2 December, 2014, Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya
Gyalwang Karmapa continued the section in the text on the theme of death and impermanence, the second contemplation of the four common preliminaries. Today’s transmission began with a powerful evocation of the moment of death. Death is inevitable and cannot be escaped, however wealthy or powerful we are. Life is short and the time of death is uncertain, what can we have confidence in? Only the Dharma.
The text continues with various meditations on death and impermanence, followed by examples from different Buddhist texts and namthar which reinforce this view.
Life is like people meeting at a weekly market; the next day everyone is gone. The only thing which will accompany us at death is the Dharma. Thus we need to supplicate the Gurus, be diligent in our dharma practice, and devote our lives to virtue, as a matter of urgency.
A story from the life of the 11th century Kadampa master and meditator, Kharak Gomchung, provides an example of the attitude a dharma practitioner should adopt. Kharakpa gave many teachings on how to overcome attachment to mundane concerns, and he himself was renowned for his renunciation.
Once a tea merchant came to Kharakpa’s cave and left an offering of a brick of tea. Three years later the merchant returned to make another offering, but he found the first brick of tea untouched and gathering dust. Puzzled, he asked the meditator why he had not used the tea and Kharakpa replied, “I didn’t know whether I would boil the tea or the tea would boil me, and so I had no time! Take them both and go!” So the merchant picked up the two bricks of tea and left. Such is the urgency he felt of dharma practice. Continue reading