THE OLD MONK OF THE MONASTERY

A few days ago, I met a young monk from one of the monasteries in Boudhanath in Kathmandu, Nepal. As only in the way that us so called “Buddhists” talk about death so openly and so frankly, as if we were discussing the contents of the various food on our plates at a nice restaurant, he started to talk about the old monk in his monastery.

The old monk in the monastery had “passed away” recently. He recalled that the old monk went into a meditative pose and remained in meditation (thugdam) long after his so called death. “He went with a smile and with no worries”, the young monk said wearing a charming and agreeable smile himself. I thought to myself at that moment and I’ve been thinking to myself since then; “that’s how I would like to die”.

Then I recalled that about two years ago, I happened to meet a lama who was childlike as he was godlike. I heard that when the time came close for his death, he stripped off all his clothes, entered a room and remained there by himself, and went into deep meditation. For a long time, when people asked him if he had any project, he had been known to reply; “I have no project, my only project is death”. I heard there were rainbows in the valley in the remote part of Nepal where he “passed away” in this manner.

Then there is a story of a realized female practioner who lived in lifelong retreat in New York City of all places. Most of us would have gone crazy living in only a room all our lives with no social contact offline or online. She remained in a deep meditative state post-death.

The one common thread in all these stories is that the bodies of these realized practioners do not smell and they went peacefully. They were prepared and unafraid.

Anyways, these three deaths have left deep impressions on me.

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