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Buddhadharma : Fall 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly fall 2 0 10 32 beyond our reach. We must be honest about our capacity and realistic in our goals. as I have stated above, we must also continually be mindful of life’s impermanence and the reality of impending death. We may not have all the time we think we will have for practice. We can aspire to such goals as receiving profound instruc- tions from authentic teachers of all lineages and gaining expe- rience and certainty in their meaning and in the primordially pure view of Dzogchen. We can always aspire to increase our bodhichitta and can do so by daily employing such practices as tonglen, in which we take in the suffering of others and send out positive wishes for healing and happiness in exchange. We all should wish to become proficient at practicing phowa for ourselves so that we may use it effectively at the time of our deaths, to die without regrets and with altruistic motivation for our next life. We may wish to become a practitioner who can sit with confidence with people who are dying and support them during the dying process. We may think about how we may help our teachers accomplish their dharma activities and where we can contribute our talents. regardless of how we regard our talent for writing, we can all compose an aspiration prayer for the time of our death and include it at the end of the dharma vision. We can read this aspiration prayer before sleep each night so its meaning fully enters our hearts. then, as we are dying, an entrusted dharma friend can read this to us to remind us of what we are trying to accomplish and of our bodhichitta. a copy of this prayer can be kept in our dharma box, and buried or burned with us after we die. Ideas to Contemplate Contemplate Impermanence from the Outer Point of View reflect on how your outer environment has changed during the past year. recall how the seasons changed: how the plants, flowers, and trees transformed over time; how the daylight increased and decreased. think about it in terms of your own personal living environment and throughout the globe as well. think about the natural catastrophes that occurred around the world. reflect on all the births and deaths of people, ani- mals, and insects. allow the enormity of these changes to reach you on a deep level until you feel with certainty that not even one thing remained the same. Contemplate Impermanence from the Inner Point of View Imagine yourself as a small baby. see the physical changes you have gone through until now. sometimes looking at photos of yourself from childhood to the present can be a poignant way to examine your own physical impermanence. look at the transformation that has occurred in you physically. then think about your physical being from last year until now, from last month until now, from yesterday until today. see that your body is changing even from moment to moment. Contemplate Impermanence from the Secret Point of View reflect on the wild nature of your own mind. remember your- self as a child and how your intelligence developed over time. look at how your mind changes moment by moment as it fills with entertaining distractions or follows after different sensory experiences. Contemplate how you are constantly transform- ing mentally and how the mind is also impermanent. Don’t forget to practice compassion for yourself. Appreciate the past efforts you have already made and contemplate the efforts you are willing to make to become the excellent practitioner you have envisioned.