know that ultimately we all have to go.
Those of us who have a chance to work in the Dharma, those of us who have a chance to work in Kechara, who have a chance to work in Dharma organisations, you are very fortunate, you are very lucky and you have a lot of merits. Those of us who do not work in the Dharma, for whatever reasons, or run away from Dharma work, it shows how selfish your mind is; how you have not learned the Dharma. It shows how little merit you have and it’s like – you’re hungry, people give you gold, you throw the gold away and you grab on to a rock. Simple. So later, definitely you’ll have problems. Definitely you’ll have difficulties. Definitely.
So therefore, how much Dharma you do, how much you transform your mind, how much your mind changes, how much you can change your old habits, is 100% dependent on meditation of death and impermanence. 100%. You know people come to me “I can’t change, I’m still attached, I still need to have fun, I still need to go out”. You can, but how much of it you do and how much you transform, is dependent on your meditation on death. People say “How do I meditate on death?” Very easy. You read the Lam Rim. But if you want a synopsis, if you want a synopsis, you can think in categories…you can think in categories. By environmentally, how many causes are there that could take my life away. Example: a tsunami, an earthquake, a fire, a drowning. Last week in Singapore, one Ganden monk drowned; he’s 17 – he’s dead. Last week. From Ganden monastery he went to Singapore to do pujas, they took him on a trip to…by the ocean, he doesn’t know how to swim – he drowned. He’s a monk. His time is here. He’s 17 years old. The whole monastery did prayers for him, I found out today. The whole monastery. He’s a monk. Even the Buddhas and protectors couldn’t protect him when the time for death came. He’s 17. So do not think everything is permanent.
Now, environmentally, how many causes can there be for you death. You meditate on category by category. By sickness, how can you die very easily? From an accident, a car accident, walking accident – any type of accident – eating the wrong food. One day you’re walking nice, the next day you’re limping; one day you’re fit, the next day you’re rivelled up in pain. By your body, how easy it is for you to die. How many times have we heard the person was ok, the next day they’re dead? How many times have you said in your life, “That person’s so young – she’s so young”? Nothing can stop it.
By your body, by your…by environmental factors, you can think. By accidents, you can think. And you think about it individually. Then when you have died, if you choose to be cremated, or if you choose to be buried – your choice – if you choose to be buried you visual yourself, your body dying. You visualise first, your ears go off; you can’t hear anymore. The feelings go off; you can’t feel anymore. You visualise your mouth becoming very dry; you can’t taste and move anymore – you cannot move your tongue anymore. Then you visualise your body organs stop to function and your blood stop to move. You visualise your heart stopping. Then you visualise finally, your eyes closing and all light is gone; you can’t see anything around you, you fall in total darkness. And you’re under still, quite darkness. Even the people around you, that’s crying, cannot help you. Your friends cannot help you, your jewellery cannot help you, your name, your position, your power, who you are, cannot help you. If you do that visualisation correctly – you will change. And then you visualise yourself, your family coming in, your friends coming in, washing your body. You visualise them dressing it, you visualise them putting it inside a coffin, you visualise yourself inside a coffin. You don’t visualise yourself looking at a coffin; you visualise yourself in the coffin looking out. You visualise the people crying, you visualise what’s going to happen to you next – the funeral. You visualise they take you to the ground, you visualise they lower you into the ground, they cover you for the last time then you visualise the dirt being thrown onto your body. Just visualise it. Not quickly – in detail. In detail.
This is what the Holy Monks of Cambodia, Burma and Thailand do. They do that in front of a skull, in their Wats; in their temples. Tibet, same. Tibetan monks do it in a cemetery. Same. Because it all comes from Buddha’s teachings. Then you visualise the dirt on top of the coffin falling on your face and you see the sunlight disappearing, disappearing, disappearing. Then you visualise the earth being stamped down. Solid. Hard. And then you’re in the box. You visualise yourself not moving, no breathing, no talking, no communication. You will never be dug out again. You will never come out of that box again. You will never, ever move again. And all the ugly things you did in your life will come back to you now; all the good things you’ve done in your life will come back to you now. Now, your statues, your church, your temple, your family, your money, your anger, your reputation, your ego, you failure, your loss, your winning, your complete sense of ‘I’ – is gone.
So those of you who are sneaky, bad temper, created problems for yourself, for your friends, for the people who care about you, for your family – now your time has come. Those of you who have been goody-goodies, praying, doing mantras, being all holy-shmoly – your time has come. Now your karma will judge you. No one can reach in there and help you. It is not like you have an accident and then three, four months later you’re repaired and come out of hospital and crutches – you’re ok. It’s not like you have cancer, you go for chemotherapy – you’re ok. It’s not like you had a car accident and you break your nose and they fix it – you are in the ground and you are gone. Your son, your family, your friends, your mother, your wife, your husband, your lover, your brother, you’re gay, you’re straight – everything is gone. Everything is gone.
And if you meditate on that every single day, no matter what age you are, you’ll be a better daughter, you’ll be a better son, you’ll be a better lover, you’ll be a better human being, because the point of that mediation is not to put you down or make you depressed, the point of that meditation is to make you realise the truth and your end. You see, if you make people meditate on karma, some people believe and some people don’t. If you tell people to meditate on God and God will punish you, some people believe and some people don’t. But who doesn’t believe in death. The Buddha (is) one step higher than meditating on God or Karma. The Buddha taught us to meditate on death. Because no one in this room, not even an insane person could deny your end, my end, our end – death. No one can deny it. So when you meditate on God, sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t. When you meditate on karma, sometimes you believe – when in you’re in a good mood; when you’re in a bad mood, you don’t believe. But on death you cannot.
