18. Everyone Must Leave This World All Alone
Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 18
Take refuge and arouse bodhichitta.
Meditate: Every sentient being is bound to depart from this world and enter the path of the next life. There is absolutely no one who has been born who does not die. When the end approaches, you sleep on your last bed, eat your last meal, wear your last wardrobe, and speak your last words. Leaving your loved ones, relatives, possessions, and everything else behind, you must go to future lifetimes all by yourself. When will this moment come? No one can be sure.
Every time I’m off on the road, I worry I may not come back. This kind of apprehension comes naturally either by my habit of thinking of impermanence since a young age, or by my timid disposition. Even staying one night away, I tend to ask myself: “Shall I get myself ready today? Is everything I do now my last act?”
When death suddenly strikes, it is utterly frightening and intolerable for those who have not studied impermanence. Conversely, those who have understand that all living beings are marching toward this end nonstop, which is nothing to be afraid of. Moreover, having prepared well for death, they know which state to abide in when the time comes. Consequently, an illiterate Buddhist granny equipped with this conviction will be able to face death much more skillfully than an erudite, non-Buddhist college professor.
Therefore, resolve: I do not know when my last minute will appear to me, thus I must hurry to practice the Dharma right now.
Dedicate all the merit of your practice to all sentient beings.