The Good Fortune Of Ageing
by Thrangu Rinpoche
If we consider it carefully, being able to live into old age
is actually a remarkably fortunate thing. If we had died while we
were young, we wouldn’t have had the chance to grow old.
Presently, in the 21st century, many countries have ageing societies and an increase in older members in the population. Although it is true that older people’s thinking differs from the rest of the population, it would be quite pointless to believe that we are no longer useful and just feel sorry for ourselves. Why is this so? If we consider it carefully, being able to live into old age is actually a remarkably fortunate thing. If we had died while we were young, we wouldn’t have had the chance to grow old.
NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO PRACTICE
We might not have had too much time to encounter the dharma and practice when we were younger. Perhaps we had to work hard to make a living and feed our families. Nevertheless, this period of toil has passed. Now that we are older and have retired, we have more opportunities to connect with and practice the dharma. We have more time to learn the dharma that benefits both current and future lifetimes. Thus, we need to really seize this opportunity and work hard at it. We can recite more prayers and do more good deeds, and especially practice the dharma diligently!
We should think about ageing in this positive way. If we examine our lives properly, we are not the only ones getting old; every single person in this world ages. It is an undeniable fact of life that we cannot change. Therefore, we need to make full use of this opportunity to practice the dharma. Doing so will definitely bring about results.
EXPERIENCE IS THE MOST PRECIOUS ASSET
If you are older now, you have probably experienced many ups and downs and have some life experiences to share with younger people. You can tell them about your successes and failures and what attitudes they should take towards achievements and challenges. Remind them not to give in to jealousy and pride when they enjoy moments of success, and not to become devastated and succumb to life’s failures.
Encourage youth to really think for themselves. As an older person, it is your responsibility to share your precious experience. No matter if they take it to heart or not, based on a virtuous motivation, you have to share your experience with your children or other young people. View it as your responsibility to provide advice.
Now that our worldly concerns in this life are coming to an end, we should be grateful for this invaluable chance to grow old. We should regard this as a wonderful thing and be joyful and happy. We are all similar in the fact that everyone in the world ages, so we should be grateful for being able to live to a ripe old age! Thinking like this is not only beneficial for our bodies, but it also allows us to feel more relaxed mentally. It has great benefits for both mind and body.
We should do prostrations or circumambulate stupas whenever we can. This is both a form of dharma practice and a type of physical exercise. If feelings of jealousy, pride, anger, or sadness arise, we must carefully examine them and realise their faults. We need to frequently remind ourselves how fortunate we are to have obtained a precious human body and to have engaged in the study of the dharma!