The Death of a Sick Chicken

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The Death of a Sick Chicken

By Gabriela (July 2011)

We just called her “sicky chicken” because she had only the eyesight on one eye and something was just not right with her for a long time. Nevertheless, she was always on top of the pecking order. Nobody would take away her space at that. We were glad for her.

One day she was found laying on her side, looking dead because the Fed-Ex car drove over her. But she was still breathing. One of her legs seemed lifeless and we kept her in a cage. It took her 2 weeks but she recovered and we were so happy to see her be able use her leg again. For days it was pure happiness just to see how more and more she could walk again. At the end, she was just having a slight limp.

But then, one day, she stayed on top of the chicken coup and didn’t come down to eat. When we put her down, she ate very little. We kept her in the cage again where she very very slowly came to her end.

One sunny afternoon I took her with me in the garden under the orchid tree and said mantras to her. I stroked her gently and she responded with a delighted grrr grrr grrr sound. She seemed happy for the attention. I was happy to give it to her. She was always very responsive in good chicken way of life. Always would talk back to me when I talked to her walking by her cage.

So her days ended very slowly until one day my husband told me she was dead. She must have died while I worked. I was so sad that I couldn’t give her anything and that she died a lonely death. Again, this was not true, as he didn’t look carefully. She was still alive but definitely nearing her end.

When I came to her cage, she lay sprawled in a weird way in the corner and tried to get up when hearing my voice. But her movements didn’t make her body stand up any longer. Nevertheless, she wanted to get up and I appreciated that.

So I took her into a nice box, put a towel under her head and she looked already better. She appeared now more like a human being on her death bed and I saw her as such. She also had her feathers nicely plumed up as she does when she is relaxing and taking a sunbath. In her lonely cage outside she looked stressed and miserable, dying like a creature at the side of the road.

What a difference when you can care for a loved one in her last minutes. I gave her little sips of water which she drank dutifully. She tried sometimes unsuccessfully to use her body and get up which didn’t work of course.

I sang mantras to her and my husband said mantras to her. She was in her box upstairs at her last night and was alive still in the morning at 5.00. After I got out of the bathroom she must have breathed her last breath. She died at 5.30 am June 29, 2011. I said mantras to her and had her in my room when I did the Karmapa meditation.

Oh, how I wished to be able to send her to the Pure Land of Dewachen like a real Lama could do. Now I get an idea how beautiful it must be to be a Bodhisattva, to be able to really help people when it is most easily to help them: at the point of transition from life to bardo state.

She looked so peaceful like being in Mahamudra.

Dear sicky chicken, you now have wings again. Stay close to the Buddhas, fly to Karmapa in India, he always helped birds. He can guide you to Dewachen in one moment. If you don’t find him, just stay close to me. I know you will stay close, as you have done so before in life when you knew we would protect you from harm.

I wish you a happy rebirth in human realm. You died a human death, so please come back a human and meet the Buddha Dharma and Sangha till you are enlightened.

I put the Dorje Chang blue Rootguru image with you so if your soul awakens and comes back to look at your body, you will see the beautiful image of our lineage Buddha.

KARMAPA CHENNO