There comes a time in our lives when we get shaken up. It might come about through any number of happenings and in any number of ways. Some momentous personal event suddenly helps us to view the world and our place within it in a totally new light, thereby, bringing into focus, the mystery of death. Giving our attention to this huge unknown, which we call death can help us to open another door into the even greater mysterious cavern of, what we call, our life. Which in turn, can point us at last, towards the greatest of all mysteries; that of our awareness. The awareness which is always present and yet remains unnoticed, unheeded and unappreciated.
During the coming weeks, we will be posting some articles from the book, Who Lives? Who Dies? What We Need to Know Before We Go. This is intended to give a snapshot of one woman’s endeavour to fathom this mystery. We are all called, but we don’t always listen to and heed that call. Life swallows us up with its unending round of distractions and it monopolizes almost all of our attention all of the time.
May the following articles inspire readers to look past their usual preoccupations, even if only for a moment. It takes courage to use this precious life to do what is most meaningful and yet an ordinary person took this step and has never looked back. May this inspire you to take some steps towards embarking on your own journey into the heart of being.
In the first place it is important for us to know what a human being can be in the highest sense. These days the focus is on people who do not know who and what they really are. We see endless examples of this in the fame and adoration given to politicians, sports stars, actors, and musicians etc. But what does it mean to encounter someone who has crossed that invisible threshold and become so much more…?
My father was a Polish Catholic, my mother, loosely affiliated with the Anglican Church. Neither faith made a very strong impression on me in younger days, although I felt a deep love and respect for the Christ figure and for the simplicity and integrity with which he had lived his life.
In my twenties, I met a Tibetan Lama of high standing, the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and was profoundly impressed. I had never encountered such a powerful human being before. This was not a worldly type of power, it was something far more mysterious. This person, who was already nearing his eighties by the time I came along, had the sort of presence that just automatically, stopped the mind. I could not understand what was happening when I was near him in those early days, but at the time that seemed unimportant. When I came within his orbit, I felt as though I was merging into something so much larger. It took a long while to even begin to comprehend, intellectually, what I felt immediately and instinctively in my heart.
In the presence of such a being, the opportunity for a radical shift in one’s focus becomes entirely possible. In the years that followed, I met a number of other highly realized Tibetan lamas in the Vajrayana Buddhist traditions. All had been trained in the old school way in Tibet prior to the Chinese occupation of 1959 and all had undergone long periods of retreat in various remote caves and sacred locations in and around Tibet.
Each of these teachers had given up comfort, ease, family and friends in order to find truth. They had given up everything in order to attain the highest goal. These days it is rare for such things to happen. Although my teachers have been primarily Buddhist, I consider each one as having gone, entirely beyond the confines of their particular religious creed. Their power sprang from the source of their own pure and deep experience and that is something shared by all who have recognised their true nature and achieved a measure of stability in that, no matter what tradition, religion or creed they may be affiliated with.
Truth, which is vast and eternally relevant yet changeless, is beyond any mind made creed or religion. Let us meet in the eternal truth of what is here and now.
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