December 18 : Loosen Your Clinging
Most people do not grasp trying to keep the body until they get old, sick and are moving towards death. When you are young, your body is fun. Until it is not. There are lots of people who get sick when they are young. The pain that the body can cause, and the distress that the body can cause, are no joke. But we usually see the body as something wonderful. “Look, I can go skiing. I can throw a frisbee and a javelin. Look what I can do. This body is fantastic.” or, “Look, I can dance. Look what I can do when I am dancing, this body is great. I can do all these fun things with the body and go white river rafting.” A lot of these fun things last only a short while and you can get killed in the process of doing them. And people do get killed. “Let’s drive a race car…”
We do not really stop and think, “What’s my relationship with this body? How am I going to feel when it is time to give this body up?” When I say to myself, “Who am I going to be without this body?” What answer am I going to give myself in the death process? Is there any kind of experience of selflessness or emptiness to rely on that will help us release the pain of separating from the body and all the identities? Separating from all our possessions, too. No choice. They stay here, we go on. It does not matter how many paper computers, paper refrigerators, and paper speed boats your relatives burn for you. How much money from the bank of hell they send you. None of them come with us.
It is interesting, our friends and relatives burn money from the bank of hell, but they keep the real money for themselves. Which is what happens, doesn’t it? You work very hard for your possessions, and then your descendants fight over them. I used to say this just as a matter of fact. Then it happened in my own family, which I had never expected. With friends and relatives, it is the same thing. There is no choice, when death comes, we must say farewell. Are we prepared for that? Or are we deeply attached to people? It is a question to ask ourselves and to look at. The great masters say, “In preparation for death, learn to give up these attachments.”
It does not mean that you give away your body now, your possessions now, or you do not have any friends or relatives from now on. We still live in a world with these things. It means that we loosen the clinging, the craving, the grasping, and the stickiness regarding those things. If we can do that well, then dying is like going on a picnic. It is a pleasant and wonderful experience. May we create the cause for that to happen!
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