Gehlek Rimpoche: The "Renegade" Lama
Gehlek Rimpoche on the fleeting nature of this life:
We all have this idea: "I won't die today." Everyone thinks like that, including people on their deathbed. We visit someone at the hospital. We all know they are dying. They know it, too, but still they talk about what they'll do next week. It's important for us to remember that. Why is it important? Our troubles come unexpectedly, particularly death. You go see a doctor, and the doctor says, "You're fine." You get into your car, then you have a crash and die. It can happen.
This is to remind people that this life is wonderful, but there are limitations. Before those limitations take over, achieve what you want to achieve. Do something while you are able to. Right now everything is wonderful, enjoyable, but that well being is temporary. It could change at any minute. Anything can go wrong at any moment.
This talk of death or impermanence is not meant to make you afraid. The whole purpose of it is for you to have compassion for yourself. And travel well.
From Good Life, Good Death, © 2001 by Nawang Gehlek. Reprinted with permission of Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.