Although we all have a fundamentally pure nature, it is not easy to get in touch with it. The gross way our mind originally functions drowns out this deeper, more subtle vibration to such an extent that we generally remain unaware of its existence. If we truly want to connect with this subtle essence, we need to quiet all distractions and loosen the hold our ordinary appearances and conceptions have on us.
Excessive self-centeredness of me, my, and mine, is fraught with unhappiness. We become anxious and fearful. Distrust and suspicion ooze into our life. We don’t sleep well. We don’t digest our food well. We often feel miserable and don’t know why. Other-centeredness brings happiness, not only when practicing enlightenment, but also in normal everyday life. Practicing Bodhicitta to become enlightened for others — other-centeredness — is called “exchanging self for others.” It means exchanging the attitude of self-centeredness for the attitude of other-centeredness, thinking and acting for the complete welfare of others, all the way to enlightenment. In normal life, the more self-centered we are, the more people walk away from us. We are never satisfied, always wanting more. Other-centeredness, on the other hand, builds trusting relationships filled with meaning, love, and happiness. Emaho! ~ Barry Kerzin
There are a vast amount of Buddhas already, and each one manifests countless forms simultaneously throughout all of the planes of cyclic existence for the benefit of all beings. However, at any given time, each individual being will have a stronger karmic connection with certain Buddhas, compared to other Buddhas.
Likewise, if you were a Buddha, since a huge number of beings throughout cyclic existence would have a stronger karmic connection with you during certain times, you would be able to benefit them much more directly than the many other Buddhas would be able to. Do not forget this.
The deeper you realise this, the greater your bodhicitta motivation becomes – in other words, the greater your compassionate wish to attain the enlightened state of a Buddha for the benefit of all beings, as soon as possible!
Death is often a frightening subject. We are afraid to die. Unlike our parents and grandparents, we are not exposed to death. We have no knowledge or experience of dying as these days; most people die in the hospital. Several decades ago people died at home. Everyone, including young children, had the opportunity to observe a relative dying at home. This experience and knowledge abated much of the fear around dying. ~ from” Barry Kerzin’s FaceBook page.
How does one speak about Dying and Death in the Western world? Mostly with fear and dread from what I have learned during my life.
Are fear and dread good ways of dealing with what we all must go through? I think not. Our fear of death causes us much suffering here in the West. I know I have in the past sustained emotional pain when my loved ones passed. And there have been quite a few in the last few years. Too many if I allow my heart to speak.
Therefore, it is time to learn more about death and the fear of dying from the Mahayana Buddhist viewpoint. My need to learn coincided with one of my friends Barry Kerzin’s posts.
A doctor, a monk, a teacher, a lazy man. All of these things, yet none. ~ Dr. Barry Kerzin.
Dr. Kerzin wrote posts starting in late February regarding The Eight Stages of Death. The posts were detailed and yet understandable.
The timeliness strikes me. And is not lost on me. It is time to understand deeper. It is time to drop the illusion.
Over the next weeks, I will be writing about Death from the Mahayana perspective and delve deeper into the Eight Stages of Dying. Being a person who likes to research and explore a topic, especially one so dear, like this one, there will be quite a few posts.
May this post be of benefit to all sentient beings.
“Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts. What good is it to brood over the past and fret about the future? Dwell in the simplicity of the present moment. Live in harmony with the dharma. Make it the heart of your life and experience. Be the master of your own destiny.”
~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche