Transcription of teaching starts from here:
Master Gungthang Tenpe Donme says:
“Rebirth as a human, obtained this once, is at risk of being lost without fulfilling its purpose. It is high time to pursue the path of freedom. So, behold this persuasive advice!”
We have a sense of “I” based on the five aggregates, or the mind. Naturally we feel, “I want happiness, not suffering’, but most of us confuse temporary pleasure and pain with ultimate happiness and suffering.
We mainly focus on the happiness of this life only and specifically on the physical so, as a result, we are deprived of happiness although we want it, and we face ceaseless ripples of suffering. We cause ourselves so much suffering through the projections of our undisciplined mind. Now that we have met a system which teaches us how to uproot sufferings and attain lasting peace, we must make meaningful use of this rare opportunity and not waste it.
Though most of us have a mind to practice the Dharma, and some faith in it, yet due to complacency, we postpone our practice for a future time. We spend our life in sheer laziness and distractions. During our youth, we are mainly distracted by the affairs of this life, our pursuit of living; we consider spiritual practice is for old age. In this way a year goes by quickly, the days, the weeks, and the months… a lifetime passes by in a moment!
When we arrived in India in 1959, we had great hopes of achieving something by the year 2000, and now the year 2000 has gone by and we are approaching the end of February 2005. A few months ago, we were looking forward to the Lamrim teaching. Now it’s the fourth day already! In this way, time flies and we reach old age.
As our memory fails, we regret that we did not study and practice the Dharma during our youth. We lament our inability to do much thinking and pray to Lamas and the Three Jewels for a better future life. At the time of death, seeing that we have not practiced the Dharma wholeheartedly during our life; rather we either wasted time on superficial practices or in secondary or minor ones. We can only hope that others will perform religious ritual for us after our death. This is a desperate act!
So, practice well before you die. The best practitioner is happy at death, the middling one is confident, and the average one dies without any regret. If you were self-confident at the time of death and able to tell your family that you needed no rituals after death as you had practiced as best as you could, wouldn’t you feel good!
Most of us will die with regret, anxiety, and confusion, including those who are always boasting, who show their true colors and become unsure of their fate after death. They die repenting! Hence, we must pay heed to the advice of Gungthang Rinpoche which I quoted earlier. Death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain.
We think that we won’t die for some time because we are in good health and have everything we need to survive. However, if asked why, no one can be sure or guarantee a hundred percent that they will not die; we have no idea what unexpected internal or external causes or conditions might arise! So, death is inevitable though the time of our death is uncertain, and it is only spiritual practices which help at the time of death.
You should study, reflect, and meditate when you are young and full of energy and in good health. For meditation, it is essential to have conviction and for this, one has to listen to teachings. One should reflect on what has been heard and analyze them over and over again, not just believing them, and after gaining certitude in them, make every single day meaningful by becoming familiar with the practice. In this way, the rest of your life, whether it’s five, ten, or fifty years, becomes meaningful; if you establish the habit of listening, reflecting, and meditating in youth, it should be possible to think clearly in old age.
One is free not to be a believer, one can even walk upside down if one likes, but if one believes and is interested in spirituality then it is important to study. One must practice the Dharma today, and the essence of it is bodhicitta, cherishing others over oneself. One should develop and enhance bodhicitta in order to become a Buddha for the sake of all sentient beings. In short, we should hope and endeavor to take the very first steps toward Buddhahood right now in this lifetime.
Thank you very much to Florence Lee for transcribing this Teaching. Originally posted to the MDC Facebook page on May 27th, 2021.