I apologize for the long gap since my last post. Things are very busy here at Dechen Ling. First of all, Dechen Ling Press is nearing the final stretch in the publishing the last remaining books. I am particularly excited about Essence of the Vast and Profound which is Kyabje Pabongkha’s commentary on Lama Tsongkhapa’s Middle Length Lamrim. It is in the style of Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand and was compiled and edited by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. It will be sure to be on everyone’s top-ten list of lamrim books.
My main objective in posting this blog is to keep you up to date on my health. First of all, there was a post some time ago that was titled “The Doctors Were Astonished” which was a title that someone else changed from my original title of “The Blessings of Lama Tsongkhapa.” As soon as I saw the changed heading I was concerned that it might give people the impression I was somehow magically “healed” which is exactly what happened.
Due to the fact that I have several major health issues all directly related to my liver, it is nearly impossible for anyone to tell what is going to happen from one week to the next. Whenever the doctors come back with either good or bad news I respond with “We’ll see.” Things are extremely fluid in cases like this and a person needs to be just as mentally fluid or they would quickly drive themselves crazy with expectations, fear, and anxieties. Yet no matter how unattached I am to any outcome, my friends find it very difficult. As soon as there is some good news they expect more and more good news however that it extremely unrealistic. It’s like doing a retreat while hoping and waiting for realizations. It is sure to lead to disappointment.
As soon as I finished my retreat I began working very long hours getting the last 6 or 7 books published while simultaneously making preparations for Dechen Ling and Dechen Ling Press to be able to run efficiently after my passing. Combined with the 5 or 6 hours required for my daily practice my health naturally began to deteriorate. After a particularly grueling week of work and teachings my ascites returned and has remained ever since. This is not surprising however considering that the average life-span for someone in my condition is a few weeks to 9 months and I have survived 37 months! That in itself is miraculous.
My main objective is to use every moment of my life for the welfare of others and my illness has been extraordinarily beneficial in helping me to really identify what is ultimately helpful and what is a waste of my precious human life. I have always tried to use every waking moment of my life for the practice of Dharma but being ill has made it extremely easy to identify exactly what is ultimately helpful and what is a waste of time. It has also increased my faith in Dharma—if someone like me can manage to go through this process and not have any fear or anxiety that speaks volumes about the efficacy of the Buddhadharma. Far from being fearful, it is has even increased my feeble experiences particularly faith in the guru as well as renunciation, bodhichitta, and emptiness. It has also blessed me with a deeper understanding of the kindness of the guru and that the guru really is manifestation of all the buddhas appearing to guide us along the path to enlightenment.
Within the next 6 to 8 weeks we should have all the books published and everything with Dechen Ling and Dechen Ling Press should be in order so that I can devote all of my time to study and practice. Then, I can wait with rapt anticipation to mix my mind with the omniscient mind of the guru!