Death Takes Flight

A pine siskin is so small it could easily fit into a demitasse cup. This one is ill and probably will not last much longer. The little bird puffs up its feathers and stumbles around on the ground below our bird feeder, happy to glean morsels of sunflower seeds that fall from above. I offer a prayer and visualize the siskin taking flight into the luminous bardo of dharmata.

In the bird’s world, the word “bardo” has no meaning. The avian just lives and dies in the grand cycle of of things—hatching, chirping, eating, mating, and dying. I sometimes wonder why we make it so difficult when we are just animals ourselves. Of course, I know why. We engage the great chain of being as if we are above it all—bipeds with self-awareness. Since we have lost touch with the fluidity of life and death, we need something to help us understand what is beyond our understanding. So, I practice the teachings of Buddha. It is a good fit. And I pray what minimal understanding I can offer into the world will be of benefit to others.

A siskin died last night.
This morning I offer a prayer and a simple burial.
A tear graces my right cheek.
I move into the day with deeper awareness. 

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