Author Topic: An Enlightening Story  (Read 6852 times)

sonamdhargey

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An Enlightening Story
« on: February 03, 2013, 02:43:13 PM »
A very Enlightening story that I've found. Please read and hope it will help you :)

24 Hours To Die 

Raj asked Buddha, “Reverend Sir, how come my mind wanders around to forbidden places and yours does not?” “Sir, how come I do back-biting and you don't?” “Sir, how come I don't have compassion for others, while you have?” All the questions that Raj asked were of similar nature. 

Buddha replied, “Raj, your questions are good, but it seems to me that in 24 hours from now you will die.” 

Raj got up and started getting ready to go. 

Buddha asked, “Raj, what happened? You came with such vitality now you are totally dismayed.” 

Raj said, “Sir, my mother told me that your words are true and are to be held in high esteem. So please let me go so that I may meet my family members, friends and others before I die.” 

Buddha said, “But there are still 24 hours. Sit, we will talk more.” 

Raj said, “Reverend Sir, please let me go. I must meet my people before I die.” 

So Raj left and went home. Met his mother and started crying. The word spread. His friends came; other family members came; neighbors came. Everyone was crying with Raj. Time flew. 

Raj was busy either crying or counting the hours. When only 3 hours were left, he pulled up a cot and lay down. Although the Death had not yet arrived, poor Raj was kind of dead. 

When only an hour was left, Buddha walked in. 

Buddha said to Raj, “Raj, why are you lying down on the cot with your closed eyes. Death is still an hour away. And an hour is 60 minutes long. That's a lot of time. Get up, let us talk.” 

Raj: “Sir, what is it now that you want to talk? Just let me die peacefully.” 

Buddha: “Raj, there is still time and our talk will get over before the 'ordained' time.” 

Raj: “Okay, Sir . . . say what you have to say.” 

Buddha: “In the past 24 hours, did you curse anyone?” 

Raj: “How could I curse anyone? I was all the time thinking about death.” 

Buddha: “In the past 24 hours, did you think or wish ill for anyone?” 

Raj: “How could I do that? I was all the time thinking about death.” 

Buddha: “In the past 24 hours, did you steal?” 

Raj: “Sir, how can you even ask that? I was all the time thinking about death.” 

Finally the Buddha said, “Raj, I don't know who has to die and who has to live. But understanding the ultimate truth — i.e. death — can be very enlightening. All the questions you posed to me have been answered by yourself because of the awareness of death that you experienced during the past 24 hours. The difference between me and you is that you were aware of death for the past 24 hours, I have been aware for the past 24 years.” 

dondrup

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 05:27:28 PM »
In summary, due to the awareness of death, Raj became afraid, dismayed and worried about death.  Raj was very focused and concentrated on preparing for the arrival of death.  Buddha said that Raj had only 24 hours of life remaining.  Raj was convinced and was all the time thinking about death.  He was not concerned with anything else other than death! He didn’t curse others.  He didn’t think or wish ill of others.  He didn’t steal.  Raj’s mind was not distracted and it didn’t wander.  Raj didn’t back-bite others.  Raj developed compassion for others! 

Raj had only been aware of death for 24 hours.  Had Raj become fully aware of death continuously like Buddha, Raj’s life will change and he will focus on doing things which are important and abandon things which are unnecessary!

Meditation on death, the continuous mindfulness and awareness of death is very important.  Meditation on death will ensure we are put on track on the path to liberation and full enlightenment.

DS Star

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2013, 06:08:39 PM »
"You will have to depart leaving everything behind, so do not be attached to anything." - Advice from Atisha's Heart

In Raj's story, when he was aware of death, he concentrated on doing the most important things to him like meeting his family and have no time for negative actions like cursing others or stealing.

The awareness of death, by right, will put one into perspective on the purpose of life and should have change the person to be more compassionate...

However, sadly to say, in real life I have noticed that this is not always the case... many survivors of near-death accidents or terminal illness, altered their behaviours and actions only for initial period and will returns to their 'old self' of being selfish, jealous, anger...

So I guess the defilement in their minds or the negative imprints were too strong... that is why daily practice of "Meditation on death" is very very important. This is a very effective method to check our minds.

bambi

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 04:15:04 AM »
Impermanence! What a beautiful story and a wake up call to many! Although I wouldn't spend so many hours just to say goodbye. What could be more precious than spending the every 24hours doing Dharma?

