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Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche Impermanence

The Passing Away of Holy Beings

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Having realized thatness, the nature of the dharmadhatu, just as it is, those of understanding are released from birth,sickness, aging, and death.Though free from the destitution of birth and so on, they demonstrate these,since by their insight they have given rise to compassion for beings.                                   

                                                     ~ Maitreya’s Uttaratantra

It is out of unconditional love and compassion to sentient beings that holy beings appear to be born, fall ill, age, and die.  Although they are beyond all of these temporary circumstances, for the benefit of beings they display aging and death as a reminder of the momentariness and uncertainty of life. 

On March 3rd in Bhutan, one such holy being, Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche displayed one of his last physical teachings to remind us of that impermanence.  On this day, a gathering of 15,000 monks, ngakpas, and ngakmos, and foreigners witnessed the purjang (cremation) of this holy being.  

It is reminder not only of impermanence, but a reminder of a state beyond all the extremes of permanence and impermanence, coming and going.  He says in White Sail,

If we believe that mind is the source of all substantial and non-substantial appearances, we can decide that mind is limitless and believe in our own Buddha nature, which inspires us to practice.  Then, by recognizing even just one clear spark of natural awareness, this spark can become the great flame that burns the jungle of dualistic habit’s confusion and is the origin of the vast, luminous appearance of the immeasurable sky of enlightenment. 

And so his teaching is a spark which reminds of impermanence, how death can suddenly take hold of us, exhorting us to practice and treasure the preciousness of the teachings and the preciousness of this human life.  And it is a spark, which reminds us to look beyond these ordinary, dualistic appearances, and inspire us to recognize the true nature of our minds.

This year has seen the passing away of many great masters, such us Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, Khandro Tsering Chodron, and recently Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche.  It is a reminder for us to make prayers for our own current teachers out of compassion for us to continuously turn the wheel of Dharma and not pass away into nirvana and to study and practice their profound instructions.  And it is a reminder for us to pray that those great masters who have passed away be quickly reborn and continue their vast activity of spreading the Dharma.
Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

~ Julie from Canada

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