Finding life in face of death
I RECEIVED news the cancer in my mouth that I had more than 20 years earlier had resurfaced for the second time. After having surgery and another biopsy I was told the cancer had spread and it was recommended I have more surgery along with radiation treatment.
After surviving the ordeal of treatment for the second time I later found another lump.
Things were not looking good for me being able to enjoy a long life. My partner looked at me with so much love and compassion in his eyes as he asked: “Where would you like to go or what you would you like to do before you die? I will do whatever and go wherever you like.”
I was so touched by his loving kindness and replied: “I am very happy where I am at the moment but I would like to hold the hands of His Holiness the Dalai Lama before I die.”
I later decided to go to India on a spiritual pilgrimage and become ordained as a Buddhist nun. On my return I had the great fortune of attending the visit of the Dalai Lama, while in Sydney.
I could not believe my luck when I found myself staying in the same hotel as His Holiness and having the good fortune to meet him in the lobby.
It was the most surreal moment of my life when he greeted me by lovingly placing my hands between his, making my dying wish come true. I was spellbound being in the presence of such a holy man. I was awestruck by the tangible power of his compassion.
In this moment I realised compassion was so much more powerful than anger and war.
I tasted the possibility of compassion being the solution to all wars and could see clearly how the Dalai Lama can stay resolute in choosing compassion over war with the Chinese Government.
I pray the Chinese Government have the good karma to be in his presence to feel this powerful compassion to be able to let go of fear enough to at least sit down and engage in peace talks with His Holiness.
At the time his hands embraced mine I remember thinking: “Now I truly can die happily.”
It seems, up until this moment at least, I still have the good karma to be enjoying this precious life I have been given.
Facing death is a true blessing as it helps us to deeply understand how important it is to live and love well. It helps us to see clearly that this precious life can be taken from us without any notice.
My journey helped me to understand on a very deep level many things that on reflection I only understood intellectually when teaching on impermanence for many years.
It is meditation that keeps this memory alive in me and shows me ways to enhance my life in ways I never imagined.
I would like to share with others just a few of the many insights meditation has shown me.
This life (that could be so short) needs to be lived mindfully, in the present moment, in order to be called a well-lived life.
That every moment we are not mindful by dwelling in the past or the future is the very moment we are robbed of truly living our life.
How we constantly live in the past and the future and miss the present.
How in the present moment there are miracles all around us that we cannot see because we are not there.
Cancer woke me up to how short and precious this life is and how important it is to not miss it.
I am truly blessed and am ever grateful to my teachers who have so generously shared with me the precious gift of knowing how to meditate in a way that has brought me so much happiness and peace.
It reminds me how grateful I am to have such a wonderful tool in my life to help me stay calm, peaceful and free of suffering.
NOTE: Choeying Dolma is the resident Buddhist nun at the Hervey Bay Oddiyana Dharma sanctuary