The importance of meditating on death

Meditation on impermanence is of paramount importance. It was the Buddha’s first teaching when he taught the four noble truths at the Deer Park, Sarnath, and it was his final teaching, because he died to impress the idea of impermanence upon the minds of his disciples.

The Buddha once said, “Everything in the three worlds is as impermanent as an autumn cloud. The birth and death of beings is like scenes in a drama. Human life is like a flash of lightning in the sky or like the waters of a mountain stream.”

If a dog rushes out to bite you, there’s no value in merely experiencing fear; you have to use the fear you feel to avoid being bitten. Similarly, there is no point in merely fearing death; use your fear of death to develop the wisdom that is beyond the fangs of death.

You should try to practice Dharma, practice it right now and practice it purely. Dharma is the map that shows you the way to realization of the conventional and ultimate modes of existence; it is the food that nourishes pilgrims, the escort that guides you through the hazardous passes on the road to enlightenment.

The sutra method is called application of the five powers, because when you know death is approaching, you apply the powers of intention, the white seed, familiarity, destruction and prayer.

The power of intention. Generate the firm intention not to let your mind become separated during death, intermediate state or rebirth from the aspiration to attain fully completed buddhahood for the benefit of all beings.

The power of the white seed. Try to rid your mind of all forms of physical attachment by giving away all your wealth, property and possessions.

The power of destruction. Try to destroy the stains of all the negative karmas you have collected during your lifetime by applying the four opponent powers: regret; resolve not to create such negative karmas again; taking refuge in the Three Jewels and generating bodhicitta; and purifying the root of the stains by meditating on emptiness, Vajrasattva and so forth. If you have received any tantric initiations, request your lama to reinitiate you or, if this is not possible, perform the self-initiation ritual.

The power of familiarity. Generate bodhicitta as intensely as possible.

The power of prayer. Here, prayer refers to the aspiration of the true Mahayana practitioner that all the obscurations, negative karma and sufferings of others may ripen onto oneself and that one will never be separated from the Mahayana attitude of wanting to achieve complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Jessie Fong

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 07:54:37 AM »
When Raj heard that he had only 24 hours before he sees death in the face, he became consumed with meeting people to say his final goodbyes. He had no time for anything else, so very engrossed with his final hours, counting down the number of hours left for him.

He did not see it in him to do anything else but spend the rest of his time saying goodbyes. Good thing is that he did not engage in anything negative.  He could not see what the Buddha saw -- that in 24 hours he could have engaged in meritorious acts.

WisdomBeing

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 01:11:18 PM »
Aside from what the others have said, i thought it was interesting that Raj said "my mother told me that your words are true and are to be held in high esteem." but yet he did not listen to the Buddha to sit down and talk more. If he had, the next 24 hours could have been very different for him.

It's a good story though. I wonder what i would do if i was told i had 24 hours left to live. I asked a friend of mine this earlier and she instantly said that she would go to her teacher and ask his advice. i thought how fortunate she was to have a teacher who could guide her. I guess we should all find a teacher as soon as possible so that we would have guidance until our final hours.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Tenzin K

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 04:35:31 PM »
Raj answered his questions unconsciously within the 24 hours preparing for his death. So simple….but yet it’s a very powerful teaching and example. A lot of people will not thought of that but it’s just within our mind to transform and change once we understand that we could die anytime and it’s not about whether we CAN be compassion to people or DO any good virtues act but just to realize if we don’t change for good that is how we waste the remaining hour till death arrive.

This is a well known saying in Buddhism. Knowing very well that death is certain and it is a natural phenomenon that everyone has to face, we should not be afraid of death. Yet, instinctively, all of us fear death because we do not know how to think of its inevitability. We like to cling to our life and body and so develop too much craving and attachment.

The cause of our grief and sorrow is Attachment in all its various forms. If we want to overcome sorrow, we have to give up attachment - attachment not only to persons but also to possessions. This is the ultimate truth; this is the lesson that death signifies. Attachment provides us many things to satisfy our emotion and to lead a worldly life. But the same attachment becomes in the end the cause of all our sorrows. Unless we learn this lesson, death can strike us and fill us with terror. The fact is beautifully illustrated by the Buddha, who said: "Death will take away a man though he is attached to his children and his possessions, just as a great flood takes away a sleeping village."

This saying implies that if the village had not been asleep but remained awake and alert, the havoc created by the flood could have been avoided.

apprenticehealer

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 05:07:14 AM »
This is a most enlightening story. In the story, Buddha himself said he does not know who is to live and who is to die.

