2.1 The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying [西藏生死书,Sogal Rinpoche]

Hui: 这本书让你严肃系统的思考死亡,从藏传佛教的角度讲述生死。这本书意在写给西方人看的,结合了中西方思想,时而引入基督教的例子,相对其它佛教书籍更加通俗易懂。书的核心观点是我们从出生的那一刻开始就在准备死亡,好好活着是为了最终能够好好死去。书中指出一切都是无常,看穿我执的虚妄,理解无常,回归本性。虽然对许多地方有疑问,但还是非常推荐这本书。看过之后或许能向不畏死,亦能好好活跨进一步。

2.1.1 Living [生]

Karma: 业力
Phowa: 颇瓦法
Samsara: 轮回世界
Rigpa: 本觉
Nangpa: 佛教徒,内省的人
Luminosity: 觉明
Wisdom-energy: 智慧能
Heart-center: 心轮
Wisdom-channels: 智慧脉
Karmie winda: 业风
Prana: 呼吸

2.1.1.1 In the Mirror of Death [在死亡的镜子中]

  • The disastrous effects of the denial of death go far beyond the individual: They affect the whole planet. Believing fundamentally that this life is the only one, modern people have developed no long-term vision. So there is nothing to restrain them from plundering the planet for their own immediate ends and from living in a selfish way that could prove fatal for the future. (否定死亡的可怕影响力,绝不止于个人层面,它影响着整个地球。由于大多数人相信人生就只有这么一世,现代人已经丧失长远的眼光。因此,他们肆无忌惮地为着自己眼前的利益而掠夺地球。)

2.1.1.2 Impermanence [无常]

  • To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. [Montaigne]

  • Death is a vast mystery, but there are two things we can say about it: (1) It is absolutely certain that we will die; (2) It is uncertain when or how we will die.

  • Why do we live in such terror of death? Because our instinctive desire is to live and to go on living, and death is a savage end to everything we hold familiar.

  • Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really want to meet. Hui: 我们被各种各样的刺激、快感催眠(hypnotize),生活渐渐沦为手段淹没目的的过程。不知道自己是谁,不知道为什么活着。

  • Just look at your mind for a few minutes. You will see that it is like a flea, constantly hopping to and fro.

  • The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach! His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present. (人之生也,与忧俱生。寿者昏昏,久忧不死。何苦也!其为形也,亦远矣!《庄子至乐篇》)

  • Our lives are monotonous, petty, and repetitive, wasted in the pursuit of the trivial, because we seem to know of nothing better…..The pace of our lives is so hectic that the last thing we have time to think of is death.

  • As a Tibetan saying goes:“Tomorrow or the next life, which comes first, we never know.” Discipline is to do what is appropriate or just; that is, in an excessively complicated age, to simplify our lives……the only serious goals in life are “learning to love other people and acquiring knowledge(学习爱别人和获得知识)”……Whatever we have done with our lives makes us what we are when we die.(我们一生的所作所为,造就了我们去世时的模样。) And everything, absolutely everything counts.

  • In our minds changes always equal loss and suffering. And if they come, we try to anesthetize ourselves as far as possible. We assume that permanence provides security and impermanence does not. (我们害怕变化)

  • The past is past, the future not yet risen, and even the present thought, as we experience it, becomes the past. The only thing we really have is now……Has my understanding of death and impermanence become so keen and so urgent that I am devoting every second to the pursuit of enlightenment?

2.1.1.3 Reflection and Changes [反省与改变]

  • There is one way, and one way only, out of samsara’s ceaseless round of birth and death, which is the path to liberation.

  • Those with dualistic perception(分别心) regard suffering as happiness, like they who lick the honey from a razor edge.

  • We may idealize freedom, but when it comes to our habits, we are completely enslaved. Learning to live is learning to let go.

  • There is nothing wrong with the desire to be happy, but what we grasp on to is by nature ungraspable. The Tibetans say you cannot wash the same dirty hand twice in the same running river, and, “No matter how much you squeeze a handful of sand, you will never get oil out of it.” How can we work to overcome attachment? Only by realizing its impermanent nature; this realization slowly releases us from its grip.

Hui: understand and accept uncertainty. being mortal

  • Nothing has any inherent existence of its own when you really look at it, and this absence of independent existence is what we call “emptiness”.

Hui: It reminds me the beginning of Ecclesiastes.

[Ecclesiastes 1:2-10] “Everything is meaningless”, says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new.

  • Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion. (认知生命有如梦幻,减少执著和嗔怨)

Hui: 无所不有是全,一无所有是空。全是面子,空是里子。什么都是也就无所谓是什么,等于什么都不是,意识到这一点,就可以放下了。

2.1.1.4 The Nature of Mind [心性]

“the homage of the View” It is a devotion that springs spontaneously from seeing the View of the nature of mind.(“知见皈依”这是从看到心性的知见而当下产生的恭敬心。) Life and death are in the mind, and nowhere else.

Hui: It resonates what Bible says. Jesus came to show us the way, teach us the truth and invite us to find life. As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman:“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” Indeed, life and death depend on your mind, your faith.

  • There are many aspects to the mind, but two stand out. Ordinary mind, called by the Tibetans sem. One master defines it:“That which possesses discriminating awareness, that which possesses a sense of duality–which grasps or rejects something external–that is mind. Fundamentally it is that which can associate with an ‘other’–with any ‘something’, that is perceived as different from the perceiver.”(凡夫心,分别,相对心)

  • Then there is the very nature of mind, its innermost essence, which is absolutely and always untouched by change or death. At present it is hidden within our own mind, our sem, enveloped and obscured by the mental scurry of our thoughts and emotions.(本性,心的底蕴,不受凡夫心影响。)

  • The nature of mind is the very root itself of understanding. In Tibetan we call it Rigpa, a primordial, pure, pristine awareness that is at once intelligent, cognizant, radiant, and always awake. It could be said to be the knowledge of knowledge itself. (心性是了解的基础。)

  • When a much larger number of people know the nature of their minds, they’ll know also the glorious nature of the world they are in, and struggle urgently and bravely to preserve it. It’s interesting that the word for “Buddhist” in Tibetan is nangpa. It means “insider-er”: someone who seeks the truth not outside, but within the nature of mind.

