Nearing Life’s End . . .
Phra Ajaan Chah writes to an older person nearing the end of their life. The essence of the teaching includes: remain aware, don’t hang on to anything, let go, and surrender to the way things are. Specifically, he covers the following points with them:
- Let go the fabrications of life.
- Train the mind to let go, and leave things be.
- Realize that nothing in this world is lasting.
- Beware of false suppositions.
- Know that wrong view creates suffering.
- Remember that awareness is your refuge.
- Remain aware, awake, and serene
- Be aware and let go.
- Think with discernment; be aware with discernment.
- Let preoccupations go.
- Don’t cling to fabrications.
- Remember your real home: The presence of peace.
- See the arising and passing away of fabrications.
- Accept change.
- See birth, aging, illness, and death in perspective.
- Let things be the way they are . . . let go.
- See how everything is getting ready to leave.
- Recognize inconstancy, stress, and not-self.
- See the Dhamma.
- Value disenchantment – the heart sobering up.
- See the constant.
- Let the mind be at peace.
- Be ready for when parents become children again.
- Show heartfelt benefaction and gratitude.
Our Real Home
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma-sambuddhassa.
Homage to the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Rightly Self-awakened One.
Silena sugatim yanti: Through virtue they go to a good destination.
Silena bhogasampada: Through virtue there’s consummation of wealth.
Silena nibbutim yanti: Through virtue they go to nibbana.
Tasma silam visodhaye: So virtue should be purified.
Now, Grandma, set your heart on listening respectfully to the Dhamma, which is the teaching of the Buddha. While I’m teaching you the Dhamma, be as attentive as if the Buddha himself were sitting right in front of you. Close your eyes and set your heart on making your mind one. Bring the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha into your heart as a way of showing the Buddha respect.
Today I haven’t brought you a gift of any substance, aside from the Dhamma of the Buddha. This is my last gift to you, so please accept it.
You should understand that even the Buddha — with all his virtues and perfections — couldn’t avoid the weakening that comes with aging. When he reached the age you are, he let go. He let go of the fabrications of life.