Articles about Buddhism

The benefits of meditating on impermanence

Published on November 27, 2012

Even if you are extremely beautiful, you cannot seduce death. If you are very powerful, you cannot hope to influence death. Even being incredibly wealthy cannot buy a few minutes more life. At present we cannot bear the small discomfort caused by a prickly thorn or the heat of the sun. What about the anguish we have to face at the time of death? We will be taken from our family and friends like a hair removed from butter--not a fragment of butter remains attached to the hair.

Death is as certain for us as for someone stabbed through his their heart by a knife, yet the moment of death is uncertain. Our life is as evanescent as dew on the tip of a blade of grass, and nothing can stop death--no more than anyone can stop the lengthening shadows cast by the setting sun.

Once a devotee offered a length of cloth to Drubthop Chöyung, a prominent disciple of Gampopa, and requested him for teachings, but was put off. He painstakingly insisted again and again, and Drubthop Chöyung finally took the man's hands in his and said, "I will die, you will die," three times. And then added, "That's all that my guru taught me, and that's all that I practice. Just meditate on that. I promise there is nothing greater than that."

Khyentse Rinpoche