The Eight Step Path

This poem condenses into a few lines a meditation practice described by the 14th Dalai Lama in his book “How to Practice.”
The first four lines describe what he says a dying person sees as their four elements collapse sequentially: earth into water, water into fire, fire into air, and air into consciousness.
At this point, he writes, the person may seem to external, Western observers to be gone; however, they perceive the colors indicated until finally, a pure, clear light heralds their completion of this life and their readiness to journey on.


mirage shimmers
billowing smoke
sparks, fireflies
then: a floating flame

white surroundings
orange skies
total dark
then: clarity

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