When you reach the threshold of death, the friends and relatives around you have no way of accompanying you any further. There is very little they can do to help you at all. Not even the richest magnate can take a penny of his wealth with him, and it would be in vain that even the most powerful of generals ordered his troops to keep death at bay — like everyone else, he will just have to surrender.
Your consciousness will leave your body and wander in the bardo. There, with an illusory mental body, you will find yourself alone in the shadows, lost and desperate, not knowing what to do, not knowing where to go. The hallucinations that torment most beings at that time are terrifying beyond description. Although they are no more than projections of the mind, they nevertheless have a powerful reality at the time.
The only possible source of comfort will be the experience you may have acquired through practicing the Dharma. That is why it is so important to make the effort to practice now. Even in times of peace, a nation foresees the eventuality of war and remains ready to respond. In the same way, stay on the alert, and prepare yourself for death by practicing the Dharma. Like an eternal harvest, it will keep you supplied with provisions for the life to come and will be the very basis of your future happiness.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book The Hundred Verses of Advice: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on What Matters Most
Read a random quote or see all quotes by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
Further quotes from the book The Hundred Verses of Advice:
- The Dharma is the best way of using your life
- Right here beside you
- Dwell in the simplicity of the present moment
- Dreamlike obsessions
- Free of being caught by anything at all
- Start that very day
- Without settling anywhere
- Have you prepared yourselves a boat
- Love and compassion for all
- The most profound spiritual practice
- Nothing to be gained or lost
- There is never any time to spare
- Flying off into the bardo
- The faults within
- Happiness and suffering
- Overcoming obstacles
- Put on the armor of diligence
- You will have to go
- Abandon negative friendships