Rinpoche's Online Advice Book: We All Have to Die Sooner or Later

Rinpoche's Online Advice Book: We All Have to Die Sooner or Later

Date of Advice:
July 2018
Date Posted:
July 2020

A student wrote that her husband was close to dying and she was taking care of him. It was an extremely difficult time for her and she was very upset that he was passing away.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in meditation on Saka Dawa at Chenrezig Institute, Australia, May 25, 1975. Photo: Wendy Finster.

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,

I have been praying for your husband.

If you serve your husband from your heart as a sentient being, not as your husband with attachment, but as a most kind, most precious, most dear, wish-fulfilling sentient being, then this is the greatest purification for you and the greatest way to collect extensive merits. It is the quick way to achieve enlightenment and as you dedicate, then it’s a quicker way to achieve enlightenment. You have to recognize that it is a way for you to create the cause for enlightenment, so think this is an incredible opportunity and you are very fortunate.

We need to be aware that we all have to die sooner or later—that’s what has been happening during our life and our time is coming soon. We are going to go through that also and it has happened in past lives. The same thing that is happening to others has happened to us.

That’s why the Dharma is most important and bodhicitta practice is most important, so serve him as the most kind, most precious, most dear, wish-fulfilling person to you—not just as your husband and with attachment to him, not like that. Generally, also practice in this way toward every sentient being, recognize that [they are most kind, precious and wish-fulfilling] and dedicate your life for sentient beings. This is the practice of Mahayana teachings.

Sometimes when we see someone in the hospital, like people with cancer or those who are very sick, we think that they are dying and we are not dying, but we are in the same process, every hour, every minute. We are extremely close and getting closer to death, second by second. If our negative karma is not purified, if Dharma is not practiced, if our negative karma is not purified, then every second we are getting closer to the lower realms and then we have to suffer for eons there. I am saying this generally—it doesn’t mean particularly yourself, it is for all of us.

Sometimes those who [take care of] the people dying in the hospital think, “I am not dying; I will live a long time,” but sometimes they will die first, before the people in the hospital.

I just wanted to pass this message to you, with my love and prayers. Please continue to make your life most meaningful with the thought of bodhicitta day and night and in everything you do, as you are.

With much love and prayers ...