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Lions Roar : September 2005
88 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2005 plead for and against them; a judge delivers a verdict; and off they go to their next rebirth. All these are mental fabrications. But most beings nonetheless perceive they are judged by some higher power (whose particular form corresponds to their cul- tural heritage), because the habit of judg- ing and being judged is engrained in the human psyche. If we are open to it, however, we could see the “judge” as a manifestation of our enlightened nature. Delog Karma Wangdzin recounts how terribly she was trembling while waiting her turn to enter the courtroom. But when she entered, she saw the judge as Padmasambhava, and was filled with joy. Another delog saw the judge as Shakyamuni Buddha. The most powerful practice for death is to meditate on the nature of the mind beyond concepts. But this isn’t easy to realize in our busy lives. So I offer prac- tices we can do with or without medita- tion on the nature of the mind. For instance, I offer meditations on taking rebirth in Sukhavati, the easiest pure land to access. Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light, manifested it so that beings could be reborn there without high realization. All we need are four things. In a nutshell, they are: First, to repeatedly think about this pure land’s amazing beauty, peace, and joy. The more these feelings infuse our mind, the more vividly they will arise at death. Second, we should make merit by pro- ducing positive deeds and thoughts, such as developing compassion, devo- tion, and serving others. Third, we need to cultivate a sincere, selfless, loving atti- tude and a genuine commitment to ferry all beings to Sukhavati. Fourth, we should dedicate our merits to all beings and aspire to be reborn in Sukhavati. Doing this augments the power of our spiritual work manifold. Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth is really about living, since how we live deter- mines how we die. If we could just open our minds in a relaxed way and let our innate peace and joy emerge, then at death all appearances will arise as a world of everlasting joy. ©