32. The Suffering of Old Age
Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 32
Take refuge and arouse bodhichitta.
Meditate on the suffering of old age: As you enter into senility, you lose the strength of your body and you have to struggle to sit, stand, or walk. With declining sense faculties, your eyesight is fuzzy, the ears are deaf, and memory is short. With diminishing cognitive ability, your thoughts are scattered and you become intolerant and irritable. As wind-energies and channels in the body wane, you are dull and timid like a little child. With deteriorating inner body and mind, you are ravaged by illnesses and consequently become irksome to everyone. At times you say it would be better if you were to die, but in fact you fear death and have to endure many unspeakable agonies.
Incidentally, if we happen to have old people around us, we must try our best to help them. Unlike younger folks, their mental resilience is feeble such that even a mild glare or scolding hurts them. Their bodies are frail, so that even a slight bump may send them straight to the floor, and we don’t want to see that. Beware: This is the future awaiting us all.
Therefore, resolve: I must practice the authentic Dharma and realize the state of enlightenment that transcends old age and death.
Dedicate all the merit of your practice to all sentient beings.
This kind of meditation should be easy, though not everyone agrees. Actually, it’s not that difficult if you investigate these points over and over, to see if they make sense to you. If you contemplate on it daily, the teaching will eventually meld into your mind. In our study this year, even if no miraculous feats such as gaining divine eyes that can see things beyond a universe of a billion worlds (Trichiliocosm), or other supernatural power are achieved, we have, nonetheless, honestly followed stepwise meditation practices. This has allowed the Dharma to impress upon us deeply in our hearts, rather than remaining empty words alone.