Yama

Beltane                                                                                Waxing Garlic Moon

Still learning about fruit tree management.  Gonna go out and inspect the fruit trees one by one on a ladder this morning.  Then, mid-morning, the bees.  Later, tai-chi starts up again.

A busy week ahead so tomorrow is a Latin day.  I will be in the story of Pentheus for some time, Book III: 509-730.

Death.  A friend whose brother is dying and whose wife has been diagnosed with cancer said the other night, “I can feel them circling.”  This is, I imagine, a frequent sensation as we enter this last stage of life, no longer attending weddings so much as funerals.

The wonderful mandala and one thanka we have at the MIA speak to this.  They both celebrate Yama, the Lord of Death.  In Tibetan Buddhism Yama has a distinct role, he moves us toward enlightenment by teaching us how to reconcile with our own death.  A key move for Yama involves getting each person to embrace their own death, not shrink from it, or fear it, but understanding it as only the end point to this particular life.  In Tibetan Buddhism this has importance because the dying persons emotional state at death has a lot to do with the next incarnation.

In my (our) case I find Yama an important god because coming to grips with our own death does liberate us (can liberate us).  Yama represents that sacred force moving within us that wants us to live today because we know we may (will) die tomorrow.  When our fear of dying crimps our will to live (fully), then death has taken hold of us too early.  Instead, by accepting the eventual and definite reality of our own death, we can paradoxically gain new energy for living a full, rich, authentic life.

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