Some people think, well I’m too young to meditate on death. Wrong! Because in fact, when you are very young you should meditate on it, so the rest of your life you’ll be good people. Some people say, “I’m too old to meditate”. That’s exactly why you should meditate on it, because you’re so old. You wanna spend the rest of your life doing what you’ve been doing your whole life wasting time? Some people say, “Well, I’m not old, I’m not young”. That’s exactly why you should because you know what? You’re not old and you’re not young, so get started. Death meditation can fit a Christian; death meditation can fit a Taoist; death meditation can fit a Buddhist; death meditation can fit an Atheist, because you’re trying to become a better human being by letting yourself know how much time is not left.
If you’re not doing that meditation every single day, then you’ll be lazy. You wanna go to bed at a certain time; you don’t like it when people disturb you; Dharma work is hard; you want to have good food; you want to have good fun; you don’t have time to help; you can’t commit; you can’t change yourself – you’re gonna keep complaining about that. When people tell you they keep complaining they can’t change, they can’t transform, they don’t know, they don’t understand, when people keep saying that, you know I think to myself – they didn’t do their home work. Imagine if I walked in here and said to you guys, “You know what? I’m tired of Dharma. I don’t have time for Dharma. I’m going to disrobe and pick out some pretty people and go out to have a good time”. Oh. Imagine if I come and say that you. Imagine if I say to you guys, “But I can’t change myself”. Imagine if I say that to all of you. Imagine if you say to me. “You do Dharma” “Oh no, I quit Dharma work and I’m gonna go work in a movie studio…I’m gonna go work in McDonalds…I’m gonna work in my Auntie’s plumbing factory.” You say, “Why Rinpoche?” “Oh, because Dharma work is hard. I need to experience life and find myself”. Imagine if I told you all that, than none of you be here. So, how come you say that and I’m still here? How come you say that and you’re still here?
So imagine, let’s turn the whole scenario around and Rinpoche tells you all the things you’ve been telling Rinpoche: “Oh, but I’m not ready!” How about if Rinpoche commits to a department and then tells you that, “Oh, I’m sorry, I want to have some kids and I want to raise my kids and I need to put them through college, so I’ll do Dharma when I’m older”. How would you feel? Oh I can’t get along with that person at that department, I don’t like that person so I quit. How would you like it if I tell you that? You know if I was to quit ‘cause I don’t get along with you, I would have quit a long time ago. I don’t get along with you guys. You guys are very difficult, moody people. I don’t get along with you. So imagine if I was to quit because I have commitments. I can go out there and get myself a wife, a one that looks…let’s put it this way: one level below Vajrayogini. And do you think my kids will grow up looking like you guys? No. I won’t have kids. Thank you. They’re gonna be gorgeous. They’re not gonna be bald and tall and from some weird European country. And when I have a kid, I’m gonna have one straight one, one gay one, one lesbian one, one in-between one – one everything. Just add it to the world, make it more colourful. Well I can say all that too, can’t I.
I can say to you, ”But I don’t get along”. Imagine Rinpoche tells you, “I don’t get along, that’s why I don’t wanna do it”, or “I quit”. Imagine if you have to come and counsel me, “But Rinpoche, you’ve been in Dharma for 30 years, maybe you should change”. “But I can’t, I don’t understand”. How would you like that? How about if Rinpoche comes to you with divination, “Oh I went to a Taoist temple, I got twenty foos, how do I get rid of it?” Imagine if Rinpoche went on a skiing trip and broke my leg and found myself by breaking my leg. Well how come, no offence to anyone, but how come you can act like that and I can’t? You guys are unfair. Let me get to the point, the point is this: I’m not the greatest monk and I’m not the greatest teacher and I’m not the most knowledgeable and I’m not the best, that’s for sure. But I have meditated on death and I have thought about death, and I contemplate on death, almost every single day. That’s why I am still a monk and I will remain one. That’s why I’m doing Dharma work, that’s why I want to do Dharma all the way. Not because I’m a Rinpoche, not because I’m a miracle maker, not because I’m a Buddha, not because I have powers, not because I’m advanced. I’m just like you. I meditated on death. I am just like you. Look, in my hay-day, nobody in this room can compare to my beauty, nobody. Nobody in this room can compare to my beauty in my hay-day. You are too fat, too short, too dark, too white, too ugly, too skinny, too…I don’t know what. But even in my hay-day I was doing Dharma, let me tell you why: because I meditated on death.
What am I trying to tell everybody here? I am not different than you and don’t make me different. I am not a Buddha and I don’t have super-natural powers and I’m not attained and I can’t fly. You see, you’re not here because I can fly or I’m miraculous; you’re here because the Dharma I teach you makes sense. And I’m trying to practice Dharma, so therefore, you’re here for that. So, if you do the same as me, don’t you think other people will be attracted to you also? Or attracted to the Dharma? Cause there’s no difference between me and you. Hence, because I thought about death, because I meditated on death – from the age of twelve and thirteen/fourteen I meditated on death, til now – I became a monk, I did Dharma work. And there are times I like to run away and there are times I like to split; there are times I like to just pack-up and leave, but when I think about death, I continue. I’m a stingy person, but when I think about death, I rather give.
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|Meditation On Death||
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