20. Nothing Can Be Dependent upon for Life
Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 20
Take refuge and arouse bodhichitta.
Contemplate that whatever kinds of living beings—humans, the aquatic and flying animals, or otherwise—no matter where they abide, on the mountain, in the ocean, or in the air, there is no place where death will not find them.
Some living beings die in a timely manner following a natural course; while others die in an untimely way that involves sudden and traumatic events. In particular, this human world is rife with threats to life, even activities that normally sustain living—eating, putting clothes on, walking, sleeping, and so on—can turn into causes for death at some point.
The other day a Dharma teacher said: “My body is failing me now at night, I can barely breathe when sleeping. If I manage to wake up in the morning, it feels like a miracle to me.” Perhaps the thin air up at Larung mountain is to blame for his ailment, or he had such a penetrating insight on impermanence that when he wakes up each morning, he thinks, “How wonderful!” The Kadampa Geshes were adept in this mindfulness, while most of us are still lagging behind.
Therefore, resolve: I just can’t bank on life and assume I’ll live forever. Instead, I must be vigilant about the indeterminate time of death. With so many causes lurking ominously, when will Death come to crush me, as it certainly will?
If you arouse this kind of apprehension on impermanence, your meditation will not be undermined by laziness, indolence, or distraction, and you will achieve your spiritual quest. This, incidentally, is also the promise given by the Kadampa and Nyingma masters.
Dedicate all the merit of your practice to all sentient beings.