  • The central truth of Buddha’s teaching: that we are all already essentially perfect.

Hui: I don’t agree that we are already essentially perfect.

2.1.1.5 Bringing the Mind Home [把心带回家]

  • In fact, we are already perfectly trained by and for samsara, trained to get jealous, trained to grasp, trained to be anxious and sad and desperate and greedy, trained to react angrily to whatever provokes us. We are trained, in fact, to such an extent that these negative emotions rise spontaneously, without our even trying to generate them. We will find that with time, patience, discipline and the right training, our mind will begin to unknot itself and know its essential bliss and clarity. [只有有耐心,纪律和正确的训练,我们的心将开始解开它自己的结,并认识它自己本有的喜悦和清明]

  • Because from the mind are derived all fears and immeasurable sorrows. We are fragmented into so many different aspects. We don’t know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in. So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home.Meditation is bringing the mind home.

  • Three things make all the difference between your meditation being merely a way of bringing temporary relaxation, peace, and bliss or of becoming a powerful cause for your enlightenment and the enlightenment of others: Good in the Beginning: springs from the awareness that we can all sentient Beings fundamentally have the buddha nature as our innermost essence, and that to realize it is to free of ignorance and to put an end, finally, to suffering. [believe in the equality of all beings]

  • Good in the Middle: frame of mind with which we enter into the heart of the practice, one inspired by the realization of the nature of mind, from which arises an attitude of non-grasping, free of any conceptual reference whatsoever, and an awareness that all things are inherently “empty”, illusory, and dream-like.

  • Good at the End: the way in which we bring our meditation to a close by dedicating all its merit and praying with real fervor…..Merit is the positive power and benefit, the peace and happiness that radiate from your practice.

  • Three sacred principles make meditation truly enlightening and powerful:
    1. the skillful motivation [善巧的动机]
    2. the attitude of non-grasping that secures the practice [让修行成功的不执着的态度]
    3. the dedication that seals it [结束时的回向]

The practice of mindfulness, of bringing the scattered mind home, and so of bringing the different aspects of our being into focus, is called “Peacefully Remaining” or “Calm Abiding” which accomplishes three things: all the fragmented aspects of ourselves, which have been at war, settle and dissolve and become friends. In that settling we begin to understand ourselves more, and sometimes even have glimpses of the radiance of our fundamental nature.[自己被撕裂成碎片的所有部分,过去一直都处在战争之中,现在则安住而定下来,而溶化,而变成朋友。在那种安定之中,我们开始了解自己,有时候甚至还可瞥见自性的光芒。] the practice of mindfulness defuses our negativity, aggression, and turbulent emotions, which may have been gathering power over many lifetimes. [正念的修行可以舒缓我们多生多世以来所累积的负面心侵略性和混乱情绪。] this practice unveils and reveals your essential Good Heart, because it dissolves and removes the unkindness or harm in you. [这种修行揭开并显露出你根本的善心,因为它消除了你心中的仇恨或伤害。] To release means to release mind from its prison of grasping, since you recognize that all pain and fear and distress arise from the craving of the grasping mind. meditation is nothing other than getting used to the practice of meditation. The mantra “Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddi Hung” is uniquely powerful for peace, healing, transformation and protection in this violent, chaotic age. There is a famous saying:“If the mind is not contrived, it is spontaneously blissful, just as water, when not agitate, is by nature transparent and clear.” Hui: But why is human heart so easily disturbed? we are BORN WITH SIN!

In meditation, as in all arts, there has to be a delicate balance between relaxation and alertness. Ancient meditation instructions: at the beginning thoughts will arrive one on top of another, uninterrupted steep mountain waterfall water in a deep narrow gorge still and placid ocean ruffled by only the occasional ripple or wave So have a spacious, open and compassionate attitude toward your thoughts and emotions, because in fact your thoughts are your family, the family of your mind……thoughts are like the wind; they come and go. The secret is not to “think” about thoughts, but to allow them to flow through the mind, while keeping your mind free of afterthoughts……there is gap between each thought……the Rigpa, the nature of mind in revealed in the gap. So the work of meditation is to allow thoughts to slow down, to make that gap become more and more apparent. Traditionally it’s said that for a real practitioner, it’s not the negative experiences but the good ones that bring obstacles. Then after meditation, it’s important not to give in to the tendency we have to solidify the way we perceive things. When you do reenter everyday life, let the wisdom, insight, compassion, humor, fluidity, spaciousness, and detachment that meditation brought you pervade your day-to-day experience. (在禅修之后,不要回到我们易于将事物固化的习气。当你重新进入日常生活时,要让禅修所带给你的智慧、洞察力、慈悲、幽默、柔软、旷达和自在充满你每天的生活经验。) When I eat, I eat; When I sleep, I sleep. (这就是禅修) Meditation is an art and you should bring to it an artist’s delight and fertility of invention…..Be alert for any sign of beauty or grace. 4.1.1.6 Evolution, Karma, and Rebirth [演化、业与轮回]

Shelley 雪莱 Balzac 巴尔扎克 Voltaire 伏尔泰

How much would it help us, I sometimes wonder, if we did remember them? Couldn’t that just confuse us even more? Dalai Lama: " The basis on which Buddhists accept the concept of rebirth is principally the continuity of consciousness. "