All the more , we do not know when we are to die and how long more we are to live . Life is impermanent , death is literally just round the corner from us and death is a certainty for everyone. Bearing this constantly in mind, we must live our lives with compassion, loving kindness, humility, bringing into ourselves and practicing the Dharma fully and constantly. We incorporate into our daily sandhanas the death meditation and keep our Refuge vows and devote and dedicate our entire being to The Buddha and our Guru.

When death comes , we are prepared , with no fear nor regret. What good karma we have to live this lifetime with all the right conditions to learn and practice the Dharma , with such wise, loving and caring guidance from our Guru. How we leave this lifetime, depends on what we did while alive, and with the karma we have , we start a new chapter in the next lifetime.

vajrastorm

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 08:39:02 AM »
Day 10 of the Lamrim is entitled - 'Remembering Death'. We need to be aware and remember death so that we can prepare for it. As the Lamrim says, when we remember Death all the time, we will focus on what matters at time of death. What matters is nothing else but the Dharma, as we cannot take any of our earthly possessions into the next life. The Dharma, if we have practiced it, will have transformed our minds into  a calm and peaceful one and ready for transmigrating into the next life.

The best is we can have control of our rebirth, and that can only be attained through serious Dharma practice.In  this story , Raj was able to remain aware of (remember) death for 24 hours. In the 24 hours, he was able to abandon non-virtue. However, 24 hours is too short a time to sustain a dharma practice to bring about the development of renunciation, Bodhicitta and the Correct View of Emptiness(Je Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path) or to be able to attain control of one's  rebirth. Hence,the Buddha told Raj that he had been aware of Death for the past 24 years.

That's why my Spiritual Guide has been relentlessly reminding me about Death and about the Dharma. But I'm so deeply mired in laziness and a mind obstructed by layers of negativities and lack of merit.

Big Uncle

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 11:09:18 AM »
Aside from what the others have said, i thought it was interesting that Raj said "my mother told me that your words are true and are to be held in high esteem." but yet he did not listen to the Buddha to sit down and talk more. If he had, the next 24 hours could have been very different for him.

It's a good story though. I wonder what i would do if i was told i had 24 hours left to live. I asked a friend of mine this earlier and she instantly said that she would go to her teacher and ask his advice. i thought how fortunate she was to have a teacher who could guide her. I guess we should all find a teacher as soon as possible so that we would have guidance until our final hours.

Dear Wisdom Being,
I like your answer very much and I like how you have put into perspective how we practice devotion to our spiritual guides, often by lip service alone because there are other more pressing issues to attend to. I was thinking if I were in his place, I would have been just as scared and instead of taking leave, I would have asked the Buddha if there's anything I could do to sort of push death so I can learn more from the Buddha.

Well, most likely, I wouldn't be able to do anything about it, so I would rather spend my last moments meditating or doing some puja so the transition would be a smoother journey to a better place. I rather not just meet death lying around, waiting for the inevitable. Well, I understand that the story is meant to explain the difference between Raj and the Buddha. But it seemed that Raj became more self-absorbed in facing death. But the constant thinking about our mortality is what makes the similarity. Anyhow, I think the plot is too simplistic and in more ways that one, it would serve to baffle people as to what the message really is.   

Q

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 02:32:48 PM »
Wow! This is a very powerful story! No wonder my Guru always emphasize for His students to meditate strongly on death!

Though I must say Raj does have extreme merits not only to meet the Buddha, but to trust the Buddha at the highest that without a doubt, he belief what the Buddha said. This would not have worked if Raj did not have such strong trust int he Buddha.

When we realize about death, it is true that there really is no time to get angry, think negative thoughts or even engage in negative activity. It is truly strange that at the face of death, everything that we thought was 'correct' will appear differently to us. This proofs that our inherent nature is so strong that without being told, we actually know what is right and wrong.

yontenjamyang

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Re: An Enlightening Story
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 03:59:08 PM »
The story's moral is to take this human life as precious. Precious because it is rare. So hard to get. When one knows that one has only 24 hours to live then this 24 hours becomes very precious. All the previous years spent on living an unvirtuos life is gone and cannot be retrieved. Only the next 24 hours is left. So rare and precious.

 In actuality the time we have as a human being is rare and temporary. "Like a lightning bolt and bubble". Compare this lifespan to the time we have spent as gods, hell beings, hungry ghosts and animals over and over again, this life is short. Also this life has the correct balance of sufferings and happiness for one to practice the Dharma. Only as a human can one become fully enlightened.

Hence, we must spend this "24 hours" fruitfully. Practice the Dharma. Practice morality,awareness and wisdom.