“Death is inevitable. Yet, there is no certainty of when I am going to die. Hence, I must work hard to make the most of this life now. So far, people from all classes of society – high, middle and low – have been swiftly overcome by the Lord of Death, like crowds in a bustling market place. How fortunate I am to have stayed alive thus far! Feel the heart-wrenching sensation. Generate such awareness of death that you cannot bear to stay in one place any longer. Contemplate that when you die you will have no choice but to go alone without the company of your near and dear ones and your wealth and possessions. Instead, you will have to carry over all of the unwholesome actions you have accumulated for their sake. All the enjoyments of this life, good food and drink, people and wealth, have [so far] disappeared into thin air. So now think, ‘I will genuinely practice the Dharma for whatever lifespan I have left.’ And also that ‘I must start from today.’”
From The Essence of Refined Gold – Stages of the Path to Enlightenment by His Holiness the Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso
As translated in: The Essence of Superfine Gold: A Guide on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment by the Third Dalai Lama. Translated by Dr. Chok Tenzin Monlam. Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.
Photo: The audience of the 2013 Jangchup Lamrim Teachings was diverse and included monks, nuns and lay people, Tibetans, Indians and foreigners, Sera Monastery, Bylakuppe, India, January 2014, © Rio Helmi/JLTOC