Since my mom went into hospice my practice is, get angry, sit, and repeat for the duration 

It’s just me, Vajradhara, and my anger at this point. Mom’s fine. I’ve been preparing her for this moment for years now. I’m a lama. I’ve got this for her. It doesn’t get any better than this if you are me. I went through this for my wife when her parents died. This is nothing new for me.That being said it’s obviously different of when the person dying is your own last living parent. The bitter sweet letting go of the moment is all the more bitter sweet.

Last night my wife and I had a previously arranged social engagement to attend to. My best friend turned 60 last month. He didn’t want to celebrate it. That being said we were freshman year roommates in college. To this day a week doesn’t pass without our having at least one meal together. That being said I don’t care what he wants in this regard though.

I’m not a people person. This is hardly news to anyone that has ever read this blog. Other than my wife I have only one other person, and his wife, that I can stand being around for any amount of time socially. Last night we all got together for a quiet evening at a favorite French bistro of ours in Uptown.

Speaking of anger. I always speak French with a vengeance. I was in rare form last night. I’m an Anglophone. It’s a Quebec thing. I own my French. Thus if you are a Francophone I’m going to rub it in your face that I speak your language. It’s messed up, I know, but it is what it is. I will forever be from St Bruno, Quebec as such. I do it with a smile on my face of course. I could not be more polite. I love French. It’s a beautiful language when spoken by a Francophone. Me, Inbark in French. I’m like a dog marking its territory. The waiter/owner/ chef being from France the subtext of this wasn’t apparent to him. A good time was had by all nonetheless. We closed the place. This is the only way to do a French bistro.

I’ve always had an acute awareness of my anger. My father was an angry man. He had a temper.bAs did his father.bAnd so on. This is how my family speaks of anger.My earliest memory as a child is my mother’s anger with my being angry. “Wait until your father gets home!” Thus my practice. Get angry. Sit. Repeat. It is no wonder I became a lama. Long before I even knew what Buddhism was I committed myself to its practice.

My father wasn’t a Buddhist.bDuring the Korean War he was stationed in Japan. That’s how his Buddhism came to him. War. Talk about anger. Japan attacked the United States of America. This was his childhood. The airforce of the United States turned Japan into a parking lot. That being said after the war Japan pulled itself up by its bootstraps and became a democracy. And despite our history with Japan the young men of my father’s generation died to guarantee that it remain so. Japanese Buddhism played no small part in making this so. The very same Buddhism that corrupted by ethno-nationalism lead to Japan’s destruction reformed itself and became the Buddhism we today associate with Japan, hard, unforgiving, but a threat to nobody but the angry person within those that practice it.

My mom will be dead in a matter of days now. All religion, including Buddhism, is a lie, the original fake news to borrow a phrase from the topic of the day, Donald Trump, an angry man who thinks he isn’t an angry person, just like his father before him, and so on, whose anger will be not only his own destruction but that of our country before he is forced to resign after the mid term elections. Whether we are talking about the anger we experience when our last living parent dies on us, or when we ourselves die, or when our country dies as it has been in the process of doing the past two weeks, it’s only anger, and thus it’s all good if you are a lama. This is what the Vajrayana is for. It is for this that the Buddha turned the wheel of the dharma a third and last time as the primordial Buddha, empty, luminous and capable of anything, known to me as Vajradhara in my practice of the Vajrayana, that which I share with you here.bCourage. It, whatever ‘it’may be for you, only gets worse. Nobody gets out of this life alive.Be angry. Sit. Repeat. It doesn’t get any better than this.That being said it doesn’t get any worse.Good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end. It’s all good. We need not make it so. It just is. This I submit here for your consideration as I wait for my mom to die.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Since my mom went into hospice my practice is, get angry, sit, and repeat for the duration 

  1. Sam

    an·ger
    ˈaNGɡər/
    noun
    1. a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.

    Old people aren’t nearly annoyed by death as their relatives are.
    My mother was annoying during dying too. I still loved her but she was annoying as hell. Her last words were “be good”.
    I still don’t know what that meant, but I hope your practice of angry sitting is satisfying and hope you feel something pleasant from time to time.

  2. It is interesting to me, right now, to be reading this because my father has also just been put in hospice. My mother is still alive though and that really adds another level to it. Also, they give my father weeks or months, not days. It just discombobbles it all up, doesn’t it? It throws you around – time warps, words warp, actions warp – you forget where you were. Everything matters more. Everything matters less.

    Anyway, I’m a crier. I do get angry a little but, mostly, I’m a crier. I think of people coming to visit. Asking questions like, should we come right away or can we wait 3 weeks? Why do we even have to answer that? Come right away, of course. Then, the tears.

    I think of Mingyur Rinpoche when the waves come. Our minds are so powerful. It’s so powerful what it’s showing us. It’s so real. It’s so precious.

    Hugs to you and your family. Thanks for the blog.

  3. James Hitchens

    *clapping*

      • I can’t believe KTD is trolling me on my mother dying.

        Disgusting.

        That being said given the news that
        this year KTD has ceased operations such behavior is thus understandable of course.

        As a senior disciple of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and most influential Karma Kagyu lama of my generation I am available for anyone interested in his lineage of Mahamudra as such.

          • It’s nice to have a mute button here.

            Trolling my dying mother.

            Yup.

            I am the most influential Karma Kagyu lama of my generation.

            100k people online think so.

            That’s just here.

            And then there is the over 4K people on Twitter.

            I won.

            Deal with it.

        • James Hitchens

          I had a dream last night and some fella in a suit sang me a song – it made me think of your bravery in sitting in the anger, which is very inspiring. Sending e-hugs to you and your loved ones.

          In the vast Ocean of Life;
          This ripple of pain is like a fleck
          In the moonlight.
          The dharma men hold this thought
          Like a golden pill;
          But forget the depth of the darkness,
          In that fleck’s shadow.
          They use a bright belief,
          To gloss over the subtlety and struggle.
          This is no better than those
          Trapped in the pain; who think
          It blots out the vast space which holds it.
          Avoid these two mistakes
          And know everything at once;
          Know you are not separate from the light or the dark;
          That fleck, dancing alone.

          I hope you continue this run of brave writing on the experience of Mahamudra/Vajradhara in the midst of chaos. We need practitioners like you to cut through deception.

          How did you prepare your mother for death?

          • Tara

            The nipple of pain,
            Upon which lama bill sucks,
            Is flacid and barrren.

            His virility gone,
            And dharma mediocre,
            He claims to be the greatest
            Lama.

            Oh great guru gyalwang Karmapa,
            do not blame the balloon for its inflation.
            No, have compassion for the man who has forgotten who he is: an ordinary being.

            What cloud, or rock, or planet in the sky claims to be the greatest?

            May all ordinary beings, seen and unseen benefit, and may the illusory play of life and death be seen for what the guru has told us:

            Nothing happens.

    • Jinxing

      I would recommend reaching out to KKR for phowa when the time comes- I’m sure he’d do it if you requested it. Beloved guru is a living bodhisattva! As a lama of the Karma Kagyu how could he deny you?

      Good luck!

  4. Certain religious attitudes may be a lie – but not compassion.
    My teachers told me – and according to my little life experience I can’t contradict: Intelligent letting-go at the right moment gives space for relief and pure joy.
    May your mother do well at the very end of her life, have no pain, and be well afterwards. May her good qualities never be forgotten by those who know/knew her and inspire them. Om MaNI PeMe Hung & bon voyage!
    Best wishes, Bill!

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