What we must realize is that at the moment of death we are plucked from this life like a hair drawn from a piece of butter, leaving everything behind, including this body we have held so dear. Death is not like a fire that simply goes out, or like water that vanishes when it lands on dry ground.
There will be rebirth, and this rebirth will be conditioned by our positive and negative actions. If we have accumulated negative actions, we will be reborn in the lower realms.
However much we long to be reborn in the celestial realms, unless we have prepared for this by accumulating positive actions, it will be quite impossible. As it is said: “There is no result that we have experienced that was not created by past actions, and there is not a single present action that will not bear fruit.”
So we should never feel contempt towards accumulating even the smallest amount of merit and virtue, because the results can be enormous. Nor should we ever think that if we indulge in only a tiny negative action it is of little or no significance.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book Guru Yoga: According To The Preliminary Practice Of Longchen Nyingtik
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