Following extracts are from the same book by H.H.The Dalai Lama.

Realizing Impermanence

We are under the influence of an illusion of permanence,so we think there is always lots of time remaining.This mistaken belief puts us in great danger of wasting our lives in procrastination,which is especially wasteful when our lives are blessed with the leisure and facilities to engage in productive practices.To counteract this tendency,it is important to meditate on impermanence-first on the fact that death might come at any moment,and then on the very momentary nature of our lives.

One of the chief reasons desire and hatred arise is that we are overly attached to the current flow of life.We have a sense that it will last forever,and with that sort of attitude we become fixated on superficialities-material possessions and temporary friends and situations.To overcome this situation you need to reflect on the fact that a day is coming when you will not be here.

Even though there is no certainity that you will die tonight,when you cultivate an awareness of death,you appreciate that you could die tonight.With this attitude if there is something you can do that will help in both this life and the next,you will give it precedence over something that would help only this life in a superficial way.Furthermore,by being uncertain about when death will come,you will refrain from doing something that would harm both your present and your future lifetimes.You will be motivated to develop outlooks that act as antidotes to the various forms of untamed mind.Then, whether you live a day,a week,a month,or a year,that time will be meaningful, because your thoughts and actions will be based on what is beneficial in the long run.By contrast,when you come under the influence of the illusion of permanence and spend your time on matters that go no deeper than the surface of this life,you sustain great loss.

The fact that things change from moment to moment opens up the possibility for positive development.If situation did not change, they would forever retain their aspect of suffering.Once you realize things are always changing,if you are passing through a difficult period you can find comfort in knowing that the situation will not remain that way forever.

It is the nature of cyclic existence that what has gathered-parents,children,brothers,sisters and friends-will eventually disperse.In addition to separating from all our friends,all the wealth and resources you have accumulated -no matter how marvelous they are-eventually become unusable;the brevity of this present life will force you to leave all wealth behind.The Indian philosopher and yogi shantideva speaks evocatively of impermanence,saying that,no matter how wonderful your present life comes to be, it is like dreaming about pleasure and then being awakened,with nothing left except memory.

Not only must you die in the end but you do not know when the end will come.You should make preparations so that even if you die tonight,you would have no regrets.If you develop an appreciation for the imminence of death,your sense of the importance of using time wisely will get stronger and stronger.As Nagarjuna's Precious Garland of Advice says:

You are living amidst the causes of death

Like a lamp standing in a breeze.

Having let go of all possessions,

At death powerless you must go elsewhere,

But all that has been used for spiritual practice

Will precede you as good karma.

Meditative Reflection

Take this to heart:

1.It is certain that I will die.Death cannot be avoided.My life span is running out and cannot be extended.

2.When I will die is indefinite.Life spans among humans vary.The causes of death are many,and the causes of life comparatively few.The body is fragile.

3.At death nothing will help except my transformed attitude.Friends will be of no help.My wealth will be of no use,and neither will my body.

4.We are all in this same perilous situation,so there is no point in quarreling and fighting or wasting all our mental and physical energy on accumulating money     and property.

5.I should practice now to reduce my attachment to passing fancies.

6.From the depths of my heart I should seek to get beyond this cycle of suffering induced by misconceiving the impermanent to be permanent.