Death and Dying
A Cheerful Face on Death
I hope you people understand the scientific Buddhist teachings on impermanence and death and are not trying to hide or escape from facing the reality of death. Of course, because of the way you’ve been brought up, this subject might be too much for you; nobody in your country talks about the nature of reality in this way.
Perhaps you think the way lamas talk about this topic is just a Tibetan thing, not a Western thing – even though, at this very moment, impermanence and death are within you. So, how can you reject nature? How can you escape from death while you are living in a state of impermanence right now? It’s impossible.
Buddhist teachings are not diplomatic. They expose your true nature. But that doesn’t mean you should cry emotionally, “Oh, it’s too bad; I’m going die.” Don’t think like the person in the street. Do you think that’s wisdom? Ordinary people say, “Don’t talk to me about death. I don’t like it.” Is that wisdom? It’s not. Check up carefully. Old people reject talk about being old. Is that wisdom or not? From the lamas’ point of view, from Buddhism’s point of view, that’s stupid, ignorant. How can you reject that fact that you’re old? How can you hide from knowledge of death? How can you say that such things are simply customs of the East? Is your death an Eastern custom? Did Lord Buddha create your death? Your death is created by neither Buddhism nor the East. It’s part of your nature, that’s all …
Edited from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive by Nicholas Ribush
This article can be read in its entirety in Mandala