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Lions Roar : November 2006
what do I do when it’s time to kick the bucket? Where do I put my mind? Gehlek Rinpoche’s first answer was, well, cultivate a sense of open- ness, perhaps some emptiness; recur to the meditation practice you’re most familiar with; cultivate some sense of sympathy or compassion for all sen- tient beings, and perhaps recollect your teacher’s face. I thought that was pretty good; I’d had lots of experience with shamatha/ vipashyana over the years. Then I re- membered that a drowning man still has eight minutes before the brain goes dead—you can resuscitate a drowning man eight minutes after he’s stopped breathing—and I suddenly realized, wait a minute, what happens after I stop breathing? What do I do with my mind then? Because shamatha depends on the breath. So what do I do then? I went back, and he laughed and said, “Well...” and I said, “What about emptiness?” And he said, “Well, if I were you, I wouldn’t put all my eggs in that one basket.” So he suggested the teacher’s face as one thing I could grasp onto, and compassion, whatever com- bination I could get, but the teacher’s face seemed to be the most available. [Yelled from the audience: “Although I live in the slime and muck of the dark age, I still aspire to see your face.”] Yes, I still desire to see your face, even in the muck and slime of these dark ages, I still desire to see your face, so that seems to be both a last resort and at the same time a romantic first resort, for a last glimpse. ANOTHER QUESTION AROSE: how long is the world going to be able to maintain itself in the present rate of decay, destruction, muck, and slime of the dark ages? If civilization’s not going to be around that long, certainly not my books or records, what’s the use of poetry? What function has poetry got Ginsberg continued from page 88 the personal meditation bell margaretsbeads.com 973.898.6777 patent pending TM SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2006 115