Before the Battle of Little Bighorn, Lakota warrior Crazy Horse purportedly said, "today is a good day to die."
Today was a good day for Sweet Sox to die, on Buddha Day, the day that honors The Awakened One's birth, enlightenment, and death. It is a full moon and the weather could not have been any more beautiful.
It was interesting how my mind worked back to the first spirituality I began to study intensely all those years ago as a young seeker starting on my path.
After writing the last post Sox deteriorated rapidly last night. He could barely walk. I made him as comfortable as possible. He would not eat or drink. I tried to hand feed him and dribbled water into his mouth.
This morning I got up at at 5 AM and sat with him until my husband came home from his second office, a three hour drive away. I sat for four hours chanting OM MANI PADME HUM using my mala made from bodhi tree seeds and reading the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
I took Sweet Sox outside so he could feel the grass one last time. He hobbled around and laid down every few feet, closing his eyes. I picked him up and walked around the Buddha head three times chanting OM MANI PADME HUM. What is never born can never die.
We went to the vet and it was done. He only weighed 5 pounds. She told me his intestines felt thick and hard, filled with tumors. Just as with Jack the Yogi Cat, I stroked him and chanted OM MANI PADME HUM, asking all the Enlightened Ones to protect him on his journey. Just as with Jackie, all the strain left his face and he looked like a kitten again. The vet and the vet tech cried along with us.
I hope for his fortunate rebirth into a higher realm.
From the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying:
"...we catch glimpses of the vast implications behind the truth of impermanence....Inspired and exhilarated by this emergence into a new dimension of freedom, we come to uncover a depth of peace, joy, and confidence in ourselves that fills us with wonder, and breeds in us gradually a certainty that there is in us 'something' that nothing destroys, that nothing alters, and that cannot die. Milarepa wrote:
In horror of death, I took to the mountains -
Again and again I meditated on the uncertainty of the hour of death,
Capturing the fortress of the deathless unending nature of mind.
Now all fear of death is over and done.
Gradually then we become aware in ourselves of the calm and sky-like presence of what Milarepa calls the deathless and unending nature of mind. And as this new awareness begins to become vivid and almost unbroken, there occurs what the Upanishads call 'a turning about in the seat of consciousness,' a personal, utterly non-conceptual revelation of that we are, why we are here, and how we should act, which amounts in the end to nothing less than a new life, a new birth, almost, you could say, a resurrection."
Today was a good day to die.