37. The Suffering of the Gods
Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 37
Take refuge and arouse bodhichitta.
Meditate on the sufferings of the gods: Even a rebirth as a god guarantees no happiness. The realms the gods dwell in are the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm. Gods in the desire realm may enjoy a splendid life; however, when their stock of merit is exhausted, they have to undergo the sufferings of death and transmigration into the existence of the lower realms, about which they will clearly know through their divine eyes. For seven god’s days, the expiring god is tormented by the agony of dying and falling, which is more excruciating than that of a fish being thrown onto hot sand. Gods in the form realm and the formless realm enjoy blissful moments of meditative absorption; however, when the effect of the positive actions that sent them there is used up, they fall into the lower realms and suffer immensely.
Some people fancy a rebirth in the god’s realm to become devas. Such a wish is not advisable, since gods themselves are still subject to the suffering of change and the all-pervasive suffering. Therefore, resolve: In order to break free from samsaric existence, I must take upon the authentic Dharma and attain the unchanging happiness of ultimate liberation.
Dedicate all the merit of your practice to all sentient beings.
It is imperative to cultivate renunciation. This so-called renunciation is not merely the disenchantment toward fame and glory of this life; rather, it is seeing the futility of samsara including even taking a high birth in the celestial realm. Only with such an attitude can we cut the clinging to this and future lives with all their lures. We solely yearn for liberation, to cast off samsara entirely and attain perfect enlightenment. This, then, is our ultimate goal.
To give an analogy, a prisoner not only hates his current prison life but also wants nothing to do with any other prison lives whatsoever. He thirsts only to get out of the prison, period. This is a crucial point! At some monasteries, I’ve met people who practice nothing but sitting meditation, which, if is not motivated by seeking liberation from samsara, will only accrue the boon of higher realms. How could that reward be meaningful? Therefore, please be clear about the purpose of your practice.