Thursday, June 14, 2012

Marshimaro's Eulogy

Upon the occasion of his passing, this last Friday the 8th of June, and at the moment of his final breath, Marshimaro's consciousness immediately revealed itself in the Medicine Buddha's realm, "Beautiful to Behold." This happened like lightning, amid various signs. 

In the hours before his death, the Medicine Buddha mantra played continuously in Marshimaro's room. As his condition worsened, he stumbled to the floor beneath the small table where the playback device sits: something he had never done before. The mantra was the last thing Marshimaro heard. Since that time until now, his body exhibited no odor whatsoever, nor any leakage of bodily fluids.

Marshimaro was a gentle, kind, and intelligent rabbit. For example: if someone was crying, he would approach them, and touch them with his paw. He would also "chin" people and things. This is how a rabbit displays affection, and a sense of connection: by a glancing touch of his chin. 

Marshimaro would also display singular behavior during pujas or sadhanas. To everyone's amazement, he once tried to "sing" along with the Seven Line Prayer! From that time forward, we all began to understand that his communicative skills were extraordinary. I am comfortable telling you that from the day he was born until the day he died, he was continually exposed to mantra, the bell, and the drum. He learned to anticipate particular points in the sadhana, and would always sit in respectful attention, facing the altar.

People who witnessed Marshimaro's behavior usually thought I had "trained" him in some fashion, but this is not the case. He just came by attentiveness quite naturally: this was an expression of his personality. He was a spontaneously unique, loving sentient being who never harmed anything or anybody in his entire life -- not so much as the smallest insect.

When we experience the death of a being with whom we have some attachment phenomena, there is crying, sobbing, and sorrow. Emotions are in an uproar, and we shake with the force of these emotions. I am tremendously saddened by Marshimaro's death, and I have cried. I am openly grieving what I perceive as his death and my loss.

Ordinarily, this is not the best way to regard such matters. Nevertheless, this is how the ninety-nine point ninety-nine percent majority of us feel. This is what we experience: what we are thinking behind the sobs. Still, even this can be useful. Even this can be powerful enough to set an enormous, unifying presence in motion -- to release the deepest aspect of our being as humans.

As we experience grief, we can immediately tap into something limitlessly beneficial. Really, if we go ahead and embrace the grief, and just let it have free rein, there can come a moment when we think, "Oh... I do not want anybody else to ever experience anything like this! If I have to take it all, let me take it all. I want to do whatever is necessary to deliver others from the feelings I am feeling now."

So, this is the transformation of a beclouded emotion into the highest expression of aspirational bodhicitta -- right in the middle of the sobs and the selfishness. This is truly wonderful, you know? If you like, you can think of this as a gift. What it actually represents is clarity, so maybe you could call this the gift of clarity.

Because, in one stroke of clarity, fueled by powerful emotions that concentrate the mind, we recognize who we are, where we are, what we are, and the nature of our obligation to others. You can be sobbing, and screaming, saying, "Oh! Why did you leave me alone in this world?" and then, just like a blossoming perception of radiating light, you can transform this into, "From now on, I am going to do something so people will be delivered from this sort of anguish."

This is of immediate comfort: a kind of tranquilizer for space.

This morning, as I brought Marshimaro from the house to the grave, numerous animals began to appear. Two jackrabbits came at the same time -- a rarity -- and they literally stood watchful guard. This is unusual behavior on their part. Then after a time, numbers of field rabbits came from all directions, forming a sort of perimeter around the grave site. Ravens came, and roadrunners, and many birds from the sky. 

A tiny green hummingbird came and rested on a branch.

The sound of his wings as he flew away into a cloudless morning sky was Marshimaro's eulogy.

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13 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Bless you dear friend as you grieve. The noble pause to respectfully wish Marshimaro well on his journey gives rise to bodhichitta and from this a blessing back to Marshimaro for his humble gift of loving kindness.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing with us this wonderful and very personal teaching and I am sure that your inspiration will continue to be pervaded by your precious friend. And if you can share with us such beauty, the revers also applies: sharing with us the grief as well, so, each one of your readers we absorb some of your suffering and sadness.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful, soul-stirring eulogy for Marshimaro! The love between you and Marshimaro is a beacon of light and hope to me. If only all humans could see the bodhisattva in other creatures as you saw it in Marshimaro. That kind of world would be heaven.

Anonymous said...

Onions. Someone must be cutting onions 'cause surely this grown man (i.e., me) ain't crying...

What an amazing post and I understand so well your grief. It must've been hard writing through the tears.

Over a decade ago on the 8th of the moon, my longtime animal companion died as I chanted Medicine Buddha mantra in his ear. In his time he had met a few lamas and many monks, some just a month earlier. After burying him in my backyard, I came inside to sob a bit. Later that day I went to get the mail and when I turned around to come back to the house there was a brilliant rainbow in the sky that appeared to be centered above my backyard. I had almost forgotten about it until reading your beautiful post. Later that night I sobbed some more and during my sobs had a profound insight into egolessness.

Our animal friends can be the best friends, and their lives are heartbreakingly too short.

Warm regards in your time of grief.

Anonymous said...

Are these comments for real?

Editor said...

I have no idea. I seemed to detect something that didn't quite feel right... a sort of passive-aggressive, suppressed hatred... something like I feel from you, latest Anonymous...

Anonymous said...

The "onion" part of my comment is something common on internet forums and has maybe been so overused to the point it just sounds trite and insincere. I didn't intend anything passive-aggressive or hateful in my comment. Sorry if it may have come across that way.

Warm regards.

Editor said...

As it happens, I wasn't referring to you, but thank you anyway.

Anonymous said...

The other anonymous ...who was questioning the "for realness" of the comments. I sensed what you you can interpret my sensing of "insincerity" just as you have, on my part, as being ""passive aggressive" is beyond me.

Editor said...

There are two "Anonymous" in Sebastopol? You and your evil twin?

Anonymous said...

hahaha.I am not in Sebastopol. Not aware of an Evil Twin...But if you say so it has to be true. Personally I think this is a misunderstanding. I merely was originally questioning the "realness" of the over the top showings of sympathy...i thought they were odd. Thats all. I am not in Sebastopol if that helps.

Anonymous said...

@ sceptical Anonymous.

The comments are not real: just a reflection of each own mind: my illusion (the second Anonymous) is not similar with your illusion. More than this, there's no writer, no reader, no rabbit that was born, nor rabbit that was die. Nevertheless, all this things, just because they lack true existence they have the capacity to produce effects.

Anonymous said...

Marshimaro's memory is his benediction. (LL)