Death Can Happen Anytime

Death Can Happen Anytime

Date of Advice:
January 2017
Date Posted:
March 2018

In this letter Rinpoche advised how to die with a happy mind. Rinpoche also explained the benefits of the mantras drawn on cards which he sent to the student. 

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Rinchen Jangsem Ling, Triang, Malaysia, April 2016. Photo: Bill Kane.

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
I want to tell you something from my heart to your heart. Since we were born, we have been under the control of delusion and karma, but we didn’t get to actualize the path and we didn’t get to generate renunciation to samsara, aversion to samsara. We haven’t realized that samsara is in the nature of suffering and we didn’t get to realize the path to liberation from samsara. We didn’t do that; it didn’t get done.

We didn’t actualize the ultimate wisdom directly perceiving emptiness and without that there is nothing, there is no method to directly cease the seed of delusion and karma, the cause of samsara. That means we have to be endlessly in samsara until we actualize the ultimate wisdom directly seeing emptiness. That means we will have to suffer in samsara continuously in the six realms, one after another, always like that, experiencing unbelievable suffering without end. Not only that, we have experienced the unbelievable suffering of the six realms from beginningless rebirth up to now. Therefore, we have to die under the control of karma and delusion.

However, if we actualize that path, then we can be free from death and rebirth, sickness, old age and so forth. We can be free from all the sufferings, such as the suffering of pain, and the suffering of meeting the undesirable object or being separated from the desirable object. We cannot find satisfaction even if we find the desirable object. This unbelievable suffering is what millionaires, billionaires, zillionaires and trillionaires have, if they don’t know Dharma and don’t practice Dharma.

Death can happen anytime. We think we might live for a long time, but death can happen suddenly one day, even in five minutes, in a car accident, an airplane crash or a heart attack. We may think we are going to live for a long time, for many years; we don’t think we are going to die. This concept of permanence cheats us, it totally deceives us. It doesn’t let us practice Dharma in our life, so we always delay, delay, just as we delay doing such-and-such retreat.

For example, even today, children born from their mother’s womb died. Children who have just come out of their mother’s womb died, middle-aged people  died and old people died, even today in this world. Age doesn’t define anything, and it is [not] definite that we are going to live to an old age.

Suddenly a doctor says we have cancer or suddenly we come to know we are going to die. Then we first have the suffering of being separated from our family and our possessions—from our money in the bank or from our house—then we are separated even from our own body that we have cherished more than numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas and numberless sentient beings. We have cherished our own body the most, but we even have to leave that. We must separate from that, there is no choice, so first the worry and fear of that is unbelievable.

Then the next thing is that we are going somewhere very heavy after this life. Even if we don’t believe in reincarnation, we naturally feel something very heavy is going to happen, we naturally feel that. Some people have this feeling, even if intellectually they don’t believe in reincarnation they feel that naturally, from the heart. Then in the next life due to nonvirtue we will be reborn in the lower realms. It’s unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. For humans this is the heaviest problem, but it’s a great peace compared to even a small suffering in the hells.

Of course, people in the world do not know this, they only believe in just one life. It is very difficult for people to hear the right teaching, to learn the right explanation from people, and it is also very difficult for people to believe that. Western scientists do not know yet about reincarnation and karma and those things. They have not discovered this yet. It would take an unbelievable, unbelievable length of time to discover everything that has to do with the mind.

I want to tell you this advice, heart-to-heart, my dear friend. It’s good if you can do this motivation every morning, The Method to Transform a Suffering Life into Happiness (Including Enlightenment.) This would be your best meditation, this would be everything, and also it will bring all the success up to enlightenment. If you can, do this morning motivation. Please do it as much as possible.

Also recite the Diamond Cutter Sutra sometimes. Do meditation on Shakyamuni Medicine Buddha and recite the mantra, and if you can, do this morning motivation. It is so important, so important. Please do this every day, because even death happens suddenly. Then you have no need to worry, your past negative karma is purified every day by generating bodhicitta and by reading the Diamond Cutter Sutra, which is the Buddha’s teachings on emptiness. This is very powerful for purification. Then you can die with a great happy mind, and when you die you will meet the Dharma again, you will meet the Mahayana teachings again and you will also meet a perfectly qualified guru. So you will achieve enlightenment quickly.

Please at least do this motivation, The Method to Transform .... That is my main request to you.

You don’t have to keep the cards that I am sending you. You may not have a place to keep them all, so you can send some to a friend or to friends in the water, to the sharks or the eagles flying to Tibet. Anyway, I’m joking.

I wrote two mantras for you. The one on the popsicle is the six-syllable clairvoyance mantra. In Lawudo we have carved this mantra on big rocks so much in the past. By seeing this mantra, each time we see it, then after fifteen days all our past heavy negative karma gets purified. So please put this where everyone can see it, but don’t put it on the altar, because it seems no-one looks there. 

The other card with the horses has OM MANI PADME HUM, the mantra of Chenrezig, the Compassion Buddha. Each time we recite this mantra it collects more merit than the number of sand grains under the ocean. It’s also good luck and merit, more than the drops of water in the ocean. Recite this mantra with bodhicitta, thinking to free the sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and to bring them to buddhahood, the peerless happiness, the total cessation of obscurations and completion of realizations. For that reason we need to achieve the omniscient mind.

If we recite this mantra even one time with bodhicitta motivation we collect more than skies of merits, good luck, and therefore we collect the most merits and it is the greatest purification of all the defilements and negative karma collected from beginningless rebirth. Also it makes it so easy to go to the pure land of Buddha, like Amitabha’s pure land, the blissful pure land. From there we never ever get reborn in the lower realms, we are free forever. Then it is so easy to achieve enlightenment, because we generate compassion for every sentient being.

So please recite this mantra and generate strong bodhicitta, then there is quick enlightenment. Then each time just by seeing you, it even purifies the negative karma of having killed one’s father, mother or an arhat who is free from samsara or having drawn blood from a buddha or caused disunity among the Sangha. It purifies these karmas that cause rebirth in the lowest hell, the inexhaustible hell, where the length of life is one intermediate eon and there is so much inconceivable suffering. Just by looking at this mantra even one time, this karma is purified and especially if we recite this mantra.

If you can do either half a mala or one mala, that is very good.

With much love and prayers ...