There are two great sources of fear in samsara, the moment of birth and the moment of death. The suffering and fear experienced at these two times have to be faced completely alone; there is no one who can really help us. The only thing that can help alleviate those sufferings is the practice of the supreme Dharma. Nothing else can do so.
But we do not know how to practice it: we have only become clever at doing worldly things. From an early age we have learned how to make things comfortable for ourselves and how to avoid being uncomfortable. This sort of attitude has resulted in a high degree of material achievement. We can fly through the sky in airplanes, and so on, and we have made life very easy from the material point of view. But actually we are just like children running after a rainbow. These things do not really help us.
We need to turn our minds toward the Dharma by reflecting on these sufferings of birth and death. By doing so, we enter the path, going first through the preliminaries, and then proceeding to the main practice. As we practice, we will gradually get a true taste of what it means to become disillusioned with worldly affairs and to progress on the path. This is something that will come with experience.
But we must not postpone it, thinking, “I will do this practice next month or next year …” If we have received a teaching today, it is today that we should start putting it into practice, for it is only from the moment we actually plant a seed that it will start to sprout.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book Zurchungpa's Testament
translated by Padmakara Translation Group
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Further quotes from the book Zurchungpa's Testament:
- Not outside yourself
- Perceiving everything in its natural purity
- Like two expressions on the same face
- Just leave it like it is
- Free from the extreme of existence and that of nonexistence
- All perceptions are similar to a dream
- Complete absence of doubt
- Examine your actions very closely
- Not fabricated, never stained
- Projections of the mind
- Spontaneous devotion to your teacher
- Superficial dharma practice
- Just as space
- Recognizing awareness
- Nothing else than the projection of one’s own mind
- Suitable vessels
- The even state of all-pervading peace
- When true realization dawns in one’s mind
- First mature your own mind