If we remain clinging to this life even for one day, we are misusing our time. In this way, we can waste months and years on end. Because we don’t know when our lives will finish, we should remain mindful and well prepared. Then, even if we die tonight, we will do so without regret. If we die tonight, the purpose of being well prepared is borne out; if we don’t die tonight, there is no harm in being well prepared, because it will still benefit us.
But when we leave the world of humans, we do so without a protector or supporter and the total responsibility falls on us. We only have our own intelligence to rely on at that time, so we must expend our own effort in order to protect ourselves. As the Buddha said, “I have shown you the path to liberation; know that liberation depends on you.” We must put strenuous effort into gaining freedom from the lower migrations, liberation from samsara, freedom from conventional existence and solitary salvation.
The body is compared to a guest house; it is a place to stay for just a short time and not permanently. At present, the guest of consciousness is staying in the guest house of the body, like renting a place to stay. When the day comes for consciousness to leave, the guest house of the body must be left behind. Not being attached to friends, the body, wealth and possessions is the practice of the Bodhisattvas.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Photo by Asako Yasunaga.