Gate gate (like the mantra in Prajna Paramita)… everything is Gate Gate, going and going and going. Time runs so quickly, even when we want to stop, we can’t, it’s just going, going and going. Sometimes when I think about it, it would be stress free for all of us, if our practice, our business, our work, our responsibilities can automatically run without us having to do anything, don’t you think so? Unfortunately, it is not possible. Whatever we wish to keep, it’s going, going and going very fast, and whatever we wish to avoid, it’s moving very slowly. So anyway, everything is Gate Gate. English educated people should not be reading this as “Gate” for “Bill Gates”, it’s pronounced as “Gatey”, but spelled as “Gate”. What to do, English educated people read “Gate” as “Gate”, we read “Gate” as “Gatey”, and maybe there are people who read this as “Geyti”. So there are many angles even to pronounce “Gate”
Anyway, talking about “Gate” or “Gaté”, some of you may be saying, “Oh no, this guy must be talking about impermanence AGAIN!” Yes, too bad, impermanence is there, it’s not up to you or me to decide. What to do? The problem is we are one way or the other Mr, Mrs, Ms “Last Minute”. We may be good at certain things and last minute in certain things, especially when it comes to spiritual practice and virtuous deeds. I see many of my friends and students delaying their practice, delaying their preparation for any virtuous program, especially delaying the planning and doing of the programs to the very last minute, until so stressful that nothing can be done. Even if something can be done, it has to be done in a very messy way.
Taking out a mirror and look at myself right now, as I am packing for a short journey overseas to Jetsunma’s homeland, I am “Lord Last Minute”, if there were such a title, I think I very well deserve it. I am quite frustrated not being able to find many of my belongings and things that I want to bring with me. Just now, I was even thinking of blaming someone else. Then I thought again, “Isn’t this my responsibility to bring my own things, pack my own things?”
Because everything is “Gate Gate”, therefore we have to be prepared at least, at the end of the day, to face the reality of life that most of us refuse to accept and to even say or write it down. Every birthday celebration that I went through, I always laugh to myself, it’s reminding me that I am one year closer to my graveyard, what is there to celebrate about? Then I also remind myself, let’s appreciate each other’s company right now, because all of us one day or the other have to go to our individual graveyard and when we meet in different bodies again, if we do, we won’t be able to recognise each other unless we are omniscient. So not only body is Gate Gate, memory is also going to be Gate Gate.
Don’t be like me, you don’t want to be knighted as “Lord Last Minute”. Be mindful of Gaté Gaté and let every minute goes by without any regret, let every moment of your life be full of joy and appreciation, let every breathe of your being be a great reminder of impermanence, and with this reminder, you will never waste your life wandering and waste your energy thinking, speaking and doing nonsense. Don’t be like me, be spontaneous and well organised. Don’t be like me, don’t be last minute.
Last of all, I want to thank my dear Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Khenpo Ngawang Sangpo and all the Dongyu Gatsal Ling nuns for sending such a surprise and wonderful birthday greeting. I can see Jetsunma holding a baby dragon, like holding a baby me. We have known each other since I was 2 years old, can you believe it? Again, Gate Gate. I wish, with all my heart, that we all, however we are connected, will be virtuous friends for each other, so that we will be going Gate Gate together and achieving enlightenment together.
Last of the last of all, thank you all my friends and students, for a wonderful birthday you have given Thuksey Rinpoche and me. Although birthdays are not my favourite occasions, because I understand and appreciate this as an expression of love and warmth, I fully enjoyed myself this time and I know, so long as we are together, we will be able to benefit each other through different means and different skills. And now, I think I should start my journey to the airport. I don’t think it’s a good idea to miss my flight again.