Dharma Sister M (a cancer patient) asked me just now on how she should prepare for her own departure. Her question prompted me to ask everyone here – are you ready? Are you prepared for your own departure? This is a very real issue. The ultimate aim of a spiritual cultivation is to prepare us for our final moment; the rest are irrelevant.
I told her, “If you do not mind, we could help you during your final moment by delivering your soul and bidding you farewell.” I mean, if, by then, all of you are still around… I am speaking the truth. Although she might be prepared, the rest of you might not. She might not be the one who would depart first though. If all of you truly understand the teachings of the Buddha – there is really no guarantee on who would depart first. Now that you saw others ready to go when we are not, who knows – we might end up being the one going first.
Sakyamuni Buddha taught for so many years, but what He truly wanted to tell us was that – every one of us will have to depart one day, anytime. No one knows when his final moment will come. Now we might be thinking about helping her during her final moment, but we might end up being the one going first instead.
A cultivator must always remember one point: No one knows who will go first. So, be prepared – purify our mental faculty, speech and actions, recite the name of the Buddha single-mindedly. Otherwise, we will be wasting this lifetime.